Nice little state you’se got dere, Governor Pence

Had the only appreciable opposition to RFRA come from gay rights activists, RFRA would have been a smashing political success for Republicans. It would have made the right enemies while generating gratitude and energy in the base. They did not expect their usual friends in corporate America to join the opposition …

The decision by Apple, Walmart, Eli Lilly, Angie’s List, and so on was abusiness decision—even more, a marketing decision. Coming out in opposition to the Indiana RFRA law was one of the shrewdest marketing coups since E.T. followed a trail of Reese’s Pieces. The decision to #BoycottIndiana was not made because it was the politically courageous thing to do; it was made because it was the profitable thing to do. The establishment could express support for a fashionable social norm while exerting very little effort, incurring no actual cost, and making no sacrifice to secure the goal. It had the further advantage of distracting most people from the fact that corporations like Apple have no compunction doing business in places with outright oppression of gays, women, and Christians. Those real forms of repression and discrimination didn’t matter; Indiana’s purported oppression of gays did …

We saw fully unmasked just who runs America, and the kind of America that they are bringing more fully into reality every passing day. It will be an America where the powerful will govern completely over the powerless, where the rich dictate terms to the poor, where the strong are unleashed from the old restraints of culture and place, where libertarian indifference—whether in respect to economic inequality or morals—is inscribed into the ­national fabric, and where the unburdened, hedonic human will reign ascendant. No limits reflected in political, social, or religious norms can be permitted: All are allowed except those who would claim the legitimacy of restraint.

(Patrick Deneen, The Power Elite)

Separate coalitions are forming to represent distinct interests — the newest being Indiana Competes, announced Wednesday, which will make the business case for adding civil rights protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Hoosiers …

Like Freedom Indiana, Tech for Equality and powerful business interests such as Lilly, Columbus, Ind.-based diesel-engine maker Cummins and the NCAA, Indiana Competes wants the General Assembly to adopt what’s becoming known as “full protections” — the addition of sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes in the areas of housing, employment and public accommodations …

Last week, the influential Indiana Chamber of Commerce, which represents businesses statewide, announced its support for an expansion of LGBT protections …

“We prefer to speak for ourselves,” said Indiana Chamber president Kevin Brinegar. “We’ll advocate our position and do it parallel to any other organization’s.”

The Indiana Chamber’s reasons for supporting sexual orientation and gender identity protections align with the same economic argument as Indiana Competes — that the expansion of the civil rights law would be necessary to keep Indiana competitive in the recruitment, attraction and retention of talent.

(Indianapolis Star via Lafayette Journal & Courier, November 12; link probably wouldn’t work if I tried.)

I’m going to thrown down my hoary gauntlet once more: where is the evidence of systemic discrimination, crying out for legislative remediation, based on these sexual and gender ephemera, in employment, housing, public accommodations or education? In my Hoosier hometown, in 22-some years since addition of sexual orientation to our human relations ordinance, I don’t believe there has been a single violation found — though there have been allegations ranging from dubious to absurd (e.g., accusing our local Kinko’s of sexual orientation discrimination when it was famously crawling with LGBT stereotypes in that era).

Religious belief that sodomy (gay or generally) is sinful doesn’t count unless it enters the marketplace. Historically, the occasional oddball discriminator in the marketplace doesn’t even count; the only problems warranting anti-discrimination laws have been de jure (e.g., Jim Crow) or those so systemic, widely- and deeply-rooted as to have an adverse economic (not psychic) affect on those suffering discrimination.

The Chamber of Commerce argument, to be blunt, is circular: we want this because our kind of people want this. Freely paraphrasing Apple’s Tim Cook, “Nice little state you’se got dere, Governor Pence. It’d be a real shame if anything bad happened to it, like #BoycottIndiana. Capiche?”

The eventuality of this “full protection” against discrimination, based on vague laws tied to invisible and subjective traits, is the kind of kangaroo courts that now infamously privilege putative victims of microaggression in campus proceedings (this, for instance). Heck, as they say on the internet these days, “‘Gender Identity’ don’t real” (arguably). But Social Justice Warriors (this seems to be the current term) will use these laws with impunity to harass enough culture war dissenters to chill further dissent. And Corporate America will get a free pass on other sins (think “Bill Clinton’s immunity from feminist outrage for sexual predation because he favored abortion”).

Once more, Ayn Rand’s one moment of moral sanity (in a life otherwise full of self-absorbed dissipation) gets vindicated:

Did you really think that we want those laws observed? . . . We want them broken . . . . There’s no way to rule innocent men.  The only power any government has is to crack down on criminals.  Well, when there aren’t enough criminals one makes them.  One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible to live without breaking laws.  Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens?  What’s there in that for anyone?  But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced nor objectively interpreted — and you create a nation of lawbreakers — and then you cash in on guilt.

(Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged, emphasis added)

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“In learning as in traveling and, of course, in lovemaking, all the charm lies in not coming too quickly to the point, but in meandering around for a while.” (Eva Brann)

Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.