The Free Market Didn’t Desegragate The South, It Won’t Fix Indiana

Lunch Counter Sit-In
Lunch Counter Sit-In

Conservatives addressing the controversy over the badly designed new Indiana law that enshrines discrimination against the LGBT community in Indiana seem to believe that this is a problem that can be fixed by the magical free market. This, of course, is their solution to everything under the sun.

It’s also nonsense.

The idea that the free market is a magical elixir to solve all of society’s ills is an article of faith among the right. Of course, this does not preclude them from using the government to push their pet solutions to what they view as problems, but that bit of hypocrisy is a feature, not a bug.

If we had left the segregated south up to the free market, blacks and other minorities would have been denied basic public accommodation based solely on the color of their skin. Conservatives argue that boycotts from blacks and others sympathetic to their cause would cause financial harm to these businesses, eventually forcing a change in policy. That is disputable. What is not disputed is that we in America decided we were not going to wait for George Shopowner to come around to the 20th century.

We as a society decided that if you’re going to operate a business under the protection of government funded police, on government funded roads as part of a municipality there are some basic simple concessions you have to make. That is, you cannot discriminate based on race, color, religion or national origin.
We didn’t sit around waiting for the private market to make adjustments to basic decency and morality. We, as a nation, decided on this.

And we’re better for it.

Unless you are a racist or Rand Paul, there are few people in America who continue to make an argument against this decision we arrived upon outside of the voodoo of the free market. Yet when it comes to LGBT Americans, for some reason the insistence is made that we need to let the market decide.
This is nonsense. The core idea of America is equality under the law, for everyone. EVERYONE. And we have not and cannot subject ourselves to the whims of the market to wait on that promise becoming reality.