Harry Browne on Civil Rights
2000 Libertarian Nominee for President
A: He would veto it, because that is a state and local issue to begin with. But consenting adults should be allowed to enter into any contractual relations they desire, including Civil Unions.
A: If you own a business you should be able to hire whoever you choose. And if you don’t, what should happen? Absolutely nothing. Race as an issue in hiring usually backfires - you’re closing off potential talent. If a company is stupid enough to follow that policy, have at it.
A: Would he support it? No. The Supreme Court was correct - the Boy Scouts can set their own policy as a private organization. Harry Browne isn’t anti-gay by any means, but he would not use the federal government to enforce rules on private organizations.
A: Harry Browne would not have affirmative action in government agencies. Hiring would be based on actual qualification - the most qualified person gets the job. Private agencies can do as they wish.
A: The military already does that. In a Harry Browne administration, the military would be dramatically smaller in scope, but I don’t see minority recruitment stopping. You want to get the best people available for each position.
A: Marriage is no business of the state whatsoever. It is between two individuals who want to do whatever they want to do, and that is up to them. As long as they’re not intruding on anybody else’s life or property, it’s nobody else’s business.
Q: But isn’t it important to recognize people as being married for tax or other governmental administrative purposes?
A: As long as the state is meddling in marriage and defining marriage, and saying that there are certain legal benefits that accrue from marriage, then it should not limit that marriage. It should not try to say that it’s only between a man and a woman. It should allow any two people who want to be married to be married. But in the final analysis, what I would prefer to see is the state not providing any legal benefits or detriments to people based on marital status. It should have nothing whatsoever to do with marriage.
A: The government is a so-called public entity. Each individual [should] decide to whom those benefits should go, rather than the government saying “these benefits can only be applied in the following situations.”
Q: What about employment discrimination protections?
A: I do not believe that the government should intrude on companies. When you give the government the power to interfere with other people’s decisions then you are giving the government the power to interfere with your decisions. So the best answer is to keep the government out of it entirely. It may mean that you -- because you’re gay, or black-may not be able to get a job at a particular company, but it does not mean you can’t get a job at any company. You just have to accept the world as it is, and that includes people who don’t think the way you do. Using the government to make those people think the way you do, is treading on very thin ice.
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