Some of these business owners faced fines and other types of punitive action from the government. The most publicized of these cases concerned the Masterpiece Cakeshop. This bakery business appealed to the Supreme Court of the United States, where judges ruled that the state of Colorado had been biased against religious beliefs in its actions.
The generally conservative position on these issues was, and still is, that private business owners are not slaves to the public. They have the right to say no. Refuse to supply their goods and services in circumstances with which they are not comfortable, even though the reasoning behind that refusal may be offensive to the general public.
The generally liberal position is that business owners can only say “no” in cases where the state has not decreed that they must say “yes”.
Fast forward to 2020, and it looks like we’re having the same debate again, only now we’re talking about face masks, and the ideological sides have changed.
Sadly, covering your face in the midst of this pandemic has become a partisan political issue. Many generally center-right people resist masks, while center-left people are ashamed and avoid the reluctant.
It is a frustrating reality. We are busy throwing rhetorical pies at each other when we should simply wear the masks as a way to curb the spread of the virus and hopefully prevent more drastic measures against it in the future.
But, alas, that is too much to ask.
An argument frequently made by masked center-right dissidents concerns private companies that allegedly violate the rights of unmasked people by refusing to serve them. This is ironic, given that there is a substantial overlap between this group of people and the people who have argued that bakeries should be able to say “no” to same-sex couples.
If a company doesn’t want to serve you because you can’t bother to wear a mask, if it won’t let you into its establishment because it wants to protect itself, its employees and its customers, it won’t. don’t want I don’t have to.
They don’t violate your rights.
If they were forced to serve you, it would violate a whole host of their rights, including their property rights and their right to decide who they will associate with and not associate with.
But remember, my liberal friends, if you agree with this argument, then you must also agree that a baker has the right to refuse to bake, whatever you or I may think of his reasons.
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Rob Port, Founder of SayAnythingBlog.com, is a Forum Communications commentator. Contact him on Twitter at @robport or by email at email@example.com.