A peculiar strand of thought has appeared among the conservatives. Anti-discrimination laws, they say, are unfair. It is certainly good to outlaw discrimination against blacks and homosexuals — in saying that, we, the conservatives, are simply faithfully preserving the old victories of the left, now status quo — but what of discrimination against Christians? Isn’t that also morally dubious? In fact, the conservatives continue, in regard to identity politics, every group deserves equal protection against discrimination.
Case in point: Selwyn Duke writes with apparent outrage: “Imagine you apply for a college program, only to be denied entry because you believe in God. And the kicker is how school administrators knew about your faith.”
Even a minute amount of reflection shows this attitude to be untenable. The left which originated non-discrimination laws, affirmative action, diversity training, and all the rest has always distinguished between “official” protected victim groups like the blacks and official oppressor groups like your standard straight white male Christians.
The Old Left held that there were basically two classes engaged in their class war: the proletarians and the bourgeoisie or capitalists. Whatever the faults of this ideology, at least it was clear and unambiguous. The lines were well-drawn.
The New Left decided to complicate things considerably. It fractured society into a vast variety of groups battling one another seemingly chaotically. Though not quite: the two main groups — oppressors and oppressed — had remained, yet each oppressed group was now oppressed in its own unique way. Blacks had different grievances than Latinos than homosexuals than the poor than union members, etc.
Regardless, when a black person was discriminated against, this poor oppressed victim suffered a monstrous injustice; but when a Christian was discriminated against, this evil irrational oppressor-bastard only got what he had coming to him all along, i.e., what he so richly, according to his wicked personality and unjust privilege, deserved.
Thus, the left never intended for all discriminators to be equally bad. When an employer hired women, thereby refraining from hiring men, he was praised. If he hired men, symmetrically refraining from hiring women, he was condemned. This is not a double standard of any sort, because the poor virtuous women are oppressed by rich corrupt men, and for that reason men deserved to suffer and were required to atone, while the women — quite unequally and so entirely by design — would be given every advantage.
The conservatives apparently saw the ideological silliness at work here and attempted an unusual counterattack. Let’s bring this matter to a reductio ad absurdum, they decided. Let no one whatsoever, black or white, they said, be discriminated against. No decision by anyone in any situation could take race or sex or whatever into account.
Again, the left had a theory of classes and class warfare. It may have been wrong, but it was an idea. The conservatives imploded this theory from within, replacing it, as is their penchant, with no idea whatsoever by embracing the insanity and going all the way to complete nonsense.
A landlord on this conservative interpretation still cannot discriminate against blacks. But also he cannot discriminate against whites, either. It is clear that this policy completely defeats the purpose of the left’s distinction between what it imagined were the genuine oppressed and oppressors and its efforts to boost the former and to bring down the latter.
Absent some idea of social justice, of victims and villains, what is now universal non-discriminationism (UND) makes exactly zero sense from any point of view. If a landlord rents an apartment to a black person (a “plus”), then he by that very fact rejects an equal to him in all respects — in terms of degree of victimhood and suchlike — white person (a “minus”). And vice versa. An apartment is a scarce resource; there are only so many apartments in the landlord’s housing development; so, from the social point of view the overall “justice” is zero; the pluses and minuses cancel each other out.
But if we add the landlord to society, we immediately see that his ability and pleasure to choose his tenants, given UND, is curtailed. He no longer is able to run his business as efficiently as he can. The landlord is harmed, and so are his customers whom he is unable to serve to the best of his ability. The result: net harm to society overall, all things considered.
Again, given that we have done away with the idea of institutional injustice against the “accredited” victim groups, discriminating against Smith because he is black is neither more nor less unjust than discriminating against Jones because he is a credit risk. The discriminator — whoever he might be — simply makes choices according to his own desires. Surely, destroying all discrimination entails the destruction of humanity as a race of choosers; hence, since all discrimination cannot be equally vicious, it must all be equally Ok.
Perhaps conservatives were hoping that everyone would see this reductio, have a good laugh, and forget about this nonsense. But so far, their hopes have not been vindicated.