Friday, March 30, 2007

Rights vs Wrongs

"Tolerance is a two-way street, as a group of Somali taxi drivers in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minn., are about to find out. In May, the Metropolitan Airports Commission in the Twin Cities is set to adopt new rules that will punish cabbies who refuse to haul passengers carrying liquor, even though the drivers claim their Muslim faith forbids them to do so. The Somali intolerance doesn't just extend to alcohol. Some drivers have also refused to carry blind passengers with guide dogs, on grounds that the Quran says dog saliva is unclean. And some Muslim store cashiers in the Twin Cities have refused to scan pork products, alleging this also violates their faith."

This controversy is a result of the perversion of opinions of our Constitution and Bill of Rights by activists and the courts over the years.

Bill Of Rights Amendment I: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

It is time to re-visit the meaning of freedom. Muslims in this country should be free to do or not do whatever they please regarding these kinds of private transactions. On the other hand, employers should be able to fire Muslims if they can't or won't do work that the job entails. This is about private individuals doing what private individuals want, or don't want, to do. The government shouldn't be involved in this at all. If a cab company, for example, wants to bar certain passengers from its cabs, well then, let the market decide whether they make money or not. If the cab company decides it doesn't want to hire Muslims, or carry dogs, or whatever, then let them try that and see if they can make money or not doing that. If Muslims can't get cabbie jobs because they won't carry certain types of passengers, then let them find a job somewhere else. That is what freedom is all about.

The cab business is an overly regulated, semi-monopolistic business which the government has no business fine tuning. We are so concerned with everyone's feelings that we can't understand that sometimes we just all need to learn to step aside and let people sort out their differences outside the court system. Otherwise, we'll become like Europe, nit picking every little detail to the point that we erode the very freedoms we want for ourselves.

We meddle too much in people's lives these days. This stuff doesn't necessitate another set of laws and regulations. If you like dogs, then great. If you don't, then I shouldn't be able to force my dog ownership on you, even if I am blind. Public opinion and the "invisible hand" of the marketplace will settle the rest.

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