Thursday, September 10, 2015

Such Laws Will Disappear Only When They're Used Enough By The "Wrong" People

There are certain laws--think child support and/or alimony--that are entirely too often used as a bludgeon, most often against men.  Men don't talk to their friends about how much alimony they can get, for example.  I find alimony and other such laws to be institutionalized sexism, and they'll only go away when enough men reap their benefits.  So it is with anti-discrimination law, and look who's howling about it:
California's Unruh Civil Rights Act, a 1959 law named after a powerful California politician, was a precursor to the federal 1964 Civil Rights Act. It prohibits businesses from discriminating against folks based on specified attributes, currently including sex, race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, disability, medical condition, genetic information, marital status, or sexual orientation. It is, by design, a very broad and flexible tool, and has repeatedly been interpreted to protect groups and classes beyond those listed explicitly. Defendants found liable can be ordered to pay up to three times the actual damages the plaintiff suffers (and no less than $4,000), and can be ordered to pay the plaintiff's attorney fees. A losing plaintiff can't be ordered to pay a winning defendant's attorney fees, with certain narrow disability-law exceptions.

Recently the Unruh Act provoked outrage. Why? Because this broad, flexible, and unilateral law was invoked creatively by the wrong people. Here's how The Mary Sue put it...
Go read the shrieks of indignation, read the sense of entitlement in their words.  Equality sure does suck, doesn't it?
Here's the thing: if you only wake up to how broken the system is when it's abused by one of your ideological enemies, you're a vapid partisan hack. The legal system — including, but not "only" or "especially" civil rights laws — is a tool of extortion, deceit, and thuggery... If you're only irritated by this when a group of Wrong People target a group of Right People, you're not to be taken seriously.

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