Tag: Red Hen

Sarah Huckabee Sanders Should be Eating at The Little Red Hen

By Kaihua Zhou | United States

Is it reasonable to serve someone on the basis on their political affiliation?  Stephanie Wilkinson, a Virginia restaurant owner, argues that it is. Wilkinson’s decision to refuse to serve White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders remains controversial. While her motives may have been noble, her choice demonstrates considerable moral confusion.

Wilkinson informed Sanders that “the restaurant has certain standards … such as honesty, cooperation, and compassion.”  In her eyes, Sanders had violated those standards through her involvement in the Trump administration.  Wilkinson’s line of reasoning appears valid. If you feel a public official is corrupt, you have every right to challenge them. Ana Navarro, a CNN commentator, argues that Wilkinson’s choice was courageous. According to her, Sarah Huckabee Sanders is “an accomplice to this cruel, deceitful administration.”  Thus, there is no distinction in her mind between Sanders’ moral qualities her political actions.

Approaching a government official and tacitly accusing them of dishonesty and brutality is hardly unique. What is unique in Wilkinson’s case is that her challenge came through denying her restaurant’s service. In her view, serving Sanders would make her an accomplice as well. Consequently, to her, refusing service is an act of personal integrity, showing her commitment to compassion and cooperation. The principle is generally sound.

The moral confusion, however, lies in the application. If we accept the argument that Sanders is  an accomplice to brutality, who else is? How would Wilkinson recognize them? 45 percent of Virginians voted for President Trump. Are they complicit in the administration’s alleged brutality? While they did not deliver Virginia’s electoral votes for Trump, it was through their ( and similarly like-minded individuals) efforts that Trump gained office. Should Wilkinson refuse to serve them? If so, she must turn away about half of her state’s residents. Perhaps she can determine that they, despite their politics, are moral people. Perhaps they sinned in ignorance.

If Americans did not recognize Trump’s character in 2016, they have a better understanding now. 41.9% of Americans continue to approve of President Trump’s policies. Are they complicit in Trump’s accused inhumanity? Are they in harmony with Wilkinson’s moral standards? If so, she again must kick out about half of her fellow citizens.  Such an outcome would be completely unreasonable.  Should Wilkinson and her fellow workers personally ask each of their customers if they support Trump? If so, they would find that many of their customers do not fit their standards.

Of course, having strong moral standards is a solid principle. Wilkinson’s folly, however, is confusing her moral standards with political standards. Are honesty, compassion, and cooperation measured by politics alone? No.  There are many honest, compassionate conservatives, liberals, independents, and everything else.

Is Wilkinson in a position to judge Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ qualities? Once again, the simple answer is no. While Sanders is a public figure, Wilkinson does not know her.  Instead, she judges her based on her political affiliation.  It is an unreasonable choice.  There are many reasonable ways to challenge public officials for policies. Refusing to serve based on limited knowledge of someone’s character is not one of them.

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Thomas Massie Suggests 2016 Libertarian Ticket Was “Never Really Libertarian”

Spencer Kellogg | @TheNewTreasury

Earlier this week, President Trump’s press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked to leave The Red Hen restaurant in Lexington, Virginia due to her support of the President’s stance on illegal immigration along the southern border of the United States. While the action by the Red Hen staff has drawn derision from both conservative and liberal commentators alike, principled libertarians have pointed out that private businesses possess a constitutional and free market right to not do business with a customer on the basis of ideological or religious preferences.

Reason magazine was among the first news outlet’s to point out the hypocrisy of ‘bake the cake’ liberals who believe the Red Hen staff has a right to pick and choose their patrons based on ideological preference but demanded a Colorado baker make a wedding cake for a homosexual couple. Representative Thomas Massie agreed with the magazine and went a step further on Monday when he condemned what he sees as an anti-libertarian platform pushed by Gary Johnson and Bill Weld during their 2016 bid for the White House.

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By tweeting the 2016 LP presidential ticket was “never really a libertarian ticket” Massie is putting his finger squarely on the button that has energized so many within the libertarian base to push for new leadership in the party ranks ahead of their bi-annual convention this weekend in New Orleans. Libertarians, by their very nature, are a contrarian bunch that enjoys debating the nuances of liberty that crop up across the country and in 2016 the major ideological quarry inside the party’s membership was regarding a Colorado baker who refused to bake a wedding cake for a homosexual couple. Johnson, the front-runner, and eventual nominee stood firm in his belief that government has a right to force association by private businesses regardless of religious belief.

In a 7-2 ruling released in early June, The Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Masterpiece Cakeshop and owner John Phillips. The ruling, written by Justice Anthony Kennedy, stated that Phillips had a right to refuse service to customers based on religious freedom: “The religious and philosophical objections to gay marriage are protected views and in some instances protected forms of expression.” Two of the major tenants of libertarianism are freedom of association and free market capitalism. To follow each of these to their logical conclusion is to believe that private businesses possess a right to refuse service on the basis of religious or ideological grounds and that the market, instead of the state, should be the ultimate arbitrator in that businesses’ windfall.

It remains to be seen if the tweet made by Massie is an indication of any Presidential aspirations that the Representative may have himself. Regardless, Massie’s statement is a stark refutation of Governor William Weld, who is assumed by many in the Libertarian Party to be one of the candidates running for its Presidential Nomination in 2020.

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