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Pred and breakfast - shadows of echoes of memories of songs
j4
j4
Pred and breakfast
I don't blog about the news, but this baffles me:
The Sexual Orientation Regulations have been criticised by some religious groups who say people will not be allowed to act according to faith.
I can see how (to take an example that's already becoming extremely irksome, so thanks to vinaigrettegirl for a nice variation) the anti-discrimination laws might mean that running a B&B would not allow you to guarantee being able to act according to your faith, if your faith were to dictate that, for example, you may not offer shelter even unto the least and most helpless of gay people, brown people, etc. But how do you get from that position to the idea that you have a God-given right to run a B&B in the first place, and that the state must therefore defend that right? I look forward to hearing Zoroastrian librarians insisting that the Bodleian has no right to prohibit them from kindling therein any fire or flame.

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caramel_betty From: caramel_betty Date: January 10th, 2007 10:58 am (UTC) (Link)
When I think about some of this, it makes me wonder if they'd be arguing that the Bible says that they must keep blacks away from, you know, real people, and that they shouldn't have to give a room to mixed-race couples.

Sadly, I know what the answer to that might be for some people. Colon dash open bracket.
j4 From: j4 Date: January 10th, 2007 11:13 am (UTC) (Link)
The question I'm wondering about is not "is teh ghey contagious?" or "no but yeah but what if it was NAZIS?" but "Does God say you should be able to do any job you like?" and "If so, how do you recommend that (for example) the laws should be changed to allow Christians to work as prostitutes without being expected to do anything that goes against their faith?"
nja From: nja Date: January 10th, 2007 11:18 am (UTC) (Link)
My line is "if God wants you to wear a turban all the time, God doesn't want you to ride a motorbike in twentieth-century Britain".
j4 From: j4 Date: January 10th, 2007 11:29 am (UTC) (Link)
I figure that's up to them: if the turban's more important than the safety or the law (obviously they'd have to take the consequences of breaking the law if caught) then they're unlikely to increase their chance of injuring anybody else in a crash by not wearing a helmet.

I do like your turn of phrase though. I will have to think of something equivalent which the PATHOLOGICALLY ARGUMENTATIVE part of my brain can accept. :)
nja From: nja Date: January 10th, 2007 11:39 am (UTC) (Link)
Obviously there's a libertarian argument that if not wearing a helmet's only going to harm yourself (a big if, but let's assume it's true), you shouldn't be forced to wear one. But given that the law says you have to wear one, as you say it ought to be up to Sikhs to make choices about what's important in their lives, obeying the law, riding a motorcycle, or wearing a turban.
caramel_betty From: caramel_betty Date: January 10th, 2007 11:47 am (UTC) (Link)
One potential answer (though not exactly counter) to the libertarian argument is that if you smash your head open and spew grey matter everywhere, you're going to use up vast amounts more NHS money than if you were wearing a helmet, using up doctors, consultants, surgeons and nurses who could be dealing with something else - on average, at least.

Of course, if the person making the argument is a libertarian who doesn't believe the state should take any taxes at all and certainly not for medicine, that's not going to fly. That attitude is generally less prevalent in Britain than in (for example) America, though.
j4 From: j4 Date: January 10th, 2007 12:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
you're going to use up vast amounts more NHS money than if you were wearing a helmet

True. So, do we stop people doing things that might make them need medical treatment, or do we refuse to treat people who could have avoided their illness/injury?
caramel_betty From: caramel_betty Date: January 10th, 2007 12:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
This sort of thing has come into the news recently, such as "Should people who take up smoking get lung cancer treatment?" or "Should fat people all just die?"

There aren't any exact answers, and I don't pretend to have them.
j4 From: j4 Date: January 10th, 2007 12:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
There aren't any exact answers, and I don't pretend to have them.

Me either -- just interested in the questions. Though I feel that the answer should often involve a reminder that the existence of grey areas in the middle does not necessarily prevent people being able to come to some kind of majority consensus on the really-quite-distinct colours at the two ends of the scale. (It's sort of the opposite of the excluded middle, and I wish I knew a word for it.)

Not arguing with you in particular, just arguing, really.
olithered From: olithered Date: January 10th, 2007 12:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
A smoker once told me that the tax they pay on tobacco is vastly more than their cost to the NHS.

I wonder if you could tax everything in accordance with the probable cost to society (or the environment) rather than its value?
lnr From: lnr Date: January 10th, 2007 12:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
Awww, bunny.
j4 From: j4 Date: January 10th, 2007 01:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
I wonder if you could tax everything in accordance with the probable cost to society (or the environment) rather than its value?

I like that idea. Is there a word for it?

For bonus points (this may have been implicit in your suggestion -- if so, my apologies for unnecessary subtitling!) it should be taxed according to the probable net cost to society (most things have some benefit to somebody as well).
olithered From: olithered Date: January 10th, 2007 06:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
If there is a word I'm not aware of it. Do you have any suggestions?

I like your extension (and had not thought of it), but I fear benefit is much harder to quantify than cost.
aldabra From: aldabra Date: January 10th, 2007 08:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
> Is there a word for it?

Internalising externalities?
matgb From: matgb Date: January 11th, 2007 06:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
Tax raised from smoking per annum, approx = £7.5bn Cost to NHS of smoking related illnesses (some of which are caused by, for example, car fumes anyway) approx = £2.5bn.

Ergo, as a non-smoker, I thank smokers the country over for keeping the taxes I have to pay down, and think they can have whatever they need.

A sort of tax to cover what you mean is, I think, a Pigouvian tax, but you'd need to ask someone like chris_dillow_fd for a real answer, I just read what they say...

(blame caramel_betty for my presence...)
j4 From: j4 Date: January 10th, 2007 11:58 am (UTC) (Link)
it ought to be up to Sikhs to make choices about what's important in their lives, obeying the law, riding a motorcycle, or wearing a turban

It is, isn't it? Did I really miss a law that says Sikhs don't have to wear a helmet?
caramel_betty From: caramel_betty Date: January 10th, 2007 12:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
http://www.sikhiwiki.org/index.php?title=UK_Legislation_connected_with_turban

Why it, apparently, only exempts Sikhs wearing turbans is another matter.
j4 From: j4 Date: January 10th, 2007 12:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh.

Blimey.

How bizarre.

(Thanks!)
nja From: nja Date: January 10th, 2007 12:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think the relevant law may predate your birth.
beingjdc From: beingjdc Date: January 10th, 2007 11:14 am (UTC) (Link)
Presumably an Orthodox Jewish B&B couldn't in conscience admit mixed couples.

You shall not intermarry with them; you shall not give your daughter to his son, and you shall not take his daughter for your son, for he will cause your child to turn away from after Me and they will worship the gods of others then the L–rd’s wrath will burn against you, and He will destroy you
j4 From: j4 Date: January 10th, 2007 12:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm sure there are millions of "ah but what if" examples which are morally equivalent. But I'd be interested to take this in the other direction: what would the consequences be if you said that B&Bs were people's private houses and therefore they were allowed to have whatever batshit rules the internet cared to invent -- banning people who have iPods, banning redheads, whatever? (I'm thinking of direct consequences rather than "Well, it's the thin end of the whatnot, innit, next thing you know they'll be banning Christmas".)
cartesiandaemon From: cartesiandaemon Date: January 10th, 2007 12:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think people *did* argue that.
caramel_betty From: caramel_betty Date: January 10th, 2007 12:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
I was thinking rather more if that body law were passed now, as a statement of society's values over certain specific religious values, with the consequent quashing of religious freedom and the inability to teach children that all niggers are thieves and rapists, and such.
triskellian From: triskellian Date: January 10th, 2007 12:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
What baffles me about this is someone saying "OMG it might be illegal for a teacher to teach children that homosexuality is wrong", as if this is a reductio ad absurdum that obviously nobody intends. Sounds fine to me. I dont want teachers to teach their religious beliefs as fact.
kjaneway From: kjaneway Date: January 10th, 2007 01:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yay! Dead Like Me icon!
cartesiandaemon From: cartesiandaemon Date: January 10th, 2007 12:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh dear, I have a headache. Of course, I support the anti-discrimination laws.

My normal thought experiment is to imagine that a large minority of people practice that *I* find abhorant. Which is difficult, because if it doesn't harm anyone else I normally don't have a problem, and if it does it's hopefully illegal anyway. Possible examples would be (voluntary) cannibalism, non-vegetarianism, etc.

Would I not give someone a job based on that? Normally not, as it would be simply impractical, though for something I disapproved of enough and could be changed, I might be tempted to coercion.

Would I not facilitate that? Very probably, though there seems a larger grey area than not -- printing leaflets for the cause isn't directly helping it, but is helping it more than just treating adherents as people.

I don't know.
j4 From: j4 Date: January 10th, 2007 01:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
If there were things which a large minority of people did which I found so abhorrent that I couldn't stand to be around them (and I can't think of any such things offhand but I'm sure there are plenty), then I would take measures to avoid being forced into situations where I have to interact with those people. If they're not breaking any laws, then I don't think it's the state's responsibility to help me avoid them. (IOW, it's my problem, so the solution has to come from me too.)

From the thought-experiment point of view, though, I'm trying to think of an example where my existing job could be changed in such a way that in order to carry on doing it I had to run the risk of doing something that I couldn't in all conscience agree to. If you can think of a good example, please throw it at me!
caramel_betty From: caramel_betty Date: January 10th, 2007 01:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
Possible example off the top of my head:

As a web-mistress and information-guru, you become involved with providing web-based marketing services to various members of society. Picking your clients, you work for charities you like, friends, schools, companies you have no huge ethical problems with (e.g. you might not like Nestle).

A law is passed saying that you cannot exclude people from purchasing your services based on their political views. You now have to design, set-up, write copy for, maintain, and promote the BNP's online presence.
juggzy From: juggzy Date: January 10th, 2007 01:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
If J4 was not the owner of the web design business, then she could resign.

I reckon the best solution is not to legislate behaviour, rather information. Therefore, any B&B businesses that would like to refuse customers on the basis of religious or other beliefs should only be allowed to present those beliefs as the basis for refusal of business so long as these criteria for refusal were advertised openly and availably by them in advance.

Thus giving the rest of us the right to boycott them.

Of course, that leads to the "No dogs, Irishmen or Blacks" type of sign in the window, so maybe not a solution.
From: scat0324 Date: January 10th, 2007 01:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
That's good. I think it rightly sums up what some of my brethren are ranting about with their campaign over the last few weeks.

Not that I agree with them - after all, I've yet to hear of B&Bs being recommended to check the marital status of heterosexual couples staying in the same room.
beingjdc From: beingjdc Date: January 10th, 2007 02:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
I've yet to hear of B&Bs being recommended to check the marital status of heterosexual couples staying in the same room.

I used to know of at least one. I mean, I imagine you could lie, but anyway.
j4 From: j4 Date: January 10th, 2007 01:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
I don't want to sound like I'm sidestepping the question, but this is one reason why I have no plans to work as a web-monkey in the commercial sector if I can help it. There are lots of companies I don't have any particular beef with, but I think I can use my skills in what seems to me to be a more worthwhile way (and that's a personal, subjective value judgement) by sticking with jobs in education, NFP organisations and charities. And even within those there are plenty of charities & educational organisations that I wouldn't choose to work for, not so much because they are 'bad' (in any sense) as because I think my time/skill can be better (again, that's a personal 'better' not some kind of moral absolute) used elsewhere.

If my employers in their infinite wisdom and good judgement decided that, hey, sure, the BNP could be an affiliate member of our association because they were willing to offer us thousands of pounds, then frankly, I would hand in my notice and look for work elsewhere. I can't be 100% sure to what extent a) that feeling is coloured by the fact that I'm not wholly convinced about the job anyway, and b) I would put my money where my mouth is on that one; but I am really pretty damned sure, as close to 100% as I'll let myself admit, that that would make me leave.

(Disclaimer: yes, I am lucky that my skills are sufficiently transferable that I'm not trapped in one very specific job or type of job, and even if I hadn't spent several years working to become that lucky, I'd still have started from a privileged position. I'm not sure what I can/should do about that.)
caramel_betty From: caramel_betty Date: January 10th, 2007 02:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
I don't want to sound like I'm sidestepping the question, but this is one reason why I have no plans to work as a web-monkey in the commercial sector if I can help it.

Academia and the public sector generally are not immune to this sort of thing. It's perfectly possible for, for example, Universities or charities to run evening classes for local residents, members of (principally non-academic) staff, and the like. That's not really the "commercial sector" as the term is normally used. You may then find yourself providing technical support for teaching the BNP, being asked to set-up training sites for use by them during said evening classes, and so on. You are not training the BNP people who come yourself, but you are providing some of the resources that are used to do that, by one of your colleagues.

Given that a number of public sector bodies are being told to be of more use to the wider community, this is not that impossible.

Alternatively, charities or research groups may find themseves in strange positions of feeling obliged to lobby or work with groups they don't like, or having their work taken and used by said groups. For example, the Open Rights Group have an intellectual property/copyright policy framework thing that has been adopted by, amongst others, The UK Independence Party, which has left one or two volunteers a little antsy. (Whether you agree with UKIP or not, some people will obviously not do so.)


I am lucky that my skills are sufficiently transferable that I'm not trapped in one very specific job or type of job

On the flip-side, someone who's been running a B&B of one sort or another for the last twenty-five years is likely to have many transferable skills, but many of them being in the hospitality industry where it's very possible they will continue to run into the same problem. Perhaps one of a couple is good with company accounts, say, but other people may be better with providing entertainment (uh-oh, running club nights for teh gays), being a head chef (cooking romantic meals for teh gays, or catering a so-called marriage for teh gays), cleaning (in a large hotel, having to clean up after teh gays have had their way with each other), and so on. Even the company accountant might end up auditing a gay pub or charity.

One extrapolation from such a position is that such a person wouldn't be happy until they just didn't have to interact with gays at all. Love the sinner in principle, hate that you have to deal with them.
j4 From: j4 Date: January 10th, 2007 03:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
I know HE/FE/etc aren't immune to bad decisions, but I do think there's a much lower chance of that sort of situation arising. (Also, it's not just a tactic for avoiding difficult decisions, it's a positive choice to work for people to whom I'd rather give my time.)

You may then find yourself providing technical support for teaching the BNP, being asked to set-up training sites for use by them during said evening classes, and so on

Well, I would object to that, at a personal and an insitutional level -- I mean, I'd object to me doing it, and I'd object to the university providing that support to the BNP; if my objections were overruled (as they probably would be, unless lots of other people were also objecting...!) then in all good conscience I would have to leave the job.

[snip] One extrapolation from such a position is that such a person wouldn't be happy until they just didn't have to interact with gays at all.

Well, yes. I suppose if you come to the conclusion that you can't be happy until you can totally exclude $minoritygroup from every aspect of your life, directly or indirectly, then you're down to a rather Blackadderish set of options: 1) Kill them, 2) Kill yourself, 3) KILL EVERYBODY IN THE WORLD! ... which isn't a great set of choices.
caramel_betty From: caramel_betty Date: January 10th, 2007 06:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
You've missed out choices 4 and 5.

4) Lobby Parliament to say you don't have to do anything with teh nasty monirotiez, because this is a Christian country where we practise Christian values, like hanging out with prossies and being rude to your mum and dad. (Thus, Britpop stars are clearly the best Christians.)

5) Invent ways of breeding them out of the gene-pool.
cartesiandaemon From: cartesiandaemon Date: January 10th, 2007 03:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
Sorry, I'm a bit wittering -- I mostly just agree with you, and am thinking aloud. However, thoughts...

From the thought-experiment point of view, though, I'm trying to think of an example where my existing job could be changed in such a way that in order to carry on doing it I had to run the risk of doing something that I couldn't in all conscience agree to. If you can think of a good example, please throw it at me!

Yeah. It is difficult, there is no one good example because all examples are emotionally loaded one way or the other.

And I'm afraid I have no idea of a good example for you personally, because I can remember neither your job nor your philosophical positions :)

Ooh, ooh, I thought of one! Gay=smoker. According to anti-smokers (and true by any rational standard) smoking is dangerous to the smoker's body and can be unpleasant or dangerous to people's bodies if they spend time with smokers. According to (some) anti-gays (and not true in my opinion), practising homosexuality is dangerous to the gay person's soul, and may be unpleasant or dangerous to the soul of someone supporting the behaviour.

Most anti-people would still hire, sell food to, etc the gay/smoker. (And IMHO should be legally compelled to if there's a chance the gay/smoker will unreasonably suffer otherwise.) However, they may or may not be willing to sell cigarettes or B&B beds, to the gay/smoker. Should they be legally compelled to? I feel it is arguable.

As a matter of fact, a large number of non-smokers did get together and severely restrict smoking in various public places for a combination of reasons. Anti-gay people have done so in the past, for their benefit and maybe or maybe not gay people's too.

OTOH consider the analogy:

Apartheid country = gay person
Anti-apartheid country = anti-gay person
Sporting relations = being friends with
Trade = hiring, selling things to, etc

Here, the number of non-apartheid countries was sufficiently great that they did choose to deny non-apartheid-related goods and services to the apartheid country, imho justifiedly.

I guess where I'm going is:

90% thing, 10% anti-thing: anti-thingers can't pass any laws, and can deny services to thingers, but probably only to their own detriment.
50% thing, 50% anti-thing: delicate balance
10% thing, 10% anti-thing: neither can do anything, anti-thingers can deny services to thingers or vice-versa, but the free market will probably take care of it.
10% thing, 40% anti-thing: Anti-thing action may be a problem, the other 60% may choose to prevent anti-thing discrimination.
10% thing, 90% anti-thing: Thing may be banned.
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