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December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review April 11, 2011 / 7 Nissan, 5771

The indispensable freedom of association

By Jeff Jacoby

Jeff Jacoby




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Brad asks Angelina for a date, but she doesn't want to go out with him. Should she be legally free to turn him down?

I take it for granted that no one in America thinks the law ought to interfere with Angelina's freedom to say no. Whether she agrees to date Brad or not is a matter of complete indifference to the government. That's true regardless of her reason. She can reject Brad's suit because he's handicapped, or because he's Christian, or because he isn't tattooed. She can discriminate on the basis of race, religion, age, national origin, or table manners. When it comes to friendship and romance, freedom of association -- which by definition includes the freedom not to associate -- is absolute.

Freedom of association is a core human right, and not just when it comes to dating. It would be unthinkable for the government to meddle in our choice of sports team to root for, house of worship to pray in, or neighborhood to move to.

You are free to join a gay men's choir because you like being with gays, or to avoid gay pride parades because you don't like being with gays. You can volunteer for a political campaign, attend a cocktail party, go to the beach -- or not -- and your reasons may be admirable (the candidate's record of public service) or not so admirable (the candidate's skin color). The choice is yours. Other people may disapprove of what you choose or why you chose it, but the law gives them no authority to stop you.

Freedom of association should be valued as highly in our economic life as it is in our social life. When it comes to choices made by consumers, tenants, and employees, it usually is. The government cannot make you buy from a store you don't want to shop in -- and it doesn't matter whether your reason for avoiding it is that the prices are too high, the goods aren't American-made, or the owner is a Jew. The same is true for employees who don't want to work for an employer, or a tenant who declines to rent from a landlord. They are free to say no, and the law doesn't inquire into their motives.

That liberty should be a two-way street, but it isn't. Employers, for example, have nothing like unabridged freedom of association when it comes to hiring. You don't have to work for a woman if you don't want to, but a lawsuit awaits any employer who tries to exercise the same freedom. Federal and state laws ban discrimination on a wide array of grounds, and efforts to enlarge the list are never-ending.

US Representative Hank Johnson of Georgia introduced legislation last month making it illegal to discriminate against job applicants who are currently unemployed. A state legislator in Texas is pushing a bill that would outlaw discrimination against creationists. In Massachusetts, Maryland, and other states, transgender and transsexual activists want lenders, employers, and landlords barred from discriminating on the basis of "gender identity."


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It's easy to understand the desire to protect individuals from being discriminated against unjustly. But are lawmakers truly equipped to decide which kinds of discrimination are reasonable and which aren't? Does Big Brother know better than the business owner whose bottom line is at stake whether a given applicant is right for a given job? If the government won't second-guess Angelina's decision not to date Brad or buy from Brad, why should it infringe on her prerogative not to hire Brad or rent to Brad?

Free and competitive markets aren't thought of as promoting tolerance and reducing bigotry, yet they do so far more effectively than ever-more-detailed civil rights regulations. Writing in the 1730s, Voltaire famously described the London Stock Exchange as a place "where the representatives of all nations meet for the benefit of mankind. There the Jew, the Mohammedan, and the Christian transact together, as though they all professed the same religion, and give the name of infidel to none but bankrupts." Gary Becker earned the 1992 Nobel Prize in economics in part for demonstrating that discrimination is economically detrimental -- free markets penalize an employer who discriminates for reasons unrelated to ability and productivity.

Freedom of association is indispensable to making a free society work. No culture is without unfairness. But where men and women are unfettered in their freedom to form or avoid relationships with others -- socially and economically -- tolerance and cooperation increase, and ugly prejudice recedes.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Jeff Jacoby is a Boston Globe columnist. Comment by clicking here.

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