George Jonas Doesn’t Understand Human Rights

It would appear that Jonas is attempting to make the case that the right be a racist is a human right:

“A human right is to be sovereign in one’s legitimate sphere. A human right is to select whom to hire, promote, service or esteem. It’s to decide with whom to associate. It’s to have an opinion, silly as it may be. It’s a human right to be an idiot.”

In other words, those in the position to do the hiring are the ones who get rights, if you want a job though… not so much. But let’s not make this about class warfare just yet. Is it really a human right to be an idiot? Should I have the right to set my own house on fire? I mean, if you believe in property rights, I should be allowed to be idiotic with my property, isn’t that what Jonas is saying? So yeah, I should be allowed to set on fire a house or any other structures that I own free and clear. The problem is that if I do that I endanger all other residents in my community, someone will inevitably call the fire department and firefighters will probably also be put in danger.

I’m not much for authoritarianism and I really do think that people should be allowed to do things that I might think are stupid (go ahead, buy a Nickelback CD!) The most elementary problem with Jonas’ logic is that he just cannot conceive of how allowing people to use racism etc. to drive their hiring practices doesn’t hurt anyone.

Of course Jonas has the standard right wing corrective for all ills – the market!

“When left to their own devices in a free society, most will select whom to hire, promote, service or esteem on the basis of enlightened self-interest, not prejudice.”

No. An example that avoids any politically-charged category might be what Malcolm Gladwell observed about CEOs in Blink: the average American CEO is significantly taller than the average American. It would seem that their stature goes into the mix of how hiring is decided upon even though I’m sure that no board of directors ever includes this as a conscious hiring category. In other words, even when we try to, we do not make merit the sole basis for employment or promotion. George Jonas lives in a fantasy world.

If we want to claim that we have society that provides equality of opportunity we should have something more than the market as evidence of this.


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