The slippery slope

Members of White House press secretary Sarah Sanders’ family were followed by the owner of the restaurant they were kicked out of over the weekend after they settled an alternative place to dine.

During an interview Monday on Fox News host Laura Ingraham’s radio show, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, the father of the press secretary, said Stephanie Wilkinson, owner of the Red Hen restaurant in Lexington, Va., tailed Sanders’ in-laws across the street and along with a number of other people protested their presence at the restaurant to which they had migrated.

Sanders and her husband were said to not be present at the second restaurant.

Here is more.  I still believe in freedom of association in matters such as this, but I also think you should, as a personal decision, serve Republicans at the lunch counter.  This is what starts to happen when you don’t..  Civility remains underrated, and is this a good time to apply just a little behavioral economics to how the interactions might escalate.

Via Megan.


It is hard to rewind the clock, and imagine myself as a restaurant owner, which I am not, and imagine what I would have done if a political opponent showed up at my restaurant.

I think I would seat them, and then send most of my time in the kitchen, making sure no one spat in the food.

That said, I think critics of Sarah Huckabee Sanders have gained the upper hand in the post hoc commentary. This may not be exactly like denying people wedding cakes, but it is more like that than any past Republican call that public businesses should welcome all.

The current Republican position is that business owners should have a right to not be compelled to produce speech for or participate in ceremonies that they do not agree with. What this psychotic, but average activist Democrat did would be analogous to a cake shop owner refusing to sell any cake to a gay couple and then following them down the street to the next place they shop at to continue to harass them. As always, the left is completely tone deaf to distinctions of force.

How charming.

"business owners should have a right to not be compelled to produce speech for or participate in ceremonies"

I can't recall anyone slicing "public accommodation" so thin anytime in recent political history.

Since you've obviously missed what I'm saying, when was the last time you heard Republicans say that businesses shouod serve everyone?

In the very general sense of "serve."

Has that ever been an issue before? Obviously they're not legally obligated to, unless the basis is that the customer is a member of a protected class. That doesn't mean it's classy to behave like this.

So, you think it should be totally legal, but not considered socially acceptable to refuse to serve everyone? Like the sort of thing that would be enforced via social shaming, I presume?

That's the idea, Hazel, that's the libertarian idea....

Yes. it is the libertarian idea. So It's odd how so many self-identified libertarians object to it as "PC" "signaling" "SJW" stuff.

You can't advocate that society enforce norms through non-violent means, and then complain that norms are being enforced. It's almost like some people don't think such norms should exist, or that intolerance should only be suppressed when they are the victim of it.

I think we are agreed here?

For what it's worth, I entirely recognise the right of free association/contract of Red Hen (and the Baker)in refusing service for any reason they choose.

However, so long as I don't invoke force, I can totally write mean things about one but not the other in line with my own personal preferences. My particular norm is disliking gratuitous rudeness to political opponents, especially when they are "off duty".

Ok, maybe we are agreed. And I'm perfectly free to smile at Sanders being shunned for her participation in the Trump administration, and we're all free to promote the norms we prefer.

Great. Let us both write countervaling mean things and be agreed :-)

I think that the problem here is not only the owner but also the other customers. People find disgusting having dinner in the same room as a Trumpite! And that is new when it comes to government officials!

Do you sincerely think there aren't any restaurants in the deep south that would treat Obama or Hillary the exact same way if one of them ate there? Only difference is Obama wouldn't run to Twitter to make sure a bunch of trolls could then gang up on the restaurant (Hillary probably would though).

You have the burden of proof on such a claim. They both campaigned extensively throughout the South. Go find a video or a report of the locals behaving similarly and I'll consider it. Otherwise, admit you were wrong.

I'm sure in your fevered imagination that would happen. In reality it didn't.

I take this as a confession that you would have done the same thing if you were there.

Sorry, response to the wrong person

They brayed like donkeys when she didnt drop a dollar in the tip jar at chipotle.

They should be happy Hillary didn't clean it out.

Vox headline:

"Moo Cow dehumanized his political opponents, and this is why that means Naziism is closer than ever."

The Republican ticket has embraced a new small-business hero. On Wednesday, the owner of a bakery who last week turned away Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. introduced Representative Paul D. Ryan at a rally in this city where President Obama uttered his “You didn’t build that” remark.

Chris McMurray, the owner of Crumb and Get It Cookie Company with his wife, told a crowd at another small business, a hardware store, “We are gathered here today to send a message to the Obama-Biden team that we did build it.’’

Mr. McMurray said the Biden campaign approached him to ask if the vice president could drop by his cookie shop while campaigning, and he replied, “Nothing personal, but I just happened to disagree with the president and the vice president on a few things.”

The story vaulted from local news to the Drudge Report and conservative blogs, and voilà, Mr. McMurray became the latest small-business owner spotlighted by the Romney-Ryan campaign in a monthlong hammering of Mr. Obama for supposed anti-business attitudes and policies.

I've always been a supporter of the Drudge report but conservative blogs are ok. This line has made me fast asleep, throw it the garbage, darling.

the train from London to paris, the you're killing me guy, the works on Saturdays guy, the darling the darling the darling is Thomas Wolfe.

Biden was asking to have a campaign event, not a meal.

Totes diffrent Hahahaaaaaahaha.

Yes, different.

A campaign photo op is an endorsement of the campaign. Did Sanders bring a photographer and assistants?

A private restaurant meal with family has nothing to do with politics.

"Do you sincerely think there aren't any restaurants in the deep south that would treat Obama or Hillary the exact same way if one of them ate there?"

1. You obviously have spent little time in the south.
2. You need to watch less TV.

I'm not sure why people make such a big deal about spitting in food. For one thing, saliva has antibiotic and antiviral properties. It honestly doesn't bother me at all.

You are assuming that Obama, Hillary and Trumpites are a comparable set.

They are not: Obama and Hillary may have their faults but they were never as clearly crooked and corrupt as Truimpites.

El Donaldo and his crowd play in a league of their own wen it comes to corruption, lies, nepotism, incompetence, and sheer stupidity. No wonder many people don't accept them in their place.

"The current Republican position is that business owners should have a right to not be compelled to produce speech for or participate in ceremonies that they do not agree with."

The MasterPiece Cake Shop had nothing to do with compelled speech. The owner refused the gay couple outright in regards to wedding cakes. It wasn't like he said he didn't do 'gay wedding cakes' (i.e. groom-groom on top).

The religious 'liberty' now pushed by many Republicans essentially says raise your hand and declare something your 'religious belief' and get exemption from any and all discrimination laws you please.

"The owner refused the gay couple outright in regards to wedding cakes."

No he didn't. The couple was free to select whatever pre-made cakes that were available. He refused to make a custom cake because he's morally opposed to gay marriage, which I think is perfectly reasonable.

I'll also add that, while unfortunate, being harassed by members of the public is an entirely different response than being wrung out by the supreme court.

You really have no idea what you're talking about.

It is NOTHING like the wedding cake case. The baker never refused them all service but a PARTICULAR service that violated their deeply held religious beliefs.

It's hard to come up with an analogy, but it would be equivalent to someone asking them for a meal specifically to commemorate a value they opposed.

The only similarity between these two instances is the hostility that liberals have for anyone who doesn't share their beliefs. The baker won his case not because the Court struck down Colorado's anti discrimination law, but because the Commission was hostile to the baker's religious beliefs, violating his First Amendment right of free exercise.

You're creating confusion here by calling products services. If you are talking about a 'gay wedding cake' (i.e. a cake with two grooms on top), then the baker is free not to provide that product. But he cannot provide that product to some customers but not others (i.e. he'll sell a groom-groom cake to a studio that's using it as a movie prop but not to a real life gay couple).

In this case the baker has sold so-called 'generic wedding cakes' (i.e. your standard white cakes that could be used in any type of wedding) to non-gay customers so he cannot tell the gay customers they are not to be served.

And he didn't. Try to follow along.

I'm not seeing anything that indicates the baker was open to a 'non gay' or 'generic wedding cake'. If you have any such evidence please let's see it.

"Respondents’ attempts to muddy the record
cannot bear scrutiny. It is disingenuous to claim that
Phillips declined to sell a pre-made cake for use at
Craig’s and Mullins’ wedding reception. Colorado 9-
10. Petitioners’ counsel disclaimed any such intent on
Phillips’ part below. "

"And the Colorado Court of Appeals acknowledged
that Craig and Mullins “requested that Phillips
design and create a cake to celebrate their same-sex
wedding.” App. 4a (emphasis added); see also App.
65a (finding that “Phillips informed Complainants
that he does not create wedding cakes [specifically] for
same-sex weddings”). A premade cake sitting on the
shelf could not have been designed and created to
celebrate Craig’s and Mullin’s same-sex wedding.
Thus, only Phillips’ custom artistic wedding cakes are
at issue.1 See App. 4a (recognizing Phillips advised
“Craig and Mullins that he would be happy to make
and sell them any other baked goods”).

As I pointed out before this only works if the 'customization' they were requesting was something he has not done and would not do for non-gay customers.

"Can I have a steak medium rare"
"Sorry my beliefs are not to serve black people"
"But you can have any of these muffins or bagels in the case"
"You said you don't serve black people!"
"No I don't do any food customization as that violates my beliefs"

Not if the “customization” was actually creating a work of art to be used in a celebration. You can’t force an Islamic painter who has a storefront and regularly takes commissions to “customize” a cake to the specifications of a Satanic religious ceremony any more than you can force Planned Parenthood USA to rent their hall to the WBC. You can pretend that a commissioned good or service is the same regardless of the environment and context in which it is produced but it’s so unbelievably wrong that it’s hard to imagine that you actually believe it. Especially if you make up ex poste justifications for why every member of your tribe is immune.

As I said this would work if the 'Planned Parenthood Cake' actually looked like a Planned Parenthood Cake. If you're talking a white cake with various combinations of icing flowers, Well then that's basically the same as all the other 'customized' cakes.

Here's a test I would apply. If all you had was the cake, could you tell by just looking at it and nothing else it was for a gay couple or any other type?

"Especially if you make up ex poste justifications for why every member of your tribe is immune."

Yawn, as I pointed out this would apply to a gay baker who wanted to refuse Catholic or Baptist or Evangelical couples because their churches reject SSM.

He offered them a generic wedding cake, but they wanted him to customize it. He refused.

This would only be a defense IMO if the customization's he refused were unique to a gay wedding (i.e. groom-groom). If they were the type of customization's he sells on a regular basis to other customers (i.e. flowers, different types of icing, etc.) then I think that falls into a person trying to choose their customers instead of their products.

Hillary Clinton, as a paid speaker, cannot refuse to speak at a fundamentalist church with biblically rooted beliefs in racism, snake charming, and harems for the high priests. As she regularly offers the use of words in her business as a speaker, she cannot refuse to speak the words which she has spoken in the past, arranged in the manner in which pleases the customer.

That works, if Hillary Clinton opens a public business with an open storefront...."speaker for your any occasion" then yes indeed the fundamentalist preacher that walks in an wants to hire her cannot be discriminated against.

Then again I'm fine with the idea that artistic expression cannot be forced. Hillary is free to have a public speaking business but only offer certain types of speeches. The baker can limit the customization to things he is comfortable with (more icing flowers here) but not things he will reject for all customers (no groom-groom cakes even if it's a straight couple getting married).

I think the "forced speech" argument here works in cases where you are actually performing in the ceremony or with it somehow. Clearly being an officiant would be an example. I think being a wedding photographer also applies. A wedding band? I'm not so sure but then bands aren't typically public businesses but are instead privately contracted.

I don’t think we disagree.

Where does it stop -- you're a petroleum engineer and can't get served because global warming? You're a cop so you're inherently brutal and racist? No soup for you.

Food of all pleasures in life should not be tainted with politics and ill will. Food is supposed to be about love and togetherness.

I blame the left far more than the right, though I would have baked that cake. I have had to write plenty of articles and do plenty of interviews that went against my own views. The customer is (almost) always right.

We are becoming those two half-black half-white nutjobs on Star Trek who famously feuded while their planet was being reduced to ashes.

Trump's lack of civility creates a society that lacks civility. Seems simple to me.

The imbeciles are blindly walking into Trump's not-too-clever, uncivil traps.

Trump's "incivility" serves its purpose. It has proven that the execrable left is composed of nasty, spoiled children, who go nuts on defenseless women (Nielsen, too) and their children.

In conclusion, resistance is futile.

So, Trump made you do it?

Trump is appropriately dismissive of radical left wing power mongers. The media hasnt been remotely fair and truthful. The civil service is packed with leftists,on the order of 85%, who have actively worked against their own boss. Trump is opposing left wing boondoggles and international bodies that have been anti American for decades.

If Trump is "uncivil," we need a lot more uncivil.

The owner of the Red Hen and her family: she’s been stewing in vitriol for a couple of years now.

One last thought, before I head out. I think Tyler implicitly recognizes the weakness of his argument when he touch bases with "freedom of association" before saying "civility."

Dudes, if you wanted civility, you could have started laying that foundation in civil rights, starting 50 years ago.

I agree, Sarah Huckabee Sanders should be treated shabbily for things that happened thirty years before she was born.

Anonymous, like most nasty, spoiled lefties, ain't so bright.

The words "arrogant" and "uneducated" come to mind but they're too long for the typical progressive to understand. But, It's not their fault. The public education system was not designed to educate people whose DNA is over 80% Neanderthal, i.e., the norm for progressives.

A great appeal to civility from the people that brought you child torture and the pile of human excrement that claims to be our president.

It is funny that Dick offers us that lesson in civility.

But a certain kind of troll often demands a one way street. "You want to solve the homelessness problem, why don't you give away all your possessions then?" "You believe in global warming, why don't you live in a hut then?"

It has a bizarre implication that you see the good in the other side, and demand more good of them, but you recognize that since you aren't good, you don't have to be good!

No giving away possessions, living in huts, or being civil for you. Because you aren't even trying.

So it seems unlikely that the Red Hen will see any more conservative customers for a good long time. But will the publicity bring in enough progressives to make up the difference and then some? And if so, will other restaurants start looking for opportunities to market themselves to progressives with noisy public ejections of Trump supporters? Maybe some will even hire a few MAGA-hat-wearing impostors to play the role. We could have a new 'markets in everything'.

I'm guessing a fair number of the middle and folks disinterested in (or disgusted with) politics will avoid it as well. This scorched earth approach is counter-productive at best.

I'm pretty sure it's a net loss in business terms.

I wonder if the owner is regretting her decision in the cold light of day.

I've said this before here and will ask the question again.

The lead up to when Argentina would 'disappear' people was characterized by discussions around the dinner table of who would best be killed.

These were not some radical hicks or revolutionaries, but families in the best houses in the best part of town.

Is this happening in the US right now? In what households?

Good question. When speaking among themselves, this sort ruled out peaceful coexistence a long time ago. Secession would be a good idea, except it was tried once and the same sort sent hundreds of thousands to their deaths to stop it. Maybe Europe, with the convenience of preexisting borders, will work out better; hard to say.

15, or even 10 years ago, I would have laughed at this suggestion. I'm not laughing now. People who should know better are playing with fire.

That comment sounds utterly humorless in German, by the way.

Thanks. It was intended to be humourless in English too.

Is this happening in the US right now? In what households?

Yes. In the households of Trump's base as they currently control every branch of federal government.

In your fevered imagination or for real?

You of course miss the point. It isn't about the other guy. It is about righteously indignant people thinking that doing physical harm to their political opponents is ok.

I think this is happening. I believe it was happening during the Obama years as well.

This isn't policy disputes. This is hatred of the other, pure and simple. As someone said upthread it would not surprise me.

Anyone willing to confess or tell?

I'm from the rural Midwest. I have relatives and lifelong acquaintances who openly salivate at the prospect of a violent civil war breaking out so they can at last get the chance to "shoot the liberal f****ts."

As a matter of self-preservation, you'd think the left-wing in the U.S. would consider who owns all the guns and what the opinions of most of the military are before wanting to start a civil war, but that would require some foresight and logic.

Anyway, this sort of thing can lead to the situation where you end up with two sets of merchants who have to take sides to survive. Maybe some post a rainbow flag and the others post the Gadsden flag so that everyone knows where they are welcome. It's the logical outcome of the spate of driving people out of companies because of their past political contributions, for example.

Perhaps cooler heads will prevail and the country won't go down that road. We'll see, I suppose.

Civility is reciprocal.

Neither Sanders nor her boss are at all civil to their opponents, or anyone they dislike. Indeed, Sanders' tweet following the incident, about how respectful she is, was a lie.

She had it coming.

Americans are famous world over for their civility. Please, continue to avoid the question of why they elected a famously uncivil man to the highest symbolic office available.

As the Butcher would say: Trump 2020!

The next time she follows the family of a political opponent around town heckling them will be the first

Come on, you have to be smarter than that. Incivility over Twitter, calling rude names ("low-energy Jeb!"), etc. is unpleasant to see but is not crossing the line at all. Everyone has done this from the beginning of time itself, Trump is just more, uh, colorful about it.

Throwing someone out of a restaurant - when all they wanted to do was eat - is something else entirely. Not to mention following them to harass them further.

In short, if Trump ejects a Democrat from one of his hotels (who merely wanted to stay) feel free to let me know; but don't pretend that what he says on Twitter is at all the same thing.

He clearly mocked a disabled person.
He clearly called for people to get roughed up.

These are just a few of trumps uncivil statements.

dismiss, distract, distort, and dismay

The MR comments section is good reading if you are looking for examples of how to create and Refine propaganda.

No, he clearly did NOT mock a disabled person. He mocked a reporter who happened to be disabled. You have no evidence he was mocking a disability. As with every other feigned leftist outrage, it is all in your imagination.

I think this falls under dismiss, right? But could be distort.

dismiss, distract, distort, and dismay

Anyone can just go to the video and watch our president mock someone for their disability, and mocking any person regardless of their profession for their disability is uncivil.

There is no level of proof you can show Willitts that will persuade him.

Even getting convicted of assaulting a reporter doesn't spark a call for Republicans to become more civil.

Where the calls for civility from the right then?

"She had it coming." Classic abuser's line. Plenty of people would say the same if someone went after her like Hodgkinson.

Do you care about civility (or tolerance, or good-faith interpretations)? Then you need to uphold it to everyone. Members of both sides (I tend to ascribe more blame to the left, but that's because I ascribe more moral agency to the left, which is likely a fallacy) are falling over themselves to morally justify the tribalist incivility they already were dying to perform.

Do you want a civil society? Be civil. Be civil when it's difficult. Be civil even when you can strongly rationalize why the other person deserves it. Otherwise don't even make a pretense of caring about civility. Everyone's civil when people are pleasantly agreeing with you; you get no points for that.

If you want civility... be civil.

Good advice.

Ironic. Who is brutish, who is nice in this scenario?

"The key objection to niceness amounts to the fact that it's not really a virtue. You can't rely upon it as the foundation for the duties required of friends, family members, or fellow citizens. A nice person won't fight for you; a nice person wouldn't even lie for you, unless there's something in it for him. A nice person wouldn't be a Good Samaritan, if it required genuine risk or an undue deployment of time and treasure. A nice person isn't animated by love or honor or God. Niceness, if you think about it, is the most selfish of virtues, one, as Tocqueville noticed, rooted in a deep indifference to the well-being of others."-Lawler

Lawler's essay is interesting. My only complaint is the statement that for every single mother there is a deadbeat dad. Most divorces are initiated by women and many men want to continue to be responsible and loving fathers for their children.

Overall, a very long but provocative read. I may even read it again.

Re: Most divorces are initiated by women

A factoid that tells us nothing useful about why the divorce happened. A non-trivial numbers of those women are choosing divorce to escape bad husbandly behavior.

A factoid that tells us nothing useful about why the divorce happened. A

It happened because she wanted it to happen. There's also social research on the discontents of married people having papers served. A comfortable majority of divorces are the result of banal domestic conflict and inanition. Maybe 1/3 have what used to be called grounds.

She should have asked for a cupcake to be inscribed with religious statements against her faith, sued for denial of service, appealed to the Supreme Court, and lost.

We need civility. Declining service was unacceptable. Stating you dislike policy to a customer is within norms of civility, but not denying them service or refusing to inscribe a message on a cupcake if that is a service you offer to the public.

People should not mimic Trump's behavior, even though I am sure there are nice racists who are fine people, as our President has said, we still need to be civil and not burn crosses, light torches, or intimidate people.

I have no problem with refusing them service. But following their family across the street and heckling them??

It would be uncivil to disagree with their policies too. This was a dinner, not a town hall meeting. Owning a business or putting on a play doesn't give you the privilege to lecture a captive audience. It would be just as wrong for a religious business owner to lecture a gay couple on the sinfulness of their behavior.

Leftists love nothing more than the sound of their own voices. They need to learn when it is time to STFU.

The Colorado commission had specifically exonerated businesses that were accused of discrimination for refusing to write messages that offended their beliefs. Disparate treatment was one, but not the only, problem with that commission.

Why is feminazi a word and why do you know it?

"If you see anybody from that cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd. And you push back on them. Tell them they're not welcome any more, anywhere!"

This message paid for by the RNC

Is there another source besides former Gov. Huckabee to confirm that the restaurant owner followed the family?

If you read the article it appears that the restaurant owner was interviewed and didn't dispute the claim.

Can you imagine how much more potent the owner's statement would have been with the median citizen if she had simply given a note to the Press Secretary at the end of her meal (and then published it on facebook/twitter etc) which read (to the effect of) "we provided you with service at our restaurant despite disagreeing with your political views - a respect you wish to deny our gay brothers & sisters"

It would be false, of course

I agree that it would have been slightly skewed - the distinction being that the baker et al were asked to provide speech along with service - but the point is that demonstrating moral superiority & restraint is generally a dominant strategy over the long haul relative to hyperbole and intolerance.


The restaurant (like our masterpiece baker) was entirely within its rights to refuse service, but the way they did it was rude and uncivil (unlikethe baker).

Gratuitous rudeness and incivility strongly indicates a lack of self-control and capacity for co-operation with out-groups. The left is doing itself no favours.

I think Trump is entirely aware of this when he baits them.

Homosexuality is a political view?

I must have missed the part where Sarah Sanders demanded that the owner of Red Hen prepare a meal that celebrated the denial of privileges to gays and lesbians, and then threatened them with an onerous government imposed fine if they refused to comply.

"...a respect you wish to deny our gay brothers & sisters"

In none of the cake/flowers/photographer/pizza cases did the business owners refuse to serve gay customers (or want to do so). They only refused to provide services for a gay wedding, which offended their religious sensibilities. Why do so many on the left (who think of themselves as smart) have so much trouble grasping this not-very-subtle distinction?

I'm a non-religious libertarian who's supported gay marriage for as long as I've been old enough to have an informed opinion about it, and I don't have any trouble seeing the difference. So why do Democrats (who officially claimed marriage could only be between a man and a woman until somewhere around Obama's second inauguration) have such a hard time parsing this?

If someone follows you, so what? This is non news. Happens to celebrities, happens to public figures. Color me unconvinced.

If someone follows your family around town and screams at them, so what? It happens to everyone. I'm unconvinced.

Jones, you hero, tell us your real name (and address).

"Maybe he should have been roughed up"

-Donald J. Trump

Maybe should have been roughed up and I’ll pay the legal bills.

One of hundreds of terribly offensive and uncivil things our president said and continues to say whenever he can.

At what point is being civil to a truly uncivil administration become a moral imperative?

How long do people have to put up with the word feminazi? I first heard it in the late 1990s rush limbaugh who is of the major stars of the right began to use it nearly daily.

The lack of civility is largely from the right and has been for decades.

A tiny push back and the right stays as crazy as ever.

One side (the left) has to be perfect, and the other side (the right) doesn't even have to be good. But this is politics in America. I think it's mostly borne from fear.

Center-right voices who can see where this is going are important. But Marco Rubio had no political base in the GOP primary outside of National Review columnists, and now he's a gelding. Erdogan won again, with no particular turnout for Iyi or Saadet.

Maybe we're both pigs in mud.

But my self-image can live with that. I'm not so sure about your smug moral superiority; I think the idea that you're no better than your opponents is entirely intolerable to you. It's why the Left projects and acts out all the time.

"One side (the left) has to be perfect, and the other side (the right) doesn't even have to be good." Odd statement considering how much flack Trump gets for Obama era problems, while Obama goes scott free for them.

The intentions of the harridan that runs the Little Red Hen were not to deny service but to humiliate. If she wished to enforce a service denial she would have posted signage such as:

No Republican Federal Employees Allowed

Similar signs are common at the entrance to Mexican bars:

No Menores, Homosexuales or Hombres en Uniformes

I'm confused. Aren't many of the people protesting this the same people who believe it should be totally legal and socially acceptable to (for example) refuse to bake cakes for gay weddings? Don't many people on the right also oppose anti-discrimination laws? Is this woman not a private business owner ?

So, we should be cool with people discriminating against others because of their sexual orientation, or skin color, or religion, or ethnic background, but not because of their political orientation?

Are Republicans the new protected class? (It would sure be in keeping with their persecution complex. )

There is a subtle difference there: the cake in question was a custom cake for a gay wedding. The meal that Sarah Huckabee Sanders wanted to order, on the other hand, was presumably not a custom Republican-themed item. If the baker had refused to sell a generic cake to someone who happened to be gay (and then followed them to harass them) the situation changes dramatically.

(Imagine someone goes to a bakery offering cakes with custom inscriptions, and asks for one inscribed with anti-semitic slogans. I imagine a lot of bakers would be very unhappy if they were somehow legally compelled to comply.)

Your argument is tortured. Creating a meal could be considered art, just like baking a cake.

Denying service based on one's beliefs is the core of the argument. The "subtle difference" only exists in your head to rationalize your partisanship. It's either ok, or its not.

Which is it?

I could ask you the same - just use the example I gave above as a template. Should the baker be compelled to provide the anti-semitic cake? If not, then should the gay wedding cake guy have been compelled?

There is a fundamental difference between (a) denying a normal, routine service to someone because of some unrelated belief or characteristic they have, and (b) refusing to partake in a special service which itself goes against your beliefs.

Just because you can't - or won't - follow the logic does not make it 'tortured'.

I did follow the "logic." It just wasn't logical. I'll rephrase the question and you can try to follow my logic.

Can you deny service to a group, homosexuals or African Americans or Asians or any other group, because you're a bigot? Can you deny service to one individual because you perceive her to be a lying scumbag?

The reason you can't address the logic is your moral cowardice. FYI.

"was presumably not a custom Republican-themed item."

She ordered Baby Seal Steak with sides of Crispy Polar Bear Ears and Sauteed Lamb Feet.

This is somewhat beside the point as many Republicans hold that on principle it *should* be okay for them to entirely deny service to gays and blacks for that matter. And not just that it should be legal. But that race and sexual orientation based discrimination should be socially tolerated.

This is somewhat beside the point as many Republicans hold that on principle it *should* be okay for them

It should be. However, this hasn't been a live issue in this country for 50 years and even Rand Paul was caught flat-footed when the subject was raised in a press inquiry. Republican pols aren't giving this any thought. The fuzzy discourse about 'religious freedom' is a consequence of the language of freedom-of-contract having fallen into desuetude. It should be revived, but the claque of confused car dealers and real estate agents who make up the Republican caucus aren't likely to get 'round to it.

The baker did not have an issue with baking a cake for the gay couple. What he refused to do was decorate the cake the way that they wanted.

So you would argue that it should be illegal to discriminate against gays more generally, just legal to not bake them a case in the narrow case of wedding cakes only?

It should be legal to restrict your custom to whatever you want. This confuses soi-disant libertarians because soi-disant libertarians born after about 1950 are mostly poseurs.

The owner of Masterpiece Cake Shop didn't seek out or stage any confrontation with the poofs in question. He refused a commission to provide baked goods to a parody wedding. If the Red Hen had merely refused to cater a Trump fundraiser we wouldn't be having this discussion.


The restaurant owner was entirely within her rights to refuse service, same as the baker. No argument.

However, in contrast to the baker, the way she did it was crass and uncivil, as was the subsequent posturing.

We good libertarians are hence now socially shaming her for her gratuitous rudeness and lack of self-control. Unlike the baker, no government force will be involved. I hope you can see the distinctions.

Of course. This is precisely my position. Nevertheless, for some reason many libertarians seem to think that socially shaming, for example, racists, is a bad bad thing, and that it will make people vote for Trump even more, so we should never ever socially shame people for expressing intolerance towards blacks or gays. That's PC SJW bullshit.
We should, instead, shame them for not tolerating racists.

Do you see where I'm going with this? When it's all a question of deciding which things should be tolerated and which things should be shamed, it really just comes down to what sort of social norms you think we should have. Do you want a society where it's socially acceptable to be black or gay, or do you want a society where it's socially acceptable to be prejudiced against blacks and gays? It's impossible to have both. You have to shame one in order to establish tolerance for the other.

I must admit, I'm not much for social shaming. I'd prefer to live in a society where 100% of people were on-board with serving all ethnicities, sexual preferences, and political opponents. I would expend a small amount of vitriol in shaming those who thought otherwise, and be mildly adverse to doing business with them.

Yet compared to nearly every civilisation that has ever existed the contemporary US is a paradise of tolerance. The proportion of serious racists is probably in single % points, and the % of genuine homophobes not much more. The battle over civil rights and equality of opportunity was won.

Most charges of "racism" in our public discourse are now spurious and politically motivated. Anti-racism is now mostly virtue signalling and worse; an attempt to suppress reasonable discussion of black culture and under-achievement. Hence I am careful to reserve my vitriol for the rather rare cases (1 in 10, 1 in 100?) cases of genuine goose-stepping Neanderthals. And not just people asking awkward questions about culture or being quoted out of context or wondering about human biodiversity....


I agree with you, but just (personally) dislike hypocrisy and stupidity more than arbitrary discrimination (you may feel the reverse?).

The analogy would be apt only if Sanders asked them to prepare a meal to celebrate a value that the restaurant owner opposed. Sanders asked for ordinary service, the gay couple did not. The baker would have provided all the cakes they wanted that didn't contain a message they morally opposed.

So your argument is that it is okay to discriminate for a "special service" that your store offers? But if you discriminate for a "commodity service", we will drag you through hell?

Makes a lot of sense.

The question is whether or not the product or service is speech. It isn't rocket science and one would expect a college student to be intelligent enough to understand it.

Hazel, Sanders hasn't filed suit to force the restaurant to serve her.

Maybe the rule should be that, if Seinfeld would have made fun of you for something 20 years ago, then you shouldn't that thing now:

I never watched Seinfeld, save one or two times, but I was going to post this was something out of the Soup Nazi character: you have to be extra nice to the owner/chef or you won't get served.

Bonus trivia: the Philippines, and Asia in general, is very polite, usually smiling. That's because they are well-armed and also there's vendettas. You don't just fight one person but their whole extended family. This US episode would be perfect for a Old World vendetta.

There's a good point here that well-armed and more tribal societies produce stronger behaviour codes for civil discourse. More "polite".

US deep south was notoriously "polite" for a reason. And European manner reached their apex at the same time that duelling did.

Very true. Re dueling, I was reading about some US military figures and was amazed at how common dueling was in the early 19th century in the USA. Not just Aaron Burr and A. Hamilton but a bunch of other people. So much so the military had to threaten court marshal to try and stop it. Outlawed in NY but not NJ, where the hero of the Barbary Wars, Stephen Decatur, was killed in a duel that was more like an assassination (his opponent was disgraced in a military trial headed by Decatur, and Decatur's second was less than fair about the rules of engagement for the duel).

Bonus trivia: the famous painting showing the famous injured Marine who took a cutlass swipe across his neck to save Decatur's neck was: (1) misidentified (it was another Marine not the one with the tattoo), and (2) the said Marine actually survived the decapitating blow! WOW. Now THAT is one tough LEATHERNECK!

I wonder if Huckabee is lying. He has a history of spreading falsehoods, and there is no external source of validity.

Thank You. That was my first thought as well.

I can't believe anybody would just believe this account without any proof. If it were true, pretty sure we would have heard it before now.
And isn't exactly a reputable non-partisan site.

This public harassment will continue right up until the point one of these morons gets his ass shot off by someone who has had enough of it. Then it will quietly die down.

All this discussion, and not a single word about ethics? Normally, this is the sort of thing that Republicans are ever vigilant against - 'Walter Shaub, the federal government's former top ethics watchdog, said Ms Sanders's response was a clear violation of federal law.

“Sarah, I know you don’t care even a tiny little bit about the ethics rules, but using your official account for this is a clear violation of 5 CFR 2635.702(a),” Mr Shaub tweeted.

This is a reference to the law that stipulates government employees cannot use public office for private gain.

He added: “It’s the same as if an ATF agent pulled out his badge when a restaurant tried to throw him/her out."

Mr Shaub also said the tweet violated the endorsements ban – arguing it was “an obvious corollary for discouraging patronage”.

He said: “Sanders used her official govt account to condemn a private business for personal reasons. Seeks to coerce business by using her office to get public to pressure it. Violates endorsements ban too, which has an obvious corollary for discouraging patronage. Misuse reg covers both.

“Opening sentences of 5 CFR 2635.702 cover both; 702(a) gives example of coercion; 702(c) gives example of endorsement. Also 2635.101(b)(8) bars preferential treatment, with obvious corollary for singling out. She can lob attacks on her own time but not using her official position.”'

Do you *really* think the effect would have been any different if Sanders had used a personal rather than public Twitter account? I can't imagine that it would have made the least bit of difference. The point of these rules is to prevent officials from using public resources (that taxpayers have funded) for personal use. But Twitter is a free service. And, in what possible sense has Sanders 'endorsed' the Red Hen? There is no scenario here where the business would be willing to pay her (or provide other favors) for her 'endorsement'. So there's no danger of corruption from that angle.

'Do you *really* think the effect would have been any different if Sanders had used a personal rather than public Twitter account? '

Of course not. But you might remember Prof. Cowen's concern about how government power can be wielded vindictively, which is the reason why such behavior is not allowed of American government employees.

Strangely, we are talking about civility when applied to a private business owner, without apparently caring in the least that a government employee is using a government account to attempt to 'condemn' a business.

'The point of these rules is to prevent officials from using public resources (that taxpayers have funded) for personal use. '

Actually, as the regulations show, it goes beyond that. Using a government position - and its accompanying prestige - to cause harm to a business regarding a private dispute is the sort of thing we normally condemn.

'And, in what possible sense has Sanders 'endorsed' the Red Hen?'

Let me repeat entire section - 'He added: “It’s the same as if an ATF agent pulled out his badge when a restaurant tried to throw him/her out."

Mr Shaub also said the tweet violated the endorsements ban – arguing it was “an obvious corollary for discouraging patronage”.

He said: “Sanders used her official govt account to condemn a private business for personal reasons. Seeks to coerce business by using her office to get public to pressure it. Violates endorsements ban too, which has an obvious corollary for discouraging patronage. Misuse reg covers both.'

Of course not. But you might remember Prof. Cowen's concern about how government power can be wielded vindictively, which is the reason why such behavior is not allowed of American government employees.

But this is not a case of 'government power' being used (hint: you can tell because there are no special prosecutors, no investigators, no armed agents with arrest powers, no tax authorities, etc involved). This kerfuffle would have played out just the same if Sanders had not been in the administration but instead was a high-profile Trump supporter in private life (Peter Thiel for example). The Red Hen is being threatened by bad publicity not by coercive government power.

And continuing to bang on about a 'government twitter account' is just silly. Any weight that Sanders' criticisms have comes from her being who she is, not because of which Twitter account she tweeted from.

'But this is not a case of 'government power' being used'

Because the White House Press Secretary is a nobody? Remind me again - why are we having this discussion, and how did we find out about it? It was not because private citizen Huckabee, using her personal account on twitter, made a comment. It was because the White House Press Secretary, using an official channel of communication of the federal government, commented on the behavior of a private business.

Try this - the White House Press Secretary talks about how her new car is a lemon, naming the car company - on the official account of the American government. Her problems in her private life are not the business of the American government, regardless if she considers them news.

'Any weight that Sanders' criticisms have comes from her being who she is, not because of which Twitter account she tweeted from.'

An official of the American government, as you clearly acknowledge. You really cannot have it both ways - either what occurred to her was on her private time as a private citizen (which is actually the case, obviously - she was not performing any official duty at the time). Or the White House Press Secretary is using her position to highlight the behavior she received as a private citizen, which is not allowed.

"Because the White House Press Secretary is a nobody? "

Of course she's not a nobody. But criticisms by government officials that are not backed up by any threat of legal action (no cops, no IRS auditors, no EPA administrators, not even any local zoning or health-department officials) are just criticism. And her criticism of her treatment at The Red Hen doesn't carry any more weight because she sent them through a government rather than personal Twitter account..

Do you really dispute that? That if she'd used a separate, private Twitter account that fewer would have noticed and this would not be the same big story? Or are you contending that all government workers above a certain level should be banned from complaining about private services (leaving negative reviews on Yelp or Amazon) because their position means their criticism amounts to government coercion?

A Shaub claim? LOL

"This is a reference to the law that stipulates government employees cannot use public office for private gain."

Its a regulation, not a law.

She did not violate that ethics regulation. Shaub can not point to any case or opinion other than his deranged partisan one that a factual comment on Twitter is a "private gain".

Her job is to make comments. She was targeted in her official capacity in any event.

Get better sources.

'She was targeted in her official capacity in any event.'

She was holding a press conference at the restaurant? Get better sources.

This latest version of events from Mike Huckabee, who wasn't there, is very different from what the restaurant owner said immediately after it happened.

Is there a reason why you find Huckabee's version more plausible than the owner's? We know little about Wilkinson, so she may be a dishonest person, but we know enough about both Huckabees to be quite certain that they are dishonest people.

In your efforts to be civil, why not give due consideration to both sides of the story before abetting the vilification of this woman, which vilification you surely are sophisticated enough to understand is only going to be used to justify further outrages against civility and decency like those that emanate daily from the White House? I'm sure the owner of the Red Hen is quite a prominent figure in the town of Lexington, VA, but I'm not sure I see her as being the person who's driving the country to acrimony.

Thank You.

I can't believe that so many people would believe such a story without any verification.

Not punching in the face or yelling at the people you disagree with is an important life skill.

If the owner feels confident enough to treat clients like that, I feel very sorry for the Mexicans in the kitchen.

Beyond politics, this is a story someone who can't control the temper.


Owner thinks "Signal high virtue."

Everyone else thinks: "Signals low self-control. Low capacity for out-group co-operation".

Everyone remember the Hamilton performance a bit back? When the cast decided to lecture the VP from the stage, or whatever?

What the heck is wrong with these people? Can't they keep their criticism polite and private? Why the need for moral grandstanding?

Oh, that's right; its a virtue signal. It has to be observed by your confederates, that's the main thing. Actually, serious point; could we have some research to show that liberals are ruder to conservatives in front of an audience than in private?

What's interesting to me is how much of Trump's appeal is anti-virtue signalling. His supporters love that he's a boor and a lout. As for liberals, the adage about wrestling with a pig comes to mind.

Basically, yes. There's anti-virtue signalling going on. It's fun to watch.

I think the calculation is clever in that there isn't symmetry of outrage; it's much easier to provoke the current left into over-reaction than the right; in-group piety and virtue signalling are much stronger there.

It's not polite to lie and yet SHS lies every day to the American people. Even her most ardent defenders would have to admit that. She violated the norms of civil society long before anyone else involved in this. Civility has to mean more than kowtowing to the powerful if we as a free society are going to survive.

Every press secretary lies.

No, every press secretary spins, and spin can be deceiving. About 30 years ago, someone staged a question and answer session of quondam press secretaries in Washington and they were asked about lying in their job. The surviving Johnson and Kennedy administration press secretaries denied ever knowingly lying. Gerald Ford's recalled some small deceptions, such as pretending the president was attending a conference of community poobahs and taking time out to play golf nearby when in fact they arranged the meeting of poobahs as an excuse for him to take a golf holiday. Either the press secretaries were lying when they didn't need to, were lying to themselves, or it actually wasn't done to baldly lie to Washington reporters prior to a certain date.

An awful lit of lying comes from “politeness”, so saying it is not polite to lie has a real air of unreality to it.

Oh, that's right; its a virtue signal. It has to be observed by your confederates, that's the main thing.

...which is exactly what you, Willitts, Slocum, and all the other reactionary, fascist assholes around here are doing right now with your feigned outrage.

Story at 11: pot calls kettle black.

Fuck off.

Bit of a Loss of Self Control there, Riatsila.

Not a signal you wanted to send, surely?

The signal I wanted to send was contempt. Unless you're an idiot, I presume my transmission was received loud and clear.

More ad hominem, Riastila?

You really need to watch the signals you are giving off here, I'm not sure they are what you think they are.

Do we know this really happened? The only source is Mike Huckabee, not exactly an impartial observer. As far as I can tell, only partisan right-wing media are reporting this story. I cannot find any mainstream coverage of it, yet. I cannot find any response from the supposed perpetrator, the owner of the Red Hen. If you did not live in the right-wing bubble, you could easily not know anything about this. Experience has taught me that this often means it did not happen.

A slippery slope: The Supreme Court rules that businesses have the right to deny serving gay customers, a ruling that the governor and his daughter approved. Now, mother hen has exercised her right not to serve the mouthpiece of a flagrant liar. What's next, refusal to serve Kim Jong-un when he visits his buddy in the White House just because he terrorizes North Koreans?

The Supreme Court rules that businesses have the right to deny serving gay customers

No. They didn't. The businesses in these cases didn't refuse to serve gay customers and didn't want to refuse. They refused to provide services for gay weddings only. And would have refused if the actual customer buying the cake or flowers for the gay wedding was a straight friend or relative of the couple.

And the Supreme Court ruled only that religious motivations must not be disadvantaged relative to, say, political motivations. If a baker who is a gun-control advocate can legally refuse to provide a cake for an NRA event, then a religious baker should be able to refuse to make a cake for a gay wedding.

Now, mother hen has exercised her right not to serve the mouthpiece of a flagrant liar.

All politicians and their spokespersons are flagrant liars. If DC restaurants refused to serve flagrant liars, then most of the restaurants in the district would go under and the political class would have to stay home and cook for themselves. Faking 'sincere' beliefs in politically convenient positions is universal in the profession:

Do you really think, in 2008, that Obama truly believed 'as a Christian' that marriage was 'the sacred bond between a man and a woman'' and that later, that this apparently deeply-held belief just happened to 'evolve' when it was most politically convenient? If you say yes, I'm afraid I'll have to put you in that same 'flagrant liar' category (but, on the bright side, maybe it'd turn out you have what it takes to run for office?)

"No. They didn't. The businesses in these cases didn't refuse to serve gay customers and didn't want to refuse. They refused to provide services for gay weddings only. And would have refused if the actual customer buying the cake or flowers for the gay wedding was a straight friend or relative of the couple."

The owner of the cake shop refused to sell a wedding cake but would sell non-wedding cake items. How you spin that as 'services' is strange.

Very simple, you can choose your products but you can't choose your customers. You can choose not to carry 'groom-groom' cakes (even though you got a huge bin filled with bride and groom figures) but if you sell standard white wedding cakes to straight couples you have to sell them to gay couples. Saying the gay couple can buy as many cupcakes as they please is no better than saying the interracial couple can't have a wedding cake but they can buy as many 'white-black' cookies as they want.

It's not the product or even the customer, it's the purpose. Would you require a progressive baker to make a cake (regardless of who pays for it) to be served at an NRA event? If not, you can hardly require a conservative Christian (or Muslim) baker to make a cake (regardless of who pays for it) to be served at a gay wedding. At least not unless you think political beliefs deserve greater deference than religious ones.

1. Purpose is all speculation. You work at a supermarket and sell a guy some flour. Is he baking a gay wedding cake? A Birthday Cake? Crossing something off the shopping list his wife gave him?

2. Discrimination in public accommodations is pretty simple. You cannot choose your customers based on the categories of race, religion, gender, handicapp, sexual orientation or Veteran status. The bar owner, for example, is free to say 'No Yankees fans' and kick out anyone with a Yankees cap. He isn't free to say 'No Jews'.

In your example with the NRA, political beliefs is not a protected category so the Progressive baker is free to reject the NRA cake request as is the NRA baker who gets a request for a gun control event.

I would say once the customer pays for the cake what they do with it is their business so the baker has no right to guess his cake will end up at a gay wedding. Likewise a gay baker can't refuse Catholic customers because he doesn't like the Catholic Church's refusal to allow SSM. But both bakers could refuse to make cakes that are explicitly gay or Catholic. The gay customers in that case would have to make do with a bride-groom cake or go elsewhere.

"Purpose is all speculation. "

In these cases, it was NOT speculation. The bakers, photographers, and florists were informed up-front that their services were being requested for a gay wedding ceremony.

2. "Discrimination in public accommodations is pretty simple. You cannot choose your customers based on the categories of race, religion, gender, handicapp, sexual orientation or Veteran status"

But they weren't choosing their customers that way. In the case of the florist, one of the gay couple was a long time customer. She was apologetic initially when explaining to him that she was sorry that she couldn't do his wedding. If the man's straight mother had come in instead and tried to hire her for her son's wedding, she would have refused just the same. The sexual orientation of the customer wasn't at issue, a religious objection to the event (and to gay marriage) was.

We are mixing up a lot of different cases here. In the Master Piece Cake case the baker assumed the couple was gay and because they were shopping for a wedding cake that it was a gay wedding. They were not given the option for a 'generic cake' or some such. They were flat out refused a wedding cake. AS for purpose, it is speculation. The couple could buy a cake, change their mind on the wedding, and opt to just have a big party. Or as I pointed out perhaps they are shooting a movie and buying the cake as a prop but the customer is lying because they are keeping it on the down low.

Florists/photographers are IMO a bit different because they fall more on the scale of actual performance in that they show up at the event and have to directly apply their artistic ability on the fly. Photographers are much more clear here while florists are a bit less (most florists I've seen put the flowers together in shop and just deliver it to where it has to go but I could imagine a more high end affair would require working at the venue itself). Here since each 'product' is more like a custom speech I think you have a better case for 'forced speech' however the discrimination law applies to places of public accommodation (meaning a business that holds itself out to the general public, like a storefront operation). Public accommodations get special benefits from the gov't (for example, zoning laws limit competition) so even here the argument for exemption from discrimination law may come at the price of turning yourself into a private business.

Yes, I would also have found for the baker on free speech grounds. If the works of a sculptor who works in stone or bronze are speech, then so are those of a baker who uses trays, cake, and frosting.

But that's not what the Supreme Court did. They ruled that refusal of conscience to serve for religious reasons cannot be treated as less deserving than one done for political reasons. Under this reasoning, if a vendor of any kind (regardless of whether or not the product or service is expressive) could refuse to sell to the NRA or a meeting of Trump supporters, then they could also do so for a gay wedding.

The problem here is 'free speech' only works if the product is really speech and not unique. If you sell white cakes with "tell me how many icing flowers you want" to straight customers then that same type of 'customized' cake doesn't become unique free speech if the customers just happen to be gay.

So you're stuck trying to show that the gay couple were demanding something in the actual product the baker hasn't already sold to plenty of non-gay customers....(I'm thinking a groom-groom or a message like "Best luck John and Sam" although most wedding cakes I've seen don't do written messages in icing).

Is this a 'gay wedding cake' or a 'wedding cake for a gay wedding'? Two different things here. I think the baker can say he doesn't make/carry the first but not the second.

"But that's not what the Supreme Court did. They ruled that refusal of conscience to serve for religious reasons cannot be treated as less deserving than one done for political reasons"

The SC ruling is incoherent leaving us with no guidance on this issue. BUT keep in mind there's a general 'refusal of conscience' for anything already with the store owner. Discrimination law only covers protected categories of discrimination based on race, religion, orientation etc. The store owner whose refusing to serve Sanders or Yankees fans or people not wearing formal attire may have political, religious, aesthetic or just totally random motivations. That has no legal relevance.

Wedding cakes are custom made

So are Big Macs.

Boonton supports police officers forcing a Muslim to bake a cake with a picture of Mohammed on it.

If the Muslim baker sells cakes to Muslim customers with Mohammed on them then he can't refuse to sell to non-Muslim customers. Problem solved.

"Gay men have the same right to marry women as straight men."

Boonton, on why it is isn't sexism when islamic communities beat their women in to burkas, but definitely is sexism when an American community requires female firefighters to have the same upperbody strength to qualify as male firefighters. Boonton definitely isn't using motivated reasoning to justify his emotionally founded bigotry.

If I saw a man beating a woman I would call the police. Why are you wasting time with trolling here?

"All politicians and their spokespersons are flagrant liars. If DC restaurants refused to serve flagrant liars, then most of the restaurants in the district would go under and the political class would have to stay home and cook for themselves. Faking 'sincere' beliefs in politically convenient positions is universal in the profession:"

True, which makes Sanders standing out as a flunky and liar even more damming doesn't it?

Regardless there is no requirement for consistency. A business owner, provided he is not discriminating based on a protected category like race, religion or sexual orientation, doesn't have to be consistent. He can ban Yankees fans today but tomorrow change his mind.

Of course, feed the R's. Charge them a little more perhaps. But seriously, when SCOTUS creates a right to deny food, people are going to exercise it.

SCOTUS created no such right. That has always been a right since the beginning of time.

It’s past denying service. DHS and ICE employees are being harrassed at their homes.

Don't want to be treated like a fascist? Don't work for a proto-fascist regime doing proto-fascist things.

Interesting that noone in the comments seems to have picked up on TC's actual point i.e. "good time to apply just a little behavioral economics to how the interactions might escalate"

Not at all; I am busy ESCALATING those interactions :-)

Tyler writes: "*** this a good time to apply just a little behavioral economics to how the interactions might escalate." You mean game theory (not behavioral economics), right?

The general principle is that public accommodations are free to deny service to service to anyone except based on a discrete set of statutorily defined characteristics - race, ethnicity, religion, color or disability under Federal law and gender or sexual orientation under many (but not all) state or local laws. There may be states that prohibit denial of service based on political beliefs or affiliations but I believe that is rare. So if a restaurant owner wants to deny service to a customer on the ground that the owner believes (whether or not her belief is true) the customer is dishonest, cruel and provides material support for discrimination against LGBT persons and other minorities, that is both legal and consistent with long established norms.

Far too often people use "legal" as justification for doing the reprehensible.

Is this reprehensible? They aren't denying Trump supporters service, just one very public and abrasive face of the administration. Suppose a place denied service to OJ Simpson or Casey Anthony? Legally these are two people who are totally innocent of murder. How about Richard Spencer or a very vocal supporter of Hamas?

I am a fan of this blog and read it every day, but it seems strange that it was this incident that led Tyler to write about the importance of civility. Among the many thousands of posts, this is the first that I could find which mentions civility or politeness in this context. (Maybe I missed something and I would be happy to be corrected.)

It is not that I am against civility. It just seems that there have been many and much more severe violations of civility from far more powerful people that might have motivated some earlier posts. I'm not sure why this fairly tame incident inspired these thoughts.

So now restaurants aren't public accommodations and freedom of association is a thing?

This is all just who/whom. People need to be upfront about that rather than engage in tortured appeals to "principles" they pretend to believe in but that they only care about conditionally at their convenience. The real predictive value is from what actors/tribes are involved.

The violent nature of the left is starting to show. It is the new Nazi-ism. In an earlier time, harassing Jews.

Another way to look at it is that the administration locking up kids after taking them away from their parents, and said administration's mouthpiece, are the proto-fascists, and some good Americans won't stand for fascism in our government.

President Trump and the GOP bemoaning a lack of civility is a hypocritical farce. It spurs an almost uncontrollable bout of forehead slapping in disbelief.

But let's be clear about what incivility really looks like:

Incivility is lying to impugn the citizenship of the first African American president.

Incivility is threatening and mocking reporters and attacking the First Amendment protections of our free and independent press.

Incivility is destroying the environment and ignoring climate change.

Incivility is countenancing corruption and venality in the highest reaches of the White House and its cabinet.

Incivility is our government's response to Puerto Rico.

Incivility is undermining a merited investigation by respected law enforcement officials and maligning the notion of an independent judiciary.

Incivility is cozying up to dictators and attacking our allies and friends.

Incivility is ripping children - even those too young to know their parent's name - from immigrants legally claiming asylum.

Incivility is endeavoring to have millions of Americans lose their health insurance.

Incivility is creating a false equivalence between Nazis and counter protesters.

Incivility is using peaceful dissent from NFL players as a pretense for stirring the deep waters of racial injustice.

Incivility is using Twitter to lie and bully.

Incivility is just having the pathology to constantly lie in the first place.

Incivility is gas lighting your fellow citizens on issues big and small.

Incivility is trying to bar entry to the United States on account of religion.

Incivility is ignoring science and reason.

Incivility is trying to run roughshod over our constitutional protections.

These are but a few of the real incivilities that plague our moment in history. They are the actions of a man and his enablers who feel no compunction about destroying the bonds that have held this improbable nation together. We will only succeed if we have a civil society. And anything or anyone who attacks that cherished American ideal must be considered... uncivil.

The lack of response to your article is indicative of the rightward-leaning folks inability to discredit your argument.

Civilty starts at the top. If Trumpites don't behave decently in public office don't expect people to behave decently towards them on the street.

This is pretty much it. Trumpies are reaping what they've sown. Typical hypocrisy 'why don't my opponents show some respect?'

They wanted the bull in the china shop (pun intended) and they got one. Now the other side is playing the same game.

"A restaurant owner declined to serve SHS.

In response Trump lied about the restaurant’s cleanliness and his supporters threatened violence against unrelated restaurants with the same name.

Today, the national press has us in a debate over whether liberals are uncivil."

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