05 Aug 2016

Winning Hearts and Minds at Sumner’s Blog

Politics 28 Comments

The only thing worse than me wasting time arguing with people in the comments at Sumner’s blog, is me doing so without you guys knowing about it. On this thread, Scott engaged in his shock, shock routine because Trump is proposing the first-use of nuclear weapons (and Trump also thinks US elections are rigged–can you imagine?!). As usual, I wasn’t defending Trump’s crazy statements, but instead I was pointing out that Scott Sumner’s own candidate–Gary Johnson–was also pandering and incoherent, and pointed to his recent CNN statement about forcing bakers to sell cakes to gay customers, but not forcing them to decorate the cakes. I started arguing with people in the comments, and then fired off these two statements that I am sure will make my critics apologize:

Debate Ender #1:

For the record, I am not defending Trump. I also think E. Harding is half trolling you guys, for what it’s worth.

But some of your guys’ comments about the cake stuff are revealing. For example, Benny Lava wrote:

Interesting how libertarians on an Econ blog can’t see the fundamental difference between the two examples. Apparently there is no difference between a product and a customer. They are exactly the same thing to libertarians.

Guys, think back to the last time you went into a bakery, and just pointed to something ALREADY MADE and sitting in the case. You were like, “Hmm, I’ll take one of those blueberry muffins, and…how about that sticky bun?” And then, did the cashier say, “I bet you want to smear that on your gay lover, huh?!?!”

Of course not, you guys. The issue here is not about Christian bakers refusing to sell standard products to homosexual customers. Indeed, I have even seen news interviews with distraught bakers (a young woman in her mid 20s I’d guess) saying, “We have plenty of gay customers. We have no problem with that. But we don’t want to be forced to participate in a ceremony that violates our deepest religious beliefs.”

Also, when you guys think that it solves the problem to let the gay customers buy a plain cake and decorate it themselves: How many wedding cakes have you decorated in your kitchen? Are you serious? What about saying, “Black people can buy cars from Ford just like anybody else, but they have to assemble the parts in their garage”?

Gary Johnson’s answer, and some of the commentary here, is totally missing the point, and doesn’t even make sense if you think about it for 2 minutes.

Last thing on the alleged singling out of this particular sin (from a Biblical literalist’s POV): I agree that a lot of Bible-believing Christians emphasize homosexuality rather than other sins, and you can draw what you will from that. But do you think if a guy went into a Christian bakery and said, “I want a cake celebrating the one-year anniversary of my affair with my secretary,” that they’d be cool with that? THAT is the analog to a gay wedding cake, not “Selling pastries to an adulterer.”

Debate Ender #2:

Also, some of you (including our host) are really concerned about the evil Trump who is considered the first use of nuclear weapons. Did you guys know that Gary Johnson also approves of the first-use of atomic weapons, even if it means melting thousands of children?

It must be that you didn’t realize that. Now that I have pointed it out, I am sure Scott will stop supporting Johnson, after getting up from his swooning couch.

Ah, my work is done here. Let peace and understanding begin with me.

28 Responses to “Winning Hearts and Minds at Sumner’s Blog”

  1. Jared Morgan says:

    I read your blog but don’t comment often. But a commenter on another blog named Benny Lava brought me out.

    Kudos to that guy for referencing this hysterical youtube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sdyC1BrQd6g

  2. Jared Morgan says:

    And the comment on the affair with the secretary is spot on. Real world examples are always better

  3. Bob Roddis says:

    Major Freedom is still King of the Sumner Blog:


    Hey Scott, why the violence?

  4. E. Harding says:

    “I also think E. Harding is half trolling you guys, for what it’s worth.”

    -I reject the charge.

  5. RL Styne says:

    *thunderous applause*

  6. RL Styne says:

    At least we all know Scott is 100% proglodyte and don’t have to debate it anymore.

  7. Andrew_FL says:

    Yeah Bob, E. Harding really is an enthusiastic Trump supporter.

    On a related note, I may launch a therapy company for despondent Trump supporters some time around Christmas. I hope nobody with better psychiatric credentials and business sense steals this idea and profits from it before I can.

    • E. Harding says:

      You still think he’s gonna lose? That seems improbable.

      I wouldn’t call myself an “enthusiastic” Trump supporter. But I am on Trump’s side.

      • Andrew_FL says:

        E. Harding you should probably seek help if you think Trump losing is improbable.

        Good counter-trolling, though.

        • E. Harding says:

          I’m still going by the Federalist‘s analysis from 2014. Combined with data about the economy, which is much weaker than that in 2000, as well as Trump’s personality, which is much stronger than that of GWB (who flipped 11 states in one direction), it seems that a Trump win is more likely than a Clinton one this year. Clinton is also a much weaker candidate than Gore. “seek help”? Why?


          • Andrew_FL says:

            Because if you’re this convinced he’s gonna win at this point, I don’t know what’s gonna happen to you when he loses.

            • E. Harding says:

              I would definitely not like it if Trump loses. I wouldn’t like it.

              However, Trump is still the most likely guy to win. Gutsier than Mitt.

          • RL Styne says:

            So the current state of the polls isn’t swaying you?

            • E. Harding says:

              As the primaries (and the Mexican comments) proved decisively, a few bad days for Trump isn’t gonna kill him. Mitt’s performance in the polls was almost as bad at this stage of the campaign. If Trump screws up the 3rd debate, though…

              • Andrew_FL says:

                Baghdad Bob Harding.

              • Khodge says:

                Can we get Candy Crowley to moderate the debate,?

  8. Harold says:

    I think Johnsons response as to what the law is was pretty accurate. If you have cake for sale you must sell it to whoever turns up to buy it. But if someone turns up and asks you to decorate a cake in a particular way, you do not have to comply with their request. If you have a cake in your window decorated with “”I hate Jews”, then you would have to sell it to whoever wanted to buy it. Even if they turned out to be anti Semitic. But if an anti Semite asked you to provide cake with that slogan on then you would be entitled to refuse.

    • Bob Murphy says:

      No that isn’t at all accurate. People are walking into a bakery, saying, “We are going to have a wedding and we want to hire you to bake us a cake,” and the owner refuses when realizes it is a gay wedding, and they seek legal action against the owner. How would an owner of a bakery even know the orientation of someone buying a pre-existing baked good? You guys really aren’t even doing elementary investigation into this issue.

      • Harold says:

        “You guys really aren’t even doing elementary investigation into this issue.”
        Not so this time. I have read the judgement from the Masterpiece Bakery case. There is a section on freedom of speech, that includes the right not to speak.


        “The second line of compelled speech cases establishes that the
        government may not require an individual “to host or accommodate another speaker’s message…Masterpiece’s contentions involve claims of compelled expressive conduct. In such cases, the threshold question is whether the compelled conduct is sufficiently expressive to trigger First Amendment protections…Because Phillips refused to prepare a cake for Craig and Mullins before any discussion of the cake’s design, the ALJ could not determine whether Craig’s and Mullins’ desired wedding cake would constitute symbolic speech subject to First Amendment protections.”

        That is, because he refused to bake the cake before discussing what the cake would look like he was not entitled to protection under the freedom of speech rules.

        Thus the case is very different from one concerning a particular design or including particular phrases.

        Whether the cake is pre-existing or not is not the main point I was getting at. It was that the current law prevents discrimination based on protected aspects of the customer rather than the cake. If you did have an existing cake you could not refuse to sell it based on membership of a protected group. As far as I know you can still discriminate on anything else, such as no sale to Lakers fans.

        I may have been guilty of poor communication, but not of inadequate research in this case.

  9. Major.Freedom says:

    Good find on the Johnson quote.

    I don’t expect any fundamental change, because you’re talking logic and evidence. Emotion is what you’re up against.

  10. skylien says:

    Who in their right mind would want to force someone, who for the sake of the argument “hates” you, to bake a cake for you. Really!? It would be highly likely there are some additional ingridients in there extra for you!. This is such a useless debate…

    • Tel says:

      That’s not how it works, if the bakery says yes, the couple says, “Oh we changed our minds” and they go looking for someone else. The purpose is to find the business who says no. After that they don’t want a cake anymore, it’s about compensation (i.e. money) and about proving the point. Or “winning” the culture war.

      Now why would a group of people who are heavily persecuted in about 70% of countries, team up with cultural marxists in order to disrupt one of the few places that is tolerant ? Go figure, huh.

      • skylien says:

        Sorry for the late answer Tel..

        Well in the end it works exactly like that. Even if they do what you said, finally at some bakery they (or another gay couple) finally will order their cake and this bakery will have heard of the court case in which the other baker was screwed by them just because he refused to do business with them.

        Now if this bakery accidently thinks the same and under normal conditions would refuse to do business with them, now might be opting to change the recipe instead just slightly..

        Gays or minorities are screwing themselves if the use the law to force people (who wouldn’t otherwise) to serve them.

  11. Harold says:

    I cannot read their minds, but I think it is much more about proving the point than about the money. i don’t think the objective was to screw this particular baker, but to demonstrate to everybody what the law is. This particular baker getting screwed is collateral damage.

    Now we all understand better what the limits of the law are. We now know that as far as the law is concerned, refusing to cater at a gay wedding is refusing trade on the basis of sexual orientation. As Justice Scalia said (in another case), “A tax on wearing yarmulkes is a tax on Jews.” This was quoted in the ruling, and in this case means that because it is almost exclusively people of gay orientation that engage in same sex marriage, then discriminating on the wedding is the same as discriminating on the sexual orientation. That was not clear before the case.

    People pursue test cases to clarify and demonstrate exactly these points. There is something very unsavory about going from baker to baker until you find one that you think breaks the law. But it does have a reason behind it – it is not persecution.

    • Khodge says:

      No collateral damage here; the target is the dissenting baker and any other person that can be identified as not supporting their cause. See, for instance, Chik-fil-A, which was targeted because the founder expressed a view. There would have been a lawsuit if freedom of speech were not so rigorously defended in this country (for example, in Canada local boards can fine people for “hate” speech).

    • Andrew_FL says:

      A tax on Jews is not wrong because it is discrimination. It’s wrong because it violates the establishment clause. Which does not restrain private bakeries.

      • Harold says:

        The baker is prevented by law from discriminating against certain groups. By not catering a gay wedding he is discriminating against one of these protected groups. The principle is the same as the tax on yarmulkes being a tax on Jews, even though Jew is not mentioned. At least that was the opinion of the Justices.

        • Andrew_FL says:

          No, it is not. The law barring private discrimination is unconstitutional, and the opinion of Scalia cited regards the establishment clause, not freedom of association.

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