Mike Brock wrote a post earlier this month about “transistory libertarianism”, explaining why he supports the Human Rights Commissions – less the censorship article – for the time being.
a system with the power to punish an employer for dismissing a person if it is supposed to have been done for discriminatory reasons damages the employment prospects of the very people it is supposed to protect. This dynamic is plainly demonstrated by the high unemployment rate in economies such as France where restrictive firing laws force employers to be very careful in whom they hire. This kind of system, “progressive” in intent, forces employers to discriminate against young and inexperienced people – and has a severe effect on new immigrant groups. Sarkozy’s government attempted to pass a law making it easier to fire young employees in order to increase the ability of employers to hire them. Imagine the consequense if French politicians passed laws to make it harder still to fire young people and immigrants instead. Yet this is exactly what our Human Rights Commisions are doing – in Canada the only people we discriminate against in this way are those named in our Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
The basic problem with the commissions is that they assume that an employer or landlord will get rid of a minority or disabled person for discriminatory reasons after they’ve already hired or rented to them. How likely is that? What kind of person would hire someone with a disablility, find that they were capable of doing the job, and then fire them?
“Well James, I’m happy to say that I’m pleased with your work and the value it adds to my bidness. However that wasn’t why I hired you. That was just so I could then discriminatorily fire you and start my search for an employee over again. Now. HAHAHAHAHAHA! F-ing retard!”
It strikes me as unlikely. And the problem is that, as I argued in my excerpt above, the commissions are probably actually detrimental. The trick is not to ask what the intention of a law is, but the effect. I referenced in my original post a column by John Stossel about the actual effect of the American Disablilities Act on people with disabilities. Stossel cited a study that found lower employment after it came into effect and quoted someone involved with hiring who said that people with disabilities became lawsuit bombs – you couldn’t fire them for any reason. So they don’t hire them.
And that’s why I’m not as patient as Mike Brock. Liberals see the fact that disabled people are employed at a lower rate than others and because they have confused equality with sameness assume that this means there is discrimination. I grant that discrimination is possible in hiring – employers might not want to take a chance on someone different or actually discriminate on the basis of race. But I believe that the commissions make it worse by actually disincentivizing the hiring of the people who are supposedly protected. Instead of leaving the commissions until later, they should be replaced now. It will never be a winning issue to get rid of “Human Rights” commissions. It could be to replace them with something more effective – call them “Human Rights” incentives: a hiring bonus for disabled people that does something like estimate potential costs in employing that individual and possibly a general rent subsidy for low income people in order to mitigate potential discriminatory effects.
I am not so libertarian as Brock. But I want it now – in general, a reincentivizing of the welfare state to make it leaner and more effective which in the long run will make it less and less neccessary, politically or morally.