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TheEvilDetector
12-20-2007, 09:35 PM
Hello,

I am reading his book online, and as a Ron Paul supporter, I would like to offer an excerpt for discussion, from his book Freedom Under Siege p24 of 160 in the pdf:

http://www.mises.org/books/freedomsiege.pdf

"It is inevitable that, once the concept of absolute individual rights is
ignored, with each attempt to solve a problem, two new ones replace it.
Malcolm Forbes was asked whether his listing in his magazine of the 400
wealthiest Americans would draw the attention of terrorists. His answer was
affirmative: "I think the terror most people are concerned with is the IRS."

Today the lack of understanding and respect for voluntary contracts
has totally confused the issue that in a free society an individual can own and
control property and run his or her business as he or she chooses. The idea
that the social do-gooder can legislate a system which forces industry to pay
men and women by comparable worth standards boggles the mind and further
destroys our competitiveness in a world economy.

Employee rights are said to be valid when employers pressure
employees into sexual activity. Why don't they quit once the so-called
harassment starts? Obviously the morals of the harasser cannot be defended,
but how can the harassee escape some responsibility for the problem?
Seeking protection under civil rights legislation is hardly acceptable. If force
was clearly used, that is another story, but pressure and submission is hardly
an example of a violation of one's employment rights.

The concept of equal pay for equal work is not only an impossible
task, it can only be accomplished with the total rejection of the idea
of the voluntary contract. By what right does the government assume the
power to tell an airline it must hire unattractive women if it does not want to?
The idea that a businessman must hire anyone and is prevented from firing
anyone for any reason he chooses and in the name of rights is a clear
indication that the basic concept of a free society has been lost."

In relation to bolded statements in particular, can someone please enlighten me as to what exactly Paul is talking about here?

Can someone explain in practical terms what would happen in a sexual harassment situation?

Are we basically delegating any employer protection to the state?

Do we want the state to do anything in this area at all?

Is it every man/woman for themselves in an office and short of physical violence or fraud, employer is immune for any conduct?

I am a bit confused here.

CAN SOMEONE EXPLAIN PLEASE?

TheEvilDetector
12-20-2007, 09:44 PM
bump

TheEvilDetector
12-20-2007, 09:45 PM
bump2

ThePieSwindler
12-20-2007, 11:00 PM
I think his point is that using perceived harassment as an excuse for crying "civil rights" violation is invalid, as government really has no jurisdiction over relations between private individuals, even if they can do sour. He is arguing for the right to contract in this case, and the right to private property. Think of it this way - if a guy hits on you in a bar or tries to coerce you into having sex with him, what do you do? You don't run to the government, you simply decline and tell him hes a pig. If he forces himself on you, then thats using violence, and is a different matter. Same in the workplace - if a higher up sexually harasses you, is it the state's business, or the business' business? Ron is arguing that it is the business' job to police itself, set bylaws, and set its own policy. Policy will always be set in a way that benefits employees, and most companies usually have means of dealing with sexual harassment outside of any sort of legal action (of course, legal action can be brought forth, but it doesnt need to be hidden behind the guise of special civil rights legislation). He is by no means condoning sexual harassment, he is simply stating that it is not the duty of government to make laws that allow people to hide behind when it is purely a personal and a business matter. So long as sexual harassment does not become physical with force, its really nothing more than offensive words that can be dealt with within a companies' own policy. Just as we talk about being against banning hate speech, so we should not be against "banning" verbal sexual harassment (pressure and submission), because it is an issue that can be and should be policed within the business, and if it is not, then the employee should quit or expose it, rather than hiding behind civil rights legislation. This is, of course, talking about an ongoing problem, rather than a simple instance of harassment. It is not the job of the federal government to clean up a businesses practices, and the business will simply lose employees and go out of business if sexual harassment is rampant, and everyone threatens to quit. It is the job of the federal government to step in when there is physical violence, in the case of harassment, any form of physical contact could be seen as such.

The point is basically, to sum it up, that the business has a right to do whatever it wants so long as it does not cross into violence and physical coercion. Now, the entire point of a business is to accomplish some sort of venture or sell some sort of product or service, and there is no way to do that without employees, and there is no way to get employees without having some obvious standards of decency. a succesful business will have a support structure for employees, and policies dealing with workplace harassment, etc, because the bosses wont want to lose good employees due to harassment. But if they set a policy of "sexual harassment being allowed" then rather than complain to the state about it, it is the duty of those discusting by the policy to leave. Bad policies will destroy companies, and thus wont be enacted. The assumption, by makng civil rights legilation to force businesses to comply to certain standards, is that businesses are stupid and reckless and need to be regulated by government, and the worker has some "right" to being employed. They have the right to contract, and thus give their labor for pay, but really no other "rights", and if they feel violated in some way, it is their duty to quit, and to get out of the environment of harassment, and let the business self implode. If it is a period of economic stability, it shouldnt be too hard to find employment again. This is really a moot point, as all businesses have internal ways of dealing with sexual harassment, for the very reason that they do NOT want to lose valuable employees due to the stupid mistakes of other employees. The business overall should not be penalized for the actions of individuals within the company - the business itself should police such activity, but its not the federal government's job to FORCE the business to do that - labor competition will force that provision well enough.

Thats basically what i gathered from it, though it was stated somewhat harshly, and i think Paul could have said what he meant to say in a way that wouldnt seem so sexist. I'm sure if he actually got a chance to explain the passage, it would make alot more sense.

crashm1
12-20-2007, 11:04 PM
This might be better posted under issues. I will take a stab at it for you although there are much sharper knives in the drawer.



Employee rights are said to be valid when employers pressure
employees into sexual activity. Why don't they quit once the so-called
harassment starts?


I believe he is saying that if someone asks the government to protect them that a) they cede their rights to the government and thus come to expect the government to take care of them.
b) right to work laws work both ways your employer may terminate you for any or no reason at will and you can quit for any or no reason at will.
Example:
I recently quit a job with no notice because my employer physically threatened me, I am good at my profession and had a new and better job within a couple weeks. The point being I am in control of and take responsibilty for my life whereas if I filed suit against him I would be ceding authority and justice to a third party who has no real interest in me or my happiness.



but pressure and submission is hardly
an example of a violation of one's employment rights.



This one for me is pretty self explanatory in that there is pressure to do things one doesn't want to do in all areas of life and it is up to me to define the limits of what I will and will not do. Siding companies, used carsalesmen, mortgage and credit card companies pressure me to buy their products that does not mean I must.
In my life I choose where I will work and what I will do/ put up with for a paycheck if it interferes enough with my self image or moral code I don't work there.

PS Pie swindlers post is a much better arguement.

TheEvilDetector
12-20-2007, 11:11 PM
You both proposed good arguments. Things are clearer somewhat.

Can you please explain what happens if the conduct is not simply verbal and yet not physical assault.

EG. Unwelcome touching?

Certainly the individual can quit. However, shouldn't there be some sort of a "punishment" other than the employee quitting for that sort of behaviour?

Also, you mentioned the court system (in an earlier edit), can you explain on what (if any) grounds could an employee sue the employer for verbal sexual harassment or non-coercing unwelcome physical sexual contact for example?

See, here is my thinking, and the reason why I want to explore this a bit:

1) Let's assume we have no federal, state or local laws dealing with verbal sexual harassment, ie. NONE whatsoever.

2) Let's also assume that we have a man who is very sexually aggressive towards women and who runs a business.

Certainly, the women affected, can terminate this at the earliest opportunity by quitting, and many would.

However, it seems to me that he would be able to get away with sexually unwelcome behaviour for some time
(during period of business decline due to a loss of reputation), swapping through unaware employees during this period.

Agree or disagree?

Other thoughts of mine:

It seems that in such an environment of near absolute individual liberty there needs to be a proliferation of personal mini-constitutions ie. contracts,
in other words, every person who looks for work should come with a tailored contract that would bar certain behaviours towards them in the work place.

In such a scenario then, if employer made unwelcome sexual advances, disregarding the contract's sexual harassment clause, then there is ground for lawsuit for breach of contract.

In a truly libertarian society, the lawyers would make an absolute killing, since bottom up contract law offers much more work than top down legislation IMHO.

Is it possible that the powers reserved to the people meant the power to make your own law (your own contract),
which isn't otherwise specified/prohibited at higher levels of power?

ThePieSwindler
12-20-2007, 11:28 PM
You both proposed good arguments. Things are clearer somewhat.

Can you please explain what happens if the conduct is not simply verbal and yet not physical assault.

EG. Unwelcome touching?

Certainly the individual can quit. However, shouldn't there be some sort of a "punishment" other than the employee quitting for that sort of behaviour?

Also, you mentioned the court system (in an earlier edit), can you explain on what (if any) grounds could an employee sue the employer for verbal sexual harassment or non-coercing unwelcome physical sexual contact for example?

Punishment is usually administered within the business. A business owner would be retarded to not have any sort of conduct bylaws. As far as grounds for tort, there would need to be reform, as sexual harassment outside the workplace is considered to be completely different from within the workplace, when it shouldnt be. Here is Wendy McElroy, a libertarian feminist, and her take on the matter:


Sexual harassment laws are enforced at a moral cost. They do damage to the freedom of speech. They invade privacy. They glorify the government as parental guardian. And the economic costs are immense. An estimated 75 percent of American companies have instituted sexual harassment policies. These businesses spend huge amounts of money to educate employees on this issue, to settle lawsuits and prevent such suits from occurring. There are subtle social costs of sexual harassment laws as well. The laws cast women as permanent victims, and causes them to lose male mentors who fear prosecution. The laws tend to harden the attitudes they are intended to change.

True sexual harassment involves physically invasive behavior. When assault or battery occurs, women should have the opportunity to press criminal charges. When the harassment is verbal, women must be free to confront verbal abuse and refuse to tolerate it. And women should use remedies that almost every company has as a matter of internal policy. In a market economy, there is competition for work environments among firms. But with regulations superimposed on the market, most of the women who report harassment to researchers and the government say they never complained to their employers.

A key to resolving the sexual harassment issue is to return it to the realm of tort law, which provides civil redress for private harms. The courts have a long history of viewing unwanted sexual contact as tortious--usually when it is expressed in the form of battery or assault, as Clinton's forced fondling of Willey would constitute. Most feminists, however, resist the return to tort law because it would make sexual comments and propositions unactionable unless accompanied by physical trespass.


Actually, what Wendy says jives perfectly with what Ron Paul proposes, she just say it in a more convincing manner, whereas Ron's explanation, while well-intended, is somewhat lacking. People need to take responsibility for themselves, either by standing up for themselves or by talking to the head employer - it usually works. Only when physical force is involved does it go beyond the right to contract, etc.