The Unintended Consequences of Trusting the Government
Jack Phillips, famously known as the Colorado Christian baker, was sued for refusing to bake a custom wedding cake that countered his religious beliefs and now he is making headlines again. His case is a primary example of the disconnect between equality-driven social justice prerogatives and the outcomes they actually achieve. The argument is simple: proponents of suing Phillips insist that the government must punish those who don’t want to violate their faith by providing a particular product or service: i.e., a Christian who refuses to bake a cake for a transgender transition celebration. Those defending Phillips assert that wielding government sanctions against vendors like him is unconstitutional and would actually incur far more harm against all Americans in the future.
As citizens we possess the agency to choose which products and services to provide, regardless of any extraneous opinions. In other words, we are not obligated to serve anyone against our free will or consent. This is where the danger of the new left becomes more apparent: those on the left tend to utilize the same body that enacted the marginalization of those they seek to defend, in order to achieve political gain.
There is an inherent hypocrisy in the way that some social justice advocates advance their agenda. They beg the Supreme Court to “make things right”, giving more power to those decision makers who turn around and tighten the reins on society even further. Hence, the strange relationship between social justice activism and the legal outcomes they obtain. In Phillips’ case, why would you want the government, with their latent historical criminalization and subjugation of LGBTQ+, black, and minority groups, to expand their reach?
It’s often forgotten that the United States was not founded on the bedrock of government control, rather on the value of individual liberty. It’s hard to trust a government with a poor track record. We don’t need the government to fix our problems, especially since it created many of them in the first place. A body that has the power to control your entire livelihood shouldn’t get to do so simply because they think they are more moral than you are.
Stories play a powerful role in how we fight for change. It’s no coincidence that shows like Grey’s Anatomy continually embed their storylines with scenes about white characters needing to “check [their] white privilege” whenever they make a mistake. On the one hand, shows like Grey’s consistently point to the need for more government intervention on behalf of marginalized groups, but on the other they demand the curtailment of that same government’s capabilities when it no longer suits their perceived desires.
When groups demand the government to force vendors like Phillips to violate their own consent in order to serve those whom they disagree with, they establish a dangerous legal precedent in which consent becomes disposable. Consent and the freedom to choose are among the most sacred natural rights we possess as humans. It’s a right we possess in spite of the government, not something that is granted to us by them. To take it away from someone, no matter how noble you feel that action to be, will come back to haunt us all.