Why I’d vote against ENDA

[bumped from original Friday posting due to interest in the issue and many new links] I’ve got a new post on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) just up at Cato. More: Stephen Miller; similar takes on the issue, Stephen Richer, Purple Elephant and Daily Caller, Libertarian Jew, Coyote, David Bernstein.

More, all citing my post: Andrew Sullivan, who is now tepidly in favor of the bill; Peter Weber, The Week; Scott Shackford, Reason; Paul Mirengoff, PowerLine; Doug Mataconis, Outside the Beltway; Ray Hennessey, Entrepreneur and also at Reuters; Hans Bader, CEI; Jordan Weissman, The Atlantic, Jon Hyman/Ohio Employment Law, and USA Today editorial (contra).


  • Curious – are you against all Non-Discrimination laws then?

  • Discrimination can be partitioned into justified and unjustified classes. Paraplegics would be properly discriminated against for a life guard position at a beach. What then is the nature of unjustified discrimination?

    Unjustified discrimination artificially restricts the pool of labor for a firm. So there is no need for discrimination laws to protect workers from unfair treatment as free markets will do that automatically. Discrimination laws put a political component to labor relations. Qualifications are tortured to get a mix of people in a police or fire department. I was for that, as I did not want our cities to be policed as plantations. But then I found that black New York State troopers said there was no evidence against OJ Simpson in the Brown/Goldman murders in 1994. I am for fair treatment of all. But I am against all Non-Discrimination laws, as their cost greatly exceeds their benefits in my opinion.

  • In large measure, affirmative action and discrimination laws are the antithesis of the pursuit of excellence. Society may decide that the benefits outweigh the costs but we should not delude ourselves into thinking this is a win-win gambit.

  • […] Caleb Brown interviews me for Cato on the politics and policy of employment discrimination laws. I’ve also done a video interview with Voice of America (not aired yet) and will be on air momentarily on St. Louis’s KMOX. My Cato post on the subject of Friday is here and reactions here. […]

  • […] other perspectives on ENDA, see Walter Olson, Cato Institute; Stephen Miller; Stephen Richer, Purple Elephant; Daily Caller; Libertarian […]