Sunday, January 18, 2009

A Tale of Two Ironies

This from the Southland Times:

Invercargill, New Zealand
Sisters Natalie Bennie and Tamara Shefa were upset after being booted out of the Mevlana Cafe in Esk St yesterday by owner Mustafa Tekinkaya.

They chose to eat at Mevlana Cafe because it had a play area for Mrs Bennie's two children, but they were told to leave before they had ordered any food, Mrs Bennie said.

"He heard us speaking Hebrew and he asked us where we were from. I said Israel and he said 'get out, I am not serving you'. It was shocking."

Mr Tekinkaya, who is Muslim and from Turkey, said he was making his own protest against Israel because it was killing innocent babies and women in the Gaza Strip.

"I have decided as a protest not to serve Israelis until the war stops."

He said he had nothing against Israeli people but if any more came into his shop they would also be told to leave, and he was not concerned if he lost business.
After my initial reaction of disgust, I found it highly ironic that here's this muslim Turk banning an Israeli in protest of Israel's actions against the Palestinians in Gaza when, until 90 years ago, his native country occupied that same area (and then some) for hundreds of years. I wonder how he feels about that and how he would have felt were he alive then. Something tells me he would not have given a rat's ass about the plight of the Palestinians, but now that non-muslims are in charge - Jews, no less - well, that's different.

That's irony number 1. Here's irony number 2.

When this incident happened last week, I was going to simply write about how the Middle East mess has tentacles that reach even here, to New Zealand, a tiny little country at the bottom of the world with no dog in that fight and of little significance in affecting any meaningful change there. Then, as I began doing a little more sourcing, I found this blog entry and began reading the comments. As I read through them (all 180-something at the time), an interesting issue came to the surface: Property rights. One commenter stated that, although he found the cafe owner's behavior appalling, he finds the anti-discrimination laws more appalling, and on that basis he had to side with the cafe owner. I have to agree. Let me explain.

First, consider this statement from Race Relations Commissioner Joris de Bres:
"Whatever the rights and wrongs of the situation in Palestine, it is simply against the law for providers of goods and services in New Zealand to discriminate in this way."
Respect for private, individual property rights are at the foundation of Western civilization. ANY move away from that principal is a step toward a more collectivist, communist society, and that is more of an affront to human or civil "rights" than is being denied service at a private establishment. It's his property, and he should be able to deny service to anybody for any reason. Any law that contradicts that right flies directly in the face of respect for private property rights. The only thing that matters is that the buyer is willing and able to pay for the goods and/or services, and the seller is willing to provide them. Now, if you believe that racial, religious or any other kind of discrimination is morally wrong, then vote with your wallet and choose not to do business with that establishment. If enough people feel the same way, he will either have to change his tune or face going out of business. That, I believe, is the way to affect change - NOT by demanding that government enact laws that prohibit certain behaviors or actions which, however reprehensible, do not deny others their rights.

One does not have the "right" to walk into a private establishment and demand service, but the current law in New Zealand and most elsewhere in the West has made it so. We have betrayed one principal for another, denied one set of rights and granted another set. The equation is out of balance. Where these civil and human rights laws go wrong is that they don't just stop with regulating how government institutions and agencies - those in the public sector - conduct themselves. They go that one step too far into the private sector.

I know this is a difficult concept for some to grasp, but it really is simple. Is racist behavior wrong? I believe it is, but as long as it does not deny somebody their right to life, liberty, or their own property, it should not be illegal. Do I think the guy is a complete asshole? You bet. But I believe he has the right to be an asshole, the right to be wrong - and suffer the consequences for it; not by government mandate, but by the people themselves in any form that does not involve violence, coercion, or destruction of property.

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Blogger Oldcatman said...

I own the business, I will run it as I see fit------No shirts or shoes---no service here!

3:48 AM GMT+13  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's why I don't like no smoking ordinances which prevent people from smoking in private businesses. I don't smoke and don't like it but a restaurant is private property and if the owners wants his patrons to smoke, which is legal, then they should be able to do so. For the government to tell owners of private property which legal things they can and can't allow is wrong.


4:32 PM GMT+13  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I find it ironic that a Muslim in support of the Gaza (Hamas) incident which I believe to be using private property laws to not serve Jews. I thought the Muslim's hated Western living and it's law's? I guess when it fits their agenda it is all good?? I know I would not eat there...even if I liked rat or whatever crap they eat!!


Todd B

1:15 PM GMT+13  
Anonymous Jim McFalls said...

I am a suspicious guy and could understand anybody not wanting a language spoken that they could not understand in their place because occasionally they are insulting you, and you would not even know to be mad.
Besides that, Yiddish is a guttoral language that sometimes sounds like hocking up a luggie and someone who sounds like Fran Dresher without the funny even speaking English would get on my last nerve fast.
That being said I am even more suspicious of Muslems; Around East Tennessee folks think if they don't want to kill us they must backslid from their Religion Of Peace.

11:36 AM GMT+13  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Put the shoe one the other foot. If the law were to be consistent then if you were to say, "I'm not going to purchase anything from that Muslim." Then you would be forced to go into his establishment and purchase something. I can get along without Big Nanny. Don

9:25 PM GMT+13  

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