The story of the young transgender boy, Joe Maldonado, is a controversial topic. It’s captivated the attention of people from all over the country. The 8-year old boy was banned from Cub Scout Pack 87 in Secaucus, New Jersey. Both he and his mother were exasperated and saddened, about his expulsion from the pack; an expulsion that was based on his “gender identity.”
Joe is said to have been eagerly anticipating the trips and science projects, offered through the Cub Scouts program. He was a member of the pack for about a month before his expulsion. His transgender identity was not surreptitious to fellow members or employees of the organization.
As unfortunate as this may seem to mainstream America (as well as the LGBT community, and their sympathizers), the Cub Scouts have the right to discriminate based on natural rights, property rights, and the Constitution. Natural rights are related to the concepts of life, liberty, and property.
The concepts of the natural rights emerged through the works of enlightenment philosophers like Jean-Jacque Rousseau, John Locke, Thomas Paine, and many others. The right to liberty refers to the rights of citizens to have the freedom to pursue their own destinies without infringing on the rights or liberties of others. Property rights are not limited to real estate: the “bundle of rights” attached with owning property includes the rights of use, possession, exclusion, enjoyment, and disposition. They also include rights over one’s biological or anatomical property – or one’s body.
The most consequential component of one’s body, as it relates to property rights, is one’s labor. It is how one can receive remuneration or financial gratification based on the voluntary agreement one has with another. It is through labor that one contributes to the accumulation of savings for consumption, investing, etc. Hence, the right to life and the liberty to pursue one’s destiny are based on this prerogative, provided it does not violate the life, liberty, or property of another. This concept is at the foundation of not only the Constitution but, theoretically, at the core of humanity. Regardless of one’s sociological or national classification.
Since the Cub Scouts are a private organization, they should enjoy the same property rights as individuals. This grants them the right or freedom to accept who they want based on their preferences. It is not the government’s job to inflict retribution on an individual, or entity, for declining a specific person, or persons, inclusion based on their identity. According to the classical liberal philosopher Frédéric Bastiat, “enforced fraternity, destroys liberty,” so the focus or premise of this issue should be freedom and not fairness.
When one has the freedom to compete in the free market, then discriminatory policies like this actually create opportunities. For example, individuals can establish programs similar to the one offered by the Cub Scouts; programs that will happily admit transgender students or members. The exceptionality of capitalism (the free market) is that it punishes irresponsibility or economic irrationality. This means that discrimination against the transgender population (or any group of people) could cost the organization thousands or even millions of dollars in donations, sponsorships, and membership fees from supporters of the discriminated group; and prevent other individuals from becoming members. For example, The Boy Scouts of America initially banned homosexual members in 1978. However, this rule was rescinded three years ago, in 2013, after the organization noticed a precipitous decline in memberships and donations.
The definition of “entrepreneurship,” according to Nobel Peace Prize economist, Israel Kirzner, is “the alertness to opportunity.” So, from an economics perspective, if the net effect of admitting transgender youth is lucrative to the Cub Scouts, then it would be in their best interest to allow it. Contrarily, if the organization is not alert, attentive, or prudent enough to capitalize on this possible opportunity, then another group or groups will certainly do so. Hence, it is not the government’s job to use “triangular interventionism” to create an artificial sense of fairness in society. Triangular intervention occurs when there is coercion for one group of people to associate with another group of people without their consent. It is the market’s job to organically create a “fair” society through the spontaneity of the free market: which rewards the producer for the satisfaction of the consumer, and penalizes the producer for discrimination or insults to the consumer.
It is our constitutional right to discriminate whether it’s deemed justifiable or not. The freedom to choose is one of the most important freedoms possessed by human beings; more important than the relative concept of justice through governmental intervention.
Featured image: Utah Scouts
This post was written by Baruti Libre.
The views expressed here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect our views and opinions.