One of the most common libertarian arguments you hear is that we don’t need government regulation to prevent discrimination because bigotry is bad for business and therefore the free market will stop it. Take Rand Paul arguing that “it’s a bad business decision to exclude anybody from your restaurant.” Or Reason trying to show that bakeries refusing gay customers take an economic hit for it. It’s a pleasing idea, that businesses will realize that bigotry costs them money and will adjust their business practices accordingly, with no government intervention required.
Well, now we have a perfect experiment to see how well that theory plays out in real life, with Reddit, which is a major corporation and not some two-bit rural bakery refusing to make a cake for a lesbian couple. As Reddit has learned, bigotry is, indeed, bad for business. Maintaining a free space for bigots to organize in is costing Reddit real money, as they have to pay for server space and now can’t even collect ad revenue on the bigoted forums.
But instead of proving the liberation argument right—that bigotry will cost you money and therefore businesses will choose anti-bigotry—the opposite is happening. Reddit is choosing to lose money rather than lose the bigots.
(via How The Reddit Debacle Proves Libertarians Wrong)
Libertarian views on discrimination somehow manage to be equal parts comical and abhorrent. The Reddit debacle is demonstrating this.