Monday, June 25, 2018

A Libertarian Defense of the Red Hen's Right to Refuse Sarah Huckabee Sanders

By Robby Soave

On Friday, the owner of the Red Hen, a restaurant in rural Virginia, asked a customer—Sarah Huckabee Sanders—to leave. The Trump administration's press secretary then exited without complaint.
It's easy to imagine both left and right upping the ante with these performative acts of resistance, further polarizing society in ways that play right into Pres. Trump's hands. Even so, libertarians should defend a private property owner's right to eject a government official from the premises.
The incident became a national news story after a waiter wrote about it on Facebook, and Sanders confirmed it in a tweet. Since then, the conservative and liberal commentariat have been attacking and defending the restaurant owner, respectively. Reason's Elizabeth Nolan Brown included a useful overview of the controversy in this morning's Reason Roundup.
A summary: Conservatives say that booting Sanders was uncivil, and we should be able to interact with people whose politics we abhor. Taken to the logical extreme, conservatives say, the Red Hen's tactic would result in separate restaurants for conservatives and liberals, which can't possibly be healthy for democracy.
Leftists say that Trump is a fascist—the purposeful separation of immigrant families and mistreatment of children offers better evidence of this than anything we've seen previously from this administration—and Sanders is complicit in fascism. Trump is neither civil, nor likely to be moved by civility, so what's the point of playing nice?
Rep. Maxine Waters (D–Calif.), a frequent talking head on MSNBC and a leader of the #Resistance, made her position clear at a rally is Los Angeles on Sunday, where
Read the rest here.


  1. --- [Crazy Maxine] Waters doesn't get to decide the rules of engagement in department stores, gas stations, and restaurants—the owners of those properties do. ---

    Exactly. Leftists should know this. Trumpistas, as well. It's NOT their property.

  2. Everyone lambasted me when I used the "We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone ..." argument with the cake baker and that has never lost its relevancy.

    Now someone else exercises this true private property right and its another firestorm. The only people showing any class in the situation are Sarah Sanders and the people NOT making an issue of it.

    1. Re: Shegottawideload,

      --- Everyone lambasted me when I used the "We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone"... ---

      What do you mean "everyone"? The right to discriminate is fundamental.

      --- The only people showing any class in the situation are Sarah Sanders and the people NOT making an issue of it. ---

      That would mean that Trump is not showing any class since he is raising a big stink about this, to the point he insinuated that Sarah is too stupid to choose restaurants correctly.

    2. Yes the cheeto in chief is the worst of the bunch but he always has been!

  3. Business owner discriminating = OK

    Business owner discriminating against agents of the state = double OK

  4. I like to fantasize that this is the way we treat ALL Federal government workers, everywhere and at any time. In fact, all government workers at all levels, period. Revive the time-honored practice of tar-and-feathering, and running knaves and scalawags out of town on a rail. Let's borrow a useful word from India: "Dalit" (the untouchables), and apply it to this lowest class of people---government "public servants".

  5. A few nits re the Soave article.

    "But Sanders wasn't forced from the Red Hen by an angry mob—she was asked to leave by the property owner, who was exercising freedom of conscience."

    I'm not sure we want to ground private-property rights in "conscience," since that sounds like there has to be a moral or religious dimension to one's decision. Private-property rights are grounded in ownership; owners are free to exclude anyone for any reason.

    "Will doing so encourage the Trump administration to enact more humane immigration policies, or will it cause Trump to double down and produce a toxic blowback? I think more people should be honest about the fact that we don't really know for certain, which is another reason why the libertarian approach of letting people set the rules of engagement on their own property—at the Red Hen, and at Masterpiece Cake Shop—is the best policy."

    While at least here Soave seems to be talking about private-property rights, he appears to be taking a consequentialist approach, namely, that such rights make sense because they might lead to good outcomes. Again, I would argue that a private-property owner is entitled to exclude someone regardless of what we might see as the consequences.

  6. How about this Bob? No endorsement from me implied...