Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Are child-free restaurants unfair? - vote here

Are child-free restaurants unfair? - dailyamerican.com

. . .
In the United States of America, you are free to bar anyone from entering your home.

The Sushi Bar owners have every right to foster a quiet, mature environment."

My comment:

You're mostly right. Restaurants don't have the same private property rights as homeowners do.  They cannot participate in INVIDIOUS discrimination, since they are places of "public accommodation" under the law.

The key here is that prohibiting minors is not invidious discrimination.  It is not targeting a disfavored group because of race, gender, or other impermissible reasons, but rather because of very real differences.  We discriminate when we ban children from voting, drinking, smoking, and driving because they are less mature and less able to make adult decisions.  Likewise, they are less able to control their behavior, and less aware of what appropriate behavior is.

Of course there are exceptions.  There are well behaved children, just as there are 14 years olds who are mature enough to understand elections and drink responsibly.  But we draw bright-line rules because the harm is minimal (eat somewhere else, wait to vote) and the alternative is impracticable.

Discrimination is not a bad word. Without it, we would be left unable to make decisions as a society.  The key here is whether these decisisons are a fair balance between individual rights and property rights.  I think the restaurant business has thus far found a good balance.