Fairness, Equality, Cognitive Bias and the Indiana SB 101 Affair

Indiana’s new “Religious Freedom” (SB 101) law is a multi-faceted problem that can’t so easily be ignored and it’s a problem all across the country. Primarily, there’s a catch-22 situation on both sides. If businesses, business owners and/or individuals don’t have the right to say “…I don’t want to do business you with because…” then how do you tackle the problem of people coming into the business and putting down a prayer-rug every day? They aren’t doing that? Well, that isn’t the point, it’s what they can or cannot do, by law, that is the point.

I am 100% for liberty. I am 100% for individual rights.

As I said yesterday on Facebook: Forcing someone to do something against their beliefs because this “something” is of your own beliefs isn’t equality.

Equality must be multi-sided, and in an even debate between two people, it has to be two sided. You cannot have your cake and eat ALL of it, otherwise, someone will try to take the cake away from you.

Where does it say that everything *should* be equal? Why?

I’ve been doing a little research into some other things (work related) and something struck me as oddly familiar, that being, “reciprocity bias”. Reciprocity bias is explained as

“…When people feel a sense of obligation after they receive something. In every society, there is a cultural imperative that favors reciprocity”, Richard said. “You could easily be blinded by this bias and unwittingly agree to do something that you will later regret…”


“….The belief that fairness should trump other values, even when it’s not in our economic or other interests.” (from Nobel prize winners no less).

How does this relate to the Indiana situation? Business owners that feel compelled to accept business agreements with those that are in direct opposition to the business owner’s own principles are accepting these proposals based on “reciprocity bias”. Those that are making an inquiry and/or asking for quotes, etc. are essentially preying upon a human’s natural tendency to do something for someone else, even if it’s not economically advantageous because it *seems* fair on the outside, but in reality, holds less value (especially in this case), based on conflicting principles and perhaps, even less monetary gain, simply because of their emotions telling them to reciprocate “fairness”. Very interesting indeed.

Individuals have the right to _not_ do business with other individuals or businesses (regardless of how you *feel* about this). By forcing a business, which can be owned by an individual, to do business with someone, are you not in effect stripping one person of their rights by way of giving all of the rights to someone else? Some will say, as a business, you are publicly available to all. What if you went private and only allowed certain people to be involved, are you not then under more intense scrutiny? I believe that as long as there are PRIVATE businesses doing business, they can pick and choose ANYONE, for ANY REASON, they don’t want to do business with. While I personally don’t believe in the exclusion of anyone is morally or ethically correct, that reasoning doesn’t supersede the individual right (freedom) of choice. No one should be forced to do anything against their beliefs, that includes being forced out of business by a law. Again, the free market will take care of itself, if there’s enough passion behind a boycott to make it happen.

We like to think we’re rational human beings.

In fact, we are prone to hundreds of proven biases that cause us to think and act irrationally, and even thinking we’re rational despite evidence of irrationality in others is known as blind spot bias.

Being influenced by our emotions, even though most of the time we are completely unaware that it is occurring, actually has a majority effect on our irrational decision making that culminates into how we stand on just about everything.

In the case of the Indiana Law, are we not seeing the lashing-out of one side, attempting to take all the cake back from the person eating it?

We hear all the time about the ACLU suing (and winning) multiple entities over religious reasons, particularly Christian symbols in Government owned locations. We do not hear of the ACLU winning (or for that matter, protesting) cases pertaining to other religious symbolism (even though there are multiple accounts of other-than-Christian religious symbolism being evident in public/government locations, such as Norse, Jewish, Islamic, etc.).

I have heard the argument that “….a business owner can deny business to someone, but they shouldn’t say why.”

Forcing a business owner to not stipulate why they won’t do business with someone and/or forcing a business to hire personnel regardless of their race, ethnicity, religion or otherwise isn’t Freedom. Freedom is the ability to protest these practices and by economics, hit the businesses where it hurts, in the pockets and/or denial of business due to the natural rights of humankind.

Freedom is the right to choose, no matter what. With Freedom, comes responsibility. If the culture of the area in which the business owner resides doesn’t like the fact that the business owner won’t hire someone of a particular ethic background, protest the business and if enough people are against the business, the business will fail and someone else can take over that location (perhaps more in touch with the local culture?).

That being said, this isn’t condoning racism or prejudice, this is condoning the free market to work itself out.

In the immediate aftermath of the Indiana Law being passed, we are seeing the direct result of the free market working just exactly as it should. The pizza joint, “Memories Pizza” in Indiana, have received threatening phone calls and decided, rather than go against their principles (accepting reciprocity bias as the norm), they would shut their doors. See? As I’ve stated, the culture is pressuring the pizza joint into going against their principles, which in turn led them to shut down (free market in the works). However, further free market economics is working in the opposite direction. Other folks in their community (and I would assume elsewhere as well) come to the rescue with a “gofundme” campaign to provide monetary assistance to the pizza joint owners.

Tons of people are donating money in support of the Indiana pizza place that won’t deliver pizzas to gay weddings.

From their GoFundMe page, at the time of this posting, they’ve accumulated $515,455.00 from contributors in support of the pizza joint owner’s principles:

Purpose: To relieve the financial loss endured by the proprietors’ stand for faith.Religious liberty is under assault in Indiana and that’s never been clearer than with the O’Connor family.

When asked by local press the hypothetical question of whether or not they’d prefer to have their family owned business, Memories Pizza, cater a gay wedding, the owner said no citing their own religious beliefs as the reason.

Rather than allowing this family to simply have their opinion, which they were asked to give, outraged people grabbed the torches and began a campaign to destroy this small business in small town Indiana….

I don’t need a Government regulation to tell me that I am not going to be prejudiced, because I am not prejudiced and it has nothing to do with “laws” and everything to do with ethics and morality.

has NOTHING to do with my beliefs in the LGBT debate and EVERYTHING to do with making liberal heads spin with the concept....
This has NOTHING to do with my beliefs in the LGBT debate and EVERYTHING to do with making liberal heads spin with the concept…. In fact, I was a little put-off by the stereotyping of the two individuals’ images, however, for the purposes of debate, I will allow it…..

The Government is a public entity and should maintain a separation of Church and State, whereby the State stays completely out of the business of Churches. However, because the Church(es) are comprised of individual citizens, they have every right to be involved in Government. This is the foundation of our Government that’s been bastardized by progressives since 1776.

Indiana law professor Daniel O. Conkle, who supports gay rights in general and same-sex marriage in particular, also supports the Indiana law, and explains why here.

Now, some will attempt to take this to a different level and segue to “what about in the home?” Remember what I said above? No individual should be forced to do anything that goes against their beliefs? This works both ways. Another individual, simply because they “don’t like you because you’re gay” should not be allowed to force you to do something that goes against your beliefs (as long as someone isn’t hurt in your belief process). Herein lies LIBERTY. You have the right to do as you please, as long as you don’t hurt someone else, steal from someone else to the value of anything, impede the individual Freedom and Liberty of someone else, etc. etc. Again, here’s that two-sided coin; you have the right to do as you please, but not at the expense of forcing someone else to do something that goes against their beliefs.

You cannot force one party to do something without taking away a fraction of liberty or freedom and giving that fraction of liberty or freedom to someone else.

Perhaps, even further, as a result of everyone wanting to be “fair” and “politically correct” and “equal” in all aspects, they become victims of “Herd Behavior“, another type of cognitive bias. This further explains the rationale of “democracy”, which most of you have come to accept as a “good thing”, accepting it as “the way things are in America”, which is completely false. Democracy is two wolves and a sheep voting on what’s for lunch. The United States is a Constitutional Republic. Herd Behavior would account for many failures in America, including “political correctness” and these “take from one to give to another” type endeavors we are seeing much more of these days.

This can also be intertwined with the “Bandwagon Effect”, another Cognitive Bias whereas because a group you associate with believes “thus and so”, you should also believe “thus and so”. This is true for many different things, and in our area, it is a perfect explanation for why so many people follow the word of the UMWA, even when they support political candidates that are dead set on ending coal mining. Completely illogical reasoning, yet, completely justified in the minds of those that follow the Herd Behavior and Bandwagon Effect.

With all this being said, I do agree that there are parts of the Indiana SB 101 (Religious Freedom Law) that are bad, but not for the arguments I’ve been hearing. The arguments I’ve heard have less to do about equality and more to do with “what about me?!?!?!?!?!!” mentalities, which by-pass equality entirely and whose only focus is on themselves or their little herd.

My name is John Holstein and I approve of this message.

“…All men are by nature born equally free and independent.”George Mason