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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Discrimination is the basis of all law

- - Monday, March 3, 2014

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer has rationalized her veto of a bill designed to protect freedom of conscience and religious liberty in her state with the excuse that the measure could have been misused as an instrument of discrimination ("Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoes controversial religious freedom bill," Web, Feb. 26).

It seems to me that we have been conditioned to think of all discrimination as bad. But is it?

I can remember when a discriminating shopper was one who had certain standards and would only buy products that met those standards. Is that type of discrimination bad?

When a man marries a woman, he publicly promises that in certain areas of life he will discriminate in favor of that one woman and against all other women. Likewise the woman promises that in those same areas of life she will discriminate in favor of that one man and against all other men. Is this type of discrimination bad?

The claim that laws should not be instruments of discrimination reveals a remarkable lack of insight. Laws by their very nature are instruments of discrimination. Any law on the books discriminates in favor of one type of behavior and against another type of behavior.

Laws against theft discriminate against stealing, and they discriminate in favor of respecting people's property rights. Is this type of discrimination bad? Laws against murder discriminate against taking the life of a human being without due process of law, and discriminate in favor of respecting a person's right to live. Is this type of discrimination bad?

The real question ought to be, What should or should not be discriminated against, and why?

THOMAS M. CRAWFORD

Laurel