Have Your Cake and Speak It, Too

There’s a case out of Colorado that has the left and the right of our political spectrum in a stew. A bakery near Denver, one Masterpiece Cakeshop, refuses to sell wedding cakes to gay couples. Administrative law judge Robert Spencer says that the business will be fined if it continues this policy.


Regular readers of this weblog know that I am a supporter of equal rights for all, straight, gay, or in between. I see it as necessary for our society to give official recognition to the marriages of gay or lesbian couples. But there is more here that just one set of rights.

The owner of the bakery believes that gay marriage is wrong. He sees it as going against his Christian beliefs. So be it, and I don’t feel qualified to comment on that. But he is in a creative business. His cakes are his speech, in the same way that a musical composition, a photograph, or a sculpture is speech, as we understand the concept today. To require him to bake a cake in celebration of something he disapproves of is to force speech.

If Masterpiece Cakeshop sold oil changes, there would be no question here. It should change the oil of anyone who can afford that service. If the bakery sells pre-made cakes, those should be offered to anyone who has the money. But if the business is using the creative skill of its employees to make products to suit its customers, it has to be free to do that in whatever manner those creators see as right. When the business and the customer can’t come to an agreement in that situation, the two must be free to part company and seek others.


24 thoughts on “Have Your Cake and Speak It, Too

  1. orlin sellers

    The free market is a system of mutual, voluntary exchanges. That means oil changes and pre-made cakes. Here again we have the government threat of force being used against Mr. Cake maker. And here again, we have Greg supporting it.

      1. orlin sellers

        Two things, Greg: 1.) I disagree that making a cake for someone else, to their specifications, is free speech regarding the cake maker. That would make your opposition to the ruling null & void. IMO 2.) You said, “If Masterpiece Cakeshop sold oil changes, there would be no question here. It should change the oil of anyone who can afford that service.” Why would there be no question about it? The owner has no obligation to change oil unless he chooses to do it voluntarily. Suppose the guy is Jewish and the vehicle is adorned with swastikas. There could be a hundred reasons why he may not want to provide an oil change. Yet, you indicate he should.

      2. Greg Camp Post author

        Because I balance the needs here. A shop offering oil changes doesn’t take a position by giving a customer an oil change. But requiring someone to use creative skill to promote an idea does force speech.

      1. orlin sellers

        If the cake maker voluntarily agrees to take the order.
        If you are talking about the tyranny of the judge forcing the cake maker to comply, that is nothing more than cake redistribution which you highly endorse for society’s sake. The government must force the cake maker to bake a cake or it will put others who need a cake at risk. Now doesn’t that just take the cake?

  2. orlin sellers

    Greg, I don’t think I’m lying, but we can clear this up right quick, right here. One simple Yes or No question can clear it up. Do you believe that the monopolistic government should be taking, by threat of force, the fruits of your labor and redistributing it to other people, in this country and other countries? A simple yes or no will clear this up.

    1. Greg Camp Post author

      No, a false dichotomy won’t clear this up. You keep exaggerating things so far out of proportion and then claiming that your statements represent my views.

      How about you try my chili recipe so you can get something useful out of reading here?

      1. orlin sellers

        Greg, so, now your chili is a recipe even though this is what you said: “So here’s what I do when I make chili. Don’t call this a recipe.”

        You simply cannot be consistent.

        You say I’m exaggerating, then you say I’m lying. Which is it? How would anyone be able to figure it out? I’ve asked you several times to point out my exaggeration and your response is silence. I’ve asked you to point out where I’ve lied and you make a NASCAR left turn.

        Is slavery wrong? Yes or no. Is that a false dichotomy? You simply refuse to be honest.
        There is no false dichotomy in asking, “Is theft, theft? It is either Yes or No. There is no grey are.

        What does this say about you, not being able to answer a simple, basic question?

      2. Greg Camp Post author

        Slavery is wrong. Always.

        Taxes are not theft. Taxes are the payment that we make to maintain a society.

  3. orlin sellers

    Obviously I didn’t lie, since you believe that redistribution of wealth in not theft. Why didn’t you just fess up in the beginning? Perhaps you think slavery was wrong because slaves weren’t robbed of taxes.

    1. Greg Camp Post author

      No, you’re denying the existence of nuance. Taxes are not theft. At some levels or in some forms they may be unjust, but they are in a different category from theft.

      1. orlin sellers

        If we assume that the individual has an indisputable right to life, we must concede that he has a similar right to the enjoyment of the products of his labor. This we call a property right. The absolute right to property follows from the original right to life because one without the other is meaningless; the means to life must be identified with life itself. If the State has a prior right to the products of one’s labor, his right to existence is qualified. Aside from the fact that no such prior right can be established, except by declaring the State the author of all rights, our inclination (as shown in the effort to avoid paying taxes) is to reject this concept of priority. Our instinct is against it. We object to the taking of our property by organized society just as we do when a single unit of society commits the act. In the latter case we unhesitatingly call the act robbery, a malum in se. It is not the law which in the first instance defines robbery, it is an ethical principle, and this the law may violate but not supersede. If by the necessity of living we acquiesce to the force of law, if by long custom we lose sight of the immorality, has the principle been obliterated? Robbery is robbery, and no amount of words can make it anything else. *Frank Chodorov

      2. Greg Camp Post author

        A great deal of that property wouldn’t exist without the society. Without society, the most that you could have is what you could make yourself. Taxes are what we owe to support the benefits of the society that we use.

  4. orlin sellers

    “A great deal of that property wouldn’t exist without the society.”

    Slaves were property.

    By your statement you are saying that government gives us our right to property, that it is not inalienable and since each individual is property, we are the property of the state. Our right to life, liberty, and property is at the whim of government.

    As I said earlier, clearly you are a socialist statist with no regard for individuals.
    That is neither an exaggeration nor a lie. Live with it bro; just quite trying to pretend you are something else.

    1. Greg Camp Post author

      Except that you’re using the term, socialist, in a way that it typically isn’t used. In socialism, the society controls all means of production. Taxes are not the equivalent of socialism. I also did not say that the government gives us our right to property. Society creates the opportunity for greater property.

      And human beings cannot properly be considered property, no matter how much pleading the slave holder makes.

      Now stop exaggerating or go away.

      1. orlin sellers

        “Except that you’re using the term, socialist, in a way that it typically isn’t used”

        There is no one, singular definition of socialist since it has a horizontal left to right political leaning.

        ” In socialism, the society controls all means of production.”

        That is merely one definition of many.

        “Taxes are not the equivalent of socialism.”

        Socialism is, in its most basic form, the denial of private property. That property is the fruit of your labor.
        The means employed by a sagacious political establishment to acquire control of property is taxation. The more taxation, the more socialism. The excuse for taxation is the use of property for “social purposes” – which, in reality, means anything the appropriators of the property may decide to do with it, including the making of war. It is the transference of control over property that is the essence of socialism, for with this control goes the freedom of the individual to pattern his own life. *Chodorov

        “I also did not say that the government gives us our right to property”

        Yes, you most certainly did. When you confirmed that government has the right to redistribute wealth and property.

        ” Society creates the opportunity for greater property.

        Society creates or produces nothing. Society doesn’t even know what to hell it wants. It took Steve Jobs to tell them they wanted an iPhone.

        “And human beings cannot properly be considered property, no matter how much pleading the slave holder makes.”

        At least a billion women would disagree with you that they should be free to do what they want with their own body (property).

        Feel free to point out any SPECIFIC exaggeration or lie. Something you have so far not been able to do – because there aren’t any.

      2. Greg Camp Post author

        Orlin, listen to me:

        1. If you let words mean any damned thing you want them to mean whenever you need to change them, they become meaningless.

        2. If you continue twisting my words and lying, you will be told to leave. You’re free to present your positions. You’re free to disagree with me. You’re free to say whatever you wish on your own blog. But all you’re doing now is being tedious for no purpose. We disagree about these subjects. Let it go.

  5. orlin sellers

    It is disappointing that you continue to accuse me of twisting your words and lying with not one specific example. I have quoted you verbatim in my responses, so any word twisting is on you.
    It is as clear as a Colorado blue sky that you favor taxes(True), which is redistribution of wealth (True) which is socialism, (True) which makes you a socialist (True).
    What is extremely tedious for me is starting out on a story about an individual cake maker and you turn around and bring our sick society into it.

      1. orlin sellers

        Is redistribution of wealth socialism?
        In: Economics [Edit categories]
        That depends on who it is redistributed to. If wealth were redistributed to individuals (say for example to make people’s shares more equal), but remained privately owned and controlled by individuals, that would not be socialism. But if it were redistributed to collective ownership in any form, or retained in government ownership, or if its use were controlled by the government despite different assets nominally belonging privately to individuals that would be socialism.

        Redistribution of wealth is one of the planks of the Communist Manifesto so yes indeed, it is socialist. If nothing else, it is so far from the founding fathers tenets and basic principles of our country it should be laughed at, thrown in the lake to drown it forever and then buried in potter’s field just because it is such a poor idea.

        There is no need for further discussion since you continually bury yourself into that rat hole of socialism with every new post.

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