The proverbial “other shoe” has dropped in an ongoing struggle for religious freedom and private property in New York, a story on which I reported September 19 that now reveals precisely the problem of government invading the private sphere.
Just three days ago, I had the opportunity to dissect the 5-4 decision by the Supreme Court that denied Yeshiva University’s request for an emergency injunction against New York City forcing the Orthodox Jewish school to accept YU Pride Alliance, an LGBTQ club, on campus.
Without a SCOTUS block, the New York City Human Rights Law would force Yeshiva's administrators to allow the group to operate just like any other university-allowed campus club.
Shortly after my report hit the web, Yeshiva President, Rabbi Ari Berman, announced that, rather than open the university to officially recognizing a campus club that celebrates homosexuality, the school would temporarily cease its allowance of ALL school club activity on campus.
Berman said, in part:
“Every faith-based university in the country has the right to work with its students, including its LGBTQ students, to establish the clubs, places and spaces that fit within its faith tradition. Yeshiva University simply seeks that same right of self-determination…”
Which reveals the problem Americans encounter more and more as time passes and as government invades what should be private property and freedom of association.
As I have mentioned at MRCTV when discussing problems such as government ordained “lockdowns,” “mask mandates,” “distancing rules,” and even the longer-standing “licensing requirements” over private businesses, and as I have noted when discussing the key practical problem of public schools that runs hand-in-hand with the moral problem of forcing to pay for any government-run system, the imposition of government requirements onto Yeshiva have turned what ought to be a private institution into something where the troubling “Tragedy of the Commons” is taking over.
I make sure to include discussion of the phenomenon in any semester of “Economics and Ethics” class I’ve teach, because it tells people that anything not controlled via private ownership cannot reflect real valuation.
In a broader context, it tells us that anything run by the polis – i.e., off of tax cash – sees taxpayers fight over how the government will handle that limited resource. The conflict always leads to either a widening of everything that will be accepted (in public schools, that means higher costs, wider and wider acceptance of various odd subjects, acceptance of wilder student behaviors, and on and on – to the detriment of actual scholarship), or, in the long run, it leads to a gradual reduction in what is accepted -- limits on choice -- until the only ideology that remains is the acceptance of the state as power-broker.
The problem now has been forced on Yeshiva, which -- as its legal team notes, has the distinction of being the oldest Jewish institution of higher education in the US – would have had to allow the LGBT group to use its campus facilities until its appeal could be heard by the full bench of NY's highest court.
Instead, Yeshiva's administration has opted to ban ALL groups until they can have their case heard by the full New York Supremo.
And observers can see the Tragedy of the Commons again rear its ugly head.
The question is not whether an LGBTQ group is beneficial or injurious to a school. That should be up to the people running it and those who are considering attending it.
The question is whether people have the right to exclude others – and other practices – on their property.
Justices Roberts and Kavanaugh September 14 joined the leftists on the SCOTUS to deny that right, and punt the LGBTQ suit against Yeshiva back to the NY Supreme Court.
But we can see the practical problem – a matter that is made more complicated by the fact that Yeshiva receives both state and federal grants (in other words, we subsidize it -- can you say, “Thanks, Senator Schumer?”).
As I noted at the opening of this report, the invasion by government into almost all forms of private enterprise is not welcome, and it’s not stopping any time soon. It is unethical and leads to practical problems like this.
But we can learn from these situations, and create our own “schools” via word of mouth and friendship with others, even as the judges, bureaucrats, politicians, and students bicker and argue about how our tax money will be used.