Discrimination has lost is old viruous meaning and is now a dirty word, almost interchangeable with Prejudice. “I hate racial discrimination”, or “you homophobe, that’s discrimination against gays”.
What does Websters say?
Discriminate-to distinguish from other things to observe differences.
Prejudice-A bias or leaning, favourable or unfavourable, without reason, or for some other reason other than justice.
In other words, discriminate means to find real differences. That is you discriminate between white wine and red, between good red and bad red, between cheap good red and expensive good red.
When it comes to people, the more specific you are, the more beneficial your discrimination. If you are stupid enough to look only at colour, sex, religion or sexual orientation, your judgement will be poor. If you lok at character, track record, intelligence, attitude etc etc…. your judgements will be more valid. The more specific you are, the more you look for individual characteristics, the sounder your judgement, the greater your ability to truly discriminate.
Prejudice is simply pre-judgement. Forming opinions before learning the facts.
Can governments be trusted to discriminate? Can they closely examine every individual they come across and make sound judgements about their character, wants or needs? The best the state can do is collect statistics and pre-judge different groups according to what the state believes they want.
Clearly the ability to discriminate must be used intelligently and responsibly. By definition, that eliminates allowing the state such a privilege. Private individuals have a responsibilty to discriminate to the best of their ability. If they are irresponsible they will suffer. If a businessman is a lazy discriminator and say, won’t deal with Asians, hire gays or promote women, his business will suffer compared to his more responsible competitor. The free market has a way of sorting these things out.
Discrimination, done responsibly, is not only a great virtue, but is essential for survival. You cannot be forced to be responsible, therefore responsibility implies choice, which in turn implies freedom. Denying the ability to discriminate, destroys responsibilty and consequently freedom. That leaves you nothing to work with but blind prejudice. Not a formula for successful living.
That’s why socialist countries are full of hate, while free countries abound with goodwill. That’s why NZ’s Human Rights Commission, which discriminates against discrimination and thereby promotes prejudice, is such an appallingly dangerous organisation.