Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Forcing art

Mark Shea finds an interesting little case developing in New Mexico where a husband and wife team decided that they didn't want to photograph a homosexual wedding ceremony, and a court ordered them to photograph it. Which, as he notes:

If a photographer is *compelled* to create photographic works of art celebrating gay "marriage", then it follows that the State can compel me to write sonnets and essays celebrating the same thing

Sure, one might argue that this sort of thing is covered under nondiscrimination in public accommodations or something like that. But wedding photographs are not a public accomodation. Sure, if you have a public corporation you might argue that corporate persons can not act based on the views of their management. But it's a bit insane to argue that people, as individuals, must take on any bit of business that comes their way.

Let's take this a step further. I have, as one of my goals, to write a few books, one of them on the history of a few programming language of note. Assuming I accomplish this goal (long shot) I'd be an author. Heck, if I'm any good I might even hire myself out to one of the technology publishing houses and write what they tell me to.

Let's say that a member of the Black Panthers (not to pick on them but I need an example) comes to me and asks me to publish a book on, say, how the use of C in programming is oppressive to various minorities who are only taught Visual Basic in inner city schools. I refuse, because I think it's bull. He then hits me with a civil rights suit (refusing to serve on the basis of race). Then I'm screwed.

Far-fetched? Maybe. Same sort of situation? I think so.

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