Bill O'Reilly is starting to look like the voice of reason over at Fox News, especially when compared to his libertarian guest John Stossel or his fellow Fox host Glenn Beck. O'Reilly takes John Stossel to task for his extreme views when it comes to the civil rights movement and whether businesses should be free to discriminate. I hate to say it but I actually agree with Bill O'Reilly for once. That doesn't happen very often.
Stossel: But we want government out of our private lives. We want the individual free to behave as he sees fit and government is a clumsy instrument and if you invite government in to all parts of life to make life fair, we libertarians think that's an awful idea.
O'Reilly: We all have the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, would you agree?
Stossel: Pursuit of happiness, yes.
O'Reilly: If a certain segment of the population is denied the pursuit of happiness because their skin color prevents them from going to the baseball game... from going to a swimming pool or a beach, that is not equality and that's where the federal government has to step in and demand it.
Stossel: Yes, I totally agree...
O'Reilly: Good... so we're on the same page.
Stossel: Those were government rules. That was Jim Crow, forced segregation...
O'Reilly: No I'm talking about now. I'm talking about now. I want the federal government to set up a system and force rules and regulations that give all Americans equal access to the pursuit of happiness and you don't disagree with that. And I don't think most libertarians do.
Stossel: Well as you're interpreting it I think we do. You seem to be saying that if a group blacks want to have a black only club, government should forbid that form of discrimination.
O'Reilly: There's a difference between a club, alright...
Stossel: ...or a black only business.
O'Reilly: ...or the Boy Scouts and things like this, people have a right in those organizations, but in a public place, in a place that's licensed by the state, in a state park, in anything that is open or should be to everyone, you have no right to bar someone because of their race, color or creed and the government must set standards there and have.
Stossel: I agree for a state park but a private business is different. This is so complicated. I have more on my web site (crosstalk).
O'Reilly: Look it's a philosophical argument but I feel very strongly that if it's open to the public then the public has to be... equal access to whatever that is. If it's licensed by the state as a...
Stossel: So women can't have a women's only health club?
O'Reilly: If it's a club...
Stossel: No, a business, a health club, an exercise place.
O'Reilly: Not...no. You cannot say to somebody you can't come in here because you're not a female. It's the same thing.
Stossel: I disagree with you Bill.
O'Reilly: But you're wrong because the law is on my side.
Stossel: Well some of the laws are on your side.