Racism is an emotionally charged issue. This emotion is understandable given the world’s history of wars, genocide, slavery, institutional racism, and continuing racial discrimination. However, as with all issues, we must approach this issue too with cool heads and rational thought. Given the preceding discussion of free speech, we are well prepared to analyze the issue of racism. It is primarily a question of free speech.

We approach and analyze the issue of racism precisely the same way we approach every other issue. So long as nobody violates the 3L Legal Principle, people should be legally free to live however they choose. This conclusion remains true even when people choose to live in ways we entirely disagree with or even abhor. Said another way, non-violent racism, while immoral and foolish, must be legally tolerated, and racism that violates the 3L Legal Principle must be terminated immediately and appropriately punished.

Non-Violent Racism

Reasonable and civilized people will readily agree that even non-violent racism is, among other things, entirely immoral. An example of non-violent racism is merely holding or exclaiming derogatory views about a person or group of people based solely on different immutable characteristics. While an entirely foolish and immoral position, such a view is consistent with the right to free speech and does not violate the 3L Legal Principle. People are entitled to believe and say whatever they want about the world, even things that are immoral, ignorant, or entirely wrong, so long as they do not violate the 3L Legal Principle. While people with such immoral views remain justifiably subject to ridicule from non-racist people, a free society must legally tolerate all non-violent views. As explained in the previous section, the right to free speech is always defended at the edges and usually in the domain of the most unpopular speech.

Another example of non-violent racism is refusing to do business with another person solely because of some immutable characteristic or lifestyle choice. While a foolish position for many reasons, the fact remains that nobody properly has a legal right to do business with another person. Refusing to do business with another person, even for racist reasons, does not violate the 3L Legal Principle. As in the case of free speech, tolerating peaceful racists, even when they refuse to do business with others for foolish reasons, is the price we pay for a free society. People must be free to live their lives, even in ways we abhor, so long as they do not violate the 3L Legal Principle, even as they violate the 3L Moral Principle. In response, civilized people should work to inspire them to be more open-minded, tolerant, and kind towards others.

That racist business owners should be legally permitted to refuse service to others on any basis they choose does not relieve them from the serious social and market consequences of their decisions. Especially in today’s world, where information is so readily accessible via the internet, it should be easy to determine which businesses refuse service based on immoral reasons. Because civilized people of moral conscience would be highly motivated to boycott all such racist-owned companies, the consequences of voluntarily adopting such racist business practices would likely be a market-driven death sentence for the racist business.

Encouraging racists to come out of the closet will produce a cleansing light of publicity upon such views. A virtuous society cannot be mandated. However, when civilized consumers in a community intentionally pass judgment on a racist business by using voluntary market forces to boycott publicly, the virtue of that society is readily apparent and effective. Utilizing voluntary market forces and social disapproval are proper and quite effective ways to attempt to eradicate non-violent racism in a free society. Trying to eliminate non-violent racism by force or coercion is ineffective and violates the 3L Legal Principle. As non-violent racism violates the 3L Moral Principle, such a non-violent racist is not a good candidate to join the 3LM. That said, we should work mightily to persuade such a person to discard their foolish views and adopt more reasonable ones.

Violent Racism

While a free society legally tolerates non-violent racist views, if those racist views materialize into a violation of the 3L Legal Principle, then that violation should immediately be terminated and prosecuted. Striking or pushing another person or trespassing upon another’s property is always a violation of the 3L Legal Principle. Also, engaging in any conduct that results in a substantial threat of harm to another person or their property also amounts to a violation of the 3L Legal Principle. The right to free speech never justifies any violation of the 3L Legal Principle, however slight. While the non-violent racist should enjoy the same legal protections as any other non-violent person, we should treat the violent racist like anyone else who violates the 3L Legal Principle.


Adhering to the 3LP and its derivative 3L Legal Principle requires that we strictly protect property rights in all cases. The rightful owner of any property is always the person who should control that property. The issue of reparations is primarily a factual question about determining who is genuinely the rightful owner of the property. Determining who is the rightful owner of the property can sometimes be challenging.

All claims and disputes about property ownership ought to be treated the same way without regard to race, sexual orientation, physical disability, nationality, citizenship, ethnicity, or any other immutable characteristic. The rightful owner of any property ought to have legal possession in all cases. Therefore, if a person claims another person is wrongfully in possession of their property, we should peacefully and rationally settle that dispute as we settle any other. Fortunately, as will be discussed later in this chapter, there already exist well-established rules in property and tort law, as well as rules of how we conduct trials, to resolve such disputes fairly. The person who claims they are legally entitled to some particular item of property, personal or real, should be allowed to bring a claim in court to resolve the dispute fairly. Courts are generally well equipped to resolve such claims.

However, generalized and non-specific claims against groups of people sought to be enforced against innocent people should always be rejected. Courts also properly reject claims when damages are speculative. There is no doubt history is replete with all manner of unjust acts committed against countless people for countless unjustified reasons. Unfortunately, the history of humanity is not a study of kindness or fairness. Indeed, all nations, religions, groups, and even people have suffered aggression. In this regard, nobody has lived a perfect life. Attempting to remedy past injustice by inflicting current injustice on innocent people only adds to the injustice. It also violates the 3L Legal Principle. People should be held accountable for their actions. However, people are not legitimately responsible for the crimes of their ancestors or even their parents or siblings. Punishing people for their immutable characteristics because other people with those immutable characteristics previously violated the 3L Legal Principle is entirely unjust and racist and violates the 3L Legal Principle.

On the other hand, if it can be appropriately proven in court that somebody wrongfully dispossessed the rightful owner of their property and that such property is currently in the possession of another person, the law should remedy that situation by either returning the property to the rightful owner or awarding damages. For example, if a rightful heir can prove his great-great grandfather’s watch was stolen and is currently in another’s possession, the heir should be awarded legal possession. While the current watch owner may have a claim against another person for damages, if the heir has a higher claim to the watch, then the heir should have legal possession of the property. The same analysis applies to real property. Concern about whether a seller has legitimate title to a property is precisely why many real property buyers intelligently secure title insurance.

Slavery is an evil that previously existed in many countries and persists today in some places. It did not originate in the United States. Tragically, many groups of people have suffered institutionalized injustice in many countries throughout human history. xxi The reality of past slavery and institutionalized racism in the United States, or any other place in the world, is a fact that we should not ignore. To the extent we can accurately identify wrongfully appropriated property by employing the same legal rules we apply to any other case, courts should right the wrong by returning that property to the rightful owner.


Like every other issue, we analyze racism in the context of whether someone is violating the 3L Legal Principle. Whether someone is violating the 3L Moral Principle and what to do about it are matters resolved outside the law, as with all other moral questions. The 3LM seeks to inspire people to comply with the 3L Moral Principle rather than to import those values into the law. Whether a racist violates the 3L Legal Principle entirely resolves the legal question.

To be clear, the aspirational values of the 3L Moral Principle and the 3LM are incompatible with any form of racism, whether public or private. The 3LM actively seeks to achieve a world where all people are judged by the content of their character rather than by their immutable characteristics or peaceful lifestyle choices. However, we can only genuinely achieve this goal through rational and persuasive conversation, not coercive legal mandates. We cannot achieve a peaceful society unless and until we evolve past the irrational, ignorant, and immature views that lead to a desire to disassociate from another person based on immutable characteristics or peaceful lifestyle choices.