Listen you fuckers, you boozehounds…

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Daniel Pipes needs a stiff drink after the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC) of Minneapolis-St. Paul comes up with what appears at first to be a reasonable compromise between airport customers taking cabs home and Muslim drivers who refuse to take passengers carrying bottles of booze:

With this in mind, MAC proposed a pragmatic solution: drivers unwilling to carry alcohol could get a special color light on their car roofs, signaling their views on alcohol to taxi starters and customers alike. From the airport's point of view, this scheme offers a sensible and efficient mechanism to resolve a minor irritant, leaving no passenger insulted and no driver losing business. "Airport authorities are not in the business of interpreting sacred texts or dictating anyone's religious choices," Hogan points out. "Our goal is simply to ensure travelers at [the airport] are well served." Awaiting approval only from the airport's taxi advisory committee, the two-light proposal will likely be in operation by the end of 2006.

But on a societal level, the proposed solution has massive and worrisome implications. Namely, the two-light plan intrudes the Shari'a, or Islamic law, with state sanction, into a mundane commercial transaction in Minnesota. A government authority thus sanctions a signal as to who does or does not follow Islamic law.

What of taxi drivers beyond those at MSP? Other Muslims in Minneapolis-St. Paul and across the country could well demand the same privilege. Bus conductors might follow suit. The whole transport system could be divided between those Islamically observant and those not so.

Why stop with alcohol? Muslim taxi drivers in several countries already balk at allowing seeing-eye dogs in their cars. Future demands could include not transporting women with exposed arms or hair, homosexuals, and unmarried couples. For that matter, they could ban men wearing kippas, as well as Hindus, atheists, bartenders, croupiers, astrologers, bankers, and quarterbacks.

The tempting answer is Yes, pious fools should be allowed to turn down all those fares, and presumably go home emptyhanded at the end of their shifts. (Ironically, refusing to take drinkers in your cab also deprives you of the teetotaller's only pleasure: doing a slow burn of superiority and disdain at the drunken slobs whose lives are in your hands.) But all solutions become impossible once a regulatory agency is involved. The airport commission sets standards for correct and non-discriminatory service, which makes the reasonable response outlined above technically impossible. The only way the MAC has found this compromise solution is by carving out a fake exception to its own mandate. As Pipes indicates, once you've carved out one of those, new and more absurd exceptions can be expected to follow.

Just how and how much alcohol is forbidden in Islam is always a source of controversy, but Hadiths like the following don't seem to leave much ground for negotiation:

Allah's Messenger cursed ten people in connection with wine: the wine-presser, the one who has it pressed, the one who drinks it, the one who conveys it, the one to whom it is conveyed, the one who serves it, the one who sells it, the one who benefits from the price paid for it, the one who buys it, and the one for whom it is bought.

Taking that as your yardstick (and there are other possible yardsticks), it appears the anti-booze drivers weren't showing an exaggerated piety but following the rules they're supposed to be following.

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  1. Will they take mead drinkers? 🙂

  2. Goddammit. These idiots are turning me into a spiteful paleocon asshole.

    Despite my better judgement, my first gut reaction to this was “If they don’t want to take passengers who have booze with them, then they can go back to Shitistan.”

    UrGh…

  3. Should we try that lite-brite option for fundamentalist Christian pharmacists who won’t fill prescriptions for birth control pills?

  4. But Allah did not condemn the driver who transports the person in possession of the liquor. My solution? If cabbies don’t want to transport legally-possessed items, they get the fuck out of the cabbie business.

  5. Maybe these pious pricks should have chosen a profession where they wouldn’t have to worry about passengers violating the tenets of their faith.

  6. Lamar and David both hit the nail on the head.

  7. Allah’s Messenger cursed ten people in connection with wine: the wine-presser, the one who has it pressed, the one who drinks it, the one who conveys it, the one to whom it is conveyed, the one who serves it, the one who sells it, the one who benefits from the price paid for it, the one who buys it, and the one for whom it is bought.

    But not the grape-grower or wine critic?
    Who says Islam is illiberal?

  8. What about heretics?

  9. And I, visiting the city and just off the plane, know what the colored lights mean?

    And it will be okay if people are picking based on the color, not the taxi in front? Or will there be a taxi line for each color?

    Will there be cries of discrimination if non-Muslims choose to wait for a non-Muslim taxi, even when they are not carrying alcohol?

    Or on the other hand, if I have a bottle of alcohol in my bag, but the only taxi sitting there has a “no-alcohol” light, is the driver going to search my bag before letting me in his taxi, or are we on the honor system here?

  10. The bright side of the coin is that we are then forwarned and can avoid these cabbies.

  11. I don’t think a religious justification is really necessary here. A person who can’t leave his drink behind is, in all probability, a drunken asshole. Having a drunken asshole in one’s cab probably sucks. Ergo, I wouldn’t pick up people holding drinks if I were a cab driver.

    That said, I think it should be an individual decision.

  12. and so the MAP would seem to be supporting OBL’s contention that the west’s foundation on laws created by men will be its undoing.

  13. I misread. I was thinking the problem was with people actually carrying drinks, not with people carrying a bottle of liqour home.

    But I still view it as an individual decision.

  14. It’s not holding a drink or even being drunk that they issue with, Number 6. It’s carrying a sealed bottle of alcohol among your baggage.

  15. A person who can’t leave his drink behind is, in all probability, a drunken asshole. Having a drunken asshole in one’s cab probably sucks. Ergo, I wouldn’t pick up people holding drinks if I were a cab driver.

    This is an airport we’re talking about. These taxi drivers aren’t objecting to people carrying their last drink from the Airport Chili’s into the cab. Indeed carrying drinks out is probably prohibited by a public-open-container law. They’re objecting to me carrying that $75 bottle of Pinot Noir I picked up while I was in Sonoma because I want to pretend to be cool like those smug pricks in Sideways.

  16. What about crucifixes? You know, two-feet high or so? Okay, not okay?

  17. “Allah’s Messenger cursed ten people in connection with wine: the wine-presser, the one who has it pressed, the one who drinks it, the one who conveys it, the one to whom it is conveyed, the one who serves it, the one who sells it, the one who benefits from the price paid for it, the one who buys it, and the one for whom it is bought.”

    Selling oil is then un-islamic, as the seller may benefit from the sales of the wine that was hauled in the ships and trucks that burn the fuel that was processed from the oil. Mohammed H, they may as well just drink the wine.

  18. Can I still bring delicious pork products with me in the cabs with the special lights?

  19. Ironically, refusing to take drunks in your cab also deprives you of the teetotaller’s only pleasure: doing a slow burn of superiority and disdain at the drunken slobs whose lives are in your hands.

    To say nothing of the cabbie’s only pleasure; the slow burn of a drunk’s money as you take him all around Robin Hood’s barn to jack up his fare because he’s too drunk to notice.

  20. Im waiting for the tidal wave of outrage from “progressives”…..waiting…..waiting…
    Im remembering distinctly condemnation of cabbies who wont pick up certain fares or go to certain places because experience tells them they might well be murdered for whatever cash they have on hand.
    Cant do THAT, no, no.
    I knew a cabbie had his throat cut ear to ear. For a few bucks. Cabbies using thier gut to stay alive:”racist”- cabbies pokin thier nose in your business: multiculti tolerance. Brain dead hypocrisy: priceless.

  21. Hey, what about us?

  22. Actually, I think the simplest answer is to put the bottle of booze in your luggage where they can’t see it.

    The way it works at MSP is there is a line of cabs and a fellow who keeps track of which one got there first. This system has a number of advantages: the drivers don’t have to leave their cabs running and don’t all stand and shout “Taxi?” at each person that comes out of the terminal. You go up to the starter and he waves at the next fellow in line to start his engine and fetch your bags. To work the airport you got to have a special airport sticker because the airport is its own municipality.

    In the narrow sense, this is a non-issue because it probably doesn’t come up that often. Most booze probably IS in a bag and no one knows about it. In the broader sense, Muslim cab drivers in Minneapolis probably already refuse to pick up people at liquor stores or who are carrying cases of beer. This is only a problem at MSP because of the unique nature of the cab stand.

    Refusing to engage in commerce that is legal, but considered “immoral,” has a long and generally positive history in the US. I think this is only a story because it involves Muslim immigrants. I doubt anyone would invoke “Shitistan” if it were Mormons refusing to carry booze.

    In Minneapolis the drivers own the cabs or lease them from other drivers. The taxi companies are only dispatch services. There are relatively few Arabs, but a lot of Somalis and other East Africans.

    I drove cab back in ’91 and I took the day shift specifically so I wouldn’t have to deal with drunken assholes. I didn’t mind people carrying booze in bottles but I did refuse a few fares because of what they had in their blood.

  23. Pipes writes, “Namely, the two-light plan intrudes the Shari’a, or Islamic law, with state sanction, into a mundane commercial transaction in Minnesota. A government authority thus sanctions a signal as to who does or does not follow Islamic law.”

    Only if non-Muslims were forbidden from operating these “dry cabs.” If Mormons, AA-members, and Southern Baptists are also allowed to put on the little green light, then this is neither a surrender to the terrorist-religion (as Pipes considers Islam), nor even that more plausible and worrisome phenomenon, a violation of the establishment clause.

    Avoiding undue entanglement with religion is a fine thing, but that isn’t where Pipes is coming from. He doesn’t want the government to do something that isn’t undue entanglement, just because the people who want it are motivated by their beliefs as Muslims.

    The question “Should the govenrment allow cabbies to operate dry cabs,” like the questions “Should the govenrment ban anal sex,” and “Should the government fund soup kitchens for the poor” should not be answered by considering whether or not we like the Islamic, Baptist, or Catholic religions. It is Pipes’ determination to base his policy decisions on whether the proponents are Muslim that improperly drags religion into the law.

    Drew W., “Should we try that lite-brite option for fundamentalist Christian pharmacists who won’t fill prescriptions for birth control pills?”

    In this case, the same service is available in the same location for a customer who is turned away by the Muslim cabbie. Literally, the operator of the cab stand simply points you to a different car. With phramacists, that is not the case. You’d have to go to a different establishment, usually some distance away. In some cases, this decreases access could deny a customer the opportunity to avail herself of the medicine she needs in time.

  24. Hey, lets take all the dissenting mudslime cabbies into the street and blow their fuckin brains out. Put that in your hookah and smoke it.

  25. In England they’re also refusing to take blind passengers with guide dogs:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=408912&in_page_id=1770&in_page_id=1770
    +++
    Bill Alker, who works with Mrs Vernon at the RNIB supporting other victims of discrimination, said: “Jane and I have worked together for about 16 months advising and supporting people who have suffered the same crime.

    “It is absolutely wrong and must stop. Many drivers, cab company operators and the authorities that provide licences are together flouting a good law that was introduced to help blind and partially sighted people get about more independently.”

    Drivers who refuse to take a guide dog can lose their licence or get a fine of up to ?1,000 but Mr Alker said cases rarely went to court.

    “Victims must have the support of the area licensing authority who have the power to bring a prosecution or discipline the driver,” he said. “So many drivers flout the law and get away with it.”

    Earlier this month Mrs Vernon supported-another blind woman who was refused a taxi ride take the case to court. Bernie Reddington, 37, had asked driver Basir Miah for a lift home after a hospital appointment at Great Ormond Street but he had refused, calling her dog “dirty”.”
    +++

  26. 1. I’m not MUTT.

    2. The cabbie has no right to examine the contents of your luggage.

    3. In Minnesota, the cabbie is still transporting alcohol — I think ethanol is blended into all gasoline there, or soon will be. (Kind of ironic, heh).

    4. Pipes is demagoging this. Sixteen cab drivers were involved and the issue was a bottle in plain sight. He’s using this to imply that 3/4 of MSP’s 900 cabbies will be involved. Yeah, right.

    5. Does Pipes also have a problem with serving Jewish kids something other than hot dogs on days when that’s on the school lunch menu? Isn’t that an intrusion of an alien legal system into a mundane transaction sponsored by the government?

    6. To anyone who said that the Muslim cab drivers have a right not to work as cab drivers: Exactly. That’s why they have the right to lose revenue by refusing to serve you.

    7. The whole transport system could be DIVIDED!! I’m not scared. Smoking and non-smoking cabs didn’t break the back of this great land of ours, did they?

    8. Pipes has backed off most of these points and it’s not clear how much is left of his original argument:

    http://www.danielpipes.org/blog/679

  27. Hey, shhhhlide ovah, Buddy, an’ lemmee… Hey, Buddy, wah-own-shoo… Hey! Hey, you juss shuh-shlide ovah, an Ah’ll drive you! Hey! Whaddaya shay?

  28. The commision’s website says:

    A public corporation, the MAC was the first metropolitan agency created by the Legislature. The Minnesota governor appoints a chair and 12 commissioners. The mayors of Minneapolis and St. Paul each appoint another, bringing the total commission body to 15. Commissioners serve four-year terms.

    So, I take it this is technically a government body, and has to adhere to the First Amendment. The obvious solution is to privatize the airports, and let them set whatever rules for cabs they think will be best for business. Fat chance of that, huh?

    If it could be argued that the corporation is independent enough from the government to be considered private, then it should just tell the cabbies that from now on entering the taxi queue will be taken as assent to non-discrimination.

    Kevin

  29. I doubt anyone would invoke “Shitistan” if it were Mormons refusing to carry booze.

    That’s only because nobody can figure out how to work the word ‘shit’ into the word ‘Utah’. And for your various protestant teetotalers the variant would be go back to BFE.

  30. Joe: So if these were fundamentalist Christian cabbies who refused to take gays, or Hindus who refused to take anyone wearing leather, would you be OK with that, too? Just asking.

  31. Shitah? Maybe.
    F-Utah? Little better.
    Cuntah? Definitely not.

  32. Isn’t alcoholism considered a disease? (I’m not saying I agree with this, btw) If this view were true, then these cabbie are (at least potentially) guilty of discriminating against people because of a disease. I’m surprised the PC crowd hasn’t jumped all over this angle. Too bad drunks don’t have one of those anti-discrimination groups (Alcoholics Unanimous?)

    What happens if someone gets in a cab, and the cabbie only realizes the fare is drunk halfway through the ride? Do they dump them on the side of the road?

    This whole thing is one more reason why we need free immigration. Get some cab drivers from other nations to take over from these assholes.

  33. PapayaSF,

    First of all, I’m not “ok” with the MAC’s proposal. I think it’s stupid, on policy grounds. I’d consider the leather/no leather rule to be equally stupid.

    Refusing to take gay fares would actually make my blood boil, because unlike refusing service to people with liquor or leather, that would be discrimination based on bigotry towards a group – which would also make it a violation of the equal protection clause. Being gay, black, or short is inherent to who you are, as opposed to your outfit or the beverages you’re carrying.

    This distinction between who people are vs. what they are doing/wearing/carrying at a particular moment is what I was getting at when I took exception to the Pipes quote.

  34. Joe,

    Two points:

    1) I think you are splitting hairs (in a ridiculous manner) to claim that there is a difference between discriminating between skin color, sexual orientation, and carrying alcohol. The diffrentiation between alcohol and sexual orientation is especially weak because homosexuality is not detectable unless the person communicates their sexual orientation by modes of dress, actions or statements. In other words, there’s not much difference in being offended by the presence of asealed bottle of alcohol in your cab and the presence of a gay man who is detectably gay. (Disclaimer I personally think discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is idiotic, and have never practiced it) (Addendum to the disclaimer: That’s not quite correct. I did practice it once. When I was looking for mates, being a heterosexual male, I used to discriminate against men and lesbians)

    2) Unlike your claim otherwise, this is precisely the same issue brought up when a pharmacy refuses to dispense birth control pills ot an unmarried woman who was not raped.

    Here are how the situations are simmilar. The state has restricted the pool of people who can provide a service. A person cannot drive people for pay without a hackney licence, a person cannot sell certain medicines without a pharmacists licence. Generally rather than allowing anyone who applies (after demonstrating a certain degree of competency) the state sets an upper limit to the number of people it will permit to practice the trade in order to keep competition low and prices high.

    Then, when some of these people exercise this power in a way that government officials do not like, it attempts to compel them to act in ways that are immoral.

    The fact is, regardless of how he got into his profession, any cabbie has a right to decide not to take on a paying customer, just as any pharmacist has the right to decide not to sell something, or I have a right to refuse to write a computer program whose usage I do not approve of.

    The neither the cab-driver, the pharmacist nor the computer programmer is a slave to be compelled to provide services against their will.

    Now, if the state were to pass a law making it illegal to transport alcohol in a cab, or to provide birth-control pills wihtout a prescription, that would be immoral (oh wait they already do that sort of thing). But for the owner of a vehicle or a store to decide not to do business with someone, even for the most idiotic or pig-ignorant reasons is not only immoral, but not worthy of legistlative action.

    The notion of special lights is not neccesarily a bad thing. It is, in fact, a communication between a seller and prospective buyers concerning services being offered. To me it is no different than a “No Shoes, No shirt, No Service” placard, or a sign stating, “We only serve customers who speak english”, or a sign stating “Country and Western music nightly”.

    The owners of the airport (let’s set aside that the state is operating a port for the minute) should be free to contract with whomever they want to provide taxi service to and from their business. The taxi drivers should be free to choose with who they do business with. And the customers should be free to take their custom elsewhere. The problem here is that the government is acting to limit the freedom of all the above parties.

  35. I doubt anyone would invoke “Shitistan” if it were Mormons refusing to carry booze.

    That’s only because nobody can figure out how to work the word ‘shit’ into the word ‘Utah’.

    Do something with “Deseret” instead. Like Desershit.

    (Sorry, I rather like Mormons myself, but I like playing with words even more.)

  36. Being gay, black, or short is inherent to who you are, as opposed to your outfit or the beverages you’re carrying.

    Sez you.

  37. tarran,

    1) “In other words, there’s not much difference in being offended by the presence of asealed bottle of alcohol in your cab and the presence of a gay man who is detectably gay.”

    You can put down a bottle, or choose not to buy one. How do you take off Teh Gay? I suppose you could make an effort to pretend that your spouse, who just picked you up at the airport after a trip and who missed you, is just a buddy. Nice. No, I do not accept that deliberately working to disguise who you are at a fundamental level of human experience is the equivalent of keeping your scotch tucked away in your bag.

    2) You completely failed to address the substance of my point, that the presence of absence of equally-available alternatives make the situations different. I realize you are a libertarian idealist, and it’s all about principle for you, but I don’t think you can so easily discuss freedom divorced from people’s lived experience.

    “(N)either the cab-driver, the pharmacist nor the computer programmer is a slave to be compelled to provide services against their will.” So we also disagree on the approprite status of “places of public accommodation” and their equivalents among the service trades. Oh well.

  38. Hmm. If I was a Minnesota airport cabbie, and (for example) I deeply believed that my cat told me never to transport someone carrying a bottle of booze, and that this should guide my life, and so I asked for one of these lights, should I expect to be treated as if I was an orthodox Muslim?

  39. What you do, what you buy, and who you fuck are all parts of who you are. And how do you decide to not buy the bottle of wine or scotch when you bought it in Paris and you’re getting off the plane in Minneapolis? Are you supposed to know ahead of time that some fundamentalist won’t drive you to your hotel because you’ve got some alcohol on you?
    sheiste
    joe – you’re right about tarran not specifically addressing your point, but at the same time, he’s right, too. Once you give the government the power to issue the “right” to provide a service, they’re going to feel obliged to say how someone runs that service…in essence, what that service really is. While I understand the limited role that gov’t may play in keeping us safe from quacks and sheisters of all stripes, couldn’t you at least agree that such a role could be scaled back quite a bit, especially in this day and age, without civilisation collapsing??

  40. http://i1.tinypic.com/n4v6fo.jpg

    Taxi!

    I know. I’m being very insensitive. So I’ll get bombed. As it were.

  41. Whoops – This caption fell off the cartoon.

  42. Grr.

    This caption:

    “Hey, Jack! Which way’s Mecca?”

    And I’d always thought gremlins were infidels.

  43. The MAC hadn’t said whether cabbies should be forced to accept a fare. The airport rule is “If you refuse a fare, you go to the back of the line.” It’s a rule that makes sense, as far getting people out of the airport and keeping traffic moving by preventing cabbies from camping out and waiting for large fares only while jamming up human and vehicle traffic. The muslim cabbies who object to transporting alcohol want to be exempt from this rule for religious reasons. I wonder if the special light won’t turn into a defacto excuse to refuse fares for any reason.

    I’ll agree with Pipes’ larger point. Today, it’s about not wanting to offend Allah by transporting alcohol. Tomorrow it will be another Sharia violation. Best just not to go down that road at all.

  44. Best just not to go down that road at all.

    Right David.

    This is a non-problem. No ride for me, no money for you.

    Should a Muslim mullah cab driver be allowed to refuse service to a Catholic priest carrying a bottle of alter wine ? I’ll leave that one to Jerry Springer.

  45. I’m sorry joe, you’re right. I should have addressed your point more explicitly.

    I agree that it is much more difficult to find another pharmacy than another cab. But this is absolutely irrelevant.

    Just as a farmer does not owe you food, a doctor owe you medical care, a prostitute owe you sex, or a cab driver owe you a ride, no pharmacist owes you medicine.

    In other words, if all the pharmacists in the world were to simultenosly, and of their own free will decide to stop selling medcines, your rights are not being violated.

    This is, of course, not to be confused with the situation where a pharmacist has some medicine to sell to you, and a busy-body passes a law preventing him from doing that.

    A pharmacist refusing to sell me a birth control pill is not hurting me. Granted, if I’m in the market for a morning after pill and somebody who had some refuses to sell it to me on such spurious grounds as my marital status I’d have some choice words for him, but I have no right to force him to sell me something he does not want to sell me.

    Now, I am not ingoring the physical lack of alternatives. But if the lack of alternatives bothers you, you are going about repairing the harm in exactly the wrong way. The lack of alternatives, the pharmacists or taxi-cab drivers actions are prompted by their knowledge that they can really piss of their customers a great deal before the customer walks.

    Now, if one looks at the profession of cab-driver or pharmacist, one finds that there are people who want to enter the profession but are unable to enter because there are a limited number of slots open for people to take up the profession, far fewer than the number of qualified applicants who want to enter the field. This is, of course blatantly obvious in the case of taxi drivers, for example, I understand that a “medallion” which allows one to drive a taxi in New York City costs $50,000, which is probably 10X the cost of the car! In the case of pharmacists, this is accomplished through training programs that are needlessly expensive, time-consuming or limit a trainee’s ability to support himself during the training process.

    All of these expensive requirements are not inherently demanded by the profession, but are rather imposed by government officials in the name of reducing competition and protecting the revenue stream of exiting players by limiting the ability of new entrants to compete.

    The notion that what is required are more rules to compel “proper” behavior from those who benefit from government protection is as illogical as the notion that the Iraqi insurgency can be defeated by shooting more bullets at them.

    I suggest that it is time for the regulators to cut and run. They are dead-enders who would be much better off if they abandoned their destructive policies.

    Again think of the poor, horribly maligned prostitute. Would you compel her to service clients that she didn’t like? Then why should the cab driver or the pharmacist do the same?

    (Incidentally the notion of public accomodation as a justification for state regulation is essentially a rationalization to justify the desire to push people around. It historically has been used to justify, among other things, laws against minority faiths, laws requiring segregation of races, laws requiring people to pay tribute to local robber-barons and the like. It’s not the significant principle you’ve been told it is. Rather, the criteria are pretty arbitrary and elastic. )

  46. Well, if I saw a Rabbi wearing traditional Hasidic garb and refused him service in my cab, I’d be called out as an anti-Semite – and quite rightly. Is there some Muslim rubric that forbids transporting ministers of other religions? If Fr. O’Hara is wearing his dog collar, an anti-Catholic might pass him up. The joke might be on the driver if it were actually the Reverend Mr. Playfair, an Episcopalian.

    About “public accomodations”: I think the law is wrong to demand non-discrimination from owners of private businesses, except when one is acting under the authority of the state. A private cab company ought to be able to refuse service to anyone, for any reason. If that private company has agreed to a non-discrimination rule in order to have access to the grounds of the state-owned airport, that’s another thing. The same goes for restaurants located on government premises, companies granted monopolies such as utilities, government contractors and of course any firm receiving a subsidy from the taxpayers. In short, certain kinds of private discrimination may suck, but ought to be legal, while no invidious discrimination by the government should be allowed.

    If the number of cab licenses is limited by the government, the jurisdiction handing them out could also make non-discrimination a condition of issuance.

    Kevin

  47. Kevin: It’s quite common for cab drivers to pass up black males and it’s certainly wrong and wouldn’t be tolerated at the MSP cab stand. But it’s not like cabbies don’t play favorites.

    Consider, for a moment, the Muslim’s actual position. He believes that alcohol is evil, along the lines of an old-style temperance activist. He believes that it is not only a sin to drink it, but to enable someone else’s sin by assisting him, along the lines of a bartender refusing to serve someone he knows is an alcoholic, for example. Some pharmacists, Scientologists, for example, might refuse to carry antidepressants. Or some lawyers might refuse to handle divorce cases on moral grounds. Some lawyers will not take rape cases simply because they don’t believe they can or should do the things you have to do to win a rape case.

    People make small moral judgements like this all the time. It is rather unusual in this case and rather extreme, but not that extreme. The Muslim believes that every person who drinks has a problem and he does not wish to be a part of it.

    The only legitimate point here is that made by David, which I had not considered, that the Muslims don’t just want to refuse fares, which they can already do, but they want to keep their place in line. I’m a little more sympathetic to this than he is, since you can be in line for a couple of hours when it’s slow, but I still don’t believe it comes up often enough for it to be a major issue. But I guess I can’t say for sure. I don’t shop the duty-free shops and I don’t know how much alcohol they move there.

    If I ran the cab stand I would keep some old boxes around for people with bottles to stick them in. The cabbies would know about it in general, but not know for sure, thus maintaining plausible deniability with Allah.

  48. I’m with the shitistan guy.

    A big difference between this sort of Islam and our homegrown religious abstainers is that our homegrown variety, when it comes into conflict with mainstream society, tends to withdraw. Two examples that come to mind are the Amish and the Mormons. The Mormons may be quite a bit more open, but they don’t seem inclined to rough up liquor sellers (except through regulation) The Amish have decided much of mainstream culture is distasteful to them, and withdrawn peacefully. Society and government are fairly tolerant of both.
    My libertarian gut instinct is that cabbies should be able to pick up (or ignore) whomever they want. However, the pick up area at the airport is a fairly finite resource. Maybe a “Driver refuses to transport alcoholic beverages” area should be placed a couple hundred yards away. Get ready to see a lot more car service types of setup. I’ve got a sikh dude I can call up ahead of time. He doesn’t seem to mind a little drinking.

  49. The idea that it’s easier to find a different cab then a different pharmacist might not always hold up. In some places, Muslim cab drivers might dominate the profession. You might have to wait a long time to find another cab driver, not a Muslim, in some areas. Or at least much longer than you’d ideally like to wait. Whereas, with the pharmacist, depending on the city size, that might just be a walk down the block.

  50. on second thought, i take it that pipes is also against prayer and creationism in public schools, against special tax breaks for clergy, and in favor of the naacp’s suit against the clinic, etc.

    that or he’s an anti-muslim bigot.

    oh, right.

  51. Allah’s Messenger cursed ten people in connection with wine: the wine-presser, the one who has it pressed, the one who drinks it, the one who conveys it, the one to whom it is conveyed, the one who serves it, the one who sells it, the one who benefits from the price paid for it, the one who buys it, and the one for whom it is bought.

    No wonder those people are so miserable.

    – Josh, too early for a drink

  52. Good thread here, lots of interesting arguments.

    kevrob:
    “A private cab company ought to be able to refuse service to anyone, for any reason. If that private company has agreed to a non-discrimination rule in order to have access to the grounds of the state ownned airport – that’s a different thing.”

    Right, and as tarran has pointed out, the state puts a limit on how many licences are issued for taxicabs, creating an artifical scarcity. So there is an implied agreement (I’m talking theory here, I don’t know what the law says) between the customer and the cabbie that he will provide the service in a (reasonably) non-discriminatory manner in order to keep his licence. If it really bugs the cab driver to haul alcoholics he should find another way to make a living. If you hate gamblers, don’t work in a casino.

    In his book, How I Found Freedom In an Unfree World, Harry Brown suggests that if you think a law is wrong or unjust, go ahead and break that law if you want to, just don’t get caught. We all do it all the time in the real world. Don’t wave you’re bottle of wine in the cabbie’s face and you’ve got it made.

  53. “Allah’s Messenger cursed ten people in connection with wine: the wine-presser, the one who has it pressed, the one who drinks it, the one who conveys it, the one to whom it is conveyed, the one who serves it, the one who sells it, the one who benefits from the price paid for it, the one who buys it, and the one for whom it is bought.”

    So … it is wrong for Afghanis to sell opium to infidels?

  54. Hmmmm…. just for fun…. I’d enjoy buying one of those little bottles of booze on the plane and just before handing the bugger his fare pouring the alcohol on the money… The fare is tendered, I’ve made payment. If he refuses my cash tender my ride is free. If I run the bar in the airport can I sell these little bottles at a premium, but less then the fare from the airport to my hotel? Would it work with any alcohol? Then I don’t need a license to sell the stuff. I love free enterprise! I just might start selling cartoons of the prophet or any other holy grail too. Leave those in the cab of your choice too. They can have little adhesive labels to stick them to the back of the drivers seat. Sort of like the “kick me” signs we put on each other’s back in junior high. Damn… what a great country.

  55. So … it is wrong for Afghanis to sell opium to infidels?
    Who CAIRs?

    Alcohol content of over-the-counter meds:
    http://www.sdsuduip.com/meds.html

    Too bad they nixed idea of lights on the cabs, since that could work both ways – which is why they nixed it. So, maybe the prospective passengers could start wearing harmless little tags to indicate their characteristics which happen to be abhorrent to the follows of Allah (Pork Be Upon Him), perhaps something like –

    Alcoholics – black triangle
    Homosexual men – pink triangle
    Jews – two yellow triangles
    etc.

    Just an idea…

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