discrimination In its basic sense, to discriminate is merely to make distinctions. But practically this must be for purposes of making choices. In fact, the more useful distinctions people can act on, the better off they are likely to be. The whole of social or interpersonal *liberty can be explained as discriminating as you wish in your use of your *legitimate *property. Thus *private-property discrimination is a *civil liberty. All *proactively imposed restrictions on such discrimination interfere with liberty for the purpose of increasing the *license or illiberal *power of other agents; whether this be the *state itself or *privileged interest groups.
Genuinely arbitrary discrimination in the *free market, that does not reflect any underlying reality of *demand or supply, is very likely to be competed away by businesses that do not thus discriminate and that thereby make more *profit. Any remaining discrimination is probably *efficient, such as that based on a market reflecting *racial preferences, or insurance companies having differential rates based on varying statistical risks among identifiable groups. It was only state action that created such uneconomic institutions as *apartheid in South Africa and proactively imposed *racial segregation in the *USA.
Notoriously, the word ‘discrimination’ is also used by the *politically correct (PC) as a pejorative for any social discrimination to which they object. These currently include discrimination on such bases as *race, color, ethnicity, *national origin, sex, *gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, *religion, *disability, age, ancestry, height, weight, marital status, veteran status, family status, language, accent, and dress. Some main PC objections are that these discriminations are based on *prejudice or *bigotry and are *irrational, *unfair, *unjust, *oppressive, or *morally arbitrary; see respective entries for further discussion.
The issue also arises of whether the state should discriminate in any of these politically incorrect ways. The most important point for the *libertarian *anarchist is that there should be no state-provided, or subsidized, services financed by *tax-*extortion, and so the question is redundant. Given that the state does intervene, though, there seems no reason to assume the *legitimacy of a PC bias. The least unlibertarian state action, and wider than just avoiding PC impositions, would possibly be to attempt to work out what the market and *charity would have roughly provided. Another possibility might be to allow net taxpayers to choose their policy preferences on their tax forms.A Dictionary of Libertarianism