…whenever there appears to be a conflict of “rights,” at least one of the claims — or possibly both — must be phony. (…)
The barbers have the genuine right in this case. They should be legally permitted to refuse haircuts to whomever they please — but not because they have freedom of religion. What they genuinely have a right to, and what the tribunal should recognize and enforce, is a right to plain old unadorned freedom. (…)
Freedom means the absence of coercion. It includes freedom of contract. To have a contract, you must have a meeting of minds on all the major terms of the contract, including the identity of the person with whom you are contracting. If you don’t want to deal with someone for whatever reason — be it that they’re female, or not a member of your family, or that they’re left-handed, or they smell bad — you should be free to decline. If they have the right to force you to deal with them, then we’re back to involuntary servitude.