03 August 2012

An (I hope) reasoned comment on the whole sad, stupid Chick Fil-A controversy

Two points on the whole sad, stupid Chick Fil-A controversy. (Besides that the food looks entirely inedible; we fortunately don't have this place here, and I quickly rejected it when I encountered them in Florida not long ago).

1.  Offending your customers is stupid. The appropriate response is to not give the business your custom. (I was very saddened to see long lines of people rallying behind the hate-filled, discriminatory, and narrow-minded comments of the CEO that started all of this, but, again, the appropriate response is withholding business, or boycott).

2.  It's overreacting to try to penalize the business legally, so the mayors who said they will "block" Chick Fil-A from locating in their cities were overreaching. On the other hand, where there are city franchises or other choices of contractors for public venues, I think legislatures have every right to take the public image of a business as favorable or unfavorable to non-discrimination into account. And what Rahm Emmanuel, for instance, said, that the chain's values (as stated by its CEO; he didn't qualify his comments as speaking only for himself), were "not Chicago's values"; well, those kinds of remarks are just as protected by the First Amendment as the CEO's remarks in the first place. There was a similar reaction to the anti-health care remarks of Whole Foods' CEO (a notorious libertarian)... people have every right to say "Whole Foods values are not our city's values" in response, and to not shop there, even organize boycotts. What they probably don't have a right to do is categorically ban their stores from locating in their jurisdiction because they disagree with the stated political views of the CEO.

Why this is important is that with roughly half the country in thrall to Rightist propaganda about "excessive government control" and all of that nonsense, it's generally a good idea not to hand them an issue on a platter, so to speak. 

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