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Subject: Trying to get a few more miles out of that dead horse rss

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Moshe Callen
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Well, the Chik-Fil-A thing is probably as dead a horse as I could imagine but perhaps it's just mostly dead and the analog of Miracle Max is available here in RSP.

Here's the thing. I'm a vegetarian keeping kosher and living in Israel. I also have the view that fast food is for those emergencies when one is caught out and needs food without being either to have brought any along nor to wait till one gets home. An American non-kosher chicken fast-food chain is hardly going to get m business, whatever their politics.

Yet from the beginning of this "Let's boycott" meme, I've been bothered about it all for reasons I could not put my finger on quite.Personally, I understand the goals of the boycott and to a good extent agree with them. Things like high-profile politicians (like Boston's Mayor Menino) publicly mixing into permits they would never otherwise sully their hands with seems to me to go a bit far though.

That's not really what I find bothers me, although I think it symptomatic. What doesn't sit right with me is the extent to which this boycott has become the latest cause of the month, simply replacing Kony as the latest fad in popular causes and just as soon to be forgotten.

If one genuinely cares about the politics of the places where one spends one's money, should one not check out at least the few establishments one most commonly frequents? How many advocating a boycott have even considered doing so?

Does the US really want a society where anyone with a business cannot state an unpopular opinion on an issue currently debated in the political arena? As far as I see, that will be the only real effect of the boycott fad. The restaurant will go on. Yet one more bit of free speech will not, because in the end this boycott is not about the restaurant's politics at all; it's about daring to be open about them.

EDIT:
I personally support the actual boycott by private individuals; I just don't support what goes beyond that.
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The present day libertarian (and some conservative) opponents of the civil rights act favor a more free market approach to encourage comanpanies to give equal service to all people. Wouldn't this just be an application of that policy?
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whac3 wrote:
Does the US really want a society where anyone with a business cannot state an unpopular opinion on an issue currently debated in the political arena?
I don't know. In the post Citizen's United reality that is American politics, perhaps boycotting the businesses that are funding the millionaires who are fuelling the PACs (super or otherwise) will become more important than actually voting.
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In the vein of the post above me, I suppose if someone were to be cynical enough they could look at it as the new form of Electoral College.

Instead of voting for Electors. You spend your money at the establishments you wish to provide the power to bribe support the officials in office.

It does change the one person one vote dynamic a bit.
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jmilum wrote:
The present day libertarian (and some conservative) opponents of the civil rights act favor a more free market approach to encourage comanpanies to give equal service to all people. Wouldn't this just be an application of that policy?

1. I'm not such an advocate of the free market, but
2. as I said in the OP the grave sin of the company was not so much its politics as the expression thereof. Therein lies the problem.
 
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whac3 wrote:
Does the US really want a society where anyone with a business cannot state an unpopular opinion on an issue currently debated in the political arena? As far as I see, that will be the only real effect of the boycott fad. The restaurant will go on. Yet one more bit of free speech will not, because in the end this boycott is not about the restaurant's politics at all; it's about daring to be open about them.


Being open about them is part of what they are. Americans are generally quite happy with those who hold very odd views in private, and if such individuals comport themselves agreeably in public, are happy to do business with them. But one of the relevant beliefs is whether it is appropriate to share those beliefs publicly, thereby providing greater respectability to those who would act on such beliefs. If the founder of Wegmans (a local grocer) were privately homophobic but publicly neutral, he would not even implicitly approve of things like the bullying of homosexuals or any other means of treating them less well than heterosexuals. Once he speaks openly about it, that is no longer true, and it matters to me whether he is sufficiently compassionate as to want to avoid such implicit encouragement.

We oughtn't confuse freedom of speech with freedom from the consequences of speech. Just as business owners ought to be free to speak their minds, though it might affect their profits, consumers ought to be able to make use of the expressive power of purchases, though it might result in less efficient use of money. Any plea that consumers ought to forego their expressive options that business owners may more freely make use of theirs is unlikely to persuade consumers.
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Moshe Callen
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rinelk wrote:
whac3 wrote:
Does the US really want a society where anyone with a business cannot state an unpopular opinion on an issue currently debated in the political arena? As far as I see, that will be the only real effect of the boycott fad. The restaurant will go on. Yet one more bit of free speech will not, because in the end this boycott is not about the restaurant's politics at all; it's about daring to be open about them.


Being open about them is part of what they are. Americans are generally quite happy with those who hold very odd views in private, and if such individuals comport themselves agreeably in public, are happy to do business with them. But one of the relevant beliefs is whether it is appropriate to share those beliefs publicly, thereby providing greater respectability to those who would act on such beliefs. If the founder of Wegmans (a local grocer) were privately homophobic but publicly neutral, he would not even implicitly approve of things like the bullying of homosexuals or any other means of treating them less well than heterosexuals. Once he speaks openly about it, that is no longer true, and it matters to me whether he is sufficiently compassionate as to want to avoid such implicit encouragement.

We oughtn't confuse freedom of speech with freedom from the consequences of speech. Just as business owners ought to be free to speak their minds, though it might affect their profits, consumers ought to be able to make use of the expressive power of purchases, though it might result in less efficient use of money. Any plea that consumers ought to forego their expressive options that business owners may more freely make use of theirs is unlikely to persuade consumers.

That's certainly an argument for it, I'll grant. The problem I see with the argument is that we're not talking here about consequences within the normal sphere, as per my reference to the mayor of Boston. This is a dog-pile directed against a CEO personally and his corporation for expressing an opinion whose proponents argue has nothing to do with hate. Cathy did not advocate violence against homosexuals. He just voiced an opinion on whether the legal definition of marriage should be made independent of the gender of the two parties involved.
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rinelk wrote:
whac3 wrote:
Does the US really want a society where anyone with a business cannot state an unpopular opinion on an issue currently debated in the political arena? As far as I see, that will be the only real effect of the boycott fad. The restaurant will go on. Yet one more bit of free speech will not, because in the end this boycott is not about the restaurant's politics at all; it's about daring to be open about them.


Being open about them is part of what they are. Americans are generally quite happy with those who hold very odd views in private, and if such individuals comport themselves agreeably in public, are happy to do business with them. But one of the relevant beliefs is whether it is appropriate to share those beliefs publicly, thereby providing greater respectability to those who would act on such beliefs. If the founder of Wegmans (a local grocer) were privately homophobic but publicly neutral, he would not even implicitly approve of things like the bullying of homosexuals or any other means of treating them less well than heterosexuals. Once he speaks openly about it, that is no longer true, and it matters to me whether he is sufficiently compassionate as to want to avoid such implicit encouragement.

We oughtn't confuse freedom of speech with freedom from the consequences of speech. Just as business owners ought to be free to speak their minds, though it might affect their profits, consumers ought to be able to make use of the expressive power of purchases, though it might result in less efficient use of money. Any plea that consumers ought to forego their expressive options that business owners may more freely make use of theirs is unlikely to persuade consumers.


Also - this concept of the consequences of free speech works for conservatives and liberals alike. Let's not forget the case of the Dixie Chicks. A top country act in the late '90's and early 2000's, the lead singer of the band made some negative comments regarding President Bush at the outset of the Iraq War in 2003. This expression of free speech on the part of Natalie Maines resulted in a near total shunning of Dixie Chicks music by the country music establishment and country music fans in general, and the resultant cratering of their careers as top country artists (though they still won a number of Grammy awards in 2007 for their last studio album, and there is some talk of a new recording, the reality is that the majority of their record sales took place prior to 2003). The Chicks took what was at the time, and for their primary demographic, a very controversial stand, and they paid a huge financial and popular price for it.
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whac3 wrote:
jmilum wrote:
The present day libertarian (and some conservative) opponents of the civil rights act favor a more free market approach to encourage comanpanies to give equal service to all people. Wouldn't this just be an application of that policy?

1. I'm not such an advocate of the free market, but
2. as I said in the OP the grave sin of the company was not so much its politics as the expression thereof. Therein lies the problem.

I think Congress will move toward more transparent political funding laws. If not, the Supreme Court will force it on them as it was part of the majority decision in Citizens United. So whether a company wants to be up front about what it is donating or not, it will eventually be forced to. If we are going to have to live in a "corporations are people" world where "money is speech" at least the SCOTUS has given us the ability to see where all those living companies are speaking, evenif Congress hasn't caught up yet.
 
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whac3 wrote:
Does the US really want a society where anyone with a business cannot state an unpopular opinion on an issue currently debated in the political arena? As far as I see, that will be the only real effect of the boycott fad. The restaurant will go on. Yet one more bit of free speech will not, because in the end this boycott is not about the restaurant's politics at all; it's about daring to be open about them.


I think maybe you're looking at this wrong. Think of boycotts (and counter-boycotts, and all the arguments that go on around them) as public referenda on an issue. If the boycott based on Issue X does enough damage to the bottom line of the company, then there's arguably a significant public interest on one side of Issue X; if it does no damage whatsoever, then arguably, the public is either apathetic about Issue X or actively supports the other side.

It's not an infringement of free speech, as long as the government doesn't get involved. I think it's the epitome of free speech (expressed through the marketplace).
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whac3 wrote:
This is a dog-pile directed against a CEO personally and his corporation for expressing an opinion whose proponents argue has nothing to do with hate. Cathy did not advocate violence against homosexuals. He just voiced an opinion on whether the legal definition of marriage should be made independent of the gender of the two parties involved.


..and then directed large amounts of corporate funds to charities and organizations which advocate against same-sex rights (marriage or otherwise).

Everybody seems to skip over that part.
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Golux13 wrote:
It's not an infringement of free speech, as long as the government doesn't get involved. I think it's the epitome of free speech (expressed through the marketplace).

Thats a good point. People often forget that freedom of speech is only freedom from government restraint on speech, not freedom from consequence by others.

Palin mixed that up when she uttered one of her silly things and had to endure a media backlash and then said that she feared that her freedom of speech (and other politicians') might be infringed in the future if they had to fear more media onslaught for saying stupid stuff.
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whac3 wrote:
rinelk wrote:
whac3 wrote:
Does the US really want a society where anyone with a business cannot state an unpopular opinion on an issue currently debated in the political arena? As far as I see, that will be the only real effect of the boycott fad. The restaurant will go on. Yet one more bit of free speech will not, because in the end this boycott is not about the restaurant's politics at all; it's about daring to be open about them.


Being open about them is part of what they are. Americans are generally quite happy with those who hold very odd views in private, and if such individuals comport themselves agreeably in public, are happy to do business with them. But one of the relevant beliefs is whether it is appropriate to share those beliefs publicly, thereby providing greater respectability to those who would act on such beliefs. If the founder of Wegmans (a local grocer) were privately homophobic but publicly neutral, he would not even implicitly approve of things like the bullying of homosexuals or any other means of treating them less well than heterosexuals. Once he speaks openly about it, that is no longer true, and it matters to me whether he is sufficiently compassionate as to want to avoid such implicit encouragement.

We oughtn't confuse freedom of speech with freedom from the consequences of speech. Just as business owners ought to be free to speak their minds, though it might affect their profits, consumers ought to be able to make use of the expressive power of purchases, though it might result in less efficient use of money. Any plea that consumers ought to forego their expressive options that business owners may more freely make use of theirs is unlikely to persuade consumers.

That's certainly an argument for it, I'll grant. The problem I see with the argument is that we're not talking here about consequences within the normal sphere, as per my reference to the mayor of Boston. This is a dog-pile directed against a CEO personally and his corporation for expressing an opinion whose proponents argue has nothing to do with hate. Cathy did not advocate violence against homosexuals. He just voiced an opinion on whether the legal definition of marriage should be made independent of the gender of the two parties involved.


And his opinion means that certain consumers no longer wish to spend their money on his product. How is this any different from not buying something for any other reason, other than the obvious question of scale and visibility. More importantly, what is the solution? Force former customers of Chik-Fil-A to keep buying the food?

This situation isn't new or different, advertising and bad publicity have always had an effect on the marketplace. It isn't really a bad thing either, at least not bad enough to be worth trying to fix (as the solutions all sound terrible).
 
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I'm pretty sure that the US definitely doesn't need or want random corporations stating their political opinions. Corporations have WAY too much influence as it is... the last thing we want to hear is their political opinion.
 
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mightygodking wrote:
whac3 wrote:
This is a dog-pile directed against a CEO personally and his corporation for expressing an opinion whose proponents argue has nothing to do with hate. Cathy did not advocate violence against homosexuals. He just voiced an opinion on whether the legal definition of marriage should be made independent of the gender of the two parties involved.


..and then directed large amounts of corporate funds to charities and organizations which advocate against same-sex rights (marriage or otherwise).

Everybody seems to skip over that part.

Actually, no, you're simply wrong here because that was being done before the interview was given too. I've bolded the key word showing your mistake.

& Dan;

I'm not saying the boycott is not free speech. I'm saying it's being used to silence other free speech.
 
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whac3 wrote:
mightygodking wrote:
whac3 wrote:
This is a dog-pile directed against a CEO personally and his corporation for expressing an opinion whose proponents argue has nothing to do with hate. Cathy did not advocate violence against homosexuals. He just voiced an opinion on whether the legal definition of marriage should be made independent of the gender of the two parties involved.


..and then directed large amounts of corporate funds to charities and organizations which advocate against same-sex rights (marriage or otherwise).

Everybody seems to skip over that part.

Actually, no, you're simply wrong here because that was being done before the interview was given too. I've bolded the key word showing your mistake.

& Dan;

I'm not saying the boycott is not free speech. I'm saying it's being used to silence other free speech.


How is anything being silenced?
 
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whac3 wrote:
I'm not saying the boycott is not free speech. I'm saying it's being used to silence other free speech.

If a prominent business owner was a Holocaust denier, would you have a problem with society telling him, "we don't tolerate that crap around here"?

Same thing. Society is setting its values. All speech is worthy of legal protection, but it cannot and should not be free of societal consequences.
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The Message wrote:
whac3 wrote:
rinelk wrote:
whac3 wrote:
Does the US really want a society where anyone with a business cannot state an unpopular opinion on an issue currently debated in the political arena? As far as I see, that will be the only real effect of the boycott fad. The restaurant will go on. Yet one more bit of free speech will not, because in the end this boycott is not about the restaurant's politics at all; it's about daring to be open about them.


Being open about them is part of what they are. Americans are generally quite happy with those who hold very odd views in private, and if such individuals comport themselves agreeably in public, are happy to do business with them. But one of the relevant beliefs is whether it is appropriate to share those beliefs publicly, thereby providing greater respectability to those who would act on such beliefs. If the founder of Wegmans (a local grocer) were privately homophobic but publicly neutral, he would not even implicitly approve of things like the bullying of homosexuals or any other means of treating them less well than heterosexuals. Once he speaks openly about it, that is no longer true, and it matters to me whether he is sufficiently compassionate as to want to avoid such implicit encouragement.

We oughtn't confuse freedom of speech with freedom from the consequences of speech. Just as business owners ought to be free to speak their minds, though it might affect their profits, consumers ought to be able to make use of the expressive power of purchases, though it might result in less efficient use of money. Any plea that consumers ought to forego their expressive options that business owners may more freely make use of theirs is unlikely to persuade consumers.

That's certainly an argument for it, I'll grant. The problem I see with the argument is that we're not talking here about consequences within the normal sphere, as per my reference to the mayor of Boston. This is a dog-pile directed against a CEO personally and his corporation for expressing an opinion whose proponents argue has nothing to do with hate. Cathy did not advocate violence against homosexuals. He just voiced an opinion on whether the legal definition of marriage should be made independent of the gender of the two parties involved.


And his opinion means that certain consumers no longer wish to spend their money on his product. How is this any different from not buying something for any other reason, other than the obvious question of scale and visibility. More importantly, what is the solution? Force former customers of Chik-Fil-A to keep buying the food?

This situation isn't new or different, advertising and bad publicity have always had an effect on the marketplace. It isn't really a bad thing either, at least not bad enough to be worth trying to fix (as the solutions all sound terrible).

Again, the boycott if it were motivated by people looking into the company nd seeing what it does, then that would be a different issue. The impetus though is in this case solely that the CEO expressed an opinion publicly. I say "solely" justifiably because the donations of the corporation and of the CEO are the same before and after the interview. Yet before the interview, virtually no one cared. Yet when Cathy spoke up, suddenly it became the cause du jour.

So what changed? Only public expression of an unpopular opinion.
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damiangerous wrote:
whac3 wrote:
I'm not saying the boycott is not free speech. I'm saying it's being used to silence other free speech.

If a prominent business owner was a Holocaust denier, would you have a problem with society telling him, "we don't tolerate that crap around here"?

Same thing. Society is setting its values. All speech is worthy of legal protection, but it cannot and should not be free of societal consequences.

except that Holocaust denial is clear-cut. If the debate on gay marriage were, there'd be no debate anymore.
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shadow9d9 wrote:
whac3 wrote:
mightygodking wrote:
whac3 wrote:
This is a dog-pile directed against a CEO personally and his corporation for expressing an opinion whose proponents argue has nothing to do with hate. Cathy did not advocate violence against homosexuals. He just voiced an opinion on whether the legal definition of marriage should be made independent of the gender of the two parties involved.


..and then directed large amounts of corporate funds to charities and organizations which advocate against same-sex rights (marriage or otherwise).

Everybody seems to skip over that part.

Actually, no, you're simply wrong here because that was being done before the interview was given too. I've bolded the key word showing your mistake.

& Dan;

I'm not saying the boycott is not free speech. I'm saying it's being used to silence other free speech.


How is anything being silenced?

Refer to the OP. I'm fairly clear there on this point, especially how it goes beyond this one individual case in point.
 
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whac3 wrote:
shadow9d9 wrote:
whac3 wrote:
mightygodking wrote:
whac3 wrote:
This is a dog-pile directed against a CEO personally and his corporation for expressing an opinion whose proponents argue has nothing to do with hate. Cathy did not advocate violence against homosexuals. He just voiced an opinion on whether the legal definition of marriage should be made independent of the gender of the two parties involved.


..and then directed large amounts of corporate funds to charities and organizations which advocate against same-sex rights (marriage or otherwise).

Everybody seems to skip over that part.

Actually, no, you're simply wrong here because that was being done before the interview was given too. I've bolded the key word showing your mistake.

& Dan;

I'm not saying the boycott is not free speech. I'm saying it's being used to silence other free speech.


How is anything being silenced?

Refer to the OP. I'm fairly clear there on this point, especially how it goes beyond this one individual case in point.


I read it. Nothing is being silenced. If you are going to be open about your bigotry, expect less people to buy your product. If there are enough bigots to support you... as you say, they will go on and will continue to use their speech. If the business falls, they will still be able to use their free speech. Nothing has been silenced. No rights have been taken away.

What you want is a society where speech has no consequences. That is not part of the first amendment.
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whac3 wrote:
Again, the boycott if it were motivated by people looking into the company nd seeing what it does, then that would be a different issue. The impetus though is in this case solely that the CEO expressed an opinion publicly. I say "solely" justifiably because the donations of the corporation and of the CEO are the same before and after the interview. Yet before the interview, virtually no one cared. Yet when Cathy spoke up, suddenly it became the cause du jour.

So what changed? Only public expression of an unpopular opinion.


No, what changed is that his public expression made a lot more people aware of his actions than had been previously.

As for "free speech being used to suppress free speech"? I view it as free speech being used to counter free speech. Just as I view Tripp's dedication to stuffing his face with as many Chik-Fil-A sandwiches as he can stomach as a counter-boycott to be free speech being used to counter free speech.

Nobody is saying "Dan Cathy, you may not say these thing or do these things." They're saying "Dan Cathy, if you say and do these things, we won't buy from you." I don't see the problem.
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Damian
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whac3 wrote:
except that Holocaust denial is clear-cut. If the debate on gay marriage were, there'd be no debate anymore.

You're taking it too literally. If a prominent business owner took an odious personal stance of any kind, it would be okay for society to tell him they don't want any part of it.

I don't know how free speech could conceivably work any other way. He's allowed to give money to an activist group we oppose, but we're not allowed to not give money to him? That doesn't even make any sense. Why is his particular speech allowed to be free of repercussions? If I walked into his restaurant and started lecturing the employees that I thought the Pope was a kiddy diddler I'm sure I'd be asked to leave.
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damiangerous wrote:
whac3 wrote:
except that Holocaust denial is clear-cut. If the debate on gay marriage were, there'd be no debate anymore.

You're taking it too literally. If a prominent business owner took an odious personal stance of any kind, it would be okay for society to tell him they don't want any part of it.

I don't know how free speech could conceivably work any other way. He's allowed to give money to an activist group we oppose, but we're not allowed to not give money to him? That doesn't even make any sense. Why is his particular speech allowed to be free of repercussions? If I walked into his restaurant and started lecturing the employees that I thought the Pope was a kiddy diddler I'm sure I'd be asked to leave.

To many, the Dixie Chicks' public stance was odious. Do you then support what happened there too?

I don't personally give a damn about Chik-Fil-A and in a very real sense that's not at all what the OP is about. What I do care about is people getting dog-piled for an opinion which is currently unpopular but which if the political wind goes the other way fora way might not be in a year or two.
 
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Damian
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whac3 wrote:
To many, the Dixie Chicks' public stance was odious. Do you then support what happened there too?

That people stopped buying their albums because they took a controversial political stance? Absolutely. Why wouldn't I?
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I don't personally give a damn about Chik-Fil-A and in a very real sense that's not at all what the OP is about. What I do care about is people getting dog-piled for an opinion which is currently unpopular but which if the political wind goes the other way fora way might not be in a year or two.

That's the nature of free speech combined with easy and rapid communication. I don't see any way around it that doesn't involve regulating speech.
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