A number of readers (on both sides of the political aisle) have e-mailed me or otherwise messaged me to ask my opinions on or whether I would post about the Chick-Fil-A Hullabaloo. To be sure, earlier this week, I had planned a post on the matter, but, as I started writing it, chose not to finish the post and leave the story alone. The fast food chicken restaurant is, after all, a private enterprise, one of which I have patronized only occasionally (like maybe two or three times) in my life.
But, thanks to Democratic urban politicians eager to patronize the gay community (in response to activists suddenly upset that the chicken chain’s president had expressed support for traditional marriage), the story is not going away.
Last night on Facebook, my friend Rick Sincere (check out his blog here) offered a nice succinct statement on the story in which this smart libertarian summarized my basic response to the kerfuffle:
Property rights are human rights. Customers should be able to boycott a business; the government should not make that decision for them.
If you don’t like the fact that Chick-Fil-A’s president is a “devout” Christian who supports traditional marriage, then don’t buy his company’s product, but don’t attempt to impose your views on the rest of us by demanding that cities not grant permits to further franchises.
If cities determine to grant no business licenses to companies because of their management’s controversial politics, then we’d have to demand that cities grant no further licenses to Ben and Jerry’s franchises.
That said, the left-wing politics of that company won’t stop me from stopping by one of their stores on those occasions when I have a craving for a dish of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream.
NB: Tweaked the post to fix a clumsy sentence.
FROM THE COMMENTS: MV asks some questions that this story should cause us to consider:
The fact that Chic-fila-a is a big business plays into this too because it gives the left the attention that they want. We give money to businesses all the time with out knowing their personal and political beliefs. Are the left going to start asking every business how they feel on every issue before they spend their money there?
Sometimes, I wonder if what is really driving this issue is the “need” of some folks to be upset about something — to feel victimized.
EVEN MORE FROM THE COMMENTS: Rick Sincere, whom I referenced in the post offers:
Consumer boycotts are a legitimate exercise of free speech and free association. Sometimes they are effective and sometimes they are not, but they are always morally and politically superior to government coercion.
Once again, he hits the nail squarely on the head.
UPDATE: Just caught this on Instapundit:
Somebody should explore this phenomenon in depth. And it’s funny that Mayor Menino is posturing as some sort of defender of decency, but there’s nothing more indecent than a city in which your right to do business depends on whether the downtown hacks approve of your ideas.
Meanwhile, I wonder if his threats didn’t open him, and Boston, up to a federal civil rights suit. He’s threatening to use the apparatus of government against people for constitutionally protected speech and beliefs.