Thursday, July 26, 2012

WHAT WOULD BE THE OUTCOME OF THE WAR WE MAY BE STARTING HERE?

I'm no Glenn Greenwald fan, and I understand if you don't agree with what he's saying about the attempt to keep Chick-fil-A out of Chicago and Boston, but if you don't agree with his argument, you have to at least admit that the quid pro quo could actually happen. And what then?
If you support what [Mayor Rahm] Emanuel is doing [in Chicago], then you should be equally supportive of a Mayor in Texas or a Governor in Idaho who blocks businesses from opening if they are run by those who support same-sex marriage -- or who oppose American wars, or who support reproductive rights, or who favor single-payer health care, or which donates to LGBT groups and Planned Parenthood, on the ground that such views are offensive to Christian or conservative residents. You can't cheer when political officials punish the expression of views you dislike and then expect to be taken seriously when you wrap yourself in the banner of free speech in order to protest state punishment of views you like and share.
If socially progressive officeholders establish this as a legitimate governmental approach to business licensing, how is the war going to proceed? It isn't just that red-state mayors and governors will feel entitled to ban gay-owned or pro-Planned Parenthood businesses -- it's that their side is far more united in anger and vindictiveness. When the dust settles, who will have banned more businesses: a few liberal-leaning mayors and governors -- or the entire Bible Belt? What would Rick Perry do with a precedent like this? Or Bobby Jindal? Or Ken Cuccinelli if he wins his gubernatorial campaign? Do we really want to find out?

I'd never eat in a Chick-fil-A and I absolutely think individuals should shun the place. But I think Greenwald may have a point -- legitimizing the notion of government bans in these circumstances (i.e., in the absence of real evidence of legal discrimination) may not be a principle we'd want to see carried through universally. (The best-known bit of evidence that Chick-fil-A discriminates in hiring has been declared a fake by the company, though the company ought to be watched carefully.)

I see the counterargument: this is like anti-black discrimination; society has to declare it beyond the pale. I try to imagine the reaction if the mayors were trying to prevent, say, a branch of the notoriously racist Maurice's Barbecue from opening a branch up north. (Hell, even Maurice Bessinger's brother recoiled when Maurice's began flying Confederate battle flags and selling racist merchandise.)

So I'm torn. My first reaction was to cheer what Mayors Menino and Emanuel are trying to do. But -- taking this out of the realm of principle -- I suspect there'll be a war, and it won't end well. Two sides can play this game.

28 comments:

Tom Hilton said...

I basically agree with you on the practicalities of the thing. (On the other hand, I think if it does come down to that war the yahoos lose out way more than we do, simply because the most economically dynamic areas of the country are mostly very liberal.)

But Greenwald is, in typically libertardian fashion, full of shit on the principle of the thing. Advocating discrimination is fundamentally not the same thing as advocating anti-discrimination--and in certain contexts, the law actually recognizes that (e.g., the law does not protect speech that creates a hostile environment for a protected class).

: smintheus :: said...

Tom's right. Gay marriage is legal so people have a right to make that choice. Conservative bigots are trying to take that choice away...just as with reproductive rights. That's a very different thing from randomly discriminating against people because of political/social views that are different but not fundamentally discriminatory (or bigoted).

If a corporation were campaigning to stop miscegenation, would you feel that mayors should not throw every obstacle in their path? Or a campaign to coerce non-Christians into attending church? If governments are permitted to do what they want to attract businesses to certain areas, shouldn't they also be allowed to do the opposite and make them feel unwelcome?

I don't know that either Boston or Chicago have proposed to subject this company to different ordinances than other fast food chains. Aren't they just laying out the unwelcome wagon?

Oh, and fwiw more conservative areas have a long history of making certain kinds of businesses feel unwelcome because of their political/social/cultural philosophies. For ex, labor-unfriendliness is practically a religion in Dixie.

Steve M. said...

I don't know that either Boston or Chicago have proposed to subject this company to different ordinances than other fast food chains.

Not allowing them to do business in the city -- you don't think that counts as being subjected to different ordinances?

W James Casper said...

It's one thing to say don't eat there (or even to say I'm opposed to your setting up shop in my city, though that's a right on the line). It's another to use political/legal might to forbid them from doing business in a particular city/town...

If they were stopping gay folks from eating or working there--which I'm pretty sure is ALREADY against the law--I could see trying to run them out of town unless they stopped doing that.

But really, all the guy did was express the opinion of his faith which, like it or not, sees homosexuality as a sin. While I don't share that opinion myself, and will do all I can to avoid financially or otherwise rewarding those who believe and express it, religious freedom and the right of conscience allow him his beliefs, just as they allow me mine.

As an exit question, though... How is what these mayors are threatening to do ANY DIFFERENT from what certain republican legislators and governors are doing as regards abortion providers, setting up trap laws that regulate every aspect of the clinics and providers in such a way that they cannot meet them, and thus will have no choice but to close... The answer, of course, is that there's ZERO difference, except that these Republican governors and legislators have actually done what these anti-chickie mayors are only threatening to do...

: smintheus :: said...

Not allowing them to do business in the city

Have they prohibited them? I'm not sure what Chicago is doing, but IIRC Menino said he'd stay within the law and apply it rigorously to strongly discourage the chain from setting up shop.

Others have done that to predatory companies like WalMart with varying success, though over their generally anti-social policies rather than any putatively Christian stance.

: smintheus :: said...

So I looked into the details of what's happening in Chicago. First, Rahm appears to have little say in the issue, which centers on the opposition of an Alderman. Second, the company needs a zoning concession from the City Council to subdivide land; it has no particular right to that concession and in practice any Alderman can block such deals for pretty much any reason...such as the likelihood that a new owner will be a bad neighbor or create too much traffic. Chick-fil-A is extremely vulnerable to popular opposition, just as other noxious companies like WalMart. They have nobody but themselves to blame if their corporate policies arose such ire that they face opposition to the business expansion that they'd prefer not to face.

Never Ben Better said...

Meanwhile, Mayor "Mumbles" Menino in Boston has backed off, saying he was just expressing his personal opinion and that he's not going to use his office to interfere with the chick-place's efforts to get through the maze of permitting set before any business attempting to locate downtown.

Reporter: "So did you make a mistake?"

Mayor: You know I don't make mistakes -- you know I'm always makin' mistakes. Just another Meninoism" -- well, that's what I think he said, anyway; he didn't get the nickname "Mumbles" for nuthin.

giantslor said...

My first reaction was also to cheer Menino and Emanuel. It's still my reaction. To me, gay rights takes precedence here. So let conservative fuckwit towns ban liberal establishments. Most liberal establishments have no interest in setting up shop out in Bumblefuck, Nowhere (most conservative towns are rural) anyway. Plus, public opinion on gay rights is rapidly evolving in a positive direction, so these podunk conservative towns will be more and more isolated unless they have a change of heart too.

Victor said...

Sorry, but fuck Chick Fil-A!

Sure, they probably don't OPENLY discriminate against gays.

But, does anyone really believe that they really don't?
Does a gay man or woman have any chance to move up? Yes - from working the fryer in the back, to the night shift cleaning crew.

Conservative Christian do any and every thing to make the lives of people who aren't like them as fucking miserable as possible. From boycotting, to banning.

So fuck these corporatist Christians.

And "EAT MORE BEEF!!!"

Avoid pork, since most of the pork sold in the US is processed by Smithfield, whose labor practices sometimes make the Third Reich's sometimes look positively beneficent, and Chick Fil-A look like a gay bar in the West Village.

So, let the Chicksters stay in the South near their base of hate-filled Christian morons.
KFC is already doing enough harm up North.

Tom Hilton said...

I'm not so sure they don't discriminate. Judging from that article, they walk a pretty fine line (at best).

(By the way, little Donnie Douglas may be banned from comments here, but apparently he's still reading them.)

Steve M. said...

I guess it's kind of an honor to have a cyberstalker.

Barry said...

"...but if you don't agree with his argument, you have to at least admit that the quid pro quo could actually happen. And what then?"

I'm sorry, but who are these liberals supporting the abuse of government power here?

W James Casper said...

"I guess it's kind of an honor to have a cyberstalker."

Sorry Steve, but that's his way of thinkin'... There is nothing wrong with reading the blogs of people you disagree with and responding to what they post on your own...not even when one responds with the kind of inane, insane nonsense that Dr Douglas so often does.

All that shifting of blame and scapegoating he does is part and parcel of that "Machiavellian élan" he used to be so proud of, and has been used by two-bit dictators and tinfoil hat types (and their supporters and sycophants) since before The Prince was written down. (the list of folks who cite it as an inspiration is kinda scary, actually...)

The fact that he hypocritically does the same things he calls "stalking" when done to him does not mean he's right to call reading another person's blog and responding to the ideas expressed there (and sometimes, the author expressing them) stalking. It's just blogging...

453f2528-d85e-11e1-901c-000bcdcb2996 said...

Everyone keeps saying "all he did was express his opinion" but that is incorrect. What he did was use his riches to overturn marriage equality in California. He actively and substantively denied people their rights. This is where Greenwald is wrong.

453f2528-d85e-11e1-901c-000bcdcb2996 said...

Let me reiterate. This person used millions of dollars he got from his stores to take away people's rights. That is not "expressing an opinion". Glenn Greenwald can suck it.

Steve M. said...

You call them "rights," and I may call them the same thing, but the law doesn't recognize them as rights yet in most of the country. That means they're still being contested in the political sphere. That means Chick-fil-A is within its rights to fight its fights, no matter how much we want them to lose.

Holy Hyrax said...

>This person used millions of dollars he got from his stores to take away people's rights.

This is just more cliche bumper sticker remarks. People have had strong ideological opinions on gay marriage for a very long time. Yes yes, he is one of those greedy, evil rich misers, but to say that HE took away someone's rights is a lie.

W James Casper said...

Sorry Hyrax, but the whole hate the rich (in the form of the "greedy evil rich miser" characterization) isn't what's at play here.

I mean, it does more damage when someone donates a thousand to such unworthy causes than it does when they donate one hundred (or ten), but I'd just as soon not do business with a cashier in a Chick-fil-A as with the CEO, if I know that either is donating to an organization that believes gay folks are sick in the head and need curing.

As to your other point, I don't see anyone here claiming he's taking away rights all by himself. He most certainly isn't. But he is one of many *helping* take away folk's rights, and that alone is worth a little criticism and condemnation.

Holy Hyrax said...

>isn't what's at play here.

Oh come now. Im sorry, but in general there is a serious undertone in Liberal blogs and literature of anti-rich sentiment (bourgeoisie vs. proletariat) . You can rap it up in all sorts of hyper sophisticated language, but lets call a spade a spade.

>But he is one of many *helping* take away folk's rights, and that alone is worth a little criticism and condemnation.

My mistake. But he doesn't deserve anymore condemnation than half (give or take I would say, not sure) of Americans that voted exactly the same as he did. Because, in the end, all the money poured into ads is irrelevant. What is relevant is how we vote.

W James Casper said...

You can call a spade whatever you like, Hyrax... The fact remains you're generalizing about people and things that aren't involved with or taking place here at this post. If you want to discuss Marxism or "anti-rich sentiment" you ought to comment at one of the supposed many liberal blog posts where either are the topic (or undertone, at least) of the post at hand.

First. Off, this isn't about how Dan Cathy voted, or (for me, anyway) what his religion teaches or what he believes.

As I said in my previous comment, Cathy donated to organizations working to limit the rights of gay individuals, as well as one group that promotes the idea that gay people are sick and need to be cured.

Dan Cathy has every right to say whatever he wishes, and to "speak" via his donations, as well. But that free speech right does not mean he is protected from those who disagree with him, and wish to respond with speech of their own, using their free speech rights.

I have no more problem with those who believe homosexuality is a sin than I do those who don't eat meat on Fridays, or avoid pork completely---unless and until they start advocating and legislating whether *ANYONE* can eat pork, or meat on Fridays, or engage in homosexual behavior, as though we are all of one faith. Theirs.

You can believe as you will, Hyrax, but I believe there's far more to life than how people vote on election day... Me, I care about speech, and about how people treat each other on all those days between election day, too. And I will certainly call a spade a spade, whether it's praising folks who I think have it right, or criticizing those I disagree with... YMMV...

Holy Hyrax said...

Fair enough.

Holy Hyrax said...

My point was, that outside his views on the sickness of homosexuality, him "helping" take away rights - in the end - for all pragmatic purposes is when he takes it to the voting booth. So him "taking away " the rights of gay marriage is no more egregious than when I would vote the same way.

W James Casper said...

We disagree.

In the voting booth, we each have one vote. But outside the voting booth, in the marketplace of ideas, is a whole other story. Out here is where we interact with each other, and how we do so--what we say to and about each other, and ESPECIALLY about those we disagree with or are somehow different than we are--really matters. PROFOUNDLY matters, if you ask me. So when some knucklehead, especially one with some money and influence, is saying gay folks are sick, or Muslims are terrorists, or liberals are unAmerican (as far as I know, Dan Cathy has only said one of those things, but Dan Cathy isn't the only knucklehead with some money and influence), that is a problem for me, if not for everyone in America. It's bigoted and wrong on it's face, and because he has the money to pay for it, his voice out here is louder than mine and can reach more people, influencing them to believe and behave as he does, both out here, where more folks start thinking gay folks can be cured, and in the voting booth, where they vote as he does.

I believe both are a problem, but honestly, I'm more concerned about what goes on outside the voting booth, where Dan and I are so much less equal, at least in terms of our relative ability to affect change.

I get where you're coming from, and understand your point, even... I just don't agree with it. Voting matters, but it's what goes on day to day that really counts.

Holy Hyrax said...

Actually, I think we agree, for the most part. And to tell you the truth, I don't think most people have ever heard of Cathy before this. I honestly don't believe Cathy, along with his money have any real swing. The people that are against gay marriage are against it long before Cathy could ever come to influence them (including myself). It's not like you are progressive, than, after listening to Cathy you slap your head and realize how wrong you were.

But you are right, it's the day to day interactions that matter most and how we treat each other. I was merely talking about when policy hits the table.

W James Casper said...

Close enough, sir...

(I mean, look what this little day to day interaction did for us... I was even going to let you have the last word, but I wanted to acknowledge the accord we'd come to, so... 8>)

Holy Hyrax said...

So you mean I get the last word?

W James Casper said...

Yes.

(D'oh!... Sorry about that.)

Holy Hyrax said...

No problem