Sunday, August 5, 2012

Free speech and Boycotts

Chick Fil A has been in the news a lot in the last couple of weeks.  As we all know the issue stems from the CEO talking about his personal beliefs in a nationally run interview and the angry fallout directed towards his company.  What I find astonishing is how conservatives have twisted free speech.  What they are saying is that this is a free speech issue and that you should be able to say whatever you want without a fear of reprisal.  Excuse me but aren't you the same group of people who ruined the Dixie Chicks for something they said in a concert by calling for a boycott?  No, you can say whatever you want recognizing that the consumer is ultimately free to chose whether they continue to buy your products.  I have no problems with the boycott.  If Mr. Cathy had been running issue ads through as a shielded donor through a super pac (allowed under citizens united) no one would have ever known and he wouldn't be worried about his business suffering.  As I have said before this is what is wrong with citizens united, you have all of this money being spent whose source is unknown.  Consumers don't have an opportunity to make informed purchasing decisions.  At least with Chick Fil A we can say I'm not going to shop there because their ownership is bigoted and spends money to help spread that cause.  Given the deep divisions in the country it would be smart for business owners worried about their market share to not contribute to any cause or candidate.  We know that this won't happen because there is less choice in the market place so as an owner you can get away with it and not suffer.

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