In a blog post yesterday morning, my former Cato Institute colleague Tom G. Palmer, who is openly gay and who once “brandished a pistol to scare off several men who he feared were about to attack him because of his sexual orientation,” discussed Boston Mayor Tom Menino’s reaction to Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy’s on-the-record remarks about his company’s multi-million dollar support for traditional marriage causes and advocacy. Mayor Menino, in an interview with the Boston Herald, subsequently threatened to lean on city planners to deny Chick-fil-A business licenses it would need to operate within the jurisdiction:
“If they need licenses in the city, it will be very difficult — unless they open up their policies,” he warned.
Menino also told the Herald that
“Chick-fil-A doesn’t belong in Boston. You can’t have a business in the city of Boston that discriminates against a population. We’re an open city, we’re a city that’s at the forefront of inclusion.”
Tom Palmer concluded his post, writing
On Sunday, my wife and I went to see Refused, a Swedish hardcore band that just recently got back together after 14 years. I’m not going to be a hipster about it, so I’ll admit that I didn’t get into them until around 2000, a couple of years after the split up, after seeing the video for “New Noise.” After listening to their last record, The Shape of Punk to Come (1998, Burning Heart Records), I realized that they were very anti-capitalist, going so far as to call it a “crime.”
So while I was at the show, I wasn’t surprised to hear Dennis Lyxzén, the band’s frontman, mention their views, even though it was incredibly brief. We paid around $70 for our two tickets, another $50 for two t-shirts, and walked into the show with a full awareness of what to expect. In fact, these viewpoints are common in the style of music to which I listen. Bands like Propaghandi, NOFX, and a slew of others all express an anti-capitalist point of view, whether it’s in their lyrics or activism. As a believer in free markets, I just happen to strongly disagree.
The same could be said of Chick-Fil-A. The Atlanta-based restaurant chain has once again come under fire over its stance on a hotly debated social issue. In an interview for the Baptist Press, Dan Cathy, President of Chick-Fil-A, expressed his company’s opposition to same-sex marriage:
In a departure from previous comments, Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy told a Baptist website that the Atlanta-based company is “guilty as charged” in its support of traditional marriage.
Freedom of speech is one of the most important factors of a free society. The ability to say unpopular things is essential. After all, abolition was once an unpopular thing to talk about. So was civil rights. Questioning the government regarding the Vietnam War wasn’t always a popular thing either.
In the realm of ideas, you typically have a free market. Good ideas will grown, while bad ideas die a horrible, painful death given enough time. Not always (see communism, for example), but this is how it works most of the time. Most free nations understand that. However, Australia has apparently forgotten that little tidbit:
Australian MPs have started to call for legislative powers to compel social networks to swiftly remove offensive content, after Facebook failed to act decisively to remove a page containing numerous racist stereotypes of Australian aboriginals.
Facebook initially did nothing about the page, which disappeared briefly and then resurfaced marked as “controversial humour”.
The Social Network TM made some noises about freedom of speech, which apparently allows controversial humour even if it includes hate speech. At this point in the saga Australia’s Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy said he felt the page was inappropriate and should be removed.
Facebook seems to have finally done so as it became apparent the page contravened Australia’s racial discrimination laws. Controversy over the page also exploded into mainstream media. Australia’s media regulator and Racial Discrimination Commissioner are both looking into the incident.
Many of my conservative friends insisted that I join them for Chick-fil-a Chaos Day. In case you weren’t aware, Mike Huckabee had been rallying the conservative troops to flood Chick-fil-a restaurants yesterday as a way of saying thanks to the Cathy family for standing up for conservative values.
I didn’t participate in this event, but it had nothing to do with Chick-fil-a’s position on anything. I oppose government recognizing homosexual marriage. (But I also oppose government recognizing heterosexual marriage.) I just don’t want to deal with groups of people who will do whatever Mike Huckabee tells them to do.
But maybe you’d like an excuse to dive face-first into a plate of fried chicken and waffle fries. If so, here are some reasons you should participate in Chick-fil-a Chaos Day.
- You love Mike Huckabee and want him to think he still matters.
- You like getting involved in activities that, in the grand scheme of things, are utterly pointless.
- You like being in crowded restaurants.
- You’re hungry for fried chicken and waffle fries.
Yes, this post oozes sarcasm.
If you like Chick-fil-a’s food, eat there. If you don’t like it, don’t eat there. If you like Chick-fil-a’s stance on political issues, eat there. If you don’t like them, don’t eat there. But don’t eat there just because Mike Huckabee told you to.
I can’t imagine what Huckabee might be imagining the result of this exercise will be. Most people who frequent Chick-fil-a already agree with the company on the marriage issue. And it’s not like KFC is going to suddenly come out in agreement with Chick-fil-a in an effort to win some of the customers from Chick-fil-a.
Did you know that the most pressing issue facing the United States right now is whether or not a national restaurant chain opposes gay marriage? It’s news to me. Here I thought that that there were much more serious issues facing our nation, such as the economy, the budget deficit, economic turmoil in Europe, rising gas prices, and the on-going occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq. Apparently, I was wrong.
In case you’ve been under a rock the last few weeks, during an interview with the Baptist Press, Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy expressed oppositon to gay marriage, a position that wasn’t too terribly surprising given that his company has donated heavily to “pro-family” organizations. Cathy’s comments, which are grounded in his Christian beliefs, have earned the ire of pro-gay marriage groups, who called for a boycott of the restaurant chain, which is a dumb idea. The mayors of three cities also told the media that Chick-fil-A wasn’t welcome in their towns.
Progressives are big on tolerance. They want people to be tolerant of other for a variety of reasons. They often cite religion as one. Hey, I’m a libertarian. Who am I to argue? We’re all about tolerance too.
However, following the comments by Chic-Fil-A’s CEO last week regarding gay marriage, the left has responded quickly with calls to boycott. Jason touched on that last week, and I have nothing to add to that front except that while I think the boycott to be ultimately useless, it’s certainly their right to do it.
Things have gotten a little more intense since then however. A couple of days ago, the mayor of Boston decided to block a franchise there:
The people of Boston will have to purchase their chicken sandwiches elsewhere: Mayor Thomas M. Menino has sworn that the franchise will have to fight city hall to bring its fast-food empire to Boston after Chick-fil-A’s president, Dan Cathy, said gay marriage is “inviting God’s judgment on our nation.” The Atlanta-based chain is hoping to open a restaurant in a popular tourist spot near the Freedom Trail — a rather ironic choice in Menino’s eyes.
“Chick-fil-A doesn’t belong in Boston,” Menino told the Boston Herald on Thursday. “You can’t have a business in the city of Boston that discriminates against the population. We’re an open city, we’re a city that’s at the forefront of inclusion. That’s the Freedom Trail. That’s where it all started right here. And we’re not going to have a company, Chick-fil-A or whatever the hell the name is, on our Freedom Trail.”