Thursday, July 26, 2012

Chick-Fil-A and Fascism

During his term as president, Bill Clinton signed into law the Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as a union between a man and woman.  During his senatorial debate in Illinois, when asked if he supported gay marriage, Barack Obama responded, "I'm a Christian, and so although I try not to have my religious beliefs dominate or determine my political views on this issue, I do believe that tradition and my religious beliefs say that marriage is something sanctified between a man and a woman.”

That was several years ago.  Since then, these two politicians and the politerati at large are changing their views.  Both Clinton and Obama now publicly declare their assent for gay marriage, each explaining that they changed their view over time.  That is a perfectly valid explanation.  My views on many subjects have changed over time as well, Life experiences and personal reflection provide the catalyst for changes, individually and collectively.  Social mores and cultural paradigms are dynamic, evolving components of human societies.  It’s quite reasonable to expect people to change their minds over time and for society to change its course.  It’s the nature of human social constructs.

What is not reasonable, what is contemptible in fact, is for political machines to employ fascist tactics in an attempt to accelerate social change by alienating and suppressing those who are not in line with certain political dogma or a specific political agenda, in this case the contrived controversy surrounding Chick-Fil A.

I had little interest in the silly, familiar and thoroughly insipid rants from the right and left as they spewed their selective indignation at each other about an old Baptist businessman’s opinion of marriage and its boundaries.  Next week it’ll be something else with similar cosmically insignificant weight.  That was before the politicians spoke.

Individuals have a perfectly legitimate right to boycott or support whatever companies and groups they choose, based on any criteria that seems reasonable to them.  Political entities are another matter entirely.

When political leaders in Boston and Chicago publicly vow to shut down a privately-held company from further expansion into their municipalities for no reason other than the personal beliefs regarding traditional marriage held by the company’s president -- beliefs which are roughly the same as those once held by Clinton and Obama and currently held by millions of other citizens – there’s a serious problem.
Political suppression of private markets, companies and groups based solely on a perceived “undesirable” ideology has a name:  Fascism.  The policies advocated by the political leaders in Boston and Chicago are decidedly fascist both in principle and practice and should be roundly  rejected.
Regardless of anyone’s previous or current stance on gay marriage or chicken sandwiches or old Baptist businessmen who embrace the same principles that most of your relatives probably do, we should all be alarmed about the diatribe coming from Boston and Chicago, because it’s wrong in a way that’s chillingly wrong.  It’s fascist. If you’ve ever wondered what fascism is and how it begins to work in a society, and how a culture like Nazi Germany or Mussolini’s Italy could ever have begun to exist in the first place – I mean, how could the citizens ALLOW it to exist, right? – just follow the news and carefully reflect on the statements from the mayors of Boston and Chicago.  If you truly find nothing wrong with their scenario, if it seems proper – or worse yet, irrelevant -to you for political authorities to suppress a company because they find it’s ideology undesirable, you’d probably have been very content living down the street from Auschwitz in the late 1940’s.  It’s a perfect example of how it begins.