The fillet-ing of liberty

Much has been written on the Chick-fil-A controversy and I don’t think I have too much to add at this point.  For a couple must read pieces I offer this one by Steyn and this one by Morrissey.  For those of you who don’t care or don’t see the relevance of this issue to your life, please, stop reading this post immediately and click on one or both of the above referenced articles.  In my opinion, this episode has been one of the most offensive assaults on our understanding of liberty I’ve ever witnessed.  Worse still, it shows an ignorance of and utter disregard for basic freedoms on the part of men who hold positions of high authority in this land.  Remember Rahm was only a step away from the President until a year ago.  In short, the sneering contempt that the mayors of great cities like Boston and Chicago (San Francisco has become too farcical to even complain) and the senior government official in New York City can openly exhibit towards a man whose crime seems to be that he’s a hard working decent charitable man who dared to run his company as he saw fit–and always in accordance with applicable laws–and who answered a politically charged question honestly based on his own personal belief and moral conviction (an answer which happens to coincide with the President’s views on the topic up until a couple months ago).

Of course the issue is gay marriage, but I can only imagine the ridicule Mr. Cathy (Chick-fil-A’s owner) receives behind the closed doors of Chicago’s city hall for his gall in keeping his stores closed on Sunday.  How quaint.  What’s remarkable to me is that a mere 20 years ago not only would the term gay marriage have been oxymoronic but for most Americans (I’m thinking of my grandparents) it would have been an undefinable and nonsensical term.  For that matter, 20 years ago shopping centers were usually closed on Sunday and you couldn’t buy liquor either.

Now you have Sheriff Rahm and the town elders warning Mr. Cathy he’d better not even think of stepping foot in their town.  You see, they don’t like his kind ’round these parts.  The speaker of New York City’s city council took it one step farther and wrote to the President of private New York University and advised him that he should kick to the curb New York City’s lone Chick-fil-A, which happens to be a tenant of the university (and I imagine a very popular one among cash strapped and its hungry students).  Of course it’s simply coincidence I’m sure that the speaker is a recent beneficiary of the gay marriage wave herself.  And oh yeah, isn’t there probably some kind of contractual arrangement between the University and Chick-fil-A the terms of which a city official shouldn’t be encouraging one of the parties to break?

So many issues are raised by this lightly seasoned thought tyranny but I’d like to raise a couple: consider Steyn’s mention of the radical Muslims who openly advocate death to homosexuals yet have no problem getting city permits to do business in Boston and New York; or what about the baba ghanoush street vendors across the city–did you hear what they said at the dinner table last night?  And then there’s Rahm and his recent cozy relationship with Louis Farrakhan, who not only openly opposes gay marriage but also advocates (loudly) against Jews for…well, for being born Jews.

So in one fell swoop you have the mob-like trampling on basic first amendment rights, the malevolent sneering at by all accounts a good man and law-abiding citizen and a heavy dose of puke-inducing hypocrisy.  To call it outrageous is an understatement.

But it’s even worse than that.

We have a friend who is an institutional money manager for a large firm in a big city.  He has an undergraduate degree from an Ivy League school and an MBA from a top 5 business school (also Ivy League).  He is married (to a woman) and has a child.  As I understand it, he works hard evaluating companies and buying and selling shares in large blocks for his firm’s customers.  Knowing what I know about his business he is narrowly focused on companies’ prospects and earnings and the viability of the companies he covers going forward.  Somehow the Chick-fil-A topic came up in conversation and without hesitation he called Mr. Cathy a “bigot,” he liked and supported that Rahm & Co stuck it to him and he declared that he didn’t want his money to go to bigoted fools like that and he wouldn’t be eating at Chick-fil-A.  When confronted with the idea that Mr. Cathy had every right under the 1st Amendment to express his views on the subject of gay marriage and that mayors, while also entitled to their own 1st Amendment rights, should not be using the levers of the state to intimidate a private citizen and his or her right to conduct business as long as that person is doing so within the laws of the relevant jurisdiction.  Our friend conceded partially but then he bowed up again and blindly said these mayors were speaking purely as private individuals expressing their opinions (not true) and then he reiterated that Mr. Cathy is a “bigot” and that if he’s done one thing to violate any kind of equal opportunity law they should crush him.

Wow.

And by the way, in the next breath he talked about how excited he was to go see a well known (and old) heavy metal band.  I’m not sure if he’s aware that the stars of this band include one who’s been in and out of trouble for illegal drug use and another who went to prison for assaulting a woman.  Guess he’s got no trouble giving his money to them.

This is America in 2012.

PS.  I received a text from a friend this morning encouraging me to go eat at Chick-fil-A today to show my support.  Here’s my deal on that.  I eat a lot of Chick-fil-A and I will continue to do so.  But I don’t want to go eat a chicken sandwich as a political statement.  I simply want to eat it because it’s good.  While I fully support those who want to eat Chick-fil-A today, I think in some ways supporters of Mr. Cathy are doing a disservice to him, and our country’s principles of liberty, by being drawn in to this battle on Rahm’s terms.  The tragedy is that the left has so politicized a chicken joint that it makes it hard to “eat mor chikin” without thinking of the shrill voices denouncing it.  It is insanity pure and simple.

By the same token, I still love The Bourne Identity.

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