“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” – First Amendment to the United States Constitution
Freedom. Free exercise of religion, freedom of speech and the press, right of people to peaceably assemble … freedom.
I fully support freedom of association, and not just in the narrow “peaceable assembly” scope. I fully support the rights of workers to choose to associate together for the purpose of collective bargaining. (And I associate the right of employers to negotiate as well.) I support the rights of free individuals to freely interact with one another in the marketplace – trading their products with one another in free exchange. I support freedom.
Lowes hardware has caused a bit of a kerfuffle of late in how it has managed television advertising in a reality show about Muslims in America. The short story: Lowes was advertising on the show, a group of Christians objected and threatened a boycott, Lowes pulled the ads, a group of Muslims protested and threatened a boycott … and one (a state senator from California) threatened “legislative action”. It was all fine until that last point.
First a disclaimer. I do not plan on boycotting Lowes if they advertise on a show about Muslims. I have said on more than one occasion that while we have the right and freedom to interact economically with who we will, when we will, we are all better off if we check our emotions at the door and trade with each other on productive matters alone.
But, if some groups refuse to do so, that is their right. If the “Florida Family Association” wants to boycott Lowes if they advertise on a show about Muslims, that is their right. (I won’t be joining.) If Lowes wants to pull its ads for fear of the boycott by the FFA, that is their right. (I wouldn’t have noticed if Yahoo News hadn’t picked it up.) If Muslims want to object and and threaten their own boycott, that is their right. If they want to claim that Lowes is bigoted and discriminatory, they are free to spread their speech. (I disagree with their assessment, but they can say the sky is green all day long if they want … this is America.)
But “legislative action”? What on earth would that be? A law demanding that all companies make advertisements or donations to pro-Islam media outlets and charities?
The trouble with freedom is that sometimes people will choose to do something you think is immoral and/or otherwise wrong. What will you do when faced with this? Will you respond within the bounds of freedom? Be my guest. Will you respond with majority-rule-theocracy? This I oppose, in all its forms.
As for hardware, I will continue to shop at Lowes. I just tend to like it better than Home Depot. It’s nothing personal. I have a very good friend who works at Home Depot and have always been satisfied with the service/products I’ve received there. But, I like the store better at Lowes, and that’s where I shop. This is unrelated to the FFA and various boycotts that may or may not materialize.