4. Total ignorance of the First Amendment and the concept of “free speech.”This bullet point helps to highlight a basic point of Taoism: the importance of impartiality. When we, like Tao, view the world through impartial eyes, no one or everyone is granted special dispensations. Either everyone or no one is granted a wide berth.
Both those railing on the fast food chain and those supporting Chick-fil-A succinctly proved that many Americans either have absolutely no understanding of or no respect for the most basic tenets of the First Amendment and the concept of free speech.
As Salon’s Glenn Greenwald showed, the pro-equal rights politicians seeking to ban Chick-fil-A from doing business in their communities were thuggishly violating both the spirit and the letter of the Constitution. According to the First Amendment, a government cannot “abridge the freedom of speech” — which means in practice, it cannot ban a company from doing business as retribution for statements made by a company’s executives, no matter how abhorrent those statements are. In their (understandable) disgust with Dan Cathy’s statements, the elected officials seeking to ban Chick-fil-A from their municipalities exposed themselves as wholly uninformed about — or disrespectful of — this concept. They don’t seem to understand that under the First Amendment freedom of speech includes the freedom to say things politicians don’t like, and to say them without the fear of governmental retribution.
At the same time, those rubes insinuating that a consumer backlash or threat of boycotts are an assault on Dan Cathy’s liberties are just as ignorant of free speech as their ideological opponents. This was the same inane argument made by attention-seeking rubes when advertisers began dropping their sponsorship of “The Rush Limbaugh Show” — and it’s just as idiotic today as it was back then.
Freedom of speech doesn’t mean the freedom to say whatever you want and not face criticism or legal non-governmental consequences (like, say, protests and boycotts). Cathy and Limbaugh and anyone else have every right to spew their hateful vitriol, just as their supporters have every right to pig out on Chick-fil-A junk food or patronize specific sponsors in support of that hate — just as other Americans have every right to say they are all cretins and to therefore avoid supporting the restaurant and/or those sponsors with their money.
That these most basic liberties are no longer understood by large swaths of the population shows how divorced we’ve become from our own — supposedly vaunted — Constitution.
~ from Five Lessons from Chick-fil-A by David Sirota ~
It's interesting how most of us are sticklers for rules...when it's convenient and/or it buttresses our own position. We expect others to toe a rigid line and, if they don't, we point to the rules and cry, Foul!
But when the rules aren't convenient and/or they undermine our position, we have no use for them. In such cases, we see the breaking of rules as a badge of honor.
The hallmark attribute of the right of free speech is that it applies to those whom you disagree with the most. If you only support "free speech" when it refers to speech you agree with, then it's not free.
Dan Cathy has every right to believe what he believes and those of us who disagree with him have every right to express our displeasure through lawful means.