Cognitive Dissonance

"Democracy! Bah! When I hear that I reach for my feather boa!" - Allen Ginsberg

54 notes

On the First Amendment, the free market, and boycotts

mrpooscratch replied to your post: Dear Conservatives who think they grasp this Jesus thing:

Um, it’s about free speech and people not trying to destroy your business because they disagree with you, NOT homosexuality. Sorry you missed the point.

Nope, sorry. You’re missing the point here. Just as the CEO has his freedom of speech, we have the freedom of speech to boycott his establishments and spread the word about his business practices. In fact, a boycott is a form of free speech. 

The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the right to boycott in NAACP v. Claiborne Hardware Co. et al. 458 U.S. 886 (1982). The court held that the States have broad power to regulate general economic activities, but cannot prohibit peaceful political activity and organizing. This includes boycotts, which are protected under the First and Fourteenth Amendments in regards to freedom of speech and association. Also, within the right to freely associate is the right to demonstrate and align one’s self with the ideals of the association or business — or not.

Also, individuals are not responsible for business losses due a non-violent boycott — even if a business fails. The First Amendment freedoms in a boycott trump the business owner’s success. Claiborne bears striking similarities to issues at the heart of the boycott of Chick-Fil-A. As the Court said in this case, petitioners, “through exercise of their First Amendment rights of speech, assembly, association, and petition, rather than through riot or revolution… sought to change a social order that had consistently treated them as second-class citizens.”

Justice John Paul Stevens, who delivered the majority opinion, wrote:

"The boycott of white merchants at issue in this case took many forms. The boycott was launched at a meeting of a local branch of the NAACP attended by several hundred persons. Its acknowledged purpose was to secure compliance by both civic and business leaders with a lengthy list of demands for equality and racial justice. The boycott was supported by speeches and nonviolent picketing. Participants repeatedly encouraged others to join in its cause. Each of these elements of the boycott is a form of speech or conduct that is ordinarily entitled to protection under the First and Fourteenth Amendments."

Also, in Organization for a Better Austin v. Keefe, 402 U.S. 415 (1971), Chief Justice Warren Burger stated: 

"The claim that the expressions were intended to exercise a coercive impact on respondent does not remove them from the reach of the First Amendment. Petitioners plainly intended to influence respondent’s conduct by their activities; this is not fundamentally different from the function of a newspaper. Petitioners were engaged openly and vigorously in making the public aware of respondent’s real estate practices. Those practices were offensive to them, as the views and practices of petitioners are no doubt offensive to others. But so long as the means are peaceful, the communication need not meet standards of acceptability." [citations omitted]

In other words, even if the goal of the boycott is coercive action against a business entity, the boycott is protected under the First and Fourteenth Amendments as long as it remains non-violent.

Now, beyond the constitutionality of the boycott, isn’t this how the free market is supposed to work? For example, I don’t like the business practices or views of Shop X, and they refuse to change their practices — say, puppy punching for the lulz. I hate puppy punching because it’s hurtful and unnecessary for the business to function. So I organize a boycott. Shop X refuses to quit punching puppies, and eventually closes because others decided of their own volition to stop patronizing the shop. 

Diner Y’s owner holds racist beliefs which he voices on community radio. So I organize a boycott. Diner Y closes because people refuse to eat at a place that endorses bigotry.

Chick-Fil-A’s owner actively supports discrimination against GLBTQ people via his free speech (his words and money). So I organize a boycott. The free market has yet to decide on Chick-Fil-A’s fate. 

The U.S. Constitution is a beautiful thing.

Get it?



Filed under reply mrpooscratch Free Speech Chick-Fil-A politics protest SCOTUS U.S. Supreme Court Boycott Tastes like crow Constitution U.S. Constitution First Amendment Freedom of speech Fourteenth Amendment

  1. bookfanatic reblogged this from cognitivedissonance
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  4. gillbertbillbert reblogged this from the-metres-gained
  5. the-metres-gained reblogged this from gilmoure and added:
    THIS IS CONFIRMED EXACTLY HOW THE FREE MARKET IS SUPPOSED TO WORK GO MEG GO free markets consumer power voting with your...
  6. fuckeverlasting reblogged this from cognitivedissonance and added:
    Applause to Meg for always being excellent at shutting down ignorant fools who come at her with the aggressive stupidity...
  7. carrielicksmylollipop reblogged this from cognitivedissonance
  8. qwn68 reblogged this from cognitivedissonance and added:
  9. the-super-ego said: Oops! Missed this earlier post
  10. gilmoure reblogged this from cognitivedissonance
  11. knivesandcoffee said: this was so great.
  12. poofyphluff reblogged this from contentment-of-cats
  13. nomoretexasgovernorsforpresident reblogged this from cognitivedissonance and added:
    Thank you, Meg. Also, this.
  14. toweringstarks said: LMFAO. Bitches got served (excuse my language, this WAS a really thought out and awesome response though!)
  15. drst reblogged this from cognitivedissonance and added:
    So the “Million” Moms organizing that boycott of JC Penney’s for hiring Ellen DeGeneres as a spokesperson was totally...
  16. runninginplace0416 reblogged this from cognitivedissonance
  17. ringoosu reblogged this from cognitivedissonance and added:
    Yet more words I wish the people standing in line today had read.
  18. oro-blanco said: If a boycott is a form of free speech, doesn’t that mean to some degree money=speech? Not trying to rabble rouse or advocate that position, it just came to mind.
  19. hissingbooth reblogged this from cognitivedissonance