Jens 'n' Frens
Idle thoughts of a relatively libertarian Republican in Cambridge, MA, and whomever he invites. Mostly political.

"A strong conviction that something must be done is the parent of many bad measures."
  -- Daniel Webster

Friday, May 11, 2012 :::

I've been sitting on a few URLs that I've been meaning to blog. Bradley Smith had a piece in the Wall Street Journal last week opposing "secondary boycotts" - boycotts of organizations for their support of other organizations with controversial stances - for their damage to civil society, which drew sympathetic comments from Jonathan Adler. I think these arguments apply to primary boycotts, too, though much less so. If I remember correctly, roughly a third of self-identified Democrats believe that Bush supported the 9/11 attacks and roughly a third of self-identified Republicans believe that Obama was born outside of the US. I'm not averse to simply ruling the former group out of polite society (the latter belief strikes me as similarly wacky but substantially less dangerous) -- life is too short to rehash old arguments with the lunatic fringe -- but any opinion held by a substantially larger group needs to be accommodated and the concerns of such a group responded to with argument. Some of the examples Smith gives are of boycotts of organizations for supporting organizations for supporting political positions held by roughly half of the population (opposing same-sex marriage) or even a substantial majority of the population (supporting voter ID laws). In the former case, you might win, but at the cost of balkanizing society and the risk of turning off people (like me, in that case) who are sympathetic to your position but not your intolerance; in the latter case, you're more likely to marginalize yourself than your target.

::: posted by Steven at 11:50 AM

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Idle thoughts of a relatively libertarian Republican in Cambridge, MA, and whomever he invites. Mostly political.

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