Filleting Fast Food Fascism

Posted on August 1, 2012

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People lining up to reject ‘Chicago’s values’.

We’ve talked about the Chick-Fil-A controversy that has erupted in Chicago in light of the social values and culture war perspective. The idea that a business owner cannot, according to Alderman Moreno and Rahm Emanuel, express a personal viewpoint about the homosexual agenda – Gay marriage in particular, has been discussed with great fervor. It hits all the points of division in this country about what the intolerant left will not tolerate from people they demand tolerance from.

I thought one comment typified the shrill and strident resistance to any contending viewpoint. That was when Mayor Emanuel said:

“Chick-fil-A values are not Chicago values,they disrespect our fellow neighbors and residents. This would be a bad investment, since it would be empty.”

Essentially, Rahm Emanuel is redefining the phrase ‘Chicago Values’ to be an oxymoron. Is this really true? Is Chicago a reconstituted Sodom and Gomorrah? Could Abraham not reasonably bargain with God that there are even 10 out of a hundred, who share the traditional moral views of Dan Cathy, President and C.E.O. of Chick-Fil-A? Really?

I know Chicago has all sorts of problems such as being the most dangerous city per capita in the World, plus slums, barrios and ghettos, gang warfare, welfare fraud and municipal corruption. Are these the values that Rahm Emanuel is referring to? If he wants to define Chicago values, he certainly can’t ‘Cherry Pick’, can he?

I suppose the promotion of perversity is a form of ‘value’, but has Chicago really wrapped it’s arms entirely around deviant sexuality? Merely from a practical standpoint, I’d have to say no.  I’d have to say the Mayor is throwing the blanket of permissiveness over people who would reject it.  Would the restaurant be a bad investment?  Would it be empty?  I rather doubt it.

Chick-Fil-A is not my cup of tea especially, in terms of casual dining, but so what?   I’m happy to see them in my town.  I’m happy to see choices.  I’m delighted that we (still) live in a country where competition and consumer choices pick the winners and losers – not politicians!  I’ve been waiting for that one gutsy American company to stand up to the PC bullies and say, “I said what I said – want to make something of it?” 

By the way, if you want to strike a blow for free speech, decency or just free enterprise, today is Chick-Fil-A ‘Appreciation Day’ as dubbed by Fox News’ Mike Huckabee.  Pick up a meal, some ice cream or just a coke and appreciate the company of other people who share your same ‘Weltanschauung’.  Nicht wahr?

If you build it, they will come.

That brings me to the other aspect on this matter that has yet to attract a lot of attention from conservatives, and a broad question.  Is it Rahm Emanuel’s or Joe Moreno’s place to decide how and where legal businesses may invest – providing they are in compliance with all applicable city laws?

For that matter, is it their place to decide for the citizens what is socially acceptable or not?  You don’t have to be a social conservative to realize that this is something we have to herd the progressives back into the corral on.

In this instance, Constitutional principals and the rule of law are being assaulted on not one, but two fronts. Freedom of Speech and Free Enterprise.  The very notion of Free Enterprise is that investing capital in a new endeavor involves risk and as such, those who have no money in the undertaking – no ‘skin in the game’ – are obligated to stand aside.  They can complain, protest, whatever, but from any traditional understanding of our system of law, they cannot obstruct.

Evidently, I’m not the only one who recognizes in this, the violation of the 1st Amendment and of the 5th Amendment, together with the underlying dynamics of Natural Law and classic or neo-Liberalism. Eugene Volokh, on the Volokh Conspiracy summarizes it well:

“But denying a private business permits because of such speech by its owner is a blatant First Amendment violation. Even when it comes to government contracting — where the government is choosing how to spend government money — the government generally may not discriminate based on the contractor’s speech, see Board of County Commissioners v. Umbehr (1996). It is even clearer that the government may not make decisions about how people will be allowed to use their own property based on the speaker’s past speech.”

What the City of Chicago is attempting here is so egregious that even the ACLU of Illinois is in opposition:

“The government can regulate discrimination in employment or against customers, but what the government cannot do is to punish someone for their words,” said Adam Schwartz, senior attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois. “When an alderman refuses to allow a business to open because its owner has expressed a viewpoint the government disagrees with, the government is practicing viewpoint discrimination.”

The GOP in Chicago is stepping up to the plate. On the Chicago Republican Party website, we learn:

“The party is making a formal complaint against 1st Ward Alderman Proco “Joe” Moreno and Mayor Rahm Emanuel with the Illinois Department of Human Rights and Attorney General Lisa Madigan. The complaint states that the Alderman and the Mayor have broken civil rights laws pertaining to religious freedom and the First Amendment in denying Chick fil A a permit to operate its business in the City of Chicago.”

My next question is rhetorical. Would Alderman Moreno or Mayor Emanuel even blink an eye at the next Tattoo parlor, the next ‘GayMart’, the next Medical Marijuana dispensary, the next ‘Smoke’ shop? It sounds like San Francisco, Boston and Philadelphia are jumping on Chicago’s bandwagon as well.  In fact, San Francisco and their condescending paternal attitudes toward everything from the Marines to McDonald’s, seems to be the model for this kind of dictatorial mode of behavior toward private business.

How about Mayor Mike ‘Bloom-burqa’ with his shorts all in a bunch about soft drinks in excess of 16 oz?  When are we going to hear some more Fascist pig squeals coming from his office on this?

Rahm Emanuel and Joe Moreno, your values are not necessarily Chicago’s values, certainly not Illinois’ values and definitely not American Constitutional values!  Tyranny is a vice, not a virtue.