My Opinion is Fine. Yours Sucks.
If you’re not following the Chik-fil-A fun, there are several fine examples of the hysteria being evidenced across the big-city side of the equation. For instance, while the city of Chicago doen’t see a private business playing into city values, it does seem to think that clear (liberal) bigots are fine. Boston, not to be outdone, is also providing its own little snit fit for the press to see. Let’s leave aside what “city values” really are, at least for now. What are corporate values?
The people that employ me teach an internal course on values (that I teach, and that I partially wrote) that posits corporate values as a collection of the common value sets of the employees, guided by management attitudes. If you look at a Chick-fil-A, I’m sure the values at the individual stores are much more sympathetic to personal causes than the corporate stance, and the only real “corporate value” you see in evidence is that they’re closed on Sundays. So essentially, the rage against “the machine” is mostly people whining about how the owner of a large company has the luxury of living in a nation with free speech protections.
Contrast that with the current flap going on with healthcare, and you get a revealing dichotomy. Take a look at this interview Kathryn Jean Lopez did with one small company over the HHS mandate requiring health insurance to cover abortion, and abortifacient drugs among other conscience-violating prinicples.
The basic principle in this case is the same as in other cases: that Congress does not let federal agencies punish people of faith for abiding by their faith, without passing the most demanding test known to federal law. We believe that in this case the government does not even come close to justifying its refusal to exempt religious objectors. This is because Congress provided secular exemptions for millions of employees, and it could easily give out more free contraception itself if the political will existed. We are hopeful the court will agree.
The court maybe… the court of public opinion, well…
What pains me the most about the level of conversation these days is that no speech is acceptable if it contrasts the views of certain segments. I can personally recall a recent example where I politely refrained from commenting on the very evident values espoused by a teacher in her classroom for a couple hours while we worked with students. Yet, when I finally admitted that I was, “at heart, just a redneck from Ohio,” to a couple inquires on culture, she quickly disappeared for the rest of the evening. Did an admission that I might not totally agree with her cause her to leave? I really don’t know, but it seemed odd to me that what I thought only mattered when it agreed with what that particular person thought.
I’m not going to claim purity on a “driven snow” level here. There are plenty of idealists that cause me to provide work-arounds for life. But I do wonder why, for the most part, opinion is such a one-way street.
Updated: It’s a good day as an obscure blogger when you beat Jonah Goldberg to the same point (though, as usual, he said it better).
Updated 7/29: Thanks to our blogging friend Mr. Pirate Teach for the link.
Updated 8/12: …and to L for the link. I was off grid for a bit, so catching up.