With the news that Chick-fil-A's Vice President of Public Relations died of a sudden heart attack earlier today (if you really want to be depressed by the state of modern America, read the comments on the story at TMZ), we've now reached a sad end to a week where -- and let's think about this for a moment -- the nation has been divided over the religious views animating a company that makes chicken sandwiches.
I've started to draft posts on the issue a few times this week and have inevitably quit in frustration. There are just too many points of irritation: the utter manufacturing of the controversy that Mollie pointed out earlier in the week; the grandstanding by politicians (watch out for this link -- Mike Bloomberg actually sounds sensible); and now, the jig being danced on the grave of a man whose name his detractors didn't even know until after his death.
What's stuck in my craw the most about this story, however, is the broader trend it represents: the politicization of everything. Here's a representative sample of my thoughts from my new column:
Should conservatives boycott companies run by CEOs who favor progressive taxation? Would it be reasonable for liberals to refuse to buy products purveyed by a member of the NRA? Should socialists excuse themselves from the marketplace entirely, so as not to be complicit in capitalism?
Doing so would risk obliterating one of the most valuable social byproducts of America’s system of limited government: the idea that politics need not intrude into our personal lives beyond the circumscribed sphere delegated to government by the Constitution.
Were we to audit the ideology of every CEO that we graze through commerce (and why stop there? Why aren’t we scrutinizing the voting history of the fry cooks at Chick-fil-A?), our economic and social lives would devolve into endless box-checking, with every commercial transaction designed to generate the least possible friction for our conception of how the world ought to work.
You can read the full thing here.