Most Americans are no doubt aware of the tragedy of the oil slick coating the Gulf Coast from the damaged petroleum rig. What they might not be aware of is the attitude among elites of how we as citizens and consumers are simply to go along with whatever position they craft as a response regarding the matter.
A headline from the 5/25/10 online edition of the Washington Post bemoans "For Some Washington Drivers, Convenience Outweighs Calls For BP Gas Boycott”. The story laments the tendency of certain consumers who “...prioritize convenience over taking a moral or political stand.”
For starters, in this day where it is constantly pounded into our heads that no one is to impose their views on any one else or to even dare to suggest that certain values might be superior to others, on what grounds are we expected to do something because someone with no real binding authority over us tells us to?
Many of the rabblerousers behind the BP boycott are some of the same nags behind the boycott of the state of Arizona regarding the immigration law. Yet these crusaders would turn around and become moral libertines if some pro-family coalition organized a boycott of states such as Vermont authorizing sodomite matrimony.
In all fairness, busybody progressives are not the only ones to use boycotts not so much in pursuit of a policy objective but rather to exert power and control over their respective constituencies.
I remember in the early 90’s in some Christian circles how an edict was handed down how the truly spiritual wouldn’t shop at K-Mart because at the time its B. Dalton Booksellers subsidiary was selling a line of erotic novels. From the vehemence behind the pronouncement, one almost feared the possibility of expulsion from the more doctrinally rigorous Christian schools if it was discovered that was where one’s parents shopped every once in a while.
It is a good thing to have as much information as possible as to the implications of one’s socioeconomic decisions. However, when an interest group advances beyond the function of conveying information regarding a perfectly legal and acceptable product to demanding that a certain action be taken in response to the purveyors of the product for reasons tangential rather than inherent to the particular product in question and threaten with sanction or approbation those deciding not to go along with the particular campaign, the group presenting the overly enthusiastic warning may also require additional scrutiny as a threat to our liberty.
Frederick Meekins is an independent theologian and social critic. Frederick holds a BS in Political Science/History, a MA in Apologetics/Christian Philosophy from Trinity Theological Seminary, and a PhD. in Christian Apologetics from Newburgh Theological Seminary.