Censorship

Bipartisan Hypocrisy on Free Speech

From the Dixie Chicks to Mozilla, free speech is under fire from both right and left.

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Do conservatives owe the Dixie Chicks an apology? It sure looks that way. Liberals, meanwhile, owe some apologies too.

A little over a decade ago the Chicks' lead singer, Natalie Maines, told a London audience: "Just so you know, we're ashamed that the president of the United States is from Texas." This was less than two weeks before the shooting started in the Iraq war, and patriotic fervor was running high. Blowback came swiftly. Country-music stations stopped playing the Dixie Chicks. Their No. 1 single "Travelin' Soldier" fell off the charts. Critics started calling them the "Ditsy Twits" and the "Vichy Chicks" and even less flattering things. They received death threats.

To the left, this epitomized the "stifling of dissent" that all truly patriotic Americans should abhor. To conservatives, this was simply the free market in action. As a later piece in National Review put it, "fans were also only exercising their own freedoms, in choosing not to buy albums. Radio stations were exercising their business freedom in choosing not to play songs that outraged their listeners and repelled their advertisers."

Back then, you didn't see conservatives expressing the sort of alarm they have been voicing ever since Brandon Eich resigned as head of Mozilla. Six years ago Eich donated to California's Proposition 8, upholding traditional marriage. His recent elevation to CEO ignited a debate over that. Within days, Eich bowed to the pressure and stepped down.

To the right, this was a "purge" carried out by the "thought police" and the "gay mafia" that banishes the "politically incorrect" to the "liberal gulag." Not quite government censorship—but certainly a dangerous stifling of dissent and an example of, in Virginia Congressman Frank Wolf's words, "mob rule." On the other side, many liberals defended the ouster as entirely appropriate. As one piece in The New York Times put it, Mozilla had simply realized its "CEO's worldview is completely out of touch with the company's—and America's—values and vision for the future." Companies have a right to live their values, after all.

Really? As Jonathan Tobin pointed out in Commentary, that's hardly the orthodox liberal view of Hobby Lobby. According to the liberal view, Hobby Lobby's desire not to arrange contraception for its employees is not an expression of the corporation's viewpoint, because corporations aren't people and they don't have any rights. Rather, liberals say Hobby Lobby is forcing its owners' values down its employees' throats. By that reasoning, Mozilla was forcing its values down an employee's throat—Eich's—and violating his right to have his own political opinions.

Liberals have not been so understanding of other corporate entities, either. Two years ago the breast-cancer charity Susan G. Komen for the Cure found itself instantly reviled when it halted grants to Planned Parenthood. The blowback was so intense 26 U.S. senators signed a letter urging Komen to recant—which it did only three days later. Komen's president and founder, Nancy Brinker, stepped aside. Conservatives were aghast.

Nor were liberals overly worried about the free-speech implications of the backlash against Chick-fil-A two years ago, when president Dan Cathy provoked outrage by expressing his own personal opposition to gay marriage. Conservatives, on the other hand, declared this a dangerous development in a culture war that threatened to silence anyone who strayed from the progressive party line.

This is a strange position for conservatives to take—and not simply because of the Dixie Chicks episode. As a general rule, conservatives think social norms are best upheld not through government coercion but through the moral suasion of community mores. Since Hobby Lobby is the only case involving government compulsion, conservatives ought to feel sanguine about the other developments: Americans are working out their differences through the marketplace of ideas, even if the process sometimes looks rather unpretty.

Of course there is more to it than that. Even when the First Amendment isn't implicated—as it isn't in the Mozilla case—it's reasonable to wonder where lines should be drawn. Few would object if a company fired a Nazi or a member of the Klan. But as Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit notes, Eich has been ousted for a 2008 view shared at the time by Barack Obama. (Obama, unlike Eich, has changed his position since then.)

If companies start policing executives' beliefs, then there is no reason to limit the scrutiny to one issue. Suppose abortion becomes a litmus test—with some companies firing pro-life executives and others firing those who are pro-choice. Should companies vet their leaders' views on gun rights? Or drug legalization? What about universities—many of which already view any conservative as barely tolerable? Should nonprofits and civic groups also enforce ideological conformity? They certainly have a right to. But having a right to X does not make X the prudent thing to do.

People have a right to express—and advocate for—their opinions, and other people have a right to object. But there also is something to be said for the principle of live and let live: It's possible to disagree about an issue without despising those you disagree with. 

Unfortunately, as Barton Swaim put it in a recent Wall Street Journal review, America increasingly resembles a place where people "speak of their country as if it has been overtaken by a hostile force with whom they share no premises or aims." If we all start excommunicating one another at the first sign of apostasy, it's going to become a very cold and lonely place.

This article originally appeared at the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

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193 responses to “Bipartisan Hypocrisy on Free Speech

  1. You are right Barton, the Conservatives, myself included who laughed at it, were dead wrong to go after the Dixie Chicks. It was idiotic. Who says that you have to be a conservative to be a country singer anymore than you have to be a liberal to be a rock one?

    If you like their music, buy their records. I could see not going to see their concert if they spent their time giving polemics. But why not buy music you otherwise like?

    That said, I think the Bush remark isn’t the reason their career tanked. They had kind of run their run. They were not that great to begin with and had run out of songs. I think they were headed for B list status one way or the other. That said, the conservative boycott of them was idiotic and conservatives should admit as much.

    1. Music, for the Dixie Chicks, was a business. First rule of business is don’t piss off your customers. As a music consumer I didn’t care one way or the other, but on the business side of things I seldom shed a tear for those who break that rule.

      1. I also read that the fans turned on the Chicks not for the anti-Bush comment, but because of subsequent comments (from Natalie I believe) about how she doesn’t want their CDs shelved next to Reba McEntire or Toby Keith. They seemed to be attacking their fans at that point, and well, you reap what you sow there.

    2. To everyone that’s been telling me the story about Mozilla dude and whatever, my response has been “Why do you give a shit what some asshole you don’t know said?”

      I haven’t received a good reply yet.

      1. Martin Niem?ller answered your question 60 years ago.

    3. I disagree. This falls under my rule that if you politicize your own job, you are deserving of whatever you get from the public.

      Eich did not politicize his job or Mozilla. His political activities were entirely “private” in that sense.

      The Chicks, on the other hand, decided to use their professional platform for politics. They reaped the whirlwind, but only because they had sown the wind.

      1. I smelled something fishy in the analogy, but couldn’t articulate it. You did. Thanks.

      2. For me that is a good reason not to go to their concerts. I still don’t see why you shouldn’t buy their records if you like that kind of thing.

        That said, yes, what they did is not totally analogous to what Eich did. For this to be analogous to Mizilla, conservatives would have had to boycott them because it was revealed they gave money to John Kerry. I can’t ever see that happening. They basically insulted a good number of their fans by implying they were embarrassed to be associated with them. They said “Bush is from Texas and we are embarrassed to be from there now.” Well, if I am from Texas and like Bush, I guess they are embarrassed to be associated with me too.

        That said, I still think refusing to buy music you like because the person who made it is an idiot is dumb.

        1. so who stopped anyone from buying the Chicks’ records? No one. What they said flew in the face of the bulk of the country music audience; it’s not the same crowd watching The Daily Show. It’s the same reason people here thing Matt Damon is one of earth’s biggest morons.

          1. Nothing is stopping them. I just think doing so based on politics is making a stupid decision.

            1. To be fair, country music is supposed to be all about being proud to be an American and all that shit. Isn’t it? Liberals aren’t exactly known for American pride are they? More like we’ve got all this white guilt and capitalist inequality to fix. Nothing to be proud of here. America needs fixing. So from that point of view I can see it. Not that I share that point of view, but I can see it.

              1. Real country music is about getting drunk, cheating on your wife, going to jail, etc.

                Cash, Coe, Waylon, Willie, etc.

                A sanitized version showed up that became a conservative badge of honor after 9/11.

                1. No true Scotsman sugars his porridge!

                2. It got sanitized before 911. Funny how even when you make a truthful point you manage to twist it into untruth to fit your politics.

                  1. Sanitized music goes way back. One of my favorite old tunes is Peter, Paul & Mary’s I Dig Rock & Roll Music (1967). It makes fun of Donovan and The Mamas and the Papas, both of whom I also enjoy.

                3. Seriously? You forgot about Jerry Reed, Chet Atkins and many more. Hell, Jerry made all kinds of songs from “the little things, hold tight, hard times”, trucking songs, to funny songs about cigarettes, Fords and so on. Why remove yourself so far from reality?

              2. Was/is liking Bush and the Iraq War a requirement of being a proud American?

                1. Was/is liking Bush and the Iraq War a requirement of being a proud American?

                  From a point of view that I can see but to not agree with, yes.

            2. maybe so. A lot of folks refused to watch a Jane Fonda movie after her Vietnam trip. It is what it is. When an entertainer basically says what you believe in is shit, I get why consumers might not want to buy that person’s product.

              1. I don’t “get” it. Is the product good, or isn’t it? That’s the end of the inquiry.

                1. maybe for you it is the end. For others, not so much.

                  1. maybe for you it is the end. For others, not so much.

                    And I think I’m entitled to say how stupid that is.

                    1. And I think I’m entitled to say how stupid that is.

                      Of course you are, but it doesn’t prohibit you from being dead wrong. People take contextual factors into mind when buying stuff all the time. A Mercedes is a better product than a Ford (in general), however in the context of repairs, a Mercedes is a friggin mess compared to a Ford. The context is what makes the Ford the better choice in some people’s eyes, even if they can afford the Mercedes.

                      Similarly, how many times do grocery stores advertise that “$1 of your purchase of {insert product here} goes to {insert charity here}?” Do you think that context shouldn’t have an effect on people’s buying habits? The opposite is true, too. If a business has a “proud to offset our carbon emissions with credits” sign hanging out front, I’m more than happy to walk right on by and go to the next similar establishment, whether or not their product is good.

                      Context is king, and product quality isn’t the only metric by which a rational person judges a purchase.

                2. Ends dont justify means.

                  That said, being a politic idiot isnt enough to stop me from enjoying the ends.

                3. It is not necessarily a question of the product being “good” or not, it is a question of available, acceptable substitutes. In the case of Jane Fonda movies, there is effectively an unlimited number of acceptable substitutes.

                4. you want to control the confines of quality. its an opinion. one of the most basic parts of an opinion is the field of view.

                  What if I only want to judge Hilter on his art, and think ppl who look outside that scope are stupid? basically that makes me a moron to set such boundaries for others.

                  1. Fortunately Hitler’s paintings are dull and lifeless, so we don’t have to worry about that too much. But if he had been a good painter, I’d give him credit for it.

                    But in the case of the Chix With Dix, their political views are a very small part of their public life and their music is their main thing. What they think or say about Bush is really not important in any way. With Hitler, the situation is a bit different.

                  2. Mr. Hilter of the National Bocialist Party? 😀

                    1. “I don’t like the sound of these boncentration bamps.”

                5. With entertainers, though, the persona is often part of the product. Maines changed the product.

              2. When an entertainer basically says what you believe in is shit, I get why consumers might not want to buy that person’s product.

                For people with mainstream political inclinations, anyway. For a libertarian, that would really curtail your choices of entertainment.

                1. For a libertarian, that would really curtail your choices of entertainment.

                  Pretty much. If I refused to see any movie/ tv show, or read books, or listen to music by people with whom I disagree about some political issue or another, I’d never see another movie, watch tv, read a book, or listen to music ever again.

          2. I dont think I have not seen any Matt Damon movies because of his politiics.

            1. Why are you posting? Didn’t you just get married?

              1. His wife got tired of him constantly making excuses why it was OK for him to allow the government to further extend their reach into people’s private lives.

      3. I don’t know about deserve. You get what you get. No one is going to argue with that.
        I can still say it is stupid to base whose music you will buy or listen to on the dumb political things they do or don’t say.

        1. If I did that, I wouldn’t be able to listen to half my collection.

          1. So very this.^^^

      4. Great point, nice breakdown.

        I’d like to point out that the Dix Chics kerfuffle took place in an era of limited understanding.

        Who knew (of) Uncle Ron back then? Who doesn’t know (of) him, and a deeper meaning of Liberty now?

    4. I certainly don’t see the point in worrying about what entertainers think or say about much, but there is a difference–they were shouting their opinion out to all hearers. This guy just quietly donated some money in a cause that at least half the country shared. And maybe shares, for that matter, given how people like to shut up when accused of being bigoted.

      1. You are right Pro. The analogy doesn’t work. Color me surprised Reason puts up a spurious analogy to bitch about conservatives.

        That said, I still think it was dumb to worry about what they thought politically.

        1. “That said, I still think it was dumb to worry about what they thought politically.”

          It wasn’t because of what they thought.

          It was because of what they said, publicly, in a foreign country, on the eve of war.

          I would guess that the average country music fan tends to run (claims to be) more patriotic than most fans of other types of music, on the whole.

          1. I would guess that the average country music fan tends to run (claims to be) more patriotic than most fans of other types of music, on the whole.

            I would think that as well.

          2. I’m sick of the right attempting to claim “patriotism” as their own. Just to be clear, what many conservatives call patriotism would better be called jingoism, or nationalism. And a good percent of those righties couldn’t even intelligently articulate why they love this country so damn much. It usually comes down to some bullshit like “Cuz Murica is the freeist coutry on Earth mutherfuker! And if you don’t like that, I’ll stick a boot in yer ass!”

            To be clear, progressives are no better, but they don’t generally pretend to be.

    5. They quit working after ‘Taking the Long Way’ in 2006 which was a #1 hit album at the time.

      They were on to the Bush crime family early and only slowed to have babies.

      1. BUSHPIG!!!! AHH!!!!

        I am pretty sure all three of them are Christfags and will thus be on the kill list anyway.


        1. I’m not ready to make nice
          I’m not ready to back down
          I’m still mad as hell and I don’t have time to go ’round and ’round and ’round
          It’s too late to make it right
          I probably wouldn’t if I could
          ‘Cause I’m mad as hell
          Can’t bring myself to do what it is you think I should

          I made my bed and I sleep like a baby
          With no regrets and I don’t mind sayin’
          It’s a sad sad story when a mother will teach her
          Daughter that she ought to hate a perfect stranger
          And how in the world can the words that I said
          Send somebody so over the edge
          That they’d write me a letter
          Sayin’ that I better
          Shut up and sing or my life will be over

          Dixie Chicks response to the threats from conservatives in ‘Not Ready to Make Nice’.

          1. But they are CHRISTFAGS!!!

            That will get them disposed of by the collective even before it disposes of you.

            1. It is a great song – angry as hell.

                1. Woooaaaooh take me to the zoo! Woooaaaooh take me to the zoo!

                2. I’ll take The Dead Milkmen over the Dixie Chicks any day, so thanks, sarc!

            2. It’s a sad sad story when a mother will teach her
              Daughter that she ought to hate a perfect stranger

              Does this make them hypocrites, ignorant, elitist, or all three? We all know Proggies love applying labels to thier enemies so it is easier to know who to hate.

              1. Does this make them hypocrites, ignorant, elitist, or all three?

                When they do it it’s different because principals trump principles.

                1. It’s ironic to me. On the one hand, this kind of behavior is nothing different than you’ve seen throughout history, including recent history. It is perfectly “human” – that is, something that all humans engage in and have done so for millenia. Obviously the consequences can get ugly real fast.

                  Then along come the Progressives – they beleive they are above all this ‘regular’ human activity and only they can lead mankind forward to a better society. But, how is it possible for a ‘better’ human to behave exactly the same as a ‘regular’ human?

                  1. Progressives think they’re on to something new, when in fact it’s the same failed collectivist philosophy that has doomed societies since the dawn of time.

            3. Have you SEEN Natalie Maines lately? She’s turned pretty liberal… also she put out a solo rock album and doesn’t want to do anything with the other Chicks at the moment.

              1. Full on butch is more like it.

  2. If I based my choices of entertainment on the politics of the entertainer, I be quite bored.

    1. I *would* be

      1. I think that’s going to change soon too. I really believe people just want the government to leave them the fuck alone, for the most part. It’s just going to take another 20 years before we get politicians that have the ability to leave us the fuck alone.

      2. I am bored…I am filled with boredom.

        *flicks ash from Galois and makes a brief effort to begin reading Sarte book, shrugs, gives up and stares off into the distance*

        1. Ennui consumes my existence. There, I am extinguished.

    2. Conservatives are so goddamn bereft of talent they have to to listen/watch liberals.

      Ted Nugent and Lee Greenwood doesn’t cut it for anyone.

      1. Clint Eastwood just gave you the finger.

      2. Ted Nugent and Lee Greenwood doesn’t cut it for anyone.

        They’re laughing at you all the way to the bank.

        1. why would you even bother responding to it? A response is all it wants.

          1. If I want to mock it I’ll mock it.

      3. Johnny Ramone would like a word with you.

        1. James Hetfield as well.

          1. Lee Ving, Gene Simmons, Joe Perry…

            1. Eazy E, Ice Cube …

              1. Shit, make that Ice-T. Just got in that NWA frame of mind

                1. And Big Boi from Outkast is apparently a libertarian!

  3. Filling in for Cathy Young is Barton Hinkle…

  4. But having a right to X does not make X the prudent thing to do.

    I think in the pretty near future companies are going to start saying something like “Look, that’s just what (insert CEO name here) thinks. It has absolutely no impact on how well he manages the company; therefore, go fuck yourself.”

    I will be just a little bit happier every time it happens too.

    1. “So you admit that your CEO engages in thoughtcrime?”

      1. Is thinking about the consequences of thoughtcrime also a thoughtcrime? Cause I mean, that’s probable cause of thoughtcrime right there, isn’t it?

        1. Quick, get a warrant and a Vulcan in hear to perform a mind meld!

          1. There’s no time for warrants damnit! He could start thinking of porn any second and we’ll lose our evidence.

    2. so which company is going to do that? Obviously, not Mozilla. And look at how a decades-old incident cost Paula Deen a lot of business.

      I guess chik-fil-a might be an example. After the CEO answered a question on gay marriage and multiple Dem mayors talked about preventing the company from building stores in their towns, he pretty much told them to fuck off.

      1. The Paula Deen thing was over more than just saying the N word a long time ago, regardless of how you feel about it.

        1. Was it? I didn’t follow it closely. To me it’s like….she’s an old lady from Georgia. She’d probably be lying if she said she never used that word

        2. The Paula Deen thing was over more than just saying the N word a long time ago, regardless of how you feel about it.

          uhh, what more was there?

          1. A black woman who worked for her for many years became envious of Paula’a wealth and success while she remained a worker bee.

            After 20 years or so she decided she had been racified against and sued. I think she originally sued one of Paula’s son.

            She is now unemployed and watching her grandkids after school and living in a trailer.

            I remember seeing Paula on TV ” begging for their forgiveness” with tears streaming.

            I knew right then she was toast.

        3. There was the original complaint against her, but that in and of itself wasn’t generating much antipathy.

  5. The gay activists, who believe their cause is The Most Important Thing in the World, were acting in an understandable manner by protesting someone who, according to their principles, was a fascist nazi poopyhead.

    The problem to me is the compulsory outing of his political contributions (California law), without which there would be no controversy because it would have remained private.

    1. agree. boycotters gonna boycott. As the they should.

      But it shouldn’t be impossible to anonymously donate money to a foundation that wants to run poilitical commercials.

    2. This, to me, is a crucial distinction. He didn’t do this on behalf of his company or even make public waves about it. He cut a check.

      Meanwhile, Hobby Lobby has the force of the federal government compelling action.

      Apples and oranges.

  6. And why should country music fans not give as much importance to the views of the Dixie Chicks as they did? To the DC, it was *very important* to tell their audience about their political beliefs. So why can’t those beliefs be important to down-home American country music fans, as well?

    1. And why should country music fans not give as much importance to the views of the Dixie Chicks as they did?

      because it has nothing to do with the product. The same way I didn’t care about the views of a Chicken chain. because they made delicious chicken and that’s all that matters.

      1. Indeed I am very athiest and very pro abortion but I will go out of my way to get Chick Fil A because their chicken sandwiches are the best fucking fast food on the planet

  7. …”If we all start excommunicating one another at the first sign of apostasy, it’s going to become a very cold and lonely place.”…

    When someone proposes using a gun to enforce their opinion or to take my stuff, I tend to ‘excommunicate’ them.
    If that makes the country less hospitable for them, why, good!

  8. The Dixie Chicks pissed off their fans in a big way. Of course radio stations stop playing someone’s songs if it means they’ll likely lose listeners and, thus, ad revenue. Was there ever some kind of broadly-based grassroots opposition to Brendan Eich, or a credible belief that his employment would adversely affect Mozilla? As far as I could tell, a few people bitched about Eich and Mozilla just immediately rolled over and pushed him out. That doesn’t even take into account the difference between public statements and private political donations.

    I get what he’s saying, and there’s some merit, but flatly equating the two is really stupid.

  9. I concur with the comments that say that these two situations are not analogous but that in either case a boycott is unwarranted. The DC kerfuffle was immediate, visible, public…the Eich thing was an old donation. They aren’t the same thing.

  10. One of my favorite bumper stickers reads: DISCOURAGE INBREEDING – BAN COUNTRY MUSIC.

    1. Really, dude?

  11. I think the Dixie Chicks owe the public at large for making dull, uninteresting music.

    1. ^^THIS^^

      I actually saw them by accident New Year’s eve in Dallas a couple of years before they got big. Walked into a Deep Ellum bar late one night and they were playing.

      I remember thinking they were a good bar band. I would have never bet they would ever make it big.

      1. Re: John,

        I would have never bet they would ever make it big.

        It’s a tits-and-ass world, John. Until they start opening their pie-hole, of course.

      2. That must’ve been Adair’s. I can’t think of any other place in Deep Ellum that would have country.

        Unless Baker’s Ribs had shows.

        1. I don’t remember to be honest. It was New Year’s Eve 1997 and I was really drunk at the time.

        2. There’s also Sons of Hermann Hall in Deep Ellum. They also played a few shows at the Pocket Sandwich Theater near SMU.

  12. To agree with and expand on some of the comments above:

    1) The Dixie Chicks used the stage to promote their side of a hot-button issue. Eich merely made some private contributions. There are no reports that he had provoked or annoyed anyone in the workplace with his beliefs.

    2) The Dixie Chicks weighed in on a current controversy. OTOH, same-sex marriage in California was a settled issue at the time of the Eich affair.

    3) The Dixie Chicks were merely one of many performers in an industry. Eich was a co-founder of Mozilla and a valuable contributor to the open source community.

    4) Mozilla has explicit organizational principles promoting diversity, inclusiveness, etc. Those principles do not state that one must follow any particular political line.

    5) AFAIK, The Dixie Chicks were never asked to renounce their views, Cultural Revolution-style.

  13. None of the stories I have seen about the whole Mozilla kerfuffle has mentioned the rather obvious point that Eich’s side WON the vote, thus showing that most voting Californians agreed with him. Gays should boycott the state and move out.

    1. they usually point out that the vote came AFTER the robed class had declared gay marriage legal, a decision later left intact by SCOTUS.

      1. That doesn’t change the fact that Californians were in support of the proposition and not by a slim margin. What he did, when he did it, was in the mainstream of state political thought.

        1. Since when do libertarians defer to mainstream political thought?

          1. I’m not deferring to anything. I’m just pointing out that Eich wasn’t exactly unique in his opposition queer weddings. If you’re gonna hang him for his views, you should hang the several million other voters who agreed with him.

    2. I don’t think any gay folks are gonna heed that… otherwise we’d be seeing a sharp drop in San Francisco home prices.

  14. My issue with it, then, as now, was where, not what. I have small use for GWB but say that shit at a concert in Dallas or Lubbock, not in London.

    1. In Lubbock, they wouldn’t have escaped the stage unharmed. Not sure about Dallas, but there’s no doubt they wouldn’t have been cheered like they were in London in either city. It’s easier to be brave when you don’t have to face any immediate consequences.

    2. Who gives a shit when and where they said it? It would have been better for the whole fucking country had more of us had the courage, or foresight to openly question the beat to arms then.

  15. Their [the Dixie Chicks] No. 1 single “Travelin’ Soldier” fell off the charts […] Back then, you didn’t see conservatives expressing the sort of alarm they have been voicing ever since Brandon Eich resigned as head of Mozilla.

    Because refraining from using your OWN fucking money to buy someone’s records is the same as BULLYING someone to step down from a job is the exact same thing.

    Got it.

    To the left, this epitomized the “stifling of dissent” that all truly patriotic Americans should abhor.

    They could have used their OWN fucking money to express their support for the Dixie Chicks, just like conservatives did for Chick-Fil-A. Oh, so they didn’t, did they? OK, then I guess the hypocrites are somewhere else, don’t ya think?

    1. How did they bully? By refusing to use Mozilla’s browser and encouraging others to do the same? Which is exactly how conservatives reacted to the Dixie Chicks?

      1. Re: Calidissident,

        How did they [gay activists and OkCupid] bully? By refusing to use Mozilla’s browser and encouraging others to do the same?

        No, by lying through insinuating that Brendan Eich had done something wrong or that the company was against gay marriage. The Dixie Chicks made their feelings VERY public. Not that I agree with the lambasting that they received, but that does not mean they could count on their fans’ money from then on – it’s NOT the Dixie Chick’s money. Brendan Eich, instead, did NOTHING wrong. He didn’t say anything against gay marriage. His wasn’t a Chick-Fil-A moment at all. That turns the OkCupid CEO and the activists into BULLIES.

      2. You had idiots saying he was supporting the notion that gay people harm children. Misrepresenting someone’s views is certainly a form of bullying.

    2. Before anybody tells me anything, I wasn’t against the Dixie Chicks for being against the war or for what they said about president Bush. The things that people said about these women, especially in the conservative media, was appalling, chauvinistic and rude. But there’s a BIG difference between showing your disagreement with the political views of a girl band by not forking out YOUR OWN FUCKING MONEY to buy their records, and quite another to BULLY someone to step down from his or her job or to bully the company he or she works for to fire that person only because of his or her views on something. The Dixie Chicks made their money being out in public singing songs (which means they had to anticipate what would’ve happened when they made their political stance public) whereas Brendan Eich did NOT make his money that way. He was just a private citizen.

      1. The debate is over.

        The science is settled.
        !
        OldMexican|4.14.14 @ 1:04PM|#

        Wins

    3. OM. There was much more going on than a simple music boycott. I remember people burning CDs and even someone crushing a pile of CDs with a bulldozer.

      1. Re: Eric,

        I remember people burning CDs and even someone crushing a pile of CDs with a bulldozer.

        Yes, crazy shit. People did similar things to Beatles records at one time after Lennon commented that they were more famous than Jesus. Yet the Beatles continued selling records. I am sure the Dixie Chicks still had fans all over that continued to buy their records.

        What can you tell me about Brendan Eich, who did NOTHING WRONG?

        1. Correction. Eich did NOTHING ILLEGAL.

          The market will be the judge of whether he did NOTHING WRONG.

  16. The Dixie Chicks invited the controversy by insulting the President (and many of their fans) overseas in a time of war, which is generally seen as a violation of cultural norms and protocols. Conservatives didn’t dig up the comments 6 years after the fact in an attempt to get them to recant their views and them cost them their ability to make living when they failed to do so.

    But, I could agree that generally some people went overboard with the Dixie Chicks, though you should note that President Bush stood up for their right to free speech and there was no government action taken. However, that ONE example pales in comparison to what the left does. The two sides are not equal purveyors of attempts to silence their political opponents.

    1. For example, conservatives are afraid to be open and honest in Hollywood due to fear of reprisals. There is good reason for that. Typically, conservative speakers on campuses are targeted for boycotts and many attempts are made to prevent them from even speaking by interrupting the speeches. Many times, the schools go along with this. The examples are endless. After the Prop 8 contributions list was made public, people were fired or had their homes and businesses targeted for making contributions to a political cause THAT WON (hardly some radical extremist agenda). Look what the IRS did to conservative and tea party organizations (government action!) Look at debate over global warming – those who dare to question the “settled science” are likened to Holocaust deniers. Of course, there is the Eich situation. He isn’t allowed to have a job because of his hardly kooky political views that don’t effect his work.

      It’s disgusting. People disagree and we’re all better off when disagreements are aired. The left is simply intolerant, as a rule, of those who dare to disagree with their politics. There is a general tone from the left that those with whom they disagree are mentally ill, or uneducated or extremist or racist/homophobic/sexist. They make these accusations because they want to shut the other side up, though many may actually be delusional enough to believe it most of the time. It’s isn’t because they believe they are arguing from a position of strength.

      1. The left is simply intolerant, as a rule, of those who dare to disagree with their politics.

        In their minds, anyone who disagrees with them is intolerant. And good tolerant people do not tolerate intolerance. Thus by being intolerant of opposing viewpoints, in their minds they are showing tolerance.

        1. Repressive Tolerance

    2. The Dixie Chicks’ biggest sin,IMHO, was presuming to speak for Texans. NOFUCKINGBODY can speak for Texans. We’re all major egotist and we will not sit quietly by and let some 2nd rate girl band claim to speak for us. “Son, never ask a man where he’s from. If he’s from Texas, he’ll tell you, if he’s not, there’s no cause to shame him.”

  17. “Do conservatives owe the Dixie Chicks an apology?”

    Is this grievance the latest addition to the invisible backpack? Are future generations going to learn about the tragic fate forever wrought on liberal musicians because of the legacy of some rednecks calling Dixie Chicks mean names that one time? And since liberals consider everyone who is not them a conservative, does this include me, by association? Lastly, can I just do a one-time blanket apology and not be reminded of it ever again or is this just a reminder to check my privilege? To be safe should I do a routine apology/checking of privilege every few months until I die sort of like an oil change?

    1. The power of the Chicks is that they were American Heartland and they hated our fascist emperor. As is usually the case our artists express the genuine angst in society.

      1. How much less Fascist is the current Emperor such that the ‘artists’ (gag) have decided to take a multi-year powder on, say, the ‘anti-war’ front, etc?

        Cause it seems the liberals only grievance anymore is with the EVIL KOCHS who oppose the dear leader’s Master Plan For Awesome.

        1. I presume you are talking the drone tactics of Obama. I also object to this “war”.

          What can you say? The drone war is only about 1% the evil of a fully occupied 150,000 US soldier, $2 trillion Iraq War.

          1. So your idea of TEAM AWESOME is “SLIGHTLY LESS EVIL THAN BUSH BUT STILL DOING THE SAME SHIT”

            Way to go there setting a high bar there. Principles, moral superiority and shit. Whoo hoo.

          2. Sure, drones are the only reason anyone would hang the emperor tag on Dear Leader.

        2. Say what you will about Bush, at least he never jailed anyone for producing a video.

  18. I’ve semi-avoided comedians for NOT insulting Obama. I don’t know if this counts.

  19. I never went after the Dixie Chicks, I just stopped listening to their music. They have an absolute right to their opinion, and I have a right to dislike it. As for Eich, he resigned and said he still supports Mozilla. Whats the fuss about?

  20. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rr2yU_yXOXk

    Dixie Chicks angry response complete with gratuitous nude picture of all three.

  21. I dislike the dixie chick music. When I expressed this view here a little over a decade ago, several folks, including reason staff, said I had no taste. Do y’all still dig that music? I still hate it.

    1. Do you dislike their music or their message?

      There is no correct answer, btw.

      1. I don’t care about either their music or their message, but depending on how drunk I was, I would probably accept a 3-way with various combinations of 2 of them.

        I would balk at all 3. Too much work, not enough hawt. Is that sexist? Maybe.

        1. I’ll take the two sisters and complete my fantasy trifecta.

          1. Which ones are sisters? the blondes?

            we agree on something I think. Although fantasy? Not so much. More like, ‘eh, beats the Spice Girls’. I’ve done better.

            1. Natalie (the lead singer) is a late addition to the band. The two sisters play instruments and sing background.

              They also have “Roman” noses – I big turn on to me.

              1. You are under the mistaken impression I’ve ever listened to their music or know who the fuck plays what.

                The short blonde chick is kind of the deal-maker. The other ones are kinda, ‘yeah, we’ll have one of those too’.

                I’m aware this is not the formula other people would go with. its me.

                1. So we disagree again.

                  The “short blonde” is the non-sister.

              2. I big turn on to me.

                I’m sure you are a big turn-on to you.

        2. I dislike the music. I am ignorant of the “message.” I infer they are anti-war? That’s fine. GWB was a disappointing president? Yeah, ok. I can see that. They want do 3-way sex with gilmore? Sure. Y’all have a goodtime.

  22. Most people are hypocrites who never put principle above getting what they want–their enemies silenced, their allies defended.

    In none of these cases did the government suppress anyone’s speech. The absolute last people who should be ruminating on the appropriateness of the consequences of free speech in society and the marketplace are you idiots.

    1. Am I one of the “idiots”, Tony?

      Remember, I think all social programs should be cut.

      ALL.

      1. No, I’m referring to the libertarian idiots, who should be well aware that the maximalist approach to freedom they claim to cherish comes with a wide array of unforeseeable consequences, which, they claim, are all worth the price, since freedom is always paramount.

        1. Well, this “maximalist approach to freedom” is honorable in my view as long as we are in a democratic republic.

          Look, I don’t like certain indulgences either but it is supposed to be corrected by the will of the people.

          1. But PB… you’re always telling us how YOU are libertarian… you’re not going to take that lying down, are you!? Come on! FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT!!

            1. Tony backed off after I defended this “maximalist approach to freedom”.

              This is the first time I have engaged him – lay off.

          2. I agree that a maximalist approach to freedom, with respect to speech, is by all evidence the best approach. I disagree that it’s the best approach to everything, and dismiss as propagandistic bullshit the extremely limiting definition of freedom that libertarians impose (absence of government, period).

            I can just make it simple, and I think you’d agree with me: these people are a living in the right-wing echo chamber and just can’t help themselves when it comes to scratching that partisan itch.

            I long for a libertarian who has the basic imagination required to understand that the consequences of his principles won’t necessarily be good for him all the time. It never seems more complicated to me than that. You can barely get any of them to imagine such a thing. It’s all the good parts of the world they know without any of the taxes. It’s childish.

            1. Here you go asshole… I know that the consequences of libertarian principles may not be great for me personally all of the time. Just as a meddlesome government is not great for me personally most of the time.

              I am hardly alone in that realization.

              Feel better now?

        2. Other than to call people idiots, what is your point? Freedom is paramount, and some people make dumb use of it.

          In the case of Hobby Lobby, government is compelling action, so that doesn’t really fit.

    2. “”In none of these cases did the government suppress anyone’s speech.””

      That may be the case.

      Out of curiosity = was the Obama admin using “The Innocence of Muslims'”-guy as a punching bag for the continued lack of Obama-Love in the Middle East *also* not a case of Speech-Suppression, in your view?

      Just curious.

      Also, please, fight with PB. That would be fun.

      1. I believe in (almost) maximum free speech, but am not naive enough to believe that it is always consequence-free (otherwise, why is it valuable and worthy of protection?). For what it’s worth, I also believe that noting the possible consequences, including dead people, of inflammatory bigotry, is not quite as dangerous as, say, fascist flag-waving dissent-silencing patriotic warmongering of the sort that got those country singers in trouble.

        1. That’s a pretty long way of saying you’re not going to answer the question?

        2. Or is that just a mealy-mouthed way of saying, “I believe in Free Speech as long as it is speech I support”?

          Both?

        3. What libertarian ever claims that speech or anything else is consequence free? One of the biggest libertarian criticisms of the left is that they don’t see the consequences of social programs and regulations.

          1. Zeb – don’t make the mistake of responding to its insincere head-fakes.

            The question was, “was a clear example of speech-repression for political gain” by Obama something he’d deign to criticize?

            he won’t because grumble grumble exceptions for TEAM BLUE blah blah blah.

          2. Yes we do. We focus intentionally on consequences. We don’t buy into bullshit self-serving counterfactual narratives of consequences you idiots dream up, but we do care about whether programs actually work.

            The problem is your nihilism and dogmatic insistence on your anti-government righteousness has infected a major political party and they have no interest in testing anything.

        4. Re: Tony,

          I believe in (almost) maximum free speech, but am not naive enough to believe that it is always consequence-free (otherwise, why is it valuable and worthy of protection?).

          Good to know you are not that naive. I don’t know anybody who is that naive, by the way.

          The freedom to speak and to express your ideas is paramount – nobody has a right to take away that right from you. That does not grant you a guarantee that people are going to like you, but your is that right.

          What is being discussed here is the validity of comparing the Dixie Chicks situation with what happened to Brendan Eich. In one case, the Dixie Chicks clearly and unequivocally expressed, in public, their political opinion about the president of the United States. The fact that their fan base diminished should not mean their freedom of speech was curtailed.

          The Mozilla-OkCupid case was completely different. The OkCupid management did not simply express their opinion regarding a product, they lied about the company and its policies. There hasn’t been a single statement made by Mozilla or even the former CEO Brendan Eich to suggest that the company, as a matter of policy, was against gay marriage. Thus saying that those of us that criticize the lack of ethics by OkCupid are being hypocritical because of Dixie Chicks is stretching logic.

          1. You most of all need to find a pair of testicles and deal with the fact that CEOs can be fired for whatever reason his company’s board dreams up. You are the freedom maximalist. Stop pissing your panties just because the liberals won this one.

      2. GILMORE asks:

        was the Obama admin using “The Innocence of Muslims'”-guy as a punching bag for the continued lack of Obama-Love in the Middle East *also* not a case of Speech-Suppression, in your view?

        Tony answers:

        I believe in (almost) maximum free speech, but am not naive enough to believe that it is always consequence-free (otherwise, why is it valuable and worthy of protection?). For what it’s worth, I also believe that noting the possible consequences, including dead people, of inflammatory bigotry, is not quite as dangerous as, say, fascist flag-waving dissent-silencing patriotic warmongering of the sort that got those country singers in trouble. No, absolutely not a case of suppressing speech.

        1. Who suppressed what speech?

      3. Also, please, fight with PB. That would be fun.

        Why do you want to watch a couple of retards engage in a battle of wits? It’d be like watching a couple of one legged men trying to kick each other in the balls.

        1. You need a better analogy. I honestly don’t think there is anything I’d rather watch than a couple of one legged men trying to kick each other in the balls.

        2. Who doesn’t like a good retard fight?

    3. Except for the last sentence, I really can’t disagree with Tony here.

      It is all irrelevant as a libertarian issue. My only disagreement is that people should ruminate on whatever they feel like. Just because you don’t think there should be a law about something, doesn’t mean you can’t have an opinion at all.

    4. Re: Tony,

      In none of these cases did the government suppress anyone’s speech.

      Completely, absolutely and 100% agree with you – the government had NO hand in this.

      As a matter of fact, nobody is saying otherwise, so let’s get that out of the way before it becomes your next red herring.

      The absolute last people who should be ruminating on the appropriateness of the consequences of free speech in society and the marketplace are you idiots.

      Who is ruminating about the “appropriateness of the consequences of free speech”, again, Mr. “Citizens United is the end of democracy as we know it”?

      Talk about a hypocrite.

      1. I’m entitled to consider the consequences of free speech. I’m a consequentialist. But you’re not.

        I feel I should give you a tip for gratuitously including that defense of Citizens United, the only purpose being to assert that money equals speech, a claim that you know I find absurd.

  23. Companies have a right to live their values, after all.

    As long as those values conform to progressive orthodoxy. Incorrect thoughts must be purged. For the well being of the greater good, natch.

    1. Oh, there are plenty of assholes boycotting businesses and performers for silly reasons both left and right.

  24. I never cared for the Dixie Chicks. Not because of any of their political views, but because their music is ear rape.

    1. Is it rape rape, or one of the lesser forms of ear rape? Your ears were probably asking for it, dressed all sexy and flirting with all the dull pop-country acts.

    2. This is unfair to Dupstep

    3. Also, this might confuse people who were looking for Kid 606’s latest album

  25. As a general rule, conservatives think social norms are best upheld not through government coercion but through the moral suasion of community mores.

    lolwut?

  26. Man, what a non-issue. If the Dixie Chicks said or did something that pissed you off, and it was bad enough that you didn’t want to be associated with them or give them money or whatever, then don’t. If it’s something that you struggle with, then I’d love to offload some of my problems to you, since you’ve clearly got nothing to really worry about.

    I keep seeing this shit with Firefox and it drives me absolutely nuts. First, you were supposed to uninstall a free web browser because the CEO donated to an anti-gay-marriage group six years ago. Now you’re supposed to uninstall a free web browser because the company fired the guy over a donation he made SIX YEARS AGO.

    Well, shit, I don’t agree with either decision, but I do know that I use Firebug and I prefer Firefox over IE, Chrome, or godforsaken Safari. I don’t care if Mozilla’s CEO hates white atheists who listen to death metal, nor do I care if Mozilla fires every single vegetarian employee. I really don’t care. As long as I prefer Firefox I’m going to keep using it.

    1. If it’s something that you struggle with, then I’d love to offload some of my problems to you, since you’ve clearly got nothing to really worry about.

      Some people have first world problems.

      I really don’t care. As long as I prefer Firefox I’m going to keep using it.

      But then how will you fight TEH KULTUR WARZ!!11!!!!1!!!

  27. You need to separate a persons personal private opinions and actions from their business actions. The Dixie chicks combined both and to top it off the little cowards did it in another country because they new an American audiance would have booed them..

    1. Don’t tell me what I need to do.

  28. I am sure someone beat me to this, but the thing in common here is only free expression/speech. And that is all. The other ways the writer is trying to compare these two things (conservative issue, or not, I guess is what he’s trying to say), doesn’t make them more alike.

    That being said, I know I missed the boat, cause everyone will be paying attention to other articles by now.

  29. How is either of these cases a violation of free speech? In neither case did the government intervene to limit speech. In neither case did the individuals opposing the Dixie Chicks or Brandon Eich use violence against them. Individuals used their freedom of speech to organize campaigns for a particular result, and to encourage companies to act in a particular way, and their campaigns largely succeeded.

    Perhaps some may dislike the cause that these individuals support, and disagree with their speech, but both of these cases seem more like people opposing how free speech worked itself out than a violation of the principle of free speech. How does it violate libertarian principles if a company wants to hire only those who have a particular ideological belief? Some may think that companies shouldn’t have such policies, but, if it isn’t a result of government coercion, how does it violate the freedom of speech?

  30. What a silly article.

  31. Both parties only believe in free speech when it helps them. And we wonder why liberty is so hard to preserve!

  32. This is apples and oranges. Brandon Eich did the nice thing by caving in to public pressure that he resign, but no one at the company forced him. On the other hand, Hobby Lobby’s boss is forcing his employees to do without an insurance benefit most of them want and are willing to pay for.

    Why on earth are libertarians so eager to back Hobby Lobby’s boss’s “right” to practice his religious views by stopping thousands of employees from practicing their own in THEIR personal lives? As far as I’m concerned, property rights do not extend that far, and I hope Hobby Lobby loses at the Supreme Court.

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