Saturday, January 29, 2011

Associations in business and politics

I know I’ve mentioned in a couple of places that, while I detest the use of overbearing law against a person for what they say or how they express themselves, I support the right of anyone to disassociate themselves from that person. Freedom of association is listed in the Constitution, and must include the negative as well as the positive right – that is, the right to choose NOT to associate. Thus, if you wish to boycott someone’s business over their personal views, go ahead, be my guest.

But my own threshold for boycotting for non-business reasons is a lot farther out. I purchase content and physical products from entertainers, entrepreneurs, and established businesses whose personal political and social views I find distasteful, because, as entertainers, I find them worth the money. To the extent I disagree with their views, I’d rather fight them in that space. It seems unfair to me, somehow, to judge their business venture on their personal views. Were I an entrepreneur, I would want my business success to stand or fail on the merits of the venture, not that I am a red-head, or male, or a firearm owner. And so I extend that courtesy to others.

It is possible to be a worthless enough example of humanity that I wouldn’t buy a product or service from you or your company, I suppose. But you’d have to have actually done something more active than expressing yourself, and done it directly. IOW, I won’t donate to, say, the Joyce Foundation; but finding out that a company with an excellent product has done so isn’t likely to make me stop doing business from them. All other things being equal, I might do business with a competitor, I suppose, but that’s a rare case these days.

2 comments:

  1. What about companies that actually give money to "the other side". I am not talking about putting money in PAC funds and such, any good businessman would line the pockets of BOTH parties, but I am talking about funding the HCI or whatever it is called nowadays.

    I personally refuse to give my money to these companies. Regardless of the product. I cannot stomach my money going to such entities, even via smart commerce.

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  2. Do they have a product at least as good or better than their competitor?

    I don't want to be punished economically for my political views - so courtesy demands I not punish other economically for the same. It's a short step from there to firing me for donating to the NRA-ILA, or SAF, or the ACLU...

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Please keep it civil