Government power and Chick-fil-A

The Chick-fil-A saga shows no signs of abating. Tomorrow’s planned “kiss mor chiks” demonstrations will keep it running through the weekend, perhaps. I suspect ( or at least I hope) after the weekend it will start to fade, but it begs the question of why it’s gone on this long.

Here’s the answer. The United States has become accustomed to the idea of the federal government regulating the smallest aspects of private activity, so special interest groups have come to believe that the advancement of their agendas can be accomplished through political power. But when legislation and regulation are seen as the default approach for advancing one’s cause, rather than persuasion, political power becomes an existential matter of life or death.

Chick-fil-A donates some of its profits to organizations that promote traditional marriage. This makes it more difficult for legislation to be passed that changes the definition of marriage. Therefore, for those intent on wielding political power in pursuit of that agenda, harming the business success of the company is a means to their end of exercising political power.

This is only useful in a setting where the government has expanded beyond its limited, enumerated powers and has begun to exercise power over private enterprise. Although there has been some push back from across the political spectrum, there are many, too many, who would be perfectly happy to have politicians, whether mayors, governors, or presidents, use executive power on their behalf. That’s why the simple matter of a business owner’s expression of his views on marriage has led to two weeks of furor.

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