Leftists, the most tolerant people in America, are now demonstrating their tolerance by boycotting entire states that do not govern in accordance with leftist social policy. On Tuesday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that he would bar non-essential state-funded travel to Mississippi after the state passed a bill re-enshrining First Amendment protections for freedom of religion and association. Cuomo, who termed the law “sad, hateful,” isn’t the only big government leftist to utilize the power of taxpayer-funded nastiness: the mayor of San Francisco, Ed Lee, did the same.
Lee and Cuomo also announced travel bans to North Carolina, where the governor recently signed a bill that mandates that local governments may not allow people to use single-sex bathrooms based on subjective gender identity rather than biological sex; that bill also makes state anti-discrimination law supreme and exclusive over local anti-discrimination laws that would compel businesses to hire people regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
It’s not just government, either. Icons like the wildly overrated Bruce Springsteen are cancelling concerts in North Carolina; businesses like PayPal, which do business in countries like Saudi Arabia and Malaysia, which actually prosecute homosexuality. States like Virginia and Georgia have vetoed similar legislation out of fear of corporate and governmental blowback from companies ranging from Apple to Disney.
The left has ratcheted up their pressure on states to crack down on Americans who don’t want their daughters peeing next to grown men, to prosecute businessowners who don’t want to cater same-sex weddings. They’ve utilized their economic power to punish private actors who may or may not even agree with the left in an attempt to coax those actors into putting indirect pressure on their representatives. That’s rather ironic for a group of people who argued that the sanctions on Iran didn’t work.
So, what should the right do?
The governors of North Carolina and Mississippi should bar state travel to New York and San Francisco – and it’s a fair guarantee that more people visit New York and San Francisco from Charlotte and Jackson than the other way around. Major conservative businesses should refuse to do business in states that attempt to interfere with conservative local governance. Let’s see how much fun it is for California to interfere with Texas when Texas refuses to do business with California.
None of this is ideal, of course. In a free country, people should engage in business with people of all different belief sets based on who offers the best deal; individuals are free to boycott based on values -- and sometimes they may be morally correct -- but to make boycotting a way of life means abandoning political argument and discussion for economic compulsion.
But mutually assured destruction must be created here. If the left seeks to use the weapon of boycott against the right, the right cannot sit still – they ought to make clear to the left that two can play at this came. Hopefully, the left will realize that if turnabout is fair play, it’s best to holster the economic weaponry rather than risk all-out war.