Let's say that you own a business. And let's say that as a person of faith, you decide to use the profits from that business to support, at least in some small part, traditional marriage. Now let's say that your political opponents find your position stunning and launch a boycott against your business.
So far, no harm, no foul. It may be irritating that your political opponents choose to make your personal political predilections the basis of a crushing economic attack. But it's their right.
But now let's say your political opponents are in government. And let's say they use the power of their office to shut down your business -- not because you violated any law or broke any regulation, but because they don't like your position on traditional marriage.
This would be fascism.
Fascists deny that democracy should decide whether or not you have a right to engage in business. They suggest, instead, that political actors, armed with a vague sense of the general will, ought to enforce that vague sense rather than the law. Mao Zedong fervently supported this notion; in his "Little Red Book," he asked where "correct ideas come from." His answer: him. And only politically correct ideas could be tolerated.
Welcome to Barack Obama's America.
Two of Obama's closest political allies, Mayor Thomas Menino of Boston and Mayor Rahm Emanuel of Chicago, came out last week in favor of banning Chick-fil-A from their cities. Chick-fil-A's President and Chief Operating Officer, Dan Cathy, is a supporter of traditional marriage; the company has given money to groups that support traditional marriage politically. This, in the minds of Menino and Emanuel, is a grave sin in need of rapid repentance. "Chick-fil-A's values are not Chicago's values," said Emanuel of a city in which dead people vote and live people dodge bullets. "I was angry to learn on the heels of your prejudiced statements about your search for a site to locate in Boston," Menino wrote to Cathy. "There is no place for your discrimination on Boston's Freedom Trail and no place for your company alongside it."
Now, neither Emanuel nor Menino can legally bar Chick-fil-A from their cities. But this attitude -- that businesses are worthy of government bans simply for failing to tow the liberal line -- now infuses the Democratic Party. It's why President Obama's allies at Media Matters consistently team up with him to launch devastating boycotts against conservative business people. It's why those public relations assaults are invariably well coordinated with government actors who suggest that force of law be used to punish those conservative business people.
This is the difference between free speech and fascism. It's one thing for people to choose not to engage in business with people with whom they disagree. That's often nasty and extreme, but it's certainly within First Amendment territory. It's another thing entirely for the government to step in to punish people who disagree with liberal policies, simply because they disagree with liberal policies. That's fascistic. It's deeply dangerous. And it's becoming the ugly new attitude of the Democratic Party elite.
Ben Shapiro, 28, is a graduate of UCLA and Harvard Law School, a radio host on KRLA 870 Los Angeles, and Editor-At-Large for Breitbart News. He is the four-time bestselling author of "Primetime Propaganda."
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