Wise Up but Never Shut Up, A lesson in American History.

On a Blog somewhere on the right side of cyberspace, I found an article entitled “Stick to your corporation’s business and leave politics alone.”

(see http://bootsontheground.blogspot.com/)

The author complains about corporate political activism by Ben and Jerries and Proctor and Gamble. He also objects to hearing in a sandwich shop the “counter girl running her mouth off about Pres.[sic] Bush.” His means of defence against this heinous crime, is to write the company telling them how he did not think it was “appropriate for there [sic] employees to be giving political commentary.” He has also written to other companies “letting them know to just stick to their business and leave politics out of it.”

His final comment is “I’d like to see others do the same and maybe these activist corporation would wise up and shut up.”

This is the response I sent and I am anxiously awaiting the Blog lashing I deserve.

(I have edited this somewhat from the response I sent, as I sent it quickly and with a few grammatical errors)

– – – – – – – – – – – –
I think that freedom of speech is still allowed even for sandwich shop employees.

The one thing I admire the most about the USA is its democratic basis. That basis says that the opinion of the public decides the politics of the nation. In telling people they do not have the right to criticise the government, wherever and whenever they choose, you are putting forward what would seem to be a very un-American doctrine.

Your nation was born in the struggle against oppression and was based on the right to struggle verbally and physically against oppression. The founding fathers where well educated in the ideas of liberty, and they knew without the freedom to speak freely there is no liberty.

Take for example Paul Revere, the son of Apollos De Revoire, a French Huguenot who had come to Boston at the age of 13 to apprentice in the shop of a silversmith. Once Revoire Sr. had established his own business, he Anglicized the family name. Apollos was well educated in humanist ideas that saw humans as the captains of their own destiny and liberty as the basis of this concept. He passed this down to his son and by all accounts their Silversmith shop ( or it could have been a coffee shop, or ice cream factory ) was the centre of liberty and anti-government (British Government) thought. I do not think that the Revere’s would put the sale of merchandise ahead of their opinions, and Paul Revere’s ride proves that no-one was about to tell him to “shut up.”

So go ahead and complain about the liberals and pacifists and neo-hippies, that is your right !

But placing a muzzle onto those that would voice a contrary view is simply Un-American !

So in your call for corporations and others to “wise up and shut up”, I hope they say NO!

Personally I think that you should “wise up” and learn some of your own history, and even though I do not agree with you I support your right never to “shut up” !

2 thoughts on “Wise Up but Never Shut Up, A lesson in American History.

  1. Two thoughts. First, I would also pull in the principle of free enterprise. A business that makes political statements risks offending customers. If they’re willing to take that risk, or if they think they may actually gain customers — think United Colors of Benetton — that’s their decision to make. The blogger has the right not to purchase goods or services from that business if s/he is so offended.

    Second, who is this blogger kidding? Businesses meddle in politics all the time, in terms of criticizing policies that they see as contrary to their business interests, and making donations and hoping for political favours in return. I find that much more offensive than the kind of stuff the blogger is worked up about.

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