North Carolina: bigotry and opposition

So in response to North Carolina’s loathsome anti-gay, anti-employee HB2 (details here) a number of businesses are backing away from the state. PayPal passed on expanding its operations here; Bruce Springsteen canceled a concert. It’s going to hurt the economy, which hurts the people. As John Scalzi points out, that’s the purpose of boycotts, to inflict enough pain that businesses and voters will react, protest and push for change. It’s unfortunate but unavoidable that people who don’t support the law are hurt too. One commenter added that it isn’t just about North Carolina, it’s about warning other states away from doing the same. A couple of commenters told one activist not to go crying to them: the law passed, that proves he and his brethren didn’t fight hard enough.

I’m not sure yet that this counts as a boycott, which implies an organized movement. So far it seems more like multiple companies and individuals acting on principle, more than acting to pressure the state into change (not that acting on principle is bad). In terms of the effects on the state, it comes out the same way, of course (for a moment of hilarity consider National Review’s David French explaining this away: corporate America is too liberal)

And what are those effects? Will this influence state policy? Beats the hell out of me.

On the one hand, most Republicans probably have far more to worry about from PO’d conservatives who think they’re not doing enough to stop the Gay Agenda than they do challenges from the left. On the other, money talks, and seeing business stay out of our state puts a lot of money in play. On the third hard, some of the rules in this bill are clearly an early Christmas gift to the business community: cities can’t raise minimum wage above the state level, and employees can’t sue for discrimination in state court. I’m guessing a lot of business owners are down with that (so much for French’s theory)

So the end result could be nothing happens until the law is crushed in court. Or it could be that we get a hybrid, dropping the “no trans people in the wrong bathroom” rule and keeping the anti-employee stuff.

One point I strongly disagree with (not Scalzi’s  but a couple of his commenters, as noted above) is that everyone who didn’t actively fight against this bill deserves some pain; even those who did fight clearly didn’t fight hard enough. I think there’s a lot of truth to Thoreau’s statement that while we’re all obligated not to make the world worse, we’re not obligated to make it better. There’s always more we can do, but I can’t blame someone who wants to live their life or spend time with their kids rather than protest or fight (as I don’t do that much, I may be biased here). Nobody is obligated to sacrifice for the greater good (I do agree with the commenters we need more people of good intent to get out and vote, though [though of course Repubs are trying to make that harder]) as long as they avoid contributing to the greater bad.

The argument that those who do fight didn’t do enough, I think is bullshit (no bias here—like I said, I’m not one of the ones who do the real fighting).  It’s the same logic by which we supposedly lost in Vietnam and Iraq because we didn’t fight hard enough, or the current conviction of many Trump voters that the Republicans’ inability to defeat Obamacare or push back on gay marriage is a clear sign Congressional Republicans aren’t conservative enough (or of course they’d make it happen). Sometimes, no matter how hard you fight, you lose.

Though I hope we win this one before too long, by whatever means.


Filed under economics, Politics

9 responses to “North Carolina: bigotry and opposition

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