Perspectives: Choosing between freedom and sandwiches

OPINION – We have finally seen what it takes to move conservatives to action.

In this case, it was a threatened boycott against the fast food chain over its owner’s stance on the wedge issue of gay marriage. The outpouring of support for Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy is commendable, but it reveals a potential blind spot within conservative ranks that may see the Republican Party go the way of the Whigs. Here’s why.

Plenty of conservatives were willing to rally to a cause that encompassed free speech and religious values under unrelenting attack from our cultural brownshirts. Conservatives were willing to get off their couches, open their wallets and, more importantly, to speak out against the media bullying of Chick-fil-A’s owners. But when the sandwich wrappers are in the trash and the fervor over this issue has subsided, will anything really have changed?

More importantly, why can’t this same amount of fervor and action be mobilized to stand against other things that are actually robbing us of our liberty?

Policies like the NDAA with its indefinite detention clause, the war on some drugs, and the continuing establishment of an authoritarian surveillance state have a powerful negative effect on our freedoms. So do the issues of unsound money, over-reaching regulations, the curtailing of states’ rights, and compulsory government-directed education. These are some of the issues leading us into financial, political, and spiritual bondage as a nation.

Why don’t conservatives rally against these threats?

The answer, in part, is because many Republican leaders, at all levels, openly support these affronts to liberty. Like their Democratic counterparts, Republican leaders will fight fiercely over how to maintain or reform certain provisions, but refuse to question whether government should exercise such powers in the first place.

Those individuals that dare question the wisdom of these policies are too often marginalized, smeared and accused of hijacking the party. It’s noteworthy that, even at Southern Utah’s local level, there is open talk of the need to “purge” what’s being called an “extreme libertarian” movement from the Republican ranks.

Curiously, the Utah Republican Party platform is filled with “libertarian” ideals that define the proper role of government, the importance of private property rights, and a host of other principles that, too often, are ignored by Republican leadership.

On the national level, the GOP is poised to tell it’s independent members who refuse to toe the establishment line to hit the road. Hubris has blinded these Republican leaders into believing that they can win the presidential election without the support of those independents. Given how closely Obama and Romney have been polling and how closely they line up on the above-mentioned issues, that’s a long shot at best.

The ranks of liberty-minded voters are small compared to those who can be counted on to stay within the parameters of approved opinion. But in a tight race, those swing voters who refuse to support either establishment candidate could set the stage for the Republican Party’s swan song.

Another reason that conservatives fail to rally in response to the substantive threats to our liberty is a simple lack of knowledge. It’s easy to have an emotion-based opinion on same-sex marriage, but to be conversant in economics, or natural law, or the principles of proper government requires real, sustained effort to learn and understand.

This is one of the key differences between our time and the Founders’ generation. They read the fine print. The common people of that time studied and discussed the laws, bills, treaties, and contracts being considered by their leaders. That’s something few people do today.

No matter how good our intentions, we cannot defend things that we do not understand. If the only causes that we can be rallied to support are those requiring relatively little effort and understanding, we’re in for a rude awakening in the near future.

The long lines of conservatives flocking to support Chick-fil-A restaurants across the nation may be unwitting proof that Lord Boyd Orr was correct when he said, “If people have to choose between sandwiches and freedom, they will take sandwiches.”

Bryan Hyde is a news commentator and co-host of the Perspectives morning show on Fox News 1450 AM 93.1 FM. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @youcancallmebry

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2012, all rights reserved.

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  • Alessandra August 2, 2012 at 8:34 am

    Yay for CFA!

    Conservatives need to support CFA and to boycott:

    Oreos (Nabisco, earlier this summer, put them in a bag featuring a cookie with a multicolored gay-pride stuffing) Cheerios, Pillsbury pastries and Green Giant vegetables (owner General Mills is opposing a Minnesota constitutional amendment that would outlaw gay marriage).
    JC Penney, which has put pictures of gay dads in its catalogs and uses Ellen Degeneres as its spokeswoman Apple hates Christians and conservatives – they censored the Manhattan declaration while allowing all kinds of perverse apps on their store – are your faith and your values worth less than a glossy gadget?
    Amazon’s CEO hates conservative values, so does facebook – they shut down Mike Huckabee’s Chick-fil-A appreciation site for 12 hours right before CFA D-day.

    Is it sensible to give your money to powerful corporations who are working to smear your views and to destroy your your 1st Amendment rights?

  • deborah crowe August 2, 2012 at 9:07 am

    Political Correctness was born out of Communisim.. in 1923 communist germany wanted America’s “free thinking Society” crushed.. so they thought of a way of making us ‘socialist’ by making us feel bad for sticking up for our values…. whatever they may be. If we are ever, arm n arm across the world singing in unisome… we will be robots.. we are all made differently, individually.. and we will inadvertantly, kill off freedom… media needs to stick to facts.

  • San August 2, 2012 at 9:43 am

    When a head count is done att the end of the day , people who got involved (this applies to any cause) can be segregated into two columns: Column A: Those who genuinely understood the situation and column B: those who were terrified of what they don’t understand so they’ll fight for what they have and maintain it as “traditional’…even if what they know doesn’t quite make sense.

    In my home, we have a heterosexual marriage. It’s what we consider to be an honest way of living. We try to teach our child to love the way we have loved through example. But, we insist on respecting other families values when he is in their homes as well. That works for us.

    In my best friend’s home, she’s teaching her daughter the same rules and principals, but she’s doing it with a same-gender partner who has been a solid example of kindness and respect for the child’s entire life. Both of our kids know how to fold a napkin. Both understand that public displays of affection are to be conservative and that they are way too young to be considering intimacy. Both feel loved and cared for….so who is doing the better job? I dunno.

    It’s not my place to decide who gets access to heaven, or yours (reader) and that won’t be determined by boycotting chicken sandwich shops. What I am obligated to do, as a parent to the kid in the video game generation, is teach tolerance in an increasingly intolerant world. I don’t care who my kid marries as long as they are loving and respectful. I won’t close my door to anyone who observes common decency in my home…but why should my opinion be counted about what happens between intelligent adults in their home?

    It’s not about protecting what I want to teach, or what I practice, or (most significantly) what I believe…in this great nation we ALL have freedoms….unless you want to be different.

    Again…civil unions are not religious marriages…and that’s it.

  • deborah crowe August 2, 2012 at 12:47 pm

    I just read the most politically correct statement… EVER… if there were to be an award for political correctness, I just read it. Amazing.

  • ron August 2, 2012 at 4:28 pm

    San, thanks for posting an intelligent, compassionate, and Christian response (as opposed to all the nonsense popping up here).

  • Cody August 2, 2012 at 4:44 pm

    The first two posters are absolutely delusional. Its comical.

    • deborah crowe August 3, 2012 at 12:42 pm

      so, actually, the news article link i posted is false? forgive me for KNOWING that some people wake up in the morning and turn on CNN or FOX just to see what their “groups” stance is on something today… forgive me for reading about a very real threat and sharing it. I just think people aren’t thinking for theirselves anymore.. I think it is the Norm to jump on whatever bandwagon your “group” is on and start attacking.. our free thinking society has dwindled.. people have always had opinions about things that differs just slightly from their neighbors.. but recently… it has gotten so rediculous.. you cannot tell me that is not the case.. i believe in part this is due to the article i gave the link to and i think it is in part to media becoming so opinionated.. i think some things on fox news is right sometimes and some things on cnn is right sometimes.. and i am a christian..

      • deborah crowe August 3, 2012 at 12:44 pm

        and had i known about the chik fil a day i would’ve went in support of the owner.. he has a right to his believes he is obviously not politically correct… i support that.

  • Earl August 2, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    Dear Chick Fil A we desperately need you in, where you could be a proud sponsor of

    I choose freedom and chicken sandwiches!

  • Robert Rich August 3, 2012 at 5:40 am

    Thanks for the article. For info on people using voluntary Libertarian tools on similar and other issues, please see the non-partisan Libertarian International Organization @ http://​www.Libertarian-Internation​ ….

  • Mike H August 3, 2012 at 10:27 am

    Hey Alessandra to quote:
    “Is it sensible to give your money to powerful corporations who are working to smear your views and to destroy your your 1st Amendment rights?”
    This is what I am doing by NOT going to Chick-Fil-A. Weird when someone uses your exact words to support the same argument that you seem to think is exclusively yours, yet use it to support the opposite opinion.
    I could care less who you worship. My buying or not buying a chicken sandwich will not affect that in any way. The “Gays” are not trying to destroy your religion, many of them are members of it, neither are they working to destroy your marriage, pretty sure you’ll be able to do that on your own.
    I just love how people bitch and moan when they perceive that someone is trying to take away their rights, but will happily take away other people’s. I guess that’s the American way.
    May the invisible sky wizard you worship provide you with many blessings.

  • Mike H August 3, 2012 at 11:11 am

    Perhaps Christians really want something like this to happen in our country? This is what happens when an extremist group runs a country. Not saying all Christians are extreme, but when you look at Westboro Baptist Church, it is obvious we have them out there. And when we have senators comparing gays to Pearl Harbor and 9/11, well then maybe it’s not such a crazy thought that this would be our future if the Christian right really had their way.

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