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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Totalitarianism, thy name is booting Chick-fil-A

Editor’s note: This is in response to the article “8-3 vote keeps Chick-fil-A in the SUB,” published Feb. 28 in the Daily Lobo. The article was about the ASUNM’s vote in favor of recommending that the SUB Board remove Chick-fil-A from the SUB.


I wish to comment on a particular event noted in your newspaper, but I also want to place it in context relative to the recent standard editorial view of the Daily Lobo as well as that of the thinking of many in our society. I noticed in the Feb. 28 issue that the ASUNM had voted to expel Chick-fil-A from the SUB. I’m wondering with which value of the progressive worldview this action agrees.

If our university community is seeking equality of opportunity, then it has removed Chick-fil-A from participating equally with other companies. If the community is seeking tolerance, then the decision is clearly one which does not tolerate a worldview that is different than the majority on the panel. If diversity is the goal, then how does removing an outlet that is different from the others in the SUB increase that diversity? What was the motivation for the exclusion of this company? It was because it holds a Christian moral standard that is not the same as that of the majority of the ASUNM board members. Paradoxically, it was that worldview that gave rise to the freedom we now have to judge other worldviews.

I’m wondering why it is that the board members do not see that they are acting contrary to the values that they themselves propose as well as those that were proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Their decision, as well as many others in the larger public arena, creates an atmosphere of fear. What consequences should one contemplate, if one believes in and lives a different lifestyle than those of us who are “more equal?” Are those who march to the sound of a different drummer to be economically ostracized? What kind of freedom of thought is there if the consequence of expressing that thought is financial disaster? Why not let everyone carry placards at Central Avenue and Yale Boulevard expressing their opinion without expecting a knock on one’s door? In fact, the decision was a step on the road toward totalitarianism. Let’s preserve freedom for everyone and not take it away from one group in order to give it primarily to another.

I said that I wanted to place my comments in the context of the Daily Lobo’s editorial view. During the recent presidential election, cartoon after cartoon did more than lampoon or oppose Romney and the GOP, it aggressively insulted and libeled them. I don’t read the Daily Lobo often; the cartoons speak loudly enough and the extreme left-wing slant of the cartoons that I have seen has continued over the succeeding months. Although the reportage of the article on the Chick-fil-A issue was factual and informative, the decision regarding Chick-fil-A as well as the record of cartoons apparently means that no opinion but one which supports the Democratic Party and/or liberalism in one way or another is to be contemplated by the University community. Where has journalistic balance gone? Where is the search for truth?

It should be noted that in Lacanian psychoanalysis, perversion is considered one of the three fundamental mental illnesses, along with psychosis and neurosis. Lacan was a socialist and not a fundamentalist Christian. To affirm that the LGBTQ view should be “represented” to the point of the exclusion of one which has been considered normal for centuries is akin to madness. And if a person wants to be a mouthpiece for some political group, why not just finish one’s degree and be off doing urban organization? Why do we have to be propagandized as a community? I think I know at least part of the answer: “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Where is Orwell when we need him? Let’s hear it for cookie cutter opinions. The deluded bourgeoisie need to understand that the hierarchy knows what’s best for them.

You may think I’m simply a raving Republican who doesn’t see social values clearly. On the contrary, I was at Berkeley in the ‘60s and walked behind Joan Baez around the campus in the name of academic freedom, the freedom to speak and to hear all views. Near the same time, I marched against the Vietnam War in San Francisco.

Later, I personally opposed our invasion of Iraq and I believe we should remove ourselves from Afghanistan. Republicanism is not salvation. With my experience, however, I perceive now that progressivism, liberalism, socialism with a human face, or even Neo-Nazism, whatever a person chooses to call one’s favorite form of man-made utopia, doesn’t work.

The decision regarding Chick-fil-A is simply the eruption of a form of dangerous self-righteousness, one that eventually leads to tyranny and death. Contrary to revisionist history, equal rights for all were granted in the context of predominantly Christian moral standards. Men such as John Locke were dedicated Christians.

The Roman Empire had no such equality. These universal rights were established primarily on a biblical foundation, however much latter-day humanism has tried to take credit for them. If those standards are fully overthrown, as seems to be the direction in which American society is moving today, there won’t be heaven on Earth but anarchy and barbarism of a kind which will be a great deal worse than the Dark Ages.

Finally, I wish to ask a question: What about eternity? Here’s another: What if Richard Dawkins and other atheists/evolutionists are wrong? “The unexamined life is not worth living,” as Socrates said. But one doesn’t need to drown oneself in doubt either, as seems to have been the choice of one recent ex-Christian column contributor. There are documentable answers to many of his questions. Courteous dialogue is the key to real tolerance.

Religions on Earth and their adherents don’t want you to examine anything. Christ wants you to have a free choice in making a decision more important than having chicken for lunch. I made mine many years ago, a while after I left Berkeley, but my thinking hasn’t stopped. I’ve read Dawkins, but I’ve also read Dembski. I’m reinvestigating Heidegger and Nietzsche. Too many Christians are anti-intellectual. Too many of them are anti-Semitic, often without realizing it. On the other hand, I suggest one more question previously asked by Pontius Pilate: What is truth?

There’s nothing wrong with admitting that one doesn’t know.

Pilate’s error was that he wouldn’t take the time to listen to someone who could tell him. A mind is a terrible thing to waste.

Bruce M. Kemmel
Former UNM instructor