What Beckel and Thomas are really talking about are the freedoms that individuals have in relation to each other — the freedoms that, in the words of the Declaration of Independence, governments are instituted to secure. Too often in our hyper-sensitive, politically correct world today, we look to government to stifle the freedoms of others rather than secure the freedoms of all.
Our constitutions protect against government interferences with free speech, like those suggested by the mayors of Boston, Chicago and San Francisco. But otherwise the Chick-fil-A contretemps is exactly what’s supposed to happen in the market place of ideas, as well as the market place for fried chicken. Government’s role is to stay out of the way and let the chips and chicken fall where they may. Unless and until the government takes sides in the argument, the First Amendment has nothing to do with it.
Jim Huffman is the dean emeritus of Lewis & Clark Law School, the co-founder of Northwest Free Press and a member of the Hoover Institution’s De Nault Task Force on Property Rights, Freedom and Prosperity.