Boycotts

We've all heard about the Chick-Fil-A frackas (or maybe frickasee). It raises, I think, a general question: How do you think about boycotting companies based on moral reasons? There are various options: one could not do it, do it if something really horrible about the company's behavior came to light (however you define it); do it as part of a movement strategy (boycott as a coordinated action); or do it super-conscientously -- research every company you buy from, and make decisions.To be honest, I don't do it. Maybe I'm lazy, maybe I try to keep a sphere of stuff free of politics, I don't know. But I also get very annoyed when someone tells me I have to boycott such and such because of such and such position -- liberal or conservative. So I'll probably try Chick-Fil-A when I get back to South Bend -- actually, the reason I haven't tried them is they're not open on Sundays -- and Sundays are the days I'm usually out in the mall area, where they are. And I really, really, NEED my Starbucks. (I once made a prominent conservative Catholic visiting ND for a conference give me a dollar so I could buy a coffee before the next session. He said, "I can't give you money for Starbucks, they support abortion." I said, "It's remote mediate material cooperation justfied by duress -- and believe me, you and the rest of the audience will be under a lot of duress if I don't have my Starbucks." I got my dollar. But I did pay him back, so his hands are clean.)

Cathleen Kaveny is the Darald and Juliet Libby Professor in the Theology Department and Law School at Boston College.

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