2014-04-29 – I have an app on my smartphone called Buycott. The tag line for this app is “Have you ever wondered whether the money you spend ends up funding causes you oppose?”
I was never much of a boycotter, but I thought it was because I didn’t know enough about it. That’s why I downloaded the app. I thought it would make boycotting simple. Oh boy was I wrong! The number of causes and the number of boycotts catalogued in the app is bewildering. It seems like every merchant is doing something worthy of a boycott.
If you don’t want your money supporting unworthy causes, you’d best go on a fast. The Buycott app isn’t going to help you.
Now the question is, why would you want to participate in a boycott at all?
There’s the hope that the boycott will convince the merchant to abandon their evil ways. With so many unfocused boycotts going on, however, there’s probably little likelihood that a merchant will feel much of a pinch. Some may not even know they are being boycotted!
It’s a hopeless gesture. People love hopeless gestures.
And it’s even better than a hopeless gesture. If a boycott has any effect at all, it harms the powerless and oppressed, not the movers and shakers the gesture is nominally aimed at.
Veneration of harmful, hopeless gestures is something that both the left and right can agree upon. Better be self-righteous than effective!
So the left boycotts Walmart on the backs of Walmart workers, on the backs of those who work for their suppliers, and on the backs of Walmart customers who need the discount prices. You can be sure that the billions going to the Walmart family hasn’t slowed one iota.
And on the right, of course, they run all sorts of boycotts and protests against Planned Parenthood which is the one organization that works to prevent the need for abortions. No thought is given to this little fact. More important to these folks than the actual prevention of abortion is the appearance that they are against it.
That’s what these boycotts are for. They make the boycotters feel good. Nothing more. Nothing more.
It’s like the difference between prose and poetry.