“ I’m not saying there is anything wrong with protesting against Chick-fil-A — protest against other people’s viewpoints is a valid and healthy part of democracy. The line is crossed, however, when the argument becomes that people who hold a contrary viewpoint should be removed from the territory entirely or at the very least shouldn’t be permitted to run a business. That is authoritarian not democratic.”
Okay, so I definitely did misunderstand your original point (which is more likely due to my own shortcomings as a reader than the way you presented your argument). I thought you might be suggesting that the act of protesting Chick-fil-A was itself crossing some sort of line. But I appreciate the clarification, and I wholeheartedly agree with you! Chick-fil-A’s fate should be left up to consumers to decide. It shouldn’t be forcefully shut down or prohibited from doing business.
“You were comfortable with the other examples given in my article, but felt some disquiet about the Chick-fil-A example. Is a part of that your not being entirely viewpoint neutral in approaching the examples?”
To be honest, you’re probably right. I’ve supported gay marriage for close to 20 years now, and that has undoubtedly influenced my feelings about the Chick-fil-A controversy. But I think the bigger factor, for me, is that the Seattle Library and University of Ottawa are both public institutions, so the rules are a little bit different there. Of course, I fully support the free speech rights of protesters who want to make their voices heard on those issues just as much as I support the free speech rights of the Chick-fil-A protesters, but I almost always object to taxpayer-funded institutions engaging in viewpoint discrimination unless there are legitimate, provable security threats involved.
“An issue I am trying to explore now is how one can be strongly for free speech and viewpoint neutral in that respect, but not collapse into moral relativism, i.e. how do you continue to advocate for cultural developments you see as positive without it becoming somewhat jihadic?”
I really appreciate what you’re trying to do here. It’s not uncommon for people to suddenly find themselves straying a little too far from their core principles (like a strong commitment to freedom of speech) in the name of advancing a cause they’re very passionate about. I’ve fallen into this trap a few times in the past, and most politically active people I know have had similar experiences. It’s certainly a subject worth exploring, and so I hope you plan on writing more about it in the future! =)