National Organization For Marriage (NOM) co-founder and former Chair Maggie Gallagher has been writing — and sculpting the facts — about the massive “Ender’s Game” controversy on her National Review blog for two days running. Yesterday, Gallagher leveled charges of “McCarthyism” at anyone — gay or straight — who would consider boycotting Orson Scott Card’s film. Gallagher didn’t bother to mention in her post her former affiliation with NOM, nor did she mention Orson Scott Card is a board member of NOM, but she managed to write this:
It seems very strange to me that so many artists and people on the left are supporting the idea that to make art in the mainstream you have to have the right political opinions. This used to be considered the heart of McCarthyism: loyalty oaths for filmmakers as the condition forworking in the film industry. (These were imposed by the industry, not the government, remember, in response to public pressure).
I suspect this boycott will be a failure, like the boycott of Card’s video game and like the Chick-fil-A boycott, because most of the public is more concerned with questions such as whether those waffle fries are banging or not.
Noting McCarthy’s witch hunts were “an industry action driven by government action,” Jeremy Hooper at Good As You deftly rebutted Gallagher’s poor grasp of history:
McCarthy was a Senator. His anti-communist witch hunts were an attempt by a Republican lawmaker to use the arm of government against his political adversaries. And the Hollywood blacklisting was absolutely, 100%, almost exclusively sparked by the government action of McCarthy and others.
So no, Maggie, people’s personal decisions about whether or not to see a film do not run parallel to a government’s attempt to stifle speech, expression, and crucial freedoms. And no, an author’s “right” to turn his vision into a Hollywood hit (which will spark sequels, book sales, and a LOT OF MONEY) is not a right on par with the freedom of blacklist era professionals to live without fear of unfair persecution from their government and/or industry.
As one commenter on Gallagher’s blog noted, the right has called for boycotts of these companies for their support of same-sex marriage alone:
- Blue Cross Blue Shield
- Goldman Sachs
- Johnson & Johnson
- Levi Strauss
- Thomson Reuters
- Walt Disney Company
Gallagher today continued her illogic. After finally disclosing her relationship to NOM, and continuing to ignore Card’s, Gallagher says “here’s what I believe about boycotts“:
It’s fair to boycott a corporation as a corporation for something that corporation does as a corporation.
I think it’s unfair, destructive, and wicked to boycott a whole corporation because of the personal beliefs of one member of that corporation.
I think its repellent to boycott or blacklist an artist because of his personal views. It’s the heart of McCarthyism to me.
I really have to call bull on that.
First, it’s not just Orson Scott Card’s “personal beliefs” that are the issue, it’s how he’s used his position, money, and power to fight against LGBT civil rights, and used his platform to demean and dehumanize same-sex marriage and LGBT people. Card for decades has waged a personal and professional war against same-sex marriage and the LGBT community, and, as he is on NOM’s Board, it’s probably safe to assume he has poured a good deal of cash into fighting our civil rights.
But even Gallagher’s colleague at the National Review, Kevin Williamson (not the popular TV series’ screenwriter,) calls bull on Gallagher:
With respect, Maggie Gallagher could not be more wrong about boycotts. If anything, the Right should be more assertive about voting with its pocketbook. Boycotts are a good and healthy exercise of civil society — and, with their power amplified by information technology and social media, they hold the promise of putting more power in private hands and less in that of regulators and bureaucrats.
(As an aside, I also object strongly to Maggie’s use of the word McCarthyism, for two reasons: 1. There’s an important difference between a private boycott and government persecution; 2. McCarthy was right.)
Of course, that last part, number “2″ really is emblematic of the radical right.
Bottom line: Gallagher is dead wrong, minimizes the work she and Card have dedicated years, if not decades, to, and, well, she knows better.
Frankly, I’m embarrassed for her.
Image via Facebook
We invite you to sign up for our new mailing list, and subscribe to The New Civil Rights Movement via email or RSS.