Personally, I’m opposed to the Washington Redskins’ name. And what I mean by that is that I find it personally grating and offensive, for reasons that are beyond the purview of this post. What I am even more strongly opposed to, however, is the ludicrous method by which the Federal Government is attempting to impose orthodoxy on the team by unjustifiably yanking their Trademark.
Liberals and thoughtless conservatives often miss this critical point when discussing matters of public policy. Sometimes – often – the process is more important than the outcome in these fights. Invariably, when purely political decisions are made by policymakers who are sufficiently isolated from the democratic process (most especially the courts), nightmares will inevitably follow. This is a point many conservative supporters of gay marriage have missed – it is one thing to be in favor of gay marriage; being in favor of gay marriage imposed at the fiat of the Supreme Court means that you are either not a conservative or that you are ignorant of legal history and the evil that is wrought when courts set about making laws that are better left to legislatures. If you want a policy changed, let the free market sort it out. If it bothers you that a certain business engages in what you consider to be discriminatory practices against gays, then don’t patronize that business. The next least bad result is to attempt to convince a legislature to agree with you. That would still constitute what I would consider to be majoritarian overreach and likely to cause poor unintended consequences, but it’s a better result than the worst option (for anyone who in any way is concerned with creeping government intrusion into private life), which is to litigate the matter before a court. Which is why, although I’d be happy if the Redskins voluntarily changed their name tomorrow, I am strongly opposed to what the government is doing through the USPTO.
Comes now the latest attempt to piggyback on this fascism disguised not-very-cleverly as anti-racism, a lawsuit threatened against the Cleveland Indians brought by a group of grievance-mongers who have decided that they want a very large slice of the pie.
CLEVELAND – The red block letter C for Cleveland seems to be replacing Chief Wahoo outside Progressive Field. But not everyone sees it that way.
Robert Roche is the director of the American Indian Education Center and one of the plaintiffs planing to file a federal lawsuit in late July against the Cleveland Indians.
The group says the team’s name and the Chief Wahoo logo are racist.
The group wants a lot of money to help Native Americans with education, job training and housing.
“We’re going to be asking for $9 billion and we’re basing it on a hundred years of disparity, racism, exploitation and profiteering,” Roche said.
Let’s pause for a second here to unwrap this. The Cleveland Indians baseball team is in the process of doing, in what I think is a thoughtful and savvy way, what many of these groups are clamoring for. They are phasing out the most arguably racially insensitive portion of their team identity (Chief Wahoo) voluntarily and under the threat of virtually no pressure – not even measurable fan pressure. And they are doing it in a way that allows their fan base to adjust to the new reality so as not to create public backlash against people who demand that the names be changed.
This, however, is not enough for this group of yahoos. They apparently intend to ask a baseball team to give them redress for 100 yeas worth of unspecified racism damages, asking for nine billion (with a “b”) in damages from a single team in a league of 30 teams that last year set a record for revenue of $8 billion for all 30 teams combined. Native Americans have a rough lot of it in life, but $9 billion is a lot of racism to ask a sports team to be responsible for.
The truth of course is that this group’s goal is to strong arm the Indians through lawfare to settle with them and change the name/logo quicker even though the team is inevitably on that path in any case. It is a deliberate attempt through undemocratic means and the threat of force to impose conformity of thought upon a society – in other words, it is an essentially fascist impulse.
Even if you favor this result in the end, if you are a lover of freedom, you must more strongly oppose the process by which it is being attempted.