The Blacklist Returns | The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
The Blacklist Returns
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A group called Grab Your Wallet seeks a boycott of L.L. Bean because one of the Maine clothing company’s 50 family owners donated to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.

OpenSecrets.com shows that contributions emanating from employees of the Maine company favored Democrats over Republicans this election cycle. The disparity appears especially pronounced at the presidential level. Hillary Clinton received $5,593. Donald Trump? $60.

Still, one board member gave a lot of money to Trump, a crime serious enough to warrant embargoing an entire company.

Shannon Coulter, the co-founder of the blacklist, promises to remove L.L. Bean once the company removes Linda Bean from its board.

“It’s bullying,” Ms. Bean explained to Maria Bartiromo on Fox Business. “They want to control how we spend our money, what we buy, where we buy it. That’s wrong, it’s un-American.”

It also hurts the boycotters more than the boycotted. L.L. Bean offers wool socks, stocking caps, and water-proof boots that make winter wonderful. They market fleece-lined flannels that at least one cigar-addicted Spectator writer religiously wears as a proletarian smoking jacket while composing a Friday column.

The campaign represents the counterproductive catharsis that makes partisans feel good but ultimately hurts their cause. Americans witnessed such self-indulgent activism this past weekend at the Golden Globes, when Meryl Streep spent several minutes at the podium trashing Trump and exalting the bravery of Hollywood, saying of the industry that sold more than a billion theater tickets to U.S. consumers last year that “all of us in this room really belong to the most vilified segments in American society right now.”

Sometimes the shut-up music can’t come fast enough. November 8 rang out as such a sonic silencer, but some people just can’t take a hint.

Meryl Streep, like L.L. Bean, is fantastic at what she does. Those with doubts should see her in Doubt. Boycotting her hurts you, not her. The same applies to this misguided corporate freeze out.

Beyond the ethics of targeting a business for one of its stakeholders exercising her right to support a candidate (and the winner at that), withholding dollars from dozens of massive companies, instead of, say, one or two, strikes as a futile enterprise. Like so many woodsmen in L.L. Bean’s Arctic Sport Muck Boots could tell you, some game call for a rifle shot instead of a shotgun blast. Targeting everyone ultimately means targeting no one. Unless, of course, the object involves the feelings of the boycotters rather than the finances of the boycotted. In that case, the boycott struck the bullseye.

The blacklisted companies read as a who’s-who of corporate America: Walmart, Macy’s, Bed Bath & Beyond, etc.

Did your company advertise on The Celebrity Apprentice? Do they sell Ivanka Trump’s shoes?

You just made the list, pal.

But there’s safety in numbers. This applies both to the dozens of companies — and growing — on the blacklist and the 63 million Americans who cast ballots for Trump. When the target of a boycott tortures dogs or steals Halloween sacks from children, then the action stands a decent chance of success. When it targets a victor in the presidential race, it boosts business.

But should the going get rough, blacklisted stores could ask a rival to borrow signs to sell their wares under another label, the way Michael Murphy got Woody Allen to peddle his scripts in The Front.

Should conservatives counter by refusing to shop at Amazon because it helped bankroll Hillary Clinton’s campaign? Wait, the folks at Grab Your Wallet already urge such a nonsensical boycott of the e-commerce giant. A boycott for a boycott leaves the whole world broke. And the blackguards behind this blacklist leave the whole world perplexed.

They counted the votes almost two months ago. But the frenetic energy, counterproductive at this point, remains.

The familiar advice of a Republican boogeyman of an earlier generation fits here: Don’t just do something, stand there.

Daniel J. Flynn
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Daniel J. Flynn, a senior editor of The American Spectator, is the author of Cult City: Harvey Milk, Jim Jones, and 10 Days That Shook San Francisco (ISI Books, 2018), The War on Football (Regnery, 2013), Blue Collar Intellectuals (ISI Books, 2011), A Conservative History of the American Left (Crown Forum, 2008), Intellectual Morons (Crown Forum, 2004), and Why the Left Hates America (Prima Forum, 2002). His articles have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, New York Post, City Journal, National Review, and his own website, www.flynnfiles.com.   
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