You have seen the articles and the memes going around the internet today. Apple CEO Tim Cook stated that “pro discrimination ‘religious freedom’ laws are dangerous“. This caused a Conservative backlash and as I stated in a previous show of mine, when debating politics on the internet it is more important to be “popular” than it is to be “right”.
One such meme posted by “Chicks on the Right” states that Apple CEO Tim Cook won’t do business in Indiana because he can’t “tolerate discrimination” against Gays but will do business in countries where homosexual acts are punishable by death.
First problem with the meme. While the article does contain the words “never tolerate discrimination” it does not assert, or even imply, that Apple as a company or Tim Cook personally will stop doing business in Indiana. In fact, it says the opposite. It states that Apple is open for business to anyone. Apple is not closing up shop in Indiana. It is not going to refuse to sell you an iPhone or iPad or other iDevice to you if your address is contained within the borders of Indiana. So on its face the meme is a lie. He is not a hypocrite for doing business in those other countries because he hasn’t even stopped doing business in Indiana.
The website “the week” author Shikha Dalmia cites Cook’s editorial claims that Cook is calling for a “business boycott of Indiana”. Do a search on the editorial for yourself. There is no mention of the word “boycott” anywhere. And from her article in Reason.com she cites herself in her article from The Week to attack Cook for the boycott that doesn’t exist, claiming that the boycott is irresponsible. Good job there Dalmia. Cite yourself as proof that Cook is doing what he isn’t. So much for journalistic integrity.
But even if this was not about what Cook, or Apple, does as it pertains to business, it still shows another problem in political debate today. I have a Conservative friend on facebook in particular who will often ask me why I have not spoken out about a particular event (that he deems similar to other things that I have complained about). He doesn’t take the time to determine if I have heard about the event in question or to even allow me to consider if that event is actually related to those other things that I am complaining about .He will just assert a level of hypocrisy on my part for not standing up and complaining about that particular event since I claim to stand up for all events of that type.
Here is the problem with this logic. It basically means that in order for me to be an advocate against racism (the most frequent kind of topic he will bring up) that I have to know of every single possible racist event that has happened recently and my failure to address each and every one of them supposedly weakens my overall argument. His position is, of course, ridiculous. I cannot possibly be expected to know about every single wrong that has taken place to every single person in this country. I also cannot be expected to know about every single event that has taken place that he will wrongly connect with the things I advocate for. Furthermore, even if I did know about each and every one of them I cannot be expected to make a comment about each an every one of them. So the idea that my failure to comment on each and every item proves that I am some sort of hypocrite is obviously flawed as well. So even if we wanted to bring this meme, or the arguments of others making similar arguments, down to the “well why isn’t Tim Cook talking about every single bad thing that happens to persons who are Gay”, it is still a ridiculous argument that these Conservatives* are making and their attempts to be popular at the cost of being wrong should be called out.
All Cook has said was that we shouldn’t tolerate discrimination against gay people, even if it is in under the guise of religious freedom. He hasn’t called for boycotts. He hasn’t said that Apple will stop doing business in Indiana. So any editorial, meme, facebook post, tweet, blog entry, etc that starts with such b.s. should be closed and ignored with great haste.
*As a side note, liberal people have also done the same thing to me previously. This is not a left/right thing. This is purely a “better to be popular than right” thing.