Jack Donovan encourages buycotts, not boycotts

14 Dec

He doesn’t use the term ‘buycott’, but that’s essentially part of what he’s arguing here.

I agree. While I’ve argued in the past that boycotts are still an option if one really wishes to engage in one, as one can see at that post, I was mainly arguing against someone trying to claim such an action is somehow ‘unChristian’, as Russell Moore appeared to be arguing, with which I disagree (I don’t think one can make such a claim from Scripture). That was my main reason for what I stated in that post; I stand by that, too.

But I’ve also argued that they’re not a particularly effective option, in general – we saw that with the Chick-fil-A Culture War last year. The progressives’ boycott and ‘kiss-in’ day of protest didn’t really seem to pan out all that well for them. But traditionalists’ counter-action, the Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day, was a roaring success. And I haven’t heard anything about Chick-fil-A suffering massive losses of profits, nor have they gone bankrupt.

In my opinion, so long as there is a company providing goods or services which you can be happy to support, give your business to, over and against other companies / corporations which you don’t wish to give your business to, rather than focusing on the negative, accentuate the positive, and give the company you prefer, your business – and if you’re happy with them, tell others about them, why you like them. Positive action, yeah!

Donovan’s other point, about the fact that one may only be hurting oneself in many cases, is also quite valid, given how unsuccessful boycotts tend to be in actually bringing about change. I’ve also thought, how far do you take it; when do you decide to boycott a company, and when don’t you? From what I’ve seen, appeals for boycotts have either fallen on the side of (a) labour-related issues or (b) cultural ones or (c) a combo of both.

Say you wanted to only purchase a particular type of product if it was manufactured in the United States or Canada, but all you could find, in just about every store that carried such a product, were ones manufactured in China? Are you going to deny yourself, just because you want to ‘buy American’ / ‘buy Canadian’? Like Donovan would say, you’re hurting yourself.

Or, let’s say you decided you didn’t want to patronize any gas stations whose attached convenience stores sold Playboy or Penthouse magazines, because you’re a Christian who is opposed to pornography, and you wish to take a symbolic stand. But what if every single convenience store attached to a gas station in town sold Playboy or Penthouse? Are you going to go without gas, or drive to some faraway station, just to adhere to your principle? Or might you just shrug your shoulders, recognize the difficulty of trying to adhere to so stringent a principle, realize you have little choice, and just fill up your gas tank at the cheapest station, and be done?

Let’s switch the above gas station scenario to a different Christian one – as a Calvinist, I prefer not to patronize businesses on Sundays; I thus avoid shopping on Sundays, going out to bars, restaurants, etc. Fine. But what I don’t do, is boycott businesses that choose to stay open on Sundays, because if I did that, there would be hardly any businesses out there that I could patronize the rest of the week, since most do open on Sundays! So, instead, I continue with my personal choice to not go to them on Sundays, while doing so the other six days. (Though if I lived somewhere where there was a Chick-fil-A, which stays closed on Sundays, I might very well, if I liked their food and found the prices reasonable, engage in a ‘buycott’ of them, patronizing them instead of other fast food chicken outlets. Maybe. I like my Popeye’s too much to give that up, entirely, I’m sure.)

Probably best, I think, to realize there really are some things you have little control over, and don’t listen to others who may not even realize the impossibility of what they’re asking for, when they call for a boycott of this or that. And instead, whenever possible, find a company selling something you can get behind, and do so.


Posted by on December 14, 2013 in The Kulturkampf


16 responses to “Jack Donovan encourages buycotts, not boycotts

  1. Caelan McKenzie

    December 15, 2013 at 4:32 am

    I can’t fault his argument – I think he’s right. Unless you are a majority, boycotts are just plain impotent.

    Generally speaking, boycotts have always struct me as petulant and effeminate.

  2. Will S.

    December 15, 2013 at 10:12 am


  3. deLaune

    December 15, 2013 at 1:43 pm

    Probably best, I think, to realize there really are some things you have little control over…

    A realistic approach! How quaint.
    I’m sure I could find serious moral/doctrinal/spiritual disagreements with every company I do business with. So what? Paul covered that in 1Cor 5:10:

    Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world.

  4. Will S.

    December 15, 2013 at 1:54 pm

    “A realistic approach! How quaint.”

    Fancy that, eh? 🙂

    Agreed; Paul pointed out the impossibility of that, and instead encouraged us to apply it mostly to those in our own midst, particularly brethren from our churches.

  5. weak stream

    December 17, 2013 at 1:43 pm

    What Donovan misses here, though, when he advocates using the system ‘like a whore’ is the psychological attatchment, dependency and loss of moral integrity that this breeds. The cynical ‘if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em’ thought process ,in itself, wears away at the soul. So what if you are doing yourself some harm or inconvenience. You have your dignity instead. Whores begin as victims of circumstance, but continue through the adoption of cynical views and excuse making. Thus, we begin to judge ourselves morally ‘better than the rest’ when we can no longer make the argument honestly. Nonsense.

  6. Will S.

    December 17, 2013 at 5:03 pm

    I see what you’re saying, makes sense. That’s why I prefer to think of it as simply being pragmatic, recognizing reality, rather than thinking in the manner Donovan sees it.

    But I really like his emphasis on not boycotting, but boycotting instead, i.e. getting out there and supporting the companies doing things right, emphasizing the positive. That, I think, is a good attitude to take.

  7. weak stream

    December 18, 2013 at 5:55 am

    For sure. If only there were more perfect choices to make and people to promote life would be easy.

  8. Will S.

    December 18, 2013 at 9:30 am

    Well, yeah. That’s why I emphasized, in my post above, the need to sometimes shrug, and accept reality as it is. We can’t always be idealist…


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