The Ethics of Voting With Your Wallet Re: Political/Religious/Etc. Values
So I typically avoid this forum, and have a tendency to try and avoid discussing politics and religion too in-depth with folks. Even when I do, a lot of my thoughts are kept deep inside unless I know you really, really well. As time progresses I find it harder to keep some of these thoughts to myself, though. I have some moment where I just come to some sort of realization or take a stance on something and want to discuss it rather than keep it to myself.
I don't know how else to describe the idea, so it could already be its own topic. I wanted to discuss people's boycotts of things like Shadow Complex and Chick-Fil-A because Orson Scott Card and the CEO, respectively, were known to contribute to and believed in denying marriage to homosexuals. Before I go on, my stance on the matter is that denying gay marriage goes against everything this country stands for. So that's where I stand on the topic.
But my stance on boycotting someone's product because of a personal belief is different. Let's focus primarily on Orson Scott Card and Shadow Complex.
When the game released, a lot of people boycotted the game due to Orson Scott Card's involvement in the game as writer of the story. They didn't want to give money to a man that disagreed with their personal beliefs, and considering a lot of these gamers were homosexual it was for good reason.
However, I have a few issues with the boycott. The first is that Orson Scott Card already got his money. He was paid. A boycott wouldn't keep money out of Card's hands, but would instead keep it from a game development company employing a large number of people that put a lot of work into the code, art, audio, and levels of a good game. What if they lost their jobs? Can you argue that it is better to make your point against one man's personal beliefs than to reward a lot more employees of diverse beliefs and ideas with a job tomorrow?
Even then, what is Orson Scott Card's job? To write. This means he would be getting paid to write story and dialogue. So let's assume roles were reversed. If someone approaches you and says "All the critics say the story and writing in this game was bad, so I'm afraid we're going to have to let you go", it would suck but it would be understandable. You were judged based on the job you were assigned and the work you did.
Now imagine someone walks up and says "I'm sorry, but it turns out your political beliefs are different than what we're looking for, so we're going to have to let you go."
Wouldn't that be discrimination?
What is the job of the CEO of Chick-Fil-A? To make sure the company remains profitable. Are his employees underpaid? No. Do they refuse to higher non-whites? No. How about non-Christians? No, they hire those, too. Have they hired homosexuals? Yes.
Now, does the CEO have a salary? Yes, he is paid like any other employee for doing that job.
So is it really anyone's business what that CEO does with his personal money?
You're going to disagree with people in this world. It happens. But we've come to expect a fairness in our own jobs. If my boss turns out to be an Atheist I don't expect her to fire me because I'm a Christian. If I were an employer I couldn't refuse to higher someone because they were an Atheist. The only difference is that people like Orson Scott Card and the Chick-Fil-A CEO are more well known and presumably have a lot of money.
But if it is unethical for someone to refuse me a job for personal political or religious reasons, then why do people find it okay to punish people no matter what quality they do with their job? I've had this issue every time someone brings up Tom Cruise and not seeing one of his movies because he's a Scientologist. I find the man to be excellent at his job, and yet people refuse to reward that (even though he already got his money) because they don't like his religion. That is discrimination.
I think we should rethink how we look at this "Vote with your Wallet" stuff sometimes. I feel like everyone gets so caught up in how important their personal beliefs are that sight is easily lost. I understand why people would want to boycott something due to someone's stance on gay marriage, but when you boycott you are essentially saying "Change your personal beliefs or starve".
Now, the reality is usually that these higher name folks keep getting paid and keep working. They don't starve, though sadly you could end up with a closed game studio and a higher number of folks in the unemployment line. But I just find it unethical not only to refuse someone reward for good work just because of political/religious differences, but also to demand they change their personal beliefs to match your own. People shouldn't be coerced into believing something different. That's not how it should work.
I just wanted to get those thoughts out there.