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August 5, 2012

Column: Thought police attack Chick-fil-A's family values

(Continued)

Lee tweeted that the closest Chick-fil-A to San Francisco was 40 miles away, “and I strongly recommend that they not try to come any closer.” Emanuel is supporting a move by Alderman Proco Moreno to keep a Chick-fil-A out of his district. The reason? The restaurant’

s values “are not Chicago values,” said the mayor.

Given Chicago’s history of corruption, perhaps not having Chicago values is a good thing.

The mayors and alderman can’t make good on those threats yet – at least not in the open. Menino “clarified” his comments a day later, saying he just meant he would use his bully pulpit to discourage the chain from opening any franchises in Boston.

He’s got the “bully” part right. The pulpit – not so much. Menino knows, and surely Chick-fil-A knows, that there are all kinds of subtle ways for political bullies to block and harass businesses. The permitting process will go slowly – oh, so slowly. There might be some kind of environmental problem with the site. Who knows what other problems might arise?

If that doesn’t discourage them, the building inspectors will take a long time showing up during construction, but when they do, their inspection will find all kinds of things wrong. When they come back, they will find more, different things wrong.

If the restaurant ever gets built, the inspectional services divisions of the city will take a microscopic interest in its operations. Any violations will bring severe sanctions. You know, just to protect the citizens of the city. And it will all be legal.

All because the CEO expressed his embrace of traditional family values.

This would almost be amusing if it weren’t so close to George Orwell’s dystopian vision of thought control as public policy.

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