If you’re one of those people who was surprised to learn that the national anthem is inherently racist, then you were probably surprised to learn that the Lego Group—the parent company that makes Legos—has decided to pull all its advertising in London’s Daily Mail.
This may seem like small news, but it’s actually a big deal. The Daily Mail has been targeted by an activist group called Stop Funding Hate. The group says that its first precept—the very first thing it stands for—is “Freedom of speech and freedom of the press.” That said, the group’s mission is to call target companies and shame them into not advertising in three British newspapers: the Sun, the Daily Mail, and the Daily Express.
Fair enough, one supposes. Advertiser boycotts aren’t exactly the same as restricting freedom of the press. After all, this is how market forces and social change are supposed to work: People vote with their pocketbooks, and businesses adjust.
Except that’s not quite what’s going on with Legos and the Daily Mail.
For starters, what, you might ask, is the “hate” being perpetuated by the three targeted newspapers? All three are skeptical of the left’s open-borders immigration policy.
That’s it. That’s the “hate.”
Like good Scandinavians, the Lego folks want you to know that they have all the right opinions.
Not that it’s ever enough. In 2013 they were attacked by activist groups for having a Star Wars model of Jabba the Hutt’s palace that was insensitive to Muslims.
You cannot make this up.
At the end of the day, groups such as Stop Funding Hate aren’t actually trying to use market forces to create social change. They’re using intimidation to bully businesses in the hopes that eventually the public will get the message, too. And by branding policy disagreement as hatred, they’re destroying the civility that is the lubricant of all healthy civil societies.
And however well meaning its gesture, the Lego Group is contributing to this breakdown of civility. Shame on them.