One Libertarian’s Perspective on Major League Baseball and Cancel Culture

Perhaps the most well-known boycott in the Jim Crow era in United States history is the 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott. Nearly 40,000 African American bus riders refused to ride the Montgomery, Alabama, bus system after Rosa Parks was arrested and fined for refusing to give up her seat on a bus in that city. The private company running the bus line wanted to desegregate after the loss of fares, but the city police and segregation laws forced the case all the way to the Supreme Court. 

Individuals speaking with their wallets can force change from their governing bodies.

In early April, Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred pulled his league’s July 13 All-Star game from the state of Georgia. The announcement came in response to Governor Brian Kemp signing SB 202, entitled the “Election Integrity Act of 2021.”

Manfred in a press release stated, “Major League Baseball fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes restrictions to the ballot box.” 

This followed President Joe Biden’s appearance on ESPN’s SportsCenter where he said, “This is Jim Crow on steroids what they’re doing in Georgia and 40 other states. What’s it all about? Imagine passing a law saying you cannot provide water or food for someone standing in line to vote. Can’t do that? Come on. Or you’re going to close the polling place at 5 o’clock when people just get off? This is all about keeping working folks that I grew up with from being able to vote.”

At first glance, it should be clear where Libertarians stand on this issue. Freedom! The Libertarian Party stands with those who have been marginalized and fights for access to Liberty for all.

One problem…they are not telling the truth.

Joe Biden is lying. Rob Manfred is being manipulated. And the corporate media, as always, is feeding the American public a carefully crafted narrative designed to mislead.

President Biden’s assertion that this voting law is ‘Jim Crow on steroids’ recently received a ‘Four Pinocchios’ from the Jeff-Bezos-owned Washington Post. 

The truth is that SB 202 expands voting rights from the pre-pandemic voting protocol. It increases the hours of voting from 9am – 5pm to 7am – 7pm, opens voting locations on Saturdays, and gives local jurisdictions the option to open on Sundays. 

Handing out water and food is not allowed within 150 feet of the polling place by third-party groups. This is consistent with current law that prevents campaigning that close to the polling place entrance – the law explicitly allows water stations.

There is also contention about the issue of voters now having to provide government-issued identification to submit a ballot in person and when requesting an absentee ballot. Detractors of the bill quickly jump to the conclusion of racism when this issue is presented. 

What is strange, however, is that some of the same people who denounced the new voting law in Georgia recently advocated for vaccine passports. In order to be put on the passport list a person must (wait for it) present identification. 

The “woke” left in this country is manipulating the narrative to win public opinion. 

Furthermore, restrictions on voting are not inherently discriminatory. When establishing an ordered society, boundaries must be drawn as to create a system that achieves a goal. Voting without any restrictions whatsoever would not be voting at all. For instance, what would prevent me from voting in Georgia and in my birth state of Illinois?

Rhetorical misdirection and narrative manipulation, not facts, drive the MLB Commissioner’s choice.

Read a detailed rundown of the bill here as compiled Stephen Fowler from Georgia Public Broadcasting: What Does Georgia’s New Voting Law SB 202 Do?

Some Libertarians could be heard saying, “Major League Baseball has the right to enter or withdraw from any agreement.” But there is growing frustration amongst other Libertarians with this dubious claim. As with private social media corporations removing users and censoring content, the issue is not as much with individual actions but with the obvious collusion of interests behind the scenes. To posit that these actions are as a result of a free market would be akin to arguing that the banking industry is a free market enterprise. 

Cancel Culture is a toxic phrase in the current political landscape, if only because it is so inconsistently applied. Libertarians should be on the front line of pointing to the difference between free market choices and the results of a Cultural Marxism that has infected our country’s most powerful institutions. 

In April of 2021, the powerful and the intelligentsia have convinced a credulous public that Georgia is reinstituting Jim Crow. The media cycle launders un-fact-checked news, Hollywood celebrities and professional athletes repeat the lies via Instagram and Twitter. 

Seemingly independent cultural institutions (media, academia, politicians) operate in lockstep when their goals overlap. While each group brings a unique utility to the cultural conversation, the confluence of intentions forms a cohesive narrative that is anti-Libertarian, anti-individual, and anti-liberty.

Libertarians have a responsibility to vet their sources of information and to remain critical of the overarching narrative. Seek always the perspective of liberty, and be skeptical of manipulators. The truth may set us free, but only if we see past the stranglehold of lies.

A reminder that opinions expressed by guest writers and contributors represent their own personal views, and not necessarily those of the Libertarian Party of Georgia, nor of any institutions or organizations with which the contributor may be affiliated. 

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