FAIRBANKS, AK -- A far-right elected official on the borough assembly has demanded Ms. Magazine be pulled from the shelves of a local grocery store.
Lance Roberts does not like the publication's support for the reproductive rights of women, and demanded the Fairbanks Co-op Market pull the magazine from its shelves so that other shoppers couldn't make up their own minds on the matter.
The Co-op Market had some left-wing political magazines they were selling, and at that time they seemed unwilling to change that. They have now contacted me and said that they wouldn't be carrying those extreme magazines anymore (my words, not theirs). So I'm staying as a member-owner of the Co-op Market and am shopping there again. I went in yesterday, and sure enough, they only had food and health magazines up for sale.
Isn't that special? Roberts skulked into the store to ensure the silencing of views not to his liking was continuing apace. Many of us have stood in the checkout line and seen something we may find disagreeable -- Kanye West, Ted Nugent, or a pack of Kardashians -- staring back at us from the magazine rack. The difference between the rest of us and Mr. Roberts is that we don't seek to preemptively impose our own preferences upon other shoppers.
Ironically, the very first item Roberts lists on the "issues" page of his campaign website is his praise for this:
The free market coupled with individual responsibility and personal freedoms.
By which he means the government should make the reproductive decisions for every woman in America, dictate to consenting adults whom they may and may not marry, and continue making marijuana use a criminal offense -- while personally dictating his choice of reading material to local shoppers. Can't you just feel the LibertyFreedom™ washing over you? No? Well, that's because you cannot be trusted with it. So Roberts is going to hang on to your freedoms for you, so he can look after them for safekeeping.
"He went after the small store because he's a bully," explains Fairbanks resident David James. "Bullies always go after whomever they perceive as being least able to fight back. He didn't go after Safeway or Fred Meyer."
Roberts founded the Interior Conservative Coalition, is the Republican District Chair, and serves on the state party's Rules Committee. His mom, with whom he lives, is the Secretary for the Interior Taxpayers Association. Roberts publishes screeds with unintentionally ironic names like The Absurdity of Government Trying to be your Parent. Silly government -- behaving like your parent is his job.
It all makes one wish he were bright enough to appreciate concepts like irony and hypocrisy. Of course he supports "firearm freedom" on the local university campus, and "school choice" when it comes to public education dollars going to religious schools. But the freedom and choice of shoppers to decide for themselves which magazines they'd like to purchase? Not so much.
Perhaps next Mr. Roberts will pressure internet service providers around town to make only websites that comport with his own views available to customers. (It's been nice knowing you, Fairbanks.)
Unprincipled hypocrites like Roberts are why words like "freedom," "choice" and "liberty" have lost all actual meaning beyond "stuff I agree with" in our political discourse.
"I never consider a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend," Thomas Jefferson wrote. Roberts, by contrast, will be the Co-op Market's friend only if the latter bends to the former's ideological views.