The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Name Change

We recently applied for trademark protection for the name of our start-up company, The intent is to allow us to control the use of the name, to protect the company's URL, and to otherwise indicate that the name is unique. It's very unlikely that the name could be deemed offensive to anyone or any group, and that's a good thing. Because if it were somehow in violation of political correctness, it might be deemed "offensive" by a government agency and rescinded.

I suppose that's why I've been following the latest travails of the Washington Redskins NFL franchise. Although I have no strong feeling about the team's name, I understand why some people might be offended by it. There have been repeated efforts to convince the team to change it's name, but the majority of the team's fans along with its management have been resistant to the idea. After all, the name has been in use since 1932 -- over 80 years. And yet, those who argue that it should be changed probably have a point.

As is typical in situation like this, a group of activists are "outraged" that the name remains in use. I understand their position, although I think it's overwrought. They could try to picket Redskin games, coordinate fan boycotts, threaten TV sponsors, or any of the usual things activists do to coerce those who don't agree with them. I wouldn't care in the slightest. All of this would be done in an effort to have the Redskins become the 'Red Hats' or something like that.

Let public opinion force the team's management to change their name.

But there's something more ominous going on. The U.S. Patent Office has cancelled the team’s trademark— a move that will cost Redskins management millions of dollars in the long term. Ironically, it will also allow even greater use of the team logo and name.

Over the past 5.5 years we've watched as an activist president has weaponized government agencies to threaten and/or attack those who are deemed politically incorrect (think: the ever-growing IRS scandal). When activists (including this president) can't get their way by convincing the public or congress of their rightness of their cause, they can now use the government as a weapon. Forget the laws, forget past legal precedent, they have a sledgehammer and they'll use it. That's why the Patent Office move is deeply troubling to anyone who believes in limited government.

Robert Tracinski comments:
The ruling was based on a dubious argument that “redskins” is a slur against Native Americans. Well, then maybe we’d better rename the state of Oklahoma, which drew its name from Choctaw words that mean “red people.” Or maybe we should petition the US Army to decommission the attack helicopter it named after a people it defeated in 1886. Then again, forget I mentioned it. I don’t want to give anyone ideas.

This name-bullying has become a kind of sport for self-aggrandizing political activists, because if you can force everyone to change the name of something—a sports team, a city, an entire race of people—it demonstrates your power. This is true even if it makes no sense and especially if it makes no sense. How much more powerful are you if you can force people to change a name for no reason other than because they’re afraid you will vilify them?
This is still another example of a new lawlessness encouraged by the current administration. Things big or small (and the Redskins name is very small potatoes when viewed in relationship to other more pressing national problems) are now accomplished by governmental fiat, using co-opted government agencies (e.g., the IRS, the EPA, ICE, and now, the Patent Office) to accomplish what can't be accomplished through more democratic (lower case "d") means.

If this continues and grows more pervasive, we'll be skating on the edge of tyranny.