Puritanism, wrote H. L. Mencken, is "the haunting fear that someone, somewhere may be happy." Half a century later, the prissiest Americans are haunted by a different fear: that they may buy cheese made by someone whose opinions they do not share. To help people avoid this calamity, a new app called BuyPartisan reveals whether any given product is made by Republicans or Democrats.I echo The Economist's mockery. I'm not all that interested in where people or corporations spend their legitimately-earned money--unless, and this is my caveat, they try to strengthen their brand or appeal to a specific political group by touting those donations. I've never bought a Ben and Jerry's ice cream because their blatant anti-military stance when I was in the military told me they didn't want my business. I'm hard pressed to think of any other company whose products I do or don't buy out of political considerations. Didn't Michael Jordan once refuse to discuss his political views because "Republicans buy shoes, too"? That seems eminently reasonable to me from a business point of view.
Using an iPhone's camera, it scans the barcode and reports back on the ideology (as measured by donations to political parties) of the directors and staff of the company in question. Obsessive partisans can then demonstrate their commitment to diversity by boycotting firms with which they disagree. "We vote every day with our wallets," trills an advert.
And from a consumer's point of view, who really has time for the hassle? The Economist quotes a "mother with a baby strapped to her chest in a Safeway supermarket":
The idea of scanning every sausage or toilet roll for its political affiliation is "just crazy, she says. "If I want to eat gummy bears, I will eat gummy bears. I don't care if they're Republican."In general, I just want to live my life and be comfortable. I don't want to have to spar with the liberals in every single arena, my time is too valuable for that.