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In the past few weeks we’ve seen one threatened boycott (of the CBS scandalous miniseries on the Reagans) and one actual boycott (of the movie Mystic River, featuring anti-American Left-wing actors Sean Penn and Tim Robbins). The threatened CBS boycott has been eminently successful, causing the network to dump onto a cable station the offensive hatchet job. The jury is still out on the latter, though early reports seem to show that the Clint Eastwood film is not doing well. These two episodes have in common that the boycotters were conservatives and their targets were the TV and Hollywood LeftMedia— which rose in a loud chorus to shout "foul" and denounce the very notion of a boycott. (For the record, "blacklisting"—practiced in the 1940s by "conservative" Hollywood moguls against Communists and fellow-travelers, who, with their many sympathizers similarly shouted "foul"—is a form of boycotting. The subject of blacklisting, however, is for another day).

The word "boycott" comes from the name of a Nineteenth Century Englishman, Captain Charles Cunningham Boycott (1832-1897). Boycott was a County Mayo land agent who ruthlessly evicted his employers’ tenants. Finally, having had enough, the dispossessed Irishmen banded together to "boycott" the captain and his family.

In the years since, boycotts have been used countless times—most often by those left of center—to achieve social, economic, and political agendas. Mahatma Gandhi and his followers’ tactic of non-cooperation with the British in India was a model for Martin Luther King, Jr’s boycott in Alabama and for the consumer boycott of agricultural products picked by immigrant farm workers.

From its inception in the days of Charles Cunningham Boycott, the essence of the boycott tactic, as explained by The Columbia Encyclopedia, is "the avoidance of buying articles [or services] produced under disapproved conditions or offered for sale by a disapproved dealer." (Emphasis added). In other words, the boycott is a real-life manifestation of a moral judgment (whether or not that moral judgment is correct). Thus, Gandhi’s, and King’s Gandhi-inspired, "passive resistance" reflected their moral judgment about British and Southern racism. American consumers’ boycott of grapes and other agricultural products reflected their moral judgment about the working conditions of immigrant laborers. All boycotts—for better or worse—a reflect a moral judgment.

It is this moral judgment, being made by countless Conservatives throughout the United States—about CBS’s defamation of the Reagans, and Clint Eastwood’s employment of two actors who do not deserve to be American citizens—that has made the Left apoplectic. Apparently, the Left deems it acceptable to boycott racism and grapes, but unacceptable for conservatives to withhold their moral judgment and economic support from virulent America-haters. Withholding that judgment and support not only has desirable practical consequences—as we have seen with the TV miniseries and Hollywood film—but also makes an important moral statement about the terms upon which conservatives are willing to interact, or not, as "traders" with the Left. The late Ayn Rand observed that a trader "deals with men by means of a free, voluntary, unforced, uncoerced exchange—an exchange which benefits both parties by their independent judgment." It is this freedom to deal, or not to deal, informed by moral judgment, that provides conservatives a potent weapon to use against those like CBS, Eastwood, Penn and Robbins, who, like leeches, seek to debilitate America while, simultaneously, living off her.

Strengthened by the CBS and Mystic River campaigns, conservatives should make the boycott a staple of their war against the Left—as I believe they will. In the words of Al Jolson, "You ain’t heard nothin’ yet, folks."