'Chronicle' Misses the Most Important Part of the Story

RECEIVED Tue., Dec. 16, 2003

I'm disappointed Louis; the Chronicle missed the mark entirely concerning the Planned Parenthood vs. Danze debate ["Women Dig In," News, Dec. 5]. This withstanding, some noteworthy points were made on both sides of the discussion, but as discerning denizens, it was largely the Chronicle's responsibility to sift through the quagmire and find the kernel of truth. After all, you have the means, the resources, and the time to do so.
   The issue concerns economic liberty, not civil liberty, as the former begets the latter, generally, and the right to contract, explicit in the Constitution, specifically.
   In the best-case scenario, business, or thoughts and consequent action within any given market, is based on a series of disclosure(s), i.e. knowledge. If an individual, based on specific disclosure, refuses to engage in business, said individual has every right to do so. Such is the case with Danze. As we know, Danze went so far as to consolidate a group based on specific disclosure in refusing to contract with anyone engaging in specific business. One could unwittingly label this as a boycott, but in reality this is nothing more than refusal to contract, not unlike the early 20th-century unions, though not exactly akin.
   The Chronicle's failure to recognize this basic tenet of the American socioeconomic tradition is upsetting as it dissolves the potency of many values the Chronicle foments, daily. Further, the Chronicle ignores the primary element in social compact – the glue of civil society. Without this glue, brute force is the only alternative. The Danze case, more than any other in recent memory, emphasizes a value-based hierarchy when making life decisions. I would be willing to bet the money I donated to Planned Parenthood that if the context surrounding this issue, if the players and the policy were any different, the Chronicle would have employed the same logic one reads herein. With sophistry, dear Louis, in the art of attempting to prove everything, you indirectly believe in nothing.
   Lastly, the blatant hypocrisy contained in the "Page Two" [Dec. 12] reader's note is appalling. If you are an opponent of blacklisting, what exactly do you call your position and portrayal of Danze? You made my point for me, exactly, without even realizing it. Look for a thank you note in the mail.
Jason Stoddard
p.s. Should Danze want to advertise with the Chronicle, would you prohibit it?
   [Louis Black responds: I guess I miss how we're blacklisting or boycotting Danze. We disagree with his boycott of the Planned Parenthood construction, though that is certainly within his rights. We neither asked nor suggested that people shouldn't do business with him. We were critical of his stated goal of going out of his way to note who works at the site and actively urge people to boycott their services, which strikes us as a bit more than "refusal to contract," but maybe not. Finally, sorry that "The Chronicle's failure to recognize this basic tenet of the American socioeconomic tradition is upsetting as it dissolves the potency of many values the Chronicle foments, daily." Sincerely, this may relate to many values we espouse, but we probably wouldn't recognize many of the basic tenets of America's socioeconomic tradition if they were so postulated. If this sounds too glib we don't mean it to be so; we've never pretended to any kind of formal consistentcy in our positions which, in fact, are inherently inconsistent as they represent a number of different folks.]
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