Friday, April 8, 2016

When Does Inconsistency Become Hypocrisy?

One expects politicians and others who dabble in politics to sometimes say one thing but do another. It almost seems to be in their genes. Indeed, none of us is perfect, and most of us act from time to time in our lives in ways inconsistent with what we profess. Even so, PayPal and Apple are pushing inconsistency so far toward hypocrisy that it's hard to avoid the conclusion that they're behavior isn't just mere inconsistency.

An article by Bradford Richardson in the Washington Times tells us that both PayPal and Apple are seeking to punish North Carolina for passing a law that would prohibit people of one sex from using the restrooms of the other sex. This seems like pretty tame stuff, and I would suspect that most women, especially, would appreciate the added protection from male predators afforded them by the law, but apparently PayPal and Apple see a Very Important Principle being violated by the Tar Heel legislators:
PayPal drew a line in the sand when North Carolina passed a law prohibiting people from using the restrooms of the opposite sex, but critics say that line got washed away on the shores of Malaysia, a nation that consistently ranks among the least LGBT-friendly in the world.

The company canceled its plan to build a global operations center in Charlotte after the passage of HB2, which CEO Daniel Schulman called discrimination against the transgendered. He noted that the move will cost North Carolina 400 well-paying jobs.
Okay, but:
Malaysia’s Penal Code 187 — which punishes homosexual conduct with whippings and up to 20 years in prison — did not stop PayPal from opening a global operations center there in 2011, which the company estimated would employ 500 workers by 2013.
So, a law that protects women from having to share a restroom with someone with male physiological accoutrements is so egregious that PayPal, in high moral dudgeon, is taking its operations center elsewhere. Yet the company was not sufficiently outraged to decline to build a similar center in a country which punishes LGBT people with whippings and lengthy stays in their luxurious prisons. How do they reconcile these two reactions? Moreover:
PayPal’s international headquarters are located in Singapore, where sexual contact between males is punishable by up to two years in prison, and even littering can be punished by flogging. The company has a software development center in Chennai, India, where same-sex marriage is prohibited.
But it's not just PayPal that seems to have a problem with consistency:
Apple is among the other major corporations that have taken to the pulpit to lecture North Carolina for its sins despite doing business with anti-gay foreign regimes. CEO Tim Cook was one of several high-profile tech CEOs who signed a letter to Republican Gov. Pat McCrory calling on him to repeal the legislation.

“We are disappointed in your decision to sign this discriminatory legislation into law,” the letter reads. “The business community, by and large, has constantly communicated to lawmakers at every level that such laws are bad for our employees and bad for business.”

But, as Matt Sharp, legal counsel for the Alliance Defending Freedom, points out, that has not stopped Apple from opening stores in Saudi Arabia, where gay people are regularly executed in public and cross-dressing is also an offense that can, in the “best” case, end with a flogging. Pro-gay and trans advocacy are illegal, as is every religion except Islam.

“We’ve seen the same thing with Apple and some of these other companies that are fine doing business in Saudi Arabia and other countries that are extremely oppressive of the LGBT community,” Mr. Sharp said.
How do these companies respond to the charge of hypocrisy? With gobbledygook:
Deena Fidas, director of the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Workplace Equality Program, said PayPal’s expansion into areas with bad human rights and anti-gay records doesn’t call into question what the company is doing in the U.S. because it’s all about the message.

“Businesses are going to be making strategic decisions based on a variety of factors, and the fact that they’re not ceasing operations in other locales doesn’t diminish this very important moment where they’re sending a very clear message,” Ms. Fidas said.

“The reality is that right now, at any given moment, businesses are expanding in locales that have some problematic laws on the books for the LGBT community,” she added. “But what we’ve found is the private sector can be a bastion in an otherwise-unwelcoming climate.”
American Airlines and the NBA are also looking pretty "inconsistent" on this issue:
A spokeswoman for American Airlines, which has its second-biggest hub in Charlotte, called such laws “bad for the economies of the states in which they are enacted.” And the National Basketball Association, which has scheduled next season’s All-Star Game for Charlotte, said it is “deeply concerned that this discriminatory law runs counter to our guiding principles of equality and mutual respect.”

However, both corporations are eager to do business in China — American operates flights to Beijing and Shanghai; the NBA played two exhibition games in China before this season and will play two before this fall in the basketball-crazy country.

In addition, earlier this spring, American Airlines made clear that it plans to use its Miami hub for business in communist Cuba, petitioning for 12 of the 20 available daily flights to the Cuban capital and requesting flights to five other Cuban cities.
Yet China and Cuba are tough terrain for LGBTs:
While neither China nor Cuba criminalizes homosexuality as a form of bourgeois decadence, as each did during the Cold War era, gay rights are severely limited. Both nations have constitutional provisions defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman, a holy grail far beyond what America’s religious conservatives can hope to pass in 2016.

In both countries adoption by gay couples is banned, and anti-discrimination laws operate on the basis of sex, race, religion and other categories but do not protect the transgendered. Cuba’s anti-discrimination laws do cover gays, but only in some fields. Also, both countries are still officially one-party dictatorships that routinely arrest and beat anti-government protesters, limit the activities of dissidents and restrict depictions of homosexuality.

The official China Television Drama Production Industry Association posted new regulations stating that “no television drama shall show abnormal sexual relationships and behaviors, such as incest [and] same-sex relationships.”
We don't want to be too quick to call all this hypocrisy, but it sure looks like these corporations have one set of rules for the U.S. and a much less draconian set of rules for other nations. I'm loath to ask this, but do you think that in the end it may have something to do with profits?