The US Patent and Trademark Office is weaponized against the Washington Redskins
You will comply with the demands of your aristocratic Ruling Class, Americans. You will do as you are told, or some agency of the government will be weaponized to punish you. Add the United States Patent and Trademark Office to the list of government agencies turned into whips and cudgels against the American people during the Obama years, as reported by the Washington Post:
The United States Patent and Trademark Office has canceled the Washington Redskins trademark registration, calling the football team’s name “disparaging to Native Americans.”
The landmark case, which appeared before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, was filed on behalf of five Native Americans. It was the second time such a case was filed.
“This victory was a long time coming and reflects the hard work of many attorneys at our firm,” said lead attorney Jesse Witten, of Drinker Biddle & Reath.
Federal trademark law does not permit registration of trademarks that “may disparage” individuals or groups or “bring them into contempt or disrepute.” The ruling pertains to six different trademarks associated with the team, each containing the word “Redskin.”
“We are extraordinarily gratified to have prevailed in this case,” Alfred Putnam Jr., the chairman of Drinker Biddle & Reath, said. “The dedication and professionalism of our attorneys and the determination of our clients have resulted in a milestone victory that will serve as an historic precedent.”
What a marvelous “victory” against freedom, the First Amendment, and the American people! A few more “victories” like that, and we’ll just trudge to the Ministry of Truth every morning to be told what we believe, and what we’re allowed to discuss.
This Redskins flap is the most ludicrous example of boutique political correctness. A tiny minority of people decided the Redskins name was “offensive” to them. Public support for the team, including from Native Americans, has always been overwhelming. Only a complete fool would seriously believe that a sports team chooses its name to disparage its inspiration.
But the Ruling Class decided this would be an easy issue to rally its faithful. There’s no cost or intellectual effort involved in chirping “The Redskins name is offensive!” That chirp was heard from people who aren’t sure what sport the Redskins play, and have never been within a hundred miles of a reservation. Not only did they enjoy the easy posturing of moral superiority – it’s always fun to shout “Prove you’re not a racist!” at people you don’t like – but it gave them another rich white guy to demonize, team owner Dan Snyder.
For the Left, this sort of thing advances the vital crusade of teaching citizens to think of themselves as criminals, so they’ll accept larger government. That’s always been a strategic goal of political correctness: you’re supposed to feel ashamed and timid, fearing that a forbidden word might tumble out every time you open your mouth. The notion that the professionally and perpetually aggrieved get to compile an ever-growing list of forbidden words shifts intellectual power into elite hands.
The people are told their numbers are teeming with racists and bigots… a crime wave that only vast power in the hands of an enlightened elite can bring to heel. Of course you knuckle-dragging hateful rubes need to be controlled, in word and deed. Look at how you abuse every freedom the Ruling Class has chosen to leave you. It doesn’t matter what you mean when you speak. You’ll be told what you really mean, by organized groups with an axe to grind, and then you’ll be punished accordingly.
So now the government has the remarkable new power to financially destroy a private organization if bureaucrats decide they don’t like its name. (The Redskins are going to lose vast amounts of revenue if they can’t protect their name and logo – you can’t sell what you don’t own.) Persuasion failed, so force was used – not just with respect to Dan Snyder, but to the hefty majority of Americans who didn’t think the team should change its name, and the even larger majority who didn’t think our titanic mega-government should use its power to compel a name change.
You can bet that power will be used again, and soon. Expect a lot of pre-emptive compliance from nervous business owners before formal complaints are even filed.
Update: The Redskins can appeal this decision, and given the value of the property being taken from them, it seems likely they will mount a vigorous appeal. I would not at all be sanguine about their chances of success, no matter what past history suggests. This has become a big deal for the Left, and it’ll get even bigger now that their beloved mega-government has “won” the day, and the evil Dan Snyder tries to steal back the “victory.”
When Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid isn’t slandering the Koch Brothers, the Redskins have become one of his favorite topics. Dejected liberals watching Obama’s presidency fall apart, and looking ahead to a thrashing in the midterm elections, desperately need a success to cheer them up. The principles of collectivist thought control I described above are very important to the Left, and they’d take quite a blow if Snyder manages to judo-flip the Administration to the mat after he was supposedly pinned down. The pressure against everyone inside Washington to preserve the Patent Office judgment will be enormous.