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Bingo

Posted by Lissa on January 16, 2009

It’s not hateful or intolerant to vote that marriage should remain between a man and a woman. Tolerant isn’t a position, it’s how you treat people who hold positions you hate.  [emphasis mine]

What he said.  That’s pithy and sound enough for a blogpost in and of itself, so feel free to stop reading here if you like.

He continues,

It also isn’t tolerant to believe that all ideas have equal merit. This is an irrational position I’m embarrassed to even bring up. But there are those who have claimed that if I judge a position as bad that I’m being intolerant. Can we agree that eating cute kittens alive for the fun of it doesn’t have as much merit as cuddling them? But to say that all ideas have equal merit is self-refuting because I could propose this idea “all ideas have unequal merit” and you couldn’t judge the statement as false if the first idea were true.

There’s are three conversational rules at Ye Olde Financial Company (and much of the financial world):

1. Don’t talk about politics
2. Don’t talk about religion
3. Don’t talk about sex

Obviously the rules get bent sometimes, especially around big events like elections or inaugurations.  (Or Christmas parties with an open bar.)

I hate to think of being in a profession where a) your political orthodoxy is assumed to be on one particular side of the spectrum, b) if your politics aren’t on that side of the spectrum, you either have to lie or risk an adverse consequence to your career.  But it does seem to be that way in Hollywood; check the author of Seraphic Secret, for example.  (Gunnies — you check this post.)

I wonder what the equivalent would be for the liberal side of the spectrum.  The military, perhaps?  I have a harder time thinking of job sectors where being pro-choice, pro-Obama and pro-nanny-statism would be risky to divulge.  Hell, I can’t even list the church, since apparently you can be a bishop, be gay, say that  he had been reading inaugural prayers through history and was “horrified” at how “specifically and aggressively Christian they were” and still be invited to do an Inaugural Address.  (Note — I’ve stated my views on gay marriage before — see number 8 — but I see merit in the views on both sides of the aisle.)

There are, of course, views for which I have little-to-no sympathy.  I don’t care what culture you come from, if you think your wife is your property, to beat and abuse as you see fit, I want nothing to do with you.  If you think modern medicines are evil and it’s better to treat your pneumonia-ridden child with prayer, I think you’re a bloody moron.  Hell, if you’re such an asshat you see nothing wrong with naming your kid Adolf Hitler, I don’t want you within a hundred feet of me.

But that doesn’t mean I would scream abuse into your face, or post your home residence on the ‘Net, or protest outside your business, or try to get you fired.  I have no tolerance for your VIEWS, but I will tolerate you as a person.

Easy enough, right?  Here’s the difficult part, though.  I would never want the government to try and regulate people’s views.  (Actions, of course, are another matter — it’s one thing to think it’s okay to beat your wife, but you actually give her a shiner and it’s off to the pokey with you, lad.)  I would prefer to leave it to common folks to speak with their feet.  If your business has practices that I think are distasteful, I will take my checkbook (well, debit card) elsewhere.

But that exact philosophy — taken a little further — is what spurs artists and customers to protest until a Theater Artistic Director resigns and a restaurant risks going out of business.

How do you speak with your feet, but at the same time be tolerant of other people’s views?  When is another person’s views unappealing enough that you avoid their business, as opposed to reprehensible enough to boycott or protest their shopfront?  Where do we draw the line between using market forces to make your preferences known, and political forces to try and change someone’s behavior?  Is it as simple as speaking with your checkbook versus speaking with a megaphone?

Damned if I know.  Luckily for me, I never claimed to have all (any?) of the answers.  Thankfully, it looks as though that message has gotten through:

search-engine-1-15-09

Smart people, have at it in the comments.  (Brad, I’m looking at you!)  In the meantime, I shall drink hot tea and nosh on a hard-boiled egg (and perhaps a cute kitten) while I wait for enlightenment.

(h/t for the original quote goes to Michelle)

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