Imagine a fellow-worker openly praising Bruce Jenner’s sex change in a crowded employee lunchroom.
Another employee then says, “I am not trying to legislate morality for anyone or tell people how to live, but personally I am not ready to accept transgender identity.”
What kind of response would you expect?
It would likely start with awkward silence and perhaps a quick effort to change the subject. But it could also result in a meeting with management warning the second “outspoken” employee about discriminatory or racist comments. The employee could even find herself being labeled and avoided by other employees.
When Bruce Jenner announced his move from male to female, acceptance and praise were the only permitted responses. Remaining private with your opinion is the only safe social option if you disagreed with his transgender announcement.
We all realize that there are certain subjects no longer permitted to be discussed or debated, not at least in public. Our society is increasingly controlled by a small group of people who tell the rest of us what we’re allowed to think and say on select moral issues. In fact, we’re not even permitted to view a growing list of sexual choices as moral issues.
Being gay or transgender must now be considered equal with racial identity. If we dare to suggest that this is a false comparison used to manipulate public opinion, we risk being labeled racist haters with irrational phobias. A sure way to shut the mouths of dissenters (and to avoid reasonable debate) is to call them homophobic, hateful bigots.
Those who don’t affirm and praise the Bruce Jenner’s of the world are quickly thrown in with irrational religious fanatics who want to destroy civility. The slightest suggestion of dissent could place you among marginally dangerous people who cling to bigoted ancient laws of a by-gone era.
This would all sound like a crazy make-believe society if it were not true. But it is true. It’s our new reality of coerced tolerance. And, for the record, it is crazy.
All this craziness is actually producing a radically intolerant society. People feel forced into public neutrality on issues where mandated viewpoints are prescribed for them. This appears to be producing a culture of people who choose not to believe anything too conclusively. And the sad by-product is a society that has lost its ability to think, discuss and debate.
The safest way out when conflicting positions come up in public is one word, “whatever.”
How did the true virtue of tolerance get replaced with a radical form of intolerance? Does it upset you that a small group of people get to set the terms for tolerance while telling the rest of us that no exceptions to their version of tolerance will be tolerated?
As this approach to tolerance actually forecloses on open-mindedness while boasting of tolerance.
We need to reintroduce tolerance as the virtue it was meant to be. True tolerance can only function when two people strongly disagree and yet treat each other with respect. Tolerance has no role to play if everyone is forced to affirm one viewpoint.
We are now at a place where people are required to accept (at least publicly) the morality of almost every sexual preference. But as this kind of forced agreement threatens freedom, it will not sit well with most Americans.
The “Agree with us, or else!” agenda on sexual identity will continue to produce civil unrest. Citizens in this country resent being told how to think and speak on moral issues.
Why we can’t practice respect without coercion and control. And why can’t we have a civil conversation about the plausibility of comparing sexual and racial identity? What do we say to those who leave a homosexual or transgender lifestyle if sexual identity is as determined as racial identity?
It appears we have arrived at a place where those who disagree with same-sex or transgender lifestyles are the only people in the closet afraid to come out.