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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Does the Right Even Know What Intolerance Is?

Let me run something by you and see how you feel about it.

Poster for D.W. Griffith's film 'Intolerance'Frank Turek is a man whose contract was terminated by a major corporation when human resources found out he had written a book opposing mixed-race marriage. He is on the front lines of an emerging trend we are hearing about: people losing jobs or other economic opportunities because they have written, spoken, donated, or otherwise peacefully exercised their core civil rights on behalf of marriage as a union between two people of the same race.

Frank's day job is leadership seminars for Fortune 500 companies. He also runs a ministry and has written a book against miscegenation titled Correct, Not Politically Correct: How Mixed-Race Marriage Hurts Everyone.

For many years Frank Turek has done seminars for Cisco, among many other companies. A student who attended his class Googled his name, found out he opposed mixed-race marriage and said "I'm going to get Frank fired because he doesn't represent Cisco values." And this student succeeded.

A few weeks later Frank Turek was told by a Bank of America executive that his book opposing mixed-race marriage meant he would not be asked to do a seminar again at Bank of America.


Of course, Frank Turek is not -- to my knowledge anyway -- a racist. What I've posted above is a quote from a National Review interview with Maggie Gallagher. I've changed a few key words to make a point. Turek and Gallagher oppose same-sex marriage.

But let's continue to put it in terms of mixed-race marriage. Gallagher, the former President of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), sat down with NR's Kathryn Jean Lopez to discuss her new project, the Marriage Anti-Defamation Alliance. Continuing our parallel, it seems that people who are activists against mixed-race marriage have trouble keeping their jobs once their bosses find out.

It's hard to see that as a big problem, isn't it? Or, at least, a problem that isn't the activists' own damned fault. Calling a bigot a bigot isn't defamation, it's fact.

But of course, it's not race-based marriage equality we're talking about here, it's gender-based. What I'd hoped to demonstrate with my little thought experiment is how the intolerant just don't get the concept of intolerance. I mean, what's the argument here; that we need to be more tolerant of the bigoted? It's absurd. To flirt with Godwin, when a Nazi complains that no one likes him, not many people wonder why.

Yet it's an argument bigots hide behind all the time, second only to "Oh, don't be so PC." Someone says something hateful, you call them out for it, and they complain about the hypocrisy of "liberal tolerance." If you were really as "tolerant" as you say you are, you'd shut up and let them attack whoever they wanted to attack.

And think about the word "tolerance." It basically means "put up with." We're not asking a lot of the bigots here; they don't have to like it, they just have to put up with it. It's not like anyone's making them gay-marry anyone.

Now think about what they're asking us to tolerate; we're supposed to stand aside and shut up while they attack our friends, families, and co-workers. When we join in the fight on their behalf, Gallagher and other bigots lay down another familiar conservative defense -- the victim card.

"What keeps me going is that it’s just too the silly to take seriously the world being created for us, where we should be afraid to say these basic truths about human beings, sex, and the family, for fear of being labeled hateful or bigoted," Gallagher says in what I imagine are heroic tones. "Without our consent they cannot win."

I'm going to go ahead and call BS on that one. We didn't get the consent of mixed-race marriage opponents and, as I seem to recall, they didn't win.

What a terrible blow to tolerance that was, huh?


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