Yes, I’m Trying to Eliminate Your Way of Thinking
On the ever-martyred Christian right, there is a particularly hilarious and absurd meme that the left and especially LGBT activists are trying to eliminate their opinions from polite speech, marginalize their beliefs and make it socially unacceptable (they often also claim illegal) to “believe that marriage is only between one man and one woman.” Of course, that particular belief is only one part of a whole slew of accompanying beliefs, such as that “sodomy” should still be a crime, as should “crimes against nature” that are used to target queer people. But even if that were the only thing that came with that particular belief, it would still be ridiculous and unsupportable by anything other than stories.
Still, we have people like the odious Matt Barber who love to make Nazi comparisons and are sure that we’re trying to marginalize his way of thinking.
Many Christians have been warning for years that the radical homosexual activist lobby is made up of Christian-hating fascists who are in rebellion against both God and nature, who are hell-bent on criminalizing Christianity and pushing to the fringes anyone who publicly acknowledges natural human sexuality and the age-old, immutable institution of legitimate marriage as created by God.
Liberals are never content to hold their own ideas and to coexist with those who may not share them. They do not “tolerate” dissent, and they do not debate those who disagree with them. They simply declare their opponents to be enemies of all that is decent and good in the world, marginalizing conservative thought while declaring illegal (in a de facto sense [KN: See what he did there?], and sometimes explicitly by policy and through legislation[KN: Give one example]) any idea they do not like.This is not hyperbole…
If you are a liberal, you have rights. If you are a conservative, you don’t. You are, in fact, an evil, hateful person if you believe in traditional morality or, God help you, Christianity. You must therefore be denigrated, punished and silenced – and that’s only because the libs haven’t worked up the courage to murder you.Yet.
What you are willing to debate – what is effectively “up for discussion” – is frequently a reflection of what you think, in principle, you might be willing to give up. What you are able to put on the table of public discourse are the things you don’t feel too threatened to let go of…I was discussing, and discoursing, and debating rights which are not mine to put up for discussion. By opening that debate, even taking the pro-choice side, I was essentially putting women’s right to autonomy on the table in a way I have no business doing. Engaging in abstract philosophical discussion about other people’s rights in a public forum, when those rights are constantly under threat in the current political and social climate, and when the answer to the questions you raise will never affect you directly, is a callous and thoughtless thing to do.
I don’t care if you sincerely and truly hold that God condemns homosexuality as a sin. I refuse to give that a pass. I oppose the belief that healing should come through faith rather than through medicine because it results in dead children. In the same way, I oppose the belief that homosexuality is sin because it results in dead children.
That quote by Aryaan Hirsi Ali is the best thing. Never forget that tacit acceptance is as good (or bad) as the act itself.
There are some views so toxic that they rightly should be relegated to the dustbin of history – not by force or by censorship, but by being unfailing in criticizing and condemning them and ensuring that everyone sees how vile they are. I hope that one day, homophobia will be put into the same box as slavery and anti-interracial marriage.
There is one part of this that concerns me a little:
Perhaps I’m misunderstanding the context here. I’m reading this as “we cannot discuss other people’s rights in an abstract fashion in a public forum unless we have a personal stake.”
Is science and philosophy not meant to be a public forum in this context? I have never understood abstract philosophy to be something that you needed a vested interest in before it could be approached as a topic.
I’m probably not understanding the context of this statement, but it bothers me in that it seems to veer somewhat towards advocating censorship (or self-censorship.) I’m also not sure I understand how an abstract or objective discussion cannot be callous in some fashion, as it’s meant to be removed from emotional content.
If someone could clarify for me what this is saying, I would appreciate it, thanks!
I think the point that Croft is trying to make is that the assumption that underlies any debate is that, given sufficient evidence, then you will concede a position. However, the problem with that is how do you concede, to use his example, that somebody should not be allowed a legal abortion when you will never have to worry about that? It would be like my betting your house in cards. No matter how good a poker player I am, I may lose and then suffer nothing. If it were a matter of us living in a world where you could have these types of discussions in a purely academic way, that would be wonderful, but engaging in debates is producing a weapon for one side or the other, one that will be disseminated. Worse, we have no idea who that weapon is being made for at the outset. While we cannot stop debating, nor can be stop fighting, we should at least concede that certain actions, like formal debates, should be engaged in by people who have the most direct experience and the most to lose by losing.
Not necessarily. Emotion is a powerful tool and a valid consideration in determining policy, either political or personal. That being said, again I think what Croft is talking about is that it is callous toward the people who you are usurping their right to decide what they are willing to sacrifice for the sake of debate, not that you are approaching the situation objectively. He’s asking that before we agree that we may be wrong about supporting somebody’s rights, we consider that they might not think that their rights are up for debate. I can only imagine, for example, how it must make trans* people feel to have to constantly hear people arguing over whether they will rape people in bathrooms, especially trans* children. How much worse would it be if I, a cis person, agreed to a debate of whether trans* people are dangerous, which automatically concedes that this is a question worth asking instead of absurd on its face?
At least, that’s how I understand Croft’s message. Hopefully, he’ll see this and respond himself.
So it it’s like how we shouldn’t debate with Creationists because their points are not worthy of standing up against Evolution?
If so, I definitely agree with that. If Croft could chip in to clarify that would be helpful.
Hello! I’m happy to clarify. My point is not to advocate censorship (or self-censorship, which seems to me a problematic concept in any case), but to advocate caution and compassion when speaking about things which profoundly affect others but not you. If you are white, I expect you to exercise great caution about how you discuss issues which affect people of color when speaking in public, particularly surrounding issues of fundamental rights. If you are straight, so too with issues that affect queer people. And if you are a man, so too with issues that affect women. This is not censorship but wise self-reflection and the willingness to listen and think before speaking.
I am not saying that a man cannot express a view on the ethics of abortion – I make that clear in the full post – but rather that he should do so in a considered, measured way in an appropriate context. Talking blithely about issues which affect others profoundly and you not at all is, I think, thoughtless.
That’s very helpful, thank you.