Later edit, in light of the possibility of this post being associated with right-wing propaganda.
Perhaps it’s easy, when living in a country where civil rights based on sexual orientation are not likely to ever be reversed, to disregard the fact that elsewhere this threat is very real. Not just in countries which haven’t reached that level of secularism yet for understandable reasons – but also in the “first world” (in the US for instance).
It’s also easy to fail to understand the level of stress people can experience when facing bigotry on a frequent basis, as well as lobbying to have their rights reduced or revoked. It’s easy to think that when laws are passed the battle has been essentially won – when in fact there are powerful factions constantly agitating for a reversal, enjoying popular support based on false ideas such as religious dogmas. It’s far from over, as long as this agitation persists.
When analysing social issues online, one tends to relate to what they observe locally, and fail to take into account that elsewhere the situation might be very different.
That said, the radical left has made a point of pursuing social justice through methods which are not, in my opinion, helping. Such as suing left right and centre for bigoted views (refusing to bake cakes for gay weddings and such). The only effect these tactics seem to have is of radicalising those who hold the views, basically feeding them.
They are the perfect material for scaremongering religious propaganda. “You see? This is what they do; they are all like that; they want to destroy us; we must fight back.”
Someone who is already apprehensive will respond to being attacked in an even more virulent manner (besides the real consequences these lawsuits have on innocent people depending on the business being targeted). That will likely lead those people, whose opinion might be neutral to begin with, to embrace the views of the bigot, out of solidarity and resentment. It might also lead others in those communities, after observing this phenomenon, to embrace those views.
This post does not imply that someone can change their sexual orientation and was not born that way; suggest that religious people are right in their assessment of others as a “collective enemy”; imply that complete social harmony can ever be achieved through any means.
Instead it argues that petty litigiousness is callous and inefficient on a large scale; that it’s not easy for intolerance to end, as long as the left reinforces stereotypes and the feeling of mass persecution through these actions; that when those who were previously persecuted reach power, they behave like their former oppressors; that being unanimously liked is not achievable.
By far one of the most intensely discussed ideological conflicts today takes place between a vast segment of the world’s religious population, as well as conservatives in general, and sexual minorities. As the latter gain belated visibility, many struggle with a radically changing world, which they hastily equate with a doomsday scenario. However correct they may be in asserting that the world is becoming more irrational by the day in some ways, they do not differentiate between individuals of another sexual orientation and the aggressive left, which only claims to represent them.
There is so much to say on this subject. It becomes clear that both sides are demonising people they only interact with during these heated debates, laden with slogans, cliches and mindless shouting. Both get their motivation in the echo chamber of their peer groups, without stopping to look at each other as actual human beings.
The conservative and religious stance
And by that I’m referring only to those of the opinion that any minority today is encouraged to be sanctimonious and very easily offended, as well as the opinion that education is too focused on identity politics. By default I’m excluding those who are genuinely consumed by rage or hatred and are inclined towards violence.
It’s probably difficult for those who are still trapped inside the bubble of religion to consider that others have different instincts than they do. They can’t relate to others’ biological reality, just like they can’t picture being deaf or blind if they are not (I’m not making a pejorative comparison here; there are simply different ways of relating to the world). So it’s easier for them to brush it aside as deviancy and justify mistreating people who never did them any harm, from a comfortable distance.
The right wing is putting up a line of defence against broad societal changes, arguing they want to keep notions surrounding the family “normal”. The thing is, when they talk about “our ways”, “our traditions”, they actually think those ways are intrinsic to them – when the reality is we are a product of the social engineering of our time. What some of us hold as sacred was given to our elders by the indoctrination of their day, just like we’re getting ours now. We are told from birth how things are and how they should be. The truth is anybody’s guess.
Normality is fluid, it is based on norms, not nature, therefore it’s artificial, changing with every generation, according to the interests of those in charge.Even the concept of sanity has been modified through time in order to filter out eccentric ideas, keeping people in line; political systems have long used insanity as a label to discredit dissidents.When someone lets go of the strong emotional attachment to this figment of normality, they’re already on the path to freedom. Those in power, by changing laws and principles from one day to the next, are not taking anything from people – they’ve never had it in the first place. It was never their reality; the script has always been written by someone else.
Norms and laws come and go; political systems come and go. What we are left with, at the end of the day, is our intuition, the only thing that can’t be manipulated. What we can do is treat people as individuals, as we perceive them by interacting with them, regardless of the category or movement they form part of.
Religious people see themselves as the main resistance to sweeping societal changes ; it’s easy to understand that they feel threatened, even if that has no basis in reality (these changes have no real impact on their lives).
Freedom of speech is under constant threat, being reduced by the day. However, history teaches us that the underdog has very sharp teeth and as soon as it lands a position of power, behaves exactly like its former oppressors. If religious people were given the same amount of power tomorrow as the radical left has right now – the power to censor and sue for offensive speech – we would end up with blasphemy laws, after all this trumpeting of free speech. Equality is only pursued in the initial phase.
Arguably, we are lucky to live in a culture developed on Judaeo-Christian values, which have evolved overtime. Things could be much worse. If Islam had managed to take over Europe during the Middle Ages, that wouldn’t be the case; everything down to the small things we enjoy would be different. Jean Valjean would have his hand amputated, Madame Bovary would be stoned to death before getting to commit suicide, Snow White would be kept as a house slave by the seven dwarfs and Sleeping Beauty would be gang raped by a hundred sweaty men while unconscious.
Even so, giving undue influence to the church has never had good results. Also, religious people do a huge disservice to all who stand up to what they perceive as the totalitarian left when they throw Bible verses at non-believers. It’s beyond me why they think that will ever work.
Who you are versus what you are
When showing righteous indignation before the cases of LGBT people callously bankrupting conservatives over cake icings , many forget that those people don’t do so because they’re gay – they do so because they, as individuals, are greedy and the law gives them the privilege. Members of any other category would be tempted to do the same if they could.
Moreover, I’m not sure that outside of political activism, there is such a thing as a gay community. Maybe I’m wrong, but if sexual preference is biologically driven, that would be like saying the ginger community, the blue-eyed community or the tall community. There definitely isn’t a ”heterosexual community” to be treated as a whole. My point is that many individuals in this perceived group might have absolutely nothing in common in terms of how they think or live their lives. Treating them as a homogeneous group by saying “they do/ believe/ say/ like so and so” doesn’t make any sense.
Then there is the slippery slope argument – it’s true that there are other “sexual minorities” riding the coattails of the LGBT movement, using the fact that tolerance has become the most important value in society in order to squeeze in through a narrow opening of acceptability. However, one cannot demand that individuals who simply are gay or transgender and had nothing to do with that association foot the moral bill for other people’s poor choices of association, or for what those groups are doing today. Everyone is responsible for what they personally say and do.
A pain in the collective leftist butt
When Lucifer met Kali, they must have shagged under a full moon and spawned gay conservatives. You’d think that, from the amount of hatred these people get from self-professed liberals, simply for having a different political inclination. Whilst straight conservatives are usually mocked with derogatory labels, gay ones are genuinely, viscerally hated.
Although I disagree with conservatives on almost everything, I can’t help noticing this phenomenon.
The radical left is incredibly hypocritical when using this cause to garner sympathy. Like any good cult, it stands unflinching beside its devotees – unless, of course, they start dissenting even slightly. When it comes down to it, they don’t care about the discrimination an individual might suffer, if that individual refuses the collective stance.Cognitive dissonance is rampant. When a gay liberal is attacked, it is automatically assumed that homophobia is involved, regardless of the nature of the dispute. When a gay conservative is attacked, no matter how viciously, the motive is thought to be purely political.
To me it’s quite clear that “progressives” are using gay people, crying crocodile tears for them, as well as for those who feel singled out due to their race or ethnicity, in order to advance their message.
Once / if they achieve what they’re aiming for, allow me to suspect they won’t give a toss about anyone’s grievances. There is a valuable testimonial on YouTube given by former KGB agent Yuri Bezmenov in the 80s, describing the way a bloodless Marxist revolution takes place, through cultural subversion; how groups are created and spurred on to make noise, in order to destablise a country. According to him, as soon as the new system is put in place, all these revolutionary groups (feminists, sexual minorities etc) are forced back into underground activism in order to build an image of stability and harmony. Although his message can be interpreted as conservative, the man did have decades of experience with these tactics and they are oddly similar to what is going on today.
Moreover, the concept of “homonormativity” has been introduced ( a presumed tendency of gay people to emulate the lifestyles of heterosexuals), as if sexual orientation placed people in antagonistic positions on all levels. It’s a case of being accused of fraternising or emulating “the enemy”, instead of supporting the free choice anyone should have, of living however they choose.
”I’m calling my lawyer!”
A lot of folks (even moderate leftists I think) wonder when this pettiness of suing over trifles will stop, as it has reached absurd levels. It’s frightening to see masses agree that it’s fair to ruin someone’s business if they cause you offence even once.
Denial of service is immoral when it’s state policy, making it impossible for a person to access it anywhere, or when that service is vital. If you’re in the middle of a desert during a torrid summer and the only shop within 30 miles refuses to sell you water, that is a problem. If you’re refused a certain icing on a cake for a same sex wedding, you can simply go fifty metres up the road and find a different bakery to spend your money in. What will happen at the most, if you’re a reasonable person, is that you’ll be temporarily annoyed.
Whereas, when you put said bakery out of business, you are taking your small frustration against an entire family (or group of families, depending how many people work there), with the actual desire of taking their money or ruining them. That makes you, at its mildest, greedy and vindictive, and when you seek to destroy them completely (by inciting harassment), it makes you a sociopath. I mean, really, who are you – a Roman emperor, who with a single gesture orders someone’s head chopped off? Who died and made you God? The law should not give people the possibility to behave tyrannically because someone doesn’t like them.
There is so much at stake – the lives of everyone who depend on that business to continue and who are not to blame for an offensive stance taken by one owner or employee. The ripple effect can be substantial, making collateral victims.
In the above-mentioned article, these are some of the things apparently inflicted on the couple by those who refused the cake order:
Examples of symptoms included “acute loss of confidence,” “doubt,” “excessive sleep,” “felt mentally raped, dirty and shameful,” “high blood pressure,” “impaired digestion,” “loss of appetite,” “migraine headaches,” “pale and sick at home after work,” “resumption of smoking habit,” “shock,” “stunned,” “surprise,” “uncertainty,” “weight gain” and “worry.”
They could basically pin that list of afflictions on anyone who dislikes them even slightly, for any reason.
The other thing is, once the goals of some advocacy groups are reached – usually through legal reforms – they might appear to become pointless. In order to keep making a living by obtaining sponsorship for their cause, they must keep finding problems. Woe is them if systemic discrimination actually ends, as they will have to pack their placards and go home. Some are professional picketers; if there is no problem to raise hell about, one must be created.
That’s why these cases are often crafted by agitators, who purposefully target business owners with a declared traditionalist stance. Like feminists, they don’t consider taking their campaigns to genuine backward societies where gay people are prosecuted and killed – but they’ll gladly ruin lives at home with the smallest amount of effort. This is needless.
If the religious right is mainly at fault for this acrimony – as without religion this discussion would not even exist – the left is often not helping.