November 20, 2003
Carrying tolerance too far....
What is it about putting those words together which pushes so many hot buttons? Considering recent controversies, I see no better way to plumb the depths of tolerance in the blogosphere than to juxtapose these issues again.
I have to admit that I was a little annoyed by the fact that John Kusch was annoyed by Frank J. of all people, (Frank J. being my favorite humorist in the blogosphere), and I have been more than a little annoyed by John's failure to appreciate the value (especially to homosexuals) of the Second Amendment. But nothing John has said could possibly be more annoying than some of the downright bigoted things this guy (who I charitably call a "satirist") has said. (Here are a few examples.)
Even though I find myself disagreeing with some of John's thinking on guns and on gays, that's OK, because there isn't anyone I agree with on everything anyway.
A Comment You Will Never ReadI am not terribly impressed by arguments to authority -- in this case law enforcement officers -- especially on matters of constitutional rights (especially when said rights place limitations on their authority!). I am as much a Second Amendment absolutist as I am a First Amendment absolutist. Guns have saved my life twice, and I support concealed carry. As to the "social good concealed weapons have done in our nation's ghettoes," hey, poor people living in ghettoes have just as much right to self defense -- concealed or otherwise -- as any American. To argue (which John seems to do implicitly) for a different standard for the poor, or for people living in ghettoes, is simply wrong. I would be willing to bet that a number of lives have been saved by concealed weapons in the hands of the poor. I believe that an armed society is a polite society, and that concealed weapons make people extra careful (for the simple reason that criminals don't know who is armed).
In my view, the fatal flaw in John's argument is the failure to distinguish between criminals and law abiding citizens. Crimes committed with guns are by definition not committed by the law abiding, so it is illogical to compare concealed carry by criminals with concealed carry by law abiding citizens.
Apples and oranges. So, while I have to disagree with John Kusch on guns, I should note that I have this same disagreement with some of my best friends.
Kim du Toit is an absolutist on the Second Amendment, and I think that's a good thing. I have had disagreements with him too -- particularly on the tone of his pussification post. Unlike John Kusch, though, who disagrees with Kim du Toit on almost everything, I thought du Toit was absolutely right about a number of things -- notably the destruction of freedom in this country and the failure of people to stand up to it. I think men and women are both guilty, though, and I no more need du Toit telling me how to be a man than I need John Kusch telling me how to be a proper homosexual. But both of these guys strike me as sincere and honest. Both speak from the heart, and both write in a very compelling manner. Both, incidentally, are against drugging children with Ritalin!
I realize that it would be too much to ask that they be civil to each other; the very idea strikes me as wildly naive. That does not mean that I can't engage in civility. John Kusch and Kim du Toit are a far cry from Ted Rall, Fred Phelps, or the rest of the raving moonbats who populate the fringes.
While I am at it, I have to confess that I am a little frustrated by this post too -- because it seems to divide the world into homosexuals and heterosexuals.
I recently had a discussion with a woman at work who asked me, "If there are gay men who can marry a woman and, I mean . . . they can function and have children and live a normal life, then why don't they just stick with that?"The problem I have with the above is that it overlooks something which (at least to my way of thinking) stares me right in the face: the existence of a thing called bisexuality. I have blogged about this before, as it has annoyed me for many years that so many people have such an aversion to the idea of bisexuality that they refuse to admit it exists.
I am sorry to rain on anyone's parade, but bisexuality (or whatever you wanna call it) exists now and has existed since ancient times. Homosexuality is an artificial modern creation: a new, manipulative word to describe a perfectly normal variation of human sexuality. It should not be stigmatized or judged in any way. Even the word "homosexual" is a judgment, implying that people have to be a something-sexual. I don't like hyphenated humans, and I don't like identity politics. It should not matter what someone does with his genitalia, yet it does. I worry that it matters not only to busybody "heterosexuals" but to some "homosexuals" as well.
While there may be prisoners who are made miserable by having sex with other men, I would be willing to wager that most of them are gay men forced into being sex slaves. [UPDATE: Or, of course, all victims of prison rape.] Their partners are not particularly miserable. They are usually bisexual. I have known a lot of guys (NOT prisoners) who prefer women, but who have had sex with an occasional man just because they felt like it. And they were not "miserable."
What would be miserable would be to force oneself to have sex with someone not sexually appealing. This is not restricted to unhappily married homosexuals married to members of the opposite sex. Many heterosexual men and women have unsatisfying sex lives. Some of them get into therapy, or counseling, and are able to change it. Others divorce, then later find someone more to their liking.
I just can't understand the apparent insistence that one must find only one sex -- and not the other under any circumstances -- attractive.
Notwithstanding such an outrageous statement, I am the first to recognize that most people find members of one sex more attractive than the other, and it would be tyrannical in the extreme to tell them they shouldn't. But this gets into the matter of tolerance. Heterosexuals are the vast majority, and not generally accustomed to being, er, "different." Therefore, they tend to assume that everyone is like them, and this can create an unconscious (sometimes fully conscious) intolerance of homosexuals and homosexuality. Homosexuals, being a fairly small minority, are accustomed to living with this intolerance.
In my view, this ought to make them more tolerant of human differences, such as bisexuality, not less. Pretending a thing does not exist -- or angrily insisting it is "dishonest" -- is anything but tolerant.
On the other hand, is there anything wrong with intolerance in the blogosphere? Certainly I would be the last person to condemn it outright, or argue for anything resembling restrictions. Hell, I even link to people I consider downright bigoted, and like Glenn Reynolds, I don't believe in delinking -- no matter what a link might say. More speech beats no speech. Civility and tolerance are not rules, and even bigoted extremists help define freedom.
Intolerance is one thing gay gun nuts understand. I can think of no better way to experience it.
And, much as I hate it, it's probably good for the soul.
Did I just conclude that intolerance is good? What's wrong with me? Am I becoming a moonbat?
UPDATE: What's the use? As Frank J. just made abundantly clear, it's kill or be killed time in the blogosphere!
Kill 'em all! Let Blog sort 'em out!
posted by Eric on 11.20.03 at 04:26 PM
Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Carrying tolerance too far....:
» AFTERNOON ROUND UP from Anger Management
My brain hurts and I can't write...but that doesn't mean I can't link! Lileks is always amazing, but reading his response to a letter from Salam Pax had me in awe (it's the last item on the Bleat). Frank J.... [Read More] Tracked on November 21, 2003 2:28 PM
Search the Site
Classics To Go
See more archives here
Old (Blogspot) archives
Why you might get more of what you try to stop
A knee sock jihad might be premature at this time
People Are Not Rational
No Biorobots For Japan
The Thorium Solution
Radiation Detector From A Digital Camera
This war of attrition is driving me bananas!
Attacking Christianity is one thing, but must they butcher geometry?
Are there trashy distinctions in freedom of expression?