Further Annals of Progressivism

Tammy Bruce, who is lesbian and conservative, writes:

A funny thing happened on the way to the Donald Trump inauguration — liberals suddenly became champions of people being allowed to decline participating in something if it violated their conscience.

She was remarking about the response on the left to the story, albeit “fake news,” it turns out, that the Radio City Rockettes were requiring dancers to perform against their will at the Trump inauguration (in actuality, participating in the inauguration is voluntary). Writes Bruce:

During the brief hubbub, actors and other performers understandably came out in support of the dancers’ right to refuse to perform if an event violated their conscience. I also believe there should be an escape clause in cases such as this allowing a performer flexibility. After all, who wants anyone to be forced to do something against their conscience?

Yet it’s fair to say the same liberals who support the Rockettes’ right to not perform are the same people who have no problem with Christian businesses being attacked for declining to participate in something that violates their conscience and faith. In their cases, the refusal to cater or bake a cake for a gay wedding. …

It’s the same double standard we saw recently when, as the Portland (Maine) Press Herald reported:

On the coldest day of the season, a Skowhegan-area propane dealer has a pointed message for would-be customers. “If you voted for Donald Trump for President, I will no longer be delivering your gas, please find someone else,” is the message left for customers that call Turner LP Gas Service, on Canaan Road in Skowhegan.

But if this were a bakery that refused to sell a wedding cake to a gay couple….

It might be said that if not for their double standards, progressives would have no standards at all.

Added: More mendacity:

Writing in Bustle, Cate Carrejo said the government should force Christians to participate in same-sex wedding ceremonies but the Rockettes should not be obligated to perform at the inauguration “because one is discriminatory and the other isn’t.”

And a response:

Pointing to the case of Sweet Cakes by Melissa, an Oregon bakery that was fined $135,000 and forced to close for refusing to make a wedding cake for a lesbian couple, Mr. Gainor said Christian bakers are happy to serve gay people.

“And that’s different — it’s a creative labor,” Mr. Gainor said. “If you wanted something that was in the shop, help yourself, happy to provide it. But if you want me to be involved in your wedding, I can’t do that. It’s a very clear line.”

It’s unfortunate we have to rely on social conservatives to point out the obvious.

Added: Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby: Freedom of association isn’t just for the Rockettes. Right, it isn’t.

More. I’ll segue into another story. Students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW-Madison) are petitioning the school to ban a campus conservative group, Young Americans for Freedom, which has numerous chapters on U.S. college campuses:

The petition further faults YAF for creating a “hostile environment” by “misgender[ing] LGBTQIA+ students” making members of the student government feel “unsafe.”

”We, the undersigned are asking that UW-Madison administration take a hard look at the charter of Young Americans for Freedom … and ideally put the involved students through intensive diversity training and have the charter revoked so Y.A.F. is no longer a campus organization that can create a hostile environment on campus,” the petition reads.

YAF’s thought crime was to invite conservative political commentator, columnist and radio host Ben Shapiro to speak on campus. Shapiro, as it happens, is a never-Trumper, which, as Wikipedia recounts, has brought him under fire from the alt right swamplands. Which you might think would cut him some slack with progressives—if you didn’t actually know any progressives.

Furthermore. Out magazine is still complaining that “It’s telling that when Donald Trump awkwardly waved a rainbow flag during a Colorado rally in October, the banner was upside down.” Which, apparently, was a sign that “Trump’s White House will effectively act as the nation’s largest anti-LGBT hate group.” Oh.

It’s reminiscent of the dismissal of Trump’s July acceptance speech at the GOP convention, when he said: “Only weeks ago, in Orlando, Florida, 49 wonderful Americans were savagely murdered by an Islamic terrorist. This time, the terrorist targeted our LGBTQ community. No good. And we’re going to stop it. As your President, I will do everything in my power to protect our LGBTQ citizens from the violence and oppression of a hateful foreign ideology.” [applause] “I must say as a Republican it is so nice to hear you cheering. Thank you.” (Progressive response: pandering.)

At the October rally, Trump was handed the flag by gay supporters and held it out for the audience, leading Zack Ford, the LGBT editor for ThinkProgress.org, to tweet:

Putting a slogan [“LGBTs for Trump”] on a flag is considered desecration. Also, the flag was upside down (red goes on top). What am I supposed to respect here?

Mind you, it’s not that the words were upside down, it’s that the rainbow flag should have the red stripe on top. Which means it’s not Trump’s fault, but that some incompetent gay person supporting Trump didn’t know which way the flag goes or that writing on the sacred object was an act of “desecration” and probably a hate crime. Sad!

Some, of a more rational bent, might think that Trump’s holding up the rainbow flag was, in itself, what was significant, and in a good way. Such people, however, would not be progressives.

As I noted, the conservative Washington Times ran a supportive op-ed titled “ Donald Trump holds high the flag for gay equality,” which indicated that conservatives were more comfortable with a gay-inclusive GOP than the LGBT establishment is.

25 Comments for “Further Annals of Progressivism”

  1. posted by Jorge on

    “misgender[ing] LGBTQIA+ students”

    I’m in a *good* mood today.

    “Shapiro has used his following and nationally syndicated media presence to deny the realities of systematic and institutional violences against Black and Brown people, sexual assault survivors, Muslims, LGBTQIA+ people, people with low income, people with differing abilities, undocumented immigrants, and anyone that is systematically targeted along identity lines,”

    But not women.

    *BAM!* Critical hit! Terminated.

    Which is better: to be an advocate for one unjustly treated group, and one group alone, or to stand apart from all questions and controversies about right and wrong, good or bad?

    • posted by TJ on

      1. Pretending that liberal or conservative or libertarian college kids are (generally) somehow pillars of mature and reasoned debate, is dishonest.

      2. To treat fake news as being real news is dishonest.

      3. Again. Progressives that understand Constitutional law, know that you cant write a law that only exempts people that oppose gay marriage.

      Conservatives who support the current crop of faith based exemptions are the ones being inconsistent.

      They think its ok to have an exemption for Trump supporters who oppose gay marriage but write the law so that it wont apply to anyone else..

      Beyond the fact that the exemptions being talked about are for public accommodation laws and deal with small or self employed businesses.

    • posted by TJ on

      political student groups (on both sides) sometimes like to play tit for tat, and trying to get one club or the other kicked off is something liberal and conservative kids have probably tried to do.

      Unfortunately, if you look at talk radio, cable news talking heads and the like, its not hard to see why kids dont know what real debate looks like.

  2. posted by Tom Scharbach on

    Students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW-Madison) …

    Students are, by definition, immature and will act accordingly. But “political correctness” is a two-headed coin in Wisconsin, and has been for a long time. Free speech and academic inquiry is much to be commended, I guess, unless it is your ox getting gored. A pox on both their houses.

    With respect to the President-Elect, ss others have pointed out, Trump talks all over the place on almost every issue. MDBuck put it well: “[W]e really don’t know where Trump will fall in terms of many issues, including gay rights. As with most issues, Trump has talked out of both sides of his mouth.” [MDBuck, comment to “The Price of Liberal Smugness”, IGF, November 10, Comment-287781]

    Trump holds himself out as a supporter of gays and lesbians, but aligned himself with the 2016 Republican Platform. On same-sex marriage Trump made three statements, in one form and another, throughout the campaign: (a) I do not support same-sex marriage, but I’m fine with it if that’s what they want to do; (b) Obergefell is the law of the land, and trying to beat it back is an exercise in futility; and (c) Obergefell is wrongly decided, and I will appoint judges and Justices who will overturn the decision. On the “bathroom bills” Trump first said that the bills were wrong, but then said that the states should do what they want to do. On the question of whether or not government officials should discriminate against gays and lesbians, Trump said no, then yes, and support the First Amendment Defense Act which sanctions discrimination against gays and lesbians by government officials. And so on.

    It just goes on and on, he’s all over the map, you can’t believe a word he says, so it is crazy-making to follow the ups and downs as if they meant anything.

    I agree that Trump has never shown any personal animosity toward gays and lesbians. I agree that Trump is the most gay-friendly Republican candidate in history and he called us “wonderful” at the convention. But I am mindful that George Bush harbored no personal animosity toward gays and lesbians either, and it was said that he was gay-friendly, but he unleashed a torrent of destructive anti-marriage amendments in order to get himself elected to another term. Bush, working alongside his chief political advisor Karl Rove and his gay RNC director, tossed us right into the ditch. I think that Trump will throw us right in the ditch, too, if and when it is to his advantage to do so.

    So I don’t care what Trump thinks about gays and lesbians, and I don’t pay much attention to what Trump says.

    I’ll be looking instead at what Trump does. That’s what counts, not what he thinks or says.

    I’ll be looking to see what Trump does with existing Executive Orders, and what his Cabinet members do with existing departmental policies/regulations, affecting employment, medical and other non-discrimination protections for gays and lesbians. I’ll be looking to see what new Executive Orders and what new departmental policies/regulations that affect gays and lesbians the administration puts in place during 2017. I’ll be looking to see if Trump quietly puts the kabash on the First Amendment Defense Act, which stands high on my list of the most offensive legislation put forward in recent years. I’ll be looking to see how the Attorney General interprets the application of laws and regulations to gays and lesbians and the Solicitor General’s positions in active lawsuits affecting gays and lesbians.

    Words are cheap. Symbols are important, or not. Actions count.

    I’ll watch what Trump does. I will be looking at actions, not words or symbols.

  3. posted by Houndentenor on

    While in college I was forced to participate in a political rally. A choir I was in was singing at a rally against something or other (a ballot initiative to bring back casino gambling to the state?). I had no strong opinion on the issue and hadn’t even thought about it that much but there I was on the stage performing on one side of the issue. The alternative was an F in a required class for my major. So I have sympathy for the Rockettes. They should be allowed to opt out without reprisal. But that’s not really an option since most of them are seasonal employees that can just not be rehired for the next season. The producers don’t need to give a reason for not rehiring them. They decline only if they want to risk not working there again.

    And no, that’s not the same thing as selling the same type of wedding cake to a straight couple as a gay one. Not even close to the same. But one can hardly expect Stephen to take the gay side of any issue. He’s too busy bashing liberals. And not one word about the anti-gay cabinet appointments. But why would he. He’s got the anti-gay right wing cabinet of his dreams. Gays be damned.

  4. posted by JohnInCA on

    In order to portray the Rockettes v as comparable to public accommodation cases, you have to, either maliciously or ignorantly, ignore that the Rockettes are *not* a public accommodation and that the moral/ethical/arguments are not transferable.

    Or to put it shortly: strawman.

  5. posted by Jorge on

    And no, that’s not the same thing as selling the same type of wedding cake to a straight couple as a gay one. Not even close to the same.

    Just because there are differences does not mean there are not similarities. Freedom of speech is in the same amendment to the US Constitution as freedom of religion.

    We expanded the principles of the Fourteenth Amendment to check private organizations with the Civil Rights Act, then on the other side we are expanding the principles of freedom of religion to benefit private organizations with RFRAs. I think it’s worth pointing out that the principles of freedom of speech are important. If saber-rattling can’t protect the balance, we may need new legislation.

    • posted by Houndentenor on

      This is as good a time as any to point out that in the majority of states, including mine, there is no law preventing a baker from selling a cake to a gay person, getting married, birthday, or any other type of cake. All perfectly legal. So all this squawking from the right while what they are complaining about is only illegal in a few blue states and cities is disingenuous to say the least.

      As for the conservative club, any petition to remove them should be dismissed without discussion. It’s an absurd request and should be treated as such. Let us know when such a request is honored. Any idiot can make a stupid suggestion. They only matter when they become policy.

      • posted by Jorge on

        I think you just argued that Jim Crow isn’t a problem because it only occurs in a few states.

    • posted by TJ on

      Jorge

      The Bill of Rights doesn

  6. posted by Throbert McGee on

    As for the conservative club, any petition to remove them should be dismissed without discussion. It’s an absurd request and should be treated as such. Let us know when such a request is honored.

    I agree that the request is absurd, Houndentenor, but you may wish to Google on Rosenberger v. UVa. I was there when it happened, and the complaint against Wide Awake magazine was similar to the one against the YAF group as described above.

    • posted by Tom Scharbach on

      Rosenberger turned on the question of whether public universities/schools could fund religious organizations without violating (as Justice O’Connor put it) “the principle of government neutrality and the prohibition on state funding of religious activities”.

      YAF is not a religious organization, or at least it wasn’t when I was in college 40-45 years ago and a member, and the Establishment question is not involved.

  7. posted by Tom Scharbach on

    Perspective, people, perspective.

    A few facts gleaned from the Badger Herald, the newspaper of record for the 45,000-student campus:

    (1) The petition complains of alleged actions in violation of UW-Madison’s code of conduct, not ideological position:

    Entitled “Denounce Young Americans for Freedom and the alt-right,” the petition said it is not protesting the group’s ideology, rather, the alleged “hostile and violent acts perpetuated by YAF.”

    According to the petition, SCP claims members of YAF:

    * Intentionally outed and misgendered a transgender student.
    * Individually harassed and attempted to out a bisexual student.
    * Threatened the safety of members of student government.
    * Allowed a conservative media outlet to publish the private contact information of campus activists who protested their event.
    * Harassed and violated the privacy of a student activist of color.

    After getting wind of the petition, YAF Chair Kara Bell said she and other members of YAF’s executive board came together to try to figure out what SCP was talking about.

    The final verdict: The information in the petition is defamation, Bell said.

    “Honestly, we can’t relate to anything that is being said in the petition,” Bell said. “[The petition] doesn’t reflect us at all.”

    (2) The petition seems marginally related, at best, to Ben Shapiro’s appearance, unless the acts complained of occurred during the appearance, and seems to have nothing at all to do with the content of his speech.

    (3) At this point, the petition appears to be going nowhere fast:

    While the petition has gained more than 200 supporters since debuting Dec. 15, other conservative groups on campus have voiced their support for YAF. … The petition requires 500 signatures before it may be delivered to the UW administration, Dean of Students Lori Berquam and Chancellor Rebecca Blank. The petition is still nearly 300 signatures away.

    (4) Not having received the petition, UW-Madison has taken no action at all. And although the petition appears to be going nowhere, it is certainly possible that the petition’s backers will succeed in getting signatures from 500 students. If they are successful, the petition can be presented to the administration. If the administration does receive the petition, current procedures require a fact-based investigation and determination based on fact. The administration cannot dismiss the petition, if presented, without discussion.

    (5) The issues involved do not have anything to do with either the Free Exercise or Establishment clauses, and comparisons to Rosenberger and similar cases from the 1990’s defining the boundaries of public university/school funding of religious organizations are inept at best, intentionally misleading at worst.

    I suppose that the petition may turn into the next outrage yapped about endlessly by the right, but I think that this is a more-or-less typical Twitter-Sturm, floating on the social media ether of its own accord, and not worth ink.

    Students are, by definition, not yet mature, and a number of them will exhibit that immaturity at any given time. Not to worry, adults are in the room.

  8. posted by Jorge on

    (1) The petition complains of alleged actions in violation of UW-Madison’s code of conduct, not ideological position:

    “misgender[ing] LGBTQIA+ students”

    I cannot take your claim seriously.

    Students are, by definition, not yet mature, and a number of them will exhibit that immaturity at any given time. Not to worry, adults are in the room.

    It can be lots of fun to be an adult.

    I will investigate whether any acts of misgendering lesbian, gay, transgender, bisexual, questioning, intersex, asexual, and other students occurred by officers of the Young Americans for Freedom, within meetings held by officers of YAF, or in any other official action by the organization. I will also investigate whether any such individuals were outed by any organization officers or during any meeting held by organization officers. Mandatory is an investigation into whether the YAF, by neglect or design, created an environment hostile to the university’s authority over student conduct.

    The most fun part about running investigations that require bizarre parameters is watching your subordinates’ react to them.

  9. posted by Tom Scharbach on

    I cannot take your claim seriously.

    That’s because you can’t, won’t or don’t read. According to the Badger Herald account I quoted, the petition’s allegation is that YAF “[i]ntentionally outed and misgendered a transgender student”, not “misgender[ing] LGBTQIA+ students” , as your inaccurate “quote” would suggest. The former, if accurate, is specific, targeted harm to a specific, targeted student. The latter is, well, what?

  10. posted by Tom Scharbach on

    On a side note, I see that Milo Yappyapoulous has his tit in a wringer with his Alt-Right pals.

  11. posted by Throbert McGee on

    The issues involved do not have anything to do with either the Free Exercise or Establishment clauses, and comparisons to Rosenberger and similar cases from the 1990’s defining the boundaries of public university/school funding of religious organizations are inept at best, intentionally misleading at worst.

    I agree, and I should have written more clearly that I meant to compare the current whiners at UW-Madison with the UVa student politicos who originally made the complaint against the magazine Wide Awake, and not with the Rosenberger SCOTUS decision that eventually came out of that controversy.

  12. posted by TJ on

    Jorge;

    Jim Crow laws mandated racial segregation. They were part of the “black codes”.

    Here its a question of whether or not public accommodation laws should have an exemption based on religious or sectarian beliefs.

    Conservatives want an exemption that only applies to some conservative religious objections.

    Liberals, who understand the Constutution, what a consistent exemption as part of a civil rights bill.

    • posted by Jorge on

      Are you saying that you think it’s disingenuous to squawk about the an exemption but not about a mandate when they have the exact same prevalence?

  13. posted by Jorge on

    That’s because you can’t, won’t or don’t read. According to the Badger Herald account I quoted, the petition’s allegation is that YAF “[i]ntentionally outed and misgendered a transgender student”, not “misgender[ing] LGBTQIA+ students” , as your inaccurate “quote” would suggest. The former, if accurate, is specific, targeted harm to a specific, targeted student. The latter is, well, what?

    Actually, no.

    The former, according to your previous post, is also a violation of a campus rule.

    Whether or not there is an actual harm is of course objective. Whether or not the rule is written in such a way that it accurately defines the harm is open to argument (somehow I doubt the code of conduct contemplates investigating whether or not the victim was out in the first place).

    But whether the harm should be codified in a rule prohibiting it in the first place is, at the very least, a political question that must be answered by making a choice about which benefits to select and which costs to incur. In this case, based on the grievances you cited

    * Intentionally outed and misgendered a transgender student.
    * Individually harassed and attempted to out a bisexual student.

    * Allowed a conservative media outlet to publish the private contact information of campus activists who protested their event.

    the petitioners have made in a decision to prioritize a certain maximum level of emotional security over the rights of other individuals to speak, even to speak the truth! Even to engage in counter-activism and lobbying. This is more than you make it out to be. As a reminder I am a firm believer in legislating morality.

    That is why I have chosen to focus on one phrase and cast scorn upon it. I absolutely intend to promote sinking this petition as a deterrent to the promotion of that god-awful infinitely expanding unity and diversity language.

    On a side note, I see that Milo Yappyapoulous has his tit in a wringer with his Alt-Right pals.

    Ah, yes, what happened again? He’s being name-dropped as a house servant (I’m a little sorry for using that phrase) to make the alt-right look respectable and non-white nationalist. I bet this has angered the actual white nationalists even more.

    …Yeah, same author as the one I was thinking of. He didn’t like Mr. Y’s “An Establishment Conservative’s Guide to the Alt-Right” article. That’s all from me.

    • posted by Tom Scharbach on

      [T]he petitioners have made in a decision to prioritize a certain maximum level of emotional security over the rights of other individuals to speak, even to speak the truth!

      Jorge, I somehow doubt that you would be so cavalier if you were doxxed, or if you discovered that personal matters you considered private were made public, or …

      My guess is that you would be outraged.

      And you would have every right to be. The allegations, if accurate, likely describe actions that constitute torts, entitling the parties harmed to sue the individual YAF members involved, seeking appropriate damages, just as you could sue anyone who harmed you in a similar manner.

      As a reminder I am a firm believer in legislating morality.

      You are a strong and persistent defender of government-imposed “morality”, but you have little or no regard for common decency.

      • posted by Jorge on

        You are a strong and persistent defender of government-imposed “morality”, but you have little or no regard for common decency.

        I believe in a government by the people, for the people. You are misrepresenting me because I got under your skin.

      • posted by Jorge on

        Jorge, I somehow doubt that you would be so cavalier if you were doxxed

        You’re right.

        I would never be so cavalier that I would refer to myself, or allow myself to be referred to, as a “LGBTQIA+ student”.

      • posted by Tom Scharbach on

        Again, referring to the list you quoted:

        * Intentionally outed and misgendered a transgender student.
        * Individually harassed and attempted to out a bisexual student.

        * Allowed a conservative media outlet to publish the private contact information of campus activists who protested their event.

        All are specific, targeted acts against specific, targeted people.

        You okay with that?

      • posted by Tom Scharbach on

        Tom: You are a strong and persistent defender of government-imposed “morality”, but you have little or no regard for common decency.

        Jorge: I believe in a government by the people, for the people.

        Uh huh, so do most people. But that wasn’t what I was referring to — it was “As a reminder I am a firm believer in legislating morality.

        If legislated morality is not government-imposed morality, what is it?

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