The Commanding Heights

[We’re back after a server issue took us offline for awhile]

This National Review piece is somewhat overstated—LGBT people in rural areas, especially, still face discrimination. But it is true that in blue America and throughout the national mainstream media the orthodox view is pro-LGBT. Taken to an extreme, however, LGBT nondiscrimination rights become dismissive of others’ rights, such as regarding speech, expression and association.

America is about finding a balance among competing rights, but progressives are behaving as newly ascendant inquisitors.

Another example of progressive orthodoxy run amuck and attacking liberal (in the classic sense) values. At least this time, there was some pullback in the face of an obvious and disingenuous overreach.

21 Comments for “The Commanding Heights”

  1. posted by Tom Scharbach on

    Google makes its decisions in response to the market. So does Pepsi. If you want the companies to behave differently, then change the market. If you don’t like what Google does, then don’t patronize Google or use its products. If you don’t like what Pepsi does, then drink Coke or Dr Pepper products. In other words, use the market. For all the good it will do you.

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    • posted by Matthew on

      Private sector censorship is censorship.

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    • posted by Tom Scharbach on

      Private sector censorship is censorship.

      Yup, and that’s why you have to change the market.

      Complain all you want, Matthew, but it is unrealistic to expect a for-profit private company to act in a way that hurts the bottom line, absent government regulation that requires the company to do so. It is as unrealistic to expect Google to hire an anti-equality spokesperson as it is to expect Remington, Colt or Winchester to hire an anti-gun spokesperson or to expect Hobby Lobby to hire a gay activist spokesperson.

      That’s the market at work, like it or not.

      Reply
  2. posted by Jorge on

    Google makes its decisions in response to the market. So does Pepsi. If you want the companies to behave differently, then change the market

    Humph.

    The Davig Hogg-inspired advertiser boycott of Laura Ingraham has shown that sometimes it’s difficult to tell the difference between the “hidden hand” and the iron fist.

    To be more concrete, I agree with those who posit that there is a far-left led grievance industry that has practiced for years in how to manipulate popular culture to silence those of alternate viewpoints.

    “Change the market”, you say? I see no reason to be distracted from my social and cultural goals, such as they are. I care little for what the market is or what it thinks or even what it does, only so long as I am left alone. However I am realistic enough to understand that not everyone thinks the same way. Some people do want to change the market in order to have leverage that, frankly, they do not deserve to have. So I won’t give it to them.

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  3. posted by Tom Scharbach on

    To be more concrete, I agree with those who posit that there is a far-left led grievance industry that has practiced for years in how to manipulate popular culture to silence those of alternate viewpoints.

    Despite having “practiced for years”, the “far-left led grievance industry”, to the extent it exists, hasn’t been very successful at silencing anyone. I guess practice doesn’t necessarily make perfect.

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    • posted by Jorge on

      I don’t agree with you at all.

      I was just reading an article on a controversy around the Simpsons character Apu, in which the show, through its characters opined, that something that was inoffensive and celebrated decades ago is now considered politically incorrect. This has caused even more controversy, so much so that the voice actor has offered to drop the role.

      What is politically incorrect? It means a pressure of conformity to not do or say anything anymore. Millions of people’s behavior is affected, often against their better judgment rather than suffer the consequences of defiance.

      This wouldn’t be so objectionable were it not for the double standards in play. Criticizing a white Democratic president makes one part of a right wing conspiracy, criticizing a black liberal Democratic president makes one a racist, but more shallow criticisms of a white conservative Republican president and a white populist Republican president mean one is exercising their patriotism.

      I don’t think the fact that the last election was decided based on hand size proves your point. In fact I rather resent the fact that so much of the Republican party’s energy has to be spent on defending the cultural home front from attacks on the Constitution.

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  4. posted by Matthew on

    Complaining about anti-Muslim “bigotry” in the face of anti-gay anti-Jewish terrorism in the name of Islam would be like complaining about anti-German “bigotry” in 1940 in the face of similar attitudes towards gays and Jews. It’s not bigotry to hate an oppressor class. It’s bigotry to be one.

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  5. posted by Tom Scharbach on

    … something that was inoffensive and celebrated decades ago is now considered politically incorrect …

    Of course.

    In the last half of the 19th Century and the first half of the 20th, the “happy-go-lucky darky” (think Stepin Fetchit) stereotype was popular entertainment. No longer, at least in the mainstream.

    That’s because the culture changed.

    My grandfather’s marriage to a mulatto was a scandal. In my generation, such a marriage would have been merely frowned upon. In my grandchildren’s generation, interracial marriage will almost certainly be seen as no big deal.

    Times change. Culture moves on. It’s not necessarily a bad thing.

    Want to hear some fag jokes from the 1950’s? They were funny at the time.

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    • posted by Josh on

      Apu on the Simpsons is only “offensive” if you think there are no convenience stores managed by Asian Indians who speak with an accent. Given that Homer, the straight, white middle-class cis-male, is an affectionate dolt and every white character is in some way a stereotype, the protest by progressive rage mob is illiberal in the extreme. To defend these attacks as if they were against Jim Crow is kind of pathetic.

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    • posted by Tom Scharbach on

      To defend these attacks as if they were against Jim Crow is kind of pathetic.

      I was pointing out that culture changes over time. I used two examples, one to illustrate that humor that was once “was inoffensive and celebrated” is no longer seen in that light by the culture at large, and the second to illustrate that what was scandalous a century ago is no longer scandalous, but increasingly accepted by the culture at large.

      I’ve obviously touched a nerve with you by using race as the basis for the illustrations. Tough.

      It fascinates me that conservatives simply can’t handle race without going defensive.

      Take marriage, for example. All anyone has to do to put conservatives off their game on the much-treasured “religious freedom” to discriminate against same-sex marriage is to point out that religion was also commonly used as a basis to defend opposition to interracial marriage.

      And, for some reason, any suggestion that there are similarities between the Civil Rights Movement and our own struggle for equal treatment under the law puts conservatives into a frenzy of denial that there is any similarity at all, even as they staunchly defend the right of government officials to refuse to treat gays and lesbians on the same basis as straights.

      Conservatives are experts at packaging old wine in new wineskins, and go mental when anyone dares to point that out.

      Reply
  6. posted by Tom Scharbach on

    I don’t think the fact that the last election was decided based on hand size proves your point.

    So do you think Trump was elected because he has a small dick, or because he thinks he doesn’t?

    In fact I rather resent the fact that so much of the Republican party’s energy has to be spent on defending the cultural home front from attacks on the Constitution.

    Interesting idea. Republican-enacted legislation has been having a tough time lately in courts because the legislation violates the Constitution.

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    • posted by Jorge on

      So do you think Trump was elected because he has a small dick, or because he thinks he doesn’t?

      Because he thinks he doesn’t.

      Reply
  7. posted by John in Chicago on

    But nothing cited by Stephen Miller to support his claim of politically correct tyranny in behalf of LGBT people, a patently far-fetched claim in light of the simple fact that it remains lawful in a majority of states to discriminate in housing and unemployment based on sexual orientation and gender identity. I’m a gay man and I have a completely opposite complaint about liberals/progressives, namely that prejudice against same-sex orientation is seen as a minor injustice by them in comparison to other expressions of intolerance. A timely instance is the Joy Reid scandal. If the controversial posts are in fact hers, then they betray the sentiments of someone, who thoroughly hates gays, or did, yet MSNBC has not suspended her until the truth of the matter is determined, most liberal websites are turning a blind eye to the scandal and the vast majority of liberals are rallying to her defense. You’d better believe that no alleged racist would ever be treated so indulgently. It’s beyond me how anyone can imagine that there’s a politically correct gay-rights mob on the left. On the contrary, ever advance in gay legal equality and in legal protections based on sexual orientation have been preceded by heterosexual liberals pushing back against us, lest we endanger their actual political priorities.
    As for private businesses, it’s odd how conservatives these days have forgotten that their decisions are, as ever, based on nothing but the economic bottom line.

    Reply
    • posted by John in Chicago on

      PS. Obama was the watershed. It was only after President Obama fully and unequivocally embraced gay rights that liberals in general quit seeing it as a liability. Not too long ago, needless to say.

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    • posted by Jorge on

      ….It’s beyond me how anyone can imagine that there’s a politically correct gay-rights mob on the left.

      There’s something a little off in your conclusion here. Fill in the gaps, and you’re basically saying, “Liberals have a gay-black victim double standard that determines when they go psycho, so I don’t understand how people think liberals have a liberal-conservative offender double standard that determines when they go psycho.”

      I think the psychological defense of projection, where one blame someone else for their own faults, can tie those two double standards together quite neatly.

      PS. Obama was the watershed. It was only after President Obama fully and unequivocally embraced gay rights that liberals in general quit seeing it as a liability. Not too long ago, needless to say.

      I think it was slightly earlier, when he made a public show of quashing his reservations and embracing gay marriage. I’ll admit I wasn’t paying close enough attention to liberals to notice the change when it happened. The only tell of the change I can think of was around and about the Supreme Court decisions, and I was paying a lot more attention to the far left and the right-of-center.

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  8. posted by Tom Scharbach on

    Obama was the watershed. It was only after President Obama fully and unequivocally embraced gay rights that liberals in general quit seeing it as a liability. Not too long ago, needless to say.

    I think that’s right, John.

    I certainly saw that in Wisconsin, having spent the years between 2008 and 2013 leading the DPW’s LGBT Caucus. The support among Democratic politicians in the state outside of Madison and (to some extent Milwaukee) was reluctant and tepid, spoken of as little as possible. If I heard “I’m with you but I can’t be too open about it …” once, I heard it a hundred times.

    In 2012 the Caucus decided it was time to replace the tepid language in prior platforms with “We support marriage equality …” and we spent the better part of a year working with county parties to advance that language through the process.

    A few weeks before the convention, the platform committee tried to get away with beefing up the prior language a bit, but not coming right out and supporting marriage equality, lest that hurt the election chances of upstate politicians. At that point, we put our foot down and forced an amendment floor vote at the convention.

    We won without a floor fight, but, even after a year’s preparation, I’m not sure we would have won if President Obama had not come out for marriage equality in the weeks between the platform draft and the convention. When he spoke, he put the party on record, and there was no going back.

    The Democratic national platform draft talked about the “freedom to marry” in the drafts issued prior to the national convention. Jason Rae, then a DNC member from Wisconsin, pushed and shoved and, working with allies in the White House, got the language in the national platform changed from “freedom to marry” to “marriage equality”. That was the final step, and the party was formally committed to marriage equality.

    Reply
    • posted by Jorge on

      The Democratic national platform draft talked about the “freedom to marry” in the drafts issued prior to the national convention. Jason Rae, then a DNC member from Wisconsin, pushed and shoved and, working with allies in the White House, got the language in the national platform changed from “freedom to marry” to “marriage equality”. That was the final step, and the party was formally committed to marriage equality.

      And that’s why I’m not a Democrat.

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    • posted by Tom Scharbach on

      And that’s why I’m not a Democrat.

      Of course. You’ve made it quite clear over the years that you don’t think that gays and lesbians should be on an equal footing with straights under the law.

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    • posted by John in Chicago on

      Thank you for your invaluable political efforts. I myself couldn’t stomach what you’ve dealt with. I post on the internet instead! The right detests us, because fundamentally same-sex love subverts their infinitely precious patriarchal order and consequently we only have liberals as our allies and they frequently infuriate me and I’m defintely not excluding many gay liberals. For example:
      We gays are regularly erased by liberals with the claim that everyone is actually bisexual by nature.
      Liberals regularly accuse the conservative men, whom they hate, of being homosexual, complete with vulgar descriptions of sex acts.
      Our struggle for human dignity is regularly framed by them in terms of “what people do in bed”.
      Homosexual men, who identify as women, are all the rage with them these days and never mind that these men are responding and conforming to the homophobia and gender rigidity of the lowest socio-economic class.
      Liberals regularly make the fantastic claim that anti-gay bigotry would hardly exist, if not for closeted homosexual men.
      And, of course, any gay person with the temerity to suggest that anti-gay bigotry is widespread among “people of color” will be savagely rebuked. You Racist!
      Overbearing political correctness, where we gays are concerned, only exists in the bigoted imagination of right-wingers.

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      • posted by Tom Scharbach on

        I try to ignore the day-to-day hysteria of popular opinion on all sides of the culture wars as much as I can and focus instead on the legal issues. Popular opinion — who thinks what about us — bounces around like a hyperactive, over-caffeinated flying monkey, with just about that level of reasoned thinking, and I don’t have the time or patience to try to keep up with it.

        “Equal means equal” — the idea that all citizens should have the same rights and responsibilities under the law — is a enduring standard, obtained, however imperfectly, though law. Politics is the means to influencing law, so that’s where I focused.

        Reply

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