One of the things Nazis understood is that, if you get them young enough, you own them. Some of them break away, of course, but they have to want to break away. (And yes, that’s exactly like the joke: How many psychiatrists does it take to change a light bulb? One, but the light bulb really has to want to change.)
I thought of that when I found myself in a Facebook debate about whether bakers should be free to refuse customers who seek same-sex wedding cakes. I’ve already told you a little bit about this discussion:
I love it when the younger generation shows wisdom. A young 20-something friend of mine just posted on Facebook something about the rash of traditionally religious bakers who are being persecuted for refusing to make cakes for same-sex weddings. I won’t repeat what my friend said verbatim, but here’s the gist:
I don’t come down strongly on either side of this. I hate discrimination but the bakers own the business and say they reserve the right to serve any customers. The customers may have civil rights that should be protected, but a privately owned business should be able to operate as it wants and not be subject to huge fines. This is just another case of the so-called “business expert” government messing with America’s small businesses. If same-sex couples are offended by the business owner’s views, they don’t have to shop there and can tell their friends not to either. What they shouldn’t do is try to destroy the business.
Aside from cheering my young friend’s understanding of freedom (it probably helps that he’s a Marine), I also suggested that, because the freedom to practice our faith without government oversight shows up at the top of the Bill of Rights, in the First Amendment, if the religious person is asserting anything other than an Aztec human sacrifice, the default position in a battle of rights needs to favor the religious person.
I felt really good after reading that young man’s comments:
Anyway, I’m feeling heartened that there’s a young person out there who is working hard to cast off the stifling Leftism that is part and parcel of a Marin childhood. Even better, while I may be the old lady on his Facebook feed, the vast bulk of his friends are young. Maybe he’ll get some of them to think too.
It seems that I was a little too optimistic. One of his young friends did chime in, but not to support individual liberty. Instead, he went into full Progressive mode, throwing around words such as privilege (everyone but him and his fellow travelers) and victimization (only him and his fellow travelers). When I kept countering his ideas, eventually forcing him into a corner, his true agenda emerged: full fascist mode.
Here’s an amended version of the discussion. As always, I’ve changed the language to protect Facebook privacy, but I’ve made sure to keep the substantive content identical. The only original language is in the bolded sentence, and that one is verbatim.
My civility during the discussion is also accurate. In the event others were monitoring this debate, I wanted to be sure that I had law, fact, and basic decency on my side:
Bookworm The First Amendment also enshrines the right to worship as we please and to let our faith inform our lives, free from government interference. There are limitations, such as human sacrifice, but overall we have to err on the side of religious beliefs, even if they are disrespectful of or humiliating to other people. After all, no one said life would be fair.
Pinkshirt Would you let a baker discriminate against blacks or interracial couples? And what if the baker stopped serving straight people. The baker is the discriminatory bad guy here because he’s voluntarily associated himself with an already-privileged religion. It’s even worse to have this church-endorsed homophobia further victimize victims. These church people are creating a false controversy to protect them the consequences of their bigotry and prejudice.
Bookworm In a free society, businesses can be as stupid as they want. By the way, regarding your reference to race, during the Jim Crow era in the south, the racism was government created, controlled, and enforced. Since we don’t have that situation here, the market would punish me if I turned away mixed race couples, or blacks, or developmentally disabled people. That’s how a free market in a free, humane society works.
Pinkshirt Whatever. The government had to correct the bad behavior Southerners showed during the Jim Crow era. Just because people have been homophobes for 2000 years doesn’t mean we should tolerate that bigotry now. We gays are forced to live in a mostly straight, Christian world and we shouldn’t have to give them even more room to be bigoted and prejudiced.
Bookworm Unlike you, I don’t believe government is the only way to fix thought crimes. The marketplace, whether of ideas or money, is the way to effect change. When government gets involved, it’s always heavy-handed and lacks nuance. It just creates more victims. Those people who are concerned about wedding cakes for same-sex couples should start their own great bakeries and, by having the bakery based upon a better, more inclusive idea and customer base, they should be able to drive that competition out of business.
Pinkshirt I distrust government too, but you have to use a blunt tool on blunt people. I’m more interested in stamping out prejudice and bigotry than in protecting some foolish capitalist principle.
Bookworm Your approach is to have government-sanctioned prejudice and bigotry towards Christians. That violates the First Amendment. The least intrusive, most peaceful, and most long-lasting way to make these changes is to sell a better product.
Looking at what he wrote, it’s all there, as if pre-programmed in Victimology 101 at UC Berkeley (or, in his case, a community college): The instant comparison between gay marriage and race; the need for government to intervene; and the certainty that a fascist government is better than any discrimination against the Lefts’ chosen victim classes. This is what a primary through high school education in Marin County (either expensive public or even more expensive private) will buy you: Someone who is every bit as hostile, indoctrinated, and basically fascistic as one of Hitler’s own Nazi Youth.
And no, I didn’t argue as vigorously as I could about the “church privilege” and “victimization” claims, or about any other crap. I’m a guest on the Marine’s Facebook feed and I’m not going to throw down the gauntlet and bury his foolish, malevolent, fascistic friend. I’m still operating on the “catch more flies with honey than with vinegar” principle, especially when dealing with a robotically-programmed useful idiot.
UPDATE: The saga continued, but got so specific that I really can’t quote it here without totally betraying privacy. Suffice to say that my little Pinkshirt went from baking a cake, to calling “right-wing Christians” bigoted monsters, to claiming he can’t be “bigoted” because he’s a victim, to saying he should get everything he wants because, for 2,000 years, these bigoted “right-wing Christians” have been killing his fellow LBGTQs.
This is one of the rare times that I’ve looked at someone and simultaneously thought, “You are a pathetic piece of human detritus and not worth my time” and “Gawd, I just want to beat the stuffing out of you.” I limited myself to reminding him of the Constitution, which he dismissed as an instrument of oppression; and then telling him that he is, in fact, a bigot, and that his whole “I want the state to set me free” shtick is the same shtick sold to the victims of communist oppression all over the world. I ended up with a few more lines of snark, and then apologized to the kid on whose Facebook page this whole discussion took place.
The really important question is whether this sniveling little hysteric, who represents a significant subsection of our modern American youth (and, worse, our affluent American youth), means America has tipped over the tipping point, and will go the way of Europe, eventually to end in the arms of ISIS.