Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Being American Means Never Having To Say You're Sorry

What the Hell is wrong with Maggie Gallagher? It's un-American to stop booking people to give seminars when it turns out you strongly dislike their politics? People are required to continue to funnel money into the pockets of bigots?

This is the kind of lunatic "We are the victims!" thinking that makes so much of conservatism so maddening to me. I'd think if would be hard to come up with anything more un-American ("We hold these truths to be self-evident") than to be told there are two consenting adults who are maddeningly, hopelessly, breathlessly in love who want to entwine their futures until the flesh fails, and say "Sure, but only if their genitals don't match".  That's not really the point here, though.  The point is that Gallagher wants us to swallow the idea that people should be discouraged from and lambasted for choosing who they want to hire as a speaker based on the things they've previously said.

Because that's all this is.  If you want to be hired as a public speaker, and also write books explaining how certain subsections of the population should be denied what is not only freely available but culturally encouraged and lauded (you could even say pushed upon people, and you'd have a case), you'll have to deal with the fact that some people won't consider you the best choice to run their seminars.  Whether Gallagher wants to consider this or not, whether a speaker is going to prove a significant problem for members of an audience is a valid consideration when hiring.

But then this has always been the problem.  This is how miserable bigots like Gallagher twist their brains into the pretzel-cum-Moebius strip configuration necessary to believe what they believe.  They have to simultaneously think that preventing gays from tying the knot is so important as to require the writing of books and the forming of pressure groups, and also that it's so irrelevant to society as to have no bearing on who a company might want representing them in public.

Obviously, there are wrinkles here.  Just because I think it's ridiculous to ignore the reaction of homosexuals to a speaker doesn't mean I wouldn't be happy to ignore the reaction of racists.  Moreover, I recognise that if someone called a company un-American because their policy was "No black speakers in case the Klan's in tonight", I'd not even look up from my comic. There are no hard and fast rules here. 

But we already knew that.  We already realised that balancing a speaker's desire to keep being paid despite them advocating the disenfranchising of a minority, and the audience's desire to pay for an event in which they meet no-one who's written a book saying their love could damage the country, is going to be tough, and is going to depend on the individual circumstances.

Such considerations are beyond Gallagher's intellect, however.  Or her patience.  Or her strategy.  It's at least one of those, without a doubt.  But (s)he who lives by the sword, and all that. If we are playing the Bright Line game, I'd like to point out that Gallagher's argument means it is un-American to stop paying a speaker after they write a book about how miscegenation is damaging the country.  Is that something she's prepared to defend?

Maybe she is.  I've never spoken to the woman. So take another example.  Following Gallagher's logic, it would be un-American for her to fire someone after they penned a book entitled "Oppose Gay Marriage?  Then You're A Fucking Shit". 

You'll forgive me if I express doubt that this is a position she could stick to.

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