The Ingrained Intolerance of Liberal Tolerance - Humiliation, not acceptance, is the objective.


Yet another important facet of individual liberty disappeared with Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer’s veto of legislation protecting people’s right not to be forced to violate their religious principles while doing business. The governor has decided: Hang out a shingle and you must leave your deepest beliefs at home. We all are slaves to the political zeitgeist.

The issue in Arizona was not a lack of tolerance by those in business. There is no dearth of firms across Arizona willing to serve gays. Even among those not in the forefront of gay rights, the opportunity to make a little money is a strong incentive in a weak economy. It seems doubtful that gay events go without because of bigots run amok.

Instead, the real question was tolerance for those in business. Why are you expected to abandon your conscience the moment you step into the commercial world? Why is it mandatory to violate your liberty in order to protect the wishes of others?

Indeed, why would a gay couple want, say, a Christian opposed to gay marriage to photograph their wedding or prepare their cake? It hardly seems the best way to ensure a satisfactory job. One suspects that it is an exercise in humiliation, an attempt to force those with unfashionable scruples to affirm what they reject. It is, in short, a calculated effort at intolerance.

Obamacare’s contraception mandate has a similar effect — and almost certainly received such vigorous support on the left for precisely this reason. Everyone, except in the narrowest religious circumstances, must provide/purchase health insurance that covers contraception (as well as sterilization and abortifacients).

Contraception is not even a typical insurable event, since it is not an unexpected and unpredictable costly occurrence, but a normal, voluntary, and inexpensive choice exercised by the policyholder. “Insurance” just spreads the cost to gays, celibates, infertile, elderly, and others who don’t use contraception, raising premiums for everyone. Moreover, the vast majority of plans already offer coverage, if for no other reason than that pregnancy is expensive, so the provision likely pays for itself.

Even in the few instances when no insurance coverage is available, contraception is well within most people’s means. In fact, the unofficial spokeswoman for forcing everyone else to pay for her sex life was a Georgetown University Law School student who managed to pay for an extremely expensive legal education.

But the point was always state-mandated intolerance rather than health care. The objective was to force Catholics, mostly, and the few fundamentalist Protestants who hold similar theological views, to pay for what they oppose. In fact, there is no better way to humiliate those you hate. It is pure and unadulterated intolerance, the ultimate Washington triumph: Make those you despise pay for what they despise.

When government was small the regulatory state was nonexistent and unavailable to routinely turn intolerance into law. People were largely left alone to manage their own lives. Want to photograph a ceremony which you abhor? Up to you. Want to offer health insurance, let alone include contraception in the policy? Up to you.

That’s what a free society is all about.


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