Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Splitting Arizona

Note: This is a follow-on piece to “SB1062.”

Reacting to Arizona’s misguided amendment to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, Pat Buchanan advocates a civil solution to the issue of gay discrimination:

Cannot a free people deal with social misconduct with social sanctions?

That depends on the “misconduct.” Some business owners see misconduct in an openly gay couple on their premises and refuse service concordantly. Some people see misconduct in such a business decision and boycott that business. Neither action is preferable solely because it was made by “free people.” There is an objective standard to apply here, and free people are losing the virtue to apply it.

No one wields more authority than the PC police. “Social sanctions” are their bread and butter. They’ve been used to put people out of work and out of business and to intimidate politicians into voting their way. They are the weapons of cultural revolution in a deeply divided democracy. They do not have healing power. They do not lead to détente. They escalate until the pressure is too great to bear, and most of the time their target folds.

Buchanan continues:

Isn’t this what freedom is all about? The freedom of others to say things we disagree with, to publish ideas we disbelieve in, even to engage in behavior we dislike? As for the Christians of Arizona and same-sex unions in Arizona, if they don’t like each other, can they not just avoid each other? After all, it’s a big state.

A glib point, but unhelpful. Who rules the public square? This has always been the issue. The old Western trope “this town ain’t big enough for the both of us” isn’t a literal statement. Arizona is physically big enough for both factions, but it’s not big enough for both cultures.

Maryland is a big state, too, stretching from the Appalachian Plateau to the Atlantic Ocean, but it has room for only one culture. That’s why some people in western Maryland want to secede, to have their own culture, government, and law. They may as well live under foreign occupation.

Some pretend, because consensus can’t be reached, that the best course of action is to have nothing, because nothing is the only sure way to be fair to all sides. We fool ourselves into thinking our civil laws can be perfectly neutral. They can’t be neutral.

Nature abhors a vacuum. People fill a space with more than just buildings, squares, and roads. They fill it with themselves.

1 comment:

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