“Be careful when you fight the monsters, lest you become one.” – Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra
I don’t attempt to propose anything particularly new or path-breaking in this post (more of a note than a post, actually). I simply seek to point out that bigotry comes in all shapes and sizes and that using bigotry and hatred to fight bigotry and hatred makes one a . . . bigot and a hater.
Again, there is nothing groundbreaking here. But as I continue to read posts in the blogosphere, particularly some well-known blogs by well-known bloggers as well as commentaries and news articles in relatively well-respected media outlets, I continue to find myself asking myself this question: “Self [okay, I really don’t begin this inner dialogue with the word “self”], what separates the bigots who use bigotry and hated to demand that homosexuals not be allowed to wed or otherwise seek civil marriage-like unions and those who use bigotry and hatred to argue against those who demand that homosexuals not be allowed to wed or otherwise seek civil marriage-like unions? Isn’t a bigot a bigot? To call someone a bigot and then use bigotry to argue against that person—calling him or her a this or a that, raking his or her religion over the coals, shouting him or her down because his or her belief system is different from one’s own, and similar activities—is no better than the original bigoted act. Aren’t they both—aren’t they all—bigots, pots calling kettles black or what have you?”
Let me say the following before any reader jumps to any conclusions about my own particular position on homosexual civil unions and other marriage or marriage-like ceremonies: I fully support the idea that two people who love each other, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender preferences, ought be allowed to be joined and recognized by the state as any other two heterosexual people who love each other and choose to be united, at least in a free and liberal society. Public law ought recognize such unions. Private institutions, because they are privately owned, ought be allowed to choose whether they recognize such unions or not because the state ought not decide for private institutions those private institutions’ preferences. However, it makes perfectly rational sense for private institutions to recognize such public laws since doing so only increases those public institutions’ standing with the public. It also makes no economic sense for a private institution to decline to serve two people because they are homosexuals united as two married heterosexual would be. Of course, private institutions are certainly able to act irrationally, but it harms only them, as those homosexuals could just go to the next, for example, insurance company that would serve them to take out a policy.
I am also not basing any of this on religious dogma. Although born and raised a Catholic, I have been for the better part of the last twelve years most closely defined as an agnostic, even at one point considering myself an atheist before coming to the conclusion that believing God or gods did not exist was virtually the same, at least theoretically, as believing that He or they do exist, since there is no conclusive evidence either way. Let that end the “Nate has a religious axe to grind” (potential) thread there.
I also have no personal battle here besides having friends and acquaintances in the States, in Europe, and in Taiwan who are homosexuals. And most of those friends and acquaintances, if I know them well, would not hate me for writing here what I am writing. So the (potential) “Nate says these things because he himself is homosexual” thread also ends here, as though that would matter one bit anyway.
Folks should remember that considering oneself tolerant—oh, how I loathe that word here; I much prefer the word “accepting”—does not mean that others one disagrees with are necessarily intolerant. Their arguments may come from completely different perspectives as one’s own. One may disagree with those people rather strongly, but our strong disagreement also should demonstrate to us the potential limits of one’s own tolerance and acceptance. To use words that belittle or slander individuals or groups that hold different viewpoints from one’s own, regardless of what that viewpoint or message is, is no better than being a member of that group. And, moreover, remember that, when one belittles such groups as foreign infiltrations (I am speaking of certain folks who make this claim here in Taiwan), one should also remember that one’s own ability to speak one’s mind without fear of reprisal in a free and liberal society is also the result of what amounts to a foreign infiltration of traditional society, which may or may not have been more or less “tolerant” or “accepting” of such things as homosexuality and/or homosexual unions before “foreign infiltration.”