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You Should Read Every Word They Write:
Thursday, March 25, 2004We have a problem. The Derb has written a treatise disagreeing with the always engaging Peggy Noonan. We here at Banterings hold both in very high regard - Peggy a little higher than Derb, in my opinion. We're now forced to make a choice, to take sides. Well, in this argument, I think The Derb is right.
He takes issue with this statement:
It would be good, however, to see the president speak about American open-mindedness and what it means in practice and theory. America is now a country - it was not always - in which people feel free to hold whatever private views on all human groups and behaviors while bowing to the moral necessity to show respect and regard for all groups that are different, in whatever ways. We have gone beyond tolerance in America; we have arrived at affection and sympathy and mutual respect. It has been beautiful to see, and I have seen it in my lifetime. It's worth talking about.And he's right on all counts. I remember reading this a while back and I thought it was a little too syrupy (as Peggy can be sometimes). Derb then proceeds to take it apart.
He first points out the President has not been derelict in emphasizing the character of the American people. True. A minor point. 'Nuff said.
Derb (emphasis his):
It does not follow that we have, or should have, arrived at "respect and regard for all groups that are different, in whatever ways." Why on earth would we do that, or want to do it? We should, of course, approach individual human beings with respect and proper regard, unless or until the particular human being we are dealing with gives us reason to do otherwise. That is elementary good manners.Stick with me now. Here's the money paragraph:
We have not, in fact, gone "beyond tolerance" at all, we have merely invented new kinds of intolerance. We have not swept away caste-feudalism and replaced it with a shining meritocratic egalitarianism; we have just traded in one style of caste-feudalism for another style. This is not a society "in which people feel free to hold whatever private views on all human groups and behaviors." People are ashamed of their private beliefs and fearful to disclose them. They are baffled by the fact that sincere opinions held by their parents and grandparents, rooted in custom, good sense, scripture, and everyday observation, are now shouted down as "bigoted" and "intolerant." What use are private beliefs anyway, if they are excluded from the public square by a suffocating conformity, imposed by an ever-vigilant Thought Police backed by armies of predatory lawyers? Under this relentless pressure, private beliefs fade from all but the bravest hearts, to be replaced with the state-approved formulas: diversity, inclusiveness, equality, compassion, respect.So true. Fear of attack, and worse, has silenced many. And, beyond that, it has pressured them to abandon what they know to be true because it's too difficult to continue to think one thing and say another.
The orthodoxy of "tolerance" that Ms. Noonan is so pleased with seeks to stamp out not only private opinions, but also actual facts.Derb wins by knockout. I wish it weren't so. I wish the utopia Peggy describes existed, but it's all too obvious that Derb's world is the real one and it's not about to change soon.
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