(PHOTO: REUTERS/JOSHUA ROBERTS)
… Obey or You Will Be Punished
Liberals are now totally fed up with deliberative democracy. The message is clear: “Obey, or you will be punished.”
On Friday, President Barack Obama directed all public schools in the country to base their bathroom and locker room usage rules on gender identity rather than sex. On an issue as sensitive as where we shower, change clothes and go potty, Obama decided there was no need for a public debate on the issue. No input from school boards, teachers, principles, superintendents, state legislatures, Congress or parents was required. Obama ruled for the nation.
This was not a one-off episode. For years now, Obama and his liberal cohorts have indicated they have no patience for deliberative democracy, in which issues are debated and compromises reached. Rather, they prefer to use court and executive actions to force their agenda on the rest of the nation.
The new directive affects all public school families. But first, they went after the conservative Christians.
After passage of the Affordable Care Act, or “Obamacare,” the Obama administration tried (and continues to try) to force all employers to pay for contraceptives and abortifacients, even if those employers had religious objections. This was not a part of the law passed by Congress, it was added as part of the implementation rules. Obama lost in the Supreme Court on the question of whether he could force obedience from privately held corporations with religious objections (barely, the vote was 5-4).
The court has yet to decide whether he can force obedience from a group of nuns who care for the elderly. Obama thought it was important enough to obligate nuns to participate in contraceptive coverage that he has taken that case all the way to the Supreme Court.
Other liberals have also indicated their desire to use government power to punish people who hold different beliefs than them.
In an April 2015, New York Times op-ed, columnist Frank Bruni argued that Christians “must be made” to change their views on homosexuality.
In that same month, Hillary Clinton told a Manhattan audience, “deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed” about abortion.
And last week, a Harvard Law professor argued that opponents of same-sex marriage should be treated like Nazis were treated after World War II.
“For liberals, the question now is how to deal with the losers in the culture wars. That’s mostly a question of tactics. My own judgment is that taking a hard line (‘You lost, live with it’) is better than trying to accommodate the losers, who — remember — defended, and are defending, positions that liberals regard as having no normative pull at all,” he wrote.
In December 2014, I wrote, “33 Examples of Intolerant Liberalism in 2014.” At the time, some of my liberal friends thought I was making too much of those anecdotes. There was no pattern, some believed, just a collection of random weird incidents.
Intolerant liberalism, if not addressed, will lead to the use of government power to punish conservatives and other dissenters.
Many social conservatives had warned that Obama’s actions on public school bathrooms would happen if gay marriage were legalized.
The pattern continues:
Conservative: A could lead to B.
Liberal: Don’t be ridiculous. That’s just a slippery-slope argument. B would never happen.
Conservative: See, I told you A could lead to B.
Liberal: You’re a [bigot and/or idiot] if you don’t go along with B.
Some liberals have denounced their intolerant brethren.
In a May 7 op-ed, New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof wrote, “A Confession of Liberal Intolerance,” in which he described his discovery of “liberal arrogance — the implication that conservatives don’t have anything significant to add to the discussion.”
In an April 21 article, Emmett Rensin, deputy first person editor for Vox, wrote about “The smug style in American liberalism,” which he defined as, “a condescending, defensive sneer toward any person or movement outside of its consensus, dressed up as a monopoly on reason.”
The smug style, Rensin explained, now embodies “an enormous section of American liberalism.”
The consequence, Rensin concluded, is that liberals believe their superiority entitles them to force their beliefs on others.
“The smug style, at bottom, is a failure of empathy,” he wrote. “Further: It is a failure to believe that empathy has any value at all. It is the notion that anybody worthy of liberal time and attention and respect must capitulate, immediately, to the Good Facts [liberal orthodoxy].
“If they don’t (and they won’t, no matter how much of your Facts you make them consume), you’re free to write them off and mock them. When they suffer, it’s their just desserts.”
And so it is with Obama’s bathroom directive.
His superior knowledge of the “facts” entitle him to force dissenters to capitulate. Those who resist will be punished (with lawsuits and the withdrawal of federal funds). It’s their just desserts.