Monday, November 23, 2015

Intolerant Ultra-Conservatives are a Danger to Western Culture

Liberal democracy is the foundation of western societies--yes the United States is a republic--but we in the western world are liberal democrats.

Our liberal democracy nourishes a diverse political and social biosphere where you can pretty much say and do whatever the hell you damn well please. Our laws provide pretty wide latitude, and I think libs and cons agree we wouldn't want it any other way.

No Anarchy, No Tyranny

We certainly wouldn't want it to tip over into anarchy, which is the extreme end of liberalism.  There are very few small government types who are fans of anarcho-capitalist libertarianism, and very few liberals I know want a no-holds-barred, anything goes culture.

We don't swing hard to the reactionary side either.  Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum and a whole host of fundamentalist Christians would like to use the power of the federal government to rein in and roll back a lot of what is going on, but they don't get much traction because there just ain't that many people who agree with them, even among God-fearing Christians who take their faith seriously.

Who are the West's Most Vociferous Conservatives?

Muslims by and large are conservative people and they don't enjoy having their sensibilities offended or their religion mocked. Coming from a culture that respects that, and then moving to the wild, wild west is a shock, causing some to nurse hatred and eventually lash out in violence, but those are a significant but small number of cases, so lets leave that aside for now.

Death by a Thousand Cuts

Can't good, honest liberals see that even the most benign, non-violent pushback from ultra-conservative newcomers nibbles away at our liberty?

Speech codes, accommodations that demand others change how they act and speak, requiring others to tamp down their own religiosity and symbols because they offend, making German butchers take down decorative pigs from their storefronts, etc...  And then liberal nations like France push back against this extreme religiosity with illiberal laws like a hijab ban.

As a society, we here in the US and Europe have already hashed all this out over the centuries and we have reached a fairly stable societal consensus evidenced by the paucity of rioting and violence over such things.

Now come the Muslims...

... and we're having to hash through all this again. I am not attacking Muslims. Other religions have extremists, and get enough of them together in one place, they will agitate much the same, but right here, right now, we are dealing with Muslims, and granted, its a small but noisy sliver.

I don't blame them for being offended, and the vast majority who express their displeasure peacefully are not bad people.

Simply put, many are intolerant of our extreme liberties.  Chafed and inflamed by a nonstop stream of blasphemies and moral libertinism, they agitate those around them as they register their displeasure. That combination of extreme conservatism and noisy intolerance can never be at peace with loose western values and morals. Outside a few isolated cases, Christianity has made that uneasy peace (losing millions through defections in the process), but too many Muslims seem incapable of doing so.

Do we really want to threaten our liberal democracy by bringing in people who, because of their upbringing, see our societal achievement as not only a threat to them personally and a gross blasphemous insult to their faith, but as a very real evil that must be reformed or destroyed?

No comments: