Thursday, March 21, 2013

A Mask of Civility

I've run into this a number of times over the last few days, and it's worth noting:

Simply because you believe something does not mean it isn't harmful.

A very good example of this is the argument over marriage equality. While the segment of the population opposed to it is clearly loosing the fight, there are still those Christians (and Muslims, and Jews, and whatever) out there who think that, as long as you're not being Fred Phelps, you're okay. Or that you can still be intolerant but at the same time be a loving human being.

No. No.

Intolerant =/= Tolerance. You cannot be a loving human begin if you're a jackass who condemns people for expressing love towards individuals of the same sex.

"But... it's intolerant not to be tolerant of my intolerance!"


"Oh yeah, you're tolerant, but not towards Christians who stand up for what they believe in. God doesn't hate you, he just [insert theological theistic teleological rhetorical garbage here]."

You're just intolerant of my intolerance, so you're not tolerant at all. That's how it always goes, isn't it? I'm not as bad as them, clearly, because I believe that God loves you but doesn't support your "lifestyle" choice - but I'm not as bad as Fred Phelps. I'm better than that.

Let me spell this out. I'd rather deal with Fred Phelps than you. Why?

For the same reason I'd rather deal with an honest, uncivil brute than deal with a dishonest, civility-obsessed caitiff. You have a gilded tongue, my f(r)iend, and it forks rather clearly down the middle. You are not better because you're not vocally an asshole. You still vote for vocal assholes, you still support polices drafted by vocal assholes, and you still believe shit told to you by vocal assholes. Everything you do is designed by vocal assholes; every waking moment of your life is controlled by these people. You do what they tell you to, you believe what they say, and you claim that you're better than them.

You're not better. You're subservient to them. You're worse. The vocal assholes made up their minds, and they're not cowards about what they believe. You are. You hide behind civility, you whine when people call you out for what you are. You're both just as wrong, but because you're a coward about what you believe, you're doing more harm than the vocal asshole who dictates your every waking thought. If these vocal assholes are the ubermensch, you are the last man.

If you believe something, stand up and accept it. Make it yours, actually believe it. Own it. Don't sit there and ho-hum about it. Your belief is the same thing as Fred Phelp's belief. Own it, goddamn it. Be a responsible adult and own it.

And ultimately, it's the same thing. How are you any different?

Because you hide it behind the mask of "civility." That doesn't make you better. That makes you an intellectual coward.

I'm not tolerant of you. I will never be tolerant of you. Not only because I'm intolerant of things that hurt marginalized people or hold populations of people down, but because I'm also intolerant of cowards. And when you step up and own your hateful belief, we'll be able to deal on even terms.

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