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April 02, 2015

Dear Bill Quick: You're Wrong In Every Claim You Make, and You're Enlisting Yourself Out as an Enemy of Freedom

Bill Quick is fightin' angry about thoughts that I don't have.

He quotes me:

The New Intolerance: We Are Now Required To Embrace Just About Everything, Except the Gutter Religion Christianity

Incidentally– Are there any beliefs on the left which have not been sacralized?

That is, do they have any beliefs which are open to question without inviting their typical full-spectrum punishment regime, from group coordinated stigmatization to pursuit in the courts?

Then he asks, rhetorically, because people with few answers like to believe they know all the answers:

So, Ace: You okay with Muslim owned businesses refusing to serve women not “properly” covered -- ie., bagged in a burkha, because Religious Liberty?

Yes.

By the way, I could end the post here, because he will now yammer on for a few hundred words assuming that my answer must be "no," and why that's terrible.

But the answer is "Yes."

This is an easy one. What the fuck do I care? A shop owner has the right to set a dress code. Especially if this were a store geared towards Islamic identity -- an Islamic bookstore, say, or a restaurant -- this one isn't even a question.

But even absent that-- what should I care what the dress code is here, or whom he wants his clientele to be? He doesn't want to serve me, and get this -- I don't wish to be served by him.

How about the Muslim cab driver refusing to transport passenger with dogs or alcohol, because Religious Liberty?

This is trickier because in the case of the store, I have to seek that out. I have to go to the nuisance, as it were. In the case of a cab, I could call for a cab, wait 25 minutes for it, and then, only upon his arrival, be told "Well I'm not going to take you because of these crazy restrictions I never warned you about when you hailed me."

In other words: In the case of the cab, the nuisance comes to me, and that's more of a problem.

But if that one kink could be worked out -- that I could use a cellphone app to summon only cabs that would take me, and would not be punished with discovering, in the rain, that a Muslim cabdriver was refusing to take my fare after waiting 25 minutes -- yes, again, what do I care?

If I hail him, and he does not inform me of his list of silly objections, then yes, in that case, he is bound to take me, because he did not give me his objections before the contract for service was entered into.

But as long as he tells me his objections before that -- Why would I care?

Honestly I'd prefer knowing my driver was a hardcore adherent of a religion which often encourages its faithful to crash vehicles into buildings Because God Hates Vehicular Safety.

Unlike some other Dummies, I'm not really of a mind that we must all Follow the Same Rules and all Subscribe to the Same Bland, Grey, Dead Corporate-Friendly Culture in which no one is really religious or different or odd at all Because That's Bad For Corporate Business.

I think people should have -- and by God, do have -- the right to be fairly different from one another.

That's fucking America.

Did you not know that? That that's what America is?

That America is the right to be different from other people?

I don't see why a store run by a pious conservative Muslim can't demand that women be covered, if that's his bag, nor why a store run by a pious conservative Catholic can't also insist that women cover their shoulders, if that's his sense of what his business should be, of what should happen on property he owns.

Will there be hurt feelings when some are turned away?

Sure.

And who cares?

What the fuck are we, babies? Is this kindergarten, where everyone must be made to feel welcome, always?

Why the fuck would you think I would even care about this shit? Is it because you care about it so much, that you are so concerned about maintaining a Standard Generic Vanilla Corporate-Friendly Non-Culture Culture everywhere, that the idea of a Muslim religious bookstore which insists on a strict dress code for women is mentally deranging?

To be honest with you, I already assume there already are Islamic bookstops which will demand that women leave unless properly veiled.

And yet I'm not pissing myself about this.

Why would I want to go to that shop in the first place?

A culture without any rough parts, without any Proud Nails that won't be pounded down, without any Strangeness that people just insist upon because it's Their Culture, That's Why, is not a culture at all.

It's a fucking shopping mall. It's a fucking Airport Neutral Palate Color Scheme. It's the gray paste they feed to people in comas.

It's nothing. Nothing.

A lot of people seem to dream of America as a great bland nothing.

And they're winning, too.

There is a strand of thought that is often found among conservatives, which is itself actually not conservative. And that is the tendency towards a fairly pronounced Corporatism.

Let me explain what I mean by that. When you are at work, you are under a series of rules and codes designed to reduce your individuality. Businesses -- Corporations -- do not want the full flower of your individual expression. They don't want you dressing flamboyantly, they don't want you talking about deviant sex or, actually, non-deviant sex either, they don't want you proselytizing, they don't want you arguing about politics, they don't want you offering your views on the relative accomplishments of the various Races of Man.

Let me say: I have no problem with this. This makes perfect sense. When you are in a working environment, you're not there to let your freak flag fly. The business does not want to know you as a Special Snowflake in all your oddball glory.

Someone who insists on festooning themselves with all their cultural/sexual/religious/political signage at work gravely mistakes how interested anyone at work is in learning about them as a person. People at work do not, by and large, want to know you as a person. Some might; most don't.

People at work want to keep this impersonal and polite but not familiar, because impersonal and polite but not familiar is the general code of conduct for not angering strangers one is forced, by circumstances, to be within close proximity to.

Manners, in all their artificiality, do not exist to navigate relations with your close relations. Manners are an artificial code of conduct designed to reduce frictions and any chance of showing disrespect or causing offense among strangers and semi-strangers.

I have no problem with the Corporate Code of Conduct at the corporation itself. When I'm forced to be at work, yes, of course I will abide by the "no hot political talk" and the "no sex talk" and "no cursing" and "no ethnic slurs" rules. Partly because I was raised that way, but also partly because I wish the benefit of the bargain-- I myself would like to be free of other people's Freak Flags. I don't want them gratuitously offending me, or assuming an over-familiar posture with me, so I will, to modify my own behavior and dress so that it is corporate bland and business casual.

But while I completely understand and endorse the Business Casual system of empty, gray dullness at work, I do not and will not accept it outside of work.

It is one thing to demand that I comport myself as if I am walking on eggshells for 9 or ten hours a day, at work. It is another thing entirely to further insist that when I get Home, and rest at my metaphoric Castle, that I must continue to follow the Corporate Rules of Conduct.

Here's my answer to that: Go fuck yourself. You cannot pursue me from work to home and hound me with your constant need for Conformity in all things.

Bill Quick is essentially making the case for Conformity in all things, in all spheres. He sees people making their Silly Religious Objections as possibly Offensive to some people, and causing some Friction, and certainly Bad For Business.

Well so fucking what, Bill Quick? The Corporate Handbook of Proper Employee Conduct may apply when I am working in an office with 100 strangers, but it does not apply when I own my own fucking business and my own fucking property.

On that ground, I can design any rules I wish. And if this makes your gray, corporate brain go all a-flutter at the potential disorderliness!!!, well, go fuck yourself, buddy. I do not exist to appease your OCD need for Hierarchy, Structure, Order, Regularity, and Standard Procedures in all facets of life.

Some people continue to be wigged out at the idea that I can buy alcohol in one county but the next county over -- get this! -- it's illegal to sell booze.

They just seem to have this baseline devotion to the ideal that we should all be the same. That each county should follow the same rules. That a traveler, moving from one county to the next, should not be surprised or bothered to discover there are Different Rules in effect, or a Different Culture.

That we should, in short, all have the Same Rules, and the Same Culture, with all Proud Nails pounded flat to the wood, so that there is no danger of snagging anyone's clothing or giving anyone a cut.

Some find that comforting.

I find it creepy. I also find it be the height of Entitlement: In what fucking spasm of ego did you conceive that other people exist to protect your mental Safe Place from any discombobulation and discomfort?

It bothers Bill Quick that one bakery could have one set of policies, and yet a bakery down the street could, get this, have an entirely different set of policies.

That's just wrong, he apparently thinks. We all need to be on the same page as far as Bakery Policies, or else -- else -- else...! Well, That Way Madness Lies, surely.

The idea that I must never be exposed to any thoughts I find weird -- like a Muslim demanding that women be veiled -- like a Catholic church demanding that women cover their shoulders -- is simultaneously infantile, weak, and entitled.

I guess this is the difference between Bill Quick and I: Bill Quick seems to pine for an orderly world in which a controlling hierarchy pursues us in our every waking hour to impose the Corporate Rulebook on us, even when we're not at the Corporate Headquarters, even when we own our own business which is not governed by any Corporate Rulebook but our own.

He finds that comforting.

I find it terrifying.

I think conservatives have long been overly trusting of corporate and social power, usually assuming we'd be in control of it, so that we would be protected from any misuse thereof.

I think we are now suddenly discovering that was a terrible assumption to make, and that we should have been asking ourselves, all along: What if this power to gin up the forces of social conformity and legal bullying were not in our hands, but in fact used against us?

Well, if any conservatives were previously unaware of the danger of empowering scolds, busybodies, bureaucrats, and police to Make You Behave As The Group Thinks Is Proper, surely none can still be ignorant.

If you're still fighting for Statism and Conformity and Group Decisionmaking, you are an enemy of liberty and an enemy of conservatism.

I think you get the point.

But do you get the point, Dummy? You seem to think I care about these things, because, Of course I must.

After all, I'm to be playing a Strawman Role you've assigned to me in your fat-clotted head.

But in fact I don't. I don't give a shit. I don't give a shit about being denied service at a Muslim Halal Shop, and, as long as we work out a system which avoids me waiting in the rain for a cab which later rejects me, I don't care about Muslim cab drivers refusing to ferry alcohol or dogs around, either.

You cannot be logically consistent on this issue unless you drop the bullshit about Christians being singled out -- (Muslims famously murder gays), and accept that if religious liberty permits Christians and Christian businesses to discriminate against gays, then you have to also permit Muslims and their businesses to discriminate against gays -- and women, and dogs, and drinkers, and kaffirs, and the whole host of religious proscriptions that religion subscribes to.

I have no idea what you're rambling on about, but it is much easier to be logically consistent on this issue than you seem to imagine, Dummy.

And if you say, "pshaw, I’m just talking about Christians here. We can’t let the Muslims run wild, that would be crazy."

Another thing Dumb People like to do is put Dumb Objections in your mouth -- Dumb Objections they can then easily, and dumbly, swat aside.

Well, at that point you’re demanding the state to establish a religion -- and that, dear friends, is really unconstitutional -- re-read that First Amendment you’re shrieking at the top of your lungs about.

You're blathering on quite a bit assuming that I'd object to either of these hypotheticals. Which I don't.

Also, yes, this is terribly, terribly important -- to the dozen or so gay couples who will request wedding cakes from the dozen or so bakers (some of whom may well be Muslim) who will refuse them.

Mm-hm. There sure aren't many gay bakers.

And even fewer gay florists.

And gay photographers? Why, nearly none of those.

In the meantime, Obama is giving Iran nuclear weapons, but Jebus --we have much more important things to screech about.

Gee I notice you screeched about it-- just on the other side. So I guess it is worth talking about-- so long as you support the leftwing position on it.

Leftwingers do this all the time -- they employ the rhetorical gambit, "How silly it is for you to ever care about this trivium!"

So you say: Well, Old Man, if it's trivial, surely you wouldn't mind conceding the trivial point to me, eh?

At which point they say: "Are you mad? This is an important matter of principle!!!"

Just like this dummy did right here. Right after he chided me about this not being so important, he informed me that it was terribly important to about a dozen gay couples.

Well, it's probably also important to a dozen Christians in the baking business.

Either way, your childish "This is too small an issue for you to argue about!!!" gambit fails.

By the way, I've been covering Iran a lot.

When I say Americans are stupid, this is the sort of thing I’m talking about.

Me too. I completely agree with you that most Americans are stupid. In fact, many people who spit up their every pique and half-baked Blog-Slam!!! are among the stupidest of all.

Food for thought: This country is increasingly paranoid about people who don't bow to the accepted Order of Things.

The country plainly does not like Small Independent Business owners, because without a larger Corporation overseeing their decisions, How do we know they'll make the right decisions? How do we force them to make the right decisions?

Corporations are cowardly and leftwing and the height of conformism.

But what about these damned Independents-- these Wildcatters with their own businesses, their own leases, and no Board of Directors or Shareholders to answer to?

How can we endure knowing that some people are out there Making Up Their Own Rules???!!!!

When Christians and their fellow-traveling conservatives (like me) were in more of a dominant social position, we didn't have to think much about the dilemma of whether we would like a system by which we get to impose our Rules and Values on Others, or whether we would like to be free from other people imposing their Rules and Values on Us.

See, when you're in a dominant social position, you don't have to make that choice, because you get Both. You are in a strong enough position to not have to worry too much about a hostile majority pushing its Rules and Values on you. You are the Majority, or a Near Majority, at least; so you can push a regime which is more insistent on Conformity, because you are numerically strong enough to stop the worst abuses of a Conformity Regime from being inflicted on you.

But we're not in that position any longer. We can longer use our numerical might to block other people's aggressions in this sphere. We can no longer have our cake and eat it too; we must choose.

We must now begin choosing which is more important: A regime in which the Majority gets to Impose Rules on a Minority (hoping we can occasionally be the Majority and Impose some of our Rules), or a Regime in which the Majority is de-powered, so that any Minority (including, most importantly, us) is less likely to be bullied by the Majority at all.

Some people still do not get this choice they are confronted with. They continue to insist that it's still 1988 and that we can have both, that we can have a regime in which a majority bullies an unpopular minority and be free of such bullying.

Other people see a choice, but seem to think that Corporate Conformism is more important than liberty.

I choose to be self willed. Empowering myself means de-powering others.

Sorry, Bill Quick. I don't want you or any of the other rules-following, orderliness-obsessed corporatists making decisions for me.

I choose liberty, and I choose my own conscience. And choosing that means, get this, that I must also choose liberty and the right to conscience for others.

This is a time for clarity, and this is a time for choosing. This is a time to discover who it is who really supports Liberty and Freedom, and who it is who is really all about Control and Conformity.

For many years, many conservatives have really been more about the latter than the former. I have admitted, and I will continue to admit, I was among them. I have long had pronounced authoritarian and statist tendencies.

I fight against them now, like an alcoholic fights his lust for drink.

But too many conservatives continue championing Social Control and Conformity while mouthing the empty platitudes about how wonderful Freedom is.

Freedom to do exactly what is permitted on pages 36-42 of the Corporate Handbook, that is.

Anything else is A Disorder and thus Subversive.

If keeping my own freedom means, horror of horrors, also granting it to a Muslim, then I am prepared to make that deal all. day. long.

It is time to put away childish things. Either you support liberty and justice for all, or you support it for none.




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posted by Ace at 01:10 PM

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