Monday, June 13, 2011

The Idiocy of Tolerating Intolerance

If you check the new pages tab under the banner you'll find the JeRKs and HeROs page where I decided to nominate people for my own unique awards. This is the story that inspired that action.

I have never heard of Evan Davis before, not that it stuck to mind anyway. He is apparently gay and he is apparently really good at explaining economics in simple terms for simple people. That's probably why I haven't heard of him. I don't really know much about economics other than the fact that I would like to have more money than I currently have.

I was on the London Underground train (like a Subway, only more expensive and smells a bit less foul) back home after popping to town to take care of stuff. I got tired of playing Legendary Wars on my iPhone so I picked up the discarded  free copy of The Evening Standard lying on the seat next to me. I flipped through the dull publication until an outrageous headline caught my attention.

Evan Davis: I believe people have a right to be bigoted about gays

My first reaction was "how dare he!!!". No, actually my first reaction was "yay, I have something to write about in my blog today so I don't have to post a recipe for scrambled eggs". But then I was all "how dare he!!!"

I started reading through the long article. Blah blah blah, economics, blah blah blah, more economics. I quickly started skimming through the article looking for the key word gay. Only then I realized the guy was actually gay, but I wasn't sure if it made his statement more or less infuriating than if he was straight. Then I decided  that it made it more infuriating.

I'll cut and paste the relevant part and save you the time reading through the borefest article (unless you are into economics then by all means help yourself).
When I raise the recent case of the gay couple who were ejected from the John Snow pub in Soho, apparently for kissing, he chooses his words carefully.
"I think we have to tolerate other people's feelings.1 In the great spectrum of things, I don't think discrimination against gay men, or being barred from bed and breakfasts or pubs, is very prevalent.
"Put it this way: compared to most of the gay people I know, I am way to the other end of the spectrum in believing that people have a right to be bigoted. It would be unfair if gay people were denied legal rights that other people have but my libertarian self is big enough to say that there are some rights there. I don't know where we draw that line but people do have a right to say what they want happening in their house.2"
He is visibly conflicted on the point, aware of his own privilege. He doesn't want to be an "Uncle Tom who doesn't know you're a victim".
But, he says, "There's a statistical problem that arises here. It's the Ali G line: 'Is it cos I is black?' Now supposing you are black, or gay, or short, or some status that is perceived as disadvantageous.
If you fix upon that status you will then make the statistical mistake of viewing the random knocks that anybody has in their life and assuming they're because you are black or gay.3"
 OK, Evan, you are an idiot or at least you make a very convincing impersonation of one in that interview, but rather than just insult you I will explain why, using handy footnotes.

1) That's a very vague statement. In general I agree, we do have to tolerate other people's feelings. Unless their feelings hurt our feelings. I would say that in that case our feelings trump theirs, especially since those people don't seem to be bothered with tolerating other people's feelings themselves. I will never have a shred of tolerance for someone's bigoted feelings.

This idiocy of tolerating intolerance is mind-boggling, but I've seen it many times before. It doesn't make you extremely open-minded, it makes you a moron. Open minded in the sense that you have a huge gaping hole in your head out of which your entire brain is oozing out.

2) People do have the right to say what they want happening in their own house. That is why it will be wrong of me to break into the house of a homophobic neighbour and organize a 20-man orgy in his living-room when he is trying to watch Britain's Got Talent with his kids. But no one is talking about houses, we are talking about businesses. Whether it's a pub or a Bed and Breakfast, as long as it's charging members of the public for service it is no longer a private residence. It is a business and therefore the owner is not allowed to discriminate against people based on sex, religion, sexual orientation or race. No ifs or buts.

Can you imagine a business refusing service to black people... Oh wait, we've been there.

3) I agree. Minorities shouldn't be victims and assume that anything negative said or done to them is because of their minority status. Well said, sir. Only one problem... What does it have to do with anything you just said? The examples mentioned, a gay couple kicked out of a pub for kissing and another couple refused a room in a bed and breakfast, are clear cut cases where people were discriminated against for being gay.

The interviewer says that Davis has chosen his words carefully when he got to that part. Well, here is the thing. He obviously hasn't chosen them carefully enough. The whole thing is a bit rambling and random and trying to sound clever before actually deciding what is the point he was actually trying to make.

Here is my advice for next time, Evan. When you are asked a question that makes you choose your words carefully, just stop and pretend to think the question over. While pretending to think the question over actually think the question over. You might end up spouting a bit less nonsense.

So Evan is technically a JeRK of the Month nominee, but with the evil George Rekker in the running this month he is very unlikely to win. Can't even get that right! Good thing he's got the economics thing going.



Mark said...

I read his quote that you have above his photo and then I saw the photo and thought, "he looks gay." And seriously, I thought that you were going to talk about Economics for a minute there and then I would have to figure out something to comment about. Thank God you didn't! Yes, he really should have chosen his words a little bit better because he almost comes off as giving permission to hate. Agreed, people can hate in their own homes but if they have a public(not private) business, they shouldn't be "legally" allowed to.
Your Friend, m.
p.s. I find him kind of cute. Don't hate me! m.

Mickey said...

I'm totally OK with people finding stupid people attractive, otherwise I would still be unclaimed for!

With that said, you can have him all for yourself. To me he looks like one of those troll dolls after they got older and had a haircut...

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