A recent keynote speaker at the Harvard University Art & Science Faculty Conference on Diversity told his Twitter followers in 2015 that people who base their spiritual beliefs on the Hebrew scriptures should be “locked up.”
Author and speaker Tim Wise went on in that tweet, saying “people basing their beliefs on the fable of Noah and the Ark, or their interpretation of Sodom and Gomorrah … rather than science or logic … If you are basing your morality on a fairy tale written thousands of years ago, you deserve to be locked up … detained for your utter inability to deal with reality … NO, we are not obligated to indulge your irrationality in the name of your religious freedom …”
Wise undoubtedly thinks everybody else — including those who accept the Hebrew scriptures and all other “fairy tales” — absolutely are obligated to respect his spiritual beliefs or lack thereof.
And if they don’t, I suspect Wise would also favor making room for them to be locked up for that, too. Strangely, he didn’t include similar statements in his Harvard remarks. I’m not aware that he has repudiated them, either.
Since all of the world’s major religions are based on ancient writings, it seems Wise would also advocate locking up Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists and those who practice the countless sects and off-shoots within each. The only free people left would be those who agree with Wise and who also worship “science and logic.”
The purpose of the conference was in great part to seek “practical guidance on how we can move toward greater inclusion and belonging at Harvard,” according to the organizers.
Unfortunately, Wise’s view is far from in the minority. If anything, it is very near to being a majority opinion, especially among people under 30 (Remember when people in their 30s were called “Thirty Somethings”?).
Diversity requires tolerance; without it, only the view of the most powerful will be heard.
Brookings Institution Senior Fellow John Villasenor surveyed 1,500 college students in 2017 and the results were extremely disturbing to anybody who cares about the First Amendment and freedom of speech, freedom of religion and the basic notion of inalienable individual rights.
Asked “Does the First Amendment protect ‘Hate Speech,'” fully 44 percent responded “No,” with only 39 percent saying “Yes” and 16 percent “Don’t Know.” More private school students said “Yes,” compared to public schools, 43 percent to 38 percent.
The problem is the constitutional morality of the First Amendment — It’s a free country and you can think and say whatever you choose (except yelling “Fire!” in a crowded theater that has no fire) — is steadily being displaced by the idea that I have the right to silence you if what you say offends me and, oh by the way, only I determine what is offensive to me.
When tolerance of points of view with which I disagree is replaced by me having the right to silence them whenever I feel like it, there will be no diversity in American society.
When tolerance of points of view with which I disagree is replaced by me having the right to silence them whenever I feel like it, there will be no diversity in American society. Diversity requires tolerance; without it, only the view of the most powerful will be heard.
Once such intolerance of freedom of speech becomes the standard, it is a very short road to depriving those with “incorrect views” of their right to vote, receive government benefits and much else. Democracy and Republican liberty will not long survive in such an environment.
This issue isn’t going away any time soon and people working on Capitol Hill, sooner or later, will have to make some basic decisions about which they will support, tolerance and diversity or intolerance and might-makes-right.
That time will come when the boss asks for your views on the issue because he or she has to cast a vote on a proposal that could shape how the nation resolves the conflict between First Amendment tolerance and intolerance.
What will you say or do if he or she is resolved to join the intolerance brigades and expects you to help justify such a decision to supportive voters back home, campaign donors and the media?
Featured photo above this article is from Freerange.com.
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