- - Sunday, August 12, 2018

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

More “I can’t tolerate your intolerance” from the anti-bigotry bigots.

It’s morning in America and it’s open season on Christians, conservatives and common sense.

A sampling of this week’s headlines: Anti-Christian Protesters in Canada champion “morality” by condemning Chick-fil-A’s morality. Frank Bruni lies about Mike Pence by calling him a “liar.” Sarah Jeong says she hates hateful people and that white men are sexists and racists.

Twitter “de-platforms” Alex Jones while extolling freedom of expression, open debate and tolerance. YouTube censors Dennis Prager by blocking more than 80 of his podcasts. Sen. Chris Murphy calls for silencing the dissenting voice in order to save freedom and democracy. Candace Owens (a black woman) gets heckled out of a restaurant by a bunch of white people chanting “down with white supremacy.”

Facebook tells Israeli philosopher Yoram Hazony his post was not approved because it said, “There is a sense today throughout the Western world that one’s beliefs on controversial matters should no longer be discussed openly Genuine diversity in the constitutional or religious character of Western nations persists only at mounting costs to those who insist on their freedom.” And, I get accused of being “too political” by a pastor who supports the politics of Planned Parenthood.

The list goes on and on. We are a progressive country, they say. We will fight for equal rights for all, except those who are not our equal. We will not accept any bigotry but we do not apologize for our own bigotry. Under the banner of “morals” we condemn your morality.

Railing against racists, we champion (acceptable) racism. We condemn discrimination while shamelessly calling for the government, and Facebook, and Twitter, and YouTube to discriminate against you. We will fight against closed borders while we demand that our borders be closed — to Chick-fil-A.

“Christians are nothing but a bunch of hypocrites,” they cry. “They are nothing but a bunch of conservatives who insist on imposing their dead-right and dead-wrong pharisaical nonsense on the rest of us. They are just like the Pharisees that Jesus condemned so aggressively. Who are they to judge us?”

If you are among these folks who fancy yourself as the enlightened, the-smarter-than-thous, those who know better than all us conservative rubes who cling to our God and our guns, I’d like to ask you a couple of questions.

First, concerning the progressive protest against anyone believing anything is “dead-right/dead-wrong.” Does it not strike you as a bit odd that this stereotypical objection presupposes that you believe you are “dead right” in condemning others who believe they are “dead right?” Isn’t this a self-refuting claim?

Doesn’t the very premise of judging others as being wrong for judging others smack of pointing one finger of accusation at someone else while pointing several fingers back at yourself? When you say you despise Christians for judging, is that not a judgment?

Isn’t it clear that if your worldview actually leads you to say, “I can’t tolerate their intolerance” and “I hate those hateful people” that your own ontology and epistemology suffers a logical implosion, with your presuppositions collapsing in upon themselves? Doesn’t anyone hear that rhetorical branch upon which you are sitting creaking and cracking as they saw away?

Second, if this is your worldview, perhaps you have uncomfortably stumbled into the technical definition of nonsense, for your position literally makes no sense. As I have said before, righteous indignation directed toward those who always think they are right is akin to saying, “I know that nothing can be known,” or, “There absolutely are no absolutes.” A refresher course in the law of non-contradiction might be in order here.

Third, I would like to deal briefly with the matter of your use of the pejorative label, “Pharisees.” The word pharisaical does not, as you imply, reference the belief in objective immutable truth. Rather, it is a condemnation of an attitude of self-righteousness, of arrogance and of personal superiority.

It connotes a love affair with self — Narcissus gazing with admiration at his own reflection — Carly Simon singing, “You’re so vain. I bet you think this song is about you.” A Pharisee is one who thinks it’s all about him — not all about truth.

When someone elevates his/her values and opinions as being superior to God’s self-evident truths, that person is indeed a Pharisee. The irony here is that if you are on left-of-center and fancy yourself as a progressive you are likely committing this error much more boldly than your right-of-center brothers and sisters you so robustly condemn.

As this week’s news shows, conservatives seem to be much more interested in a liberal exchange of ideas today than those who proudly call themselves progressive and liberal. Proof: I’m not the one calling on the thought police to silence the opposition by declaring anything I disagree with as hate-speech.

History teaches us of the progressive arrogance of saying “we will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest.” Throwing a tantrum to be liberated from the very self-evident truths that give your freedom in the first place is always the first step down the path Robespierre trod as he declared himself to be God and, thereby, handed the guillotine over to his own executioner.

Everett Piper, president of Oklahoma Wesleyan University, is the author of “Not A Day Care: The Devastating Consequences of Abandoning Truth” (Regnery 2017).


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