fidesquaerens (marta_bee) wrote,

I just read a blog piece by Rod Dreher over at The American Conservative bemoaning the fact that Tory students in the UK can't be open about that political leaning. That they are basically closeted about their views. Which to be fair, I kind of agree is wrong. I am not at all happy that the Tories are in power in the UK, and think it's a party that, if you go out of your way to defend their positions (like if you're a pundit or a blogger or some such), you should expect big push-back from me because I think those positions are wrong. But I also believe that people in general should be able to express their political views without being harassed for it, that you should be able to say "I voted for X" without it having to start an endless debate or have people make assumptions about who you are based on stereotypes about X.

I actually think Rod put it really well:

What kind of twisted, tyrannical political culture demonizes people for voting not for some neo-Nazi party, but for the mainstream Conservatives? And what kind of twisted, tyrannical political culture teaches them to hate themselves for being political dissenters?

Indeed, how awful must it be to be closeted about something as important to you as who you voted for in an election, to not be able to be open with those closest to you about that, to have your admitting to that label be turned into an abstract argument, a debate over issues, or to hear these messages day in and day out about what it means to be a Tory so you come away hating yourselves. Even if you believed Tories are wrong in your heart of hearts -- even if you'd label them, I don't know, an ... abomination -- certainly it's important for people to be comfortable in their own skins, open with those they love.

I honestly believe all that. Closeting is never cool. Nor was it cool the last time he talked about the wisdom of conservatives staying in the closet, after that pizza restaurant out in Indiana said they wouldn't cater a gay wedding and incited a bit of uproar over it. As he said at the time:

Here’s what any traditional Christian business owner or employee with a brain in his or her head must do now: keep your mouth shut.

Do not talk to the media. You will almost certainly not get a fair shake, and even if you do, it’s not going to matter. The SJW mob will do what it can to destroy you. Do not talk to anybody about your thoughts or opinions unless you know you can trust them not to out you.

Never, ever deny your faith, but do not give them any more information than you absolutely have to. It can and will be used against you. Unless you are already out, stay in the closet. This is where we are in this country. You think I’m exaggerating? You think I’m being alarmist? Ask the O’Connor family of Memories Pizza how quickly your livelihood can be taken from you in the cause of Social Justice™.

Again, if this is an accurate representation of the situation (and I don't know enough to judge), I'd say it's a bad thing. A very bad thing. I think generally individuals should be allowed to express their opinions without it impacting their livelihood as long as their businesses aren't actually tied up with the offensive things they say - that as offensive as the idea may be, we're all freer when people are allowed to say what they believe without risking financial ruin. Things like the mess over Chick-fil-A and that Mozilla executive who was forced out of his job because he donated to the Prop-8 campaign. Other people will disagree with me on this, I'm sure, and that's a reasonable discussion. But in this particular case, it sounds like an honest, respectable person was approached and tricked (or at least unfairly enticed) into outing himself, and that he had to either deny who he was or risk being ruined by people who disagreed with his values.

I mean, it's one thing to make a choice to step into the public square, and quite another to have people try to dig stuff up about you as you're trying to live your life. I think most people could agree that's not a particular good situation. Either the way Dreher summarizes the situation is entirely wrong, or those folks were a casualty (regrettable even if unavoidable) of the culture wars, or else what happened to them was just flat-out wrong.

I just find it hilarious (or would, if the stakes weren't so high) that he apparently misses the irony of coopting this particular term. Because at least in this country, it's not comfortable members of the conservative establishment that have faced the most financial ruin, social isolation, and even physical violence when they're "outed."

Really, either Mr. Dreher is a grade-A snarkster, or he really is just that dense. It's the kind of thing that I really do kind of wish I had the luxury to laugh over.
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