14 February 2012

Santorum on Intolerance

The new Republican front-runner, according to some polls, confronted hecklers identified with the Occupy movement in Tacoma WA yesterday. Three people were arrested, two for disrupting Santorum's speech, one for trying to glitter-bomb him. For the Pennsylvanian, this was just a small demonstration of the movement's radical intolerance. The Occupiers, not the religious right or any right, represent "true intolerance" in the former Senator's opinion. Here's why:

What they said was that anybody who disagreed with them [on the subject of same-sex marriage] were irrational and the only reason they could possibly agree [sic?] is they were a hater or a bigot. Now I gotta tell you, I don't agree with these people but I respect their opportunity to be able to have a different point of view and I don't think they're a hater or a bigot because they disagree with me.

Santorum seems to be constructing a sort of syllogism: if you're not a hater for disagreeing with me, then I can't be a hater for disagreeing with you. But I wonder whether Santorum's disagreements are as disinterested as he asserts. I do know that he represents a movement that presumes, as a general rule, that its opponents hate religion, Christianity in particular, and hate their own country, or at leas the ideas that define it. I haven't the time right at the moment, but this would be a good time for somebody to research whether, and if so how often, Santorum has accused his opponents of hate. Some might say he did it right there in Tacoma by calling them intolerant, but I wouldn't jump to that conclusion. My hunch is that there's probably more damning evidence out there, but it all depends on how you define hate. My own definition extends to attempting to sanction homophobia, even if you hide behind rationalizations "for the sake of the children." I'm sure they hate it when I say that, but we'll just have to tolerate that.

2 comments:

Crhymethinc said...

Yes - typical right-wing counter argument "by not tolerating our intolerance, you are being intolerant". My answer: certain things should not be tolerated in a civil society. Bigotry and intolerance among them.

Samuel Wilson said...

Santorum's point is that his position isn't bigotry or intolerance, and his kind will try to back that up by saying their main concern is with the needs of the theoretical children who theoretically can only grow up right with heterosexual parents. But once you allow that marriage is not exclusively for childrearing, that argument loses relevance, and they're left with just plain homophobia.

While there may be a general tendency to presume that those who say we're wrong hate us, that fallacy doesn't apply to homophobia. Homophobes simply have no moral right to call homosexuality a sin or question the competence of homosexual parents. When they do so, they're bigots every time and they better learn to tolerate hearing that.