April 3, 2015

ED DRISCOLL: The Rise of the Megalothymiamanical Memories Pizza Truthers.

Related: Indiana pizzeria owners go underground as donations near $1 million. You know, the left’s freeze-and-destroy Alinsky tactics work less well when the “frozen” target winds up a millionaire. I mean, you’re supposed to be afraid to be their next target, right?

UPDATE: Conor Friedersdorf: Should Mom-and-Pops That Forgo Gay Weddings Be Destroyed? The attack on Memories Pizza and its implications.

The owners of Memories Pizza are, I think, mistaken in what their Christian faith demands of them. And I believe their position on gay marriage to be wrongheaded. But I also believe that the position I’ll gladly serve any gay customers but I feel my faith compels me to refrain from catering a gay wedding is less hateful or intolerant than let’s go burn that family’s business to the ground.

And I believe that the subset of the gay-rights movement intent on destroying their business and livelihood has done more harm than good here—that they’ve shifted their focus from championing historic advances for justice to perpetrating small injustices against marginal folks on the other side of the culture war. . . .

Is there a financial loss at which social pressure goes from appropriate to too much? How about putting them out of business? Digital mobs insulting them and their children? Email and phone threats from anonymous Internet users? If you think that any of those go too far have you spoken up against the people using those tactics?

(If not, is it because you’re afraid they might turn on you?)

A relatively big digital mob has been attacking this powerless family in rural Indiana,** but I don’t get the sense that its participants have reflected on or even thought of these questions. I don’t think they recognize how ugly, intolerant and extreme their actions appear or the effect they’ll have on Americans beyond the mainstream media, or that their vitriolic shaming these people has ultimately made them into martyrs. I fear that a backlash against their tactics will weaken support for the better angels of the gay rights movement at a time when more progress needs to be made, and that they’re turning traditionalists into a fearful, alienated minority with a posture of defensiveness that closes them off to persuasion.

And that’s a shame.

The religious impulse to shy away from even the most tangential interaction with gay weddings can be met with extremely powerful and persuasive counterarguments so long as we’re operating in the realm of reason rather than coercion–so long as we’re more interested in persuading than shaming or claiming scalps.

The thing is, there are a lot of people for whom the primary appeal of “social justice” is an opportunity to shame and claim scalps. They are not good people who are misguided or overzealous. They are bad, awful people who are parasites on social movements — parasites that, if not controlled, will destroy their host.

Related: How should we punish grandma and grandpa for opposing gay marriage? Be careful. Grandma and Grandpa may not care what you think of them, or have much to lose.

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