January 11, 2017

OH: I love America. It’s Americans I hate.

Tim Kreider for The Week:

Unlike a lot of people, who had to try to make conversation with conservative friends and family over the holidays, I only know two confirmed Trump voters. One of them is from Texas and the other’s a Marine, so they both have their excuses. I recently sent a text to the former woman, letting her know I wasn’t going to meet her for dinner while she was in town because I considered her vote for Trump unconscionable. I didn’t feel I could politely ignore this vote, as though it had been for any ordinary callous avaricious Republican. But, having inflicted the negligible penalty of my absence on her, I didn’t feel just or vindicated; instead I just felt like a heel. She’d just gone through a bad breakup with an abusive boyfriend, and my normal instinct would’ve been to have dinner with her just to cheer her up. Repressing your normal instincts toward kindness seems like the kind of thing Hitler used to recommend.

My feeling has always been that if a religion or ideology has become more important to you than actual human beings, something may have gone seriously wrong with your values. A religious aunt of mine was literally on her deathbed before she told her gay daughter that that she had always loved her and accepted her and her partner. It was a moving reconciliation, but it also seemed to me it might’ve been nicer if she’d done it 20 years earlier. It depresses me to see people obliged by moral or political convictions to repress their basic decency — even their love for their children — and act crueler than they really are.

I don’t subscribe to the sophistry that being intolerant of intolerance is just as bad as intolerance itself — that, for instance, the humorless dogma of political correctness is as great an evil as good old-fashioned bigotry. But, as Nietzsche said, he who does battle with shitheads must beware that he does not thereby become a shithead. The most prejudiced people also tend to be the most provincial; they’ve never actually met any of the people they think they hate. (e.g.: an elderly friend of my mother’s once complained about gays in the church to her male hairdresser.)

Emphasis in the original.

Presuming every male hairdresser to be gay is a hallmark of worldly and tolerant thought. Anything else is just the kind of thing Hitler used to recommend.

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