I was standing in the security line at Orlando International
Airport recently when my wife nudged me to look at the shirt of the young lady
in front of us. It was a plain blue
t-shirt with the word “equALLity” spread across the front. As I rolled my eyes as far as they could go,
Jenny laughed and said, “I knew you’d love it.”
It’s not that I have any problem with equality per se, it’s
that I am beyond annoyed by the meaningless, inconsistent, and hypocritical
virtue signaling of those who make this thoroughly-pliable word their personal
brand. I get that everyone has to have a
cause to champion, but is intellectual honesty really that much to request?
Here’s what I mean.
I’d say there’s somewhere between a 95-99% chance that “equALLity” shirt
was in reference to the LGBT political crusade.
Assuming that the creator and wearer of the shirt were not ignorant of
the statistical realities demonstrating that LGBT individuals have higher
median incomes, education levels, and job placement rates than non-LGBT, we can
conclude the advertised grievance is lamenting the fact that there are those
who morally disapprove of LGBT romantic and sexual relationships. That is what rubs these apparel activists the
wrong way. “You will be made to care,”
and all that.
But here’s the hypocrisy that really frosts me. The person who created or wears that shirt
doesn’t believe in “equALLity” themselves.
Not how they define it themselves, anyway. Their definition suggests that having moral
boundaries for what we deem “appropriate” romantic and sexual relationships is
bigoted and the vile source of inequality. But they themselves have moral
boundaries for what they deem “appropriate” romantic and sexual relationships!
They don’t believe, for instance, that pedophilic
relationships should be equally respected.
Nor do they believe that inter-species relationships deserve our
respect. In fact, they will become
repulsed that you could even mention it, and accuse you of heinously trying to
equate bestiality or pedophilia with homosexual relationships. Of course, that’s not what you’re doing at
You’re pointing out that they too have moral boundaries that
they set up for what they believe are appropriate romantic and sexual relationships.
Their boundaries may be different than say a Biblical
Christian’s boundaries. They may say
that appropriate relationships must be based on consent. But then when you ask them about consenting
incestuous adults or consenting polyamorous couples, you’ll find they are even
LESS interested in equALLity than before.
In fact, what you’ll find is that these people who abhor your intolerant
drawing of moral boundaries are pretty fond of drawing their own.
And pay attention to their rationale. They believe THOSE people who do THOSE things
(incest, polyamory, orgies, pedophilia, bestiality, necrophilia) are gross,
sick, perverts, and criminals. Those are
MORAL condemnations they are making – the very thing that they pretend is the
hallmark of close-minded, right-wing creeps.
This is why I get annoyed. Can’t we all just be honest? We all draw moral boundaries for what we consider legitimate, appropriate, permissible romantic and sexual relationships. Any sane society will. So, how about we:
- Stop pretending it’s only bigots who draw moral boundaries.
- Stop ‘othering’ and demeaning people because their boundaries may be different than our own.
- Start talking about how and why we draw the boundaries where we do.
- Start talking about what makes something “moral” or “good” in the first place.
- Start talking about what boundaries are most likely to promote a happy, healthy, safe society for all of us.
But we aren’t likely to do that. Because pretending those who feel differently than you are evil, or that they are discriminating monsters feeds our pride as we strut around airports signaling our virtue to anyone willing to look. T-shirt activism is easier than critical thinking, after all.