The Corner

Who Believes in Free Association Anymore?

Yesterday I was on Neil Cavuto’s show talking about Memories Pizza and RFRA. I pointed out that when I got married, I couldn’t find a rabbi to officiate because my wife isn’t Jewish and didn’t convert. Everything worked out. But at no point did I complain about “bigoted rabbis” refusing to do what I wanted. 

The response from people to this comparison has been interesting. One lady on Twitter would hear none of it, saying it was a terrible comparison because rabbis aren’t for profit businesses, which makes me wonder how she thinks rabbis make a living.  Others simply get hung up on the word “discrimination.” “Do you want to live in a society that tolerates discrimination?” “Are you in favor of discrimination?”

The answer for any morally or intellectually serious person has to be yes. But we can discriminate between different kinds of discrimination. I say we can — as in we are able to — but we don’t, in that we choose not to. I got into this in this week’s G-File, which is up on the homepage. An excerpt:

We teach young people they should be morally heroic, and that is good.

The problem is we lack the ability to think about morality seriously, never mind talk about it seriously. In a world where Harvard — once a Christian seminary! — is now a place where its “safe spaces” aren’t safe enough because the poetry is too offensive, we should not expect a lot of serious conversation. This is one of the reasons why our moral categories are so content-less. Tolerance and sympathy become moral imperatives without reference to what is being tolerated and sympathized with. All week people on Twitter have been telling me that all discrimination is bad, no matter what. That’s awful news, because I really don’t want to invite pedophiles, Nazis, or complete strangers from the 7-11 parking lot to my Passover seder. Now I’m told such discrimination is wrong, no matter what. Indeed, for some, the more immoral or offensive something becomes, the more heroic it is to find a reason to defend it (Hence the old chestnut about how a liberal is someone so open-minded he won’t even take his own side in an argument). Internationally, our own worst enemies have to be on to something because, gosh darn it, we must have something to apologize for. The whole world is covered in a steaming pile of sh*t and the the left-wing optimist is the guy who thinks he will find a pony — to explain how it’s really all America’s fault.

And at home, rebellion against the traditional, the existing, the old-and-tried is its own reward. Everything is Chesterton’s fence, and nobody cares or bothers to ask where the fences came from or what they’re for. As I keep saying, America has an autoimmune disease.

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