Accept vs. Respect

Have you ever had someone tell you that they had the right to do something?  I’m sure it happens to most of us, especially the ones who debate on a regular basis, all the time.  For the most part, I’ll even agree with these people that they do, indeed, have the right, or at the very least the ability to do the things they claim.

But nothing guarantees them that I’ll respect what they do, nor should it.

You want to shave half your head and paint the other side purple?  Knock yourself out.  You want to punch holes in your face and stick thumbtacks through them?  Have a good time.  You want to tattoo swastikas all over your body?  Go for it.  You want me to respect you and treat you like you made the right choice for any of those?

Fuck off.

I bring this up because I’ve seen an increase in people whining about how unfair it is that people are being “intolerant” of their choices.  Yes, they have a doorknob through their nose, but that shouldn’t matter!  Employers ought to overlook that!  Sure, they have obscenities tattooed across their forehead, but so what?  That’s no reason for people to react negatively to them!  Words like “intolerant” get thrown around mindlessly, far too many people forget that nobody actually has to tolerate their actions, there are consequences to everything you do!

For long-time readers of this blog, this is nothing new, I’ve written about it before, it just gets more and more common as time goes on.  Just because you can do a thing doesn’t mean anyone is obligated to support you in doing that thing.  Nobody has to pat you on the back or ride you around on their shoulders and make you feel good about what you’ve done.

Unfortunately, as I see more and more of this, it becomes painfully clear how much of a liberal position this is.  It applies pretty much across the board as liberals want to change the social landscape, they don’t want to just push actions on people, they want to push worldviews.  That’s where I entirely part ways with them.

Take gay marriage for a random example.  I’m fully on board with wanting equality in marriage.  I think gays should be able to marry legally without a moment’s hesitation.  But you know something?  I don’t think for a second that even if we pass the legal right for gays to marry, the people who are fundamentally opposed to gay marriage, or to gays period, are going to magically change their minds and become supportive.  It’s just not going to happen.  Most of them are going to die before they ever change their minds.  They’ll have to grudgingly accept it, or at the very least, accept that they’re not going to be able to stop it, but if you think for a second they’ll ever like it, you’re wrong.

They have as much right to hate it as you do to like it.  In fact, they have as much right to speak about how much they hate it, and why they have it, as you do to speak and write about why you support it.  Freedom of speech and freedom of expression go both ways.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not singling out the liberals for doing this, the neo-conservatives are unfortunately just as censorship-happy, they think they can control what people say, just because they don’t like that speech, but I haven’t seen the right-wing expect people’s minds to change instantly like I see regularly on the left.  It seems a primarily liberal thing to not only want situations to change, but for everyone to be forced to rally around the new regime and slap each other on the back regardless of how they really feel.

If you do something I think is stupid, I’m going to tell you that I think it was stupid.  You have no right to ask me to shut up, you have no right to tell me I can’t speak.  I’ll defend to the death, your right to do all the stupid things you want, but I’ll expect you to suffer the consequences of your actions, for good or bad.  If that means you can’t get a job, don’t come looking to me for a handout.  You made your bed, go lie in it.  And don’t expect me to admire what you do, just because you have a right to do it.

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