A commenter on my post about the Planet Fitness story wanted to know why the same accolade I gave Planet Fitness for their inclusive stand should not be accorded a bakery that refuses to bake a wedding cake because they disapprove of the bride and bride.
Freedom of speech/press/expression is extremely important, and we should all be interested in preserving it to the maximum. That does imply, however, that some speech must be opposed in unison by people of goodwill. There will always be people expressing the idea that the free expression of ideas itself is an evil that must be curtailed. It would be great if we could count on a vast majority to laugh such propositions right off the stage, but as the rogues’ gallery of yesterday’s post shows it’s not always so easy to dismiss them. Insecure or scared people will latch onto anything that seems to promise an improvement in stability. They are seldom able to assess the risks properly and may simply believe whoever is loudest.
The equilibrium of a marketplace of ideas can be destroyed when one of the ideas that gains purchase is: that there should be no such marketplace. Marginalizing the different, the minority, the underclass is a key strategy. Scaring everyone else is another.
Matt Baume’s excellent video series now takes a look at several such marginalization efforts aimed at the LGBTQ community. See if you can spot the similarities between these “new” attacks on freedom and another set of laws that officially went away in the 1960s (but whose spirit lives on to this day).