The Litmus Test for Friendship

 

In the past few years, I have recognized that I cannot talk openly about politics or religion with people who I want to become friends with. I think this has become the most pervasively evil aspect of identity politics and woke ideology.

Politics and religion used to be taboo topics for polite conversation but now your opinions on these two areas of thought determine if you are even worthy of being in the conversation. I am 72 years old, and a large majority of the people I socialize with are people I want to become new friends with. We play linguistic games to try to guess the political persuasions we might share but this is fraught with misconception.  I have plenty of old friends but they are scattered much too far apart. The topics of conversation available for developing new friendships with the people I meet has become vanishingly small.

This has made growing old sadder and much more difficult.

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  1. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey
    @GaryMcVey

    When I used to work in Hollywood, at first being a conservative was like being a fan of model railroading, or square dancing, or Bingo: it was regarded as eccentric, peculiar but harmless. By the time I left, it was probably what being a homosexual in Hollywood was like in 1960 or so: frowned on, but technically legal, if you didn’t push your luck. Now it’s like being a Communist in Germany in 1935; open your mouth once and you’re an outsider on everyone’s suspicion lists. 

    Damn shame. 

    • #1
  2. Southern Pessimist Member
    Southern Pessimist
    @SouthernPessimist

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    When I used to work in Hollywood, at first being a conservative was like being a fan of model railroading, or square dancing, or Bingo: it was regarded as eccentric, peculiar but harmless. By the time I left, it was probably what being a homosexual in Hollywood was like in 1960 or so: frowned on, but technically legal, if you didn’t push your luck. Now it’s like being a Communist in Germany in 1935; open your mouth once and you’re an outsider on everyone’s suspicion lists.

    Damn shame.

    The problem for me is that I feel like I am running out of time. There are so many people I interact with who I want to be friends with and there are so few areas of conversation available.

    • #2
  3. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey
    @GaryMcVey

    Southern Pessimist (View Comment):

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    When I used to work in Hollywood, at first being a conservative was like being a fan of model railroading, or square dancing, or Bingo: it was regarded as eccentric, peculiar but harmless. By the time I left, it was probably what being a homosexual in Hollywood was like in 1960 or so: frowned on, but technically legal, if you didn’t push your luck. Now it’s like being a Communist in Germany in 1935; open your mouth once and you’re an outsider on everyone’s suspicion lists.

    Damn shame.

    The problem for me is that I feel like I am running out of time. There are so many people I interact with who I want to be friends with and there are so few areas of conversation available.

    Tell me about it, brother. I’m 70. I’m not exactly a likely candidate for “strange new respect” from my opponents. 

    But paradoxically, I am optimistic about the situation at large. It’s going to swing back our way. Not because we wish it, but because we will it to happen and back it up with effort. 

    • #3
  4. Joseph Stanko Coolidge
    Joseph Stanko
    @JosephStanko

    Southern Pessimist (View Comment):

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    When I used to work in Hollywood, at first being a conservative was like being a fan of model railroading, or square dancing, or Bingo: it was regarded as eccentric, peculiar but harmless. By the time I left, it was probably what being a homosexual in Hollywood was like in 1960 or so: frowned on, but technically legal, if you didn’t push your luck. Now it’s like being a Communist in Germany in 1935; open your mouth once and you’re an outsider on everyone’s suspicion lists.

    Damn shame.

    The problem for me is that I feel like I am running out of time. There are so many people I interact with who I want to be friends with and there are so few areas of conversation available.

    Perhaps you should just lay your cards out on the table and state your views openly. Suppose you alienate 3/4 people by doing so, at least you might forge a deeper connection with the remaining 1/4. 

    • #4
  5. BDB Coolidge
    BDB
    @BDB

    I agree with J Stanko.  Wear a MAGA hat and your sorting is already done.  Face it, the rest weren’t going to be friends anyway.

    • #5
  6. E. Kent Golding Member
    E. Kent Golding
    @EKentGolding

    Southern Pessimist (View Comment):

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    When I used to work in Hollywood, at first being a conservative was like being a fan of model railroading, or square dancing, or Bingo: it was regarded as eccentric, peculiar but harmless. By the time I left, it was probably what being a homosexual in Hollywood was like in 1960 or so: frowned on, but technically legal, if you didn’t push your luck. Now it’s like being a Communist in Germany in 1935; open your mouth once and you’re an outsider on everyone’s suspicion lists.

    Damn shame.

    The problem for me is that I feel like I am running out of time. There are so many people I interact with who I want to be friends with and there are so few areas of conversation available.

    Maybe talk about something other than politics?   Sports?    Art?  Music?  Literature?   Local News?   Sex?  Recreational Activities?  Hobbies?   The Lord?

    • #6
  7. GrannyDude Member
    GrannyDude
    @GrannyDude

    Joseph Stanko (View Comment):

    Southern Pessimist (View Comment):

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    When I used to work in Hollywood, at first being a conservative was like being a fan of model railroading, or square dancing, or Bingo: it was regarded as eccentric, peculiar but harmless. By the time I left, it was probably what being a homosexual in Hollywood was like in 1960 or so: frowned on, but technically legal, if you didn’t push your luck. Now it’s like being a Communist in Germany in 1935; open your mouth once and you’re an outsider on everyone’s suspicion lists.

    Damn shame.

    The problem for me is that I feel like I am running out of time. There are so many people I interact with who I want to be friends with and there are so few areas of conversation available.

    Perhaps you should just lay your cards out on the table and state your views openly. Suppose you alienate 3/4 people by doing so, at least you might forge a deeper connection with the remaining 1/4.

    I agree with this—I’m trying to come up with the best phrase, but something lighthearted, funny, and indicative of your own tolerance towards the person you’re talking to regardless of his/her views.

    We had a houseguest for a night this week with whom I got into really good conversations. Towards the end of the visit, he said how much he valued the mere fact of the conversation—the absence of that awful “carefulness” that marks leftist discussion, even when no conservatives are present.  So not only might you provide relief for the 1/4, you might actually be a pleasant breath of fresh air for some of the 3/4 who are just getting tired of the tiptoe?

    • #7
  8. David Foster Member
    David Foster
    @DavidFoster

    Just think about *younger* people…those under 35, let’s say….they have *never* been able to enjoy non-politicized friendships or non-politicized anything else.

    • #8
  9. The Great Adventure Coolidge
    The Great Adventure
    @TGA

    E. Kent Golding (View Comment):

    Southern Pessimist (View Comment):

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    When I used to work in Hollywood, at first being a conservative was like being a fan of model railroading, or square dancing, or Bingo: it was regarded as eccentric, peculiar but harmless. By the time I left, it was probably what being a homosexual in Hollywood was like in 1960 or so: frowned on, but technically legal, if you didn’t push your luck. Now it’s like being a Communist in Germany in 1935; open your mouth once and you’re an outsider on everyone’s suspicion lists.

    Damn shame.

    The problem for me is that I feel like I am running out of time. There are so many people I interact with who I want to be friends with and there are so few areas of conversation available.

    Maybe talk about something other than politics? Sports? Art? Music? Literature? Local News? Sex? Recreational Activities? Hobbies? The Lord?

    Possibly, but there are those in the progressive wing who view every last one of those topics through a political lens.  Wait, I know conservative minded folks who do the same thing.  And it only seems to escalate as time marches on.

    • #9
  10. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot) Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot)
    @ArizonaPatriot

    I have a contrarian thought.  Surprise, surprise.

    Why do you think that such a “litmus test” is a bad thing?

    It seems to me that this is true only if you consider “tolerance” to be a virtue.  Is it?  Why is it a good idea to tolerate, and even befriend, people who in the service of evil?

    I think that the other side, as a matter of politics, philosophy, and religion, are allies of evil.  For me, this is most apparent in their support for abortion, castration, and nonmedical mastectomy.  Even for children, though I don’t find these much less objectionable among adults.  They support homosexual perversion, too, and fornication.  They seem to be quite strongly anti-life and anti-family.

    It seems to me that for a long time, we thought that we could enjoy a peaceful life by tolerating such evil.  Is this working out well?

    • #10
  11. GrannyDude Member
    GrannyDude
    @GrannyDude

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    I have a contrarian thought. Surprise, surprise.

    Why do you think that such a “litmus test” is a bad thing?

    It seems to me that this is true only if you consider “tolerance” to be a virtue. Is it? Why is it a good idea to tolerate, and even befriend, people who in the service of evil?

    I think that the other side, as a matter of politics, philosophy, and religion, are allies of evil. For me, this is most apparent in their support for abortion, castration, and nonmedical mastectomy. Even for children, though I don’t find these much less objectionable among adults. They support homosexual perversion, too, and fornication. They seem to be quite strongly anti-life and anti-family.

    It seems to me that for a long time, we thought that we could enjoy a peaceful life by tolerating such evil. Is this working out well?

    It’s a good question.

    I think that as long as the discussion and debate are permitted to continue (a’la Ricochet) then tolerance is valuable and necessary. If y’all had not been willing to tolerate me, how would you have eventually been able to change my mind? 

    If there is a hill I’m willing to die on, it is the preservation of free speech and, in law, the first amendment. This is true and urgent now, and would continue to be true (and probably urgent) even if the culture wars are won by people who agree wholeheartedly with you (and thus, to a considerable if not complete degree) with me. 

     

    • #11
  12. Doug Kimball Thatcher
    Doug Kimball
    @DougKimball

    E. Kent Golding (View Comment):

    Southern Pessimist (View Comment):

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    When I used to work in Hollywood, at first being a conservative was like being a fan of model railroading, or square dancing, or Bingo: it was regarded as eccentric, peculiar but harmless. By the time I left, it was probably what being a homosexual in Hollywood was like in 1960 or so: frowned on, but technically legal, if you didn’t push your luck. Now it’s like being a Communist in Germany in 1935; open your mouth once and you’re an outsider on everyone’s suspicion lists.

    Damn shame.

    The problem for me is that I feel like I am running out of time. There are so many people I interact with who I want to be friends with and there are so few areas of conversation available.

    Maybe talk about something other than politics? Sports? Art? Music? Literature? Local News? Sex? Recreational Activities? Hobbies? The Lord?

    Wait, aren’t sex and recreational activities the same thing?

    • #12
  13. CACrabtree Coolidge
    CACrabtree
    @CACrabtree

    Doug Kimball (View Comment):

    E. Kent Golding (View Comment):

    Southern Pessimist (View Comment):

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    When I used to work in Hollywood, at first being a conservative was like being a fan of model railroading, or square dancing, or Bingo: it was regarded as eccentric, peculiar but harmless. By the time I left, it was probably what being a homosexual in Hollywood was like in 1960 or so: frowned on, but technically legal, if you didn’t push your luck. Now it’s like being a Communist in Germany in 1935; open your mouth once and you’re an outsider on everyone’s suspicion lists.

    Damn shame.

    The problem for me is that I feel like I am running out of time. There are so many people I interact with who I want to be friends with and there are so few areas of conversation available.

    Maybe talk about something other than politics? Sports? Art? Music? Literature? Local News? Sex? Recreational Activities? Hobbies? The Lord?

    Wait, aren’t sex and recreational activities the same thing?

    Yeah, I think that most folks in their 70s are pretty much out of the procreation business…

    • #13
  14. E. Kent Golding Member
    E. Kent Golding
    @EKentGolding

    Doug Kimball (View Comment):

    E. Kent Golding (View Comment):

    Southern Pessimist (View Comment):

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    When I used to work in Hollywood, at first being a conservative was like being a fan of model railroading, or square dancing, or Bingo: it was regarded as eccentric, peculiar but harmless. By the time I left, it was probably what being a homosexual in Hollywood was like in 1960 or so: frowned on, but technically legal, if you didn’t push your luck. Now it’s like being a Communist in Germany in 1935; open your mouth once and you’re an outsider on everyone’s suspicion lists.

    Damn shame.

    The problem for me is that I feel like I am running out of time. There are so many people I interact with who I want to be friends with and there are so few areas of conversation available.

    Maybe talk about something other than politics? Sports? Art? Music? Literature? Local News? Sex? Recreational Activities? Hobbies? The Lord?

    Wait, aren’t sex and recreational activities the same thing?

    Only the Best Recreational Activities….

    • #14
  15. Charlotte Member
    Charlotte
    @Charlotte

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    It seems to me that this is true only if you consider “tolerance” to be a virtue.  Is it?  Why is it a good idea to tolerate, and even befriend, people who in the service of evil?

    I work at a public library. Approximately 100% of my coworkers, 99% of those in my line of work, and 90% of the library patrons are far-out-in-another-galaxy lefties.

    What am I supposed to do here? How do I not “tolerate” them, or work-socialize with them (which is similar to “befriending”)?

    • #15
  16. Charlotte Member
    Charlotte
    @Charlotte

    Southern Pessimist: I am 72 years old, and a large majority of the people I socialize with are people I want to become new friends with.

    You mean I still have to try to make new friends when I’m 72??

    I’m already exhausted.

    • #16
  17. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Charlotte (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    It seems to me that this is true only if you consider “tolerance” to be a virtue. Is it? Why is it a good idea to tolerate, and even befriend, people who in the service of evil?

    I work at a public library. Approximately 100% of my coworkers, 99% of those in my line of work, and 90% of the library patrons are far-out-in-another-galaxy lefties.

    What am I supposed to do here? How do I not “tolerate” them, or work-socialize with them (which is similar to “befriending”)?

    Maybe when you and your co-workers are hammering out ideas, smile sweetly and use a real hammer.

    • #17
  18. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot) Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot)
    @ArizonaPatriot

    Charlotte (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    It seems to me that this is true only if you consider “tolerance” to be a virtue. Is it? Why is it a good idea to tolerate, and even befriend, people who in the service of evil?

    I work at a public library. Approximately 100% of my coworkers, 99% of those in my line of work, and 90% of the library patrons are far-out-in-another-galaxy lefties.

    What am I supposed to do here? How do I not “tolerate” them, or work-socialize with them (which is similar to “befriending”)?

    I know.  Diversity of ideas kinda sucks, it turns out.

    You have to work with them, and you have to be civil, or find another job.  You might want to think about whether to befriend them.  Maybe you can be a positive influence, but maybe they’ll be a negative influence on you.

    • #18
  19. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot) Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot)
    @ArizonaPatriot

    GrannyDude (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    I have a contrarian thought. Surprise, surprise.

    Why do you think that such a “litmus test” is a bad thing?

    It seems to me that this is true only if you consider “tolerance” to be a virtue. Is it? Why is it a good idea to tolerate, and even befriend, people who in the service of evil?

    I think that the other side, as a matter of politics, philosophy, and religion, are allies of evil. For me, this is most apparent in their support for abortion, castration, and nonmedical mastectomy. Even for children, though I don’t find these much less objectionable among adults. They support homosexual perversion, too, and fornication. They seem to be quite strongly anti-life and anti-family.

    It seems to me that for a long time, we thought that we could enjoy a peaceful life by tolerating such evil. Is this working out well?

    It’s a good question.

    I think that as long as the discussion and debate are permitted to continue (a’la Ricochet) then tolerance is valuable and necessary. If y’all had not been willing to tolerate me, how would you have eventually been able to change my mind?

    If there is a hill I’m willing to die on, it is the preservation of free speech and, in law, the first amendment. This is true and urgent now, and would continue to be true (and probably urgent) even if the culture wars are won by people who agree wholeheartedly with you (and thus, to a considerable if not complete degree) with me.

     

    Yes, you prefer defending free speech to defending virtue.  You think that this is more important than opposing evil.

    Maybe you’re right about that.  I’ve become more skeptical.

    We’ve had an experiment on this issue in our country for about 250 years now, though my impression is that the strong defense of alternative moral views became much more pronounced in the early 20th Century.  How do you think that it is going?  Are the good guys winning the argument, or losing the argument?

    • #19
  20. Charlotte Member
    Charlotte
    @Charlotte

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    You have to work with them, and you have to be civil

    Well, it sounds here as if you are conceding that tolerance is, in fact, a virtue.

    • #20
  21. Charlotte Member
    Charlotte
    @Charlotte

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    Diversity of ideas kinda sucks, it turns out.

    There is no “diversity of ideas” at all in my workplace. So you are not making the point you think you are making.

    • #21
  22. Charlotte Member
    Charlotte
    @Charlotte

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    Yes, you prefer defending free speech to defending virtue. 

    Don’t we need free speech in order to defend virtue?

    • #22
  23. Charlotte Member
    Charlotte
    @Charlotte

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Charlotte (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    It seems to me that this is true only if you consider “tolerance” to be a virtue. Is it? Why is it a good idea to tolerate, and even befriend, people who in the service of evil?

    I work at a public library. Approximately 100% of my coworkers, 99% of those in my line of work, and 90% of the library patrons are far-out-in-another-galaxy lefties.

    What am I supposed to do here? How do I not “tolerate” them, or work-socialize with them (which is similar to “befriending”)?

    Maybe when you and your co-workers are hammering out ideas, smile sweetly and use a real hammer.

    Ha! The next staff meeting is gonna be lit.

    • #23
  24. RushBabe49 Thatcher
    RushBabe49
    @RushBabe49

    I never try to hide my proclivities.  I am always true to my conservatism, and am upfront about my sometimes incendiary beliefs.  I point people to  my blog, so if they wish they can see what I am interested in (and, these days, horrified by).  Living in a deep blue area, where the Left runs everything, it’s just useless to remain “closeted”.  And I get a lot more smiles and thumbs-up when I wear my Trump t-shirt, than frowns.  For years I had a NoBama bumper sticker on my car, and I had many, many other drivers smile and wave.  And no one ever keyed my car, either.

    On another tangent, isn’t that what Ricochet is for?  To find friends and a whole new family from whom you do not have to conceal your politics?  In the present environment, it’s especially worthwhile to meet in person with Ricochetti in your area.  Schedule an in-person meetup!  I guarantee it will improve your spirits immediately.

    Oh, yeah, I am a year older than you are, and planning on being a signature-verifier in the general election in November. In the belly of the beast, indeed.

    • #24
  25. Brian Wyneken Member
    Brian Wyneken
    @BrianWyneken

    For me it seems to make a difference as to whether or not you have a sense of being more among potential friends, more among potential adversaries, or uncertain of any prevailing culture. Perhaps uncertainly isn’t so bad if a sense of a roughly even mix can serve to keep people less inclined to use “litmus tests.”

    I try to keep in mind that, when wary and defensive, I’m less likely to make friends. But, easier noted than maintained.

    I’m about ten years younger than you, recently retired and thus now separated from all those work colleagues with whom I shared so many good times. My wife and I think about moving away as we often feel out of place – even though we live on land that was once adjacent to the dairy farm where she grew up (it’s now a suburban school complex). I’m not so confident that we will find a place that seems welcoming.

    Ricochet helps, but it doesn’t adequately substitute for that talk over a beer at the kitchen table.

    BTW – do you still have that tin of cinnamon? One of my favorite posts ever:  https://ricochet.com/180274/do-the-best-things-in-life-come-with-an-expiration-date/?fbclid=IwAR0pbgkuwhcjJ6Ln0wtSlRL9hHZf5kqdK3lVSR7rWvcqo60FVRpaEJydLq0

     

    • #25
  26. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot) Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot)
    @ArizonaPatriot

    Charlotte (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    You have to work with them, and you have to be civil

    Well, it sounds here as if you are conceding that tolerance is, in fact, a virtue.

    No.  What was the rest of my sentence?  It was: “. . . or find another job.”  It’s your call.  I think that it is a bad thing that we have so many horrid people in our country.  I wish that this were not the case.

    Charlotte (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    Diversity of ideas kinda sucks, it turns out.

    There is no “diversity of ideas” at all in my workplace. So you are not making the point you think you are making.

    I was referring to “diversity of ideas” in our country.  I wasn’t around myself, but my impression is that we had a pretty solid consensus about traditional values in the 1950s, and even in the 1970s.  Yet we allowed the Left to continue to take over the universities, and the schools, and many other institutions.  My impression is that the rationale for this failure to defend our culture and values was the promotion of “diversity” and “tolerance” and “freedom of speech.”

    Charlotte (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    Yes, you prefer defending free speech to defending virtue.

    Don’t we need free speech in order to defend virtue?

    We probably need it now, not that it is working very well.  As noted above, I think that it was precisely the argument for “free speech” that allowed all of the dreadful ideas of the Leftists to spread and metastasize in our country.

    Those who defend free speech seem to believe that “the truth will out,” and that rational debate will lead to correct conclusions.  We have an empirical experiment on this issue, over the last 50-100 years, in our country and others.  Doesn’t it appear that reality has disproven this hypothesis?

    • #26
  27. GrannyDude Member
    GrannyDude
    @GrannyDude

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    GrannyDude (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    I have a contrarian thought. Surprise, surprise.

    Why do you think that such a “litmus test” is a bad thing?

    It seems to me that this is true only if you consider “tolerance” to be a virtue. Is it? Why is it a good idea to tolerate, and even befriend, people who in the service of evil?

    I think that the other side, as a matter of politics, philosophy, and religion, are allies of evil. For me, this is most apparent in their support for abortion, castration, and nonmedical mastectomy. Even for children, though I don’t find these much less objectionable among adults. They support homosexual perversion, too, and fornication. They seem to be quite strongly anti-life and anti-family.

    It seems to me that for a long time, we thought that we could enjoy a peaceful life by tolerating such evil. Is this working out well?

    It’s a good question.

    I think that as long as the discussion and debate are permitted to continue (a’la Ricochet) then tolerance is valuable and necessary. If y’all had not been willing to tolerate me, how would you have eventually been able to change my mind?

    If there is a hill I’m willing to die on, it is the preservation of free speech and, in law, the first amendment. This is true and urgent now, and would continue to be true (and probably urgent) even if the culture wars are won by people who agree wholeheartedly with you (and thus, to a considerable if not complete degree) with me.

     

    Yes, you prefer defending free speech to defending virtue. You think that this is more important than opposing evil.

    Maybe you’re right about that. I’ve become more skeptical.

    We’ve had an experiment on this issue in our country for about 250 years now, though my impression is that the strong defense of alternative moral views became much more pronounced in the early 20th Century. How do you think that it is going? Are the good guys winning the argument, or losing the argument?

    I think @Charlotte’s comment, on another post, is apropos: Compared to what?

    There is the tempting illusion that the war is going to be won. And once won, we can all stop fighting. 

    The war isn’t against Democrats, or the left, or whatever. They could, at least in theory, be defeated. No, it’s the forever-war against the sins of an imperfect and imperfect-able mankind. 

    I’m having a tough time with this myself. It did seem as though, for a brief shining moment, maybe one battle in that war was won, or at least mostly won. 

    I was naive. But I believed, back in the early part of this century, that the long retreat of racism in America (despite furious rearguard battles) was just about complete.  I believed that this completeness—that victory—wasn’t created by, but merely made inescapably and irrefutably evident in the election of Barack Obama.

    It wasn’t really about Obama’s political ideas—I’d like to think that I would have been just as gratified by the election of Condi Rice or Allen West, even if I was more of a left-y in those days. This was a good thing in itself: The end of racism as a significant force in American life, culture and politics. 

    To see what this looked and felt like, you only have to go back and watch re-runs of just about any sit-com popular in the first decade of the twenty-first century. The jokes about race and racial politics on “The Office” or “Community” for instance, aren’t just funny, they’re so generous and happy—downright ebullient. Characters like Michael Scott or Pierce can say stupid, racist, insensitive things…and not only is this considered hilarious, but these characters are not counted as irredeemable. They aren’t  kicked off the island or expelled from the human race;  They are forgivable and, in the end, forgiven. 

    Scriptwriters could count on so much open space available in the American heart  in those days…and we’re only talking twelve years ago or less! The blink of an eye separates us from 2012, but wow. What a difference a decade has made? 

    Reading Bari Weiss’ piece about Salman Rushdie reminds me of how much more vast a space has opened up between 1989 and now, too. The Satanic Verses would never be published today.  There is no one like Susan Sontag to shame her fellow intellectuals into sitting through a public reading of a book that (some) Muslims might be offended by. What bookstore risks even a tweetstorm—let alone an actual bomb—to keep a “racist” novel on their shelves? Cowardice is now the norm. But cowardice always was the norm, and always will be, along with selfishness, venality, mendacity, greed… .   

    Why would God bother asking us to be normal? God doesn’t.  Conform not to the world, Paul’s letter to the Romans says, with  no indication that this advice is ever going to be passe or unnecessary.  No excellent world is coming in which conformity to it will, at last, make good Christian (or Jewish) sense. 

    “My name is GrannyDude, and I’m a Deplorable. What’s your name?”

     

     

      

    • #27
  28. Southern Pessimist Member
    Southern Pessimist
    @SouthernPessimist

    A few years ago I lost a lot of friends by being overly outspoken about my political views. I was somewhat stunned by this because I was mostly trying to be clever or funny. I was amused by my outrageous opinions but apparently no one else was. A friend who I respected said to me in private, “You know, sometimes it is better to be nice than to be right.”

    I took that to heart. I really would prefer to be nice. I try. It certainly has its rewards. But it seems to get harder every day. 

     

     

    • #28
  29. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy Weivoda
    @RandyWeivoda

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Why do you think that such a “litmus test” is a bad thing?

    It seems to me that this is true only if you consider “tolerance” to be a virtue.  Is it?  Why is it a good idea to tolerate, and even befriend, people who in the service of evil?

    Jerry, I probably disagree with your opinions at least 50% of the time.  I think your values are often different from mine and although I have many complaints about our current society, I wouldn’t want to live in a society strictly based on your principles.  I don’t think that makes you evil. I don’t want you to shut up.  Call me a radical, but I think it is healthy to hear opinions different from the ones we each already hold.  Surely you agree with that, or you wouldn’t still be on Ricochet, knowing how frequently your opinions differ from the majority here.  So if it is alright to trade thoughts with people you disagree with online, why should someone shut out everyone with contrary opinions offline?

    • #29
  30. Joseph Stanko Coolidge
    Joseph Stanko
    @JosephStanko

    Charlotte (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Charlotte (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    It seems to me that this is true only if you consider “tolerance” to be a virtue. Is it? Why is it a good idea to tolerate, and even befriend, people who in the service of evil?

    I work at a public library. Approximately 100% of my coworkers, 99% of those in my line of work, and 90% of the library patrons are far-out-in-another-galaxy lefties.

    What am I supposed to do here? How do I not “tolerate” them, or work-socialize with them (which is similar to “befriending”)?

    Maybe when you and your co-workers are hammering out ideas, smile sweetly and use a real hammer.

    Ha! The next staff meeting is gonna be lit.

    Bang!  Bang!  Charlotte’s silver hammer came down, upon their heads!

    • #30
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