On Duck Dynasty, tolerance and public opinion

An interesting little tale about the intersection of tolerance and public opinion:

Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson will return to work on A&E’s reality show despite his comments about gay immorality, the channel said, reversing its decision to suspend him after facing a backlash and threatened boycott.

In a statement A&E said it was bringing Robertson back after discussions with his Louisiana family featured in the reality series and “numerous advocacy groups.”

Last week, the channel had put Robertson on what it called an indefinite “hiatus” because of his comments in a GQ magazine article that the Bible views gays as sinners akin to adulterers, prostitutes and swindlers.

A&E said it decided to drop Robertson from the show about a wealthy family that makes duck calls because it is part of a company whose core values are “centered around creativity, inclusion and mutual respect.”

Robertson’s remarks were quickly slammed by groups including GLAAD, the gay rights watchdog organisation. But A&E’s move against Robertson provoked a flood of support from those who share his views and others who defended his freedom of speech.

A petition calling for A&E to bring him back reached 250,000 signatures and counting in about a week.

This is, of course, absolutely damn all to do with the First Amendment. That only says that the government cannot limit free speech: it says nothing at all about whether public mores can or should limit it.

It is, however, about tolerance. He’s got some fairly biblical ideas about Teh Gayers including the idea that they’ll not go to heaven if they do what comes naturally. At least he’s not proposing that walls be tumbled over on to them.

But by far the most interesting part of this is that certain people were not willing to be tolerant about his words. And I’m afraid that that’s where the important part of it all is. It’s no damn good calling for tolerance for me but not for thee: that’s not actually tolerance at all.

It’s entirely right to insist that we be tolerant of what other consenting adults get up to. Including, absolutely, two men shacking up with a couple of toy poodles. Or any other variation of gender and or sex that any groups of consenting adults wish to cohabit or share bodily fluids with. But that very same tolerance means that we must also, all, put up with those who shout fire and brimstone about people doing that.

No, we don’t have to put up with incitement to immediate violence. But we do indeed have to put up with people who insist that those who play the todger to the bum game cannot get to meet the sky fairy.

Because, y’know, that’s what tolerance means.

As to the TV station, they’ve just looked at which side their bread is buttered. And there seem to be many more fans of the show who are tolerant of such speech than there are who are not.

Oh well, everyone does indeed say that they want to live in a democracy, don’t they?

 

18 thoughts on “On Duck Dynasty, tolerance and public opinion”

  1. “…whose core values are “centered around creativity, inclusion and mutual respect.”…”

    And thus is displayed the moral bankruptcy of the Liberal (US version). Some cultures aren’t deserving of ‘respect’.

  2. @TimW
    Why are you “entirely right to insist that we be tolerant”? And what’s with the we? Sounds a tad close to “The only thing we’re intolerant of is intolerance.” Which is the excuse usually used for ramming personal preferences down other’s throats.

  3. BiS, it’s a ‘reality show’, or ‘cheap tv’ as we say on Planet Earth.

    Ah, so its nothing to do with the real world then?

  4. Julie. I’m torn between ornithological outreach & hillbillies living in a region abundant in natural helium seepage. I don’t with to be disillusioned by any realities.

  5. I think that to me the basic point here is that the whole basis of religion- at least these sorts of religions- is telling people that things that may or may not be normal are sinful. Eating ham sandwiches, wearning cotton and linen together, having an intact penis, wanking, looking at ladies in a lusty way. I don’t see quite why teh gayers get exempt from that when the eaters of ham sandwiches don’t.

    Many years ago I was in the Maplins in Hammersmith and a fellow was buying headphones. He asked the assistant- a slightly odd chap that experienced customers tended to avoid- about a particular pair and got the reply “I don’t know how they sound, my religion forbids me from wearing headphones”.

    It’s just what religion does. Rules of a frequently arbitrary nature, the transgressors of which are considered to be sinners.

  6. Some cultures aren’t deserving of ‘respect’.

    Some cultures, whether you may consider them worthy of respect or not, seem incapable of doing ‘mutual’. Which is possibly more to the point. Noting that the pub(l)ic outreach bit of the gayer community is indeed one of those.

  7. I wonder what’s more likely to incite homophobia:

    A) Old white guys who hold that God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve, and occasionally mention it.

    Or

    B) Aggressive gay advocacy groups who demand the right to censor every television programme on every channel, 24/7, such that only people who say gushingly nice things about homosexuality are ever allowed to appear on television.

  8. Ian B,

    I think that to me the basic point here is that the whole basis of religion- at least these sorts of religions- is telling people that things that may or may not be normal are sinful. Eating ham sandwiches, wearning cotton and linen together, having an intact penis, wanking, looking at ladies in a lusty way. I don’t see quite why teh gayers get exempt from that when the eaters of ham sandwiches don’t.

    Frankly, I’m more concerned about the irrational real world problems than what people’s opinions are on what their sky fairy thinks we should be doing (and as long as they don’t try and impose their daft rules about shellfish and meat and milk together on me, that’s fine).

    There are people who think we can print money, people who think that creating jobs is a good thing, people who believe that homeopathy works, or that lots of windmills across the country adds up, that the Olympics is good for a country, that you need a state funded broadcaster producing soap operas and ballroom dancing shows, all of which are impositions on people. None of these have any evidence to support them, and plenty of opposing evidence.

    And those irrational thoughts have cause far more damage than people who believe that we’re descended from Adam and Eve or that Noah’s ark really existed or that Loki causes them to trip on a pavement.

  9. Tim’s notion of total tolerance is a historical nonsense.
    Socrates wasn’t condemned for corrupting youth with the buggery in the lyceum, but for corrupting them with ideas. Ancient Greece (and parts of modern New Guinea) regarded homo acts between adults and minors as educational.
    In the seventies, the PIE (openly proseletising paedos) were affiliated to the Council for Civil Liberties and was cosy with the Labour party. At the time, homosexuality was illegal.
    Personally I think we’ve got the balance roughly right today but I’m not so naive as to imagine that morals won’t shift tomorrow, and that the law will follow public morality.

  10. So far as one can tell, this whole PIE/NCCL thing started off on the likes of the David Icke forums as a desperate councter-conspiracy theory trying to prove that Harriet Harman is part of a secret paedophile network at every level of government, who are also lizards from Zeta Reticuli who feast on human flesh, or something.

    The rather more boring reality is that PIE, like NAMBLA in the USA, was basically some of that faction of teh gayers who hope for a “liberation” for pederasty on the back of the growing success of gay rights generally and, ironically, picked the then obscure label of “paedophile” as a brand that would avoid the negative connotations of “pederast”. There are few pressure groups in history who have so woefully misjudged the way the wind would blow.

  11. Phillip Scott Thomas

    What the the Stigler said.

    Timmy’s old mucker, the blogger formerly known as Devil’s Kitchen, used to appear on Iain Dale’s internet TV programme from time to time. There was one appearance (my god, was it really seven years ago?) when he set off something of a shit-storm by saying that socialism was worse than racism. He elaborated his point in the second half of this blog post.

    Mutatis mutandis, the same applies here. What someone believes about homosexuality, evolution, drinking, dancing and so on is of far less importance that what they believe about social justice, equality, monetary policy, and the like.

  12. So Much For Subtlety

    bloke in france – “Ancient Greece (and parts of modern New Guinea) regarded homo acts between adults and minors as educational.”

    You mean a small sub-set of creepy old male teachers who most Greeks mocked thought it was educational.

    “In the seventies, the PIE (openly proseletising paedos) were affiliated to the Council for Civil Liberties and was cosy with the Labour party.”

    Everyone thought that open paedophiles were cool until about five minutes ago – when the Gay community realised most people were appalled by them and that it could be used as a stick to beat the Catholic Church with. Up to that point, the Gay community was happy to defend them. Even Peter Tatchell called for the age of consent to be dropped to 12 or something. Less than that now I check it:

    The positive nature of some child-adult sexual relationships is not confined to non-Western cultures. Several of my friends – gay and straight, male and female – had sex with adults from the ages of nine to 13. None feel they were abused. All say it was their conscious choice and gave them great joy. While it may be impossible to condone paedophilia, it is time society acknowledged the truth that not all sex involving children is unwanted, abusive and harmful.

    Personally I think we’ve got the balance roughly right today but I’m not so naive as to imagine that morals won’t shift tomorrow, and that the law will follow public morality.

    But we are only in the middle point in the move from the old morality to the new morality. There are significant sections of the Gay community who are not tolerant. Most of the Left is also not tolerant. That is why if the Beard Guy was in Britain and said what he said on a street corner, he could have gone to jail for it. You can’t say you like the mid point and expect to remain there. Either their view or his view will be criminalised in the end. You will have to decide which you would prefer.

    Ian B – “So far as one can tell, this whole PIE/NCCL thing started off on the likes of the David Icke forums as a desperate councter-conspiracy theory trying to prove that Harriet Harman is part of a secret paedophile network at every level of government, who are also lizards from Zeta Reticuli who feast on human flesh, or something.”

    Well it would explain a lot really.

    “There are few pressure groups in history who have so woefully misjudged the way the wind would blow.”

    There is an excellent article called Pedeophilia Chic that you can probably find on the internet. They did not misjudge the way they wind was blowing. Virtually everyone did come out, so to speak, for the paedophiles. Roman Polanski is still protected to this day. No one wants to call Piers Paolo Pasolini a paedophile. But the Gayers decided they hated the Catholic Church more. Give them time.

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