Sunday, February 15, 2015

Defining Tolerance....

A Rogue's gallery of Ideological Bigots;

Image result for Craig Stephen Hicks
Craig Stephen Hicks (Anti-Theist killer)

Image result for Rosemary Lehmberg
Rosemary Lehmberg Rogue TX D.A.

Image result for John Chisholm WI
John Chislom Rogue WIisconsin D.A.

"Tolerance," like "peace," and "love" are things that everyone can seem to agree upon....UNTIL it gets down to actually defining them, because, like "truth" and "beauty" these terms all mean different things to different people.

For instance, what's the difference between this tee shirt;

And this one?

The most basic and direct answer is....there IS absolutely NO difference between the two shirts.

And YET, people claim to find offense with one and NOT the other...with the offense differing based solely on the observer's personal perspective. The truth is, IF you find offense in ONE, you SHOULD (if fair minded) find offense in BOTH, as both are statements that endorse racialism, or "race consciousness." 
BOTH shirts advocate for a single, specific race, BOTH promote a solidarity based solely on race, which is antithetical to the mores and values  of a multi-cultural society. I am admittedly vaguely uncomfortable with both shirts, but find neither one of them overtly “offensive.”

Recently, an FDNY attorney argued that a shirt with a Maltese Cross (a traditional Fire Department symbol) on the front, with the words Merit and Matters on the top and bottom bars of the cross, respectively and a phrase from the FDNY's own EEO policy that reads, "The Fire department is firmly committed to maintaining fair employment practices for its employees and applicants and ensuring that employment decisions are made without regard to color...gender...race...religion..." on the back, was somehow "bigoted" and "offensive."

How does the simple phrase "Merit Matters" become offensive in a job that is and long has been filled via the dictates of the Civil Service MERIT System? Especially when the City of New York clearly states in its own 2013 Workforce Profile Report; “Many job categories for NYC employees are governed by New York State civil service law. The civil service system is designed to ensure that public sector jobs in New York State and its municipalities are filled based on MERIT as determined by examination, education, and experience. Most City jobs are filled from ranked competitive lists based on examination scores.” (

So, how does a phrase taken directly from that organization's EEO policy become "offensive"?

Partly because some people (even some in government) take offense to the idea that the underlying sentiment of that shirt is the absolute rejection of the idea of "special considerations" or "preferences" based on race and/or gender," AND that it implies that the FDNY's own EEO policy does NOT recognize, nor endorse the existence of "protected groups," nor the view that "some preferences are warranted."

That's NOT the fault of an organization named Merit Matters. It's the FDNY's fault and more specifically the fault of its own EEO Unit that it hasn't changed, or updated its policy statement.

IF the FDNY's EEO statement read something like, "The FDNY is firmly committed to fair employment practices and therefore adheres to existing affirmative action guidelines that may bestow hiring preferences based on color, gender, religion and race, at varying times..." that entire controversy would've been avoided, as Merit Matters could NOT have highlighted what, in the first instance, appears to be an innate hypocrisy between the stated objectives of the FDNY's EEO Unit and the FDNY's actions.

Now, that change in wording would NOT bar, nor deter such groups from legally challenging such preferences and looking to bar the use of poorly defined principles like "disparate impact," etc.

Many firefighters and interested civilians see the matter as a "health and safety issue," for BOTH active duty firefighters AND the public.

Again, this highlights the dangerous nature of ideological bigotry. Craig S. Hicks was an avowed "anti-theist," which is fine. What ISN'T "fine," is Hicks' irrational view that he could justifiably impose his view on others, as when he murdered 3 Muslim neighbors, allegedly over a parking space. 
Hicks apparently believed that his view was “the right one,” and thus superior to those who disagreed with him. That twisted perspective allowed him to rationalize shutting up those who disagreed with him...allegedly in this most recent incident, permanently.

The fact that both John Chisolm (a Milwaukee, WI D.A.) and Travis County, Texas, D.A., Rosemary Lehmberg have brought charges against sitting Governors (Scott Walker and Rick Perry respectively) primarily and ostensibly over ideological differences (Chisolm's allegedly at the behest of his Union shop steward wife and Lehmberg over a personal vendetta with Governor Perry) and this also highlights the very real abuses when such petty bigotries are allowed to be used by those entrusted to enforce the LAW.

In my view, BOTH Lehmberg and Chisolm SHOULD BE disbarred for allowing their personal ideological bigotries to color their legal judgments.

The law is NOT allowed to "take sides." There is NO "right ideology" nor "wrong ideology" in the eyes of the law. The communist has as much right to espouse his views as the nazi does to espouse hers. The liberal has as much right to espouse her views, as the conservative does to espouse his. Free speech is for ALL, or it exists for NONE. In fact, the ONLY speech that requires protections is controversial, offensive and unpopular speech.

Attempting to criminalize a specific ideology is itself a criminal act.


FIREBIRD said...

Excellent analysis.... and the more harsh the speech, the more it needs to be protected. If it's offensive to you, move along - the Constitution does NOT give you the right NOT to be offended

JMK said...

Hi Firebird! 100% right...there is no right NOT to be "offended." The 1st Amendment exists to protect controversial, unpopular and "offensive" speech." The ONLY kinds of speech that can be made illegal are threatening, libelous and "inciteful" speech and there's a pretty high bar on all of those.

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