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The Paradoxical Doctrine of Progressive Tolerance
The Paradoxical Doctrine of Progressive Tolerance
by Hayley Grande
Progressives are driving the paradoxical doctrine of tolerance to its logical conclusion – complete intolerance of conservative ideas.
At a recent rally in Los Angeles, Democratic California Rep. Maxine Waters implored her supporters to “push back” on members of President Trump’s cabinet at every opportunity by confronting and harassing them in public places. Waters justifies such behavior by citing the “zero tolerance” immigration policy enforced by the administration, thus promoting protests against White House officials rather than engaging in open political discourse.
Although Waters received some gentle criticism from her leftist peers, most were too afraid to challenge her divisive rhetoric. Even those who did, such as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi in this tweet, lambast President Trump as the ultimate source of intolerance, not the hypocritical doctrine itself.
Marji Ross, the President and Publisher of Regnery Publishing and long-time CBLPI board member, succinctly explained this paradox during her speech at the DC Women’s Summit. Just a week before Waters’ call to action, Marji described how liberal demands for tolerance from conservatives are no longer requests for respectful acceptance of opposing beliefs. Conservatives are forced to personally endorse progressive beliefs if they wish to be viewed as “tolerant” in the eyes of the left.
Self-proclaimed open-minded liberals only respect a dialogue that conforms to their preexisting narrative. Once they determine that you are an “intolerant” person simply because you have different ideas, the likelihood of engaging in a productive conversation decreases exponentially.
In the case of Maxine Waters, harassing Trump administration officials en masse is more favorable than logically debating the issue of immigration reform.
Such paradoxical leftist intolerance undermines several fundamental American principles, ranging from individual freedom, expression of ideas, and most notably religious liberty. The controversy created by biased media coverage surrounding the June 4 Supreme Court ruling in favor of Jack Phillips, a Colorado baker and owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, exemplifies how their selective version of tolerance is only applied to ideas they agree with.
In short, Phillips refused to create a custom wedding cake for the marriage of a gay couple because it conflicts with his Christian faith, although according to his attorney, Kristen Waggoner, “he was quick to tell the couple that he would design a cake for them for another occasion or sell them anything else in his store.” The couple, David Mullins and Charlie Craig, brought the case to the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, which ruled in their favor on the basis of a Colorado anti-discrimination law, which was upheld after Phillips appealed and eventually made it to the Supreme Court.
This court decision is not a victory for religious liberty and is certainly not a demonstration of tolerance by the left for religious beliefs. The Supreme Court ruled in favor of Masterpiece Cakeshop not to set a precedent of upholding an individual’s right to religious expression, but instead because the Colorado Civil Rights Commission and Court of Appeals failed to treat Phillips with neutral and respectful consideration regarding his Christian faith.
The only way for Phillips to be “tolerant” of the couple would have been to design the wedding cake, thus endorsing the ceremony of a gay marriage and compromising his religious views. Phillip’s offer to sell the couple anything else in the store or design a different cake is an insufficient display of respect according to the liberal doctrine of tolerance.
Another display of leftist tolerance occurred in Arizona last week. A Walgreens pharmacist refused to fill a prescription for the medication Misoprostol, an abortion inducing drug, for Nicole Arteaga. Arteaga had just learned that the 10 week old unborn child she was carrying no longer had a heartbeat and would result in a miscarriage. According to this article, the pharmacist cited his ethical beliefs and opted to transfer the prescription to a nearby store, where Arteaga was able to receive her medication without a problem.
Despite the pharmacist’s efforts to tolerate Arteaga’s decision by following Arizona law while upholding his moral values, some liberals go as far as describing his refusal to enable an abortion as a “special kind of awful” and an assault on women’s rights.
To the left, the pharmacist’s refusal to enable an abortion was an appalling act of intolerance. Just like in the case of the Masterpiece Cakeshop, progressives demand that conservatives actively participate in and endorse progressive ideas — a very different request than respectful toleration. Anyone who refuses to conform to the liberal narrative is unworthy of respect from the “tolerant” left.
Maxine Waters’ call to harass members of the Trump administration perfectly illustrates the ultimate conclusion of this paradox – absolute intolerance for conservative ideas and an end to two-sided political discourse.
Hayley Grande is a 2018 CBLPI Fellow.