Perhaps the greatest difficulty of having a civil debate about gay marriage is the readiness of all too many (but fortunately not all) gay marriage advocates to label those who oppose gay marriage (or just state recognition thereof) as “haters,” or recalling Prop 8, h8ers.
Today, in a post at pjmedia (the Glenn linked), Roger Kimball finds that gay marriage advocates aren’t the only ones to define their ideological adversaries as haters. Reporting on the decision of the government of the United Kingdom to ban Pamela Geller and Robert Geller from visiting that nation, Kimball comments:
A spokesman for the Home Office welcomed the ban on Geller and Spencer, explaining: “The UK should never become a stage for inflammatory speakers who promote hate.” Hmm — “who promote hate.” Query: do Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer “promote hate”? Or is that just a rhetorical epithet employed by ideologues bent on advancing a certain politically correct agenda in order to stifle criticism? (Another question: what is a “hate crime”? Is a crime more of a crime because it was committed by someone who dislikes the victim? Or is it like the term “social justice,” a piece of rhetorical legerdemain intended to lend gravity to a noun by the act of prefacing an emotionally charged but irrelevant adjective?)
The point is that the metabolism of liberal democracy depends upon the free exchange of ideas, which means, in part, a vigorous circulation of competing ideas. No less a figure than John Stuart Mill, in On Liberty, pointed out: “He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that.” There is plenty to criticize in Mill, heaven knows (and I’ve done my bit to criticize him), but he was surely right that liberal democracy depends in part upon fostering the “collision” of competing ideas.
Emphasis added to elucidate the brand new politically correct definition of hate.
Read the whole thing.