Today, Mr. Sullivan counsels maximal tolerance for objectionable language:
"But I like the term “homo”! I use it all the time – about myself and others, although I also often use “fag” as well. The gay thought-police would be aghast, but the intent is what matters. Mine is mostly benign. Mostly. But mainly, one great legacy of the gay community has been our love of freedom, especially of speech. For centuries and decades, the right to free speech was our only truly secure constitutional right. We were always about enlarging what was sayable, rather than restricting it."
-- Andrew Sullivan, 03/25/14
Yesterday, Mr. Sullivan counselled maximal magnanimity towards those who would oppose you:
"One obvious objection is that the word bigotry is far too crude to define the vast array of feelings, ideas, arguments or mere ignorance that can lie behind opposition to gays getting married. Using the term “bigotry” or, even worse, the hideous propaganda term “hate”, just doesn’t do justice to the range of human reaction to profound social change. To make an obvious point – around a third of Americans have changed their minds on the subject in the last decade and a half. Bigots, by definition, are not open to such shifts in opinion. You can’t reason someone out of something they didn’t use reason to get into.
..."Americans are not all bigots. Not even close. They can be persuaded rather than attacked. And if we behave magnanimously and give maximal space for those who sincerely oppose us, then eventual persuasion will be more likely. And our victory more moral and more enduring."-- Andrew Sullivan, 03/24/14
All of which sounds quite high and noble and easy to nod along with until you put down the bong for a minute and remember that just four months ago Mr. Sullivan was absolutely reveling in MSNBC's firing of Alec Baldwin for yelling something stupid over his shoulder and thereby single-handedly destroyed New York's hard-earned reputation as a G-rated, family-friendly Disneyland-on-the-Hudson.
Nothing marks someone as a real American Conservative quite so clearly as the distance between their sweeping statements of universal principles and their pissy, clueless hypocrisy when the real-world application of those principles lands in their own back yard.I just believe that explicitly homophobic slurs directed at actual human beings as a way to degrade them doesn’t have a “but-he’s-a-liberal” exception. It’s ugly and would not be tolerated if directed against any other minority group. MSNBC did the right thing.