Sunday, April 05, 2015

Freedom of Choice

So the outrage de la semaine is, as it turns out, completely imaginary -- that is, a small business has been mercilessly e-heckled not because they refused to cater a gay wedding, but because they said they would refuse if asked. Is this what it's come to?

This is a tough one to be sure, friends 'n' neighbors, at least at first blush. From a practical standpoint, it's difficult to see how the appearance, right or wrong, of kajillions of cyber-twats over-reacting and e-spewing their self-righteous virtual venom is going to help win any converts to The Cause. All it's going to do is make the folks who already have their backs up pitch their coccyges that much higher, so much so that the pizza place in question -- which, let's recall, didn't actually have any complaints about discriminating against gay customers -- is now probably going to get a nice payday from, or whatever it's called.

It's one thing if a Big Corporation pulls that sort of shit and gets hit up with the Big Angry, quite another when it's a mom-and-pop prayer-circle pizza joint. I'm sure some noted sage or other had something pithy to say about picking and choosing one's battles wisely, but goddamned if some of these dopes never got the memo.

Of course, as you might suppose, that other side rushing to the defense of "religious freedom" is every bit as insufferable as their bien pensant counterparts, if anything even more so. I can't envision a scenario that puts me on the same side of any issue as noob tool Tom Cotton, and I'm not about to start with this issue, especially since the guy seems about as hinky as it gets. (Seriously, what kind of a grown-ass man buys birthday cake every few days?)

What all this nonsense has accomplished is that it's allowed idiots to crowdfund a cross to nail themselves to for their piety. This one is just a peach:

The florist who refused to provide flowers for a gay couple’s wedding has netted more than $80,000 from an online crowdfunding page dedicated to “protect her and her livelihood.”

Stutzman was fined $1,000, plus $1 for court costs and fees in March for refusing to serve a gay couple when they tried to buy wedding flowers in 2013, reported ABC News.

Stutzman said even though one of the men who wanted the flowers was her friend, providing flowers for his marriage went against her beliefs as a Southern Baptist.

Well, with "friends" like that....

It would be interesting if one (1) of the media entities publicizing this martyrdom jabber would follow up on the crowdfunding aspect of all these people, see how many of those pledges actually pay up, or if some of them, once the drunken glow of self-satisfaction wears off, look at a pizza place getting nearly a million dollars pledged to it in the course of just a few days, and decide that for that amount of money, what's the harm in changing your mind?

The concern trolls will ask questions, as is their wont, and they should be answered, as they apply across the board: does a Muslim bakery have a right to refuse service to a Christian or Jew, or to an unaccompanied woman; does a gay wedding photographer have a right to refuse to serve a straight couple; and on and on. Turning some of these tables on the most strident voices, forcing them to confront their own choices and their own personal bigotries, might just beat it into the heads of at least a few of them.

The current whinging will die down soon enough, as these dumb things tend to do. But it will be back, again and again, as the perennial presidential campaign continues apace. We've come a long way on this issue in a very short amount of time -- it was barely ten years ago that ol' Turd Blossom used it as a wedge in the southern states to get the win for his boy Fredo, and to grab a few down-ticket races as a bonus. But people have come around, the anti-marriage laws have been dumped and replaced.

Right now it's being portrayed as "personal rights" or "religious freedom," in much the same way that the Woah o' Nawthun Aggression is about "states' rights." But as Primus said long ago, the flame that burns twice as bright burns only half as long, and this is no exception. Once the brave and noble e-defenders of liberty have moved on to the next imaginary outrage, gay patrons will remember, and they'll be buying their flowers and pizzas elsewhere. In the end, this is not politics, or even religion. It's just business.

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