Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Editorials: Where I rant to the wall about politics. And sometimes the wall rants back.

Quakers refusing gun permits

Jerry Stratton, September 3, 2015

Ah, memes. They make it so easy to turn enemies into clichés, and avoid thinking.

I have to wonder: just how many of those supporting Kentucky clerk Kim Davis’s refusal to issue marriage licenses based on her religious objection to same-sex couples marrying would support a Quaker government official who refused to issue them gun permits based on a religious commitment to pacifism?—Lambda Legal Legal Director Jon Davidson

I’m actually inclined to say that Kim Davis and her office should be required to follow the law. However, the issue is not nearly as simple as this meme makes it out to be. When Davis, a Democrat, was elected, the duties of the office did not conflict with her religious beliefs. Should she lose her job now, because that one aspect of her job now does?

We currently, today, allow people to avoid some parts of their government jobs because it conflicts with their religious beliefs. When we had the draft, we allowed people to avoid it because of religious beliefs. Even today, we allow people to join the military, knowing what it entails, and choose health-care positions and other non-combat positions rather than combat positions, because of their religious beliefs.

My inclination is that if the second amendment were passed after the Quaker government official took that job, I’d support them doing what Kim Davis is doing: let someone else in another office handle that one aspect of their job.1 Just as I support Quakers joining the military and going into health-care positions rather than combat positions.

The fact is, conscientious objection and even conscientious activism is something the left normally supports. Do those who oppose Kim Davis’s conscientious objection also oppose sanctuary cities refusing to help the federal government deport illegal aliens? Those officials took their jobs—got elected just like Kim Davis did—knowing what the law required of them. Do those who oppose Kim Davis’s refusal also oppose her counterparts who issued marriage licenses before it was legal to do so, as in San Francisco? They took their jobs already knowing what the law was. The law didn’t change underneath them; they decided to ignore it.

Should a judge who opposes the death penalty in a state that prescribes it for some offenses, resign?

This is a far tougher issue than a stupid meme. Obviously, the principled position for Davis to take is to resign her office, and I think she should. Just like the principled position for officials in sanctuary cities is to resign rather than break the law. But I say that from the vantage point of relative financial security. Some people need their jobs to support themselves and/or their family; should they be fired once the law changes?

The policies of sanctuary cities actually kill. Should the officials in them be forced to help with deportations or lose their jobs? If you believe that Kim Davis should be forced to issue marriage licenses or lose hers, then you believe they should.

Left Shaming

Doxxing—posting docs about someone’s personal life—is not an attack. As long as you “believe” and “feel” that it’s okay. (I removed the personal info that started this discussion.)

Of course, thinking about things like this requires serious thought and it requires empathizing with those who disagree with you. Instead, the left has progressed to simply attacking the clerk’s lifestyle and what she looks like. The left has become so infantilized by finger nannies and political correctness that even when they’re right they cannot imagine any argument other than moronic memes and public shaming.

So much of left-wing thought is a kind of playing with fire by people who don’t even know that fire is hot.—George Orwell (Inside the Whale)

The Supreme Court has spoken unanimously. Kim Davis is going to be out of a job soon. All of this piling onto the politics of personal destruction does nothing except satisfy Orwell’s two-minutes hate. It is not going to otherwise make one bit of difference. But it is making new rules of politics.

Here’s a question for those on the left who support it: if you were put in the position of having to choose between, say, deporting a father and breaking up a family or resigning and going jobless for a while, because of a new law that wasn’t there when you took your job, would you want your political opponents attacking your decision or attacking your lifestyle? Doesn’t matter what your decision is. How should your decision be treated?

Because you have to live in the world you are creating.

Update: I’ve been getting some barely literate comments from people who can’t seem to grasp nuance or logic. Of course, that’s the level of discourse on the left today. Among the things they can’t seem to grasp is that deportation sometimes means violence, and always means the threat of violence.

For them, I’ve created a second version of the meme. It’s not as nuanced as I’d like—that’s the first version. But those are the times we live in. The original is still linked below.

In response to 2015 in photos: For photos and perhaps other quick notes sent from my mobile device or written on the fly during 2015.

September 30, 2015: A compromise proposal for Kentucky Quakers
Required carry licenses

Should county officials also be required to grant carry licenses, despite opposing the constitutional right to bear arms?

I want to emphasize what was just a footnote in the parent article. That hypothetical Quaker already exists. He exists today and has existed for years. What gay marriage activists are going through in Kentucky is already the case for gun owners throughout the United States. In some states, such as California, carry licenses are denied simply because the county official who grants them doesn’t agree with the explicit constitutional right to bear arms.

Nor are states required to treat out-of-state carry licenses with the “full faith and credit” required for marriage licenses.

The left has asked us, what if a Quaker refused to grant carry licenses, like the Kentucky clerk refuses to grant marriage licenses?

They seemed surprised to learn that conscientious objection has a long tradition in the United States, and they seemed to have no idea that what they proposed already exists. While I agreed that, in my opinion, the Kentucky clerk should issue licenses or resign, certainly accomodations can be made, in the tradition of conscientious objectors, for both the Kentucky clerk and the hypothetical Quaker. At the same time there is no reason for an Orwellian five-minute hate publicizing her private life, nor for the pronouncements from people outside her religion telling her what her religion means.

The fact is, what gay marriage activists experienced in Kentucky is precisely what gun owners experience every day, in states like California, in states like New York and New Jersey, and in individual counties, cities, and municipalities across the country.

Those couples could not have received a carry license in San Diego County, California, where I lived for many years, nor in Los Angeles County to the north. And even if San Diego or Los Angeles granted them a carry license, it would not be valid throughout the United States. New Jersey and New York have both been in the news recently for arresting people with carry licenses from other states who carried across their state line, and treating them as criminals simply because politicians on one side of the line recognize a constitutional right, and politicians on the other side deny it, and punish them for it.

September 8, 2015: Let those who are without sin share the first post

…it is one thing to believe in witches, and quite another to believe in witch-smellers.—G. K. Chesterton (Eugenics and Other Evils)

Replace “witch” with “hypocrite” and you have my opinion on people who claim to be able to interpret another person’s religion for them, to look into their heart, and proclaim that they have sniffed out a hypocrite.

On Sunday I read about the Muslim flight attendant who does not wish to serve alcohol, as it conflicts with her religion. Just as I wrote about the Kentucky clerk, if I were her boss I would be inclined to find a way for her to continue her job without selling alcohol; but I would (as with the clerk) also understand if those in charge of her decide to fire her.

I also, as I wrote about the clerk, would personally think it more appropriate to resign, but understand that other people have different needs when it comes to jobs.

People can disagree about what would be appropriate for the flight attendant to do, and what would be appropriate for her employer to do.

What would not be appropriate would be for her employer to publicize photos of her past drinking habits, if any, regardless of how factual the allegations were. Nor would it be appropriate for her customers to try shaming her by publicizing her personal drinking, nor for people who just generally disagreed with her to join in.

There could be any number of reasons she could legitimately have a religious conviction against serving alcohol even though she has a (completely hypothetical)1 record of drinking.

  • It could be that she learned from hard experience that it was wrong, and she changed her ways because of her experience.
  • It could be that she recognizes her own weakness, and is public about it, while still affirming her religious belief. There’s nothing wrong with that, if she’s honest about it.
  • For that matter, some religions count it as more of a sin to help someone else sin than to sin yourself.
  • It could even be that she is a recent convert, that she did these supposedly hypocritical things before a spiritual awakening.
  • It could even be that her past transgressions triggered her religious awakening. This is hardly unheard of in the annals of religion.
  1. One simple way of doing this would be to make carry licenses, like marriage licenses, apply anywhere in the United States. If you can drive from Ohio to Kentucky to get a marriage license, you should be able to drive from New York to Kentucky to get a carry license.

  1. <- Safe for children
  2. NFL vs. Teachers ->