Differently the Same

This article from last May’s National Review (subscription required) has so much wisdom, it’s hard to decide which to highlight. It concerns a Canadian transsexual who was allowed to compete in the Miss Universe Canada beauty contest:

The story of Jenna Talackova is that of a person who demands the right to be different according to his or her own desires (I leave it to the reader to choose the appropriate pronoun in this case), and to be accorded the privileges of conventional society at the same time…

Jenna Talackova’s story is also that of the change in meaning that we now attach to the word (and concept of) “tolerance.” Where once tolerance was the discipline of leaving people in peace to go about their lawful business insofar as it did not harm others, in spite of one’s disapproval of what they did, it is now a demand for total acceptance, approval, and even celebration of what one previously found aberrant or even abhorrent…

This notion of tolerance is a one-way train, of course. Everyone has a moral (and increasingly a legal) duty to spare the feelings of members of an officially certified minority, but members of that minority have no duty, legal or otherwise, to spare the feelings of everyone else, however much in the majority they might be. The freedom they claim is that (to use a crude expression) to be constantly in your face, and for you to say nothing in return.

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