I link to this article as just today’s example of the issues I have discussed with ‘Akhter’, the commenter on the Indian bombings post which I invite you all to read. I mentioned that there is a vast difference between having ones choices respected and forcing those choices on others and expecting that people will see them as the same thing. Political correctness is actually to blame for encouraging and propagating this intellectual slight of hand.
A Canadian example of this from several years ago and perhaps the precedent setting example for Canada was the ludicrous notion that people of the Sikh faith had a ‘right’ to wear their turbans and be members of the Royal Canadian mounted police. I said at the time this was obscene and a slippery slope and it clearly and most certainly was.
The idea that a person has a right to whatever beliefs and behaviors he wants and can then change institutions of state is preposterous. A democracy will tolerate peoples beliefs and allow them to practice them so long as they do not violate secular laws but is under no obligation to adjust it’s symbols and institutions to accommodate them. The point of a democracy is that you get the CHOICE of either giving up your beliefs and superstitions and be part of the secular culture or you may continue to pursue them and be free of persecution by the state.
This is a fantastic situation historically speaking. Religious Jews for instance where thrilled that they could if they chose, continue to dress in traditional manners and set schedules which was not in sync with the rest of Western nations and yet be free of state harassment. However at no time did Jews demand that uniforms be changed to accommodate them or that kitchens in secular organizations not serve non kosher products. The jews and rightly so where pleased to have the choice to either participate or not in institutions which may conflict with their rituals and beliefs. They did not however demand the ‘right’ to be hired for a position merely because they where Jewish and then demand that the organization that hired them transform itself into a yeshiva. This speaks to the core of the term ‘sacrifice’. That one may inconvenience oneself in order to maintain practices which are not the general ones of the land. We all do this to one degree or another. It builds character and is generally a net positive thing. We may for example not drink as much alcohol as our friends or as the law allows or may not drink at all but we do not force institutions private or public not to serve alcohol as it may offend us to have it in our presence and doubly so in a place we chose to be.
The notion that our own sacrifices become an obligation to others is the card trick of the politically correct. That tolerance, once meaning put up with things we don’t like in others so that they may put up with us, now becomes that we must dumb down to the least tolerant group within us. The UK seems to have news about this each and every day recently as I linked at the top. A Muslim who applied for and received a job as a Chef is suing his employer for insufficient guarantees that he will not have to handle pork. It’s not that he wishes not to touch it, gloves where offered, its that he insists it not be an option on the menu in an organization where pork is a staple of the traditional menu there.
In effect this is the imposition of Sharia law. The mistaken notion that to violate any sensitivity or irrational belief of Muslims is itself a crime is indistinguishable from Sharia itself. In my previous post “What if they gave a war and only one side came” I give several examples of how this has occurred in the UK and elsewhere as well as how large multinational corporations have caved in to mere whims by individual Muslims who took umbrage on some minor and historically unsubstantiated symbolic issue.
To return briefly to the issue of the RCMP and the replacement of the traditional police cap with a sikh turban for a moment, I need to make it more clear why this is an issue.
Around the world ideological groups are at war for a variety of reasons. each group typically has symbols it feels very strongly about. When Canada allows the federal police, the actual arm of legal force of the state and nation of Canada to include these symbols in its uniform those from places at war with those groups cannot feel that they are dealing with the secular and unbiased representitvies of Canada. This is in fact a very reasonable way to feel.
To use an example the left will appreciate, should a Palestinian Canadian get a visit from the RCMP sporting an Israeli flag armband he may have misgivings about our due process. Conversely a Jewish or Israeli expatriate living in Canada is visited by a troop of RCMP sporting Hamas flags or a Hizbolah one.
The Canadian rush to put an ‘ethnic’ face on Canada by allowing Sikh’s to alter the uniform of the Mounted Police most certainly was the barn door to other groups with far more seditious and invasive beliefs to make demands about how they must be accommodated.
Ultimately it boils down the the intellectual slight of hand and hijacking of the term ‘tolerance’. You have the right to live and think as you want. The rest of us are under no obligation to change anything to spare offense to you. More than no obligation, any attempt to change secular democracy must result in conflicts which range from the highly comical, such as the British partially transsexual male driving instructor who had a certificate from the UK Government stating that he was legally a woman being sent to the home of a British Muslim who demanded that his wife get a female instructor for her lessons, to the outright suicidal where British city councils are informed they may not eat during meetings on Ramadam. Or British school children being given detention for refusing to pray to Allah, Either are fairly benign examples compared to dozens of others from Scandinavia in particular.