"It profits me but little that a vigilant authority always protects the tranquillity of my pleasures and constantly averts all dangers from my path, without my care or concern, if this same authority is the absolute master of my liberty and my life."

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Johns Hopkins and the Moving Goalposts of Political Correctness

You may have heard of Dr. Ben Carson, an unbelievably accomplished pediatric neurosurgeon at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore.    He also happens to be black, which matters not at all to his patients, I'm certain.

Dr. Carson has recently forayed into politics, giving a talk at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington where he essentially "came out" as a conservative.   Dr. Carson, you see, believes that traditional values of hard determined work and sacrifice over many years is the recipe for success in life, and he has his own life to prove it, having risen from poverty in Detroit to... well, to being a freakin' brain surgeon.

Unfortunately, Dr. Carson made the mistake of being a confident, accomplished, successful, intelligent, conservative black man, at a time in American history where such men must be ignored or destroyed by the powers that be.   He doesn't fit the consensus narrative of a racist America that keeps black men down, so he must be silenced.

It's working.   Dr. Carson recently made a comment about gay marriage in which he stated that "no group, be they gays, be they NAMBLA, be they people who believe in bestiality ... they don't get to change the definition" of marriage.    Because of that statement, and because of pushback by people who claim to have been offended by it, Carson has been forced to withdraw as the commencement speaker at the Johns Hopkins Medical School graduation this spring.

Let me say that again:   a prominent black neurosurgeon on staff at Johns Hopkins cannot be allowed to speak at the medical school's graduation because he holds an opinion that the school views to be politically incorrect.

Now, personally, I would agree that it is awkward that Dr. Carson conflated adult homosexuality with man-boy homosexuality (NAMBLA) and bestiality.   They are not the same things, and, in my view, it is a bit offensive to lump them together.   I'm not sure he was trying to lump them together, only to make the argument that the traditional view of marriage shouldn't be changed by anyone, but be that as it may... it was awkward.

But, so what?   Even if he was trying to lump these different categories of non-heterosexual sexuality together, that would only mean that he was expressing a belief (that they are all varieties of deviance) that is actually the belief of all of the major world religions, including Christianity and Islam.   I mean, if you've read the Old Testament, it's almost boring how many times God ends up punishing the Israelites for falling away from their faith, and how many times that falling away takes the form of men lying down with men and beasts.   I might disagree, you might disagree, but it's not exactly a bizarre and unheard-of attitude for Dr. Carson to take.  

And, of course, taking the position that gay marriage should not be allowed and that the definition of traditional marriage should be retained was the position of nearly every prominent politician in America, including President Obama, until less than a year ago.   Is Johns Hopkins going to say with a straight face that they wouldn't have accepted Obama as their commencement speaker two years ago because of his stance on gay marriage?   I don't think so.

The goalposts are moving so fast and the rules of political correctness are changing so fast it's hard to know where we'll end up.   It wouldn't surprise me if someone like Cardinal Timothy Dolan were forbidden from being a commencement speaker at a college or university because of the positions on gay marriage held by the Catholic Church.   Being a Catholic will equate with being offensive, with "hate speech."

Strange times.   You can come out as gay or lesbian and you're celebrated, but if you come out as a conservative or Christian, you'll be vilified.  

Tolerance for me, but not for thee, in other words.

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