Monday, February 3, 2020

Stop Making Victims out of Imbeciles

via The Guardian
Alex Richey and Andrea Jones have written Compelled Speech Is Hitting Close to Home on behalf of Heritage Foundation. It begins:
George Orwell wrote his dystopian novel “1984” more than 70 years ago. In it, he described a totalitarian state in which “Big Brother” created the language “Newspeak” to control the thoughts of its citizens.

“1984” is becoming more and more prescient by the day.
From there they provide a compendium of individuals who have supposedly been persecuted by their employers for refusing to address transgender people according to their preferences. Oh the poor schmucks forced to compromise their religious beliefs.

First of all this has nothing to do with exacting Orwellian control of the everyday speech of Americans. This is about workplace speech. An employer — including a government employer — has a legal right to control the speech of workers in the performance of their duties.

Now that might not seem terribly fair but the employer establishes the rules. If you break those rules you might forfeit your employment. People seem to understand that certain courtesies are required as a part of keeping their job. They might think that their boss is an asshole but addressing them as “asshole” might be a quick path to unemployment.

Transgender people are particularly vulnerable. It is especially important to address them as they choose to be addressed. Pronouns matter. People intentionally misgender transgender people as a means of demonstrating their disapproval. What? You think that people raise their hands and volunteer to be objects of incessant ridicule?

Religion is not an excuse. We are a diverse society. The societal norm is to treat others with respect or, at least, not with disdain. A conservative Catholic adherent might believe (in defiance of medical science) that transgender people do not really exist. That does not relieve someone of the responsibility to be courteous. That is particularly true at work where interpersonal tensions are counter-productive.

No one is saying that someone must change their religious beliefs. People are free to believe anything that they like. However, imagine if the roles were reversed and a transgender person at work insisted on calling every Catholic co-worker by their last name prepended with the word “papist.”

Due to religion, many people believe that I, as a Jew, am damned for not accepting Jesus Christ as my lord and savior. Most of those people have the common sense or common courtesy or self-preservation instincts not to make that an issue at work. Nor would they resort to calling me “Christ Killer David” regardless of any personal beliefs that they might hold.

One has to be an absolute idiot to confuse workplace courtesy with approval. An arrogant idiot if they think that a transgender person has any interest whatsoever in their approval.

So Alex Richey and Andrea Jones, asking people to treat people in the workplace with kindness and decency is nothing like Orwell's Big Brother. Furthermore, it is a reasonable expectation that Mr. Richey and Ms. Jones should demonstrate some intellectual honesty. They write:
Caldara is hardly the first person to face punishment for saying that sex is binary and rooted in biology.
That is not the issue. It is a sophomoric attempt to obscure the fact that gender is a separate construct from natal sex. Moreover it is the logical fallacy expressed in a strawman argument.

No one argues that chromosomes are not a biological reality. Indeed, were that not the case then people could conform their sex to their gender and there would be no transgender people to so terribly distress these two Heritage employees.

For that matter, they write:
The truth is that compelled speech doesn’t benefit anyone. The public square should be a battlefield of ideas where the only weapon is diplomacy through persuasion, not a sword of compulsion.
Our Founding Fathers understood this, and so they enshrined the freedom of speech in the First Amendment. This is the cornerstone of our republic, and it is the envy of all those who live under repressive regimes.
None of this pertains to the “public square.” This is about workplace speech which is not protected by the First Amendment (flag waving is often gratuitous).
Immigrants from the former Soviet Union, Nazi Germany, and Maoist China did not seek refuge in the United States to have their speech compelled once again.

The sword of compulsion must not be brought to the United States. Americans should not have to worry that they could lose their jobs if they do not agree with the politicized terminology of the day.

Let us fight for the freedom of speech for all, and prevent Newspeak from gaining a foothold in the land of the free.
A well-earned Godwin for the Nazi reference. Immigrants can choose who they will work for. However, all employers impose certain speech on employees. That is just a fact of life. Even Heritage Foundation imposes limits on some speech and likely compels speech in some situations.

Finally, this has nothing to do with whether or not employees “agree” with the speech that is curtailed or imposed. No one asks them to agree with any policy. The expectation is that employees will follow policy as a condition of continued employment.

In the “land of the free” (and home of the brave) people have a choice of employer. I have told more than one individual in my career that if they did not like the policy to the extent that they would not conform to it, then they should find a more suitable employer.

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