I am depressed. Normally I’m a cheerful guy, but this week I’m depressed.
It isn’t because of any personal problems. Personally I’m doing okay. My health is good. I have money in the bank. My wife and kids and grandkids are fine. Even my cat is doing well. The only really negative thing in my personal life is that, being an old man, I’ll probably not live long enough to read all my books.
The cause of my depression is that my normal anxiety about the future of American society spiked to unprecedented levels during this past week or two. This had to do with the state of Indiana and its Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). It isn’t simply that my side (the morally conservative side) suffered a great defeat at the hands of a tremendously powerful and effective gay-liberal propaganda machine — a machine made up, not just of the Democratic Party and the mainstream media and Hollywood, but of a big section of American big business.
That was bad certainly, but worse — far, far worse — was the enormous intellectual dishonesty on display on the gay-liberal side. Anybody with half a brain in his head knew — or at least would have known if he had taken half a minute to pay attention to what the original law said — that the RFRA did not create a license to discriminate against gays or lesbians or African-Americans (or Communist or Nazis or whatever). It simply allowed religious believers not to be coerced by government into doing things forbidden by their conscience. Nothing more. Just the way we have always allowed Quakers and other conscientious objectors to refuse to participate in war. It wasn’t that we agreed with the pacifists; we did not. But we used to think that an honest conscience was such a precious thing that it should be respected even when erroneous.
But those on the gay-liberal side kept saying again and again that RFRA gave religious people a license to discriminate against homosexuals and blacks. This assertion was not a mistake — for how could anybody be so dumb as to make such an egregious mistake? It was a lie. In other words, the gay-liberal party to the discussion was not arguing in good faith. They were arguing (or rather, they were propagandizing) in bad faith.
This got me depressed. My depression deepened when I remembered that intellectual dishonesty has become a characteristic mark of present-day liberals in social policy debates. (Let me underline the “present-day” qualification, for I myself am an old liberal, and I therefore believe that present-day liberals are traitors to true liberal values.) Think of some of the things you have to believe if you are a present-day American liberal. You have to believe:
Now I’m as willing as anybody to believe one or two ridiculous things if it will help my team. But only a liberal could believe that many untrue things — and there are millions and millions of liberals in the USA. No wonder I’m depressed.