I live in the New York City metro area, which means I’m surrounded by people of a left-of-center political persuasion. 80% of New York City voters voted for Obama in 2008 and 2012, and for Clinton in 2016. While there are pockets of Republicans here and there (particularly in Staten Island), they know they’re a besieged minority and many keep their heads down.

Things being thus, you won’t be surprised to know that I see a lot of Coexist bumper stickers, and often on “green” cars like hybrids and econoboxes. The image, closing in on its twentieth anniversary, started as a call for harmony between Islam, Judaism, and Christianity, but has been since modified to include iconography for peace (or Wicca), gay rights, paganism, and Taoism/eastern philosophy, that expands its diversity.

Fine, whatever, it’s a nice sentiment. The easy critique to make lies in the intolerance within the first symbol for the others, but since it’s easy, I won’t go there.

The real hypocrisy of the symbol lies not within the message itself, but in the politics of the people most likely to put one on their cars. Does anyone actually believe that a Coexist-er wants to coexist with anyone who doesn’t share his or her world view? Do we see any tolerance for diversity of opinion or political belief in Coexist-ers?

How about of lifestyle? While the Left’s support for a range of “alternative” lifestyles has produced good and positive outcomes for many marginalized people, its tolerance does not extend past a certain point. If you’re a devout Christian church-goer, you’re going to get sniffed at. If you drive a pickup truck, and drink a suitcase of Bud every weekend, you might serve as a style icon for some self-emasculating hipsters, but you’re not going to get much of a nod of approval from Coexist-ers. If you volunteer for causes that run contrary to the progressive narrative, you’re the enemy, and there’s no co-existing to be had.

If the Left were content with coexistence, they’d keep their focus at the local level, creating the progressive paradises they claim to crave and sorting themselves geographically, as is so easy to do in a nation structured, as it is, with a federalist system. But, no, that’s the opposite of their reality. They focus their efforts nationally, seeking “coexistence” on their terms. Or, put more aptly, conformity. Everyone else is to live as they demand. Not in live-and-let-live fashion, aka the libertarian way, not in “we will have our spaces, you can have yours,” but “there is a correct way to do everything, and we’ll force you to comply.”

Why? Why must “coexistence” be on their terms, according to their rules, and in compliance with their narrative?

Socialism: Ideas so good that they have to be mandatory.

So, next time you see a Coexist bumper sticker, consider the probability that the person in the car is probably quite eager to coerce your behavior to his or her liking. Orwell is face-palming in his grave.

Peter Venetoklis

About Peter Venetoklis

I am twice-retired, a former rocket engineer and a former small business owner. At the very least, it makes for interesting party conversation. I'm also a life-long libertarian, I engage in an expanse of entertainments, and I squabble for sport.

Nowadays, I spend a good bit of my time arguing politics and editing this website.


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