I recently discovered the Jerry Seinfeld series Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee, a show about, literally, what its title says. Every week, Jerry and a comedian friend take a ride in a (always different) classic car to a coffee shop, diner, or similar eatery and engage in casual and honest conversation. Each episode is short, typically under 20 minutes, and they often give a glimpse of Jerry and his guests as they actually are, think, talk and live.

One episode featured Bill Maher and a 1979 VW Bug outfitted as a German (Wurzburg) police car. Titled The Comedy Team of Smug and Arrogant, it lived up to the hype, in a self-aware and somewhat self-mocking way. I’ve never been much of a Maher fan, and generally consider him an unprincipled panderer, but that doesn’t mean I have an opinion of him as a person, having never met him or witnessed him other than as a pundit. Part of what makes this series so entertaining and “different” is that the guests are generally not putting up a front, but instead are simply themselves.

Seinfeld and Maher didn’t talk too much politics, sticking mostly to discussions about comedy, but one exchange, starting at about the 5:10 mark, stuck out:

Maher: “Gutsy is to tell your adoring fans what they don’t want to hear because it’s the truth.”

Maher: “It’s a little different with political comedians because they stay within whatever the liberal doctrine is, they’re not going to upset their audience about that.”

Seinfeld: “What would be an example of when you have strayed.”

Maher: “Recently, Islam. They used to boo me, because I’m the one standing up for equal rights for women, free speech, respect for minorities, free and fair elections. It’s not my fault that these are qualities that are more lacking in the muslim world than in any other culture, but liberals saw this for years as an attack on a minority. But the irony is that they were so tolerant, they were tolerating intolerance.”

Seinfeld: “That’s so interesting. That double helix. You’re so tolerant, you’re tolerating prejudice.”

Maher: “Absolutely.”

Maher’s cloying arrogance notwithstanding, he’s got a point. This tolerance of prejudice, obviously, only extends to groups the Left considers “oppressed” or “protected.” You’ll find no tolerance for intolerance/prejudice when the prejudiced are white men, or Christians, or conservatives, or any other “oppressor” classes. Moreso, what counts as “intolerance” sometimes includes mere differences of opinion.

Yes, there are genuinely prejudiced white males in America. No, their prejudice should not be tolerated. Why, though, should their prejudice and intolerance be singled out when equal or greater prejudice and intolerance exists among others? Fundamentalist Islam actively teaches homophobia, intolerance, violence, subordination of women, and authoritarian oppression. What excuse is there for tolerating Islamists, but not Klansmen?

None, obviously, but it happens anyway. Sure, there are excuses and rationalizations, but they’re just efforts to mask hypocrisy.

Accusations of hypocrisy are a very popular form of political “gotcha,” but they’re often not the most compelling of rebuttals. Not so when one seeks to claim a moral high ground. Just as we should properly deride NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman for purporting to be a champion of #MeToo while allegedly being abusive towards women, NY Governor Eliot Spitzer for crusading against prostitution while using hookers, Senator Leland Yee for being a staunch gun control advocate while engaging in gun trafficking, and Congressmen Tim Murphy and Scott DesJarlais for being pro-life while urging their mistresses to have abortions, we should deride the Left for its selective tolerance of intolerance.

Why do they do it? Why is Islam given status and protection that Christianity, which is FAR more tolerant, is not? Why is Christianity seen as a “creepy infiltration” when Sharia is not? Why are some bigots protected and sheltered, while others are targeted and excoriated?

And, why are those who belong to the Left’s protected classes but who stray off the reservation treated with especial scorn?

Consider tech billionaire Peter Thiel, who is openly gay and self-identifies as libertarian. Despite belonging to a protected identity group, he caught major grief and attack for daring to contradict the Left’s narrative that Trump is a raging homophobe:

This intolerance has taken on some bizarre forms. The Advocate, a magazine which once praised me as a ‘gay innovator,’ even published an article saying that, as of now, I am, and I quote, ‘not a gay man,’ unquote, because I don’t agree with their politics. The lie behind the buzzword of diversity could not be made more clear: If you don’t conform, then you don’t count as diverse, no matter what your personal background. *

Thiel also notes that “louder voices have sent a message that they do not intend to tolerate the views of one half of the country.”

What are we to make of this selective tolerance and intolerance, when it has no consistency and makes no logical sense?

Clearly, there’s no moral authority within ‘liberal doctrine.’ Instead, it’s solely tribal/political gamesmanship, with its only goal the accumulation of power. Keep that in mind next time someone from the Left claims moral high ground.

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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