I saw a tweet the other day which claimed that Charles Manson “was Black Lives Matter before it was cool”. Dinesh D’Souza wrote a whole book about how the Nazi party was the precursor to the modern Democratic party.
On the other side of the same coin, I’ve seen people claim that Trump can’t possibly be racist or sexist because he put DeVos and Carson in his Cabinet. Then there’s the whole question of whether Lincoln would identify as a Democrat or a Republican if he were alive today.
My question is: what does it matter?
I think Gandhi was right about a lot of things, including that it was wrong to segregate Indians in South Africa, but I don’t agree with his reasoning that segregation of Indians was wrong because it sought “to degrade us to the level of the raw kaffir [black natives of South Africa] whose occupation is hunting, and whose sole ambition is to collect a certain number of cattle to buy a wife with, and then, pass his life in indolence and nakedness.” Yeah, Gandhi was pretty racist; we can talk about it.
I still like Dilbert even though Scott Adams is an asshole. And Chick-Fil-A can be both bigoted and delicious.
Being right about something doesn’t make that person right about everything. Being wrong about something (or even a lot of things) doesn’t discredit everything they do and say. It might inform how much weight we put on a person’s opinion, but I can assure you – as someone who is generally correct about everything – that I’ve often been quite wrong… most notably in my opinion of how often I’m correct.
I’ll go to the mattresses any day for democracy, but a bad idea isn’t made better by popular opinion. Californians voted to exclude gay people from the legal definition of marriage by constitutional amendment in Proposition 8 in 2008 and Australians voted to permit gay marriage in 2016, and it’s not because the correctness of ensuring equal civil rights for gay people changed in those 8 years.
So the good news is that you can admire Jenny McCarthy’s work as a… actress?… and disregard her bananas opinions about vaccinations. And you can reconcile that Chick-Fil-A is both bigoted and delicious. The bad news is that there is no shortcut; nobody is going to do the hard work for you of figuring out what is correct and what is incorrect. You can’t take your child’s healthcare advice from your favourite… is she a model?… and you can’t take your cues on civil rights from your favourite chicken joint.
Posted in: Progress