Catholic Culture Liturgical Living
Catholic Culture Liturgical Living

The one-way argument for human rights

By Phil Lawler ( bio - articles - email ) | Apr 22, 2016

Ryan Anderson admits that ESPN has the right to fire Curt Schilling because he thinks men should be barred from women’s restrooms. But that right applies to others, too, Anderson reasons:

ESPN didn’t want to be associated with Curt Schilling’s message. The same is true for the bakers, florists, and photographers, only more so. They have beliefs about marriage—that it’s the union of husband and wife-- they don’t want to be forced by the government to convey a contrary message.

That’s a familiar argument, a persuasive argument, perhaps even an unanswerable argument. Unfortunately it is not a winning argument.

If logical arguments settled debates, Anderson would have been declared the winner in this one—except that this debate would never have occurred. Our political leaders are now caught up in a surreal argument about men’s and women’s restrooms because a small but relentless minority refuses to accept the constraints of logical argumentation.

As Anderson knows all too well, from his experience on the front lines in the battles over “gender equality,” radical activists do not respond to logical arguments by attempting to rebut them. Their usual response is twofold: to vilify their opponents and to silence them. So their answer to his point about Schilling and ESPN will not be to look for holes in his syllogism (there aren’t any), but to shout that he is intolerant, that he is a hater, that he should be barred from polite company. Their goal is not only to marginalize him but to intimidate others who might be persuaded by his argument.

Sad to say, these tactics have been successful: so spectacularly successful, in fact, that the ESPN viewing audience has meekly accepted the Schilling firing. Somehow the American male has been convinced, as he sips his beer and watches his ballgame, that he should not object if his daughter is required to share a bathroom with a confused male adult.

If radical leftists were truly interested in human rights, they could not neglect Anderson’s point that everyone has the same rights. But radical leftists are not interested in human rights; they are interested only in power. They are working not to educate but to enforce. And it’s working.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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