Current Issue

Apr.6, 2011

Vol. 111, No. 10

Don’t bully ideas, either

In response to: Message of hope for bullied teens

Published on April6, 2011

The unspoken assumption of Angela Wu ’12’s Dec. 8 On the Campus article, “Message of hope for bullied teens,” is that of course there is nothing wrong or harmful with acting out LGBT lifestyles. This is the typical approach of mainstream media coverage of sexual-preference issues: By and large, anything goes, and anyone who disagrees is either a retrograde bigot, a religious nut, or both.

May I submit that such an unquestioned assumption does a disservice to the discussion, to those who hold contrary views, and even to those who claim LGBT identities?

First, shutting off opposing views implicitly, and dismissing such views without even acknowledging the possibility that adherence to millennia-old norms might be legitimate, even if not ultimately persuasive, is not an exercise in intellectual openness. It is rather a form of ideological shunning.

Second, calling one’s adversaries “haters” and “bigots” is not arguing, it is preempting arguments with epithets. While Ms. Wu thankfully did not indulge in such name-calling, I am afraid it too often characterizes what passes for public debate of sexual-orientation issues. It most certainly is wrong to bully others. Let us not forget that bullying can raise its ugly head in the realm of ideas as well.

Third, consider the highly politically incorrect possibility that there is such a thing as a harmful or unnatural sexual act. (Presumably all but the most extreme sexual libertine will admit this, at least secretly.) Is it a benefit to one possessing the desire to act categorically to eliminate all voices that might suggest restraint? Is it not rather a species of “informed consent” to at least mention that there are counterarguments?

Walter Weber ’81
Washington, D.C.

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