Inclusiveness, tolerance and opportunity - but not for Mr. Smith

"[Maryland] Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. [a Republican] fired one of his appointees to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority yesterday after the board member asserted on a local cable talk show that homosexuals lived a life of "sexual deviancy."

The termination came a few hours after Metro board member Robert J. Smith, an architect and unsuccessful Republican candidate for the General Assembly from Montgomery County, was publicly confronted by a transit board colleague. Board member Jim Graham, a District of Columbia councilman who is openly gay, called on Smith to disavow his remarks or resign during yesterday's regular meeting of the panel, which oversees Metro business.

Smith said that he stood by his beliefs, which he said stemmed from his Roman Catholic faith, and insisted that he would not resign unless ordered by the governor.

"Governor Ehrlich got it; Mr. Smith was clueless until the end," Graham said. "This is serious. To defend this point of view is beyond the pale. And so I think Governor Ehrlich got that very clearly, very quickly. So I appreciate his action."

Ehrlich said in a statement that Smith would be replaced immediately.

"Robert Smith's comments were highly inappropriate, insensitive and unacceptable," the governor said. "They are in direct conflict to my administration's commitment to inclusiveness, tolerance and opportunity.[emphasis added]"
- Ehrlich appointee fired over remark. [via First Things]

The persecution of Mr. Smith brought to mind Jim Kalb’s essay The Tyranny of Liberalism:
“[Contemporary liberalism] is a comprehensive governing philosophy that determines the whole of public morality. While it sounds permissive, comprehensive solutions are usually intolerant in practice and liberalism is no exception. Contemporary liberalism sets forth categorical demands it calls “rights,” and rejects balancing principles such as respect for natural tendencies and settled understandings. Without balancing principles abstract demands expand without limit. As a result, liberal standards have become all-embracing to the point of tyranny. Liberal neutrality, which began as a patchwork of limitations on government power, has become applicable to social practices generally and thereby oppressive. If to be liberal is to be willing to accommodate other views, contemporary liberalism is no longer liberal.”

“Liberalism today denounces deviations from its principles as oppressive, no matter how long-established and widely-accepted, and insists that they be eradicated.”

“In spite of claims of neutrality, liberalism establishes an enforceable official morality that supports a definite way of life. It makes demands for moral reconstruction that are necessarily intolerant”

“The development of liberalism has reversed its original principles. Rather than let society control the state, a more ambitious liberalism now makes the state control society. Freedom of speech and opinion have therefore become suspect. Religious people are felt to be a threat, because ways of life have public implications and public action that relies on nonliberal moral understandings violates neutrality. Simple assertion of traditional sexual morality is treated as oppressive because it creates informal obstacles, if only the force of opinion, to the satisfaction of personal tastes.”

“The actual function of the liberal insistence on neutrality is to stifle debate. To the extent they have concrete implications, moral objections to liberalism are rejected out of hand as intolerant and divisive, so resistance becomes impossible. Distortion of language complements suppression of speech. “Hatred” and “intolerance” now include all serious opposition to liberalism. “Inclusiveness” insists that others be tolerant to the point of abandoning their principles and even identity while rejecting accommodation in its own case.”

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