Bryan McGraw is Associate Professor of Politics at Wheaton College and lover of all things smoked BBQ.
Two groups lately have found themselves on the defensive politically and socially, and seem deeply befuddled as to why—and why it seems to have come out of nowhere. Consider first our moral conservatives, those increasingly rare birds who think that not only is there some objective set of moral standards but also, generally, that those standards should be publicly recognized. They’ve have been shocked (not as in “shocked, shocked!”) that lots of folks want to follow through on the premises of the sexual revolution and reorder how we think about marriage—and that, as with most social revolutions, if you don’t get on board, you’ll find yourself the object of social, economic, and political ostracism. But consider also free-speech liberals, who also increasingly find themselves besieged as the places they once thought citadels of free expression—our colleges and universities—talk more about psychological safety and comfort than how the rough and tumble of opposing ideas benefits us all.
What gives? Why can’t we just come to some reasonable disagreement about the many matters that divide us and figure out how to tolerate those differences? Why can’t same-sex supporters just leave the marriage traditionalists alone? What’s so terrible about having someone on campus who thinks things you find terrible? Whatever happened to our traditions of principled toleration, both ask? Continue reading