My fall speaking circuit is now in full swing and I'm batting two for two with people stomping out of my speeches. In a time of supposed tolerance, we're getting pretty intolerant.
Saturday in Richmond it was a vegan (or vegetarian, not sure which) offended that I dared to question the wisdom of eating mono-culture chemicalized GMO soybean-extracted lab percolated earthworm-killing soil-destroying pseudo-food like Impossible Burger. Why would anyone be offended at that?
Of course, I'm supposed to smile, nod, and tolerate the following diatribe:
1. You can't love anyone or anything because you eat meat.
2. You're destroying the planet because cows burp and fart.
3. You're bankrupting the country's medical system because eating meat causes cancer and heart disease.
I'm supposed to be inclusive and tolerant as these charges spew, but if the shoe is on the other foot, it's righteous and noble to stomp out of the discussion.
And then in California this week, the same thing happened although this time it was a government food inspector. I dared to question the cultural assumption that a bureaucrat needs to sniff and smell every morsel of food to make sure it's safe for consumption.
I started down my narrative of consenting adults engaging in consensual voluntary transactions and he took offense. Look, folks, today we're all about getting the government out of our bedrooms; how about getting the government out of my mouth?
If I want to go to your farm, ask around, sniff around, look around, and exercise freedom of choice to purchase your food, I jolly well ought to have that right. Of course, we all know that if the government signs off on it, it's safe. Every recall is a government inspected food. While the regulators turn themselves into a knot trying to deal with vaping, they send SWAT teams to confiscate perfectly good food transactions between friends. For an eye opener, watch the documentary FARMAGEDDON.
Several years ago in a California university I asked for a show of hands: "How many of you think a government official needs to inspect food from your own garden to make sure it's safe for consumption?" About 25 percent of the audience raised their hands. Folks, this is the trajectory of our culture.
I'm reminded of the time I spoke at Stanford in California. The professor squiring me around from class to class in a golf court spat and fumed as we drove by a building plaque bearing newly-etched names of university namesakes: Condolezza Rice and Donald Rumsfeld. As she sputtered and fumed, I couldn't help but ask: "I thought you taught inclusion and tolerance here?"
She spat the response: "Only certain KINDS of tolerance." Oh, I see.
For the record, I'm not a fan of either Rice or Rumsfeld, but they certainly are no worse than Obama ("if you like your doctor you can keep your doctor") and Hillary ("deplorables"). So let's just all settle down, breathe deeply, appreciate our differences, and have a civil conversation. And if our neighbor dares to question my sacred cow, love him anyway. He just doesn't know any better. But don't walk out; engage instead, respectfully. You might learn something.
I'm trying not to let this new aggressive intolerance bother me, but it does. Until now, the only times I know of where people have stomped out of my speeches is if I dare to mention I'm a sanctity of lifer. Otherwise, curiosity for the other point of view--and hopefully my humor--keeps them in their seats. Apparently those days are now over.
How many times has someone walked out in disgust when you're speaking?