In recent days we’ve seen more op-eds and blog posts accusing people of the unforgivable sin of “imposing their beliefs on others.” Let me just remind you that is one of the most assinine charges…ever. People who keep insisting on bring this up really should be dragged out into the streets, covered in spray-on whipped cream, have a cherry added on top, and then thoroughly laughed at.
Identify any aspect about the influencing, writing, reviewing, repealing, revising, or enforcing of laws that does not involve imposing someone’s beliefs on someone else.
The very idea of government depends on the imposition of someone’s will on someone else, and there is no government yet that governs only by unanimity. If we’re lucky it’s the majority imposing their will on the minority. That will at least result in the most people being happy…we hope. Show me a form of government in which no group imposes their will on others and I’ll show you anarchy. That’s it. Any other form of government depends on one party or another imposing their will.
Now obviously some forms of government do this more gently and considerately than others, and imposes less harsh penalties for resistence. But the fact remains unchanged: no matter who is making the rules, someone else is not going to like it. The defining factor in any government is not whether or not someone dislikes the rule made, but whether that person had a voice, whether their opinion was able to be voiced in some form in the making of that rule. Being heard does not obligate being obeyed.
So few people seem to understand this these days. They are perfectly happy if they are getting their way, but when they don’t their first instinct is to find someone to blame for imposing their beliefs on them. If the Supreme Court upholds a controversial law they favor then they are the most wise, august body in all creation. But should they ever decide contrary, then it’s obviously because Justice X is a Y, and they are just trying to impose their Y beliefs on the rest of us.
The error is two-fold. First of all, it is seldom so easy that a single factor in that person’s makeup guided their decision. Second of all, imposition of belief is what they do! Law is almost never “settled”, and most bodies of laws are constructed from a structure of beliefs, not indisputable truths. Therefore it’s a given that someone’s beliefs have been forced on all of us.
So be intellectually honest and admit that you just don’t like the that someone else is getting their way and not you. Stop pretending it’s all someone else’s fault, because sure as daylight you’re more than happy to have someone’s belief imposed on others when the belief is yours.