My friend Andrew Walker and I just wrote a piece for National Review entitled “‘Stamp Them Out’: On Josh Barro and the New Sexual Moralism.” Here’s what it’s about:
Last night, New York Times reporter Josh Barro tweeted out a disturbing message: “Anti-LGBT attitudes are terrible for people in all sorts of communities. They linger and oppress, and we need to stamp them out, ruthlessly.”
This is rather shocking. Barro is no angry blogger writing manifestos in his basement. He is a respected reporter from a prestigious newspaper that prides itself on equanimity in the face of heated debate. Yet he seems, by any reasonable measure, to be fomenting a campaign to rout out all dissenters from the sexual revolution. Erick Erickson wrote a brief response to Barro’s tweet, to which Barro replied that he thinks that “we should make anti-LGBT views shameful like segregation. Not saying we should off people.”
Okay. But “stamp out,” intensified by the qualifier “ruthlessly,” means something quite a bit stronger than inviting your interlocutor to tea and crumpets to discuss differences.
Barro has been described as “unremittingly rational” by The Atlantic, a descriptor that is unfortunately stretched by his fiery Tweets. With Andrew, I am hopeful that Barro’s charged rhetoric does not signal the course of American public life. That hope stated, Barro’s remarks call for sober consideration. Will fair-minded people tolerate this kind of commentary from a respected commentator?