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Anyone who hasn’t been living under a rock for the past decade or so would know that those who preach tolerance and minority rights are often the most intolerant and totalitarian in their views, especially when it comes to white Christian heterosexual men. 

It should therefore be no surprise that Bernard Gaynor, a white Catholic married father of five who’s dared to speak his mind on controversial topics such as abortion and gay ‘marriage’, has copped a fair bit of flak.  This is to be expected in a democracy, and if Gaynor is anything like me he will take this in his stride.  After all, a rigorous exchange of views is healthy, and I uphold the right of Gaynor and his opponents equally to express their contrary views.  The world would be a very dull place if we all agreed on everything. 

What doesn’t have a place in our society is abuse and denigration masquerading as free speech.

A.H. Cayley at Junkee has cobbled together all the swear words at her disposal to create a stream of invective aimed specifically at Bernard Gaynor’s concerns about a boy with Asperger’s Syndrome who’s started dressing as a girl.  Now, whether Gaynor is right or not is irrelevant.  What is relevant is that he has a valid opinion on this topic and he makes reasonable observations to support his view.  There is nothing offensive in what he says.  To the contrary, he calls the high suicide rate among transsexuals an “untold tragedy” and writes with thoughtfulness (as well as great candour).

The crux of the issue is that Cayley thinks it’s not only acceptable but necessary to abuse Gaynor.  She has even given her piece – a commissioned piece, no less! – the title ‘We Need To Cuss About Bernard Gaynor’.  According to this woman, “[p]eople like Gaynor don’t deserve reasoned, considered responses; they don’t deserve an equitable place in the discourse”.  It’s not enough for his views to be sidelined, though.  She still believes he should be “vocally challenged” for the sake of democracy.  And how should he be challenged?  Apparently, “the correct course of action” is “ferocious and vulgar ad hominem ridicule”.

So there we have it.  Cayley has responded, in her own words, “the only way she can”, with “vitriolic and excessive profanity”.  The question is how many other people are so mindless and insolent that they too will choose to revile instead of respect.   How is this any different to abusing someone on the basis of religion or ethnicity?  And the next time you are tempted to respond to someone like Cayley with a dose of her own medicine, just remember that he who fights monsters must be careful not to become a monster.  This warning is clearly too late for some.

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