It seems not long ago that’s me and my wife (mostly me) started noticing Duck Dynasty swag everywhere. Being from Missouri, I recognized the stereotypical, camo covered characters that I have dealt with (positively & negatively) for most of my life in the Midwest. I, not watching the show, was guilty of lumping them in with other harmless reality shows. Being an avid ‘Cheaters’ fan at one time, who was I to judge? After the ridiculous comments Phil made, still I was not too surprised at his fundamentalism. The network reaction (a face saving maneuver) again typical and unsurprisingly proper to the (profit saving maneuver) thereafter. Although the public’s response was definely a telling snapshot of our American culture.
Moderates in this discussion are intentionally (self evidently) excluded from this post. As most of us do, I would like to concentrate on the dichotomy between control and privilege.
Proponents of having Phil fired, socially shunned and possible litigious responsibilities see the larger issue as an intolerance/tolerance dichotomy. In this view, this behavior is a threat to their cultural belief system that needs to be quelled swiftly and decisively. To project a social solidarity within our culture and a rejection of these dated ugly beliefs to the rest of the world.
Advocates for Phil’s right to express his beliefs, without consequence rely on the suppression/freedom dichotomy to express the promotion of their dogmatic base. Value of a majority (though heavily varied) religious status excludes Phil of the responsibility or burden of socially unaccepted views. Holding up the issue of free speech while suppressing the values and rights of the network as a business entity or of a minority entity within the same circumstances.
Phil can express his, in my opinion, hateful intolerance until the proverbial ducks come home. Yet there are consequences for that action, much as I would be disciplined for a similar action. We also need to realize that life is not fair (see Baseball players vs Social workers salary) and all things are not equal. This said, drawn from this, is an example of assumed privilege and ignorance that should be discussed and examined in our culture. Heavy handed action is not the way to social progress. Many times in our past, segregation and suffrage were violently suppressed partly due to it being socially unacceptable at the time. I advocate for open arguments on a rational, logical basis. That includes unhindered scrutiny on the issue and in the arena of ideas we can truly come closer to the ideal of fairness. Unfortunately, for Phil, dogma loses in that arena every time.