The case for hate speech

Jonathan Rauch, a prominent gay rights advocate, on why he hopes the boycott of Ender's Card fails

Fortunately, Card’s claim is false. Better still, it is preposterous. Most fair-minded people who read his screeds will see that they are not proper arguments at all, but merely ill-tempered reflexes. When Card puts his stuff out there, he makes us look good by comparison. The more he talks, and the more we talk, the better we sound.

I can think of quite a few reasons why boycotting Ender’s Game is a bad idea. It looks like intimidation, which plays into the right’s “gay bullies” narrative, in which intolerant homosexuals are purportedly driving conservatives from the public square. It would have little or no effect on Card while punishing the many other people who worked on the movie, most of whom, Hollywood being Hollywood, probably are not anti-gay (and many of whom almost certainly are gay). It would undercut the real raison d’être of the gay-rights movement: not to win equality just for gay Americans but to advance the freedom of all Americans to live as who they really are and say what they really think. Even if they are Orson Scott Card.

Above all, the boycott should fizzle, and I expect it will fizzle, because gay people know we owe our progress to freedom of speech and freedom of thought. The best society for minorities is not the society that protects minorities from speech but the one that protects speech from minorities (and from majorities, too). Gay Americans can do the cause of equality more good by rejecting this boycott than by supporting it. I’ll see the movie—if the reviews are good.

I loved the book Ender's Game . It's a sci-fi classic. Orson Scott Card's comments about gay marriage are ignorant and hateful. All of the above?