Making the rounds the past week or so is Nicholas Kristof’s A Confession of Liberal Intolerance in the New York Times. Hot on the tails of the recent post about conservative Christianity’s fictional reasons for being intolerant to transgendered people and bathroom choice, I figured this might be a good palette cleanser. Take a minute to read Kristof’s op-ed. I’ll wait.

“Outside of academia I faced more problems as a black,” he told me. “But inside academia I face more problems as a Christian, and it is not even close.”

I work in higher education currently, but I haven’t had opportunity to see right wing or left wing voices being heard one better than the other. But it’s a small school on the edge of where Virginia transitions from D.C. metropolitan to The South. Or it could be that because I work in computers I’m too busy asking people if they have a moment to hear about our savior, Linux.

But, I used to work for Apple, and if there is a more liberal company out there, please find it for me and let me know.

During my time there, I rubbed shoulders with people in demographics that I otherwise would not have ever spent time with and had the opportunity to learn about their lives in an intimate way. Because of that I was able to understand how some right wing ideals needlessly negatively impact the freedoms that Americans should have. Everyone should have, for that matter.

However, the other side of that echoes what Kristof’s piece tries to put forward. Liberal voices will shout down Conservative sentiments, every time. I can count on one hand the number of outspoken Conservatives that I worked with at Apple. We could spend some time talking about why so few were employed there, such as would a company with a visibly liberal culture attract right leaning job candidates? But instead, I’d like to think about why it was so uncommon that I’d hear a right-wing voice at work.

I think the answer is, liberal people think that conservative people are stupid, backwards people and constantly imply it.

It works the other way too. When I was coming up in more fundamentalist religious environments, it was inconceivable that someone would say, “God didn’t make the Earth in six days,” or, to stay with the political, “How do we get to adjudicate that life begins at conception?”

When the social environment is a monoculture the outside voices are not welcome.

Apple, the company, did a great job at being inclusive, but it’s employees could be a different story.

The alt-right has an equally irritating counterpart on the left, the people for whom the term “SJW” was coined. In a recent conversation, a liberal friend of mine remarked that there are people who have made a platform based on being offended by everything, and that everything is typically something coming from the right.

My points are these:

  • Everyone should have a voice.
  • Everyone should have the right to not have to listen to anyone else’s voice.
  • If you’re practicing the first two, please understand that the other people are your brothers and sisters.

We can disagree and we can be friends. I’ve done it. You’ve done it. Let’s always make sure that it’s done.