Some gay-rights activists plan to boycott the upcoming release of a movie based on Orson Scott Card’s 1985 sci-fi novel Ender’s Game. In a fascinating column for the latest issue of The Atlantic, fellow gay-rights advocate Jonathan Rauch explains why he hopes they will fail.
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.
It’s nice to read a person with progressive views who respects the importance of free speech and eschews efforts to shout down viewpoints that stray from the narrow path of political correctness. Some North Carolinians would do well to follow Rauch’s example.