I do my best to be open-minded about just about everything, and accepting of outlooks and beliefs other than mine. I may not understand why someone might believe the things they do (republicans, for instance)…but if that’s what they believe, that’s what they believe.
A few months ago, I hit the first time when I decided to “un-friend” a Facebook contact (the ultimate arbiter of relationships in today’s world) because of their beliefs. I could deal with this person being a gun nut, I could deal with them being an uncomfortably far-right Republican. What I couldn’t deal with was when they outed themselves as a Birther. At that point, it was obvious to me that there was simply no way I was ever going to connect to this person on any rational level. If someone’s at a point where they can take that level of over-the-top racism-poorly-disguised-as-conspiracy-theories seriously, then they’re not at a point where I can even pretend to be able to relate to them. So, off the friend list they went.
Just this week, I found a second, similar line, when I discovered that another contact was a vaccine denier. This I find even more offensive than the Birther nonsense. Birthers are crazy and probably racist, but at least their paranoid fantasies aren’t likely to hurt anyone. Anti-vaccine people, though…that can be harmful, and not just to the person, but to others, as they could potentially end up helping to spread an otherwise preventable disease. The “research” that the anti-vaccine crowd relies on has been debunked so thoroughly that it’s mind-boggling to me that anyone can continue to try to believe it, and when you factor in the very real chance that by not vaccinating themselves or their children, they could spread diseases that we at one point came very close to having essentially eradicated…. Enough is enough, and off they went.
This kind of thing doesn’t happen terribly often. I don’t mind disagreeing with people, I don’t mind people disagreeing with me, and in the right circumstances, calm, rational discussions of disagreements can be quite good. However, the line has to be drawn somewhere, and I’ve now found two places where I’m quite comfortable drawing that line.