Hey kids, guess what? A poll came out that showed an overwhelming proportion of Louisianans said that Ebenezer Scrooge should not treat his employee Bob Crachit so unfairly at work. That fictional creation parallels results from an actual recent poll, this part paid for by groups that seek to have those who practice homosexuality be given preferential public policy treatment, which revealed that – believe it or not! – almost all Louisianans think that those who identify themselves as homosexually-oriented should not be denied housing, nor not be protected from bullying in school, nor not be fired from jobs with secular employers. Meanwhile, dog bites man.
One group leader expressed surprise that the margins in each case were almost 90 percent or higher expressing these attitudes. Where has he been? It only confirms what each of us knows already, that attitudes like these are a matter of common sense and simple human decency. For the life of me, for example, I can’t understand why anybody would want to see somebody being bullied, for any reason. We are called to love our neighbors, and while there’s not universal agreement on that, to anybody sentient in this society from birth they should have realized there is a huge consensus that, at a personal level, an overwhelming majority think we must treat people fairly as we hope they will do the same for us.
Which is where the policy-making confusion enters. Groups behind the state-the-obvious questions say they will use these results as evidence that there is support for state laws, for example, that ban firings in the workplace over sexual orientation and in renting dwellings. (Although any change to anti-bullying would be nonsensical; the law already prohibits any behavior that is bullying regardless of motive.) But theirs is an apples-and-oranges comparison, because the questions did not address those kind of issues. They may have asked about people’s feelings about these things, but they did not ask them whether they thought that government should be empowered to restrict these kind of activities.