Correcting the Political: Interpretation as Mind Control
As Justice Brennan's arguments in Paris Adult Theatre and Texas v. Johnson reveal, it is intensely uncomfortable to recognize the extent to which we have a common interest in the attitudes, beliefs, and character traits of our fellow citizens. But this interest is a fact, and it is as unavoidable as it is dangerous. Many, like Brennan, who deny that it matters much whether society is permeated with pornographic materials believe that it is crucial for our culture to be suffused with courage and tolerance. Others, often on university campuses, deny the importance of a shared core of affection and respect for our country but propose "hate codes" and various forms of "sensitivity training" to assure that we all possess enlightened views about race, gender, disability, or sexual preference. To admit as a general principle that we do have a significant stake in the moral character of the community opens each of us to the possibility of domination by groups whose values and objectives we distrust. However, in pursuing our own moral visions, we necessarily attempt to inflict on others the very types of controls that we tend to think would be illegitimate if inflicted by others on us.
Our own aspirations, then, commit us to a principle that we find frightening. This fear can be escaped or reduced through a number of stratagems. In constitutional law, as I observed in the preceding chapter, a major one is the asymmetrical characterization of objectives. In society