The word “tolerance” has been introduced to the Ender’s Game debate by writer Orson Scott Card, who is at the centre of the whole controversy. To recap: some LGBT activists are calling for a boycott of the movie Ender’s Game, based on a novel by Mr. Card, because of his anti-gay-marriage views. Saying the gay-marriage issue is “moot” in light of the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision, Mr. Card has been quoted thus: “Now it will be interesting to see whether the victorious proponents of gay marriage will show tolerance toward those who disagreed with them when the issue was still in dispute.”
The word “tolerance” is a red herring in this issue. I don’t think the boycott issue is about “tolerance” or “intolerance” at all. Mr. Card is entitled to his views. He is entitled to voice them to the world, just like everyone else in countries that allow free speech. Nobody is trying to deny him his basic rights, even if he is using free speech to try to oppress same-sex couples.
People who boycott his books and products based on his books are not being intolerant. They are simply exercising their right to free speech and their consumer’s right, much like an ethical investor would speak out against, and refuse to put money into, Cameroon because of it human rights violations.
But just how effective will a boycott be? My guess: not very. The vast majority of people don’t care enough about LGBT rights to boycott a movie, in my opinion. Just like the vast majority of investors don’t care enough about human rights violations in Cameroon to boycott the country.