How we define ourselves
I’m reading the book Home Town by Tracy Kidder (1999). This is a slice-of-life book in which the author spent some time (at least a year) sitting in on the lives of several members of the town, such as one of the policemen. The town is Northampton, Mass., which was founded in the 1600s. At one point Kidder recounts the story of two Irishmen who, in 1806, were accused of murdering a man on the flimsiest of evidence, convicted (essentially because they were Irish), and hanged in a well-attended public spectacle. In 1984 the two men were exonerated through the efforts of a few politicians in a city government run by Irish-Americans. Kidder says of modern day Judge W. Michael Ryan:
[Judge Ryan] had a theory that every group of people, every society that has occupied Northampton from the Puritans on down, created boundaries in law that invariably excluded about 10 percent of its members. Thus each society identified itself by identifying the enemies within.
Let’s see. LGBT folk make up about 5% of America. Add in abortion doctors and radical feminists, and we’re still excluding about 10%.