For anyone who has been following the story of Brenda Hogg, the deputy mayor of Richmond Hill, who attended a ceremony with some Chabad Rabbis who refused to shake her hand and then promptly denounced them. The National Post has been weighing in with regular tirades by Barbara Kay about it.
Now I’m not going to defend the merits of not shaking hands with the opposite sex. I think it’s stupid myself but Chassidim don’t and they do care about that sort of thing. So what? Sow buttons. Forget the multiculturalism boogeyman, in even the most single race single religion society, you’re going to regularly encounter people with their own wacky peculiriaties. It’s just part of life and if you’re going to be Deputy Mayor, a position that doesn’t call for a whole lot except doing stuff the Mayor doesn’t want to do, you had better get used to it.
This is not a “It’s their culture” PC tirade. It’s their culture is a stupid line but Brenda Hogg wasn’t offended on behalf of women, she was offended on behalf of herself. But so what? Sow buttons. I don’t like shaking hands with anyone myself, men or women. It spreads colds and it’s just disgusting. There are plenty of others who feel the same way, including Donald Trump. There are people who get offended because I won’t shake hands with them. That’s their right, just as it’s my right not to shake hands with them.
What’s my point? My point is that in a free society people are allowed to have their own peculiarities as long as they don’t impose them on others. The moment the Chassidim would have not only refused to shake hands with Brenda Hogg but tried to pass regulations preventing women from shaking hands with men, period, for all Canadians, they would be on the wrong side of the Muslim barrier and then I’d be out there throwing the rocks. But until they do that, they’re just following their own beliefs and in a free society, we all have the right to our own moderate amounts of weirdness.