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March 02, 2004

Comments

Yeah, Dennis is doing all he can to "match strong convictions with kindness and goodwill and decency."

But Bush couldn't have predicted his Hate Amendment proposal would have led to this kind of evil rhetoric, could he?

It’s kind of hard to take Edward’s faux outrage seriously when his last post on this issue insinuated that the supporters of the FMA were Nazis .

It’s kind of hard to take Edward’s faux outrage seriously when his last post on this issue insinuated that the supporters of the FMA were Nazis .

Puh-leaze.

The expression "When they came for me" is not exclusive to Nazis...it implies that not speaking out and not supporting your neighbors has consequences unforseen. If you want to compare a tongue-in-cheek headline with Prager's clear-cut comparison, that's up to you...but it's a considerable stretch Thorley.

The expression "When they came for me" is not exclusive to Nazis...it implies that not speaking out and not supporting your neighbors has consequences unforseen.

I don’t know who Edward thinks he’s fooling with this latest excuse but it has always been clear that the “when they came for me” spiel is a tacit reference to Nazis and everyone knows it which is why it is (over) used to the point that it has become a cliché. The fact that he later followed up with referring to the FMA as a “Hate Amendment” just further undercuts his latest obfuscation.

But please, feel free to resort to such tactics. They didn’t make up for your lack of knowledge on environmental policy and they will not serve you well here either.

Much as it pains me to agree with TW twice in one day, Edward, I gotta say that referencing the famous (but apocryphal) "when they came for me" speech is pretty close to calling FMA proponents the modern equivalents of Nazis. They ain't.

That said, there's a world of difference between implying that proponents of the FMA are Nazis or gay marriage activists are terrorists, on one hand, and calling the FMA a "hate amendment," on the other.

Von and Thorley,

to quote the meat of the post again, it was about how if the FMA is ratified, other Supreme Court decisions

will all be fair game for re-analysis under this new jurisprudential regime as the Constitutional foundation for those decisions will have been altered. A brilliant strategy really, with one amendment the religious right could wipe out access to birth control, abortion, and even non-procreative sex...

The Nazi reference was not intentional. The idea that there's a laundry list of objectives here and folks should realize it now before it's too late was the intent. I'm not saying I don't see your point, but I am saying you're both missing mine.

You can choose to disbelieve that if you will.

And Thorley, I intend to post on labor, art, the campaign, and a mixed bag of other topics...I look forward to how you'll manage to force your criticism of my posts on the environment into each of them as well...

In honor of Moe, shorter Prager in haiku form:

The enemy of
My enemy is a friend
Unless they are gay

Please, Edward, contain your hysteria.

A potential amendment to the constitution that defines the institution of marriage is hardly going to lead to the scary folks of the Religious Right taking your condoms.

Parroting garbage like that quote above makes you sound like a fool.

Parroting garbage like that quote above makes you sound like a fool.

And your credentials on the matter (as opposed to those of the lawyer who posited that that theory) would be what in particular...because if you can disprove it an entire thread inviting comment, calmly, has already been provided for your ad hominem convenience...I'm responding "hysterically" (if you must) to the assertion that I'm calling Thorley a Nazi...he's plenty of things, but I'd never call him that.


Von wrote:

Much as it pains me to agree with TW twice in one day, Edward, I gotta say that referencing the famous (but apocryphal) "when they came for me" speech is pretty close to calling FMA proponents the modern equivalents of Nazis. They ain't.

I take it then, you haven’t addressed the http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A15415-2004Feb28.html>Washington Post article I cited about Kerry being worse on the deficit than Bush. Otherwise that would be three-for-three. ;)

re good folks:

von, not to provocative, but you cite Cella as good folks - I looked at some of his posts and saw "smart, writerly, prone to certain tendentious and biased styles of argument" folk. If you can point to samples of his writing which are empathetic, which grant points to his opponents, I'd like to read them so I can revise my opinion.

I don't see much difference between opposing gay marriage and opposing miscegenation. I understand that some people have what appear to me to be bigoted and hypocritical positions because of their interpretations of scripture, or express opinions on the subject on the basis of political exigencies. I don't see what relevance their otherwise being good folks has (he's a gangster, but he's a nice guy; he's pro-slavery on religious grounds, but otherwise a standup guy). I think Edward's Niemoller title was out of line - but not by a great deal. So I don't understand your point here.

Edward wrote (in response to another poster):

And your credentials on the matter (as opposed to those of the lawyer who posited that that theory)

Okay, I’ll ask the question – what exactly are the credentials of the originator of this novel theory?

Edward Winkleman wrote:

to quote the meat of the post again, it was about how if the FMA is ratified, other Supreme Court decisions
will all be fair game for re-analysis under this new jurisprudential regime as the Constitutional foundation for those decisions will have been altered. A brilliant strategy really, with one amendment the religious right could wipe out access to birth control, abortion, and even non-procreative sex...


Which while I am sure is great hyperbole to some of the true believers like Sullivan and Winkleman but is simply a silly argument for several rather obvious reasons.

First of all, you have a tough time arguing that there is going to be a “new jurisprudential regime” for a constitutional amendment which simply affirms which most States have had on their books for the last hundred years or so and has been the common law going back further than that.

Second of all, we’ve had two constitutional amendments (establishing the income tax and giving Congress the power to enact prohibition) which actually do intrude into private affairs (which standardizing a civil marriage contract as a condition for receiving public benefits does not) – neither of which have been used to my knowledge to create any “new jurisprudential regime” for any sort of privacy issues.

Nor for that matter have the statutes and/or constitutional amendments passed by thirty-eight States post-DOMA which compliment the language of the FMA.

Simply put, Sullivan is grasping at straws to try and scare people into opposing the FMA with a phony privacy and slippery-slope argument with no real logical basis.

And Thorley, I intend to post on labor, art, the campaign, and a mixed bag of other topics...I look forward to how you'll manage to force your criticism of my posts on the environment into each of them as well...

Probably not as I have already pointed out the sheer silliness of earlier your attempt at defining “working people” to exclude over 80% of the workforce.


" I think Edward's Niemoller title was out of line - but not by a great deal."

If the agenda of the Nazis was to prevent Jews from marrying, it might be closer.

Please. . less Godwin, from both sides. It demeans the events, and has already to such an extent that we flippantly reference it to a degree we'd never even consider with, say, the Khmer Rouge massacres, or Rwandan genocide.

Okay, I’ll ask the question – what exactly are the credentials of the originator of this novel theory?

Sullivan called him a "Republican lawyer." That's all I know. Only Nathan was calling anyone who had an opinion about his theory, one way or the other, a "fool."

Your input on the validity of that theory seems well considered and persuasive, I might add Thorley, ...too bad it comes packaged in your usual haughtiness...

Probably not as I have already pointed out the sheer silliness of earlier your attempt at defining “working people” to exclude over 80% of the workforce.

Straw man argument, your "working people" line...in the context of whether a Republican candidate could win the endorsement of the AFL-CIO, it was clear enough...but I'm flattered you're paying such close attention to my texts.

Okay now here’s a first, I actually agree with something Joshua wrote.

I'm not saying I don't see your point, but I am saying you're both missing mine.

OK, I can buy that.

who's Joshua?

sidereal, the passage Edward referenced often includes the homosexuals (with what accuracy I don't know). Anyway, the Nazis did come for the gays. As you note, there's too much Godwining - but there are specific echoes that give Edward's title some relevance.

Edward,

It is obviously foolish, regardless of the constitutional implications, to think that an amendment defining marriage would end up restricting private sexual activity that is currently legal.

I am not a lawyer. I know little about your constitution.

However, that does not matter because we are talking politics, not law. The government of the United States derives its power from the consent of the people. If the people are sufficiently opposed to something, like intrusive restrictions on non-procreative sex, then that thing will not happen. Period.

I think that the problem is related to the hyper-legalism among many of you Yanks. There seems to be a belief that the constitution is some sort of irresistable force that once directed cannot be stopped.

That is nonsense. All laws are ultimately subject to the will of the people. Fortunately, that is as it should be. Constitutional directives and legislative and electoral inefficiencies simply act to slow the process so that foolish changes can be easier discarded.

So I don't understand your point here.

Well, my main point, Rilkefan, is to flog Plager.

As for Paul Cella -- at a minimum, he is polite, writes well, and expresses his views clearly without animus or ad hominem. That's what I seek out for a counteropinion. I don't go to his site to agree with him (though sometimes I do), and I don't ask him to change his mind. Rather, I go to his site to be challenged.

I don't see much difference between opposing gay marriage and opposing miscegenation.

Well, you've seen my approach to the issue from the Tacitus threads, in which I suggest the very same point.

But, assuming that my opponents' feelings are as deeply held as my own (and that I've judged that benefits of gay marriage do not outweigh the costs of the armed conflict needed to impose it on an unwilling populace -- assuming it could even be done) what would you propose that I do? How does me saying "no, my morality is the correct one" trump someone else's saying "no, my morality is the correct one.

Sullivan called him a "Republican lawyer." That's all I know.

So you do not know about the “credentials” of this individual (assuming s/he actually exists) one way or the other, which makes it silly to get into a match over whose credentials beat whose.

Only Nathan was calling anyone who had an opinion about his theory, one way or the other, a "fool."

Actually, I am pretty sure he was just talking about you. ;)

Your input on the validity of that theory seems well considered and persuasive, I might add Thorley, ...too bad it comes packaged in your usual haughtiness...

Thanks.

Straw man argument, your "working people" line...in the context of whether a Republican candidate could win the endorsement of the AFL-CIO, it was clear enough...but I'm flattered you're paying such close attention to my texts.

Um no actually Edward you tried to get away with defining “working Americans'” as “Americans who belong to unions” which I correctly pointed out was a silly definition as it excludes over 80% of the work force.


Edward,

Also, if I thought that you were a fool, I would call you one. If one looks foolish at some point that does not necessarily mean that he is a fool.

von, I think the govt should be concerned with ethics not morality, but my opinion is of little consequence. If you treat opponents of gay marriage the same way you (would have) treat(ed) opponents of miscegenation, then you're being fair and consistent, as always. I wasn't referring to your main point - just asking about whether opponents of black-white intermarriage can be "good folks" etc.

Um no actually Edward you tried to get away with defining “working Americans'” as “Americans who belong to unions” which I correctly pointed out was a silly definition as it excludes over 80% of the work force.

Tried to get away with? Correctly pointed out? You're not a grade school teacher by any chance are you? There's a rather school-marmish quality about your prose.

Mental note: Thorley prefers the term "Union workers"...got it.

You might want to let a few thousand American politicians in on your pet peeve here too Thorley...as they've been using the term much the same way for years...

I wasn't referring to your main point - just asking about whether opponents of black-white intermarriage can be "good folks" etc.

In the 1880s? Yes. Which is about where we are in the gay marriage debate.

Tried to get away with? Correctly pointed out? You're not a grade school teacher by any chance are you? There's a rather school-marmish quality about your prose.
Nope, not even close.
Mental note: Thorley prefers the term "Union workers"...got it.
Actually, the term “union member” would be more accurate.
You might want to let a few thousand American politicians in on your pet peeve here too Thorley...as they've been using the term much the same way for years...
Then they are simply being dishonest, as you cannot legitimately define “American worker” in a manner, which excludes 82% of the American workforce.

On the evidence of his comments on this thread, Rilkefan believes that it is by abstract politics that we must judge men; that by this criterion men are saved or damned. Liberals politics are articles of faith.

Therefore it is impossible that an opponent of miscegenation can be a good man, just as it is impossible that an opponent of homosexual marriage can be a good man.

To use Rilkefan's language, I don't see much difference between supporting the abortion regime and supporting the slavery regime: both rest on the principle that certain human beings may be lawfully treated as property. It follows, on this logic, that all who support "a woman's right to choose" must be hateful to me; and we can see the dark places where this logic would lead.

Only I don't endorse the logic of politics-as-all. I reject it. I do not doubt that men and women sin in espousing the principles behind abortion, and in acquiescing in them, just as they sinned in espousing the principles of slavery; nor do I doubt that all this sin and sloth adds up to grave iniquity and moral horror.

But, illuminated by Christian theology, and its emphasis on the ubiquity of sin, I am freed from the burden of judging these people on account of their political beliefs, however awful.

Thus I can say without qualms that yes, there were good men who thought miscegenation was evil, just as there are good men who think abortion is not, and indeed, just as there were good men who thought slavery was not. If I am driven by politics to despise everyone whose moral imagination fails them, I will become myself a despicable creature, hateful and indignant, yet without mercy or humility.

Again: I believe that abortion is an evil on the level with Atlantic slavery; and I am confident that the day will dawn when men will come to see this, just as they came, ultimately, to see the evil of slavery. But I will not hate my friends and neighbors who have yet awakened to this; and in a similar way I know it is possible to feel a human sympathy for those who defended slavery; thus I admire John C. Calhoun as a statesman, even as I recognize that often his talents were dedicated to defending the indefensible. For who knows what horrors my sin-crippled moral imagination has led me to endorse; and who knows what later generations, their minds enlarged by Christian charity and discernment, will render in judgment of our age.

Well said, Paul Cella.

Von,

What, you mean you don’t think we’ll be persuaded to side with you if you call us Nazis and accuse of us harboring or promulgating “hate” for disagreeing with you?

;)

Seriously though, as I said earlier, if the other side had gotten this through the legislative process, it wouldn’t even be on my radar screen (1). My interest in this was only piqued when it became clear that the other side wanted to short-circuit the legislative process through the courts or simply ignore the law as in San Francisco.

Once that happened, it was inevitable that somebody was going to call for a response to trump the first action. Since the FMA-supporters (of which I am one) at least want to follow the process and go through the slow legislative process rather than finding an activist court or simply ignore the law, they merit my support.

TW

(1) Point of fact, this is actually a reversal on the first vote I (wrongly) cast against a gubernatorial candidate whose supporters tried to make this a key issue in our primary nearly ten years to this day. I have no doubt that when I chair my precinct in a couple of hours and we do resolutions, there will be more than a few offered on this topic.

Hmm, I don't see how people who see abortion as infanticide can look without horror and rage on their neighbors - I tend to think that they should take after Die Weisse Rose or even go around assassinating doctors - but maybe this is a case of rendering unto Caesar. For that matter I don't understand how (literalist) Christians can countenance non-adulterous divorce. Of course I think we're piles of atoms evolving deterministically in accord with physical laws, so have a grain of salt.

Hmmm... first Rod Paige calling the NEA "terrorists," now the moron Prager leveling the same accusation at gays uppity enough to demand equal rights for their own domestic partnerships.

Is this a preview of Campaign 2004, GOP-style, where everything we don't like gets accused of terrorism?

"I don't see how people who see abortion as infanticide can look without horror and rage on their neighbors"

Probably for the same reason that people who believe that the sanctity of life extends to animals aren't lynching meatpackers. It moves you further from, rather than towards, your goal.

That said however, I do agree that the conviction and rhetoric do not match up when it comes to abortion. Personally, I am anti-abortion in almost all cases (but am unsure whether the solution is legal or social), but I do not currently feel that it is morally equivalent to killing, for example, a 1-year old child. And I do believe that if anti-abortion activists really felt that there was equivalence (per "child-murderer" rhetoric), they would do exactly what you or I would do if we found out someone was routinely murdering 1-year old children down the street.

This touches on Macallan's point on Tacitus (in a wildly different context) about the counterproductive nature of overheated rhetoric.

Darn that Cella can write. And lead me to an examination of my conscience, or to examine my acts in the light of my conscience, or to write stuff like this that I don't understand

The man tries his best. I like him.

bob says, with a somewhat comical euphemism, "Darn that Cella can write."

On the evidence of his comments on this thread, Rilkefan believes that it is by abstract politics that we must judge men; that by this criterion men are saved or damned. Liberals politics are articles of faith.

On the same evidence, Mr. Cella isn't interested in coherent argument. His first statement is incorrect - I didn't restrict my argument to abstract politics, unless slavery or bigotry was an abstraction. I don't think (pick your favorite historical villain) was good because he treated his family nicely - I'll concede he had good qualities on that basis. It seems to me that there is a spectrum of behavior from the annoying to the abhorrent, from the ignorant to the complicit, and we can't choose to play nice with our neighbors regardless of that.
Mr. Cella's second statement is entirely unsupported and so general as to be wrong on its face.

Von,

I'm trying to understand how precedent works in the US. Assume for a sec that a lawyer of a married gay person in CA attempts to get around the community property provisions of CA law in a divorce by arguing that there never was a marriage since it is forbidden by CA law (assume also that there was no Domestic Partnership agreement in place). If the court rules in favor, what precedent does that set for CA? For the US?

"I didn't restrict my argument to abstract politics, unless slavery or bigotry was an abstraction."

Y'all aren't quite communicating. Yes Rilke they are abstractions. Not to speak for Mr Cella, but could be the only real thing about people are their souls. And we are not equipped to judge men's souls.

We may judge beliefs as correct or not, we may judge behavior, we may not judge men. It may be just a distinction, but I read last week it is the entirety of Jesus's teaching, for when you don't judge men you must love them.

Rilke, I actually think about what nihilism *means* (and it is my problem that the choice is between Christ and nihilism), and how it eliminates the possibility or universal values, and creates a world of my preferences and my pleasures.

Read the man. Don't put malice where there is none. Aw heck. If it went past Rilke it may have grazed me by accident, and so wasn't wasted time.

bob writes, "it is my problem that the choice is between Christ and nihilism".

I think your choice is between Buddha, Odin, Kali, Moon, skepticism, aggressive versions of nihilism, utilitarian versions of nihilism, and just trying to get along with people.

As to judging men's souls, I agree you and I are not equipped - but apparently our president is - see V. Putin. If that's what we're discussing, then we might as well throw up our hands and say G*d will sort it all out for us.

You seem to be a stickler for details Thorley...just curious...is it 80% or 82%?

Bob McManus is a man of uncommon magnanimity of mind. And when he writes, "the choice is between Christ and nihilism," he inclines me to believe that he has been reading his David Hart.

"America leads the battle against both religious and secular nihilism and is hated by both because it rejects both equally. American values preclude embracing either religious extremism or radical secularism." -- Prager

A passle of bloggers have been mocking Mr Prager today. I am slightly shamed I did participate, if subtly, elsewhere. Mr Prager does not use the tautest language.

" Ideologies disdain mystery, veneration and ambiguity; they enervate the common sense of common men by substituting abstract, implacable ideas for practical but inarticulate wisdom. Few things are as galling to the ideologue as the venerated old customs to which the common man clings, informed by his traditions and intuitions —- all of which cannot be rationally or scientifically expressed." -- Mr Cella

Mr Cella here is speaking of liberalism, or libertarianism.

Our quest for freedom without the bounds of prejudice is not without a price, one that I am willing to pay, while too many others think they retrieving a toy from ignorant and selfish children. Mr Prager may express himself poorly, but somehow he understands what he is losing.

I agree, bob seems like a nice guy. Mr. Hart however seems a bit, well, paranoid.

Society must thus be secured against the intrusions of the Good, or of God, so that its citizens may determine their own lives by the choices they make from a universe of morally indifferent but variably desirable ends, unencumbered by any prior grammar of obligation or value (in America, we call this the “wall of separation”). Hence the liberties that permit one to purchase lavender bed clothes, to gaze fervently at pornography, to become a Unitarian, to market popular celebrations of brutal violence, or to destroy one’s unborn child are all equally intrinsically “good” because all are expressions of an inalienable freedom of choice.

or

But this merely illustrates my point: we take as given the individual’s right not merely to obey or defy the moral law, but to choose which moral standards to adopt, which values to uphold, which fashion of piety to wear and with what accessories.

_I_ happen to think it's pretty obvious what our standing is in the universe (big blobs of atoms) - but most people seem to find the question deep and difficult. And smart people come to different conclusions. Good for them. The idea that our society is designed to keep us from becoming Christians - well, I find that frightening. As I do the elision later of Islam and other religions.

Mr. Hart also knows much too little about ancient pagan literature to make any claims about it in public, but that's a common failing.

I blush. :) Mr Cella and I have honored each other tonight. And I thank you rilke. I do not so often think myself good. I will read the Hart later, I am a slow reader and careful reader.

"Magnanimity" was especially pleasing, for this was the decisive virtue of Leopold Bloom, the arrow with which he slew the suitors.

I am either a good reader or a bad one, for I seem to be unable to shake off some things I read. I used to be a happy little atheist.

Nietzsche: Christianity or nihilism, and nihilism is really hard
Joyce: who would only say he was an unbeliever, and would not substitute any incoherent and illogical system for Catholicism
The two above somehow made me think that a Westerner could only be in rebellion, could not escape the Western tradition by force of will

& Kierkeggaard:"Sickness Unto Death", somewhere between "Irony is the last refuge of the moralist" and "Thou art a bad artist" I was permanently damaged. Grabbed by the intellectual forelock and told "There is Love". And ever since I seem to either be a Rebel Angel or silly self-amusing sinner. But loved in either case.

Pride's a bitch.

We interrupt this discussion for a few news updates:

1. The mayor of New Paltz is facing criminal charges, though it seems like they're most likely going to ask for a fine rather than jail time.

2. Time to buy some more duct tape and plastic sheeting, because Multnomah County, Oregon--which basically comprises the city of Portland--will begin offering marriage licenses to gay couples tomorrow:
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/news/archive/2004/03/02/state2343EST7033.DTL

Not only a rogue mayor this time--an entire board of supervisors on the rampage. Oh, the humanity.

3. Speaking of rogue mayors, Newsom has been receiving "credible" death threats and is under 24 hour police protection. They say the threats have increased noticeably since the call for a marriage amendment (but remember, kids, correlation does not imply causation. Seriously--this is not a surprising development in any way; it may have just taken them a few days to get their act together.)
http://www.365gay.com/newscon04/03/030204newsomThreat.htm

This is why I do not care for complicated, existential excuses for people like Prager.

Oh, and once again--JUDEO-christian? The rabbis at my synagogue would have some choice words for that one. Reform Judaism (the largest denomination, if that's the right word, in the U.S.) actively supports gay marriage, as does Reconstructionist Judaism. Conservative Judaism (second largest group in the U.S.) is somewhat divided--they officially oppose gay marriage, but some prominent scholars disagree and a few rabbis perform the ceremonies. They also officially support "civil rights for gay men and lesbians"; it is not clear whether this extends to civil marriage. Only among Orthodox Jews is there clear opposition to gay marriage and majority support for the FMA. (Since they're the only ones actually trying to live by all the rules in Leviticus, instead of just applying them to unpopular minorities, they win some consistency points from me. Obviously I disagree with their conclusions.)

Katherine, we have been here before, on Syrian torture victims. I seem to lack your capacity for outrage. Take it as you will, perhaps an unwillingness to invest, on the issue I am more on your side than opposed.

This morning on first reading I was as outraged at Prager as the rest of you. On second reading, I found him more pathetic than frightening. The man was using weapons too heavy for him against enemies he doesn't understand. And he thinks he is already beaten.

The Christian Right perceive themselves as being rejected and held in contempt by the greater community. You may think they are wrong. I don't. But their suffering I believe is real. And very similar to the suffering of gays, in kind if not degree. And I am not sure about degree.

If this goes to violence, and I think it will, most of the violence will be directed against gays. Mr Cella would maybe think that an unforgivable assumption, but I expect it. I have been thru this before, in Selma. And I carry some hate to this day.

I won't hate Mr Prager.

Hi bob.
"and it is my problem that the choice is between Christ and nihilism"

Do you mean that this is the choice for you, or that this is the absolute choice? If the latter, I believe it's a culturally conditioned notion and at odds with evidence of numerous non-Christian non-nihilists.

If the former, I wouldn't deign to speak to your personal state of mind, so never mind :)

Paul Cella: Therefore it is impossible that an opponent of miscegenation can be a good man, just as it is impossible that an opponent of homosexual marriage can be a good man. Only I don't endorse the logic of politics-as-all. I reject it.

There I agree with you, Paul. My phrase (from my Quaker past) is "sadly misguided". I believe that your intentions are good - and I agree with von that arguing without ad hominem attacks is intrinsically a good thing - but yes, you are sadly misguided.

If I am driven by politics to despise everyone whose moral imagination fails them, I will become myself a despicable creature, hateful and indignant, yet without mercy or humility.

You reach this point of view from your Christian beliefs: I reach this point of view from my liberal beliefs. Yet on this point of view we are in agreement. You are, in attacking the right of women to terminate unwanted pregnancies legally and safely, supporting death and horror: just as in attacking those who wish to marry legally, you are supporting institutional inequality - but the failure lies in your imagination, not in your good will. To quote George Bernard Shaw "Must then a Christ die in every generation to save those that have no imagination?" - the answer, sadly, so often turns out to be "Yes."

"Do you mean that this is the choice for you, or that this is the absolute choice?"

Personal and descriptive, of course. My mind literally is reeling that words like testifying, evangelizing, or prescriptive....and offensive may have crossed anyone's mind. Such has never in my life been a conscious intent.

Does an ideology of libertarian inconsequentialism mean never having to say you're sorry? Irresponsibility seems kinda built into it. :)

(This is an attempt to disarm any offended with the philosophical equivalent of an impish grin.)

Brilliant observation Paul...You should contribute to the debate Macallan started over on Tacitus, if you haven't already...plenty of folks over there could benefit from your input.

Edward wrote:

You seem to be a stickler for details Thorley...just curious...is it 80% or 82%?

Actually, the most current statistics I’ve found from the Department of Labor put the percentage of American workers who are nonunion at 87.1%. Which makes the attempt to define “American worker” as “union members” even more inaccurate and silly than I had initially thought.

doesn't make your reporting any more accurate though :P

Crionna --

In response to your question:

Assume for a sec that a lawyer of a married gay person in CA attempts to get around the community property provisions of CA law in a divorce by arguing that there never was a marriage since it is forbidden by CA law (assume also that there was no Domestic Partnership agreement in place). If the court rules in favor, what precedent does that set for CA? For the US?

I'm not a family law lawyer, but I believe that this particular issue would be an issue of state law.* That is, the ruling would be binding in California, but not in the rest of the United States.

Note that Sullivan posted an e-mail from a lawyer regarding what happens when a gay married couple from (say) Massachusetts moves to a state that doesn't recognize gay marriage. The situation would be handled by "choice of law" (sometimes called "conflict of law") rules, which are rooted in ancient notions of comity and abstention.**

von

*I can imagine some potential implications under Federal Tax law, though.

**Choice of law is not an easy concept for lawyers or laypeople to grasp. I'm not going to attempt it here -- the forum (and bandwidth) just ain't conducive.



doesn't make your reporting any more accurate though :P

Actually it does, unless you can offer something more accurate than the official numbers or a reason why we should not accept the DeptLab’s survey numbers.

OK...you can have the last word Thorley...

bob, I think we may be at cross purposes because you're more or less talking about Prager's soul and I'm more or less talking about his op-ed column....maybe not. Don't really know.

Read a good column today at a mag called World, run by Marvin Olasky (if you know who he is)....a Christian. On gay marriage, the writer admitted there was no secular case, and the only argument was religious. Perhaps I am not totally free of residual homophobia myself, but somehow I have empathy, not for their position, but for what gay marriage could imply to them. Biblical inerrancy is unacceptable to me, for example, but some are dependent on it.

And maybe, having gone thru the 60's civil rights movement, I am just exhausted with Dixie

Edward:

I'm sorry I missed it, but Macallan's debate at Tacitus has over 200 comments. It's too late to jump into that bad boy.

Mr. McManus:

I agree that the trajectory of the culture war is, sadly, toward violence. See my "Two Americas" essay.

"One which regards our founding consensus as something almost sacred, as the hinge on which everything political here turns"

I am reminded of Buchanan. The "culture war" is worldwide, and fought with more even sides in other parts of the World. In America, I just seem to be unable to disconnect it from our history, and the fragility of the consensus that was apparent even at our founding.I know the problem is not entirely geographic, but there is evidently a geographic component that just confuses me.

Whether there is, or always has been , one or two cultures in America, we seem to be delegitamizing a culture here ( and maybe replacing it with nothing), and that is perilous beyond my predictive powers.

As for myself, I fear I am indulging in a terrible condescension.

Sorry I said Buchanan, I meant Calhoun

Bob said: Perhaps I am not totally free of residual homophobia myself, but somehow I have empathy, not for their position, but for what gay marriage could imply to them.

Hmmm...

I have relatives who are routinely homophobic (who use language like "fag" and "dyke"). But I like to think that despite this, if someone they loved told them they were getting married, they would find it in themselves to be happy for them. If they could not bring themselves to be happy, I guess I would feel sorry for them - that they had so stunted their emotions that hate was more of a reality to them than love.

But this wouldn't in the least change my support for gay marriage, nor my conviction that those opposing gay marriage are fundamentally wrong. On a personal level, they may deserve my sympathy: but in no way does their bigotry deserve my support.

Whether there is, or always has been , one or two cultures in America, we seem to be delegitamizing a culture here ( and maybe replacing it with nothing), and that is perilous beyond my predictive powers.

Yes. The anti-gay bigots are being delegitimized, I agree. This may be a "perilous thing" - but it's not beyond your predictive powers, Bob. Look at what happened as a result of the civil rights movement, which also delegitimized a whole culture. Do you honestly think that this was a bad thing?

Bigots may believe that it is dangerous for a group of people they discriminate against to have equal access to civil rights. Indeed, you could argue that's the definition of bigotry. But it's never a good thing to let bigoted fears rule.

I suspect conservatives feel that acceptance of gay marriage is not just an attack on an instance of their culture, but an attack on the culture's presuppositions.

"happened as a result of the civil rights movement, which also delegitimized a whole culture. Do you honestly think that this was a bad thing? "

Of course not. But it had a terrible price, both immediately and in the longer term. The country is more terribly divided in some ways than before the civil rights movement, and I don't think it is coincidental.

It is so easy for y'all, maybe there is something wrong with me. It is like I am in 1860, seeing the future, and tho I know the correct side, and should feel righteous, all I see is the carnage, and all I can feel is sad.

A passle of bloggers have been mocking Mr Prager today. I am slightly shamed I did participate, if subtly, elsewhere. Mr Prager does not use the tautest language.

Bob, it's not just a lack of "taut language." Prager chose words that no thinking, moral human being would choose. If the choice was accidental, then an apology is in order, and we move on. I'll not flog someone -- metaphorically or no -- for a mere mis-speak. But, if not, then Prager has revealed himself and we should act accordingly.

Of course not. But it had a terrible price, both immediately and in the longer term. The country is more terribly divided in some ways than before the civil rights movement, and I don't think it is coincidental.

I disagree, Bob. Have you ever read accounts from a black POV of life before the civil rights movement? The country was terribly divided then - it was just that the white half of the division could calmly ignore the division and behave and think as if their half was the whole.

"The opinion also makes clear that unions vaildly entered into outside New York State should be recognized in New York State. For example, if the Massachusetts Legislature passes a same-sex marriage statute, as is expected, New York should recognize the marriages of same-sex couples who get married in Massachusetts."

-- New York Atty. Gen. Eliot Spitzer, today, in the course of stating that New York statutes do not permit same-sex marriage.

So the Massachusetts Supreme Judiciary Court will be legislating for New York at least.

Von wrote:

Bob, it's not just a lack of "taut language." Prager chose words that no thinking, moral human being would choose. If the choice was accidental, then an apology is in order, and we move on. I'll not flog someone -- metaphorically or no -- for a mere mis-speak. But, if not, then Prager has revealed himself and we should act accordingly.

Von, does that mean that we should be flogging (metaphorically) Andrew Sullivan for earlier comments from about a week or so ago accusing the President of “declaring war” on gays when Bush endorsed the FMA? Or is that sort of charged rhetoric only okay when it agrees with your position but unacceptable when it comes from the other side? (1)

;)

Seriously though, this whole business of using charged rhetoric (including war analogies which have long been a part of the American political tradition) and feigning outrage when the other sides does it is patently transparent and self-serving. Frankly, the feigned victim hood and demands for the requisite apologies when someone chooses to take remarks out of context in order to feign being “offended” is more corrosive to our political discourse than the charged rhetoric.

TW

(1) To his credit though, Von did chastise his co-blogger for a silly Nazi smear on one of the earlier threads.

So the Massachusetts Supreme Judiciary Court will be legislating for New York at least.

I think Spitzer's view is arguable, Paul -- there's reason to believe that NY Courts can reject Mass. Gay Marriage w/o offending the Full Faith and Credit clause. (Understand, too, that Spitzer favors gay marriage, and that New York does not define marriage as between a man and a woman.) Note also its clear implication: according to Spitzer, if New York does pass a law prohibiting gay marriage, New York will not recognize gay marriages from Massachusetts.

Or is that sort of charged rhetoric only okay when it agrees with your position but unacceptable when it comes from the other side?

Thorley, the difference is that Prager's words were not hyperboyle or rhetoric, as Sulliven's were. Read Prager again:

"America is engaged in two wars for the survival of its civilization. The war over same-sex marriage and the war against Islamic totalitarianism are actually two fronts in the same war -- a war for the preservation of the unique American creation known as Judeo-Christian civilization."

And the award for Most Hypocritical Logic in one comment goes to....

Seriously though, this whole business of using charged rhetoric (including war analogies which have long been a part of the American political tradition) and feigning outrage when the other sides does it is patently transparent and self-serving. Frankly, the feigned victim hood and demands for the requisite apologies when someone chooses to take remarks out of context in order to feign being “offended” is more corrosive to our political discourse than the charged rhetoric.

Followed up by

To his credit though, Von did chastise his co-blogger for a silly Nazi smear on one of the earlier threads.

Who's feigning what, Thorley?

Von wrote:

Thorley, the difference is that Prager's words were not hyperboyle or rhetoric, as Sulliven's were. Read Prager again:

"America is engaged in two wars for the survival of its civilization. The war over same-sex marriage and the war against Islamic totalitarianism are actually two fronts in the same war -- a war for the preservation of the unique American creation known as Judeo-Christian civilization."

Yes and if you read his article in toto, it’s pretty clear he’s using war as a metaphor or rhetoric and not actually accusing the Left of using violence or crashing buildings into planes.

Edward wrote:

Who's feigning what, Thorley?

That would be you actually. My comment referencing your earlier silly Nazi smear was actually giving Von due credit for chastising you for it instead of simply picking and choosing to be “offended” by comments from the other side.

Oh and for the record, your bolding of my last post notwithstanding, I never asked for an apology or feigned offense at your earlier comments. In fact if you scroll up to the beginning of the thread, I advised you to continue making them as you making them hurts your side worse than mine.

You really need a find a few synonyms for "silly" Thorley...you may think it's a good choice in this instance, but you apply across too many cases for it to retain any significant connotation...and if I had only bolded "someone chooses to take remarks out of context" like you clearly did, would you accept the hypocrisy charge, Thorley?

it’s pretty clear he’s using war as a metaphor or rhetoric and not actually accusing the Left of using violence or crashing buildings into planes.

Thorley, Prager writes "[t]he war over same-sex marriage and the war against Islamic totalitarianism are actually two fronts in the same war." That's stating -- quite directly and without apparent irony -- that there are two sides in this war: Prager and the forces of good on one hand, on one hand, and Islamofascist/gay marriage folks on the other. He is absolutely accusing the gay marriage folks of, at a minimum, being in league with the folks who killed 3000 people on 9-11. You can see that, can't you?

Edward wrote:

You really need a find a few synonyms for "silly" Thorley...you may think it's a good choice in this instance, but you apply across too many cases for it to retain any significant connotation

Duly noted although in this case it was used to be as close to the language of my original post as possible.

...and if I had only bolded "someone chooses to take remarks out of context" like you clearly did, would you accept the hypocrisy charge, Thorley?

The reference to the section of my post you bolded was only to show that despite the impression you were trying to give, I neither asked for an apology nor feigned outrage or offense at your ridiculous Nazi smear. Hence any charge of hypocrisy is unwarranted.

So, you admit you took it out of context then?

I will not be satisfied until the Medium Lobster gets the last word.


bob -
"Does an ideology of libertarian inconsequentialism mean never having to say you're sorry?"
Actually, I believe it does. However, I do not believe it addresses the more important question. . will you still do what you do not have to do? The answer to that supercedes ideology (or subcedes, if you like). Before you can have an ideology you must have a character.

Nope

Before you can have an ideology you must have a character.

And yet...

"I do not believe it addresses the more important question. . will you still do what you do not have to do?"

It was a half-joke. Ideologies or political philosophies are policy guides rather than behavioral disciplines. And any ideology will be abandoned at some point of utilitarian collapse.

As an example, yesterday in a discussion on the 2nd amendment I drew the line at tac nukes, and then said that armor probably did not provide benefits to match its costs. Point was to maximise freedom on a 1st approximation, and then work backwards to what is feasible.

"Prager chose words that no thinking, moral human being would choose."

I had not known whom the man was, thinking he was a mere shmoe. Then on rereading, I recognized his face. It was dangerous hyperbole. There is I assume, much of this out there. I frankly act as though the Limbaughs and Savages don't exist. I pay them no mind. If you think the man is in any way vulnerable, do your best to discredit him.

It is not where this battle will be won.

Oh, and once again--JUDEO-christian? The rabbis at my synagogue would have some choice words for that one. Reform Judaism (the largest denomination, if that's the right word, in the U.S.) actively supports gay marriage, as does Reconstructionist Judaism.

Anti-gay-marriage isn't even the necessary Christian position. The United Church of Canada, which is the largest Protestant denomination in Canada, actively supports same-sex marriage.

Perhaps that's part of the reason why same-sex marriage is closer to reality in Canada than in the U.S.

" was just that the white half of the division could calmly ignore the division and behave and think as if their half was the whole."

It was a good thing. I approved. There are many consequences, all of which were mitigated by the achievement of civil rights gains thru the legislative process.

I regret, for instance, that the GOP took the opportunity to grab the South and that the South eventually grabbed back. I think this has consequences even beyond the political.

Von wrote:

Thorley, Prager writes "[t]he war over same-sex marriage and the war against Islamic totalitarianism are actually two fronts in the same war." That's stating -- quite directly and without apparent irony -- that there are two sides in this war: Prager and the forces of good on one hand, on one hand, and Islamofascist/gay marriage folks on the other.

Von, Sullivan also conflagrates the two issues:

It's the president who has to answer to the charge that in wartime, he chose to divide this country over the most profound symbol there can be: the Constitution itself. I refuse, in short, to be put in a position where I have to pick between a vital war and fundamental civil equality. The two are inextricable. They are the same war.

As I said before, they are both using charged rhetoric and in this case war analogies for their respective sides of the “gay marriage” issue and lumping it in with the larger War. Prager states that these are “two fronts in the same war” and Sullivan agrees that “[t]hey are the same war.”

Prager states that these are “two fronts in the same war” and Sullivan agrees that “[t]hey are the same war.”

Assume that you've established that Sullivan is as deranged as Prager, Thorley. I don't see how that benefits Prager.

von, I don't think Spitzer's opinion on whether NY has to recognize out of state marriage is based on the full faith and credit clause at all. It's based on New York state statute and common law.

The full opinion--worth a read--is here:
http://www.nytimes.com/packages/html/nyregion/20040304_gay.pdf

I think it's dead on all the revelant legal issues.

Spitzer impressed the hell out of me today, on several levels--brave enough to come out in support of gay marriage, but responsible enough the realize that the Attorney General's first duty is to the laws of New York state & to intepret those laws honestly. He showed both competence and decency. I really hope everyone's right about him being the next governor.

On a lighter, yet more obnoxious note, I am amusing myself by pretending to be a Bush speechwriter trying to describe recent events in Portland and Nyack.

"rogue county boards of supervisors"....

"elected officials are redefining marriage, in either accordance or conflict with state law, we're not sure which"....

"should take his latte sipping, sushi eating, body piercing left wing freak show back to Nyack where it belongs!"

But how do you describe all of them--judges, mayors, and county supervisors, in New Paltz, Portland, Nyack, San Francisco, and Massachusetts--at once?

With a simple, elegant, eight word phrase:

"traditional marriage sanctity threatening related program activity perpetrators"

Remember, Katherine. They're all activists. And we don't like activists. Activity is bad.

traditional marriage sanctity threatening related program activity perpetrators

*snorgle*

Katherine, I love you. May I quote you on this?

now get back to work!

von, I don't think Spitzer's opinion on whether NY has to recognize out of state marriage is based on the full faith and credit clause at all. It's based on New York state statute and common law.

That's fascinating, Katherine -- I hadn't seen that. I just assumed that Spitzer was talking ff&c-speak. But you're right: he may not be (or he may not only be).

don't cave in so fast, Von...Thorley's wrong.

Sullivan means the war for gay marriage is the same as the war against terror and that these are unified in their ultimate goal: freedom.

Prager equates a war for freedom with one against freedom.

Sullivan's argument is defendable...Pragers is deplorable.

damn these inferior html skills...bold went crazy there....should be

Sullivan means the war for gay marriage is the same as the war against terror and that these are unified in their ultimate goal: freedom.

Edward wrote:

don't cave in so fast, Von...Thorley's wrong.

Everyone keep in mind that my only major position on this issue thus far has been that both Prager and Sullivan have conflagrated the War with their respective positions on the FMA.

Sullivan means the war for gay marriage is the same as the war against terror and that these are unified in their ultimate goal: freedom.

This is of course wrong for two reasons as Sullivan equates “gay marriage” with “civil equality” not “freedom” and the proponents of “gay marriage” are not in fact after “freedom” (as no one is preventing them from setting up their own private contracts and/or religious ceremonies – the debate is about whether to equate them with the same status and privileges as married couples) but rather benefits and forced acceptance of their particular lifestyle choice.

Prager equates a war for freedom with one against freedom.

Nope, he doesn’t.

Sullivan's argument is defendable...Pragers is deplorable.

Not really. Both have simply invoked war analogies to support their respective sides in an argument, which really centers around societal privileges and social acceptance of behavior which is either an “alternative lifestyle,” “social deviancy,” or worthy of neither condemnation nor societal sanction depending on one’s POV. Using such rhetoric might play well to some of the people already inclined to agree with them, but it isn’t really persuasive – much like calling your opponents “Nazis.”

Necessary clarification, my reference to Sullivan’s equation of “gay marriage” to “civil equality” is solely in reference to the excerpt from Sullivan’s diatribe that I posted.

much like calling your opponents “Nazis.”

Never even approached doing this, but you keep citing it anyway...might succeed in convincing yourself, if no one else...

This is of course wrong for two reasons as Sullivan equates “gay marriage” with “civil equality” not “freedom” and the proponents of “gay marriage” are not in fact after “freedom” (as no one is preventing them from setting up their own private contracts and/or religious ceremonies – the debate is about whether to equate them with the same status and privileges as married couples) but rather benefits and forced acceptance of their particular lifestyle choice.

I've been ploughing through Orson Scott Card's lying piece of bigotry, so I can't say that's the most torturous explanation I've ever seen of how equality and freedom have nothing to do with each other... but it's right up there.

Equality and freedom go hand in hand, Thorley. Ask Francis Coppola: "Though his life has taken jagged and unexpected turns, his theme remains consistent. He's just like everyone else, and that's how he wants to be treated."

Actually Orson Scott Card makes the stronger case - at least for those who base their positions on reason rather than appeals to emotion - on the issue. I won't stipulate to everything he wrote, but he's pretty much on the mark on the major points.

The excerpt from Humpty Dumpty about how the proponents of "gay marriage" have pretty much taken a "words mean whatever we want them to mean at the moment," how this is being imposed by judicial fiat rather than through the democratic legislatures, and how there really is no comparable case for providing a social sanction and benefits for homosexual relationships as there is marriage are all pretty much on the money.

But please feel free to throw around smears of "lying piece of bigotry" whenever you're unable to debate your point rationally and civilly. It provides loads of entertainment to see the opposition become unhinged and does little to advance your cause.

Actually Orson Scott Card makes the stronger case - at least for those who base their positions on reason rather than appeals to emotion - on the issue.

Those who base their position on reason can't fail but recongize gay marriage is inevitable...all the rest of this is emotional stonewalling.


Those who base their position on reason can't fail but recongize gay marriage is inevitable...all the rest of this is emotional stonewalling.

Except of course all of the evidence in the form of what people in their respective States have chosen and affirmed for the definition of civil marriage leads to the exact opposite conclusion.

Except of course all of the evidence in the form of what people in their respective States have chosen and affirmed for the definition of civil marriage leads to the exact opposite conclusion.

You should learn to have a bit more faith in your fellow man, Thorley. Just as Americans have done when it came to rights for women, African Americans, people with disabilities, etc., they will rise to the challenge and do what's right by gay Americans too. Despite your best efforts.


at least for those who base their positions on reason rather than appeals to emotion

Oh, good grief, Thorley. Card's entire essay is based on appeals to emotion. There is not a jot or a tittle of reason in it: false logic and lies abound.

The excerpt from Humpty Dumpty about how the proponents of "gay marriage" have pretty much taken a "words mean whatever we want them to mean at the moment,"

Orson Scott Card in the essay is trying to claim that marriage means only a relationship between one man and one woman and this is all it has ever meant, anywhere. He's a Mormon, familar with his own cultural history: he has a degree is social anthropology from Notre Dame: in short, he knows damned well that marriage is one of those concepts that does mean "whatever we want it to mean". It isn't a fixed and absolute and unchanging concept in the way he's claiming.

how this is being imposed by judicial fiat rather than through the democratic legislatures,

and Card ignores the fact that this is what the judicial branch does in a democracy: protects the right of the minorities from the tyranny of the majority. He ignores (as you do) the fact that civil rights in US history have in fact generally been "imposed by judical fiat" - by judges looking at the law and deciding that it ought to be interpreted to grant minorities equal rights.

and how there really is no comparable case for providing a social sanction and benefits for homosexual relationships as there is marriage

Card doesn't even start to make that case in his essay: he merely asserts that it's so, and pulls up a lot of lying bullshit to "prove" his case.

But please feel free to throw around smears of "lying piece of bigotry" whenever you're unable to debate your point rationally and civilly.

Card's essay is a load of lies and a load of bigotry. Calling it a lying piece of bigotry may not be civil, but it's perfectly rational: that's what it is.

Except of course all of the evidence in the form of what people in their respective States have chosen and affirmed for the definition of civil marriage leads to the exact opposite conclusion.

Well, Thorley, I think you've just made the point that you're a worse bigot than Card: he at least considers gay people to be people - you've just asserted that they're not.

at least for those who base their positions on reason rather than appeals to emotion

Oh, good grief, Thorley. Card's entire essay is based on appeals to emotion. There is not a jot or a tittle of reason in it: false logic and lies abound.

The excerpt from Humpty Dumpty about how the proponents of "gay marriage" have pretty much taken a "words mean whatever we want them to mean at the moment,"

Orson Scott Card in the essay is trying to claim that marriage means only a relationship between one man and one woman and this is all it has ever meant, anywhere. He's a Mormon, familar with his own cultural history: he has a degree is social anthropology from Notre Dame: in short, he knows damned well that marriage is one of those concepts that does mean "whatever we want it to mean". It isn't a fixed and absolute and unchanging concept in the way he's claiming.

how this is being imposed by judicial fiat rather than through the democratic legislatures,

and Card ignores the fact that this is what the judicial branch does in a democracy: protects the right of the minorities from the tyranny of the majority. He ignores (as you do) the fact that civil rights in US history have in fact generally been "imposed by judical fiat" - by judges looking at the law and deciding that it ought to be interpreted to grant minorities equal rights.

and how there really is no comparable case for providing a social sanction and benefits for homosexual relationships as there is marriage

Card doesn't even start to make that case in his essay: he merely asserts that it's so, and pulls up a lot of lying bullshit to "prove" his case.

But please feel free to throw around smears of "lying piece of bigotry" whenever you're unable to debate your point rationally and civilly.

Card's essay is a load of lies and a load of bigotry. Calling it a lying piece of bigotry may not be civil, but it's perfectly rational: that's what it is.

Except of course all of the evidence in the form of what people in their respective States have chosen and affirmed for the definition of civil marriage leads to the exact opposite conclusion.

Well, Thorley, I think you've just made the point that you're a worse bigot than Card: he at least considers gay people to be people - you've just asserted that they're not.

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