Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Peter Thiel is no true gay Scotsman.

A while back, I wrote about the no-true-Scotsman fallacy and its use to argue away dissent in the LGBT community:
Orthodox queer people also use [the fallacy] to dismiss any viewpoint diversity within the LGBT ranks. People have answered my disagreement with the party line by saying, "Yeah, but you're not really gay."
Now, in The Advocate, Jim Downs writes,
Peter Thiel, the Silicon Valley billionaire who made news this summer for endorsing Donald Trump at the Republican convention, is a man who has sex with other men. But is he gay?

* * *

By the logic of gay liberation, Thiel is an example of a man who has sex with other men, but not a gay man. Because he does not embrace the struggle of people to embrace their distinctive identity.

* * *

The gay liberation movement has left us a powerful legacy, and protecting that legacy requires understanding the meaning of the term "gay" and not using it simply as a synonym for same-sex desire and intimacy.

Regardless of one's views on Thiel's politics, it remains that case that last paragraph, Downs effectively admits to pulling a no-true-Scotsman on Thiel. The good news is that even on a site like The Advocate, the commentariat is overwhelmingly calling shenanigans on Downs's reasoning.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

The rule of blame

The rule of blame: All of the credit goes to our side; all of the blame goes to someone else.


1. If one politician of the other party has any role in a matter, no matter how minor, everything automatically becomes that other party's fault. Perhaps we should call this one Hogan's law.

2. If a profit-making entity has any role in a matter, no matter how minor or how rent-seeking, everything automatically becomes the fault of free markets.

3. If by following this rule, you contradict yourself, just remember the power of doublethink

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Schrödinger's Gay Man

Schrödinger's gay man is extremely picky about whom he's attracted to and simultaneously is willing to sleep with whatever moves.

Schrödinger's gay man wouldn't be caught dead in jeans and a T-shirt and simultaneously makes that his uniform.

Schrödinger's gay man disdains physical activity and simultaneously spends all of his free time working out.

Schrödinger's gay man imposes on the rest of us the culture that he has developed (and no, you may not ask how he does so) and simultaneously has developed no culture of his own.

Schrödinger's gay man cannot be monogamous to save his life and simultaneously imposes heteronormative standards of monogamy on the queer community.

Schrödinger's gay man is attracted only to hypermasculine men and simultaneously is attracted only to ephebic, unmasculine twinks.

Schrödinger's gay man uncritically latches onto any big-government leftist idea and simultaneously limits his interest in politics to what will protect his investment portfolio.

Schrödinger's gay man shirks his duty to become involved in the LGBT movement and simultaneously has completely coopted the LGBT movement.

Schrödinger's gay man shirked his duty to push for marriage equality, instead leaving it up to lesbians, and simultaneously pushed marriage equality on lesbians, who were too enlightened to want it.

Schrödinger's gay man lives down to the stereotypes, thus proving how morally deficient he is, and simultaneously doesn't live down to the stereotypes, thus proving how self-loathing he is.

Schrödinger's gay man is part of the economic elite and is simultaneously part of the net-tax-consuming economic underclass.

Schrödinger's gay man wants nothing to do with sports and simultaneously thinks of nothing else.

Whatever position you take on the controversy between radical feminists and the transgender community, Schrödinger's gay man takes the exact opposite position. It therefore makes perfect sense that both sides blame each other on Schrödinger's gay man.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

People actually say this: Larry Hogan and the blame game

Now that Maryland has a Republican governor, it is a truth universally acknowledged that everything bad that happens in Maryland is his fault. No, you may not ask about Maryland's not exactly deep red legislature, its previous governors, local councils and executives, or things beyond politicians' control. Once, when I brought up the composition of the General Assembly with someone espousing that view, that person first appealed to ridicule and then pointedly refused to acknowledge that Maryland even has a legislature. I suppose that Hogan has been the absolute monarch of Maryland since the dawn of time.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Faux News op-ed: I Am Down with the Working Class

One might think that as an undergraduate majoring in identity studies at Uxbridge University, I would consider the concerns of working-class people to be beneath me. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, I pride myself on being down with the working class.

I make a point of acquainting myself with working-class culture by asking the working-class people I know: at home, the maid and the gardener, and on campus, the cafeteria workers and the maintenance people. They seem less pleased to answer my questions than I assumed they would be and sometimes downright resentful. For this, I blame false consciousness engendered by capitalism.

I believe that this is important because, like all of my friends, I grew up in the banal environment of upper-middle-class suburbia. I can now connect to the more vibrant and authentic cultures of people who are free from this burden.

It also helps me see the solution to their plight. Just as my parents pay my tuition, room, and board and give me a healthy allowance, surely society can afford to do likewise for working-class people.

I have one classmate, however, who inexplicably does not see things my way. Given where he came from, he cannot expected to be so enlightened as the rest of us, but would it kill him to keep his stupid redneck hick opinions to himself?

Friday, July 15, 2016

If we talked about the entire Bill of Rights the same way we talk about the Second Amendment

First Amendment: In 1791, "speech" meant just speech, and "press" meant a single-sheet, manually operated press. The framers couldn't have imagined that today, with the click of a mouse, you could communicate with millions of people worldwide and send them hate propaganda to incite violence and hate. If only one life is saved, it will all have been worth it.

Third Amendment: That was then, but in today's more complex society, we have a standing army to protect us, so get out of the way and let it do so.

Fourth Amendment: "The right of the people" clearly refers to a collective rather than individual right, or the framers wouldn't have used the term "the people." Also, in 1791, "papers" literally meant just papers. The framers couldn't have imagined easily portable devices storing gigabytes or even terabytes of information, which could concern terrorist plots or child sexual exploitation, things that government could stop if given unfettered access to that information. Are you with me, or are you with the terrorists and the kiddy fiddlers?

Fifth Amendment: Never mind what we just got through saying about what words meant in 1791. "Due process of law" means only what Diane Feinstein thinks it should mean today, with no reference to what it meant back then.

Sixth Amendment: This gets in the way of locking up bad guys who could otherwise roam the streets and kill people, so if you oppose reasonable restrictions, you must be some sort of death cultist.

Seventh Amendment: This needs common-sense regulation because the framers couldn't have imagined how much less $20 would be worth today than in 1791.

Eighth Amendment: It's just common sense that government should get to decide what otherwise vague terms like "excessive" and "cruel and unusual" mean.

Ninth Amendment: Don't you think I have a right not to have bad people do bad things to me because they abused their rights under the other provisions of the Bill of Rights? If this right doesn't come under "others retained by the people," I don't know what does.

Tenth Amendment: This is just empty verbiage because government is just giving itself the right to do things that it already had the right to do.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Signs of a possible realignment in LGBT politics

We've heard a lot about realignment in U.S. politics, especially with regard to Donald Trump and the Republican Party. Now, however, we may be seeing the beginning of a realignment in politics in the LGBT community.

The last such realignment came when we made a Faustian bargain with reduced-freedom-as-its-own-reward political correctness. Historically, those wielding government power had not exactly had our best interests at heart, as you know if you have read John Rechy or even talked to a gay man above a certain age.

Consequently, after the Orlando massacre, many people took it for granted that we would fall into line behind gun control. Nonetheless, groups like the LGBT gun-rights group Pink Pistols are seeing dramatic increases in both membership and media coverage.

Also, San Francisco's Pride celebration will see an increased police presence. Not everyone is happy, though:

But for some members of the city’s LGBT community, who have historically faced harassment and disparate treatment from police, increased security does not translate into an increased sense of safety.

* * *

In a statement, BreakOUT! said the increased law enforcement made its members feel unsafe and called for the LGBT community to “chart a course forward that doesn’t rely on state systems, but rather community, to keep us safe”....

Thus, not everyone has the same level of trust in government, of which the police are a part, to protect us that those who decide the LGBT goodthink have.