Friday, April 24, 2009

The "blue" state of Maryland

The Washington Blade has run an article on those Democrats hindering LGBT progress in that "blue" state (quotation marks in the original). Having grown up in Maryland, I am always surprised that people should expect Maryland to be more socially liberal than it is.

Yes, Marylanders are fiscally liberal, but they are also deeply socially conservative. They are not consistently liberal or consistently conservative, but instead consistently statist, which leads to conservative social views. Maryland was ahead of the game in enacting a "defense of marriage" law and behind in getting rid of everything from a state board of motion-picture censors to sodomy laws.

One need only consider the makeup of Maryland's voters to see why. Maryland "liberalism" comprises Catholic liberalism, blue-collar liberalism, government workers' liberalism, and African-American liberalism, none of which is exactly known for being socially liberal, particularly on LGBT issues.

Marylanders pride themselves on their liberalism. Yet people from elsewhere consider Maryland to be a right-of-center backwater with some strange ideas as to what constitutes liberalism, and with good reason.

No game-players, please.

People like to accuse one another of playing games, but game-playing, like judicial activism, is whatever we don't like.  Someone once called me a game-player for refusing to submit to barebacking.  So sorry, but I hadn't been put on notice that remaining alive was a game.  Ironically, it seems that calling someone a game-player is itself a form of game-playing.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Conservatism and the "liberal" media

It no longer surprises me when conservatives engage in doublethink. In fact, that seems to be what they do best. What does surprise me is that the "liberal" media never call them on it, even in the most egregious circumstances, such as smaller government through larger government or protecting democracy only when the majority can be counted on to agree with them. If this is liberal media bias, what would conservative media bias look like?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Hate crimes (2)

On the Web site of The Washington Blade, someone asserted that another poster who was opposed to hate-crime laws might change his mind once victimized by a hate crime. That is just a replay of the old "A conservative is a liberal who has been mugged" non-argument. While I cannot speak for everyone, I have been a victim of anti-gay violence, and I still believe what I believe on the subject.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Hate crimes

Hate-crime legislation on both state and federal levels is increasingly in the news. I believe that the pro and con arguments both have considerable weaknesses.

One issue that I have with hate-crime laws is that they deflect the focus away from the harm suffered by the individual victim and onto an affront to a group. While I have heard the argument that an attack motivated by homophobia or transphobia instills fear in an entire group, so does a drive-by shooting in an impoverished neighborhood. I have also heard the argument that hate-crime laws put police, prosecutors, and juries on notice that they should not trivialize violence just because of bigotry against the victim of that violence. Nonetheless, if police, prosecutors, and juries all too often feel free to nullify even laws against premeditated murder, are hate-crime laws not just another law for them to nullify? Perhaps a better response would be something analogous to rape-shield laws combined with increased use of civil lawsuits. Finally, any federal hate-crime laws would plainly have to comply with the Tenth Amendment, or they would meet the same fate as the Violence Against Women Act.

On the other hand, the most commonly advanced arguments against hate-crime laws are nothing short of disingenuous. Insofar as hate-crime laws concerning sexual orientation create thought crimes, so do hate-crime laws concerning things such as religion. I have yet to hear why Baptist hatred for LGBT people deserves special protection that Baptist hatred for Catholics does not.

Monday, April 13, 2009


We still hear from conservatives about those advocates of campus "diversity" who try to squelch viewpoint diversity.  While I do not lightly agree with social conservatives, even a stopped clock is right twice a day.  It often seems that while the purpose of diversity is to let people of differing viewpoints learn from one another, the way to achieve diversity is to avoid all contact with those differing viewpoints.

I attended a law school well known for "diversity."  Our classes were filled with people who were diverse by race, sex, and geographic origin, most of whom thought exactly alike.  I was one of the few persons, and sometimes the only person, who supplied diversity in class discussion, even though I was on paper the least diverse person ever, being a white male non-athlete from the Washington suburbs.

Then again, as usual, conservatives are in no hurry to lead by example.  Indeed, when they make up the majority, they forget all of their fine words about viewpoint diversity.  Free Republic quickly banned me for expressing an opinion that was by their standards politically incorrect.  The thread topic was - you guessed it - the threat to viewpoint diversity by those nasty liberals.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

CA vs. DC

I keep hearing from gay men visiting from California and from California gay men on the Internet that D.C.-area gay men are, in effect, not shallow enough. To the Californians, that observation says a lot about D.C. To me, it says a lot about California.