Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Christian Legal Society (3)

The Supreme Court's decision in this case bothers me. The distinction between the "carrot of subsidy" and the "stick of prohibition" strikes me as arbitrary, just too convenient, and counter to the precedent prohibiting the government from buying up individual rights -- precedent that I have used in advocating for LGBT protesters. Progressives who cheer the decision should consider the consequences for their own rights of speech and association.

That's so -- no, I won't say it.

The talking heads used to complain to high heaven about the use of the word "gay" to mean "homosexual." They implicitly assumed that English, unlike every other living language, had stopped evolving when they were children. Now, however, those talking heads are curiously silent about the use of "gay" as an all-purpose pejorative.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Gulf disaster

People are understandably talking quite a bit about the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. As evidenced by the letters to the editor in this morning's papers, the favored whipping boy is something called libertarianism, which is defined in accordance with everything except what the Libertarian Party or other libertarians (big or small l) have said about the matter.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Today's vocabulary word: creationism

creationism, n. the doctrine that the universe was created by one or more gods. Creationism makes sense once you abandon monotheism in favor of bureaucracytheism. For example, the Divine Lawgiver who forbade sodomy and the Intelligent Designer who gave men prostates worked in different parts of the building and never spoke to each other.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Freedom for me, but not for thee

Conservatives correctly decry the hypocrisy of those politically correct leftists who demand more freedom for themselves but less freedom for everyone else. Nonetheless, they keep forgetting to lead by example.

For example, the 2010 Texas Republican Party platform starts out calling for "preserv[ing] the freedom given to us by God, implemented by our Founding Fathers, and embodied in the Constitution" and "Limiting the expanse of Government Power." So far, so good, but the platform calls for the preservation and expansion of government power, despite whatever that silly old Constitution says. For example, on sodomy laws, the platform reads,
We oppose the legalization of sodomy. We demand that Congress exercise its authority granted by the U.S. Constitution to withhold jurisdiction from the federal courts from cases involving sodomy.
If you're a hypocrite about hypocrisy, does that make you a meta-hypocrite?

Fundamentalists of big government (2)

Fundamentalists of big government use ever more desperate arguments to defend their deity. For example, we've recently read the following:
The collapse of the economy in the Great Recession gave us the starkest, most painful evidence imaginable of the failure of laissez-faire economics and the destructive force of the alliance of big business and government against the interests of ordinary Americans.
I guess we're not supposed to notice the glaring internal contradiction in that sentence.

Fabulous queer dating tip #13: Once you've found someone who is perfect in every way, try to change him.

If you manage to snag that man with several degrees in a discipline whose name you can't even pronounce, insist that he dumb it down. If your beau is a party vegetable, get him to spend his Saturday nights watching TV with you; if he's a homebody, drag him out to the white, green, fuchsia, and pin-striped parties. If he's vanilla, try to get him into kink; if he's kinky, read him the riot act about how horribly politically incorrect kink is.

This works only one way, of course. If he ever makes even the mildest suggestion, accuse him of trying to make you into something you're not.

Today's vocabulary word: twist

twist, v.t. to read, but in a manner inconvenient to whatever I am trying to prove:

"I can prove, using the Bible, that homosexuality is a sin."

"I can prove, using the Bible, that slavery isn't."

"You're twisting Scripture."
True story: People often accuse me of twisting the Bible, whereupon I ask them to explain how I am doing so. One person immediately backpedaled; the rest simply ignore the question. No one has yet answered it.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

More discussion on gay marriage

I'm glad that people are debating same-sex marriage in more and more venues. I'm not so glad, however, to be cited for something that I didn't say.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Our Fierce-Advocate-in-Chief (2)

The latest argument from Obama apologists is that the Presidency is such a weak office that Obama cannot be expected to do anything. That argument does not pass the giggle test, even at Salon.com, which is seldom if ever accused of a conservative bias.

Moreover, I am old enough to remember the eighties, when liberals reflexively blamed Reagan for everything bad that happened during his presidency. Which is it?

Today's vocabulary word: taxation

taxation, n. a sovereign power previously used to rob Peter to pay Paul. Once Peter moved out of the jurisdiction, the government switched to robbing Paul to pay Paul back (after a modest transaction fee, of course). Eventually, in the interest of efficiency, the government contented itself with simply robbing Paul.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Welcome to Washington. Now pay up. (2)

The District of Columbia is trying to squeeze every penny out of city businesses and those who patronize them. Local business owners are complaining or quite simply closing shop. District leaders need to realize that this is 2010, not 1970, and that they cannot safely assume that Maryland and Virginia cannot compete for those businesses. Things for which people used to head downtown, from the latest trendy restaurant to the performing arts, are now increasingly cropping up in the suburbs. Just how badly do D.C. leaders want to accelerate that trend?

Fabulous queer dating tip #12: Look for reasons to be offended.

Ask questions to which any conceivable answer can be construed as wrong; the triumvirate of sex, politics, and religion will work well here. Also, ask questions about his work or education, and when he answers honestly, accuse him of trying to impress you. (By the way, this is the one exception to the gay male taboo against discussing work or education, so make it count.) If it's a dinner date, take exception to the food that he orders, and accuse him of being either too bossy or not bossy enough to the waitstaff. Nothing cuts the ice like constantly putting him on the defensive.

It's the culture, stupid.

I don't lightly agree with the religious right, but they're exactly right when they say that it's all about the culture. This article highlights the importance of cultural change to political change.

According to the article:

The report — which examines the trend of public opinion on same-sex marriage in 33 states that have had the issue on the ballot — found efforts during campaign periods had very little impact on moving voters to oppose same-sex marriage bans on Election Day.

* * *

Geoff Kors, executive director of Equality California, said the findings show voters are “at their least persuadable” during the course of a campaign.

“But when we look over the last decade at the amazing movement we’ve seen on what is one of the most challenging social issues to move people on, we’ve seen that the movement happens not during the campaign, but away from the campaign,” Kors said.

He noted that California in 2000 passed Prop 22, a statutory ban on same-sex marriage by 23 points, and in 2008 passed Prop 8, the constitutional ban, by four points.

“All that movement happened not in the couple months before Prop 8, but in the years between those elections,” he said.
That is, the movement happened not as a result of political change during the campaigns, but as a result of cultural change between the campaigns. While this may appear self-evident once stated, as so many things do, I see a lesson here for those activists who think that their shock tactics are either necessary or sufficient, let alone both, to bring about their ends.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Our Fierce-Advocate-in-Chief

When people seek to defend Obama's record and to do more than simply assert how wonderful he is, they often rely on one of two arguments.

First, they say that at least Obama is not Bush or Palin. Talk about low standards. Also, it sounds a little too much like the line from Animal Farm, "Surely, comrades, surely there is no one among you who wants to see Jones come back?"

Second, they say that Obama is too busy with other things. Really?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Today's vocabulary word: postmodernism

postmodernism, n. a philosophical system that denied the existence of any universal or objective truths except postmodernism. Later adherents included even that.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Welcome to the Hampden Adventureland theme park, hon.

The Hampden neighborhood of Baltimore, which I remember from the eighties as a domain of the European-American working class, has since been gentrified into a land of prepackaged funkiness for hipsters, particularly during the Honfest street fair. Like the suburban subdivisions named after the trees that were cleared to build them, the new Hampden mockingly "honors" its previous residents.

This parody of local working-class culture appeals to those hipsters who crave not authenticity, but "authenticity." Once they encounter anything authentically authentic, they remake it in their own image to make it as inauthentic as possible. It also shows that the white working class is still a safe target for derision.

A movement, not a market?

Many people deplore corporate sponsorship of events like Gay Pride, saying that the gay-rights movement is "a movement, not a market." That saying begs the question, since it presupposes that those two categories are mutually exclusive. Indeed, I believe that the movement and the market complement each other.

If we give up one power that we actually have in this society, what can we expect in return, other than a politically correct pat on the head? Since market forces have so far outrun big government in recognizing our worth, why should we not take advantage of that fact? Should we cultivate allies or alienate them?

Finally, some people maintain that the very concept of LGBT empowerment inherently includes a bias against the private sector. When I ask why, they give me that all-purpose scathing rebuttal known as pretending not to have heard the question.

Quote of the week

"[C]ivil rights are not won by people saying, 'Wait until the right time.' " - Theodore Olson

Thursday, June 10, 2010

A truly strange, but strangely common, argument

So many 'phobes try to prove their point by going on in considerable detail about the supposed gay male fascination with various fetishes from which even most users of Recon.com distance themselves. The argument combines made-up "facts" with a fallacious appeal to repugnance. To those who use that argument, it says much about gay men. To me, it says much about those who use it.

Fabulous queer dating tip #11: Try to manipulate someone into a relationship.

If it works, you're with someone who is with you only because you've manipulated him into it. If it doesn't, you gain a reputation as a manipulative head case. What do you mean, you don't want either of those outcomes? Of course you do.

Here's a particularly good tactic. Let's say you're after someone who has had a previous relationship with someone whom we'll call Ralph. Tell him that if he doesn't take up with you, he'll go through life with another Ralph and another Ralph and another Ralph. He's likely to respond that Ralph used the same line, so be prepared to change the subject immediately.

Quote of the week

"[D]rama and emotion are the fuel of American politics ...." - Nicholas D. Kristof, The New York Times

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Society: An addendum

Our opponents love to argue the need to sacrifice our individual liberties (not their own, just ours) on the altar of the great god Society. But didn't someone once say that there is no such thing as society? Then again, why do I bother? That particular quote has been put down the memory hole; we have always believed in society, just as we have always been at war with Eastasia.

And the logic, it goes 'round and 'round ...

... and the P.C. bullshit goes up and down.

A politically correct way to get out of having to prove anything, as well as to "know" more about people's lives than they themselves know, involves accusing others of having experienced various levels of privilege. When they deny it, you simply say that privilege never recognizes itself. Never mind whether that's true (and it isn't), whether it suffices to prove your point (and it doesn't), or whether it has any bearing on the subject at hand (and it may or may not).

Today's vocabulary word: society

society, n. Like the luminiferous aether of old, society is a hypothesized mysterious substance that fills the entire universe. Unlike the luminiferous aether, however, society is sentient and even malevolent, and it has the power to compel otherwise decent and moral people to do things that they would not otherwise do. Society's evil power, however, has two limits.

First, society works only on those people whom we like. It is powerless against those people whom we don't like, who retain full free will and thus responsibility for whatever they do. For example, it can compel the above-cited Ms. Prejean, but not those gay people whom she righteously detests, to engage in immoral behavior. Also, while society can force someone to commit a crime, it has no say in whether the jury convicts that person or whether potential victims pack heat.

Second, for all of its power to do evil by proxy, society is gossamer-fragile; a single same-sex marriage is enough to cause it irreparable harm. Therefore, we should encourage same-sex marriage to end society's vicarious crime spree.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Changing minds among heterosexual men

What I said here has received yet more confirmation. This op-ed column in today's New York Times reports on increasing acceptance of “gay and lesbian relations,” particularly among men, and postulates various reasons. First is
The contact hypothesis. As more men openly acknowledge that they are gay, it becomes harder for men who are not gay to discriminate against them. And as that group of openly gay men becomes more varied — including athletes, celebrities and soldiers — many of the old, derisive stereotypes lose their purchase.
I have said so (and have come under fire for saying so) for a while now. The keepers of the queer orthodoxy, who seem to spend all of their time coming up with new ways to keep us in the role of the Other, would do well to remember the contact hypothesis.

In another hypothesis, "Virulent homophobes are increasingly being exposed for engaging in homosexuality." That is, just as Edina Monsoon's mouth worked for the prosecution, our opponents' hypocrisy works for us.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Welcome to Washington. Now pay up.

Newcomers to the Washington area often complain about local voters' seemingly infinite tolerance for our special combination of high taxes and terrible to nonexistent public services. It seems obvious to me why local voters tolerate this combination.

In the cult of the omnipotent state, this area is the Vatican. While NIMBY neighborhood activists may fight to the death over specific public projects, we believe overall that big government is its own reward. The money all goes to a good cause; after all, a good cause is whatever local politicians assure us that it is.

How to read the Bible (2)

Andy Schlafly explains here how to tell which Bible passages are authentic:
For the record, the ideological objection is not to how liberals "twist" this passage, but how the passage itself is written in such a liberal way that it renders its authenticity doubtful. It would be akin to discovering a passage that said something like this: "Jesus then said that government should take from the rich and give to the poor." Historical analysis can prove that to be non-authentic; political analysis can reach the same conclusion more efficiently and with a high degree of certitude.

Jesus did not forgive without repentance, yet the Adulteress Story claims He did. Jesus did not comment on capital punishment, yet the Adulteress Story claims He did. Jesus was not permissive about adultery, yet the Adulteress Story He was. Older people are not always wiser than younger ones, yet the Adulteress Story claims they are. And so on.
The cherry-picking is even more blatant than the common practice of arbitrarily dividing OT laws into moral, ceremonial, and civil laws. What Andy is saying in effect is that the Bible is God's Word, insofar as it agrees with his personal opinion of what God meant to say. While many Christians tacitly operate from that principle, few are so open about it.

Quote of the week

"A man is likely to mind his own business when it is worth minding. When it is not, he takes his mind off his own meaningless affairs by minding other people's business." - Eric Hoffer, The True Believer