Friday, July 30, 2010

When 'phobes are more honest than is good for them

By now you may have seen this sign, shown at a National Organization for Marriage rally in Indianapolis:

sign calling for death penalty for gays, citing Leviticus 20:13, showing too nooses

We should do what we can to draw attention to signs like this. Those who display such signs have renounced whatever moral high ground they may have had and cannot hide behind "We're only doing it to defend democracy" or whatever this week's lie is. Such signs are also sure to outrage fence-sitters and thus do our work for us. Besides, those who know the Bible can have a bit of naughty fun with the question of why that is the only OT verse that wasn't "nailed to the Cross."

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Maybe the nanny-statists are finally getting it.

Congress is reconsidering its four-year-old ban on Internet gambling. The ban provides a perfect illustration of something that nanny-statists have long refused to recognize, despite the overwhelming historical evidence: namely, that actions have consequences, particularly unintended consequences.

The New York Times, which has not exactly been the mouthpiece of libertarianism recently, notes the following:
On Wednesday, the House Financial Services Committee approved a bill that would effectively legalize online poker and other nonsports betting, overturning a 2006 federal ban that critics say merely drove Web-based casinos offshore.

* * *

But the enforcement actions have barely put a dent in the industry, experts say. Gamblers have used online payment processors, phone-based deposits and prepaid credit cards to circumvent the ban. By some estimates, American online gambling exceeds $6 billion a year.
Although desire for increased revenues is the primary motive for the proposed repeal, the prohibitionists must also be waking up to the fact that the government has tried to improve our virtue on a matter that is neither within its power nor any of its business.

Quote of the week

“Some adults will spend their money foolishly, but it is not the purpose of the federal government to prevent them legally from doing it.” - Barney Frank

You might live in Northern Virginia if ...

  • You regard the military as the engine of the economy.
  • You miss sodomy laws.
  • The thought of privatizing the liquor stores horrifies you.
  • Despite the above, you characterize your belief system as anti-government and pro-business.
  • Your cul-de-sac has a state highway number.
  • The major parkway near you does not.
  • You know at least one Ph.D. scientist and at least one young-earth creationist.
  • In a neighborhood a short drive from yours, all of the businesses have signs in a foreign language, most likely Vietnamese, Spanish, or Korean.
  • You think they're doing it just to persecute you.
  • You are dimly aware that the Potomac River is not the edge of the world. Still, you don't feel like pushing your luck by crossing it.
  • You are convinced that the edge of the world just can't be any farther north than Laurel, Maryland. Everything north of that is marked on your mental map with mermaids and sea monsters.
  • You're glad you live in Virginia; it's not full of liberals, as Maryland is. As far as you're concerned, Montgomery County is practically New York City.
  • You're thinking of moving to Stafford County because Prince William County has become just too gosh-darned cosmopolitan.
  • Once you move to Stafford County, you will do everything in your power to turn it into an exact duplicate of the Prince William County neighborhood that you left.
  • You will then move to Spotsylvania County. Lather, rinse, repeat.
  • In your neighborhood are some good Salvadorean, Afghan, Indian, and Thai restaurants. You never go.
  • Across the river from you are some of the finest museums in the world. You never go.
  • You can flawlessly navigate all of the culs-de-sac in your subdivision, but when you're in the city, you cannot begin to imagine how to find the corner of 14th and Q from the corner of 13th and R.
  • Your commute is at least an hour each way. That's just the way the world works. At least you can use that time in the SUV to return phone calls.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Know your enemy.

In working for our goals, we need to know more than where we want to be. We need to know who is standing in our way, what those persons believe, and why.

People who argue queer issues often appeal to religion, and in America, religion for the most part means Western Christianity in various modern manifestations. Therefore, in engaging such people, we should show some familiarity with Christianity beyond straw-man portrayals in the mainstream media, lest we needlessly antagonize the very persons whom we are trying to win over.

For example, I have heard activists justify a publicity stunt that made us look spectacularly bad to the general public by arguing the "fact" that Communion represents the minister or religious institution, as opposed to any connection that it might have to Jesus Christ. Even worse, when I pointed out the issue to one activist, he insisted on wallowing in his willful ignorance.

Activists' ignorance of Christianity is especially frustrating since Christians have made such an effort to make the needed information available. How often do you hear that Christians refuse to discuss their beliefs?

The above applies to secular political ideologies as well. Many people in the P.C. left tend to lump everyone who disagrees with them into some undifferentiated "right." What do neocons, theocons, paleocons, populist conservatives, limited-government libertarians, and anarcho-capitalists all have in common, other than the "fact" that they are all on the "right"? An argument that would make perfect sense to an Objectivist might deeply offend a traditionalist conservative, and vice versa. Moreover, we should stop using terms like "corporatism" and "laissez-faire" without looking up what they mean.

Monday, July 26, 2010

The irony! It burns! (4) Whining about right-wing propaganda

E. J. Dionne of The Washington Post complains about
the bludgeoning of mainstream journalism into looking timorously over its right shoulder and believing that "balance" demands taking seriously whatever sludge the far right is pumping into the political waters.
Has he read his own newspaper, particularly its coverage of LGBT issues?

Friday, July 23, 2010

There's no way that that can backfire, is there?

I recently heard a gay man use appeal to disgust in discussing why something should be outlawed. Is that really such a good argument for us to use?

Our Fierce-Advocate-in-Chief (2)

The reporting on a recent straw poll to gauge queer voters' approval of Obama, unscientific even by the admission of those who conducted it, raises the following issues.

1. “Unscientific” is putting it mildly. The poll involves multiple layers of self-selection.

2. Obama's defenders say that we cannot expect change overnight. Yet Obama has won high praise for his ability to get his agenda through Congress — except of course on our issues. We are perfectly in line in asking when it will be our turn.

3. Saying that Obama is better than McCain would have been is like the line from Animal Farm, “Surely, comrades, surely there is no one among you who wants to see Jones come back?”

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Quote of the week

"Puritanism: The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy." - H. L. Mencken

Does this mean that political correctness is the feeling of being personally oppressed because someone, somewhere, may be happy?

Fabulous queer dating tip #15: Become an emotional limpet.

Once you're dating seriously, you should completely forget how you got along without him. Insist that he spend every waking moment giving you his undivided attention. Don't suggest things to do together; instead, make him come up with suggestions, and then veto each one. A relationship is an emotional give-and-take; he should give, and you should take.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A truly strange, but strangely common, argument (2)

When people argue against others' liberty, they often argue that they themselves will suffer temptation from the exercise of that liberty. For example, mixing with people of different religious backgrounds will apparently provoke believers to commit idolatry and incest. To me, that argument says more about the believers' own mindset than about the power of that provocation.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Today's vocabulary word: communist

communist, n. anyone who disagrees with me on any matter. Syn.: socialist, atheist, left-winger, right-winger, fascist, capitalist, racist, neocon.

True story: Someone once called me a fucking communist for advocating reduced government intervention in the automobile industry. When I asked him whether people wanting increased government involvement were fucking Libertarians, he gave me that all-purpose scathing rebuttal known as pretending not to have heard the question.

The majority should rule, but only when it agrees with me.

I can hardly wait to see how anti-equality social conservatives will respond to this.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Today's vocabulary words: prove and show

prove, v.t. to assert

show, v.t. to assert repeatedly, more loudly each time

The passive voice

Clarity of thought would be helped if a moratorium were observed on the use of the passive voice. Too often, it is written or said that such-and-such thing was done, when it is intended that the question "By whom was that thing done?" should be evaded. If you are thoroughly annoyed by this post, then my point has been made.

The Post finally grows a backbone.

I'm glad to see that The Washington Post has finally stood up to Bishop Harry Jackson. Traditionally, The Post has uncritically parroted whatever Bishop Jackson has said, no matter how blatantly Jackson has had to cherry-pick both the Bible and American history to make his point. The Post was starting to look like Jackson's church newsletter in broadsheet form, except that his church's evangelism budget did not pay for my subscription.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Faux News reports: Governor Proposes Bold New Government Programs to Solve Problems Caused by Previous Bold New Government Programs

Governor Chris Rosenkreuz announced at a news conference today that he is proposing a series of bold new government programs to solve the problems caused by the last round of bold new government programs.

Speaking at the Valley Hills Community Center, Governor Rosenkreuz said, "For too long, we leaders in state and local governments have stood idly by and done nothing about the unintended consequences of our actions. We must put a stop to that and act now.

"For instance, drug prohibition has led to drug-fueled gang violence and has also led people to replace banned substances with unsafe alternatives. That is why we must take a zero-tolerance approach in the War on Certain Drugs.

"We also need increased action to stop the spread of HIV, caused by men who were driven to the D.L. back when we had sodomy laws and remain there thanks to the homophobic police. We further need stricter environmental enforcement to counteract the environmental abuses facilitated by tort reform.

"With regard to the economy, we need greater economic-development incentives. Businesses keep leaving for neighboring states with different tax rates and regulatory schemes, and we need to replace them.

"Our mandates for lower development density have led to far-flung sprawl. We should therefore take land by eminent domain to build neo-urbanist town centers and thereby conform to this week's eternal verity of good land planning."

When asked whether the newly announced programs could have unintended consequences that would have to be fixed later, Governor Rosenkreuz responded, "Everyone in my administration knows that 'unintended' and 'unforeseeable' mean the same thing. Besides, it all ties in with my next bold new government program, which is a jobs program in the state capital."

Fabulous queer dating tip #14: Bait and switch.

Pretend to be something that you're not in order to get his attention, and then, once you have him in your talons, abandon the pretense. Once you and he have planned all of those things that you were going to do together, tell him how utterly boring you find them and that you have to do something else entirely. Stop being pleasant, and revert to your normal psycho bipolar self. If you were an exclusive bottom, suddenly become an exclusive top, or vice versa. In short, be the evil twin of the person with whom he fell in love.

Today's vocabulary word: unbiased

unbiased, adj. tending to confirm my biases: I read (The Washington Post/The Washington Times/ for its unbiased coverage. See also: echo chamber.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Quote of the week

"A government should not mobilize an army out of anger; military leaders should not provoke war out of wrath." - Sun Zi, The Art of War

As with many things in this book, this quote has applicability beyond literal war.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Today's vocabulary words: oppress and persecute

oppress, v.t. to disagree with: Stop oppressing me with your politically incorrect opinions, pig.

persecute, v.t. to prevent from persecuting others: By enforcing the establishment clause, unelected liberal activist judges are persecuting the religious right.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Just what we need, more prohibition

While politicians can waffle endlessly on the real issues, they can move at light speed to create yet another victimless crime. The latest matter on which the nanny statists feel called to protect us from ourselves is a new drug called "spice," which includes synthetic cannabinoids. While I do not care to try it, I understand the difference between what isn't a good idea and what should be outlawed. Moreover, while it can undoubtedly be dangerous to some people if abused, so can many if not most things in stores.

The Washington Post, which is seldom if ever dismissed for its libertarian bias, has quoted a voice of reason on the subject:
Eidinger, who is also known locally as an advocate for D.C. statehood, said banning spice would simply push it underground. He also said that laws criminalizing cannabis have driven people to use the murky alternative.
Indeed. When are people going to learn the obvious lesson from past forms of prohibition?

On second thought, maybe spice is so heinous that it should be banned. Let's discuss the matter over drinks and cigarettes, shall we?

Friday, July 9, 2010

The Tenth Amendment

Liberals have long dismissed the idea of states' rights as inherently reactionary and even bigoted. I wonder how how they'll think about states' rights after the decision striking down DOMA under the 10th Amendment.

More generally, many people talk as though repealing the 10th Amendment would allow Congress to shove reactionary local leadership out of the way and do all sorts of wonderful progressive things. How has that worked out for the District of Columbia?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

You can't prove a negative? Who says?

According to a distressingly common urban legend, some law of logic holds that you can't prove a negative. A little reading in philosophy would show that no such law of logic exists. For one thing, how would you go about proving that you can't prove a negative, since the statement that you'd have to prove is itself a negative?

Moreover, as a practical matter, we prove negatives all the time. I routinely have to do so in my job. Typically, disproving a proposition B requires nothing more than submitting A into evidence, where A => ~B.

(Oops, my bad -- We're supposed to be talking about Lady Gaga now, aren't we?)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Now you're getting it. (2)

Michael Medved has recently written on what he calls DIY conservatism, namely,
making the case that the best way to prevent the inexorable growth of government at every level is to take more individual initiative in solving pressing problems.

* * *

Instead of complaining about the miserable values promoted by mass media, place yourself and the rest of your family on a TV/movie diet, selecting and scheduling the material you consume with much greater consciousness of the messages it sends.
For decades, believers in individual liberty have been saying essentially the same thing to those control freaks of both the left and the right who want the law to mirror their personal likes and dislikes. Medved has given us a longer-winded, more conservative-P.C. version of "Against (fill in the blank)? Don't do it."

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Quote of the week

"Moreover, the Demand Siders write as if everybody who disagrees with them is immoral or a moron." - David Brooks, The New York Times

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Faux News reports: Area Man Founds Christian Conservative Advocacy Group

A Valley Hills resident has founded an organization to campaign for traditional family values, Faux News has learned today.

Paul Martinac, a member of Gibeah Hill Baptist Church in Valley Hills, has founded the organization, Conservative Republicans Against Perversion, to advocate for what he sees as the Bible's timeless message of conservative morality. "Throughout the Old and New Testaments," said Martinac, "the Bible clearly and consistently teaches that marriage is between one man and one woman and that life begins at conception. Since the Bible also says that secular governments should follow God's Law, we must return secular law to these fundamental values."

When asked about some Christans' belief in social justice, Martinac scoffed. "If God wanted us to be liberal do-gooders and give to charity," he retorted, "why do you think whoever gave the Sermon on the Mount said, 'God helps those who help themselves'?"

However, some Valley Hills churchgoers were unimpressed. Georgina Rekers, who attends the Metropolitan Community Church of Christ the Community Organizer, said, "A big part of the reason why Mother/Father God sent the Christ was to preach the gospel of social justice. Why do you think that whoever gave the Beatitudes said, 'From each according to his ability, to each according to his need'?"

Friday, July 2, 2010

Freedom for me, but not for thee (2)

It's not just Texas. The Montana GOP has adopted a platform with the usual happy talk about freedom and "fair and equal enforcement of our criminal laws," as well as the following:
We support the clear will of the people of Montana expressed by legislation to keep homosexual acts illegal.
Yeah, 'cause nothing says freedom and equality quite like that.

The Montana Republicans also don't seem too happy about the Montana Medical Marijuana Act, which Montana voters approved by a significant margin. I'm glad someone is looking out for the clear will of the people of Montana.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Quote of the week

"You can safely assume that you've created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do." - Anne Lamott