Saturday, January 29, 2011

More arguments I wish advocates of marriage equality would stop using

A continuation of this post.

Allowing same-sex couples to get married will reform the patriarchal aspects of marriage. How did that get to be our responsibility? That argument makes our relationships just a means to someone else's end, and how empowering is that?

Marriage will make gay men more monogamous. Yeah, 'cause heterosexual married people never cheat on their spouses. If you don't believe me, just check Craigslist. Clearly, the magic piece of paper with the state seal on the bottom is not sufficient. Nor is it necessary, since people manage to have monogamous relationships without one. Note also the assumptions that it's gay men who need fixing, that everyone should strive toward the ideal of monogamy, and that government should play a part in those things.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

True Scotsman, party of zero, your table is ready.

A popular way to defend the indefensible, or otherwise to get around inconvenient counterexamples, is the "No True Scotsman" fallacy. In a nutshell, when you want to argue that no X would do an unpleasant act, and someone has the nerve to point out that Y, who is an X, did it, then you simply state that Y is not a true X.

Religious apologists, especially Christians, are masters of "No True Scotsman." When you point out behavior that identifies their religion as something other than all smiles and group hugs, they assert that no true member of their religion would exhibit such behavior. This leads to some interesting contradictions; for example, Catholics are Christians when people want to prove that America has an overwhelmingly Christian population, but not when anyone brings up the Inquisition.

Political apologists use it as well. For example, in the last century, apologists for communism argued that anything bad that happened in communist countries arose from the "fact" that those countries were using something other than true communism. More recently, a friend expressed concern over violence by someone identified as a leftist and said that no true leftist would do such a thing. When I explained "No True Scotsman" to him, he didn't budge, but said that even so, it was still the case that no true leftist would do such a thing.

Orthodox queer people also use it 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."

Quote of the week

"The president promised big government in the past, and he delivered. * * * Republicans don't want to cut spending — they want to talk about cutting spending." — Libertarian Party Executive Director Wes Benedict

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Liberals and the white working class, or: How to make enemies and influence people to hate you

We've long seen a disconnect between liberals and the European-American working class. Liberals' responses to that disconnect seem to fall into the following categories:

  • Willful ignorance as to whether there even is a white working class;
  • Ridicule of the notion that the white working class could possibly have any valid interests;
  • A patronizing attitude that those rednecks are too stupid to know what their interests are and have let the big bad right hoodwink them, so we coastal talking heads, who of course know everything, have to tell them what's what; and
  • Attributing it all to racism.

I have even seen left-leaning protesters taunt member of the white working class with the sort of slurs that the protesters themselves would denounce as hate speech if directed at anyone else.

So how has that been working out for the left? How did they think it would work out for them?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The self-appointed spokespersons for queerdom (2)

They're doing it again. I've just received an email from the Stonewall Democrats, stating in part,
I’m one of those people who would not be able to get insurance because of a pre-existing condition, if the new healthcare law were repealed. I’m also a single dad who sometimes struggles to raise my two sons, both of whom need special care. It’s reprehensible that the GOP wants to make it more difficult and more expensive for me to take care of myself and my family.

Health care reform is an issue that affects all of us and I get sick to my stomach when I hear that the GOP has decided that one of the first things they want to do in the House is repeal the Affordable Care Act. The repeal would be bad for the health of my family and bad for the health of our economy - adding billions to our national debt [emphasis in the original].
So now the queerer-than-thou crowd has declared a belief in Obamacare to be an article of faith for all LGBT people? I have some news for the author of the email. Many people all over the Nolan chart, not just in the big bad right, have serious questions about Obamacare, and with good reason. Far from making insurance less expensive and more easily available, Obamacare could easily have the opposite effect.

Fabulous queer dating tip #21: Your love should go like a step function.

Some enchanted evening, you may see a stranger, and instantly you "know" that he is "the one." Then, once you've moved heaven and earth to establish the relationship that you just knew would make your life complete, you should fall out of love just as quickly and just as pointlessly as you fell in love. Nothing says, "emotionally stable" and "ready for a long-term commitment" quite like that.

(Cynical? Moi? What gave anyone that idea?)

Sunday, January 16, 2011

D.C. does P.C.

One reason why so many people in the Washington, D.C., area are so excruciatingly politically correct is the fact that the Official Washington attitude and political correctness were tailor-made for each other. They both depend on the notion that fate has hand-picked certain people to make all of the decisions for the rest of us. Of course, people who believe so never stop to wonder what makes them so sure that they're among the hand-picked.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Radical feminists' shift in emphasis

It used to be that radfems defined themselves primarily by their fanatical hatred of gay men, porn, and, when they had the time, BDSM. That was evidently the reason for their about-face on monogamy, which was something else that they hated until it proved to be a convenient club with which to beat gay men.

Now, however, the eternal verities have shifted. Radfems define themselves primarily by their fanatical hatred of transgendered people, porn, and, when they have the time, BDSM. Of course, some truly dedicated haters hate all of the above plus gay men.

Nonetheless, two things remain constant. First, like the religious right, they define themselves by whom and what they hate. Second, their objects of hatred overlap heavily with those of the religious right.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Vultures over Tucson (2)

This is the sort of thing that gives queer activism a bad name. First, insofar as the author thinks that Sarah Palin has committed incitement, he is flatly wrong. The U.S. Supreme Court has held that incitement happens only when “such advocacy is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action.” In other words, the three elements are intent, imminence, and likelihood. The “bad tendency” test has been rejected. While I have no problem with publicly expressing disagreement with Ms. Palin, we should at least be clear on what she has done and not done and on the available remedies. In this regard, the author, who refers to “those who don’t understand what words mean,” should lead by example.

Second, such columns feed into our opponents' fears that freedom is somehow a zero-sum game in which our rights can come only at the expense of theirs. Public disagreement is one thing, but calls to “shut down” someone for “hate speech” will understandably lead people to believe that their freedom of speech is at risk.

Vultures over Tucson

Many talking heads are trying to use the Tucson shooting to prove their ideologies. Leftists blame the Tea Party and gun rights. Rightists blame Jared Loughner's atheism and nihilism. A few people have decried the blame-passing while doing precisely the same thing themselves.

Would it be so wrong to consider the possibility that the crime resulted from the inner workings of one disordered and possibly schizophrenic mind? No one blames the Son-of-Sam murders on genuine demon possession of dogs.

Today's vocabulary word: troll

troll, n. 1. someone with whom I disagree; particularly, someone who is winning an argument against me. 2. someone who has the nerve to be sexually attracted to me.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Today's vocabulary words: queen and meathead

queen, n. any gay man who is less butch than the person using the term

meathead, n. any gay man who is more butch than the person using the term

Quote of the week

"Literature should not disappear up its own asshole, so to speak." — Kurt Vonnegut

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

My latest letters to the editor

They're both on Constitutional issues, and they're the last letters here and here. It seems that everyone likes the Constitution, as long as it backs up our personal opinions of what it should say. That doesn't sound familiar, does it?

Friday, January 7, 2011

An interesting twist on same-sex marriage in Maryland

Maryland, which was deeply socially conservative when I grew up there, may be the second jurisdiction and first actual state south of the Mason-Dixon line to recognize marriage equality for same-sex couples. An interesting twist has arisen in the debate:
But with a coterie of moderate Democrats and vocal Republicans opposing any endorsement of gay rights, same-sex marriage isn't quite a done deal. This week, a complication entered the picture, with the Senate's minority leader announcing that he plans to introduce a bill that would create civil unions for gay and straight couples.

"My goal is to have complete equality," Sen. Allan H. Kittleman (R-Howard) said. In a sense.

If he had his druthers, Kittleman would do away with civil marriage altogether, he said, making it a purely religious institution. But that would have left straight couples high and dry vis-a-vis the federal government, which wouldn't extend the benefits of marriage to those who are merely united civilly.

* * *

But civil unions are a non-starter among Democrats who support gay rights. They are intrigued by Kittleman's embrace of secularism but see no need for half-measures.

"Let's have that discussion," [Morgan] Meneses-Sheets[, director of Equality Maryland,] said. "But in the meantime, we have to provide access to the institution we do have."
Kittleman has stated that he wants government "out of the marriage business." As someone who favors privatization of marriage, I see Kittleman's point. Nonetheless, as I have said before, and as Meneses-Sheets would apparently agree, we should not let the perfect that is a way off be the enemy of the good that is within our grasp.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Religious right or P.C. left? Quote 12

In this series of blog posts, your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to read each quote and guess, before doing a Web search, whether someone in the religious right or the politically correct left said it.

Marriage does not civilize men. Women do. This point is even evident in the gay community: it helps to explain why lesbians are generally much better than male homosexuals in sustaining long-term relationships.