Friday, July 29, 2011

Be careful what you wish for.

According to an article in today's New York Times, the Detroit car manufacturers are backing stricter fuel-economy requirements. Buried in the article is a key reason why:
In the end, though, Detroit was faced with an undeniable political reality: there was no graceful way to say no to an administration that just two years ago came to its aid financially.
This turn of events offers a lesson for government-worshiping LGBT activists: By accepting government money, we invite government scrutiny. I pointed out the applicability to queer issues in 1994, and Dan Savage did so in 1999 (advisory: somewhat squicky accounts of barebacking).

Quote of the week

"Liberal bigots justify their prejudice against a group of people on the grounds of their own supposed bigotry." — Owen Jones, Chavs: The Demonization of the Working Class

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Fish or cut bait, progressives.

Reason quotes liberal Columbia University historian Eric Foner as admitting to a fundamental contradiction in progressivism:
As I see it, the core tenets are somewhat at odds with each other. On the one hand you have the belief in governmental assistance to the less fortunate, governmental regulation of economic activity and very modest governmental efforts to redistribute wealth to assist those further down the social scale. So it’s active government, in the pursuit of social goals, when it comes to the economy. On the other hand, modern liberalism emphasises privacy, individual rights and civil liberties – keeping government out of your life when it comes to things like abortion rights. In other words, in the private realm liberalism is for autonomy and lack of government intervention.
Yes, those core tenets are somewhat at odds with each other, as surely as the Pacific Ocean is a somewhat moist spot on the earth's surface. If modern progressives are serious about privacy and individual rights, and that's a pretty big "if," those queer lefties who assert that all LGBT people should agree with them on everything have the burden of resolving that contradiction.

Obviously, conservatism often presents its own fundamental contradiction, which is a photographic negative of the one noted above. The difference is that I do not have to listen to hordes of people telling me that just because I like men, I must unquestioningly accept the tenets of social conservatism.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Quote of the week

"If the average reader cannot make sense of what you're saying, it is not a badge of honor; it is a badge of solipsism, and it's a safe bet your writing just doesn't make sense." — Howard Mittelmark and Sandra Newman, How Not to Write a Novel

Thursday, July 21, 2011

But it's okay when we do it!

At least as long as I've been out, many lesbians have appointed themselves to be the queer community's Lady Whiteadders and have passed moral judgment on gay men for deviating from the ideal of sex only within long-term, monogamous, more-vanilla-than-Sealtest-ice-milk relationships. Now take a look at this (borderline NSFW: some explicit language). The lesbian liberation described in the second half of the article sounds an awful lot like the things that get gay men labeled as unworthy sinners. There can't possibly be a double standard at work, so there must be some other explanation.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Fabulous queer dating tip #25: Don't learn from experience.

What's that thing called when you keep doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result each time? Oh, yeah ... the dating game. Keep doing whatever screwed up all of your previous relationships, whether it's stalking guys who are clearly not even what you want, being a whiny manipulator, or trying to turn your boyfriends into something they're not. After all, all of your failed dysfunctional relationships have one thing in common, and it plainly isn't you, so surely the bad juju will wear off eventually.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

The great big (non-zero-sum) game of life.

People tend to assume without analysis that some area of life is a zero-sum game. A zero-sum game is defined thus:
Zero-sum games are games where the amount of "winnable goods" (or resources in our terminology) is fixed. Whatever is gained by one actor, is therefore lost by the other actor: the sum of gained (positive) and lost (negative) is zero.
Conservatives rightly criticize liberals for viewing the economy and educational attainment as zero-sum games; liberals rightly criticize conservatives for thinking the same about individual liberty. A classic example of a false zero-sum-game is the task of dividing a cake among people when it is possible to bake another cake.

For example, the conflict between gay rights and the rights of religious organizations is commonly characterized as a zero-sum game, when there is no good reason why it should be. Religious people should be free to do what they like among consenting adults in the privacy of their own churches, on their own dime, and with no special privileges to protect them from competition from other churches that see things differently. Churches should be free to exclude LGBT people, but the people excluded should be free to start their own churches or other organizations and compete on a level playing field; it worked for Troy Perry. On the issue of whether churches should recognize same-sex marriage, both the Catholic Church and the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches should get to set their own rules, and secular government should show no favor to either. In short, bake another cake.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Quote of the week

Veronique de Rugy on the red-state/blue-state paradox:
The second theory ... holds that Republican voters want to reduce federal spending only if it means cutting other people’s handouts. That would explain why elected Republicans in red states, such as Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), don’t let their limited-government rhetoric get in the way of voting for farm subsidies.

In the end, the red/blue paradox may be a product of our tendency to look for ideological consistency in politics when there isn’t any.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Identity crisis

The LGBT talking heads love to refer to the "intersection of identities." The people throwing that term around typically use it to mean that for any given person, you can go through a check list of identity groups to which that person belongs and feed the results into an algorithm that will tell you everything you need to know about that person. Do you see how that is different from a more elaborate way of stereotyping by race, sex, socioeconomic status, and the like? Neither do I.

Obviously, a person's life experience does affect who that person is now. But just as obviously, intersectionality as typically understood grossly oversimplifies human natures, as does politically correct reductionism in general. Just consider how differently siblings in a family can turn out.

Monday, July 11, 2011

To people who think I'm too cynical

I sometimes wonder whether I'm cynical enough. For example, I once had the idea to write a short story in which the main character committed suicide by crashing his car on Route 1, and in which all anyone else could think about was the effect on that evening's commute. I dismissed the idea as too far over the top. Now have a peek at this.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Quote of the week

"While the Family Leader pledge covers just about every other so-called virtue they can think of, the one that is conspicuously missing is tolerance. In one concise document, they manage to condemn gays, single parents, single individuals, divorcees, Muslims, gays in the military, unmarried couples, women who choose to have abortions, and everyone else who doesn’t fit in a Norman Rockwell painting." — Gary Johnson

Friday, July 8, 2011

Ageism works both ways.

Allegations of ageism are a common topic of conversation in the LGBT community, but people who comment on the matter tend to leave out the fact that ageism runs both ways. While some twinks and twinks emeriti seem to think that only people within a narrow age range should ever leave the house, some younger gay men complain about being treated as decorative objects who could not possibly ever having anything useful to say, solely because of their age. That last part, however, does not fit into the reductionist P.C. world view.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

How to make enemies and influence people to think you're an idiot

By now, you've presumably heard of the vandalism of the HRC store in Washington. When I asked what that vandalism was supposed to accomplish, I got that all-purpose scathing rebuttal, "La la la, I can't hear you."

Of the explanations that I've heard, the one that makes the most sense is that the event was a plant intended to make radical queer activists look bad. It goes to show that Poe's Law is not limited to the religious right.

Today's vocabulary: "most of us" and "you"

most of us, n. phr. I (example)

you, pron. I (example)

Friday, July 1, 2011

Quote of the week

"Only in government do you spend money regardless of results. In the real world, you buy something, you spend money, you expect something in return...." — Governor Andrew Cuomo, on New York State's high spending on education and not so high results