Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Coercing social acceptance

I didn’t comment on this article at the time, but since our nation is being stampeded into sodomite marriage, commentary seems timely:

My involvement in this case has generated a certain degree of consternation among conservatives. How could a politically active, lifelong Republican, a veteran of the Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush administrations, challenge the "traditional" definition of marriage and press for an "activist" interpretation of the Constitution to create another "new" constitutional right?

For any number of reasons, I don’t find that the least bit surprising:

i) Ted Olson grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. So it’s not as if his social conditioning was hostile to homosexuality.

ii) He’s a lawyer. Many lawyers will argue any side of any issue.

iii) He’s been married four times. In fairness, his third wife died in the 9/11 attacks. But discounting the fourth marriage, it’s not surprising that a man who’s been married three times might have a rather elastic definition of marriage.

iv) Finally, there are varieties of conservatism. Not all conservatives are social conservatives or Christian conservatives.

My answer to this seeming conundrum rests on a lifetime of exposure to persons of different backgrounds, histories, viewpoints, and intrinsic characteristics…

Kinda like saying suicide bombers aren’t so bad once you get to know them.

Many of my fellow conservatives have an almost knee-jerk hostility toward gay marriage. This does not make sense, because same-sex unions promote the values conservatives prize. Marriage is one of the basic building blocks of our neighborhoods and our nation.

That’s equivocal. Traditionally, “marriage” is shorthand for heterosexual marriage. We never considered “marriage” between two men or two women to be a social building block. Olson is abstracting away what makes marriage marriage.

 At its best, it is a stable bond between two individuals who work to create a loving household and a social and economic partnership.

Like a mob family? That can be a loving extended family that also functions as a socioeconomic partntership.

We encourage couples to marry because the commitments they make to one another provide benefits not only to themselves but also to their families and communities.

i) Notice the bait-n-switch. “Couples.” But, of course, we don’t encourage just any sort of “couple” to marry. Traditionally, “couple” is shorthand for a man and a woman. He keeps abstracting away what makes a couple a genuine couple.

ii) The only real families homosexuals have are heterosexual families. Homosexuality is parasitic.

iii) We shouldn’t provide benefits to the homosexual “community”–any more than should provide benefits to the Russian mafia. That’s a community too.

To speak of the “homosexual community” is just a way of referring to homosexuals as a group. The fact that a group of people have one thing in common, which makes it possible to group them, doesn’t ipso facto make them a community. Lots of folks like ice cream. But that doesn’t create an ice cream community. 

Marriage requires thinking beyond one's own needs. It transforms two individuals into a union based on shared aspirations, and in doing so establishes a formal investment in the well-being of society.

i) A homosexual couple is oxymoronic. Homosexuals don’t pair off the way heterosexuals do. Two men or two women are not a matching pair. They are just two of something. They could just as well be four of something.

ii) And homosexuals aren’t “transformed” by their “union.” Two homosexuals aren’t two halves of a whole. Men and women bond because men and women compensate for each other.

The fact that individuals who happen to be gay want to share in this vital social institution is evidence that conservative ideals enjoy widespread acceptance. Conservatives should celebrate this, rather than lament it.

i) “Happens to be gay” is euphemistic, like “happens to be a suicide bomber.”

ii) They don’t want to “share” it, they want to infiltrate it.

Legalizing same-sex marriage would also be a recognition of basic American principles, and would represent the culmination of our nation's commitment to equal rights. It is, some have said, the last major civil-rights milestone yet to be surpassed in our two-century struggle to attain the goals we set for this nation at its formation. This bedrock American principle of equality is central to the political and legal convictions of Republicans, Democrats, liberals, and conservatives alike.

That’s simpleminded. Mere equality is not a virtue. The correct principle is to treat like things alike and unlike things unalike.

Subsequent laws and court decisions have made clear that equality under the law extends to persons of all races, religions, and places of origin. What better way to make this national aspiration complete than to apply the same protection to men and women who differ from others only on the basis of their sexual orientation?

He’s not entitled to say that’s a national aspiration. He doesn’t speak for the nation. And the nation isn’t monolithic.

I cannot think of a single reason—and have not heard one since I undertook this venture—for continued discrimination against decent, hardworking members of our society on that basis.

That tells you something about the social circles he moves in.

Various federal and state laws have accorded certain rights and privileges to gay and lesbian couples, but these protections vary dramatically at the state level, and nearly universally deny true equality to gays and lesbians who wish to marry.

That’s because you can’t artificially equalize what’s inherently unequal.

 The very idea of marriage is basic to recognition as equals in our society; any status short of that is inferior, unjust, and unconstitutional.

That’s a rubbery redefinition of what’s Constitutional, which runs roughshod over the original intent of the frames as well as the states who ratified the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

To say it’s “unjust” begs the question.

The United States Supreme Court has repeatedly held that marriage is one of the most fundamental rights that we have as Americans under our Constitution.

But you don’t have a right to marry your dog. Rights correspond to natures. You can’t detach rights from the nature of the property-bearer and reassign them to whomever or whatever you please. There has to be something about the party that corresponds to the right. Something that makes it a fitting ascription.

It is an expression of our desire to create a social partnership, to live and share life's joys and burdens with the person we love, and to form a lasting bond and a social identity.

What about a consensual incestuous relationship between a mother and her teenage son. They may love each other in a twisted way. Be emotionally interdependent in a twisted way. Like the new TV series, Bates Motel. Should society sanction their “loving,” but unnatural relationship?

 The Supreme Court has said that marriage is a part of the Constitution's protections of liberty, privacy, freedom of association, and spiritual identification. In short, the right to marry helps us to define ourselves and our place in a community. Without it, there can be no true equality under the law.

The Supreme Court is not the arbiter of human nature. The Supreme Court can’t define reality, even if some justices labor under that illusion. Judicial rulings have no power to reify ideological constructs.

The California Supreme Court described marriage as a "union unreservedly approved and favored by the community." Where the state has accorded official sanction to a relationship and provided special benefits to those who enter into that relationship, our courts have insisted that withholding that status requires powerful justifications and may not be arbitrarily denied.

Excuse me if I don’t think the California Supreme Court is a beacon of social virtues or values. 

The explanation mentioned most often is tradition. But simply because something has always been done a certain way does not mean that it must always remain that way.

That’s just ignorant. Who has he actually read?

 Otherwise we would still have segregated schools and debtors' prisons.

What’s so bad about debtors’ prisons? Is it wrong for people to make financial restitution?

 Gays and lesbians have always been among us, forming a part of our society…

You could say the same thing about the criminal element. Crooks have always been among us, forming a part of our society.

...and they have lived as couples in our neighborhoods and communities.

Homosexuals haven’t always lived as couples in our neighborhoods and communities. That’s historical revisionism.

For a long time, they have experienced discrimination and even persecution; but we, as a society, are starting to become more tolerant, accepting, and understanding.

More like the power elite is coercing Americans to submit to its social engineering.

 California and many other states have allowed gays and lesbians to form domestic partnerships (or civil unions) with most of the rights of married heterosexuals.

There’s a word for that: decadence.

No matter what you think of homosexuality, it is a fact that gays and lesbians are members of our families, clubs, and workplaces.

You could say the same thing about drug addicts. That doesn’t mean we should promote drug addiction as a social virtue.

They are our doctors, our teachers, our soldiers (whether we admit it or not), and our friends.

Notice the wedge tactic. But they shouldn’t be our teachers or our soldiers.

They yearn for acceptance…

That’s childish.

…stable relationships

Which they won’t find in homosexuality. Moreover, even if homosexuals were capable of forming stable relationships, stabilizing a pathological relationship doesn’t make it healthy.

…and success in their lives, just like the rest of us.

Actually, many homosexuals are successful.

Conservatives and liberals alike need to come together on principles that surely unite us. Certainly, we can agree on the value of strong families, lasting domestic relationships, and communities populated by persons with recognized and sanctioned bonds to one another.

Does he apply that same reasoning to polygamist cults or communes?

 Confining some of our neighbors and friends who share these same values to an outlaw or second-class status undermines their sense of belonging and weakens their ties with the rest of us and what should be our common aspirations. Even those whose religious convictions preclude endorsement of what they may perceive as an unacceptable "lifestyle" should recognize that disapproval should not warrant stigmatization and unequal treatment.

Social stigmas are a salutary deterrent to social implosion.

When we refuse to accord this status to gays and lesbians, we discourage them from forming the same relationships we encourage for others.

We should encourage them to seek emotional healing.

And we are also telling them, those who love them, and society as a whole that their relationships are less worthy, less legitimate, less permanent, and less valued.

We should be telling them it’s less legitimate. Indeed, illegitimate.

 We demean their relationships…

That’s progress.

 ...and we demean them as individuals. I cannot imagine how we benefit as a society by doing so.

That’s like saying we demean drug addicts or compulsive gamblers when we say their behavior is self-destructive.

I understand, but reject, certain religious teachings that denounce homosexuality as morally wrong, illegitimate, or unnatural…

What a surprise.

...and I take strong exception to those who argue that same-sex relationships should be discouraged by society and law.

And I take strong exception to his position.

 Science has taught us, even if history has not, that gays and lesbians do not choose to be homosexual any more than the rest of us choose to be heterosexual. To a very large extent, these characteristics are immutable, like being left-handed.

That’s preposterous. The nature/nurture debate can’t be settled by fiat.

And, while our Constitution guarantees the freedom to exercise our individual religious convictions, it equally prohibits us from forcing our beliefs on others.

That’s duplicitous. If you don’t agree with him, you’ll be prosecuting for violating the civil rights of homosexuals. Guess who’s forcing whose beliefs on others.

If we are born heterosexual, it is not unusual for us to perceive those who are born homosexual as aberrational and threatening. Many religions and much of our social culture have reinforced those impulses. Too often, that has led to prejudice, hostility, and discrimination.

Laws are inherently discriminatory. They sanction some forms of social conduct while penalizing other forms of social conduct.

The antidote is understanding, and reason. We once tolerated laws throughout this nation that prohibited marriage between persons of different races.

That’s an argument from analogy minus the argument.

Citizens who have been denied equality are invariably told to "wait their turn" and to "be patient." Yet veterans of past civil-rights battles found that it was the act of insisting on equal rights that ultimately sped acceptance of those rights. As to whether the courts are "ready" for this case, just a few years ago, in Romer v. Evans, the United States Supreme Court struck down a popularly adopted Colorado constitutional amendment that withdrew the rights of gays and lesbians in that state to the protection of anti-discrimination laws. And seven years ago, in Lawrence v. Texas, the Supreme Court struck down, as lacking any rational basis, Texas laws prohibiting private, intimate sexual practices between persons of the same sex, overruling a contrary decision just 20 years earlier.

That’s circular reasoning. Appealing to bad precedent to justify subsequent bad rulings.

I have no doubt that we are on the right side of this battle, the right side of the law, and the right side of history.

Many civilizations that slid into oblivion due to internal rot thought they were on the right side of history–until moral decline consigned them to the trashcan of history.

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