Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Sacrificial Lamb

I liked how my off-the-cuff comment to this Jeff Wells' thread about a potential Rick Santorum presidential candidacy being a sign that the GOP is essentially conceding the 2012 election to Obama (re: let the "true believer" with no real shot run and lose, regroup for the likely-open spot in 2016, tell the religious-right to please stand-down and zip-it for a change because "their guy" so clearly failed last time) so I'm reposting here. Slow news day:

"The thing is, The GOP isn't REALLY as "split" on this stuff as it sometimes seems. Social-conservatism doesn't fit with The Right's professed ideal of anti-nanny-state "rugged individualism;" but the actual percentage of the "movement" - especially at the power-brokering level - that buys into it is tiny, and most of THEM are younger people and loner types.


By and large, it's a movement chiefly of old white moneyed men (and those whose fortunes are tied in with the same) who prize economic liberty (re: "The Free Market") above all else because it's best for their business interests; and whether or not they "believe" in social-con ideals they SUPPORT them as policy because it's also good for business: enforcing "live clean, marry young, move to burbs, pump out brats" as the ONE "good" standard of living is tailor-made to produce a booming population of prefab consumers; while social-liberalism doesn't, at least not quite as effectively.


It's also the case that even the ones who DO subscribe to some malformed version of Objectivism/Libertarianism only really see it in their own terms: The "Cowboy" ideal - emphasis on BOY: They're all about the INDIVIDUAL FREEDOM!!! of adult white men to drive whatever car they want, build whatever size house they want, shoot whatever animal they want, etc... but that same freedom can't POSSIBLY be extended to, say, WOMEN. Absurd! If women had the same level of Individual Freedom they did, who would stay at home and keep up the house so they'll have TIME to go live the Cowboy Ideal!? If women were as free to not have children as men are, who will pump out the kids needed to replenish my menial-labor staff and consumer base!?"

Had it slipped into my mind at the time, I might've added my own emerging calculation that the entirety of humanity would improve immeasurably if we were all having a lot more sex (or whatever fires your engine, really) but a lot fewer children.

62 comments:

James said...

Quick political question: which presidential candidate supports policies that violate people's rights and civil liberties, unnecessary military intervention, and a failed war on drugs?

A.) Rick Santorum
B.) Mitt Romney
C.) Newt Gingrich
D.) Barack Obama
E.) All of the above

John Magnum said...

Ron Paul, of course, also supports policies that violate people's rights and civil liberties. Cherry-picking opposition to the war in Iraq and the war on drugs and ignoring his idiosyncratically toxic policies is also amusing.

James said...

John: I should have clarified this, but I'm not a Ron Paul supporter.

Chris said...

The problem the Republican Party has is that the candidate they want is too crazy to win the general election, and any candidate that can win the general election is not crazy enough to win the Republican nomination.

And the "Right" keeps saying that this is a center right nation. Bullox. Obama is center. Clinton was center.

Jake said...

@Moviebob
While I agreed with you before you showed your comment, your comment was one HELL of a generalization. It basically boiled down to, "No one supports conservatism/libertarianism except for selfish reasons."

While that is definitely true of a lot of people, you know damn well you can't see into peoples hearts. Plus if your going to keep bashing conservatives, be my guest, just remember to edit your bio on your site that says, "He is a tireless enemy of censorship, considers his personal politics "Libertine" and enjoys acting as a full time irritant to overly serious people of ALL political stripes."

TheAlmightyNarf said...

Ya know what I'm sick and fucking tired of? People always trying to tell me that if I believe one thing than I must also believe some other completely unrelated thing, of that if I have the gall to disagree with them about something it must be for disingenuous reasons.

Bob, you can take your tiny, little, small minded, self serving, dichotomous view of the universe and go fuck yourself with it.

Wendy said...

Honestly, it doesn't help that ALL the contenders were second stringers, with anyone who could actually go against the president and WIN deciding to sit the election out.

MovieBob said...

@James,

Philosophically, very good question. Practically, a fairly useless one because no "alternative" candidate is going to win in ANY of our lifetimes. No, not even if campaign-financing gets fixed. Politics, as they say, is the art of the possible.

If "libertarians" want to see civil-liberties upheld, the war on drugs neutered and/or stopped, etc. they need to stop paying so much attention to presidential candidate's meaningless stump-speech promises and start paying attention to where such things are actually decided in the here and now: THE COURTS.

If you want pro-civil-liberties legal decisions, you want pro-civil-liberties JUDGES on the bench, and - however counter-intuitive some may find it - to get pro-civil-liberties judges on the bench you (generally) need to elect Democrat presidents and governors to put them there. Art of the possible.

James said...

Thanks Bob, now I know. (and knowing is half the battle)

Also, in response to the original topic, I think it has some credence. Why else would Santorum be saying such unbelievably stupid shit if he wasn't planning to throw the nomination?

Popcorn Dave said...

Well, if we're going to just assume ulterior motives for everything anyone says, Bob, I accuse you of trying to drum up a few easy page hits by being faux-controversial. "Everyone who disagrees with me is lying to protect the system they profit from!" - ah yes, this topic will hit 50 comments by lunchtime. Anything to get people looking at the blog right?

Some days, it seems like you're living the dream, spouting your opinion for a full-time job, but when I see blatant attention-seeking like this I'm not so sure. I don't know if I'd want my income to be so dependent on something as fickle as page hits. Far too often it seems to just encourage professional trolling.

Mads said...

@ Bob

I don't seem able to read your first sentence:
"I liked how my off-the-cuff comment to this Jeff Wells' thread about a potential Rick Santorum presidential candidacy being a sign that the GOP is essentially conceding the 2012 election to Obama so I'm reposting here"

You like how your off-the-cuff comment to that thread did...what? How it was a sign that the GOP is conceding? How it's conceding the 2012 election?

Sorry for being an ass, but it confused me =P

Anyway, I will take the bet that no 3rd party candidate will become president in our lifetimes. It'll happen before 2032.

Anonymous said...

Somebody really needs to get Bob laid.

John Magnum said...

@James, re Ron Paul:

Sorry for assuming. It's just that I haven't really heard "war on drugs" from anyone but people proud of Paul for not buying into the war on drugs. Non-interventionism is a bit more universal, but it's still a favorite catchphrase of Paul fans.

TheAlmightyNarf said...

@ MovieBob

I just don't see promoting authoritarianism as the answer to securing civil liberties.

biomechanical923 said...

@ TheAlmightyNarf
"if I have the gall to disagree with them about something it must be for disingenuous reasons"

But both sides do this.

http://www.cracked.com/article_15759_10-things-christians-atheists-can-and-must-agree-on.html

I think people should pay special attention to #2: "Both sides really do believe what they're saying"

Christians get this attitude like Atheists secretly do believe in god, but they're just denying him because they're mad at god and want to be spiteful.

I see this same kind of accusation of intellectual disingenuous-ness all the time when it comes to things like politics and civil liberties.

Jake said...

@MovieBob
While it sounds interesting, I'm not sure about it. One strategy I've heard for libertarians is to just elect Libertarian Party members, not so that they can get seats, but so the party, depending on what state you are in, can get a more official status and get politicians from both parties attention to their views. And it's not untried, in the early 20th century the Socialist party always go 20-30% of the vote and still got a lot of their platform passed.

v_opposition said...

@ Jake
That's what the Green Party tried to do in 2000. All it did was siphon away from the more liberal candidate and paved the way for George W. Bush to be President.

Anonymous said...

Holy shit. I'd never thought I'd see the day when Popcorn Dave and TheAlmightyNarf finally see Bob's flamebait posts for what they are. A fucking waste of time. Congrats men, you both deserve a nice frothy drink of your choosing, and i'm buying. Both of you are way too intelligent to be arguing on here trying to change the minds of the VERY few people who agree with Bob. Godspeed.

biomechanical923 said...

@Anonymous
It's kind of hard to deny that prospects are very grim for the GOP to take the White House. Primary results are showing that the party can't agree upon a favorite yet. The lack of a front-runner, and the splintered in-fighting are contributing to a palpable sense that Repubs are just kind of going through the motions on 2012

TheAlmightyNarf said...

@ biomechanical923

Other people say other things. That's fantastic for them.

I'm not saying that it doesn't come from both sides, it certainly does. But, it's something I sure as hell have never said.

Anonymous said...

Could someone please tally the positions of Ron Paul that violates civil liberties. I'v heard several people throw it around, but they never substantiate it. Would be especially interesting for me as a Swede interested in American politics.

jojjo

Jake said...

@anonymous
Some would say his pro-life position counts, and gay marriage is a tricky one from him, he's against state marriage period, but some people also count that against him for not supporting full gay marriage. He's also against anti-discrimination law.

Anonymous said...

Jake/
I know about those positions and they don't count. Though I am personally for free abortion it is not the simple question of rights the two "pro-"movements want it to be, however it is a matter where I strongly disagree with the doctor. He is not against gay marriage, there is nothing tricky about it. Finally his objection to anti-discrimination law is from a libertarian perspective: those laws are intrusive, the question is weather you think the end justifies the means. Nothing of this violates peoples rights.

jojjo

Jake said...

@anonymous
Oh don't get me wrong, I agree with you that those positions are not necessarily anti-civil liberties, I was just explaining the Paul detractors' side.

antecedentless said...

>free abortion
I want a right to free dental! And free toothbrushes!

It's sad that people confuse "freedom" with "free things"

Yes, I am all for charity, and even my taxpayer money (temporarily) helping someone underwater get back on there feet, but we cannot have a right to silly things like "free contraceptives" or even things that sound more reasonable like "a right to clean water."

Those have cost associated with them. Arguably, even our abstract freedoms: of religion, of assembly, have costs to protect. These costs get paid for one way or another, be it through taxes, insurance premiums, or directly from a consumer.

antecedentless said...

>back on their feet
eeeuuuooopppss.

MovieBob said...

@antecedentless

Problem is, NOT offering those things - free or otherwise - also has a cost that's often higher. Enforcing environmental or health standards is cheaper overall than managing the disease increase and safety decline that not providing those things innevitably causes.

Same deal with abortion and contraception - it's been statistically demonstrated that increased availability of (and decreased social taboos against) those things has the effect of lowering the crime rate by slowing/reversing the rate of unplanned pregnancies in poverty-afflicted/high-crime areas and populations. Take away those things and you'll STILL be paying for a lot of those same unplanned pregnancies in one way or another: Paying for the services they're likely to end up needing/wanting most immediately, but even if you get rid of THOSE too you'll be paying for police/military to put them down when they riot Russian Revolution style. Which one is more practical and humane, again?

Jake said...

@anonymous
I forgot one, he voted for the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which if you don't know, defines marriage between a man and a woman at the federal level. It also says that no state has to recognize another states gay marriage, and that married gay couples are denied federal benefits.

Jake said...

@Moviebob
I'm not sure they have proven that abortion is connected with lower crime rates outside of correlation. Unless you have more evidence that says otherwise I think it's more likely that the crime rate went down after a cooling down from the enforcement of the war on drugs. And even then, it's still a question of "does the end justify the means?"

patrick.b.healy said...

on a totally unrelated note.
http://moviebob.blogspot.com/2012/01/post-movie-podcast-again.html#more
Has part two of that been posted yet?

TheAlmightyNarf said...

@ Jake

As far as I understand it, states don't have to recognize marriages from other states anyway. Like any other state issued license (like driver's license or pistol permit), laws vary from state to state and most states won't recognize ones issued in states with conflicting requirements.

Jake said...

@TheAlmightyNarf
Exactly, that's why DOMA is useless federal meddling, aside from gay couples being denied benefits, like Social Security and joint tax returns, as well as veteran's benefits. I also forgot to mention for those who don't know, this was a bill that passed Congress and was signed into law by President Clinton in 1996, and was recently ruled by a federal court as unconstitutional.

And for those who say repealing this will make Social Security worse off, all the more reason to get on the reform train.

TheAlmightyNarf said...

@ Jake

Honestly, I see the idea of government recognized marriage as little more than a meaningless piece of paper that heterosexuals by and large stopped giving a shit about 40 years ago and really should just be done away with entirely. Marriage is a strictly cultural entity and having the federal government define it one way or another is no different than having the government define musical genres or holiday traditions (and obviously leads to a lot of issues when different areas of the country have very different cultural views regarding marriage).

As far as I'm concerned, if a couple says they're married than they are for no other reason than that they say they are. And if someone wants to stick their fingers in their ears and pretend they're not, they're free to do that too.

Jake said...

@TheAlmightyNarf
It's actually not just a meaningless piece of paper, government marriage confers all kinds of rights on a couple, like social security and tax benefits I mentioned earlier, but also inheritance rights, child custody, hospital visitation rights etc.

biomechanical923 said...

@TheAlmightyNarf
"Honestly, I see the idea of government recognized marriage as little more than a meaningless piece of paper that heterosexuals by and large stopped giving a shit about 40 years ago"

You seem to be forgetting about a few little things... like tax breaks and benefit.

Unless you think heterosexuals deserve some kind of tax bonus for being straight...

Ryan said...

You know, I know ya'll know me as a lunatic, embittered lefty, and I thank you for putting up with my nonsense.

Narf, the full faith and credit clause of the US Constitution forces states to recognize marriage in other states. The only reason that one state can't effectively make all gay marriage legal is DOMA.

As other people have pointed out, marriage is really pretty important in terms of being able to visit sick people in the hospital, getting custody of your child if the "official" adoptive guardian dies, giving large gifts of cash tax free, not being able to compel testimony, yadda yadda...

But really what's worth commenting on is that great comment above about not knowing what's in people's hearts, and I want to say to you nutty, wrongheaded libertarians and theocrats that I believe with my whole heart that none of you people would spend any time posting on blogs if you didn't think your message was true and the potential for making the world a better place was there, and I really appreciate and love Democracy for letting you do it, and I hope one day ya'll stop being wrong about everything but I have faith that either way you'll keep plugging away for what you think is right, even though I guess it's possible that, as Bob suggests, you're really a bunch of evil, sexist control-freak man-children.

Ryan said...

Oh, yeah, and:

@Bio

1. I totally do not agree that people commit genocide in the name of atheism. Communism, sure, but not atheism.

2. I totally DO agree that religious people largely believe what they say...but I also think that most of them have contradictions in their worldviews of which they are unaware and which they are sometimes stubbornly unwilling to confront.

3. I will never, ever be convinced that atheism entails moral relativism. The most compelling reason to be an atheist is that you can have a rational basis for your moral beliefs rather than a superficial appeal to authority or (worse) fear of hell.

4. Of course there are religious people with whom I share ideological ground, but MLK and Rick Santorum are not on the same side. The more meaningful way to parse who is on what side is to consider which politicans would have supported abolition, civil rights, etc. had they been alive at that time, and it's pretty clear where Santorum would fall on that scale...anybody who talks about "the way things ought to be" when referring to women's rights is one step away from telling people to "know their place".

5. I agree that religious conservatives should be offended by my views; I hold their views in outright contempt. Not gonna stop saying what I say, though, because religious conservatism is a cancer on my society and it needs to get gone and quick.

6. and 7. Yeah, whatever, of course people exaggerate, it's a rhetorical device called a Limiting Case. You'd have to object to the practice of debate in order to get rid of that.

8. Yep, if the whole conversation was about Phelps and Hitler, that would be stupid. But the Catholic Church appears to me to be a pretty messed up institution, too, and on that we have some real disagreement.

9. Churches HAVE done lots of good. Faith has caused lots of good things to happen. But they've both still gotta go...

10. I know I'll never harass the other side out of existence, but since the Religious People are kicking my ass in terms of numbers and population growth, it's all I've got.

Sylocat said...

I highly recommend Corey Robin's book The Reactionary Mind, in which he probes the depths and philosophies of American conservatism, and finds that by and large, it thrives on the promise of denying emancipation to the lower orders.

Conservatism gives people a chance for small-scale feudalism and dictatorships... the middle-management tyrant in the office, the male as Head Of The Household™ at home. It makes perfect sense.

TheAlmightyNarf said...

@ Jake & biomechanical923

So, the the real question we should asking is: Why the hell should married couples have more rights than unmarried couples?

@ Ryan

"Narf, the full faith and credit clause of the US Constitution forces states to recognize marriage in other states."

I can see how one might think it implies that, but in practice that's simple not what happens. Again, if you get a driver's license in one state and than move to another, it won't be valid anymore. If you get a pistol permit in one state, it won't be recognized in most other states.

Hell, if you get a "quicky" Vegas marriage, it won't be recognized in most other states.

"1. I totally do not agree that people commit genocide in the name of atheism. Communism, sure, but not atheism."

Atheism quite literally means nothing more than a lack of a belief in deities (not even in the super natural in general... just deities). It's actually a much broader field of philosophy and has been around far longer than most western atheists give in credit for.

When it comes to the sort of communistic countries that commit genocide against "religious dissidents", I don't think you really can separate the belief in communism from the belief in atheism. They're just different aspects the the same belief system.

Ryan said...

Narf...what?

Can we all just assume that people can be in control of what they mean when they say words? I think atheism and communism mean different things. I think that if Stalin, for example, were *only* an atheist, he probably would not see a need to kill everyone who disagreed with him.

Or to put it another way, *I* am an atheist. I also believe, for totally non-deity-related reasons (although, as an atheist, I am free to define my atheism however I want, thank you very much, it's not like religion where you have to give a crap what dead people think), that mass murder is wrong. Not illogical, mind you, but wrong. I won't say that no atheist would ever disagree with me, but my point is simply that no atheist would ever kill people *because* they're an atheist, whereas obviously religious people kill people in the name of their nonexistent Gods every single flipping day.

And the reason we have to care about marriage, Narf, is that we have to care who is in what family, and marriage is the way we legally keep track of that. The reason you should be able to put your wife on your insurance but not any random person you feel like is that family is important to society and we should legally encourage practices that result in a better place to live. The point...the "telos", if you will, of marriage is to create families, not to confer benefits. The benefits are to support the families. The reason gay marriage matters is that it acknowledges the existence of families with gay heads of household. Denying the right of marriage to gays is essentially denying them the right to form socially-recognized families. In a world of fiercely-independent libertarian warrior-capitalists, I guess that doesn't matter, but I don't actually want to live in that world, and neither do most other people.

Ryan said...

...and YES IT IS what happens. When you move to another state, you don't have to get married again. Why? Full faith and credit clause. No new license, nothing.

v_opposition said...

@Narf
You are patently wrong about Full Faith and Credit. I did have a quicky Vegas wedding and I am legally married in Arizona. I am originally from Illinois where I earned my driver's license. When I moved to Arizona, they gave me an Arizona license with nothing more than fee for the license.

That's the purpose of Full Faith-in-Credit in the Constitution. To protect the legal proceedings in another state. DOMA is unconstitutional because it violates not just the 14th Amendent's equal protection under the law, but also the Full Faith and Credit.

TheAlmightyNarf said...

@ Ryan

"Can we all just assume that people can be in control of what they mean when they say words?"

I suggest you look up what atheism actually means. As much as I detest the site, Wikipedia might be a good go to for this. Atheism is as broad and varied an area of philosophical beliefs as theism is with nothing more in common other than they don't believe in God(s). For you atheism and communism may have no connection at all to each other, but for some people they are inherently the same thing that can't be separated from each other. It would be like saying a Catholic's belief in being charitable and their belief that contraception is a sin are 2 completely different beliefs. While outwardly unrelated, it's still the same belief system... and yet, not necessarily in any way related to the beliefs of anyone else who happens to be a theist.

And, the fact is that when people like you say that society would be better off with out religion, it's that exact some belief that causes countries to commit genocide against religious people... they think they'd be better off without them. You may disagree that it should be taken that far, but that's just a difference of belief with-in different sects of atheism.

I think I may have to invoke the "No True Scotsman" here. Just because you don't think a belief is a part of atheism doesn't mean it isn't for someone else.

"we have to care who is in what family"

We really don't. A family should be free to decide on it's own who is or is not a member. I'm extremely uncomfortable with the idea that the government should mandate what is or is not a family.

"family is important to society and we should legally encourage practices that result in a better place to live."

That sounds suspiciously exactly like the argument against gay marriage. None the less, perhaps you can expand on why family is important?

"Denying the right of marriage to gays is essentially denying them the right to form socially-recognized families."

The problem is the the government is completely incapable of deciding what is or is not "socially-recognized". That's a cultural issue, not a legal one. A culture will either accept gay marriage or it won't, and no law can change that. The government can't engineer culture... it will simply flow however it flows.

Jake said...

@narf
"So, the the real question we should asking is: Why the hell should married couples have more rights than unmarried couples?"

How else would we confer those rights to unmarried couples without it just being the same thing with a name change?

TheAlmightyNarf said...

@ Jake

The distinction is that you wouldn't getting permission from the government to be in a relationship, you would be simply informing them that you already are in a relationship.

The real issue at hand here is that the cultural traditions surrounding marriage and the legal privileges of marriage need to be separated from each other and allowed to be 2 completely different entities. Having them bound together has caused all sorts of problem in the past, and will inevitably cause all sorts of problems in the future. Legally, yes, they'd be more or less the same thing, but you'd be taking all the cultural importance away from it.

People should be able to view and practice marriage however they want to. But, updating their relationship status with the state shouldn't be any more meaningful than updating their relationship status on Facebook.

Jake said...

@Narf
I think I understand you correctly, however, isn't it the same now? We don't ask the permission of the government to form relationships, state marriage just makes it official. Plus if you are suggesting to make it easier to get those benefits, won't their be all kinds of abuse.

Though on a political forum, not too long ago I was arguing some of your points, and I got bombarded with posts like, "marriage started in government", and such. So that's why I'm a little cautious about this.

Though I agree with you that all types of marriages (except when it involves someone underage or is coercive) should be permitted. Polygamy and rape are not synonymous, but they are correlated, though a lot of things are and we would be going overboard if we tried to stop all of them.

Plus, a lot of gays will tell you the cultural significance of being "married" as opposed to "boyfriends/girlfriends", though why they can't just have a ceremony and poof you're married, confuses me.

Though either way you would love this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXpsT3e8UsM

Smashmatt202 said...

I lol'd at the sexist comment at the end. :P

Ryan said...

Narf, I want you to know that even though you are wrong, and even though you are kind of condescending, and even though you are being kind of obliquely homophobic, I still respect you.

#1: Don't tell me to look things up as though I don't know what they mean. I know what atheism means. It means "disbelief in the existence of a God or Gods". That's it. You're right to say that there are many types of atheist, but Narf, the reason there are many types of atheist is that once you accept that there isn't a God, you have to sort of move on from there. So you can be a Randian or a Communist or whatever, but generally speaking, no major human rights violation has ever been committed in the name of atheism. It's not a fallacy to note that Stalin/Mao/etc.'s understanding of Communism (that is, that Communism is a big powerful organization that can be used to bludgeon your enemies while constantly claiming to be in the right) is *exactly* the same as, say, Rick Santorum's understanding of Christianity or Joe McCarthy's understanding of Patriotism. It takes a big, controlling ideology to be that much of an ass. Atheism is not an ideology, and it's certainly not a philosophy. It's just a belief. So yes, atheists have done bad things, but they haven't done them because they were atheists, they did them because they were engaged in some form of ideological magical thinking, and where *I* go from the recognition that God is exactly as real as Santa Claus is to the understand that acting on Faith, be it in religion or in Communism or in whatever, is exactly as logical as trying to use a broken watch to tell time.

#2: I don't really understand what your problem with government recognition of marriage is...you make a lot of weird assertions about the FFandC clause that are simply untrue, then you make some big claims about government being incapable of recognizing marriage correctly (which is a logical fallacy, obviously, because it assumes that because something isn't working in practice right now that it can't work in principle ever), then you say we shouldn't have to care, as a society, who is in what family.

Those are absurd statements divorced from reality. I think your underlying idea is that culture and law should have no connection, but that's a truly silly thing to think. Giving women the right to vote made people understand that women are capable of exercising political rights. Giving black people Civil Rights led to a significantly less racist society. Decriminalizing homosexuality led to a more sexually tolerant society...and on and on and on. Of COURSE you can manipulate culture using the law. That's because most people are not visionaries and want to assume that however their society works must be good. Change the law, change the status quo, and people will get all huffy and then adjust. It's human nature. To deny that is to be willfully ignorant of most of human history.

And really? You need me to explain why family is important to society? Um...because it's self-evident, but also because all the social science ever says that two-parent households are (in general, not in every single case) better for kids, and that a network of extended family is even better still, and common sense ought to make it clear to you why that might be, both emotionally and economically. There are also lots of situations (military service, court cases, medical problems, death, inheritance, on and on) where the Government needs to know which people go with whom in order to know how to redistribute property and/or legal responsibilities and rights. Families are cultural and economic units, and the "special privileges" they get are all designed to help them operate with ease and flexibility. Gay families deserve to be part of that. Non-families do not deserve or need to confuse the issue.

Ryan said...

I guess it's also true that Government recognition of Gay marriage would tell anti-Gay religions that their trenchant and repulsive homophobia is powerless to prevent social progress, which would be pretty awesome, but that's not about family so much as it is about the fact that giving legal privilege to religious thinking really is kind of awful and anytime the faithful lose power it's good day. But that doesn't really help my argument so much as it makes me smile.

Jake said...

@Ryan
I don't understand how government not recognizing marriage (gay or straight) is homophobic.

TheAlmightyNarf said...

@ Ryan

How exactly was anything I said even remotely homophobic? Or is it just the fact that I disagree with you that makes me "obliquely homophobic"?

#1 I think we're just going to have to agree to disagree on this one. I don't see how specifically targeting people of certain religions can be anything other than religiously motivated, but I can kind'a see where you're coming from. I just disagree

"#2: I don't really understand what your problem with government recognition of marriage is...you make a lot of weird assertions about the FFandC clause that are simply untrue,"

Just for shits and giggles I looked up my own state of Connecticut's marriage laws. Sec. 46b-28a clearly says exactly what I've been saying. Connecticut will only recognize a marriage from another state "provided such marriage or relationship is not expressly prohibited by statute in this state" (and this is a state where same-sex marriage is legal). So, unless you can show me a federal court case where that's been overturned, it is the law as it exists now... or at least it is in Connecticut.

"I think your underlying idea is that culture and law should have no connection,"

Pretty much, yea. Because to allow the government to dictate culture is nothing short of tyranny. It's essentially saying that the people in power should force their own cultural morals and values on everyone else... I was given to understand that leftists were generally against that.

"Giving women the right to vote made people understand that women are capable of exercising political rights. Giving black people Civil Rights led to a significantly less racist society."

The Southern states are pretty much exactly as racists as they have ever been, and the upper class is pretty much exactly as sexist and patriarchal as it's ever been.

(Ok, long story short on that last part... The argument I and many others have made is that sexism has always been a predominantly upper class issue and has been substantially less pronounced in the lower class when it existed at all. After all, a male poor peasant farmer and a female poor peasant farmer have always had more less the same rights and privileges... none. Woman's rights came up as an issue in the US pretty much the exact moment a middle class existed to notice the discrepancy.)

Minorities just have more legal recourse now, but culturally, nothing's really changed. If anything I'd say they're prefect examples of how disconnected the 2 really are from each other.

"Decriminalizing homosexuality led to a more sexually tolerant society."

Homosexuality wasn't federally decriminalized until 2003, and only one state had decriminalized it before 1969. I'd say we became a more sexually tolerant society, and then decided afterward that we should decriminalize is.

"Um...because it's self-eviden"

That is the single most bullshit argument in existence. I really hope I don't have to explain why.

"common sense ought to make it clear to you why that might be"

Again? ...Really? You're argument is that I must clearly already agree with you?

Let's just pretend for a moment that I'm a nihilist and I don't take anything for granted, ok?

"There are also lots of situations (military service, court cases, medical problems, death, inheritance, on and on) where the Government needs to know which people go with whom in order to know how to redistribute property and/or legal responsibilities and rights."

Isn't that what wills are for? Should the government really have more of a say in this than the individual in question?

"Non-families do not deserve or need to confuse the issue."

Why don't they? Why should they be second-class citizens?

TheAlmightyNarf said...

@ Jake

Awesome video. Describes my feelings nearly exactly.

"I think I understand you correctly, however, isn't it the same now? We don't ask the permission of the government to form relationships, state marriage just makes it official."

Think of it this way: One can list their religion on a census as "Jedi" and they'll then be listed on census information as a Jedi... without the government actually recognizing Jedi as a religion. The government shouldn't "recognizing" a marriage so much as acknowledging it. The government shouldn't care about any issues of qualifications or criteria because it's not their place to decide if their was or was not a "legal" marriage... they only have to acknowledging it.

"Plus if you are suggesting to make it easier to get those benefits, won't their be all kinds of abuse."

Oh my God! Then people might get privileges that would otherwise be arbitrarily withheld from them!

Like I said before, I'm against the whole thing existing in the first place. As far as I'm concerned, people getting any sort of marriages privileges at all is an abuse.

"though why they can't just have a ceremony and poof you're married, confuses me."

Exactly my thoughts.

Ryan said...

Narf, you're awesome for believing the stuff you believe. That riff about sexism being only a problem for upper class people is truly bonkers (even the most cursory study of the American poor will reveal serious problems with male privilege, and that's just America - if you want to see really shocking lower class sexism, check out Kenya or Italy). And I know my arguments about family seem like non-arguments, but it's because I feel like I'm arguing with a dude who is saying that the sky is green, so it's a little difficult to get my head around it. I guess you're right that the interplay between law and culture is complex, but to argue that the South is exactly as racist as it's ever been is just ignorant - the South is WAY less racist than it has been in the past, and more importantly, so is the North. Why do you think Civil Rights leaders fought for legal changes? It isn't just the rights, it's the social change that having those rights brings about. As for families...well, I'm obviously not going to convince you, but the *reason* I'm sure of myself is that I understand family to be a particular kind of social unit that I want government to understand and respond to, and I think Gay families count. The oblique homophobia comes in when you take a group that is being denied rights they deserve and make it about your weird ideological crusade that very few people are likely to agree with, then get mad at Gay people for being so unenlightened that they just want the minimum necessary amount of social change to feel like equals. It lacks empathy, I suspect because for some reason you don't want to just line up behind a group that deserves (at a minimum) your political support.

TheAlmightyNarf said...

@ Ryan

"Narf, you're awesome for believing the stuff you believe."

I don't know how to take that.

"That riff about sexism being only a problem for upper class people is truly bonkers"

If that were what I said, it would be. Expect what I did say was it was it's been a "predominantly upper class issue and has been substantially less pronounced in the lower class". Yes, that's not always the case everywhere, every culture is different. But, that's generally the case, at least in western cultures.

"And I know my arguments about family seem like non-arguments, but it's because I feel like I'm arguing with a dude who is saying that the sky is green, so it's a little difficult to get my head around it."

Well, when I said to "pretend" that I was a nihilist, I wasn't just being sarcastic... though, I don't know that "nihilist" is necessarily the best word to describe my philosophy, it's the most apt one I've found so far.

I don't feel that the idea of the "traditional family" is something worth legally defending in a modern, culturally diverse society. People should be free to define their family it however they want without government intervention.

"but to argue that the South is exactly as racist as it's ever been is just ignorant"

I imagine most African Americans living in the South would disagree.

"The oblique homophobia comes in when you take a group that is being denied rights they deserve and make it about your weird ideological crusade that very few people are likely to agree with, then get mad at Gay people for being so unenlightened that they just want the minimum necessary amount of social change to feel like equals."

That's just untrue. I have always completely supported the right for same-sex marriage. I problem is that I see "legal" marriage as a completely broken system, and in a few years homosexuals will inevitably have all the same rights as heterosexuals but marriage will still be a broken system and no one will care anymore until the next big controversy. We should be trying to fix it now while people are paying attention and not just slapping a short term band-aid on it.

Jake said...

@Ryan
How would that work? I would assume it would be on the tax form and not the census, since that's only every ten years? Would they have to go to the IRS so they could get joint tax returns and be acknowledged as a couple? I'm not 100% sure everyone has to file tax returns so would those people be barred from marrying.

What about child custody?

I actually want to support you're view, since I'm a libertarian, and am thus inclined to want zap government wherever possible, but I have to be convinced, and so far you're argument just sounds like semantics.

The only semi-convincing argument against gov marriage is that all those benefits could all be settled separately in court, but I got shot down in a forum for saying that, because, as they argued: 1. It would be redundant and there wouldn't be a point in doing it, and 2. If you had to get all those benefits separately, some cheaper lawyers might withhold that information from their poorer clients and the clients would be screwed.

biomechanical923 said...

@Jake
"I actually want to support you're view"

I'm starting to think that the "your/you're" thing is not the innocent typo you claimed it was when you mixed up "there/their/they're" yesterday.

TheAlmightyNarf said...

@ Jake

I'm, just going to assume you meant to reply to me.

"How would that work?"

Well, the census thing was really just an example. My thinking would be you'd just walk into your city town hall and fill out a form, show some ID, and then you're done. Same thing as filling out a change of address or something like that.

Or, better yet, fill out a form on your city website.

"What about child custody?"

That's got fuck all to do with marriage now a days anyway. It follows biological parents or adopted parents.

"so far you're argument just sounds like semantics."

Yea, I don't think I've ever had the opportunity to take the argument this far before, so it kind'a is.

"1. It would be redundant and there wouldn't be a point in doing it,"

I don't follow what you mean.

"2. If you had to get all those benefits separately, some cheaper lawyers might withhold that information from their poorer clients and the clients would be screwed."

Which is essentially exactly how things are now.

The difference, of course, being that we live in the age of the internet and all such information should be easily available to anyone who can be bothered to do the research themselves.

Ryan said...

You're awesome because you believe in something (which I guess means you aren't a nihilist), and you can argue relatively well for it even though it's patent nonsense. The experience of sexism faced by, say, Nancy Pelosi vs. the experience of sexism faced by, say, any random member of the poor population of Kenya/Brazil/etc. is so vast that I can't help but think you have a really specific definition of "the upper class" and "the poor" in mind and are arguing out of provincial ignorance. Your nihilism is similar; it suggests you're good at thinking but don't have a ton of imagination or lived experience to draw on. But I really don't know you, so I can't judge; maybe you've met every sort of person and seen every sort of government for yourself and decided that it's all hooey, and if that's true, bless you but I still don't think your worldview has much to do with reality.

I get where you're coming from on marriage. I think you're wrong, but I don't think you can be convinced, because our big disagreement is pretty much the disagreement any liberal has with any libertarian, which is about whether governments have a right to do social engineering. I say yes, you say no, my people are responsible for civilization, your people are responsible for Somalia, but whatever.

And please do not let any of that suggest that I haven't found this both fascinating and enlightening.

TheAlmightyNarf said...

@ Ryan

"You're awesome because you believe in something (which I guess means you aren't a nihilist)"

Well, again, nihilism is a very broad area of philosophy and there's a lot of disagreement, especially among nihilist, as to exactly what it means. But, I tend to think that the whole "nihilists don't believe in anything" is a bit of a misinterpretation.

For instance, I could say that I think all moral codes are arbitrary cultural constructs and there's no way to objectively call any "right" or "wrong". But, at the same time I can still have my own moral code... just that I acknowledge that it's in no way objectively "right" and is probably mostly arbitrary, but none the less is mine.

"because our big disagreement is pretty much the disagreement any liberal has with any libertarian,"

Yea, pretty much.

"your people are responsible for Somalia"

I'd say that people of similar philosophies to mine tend to be less involved in government and more in advancing art and culture. Admittedly, a complete disregard for status-qua is generally more beneficial there than in office.

"And please do not let any of that suggest that I haven't found this both fascinating and enlightening."

Same here. :)

Ryan said...

I really like the idea that certain political philosophies are better for producing art than others even if they aren't good at producing good politics. That's the kind of thing that makes humanity wonderful. And I agree; if only the MLKs and Gandhis were allowed to write books and make movies, nobody would ever read or watch anything.

Anonymous said...

I really like that people people can discuss tings without getting mad at each other. Credit where credit is due :)

Anonymous said...

/jojjo