TCS Daily


Shakespeare vs. Larry Craig

By Jerry Bowyer - September 7, 2007 12:00 AM

Renaissance era Vienna was a moral cesspool. Brothels were everywhere, marriage was disappearing and the resultant army of unfathered children created a crime wave. The Duke of Vienna decided to go on a 'listening tour' of the city. He donned a monk's habit and wandered the streets incognito with his face covered and his eyes and ears open. He needed to leave the government in strong hands and he chose Angelo, a strict and puritanical conservative to rule in his stead. Angelo looked upon the moral chaos of the city and decided to reinstitute an ancient tradition - hanging for fornicators.

It wasn't long before a case came before him, a young man was living with his fiancé. He couldn't afford to marry her outright, so she agreed to live with him on the understanding that they would eventually be married. There was no dispute, it was clear that the two of them were having sex. Angelo pronounced the sentence and the young man was sent to the dungeon to await his execution. His sister, a beautiful woman in training to be a nun, went to Angelo to plead for her brother's life. The instant she entered the room, Angelo fell in love with her. He demanded that she submit to his sexual advances. When she refused, he told her that this was the only way her brother could be spared. The family values candidate for ruler of Vienna demanded a sexual bribe in exchange for a pardon.

This story is told to us by William Shakespeare and the Bard being the Bard, the plot takes several turns, each one showing new depths of lust and deceit for Angelo. In the end, the true ruler reappears, reveals all, acquits the innocent, punishes (more mildly than they deserve) the guilty and sets it all to rights. The play is almost, well theological, and why not? It's title Measure for Measure is taken from Jesus' Sermon on the Mount.

"For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

The point is simple: you will be judged by the standards you apply to others. This verse is as frequently misunderstood by liberal as by conservative commentators. For the liberals, it forbids moral distinctions. Jesus, they say, is outlawing the making of moral evaluation. Of course, this is impossible. If judgments are forbidden than this prohibition includes the judgment that we shouldn't make prohibitions. Judgmental people are therefore 'bad', non-judgmental people are good.

The conservative answer view states that Jesus makes moral judgments all the time and that we should too. After all, without moral standards, chaos would ensue. They tend to ignore the actual language of 'judge not' and take the passage as meaning either nothing or meaning that only people who live up to their standards are allowed to judge and if you want to go around condemining people, that's fine, just so long as you get pure enough yourself that you're not covered by this warning.

Both seem to miss the point. The context is political. Although we call it the "Sermon" on the mount, it's much more speech than sermon. This remarkable document is Jesus of Nazareth's State of the Union Address. The state of the union, he finds, is not strong. The political elites are greedy collaborators and the grassroots pressure groups secretly undermine what they loudly proclaim. They cast out tax collectors for collaborating with Rome, but they carry Roman coins. They talk about the commandment to honor your father and mother, but make ostentatious gifts of their support. They sleep with women, but then try them (but not the men) for adultery.

Jesus is not ordering infinite tolerance, nor laying down the bars that must be passed before the privilege of intolerance is granted. He is describing the way the world works. Rulers of activists will be evaluated by the standards which they use to evaluate others. When someone uses the Torah to get power, eventually his conduct will be evaluated by that same Torah. If one uses the holiness of the temple as an excuse to shake people down for contributions, exchange fees, etc. eventually people will begin to wonder whether he is in his own conduct guarding the holiness of the temple.

Shakespeare got what so many commentators missed: Jesus as pundit, wisely (and it turns out accurately) predicting the implosion of the two great political parties of His day. The same holds true for us. The Democrats can't fly around the world in gas guzzling charter jets to give pious sermons about exceeding our carbon footprints. Republicans can't go on and on about Idaho family values and then cruise men's rooms for anonymous hook-ups. It's not just a matter of 'hypocrisy'. Hypocrisy is inevitable, any standard worth having is a standard that we will sometimes miss. It's more a matter of reality. You can't build a political coalition of lasting viability on leaders who trash by their actions the standards the profess with their mouths. The Prophet and the playwright tells us that it just won't work.

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50 Comments

The sermon on the mount is also theological
I think Jerry Bowyer's essay is very insightful. It's well-written, and does a fine job showing the interaction of Scripture, Shakespeare, and today's news.

I have one concern. The sermon on the mount is also theological. Oswald Chambers said that with verses like Matt. 5:48 ("Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly father is perfect," New International Version) Our Lord is reminding us both of God's standards and our inability to meet those standards, thus setting us up for his eventual atoning death, burial, resurrection. In other words, he is preaching the gospel.

Sure, but to the point at had this was very well done
It was, perhaps, one of the best explanations of the "judge not, least ye be judged" point that I've ever seen. It also points out that a personal, and political, price exists for those who do not make every effort to live up to the standards they profess.

What if the standard itself is a form of bigotry?
Such is the standard of denying rights to people based on their sexual orientation. Lets not bypass judgement of the standard itself, especially when its a form of discrimination.

Its one thing to be homophobic and believe its a sin to be homosexual. Which, each of us judge on our own the morality of such a position. Its more acceptable, in a sense, to be close-minded and bigoted personally, with such a position, because it doesn't cross into the realm of public policy.

Its another thing to let such a position dictate discrimination in the form of our laws, by denying rights to people based on sexual orientation.

In other words, be a bigot if you want. Its not ok, but its more acceptable than designing our laws to include your bigotry, which is absolutely unacceptable. Yet, its happening. Republicans are to blame for pushing it more strongly, but Democrats fail on this issue too.

The obligations of ostrich-like bigotry
One way to become a bigot is to call others who don't believe the way you do a bigot. Are you a bigot, bobjones?

I disagree with your take on denying rights to people based on their sexual orientation because you omit (intentionally?) the other half of the equation: obligations. I don't want to bear the obligations such rights would impose on me, such as suffering the further erosion of essential social institutions such as marriage and family, which are themselves fundamental to upholding and sustaining beneficent moral principles and public decorum. Therefore, my desire to deny rights rests on my desire to avoid the obligations those rights would impose on me and others. Bigotry has nothing to do with this equation.

A man is much more than his bits and bobs, bits-n-bobjones. Why not think about something more refined, for a change?

obligations???
"suffering the further erosion of essential social institutions" is an obligation you must bear??? you poor poor guy, how CAN you survive such a horrible situation? i had no idea you were suffering so much!

Indeed, what obligations?
robertbennett:

Bigotry has nothing to do with whether one agrees with me. What a silly comment. Or is that just a political comment? You don't like what I said so you try to smear me.


Seriously though, what obligations are you afraid of? What obligations exist?

You offered a generalization that is more talking point than actual reality:
"...such as suffering the further erosion of essential social institutions such as marriage and family, which are themselves fundamental to upholding and sustaining beneficent moral principles and public decorum."

How exactly, would a formal commitment between 2 people of the same gender affect YOUR marriage?

Venice
Perhaps you failed to read the article. Due to the collapse of marriage and family in Venice, crime rampaged there. Not enough? Then take a gander at Moynihan Report of 1965. Still not enough? Then do your own research on why heterosexual families anchor healthy societies.

Mine offers a view of a society lacking firm, socially and legally recognized commitments between one man and one woman to brave (to abuse the Shakespearean theme) "the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune" to hew together, with the aide of their families, friends, neighbors, and indeed their entire social network, which of course must agree with the terms of their union, to bear and raise children happy, healthy, and capable of carrying such commitments forward. Such a society fails and then feeds, leech-like, on societies in their proximity that succeed, until both succumb to inevitable decay.

What does your research reveal?

I'm sorry, I missed your answer to bobjones question
how does a same-sex union between two people you don't know harm your marriage?

Why
Do you have to upset 10000 years of tradision because you think it feels good?

For that matter, some people think homosexuality is wrong and immoral.

He told you
But you didn't get it did you?

There is no discrimination - all are treated the same
The law is the same for all men and women, so there is no discrimination going on. Regardless of sexual orientation, any man can marry any woman provided they are both of state defined legal age and not a close relation.

The law applies equally to all.

By the way, why are you so heterophobic? Cause if anybody who disagrees with you is homophobic (an unnatural fear of homosexuals?) you must be heterophobic.

EEEE-YOOOOR
I see you're back in action, Le Mule. And like bits-n-bobjones, you've got your bits and bobs all a-twitter. What fun.

A same-sex union between two people I know doesn't harm my marriage. However, a society that believes that a same-sex union is morally equivalent to my marriage harms my marriage, for it provides my marriage little or no moral support. This is so because such a society no longer believes that (1) marriage is a sacred, not secular institution that (2) is essential to upholding and maintaining a virtuous, healthy society that (3) understands that there is such a thing as a proper balance between rights and obligations.

The left never ceases to amaze me. How can individual rights be free when they impose obligations on all others to honor them, that is, society? Some homosexuals oppose gay marriage because the institution of marriage is too important to society to burdened with social experimentation. Moreover, they do so fully willing to personally bear the burden of their sexuality rather than shift it to society. Such homosexuals I deeply respect. Others, whose fanatical thoughtless demands for "equal rights" put society at jeopardy for personal gain I do not respect.

Attractive
Here's an example of what society will look like once it believes that sexuality and marriage are really nothing more than a useful way of getting one's bits and bobs all atwitter:

>

Fortunately, 57% of Oregonians (as of 2004) have their heads screwed on straight, which is why they voted to ban gay marriage. Unfortunately, they still have to put up with guys like Jack McClellan, who find the 43% of Oregonians who don't have their heads screwed on straight irresistibly attractive as little girls.

more damning evidence
Apparently the authorities got transcripts from Craig's cell phone, and they have him making a call to his wife saying he wouldn't be home for supper, but will just have a 'wiener' at the airport. But when an astute journalist asking the government agency how much it costs of the taxpayers money to entice and sting consenting adults, he wouldn't answer the question, but did say he made a good living out of it.

Gee. Maybe you'd prefer a government like Saudi Arabia's
There's no slack there for any kind of nontraditional values at all. It's illegal. You have religious police enforcing the laws, which are regarded as god-given. Is that what you prefer? If not, why? Just because you want to have Christian rather than Islamic values enforced?

>(1) marriage is a sacred, not secular institution
If religious leaders don't want to marry a particular couple, they can refuse. Why shouldn't they have the right to comply. Legal recognitiono f marriage is secular, not religious. Atheists and pagans can and do marry. Why do you believe religion has to be injected into the question of who can marry?

>that (2) is essential to upholding and maintaining a virtuous, healthy society
If religious values are paramount, why tolerate atheism? Why not enforce church attendance. Why not outlaw non-conforming religions?

>that (3) understands that there is such a thing as a proper balance between rights and obligations.
What "obligation" is a same sex married couple bypassing or failing to fulfill?

>How can individual rights be free when they impose obligations on all others to honor them, that is, society.
Rights aren't "free," they are rights. I have a right to express my opinion. You don't have to listen to me, but you do have an obligation to respect my right.

>Moreover, they do so fully willing to personally bear the burden of their sexuality rather than shift it to society.
What 'burden?' How does legal tolerance "shift a burden." Is heterosexuality a "burden?" If not, why is homosexuation.

> Others, whose fanatical thoughtless demands for "equal rights" put society at jeopardy for personal gain I do not respect.
Put society at jeopardy how?? Is anyone calling for homosexuality to become compulsory? I truly don't see your problem or what you're afraid of? Are you worried that if gay couples are allowed to marry you may marry another man?

Which tradition?
For much of history, polygamy has been the standard. Still is in many places.

>For that matter, some people think homosexuality is wrong and immoral.
Many people believe eating pork is wrong and immoral. Does that mean the sale of bacon should be outlawed?

Read them all, but still confused...
This comment, it seems to me, sums up the opinion nicely:

>This is so because such a society no longer believes that (1) marriage is a sacred, not secular institution that (2) is essential to upholding and maintaining a virtuous, healthy society that (3) understands that there is such a thing as a proper balance between rights and obligations.

I'm scratching my head. So is my wife. First, 1: Why does society believing our marriage is "sacred" help us? Tax breaks? Please explain. Next, 2: How does society's believing that marriage is essential for a healthy society (never mind virtuous - too broad) help us? They won't stone us? I guess I'm all for not being stoned. And, 3: this one is completely irrelevant. Gay couples I know have the same distribution of beliefs about the proper balance of rights and obligations as straight couples (i.e., some rights, plenty of obligations, to each other and the community at large). And promiscuous unattached gay folk have the same balance of beliefs as promiscuous unattached straight people (i.e., lots of rights, not too many obligations).
My wife and I have no particular desire for our relationship to be seen as "sacred." That's just bizarre. We do like it to be seen as normal, and not have people look as us funny or cross the street to avoid us. Gay couples we know also would like that.
For the record (so when I'm up for Supreme Court Justice, people can unearth this): If marriage is truly "sacred", the gov't should have nothing at all to do with it! No tax breaks, no nothing. We should all be individuals. Marriage should be purely religious and uncontrolled. No marriage licenses, no nothing. Only single tax returns, no joint. Doesn't Sweden do this?
And, no, I haven't thought through the consequences. But my freedom would be protected.

No he didn't
But why don't you explain how your marriage is threatened if two women who live together get married.

I feel I must expand on "virtuous" and the society of free individuals (not couples)...
Firstly: Virtue being subjective. Most of us would agree on some aspects of virtue, but there are many aspects that are subject to wildly violent, tumultuous disagreement. Examples: A virtuous society makes its women cover up; A virtuous society doesn't allow people to dirty up the air and water, even if it makes them rich; A virtuous society doesn't allow consumption of alcohol; A virtuous society doesn't suffer Protestants, Jews, Catholics, etc., to live... There are more, of course. So when I hear people refer to a virtuous society, I reach for my 2nd amendment.
Secondly: A society of free individuals, with no governmental recognition of sacred or religious marriage, may well result (indeed, has and does result) in polygamy, same-sex marriage, and even (strangely) marriage to imaginary, invisible beings. Even, yes, man-on-dog marriage. But, since none of us would have to pay $$$ to make up for marriage-related tax breaks, the only people who would care are those who hate to look at people happy in alternate ways. I know, that's a lot of us. I, for instance, hate to look at people made happy by football. Personal quirk, and totally my problem.
Thanks for reading!

The beautiful sound of braying
How does one equate the enforcement of Shariah law with not leglly recognizing a marriage between a woman and woman, or a man or man, or a woman, a man, and several potted plants, or a turtle, a potted plant and several people of undefined gender, or several people of defined gender, whatever that gender may be, etc.? Really, le Mule, you frighten me.

The legal recognition of a marriage imposes rights and obligations on both spouses similar to those they ought to accept by virtue of their commitment to one another. Take a gander at the laws of a community property state like Washington, where I had the unfortunate experience of representing divorced spouses. What a mess. What I can't figure out is why gays want any part of this mess when they can simply contract around it with a well-drafted community property agreement.

Oh wait, I guess I can figure it out, after all: Gays want to use the law to force the social acceptance of the notion that gay marriage is the equivalent of heterosexual marriage. What a stupid thing to do. Talk about imposing Shariah law. Check out the virulent hatred boiling around the abortion issue if you believe this kind of thing can work. But then I'm appealing to le Mule's reason, which has the same chances of success.

But I use you to refine my thoughts, even when you're a blank wall, so let's take your arguments one by one.

(1) Marriage is sacred because it's an elevation or refinement of man beyond his nature. It lifts man up to exercising rights and meeting obligations he finds both transformational of his nature and burdensome at the same time. Hence, marriage is not just another route to self-fulfillment, like taking piano lessons. Instead, it's about uplifting hairless apes to beings who can form harmonious societies capable of feats of goodness unknown to baboons.

(2) Values are worthless because they morph to whatever purpose they may cater to at the moment. I don't truck with values, but I'm not surprised you do.

(3) Same-sex couples impose the obligation on all others, coupled or not, to accept their coupling as if it were the same as heterosexual coupling. This is the obligation I'm talking about, le Mule. Bray on.

(4)Your right to express yourself does not obligate me to respect your right to express yourself. Rather, it gives you the right to make an ass of yourself every time you express yourself, the inevitability of which I find illuminating but tiresome.

(5) Legal tolerance shifts the burden of the intolerable on to people endowed with common sense. There's an article out on a Los Angeles news source that documents the case of an Angelino pedophile who moved to Portland, OR after getting busted for posting on his website pictures of very young girls he had taken. He moved to Portland, OR because of the reportedly "liberal" and "tolerant" reputation of the place. Today he lives on the state dole while prowling public areas with his digital camera. What lucky folks, those "liberal", "tolerant" Oregonians.

(6) See above.

Speaking of donkeys....
You're really not focusing. If marriage is exclusively spiritual and religious, what's the state doing being involved at all? Let people marry whoever they want, without any civil or legal consequences. On the other hand, I wasn't referring to Sharia, I was referring to the Saudi Arabian government laws about religion. Apparently you're looking for a similar government role here. If not, please say so.

>What I can't figure out is why gays want any part of this mess when they can simply contract around it with a well-drafted community property agreement.

But why is this your decision to make for them? If they want a part of 'this mess' who are you to tell them they are excluded? And if it's a mess, why do you want to maintain it for non-gays?

>Gays want to use the law to force the social acceptance of the notion that gay marriage is the equivalent of heterosexual marriage. What a stupid thing to do.

How does this 'force social acceptance?" People are still able to think whatever they want to think about gay marriage. Churches don't have to recognize gay marriages. But (say) a hospital would have to allow marital visiting privileges. Why is this so threatening?

>Check out the virulent hatred boiling around the abortion issue if you believe this kind of thing can work.
You mean, work better than prohibiting abortion? Or are you blaming bombings of abortion clinic and murders of doctors on the law?

>[Marriage] is about uplifting hairless apes to beings who can form harmonious societies capable of feats of goodness unknown to baboons.
So the idea is that gay couples are incapable of being uplifted? Incapable of being part of a harmonious society? Incapable of goodness?

> Values are worthless because they morph to whatever purpose they may cater to at the moment.
As opposed to what? I have no idea what your point is here. That you have no values? That you think nobody else has values? That you think nobody else's values are as good as yours?

>Same-sex couples impose the obligation on all others, coupled or not, to accept their coupling as if it were the same as heterosexual coupling.
What are you talking about? Churches don't have to recognize the marriage. Neighbors don't have to invited the gay couple into the home. Preachers can say its a sin. You can personally disapprove. What more do you want?

>Your right to express yourself does not obligate me to respect your right to express yourself
Sorry, you don't have it right. It doesn't obligate you to respect or listen to what I say. However, I do have the right to say it, as you have the right to say I'm wrong. Why are differning opinions so threatening to you?

>Legal tolerance shifts the burden of the intolerable on to people endowed with common sense.
This makes no sense whatsoever, common or otherwise. Shifts the burden from whom?

PS - if you think calling me names makes your points more cogent, you need to talk to your religious counselor.

so I guess if marriage were only permitted between same sex couples that'd be fine too
Such a law also would treat everyone the same. Any man could marry any man. Any woman could marry any woman. The law would apply equally to all. Would you have any problems with that law?

Descartes would shudder
It's one thing to follow an argument to its logical conclusion. It's another to divert an argument into the inumerable rivulets of one's own dimensia. Yours is the latter course, le Mule. Let's examine why this is so.

"If marriage is exclusively spiritual and religious, what's the state doing being involved at all? Let people marry whoever they want, without any civil or legal consequences."

This is already the case. You can marry a cabbage without any civil or legal consequences, le Mule, and so far as I can tell, dwell in civil bliss your vegetable. Legally, you can have this kind of marriage all you like. But when you come to me get a divorce from your cabbage, I'm going to charge you dubble for wasting my time.

"On the other hand, I wasn't referring to Sharia, I was referring to the Saudi Arabian government laws about religion. Apparently you're looking for a similar government role here. If not, please say so."

You must be dumber than you write.

"But why is this your decision to make for them? If they want a part of 'this mess' who are you to tell them they are excluded? And if it's a mess, why do you want to maintain it for non-gays?"

Ever hear of democracy? Besides, the Washington courts have so befouled family law that it now consumes the families it was designed to protect. But then, the courts are always willing to legislate what the voters won't themselves approve. That's why you view their arbitrary pronouncements superior to the will of the people. Not so, le Mule?

"How does this 'force social acceptance?" People are still able to think whatever they want to think about gay marriage. Churches don't have to recognize gay marriages. But (say) a hospital would have to allow marital visiting privileges. Why is this so threatening?"

Ah, the freedom of thought. Just before, you trumpeted the freedom of expression before you ramped it back to the freedom of thought. See the problem, Big Brother?

"You mean, work better than prohibiting abortion? Or are you blaming bombings of abortion clinic and murders of doctors on the law?"

No, it's not the law's fault. Rather, it's what people believe. Before the law, were there bombings of abortion clinics or murders of doctors? The beliefs were constant, but the law changed. Can't you do even this simple math, le Mule?

"So the idea is that gay couples are incapable of being uplifted? Incapable of being part of a harmonious society? Incapable of goodness?"

Wasn't I talking about man, not gays? What's the difference between gays and man, le Mule?

"As opposed to what? I have no idea what your point is here. That you have no values? That you think nobody else has values? That you think nobody else's values are as good as yours?"

I have plenty of values, le Mule. The problem is, they all serve my own ends. I also honor plenty of moral principles, which often don't serve my own ends. See the difference (hint: subjective v. objective)?

"What are you talking about? Churches don't have to recognize the marriage. Neighbors don't have to invited the gay couple into the home. Preachers can say its a sin. You can personally disapprove. What more do you want?"

I want Big Brother to remain in 1984. What more do you want? The freedom of thought? Today I had a conversation with an atheist Irishman who reported that English society had gone to hell, and couldn't figure out why. That's no wonder to me, but I wonder what Big Brother would have to say about his seditious musings.

"Sorry, you don't have it right. It doesn't obligate you to respect or listen to what I say. However, I do have the right to say it, as you have the right to say I'm wrong. Why are differning opinions so threatening to you?"

How can your right to demonstrate your foolishness obligate me to respect your foolishness? If I feared you, would I insult you. thereby instructing you?

"PS - if you think calling me names makes your points more cogent, you need to talk to your religious counselor."

My religious counselor insults me constantly. That's why He's so useful. Is the purpose of this life to avoid all discomfort, offense, or outrage? Your cabbage spouse must find you incredibly dull.

"This makes no sense whatsoever, common or otherwise. Shifts the burden from whom?"

You're willfully dense, le Mule. EEEE-YOOOOR!

If blowhard were smart, you'd be a genius
I mean, where does this come from:

>his is already the case. You can marry a cabbage without any civil or legal consequences, le Mule, and so far as I can tell, dwell in civil bliss your vegetable. Legally, you can have this kind of marriage all you like. But when you come to me get a divorce from your cabbage, I'm going to charge you dubble for wasting my time.

When people are proposing to offer civil recognition to cabbaga marriage, you'll have a point. IN the meantime, you'll have to stick to what's on the table.

I'm assuming your blowhard non-answer about Saudia Arabia means you aren't in favor of having the government enforce religious preference. But why, given your rhetoric?

Regarding your invocation of democracy, I'm assuming this means that if and when states pass laws allowing same-sex marriage (and the tide is moving in that direction), you'll have no problem with the new law.

>No, it's not the law's fault. Rather, it's what people believe. Before the law, were there bombings of abortion clinics or murders of doctors? The beliefs were constant, but the law changed.

There were no abortion clinics. Once they opened, what's your conclusion? That the bombings and murders were justified? People believe all kinds of things. Is the idea that no law can go against anyone's belief? If not, what's your point?

And this is utterly incoherent:

>"So the idea is that gay couples are incapable of being uplifted? Incapable of being part of a harmonious society? Incapable of goodness?"

>Wasn't I talking about man, not gays? What's the difference between gays and man,?

What's the difference between heterosexual and man? You're invoking a general, vague something that affects "man," the culture, the species- but gays are, what? Not part of it? Shoudn't be part of it? Aren't part of the culture.

>I have plenty of values, le Mule. The problem is, they all serve my own ends. I also honor plenty of moral principles, which often don't serve my own ends. See the difference (hint: subjective v. objective)?

Ok, fine. Lots of other people have moral principles too. You don't like other people pushing their moral principles on you, but other people have to accept yours because yours are the true and only ones? Sure.

>>"What are you talking about? Churches don't have to recognize the marriage. Neighbors don't have to invited the gay couple into the home. Preachers can say its a sin. You can personally disapprove. What more do you want?"

>I want Big Brother to remain in 1984.

So if two women down the block get married and the state recognizes it, that's 1984?? You mean this means the government will install video monitors in your house to make sure you aren't secretly opposing gay marriage and imprison and torture you if they find you are? If not, can you tone down the nutball rhetoric?

And you don't seem to be able to read English. I write:

>t doesn't obligate you to respect or listen to what I say.

so you reply:

>How can your right to demonstrate your foolishness obligate me to respect your foolishness?

Review:I say, it doesn't obligate you to respect what I say. You say, "it doesn't obligate me to respect what you say." I'm glad we agree.

>Is the purpose of this life to avoid all discomfort, offense, or outrage?
So why are you so afraid of gay marriage.

Here's a hint: if you don't have an answer to the question, pretending that there isn't a question and calling me dense just makes you look not just arrogant but both arrogant and stupid and defensive. But I don't have to tell you that; you laready know that about yourself;


back on track
robertbennett:

You obviously view marriage as a sacred institution. It is sacred to YOU, not everyone feels the same way. And the only marriage that matters to you, is your own. The only marriage that matters to me, is my own. The state or course or result of anyone else's marriage has no bearing on my own marriage. If 2 women want to marry and raise a child, that has absolutely no affect on my marriage. It has no affect on yours either, except in your imagination. You choose to believe it, but that doesn't make it reality.

Looking back through these posts i can see the discrimination in your comments robertbennett. You refer to homosexuality as "burden of their sexuality". You view it as a burden, but not everyone does. People are born gay, they don't have a choice in their natural selection, so any burden that exists comes from a societal bias that still exists from a tradition that homosexuality is taboo. That tradition is changing, we're evolving, and its never going to go backward as long as we're a free society. Thats just how it is. Any stress you feel over it is of your own doing.
I'll share my example as another point on this. I do not view marriage as a religious institution. We had a friend marry us, he had to get ordained because the law says so, but there was no aspect of religiosity in our union whatsoever. I have a strong, healthy marriage, and it has no affect whatsoever on your marriage. There is nothing wrong with your marriage being a religious institution, but it IS discriminatory of you to fight to make every other marriage mirror your own vision of it.

You mention a contract of a community property agreement should be enough for gays to get what they want, but thats not enough. Marriage has benefits from the government and law that are beyond what a contract can provide. pbasch has a couple excellent posts below that you should read.

I appreciate and understand your views robertbennett. There is no problem with how you view marriage as long as it works for your marriage. I do fault you for what seems to be a cliche of being a nosy religious person that wants everyone to conform to your vision of what marriage should be. You prefer the way it was 50 years ago, the state of marriage as it was at that time, and there ARE positives of how it was back then. But change is inevitable, traditional religion isn't much help with adapting to change, this is really a simple case that you need to learn to accept reality. Whether that reality is acceptance of homosexuality or acceptance that your views on it are discriminatory. We don't discriminate in this country based on sexual orientation, thats the law, thats why the courts are right when they rule that not allowing gays to marry is unconstitutional.

I did do some research, as you advised earlier. I'll leave your reference to a Shakespeare play as evidence alone. The Moynihan Report is interesting, it seems pretty uanimous that Moynihan was dead wrong on some points, but praised for recognizing, without understanding, the decay of the family structure. He blamed the matriarchal nature of the traditional black family as one of 4 factors leading to the decay. Little did he know how the whte family would change in the coming decades. Nowhere was there mention of homosexuality. So I did some more research too. I get the impression from conservatives that our problems stem from: too many single mothers, changes decades ago to no-fault divorce laws and welfare laws. Frankly, I think the arguments are out of touch. I fully agree there are too many single mothers, thats a problem in our society. But no law or religion is going to change that. Education and discipline are the answer, whatever we can do to promote those things. I believe parenting is the problem that needs to be fixed, I don't know why, but our parenting skills have gone downhill, leading to kids who don't respect their elders, etc. The change in the way we view community and family probably contributes too. I agree with those points. But you notice this whole paragraph says nothing about homosexuality. Making the jump from these points to the fear that gay marriage would destroy everyone else's marriage is not accurate. The argument is hollow, its simple fear mongering.

I'll throw this out, a view I have that throws tradition on its head. This is very progressive, its not the norm presently, but it should be, it might be someday, it might even help our society get back on track. I believe we've had the steps wrong- 1 marriage 2 have kids. I think we should have kids first, then get married. Why else get married unless you have kids? The tax breaks don't kick in until we have a dependent, our tax system actually penalizes married couples without kids. Really, whats the point of marriage, other than to provide a family structure for raising kids?
I've enjoyed a few times offering this opinion to people and then watching their eyes get big and try to process it.

nice D, award for ignorant talking point goes to you
I've seen this self serving argument from others too, to question why the cops were staking out a bathroom to bust lewd behavior. A little homework will help you avoid looking stupid like this.

For example, you would learn they did the sting in response to complaints from patrons. You would also learn there were like 30 or 40 arrests over the 2 months or so they did the sting. Seems to me the sting was pretty justified. Beyond that, how hypocritical is it that the right wing would argue defense for the right of gays to have sex in a public restroom to defend one of their disgraced politicians?? Sick, man, sick. Forget reality, you just gotta BELIEVE!

ignorant D.
Do you mean me? And hypocritical? And right wing? I'm not right right wing cus who ever heard of a right wing guy not caring about hommoss, or polygomists, or hookers, or abortions etc? I'm a libertarian and I don't care if a boy and a boy, or a boy and a girl, or girl on girl make out in the bathroom, or in the bushes in park, or on the sofa in the basement. As long as I don't have to see them. No, I take that back, I don't even mind seeing the last too groups(how open-minded is that). I thought a right winger was somebody like Ann Coulter of 'let's invade them, kill their rulers and convert them to Christianity' fame. Maybe I will even shock you more now by saying that I don't even mind when I see those drug addict teenagers shooting up in the bathroom stall. So not only do I advocate free love for everybody, but also legalize drug addicts. How tolerant is that? I'm an out-ted libertarian.

sacred marriage
Sacred is a religious, or superstitious notion, so for people who are not religious, it is meaningless. If people usually do things for positive reasons, they would ask themselves what is positive about being married instead of just shacking up; maybe tax benefits, maybe housing benefits, maybe a different ration card in commie countries, etc. Some countries even have tax disincentives to marriage, with the predictable result that there will be less. Apparently in the US where most black kids are born out of wedlock there is some disincentive there too. My Americans friends tell me that in those black guys were married, there might be some pressure to actually support their basttard children, but if not married, their girlfriends can get welfare which they are dumb enough to share with the irresponsible father. If some white people do that too, I also would condemn then, so don't bother calling me a racist.

Senator Craig is against gay marriage...
It's not that it would affect anybody's marriage so much as it would impact Senator Craig's pickup chances in the public restrooms. Who would he get to play footsie with if all those gays were happily married? We're talking serious shortage of available gays in the next stall over...

Marriage = pressure to support? Hmm...
First, Dietmar's statement that IF white people do that, THEN he would condemn them too... which seems to my admittedly sharp ears to suggest that he thinks it may happen but is rare... Well, D, I know for a fact that it does happen among the folk of caucasian descent, and not that infrequently either. I eagerly await your condemnation, now that all doubt is removed.
But seriously... I guess marriage does provide some incentive to take care of family, which indicates that it would be salutary for anyone, gay, straight, polygamous, etc. It would lead to supportive families and stable communities. No reason to restrict that only to those who will reproduce together. When I married my wife, she was not able to have any more children. We were no more able to create our own children than a lady who marries god, or even another lady. But I help with her father, she helps with my mother, I pay tuition for her children, my stepchildren, since the biological father (meat-father is a term I like), who was married to my wife, had no interest in raising the children.
I don't know the statistics, but my personal experience leaves me happy with my marriage, but jaded as to its magical powers to make men responsible.

thats neo-tolerant

Then what was the purpose of this comment you made?

"But when an astute journalist asking the government agency how much it costs of the taxpayers money to entice and sting consenting adults, he wouldn't answer the question, but did say he made a good living out of it."

I'm pretty sure I've seen or read Ann Coulter say the same thing with similar words. Her purpose was to deflect inquiry and direct attention to her control. It hasn't gained much traction, but its still just unreal to see it.

I don't know, your comments seem kind of disingenuous. Horny leering does not equal open mindedness. You don't mind seeing teenagers shooting up? Really? "free love for everybody" is just stupid, it worked in the 60's but this is a different world today. "legalize drug addicts"? That doesn't make sense. You ask how tolerant is that, thats neo-tolerant.
I believe you're smarter than that. I smell sarcasm.

But dude, if you're actually witnessing half the stuff you brought up in that last post... you must live in a jungle of a city, or something. Sounds pretty stressful to me. Teenagers shooting up in the bathroom stall, that just ain't right. If thats where you're at... forget politics, good luck to you.

After witnessing what went on in the next stall...
It wouldn't surprise me a bit if the demand for various drugs went up quite a bit, not just with teenagers either. Hopefully they'd find somewhere less 'public' to indulge than public toilets. Just about any large city has a share of both gays & drug users.

Talks one direction, goes the other direction...
It's difficult to have any confidence in any 'leader' who talks out one direction but then goes in the opposite direction. His deeds are diametricly opposed to his words. This is dangerous in the case of a Senator who has power to make laws affecting the entire country! Who popularized the foot tapping in that restroom as a pickup technique? It must have become common practice for a cop to be making arrests from a toilet stall. How would Senator Craig know what 'signals' worked to hook up with a little gay action in an airport restroom? Did Barney Frank tell him or what?

Yabbut, a 'shack-daddy' has to support his kids, too...
There is such a thing as a DNA test which can be used for determining who is or isn't the father of a baby. Courts WILL make the biological father support his children or go to jail for refusing support! The 'welfare' will go after the biological father even when the mother won't do it. I don't see any advantage in shackin up over getting married when raising children. Only advantage offered would be in avoiding the divorce if the couple didn't get along enough to make a permanent marriage. Why marry if you see divorce possibly happening within the next few years?

neo_tolerant
I meant to mock the forces making a good living sitting in the crapper with their donut and coffee waiting for queerrs to make contact. They make money from helping the state stop something which should be free.
When I said I don't mind seeing them, it means that like most normal men we don't mind watching girl on girl, or boy on girl like the porno movies; it was supposed to be funny, but since I'm not a native speaker i often don't say things right.
I think i know what sarcasm means but i don't see it in my comments here. Re kids doing drugs, I also against booze prohibition and drug prohibition, and against the DEA that spends billions on a war on drugs that can't be won. I'm a libertarian so I thinks all that stuff should be free between consenting adults, or some idiot who wants to kill himself on drugs; so also suicide should not be against the law. Then again, if many of these things were free, they would not have to take up valuable washroom space on these activities but just go to say 'love hotels' they way they do in other countries.

witnessing
Exactly, they'd do it somewhere else and not take up valuable crapper space. But some people will condem us and say 'what if everybody did it'? And my answer would be that I don't care if everybody does it. As a libertarian I'm much more tolerant than those hypocritical liberals who say they like freedom, expect for all the cases where they want to force people to do what they want.

pressure to support
Ok point taken cus of my crappy English skills. I should have maybe said: I also condemn all those white people, and mexicans and chinamen who do the same thing. So I do condem them but don't see anybody saying that they have a 70% bastarrdd rate like the black ones do. But all this re your own wife etc. That's all voluntary between consenting adults so I affirm it. I'm so tolerant that I even think a guy should be able to marry his cat or horse too, just as we also see some old bag maybe makes a will to her lapdog. Im OK with all that.

re support DNA
How can the welfare people go after the guy, or even take the DNA in those situations where the stupid girl doesn't tell who all the guys are that's she was banging? If she doesn't tell, they can't DNA the entire population, right?
Also, if people see that the rate of divorce is 50% or maybe more now, they some won't bother if there's no distinct advantage. Then some will see even more complications in addition to the nuisance of the actual divorce like: high lawyer fees, problems re pensions or medical care, property valuation etc. But if they're just shacked up, many problems don't come up. The old fashioned marriage is a kinda relic from religious times.

Sigh ...
"When people are proposing to offer civil recognition to cabbaga marriage, you'll have a point. IN the meantime, you'll have to stick to what's on the table."

The law can't impose the civil recognition of gay marriage if society won't recognize gay marriage. Hence, the law would only impose legal rights and obligations on gay spouses while society continued to consider their union illegitimate and unworthy civil recognition. That's my point, le Mule, but of course you missed it because you believe that passing a law is all that's required to change prevailing beliefs in society. This is typical of progressive thought, which abhors thinking more than one step ahead.

"I'm assuming your blowhard non-answer about Saudia Arabia means you aren't in favor of having the government enforce religious preference. But why, given your rhetoric?"

See above. Do you really believe that belief can be legislated? If that's true, shouldn't you be a conservative Christian given the theocracy that President Bush and his evil henchmen have supposedly already managed to imposed on America? What's more, why are there still people who believe gay marriage is illegitimate and unworthy civil recognition in those jurisdictions where it's been legalized from the bench? I guess the law doesn't work that way, does it, le Mule.

"Regarding your invocation of democracy, I'm assuming this means that if and when states pass laws allowing same-sex marriage (and the tide is moving in that direction), you'll have no problem with the new law."

Wow, le Mule, you actually followed an argument to its next logical step! Bravo! Give yourself a resounding EEEE-YOOOOR!; you've been a good ass. By the way, the answer to your question is no, I will have a problem with the law, and I won't recognize gay marriage as legitimate or worthy of civil recognition. But then people are allowed to disagree with laws in a democracy, not so?

"There were no abortion clinics. Once they opened, what's your conclusion? That the bombings and murders were justified? People believe all kinds of things. Is the idea that no law can go against anyone's belief? If not, what's your point?"

How could abortion clinics be bombed if there were no abortion clinics? Is this what passes for deep insight on the left, these days? Besides, I made my point clearly, which clearly had nothing to do with the justification of political violence. It's never OK to break a few eggs to make an omelet, unlike you folks on the left believe.

"What's the difference between heterosexual and man? You're invoking a general, vague something that affects "man," the culture, the species- but gays are, what? Not part of it? Shoudn't be part of it? Aren't part of the culture."

Item 1: Procreation is necessary for man's propagation through time. Item 2: Heterosexuals are necessary for procreation; gays, on the other hand, only recently started procreating, meaning historically, gays have not been necessary for man's propagation through time. Item 3: Even when gays do procreate, their offspring represent a marginal fraction of heterosexuals', hence their procreation is not necessary for the propagation of man through time. Item 4: Heterosexual procreation, being vital to the propagation of man through time, the importance of which transcends the trivialities of culture, must not be monkeyed with. To the extent that traditional marriage and family advances heterosexual procreation, their importance transcends the trivialities of culture, including the notion that gay marriage is a good idea.

Simple enough?

"Ok, fine. Lots of other people have moral principles too. You don't like other people pushing their moral principles on you, but other people have to accept yours because yours are the true and only ones? Sure."

I've met very few people who have moral principles. Moreover, they've been far less pushy than the many people I've met who are adamant about the absolute justness of imposing their values on others via the law. You are one these people, le Mule, which is I have trouble distinguishing your like from those who are adamant about the absolute justness of imposing Shariah law on others via the law.

"So if two women down the block get married and the state recognizes it, that's 1984?? You mean this means the government will install video monitors in your house to make sure you aren't secretly opposing gay marriage and imprison and torture you if they find you are? If not, can you tone down the nutball rhetoric?"

Nice distortion of the context of my argument, le Mule. I've always found you more tiresome than entertaining.

"Review:I say, it doesn't obligate you to respect what I say. You say, "it doesn't obligate me to respect what you say." I'm glad we agree."

Obviously, if you say something respectable, I just might respect what you have to say. But I have no obligation to do so, particularly considering the source. You find it impossible to wrap your head around obvious distinctions, don't you, le Mule?

"Here's a hint: if you don't have an answer to the question, pretending that there isn't a question and calling me dense just makes you look not just arrogant but both arrogant and stupid and defensive. But I don't have to tell you that; you laready know that about yourself;"

I'm just getting underneath your skin because I enjoy observing you dance your maniac jigs. Still, you haven't understood my point: Life is petty, cowardly and unrewarding for those who don't have the courage or fortitude to suffer discomfort, offense or outrage. Yet just such a generation is America breeding. Shame.

The considered approach
I appreciate the considered approach you took in your post, bobjones, so I'll reply accordingly.

There are several flaws in your arguments as well as your apprehension of mine.

(1) When a society downgrades marriage to a free-for-all civil institution whose sole purpose is to offer individuals one possible route to self-fulfillment on the same level of importance as starting a limited company or employing a janitor, then that society has got deep problems behind and ahead. One of these is its inability to civilly recognize and enforce apart from the law the moral principles comprising the backbone of a virtuous society, which of course views marriage as a virtue and not a subjective, individualized value. Because society must first "evolve" or "progress" out such a state to a more "evolved" or "progressive" state in which marriage is nothing more than an alternative route to self-fulfillment in order to even contemplate equating marriage between gays and heterosexuals, my theory is that gay marriage is but a symptom of what's really harming the institution of marriage, that is, moral decay. This means your simplistic argument that what goes on down the street from me can't harm me or doesn't affect me is invalid.

I give you Swedish society, which has "progressed" far down the road to perdition, as a cautionary example. Among teens there, abortions are frequent and common, as are social diseases, alcoholism, and suicide. And what's the Swedish "progressive" alternative? Unwed mothers comprise the highest segment of the lowest class, which lives off of the state in state housing consuming the moral justifications for their cheerless existences from the state media. Meanwhile, most Swedish children are born out of wedlock, and only 6% of the population believes in God while nearly 20% of them are virtually unemployed. Worse, the average after-tax income of the employed falls below the poverty line in the US. If this is the "evolution" and "progress" you speak so glowingly of, bobjones, then no thanks. I've lived it, and it's awful.

You seem fixated on the cause of gay marriage, which fixation does not allow you to recognize the moral decay that equates gay marriage to heterosexual marriage along with no marriage, sex outside of marriage, bad parenting, lousy discipline in kids, the erosion of the black family (really, if the man runs off or goes to prison, won't what's left of the black family have to become matriarchal to survive?; talk about putting the cart before the horse), lousy schools not teaching kids how to live, etc. Open your eyes a bit wider, bobjones.

(2) Next, sexuality is a burden for everyone, heteros and homos alike. This is so because it is man's most volatile and crude drive and thus in greatest need of refinement. Refining this drive such that it becomes a social boon instead of social burden requires individuals to assume the burdens of moral limitations on their sexuality. The same is true of all human drives, which is why practicing virtues instead of asserting individual values is both burdensome and rewarding, both individually and socially. Hence, your accusation of discrimination is invalid.

(3) If man must "evolve" out of tradition in order to "progress", then how can there be any tradition to "progress" to? Isn't what's left after the first such "progression" just more "progression"? If so, then how can you rely on the notion of freedom to justify such "progression"? Isn't freedom a traditional American notion? To you, I suspect, freedom means the individual's right to assert his individual values and society's obligation to accept them without question, and tolerance is no doubt your battle cry. But follow this path to its logical conclusion, and you just might realize that it leads to serfdom. This is so because freedom's foundation is the self-enforcement of virtue apart from the law, not the legal enforcement of virtue or tolerance, which is essentially intolerance disguised as "diversity".

(4) America has politicized values, rendering them the subject of political struggle. Add democracy, and you get various social organizations warring on the media and political battlegrounds for the power to impose their values on everyone else. Hence, your clichéd notion of nosy conservative Christians trying to impose their values on everyone else applies as equally to Progressives (AKA "Liberals", AKA "Socialists", AKA - aw heck, why can't these losers just pick one label and stick with it?) as it does to conservative Christians. You've had a hand in sewing this mess, bobjones, so enjoy what you reap.

(5) Your suggestion re having kids first and getting married second belies your "progressive" understanding of marriage as a vehicle of personal convenience and self-fulfillment rather than an indispensable civil institution necessary to a sound, harmonious society. Perhaps views such as yours explain why parenting skills are on the decline. After all, why else have a family unless you have kids? In other words, isn't having kids what having a family is all about?

Time to retire. It's been fun.

Here's a tiny handkerchief to sigh into
You can't begin with the assumption that your principles are the only ones in the universe. Amazingly enough, you share the world with other people, many of whose ideas differ from yours. Just saying, I'm right, you're wrong is not an argument.

>The law can't impose the civil recognition of gay marriage if society won't recognize gay marriage. Hence, the law would only impose legal rights and obligations on gay spouses while society continued to consider their union illegitimate and unworthy civil recognition

What do you mean by "society?" The law can't and doesn't have to get people to change their opinions about gay marriage. However, it can (for example) give same-sex couples the same rights as married couples to insurance, hospital vistation, adoption, property transfer as heterosexual couples. What's your problem with this?

>Do you really believe that belief can be legislated?
No, and that's not the issue. When the civil rights act was passed, nobody thought it would end racist beliefs. The idea was, it would outlaw racist practices. What people believe is and remains their business.

>By the way, the answer to your question is no, I will have a problem with the law, and I won't recognize gay marriage as legitimate or worthy of civil recognition. But then people are allowed to disagree with laws in a democracy, not so?
Of course they are. But if you're an employer and try to deny same-sex partners (for example) rights to sign up for insurance, you'll be in violation of the law.

>>"There were no abortion clinics. Once they opened, what's your conclusion? That the bombings and murders were justified? People believe all kinds of things. Is the idea that no law can go against anyone's belief? If not, what's your point?"

>How could abortion clinics be bombed if there were no abortion clinics?

They couldn't and that was my point. Yes, I left out the words "before abortion became legal," but the point was still obvious. I'm glad you condemn violence against them.

>To the extent that traditional marriage and family advances heterosexual procreation, their importance transcends the trivialities of culture, including the notion that gay marriage is a good idea.
This is really getting preoposterous. Do you really think that heterosexual procreation is in danger, or unpopular. How is it threatened by gay marriage - please be specific. And you have millions and millions of species on the planet - somehow they manage to procreate without any culture at all. But your idea is that culture is nevertheless essential for procreation???

And this is simple arrogant bluster.

>I've met very few people who have moral principles.
And you're the sole judge and jury. Of course you are. You say so yourself. And as far as this goes:

> Moreover, they've been far less pushy than the many people I've met who are adamant about the absolute justness of imposing their values on others via the law.
Why is someone who wants to change the law doing this more than someone who wants to keep the law the way it is? Slavery used to be legal. Were the people who wanted to change this law being "pushy?" Did they lack principles?

Regarding 1984. You were the one who brought it up, the novel by George Orwell describing a repressive future of goverment spying and torture. So I asked:

>>"So if two women down the block get married and the state recognizes it, that's 1984?? You mean this means the government will install video monitors in your house to make sure you aren't secretly opposing gay marriage and imprison and torture you if they find you are? If not, can you tone down the nutball rhetoric?"

so you say:
>Nice distortion of the context of my argument.
Except what was distorted? If you're not talking about that kind of government intrusion, why are you bringing up 1984??

and again, you don't seem to get it:
>Obviously, if you say something respectable, I just might respect what you have to say. But I have no obligation to do so, particularly considering the source.
Of course you don't. And I have no obligation to respect what you say either. We agree. Thank you.

>Still, you haven't understood my point: Life is petty, cowardly and unrewarding for those who don't have the courage or fortitude to suffer discomfort, offense or outrage.
Here's a tny handkerchief: your life must be so hard.

Yes, Indeed,
it was a superior (not to mention correct) interpretation of the saying.

Why don't people want to give Jesus kudos for being one shrewd dude?

Not relevant, however,
because most men are not homosexuals and most women are not lesbians.

While there is an argument from a few people that bisexuality should be the recognized norm because most people are bisexual (an assertion which I don't buy anyway), that still would not undermine the institution of marriage because most of the time a male wants to marry a female and vice versa, and I think it's been very well established through research and observation that a child really needs a mother figure and a father figure and that the human brain is usually wired to create a powerful bonding attraction between male and female. People would, thus, become no more promiscuous than they are now, what with nearly every young adult sowing wild oats or partaking in girls gone wild activities before settling down to a life of marriage--they would just have sex with both males and females before settling on a life partner.

Or, who knows? There would likely be more married couples engaging in more consented-to threesomes. And so what? If a society of happily married adults is the root of societal stability (as the argument by Bennett is being made), and if a consenting husband and wife allowed for more sexual play along bisexual lines if such was desired by one or both of them, that sure sounds like a formula for more marital happiness than what I usually observe.

However, Bennett doesn't seem to care if people are happy in a marriage or not, only that they stay in it--and apparently are going to need all kinds of therapeutic advice from a wide range of other human beings to stay in it, which does not strike one as being "brave" but rather foolish.

Sorry, but the reality is that just as fools rush in where angels fear to tread, so fools rush in to marriages that are really just mistakes, which is what the vast majority of marriages are.

This all assumes that marriage is not really just a form of social control, which for the most part it actually is anyway. While there definitely are real instances of "soul mates" and marriages that preserve the romance, it's mostly like what GB Shaw said, that marriage is a social institution created by weak, inferior men to prevent all the top-quality men from taking all the women for themselves.

Then again, Bennett's research indicates that marriages are lies agreed upon for the benefit of some superego entity.

Don't know, probably because they are all missing the point
that is the issue. Liberals love to use the "judge not least ye be judged" line in everything. It is their way of saying that they believe God, through Jesus, points us toward some amoral society.

Couldn't be further from the truth.

Still, it really doesn't take all that much to understand what is being said in the Bible. The best way is to try reading it like any other book instead of picking favorite verses to catch people on.

I better shut up before I get too far off on this tangent.

You're progressing, le Mule
Some of your arguments are even challenging. This is new territory for you. Usually, you feign ignorance of or mischaraterize a key premise of an argument you don't like to set up a strawman that you find easier to deal with. Here's an example:

"You can't begin with the assumption that your principles are the only ones in the universe. Amazingly enough, you share the world with other people, many of whose ideas differ from yours. Just saying, I'm right, you're wrong is not an argument."

I clearly distinguished moral principles from values and described the former as infinitely preferable to the latter because the latter conduce to every individual purpose while the former conduce to both individual and social purposes. However, I never stated or implied that my moral principles are universal. Instead, you dishonestly added this to my argument while dishonestly ignoring the distinction I made between values and moral principles. This kind of dishonesty is typical of you le Mule, and sadly, of the great majority of the left as well. This is why well-reasoned, logical dialog with your ilk is nearly impossible. If you're not here TCS for that, what are you here for?

"What do you mean by "society?" The law can't and doesn't have to get people to change their opinions about gay marriage. However, it can (for example) give same-sex couples the same rights as married couples to insurance, hospital vistation, adoption, property transfer as heterosexual couples. What's your problem with this?"

Here you ignore the fact that the laws needn't impose the burdensome idea on society that gay marriage and straight marriage are moral equivalents. Rather, the laws can award gay couples the same rights to insurance and the rest except for adoption that legitimately married couples enjoy. You miss this fact because you're unable to see that moral principles comprise the law's foundation. That's why when the law is built on values, it is built on nothing more than political utility and conflict. Why else would this issue be so contentious?

"No, and that's not the issue. When the civil rights act was passed, nobody thought it would end racist beliefs. The idea was, it would outlaw racist practices. What people believe is and remains their business."

This is dumb, no, clinically autistic. If people's beliefs cause racism, and racism results in racist practices, then what people believe is other people's business, particularly the people who want to change the law to outlaw racist practices. How could their concerns be divorced from the source of racist practices, that is, people's beliefs? A lot of progressives understand this, which is why they claim the authority cure racist beliefs through social engineering schemes under the banner of "diversity" and "political correctness", which operate according to values and not moral principles. Accordingly, they've not only failed miserably, but they've also managed to create atomized, divisive subcultures organized around their own values and determined to impose them on everyone else. Oh, and by the way, the civil rights movement drew its power from Christian moral principles rightly understood, just as the abolotion movement did, both of which movements the majority of Democrats virulently opposed. Now we've got "diversity" supported by - yep, you guessed it - Democrats. Out of the frying pan and into the fire: This is the story of the left.

"This is really getting preoposterous. Do you really think that heterosexual procreation is in danger, or unpopular. How is it threatened by gay marriage - please be specific. And you have millions and millions of species on the planet - somehow they manage to procreate without any culture at all. But your idea is that culture is nevertheless essential for procreation???"

Heterosexual procreation among Western European nations is in drastic decline, and thus is in danger. Gay marriage is morally equivalent to straight marriage in such nations. Specific enough? However, my argument has always been that equating gay and straight marriage is one of the many effects of moral decline leading to declining heterosexual procreation and not the direct cause. Yet you ignore this distinction in order to create a strawman of direct causation that you can easily knock down. Classic le Mule. Besides, based on your fevered statements, I don't have the foggiest idea what the word "culture" means to you. More classic le Mule - not even the basic, well-agreed terms of language are safe from the left.

"Why is someone who wants to change the law doing this more than someone who wants to keep the law the way it is? Slavery used to be legal. Were the people who wanted to change this law being "pushy?" Did they lack principles?"

Your first sentence is bizarrely stupid. How is someone who is trying to preserve the current laws being pushy? Aren't such people merely resisting the pushiness of the pushers? Next, the abolution movement was based on Christian moral principles rightly understood, which means it had a broad base of Americans to which to appeal, eventually overcomming on that basis. I wonder what kind of wierd history books you read growing up. Oh, that's right, history books written by "diversity" pushers.

"Except what was distorted? If you're not talking about that kind of government intrusion, why are you bringing up 1984??"

On college campuses, "diversity" has resulted in speech codes visiting punishments on students and professors who dare to exercise their right to free speech. However, they're still free to think and believe whatever they like. So no harm, no foul, right le Mule? Isn't it true that in your fellow travelers' hands, the right to free speech has been reduced to the right to think and believe whatever one likes, so long as one doesn't speak publicly about noncomforming thoughts and beliefs? That's the 1984 I'm talking about, le Mule. Good thing this isn't a university operated website.

"Here's a tny handkerchief: your life must be so hard."

More classic le Mule. Obviously, dishonesty and willful self-ignorance coupled with a clear victimhood complex is your way of dealing with your fundamental lack of honesty, courage and fortitude. I wonder whether the outcomes of both are the same.





More shuffling and evasion
For example, where's the bottom line here?

> clearly distinguished moral principles from values and described the former as infinitely preferable to the latter because the latter conduce to every individual purpose while the former conduce to both individual and social purposes.

Fine. So is your opposition to gay marriage based on values or principles, or both; and how to you resolve it if you have a conflict with the values, principles or both of other people?

>Here you ignore the fact that the laws needn't impose the burdensome idea on society that gay marriage and straight marriage are moral equivalents.

Laws needn't impose the "burdensome idea" that interracial and intraracial marriage are moral equivalents either. And "morality" isn't dictated: what's dictated is equal treatment. Why is this so "burdensome?"

>You miss this fact because you're unable to see that moral principles comprise the law's foundation.
Again: you're assuming that same sex marriage is immoral. Your thinking so doesn't make it the case.

>If people's beliefs cause racism, and racism results in racist practices, then what people believe is other people's business, particularly the people who want to change the law to outlaw racist practices.

Except you can't outlaw beliefs. I mean, how would this work? You'd have mindreading machines?
What you can outlaw are racist practices. Do you have a problem with this? Do you think that the groups, including the religious groups who worked to repeal racist laws were wrong to do this?

> However, my argument has always been that equating gay and straight marriage is one of the many effects of moral decline leading to declining heterosexual procreation and not the direct cause.
Some people are individually making personal decisions to not have children. Other people are having them. We have billions of people on the planet, and more each day. Do you really think we will be happier or more moral with 10 or 15 billion humans in 2050 than we would be with 5 billion? Why?

>How is someone who is trying to preserve the current laws being pushy?
Ok, call them resistent. The fact that the law exists gives them advantage of not having to push, but just to push back. But the existenc of the law doesn't make it right.

>Next, the abolution movement was based on Christian moral principles rightly understood, which means it had a broad base of Americans to which to appeal, eventually overcomming on that basis.

So wny can't you stand back and see what the broad base of Americans - including many religous Americans on both sides of the issue - do on this over the next.

>On college campuses, "diversity" has resulted in speech codes visiting punishments on students and professors who dare to exercise their right to free speech.
Look. You brought up 1984. In 1984 people who exercised free speech were tortured and imprisoned. You have an issue with diversity speech, express it, but campus back-and-forth over speakers is not 1984.

>Isn't it true that in your fellow travelers' hands, the right to free speech has been reduced to the right to think and believe whatever one likes, so long as one doesn't speak publicly about noncomforming thoughts and beliefs? That's the 1984 I'm talking about

What are you talking about? People freely express their views on blogs, on the radio, in papers, on TV - all over the place. All kinds of views. Nobody is imprisoned for expressing views that I've heard of. If people say controversial things, you get other people talking to and about them. This is not 1984, not in any way, shape or fom.

> Obviously, dishonesty and willful self-ignorance coupled with a clear victimhood complex is your way of dealing with your fundamental lack of honesty, courage and fortitude.
I see you're looking in the mirror again, and loving what you see.

Very good discussion
Instead of flaws, I think what we have is disagreement. We view marriage in different ways: my view is more modern and secular, your view is more traditional and religious. I don't mean that as an insult, its simply the basis with which we view the institution. To be honest, you might be right on some basic level about our human need to feel important, that we're engaged in important activities, therefore have more passion and take ownership and responsibility in our activities. There is something to that premise.

You make a good argument, it really requires deeper contemplation to understand our differences. I'd conclude at this point that I'm not sure if you or I are/am right in our views about the virtue of marriage. Regardless, I do believe you are wrong about gay marriage. Gay marriage would not weaken the institution, in fact it may very well strengthen it, especially given its decline in stature in our society to this point. Homos would be no different than heteros when it comes to marriage, it depends on the people. Serious people who consider their vows meaningful and make the health of their marriage a priority, vs. unserious people who get married on a whim and have no problem getting divorced and married over and over again, etc.


>"One of these is its inability to civilly recognize and enforce apart from the law the moral principles comprising the backbone of a virtuous society, which of course views marriage as a virtue and not a subjective, individualized value."

I disagree with that, but this is the point I just referred to above where you might be right about the basic backbone of human society. You also make multiple references to self-fulfillment. My view of marriage is not that its a virtue or self-fulfilling to everyone. I personally don't feel its a big accomplishment to get married, I don't think everyone needs to be married to be fulfilled and happy and virtuous. Some people do feel that way, and thats fine. As to whether we all, as a society, should feel that way... you say yes, I say no, but I wouldn't put any money on my position. Either of us might be right, we don't really know. I think my view on this is very progressive, beyond the point that society in general is at right now. But like religion, I think we naturally evolve beyond needing formalities like that. Whether thats good or bad... I honestly can't say for sure 100%, but I believe its good. Its natural. Things get worse before they get better. The more we're exposed to Britney Spears and Paris Hilton, the more we'll learn how not to be. But PARENTS are the ones who have to instill those values, and thats where the failure is occurring in our society. I see no reason to believe a same-sex set of parents would do any worse than any hetero couple. And single parents have a bigger challenge, but can do just as well instilling those values.


2 - sexuality
This quote right here is very well said:
"Refining this drive such that it becomes a social boon instead of social burden requires individuals to assume the burdens of moral limitations on their sexuality."

That whole paragraph is good, I agree with you. Discipline is essential to getting past our lack of control over sexual drive. And the internet offers up every little fetish imaginable to get our jollies, its that easy. The cat is out of the bag on sexuality. What used to be taboo and hidden is now only a click away. I'm not sure that we as species are more sexually deviant, its that its more accessible. I don't think thats necesarily a bad thing. But I don't have the programmed sensibilities of a religionist trying to hold onto 1950. I say bring it all out into the open, so we can mature and grow ourselves out of the cesspool it may cause temporarily. When its hidden is when its most incidious.

And no, that does not render my accusation of discrimination invalid. You talk about moral decay. Does moral decay include homosexuality? I take from your words that it does. Thats discrimination. Do you not accept that homosexuality is not a choice? People don't have a choice about being gay. I don't think myself any better than anyone else simply becasue I'm married. Thats ridiculous. Nor am I better than homos because I'm hetero. Frankly, I have no doubt your resistence to gay marriage stems from your discrimination for homosexuality overall. Your comments are peppered with good ole' traditional religious elitism.


3 - progress and freedom
Another good paragraph, you got some good quotes in there. But this one I don't agree as much. I say freedom leads to progress, I don't justify progress with freedom.

"To you, I suspect, freedom means the individual's right to assert his individual values and society's obligation to accept them without question, and tolerance is no doubt your battle cry."
No, society does not have to accept every individual's values without question. Indeed, every set of values that exists should be questioned. I question myself and I question everyone else too. Thats liberalism. And tolerance IS important. As long as it doesn't harm others, what business is it of yours? Ah, but thats slippery, you'll find some way to define it as harmful, its how some can hammer their ignorant views on society. For example, gay marriage and religionists.

>"This is so because freedom's foundation is the self-enforcement of virtue apart from the law, not the legal enforcement of virtue or tolerance, which is essentially intolerance disguised as "diversity"."
Thats a good quote, very thought provoking. I'd just take out the ignorant part at the end. I know, you gotta get your little right-wing slap at liberals in there.
But I agree that legal enforcement has no business enforcing virtue. We just disagree on some definitions of virtue. But thats an easy discernment, secular vs. religionist. And we both view the other as inferior because of it. Sweet irony.


>"Perhaps views such as yours explain why parenting skills are on the decline."
Ouch. The bad thing is that people are too stupid and undisciplined to handle views like mine, the good thing is that I'm not, and you don't have to be either. (there you go, theres a manifestation of my elitism) But I listen and consider what you say with seriousness, my mind can and does change. Just in this discussion, you've changed my mind some and also strengthened some of my perspectives also.

>"After all, why else have a family unless you have kids? In other words, isn't having kids what having a family is all about?"
Yes, exactly! Kids are what make the family a family. A married couple without a kid is still a family in itself, but not as much of one. But we have more than 1 family, its an organizational structure including all parents, uncles, cousins, etc., of which I also include close friends at varying levels in the organization. But blood is at the top, automatic.


Dang thats a lot. I appreciate it though robertbennett. Your comments are very thought-provoking. This really helps my understanding of why our views are so different. We throw a few jabs at each other, but this is basically a civil debate. Kudos to you sir. Even if I later lash at you for something you might say, I respect you for this.

why?

>"I meant to mock the forces making a good living sitting in the crapper with their donut and coffee waiting for queerrs to make contact. They make money from helping the state stop something which should be free."

Why would you mock the forces? I go into a stall I'm there to do business, I don't the business of other people tainting where I have to put my bare skin. It is free in private places, not public.

>"Then again, if many of these things were free, they would not have to take up valuable washroom space on these activities but just go to say 'love hotels' they way they do in other countries."

Sorry D, that doesn't make sense. Why would they bother to go into private to do it if its "free" to do it in public? The problem would be worse than it is now, which, I don't think its that big of a problem. Only in certain places.

I agree with you on everything else though. Legalize drugs, prostitution, suicide. But I don't people killing themselves on drugs, its going to happen, but I don't promote it. If it were legal, the excitement of breaking the law would be removed, we would eventually moderate our behavior and the problems would improve. We need more responsible drug and ho use. Like Johnny with his morning coffee and Suzi with her sleeping pills. No one is sober.

Why...
I mock them because they're wasting time and money. Cops are supposed to catch real criminals not loiter in bathrooms.
RE doesn't make sense. I mean that they wouldn't do it too much in bathrooms and such, but probably would prefer to go to some hotel etc. In a similar manner, if you want to go with a girl, you probably don't take her to a bathroom, but your room, or hotel etc. So I think they go to bathrooms because of the stigma and illegality. But if no stima or not illegal, they could feel free to check into a hotel.

Amen, Pauled,
read the bible like a novel and you'll find a whole new universe of surprises hiding in plain site.

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