With "Support" Like This...

Monday, April 08, 2013

Mark Steyn comments on the high degree of intolerance of genuine debate evident once again among self-described "multiculturalist" leftists, this time regarding the possible outcome of the Supreme Court's deliberations over California's Proposition 8.

There is a real chance that the ruling could legalize gay marriage. Assuming that such a decision were made for the right reasons, I think this would be a very good thing and would applaud such a ruling. Saying that would not save me -- and probably invites -- vitriol from such quarters, as Steyn makes clear:

I can see why gays might dislike Scalia's tone, or be hurt by Irons' "lack of strong feelings." But the alternative -- that there is only one approved tone, that one must fake strong feelings -- is creepy and totalitarian and deeply threatening to any healthy society. Irons is learning, as Carrie Prejean learned a while back, that "liberals" aren't interested in your opinion, or even your sincere support, but only that you understand that there's one single, acceptable answer. We don't teach kids to memorize historic dates or great poetry any more, but we do insist they memorize correct attitudes and regurgitate them correctly when required to do so in public. [bold added]
Over the years, I have learned to watch my back -- but not take it personally or regard it as serious criticism -- when someone outs himself in such a way as an anti-intellectual bigot. That doesn't mean I am unaffected: The real loser from the phenomenon that Steyn describes is any truly just cause that somehow finds itself being "promoted" with such "support". That saddens me. Here, something I do not discuss often, but care deeply about, is being discredited and trivialized.

Americans should support gay marriage because they understand its relationship to their own freedom and, in turn, their own well-being -- not simply because it's what they are told to do.

-- CAV


Glenn said...

I regret your confusion on this matter, it's really quite simple. The cat can have her kittens in the oven, but that doesn't make them biscuits.

Gus Van Horn said...

I have heard -- and used to agree with -- some secular arguments to the effect that a marriage can only be between a man and a woman. I no longer agree with that contention, but even when I did, I thought that homosexuals should at the least be able to have legally-recognized civil unions.

That said, I certainly oppose the government attempting to go beyond setting a corrected legal definition of marriage and attempting to infringe upon the right of the people to free speech, including those who don't wish to call gay civil unions "marriages", be it out of bigotry or because of actual arguments or reservations founded on not having thought the issue through to their own satisfaction.

At worst, you are arguing against that. At best, you take the position that gays should have civil unions that we not be forced to call marriages. This is still a semi-free country. Even if the court legalizes gay marriage, call such unions what you will and be prepared to explain why.

Snedcat said...

Yo Gus, you write, "Americans should support gay marriage because they understand its relationship to their own freedom and, in turn, their own well-being -- not simply because it's what they are told to do." Spiked Online has a good essay about the issue dissenting, as is their purpose in life, with the vapid mainstream. A good sample:

How do we account for this extraordinary consensus, for what is tellingly referred to as the ‘surrender’ to gay marriage by just about everyone in public life? And is it a good thing, evidence that we had a heated debate on a new civil right and the civil rightsy side won? I don’t think so. I don’t think we can even call this a ‘consensus’, since that would imply the voluntaristic coming together of different elements in concord. It’s better described as conformism, the slow but sure sacrifice of critical thinking and dissenting opinion under pressure to accept that which has been defined as a good by the upper echelons of society: gay marriage. Indeed, the gay-marriage campaign provides a case study in conformism, a searing insight into how soft authoritarianism and peer pressure are applied in the modern age to sideline and eventually do away with any view considered overly judgmental, outdated, discriminatory, ‘phobic’, or otherwise beyond the pale.


In truth, the extraordinary rise of gay marriage speaks, not to a new spirit of liberty or equality on a par with the civil-rights movements of the 1960s, but rather to the political and moral conformism of our age; to the weirdly judgmental non-judgmentalism of our PC times; to the way in which, in an uncritical era such as ours, ideas can become dogma with alarming ease and speed; to the difficulty of speaking one’s mind or sticking with one’s beliefs at a time when doubt and disagreement are pathologised. Gay marriage brilliantly shows how political narratives are forged these days, and how people are made to accept them.

This is from a recent issue of Spiked on gay marriage that is, as always, combative, sharp, and well worth reading. And while I support gay marriage, I also agree with a good deal of what Brendan O'Neill has written, "As I say, nothing in this debate makes sense. This is such a relatively overnight concern, and is so unrooted in political campaigning or historical substance, that it would make as much sense if, tomorrow, every politician and commentator in the land suddenly started talking about how important it is to give women the right to live in treehouses. After all, there are probably some women who want to live in treehouses, and the public might well support their right to do so while also arguing that making it happen should not be a parliamentary priority....The true driving force behind it is not any real or publicly manifested hunger amongst homosexual couples to get wed, far less a broader public appetite for the reform of the institution of marriage; rather it is the need of the political and media class for an issue through which to signify its values and advertise its superiority....It is not a democratic reform, begrudgingly enacted in response to a democratic demand; it is better understood as voluntary elite tinkering with a traditional institution in the hope of presenting the elite as both daring and caring."

Gus Van Horn said...

Thanks for pointing out that superb commentary, Snedcat. I have found aspects of the recent progress (?) regarding gay marriage very odd and this has helped me understand why.