Hi all, I’m home from the AIDS/LifeCycle. Thanks again for all your support. I’ll be writing more about it soon (I’d planned to tweet the event, but discovered — too late — that my backup batteries for my old Galaxy S don’t work in my new Galaxy S3. Sorry.)
Anyway, maybe it’s just the “love bubble” that envelops us during the event, or perhaps it’s just that we’re so clearly winning the fight for our rights, but ridiculous statements from NOM that would have once outraged me now just strike me as hilarious. For instance, this headline:
New Danish Study of 6.5 Million: Health Benefits of Marriage are Unique to Male-Female Unions
NOM earnestly quotes this commentary about the study:
During 2000 to 2011, Danish male-female married couples were the healthiest and least likely to die at various ages compared with individuals who were unmarried, divorced or widowed. In contrast, same-sex married men in Denmark were no healthier than unmarried men. Same-sex married women had much higher mortality rates than other women, including the ones who were unmarried, divorced or widowed.
What were those dates? 2000 to 2011?
Denmark didn’t legalize same-sex marriage until 2012.
Heh. It’s dangerous to underestimate your opponents, but to me right now NOM seems just so damned cute. They’re the little engine that couldn’t.
Of course, Denmark did legalize civil unions in back in 1989. That means this data isn’t a slam against same-sex marriage, but a suggestion that civil unions aren’t a just substitute for the real thing.
Which is what we’ve been saying all along. NOM is just helping us spread the word.
They’re cute, I’m telling you, cute.
AIDS/Lifecycle starts tomorrow! I’ll be tweeting the ride @robtish. In the meantime, we had a lovely breakfast at Taylor St Cafe.
Will’s pulling out of his strep coma and he just told me he met his fundraising goal. When I asked who put him over the top, he said, “Some people I don’t know.”
That’s you folk!
Thanks so much. We pulled in just over $300 in a matter of hours. I’m grateful. Will’s grateful. And the people you help will be grateful.
Speaking of Will, I should let you know that his nephew has recovered just fine from his accident. Thanks for your well-wishes and support. As I mentioned, there are seven kids in that family and we hosted varying combinations for two weekends. Will’s youngest niece left us with this portrait.
I’m on the left. Read more…
My partner Will is on antibiotics for strep and he’s laid low on the couch. He’s still doing the AIDS/LifeCycle next week, though, and he’s ACHINGLY close to his $5000 goal. Could you please help push him a bit closer? Thisis the last chance before the Ride. You’d have undying gratitude, not just from us, but from all the folks you’re helping, too.
The UCLA Williams Institute (I’ll call them “WI”) is predicting an economic boost of $54-103 million in new spending for Illinois if the state legalizes same-sex marriage.
NOM’s Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse does not agree:
The people and legislators of Illinois should not count on extra revenue as a benefit from redefining marriage. These forecasts are based on an elementary economic error as well as highly dubious forecasts. That is why the “Gay Marriage Economic Miracle!!!” predictions have not worked out so well in the past.
I’ve learned Dr. Morse doesn’t have strong analytical skills, but this is her field, so I hoped for more this time. She did not deliver.
Dr. Morse describes the “elementary economic error”:
The same-sex couples of Illinois would have spent that money on other things: vacations, theater tickets, home decorating, pets, cars, doctor bills. Every dollar spent on weddings is a dollar taken away from some other industry!!
Not…exactly. Despite the italics and double exclamation.
Morse’s point is based on simple economics — simplistic economics, rather. The idea is that when people receive income, they either spend it or they save it, and if they save it, then banks lend those savings out to businesses and other consumers to spend. So every dollar is spent one way or another, and every dollar of income spent one way is just a dollar that can’t be spent some other way.
But consider this: What if the economy’s not so great? In a climate of fear and uncertainty, households usually try to cut back their spending. And businesses have little incentive to invest or expand. Dollars go unspent. You end up with usable but shuttered storefronts, functional but empty factories, and qualified but unemployed workers.
Economists call this the liquidity trap. A perfectly sensible decision by consumers and and businesses to spend less and save more (be more “liquid”) results in lower spending overall, “trapping” the economy in a recession unless we somehow find a way to boost spending back up.
A few signs can tell you if you’re in a liquidity trap. When interest rates plummet, it means businesses must not be competing hard for bank loans to finance expansion. That’s the situation now. Also, it’s not a good sign if businesses are sitting on mountains of cash rather than putting it to productive and profitable use. That, too, is our situation now.
The experts at the Williams Institute, however, do understand the liquidity trap. First, they estimated the number of same-sex couples likely to marry, factored in the average cost per wedding in Illinois, and then made this adjustment:
Also, only spending that comes from couples’ savings would truly be “new spending” for the State’s businesses, rather than money diverted from some other expenditure. To take these factors into account, as in previous studies by the Williams Institute, we estimate here that same-sex couples spend one-quarter of the amount that different-sex couples spend on wedding arrangements.
Emphasis added. In other words, they figured same-sex couples would use savings to pay for about a quarter of their wedding costs, and this is the only spending they counted.
[Note to Dr. Morse: When you're rebutting someone, and they've already preemptively struck down your primary objection, then you need to deal with that instead of pretending it's not there. Failing to do so is either dishonest or sloppy.]
Dr. Morse does score a few hits by pointing out the gap in WI’s 2008 prediction for the state of Iowa, and its 2011 follow-up report.
- In 2008, WI predicted 2917 Iowa same-sex couples would marry in the first three years after it became legal, but in 2011 reported that only 866 had done so in the first year.
- In 2008, WI predicted sales tax revenue of $2.7 million per year for the first three years, but in 2011 reported it was only in the range of $850,000 to $930,000 for the first year.
As Dr. Morse says:
In addition, the gross but unacknowledged discrepancy between the inflated prediction of 2008 and the ecstatic report of success in 2011 cries out for explanation.
Fair enough. I’m disturbed that WI didn’t explain or even acknowledge the discrepancy, too. But Dr. Morse continues:
That explanation is simple: the Williams Institute seriously over-estimated the number of same-sex couples who would marry.
Well, it’s not quite that simple, especially if you’re trying to discredit the Illinois predictions.
First, as Dr. Morse should recall, the economy tanked a few months after WI issued its 2008 report. Marriage rates fell across the country (from 7.3% in 2007 to 6.8% in 2009), and it’s not unreasonable to think long-established couples delayed their ceremonies until the world settled down. In addition, the average spent per wedding dropped in Iowa, too.
I suppose it’s possible we’ll have another once-in-a-lifetime meltdown next year, but unless Dr. Morse is counting on it, those factors don’t apply to Illinois.
What WI really got wrong in 2008, though, was wedding tourism — the number of non-Iowans who would come to the state to marry. WI thought 54,723 out-of-state couples would do that, and this number was so far wrong it’s almost comical.
With some trepidation, then, I checked to see how much wedding tourism WI had factored into its Illinois forecast, and the answer is…
That’s right, zero. WI learned from its mistake, and this year when it predicted a $54-103 million boost from legalizing same-sex marriage in Illinois, it didn’t factor out-of-state couples into its calculations.
That’s a huge correction from the Iowa analysis. Now, you’re free to remain skeptical of these estimates (as a former Ph.D. candidate in economics, I’m skeptical as hell!) but at least be an informed skeptic. Who knows whether Dr. Morse doesn’t understand that this correction occurred, or she understands but is ignoring it to buttress a false case against the Illinois forecast. It’s the standard NOM question: incompetence or deception? All we can know for sure is that if you want a rigorous, well-informed analysis…don’t go to Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse.
I’m starting to think opponents of same-sex marriage talk to their followers and themselves the way I talk to my dogs.
Long ago I began saying to my Shepherd-mix Lucas, “Who is you? Who is you? You is you!” while roughly scratching his neck or flanks. It has no meaning but it doesn’t need one. The tone of voice is all that matters. It’s just a reassuring noise I make.
Maggie Gallagher offers much the same in the National Review, answering the question, “How does same-sex marriage affect marriage’s relationship to procreation, given infertile couples may marry?”
She begins with a pre-emptive warning:
I have made this argument repeatedly. I understand you either disagree with it or can’t hear it.
I see a third option right away: I can hear what she’s about to say, but I don’t disagree with it, because I don’t understand it. It has no meaning, and I’m no longer sure it’s meant to. I can’t say I disagree with something that’s no more than a meaningless reassuring noise.
Here it is:
Childless and older couples are part of the natural lifecycle of marriage. Their presence in the mix doesn’t imply anything about the relationship between marriage and procreation. They’ve always been there.
Let’s start with “the natural lifecycle of marriage.” What on earth does she mean? So many undefined terms: natural and lifecycle and even marriage — does she mean individual marriages or the institution itself? Alas, she merely drops this proposition as if it were self-evident when it’s really just opaque.
Perhaps (and this is the only sense I can make of it) she means it’s not unusual for specific married couples to go through periods of time in which they have no children, and then do have children, and then are too old to procreate. But of course that would have nothing to do with the question she claims to address, which concerns couples who are infertile or old for the entirety of their marriage, for whom these traits are not merely part of their marriage’s “lifecycle.”
And of those couples, can you truly say:
“Their presence in the mix doesn’t imply anything about the relationship between marriage and procreation.”
Of course not. Their presence “in the mix,” their eagerness to marry, the joy we feel for two 75 year-olds experiencing new love — all these things tell us that marriage is not solely about procreation, or even necessarily about procreation at all. Her statement to the contrary is so clearly false that it makes even less sense than me telling Lucas, “You is you!” which at least has the virtue of being true.
They’ve always been there.
I have no idea what she means to establish. This is the part making me wonder if she’s referring not to individual marriages but to the institution itself, in which case…two things. First, she needs to back waaay up and explain what she means by the natural lifecycle of marriage as an institution. And second, she needs to recognize that if infertile and old couples have always been part of that institution, then procreation has never been a necessary part of the institution.
So her entire paragraph is meaningless. In her next paragraph, she goes further and establishes that even she doesn’t understand what she’s saying.
I went around saying for years “marriage matters because children need a mom and a dad” nobody ever said: that’s not true because infertile couples can marry. Never, not once. Sexual union of male and female who are co-parents in itself points to affirms, and regulates an ideal.
Of course no one has ever given Maggie that reply. It would make no sense. However…if Maggie were to say, “The only reason marriage matters is because children need a mom and dad,” it would be perfectly appropriate for us to answer, “That’s not true because infertile couples can marry.”*
And in fact, we do say such things to her. In fact, that’s the point of the question her whole argument is supposed to be answering.
And here’s where we get to the Maggie’s fundamental flaw. She fails to see the enormous difference between these two statements:
- Responsible procreation is an important reason for marriage.
- Responsible procreation is the only important reason for marriage.
The first statement is true, but doesn’t rule out marriage for old, infertile, or same-sex couples.
The second statement might rule out such marriages (and if so, then all such marriages), but no one actually believes it — not even Maggie Gallagher.
Folks like Maggie, though, tend say #1 and then pretend they’ve established #2. It’s the only way they can make an argument people might agree with, might find plausible if they don’t look at it too closely, might endorse as long as it stays at the level of reassuring noise.
So I’m struck again by how Maggie opened her article:
I have made this argument repeatedly. I understand you either disagree with it or can’t hear it.
That’s ironic and appropriate. We’ve answered her argument repeatedly, but she literally cannot hear it. Why not? Because she does not understand her own argument, and until that’s fixed, she cannot possibly hear our reply.
*We might also point out the she’s never been able to prove or even offer evidence that children need a mom and dad. The closest she’s ever come is to show kids do best in a stable, loving home with two committed parents.
Here’s something that baffles me. Our opponents complain that laws banning anti-gay discrimination violate their religious liberty, but they have no qualms about laws against religious discrimination.
For instance, Catholic Charities of Boston chose to shut down adoption services rather than place kids with married same-sex parents, and decried it as a violation of their religious freedom — even though they were fine with not being allowed to discriminate against Jews. For many faiths, belonging to the wrong religion, or failing to accept the right Savior, is a permanent ticket to Hell. What could be more important to them when choosing a parent than that?
Yet we hear not a peep from them about these religious discrimination laws. Somehow it’s only a violation of their freedom when it comes to the gays. But principles are only principles if they apply them consistently. If they search for why we sometimes see their principles as bigotry, this is a good place to start.
For example, picture this scene a newly-promoted manager being mentored by an executive.
Exec: You need to foster a safe and productive work environment. Don’t disparage people based on their gender.
Manager: Of course not.
Exec: Or their race.
Manager: Of course not.
Exec: Or their religion.
Manager: Of course not.
Exec: Or their orientation.
Manager: How dare you! This is an egregious violation of personal liberty! I’ve never seen anything like it! What is this, the Soviet Union?
I can imagine your reaction: Rob, you’re being an ass. You’ve mocked our opponents before, but this goes too far. They’d have to be ridiculous, self-righteous loons without an ounce of self-awareness to have such an over-the-top reaction, so divorced from reality, and it does us no good to tar them with such ridicule.
And I would kick shamefully at the ground and admit my fault.
Wait, no, I’d point you to this controversy over DOJ Pride.
DOJ Pride is a group for LGBT employees in the Department of Justice. They’ve distributed some helpful tips to DOJ managers about dealing with LGBT employees (I haven’t confirmed that they’re genuine, though I hope so), and the National Organization for Marriage is wallowing in a mucky sty of outrage. They’re promoting this spin on it from super-anti-gay Matt Barber:
The document is chilling. It’s riddled with directives that grossly violate – prima facie –employees’ First Amendment liberties.
You can view the document here and decide for yourself whether these are “directives.” They seem more like “helpful hints” from a group with no policy-making authority. But let’s look at what the document says:
Managers are essential to creating a workplace climate that is welcoming to and inclusive of all employees, and thus maximizes performance and productivity. In fact, managers have a more direct impact on workplace climate for employees, including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) employees, than nondiscrimination and EEO policies and even co-workers.
Creating a work environment in which LGBT employees feel welcome and included has been shown to boost the performance and productivity of LGBT and non-LGBT employees alike. It also allows LGBT employees to build the kinds of open and trusting relationships with coworkers and managers that
are necessary for professional success.
So, what can a manager do? Here are seven practical tips to help managers create a truly inclusive workplace climate for all employees, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
Here’s what Matt Barber and NOM tell us is really going on:
Following are excerpts from the “DOJ Pride” decree. When it comes to “LGBT pride,” employees are ordered:
- “DON’T judge or remain silent. Silence will be interpreted as disapproval.” (Italics mine)
That’s a threat.
And not even a subtle one.
Got it? For Christians and other morals-minded federal employees, it’s no longer enough to just shut up and “stay in the closet” – to live your life in silent recognition of biblical principles (which, by itself, is unlawful constraint). When it comes to mandatory celebration of homosexual and cross-dressing behaviors, “silence will be interpreted as disapproval.”
All italics belong to Matt Barber. And so do the lies. This excerpted bullet is not about “LGBT pride” or “celebration” of anything. According to the guidelines, this is about what to do when an employee comes out to you. That’s it.
(Just as a side note, here’s the eternal, self-answering question: If our opponents have such a good case, why must they tell lies?)
DOJ Pride offers further guidance:
- If an employee comes to your office, closes the door, and says “I’ve been meaning to tell you this for a while: I’m gay,” DO thank them for trusting you enough to tell you, ask if they’ve been made to feel safe and welcome in the workplace, and let them know about DOJ Pride.
- Sometimes the best reaction is a “non-reaction,” meaning not silence but a matter-of-fact, don’t-skip-a-beat response. For example, if an employee mentions her same-sex partner in passing, as in “My partner Janet and I saw the best movie this weekend,” DO react the way you would had she said “My husband Jeremy and I saw the best movie this weekend.” Ask about the movie, where they saw it, if they went out to dinner beforehand, etc.
What a strange world our opponents inhabit, where treating your gay staff the same way you treat your straight staff is some kind of special treatment and celebration of LGBT pride.
But what if you’re a manager who thinks personal lives shouldn’t be mentioned in the workplace? Simple — follow the guidance and treat everyone the same: impose this gag order on all employees, gay or straight (though I’ve never worked in such a hellhole).
Also, let’s be clear on this freedom of speech issue. If you’re at the office and your employee tells you, “We had my son’s bris on Saturday,” don’t silently ignore them and certainly don’t say, “You know if he doesn’t get baptized by a real minister he’s going to Hell, right?” Because you don’t always get to say any damn thing you want to at work, not when your job as manager is to foster a healthy work environment, not when that’s what you’ve been hired to do. This isn’t widely or wildly controversial — until it comes to gay people.
But Barber and NOM continue in their break from reality:
- “DO assume that LGBT employees and their allies are listening to what you’re saying (whether in a meeting or around the proverbial water cooler) and will read what you’re writing (whether in a casual email or in a formal document), and make sure the language you use is inclusive and respectful.”
Is this the DOJ or the KGB? “[A]ssume that LGBT employees are listening …”?
You thought my Soviet Union crack was parody, didn’t you. But no. Good lord, apparently it’s now a sign of LGBT-tyranny for us to listen when people speak and read what they write.
This is paranoia. This is why we speak of bigotry and homophobia, of psychological issues that run so deep its victims (and I mean the homophobes themselves) break from reality and drop into an abyss of derangement.
It’s not just NOM. Barber’s cry against tyranny has swept through the blogosphere. And some of these people who are so upset often are our bosses, our managers, our colleagues. It’s a great reminder for us. However far we’ve come, there’s still a population out there who feels the boot of oppression when they’re told to treat gay people like…people.
I’m thinking we could start a whole new blog about all the things our opponents do that doom them to failure. For instance, right now the National Organization is pushing really hard on a strategy that seems to assume no one actually knows any gay people.
NOM, you understand, has proof — proof! — that gays just want to destroy marriage. It comes from a lesbian activist I’d never heard of, Masha Gessen, who spoke at the Sydney Writers’ Festival (which, despite its name, is apparently where All Official Pronouncements of the Gay Agenda come from):
It’s a no-brainer that (homosexuals) should have the right to marry, but I also think equally that it’s a no-brainer that the institution of marriage should not exist. . . . Fighting for gay marriage generally involves lying about what we are going to do with marriage when we get there—because we lie that the institution of marriage is not going to change, and that is a lie.
The institution of marriage is going to change, and it should change. And again, I don’t think it should exist.
NOM takes this statement as proof that:
Same-sex marriage activists certainly do want marriage …but not for the reasons you might think.
And this is a:
…frank (but honest) statement of a viewpoint more common than most people think among those who purport to favor same-sex marriage.
“Purport”? Nice word choice. And finally:
The fact is that ending marriage as we know it is a stated objective of the people pushing this agenda!
[All emphasis theirs.]
A few decades ago, NOM could have lectured America about Masha Gessen and it very well may have worked. But not anymore, because NOM doesn’t seem to understand that in 2013 we’re having a conversation, not lecture. A few decades ago, most people only heard about gays and lesbians from our opponents. Today, though, a huge segment of the straight population now has the power to find a gay person they trust and simply ask: “Hey, you really looking to destroy marriage?” But do they even need to?
Will’s conservative family doesn’t think Will and I are trying to destroy marriage.
My co-workers don’t think Will and I are trying to destroy marriage.
The neighbors who bring their dogs to our home for playdates don’t think Will and I are trying to destroy marriage.
All these people take Will and me more seriously than they do Masha Gessen, and NOM merely destroys its credibility when it tells them Will and I are lying. The only people who think Will and I are trying to destroy marriage are those who don’t know us, who aren’t friends with gay people, who are so insulated they can view teh gays as an abstraction instead of someone they sit with at lunch or family dinners. And that backward population — that population is shrinking.
Sometimes I hear a line of reasoning so bizarre that all I can do is look for the psychological issues behind it. I find this happening quite a lot with opponents of same-sex marriage, and the irony is that often their stated goal is to offer an objective justification for their beliefs, but what they deliver is so idiosyncratic, so utterly dependent on a strange and subjective inner life, that all they end up doing is proving their own irrelevance.
Look at three cases: Doug Mainwaring, Cardinal Keith O’Brien, and Robert George. Each of them says something that actually turns out to be true — true for them, true of them — but in a sad and sometimes baffling way.
Doug Mainwaring is one of NOM’s favorite homosexuals; he gives testimony against same-sex marriage. Apparently he married, had a child, left the family to be one of those hedonistic gays, and then reunited everyone under the same roof in a sexless relationship with his wife so that his offspring could be raised by Mom and Dad. And you know what? Fine. But then he writes this:
Over the last couple of years, I’ve found our decision to rebuild our family ratified time after time. One day as I turned to climb the stairs I saw my sixteen-year-old son walk past his mom as she sat reading in the living room. As he did, he paused and stooped down to kiss her and give her a hug, and then continued on. With two dads in the house, this little moment of warmth and tenderness would never have occurred. My varsity-track-and-football-playing son and I can give each other a bear hug or a pat on the back, but the kiss thing is never going to happen. To be fully formed, children need to be free to generously receive from and express affection to parents of both genders. Genderless marriages deny this fullness.
Well, one thing’s for sure. With Doug Mainwaring for his dad, that kid definitely needs a second parent in the house. Doug ought to be saying this in shame as a confession of his inadequate parenting. But it never occurs to him that many fathers — conservative, heterosexual fathers included — are quite comfortable giving their sons a kiss and a hug.
This, by the way, is another example of why we’ll win: another statement by another opponent guaranteed not to persuade, but to garner a reaction of what-planet-are-you-from?
The takeaway: When Doug Mainwaring talks about the limitations of having two fathers, he’s just telling us something about himself.
Cardinal Keith O’Brien
Former Cardinal Keith O’Brien of Scotland made the news into two completely different, shocking but not entirely surprising ways. First, he opposed same-sex marriage in the UK, calling it grotesque, analogizing it to slavery, and declaring same-sex civil unions to be:
…harmful to the physical, mental, and spiritual well-being of those involved.
And less than a year later, O’Brien was forced to resign due to a long history of making unwanted sexual advances to priests, and for having been physically involved with one of his accusers for years.
Now that O’Brien has been humbled I can look at him with pity. He was so twisted by his beliefs that any half-relationship he could could dare to attempt would inevitably be “harmful to the physical, mental, and spiritual well-being of those involved.”
The takeway: When Cardinal Keith O’Brien talks about the harm done by gay relationships, he’s just telling us something about himself.
Robert George is a distinguished Princeton professor who writes terrible, almost incoherent Natural Law arguments against homosexuality, birth control, and masturbation. His goal is to show that Catholic teaching can be derived rationally.
His work is a lot like what would happen if I heard about a Ryan Gosling kissing booth: my goal would be just to get there, no matter how labored, tortuous, or ridiculous the route. It’s the same way with Robert George and the view that masturbation is wrong: The Church says it is, so that’s his destination, and it doesn’t matter labored, tortuous, or ridiculous his reasoning, as long as he gets there.
Here are some key quotes:
The body is not rightly treated as a machine for having experiences…
[I]t is contrary to reason—bad and immoral—to sacrifice one’s psychosomatic integrity, or to instrumentalize a part of oneself, for the sake of some desired experience, whether it is getting drunk, enjoying a psychedelic drug trip or having an orgasm…
In masturbation and other non-marital sex acts, by contrast, ‘one does not choose to act for a goal which fulfills oneself as a unified, bodily person. The only immediate goal is satisfaction for the conscious self; and so the body, not being part of the whole for whose sake the act is done, serves only as an extrinsic instrument.’…
[Acts like masturbation] damage personal integrity insofar as those acts effect an existential alienation of the body from the conscious self by simply using the body as an experience-inducing machine. Thus, such behavior should, for moral reasons, be avoided.
In case that’s opaque, here’s my brief (and surely inadequate) summary:
- Having an integrated mind and body is self-evidently good. Thus anything which breaks that integration is bad.
- This is also true of gay sex or any other sex act that doesn’t culminate with a married penis in its married vagina.
Robert George’s logic on sex is unfathomable to me. I read his words but doubt my understanding because they so completely contradict the experience of my own life. It’s like reading an intricately-reasoned argument that you shouldn’t keep elephants in your house because they’re too small to keep track of; there’s no need to dismantle the argument line by line — it’s enough to answer, “Have you seen an elephant?” Or, in George’s case, “Have you had sex?”
Sex, with someone you love, purely for emotional closeness, does not split the mind and body. It unites them. It dissolves the barriers between body, spirit, and mind.
And masturbation? Masturbation is one way the mind discovers the body. It can be something you do to clean the pipes and stop your body from yelling at you, but it can also be — for adolescents, especially — a fundamental way of exploring your entire self. Not just mind, not just body, not just emotion, but all three at once.
So all I can do is wonder at the inner life of a man who not only came up with this reasoning, but who thought it would convince others. This speculation is worth what you paid for it, but here’s my best attempt: I can imagine a man who has been taught that masturbation is wrong, sinful, wicked. It exposes weakness of mind and character. He tries to abstain, but every time he gives in he’s hit with guilt, and his conscious mind feels betrayed by his body. And that, folks, is mind-body alienation.
The takeway: When Robert George talks about the morality of sex, he’s just telling us something about himself.
Of course, when all of us talk about sex or love or family, we’re really just telling people something about ourselves. We know this. The last few generations who’ve grown to adulthood know this (most of them, anyway). The only people who don’t know this, it seems, are our opponents.
Two things are happening. Supporters of same-sex marriage are winning. And opponents are losing. I distinguish those two because our victories are not due entirely to our own efforts. It often seems like our opponents are pursuing strategies and ideas that doom their own cause.
Take Dr. Paul Kengor, a professor of political science at Grove City College. He attributes support for same-sex marriage to “the anonymous power at work.”
What was this power? It was the power of “changing moods and current fashion.” That’s a hugely influential power, one that you can’t always get a handle on, but it’s there, and with a great influence, a tremendous persuasive power upon the crowd, the culture…
There are so many issues over the years where I’ve seen this anonymous power at work in our culture. And few strike me currently quite like the sudden fanatical push for gay marriage. It has come from nowhere. In mere years, the entirety of the Democratic Party and its leadership has switched from affirming traditional marriage to demanding homosexual marriage. America’s president and youth are overwhelmingly on board. Polls have flipped in their favor. It’s a cultural tsunami. On TV and Twitter and Facebook and the web, it’s an overwhelming obsession.
And who’s pushing it? Well, it’s anonymous.
Here is a man who is absolutely determined to continue thinking he’s right, no matter what mental twists and contortions he has to go through, twists and contortions that have led him (unsurprisingly) to get everything backwards. I wrote this in a comment to his article:
This article is a good example of why people who oppose same-sex marriage keep losing ground (literally, given our state-by-state progress).
The article has it exactly wrong — this change is not due to “anonymous” forces, but to people with names. Friends, neighbors, colleagues who are gay, who have faces, who have names: straight people know and love these gay folk. They see how they love and support their partners.
They end up supporting same-sex marriage precisely because they can name people they love to whom it desperately matters.
Anonymity and invisibility — in the form of the gay closet — are what opponents of same-sex marriage rely on. Anonymity and invisibility are what the rest of us are trying to end.
It’s not just that Kengor is wrong. It’s that the delusions which allow to him to cling to his wrongness are the very things that will bring on his own defeat.