Saturday, March 23, 2013

Gay Marriage & More Discussions

Just finished off some productive discussion at What's Wrong with the World on this general topic. A fair amount of pushback, though a lot of that seemed to stem from my habit of getting into it with one or two of the resident admins. Found some very promising news about the gay marriage debate in France, and it gave me an opportunity to generally hone my thoughts on the subject. For once I wish I knew someone reliable in France so I could get a better sense of the lay of the land there on these topics.

20 comments:

MarcAnthony said...

I'll be honest: For what it's worth I thought it looked a lot more like people were starting things with you, rather than the other way around, and I found the sheer amount of rudeness and hostility directed at you by people I normally 100% agree with troubling.

And I have no issue saying that I don't like the tone of people who I agree with. I have never, literally never, disagreed with Dr. Feser, EXCEPT that I think that sometimes his tone against the gnus actually gets a bit too nasty. So if I had issues with your tone I'd tell you now.

But honestly, I thought your tone started off fairly polite, if to to the point and blunt, and I thought you were just responding to out of line and nasty comments made to you. Even the final comment by ME was rude and totally unnecessary-because you're posting too much in a thread that specifically called you out on your views?

That's one of the issues I have with some (not all) of the WWWtW bloggers-if you disagree with them and then don't submit or leave after they make their argument they get angry that you don't agree with them and start acting nasty. You don't need to be acting as if it's a friendly chat, but at least don't be outright hostile. You're on the same side after all.

The point: You made a good case and I agree with you. But it's not as if I'm really at odds with Lydia, ME, or Tony either. But they're acting as if you fired shots at them or something.

I'm not sure if I should post this on their blog or not, but I feel as if the discussion has been purposely shifted here anyway.

Crude said...

Well, thanks for the feedback on this. I've been worse than those guys in the past on various blogs, so I can't complain too much - I'm going out of my way lately to keep conversations on topic and my tone civil. Good to know I managed it there by someone's view. And in their defense, at least whatever hostility most of them had also came with largely substantial responses (Lydia's, I think, were getting off into 'Okay, now you're just swinging desperately' territory by the end, but hey), which is better than you get on most sites.

Anyway, I'm glad you thought I made a good case. Maybe more people did too - not everyone can be expected to voice their opinion once one of the admins get their backs up. (Tony, I think, largely got where I was coming from by the end.) I even expect a little initial hostility, largely for the reason that the only other people who tend to emphasize 'let's consider changing our tone/methods on this one' are, in my experience, the most obvious social liberals who actually want the entire issue dropped altogether or otherwise obscured. That's part of the reason I took off - I thought I left a thorough enough response calmly, so without me actually being there to get all hostile towards, maybe something will sink in if people go back and read it all.

Either way, I'm not really at odds with most of them either. I think, in the SoCon sense, we probably have a lot of the same goals in mind - as you said. If the exchange gets any of them to think, 'let's no advocate what would be cathartic over what actually has a chance of succeeding where it matters most', well hey, mission accomplished.

MarcAnthony said...

Yeah, I don't think Tony ever really stooped too low (he generally doesn't, and seems like an all-around stand up guy). And Lydia normally doesn't either. I'm not sure what made her SO upset and offended-but she seemed downright hostile. And she normally isn't that bad-at least not unless you really deserve it. ;-)

The thing is, I agree with all of them on practically everything. And I also think they were inconsistent, for that matter. Lydia especially kept telling you that she was tired of talking with you...but then kept responding anyway. So what she really meant was that she was tired of you challenging her on her positions.

I'm 18 years old. I'm learning. I'm willing to look at the various positions-yours, Dr. Feser's, Lydia's, Fr. Zuhlsdorf's-and try and work out which points made are good ones and which aren't-for example, I have grudgingly converted on the issue of the atom bomb, and I've gone from "I support the Iraq War" to "I want more info". What I WON'T do is look at liberal positions, because I made my choice there.

Actually, I also agree that part of the reason that Lydia got so angry was that, for once (and I say "for once" as a compliment, since she's smart and this normally doesn't happen to her for that reason), somebody actually responded with good points-and then managed to keep up with her reasoning as opposed to falling behind and flailing desperately. So,eventually, she got frustrated and flailed herself instead of admitting that hey, perhaps I should look into these ideas more and reserve judgment for a bit.

I'll end with this: I like Lydia, I respect her a lot, I agree with her practically on every point except theology (Catholic here), and I'm glad she's on my side and I can communicate civilly with her-she's not somebody I want as an enemy, and that's a compliment. I just don't think this thread was her finest hour.

As for ME, well, personally I think he went into automatic "defend Lydia" mode, which is understandable and which I do a lot too, for that matter, and not without good reason.

Crude said...

I'm Catholic here as well, so we're on the same page there. Lydia is absolutely quite smart - so's Tony and the rest for that matter. (TME, I've not encountered before that point.) I don't think of it all as a big deal - if I'm judged by my worst moments in past comments sections, well, I'm dead in the water. I know this is a touchy subject for people, especially hot on the heels of some concrete signs we're doing poorly (last year's referendums) while the GOP's usual people are crowing about how SoCons need to give up everything they care about yet still vote for the GOP or other nonsense. People get reasonably defensive.

Also, it's good to see someone your age being aware of and persuaded by arguments Ed Feser and the rest gave. I wish I was armed with them earlier (35 here) - the whole understanding of modern philosophy Ed in particular presented is just supremely useful, especially where God and science's limitations and theology is concerned.

Either way, the WWWTW stuff is no big deal - but thanks for taking the time to head over here and give me your perspective, not to mention the encouragement. The fact that someone was able to understand where I was coming from is great. With some effort we'll be (God-willing) able to make actual progress on these issues and get the culture closer to where it should be than it is now.

MarcAnthony said...

Right, it's also completely true that I've said some nasty things myself on the Catholic Answers forums that I regret and have even had to apologize for. It might not seem like it, but I'm actually posting less now than I've done in the past because I don' want to say something again that I'll regret. So you're right-if I'm judged on my worst moments in these types of situations, I probably stack up a lot more poorly than anybody on WWWtW ever has. And I mean that sincerely, not just as an empty platitude. I've said things I regret.

Codgitator (Cadgertator) said...

Crude, ol' chap!

I've been blogging a bit the past few days, and thought you'd like this article:

http://pblosser.blogspot.com/2010/10/cs-lewis-ts-eliot-on-contraception.html

Have a look at my blog, see if anything sticks. Blessedly somber Triduum to you!

Codgitator (Cadgertator) said...

More bigotry from the anti-love police state: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/29/brittany-angelique-sonnier_n_2212694.html

Crude said...

Hey Codg, nice to see you around. I'll give that another read soon, I didn't properly absorb it the first time.

As for the beasts thing, heh. I'm sure that's next.

Codgitator (Cadgertator) said...

Well, let's hope not, but my point in sharing the "beastly" link was to note that liberals can't simply say private sex acts fall outside the law. If laws against sodomy are just vestiges of the dark ages in America, why aren't laws against bestiality? Consent? How about public sex acts to which viewers consent? Etc.

Codgitator (Cadgertator) said...

Not to pester but did my latest comment get through (about why I threw in the link about bestiality)?

Crude said...

It did. I just had to get around to it.

Bestiality always gets responded to with a mixture of forced indignation and an insistence that animals can't consent. I find it's counterproductive to bring that up as an example, because people are trained to blow up the moment it's used as a comparison.

For me, I think the most productive way to discuss it is to ask if there is any sexual desire or act - granting that it's involving a consenting adult - that we can call disordered, and that we should regard as thinking a person should attain help for giving up. My favorite example is to ask if this guy should be considered mentally healthy.

I've run into people who will bite the bullet and say 'yeah he's totally normal', but by then the wind is out of their sails and it's easy to start pointing out the case for saying, no actually, he's broken and in need of help. And, as I mention, the moment that's granted, then we have a concession that some sexual desires and acts - even if completely consenting between adults - are disordered, and are worth discouraging people from engaging in, for their own good.

Codgitator (Cadgertator) said...

Exactly, and I agree that the bestiality gambit is generally counterproductive, but the story struck me as fascinating because even secular people could i) recognize an intrinsic disorder in her story and ii) concede the validity of laws against such disorders. It reminded me of stories in which a pregnant mother dies and, magically, her fetus counts as a casualty along with her. A week later if she'd brought about the fetus's death by abortion, it would not have counted as a human death. Strange alchemy. "Choice" is a secular incantation.

Zach said...

Bestiality is taken to be a bad example because the discussion they are having is of relations between two consenting adults. Bestiality, pedophilia, polygamy etc all fall outside of the bounds of this constraint. It is also just insulting, so it is obvious why they would get offended.

The person drawing the analogy needs to show why this doesn't make the analogy useless. The law, as presently stands, allows two consenting adults to marry (in some states, with the proviso added "as they are male and female"). They need a secular argument that this proviso should be law, especially in churches where the priests feel a moral obligation to perform such ceremonies. Should the government be stepping in and crapping on the church conscience? Is that truly in the public interest, to give the government such a heavy hand?

Conservatives have lost this battle. For once, Rush Limbaugh is right.

Yes, it is ok to have a conversation about sex, and some habits are not healthy. But that doesn't mean the government should step in and control them. Like soda-drinking habits.

Crude said...

Exactly, and I agree that the bestiality gambit is generally counterproductive, but the story struck me as fascinating because even secular people could i) recognize an intrinsic disorder in her story and ii) concede the validity of laws against such disorders.

The cynic in me says, don't count on this. I have no doubt that there are secular people who will rail against bestiality when prompted. I also have no doubt that some people rail against things because they happen to be unpopular at the time, and it allows them to play the game of 'look at me and my strong moral stance against something everyone finds pretty freaky anyway'.

Take a good look at gay marriage. There were several politicians recently who flipped from 'anti-gay-marriage' to 'pro'. They were all in favor of civil unions previously. Some of them were even pretty stern in their declaration that marriage was for a man and a woman. Did they really all just change their minds recently? Or did they feel the environment changed enough to let them make the move they did?

That's not to say some objections can't be sincere. But I think bestiality and child sex in particular are two areas where people reliably freak out on the spot if the example is used in a certain way.

On the flipside - the abortion example I think can highlight a real inconsistency in more people. Even 'secular' people, in my anecdotal experience, will treat an unborn child as a child during pregnancy. It's a "he" or a "she". They talk about plans. They celebrate a baby kicking, etc. And for a while the whole "this THING has no rights" idea falls by the wayside.

Crude said...

Bestiality is taken to be a bad example because the discussion they are having is of relations between two consenting adults.

It's more than that. People have a visceral reaction to that particular example in that context. There are relevant ways you can compare the desire for bestiality to (say) the desire for anal sex, if you make the proper qualifications. Even if you intellectually pull it off it's still a mistake, at least if you want anyone to listen to you.

The law, as presently stands, allows two consenting adults to marry (in some states, with the proviso added "as they are male and female"). They need a secular argument that this proviso should be law, especially in churches where the priests feel a moral obligation to perform such ceremonies.

Well, no one is barring churches from performing those ceremonies - or anyone else, really. You won't get a marriage certificate, you won't enjoy the legal benefits (lacking a civil union law). But it's not as if right now it's illegal for two men to dress up in nice tuxedos in a church and have a big ceremony.

As for secular arguments - they are easy to come by, ridiculously so. So right here, it's going to depend on exactly what you think a secular argument's point here is. Do you think 'conservatives would convince more people if they were making detailed secular arguments'? I largely disagree, because I think detailed arguments have hardly mattered a whit in terms of changing people's minds - at best I think they matter in an indirect way. Do you think secular arguments are necessary to stand up to judicial scrutiny? That makes technical sense - in practice, I think it matters far less than most people pretend.

Should the government be stepping in and crapping on the church conscience? Is that truly in the public interest, to give the government such a heavy hand?

I think the first question is moot for reasons stated. I think the answer to the second is 'yes', and I don't think it's a particularly heavy hand. Worse, unless you're prepared to go full libertarian on this one, that 'heavy hand' is coming no matter what - it's a 'heavy hand' if the government demands businesses or governments treat gay couples as married couples for various purposes.

Yes, it is ok to have a conversation about sex, and some habits are not healthy.

There are people who disagree with this given the qualifications I've listed, especially when you expand the discussion from acts to desires-for-acts, and give the proper qualifications. (Person is alone / with another consenting adult. No imminent bodily harm. You can actually start out with 'bodily harm' period, but the moment health risks of anal sex are pointed out, people will demand 'imminent' be added.)

Personally, I'm not calling for the government to step in and start controlling habits, unless you're expanding 'controlling habits' to mean 'refusing to grant a marriage license'. I think it becomes a more interesting question with public acts broadly construed - porn and media, etc. I'm not considering that here.

In reference to the OP, I'm far more interested in reaching people on a rhetoric level, and dealing with more simple misconceptions (not to mention mistakes SoCons make.) I'm interested in those intricate intellectual arguments, but I know better than to think they're going to matter for 99% of people. Their influence is indirect at best.

Codgitator (Cadgertator) said...

That moment when you feel the floor fall out from under your argument: CA Dem pushes for bill to protect pedophilia as a sexual orientation http://www.rethinksociety.com/government/pedophilia-is-a-sexual-orientation-under-ca-bill/. This piece by Eberstadt is still essential reading: "How Pedophilia Lost Its Cool" http://ideas.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/12/17/how-pedophilia-lost-its-cool/.

Zach, you also provide no non-atavistic basis for limiting marriage-as-private-contract to two distinct (look up Nadine Schweigert and Chen Wei-yih) human persons, nor even to non-public spaces like the bedroom. Who are you to say the animals in question aren't consensual partners?

Also, if consent is a necessary condition for marriage, what if one member of the marriage falls into a coma––does the marriage end because two people can no longer consent to each other?

Further, public sex acts don't hurt anybody, so why legislate against them? Further again, for that matter, being a peeping tom doesn't harm others, so why is it wrong?

Stop being so patriarchal and spieciesist. ;)

Crude said...

That moment when you feel the floor fall out from under your argument: CA Dem pushes for bill to protect pedophilia as a sexual orientation http://www.rethinksociety.com/government/pedophilia-is-a-sexual-orientation-under-ca-bill/. This piece by Eberstadt is still essential reading: "How Pedophilia Lost Its Cool" http://ideas.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/12/17/how-pedophilia-lost-its-cool/.

Yeah, I think pedophilia is a taboo on thinner intellectual terms than most people would be comfortable admitting. It still is a tremendous taboo, but I do not have faith that this is unassailable, even in the relatively short term, by the same cultural forces that are currently at work.

Cale B.T. said...

Speaking of cultural forces at work, earlier this week Down Under we had this on our national broadcaster:

http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/content/2013/s3730551.htm

Crude said...

I think John C. Wright has said that pretty much the only things that are not tolerated by social liberals are monogamy and chastity/virginity, which seems about correct given that video.

Codgitator (Cadgertator) said...

Another highlight in the lunacy parade down the slippery slope:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1339108/David-Epstein-Homosexuals-want-INCEST-different.html

I ask this genuinely, Zach: If marriage is a construct, what is the basis for drawing the line at two-consenting-adults marriage?