Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Amazing Transmogrifying Pastries

More tussling with James McGrath.

And here we have one of the favorite moves out of the Liberal Christian playbook: the ability for the importance of a given issue to shrink and grow depending on what side of the divide you happen to be on.

Are you a Christian baker who would simply rather not supply services for a gay wedding, even if you'd supply them for any gay individual otherwise? Well, then this is a case of 'pastries for Jesus'. You're being so, so petty - just make the pastries and hush up. It's no big deal. It's just a cake!

But, are you a gay couple being denied a pastry for your wedding from a Christian who you specifically tracked down purely to bully them? Then we're talking about a matter of life and death for the gay community, because NOT getting that pastry is a clear prelude to literally being rounded up and exterminated.

Well, it makes sense, right? Because, even if there's an obvious change in magnitude for the same issue depending purely on which side of the divide you're on, it's not as if Christians have ever been persecuted or rounded up for extermination by a government before? Oh, wait....

PS: Check that same thread for James talking about how horrible it is that I'm making the arguments I am behind cover of anonymity, because he'd like to see me be "held accountable" for what I'm saying. Yes, monster that I am, I'm saying that Christians (among others) shouldn't be forced to, in their private business, supply services for an act they're morally opposed to. For that, I'm apparently due some repercussions.

And he wonders why anyone would be anonymous on the internet?


BenYachov said...

This guy is clueless and a born slave.

He really doesn't get it that in the end LBGT are better served in a free society not the PC fascist socially liberal state he imagines.

Crude said...

I am not so sure he doesn't get it.

Syllabus said...

Well. My opinion of McGrath is changing real damned quick.

Acatus Bensley said...

I wouldn't mind an actual civil war with this half of America. What would they do? Protest lol

for-diddled said...

Coincidentally, I've just finished a similar conversation on Facebook. It went pretty much the same as yours has done, although I think I had more Nazi comparisons flung at me. Whilst the inaptness of the analogy was somewhat amusing (because, as everybody knows, the Nazis were so zealous when it came to defending freedom of conscience...), it's rather frightening as well. A couple of years ago I'd have laughed at anybody who said that Christians in the West are on the verge of persecution, but when it's treated as common knowledge that "Hey, guys, freedom of conscience is a fundamental human right" is really code for "Let's round up all the minorities and gas them," can we really doubt that persecution is just round the corner?

Crude said...


We're experiencing persecution now. The LGBT issue happens to be a convenient club for it - and people are willing to push that as far as possible.

Last I checked, an overwhelming majority of the country at least believes that bakers, photographers, etc shouldn't be forced to service gay weddings if they don't want to. I wish legislation would be crafted to narrowly target such things for protection - and we really do need that sort of thing now.

All that stuff in the past about how important it was to be open-minded and tolerant of people who disagreed with you? It was a lie. Specifically a, 'that applies to you - it won't apply to us if we're in power' lie on the part of many on the left.

for-diddled said...

"All that stuff in the past about how important it was to be open-minded and tolerant of people who disagreed with you? It was a lie. Specifically a, 'that applies to you - it won't apply to us if we're in power' lie on the part of many on the left."

Agreed, although I'm still trying to work out how many people said this as part of a tactical plan to crush their enemies, how many were just hypocritical bullshitters, and how many are just so brainwashed/irrational that they genuinely cannot see the inconsistency.

Crude said...

Agreed, although I'm still trying to work out how many people said this as part of a tactical plan to crush their enemies, how many were just hypocritical bullshitters, and how many are just so brainwashed/irrational that they genuinely cannot see the inconsistency.

That's important to figure out. I keep stressing 'not every liberal is like this', and I believe it. But the phenomena is common enough that it has to be accounted for.

for-diddled said...

Well, having thought about the matter for a bit, I think I’ve come up with four main reasons why so many people seem to act like this.

First of all, there’s an excessive focus on identity politics. People aren’t seen as individuals, but as members of abstract groups, like “Christians” or “LGBTQ people”. It’s also taken as a given that people in a position of power cannot be oppressed, which is true to the point of tautology when applied to individuals (I can’t oppress you unless I’ve got some kind of leverage on you), but when applied to groups as a whole leads to a belief that members of (supposedly) powerful groups cannot be oppressed. So there’s no need to worry about oppressing Christian bakers by forcing them to take part in a same-sex wedding – Christians are one of the powerful groups, after all, therefore these bakers must be powerful, therefore they can’t be oppressed.

Secondly, there’s the idea that oppression is defined by whoever feels oppressed (or claims to), except of course if it’s being felt by a member of a dominant group, who by definition cannot suffer oppression. This means that, when it comes to a conflict between a supposedly dominant group and a supposedly oppressed group, the latter group win pretty much automatically. Thus when a gay couple claim that they’re being oppressed by an inability to buy cake from the shop they want, it’s everybody’s duty to accept what they say uncritically, or else become complicit in oppression.

(Conflicts between two different oppressed groups are a bit more complicated. The generally-accepted way of solving them is a sort of persecution arms race, in which both sides try and crowbar themselves into as many persecuted groups as possible. The side who can fit themselves into the most wins.)

Thirdly, there’s the strange belief that many leftists seem to have that everything is as obvious to you as it is to them. So if you’re a Christian baker complaining about being forced to violate your conscience, then obviously you can’t mean what you say, because it’s just so obvious to everybody that dominant groups like Christians cannot be oppressed, especially not by victim groups like LGBTQ* people. Thus anybody who claims otherwise must be lying for some reason, probably bigotry, which makes them Bad People, whom you can dismiss and/or bully into submission, as the mood takes you.

Fourthly and finally, related to the above, is a sort of Manichaean zero-sum view of the situation. I remember that during the Facebook conversation I mentioned above, one of my relatively sane interlocutors said that, whilst the distinction between refusing to assist an act and refusing to serve a whole class of people was valid, and whilst it’s probably better not to force people to violate their consciences, he nevertheless could not support the proposed Arizonan law, because the “reality” of it would be that a horde of “snarling bigots” (I think that was the expression used, although I haven’t the stomach to go back over and check right now) would conspire to make sure that gay people could be denied any service for any trivial pretext. Now obviously if you think that your opponents are going to do their best to exploit and twist any compromise or concession into an excuse for forcing others into second-class citizenship, it becomes totally impossible to compromise with them.

Anyway, that’s my explanation. I think it explains why SSM activists act as they do, and also why lots of leftists seem to forget “live and let live” ideas when it comes to social conservatives (because, per point 1, social conservatives by definition cannot be oppressed, and per points 3 and 4, any claims to the contrary are clearly just tactics to try and force minority groups into slavery, or to commit genocide, or something of that ilk). I’m not sure what the best way would be to counter this sort of reasoning (if indeed we can counter it), but I’d be interested to hear your thoughts.


For Diddled/The original Mr. X

Crude said...

A proper response to that, X, is worthy of its own post. I'll try to make that next.

Vand83 said...

I was just listening to Catholic radio, and a caller had a fairly simple idea that might alleviate the whole baker vs LGBT type controversies. He basically said that these business owners could inform these patrons that a portion of their payment will go to an organization defending traditional marriage. I thought this was a brilliant idea that I've yet to hear from anyone else. What do you think of that idea and have you heard it before?

Vand83 said...

It seems like a strong yet passive approach to the situation. The customer is more than likely to look elsewhere for whatever service they're seeking. If they don't, they can't complain of being denied service. They purchased a product that they know the proceeds of are going to contribute to a organization that is counterproductive to the cause they support. I'm sure would develop some sort of law to combat this particular tactic, but it would be VERY hard to defend.

Crude said...


I think it's a good idea as a last resort, but ideally that shouldn't have to be done with at all, of course.

One I've offered before is to allow (and this only really works in the case of bakers, photographers, and others who are creating something) the business in question entire artistic leeway with whatever they produce. But the donation idea is a pretty effective one.

Vand83 said...

Well, sometimes my cynicism leads to me to a "last resort" mentality. Nothing virtuous about this, I know. I'm at my wits end though. I'm capable of laying out coherent arguments to counter the more intellectual liberal, but to the average liberal sheep, I see no point. This seems like a strong defense that requires little explanation. Lazy maybe, but with the majority I dialogue with lately, it's nice.