Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The Tyranny of the Aggrieved, Part 2

I'm in the unfortunate situation of believing that the social sciences - and even a good portion of modern psychology - are close to being nonsense fields, while at the same time being a person who is keenly interested in the questions of psychological and cultural change. For instance - what happened in the span of a half decade to reverse the poll numbers on gay marriage? Why is it that a lunatic ranting about how Grand Theft Auto 5 needed a female protagonist now is taken seriously by so many, when half a decade ago they would have been laughed at? What happened? And, more importantly - how did this happen without my noticing it? Why did it hit me so suddenly? Why didn't I change too?

I think I have stumbled on a piece of the answer to that question.




I recently took part in an exchange over at Lothar's blog about complementarism and egalitarianism, which largely took place between myself and a woman who hates - hates! - complementarism. Not the first time I've had conversations like these, considering I'll now and then hit LGBT sites just to explain natural law, misconceptions about Catholic moral teaching, etc. I like to confront people who disagree with me. I like to see their arguments, see where they're coming from. I also like to see where they go wrong, when they do go wrong. I certainly love to dismantle bad arguments and corrects bad reasoning. But I also like to learn new things, correct myself, etc.

The point is, I've run into people like Mary before. Enough that I've noticed patterns when discussing things with men and women like herself.

* They make subjects as personal as possible immediately. I don't mean they start out insulting and belittling people who disagree with them necessarily, but the opposite - in the course of presenting their reasoning, they use themselves as a central example, talking about their feelings, their tragedies, their pain and their experiences. The problem is, this isn't just 'speaking from the heart' - it establishes themselves as a kind of human shield for their own arguments. To attack their arguments becomes an attack on *them.*

* Following up on that - whatever other arguments they have, there is a singular fallback they rely on: anguish. Hurt. Pain. Once again, not inflicting this on others - their own pain. If you argue against them, if you hold beliefs - even beliefs that result in no action - they make it clear that you are *hurting* them. Just by believing differently, you cause them great pain. And God help you if your beliefs are tied to action, like opposing gay marriage. In that case, very often you are not only causing them pain, you are killing them. Killing them. In the case of Mary, my belief in complementary roles and differences between men and women makes me responsible for some lunatic who thinks all women should have children. It doesn't matter if I oppose that thinking - simply by believing what I do, I'm responsible. The only way to absolve myself is to change what I believe.

Again, I've run into this before. I could have pointed this tactic out months ago, years ago, and I can go into detail about all the little psychological hooks and kinks and methods that are employed with this kind of intellectual offense/defense. That's not new to me.

What's new to me is how effective it is.

See, this sort of thing hasn't worked on me in a long time, if ever. If I drink a bottle of Diet Orange Crush and someone starts sobbing dramatically, talking about how Diet Orange Crush hurts them, how they can't stand to be in the same room as Diet Orange Crush... my reply isn't 'Oh my God, I'm so sorry. Ban Diet Orange Crush!' It's closer to, 'Well, you're insane and need help.' Not necessarily mocking - some people really do need help. But the point is that the problem is on their end, not mine. Something's gone wrong in their mind if the mere presence of Diet Orange Crush in the same room as them can provoke them to tears. Unless I'm dealing with an alien physiology that is to them what saltwater is to the aliens on Alien Nation, all their screams and cries convince me of is that they're somehow broken.

But that's me. And more and more I realize that most people won't - or will no longer - respond that way. What matters is that Someone Is Hurting, period. At that point, the question is the path of least resistance to solving the problem before them.

And here is, I think, one of the saddest yet truest statements of modern culture and discourse.

When someone decides that the person in anguish at the presence Diet Orange Crush bottles must somehow have their situation addressed, they have two options of who to confront.

They can confront the crazy person. But... the crazy person is crazy. And LOUD. They'll sob and cry, call anyone who confronts them monsters who are personally responsible for suicide, murder and more. They'll struggle, they'll resist. Try to reason with them and they just get MORE angry.

Or they can confront me. The person who will try to calmly reason with them, perhaps get sarcastic, but who will typically not lose my goddamn shit until things have gone too far - at which point, they would have already been well on the road to evicting me from their presence anyway.

The short, easy path to maintaining something resembling peace again is to just get rid of the calm guy. In fact the calm guy, by virtue of being calm, enables this from the very beginning. Because people don't care about reason or rationality or the like many times - they care about peace, and keeping people from screaming about their pain.

Now swap out the bottle of soda for any issue you like. Feminism? Gay marriage? Abortion? You'll see this pattern - whoever remains sane and calm is setting themselves up for a loss when their opponents realize that all they need is convincing theatrics, or at least act as if they realize this.

That's how it happened. That's why we're in the situation right in right now. It may only be a piece of the puzzle, but I am convinced it is a piece, and an important one. I'm likewise convinced that many conservatives did not and even do not see this happening, because they look at these situations and believe it's just blindingly obvious that the screaming person - not the calm, reasoning person - is the lunatic in the room.

How we got to this point is another question. What to do from here, still another question. But at least absorb this point: this is one of the main drivers of change in society. The Tyranny of the Aggrieved is not hyperbole. It is fact.

33 comments:

BenYachov said...

>The Tyranny of the Aggrieved is not hyperbole. It is fact.

Rather in some cases it's hyperbole and others it's a fact.

Others it's not so clear.

You may call me Captain Obvious.

Crude said...

No, I think it's fact. I think this is a phenomenon that is widespread and transcends any particular group. Modern society is made to react to groups that are frantic, loud, and emotional, at the expense of people who are not.

The main mitigating factors are how loud they can be.

RD Miksa said...

Hello Crude,

I don't have much time to write (have to head off to work), but I just wanted to say that I could not agree more.

Being a cop, it is amazing to see the different dynamic between the general public, who just wish to avoid the person who is ranting like a lunatic and stop them regardless of how this is done and who is at fault, and police officers, who simply cannot avoid the ranting lunatic and must deal with him. The former group will just avoid, run, and dodge the loud "scary" lunatic as much as possible, whereas the latter group--being as they are often jaded and tried of dealing with such lunatics--will just go up to the ranting lunatic, deal him (or her) to shut up, and then calmly figure out what is going on. And the amazing thing is, when a show of force is made (whether verbally or physically), the ranting usually stops.

I would also add that another major element that caused this rapid societal change to occur is fear. Within the last generation, so many laws were implemented where a person could be charged for "hate" speech, "harassing" speech, "offensive" speech, etc., that people simply weighed the odds and decided that keeping their mouth shut while keeping their job was the better way to go then risking themselves for a cause that they might agree with, but which they are not champions of (if you take my meaning).

The fact is, most people are sheep. They will move with the herd and take the path of least resistance. Furthermore, they will always compile with the instructions of the sheep dog that is the most ferocious. Indeed, this is why so many people will follow the path of the cultural left (a loud sheep-dog with the law behind it) and will thus happily condemn and attack Christians (a weak and currently pathetic sheep dog that just wants to be "nice" and avoid conflict) while at the same time not uttering a serious word against Muslims who hold the same positions as Christians do (a violent wolf who might eat you whole if provoked).

Anyway, just some thoughts.

Take care,

RD Miksa

Crude said...

RD,

Such an interesting perspective you have! Thank you for it.

I think what particularly pains modern Christians is that they have fetishized being self-effacing and forgiving - to a fault. A fault that goes beyond anything Christ endorsed or represented. Being docile, obedient, always apologizing and never making noise is not some kind of glorified Christian virtue.

Goldenrush Apple said...

A similiar sitution happened to me as well. The subject was gay marriage and I confessed that I had a sibling who was gay, yet I did not support gay marriage. The person I was exchanging words with was a young gay man, and his response was that of shock of my stance.

In his mind, since I had a gay sibling, my default position would be of undenying support aka support of gay marriage by default. That's what siblings do for each other, especially on an issue as sensitive and as modern as gay marriage to him.

I was called a moron and a bigot for not "fully supporting" my sibling. He saw my sibling as the "victim" in our relationship, and I the criminal.

Crude said...

Hey there, Goldenrush.

The subject was gay marriage and I confessed that I had a sibling who was gay, yet I did not support gay marriage.

Oh God. Talk about a way to make people freak out. I can only imagine what Joe K (on my blog list, a gay man who is Catholic and orthodox) goes through when he tells people he's gay and opposes gay marriage. I'm picturing it as those episodes of Star Trek where Kirk tells a computer a logical paradox and they just break down.

But yeah, no surprise. Have a friend or a sibling is gay? Then you're more or drafted into the LGBT army, and if you object for any reasons at all then clearly you're just a monster.

It is insane.

BenYachov said...

>No, I think it's fact.

We must agree to disagree.


>I think this is a phenomenon that is widespread and transcends any particular group.

I won't affirm or deny it's widespread but I don't think it's absolute in either case if that is in fact your meaning.

>Modern society is made to react to groups that are frantic, loud, and emotional, at the expense of people who are not.

Well the squeaky wheel gets the grease. That is unremarkable. In some cases it's justified in others it's over reacting nonsense. I would still go case by case.

Cheers.

Have I missed your point? Feel free to correct me my brother.

RD Miksa said...

Dear Crude,

Absolutely. Modern Christians have fetishized 'Christ meek and mild' while ignoring and/or forgetting about 'Christ the temple cleanser'.

What Christianity needs is a few more Christians that follow the latter Christ rather than the former one.

Take care,

RD Miksa

45f0dc88-8e32-11e3-b8ca-000f20980440 said...

So you lack empathy, and you're amazed that other people have or develop empathy and then look at you like you're a "monster" (which is really a hyperbolic way of characterizing disagreement with your ideas).

Also, for the record, nobody says that by opposing gay marriage you're killing gay marriage. Easier to straw man those with opposing views than honestly consider their viewpoint, am I right?

And "What to do from here"? I don't know--keep doing what you've been doing, I guess. Feminism and gay marriage are only becoming more widespread and accepted. Do you really expect this trend to reverse itself? :)

Crude said...

So you lack empathy,

Not at all - I simply know the difference between empathy and giving in to a crazy person's mania.

You define empathy as 'Never do anything that makes me upset!' And the only people who look at me as a monster are the crazy people themselves. The people who buckle and get quiet, at worst, usually just think I'm being stubborn and being difficult. After all, -they- gave in despite knowing the person is crazy. Can't I do the same thing? And I'm far from alone in that.

Also, for the record, nobody says that by opposing gay marriage you're killing gay marriage.

I assume you mean 'killing gay people'. But yes, they do. Some people draw a fairly direct line between 'opposing gay marriage' and 'creating an atmosphere of hate', which includes 'gay people being beaten to death spontaneously by people who Just Hate Gays'.

Do you think that's crazy? Great - we're on the same page.

Feminism and gay marriage are only becoming more widespread and accepted.

Gay marriage is, momentarily, a trendy issue. It's not going to persevere. Feminism is likewise trendy, with the added hilarity of it breeding considerable resentment, and resulting in a whole lot of feminists turning on each other in the pettiest ways possible.

Do you really expect this trend to reverse itself?

Sure - it's just a matter of time. You may as well be telling me that the Soviets will march over the world, multiculturalism will be beloved for all time, immigration will be more and more accepted in Europe (particularly the UK!), controlling CO2 will forever be a primary objective in Europe, etc. History is littered with the corpses of inevitable movements.

Really, you think feminism and gay marriage are around... what, until the end of time? Even among people who support it, gay marriage - and gay relationships in general - aren't taken particularly seriously. It's a little like overturning a ban against pet weddings. More along the lines of 'dear God, the pet owners are screaming like crazy, just give them what they want, what's the harm' mentally.

Goldenrush Apple said...

I'm picturing it as those episodes of Star Trek where Kirk tells a computer a logical paradox and they just break down.

That's closer to what actually happened.

But yeah, no surprise. Have a friend or a sibling is gay? Then you're more or drafted into the LGBT army, and if you object for any reasons at all then clearly you're just a monster.

I did support homosexual "marriage," once. When my sibling came out I was all for it - I was one of those obnoxious LGBT advocates, all liberal progressive and all. Now I'm not.

Crude said...

Golden,

I did support homosexual "marriage," once. When my sibling came out I was all for it - I was one of those obnoxious LGBT advocates, all liberal progressive and all. Now I'm not.

Now that's interesting. Do you mind if I ask what changed your mind?

Goldenrush Apple said...

Now that's interesting. Do you mind if I ask what changed your mind?

I don't. But oh my, where do I start? : /

I'll just give snippets, small jumps till "that moment." Don't worry, it'll seem scattered, but you'll see where I'm going.
___

The summer leading up to my freshmen year of college, my brother and I were driving home from one of my mom's work parties. He turns to me and says "Did you mean that you would love me no matter what?" I replied, "Yea. Why?" He came out to me. I didn't think much of it when those words hit me. I was like "Cool, brah. Whatev. You're born that way. Whatev. We're cool." I truly meant that. Without even knowing it, I became the obnoxious liberal progressive that you would see on Brown University's campus, foaming at the mouth.

I was a huge Barack Obama supporter in 2008. He was from my home state, my hometown. How could I not support this man? He was suave; he was articulate; he hit all the right emotional buttons. He was my man crush. He was going to make history. When he was elected I actually cried. "Finally," I thought. "Our first black president." Yes, I cried for that shallow reason.

I was Democrat because it was the natural party to be in at my age. I lived in the city and people would assume I was a Democrat. Not the JFK type of Democrat. Oh no. I was a Modern Democrat - all "progress" and whatnot. I was sitting the far left side.

In college I read Saul Alinsky's Rules for Radicals. I was searching for another book - about race relations - and stumbled upon this gem. At first I thought "What the heck?" since the book was bright orange/red and the font definitely tried to get attention. In the book I experienced f_cked up genius (excuse my French). Say what you want of Saul, but he knew - he knew - how to organize and how to sway the public into loathing the opponent.

I think of it like basketball. That one guy that drains the three with 4 second left, or that guy who always gets the call and heads to the free throw line resulting in your team's loss. He's that guy. You hate him, but you secretly would love him to be on your team so he can drain that three, or go to the free throw line to put the dagger in the heart of the other team. He's the player you love to hate.

Jump to a year later. Let's just say I had a "personal problem" that was more of an addiction. Within this "personal problem" I found a community who did not see it as a "personal problem." To them it was human nature -- it was a beautiful thing (you probably could figure it out). I also discovered different forms of relationships that were "just as legit & normal" - types of relationships that, even to this day, does not make me feel like I had any dignity. Even thinking about it makes me furrow my brow. My heart sinks as well.

Goldenrush Apple said...

Within this community I brought up concerns. They said "As long as you don't hurt anyone it's okay." I asked again and most said "It's your body and no one tells you what to do with it. You're your own boss." Fair enough. "You only live once, so why waste your body on one person? Monogamy is outdated, archaic and oppressive. Get with the times. Get modern." When I heard this I started to slip slowly away. "As long as all parties have consent, it's totally fine." Although greatly naive and damaged at the time, I still knew something wasn't "right" with such a mentality. Something did not sit well with me. Mama did not raise a fool. My gut was quietly whispering "Ya know, this might be a good time to find some new 'friends.'" I asked around, this time I asked Christians. Yea, those people.

Those people were marvelous - I didn't think of it at the time, but now I must give them credit. There response? Critical. Some suggested to not carry on with this problem. Some reinforced shame and guilt (a much needed feeling despite what other libertines quack about). Some said it was wrong. It was wrong -- I was wrong. I needed to hear that.

And so began my journey to the right. Enter Roger Scruton, Roger Kimball, Edmund Burke, Thomas Sowell, Milton Friedman, Von Mises, Edward Feser, Rush Limbaugh (yea, that guy), Sarah Palin (yea, that woman) to name a handful

I also searched for atheists who turned into Christians. I never found one ex-believer to have a compelling story, not one, yet I have found a good number of atheists' stories quite interesting.

My mother is religious. A practicing Catholic, actually. In the following years of encountering those people, I have noticed that everything my mom stood for I, in my college years, was quietly abusing and disregarding. I later came to the conclusion that modernism & post-modernism have little to no respect for tradition, and for this little respect they were rejecting my mom and her family (all devout Catholics). That's a big no no to me.

My mom and dad are both immigrants to America - they're both legal immigrants. So everything I was embracing was stomping out everything they worked for for my siblings and I. So amnesty to illegal aliens? That's also a big no no.

I also observed the severe contempt and downright laziness of stereotypes of the Midwest and South. As I said before, I was liberal progressive. So back in the day I hated America (those liberal progressives who say they love America are immensely confused) and when I screened Michael Moore's Sicko I wanted out of America. I said to my cousin "America is a joke. Once I graduate from college I'm noving to France." But, as I progressed towards conservatism (ironically), I became upset by this, for the most part, unfounded and unfair caricatures of my home region. I traveled to the South during a college internship and not once did I experience anything like what the movies portrayed. In fact, at a bar there was one Yankee (from the same city as me -- such a horrid coincidence) who drunkenly mocked the South. If you were there at that time you knew that's how he truly felt.

Now, you're probably thinking "Well, you just exchanged one hat for another!" Fair enough, but for damn good reasons.

Okay, that's a lot more than I planned. There's more, but I think you got the gist.

grodrigues said...

@Crude:

"I think what particularly pains modern Christians is that they have fetishized being self-effacing and forgiving - to a fault."

On one hand, you are right. Why should we bend over backwards to appease those that are out to get us? By God, we are soldiers, so let us go out into the battlefield and bash some heads. On the other hand, I strongly disagree that the problem is self-effacement and being forgiving to fault. The problem is not too much humility, but too little of it. I mean, just watch closely: they want the peace of the world, not the peace of Christ.

BenYachov said...

>Feminism and gay marriage are only becoming more widespread and accepted.

Rap Music and Porn & other cultural gems seem to reflect a base misogyny.

Plus in countries that have legalized gay marriage very few people gay or straight seem to get married.

malcolmthecynic said...

Early on in my High School career I was pro-gay marriage and pro-abortion in cases of rape and incest. But then I started reading Dr. Feser and had a great Theology teacher who completely changed the way I thought about religion.

Crude said...

Golden,

That is a pretty fascinating story, thanks for sharing it.

Carlos F. said...

This is absolute gold, Crude. Really, you have an uncanny ability to notice such little rhetorical quirks and to provide a great analysis of them.


I simply cannot tell you how many times I've been assured that opposing same-sex "marriage" is tantamount to "like, forcing gays to, like, kill themselves, man! Like, by opposing ssm, you'd be like, forcing gays to be killed by homophobic fascists like you! By opposing ssm, you're basically just, like, hurting so many people. Like think of all the homosexuals who like love each other. Like, you oppose ssm and you basically will hurt them so bad. What a homophobic bigot. Is asking for BASIC HUMAN RIGHTS not, like, enough for you? #Equality."

What a pathetic time we live in, huh?

Crude said...

Carlos,

Glad you enjoyed it. A lot of the pro-SSM rants I've encountered are just so off-base it's bizarre.

I've seen accusations that opposition to SSM means 'Making it illegal for people to love each other!' Well, no. You can love whoever you like. We're talking about state recognition of a particular kind of union.

'But they want to have that special day that straight couples get, with their wedding cake and..!' Right. Not illegal either, you know. Get your cake, put your 'two grooms' or 'two brides' fixture atop it, have a party. No law against that.

And on and on. Of course there's firmer ground to be had with the specific legal/contractual aspects, but by then it's pretty clear that 'love!' isn't really what's central, and there's alternatives there.

Carlos F. said...

That's very true. I always find it so amusing that I'm often scornfully chastised by being reminded that it's "none of my business" what "consenting adults" do in the privacy of their bedrooms by the very people that desire to subsidize sodomy and other "private acts between consenting individuals" and thus make it the state's and the public's business.

The Deuce said...

Crude:

I assume you mean 'killing gay people'. But yes, they do. Some people draw a fairly direct line between 'opposing gay marriage' and 'creating an atmosphere of hate', which includes 'gay people being beaten to death spontaneously by people who Just Hate Gays'.

And don't forget that "lack of acceptance" is the reason for gay suicide!

Acatus Bensley said...

(Gay) Liberals tend to think with their sexuality and not their minds. They also don't realize the lunacy behind ruining thousands of years of marital tradition for something as trivial as same sex attractions. Why is anybody surprised that you can't reason with them?

jeltranksss said...

Crude:

I don't believe you lack empathy simply because of your opinions, as much as I might disagree with them.

I believe you lack empathy because your orange soda example, while sometimes valid (e.g. any number of ridiculous farther-than-far-left tumblrs), is also sometimes not necessarily the case. Especially if:

1) The aggrieved is perhaps more clearly justified in feeling as such. For example, someone who tells his friends to stop tossing around the word "nigger" in casual conversation because it's hurtful. Even if you don't think it's a request this person's friends ought to fulfill, at the very least we can acknowledge that it's hardly the hysterical ranting you make it out to seem.

2) The person with the Diet Orange Crush actually does hold opinions that hurt the other person. (For example, being told that you deserve to be bullied because you've been acting too "gay" or "effeminate." Which, sadly, has happened IRL.

3) Actual disagreement on any number of moral and ethical issues can be just that--disagreement--without devolving into the sort of histrionics you describe. I feel like you're too smart to assume that even a majority of those who disagree with you about, for example, same-sex marriage act the way you describe. Unless you're honestly telling me that's been your experience.

Anyway.

Gay marriage is, momentarily, a trendy issue. It's not going to persevere.

Okay, stepping back from the morality of the issue itself for a moment: how you see this possibly playing out? (The reversal of recent gay rights advances, I mean.) A few states have even recently voted in referendums to legalize same-sex marriage. And every reputable poll shows that young people in general support same-sex marriage far more than older generations do--to the point of there being a clear majority of support, even among many religious youth. So just from a practical standpoint, what do you think has to happen for the momentum to switch directions?

multiculturalism will be beloved for all time

I'm not sure what you're referring to here, but this also seems disingenuous. I mean, even if multiculturalism stops being so "beloved," that doesn't mean it's going to go away. Immigration is hardly a recent social construct, and most cases of mass immigration lead to some degree of multiculturalism in immigrants' new countries.

Even among people who support it, gay marriage - and gay relationships in general - aren't taken particularly seriously.

This is the sort of untrue generalization that makes it difficult for me to take some of your arguments seriously. Marriage is enormously important to many people, be they gay, straight, bi, or whatever else. And all the same-sex married couples I know seem to take themselves quite seriously, and we their friends and loved ones take them as seriously as we would any other married couple.

It seems like you have strong ideological arguments, but there's a seeming disconnect from the current state of affairs with regards to the legality of things like same-sex marriage. And it seems like you're unable or unwilling to consider a Plan B, in case gay rights don't stop being fought for in our lifetime (or what have you). I know the Church is not necessarily supposed to be of the world, but your ideas extend beyond theological or religious concerns and as such ought to address current social attitudes--and at the very least not only assume the worst of your ideological opponents when you do so.

jeltranksss said...

(continued, and yes I forgot my AIM account info)

Unrelated to this post in particular, but I believe I asked this question in a comment elsewhere on your blog--apologies for my inability to find it at the moment--but I'm also still waiting for a post that details exactly why sodomy is wrong. You know, with that vulgar forthrightness you claim is lacking in current conservative arguments. If you've already written about this, perhaps I missed that entry.

Finally, I think it's also disingenuous of you to compare same-sex marriage to "pet weddings." I mean, if the former weren't so important or socially viable, I doubt you'd spend so much of your time (at least on this blog) writing about it.

Crude said...

I feel like you're too smart to assume that even a majority of those who disagree with you about, for example, same-sex marriage act the way you describe.

Honestly? I think the kind of emotional manipulation is one of the key tools in LGBT activist advancement on these issues, and the other tools are similar. And I think more and more people are starting to employ these tactics precisely because they see the records of success it has.

Regarding 1, to be completely honest my sympathy for that example is dying - and even your example I think becomes immediately problematic the moment you introduce one factor: make it a black man using the word. Or alternately, make it a white person who's made uncomfortable by it. Better yet, make it both.

So just from a practical standpoint, what do you think has to happen for the momentum to switch directions?

A number of things, but first and foremost - general loss of energy or concern about the issue from LGBT-sympathetic people, which I think is inevitable. I think LGBT specific issues require a tremendous amount of broad-based, high emotional investment and sensitivity, which is just not long-term sustainable. Particularly where marriage is concerned, something that - let's face it - fewer and fewer people really want anyway, particularly among the non-religious.

I mean, even if multiculturalism stops being so "beloved," that doesn't mean it's going to go away.

Considering the backlash we're seeing regarding it in Europe, and the fact that it really never took root anywhere else? Yeah, I think it's going away. Certainly as an ideal. Instead we're getting exactly what everyone thought we'd get - tribes of people who live in their own neighborhoods by and large, and more and more think primarily in terms of 'their people'.

This is the sort of untrue generalization that makes it difficult for me to take some of your arguments seriously. Marriage is enormously important to many people, be they gay, straight, bi, or whatever else.

Marriage, as a political and emotional issue, matters a lot to some people right now, insofar as we opponents of gay marriage have been systematically depicted as near-savages standing over the quivering, whimpering, embracing bodies of gay couples, wielding a blood-soaked bat and screaming "AH HATE ME SOME QUEERS!"

Outside of that context - outside of the ceremony and the drama - there's not much to it. Do you find it odd, much less wrong, for two people to live together for years and never get married - maybe even never think about marriage, particularly if they have no children? Or how about a straight couple getting married, remaining childless?

What's important is the defiance. Maybe, situationally, the emotional act of a public commitment. The actual marriage itself? Not so much. Take a good look at the ever-praised scandinavian countries to see more of that in action.

but I'm also still waiting for a post that details exactly why sodomy is wrong.

I've already given those arguments - check my blog history.

I mean, if the former weren't so important or socially viable, I doubt you'd spend so much of your time (at least on this blog) writing about it.

Not really. I find LGBT and sexual issues fascinating largely because I'm fascinated by their psychological issues (homosexual and hetero), their rhetorical methods, conservative mistakes, etc. Unlike with other issues, I see mistakes made with it that others tend not to notice or highlight, so it's more fresh for me. So much lack of reflection, so much hysteria.

I mean, I could write a lot about the very idea of coming-out days alone. I can't be the only one who's ever realized that the person screaming at the top of their lungs about how proud they are is giving off abundant evidence that they are tremendously self-conscious.

Crude said...

One last thing.

You say that I shouldn't assume the very worst about my ideological opponents. I'd like to know why? Purely from a practical standpoint, if there's one thing the LGBT groups have shown - not just them, but certainly they rank high here - it's that dehumanizing your opponents, reducing them to caricatures, villifying them in public and in fiction, works. Whatever progress has been made on the LGBT issues front has hardly come due to powerful intellectual arguments as opposed to exactly that kind of manipulation. We saw that recently with the Duck Dynasty example, just to give the most recent and public iteration.

I don't go anywhere near that far - I point at rhetorical flourishes, mentalities, depictions, etc that people use. But really, I am so tired of being told 'tut tut, you should respect people who disagree with you' when 'respect' is the first thing sacrificed by my intellectual opponents.

More than that, though - I don't 'assume the worst'. I just refuse to close my eyes to what so obviously takes place, repeatedly. Exactly how many GLAAD flare-ups that result in someone being fired, typically with their position being horribly misrepresented, do I have to witness before I start taking it seriously? How many times do I have to play a video game or read a comic where someone who is even a tenth in the direction of my political views is cast as some variety of monster? Why do I have to talk and write as if this mythological beast - the social liberal who respectfully dissents from my positions - exists in abundance, rather than (at best) at the point of near extinction?

jeltranksss said...

Apologies for leaving my other comment before reading this one! Anyway.


I think the kind of emotional manipulation is one of the key tools in LGBT activist advancement on these issues

At the risk of sounding disingenuous, what "emotional manipulation" have I employed here?

I think more and more people are starting to employ these tactics precisely because they see the records of success it has.

See, this is what I'm talking about. Maybe it's just that "more and more people" have come to the conclusion that gay sex isn't bad, or at least that it's not a fight worth pursuing in the political/legal sphere (e.g. same-sex marriage, sodomy laws). Can you really not conceive that some people disagree with you on issues of sexual morality without having been emotionally manipulated?

I think becomes immediately problematic the moment you introduce one factor: make it a black man using the word. Or alternately, make it a white person who's made uncomfortable by it. Better yet, make it both.

Why is this problematic? In face, a federal judge not too long ago ruled that use of the derogatory term "nigger" is illegal in the workplace--even if it's a black person saying it (http://sandrarose.com/2013/09/federal-judge-rules-black-people-cant-use-n-word-in-workplace/).

A number of things, but first and foremost - general loss of energy or concern about the issue from LGBT-sympathetic people, which I think is inevitable.

Well I agree that we're going to probably see a general loss of concern about the issue, but for the opposite reason--as homosexuality becomes more normalized in our culture, fewer and fewer people will care enough about it (in a negative/disapproving sense) to do anything about it beyond voicing their concerns. For instance, same-sex marriage has been legal in Canada for some time now. It thus makes sense that there's be less "high emotional investment" in the issue, since it's already been achieved. Do you think Canada is going to stop recognizing such marriages in the near (or even distant) future (while still recognizing heterosexual unions)? Put another way: my state recently legalized same-sex marriage. Coupled with the Supreme Court's DOMA ruling, this means that when my fiance and I get married, we'll receive pretty much all the benefits and privileges of marriage currently afforded to man-woman couples.

And even if "fewer and fewer people really want" to get married, that doesn't mean the option shouldn't be made available.

I think LGBT specific issues require a tremendous amount of broad-based, high emotional investment and sensitivity, which is just not long-term sustainable

This seems like wishful thinking more than anything else. Why is it "just not long-term sustainable"? You yourself have noted repeatedly on this blog that LGBT causes have only gained increased acceptance amongst the general population (even if you attribute that to mass propaganda/manipulation/social coercion/faulty-yet-still-persuasive arguments). Again, I point to recent poll numbers which show broad support for same-sex marriage among the youth population; this would seem to contradict your hunch that "LGBT-sympathetic people" are fighting an ultimately transient battle.

tribes of people who live in their own neighborhoods by and large, and more and more think primarily in terms of 'their people'.

The presence of ethnic enclaves/neighborhoods doesn't preclude notions of multiculturalism. In fact, I'd say just the opposite is the case: cities that see the development of such neighborhoods are witnessing multiculturalism, simply by virtue of playing host to so many different ethnic/racial cultures and experiences. Can you be more specific about how things are going in "Europe"? Surely, as a continent with many countries, there's more than one multicultural trend happening.

jeltranksss said...

(continued)

insofar as we opponents of gay marriage have been systematically depicted as near-savages standing over the quivering, whimpering, embracing bodies of gay couples, wielding a blood-soaked bat and screaming "AH HATE ME SOME QUEERS!"

Sure, by some. But I wonder how much of the imagery you use is a result of possible guilt over continuing to (try to) keep same-sex marriage illegal. Seriously. Because most of us just think you're wrong and, yes, hurtful to oppose gay marriage in the first place, but that doesn't mean we (or at least I) think you're out to kill gay people or forcibly separate gay couples or anything like that. I think you're wrong and kind of a dick for opposing it, just as you may think I'm wrong and kind of a dick for supporting it. Pointing out (what we see as) discriminatory attitudes does not necessarily entail conceiving of you as some kind of totalitarian monster or what have you. Again, it doesn't do you or your arguments any good to caricaturize your opponents this way. That would be like me caricaturizing all opposition to same-sex marriage as akin to Westboro Baptist-like protests, which would certainly be an unfair analogy to make.

. Do you find it odd, much less wrong, for two people to live together for years and never get married - maybe even never think about marriage, particularly if they have no children? Or how about a straight couple getting married, remaining childless?

No. I'm not sure what you're getting at here, to be honest. Perhaps you're implying that in places like Scandinavia, where gay marriage is (presumably) legal, people in general aren't rushing to get married?

I've already given those arguments - check my blog history.

Forgive my possible carelessness, but I've browsed your blog history and can't really find any posts directly addressing why gay sex is wrong. You talk about why conservatives need to be more forthright with the sexual vocabulary/imagery of this discussion, and you make several mentions of natural law. If there's a post or two I've missed, forgive me--you've got several years of posting history to sift through after all, and believe it or not I don't have that much free time.

I mean, I could write a lot about the very idea of coming-out days alone. I can't be the only one who's ever realized that the person screaming at the top of their lungs about how proud they are is giving off abundant evidence that they are tremendously self-conscious.

Oh man, there's almost too much I disagree with here; I don't even know where to begin. To keep it brief: "coming-out days" do not (or at least are not meant to) imply that those who are coming out aren't "tremendously self-conscious," and I'm not even sure how that assessment is relevant in the first place. But really, the fact that you equate coming out of the closet to "screaming at the top of your lungs about how proud you are" suggests to me that you don't really understand what coming out entails or why it's important for so many queer people.

We saw that recently with the Duck Dynasty example, just to give the most recent and public iteration.

Did it ever occur to you that plenty of LGBT people disagreed with A&E's handling of the Duck Dynasty situation (i.e. their decision to "fire" the guy because of his statements in an interview)?

And again with the "reducing them to caricatures." You literally just did that with your "screaming at the top of their lungs" example. Pot, kettle, etc.

jeltranksss said...

(Part 3!)

But really, I am so tired of being told 'tut tut, you should respect people who disagree with you' when 'respect' is the first thing sacrificed by my intellectual opponents.

So you shouldn't respect people who have treated you rudely? That hardly seems Christlike.

More than that, though, is my broader point, which I've already alluded to but I'll mention again. An increasing number of people--at least in the West--disagree with you about sexual ethics. You can stamp your feet and assume that none (or only very few) of them "respectfully dissent from your positions," but that reads to me like an attempt to rationalize increasing opposition to your philosophical stances--especially when coupled with your predictions that LGBT rights are at best a transitory achievement that will probably reverse themselves in the future. Assume whatever you want, but at least acknowledge that people can disagree with you without having been manipulated or shamed into doing so.

Allow me to ask you a question in return. In terms of the public sphere, what exactly is it about my engagement and upcoming marriage to my fiance that you find so objectionable? Is it really just the sex aspect? Would you support the right of a same-sex couple to get married if they agreed to not have sex with each other? Somehow I doubt that, so I'm wondering what else your reasoning is here.

Crude said...

At the risk of sounding disingenuous, what "emotional manipulation" have I employed here?

Little. I mentioned a very popular tool, not a universal trait.

Can you really not conceive that some people disagree with you on issues of sexual morality without having been emotionally manipulated?

The issue isn't 'some' but 'most people'. No, I see tragically little evidence that there has been a sub-decade sea change on this topic due to powerful intellectual argument and rational reflection, and that the massive amount of emotional appeals and strawmanning in play wasn't primary.

Why is this problematic? In face, a federal judge not too long ago ruled that use of the derogatory term "nigger" is illegal in the workplace

What do federal judges have to do with analyzing the rationality of claims? Does India's supreme court carry intellectual weight with you?

Well I agree that we're going to probably see a general loss of concern about the issue, but for the opposite reason--as homosexuality becomes more normalized in our culture

It's never going to be normalized, barring some amazing sci-fi scenarios. We're talking about the sexual habits of an extreme minority that (again, barring said scenarios) has serious bars from spreading as a practice, and more than one way of being decreased.

Do you think Canada is going to stop recognizing such marriages in the near (or even distant) future (while still recognizing heterosexual unions)?

Distant future? Sure. What, are you really under the impression that gay marriage has been etched into some eternal codex and shall never, until the end of the universe, be regarded poorly?

This seems like wishful thinking more than anything else.

Not really - just reality. You're the one taking the position that even in the distant future there's no way same-sex sexual relationships will fall into disrepute, much less gay marriage. I think it's pretty easy to tell which one of us is engaged in wishful thinking.

Me? I'm pointing out that there is a fundamental requirement of major emotional investment on this issue, and that it's unsustainable.

Again, I point to recent poll numbers which show

That overwhelmingly popular positions can reverse course on a dime. Go back 1 or 2 decades and see the popularity of gay marriage then. But you think massive swings only go in a single direction? Again - who's engaged in wishful thinking?

Can you be more specific about how things are going in "Europe"?

How about you point at the country where the popular sentiment is increasing in favor of increased immigration? Switzerland just had a nice little vote today about immigration. Good, liberal nordic country. How did the vote turn out?

Crude said...

Pointing out (what we see as) discriminatory attitudes does not necessarily entail conceiving of you as some kind of totalitarian monster or what have you. Again, it doesn't do you or your arguments any good to caricaturize your opponents this way.

I'm not saying it's a necessary entailment. I'm saying it's a very common practice. Pointing out that my opponents rely heavily on caricatures is not a caricature if they're actually doing exactly that.

That would be like me caricaturizing all opposition to same-sex marriage as akin to Westboro Baptist-like protests, which would certainly be an unfair analogy to make.

Unfair? WBC is an extraordinarily tiny church that is such a self-parody that I wouldn't be surprised to find out GLAAD funded them. Yet you know their name, and I know their name. They are, for many, the literal face of gay marriage criticism and criticism of sodomy.

So much for the unfairness.

No. I'm not sure what you're getting at here, to be honest.

On that note, I'm simply pointing out that your claims about the importance of marriage doesn't seem to cash out to much of anything.

Forgive my possible carelessness, but I've browsed your blog history and can't really find any posts directly addressing why gay sex is wrong.

For one thing, it's sodomy, not merely gay sex. For another, it's rooted in natural law arguments about the proper function of and final cause of bodies and desires. Sexual desires' ultimate end is procreation. Now, there are associated ends that are fulfilled with it, but procreation is primary - ergo entirely non-procreative acts are corruptions of it.

But really, the fact that you equate coming out of the closet to "screaming at the top of your lungs about how proud you are" suggests to me that you don't really understand what coming out entails or why it's important for so many queer people.

Equate? I'm talking about what I saw at the rallies I attended.

Did it ever occur to you that plenty of LGBT people disagreed with A&E's handling of the Duck Dynasty situation

Have you ever noticed that I draw sharp distinctions between LGBT activists, and LGBT people? I did it here as well.

And again with the "reducing them to caricatures." You literally just did that with your "screaming at the top of their lungs" example.

Let me guess - the gay guys dressed like leatherdaddies on rollerskates are caricatures too? How many of these guys do I need to see before they're real, man?

Crude said...

So you shouldn't respect people who have treated you rudely? That hardly seems Christlike.

I'm also tired of people acting as if they want me to adhere to the teachings of my religion, selectively.

But no, this idea that 'you should smile and be nice and happy to anyone who disrespects you' isn't Christlike. Read the Bible - Christ was entirely capable of talking in harsh words and blunt tones.

You can stamp your feet and assume that none (or only very few) of them "respectfully dissent from your positions," but that reads to me like an attempt to rationalize increasing opposition to your philosophical stances

And your reply here reads to me like someone who's worried at an accurate assessment of the state of affairs. What, you think people have largely come to the opinions they have about same-sex marriage and sexuality because of deep intellectual arguments? Perhaps 18 year olds have universally gained an appreciation for the writings of David Hume and a utilitarian or consequentialist approach to ethical norms? C'mon.

Assume whatever you want, but at least acknowledge that people can disagree with you without having been manipulated or shamed into doing so.

I can and do. But you seem to want to put me in this bizarre, against-all-evidence position of regarding the vast majority of people as having come to their conclusions about homosexuality and same-sex marriage due to sincere intellectual reflection and argument, which is absurd. For one thing, that view is demonstrably not taken with regards to those who oppose such things.

I mean, again - look at the Duck Dynasty situation. You lecture me that 'not all gays approve of that'. Granted, that's true. But in terms of LGBT groups, where are the dissenting voices? Let me tell you a good word to describe the LGBT groups and activists who firmly opposed the way Phil Robertson was attacked: "Powerless." Also, "Irrelevant."

In terms of the public sphere, what exactly is it about my engagement and upcoming marriage to my fiance that you find so objectionable?

Again I note the habit - mentioned right in the OP - of always trying to make the examples as personal as possible.

Let's see. I find it an abuse of marriage. It directly and indirectly encourages further abuses. It helps to erode the cultural barriers and protections/importance of marriage, the purpose of it, which itself is tied up in sexual proclivities, taboos, norms and behavior. All this before I even get to the natural law arguments.

Is it really just the sex aspect?

The sex is exclusively what is wrong with gay unions. If all you did with the man you call your fiance was love him and spend your life with him, sans sex, what would I have to criticize on that front?

Would you support the right of a same-sex couple to get married if they agreed to not have sex with each other?

That's still a warping of marriage. Have two heterosexual guys get married to each other and just never have sex / they just date women. I'm still opposed. It's still a corruption of marriage - which is a separable issue from the sex issues, etc.