Thursday, May 10, 2012


Getting Right to the Point

It usually goes with any debate (although I notice it more with liberals debating conservatives) that as soon as one side starts losing the argument, that loser goes ad hominem. I believe you lose the argument when you start to call the other one bad names. It's like a poker tell.

I used to try to analyze the Saturday columns lefty David Sirota wrote for the Denver Post, but I quickly discovered there was no there there. There was no real substance to analyze. Recently I learned Mr. Sirota has a morning talk radio show, and I listened to it for a while this morning. Here was his topic:

Is everyone who opposes gay marriage a bigot?

See how Mr. Sirota skipped the messy argument on the merits and went straight to name calling?

I have to ask if calling everyone who disagrees with you on a social/political issue a bigot is a good way to advance your arguments?

How about this topic:

Is everyone who calls everyone who disagrees about a social/political issue a bigot an asshole?

I kinda think so.

I'm not a bigot about anyone (other than Algerians--long story) and certainly not regarding sexual mores (other than criminal behavior). Nor am I afraid that I am the same as gay men sexually, which is what homophobia literally means. I oppose my friends' view who think there's something wrong with gay people. I stand up for their equal treatment both before the law and socially. I think gay people should have equal rights regarding long term relationships. I just ask that they not call it marriage. Here's why:

The primary purpose of marriage is procreation and preparing the children produced to have children themselves (in fact, this is the single rule for all life--just read Darwin). It takes a long time to help a child become an adult healthy in body, mind and spirit--at least  an eighth of a century and more likely a quarter. That's a long time. It's difficult. It takes real commitment. The best way to do it is with a mom and a dad. Thus the gold standard for producing good adults is what, remarkably, has been the traditional definition of marriage. Let's leave polygamy for another day. Oh, and yes, I'm aware that 20% of married couples won't be able to have children.

What the liberals like Sirota appear unable to grasp is that they want to chuck the traditional definition of marriage and replace it with: You can marry whomever you want, or, perhaps more narrowly, whomever you love deeply and want to enter a committed monogamous relationship with. If that is what the majority of Americans vote for (state by state, as there is no method available for national plebiscite), I won't complain. So far, however, it is 32 to 0 against voting to have the new definition. That's a lot of bigots. No wonder Mr. Sirota (and his ilk) seem to hate the United States.

Here's the rub, a slippery slope argument (which I admit up front is weak but still there): If you sanction gay marriage, replace the traditional definition, you have no logically coherent argument against the guy who wants to marry his sister, two women, or his dog. No argument.

I'm not comparing gay marriage to incest, polygamy or bestiality, I'm just saying you have paved the way for the exact same "civil/equal right which you're a bigot to disagree with" argument Sirota and his ilk are using now. Other than the slight disadvantage of not having the preferred mom and dad raising the child, there isn't any harm in gay marriage, other than it makes it impossible to oppose other forms of marriage, which really are harmful, without hearing the exact same argument and name calling (if you're as narrowly focused as Mr. Sirota) used against you.

If I sent this to him, if he read it, I believe he would dismiss my arguments and call me a bigot. Why bother with the actual intellectual effort of examining your belief when challenged?

I'll still send it to him and report back.


Well, I do have an argument against marrying your dog, which does not rest on the traditional Western definition. A dog is unable to consent to a contractual agreement.

Part of the reason (or so I've read) homosexuals want that specific definition is due to the legal morass of benefits specific to the term. This is, of course, rubbish which could easily (well, not really, given ideological barriers, etc.) be done away with. Insurance? Here's a policy which lets you add members of your 'partnership', as long as they meet criteria X, Y, and Z. Simplify the tax code, too. How much of this controversy would then go away?

As the proper role of government (to the extent it has any) isn't, last I looked, ensuring the propagation of the species. And people seem quite capable of doing so without government prodding anyway. So then the only thing for governments to be concerned about here is the enforcement of contract law in cases of dispute. This doesn't require adherence to the traditional definition of marriage either.
Bah! A dangling introductory clause! :P
I think you've found an alternative way to legal equality, but I doubt that would be acceptable to the Sirotas of the world. As I predicted, silence from him after I sent the post. When are the lbertarian bloggers getting together next?
I think that using that word has become a cause by itself. The exactly correct way to explain what I mean by that was fully formed in my mind for a most ephemeral period, and lost when it occurred to me that the pizza had cooled enough to eat. At the least, I think that the most ardent of the 'marriage' proponents will not feel as if they've achieved victory unless they're able to use it.

But of course, the religious crowd will want a term which distinguishes their relationship from a mere civil contract. And I can at least understand their point.

Not much rumbling going on about a Blogger Bash at the moment. Wouldn't be too tough to put something in motion.
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