The "Social Justice" Left and the Collapse of Rational Thought

Hugogate is still roiling the science fiction community — and interestingly enough, the controversy has managed to attract the attention of the national media. Granted, Glenn Reynolds is a long-standing sci-fi fan, as his periodic book recommendations attest. And yes — perhaps it was a slow news week. But what’s going on in the fandom shouldn’t be written off as irrelevant to the general populace. On the contrary, what’s going on in the fandom mirrors what’s going on in society as a whole — at least wherever the hard-left social justice warriors have gained substantial power and influence. Planning on sending your child to a traditional university? Then you need to know how said radicals operate. You need to know that they are the outright enemies of rational thought.

Consider: As a firearms instructor, Larry Correia (one of the authors at the center of the aforementioned controversy) has taught thousands of people of all races, ethnicities, sexual orientations, and creeds how to defend themselves. As he writes, “I think people who would try to drag anyone to death behind a pickup truck will have a difficult time doing so after they have a pair of hollow points placed into their chest cavity at high speed.” He has also expressed his libertarian indifference regarding the bedroom habits of his fellow citizens. But because he’s tangled with social justice warriors on whether or not science fiction writers should abandon the “gender binary” – and because he once defended Phil Robertson’s right to think gay sex is weird and sinful – he’s been defamed up and down the blogosphere as a violent homophobe. You see, it’s not enough that Larry is amenable to changing the law to give gay rights activists what they claim they want — i.e., the ability to enter into marriage contracts like anyone else. No — as far as the social justice warriors are concerned, you are a homophobe until you wholly and unambiguously approve of the gay lifestyle in all its particulars. Fail to march in lock-step with this celebratory agenda and you will be declared, essentially, a nonperson.
This is irrational — and tyrannical to boot. Yes — some gay and transgendered individuals have been bullied for who they are, and that is an injustice that requires recompense. But the right answer is not to become bullies yourselves and lash out indiscriminately at everyone who has doubts or questions about the way you choose to live. There are thousands of people out there who oppose gay marriage not because they seek to hurt you, but because of their sincere religious beliefs. There are also thousands of people who are willing to consider a compromise that allows gays to enter into civil marriage contracts while also protecting the rights of the religious to preach and act as they see fit. None of these people deserve to be browbeaten into submission; indeed, many in the second group are potential allies whom you are turning off by your continuing failure to distinguish between those who are legitimately threatening and hateful and those who merely dissent. 
And lest you think the hard-left is only poisoning the well on the matter of homosexuality, this full-bore irrationality also appears whenever these social justice warriors take up the issue of race. First of all, they erroneously flatten the history of oppression into a “whites vs. people of color” narrative that ignores, to name just a few examples, the mistreatment of the Irish in both the US and the UK, the continuing prejudice against the Romani people and other white nomadic groups, the atrocities committed by the Japanese against the Chinese during World War II (which, oh by the way, rival the crimes of the Nazis during the European Holocaust), and the Rwandan genocide (in which black Africans massacred other black Africans). Look through the history of any culture and you will find instances in which the Other was attacked, enslaved, or otherwise deprived of their natural rights. Tribalism is a universal feature of the human mind that can only be overcome by conscious, arduous effort; no nation or race of men can be declared 100% innocent.
Secondly, social justice warriors refuse to recognize that “white” does not describe a monolithic group and that “privilege,” if it does exist, has more to do with class than with skin color. There is no way on Earth that an unemployed white man in eastern Kentucky is more privileged than a black professor of women’s studies at an elite coastal university — but according to your average social justice warrior, if you’re a white male heterosexual, you automatically live life on an easier setting, a notion that is laughably counter to facts. Similarly, these petty Marxists hold all whites responsible for the crimes of slavery and Jim Crow — forgetting, of course, the white abolitionists and civil rights activists who played a key role in defeating both of these manifestations of institutional discrimination. Group-based charges of guilt are neither historically accurate nor constructive; they are more likely to foster resentment than racial harmony.  
Lastly, the social justice left utterly fails to attribute to any minority group either humanity or agency. If you criticize hip-hop culture, you’re a racist. If you express concern about the collapse of the black family, you’re a racist. If you hold members of a favored minority group responsible for the consequences of their own behavior, you’re a racist. In the mind of a social justice warrior, if you are a “person of color,” you are an unimpeachable victim. Nothing is your fault — and on the flip side of the coin, there is nothing you can personally do to lift yourself up by your own bootstraps. You are powerless and in urgent need of the social justice warrior’s helping hand. As many black conservatives have observed, this is a profoundly condescending viewpoint — and virulently racist, too. “People of color” are just as capable of looking after themselves; what they need is the liberty to pursue their own interests, not a fleet of self-appointed saviors who swoop in and treat them like helpless children.
Honestly, I could go on forever about the myriad ways in which social justice radicals have assaulted logic, history, and human decency. The science fiction fandom? That’s an instructive microcosm, not an anomaly. 
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Leftist Intolerance, Part Eleventy-Billion

As of this week, I no longer use Mozilla Firefox as my default browser.

And just so we’re clear, this is not because I necessarily agree with Brandon Eich’s decision to support the Proposition 8 campaign. On the issue of gay marriage, I am a true moderate. On the one hand, as an observant Catholic, I do believe that marriage is an indissoluble, sacramental union between a man and a woman whose purposes – procreation and unity – are categorically inseparable. In the realm of politics, however, I lean towards the libertarian position. I question the wisdom of imposing by force of law the true definition of marriage without first doing the cultural groundwork. After all, let’s face it: Marriage – genuine marriage, that is – is something we no longer value as a society — and it was the heterosexual majority, by and large, who brought about this change. Well before gay marriage became a flashpoint for controversy, straight men and women were having children out of wedlock, getting divorced and remarried, having contracepted sex, and basically treating marriage not as the serious commitment outlined above but as a vehicle for adult self-expression — and until we address this severe erosion of the marriage ideal at the level of civil society, all arguments in favor of officially codifying a proper understanding of the institution will fail to be persuasive.

Additionally, as a person of good will who has gay friends, I sympathize with the homosexual community’s yearning to be accepted and included — and, quite frankly, I feel that some people who oppose homosexual acts on moral and/or religious grounds have failed to acquit themselves well when it comes to treating their gay brothers and sisters with compassion and respect. I hear horror stories – and I have no reason to believe they’re not true – of gay young people being thrown out of their homes by parents who apparently have forgotten the principle of loving the sinner while hating the sin. I also had friends in high school who were relentlessly bullied because they were merely perceived as gay. And social conservative rhetoric? I may agree with the baseline principles, but — well, let’s just say I think some serious revision and re-framing is in order. Gays and lesbians are human beings with human longings, and while we should, for the sake of truth, continue to promote the proper definition of marriage, that does not mean we can’t – or that we shouldn’t – think of ways to answer those longings that hold fast to our convictions while simultaneously acknowledging the dignity of those who must bear the homosexual cross.

That being said, I can’t abide leftist bullies — or the quislings who cravenly yield to their demands. And make no mistake: What happened to Brandon Eich was bullying, and bullying of the most illiberal kind.

It would be one thing if leftist gays and their allies had simply decided not to use Firefox upon learning that its organization’s new CEO supported Proposition 8. Hell — if I were to learn that the CEO of a particular business were, say, an enthusiastic supporter of Planned Parenthood, I would seriously entertain the idea of going somewhere else. Boycotts are an adult, responsible way of showing your displeasure; no one should feel forced to support, monetarily or otherwise, a viewpoint one personally finds abhorrent. Driving a man out of his job for holding an “unpalatable” opinion without presenting any evidence that said opinion would lead to legitimate acts of discrimination against his employees or the customers his organization serves, however, crosses the line into blacklisting — and if it wasn’t okay to blacklist communists in Hollywood in the 1950’s, why is it suddenly okay to blacklist opponents of gay marriage now?

The left, it appears, has abandoned critical thought and civility in favor of pure, unadulterated revenge — which they then seek to justify by blurring the line between social disapproval and outright oppression. I have – no joke – seen leftists argue on Tumblr that if we “rightwing Teabaggers” approve of the Founding Fathers’ taking up arms to secure their liberty, we should also approve of gay radicals using aggressive means to achieve their goals. But, of course, the two situations aren’t even remotely comparable. There are elements of our legal code that probably should be altered to, as I counseled above, acknowledge the very real concerns of gay citizens, and homosexuals sometimes aren’t treated with the charity they deserve — but these are problems that, right now, can be solved through the democratic process, through conversation, and – for the worst cases – through existing criminal law. ‘Tis a situation very different from that which the Founding Fathers faced, in which their assertion of their rights brought an army of musket-armed Redcoats to their doors. ‘Tis also a situation very different from that which homosexuals currently face in countries governed by radical Sharia law, where the murder of gays for the sake of religious purity is officially sanctioned. And it’s a situation very different from that faced by civil rights activists after World War II, whose attempts to challenge a comprehensive, organized legal structure that imposed second-class status on blacks in every particular were met with government-perpetrated violence.

These leftists also refuse to distinguish between honest, well-meaning opposition and actual hate. If you express any doubts about the crusade to redefine marriage, you are, as far as the left is concerned, on par with the Westboro Baptist Church. But that is not how it works in reality. The Catholic Church is the largest and most prominent institution that opposes gay marriage — but the Church also offers relief to AIDS patients regardless of their sexual orientation. How does that square with the whole idea that people who promote traditional, biblical marriage can only have malign motives? Yes — some gays have been hurt by family members, neighbors, and schoolmates just because they’re gay. I definitely don’t want to minimize that — and as I suggested above, I think we as Christians have a special obligation to reach out to the walking wounded in the gay community and work to rebuild trust. But — projecting the image of the father who disowned you onto everyone who does not approve of your lifestyle is no more valid an approach to life than assuming all homosexual men are pederasts.

And by the way, gay activists: You haven’t actually helped your own cause. Once again, there is absolutely no evidence that Eich’s personal views on the subject of marriage would’ve impacted how he ran Mozilla in any way; in fact, Eich publicly indicated that the contrary was the case. Thus, in scalping the now-former CEO, you’ve essentially confirmed the Christian Right’s worst fears about your true motives: that you’re interested not in “equal rights” but in compelling societal approval by force. Continue on that path, and the tide may turn against you; such is the consequence of vengeance.      

Responding to Annoying Liberal Remarks on Facebook, XIII: On Epistemic Closure and Liberalism

I’m thinking, now, that I may have to stay off Facebook until well after the election. All it does is inspire incandescent rage at how utterly impervious to reason certain people are. Before I go, though, there is one last individual I need to (rhetorically) destroy. Said individual is a “friend-of-a-friend” with whom I have tangled TWICE in the past two days, and he is a textbook example of a concept known as “epistemic closure.”

What’s “epistemic closure,” you may ask? Basically, it’s a fancy term describing a reliance on too few sources of information. Liberals love to declare that we conservatives are sufferers, but such claims are patently ridiculous. We get exposed to liberal thought all the bloody time. We can’t avoid liberals even if we tried because of the left’s stranglehold on the engines of our culture. Can liberals, meanwhile, say that they’ve sat down to peruse the National Review? Well, the aforementioned “friend-of-a-friend” certainly can’t.

(Cut for extreme length.)

I first ran into the individual in question – whom I will dub “Close-Minded Liberal,” or CML for short – in a discussion about Chick-Fil-A. As you might expect, CML was absolutely convinced that everyone who lined up for a chicken sandwich on the 1st was there to express their gay-hating bigotry. I jumped in to make the demonstrably true claim (see also: yours truly, Andrew Klavan, Glenn Reynolds, the posters at Gay Patriot, and the many people quoted in articles covering the Appreciation Day) that many people who are, at the very least, sympathetic when it comes to the gay rights movement have also come out in support of Chick-Fil-A. I then noted that the most likely animating impulse for the huge turn-out was the over-reach of certain liberal politicians. His response, which he has since repeated many times, can be paraphrased thusly:

The people who are framing this as a free speech issue are misguided. This is a free market issue. People were exercising their right to free speech in boycotting Chick-Fil-A, and if it hurt Dan Cathy’s pocketbook, tough titties. The liberal mayors only complicated things.

I didn’t respond to this because I was already out of patience regarding the whole Chick-Fil-A issue, but here’s what I would’ve said if I wasn’t tapped out:

Let’s leave aside your laughable belief that your precious boycott did anything significant to hurt the chain’s sales numbers. (Even before the Appreciation Day was called, the restaurant here in Woodbridge was doing brisk business regardless of the bad publicity.) Instead, let’s tackle the other claims. First of all, you strongly imply that social conservatives are simply objecting to the idea of a boycott because they don’t understand what free speech actually means. This is false. We don’t dispute the pro-gay left’s right to hold a boycott. We do, however, reserve our right to comment on what that boycott – and in particular, the deeply misleading liberal commentary promoting it – says about your potential for fascistic overreach (not to mention your apparent inability to understand and tolerate people who disagree with you). Over and over again, I’ve seen people like you advance the following line of reasoning:

People who hate gays are against gay marriage.
Dan Cathy is against gay marriage.
Therefore, Dan Cathy hates gay people.

This is what is known as a converse error (if you’re in geometry class) or the fallacy of the undistributed middle (if you’re a logician). The majority of people who have doubts about gay marriage are simply religious people who hate and fear no one. Perhaps they are misguided – I, for one, am not completely convinced that’s the case – but your attempts to involuntarily baptize them all into the Westboro Baptist Church will guaran-damn-tee that you will persuade no one to rethink his position. It has also convinced many that your true intention is to quash each American’s freedom of religious observance. Sure — you technically have a right to hold a boycott and call us all bigots for disagreeing. But we have a right to worry out loud about what you might do, given your hostile attitude, if you were to gain real political power. It’s not an utterly unbridgeable gap between declaring a viewpoint anathema and acting to legally suppress it.

And actually, in reality, the left’s totalitarian impulse can no longer be described as merely “potential.” The Obama administration has already realized that potential through their contraception mandate. So if we’re being a little hypersensitive, such apprehension is certainly not based on nothing. The president and his coterie are telling me that I while I can worship God in a Catholic Church every Sunday, I certainly can’t live my faith the other days of the week. How can I not fear for my constitutional rights?

Which brings me to your attempt to minimize the role of Mayors Menino and Emanuel. I’m sorry, but no — there is good reason to believe that their actions are what primarily drove the turn out the other day. As far as I can tell from looking at the dates, Huckabee did not call for a Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day until after Menino announced his intention to block Chick-Fil-A’s expansion into Boston. There were complaints about the pro-gay left before, yes, but once the aforementioned politicians got into the act, that’s when the conservative response exploded exponentially — and rightfully so, because Menino and Emanuel were now proposing that municipal governments use their power to issue business licenses and zoning permits as a stick to beat people like Cathy for not toeing the liberal party line. Such actions would clearly violate the First Amendment, a fact already noted by several libertarian, conservative, and honest liberal commentators. The Chick-Fil-A flap is not over our right to free speech? Dishonest nonsense! You can’t arbitrarily put the mayors aside just because they inconveniently blow giant holes in your “Chick-Fil-A’s supporters are all gay bashers” narrative.

ARRRRRRRRGH! Rahm Emanuel does not represent the “free market,” you tool.

Okay — now let’s move on to the next dispute. My Facebook friend, who is a moderate liberal and a genuinely nice guy, posted one of those dumb Facebook memes that advances Obama’s Roanoke argument regarding our responsibility to the government, remarking in passing that he thinks both sides – liberal and conservative – have advanced points regarding said speech that are correct. CML immediately responded (and again, this is a paraphrase), “That’s impossible. The Republican viewpoint depends on being willfully ignorant regarding Obama’s larger point.”

Well, I leaped into the fray at once, because I can’t stand this new liberal meme that claims we all misunderstood what Obama said in my home state. Oh please, liberals. Let me call the WAAAAAAAAAAAmbulance. We conservatives understood him perfectly. Obama made the wholly banal observation that the government does a number of things that keep us safe and allow the economy to function in order to advance his perennial argument that the rich have a patriotic duty to accept higher tax rates. But as we logic freaks might say, “Non sequitur!” I already took apart much of this rhetoric a few posts ago, but since then, I’ve come up with a few more rejoinders. For example:

1. Many of the government services that liberals like to cite because they’re popular – like fire and police – are handled at the local level, not the federal level. How does it make sense for Obama to ask certain people to pay more federal taxes for things the federal government doesn’t even do?

2. In other cases, liberals commit another logical error: They automatically assume that because the government was involved in the moon shot (or some other genuine accomplishment, like the interstate highway system), we should support current and future government funding of any other “innovation” Obama and his buddies personally favor (like “green energy” or high speed bullet trains) or else be branded as “unpatriotic” and “selfish.” It is true that, in the 20th century, politicians tended to default to big government solutions. That was the high water mark for centralized, top-down “blue state model” thinking. And it’s also true that the government didn’t completely fail at everything it touched. (See also: the moon shot.) But you cannot therefore conclude that we would not have nice things like electricity and telecommunications were it not for the intervention of a 20th century-style federal bureaucracy — or that we won’t have nice things in the years to come if we slim that bureaucracy down to a more sustainable size.

3. Even if we stipulate that certain things must be handled by the federal government – and most conservatives do, by the way – that absolutely does not mean that our present government is discharging its obligatory tasks in a way that is efficient or financially smart. Duplication, waste and inertia are endemic in DC. Take something simple — like the weather. The NWS and the NOAA seem like obviously beneficial organizations. We all want to know when a hurricane is coming, right? But as SABR Matt has discussed here, here and here, even the NWS and the NOAA are weighed down with silly redundancies and out-dated technology. Why should we be satisfied with this? And why should we fork over more money to the alphabet soup when it’s clear it won’t be used wisely? I’m not saying that there aren’t excellent federal employees who honestly wish to serve the public good. I am saying, however, that the inherent characteristics of the federal bureaucracy often make it difficult for the sincere public servant to do his job. The federal government desperately needs to be audited and streamlined — and until that happens, Obama has no justification for holding his hands out.

4. Finally, while the government does perform critical functions that keep the economy moving, it also performs many non-critical duties whose consequence is to block economic growth. I was working as a secretary at a fairly large insulation company the year Sarbanes-Oxley went into effect, and holy crap was that a nightmare of epic proportions! Currently, businesses are forced to spend a great deal of time and many millions of dollars annually on crossing their T’s and dotting their I’s to avoid being hounded by government regulators — and it’s all because leftist consumer advocates and environmentalists want us to chase the utopian fantasy that is zero percent risk. In the same vein, if you’re currently unemployed and you decide you want to sell cookies out of your kitchen, hot dogs in the park, or lemonade on your driveway, forget it. The government will eventually come crashing down on you because you don’t have a “license.” Yet the arrogant left wants us to bow down and thank the government for making our prosperity possible? Bull. At best, the government harms as often as it helps. (By the way, Sarah Hoyt has written a very good post on this very subject entitled “Of Fists and Noses.” You should read it.)

Now, in dealing with CML, I didn’t say all of the above. After all, Facebook is hardly an ideal platform for lengthy explications of my political thought. What I did, do, however, was defend the idea that individual initiative matters. I noted that while thirty other students took AP Stats with Mr. W., my all time favorite teacher, only two students got 5’s on the AP exam. The students in my class all grew up in similarly situated families and had access to the same award-winning instructor, but only one other student and I got top marks. That seems to contradict this idea that we owe our success to others. In reply, CML insisted that Obama didn’t deny the importance of a successful business-person’s hard work and whined once again that I was missing the point. To that, I say, “Whatever, dude.” Granted, there was a throw-away line in there that mentioned individual initiative. But you have to take into account the overall tone of the speech — especially the passage at issue. When Obama says, “There are a lot of hard-working people out there!” he is outright mocking the ordinary (and justified) pride people take in what they’ve accomplished. When he says, “There are a lot of smart people out there!” you can hear the resentment and derision dripping from his voice. No — when I listen to that speech, I don’t hear a president who respects the business community. Even if I put the most charitable spin on this and accept that Obama didn’t completely abandon the traditional American understanding of prosperity and its roots, he certainly severely devalued said understanding.

CML also tried to lecture me about how we owe our forebears for this wonderful system they created and all the infrastructure they established. My instinctive reaction? “Kiss my ass.” (Well — that’s a printable interpretation, anyway.) I am thankful for what previous generations have done for me; if I had a time machine, I would go back and thank them right now. But that’s not what Obama is asking us to do. Instead, he is using this “legacy of previous generations” horse dung to guilt the gullible into paying for his pet boondoggles. You see, he is just so eager to play venture capitalist — even though, as the whole Solyndra disaster reveals, he has no effing clue how to recognize a viable business model. And, oh yes — while he’s at it, he also wants us to pay for an overhaul of our health care system that is almost certain to do more harm than good. This doesn’t have jack to do with preserving “American values.” It has everything to do with enriching the president’s cronies at the taxpayers’ expense.

Along the way, I also stated, accurately, that we conservatives don’t object to paying taxes for those things that are necessary. CML then tried to claim that celebrating tax evasion is the new meme sweeping the conservative movement. This was news to me. Since Obama’s inauguration, I have been reading Commentary Magazine, The Weekly Standard, The American Spectator, and the National Review. I’ve also frequently visited Instapundit (the indefatigable conservative/libertarian aggregator), Hot Air, PJTV (& PJ Media), Townhall, The Daily Caller and the Breitbart Feed. What’s more, I’ve read conservative books – a lot of conservative books – and have gone to conservative political conferences. In all of those places, I have never read (or heard) even so much as a sentence praising tax avoidance. So I bluntly told CML he was imagining things and challenged him to present his evidence. What did he give me? Remarks by Senator Lindsey Graham as interpreted by Think Progress and one blog post. I’ll get to the blog post in a minute, but first I want to talk about Graham, because – unlike Obama – he is misunderstood. Here’s what he actually said a few weeks ago (and I should say here that the Huffington Post deserves credit for including enough context to contradict Think Progress’ screaming headline):

“As long as it was legal, I’m OK with it,” Graham said. “I don’t blame anybody for using the tax code to their advantage. I blame us for having it so complicated and confused. Pick a rate and make people pay it.”

In the meantime, anything within the rules goes, he argued.

“It’s a game we play,” Graham said. “Every American tries to find the way to get the most deductions they can. I see nothing wrong with playing the game because we set it up to be a game.”

The senator’s solution to such gamesmanship is a major overhaul of the tax system, similar to the Simpson-Bowles deficit reduction plan that calls for lowering rates while closing loopholes.

“I want to end the game,” Graham said. “I want to make it so simple that you know what you owe, and if you don’t pay, we’re going to whack the heck out of you…”

So what Graham is really advocating here is that we remove those cozy little tax shelters and make the tax code flatter and more predictable — yet Think Progress interprets this as “Lindsey Graham says it’s American to avoid paying taxes,” and CML interprets Think Progress’ interpretation as, “Lindsey Graham says tax evasion is awesome. Wheeee!” Good God, there are so many comprehension failures at play here that I’m pretty sure no additional comment is required.

And as for the blog post? This is when I concluded once and for all that CML deserves to be called a CML — and an imbecilic one at that. First, let me give you a chance to actually read it:

Why It Is Patriotic to Not Pay Taxes

Done? Did you laugh as hard as I did and immediately demote CML’s intelligence to moron status? The above blog post is an obviously sarcastic criticism of companies – like GM (a friend of Obama) – that engage in crony capitalism. And by the way, if you go to the homepage for that site, here’s are some of the other blog posts you might find:

Chick-Fil-A: Real Chicken, Real Hate
The Bigoted Boy Scouts of America
Republican Pattern of Lying

Hmm. Doesn’t seem like a conservative blog to me. But, to be fair, I heeded CML’s plea that I Google some appropriate strings to find more. Predictably, while I tried several variations of “It’s American/patriotic to avoid paying taxes,” I found diddly-squat beyond a bunch of liberal sites maliciously distorting the conservative argument.

Now here’s what I have seen within the conservative movement over the last few years:

This is a quite different complaint. The people who carry signs like this are not upset that they have to pay taxes; they are upset that they are being asked to pay more even though Obama and his appointees and friends have amply demonstrated that they cannot be trusted with their money. This is not a push for anarchy; it is a request, tartly phrased, that the federal government be called to account for all the tax payer dollars it’s put through the shredder. But, of course, for people like CML – people who live in the hermetically sealed Think Progress bubble – it is just so much more convenient to portray us all as selfish Randian individualists and raging homophobic bigots. It’s so tidy, you know, not to have to consider your opponents’ concerns as anything other than the ravings of lunatic idiots.

With all due lack of respect, CML: Screw off.

The Left’s SPECTACULAR Failure Re: Chick-Fil-A

So, yeah — today, I had a grilled chicken sandwich from Chick-Fil-A for lunch, and our free-standing restaurant here in Woodbridge (VA) was packed to the gills. Was this merely a local phenomenon? Apparently not:

Chick-Fil-A Restaurants Around Country Overwhelmed By Show Of Support

Here’s the thing: If I were to use one word to describe my attitude regarding gay marriage, I think that word would be “ambivalent.” On the one hand, I have quite a few gay friends and consequently feel sympathy for their position. Personally, I don’t see why, for example, we can’t allow a gay man to visit his life partner in the ICU; said gay man’s feelings are real and should be respected. And let’s face it — if Kim Kardashian can divorce her latest husband after a mere 72 days of marriage without becoming the target of near universal condemnation, it’s no wonder the “sanctity of marriage!” argument is now failing to pass muster. In truth, the straight majority has already done quite enough to radically undermine the marriage sacrament. Will our tiny gay minority really make the situation worse?

On the other hand, I am a faithful Catholic and therefore obligated to take the Church’s teaching on homosexuality seriously. 2000-plus years of Christian tradition is not something to casually dismiss — especially given the overwhelming vindication of that tradition on the issues of contraception and abortion. Are we really happier now that we’ve completely removed the procreative function from the sexual act? Thanks to the supposed “liberation” of the sixties and seventies, poverty has been feminized, families are crumbling, and our children are getting the short end of the stick. How can we trust that gay marriage won’t be as destructive as that first “revolution” in sexual mores?

Bottom line, when it comes to gay marriage, I’m a true moderate. I can see the merits of both sides of the debate and am willing to consider a compromise solution of some sort — one that gives a gay union some secular legal heft without mandating social or religious acceptance. Because I gotta tell ya: If you’re looking for outright approval, you’re going to be waiting a ridiculously long time. Every time gay marriage has been put up to a popular vote, it has lost. Every time. It doesn’t matter if the vote is held in a “blue” state, a “red” state, or a purplish swing state; the results are always the same. And no — that doesn’t mean your fellow Americans are all bigoted yokels. It means they haven’t found your argument persuasive.

Left wing gay marriage advocates have basically convinced themselves that the entire Christian right looks like this:

… when in reality, Christians who oppose gay marriage look more like my neighbors, my unassuming Korean boss, my relatives, and my priests — i.e., folks who would never dream of hurting anyone and generally aren’t hateful or “phobic.” I mean, really: Does this guy sound like he’s seething with rage?  Does this woman sound like she’s itching to string gay men up by their toenails? Please, leftists — be honest in your dealings with people who disagree with you. Cartoonifying your opposition only hurts you in the long run. 

And thus, I come back to Chick-Fil-A. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t agree 100% with Dan Cathy were I to have an in-depth conversation with him about gay marriage. But after a week of watching the Two Minutes Hate unfold on Facebook over Cathy’s remarks in re: marriage, I evolved into a firm supporter of the beleaguered CEO. I just don’t like deceitfulness, hypocrisy, or bullying, and the whole Chick-Fil-A affair has featured generous helpings of all three. The deceit came in every time a gay marriage booster conflated Cathy’s opposition to gay marriage with an outright hatred of gays. The hypocrisy and bullying, meanwhile, came in when certain high-profile politicians – who, by the way, wouldn’t dream of challenging a black mega-church or a mosque on this same issue – threatened to block Chick-Fil-A’s expansion into their territories. Are these men aware of this thing we have called the First Amendment? I’m pretty sure it’s illegal to use government force to shut someone up. Oh — and who exactly died and made you the boss of your constituents’ consumer choices, Rahm? Perhaps you should let people make up their own damned minds whether they wish to patronize Cathy’s chicken joint or not.

I’m betting a poll of Chick-Fil-A’s customers today would reveal attitudes very much like my own. The huge backlash against the anti-Chick-Fil-A rhetoric, I feel, reflects the average American’s impatience with moral busybodies who seek to dictate to us how we should live our everyday lives. As one of my Facebook friends remarked today, “Can’t I just order a chicken sandwich without it becoming a huge political affair?” Amen to that, brother! If you wish to personally boycott Chick-Fil-A over Cathy’s position on gay marriage, that’s your prerogative — but don’t attempt to force your opinions on the rest of us.

Regarding the Kerfluffle Over CPAC’s Inclusion of GOProud

I will be attending and reporting on some of the events at CPAC 2011 next week, so I feel I’m obligated to make a statement regarding the controversy over GOProud’s presence at the conference:

As a conservative Catholic, I take seriously the Church’s teachings on homosexuality. I think the Magisterium is right to decry the dualism of the post-modern world, which declares that a “person” is a ghost in a biological machine who can bend that machine to his pure will. Our physical bodies are morally important. Declaring that they aren’t provides justification for a whole host of evils, including premarital sex, drug use, and abortion.

On the other hand, because I myself have close ties to the gay community – because I myself am quite attracted to the gay subculture – I also approach the Church’s teachings on homosexuality with a great deal of ambivalence. I don’t want to tell my friends that their sexual feelings are disordered and that they should give up their hopes for a marriage-like monogamous union with someone they truly love. As such, I have personally embraced a sort of compromise position: Gays can’t get married; they shouldn’t receive the Sacrament of Matrimony. But I don’t object to their seeking civil unions through our secular government. I do believe the Catholic Church is right to advocate for celibacy as the ideal choice for gay men and women, but I also believe we should respect each gay individual’s freedom of conscience. And we should always – always – treat gays with respect and charity; we should welcome them into our businesses, our military, and our political process. Genuine bigotry and violence against gays is something we should never tolerate.

Given this position, I applaud CPAC’s choice to invite GOProud. Most of the gays I personally know are conservative lesbians who hate Obama and the Left with a passion that is comparable to that of most socially conservative activist groups. They aren’t members of the “Cocktail GOP Establishment”; they aren’t “RINO’s”. On most issues, they are as conservative as any Tea Partier. It would be a huge mistake for the Right to kick these folks out of the tent over an issue that simply isn’t a top priority right now. Our number one priority is to remove Obama from office by any peaceful means necessary, and we should welcome all comers to that fight.

To those groups who have pulled out of CPAC because of the inclusion of GOProud, I have this to say: I appreciate your concerns. Indeed, I agree with many of those concerns. But in boycotting the conference, I believe you have missed a great opportunity. Those who oppose you on the issue of gay marriage have legitimate reasons for doing so, and you should open your ears and listen to those reasons. Walling yourself off from opposing viewpoints virtually guarantees that you will persuade no one that your own position is valid. Remember how Christ approached sinners in ancient Israel. He didn’t avoid them; he spoke to them on their own turf, and he did so with love.

ETA: Liz Mair echoes my opinion here.

On Being Gay… and Conservative

On being out, proud and conservative
by Tammy Bruce @ The Guardian

The real story of bigotry and intolerance is the fact that it lives and thrives on the left. As a gay woman who spent most of her adult life pushing the cart for liberal causes with liberal friends in a liberal city, I found that sexism, racism and homophobia are staples in the liberal world. The huge irony is liberals spend every ounce of energy promoting the notion that they are the banner carriers of individualism and personal freedom, yet the hammer comes down on anyone who dares not to conform to, or who dissents even in part from, the liberal agenda.

Think about what would happen if you did act up? If you dared to say you like Sarah Palin, or admire Margaret Thatcher, or think global warming is a hoax, or think Bill Clinton is a sexual predator, or that George W Bush isn’t to blame for everything, or that Barack Obama has absolutely no clue what he’s doing, you know there would be a price to pay. Odds are that your “liberal” friends would very liberally hate you. At the very least, being shunned would be your new experience, condemning you to suffer that horrific liberal malady called social death.

The gay men at Hillbuzz concur:

The worst religious people will ever say to us, for being gay, is that they will “pray for us” because they wish we were straight…not out of some meanness, but because they believe being straight would mean a happier life and they don’t want to see people unhappy. So, this is a little ignorant on their parts to presume that the only definition of happiness is for us to like girls…but it’s not coming from an evil place. They just don’t understand that you can, in fact, be gay and happy and not a sad Queer as Folk cliche.

The Left, on the other hand, threatens violence when they find out you are conservative. They get up in your face to intimidate you for being gay and daring to step out of line with whatever the DNC is issuing as talking points that day. They don’t want you to think for yourselves or vote in your own economic best interests because the identity-blocs the Democrats are based upon require you to identity-vote Democrat your entire life if you are gay. No questions ever asked, no individual thought allowed. The punishments are harsh for stepping outside the approved circle of thought. You are ostracized, personally attacked, and subjected to intense bullying.

I also have right-wing lesbian friends who have had similar experiences. From what I can tell, if you are a member of a left-designated protected group, you better damn well pay homage every day of your life to the political party that loudly claims it is looking out for your best interests. If you stray one iota from the left-wing plantation, you will have your metaphorical foot cut off for your trouble.

This is where identity politics has taken us, folks. In its zeal to stamp out what Brad Torgersen calls “ist and ism,” the left has created a world in which, ironically enough, only white heterosexual men are wholly free to express an independent opinion. Awesome.