Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A dialogue, sort of, about gay marriage… 

2 comment(s)
Some background:

I'm very new to Tweeter. I "took it up" (ahem) a couple weeks ago, partially because I got a new "smart" mobile phone recently, and partially because I've heard Twitter is the more "professional" social medium. (I think LinkedIn really is the professional social medium to use, but I've found Twitter to be much less consuming, and much more focused, than Facebook.) I suspect it's not a coincidence that the core of the word "twitter" is "witty". In fact, I might say I've found my " twiche ". Probably my favorite aspect of Twitter is that it forces me to be concise. I can write more by outlinking to TwitLonger, but I like the challenge of trying to make my point in 140 characters. As Goethe said, "Der Meister zeigt sich in der Beschränkungen."

So, the following dialogue is a revised reconstruction of an actual dialogue I've been having on Twitter the past week or two.

Full disclosure: my interlocutor's moniker is nothing less inflammatory than "ifollowHATE". He or she chose to follow me because I have either retweeted comments against "gay marriage", or voiced my own objections to it.

Codgitator: [Upon discovering that I was being followed by "ifollowHATE"] So if you hate hate, do you follow yourself? Or hate yourself? Or just hate others for differing from you?

Some Tweeter: No, I hate the lies that people tell to harm others. That is hate. It is sinful.

C: You mean lies about the Catholic Church's authentic teachings? I assume you follow me because I oppose "gay marriage".

S: We are talking about civil laws, not the Catholic teachings. The organizations that you follow advocate for laws that harm others.

C: By tarring nonconformity "hate" I feel you cheapen the language and derail dialogue -- the prerogative of demagogues.

S: By supporting banning gays from marriage, I feel you cause harm to them and derail their rights.

C: I get your angle. The question is whether marriage is a right in service of individuals or in service of the common good. Law forbids consanguinous, underage, and bigamous marriage. Law is for a common future, not for special interests.

S: Not special interests. The same right that everyone else enjoys. The right to marry the one person that you love.

C: Why limit marriage to 1+1? Awful prejudice. Why not 1+1+1? 1+1+/-1? 1+x+y? Is the point of law only point to protect "love feelings"? Defending gay marriage as a civil right begs the question. What is the point of marriage? To what do gays want access by winning "marriage"?

S: What important government purpose is accomplished by banning gay couples from Civil Marriage? Do you have a reason for limiting marriage to all those people, or is it just prejudice against them?

C: Any definition of marriage imposes limits, as I've shown in your monogamy bias. A definition… by definition… is limiting. The key is to legislate to the long-term good of marriage.

S: What important governmental purpose is furthered by banning gay couples from marriage? Just one.

C: If legal limitations are implicitly unjust, what's the point of any government marriage laws? What is the purpose of marriage? What does "gay" add to it? Indeed, why can't siblings marry, if they're as deeply as in love as any gay or straight couple? Making that kind of bond "marriage" undermines the common benefit of marriage over generations.

S: What good does it do to ban gay people from marriage, then? Give your reason for the line that you have drawn.

C: First, marriage is no more a right than hunting or driving or bartending is, hence we need licenses for them. It's not in the interest of the law to widen the licensing gate for marriage [or should I say, lower the bar?], and thus lower the long-term stability of marriage as a pillar of society. Gay marriage adds nothing to the long-term security of marriage (to put it mildly), and bars gays from no more than enjoying the feeling of having Sneetch-belly-stars of their own. No bloodlines can be formed in gay marriage, so it's not marriage. Marriage is the social analogue of biological continuity.

Second, asking why government can "ban" gays from marriage is not only inflammatory but also begs the question. It has never been the case that a loophole was open for gays to marriage, until one day some conservative cabal decided to "ban" the trickle of gays who were finally taking advantage of their "right" to the loophole. What has happened is that one group has stormed the courts to jam a loophole into marriage law for their own special interests. No-fault divorce advocates did the same decades ago, to the grave detriment of marriage. Why add insult to injury with another judicial revamping of nature? Gay people aren't being banned from loving and living and dying with whomever they wish. They are being denied a license on the grounds that their lifestyle would adds nothing to the actual, long-term practice of marriage as a biological and social reality. Not giving a motor license to a blind man is radically different from banning him from traveling at all, by other means, such as private or public transit. As pro-queer journalist Victoria Brownworth has stated, "[A]llowing same‐sex couples to marry will weaken the institution of marriage."

S: Prove it.

C: The point of the quotation is precisely that Brownworth is pro-gay-marriage.

S: I know who she is. I also know the entire quote. As I said. Prove it. It should be easy.

C: Here's my basic problem: you deny that marriage has any essential features–– you deny there is any real nature of marriage beyond how we speak of it–– yet you want gays to enjoy this chimerical "marriage". But what is marriage? If marriage is just a social convention, a purely legal custom, then what is it gays could possibly gain by "marriage"? Any essential features you propose for marriage–– gay, straight, or otherwise–– must be based in something above the law. The problem is that, for whichever features you propose as maritally non-negotiable, there is a special interest group which would brand those features as narrowly prejudiced and as merely legal customs. (If you were lucky, you'd even get a boob from their camp to follow you via a popular social medium.) Failing that, if you admit marriage is just a word, just a social game, then why should thee be any marriage law at all? There cannot be laws about pure fictions. You can't have it both ways. Either marriage really is of an unalterable nature, which must be explained and obeyed by all, or it is just a wax nose, and law is irrelevant to the satisfaction of gay intimacy.

Fourth, I'm not sure I should bother giving you reasoned answers, since your moniker implies the only reason I could have for opposing gay (as well as bigamous, underage, incestuous, fraudulent, necrophiliac, etc.) marriage, is because I "HATE". Yes. That's it. How insightful of you. Here's to an America where the only choices are doe-eyed social conformity or blind "hate". If you honestly think having principled objections to a radical, partisan innovation just is "hatred", you are a boob and really ought to follow yourself.

S: So… owning a gun isn't a right, because it requires a license?
C: Even American toddlers lack a right to guns without a license. Call it inflammatory or not, you put the cart before the horse.

S: In all that, you still didn't answer the question. What is the important governmental purpose accomplished by banning gay marriage? "We will be more American on the day after we permit gay marriage than we were on the day before". That's one of your guys [Blankenhorn in Propostition 8 corss-examination].

C: I have said why it's not in the interest of the state to reinvent the wheel on marriage. Gay marriage is no more banned than unicorn chariot rides are: both are fictions. Government policy should aim to promote longterm good for the whole polity. Gay marriage (GM) merits no more government aid than bigamy.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Microcogditations from the front…

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This humidity must be part of my penance the priest slipped in when I wasn't listening. Despite everything, Marcus Aurelius never had to deal with this weather!
#TropicalKickToTheHead #Stoicism

""Both [Paganism & Stoicism] were consistent, philosophical, and exalted... [but] the first leads logically to murder and the second to suicide. ... It is only the Mystic, the man who accepts the contradictions [of life], who can laugh and walk easily through the world." - GKC

Passing an ad for plastic surgery, asked wife if she wants that. Bugged eyes: "No. I'm beautiful."

The nail in the coffin for FTL Neutrinos: LINK.

I stand sideways in conversations so people realize I want to go, but doing so only seems to drag it out.
#YouDoItToYourself #Fail

I'm leery of writing his O'ness' name in conjunction with the HHS struggle, since doing so not only misses the point (i.e. it's bigger than him, if not bigger than his ego), but also risks making opposition to HHS qua "O____care" a political campaign, at which point religious opponents of HHS have overstepped the very bounds they're trying to protect.

@eckharttolle "Real love doesn't make you suffer. How could it?" By making you sacrifice, how about? Saying "I love you" even when you don't 'feel' it is just what validates your love: the difference between loving and being "in love".
#SacredHeart #Crucifixion

George Clooney arrested in Washington, D.C. "for protesting Sudan’s attacks on its Nuba people."
"How many more bodies until the Nuba mountains become the next Darfur?"

My friend wanted to let me be happy in my "new baby" bubble, filter bad news, but I kneel to a crucified peasant everyday: my bubble is… congenitally open.
#SacredHeart #Crucifixion

The duality of human fecundity (maker/medium, male/female, thought/act) finds unity in the absolute simplicity of God as all-wise Creator. Mary's virgin motherhood is but a portrait of the deeper mystery of God's virgin fatherhood. God as Spirit thus transcends and grounds sex. Atheism is ontological solipsism.

It must never be forgotten that economy originally meant family budget.

Scientismatics want a final theory, a theory which would in principle be universally valid, and thus physically deductive, yet they reject religion i.a. because theistic claims are "not in principle" falsifiable. Huh?
#scientism #CultofGnu

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The culture of separation...

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According to traditional western metaphysics, death is the separation of a person's body and soul. According to Cartesian dualism, by contrast, a person's life consists in precisely the radical existential cleft between body and soul. In so far as our culture is still pervaded by Cartesian conditioning, our culture is rightly labelled a culture of death. The ideology of death, aka nihilism, is driven by the underlying principle that plurality means discord, that difference entails disunity. Hence, divorce is a tendril of separationist nihilism, because it severs the bond between free commitment and eternal transcendence. Abortion is likewise a tendril of dichotomous nihilism, as it severs the bond between a woman's good and her child's. Contraception similarly forces a wedge between the distinct yet inseparable goods of sex and procreation.

By the same token, any movement which promotes homosexual intimacy as an equally valid form of human family life, is implicitly trying to reduce the awkward plurality of the male-female unity into a more manageable system of genderized uniformity, and as such is just as much a tendril of separationist nihilism as the others I have mentioned. It is precisely the distinction between an axe and wood which gives them a unity that finds its purpose quite literally in the family hearth. With an axe man may chop lumber and build a home, in which he can, in turn, make a family. With an axe he likewise may chop wood to make a fire, over which, in turn, a meal may be made to feed his family. What will not suit the man is an axe only or wood only. He can only make his home by unifying the difference between an axe and wood in the service of a higher end.

What the same-sex movement strives for, alas, is effectively endorsing axes to chop axes and wood to split wood, out of which I believe can only be made a heap of scrap parts, or, ultimately, tinder for an everlasting fire fueled by the inquenchable flame of self-love, which is the apotheosis of same-love. If a man cannot find himself (which is to say, lose himself) in a woman, it won't do him much good to seek himself in a man, on the assumption that men can love each other as well as if not better than men can love women, since, you see, the former bond is free of the complexity and political phoniness of the "male-female" dichotomy. If a man funds utter easier to love someone who is more like him, he may as well go the whole way and admit he loves the person more like him than anyone else, namely, himself. That he is more attracted to men than women is one thing; that his attraction can legitimize a whole alternative way of the human family is something else completely. An axe may fit better on the shelf with another axe, but thus does not mean heaping axes together is a valid alternative to using axes to chop wood for the good of homemaking.

That, of course, is the fundamental difference which must be acknowledged, and the basis for every person's fundamental choice between worldviews. The world is either a place for making homes ur for making heaps. At the heart of the Christian worldview is an icon of unity in plurality, of harmony based on difference, of a family of unique persons. The regnant worldview of our mass culture, by contrast, enshrines the supremacy of unity based on uniformity (the collective heaping of axes) or, if uniformity cannot be satisfactorily commodified or imposed, sacrifices harmony for the unqualified blind good of plurality for its own sake (the nominalistic scrapping of all).

Monday, March 12, 2012

A study in ecclesiastical motive...

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The therapeutic stance towards sin is among the greatest aids for sinning yet more. An examination of the clerical abuse scandal in Denmark bears this out. The milieu for that scandal was one in which sexual liberty, indeed, sexual rambunctiousness, was encouraged in mainstream elementary pedagogical texts, based, of course, on the regnant psychological theories of the time. Such theories regarded repression and moralistic guilt as infinitely worse sins than masturbation, fornication, pornography, and the like.

The same theories pervade Family Planning materials, in which children are explicitly encouraged and instructed how to explore their own bodies and the sexual capacities of others. It is not a question of accepting a child's sexuality but one of actively stimulating it. If it happens that one of the best guides a child has for activating his sexuality is a minister, coach, or priest, then we must allow the exploration to advance , since both parties are willing co-explorers. Above all we mustn't judge or condemn in a dogmatic, moralistic spirit.

I am certain a similar broadminded lassitude was present in the American abuse scandal. It is no mere coincidence that the crooked handling of offending priests went in parallel with the sexualization of psychiatry, a trend which came to a head in the nineties, when pedophilia was clinically chicAn offending priest would be given a change of environment, not a swift and dogmatic censure, since he is not to blame, indeed, none of us is to blame, for we are but the product of our environment. The abuse festered not because it is a particularly Catholic thing—indeed, rates of abuse are at least as high if not higher among non-Catholic and secular contexts which allow for abuses of intimacy, trust, and authority—but because the motives of clerical administrators was skewed by a therapeutic bias. The aim was not to do the right thing, for such a course necessarily implies one can do or has done a wrong thing, has committed a sin, plain and simple, and that the right thing to do is to dispense and suffer punishment. Punishment is however an outdated shibboleth of dogmatic moralism. As such, the only right thing to do, the only socially commendable motive, was not to do right, but to do right by a psychologically maladjusted subject, the hope being that an adjustment in the subject's surroundings would yield an adjustment (not to use so high-handed a term as rectification) of the subject's behavior. Redeem the efferent phenomena by tweaking the afferent noumena, as it were.