Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Right on

I used to post shit like the following essay over at my other blog, The Miserable Annals of the Earth. It used to drive one of my ex girlfriends nuts when I'd post this stuff there, because she feels it's deeply unfair to stereotype all conservatives the same way. She feels that some conservatives are decent, salt of the earth types who only want traditional American values to continue to have a place as we make our way forward into the brave new world of the 21st Century, or something like that... I don't know; she's a better writer than I am and puts it much more eloquently.

And, y'know, I'm aware that not all conservatives are deeply evil people like Dick Cheney or Jerry Falwell. For example, my little bro is a conservative too, and he's a very nice guy as well. It's just, he's a very nice guy who has no problem whatsoever with the fact that one pair of American citizens has the right to avail themselves of a legal process that will confer upon them certain specific rights and privileges worth thousands of dollars a year, and another pair of American citizens doesn't, and the only difference between the two subsets is, one set makes him uncomfortable. He's a true blue American patriot, he supports the troops, if he owned the only surviving edition of the American Constitution he'd almost certainly die to protect it from the slavering hordes of Islamofascists... he's just not wild about that part that says " Section. 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

Because, you see, it's very very clear to him that our Founding Fathers never intended that clause to apply to the specific instance of disgusting faggots availing themselves of the privilege of marriage.

Now, I sincerely and genuinely love my brother; he's a great guy, a wonderful father to my nephew, I like him and admire him deeply. He's standing up for me at my wedding. I could not be more proud of a younger brother than I am of him. And I have no doubt that my friend who dislikes it so intensely when I stereotype conservatives also knows some admirable conservatives who may well be veritable Gifts of the Magii when it comes to being good friends and wonderful people and fabulous hands at the backyard barbecue, and so it is that I understand her reluctance to go along with me when I write shit that essentially says "all conservatives are like this", because, well, I'm a liberal, and when liberals write things like that (as when conservatives write similar stuff about us) the things we acribe universally to all conservatives, or they to us, are generally negative in character.

Which is to say, I think conservatives all suck, and they seem to feel much the same towards us.

But here's the thing: I have never in my life met or even heard of a single conservative who doesn't believe that it's okay to deny equal protection under the law (in this case, the law that allows two people to enter into a legally binding relationship arrangement conveying upon them certain specific rights and privileges worth a great deal of money) to any number of American citizens just because those particular American citizens make them queasy. Oh, my brother will go on and on at great and very articulate length about the homosexual agenda to undermine our basic Christian and American values and to destroy the nuclear family and eradicate our entire way of life, but what he simply will never address is, well, the Constitution very specifically says, if they are American citizens, it is illegal to abridge their privileges as citizens, or to deny them equal protection of United States law. So when a justice of the peace says "No, I will not allow the two of you to get married because, you know, you're gross", he or she is breaking the law.

Every conservative I know is okay with that. In fact, the whole "gay marriage is ucky" thing is essentially a universal, unfailing, perfect and immaculate litmus test for conservatives... if you're okay with gays getting married, well, it doesn't matter what else you may hate or favor; you CANNOT be a conservative.

And as long as conservatives, as a group, are all singlemindedly and of one voice adamantly opposed to the full implementation of the Equal Protection clause of the Constitution, I feel absolutely justified in writing stuff like the following essay.

If you feel you are a conservative, and you also feel you could find it in you to support, say, my future stepdaughter if at some point in the future she wants to get married to someone she deeply loves and wants to share the rest of her life with, who may just happen to be of the same gender as she is, well, then, I salute you and the following text may not apply to you.

There are many ways one can typify the contemporary social movement known popularly as conservatism. You can call it an essentially childish denial of unpleasant aspects of external reality, and it is.

You can describe conservatism as a blind and destructive yearning for a never-existent Golden Age in which an impossible and obsolete standard of propriety (based almost entirely on the never clearly articulated but always implicitly understood precept of white male dominance over all others) was universally enforced, and that would be true as well.

You can name it anti-intellectual and this is also accurate, as the entire social movement is all about indulging the most infantile emotions while utterly rejecting anything remotely resembling constructive, rational, or analytical thought.

You can even state that the conservative movement is almost entirely motivated by fear, and this is just as cogent and lucid an insight as any of these others.

Yet what perhaps comes truest to the mark, when one distills the conservative impulse down to its very basest foundation, is to say this: conservatism is based in its entirety on primitive xenophobic terror. The true conservative does not, will not, can not tolerate people who differ significantly from them in behavior or belief. Members of other tribes either join up with the conservatives – or they must be destroyed. There is no middle ground. Either you are with them, or you are against them.

When conservatives rage against multiculturalism and ‘political correctness’, they are essentially demanding the dubious ‘right’ to be entirely intolerant of anything that differs from what they themselves are comfortable with.

When a 21st Century conservative screams about Islamofascism, he does so with the same voice that bellowed “string that nigger up!” only a few generations ago.

When conservatives whine and snivel as regards “the War on Christmas”, their surly, bitter imprecations are entirely informed by their deep and petulant resentment that anyone anywhere in the world celebrates a Midwinter Holiday in any way other than what they themselves have grown up with and are accustomed to.

When conservatives war on drugs, or on indecency, or on pornography, they are doing battle with the individual choices of people who choose to behave differently than they themselves deem is proper.

It’s worthwhile to note that conservatives are almost never in conflict with any kind of behavior that is actually any of their business. They set out to destroy things that offend them, never things that actually cause them harm. Conservatives make the same mistake as all other infants; they conflate being angered by something with being hurt or somehow diminished by it, and they believe that outrage is the same as injury.

One of the deepest measures of adulthood is the capacity to understand that simply because someone else is different , that doesn’t necessarily mean they are objectionable, and hell, even if someone is objectionable, that doesn’t necessarily mean they should be killed or locked up for it. When a grown up runs into someone who offends him or her, the grown up will learn to avoid such a person’s company. Live and let live is an aphorism that is very nearly a litmus test for maturity; conservatives never quite grasp it. They understand it, mind, they simply don’t like it, and furthermore, they take enormous pride in the fact that they refuse to accept its validity.

Conservatives are children; fearful and resentful of anything that makes them feel uncomfortable. On some level, they understand that their outrage and offense does not equate to any sort of legitimate entitlement to action, which is why conservatives never argue on the basis of their own individual feelings. They swaddle their umbrage in patriotism and religion; they are never battling simply to keep their own stomachs from turning when they see two men holding hands on a public street, oh no. They are always fighting for decency, for propriety, for Christian values and our very American way of life itself. They are waging an unending culture war for the sake of the children, to support the troops, to preserve the nuclear family, or because of national security. It's not that they can't stand the thought of other people doing things they don't think are proper; it's always that when other people do things that conservatives don't think are proper, they are offending against God and/or destroying the essential moral fabric of society.

Conservatives are never selfish. They aren't racist, homophobic, envious, jealous, bluenosed, prudish little dumbfucks who are mostly lashing out at other people doing things they either don't dare or can't get anyone to let them do themselves. No, they are always always always selfless crusaders for the public good. They know best, not just for them, but for all of us, too. Their Bible tells them so.

This essential xenophobia is why conservatives can talk about things like religious freedom with a straight face, and honestly never see the hypocrisy involved in only advocating religious freedom for one very specific faith and/or belief system. To conservatives, that faith is an inherent part of their tribal identity. It is sacrosanct. Any perceived infringement on it -- such as, for example, a liberal activist judge stupidly and dangerously ruling that 'no religious expressions on public ground' actually includes the Christian religion, too -- is an intolerable invasion of the conservative movement's basic Constitutional and human rights. Those rules can certainly apply to all those goddam heathen religions; they aren't real, anyway! But to conservatives, rules that forbid something always exclude members of their own tribe, while rules that permit something never include anyone else.

As with any essentially xenophobic movement, conservatism is childish, and fear driven, and reactionary. They yearn for a past that never really existed; an era exemplified by 50s era TV families and Playboy cartoons, where White Daddy always has an executive position at a bank or an insurance company, White Mommy is always home cooking in the kitchen, and White Wally and White Beaver never get into any trouble that dad can't sort out with a few vaguely comforting if somewhat dotty aphorisms when he finally gets home. White Daddy always has a hot young secretary at the office, and her firm, well skirted ass is always available for a quick grope as she's bending over his desk to put some correspondence down.

There are no unwed teenage mothers in this Conservative Utopia, no interracial couples, no non-white people at all except for janitors and maids and gardeners. There are no labor laws, no minimum wage, and certainly no goddam unions; if an avuncular white banker can find an 8 year old kid or a 56 year old Mexican who wants to mow his lawn for a quarter and a bowl of ice cream, well, that's free enterprise in action. There's no pornography, and everyone goes to the same vaguely Protestant Christian church on Sundays. Nobody has extramarital sex (by which we mean, of course, no married women sleep with anyone but their husbands; the husbands, of course, have to service all those hot young single secretaries at the office and on business trips, because the White Man's Burden can be dreadful at times), nobody smokes dope or shoots up H or questions the President, the kids all get straight Bs in school except for gym, where they get As (because nobody wants a dork/nerd/spaz in the family).

Every neighborhood has one fat guy, one bald guy, and one kid who wears his baseball cap backwards, and everyone else makes fun of them behind their backs. All the books in the public library are decent and wholesome; all the comic books are upright and proper, all the movies and TV shows are uplifting and stalwart and Good Clean Fun. Everybody loves football and baseball and hockey. Everyone celebrates Christmas in December and Independence Day in July. The Commies are out there somewhere, but the military and the FBI and the CIA will sort them out, you betcha.

The fact that the real 50s and 60s were nothing like the bizarre Rock Hudson/Doris Day holodeck fantasy I've described above doesn't trouble them. In reality, J. Edgar Hoover and Rock Hudson were gay, the U.S. government was letting black children be born and grow up with syphilis, they were exposing troops to radioactivity and unwitting civilian communities to LSD and tailored viruses as parts of military scientific experiments, they were secretly gathering and sheltering hordes of ex Nazis to work on our space program, and people were being blacklisted based on what meetings they attended in college, or whether or not they would rat out their friends to Congress.

Conservatives don't care. They hate the present, they fear the future. The past is their only refuge, and for all its uglinesses, at least one thing about it is inarguable: white men were in charge. White men could do anything they wanted. White men ran the world. They could grab the secretary's ass and beat up any faggot they came across with impunity. Niggers and spics kept to their places, by God. And everybody wished everybody else a Merry Christmas and they damned well liked it, too.

The fact that all those things I've listed were unpleasant, unfair, unjust, immoral, indecent, insane, evil, and wrong does not daunt any conservative. They liked it when white men were in charge of reality; they resent what they perceive as their diminished stature now. They do not want equality; equality is for suckers. Once they were the lords of all they surveyed. They could not be arrested, they could not be sued, they couldn't even be ticketed because they played golf with all the cops and all the judges. Their sons played football and grew up to start their own banks or insurance companies; their daughters were gracious and charming and beautiful, and they grew up to marry the sons of other bankers and insurance executives.

In this wonderful fabulous Golden Age, Caucasian males paid whatever wages they wanted to pay, charged whatever rents they wanted to set, cheated on their taxes, voted Republican, and drove gynormous fucking cars with incredibly shitty gas mileage because fuel was only 25 cents a gallon. They had all this because they earned all this; they fought in World War II and their grandfathers discovered America and tamed the wild frontier and built the friggin railroads and by God they deserved to be the Kings of Creation. God was in His heaven and He was damned well a white man. Those were the days. Those were the goddam days.

When Rick Santorum speaks of "the gathering storm of Islamofascism", he is yearning for the long lost glory days of World War II, when we could call our enemy a race of rice eating slanty eyed subhumans and a stalwart President could nuke them back to the Stone Age and the world would applaud.

When Shelly the Republican voices her disgust at gays doing a disco dance in front of a picture of her Lord and Savior, she is desperately wishing the world would return to a time when all a godless homo could expect from society was a police nightstick to the groin and a long prison term locked up with his fellow degenerates.

When Debbie Schlussel raves about how Barack Obama is a Muslim, she is sobbing in her heart for a long lost American utopia where any black man who so much as dared to even think about running for any elective office in America outside of Harlem or Watts would have been promptly castrated and then hung, and no real American even knew what the fuck a 'Muslim' was.

When Rush Limbaugh talks about how all drug addicts should go to jail, and all drug dealers should be immediately executed, except, you know, for him and the maid he scores his illegal pain meds from, he is hankering after a time when hopheads and junkies were universally regarded as the detritus of society, when nobody tried to 'help' them, when the only social program they could enroll in was a long stretch in a county slammer... unless, of course, they were affluent white men, in which case, you know, they could enter a genteel treatment program and it was nobody's else's business anyway.

And when Pamela Gellar Oshry burbles on and on and on about "John Bolton's Big, Swingin'... Stick", what she wants more than anything... well, besides the obvious, I mean... is an interdimensional pass to a world where white men are always saving the world for white women from the nasty dark skinned slanty eyed hordes, and married white women stay in their kitchens and bake while unmarried white women get mouth fucked at the office by married white men, so their wives don't ever have to do that nasty fellatio stuff themselves.

Although I don't know. Pam might well be willing to strap on a pair of kneepads for her sainted Mr. Bolton. She'd doubtless close her eyes and think of America while she bobbed her head in and out, but I'm pretty sure she'd be willing to make the ultimate conservative woman's sacrifice for her idol of idols.

Okay, that last is mean, and I should probably cut it, but, hey, you go over to Pam's site and spend five minutes reading her drivel and then tell me whether she deserves it or not.

Conservatism as a movement is mean spirited. By its very nature, it yearns for a world in which only conservatives have any authority, and where that authority is by its nature abusive, in that its primary use is to enrich and gratify conservatives at the expense of all others, while setting conservatives above any sort of reproach and immunizing them against suffering from any possible negative consequences of their acts. It is a movement embodied in entitlement and born of a surly, bewildered, uncomprehending resentment at a world that says "you aren't any better than the rest of us, you don't get anything you haven't earned". Conservatives deeply, deeply believe in inherent privilege, as long as they are the inheritors and the privileged.

Sean Hannity once said something along the lines of "You can like liberals, you can be friends with them, but you cannot under any circumstances allow them to govern". I'm sure he was sincere when he said it, but what he actually meant was, when liberals, or other social progressives, make the rules for a while, they tend to try to reshape society in a way that makes it more fair for everyone, of all races, beliefs, cultures, and creeds.

Conservatives hate this. They are not interested in everyone being equal; they find it to be an utterly repellent and appalling idea. Until recently, their tribe ran the world... and that's the way they liked it... and that's the way they want the world to be again.

Update: At least one conservative deeply and bitterly resents the way I'm stereotyping his right wing ass. He's not a racist pinhead who yearns only for the dim dead past when white men ruuuuuuuuuuled the world, he fumes, and hardly any other conservative he knows is, either! All us goddam limp wristed pansy ass liberals do nothing but stereotype conservatives, and he's sick of it! He doesn't mention anywhere in his vehement exposition exactly how he actually feels about, say, gay marriage, but he does make me vaguely ashamed I've lumped him and all his decent, kind hearted, non-Sith pals in with utter tools like Rick Santorum and that dimwit she-troll at Atlas Shrugged.

So, maybe I should expand my definition of "the kind of conservatives I wrote this post about" from one point to two: along with being insanely opposed to gay marriage, the people I'm talking about here all voted for Bush at least once.

So -- if you're opposed to gay marriage because, you know, fags are icky and besides, God hates them, AND, you voted for that dimwit in Al Gore's office at least once, congratulations... I've written thousands of words all about you, right here. Be flattered!

To be slightly serious, if only for a moment: I acknowledge that certainly, there must be at least a few old school conservatives still out there; patriots who believe in limited government power, individual freedoms and civil liberties, and who love their country enough that when it goes to war, they either run right out and enlist, or at the very least, they proudly encourage their children to do so. And certainly, those true blue conservatives must be very frustrated with the gutless, insanely power-crazed megalomaniacal morally bankrupt and ethically corrupt shitheels who have utterly hijacked their political party and socio-economic philosophy, making it simultaneously the laughing stock and venom target of everyone else in the known world.

And I feel for you guys, really, I do.

But I'd feel even more for you if you'd stop voting for the assholes I'm writing about here.

Plus, if you like the goddam War On Terror so fucking much, go join the goddam Marines, bitches.

17 Comments:

At 7:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Heh. I realize that "Conservatism's" spokes-persons are basically exactly as you describe them, I do. I also believe that a great many of their followers have exactly the motivations you ascribe to them.

But I do not share those motivations, and those are not my spokes-persons, and yet, I am a "Conservative". Most of what passes for 'conservative thought' makes my gorge rise too.

But you did hit one nail squarely on the head: the 'movement' referred to as Conservatism in America is certainly based on the white male-dominated pseudo-Christianity that has dominated the Western world since about 300AD. The same psuedo-Christianity that makes ignoring what's written in the bible it thumps to accentuate its decrees common practice and standard operating procedure.

To be honest, I have no interest in defending 'conservatives' from your critique. They are the clergy of the cult of materialism that Satan created to subvert and destroy what Jesus has built. And they've done a bang-up job to date. But not a totally successful one.

People who actually read and understand the Bible, and do what it says to do, and practice what they preach do exist. People go about their lives guided by Christ's teachings, doing their best to follow in his footsteps, live amongst us.

They aren't homosexuals*. They're not adulterers. They pay their taxes, all of them. They shun politics. They avoid stimulants and alcohol, and love their neighbors as themselves.

* (I know you take exception to the idea that a homosexual can't be a Christian, but we don't make the rules, God does. If He says no practicing gays, then no practicing gays. No one said you had to like it.)

The reason so many of the things these supposedly guided-by-Christ Conservatives do are immoral, evil, and just plain wrong-headed is because their guidance comes from Satan, not Christ.

Look at my Christmas post on my blog. That's just one small example. Jesus said that if we were faithful in large things, that was no clear indicator, but that those who were faithful in small things could be counted on to be faithful in the big ones too. People that can't keep straight in their hearts what the point of Christ's visit to earth was can hardly be counted on to guide anyone in following his teachings. More importantly, anything they DO teach is going to be poison to their flock's relationship with God, and with their fellow man.

This is getting long, so I guess I'm done. But you need to understand that those people are not coming from a mindset inspired by any work of God's or Christ's, only from a perversion out of the mind of Satan.

 
At 7:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love True Scotsmen, don't you? :)

The 1950s were also the time when those nasty black jazzmen were introducing an entire generation of writers and artists to the pleasures of every kind of drug...

...and when major record label executives would rush in with the latest release from a hot "Negro" label, to be recorded by their white headliner artist (in as close an arrangement as possible to the original, only somewhat uncooler) -- usually Pat Boone or somebody, so that there was no chance of the segregated radio industry exposing those nice white teenagers to "the jungle music of the Negro," as posters put out at the time by the KKK said.

They were also the era of whites-only masterplanned communities, like Levittown and Tarzana, which helped to further destroy the communitarian streetcar networks, "sundown towns," and the massive expansion of the automobile lobby (and the roads and highways that went with it). This in turn also destroyed a lot of community feeling and created neighbourhoods where the social focus was inward, instead of outward.

The 1950s were also the era when corporations and rich people paid up to 90% nominal tax, but the conservatives always sort of forget about that part. A lot of those staunchly conservative industries (like the automotive, transportation, and arms manufacturing industries) wouldn't exist without the helping hand up they got from the government in the 1950s.

 
At 10:01 PM, Blogger Handsome said...

Nate,

If your god says 'no practicing homos can get into heaven', your god is an intolerant asshole. If you yourself believe no practicing homos can get into heaven, or, to return to the planet my post was actually written about for a moment, that homos are not allowed to avail themselves of the same laws and legal status(es) as non-homos, then, well, you're one of the conservatives I am talking to. Your tribe doesn't allow anyone in it except straights.

I don't care WHY you think that's proper; quoting an imaginary scout leader in the sky doesn't impress me. I was raised with that toxic horseshit and I've chosen to reject it; you are as intelligent as I am, and you are apparently choosing to revel in the embrace of hatred and bigotry.

I'm also not impressed with your 'true Christians/untrue Christians' dichotomy. It is entirely hollow. Religious zealots, especially Christians, always believe that their faith is the only true one and everyone who believes other than them is laboring in darkness and irretrievably hellbound. Or, to put it another way, they believe that either you join their tribe, or you will be destroyed.

I grant you, true students of Christ will be meek in this world and content themselves with allowing God to judge and eventually destroy the benighted unbeliever (or just torture same for all eternity, depending on your scriptural interpretation). It's a false student of Christ who takes such matters into their own hands. But the xenophobia and intolerance is the same with both.

Interrobang,

Did you come over here from Orcinus? If not, it's an odd coincidence... I'd never heard of 'sunset towns' until I read about them over there earlier today, right after I posted this essay.

I abashedly confess, I do not get the 'True Scotsman' reference. If it is a follow up to some reference I myself put in the essay, then I am doubly ashamed.

Thanks for stopping by.

 
At 11:31 AM, Blogger Opus P. Penguin said...

Holster them pistols, pardner. I have in my household a conservative who is pro-choice, not against gay marriage, and not Christian. Else I would not have married him.

While your profile may hold true for the majority of "conservatives," it does not fit every single one.

Again, I rest on my concerns about your treating ALL conservatives as a monolith.

Gotta get that man 'o mine a blog.

 
At 11:41 AM, Blogger Handsome said...

Opus,

If your hubby is pro gay marriage, or, at least, pro equal protection of law for all Americans, even the ones that may make him personally uncomfortable, then the essay is not about him.

I know I should have said that somewhere. I'm very sorry. I should have found some snappy, stylish way to make that clear. I very much regret that I forgot to put that i... uh... wait...

If you feel you are a conservative, and you also feel you could find it in you to support, say, my future stepdaughter if at some point in the future she wants to get married to someone she deeply loves and wants to share the rest of her life with, who may just happen to be of the same gender as she is, well, then, I salute you and the following text may not apply to you.

Oh.

Um.

Hey, is that a pistol you're holding, or are you just happy to see me? ;)

 
At 7:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Um, actually, I think we covered gay marriage a while back. Eh, one more time won't solve anything...

First, religion--

We have freedom of religion in this country. If someone wants to be a Christian, they can be. If someone doesn't want to be one, they can do that too. But freedom of religion can and should go both ways. People should not be allowed to force religions to do things that violate their principles, any more than any religion should be allowed to force an American to do something they don't want to. I am staunchly against any homosexual couple receiving a Christian marriage ceremony. They are violating one of the tenets of Christianity, so it seems ludicrous for them to expect to participate in one of its rituals.

As far as them not 'getting into Heaven'* goes, well, so what? If they wanted to 'go there', they'd be Christian, right? I mean, the place is 'gonna be full of Christians anyway', if you're not Christian, why would you even want to go? Seems pretty stupid to set your sights on spending eternity with a bunch of people you have nothing in common with. Gays and other unrepentant sinners who believe pseudo-Christianity should be looking forward to spending eternity in Hell. Everyone they like is going to be there too, right?

If I wanted to join an exclusive club of, say, environmentalists, who had all agreed that they would never drive a vehicle that got less than 30mpg; and I showed up in a Hummer-2 getting 8 gallons per mile, should I be allowed in anyway? Should they be forced to allow me to shop in their special health food stores that are members-only and also the only venue for purchasing a panacea drug that would cure my diabetes and obesity? Of course not, fuck me; I don't wanna follow the club's rules, it can and should exclude me from all its activities and privileges.

It's pretty much the same thing. If you refuse to accept the responsibilities of membership in a particular group, you have no right at all to the privileges membership in that group brings.

* Unlike dogs, all Christians do not go to Heaven. 144,000 go, the rest stay on earth, but gain immortality, immunity to disease, injury, etc... and the earth will be returned to its Garden of Eden-like state. And yes, I know. I believe all of these things, and yet I'm still who I am, and still do what I do. No, I don't expect to get to shop in the club store. Sucks to be me, don't it?

Back to gay marriage--

It's none of my concern, however, if the government chooses to recognize a gay couple as a married couple with the legal rights and privilege thereof. Marriage has been adopted not only by governments as a means of property control and inheritance legitimizing, but also by pretty much all religions. So being married in and of itself is no longer a uniquely Jehovah-oriented thing.

You (like pseudo-Christians everywhere, it seems-- and that's weird, you've made no secret of your opinion of my religion, yet you seem to agree with those who claim to support it on this matter) have erroneously concluded that the Christian ban on gay marriage (and pretty much gay anything) has to be reflected in America's legal code as well. I'm curious, do you believe that America should be run by (pseudo-)Christian elders only, and that no dissenting voices should be allowed in government? Because the entire gay marriage legality debate is based on that belief.

Unless something has happened recently to change it, marriage in America has pretty much nothing to do with religion. Two consenting adults can go to court, get a piece of paper after jumping through the appropriate legal hoops, and walk around calling each other husband and wife thereafter. At no time is it required for them to even consult with a clergyman. Religious participation in legally recognised marriages in this country is entirely voluntary. I have no illusions of a hope of success (nor a need) for changing that, and I like to only pick battles I can win (and are worth fighting). Apparently, I'm, like, the only person on the planet who does not have those illusions dancing in his head like sugarplum faeries in late December in kids' minds.

And I'll tell you something: the fact that I'm the only person I've heard speak thusly is really damn discouraging to me. I'm a waste of space, and I'm the only person thinking clearly on this matter. That's just sad. When I'm the only voice of reason, it's time to just hang it all up and go fishing, because we're all fucked anyway.


Interrobang:
It's only a fallacy if it isn't true. That's something you philosophy minors never seem to come to terms with, so I don't expect the scales to fall from your eyes anytime soon, nor to hear Hosannas from your general direction.

Nate

 
At 7:52 PM, Blogger Handsome said...

Nate,

You start talking about this crazy ass Bible-thumping horseshit and I swear to God, I don't know where my buddy Nate went, but I want him back, badly.

Please, please, put the Jesus on the ground and back away slowly.

I am intuiting that you do not seem to object to the idea of one group of Americans having rights and legal privileges that another group of Americans is denied on the simple basis of emotional prejudice falsely justified on religious grounds. So, yay. I'll declare victory and retire from the field, without even mentioning how ridiculous I find your comparison of eternal torment via flames that hurt but do not consume, with, not being allowed into a club you wouldn't want to join anyway. That's so egregiously stupid as to be nearly insufferable, but I'm just going to let it pass.

 
At 1:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a little late to this party, and the comment below is a little more strident than I am normally.
It's also kinda long. Sorry.

I acknowledge that certainly, there must be at least a few old school conservatives still out there; patriots who believe in limited government power, individual freedoms and civil liberties,

These people surely exist, but they're not conservatives, and they probably never have been.

I've never self identified as conservative, so my own perceptions re: conservatives are invariably shaped by my own politics. In other words, I'm an unabashed liberal, so it's possible that I just don't know squat about "real" conservatives.
The most common response to this sort of post is to claim that the people Handsome is describing are 'not *real* conservatives', and so it's no fair tarring everyone with the same rhetorical brush.
However, the disadvantage that so called "real" conservatives have is that self-identified conservatives have been in power for all but 8 of the past 26 years in the U.S, and these people have a long, ugly track record.
The War on (some) Drugs, and the War On (Brown) Terrorists, two of the most egregious attacks on individual rights and freedoms, are products of conservative governments. It must also be added that it has been non-white people who have suffered the most from these two "wars".
So much for individual freedoms and civil liberties.

As for limited government power, well - I'd point out that along with the infringement on civil liberties, the War on Terror has included *huge* power grabs by (mostly) the federal government.

So what, exactly, *are* "conservative" principles, then? From the record of self described conservatives who have actually held significant power, I have to conclude that these principles do not include support for individual freedoms, civil liberties, or limited government power.

Looking at the record, I observe that conservatives cut taxes (primarily for rich people and corporations), run up deficits (not unrelated), put poor people in jail and start wars. They also, if the past three Republican governments are any indication (Reagan, Bush, Bush) want to deny some basic rights to gays and women (Opus, if you're husband is pro-choice and not anti-gay, in what sense is he conservative?). This is consistent and predictable, to the point that I would fearlessly predict that the next Republican president will cut taxes for the rich, run up deficits, start a war, and put more poor people in jail. In fact, I'd bet money on it.

Look - George W. Bush is a conservative. He says so. The media says so. Reagan is practically the patron saint of conservatives. There is very little disagreement over this, as far as I can tell.

That being the case, it's hard to find fault with anything Handsome says in his essay, because the actual public record supports it. And if you consider yourself fiscally responsible, in favour of individual liberty and limited government power, and you *still* voted Republican in 2004 because, well, Dubya is a "conservative", then, no offense, you're a fool. Because nothing in the public record dating back more than 25 years suggests that any of the conservatives in the Republican party give a shit about any of the values you hold dear. As Handsome said, stop voting for the assholes , or you're gonna be lumped in with them.

 
At 1:25 PM, Blogger Handsome said...

Scott,

Comments like that are why you badly need to get a blog. Or, at least, why the world badly needs you to get a blog. Few people can put such complex stuff so well and so cogently; we need all of them we can get.

And, thanks.

 
At 5:02 PM, Blogger AaA said...

Darren,
It's clear to me from what you wrote 'in reply' that you stopped reading my response to your response at the word 'religion' and inserted your prejudices thereafter.

I read your reply to my first response. You could at least afford me the same courtesy. What you read might surprise you.

 
At 9:57 PM, Blogger Highlander said...

Nate,

I am very sorry if I have offended you. I read every word you wrote. However, when intelligent people (such as yourself) attempt to justify their own emotional biases by saying "well, it ain't me, babe, it's GOD, take your argument up with him", it annoys me. In context with what I spent a long time writing in this entry, what you are doing is what every conservative seems to do when they read something like this -- insisting that I may be writing about other conservatives, but not them, they are good conservatives and not like that.

In your case, you insist that all the bad conservatives are also poor, hypocritical, false Christians, while your brand of conservatism is good and true, just like your brand of Christianity. I don't buy it. A prejudiced, narrow minded, bigoted religion that insists it is the ONLY truth, but, you know, regrets the necessity, is still a prejudiced, narrow minded, bigoted religion, and that's exactly what I dislike about modern day conservatism, too.

And when you blame God for your own shortcomings, I suspect that God, if he or she actually exists, gets a little annoyed with you, too.

 
At 4:08 PM, Blogger AaA said...

Apparently the failure is mine. I am a poor communicator.

One last try.

If gay couples want to obtain a marriage license and legally married status from the government, fine. That's the government's business.

If they want to force some Christian minister to perform the ceremony in a Christian place of worship, not fine. That's the religion's business.

 
At 11:43 AM, Blogger AaA said...

Or is your bone to pick this:

"A prejudiced, narrow minded, bigoted religion that insists it is the ONLY truth, but, you know, regrets the necessity, is still a prejudiced, narrow minded, bigoted religion, and that's exactly what I dislike about modern day conservatism, too."

Fine. But that's a wider topic than a comment thread can handle. Meet me on my blog.

 
At 11:52 AM, Blogger Highlander said...

Nate,

I don't think anyone should try to force anyone else to provide them with anything that the law of the land does not entitle them to. The law of the land entitles no one to any particular kind of religious ceremony, so I'm with you there.

Where I'm not with you, as I have often repeated, is when you claim that you are a good conservative, as opposed to the bad ones I am talking about, because you are a good Christian, and the bad conservatives are bad Christians. When you follow this up with a most unChristlike "It's OKAY to hate gays, because GOD DOES IT TO", you lose me.

Back in my freshman year of high school, my social studies teacher advised that the creationists would always have an enormous advantage over actual scientists who believed in things like evolution. The actual scientists had to try to explain how members of similar or identical species wound up in so many widely varying geographical areas on Earth, while other individual species were only found in certain isolated areas. This required actual work. Whereas the creationist can just shrug and say "God put them there".

I will not argue with someone who cites religious authority for ANY belief; it's pointless; you can just shrug and say "GOD says so" and I'm ass reamed from the start.

However, when you use "GOD says so" to justify bigotry and hatred (and it is bigotry and hatred to ascribe an eternity of torment to certain people based on behavior that isn't any of your busingess in the first place), you forfeit any ongoing interest I have in the debate, as well as a great deal of my respect. I know you well, you are better than this, and I expect better of you than this.

 
At 9:35 PM, Blogger AaA said...

"However, when you use "GOD says so" to justify bigotry and hatred (and it is bigotry and hatred to ascribe an eternity of torment to certain people based on behavior that isn't any of your busingess in the first place) "

Eternity of torment? Oh, you mean Hell? That's not a part of Christianity. Ecclesiastes 9:5-6; 5 For the living are conscious that they will die; but as for the dead, they are conscious of nothing at all, neither do they anymore have wages, because the remembrance of them has been forgotten. 6 Also, their love and their hate and their jealousy have already perished, and they have no portion anymore to time indefinite in anything that has to be done under the sun."

People that are "conscious of nothing at all" are going to have a hard time notice an eternity of hellfire and torment, hmm?

Hell and torment are pagan traditions adopted by the early Catholic church and incorporated into their religion (and subsequently kept by the Protestants) as a means of threatening worshippers with punishment if they didn't stick with the Church. They are not and have never been part of Christ's teachings.

So, yeah. 'Good Christians', and 'Bad Christians'.

 
At 6:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

dude you have to stop writing this blog...it wanders and makes no sense whatsoever

 
At 9:40 PM, Blogger Highlander said...

Okay. I will.

 

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