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Travis Rowley: Gay Marriage:  The Odds of Error

Saturday, January 19, 2013

 

It is no secret that both the conservative and the liberal often charge the other with ignorance, a natural imputation for those with whom one disagrees. You don’t know what I know. And that’s why you disagree with me.

But only liberals are guilty of mass intellectual elitism, blaming what they perceive to be conservative ignorance on bigotry, inferior intelligence, and a blind devotion to “religion” rather than reason and science. Liberals everywhere have made similar remarks to those of Duke University professor Lawrence Evans: “Universities want people of some depth, subtlety, and intelligence. People like that usually vote for the Democrats.”

Conservatives are rarely found proclaiming such an absurdity, that political viewpoints can be boiled down to levels of intellect and moral superiority. In fact, time and time again, conservatives recognize the good intentions of their liberal counterparts.

Conservatives trace liberal error back to its true source. Progressive folly is a cultural phenomenon, the byproduct of a decrepit subculture of political correctness. For decades liberals have applied anti-intellectual measures to questions that should be confronted academically. Modern liberals embrace an emotional and thuggish approach, abandoning intellectual nuance while they present every issue as a battle between good and evil.

It has long been pointed out that self-ascribed “liberals” are often found to be the most intolerant and closed-minded individuals engaged in political disputes. When liberals argue, they’re not trying to convince conservatives.

They’re trying to impugn conservatives.

Ironically, the attempt to disqualify their political rivals by labeling them racist, greedy, homophobic, sexist, stupid, and hateful has served to expose liberalism – not conservatism – as simple, totalitarian, and religious in character.

The barrage of smears heaved at their political rivals has become the Left’s own bigotry and prejudices, a belief in their own dishonest disparagement of the political Right that has helped to cultivate ignorance within even the most brilliant progressives.

Slurs

The limited mind of the political Left is on full display when it comes to the issue of gay marriage.

Just within recent weeks, local atheist agitator Steve Ahlquist has described Bishop Tobin’s opposition to gay marriage as a “bigoted agenda,” accused the Catholic Church of having “little respect for women,” and referred to the Knights of Columbus as a “hate group.” Gay marriage activist Sylvia De Luca said that it’s “time to recognize [gay] marriage as totally legal in this state and allow [homosexuals] to live their lives without the sting of bigotry, hatred and scorn.” Political commentator Wendell Berry accused gay marriage opponents of attempting to “condemn and isolate homosexuals.” He explained, “Jesus talked of hating your neighbor as tantamount to hating God, and yet some Christians hate their neighbors by policy and are busy hunting biblical justifications for doing so.” Declaring that “condemnation by category is the lowest form of hatred,” Berry added that the “Christian blood thirst continues wherever we find an officially identifiable evil, and to the immense enrichment of our Christian industries of war.”

Yes, these are the slurs one risks being associated with for making this simple proclamation: I believe marriage is the union between one man and one woman.

Taken at their word, liberals believe that roughly half of all Americans are guilty of bigotry and hatred by their subscription to this tradition – by their conservatism; by their Christian philosophy; or perhaps by their own unique and secular considerations.

One might call that a “condemnation by category.”

Who are the hateful bigots?

Bob Kerr

Perhaps Bob Kerr of the Providence Journal offers the best example of how the Left approaches matters in question. Within a piece that didn’t dare to confront the actual case for preserving the longstanding Western definition of marriage, but rather simply decided that “there is no legitimate argument against same-sex marriage, at least not one based on fact or reason,” Kerr states that defiance to the “inevitable” amounts to “nonsense” that is designed by “sly deceivers” to “confuse and frighten people.”

Gay marriage, according to Kerr, exists in those places “where reality has taken hold and enlightened people take equal rights seriously.” He adds that the opponents of gay marriage are practicing “blind acceptance” while conducting a “cruel campaign” that “defies the march of time and the growth of knowledge.”

While traditionalists fervently attempt to explain how opposition to gay marriage does not amount to unjust “discrimination” or a violation of “civil rights” (the Left’s primary reasoning for the passage of same-sex marriage laws), liberals make no such effort. In fact, when Kerr finally decides to engage the opposition, it is only to employ mindless sarcasm, establish a straw man that he can easily mock, and make demonstrably false statements: “[Gay couples are not] allowed to follow their hearts and call the preacher,” Kerr tells his readers. He adds, “Marriage always has been a lifelong commitment between two people who love each other. That’s the tradition.”

No it’s not. By Kerr’s own perspective, words, and admission, traditional marriage is the current “rule.” Same-sex marriage is something the world is “progressing” toward during “the march of time and growth of knowledge.” Gay marriage is something only “enlightened” people have come to approve of. So it follows that same-sex marriage can’t be, at the same time, a “tradition” from the past.

Finally, homosexuals have never been denied the right to “call the preacher” or – as Ahlquist puts it – “marry who [they]love.”

These are the self-delusions the Left now lives by. Who’s trying to “confuse and frighten people” again?

“Somehow…a man and a woman will feel an evil tug on their marital bond if the couple next door is of one gender,” Kerr writes as he ridicules an argument that has never been made. Nor is it accurate for Kerr to tell his readers that traditionalists contend that “crossing that line from East Providence to Seekonk,” where gay marriage has been sanctioned, would mean a “descent into hellish, mind-twisting depravity.”

Kerr’s sarcasm and straw men are the extent to which he – a leftist intellectual – will confront his detractors.

Should We Trust Progressives?

The unavoidable suspicion that is prompted by observing progressives conduct themselves within the gay marriage debate is that they are truly unable to articulate the arguments they stand so passionately against – arguments that can be found here, here, and here.

Of course, this charge of obliviousness to the true defense of traditional marriage poses a challenge to progressives to prove that they are capable of explaining their opponents’ position – to demonstrate that they understand something other than their God-given right to rule the world.

But once one of them – say, Bob Kerr – decides to accept this challenge and explain the true arguments against same-sex marriage (not to agree with it, but to finally deal with it), he will suddenly be forced to recognize and disavow his earlier assertions that defiance to the crusade for same-sex marriage can be boiled down to the unfortunate situation that the world is populated by lesser beings than himself.

Kerr would be trapped by the realm of anti-intellectualism that he has chosen to dwell in.

Not that liberals mind being trapped in there. After all, avoiding honest discussion and engaging in political thuggery is how liberals advance liberalism.

But Rhode Islanders should consider whose charge of ignorance is more credible, and who is truly worthy of the label “enlightened.”

Travis Rowley (TravisRowley.com) is the author of The RI Republican: An Indictment of the Rhode Island Left.

 

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Comments:

This was the main and best point in my opinion. Nailed it.
_______________

Taken at their word, liberals believe that roughly half of all Americans are guilty of bigotry and hatred by their subscription to this tradition – by their conservatism; by their Christian philosophy; or perhaps by their own unique and secular considerations.

One might call that a “condemnation by category.”

Who are the hateful bigots?

Comment #1 by Jeremy Soninjer on 2013 01 19

It is irritating to see the intellectual dishonesty of the left on full display in this "discussion." Disclaimer. I am in favor of gay marriage. I do not think the state has any business regulating relationships between two people. There must be a "religious exemption" for the ceremonies themselves. Where I have a problem with the left is their treatment of the Roman Catholic Bishop. He is articulating the official view of his church. For this, he is castigated by Ahlquist, Kerr, and the like. Leftists want him to stay out of the discussion, often citing (incorrectly) the "Wall of Separation." Contrast this with the treatmenbt of the new Episcopal Bishop, who made a statement in favor of gay marriage. He is welcomed to the table by the leftisits. This treatment is unfair. Let us have a discussion, do whatever, and move on to more pressing things, like saving the RI econoomy.

Comment #2 by Michael Trenn on 2013 01 19

Not all conservatives are stupid and bigoted, true.

Travis Rowly, however, is.

He's stupid in that he's committed in his attacks here on progressives and liberals all the same errors he attributes to them. His own erroneous "condemnation by category." Rowley is a bigot in that he defends the denial of civic equality by attacking those who criticize other bigots for their bigotry. He's a cheap, knock-off Ann Coulter, in other words.

And Rowley, like many white, straight, male conservatives, finds himself and those like him the victim here when those who are denied equality and their allies have the temerity to defend themselves. Like a thief who complains of the blows that fall on him when the real victims refuses to participate in their own robbing any longer.

Comment #3 by Thom Bassett on 2013 01 19

Nonsense, Michael. The issue here isn't whether religious leaders are making pronouncements about marriage quality, full stop. It's that some of them are attempting to defend the indefensible by buttressing bigotry. No one's trying to silence the good bishop; those of us who care about equality are criticizing what he says.

Comment #4 by Thom Bassett on 2013 01 19

Here's your original argument against marriage equality: "The opposition to same-sex marriage has always been about what marriage truly is, just how vital it is to the shape and survival of a free society, and the fact that there has yet to be provided a compelling reason to alter its longstanding definition – let alone risk the unforeseen consequences of establishing such a precedent."

The shape and survival of a free society? "Shape" meaning what exactly, a utopian version of America that's 100% straight, and would like to continue to pretend that gay people don't exist? Sorry, Travis, but the shape of our society has always included gay people. In the past, society had demonized gays to such an extent that they were forced to stay hidden, or they'd be ostracized, physically assaulted or even jailed because of their sexual orientation. As for "survival", procreation has never been a legal requirement to getting married. Rush Limbaugh's FOUR non-procreative marriages (and the millions of people just like him) backup that statement. I'm also not sure how you can claim we have a "free society" when certain members of that society don't have freedom and liberty. I'm assuming you mean a free society for straight members only, because that's what we have right now.

A "compelling reason to alter its longstanding definition"? First of all, it's not longstanding. Marriage has been "redefined" a number of times in our country. In 1776, women were simply chattel in marriages (with no legal standing), and only whites could marry. Polygamy was legal until 1899. 50 years ago, interracial marriage didn't even exist. The compelling reason is that gay couples are equally as capable of having loving, committed relationships as straight couples; and our government has a Constitutional obligation to treat all of its citizens equally under the law. YOU, on the other hand, have an obligation to provide a rational basis for the government to discriminate against law-abiding, taxpaying citizens that happen to be gay. When you use the term "longstanding definition", that's just a clever way of saying "tradition". Tradition is not a rational basis to discriminate. Otherwise, discriminatory laws would never be repealed. Women wouldn't have the right to vote, because traditionally voting was only for men. Expanding the right to vote didn't change the "definition" of voting for men. It was the right thing to do when our society became more enlightened... regardless of the unforeseen consequences of establishing such a precedent.

Comment #5 by David Grossman on 2013 01 19

If we don't get our local economy growing instead of contracting, we won't have much of a state for gay people to be married in.

Comment #6 by Art West on 2013 01 19

I won't even stoop to address your ridiculous presentation, wrapped in moral indignation and presenting yourself as a victim of the "elite liberals". Instead, I will provide you with a snippet from an interview with a catholic nun. "You've got to realize that any crowd that took 350 years to figure out Galileo might be right is not noted for (progress). The sadness is that the bishops are coming at it from the perspective of rules, and spiritual leadership is soooo much deeper than that. We don't pick up their particular pet political issues? Give me a break! This is about a cultural clash between monarchy, in which the monarch is always right, and democracy, where everybody has equal dignity, responsibility and opportunity - women and men. The whole idea that we live in a pluralistic society is news to these guys."

Comment #7 by Mark Corsi on 2013 01 19

Interesting article. I agree that Bob Kerr is a nitwit. Not for the basis of his views on same sex marriage, but he is not a reporter, but a columnist, without credentials, justing making observations without any research, follow-up or investigation. I would rather hear what my mother-in-law has to say about any given topic.

I did enjoy Travis' customary "I know you are, but what am I?" response. It is getting old. Although, it does make people read his articles. I think Travis should follow the same advice he gives in this article. Throw out the one issue that has a scintilla of merit and discuss. No church, western tradition, economic blah blah blah. The issue is procreation. Try to defend that and you may just have viability. Simple Trav. Public policy. Argue the merits. What is the purpose of marriage in society. Has that purpose changed as society does? Then apply the principles of the Constitution and see if it hilds water.

Comment #8 by Petr Petrovich on 2013 01 21

I don't really care about this bag of wind's opinion, because you know what they say about ***holes...everybody has one. I am more disgusted with GoLocal for not offering a countering opinion to this hack. I used to enjoy this website, but if it's going to become the RI Chapter of Fox News, count me out.

Frankly, Mr. Rowley doth protest too much, methinks...

Comment #9 by John Donovan on 2013 01 22

Travis,
I think you are doing the Republican party in Rhode Island a huge disservice by taking time to write about moral issues like gay marriage.
At this point opposition to gay marriage is a losing position and putting more effort into it only takes the focus away from much more important issues in this state.
You have outlined the folly of 50 years of democratic leadership in this state and where they have taken us. There are numerous studies with endless statistics that show this and can be used to educate people.
The “great recession”, the pension bomb among other things make this the best opportunity in years that the republican party has had to really start the discussions, but by focusing on moral issues, we lose the initiative and the momentum.
If people can see just what this government costs on a per capita basis and contrast that to other less corrupt and more fiscally responsible systems, I believe more will be receptive to the message.
It is important. Opposition to public unions shouldn’t be opposition to the average union member, rather they should be opposition to the political apparatus that has risen on the backs of those workers. Raise real questions about political contributions from unions to democrats, they help elect them then get contracts and compensation approved by those same officials. Keeping the unions happy is then in the best interest of the politician, and the tax payer is now a secondary concern.

Comment #10 by Just Thinking on 2013 01 29




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