Travis Rowley: Gay Marriage: The Odds of Error
Saturday, January 19, 2013
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.
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?
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.