Saturday, July 16, 2011

Homosexuality as a species of Narcissism: Why same-sex marriage is becoming so popular

A lot of people are still sorting out the meaning of marriage's biggest defeat to date: the legalization of same-sex "marriage" in New York.

There are, of course, all the cheer leaders among the advocates of same-sex "marriage" out there who mindlessly repeat the Approved Slogans about "fairness" and "diversity"--words which, once translated from the not-so-secret ideological code to common English, turn out to mean "intolerance" and "uniformity," respectively. But to anyone who has seriously thought through the philosophical and cultural consequences of all this have to be wondering what is becoming of their culture.

In an article in the new edition of First Things magazine, David P. Goldman follows up his article of last October about the music of Richard Wagner with a review of the Metropolitan Opera's production of Wagner's Die Walküre ("The Valkyrie"). In both of these articles, Goldman makes more sense of the modern mindset than anything I've read in the last ten years.

Wagner's Walküre, the second of his "Ring" operas, is the story of Siegmund and Sieglinde--a brother and his fraternal sister, although they don't know it--who meet after a long separation resulting from a raid on their village early in life. They fall in love.

It's a story, in other words, about incest.

The reason they fall in love is because they see the image of themselves in each other. "You are the image I harbor in me," says Siegmund to Sieglinde. In other words, instead of the normal pattern of erotic love, which is the attraction due to the difference of the lovers, these two (modern people that they are) are attracted by their similarities. "Erotic energy is transferred," Goldman quotes Gail Finney as observing, "from the narcissistic individual to the object most like himself, his sibling."

"Wagner remains the consummate bard of narcissistic love, of passion for our own alter egos," says Goldman. And, by the way (Goldman only hints at this, but I'll say it explicitly), this also makes sense of Hitler's expropriation of Wagner for his Arian myth--the worship of your own race and nation.

And then Goldman makes this observation:
Wagner wants to counterpose a love of pure impulse to the covenantal order of traditional society. He despises covenantal order; as Nietzsche wrote, "Whence arises all evil in the world, Wagner asked himself? ... From customs, laws, morals, institutions, from all those things on which the ancient world and ancient society rests."
Goldman pointed out in his October article that "Wagner set out to destroy musical teleology, which he abhorred as the 'tyranny of form.'" He sought instead to replace musical teleology, which subordinates the ecstatic moment to the broader end or purpose of the composition, with a concentration on the individual moment, the one experience within the song which would make the composition worth listening to. Instead of music that pointed to something outside the composition itself in the old Christian mode, Wagner would provide the moment in the very experience of listening that is the only thing that could bestow musical value, since there is no such things as teleology.

Of course, Wagner's emphasis on the intensification of the one authenticating moment is not something unfamiliar to us: it has, in fact, become the mode in which we now apprehend the affective in contemporary culture. It seems sometimes that that is what we are all after. We no longer live under Heaven, the approximation of which was once thought to be accomplished by the completion of a great goal or quest. We now live for the moment.

This teleological order that until recently held sway--the loose vestige of Christendom--had marriage as its center:
Wagner reminds us why Judeo-Christian society rests on the institution of marriage. It is not merely because marriage produces children and socializes them. A republic is defined, Augustine argued in The City of God, not only be a common interest but by a common love. Western polity depends on the mutual love of God and his people. In the normative love of men and women, it is opposites that attract: that is why, since Hosea, heterosexual love has served as the metaphor par excellence for the love of the absolute Other.

Far better than the political philosophers, Wagner understood that the covenant that underlies Western society is not a Hobbesian calculation but rather a nuptial commitment. The family is the fundamental unit of society because it nurtures in the sphere of intimacy an approximation of the covenantal bond between God and Israel.

To extirpate the covenantal order, Wagner understood, one must tear out its roots and provide an alternative: the ecstatic swoon of self-recognition, the ego's celebration of itself ...

In a scene from the movie Lord of the Rings (I don't think it's in the book), Saruman is watching as his orcs uproot the ancient trees of Fangorn. An orc approaches hime and says, "the roots are deep, My Lord."

Only an impulse so irresistible that it tears apart and breaks through the bonds of convention and covenant would serve Wagner's purpose, an impulse that knows neither doubt nor hesitation. Mere adultery is inadequate for his purpose. In Tristan and Isolde, he made do with a love potion, a comic-opera device that trivializes the tragedy of his illicit lovers. The incestuous passion of Wotan's twins introduces something far more powerful than a potion--namely, the allconsuming love of the ego for itself ... The mutual passion of fraternal twins is the closest Wagner coiuld come to pure narcissism short of introducing homosexuality.
"In Die Walkure," Goldman continues, "the personal is political. The love of the fraternal twins begins the downfall of the god's covenantal order." The final installment of the Ring cycle, he points out, "leads to the Twilight of the Gods, the end of the old order."

Wagner, of course, knew what he was doing. Our cultural leaders, of course, don't have a clue. They are posers of the highest order. But there are a lot of them, and they have occupied the positions that were once held by those who valued custom and tradition. The people who claim to be "conservative" have sent their children to the same institutions (allegedly "educational" in nature, although the evidence would suggest otherwise) where they could be indoctrinated with Tolerance and Diversity, and now they know all the slogans too and spout them like good little revolutionaries.

We have been told that there is nothing wrong with homosexuality; the strictures against it were mere taboos. There is no "rational basis" (as the lawyers say) for not affirming it. Even if that were true (it isn't), as I have pointed out before, the same can be said for incest and cannibalism. And every time I point that out, the good little revolutionaries in the comments section, bravely standing for what everyone around them believes anyway, demur. But just give it about 5 years, and they will have already have followed their logic to its illogical conclusion.

Just watch.

39 comments:

Erin Avery said...

It isn't opposites that attract. See Boethius' From the Same to the Same, point IX. Opposites repel, similarities attract.

To say that opposites attract is to say that contraries and contradictories are necessary for progress. This is false--attraction can only be between like things. The attraction between a man and a woman in marriage is about their sexes: they are the same in that they are both human (Imago Dei--made in the image of God)--there is no opposite here. Their sexes are not opposite either, but they are complementary differences.

The problem with incest is that genetics needs variety, not opposition. Variety is always a mark of complementation, and is a concept unique to Biblical Christanity. Oppositionalism is about as pagan as it gets, and it always raises evil to the level of good (as a necessary). Marriage must be complementary and requires the uniqueness of variety in differences. Hence, there is no opposition in marriage between a man and a woman, but there is no complementary variety of difference in marriages between two men or two women, and not enough between people of the same family removed to the first cousin. So incest and homosexuality/lesbianism is not bad because they are narcissistically the same: they are bad because they aren't complementarily different enough.

Singring said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Singring said...

Aside from the hilarity of citing a Lord of the Rings movie to make a point about modern society, this article is par for the course when it comes to Vital Remnants. It has all the staples: Continuous whining about the decline of 'Western culture' whithout citing one relevant statistic to support it, ignorance of all of the data from societies in which gay marriage is fully accepted (guess why), etc.

Want an example?

'There is no "rational basis" (as the lawyers say) for not affirming it. Even if that were true (it isn't), as I have pointed out before...'

This is simply slipped in as a rather bold assertion in the closing paragraphs - no link to evidence, no mention of where exactly this 'rational basis' for denying gay marriage has been laid out. I for one would love to read about it - but unfortunatle such matters seem unnecessary to someone who sees the downfall of Western civilization as originating from the shared bedroom of a dance instructor and a fashion designer in New York.

Then of course we come to the classic denouement in full agreement with rule 2 of the blog: accusing those who disagree with you of becoming incestuous cannibals within the next 5 years. We even get a nice little underhanded likening of 'gay marriage' to Hitler's racist agenda. Nice.

You gotta say one thing about VR: It always stays classy.

One Brow said...

There are, of course, all the cheer leaders among the advocates of same-sex "marriage" out there who mindlessly repeat the Approved Slogans about "fairness" and "diversity"--words which, once translated from the not-so-secret ideological code to common English, turn out to mean "intolerance" and "uniformity," respectively.

Can you provide an example of the supposed "intolerance" that does not mean rejecting the right to discriminate while acting on behalf of the government or claiming to serve the general public? Do you think government employees should have a right to discriminate while performing governmental duties? That people have a right to claim they serve everyone when they in fact discriminate?

One Brow said...

This is simply slipped in as a rather bold assertion in the closing paragraphs - no link to evidence, no mention of where exactly this 'rational basis' for denying gay marriage has been laid out.

Feser lays it out in his book. The purpose of human sex is reproduction. Therefore, any sort of sexual activity that could not lead to reporoduction in individuals capable of repoduction is inferior. It's very easy to use rationality to discriminate, you just need to choose the correct starting point.

Singring said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Singring said...

'Feser lays it out in his book. The purpose of human sex is reproduction. Therefore, any sort of sexual activity that could not lead to reporoduction in individuals capable of repoduction is inferior. It's very easy to use rationality to discriminate, you just need to choose the correct starting point.'

I remember the entertaining exchange we had on the issue with Martin a while back. I guess in his view, stating that the purpose of the penis is whatever he says it is based solely on his assertion that this is 'self-evident' (this is the precise argument he used last time, as I recall) is what would fall under a 'rational' argument.

Of course, as you point out, it would be quite easy for a gay man to assert the opposite with regards to the function of his penis. That would suffice to counter Martin's (and Feser's) argument in this point.

What I would like to have (and I'm sure you too) is some kind of evidentiary based argument that demonstrates how homosexual marriage is detrimental to society and that cannot be nullified by simply asserting a contrary metaphysical claim.

For example: data that shows that the GDP or societal health or some other indicator in countries in which gay mariage is legal is significantly lower than in countries that ban gay marriage. Or maybe a direct example of how allowing two men or women to marry would have detrimental effects on their neighbors or friends or family. That's the kind of data I think of when I hear the word 'rational' in this kind of debate and that's the kind of data that would make me change my mind.

For example, I used to be opposed to adoption by same sex couples based on the (false, as I later found out) belief that the psychology of children adopted by such couples would suffer. I have since read about studies on the issue and there seems to be no evidence at all that this is the case. I changed my mind and now am in favour of same sex adoption or surrogate motherhood etc.

So all Martin needs to do is give some similar data that actually points the other way and I would change my mind again. I would be an easy convert - but I'd like to see the data first.

Martin Cothran said...

Singring,

... stating that the purpose of the penis is whatever he says it is based solely on his assertion that this is 'self-evident' (this is the precise argument he used last time, as I recall) is what would fall under a 'rational' argument.

Of course, as you point out, it would be quite easy for a gay man to assert the opposite with regards to the function of his penis.


In other words, the purpose of reproductive organs is not reproduction.

Got it.

Lee said...

It's a dirty shame Wagner was, politically, philosophically, and personally, such a pig.

He was capable of writing music of unsurpassed beauty, and did so on many occasions. Portions of the Ring, Tristan, and Parsifal are nothing short of glorious. It stirs the old trombone player in me.

On another note, C.S. Lewis has pointed out that Wagner was one of the poetic precursors of Darwinism -- the idea that the children would become greater than the parents. This runs athwart the Biblical notion that, far from evolving into "better" beings, humans are degenerating and have been doing so since the Fall.

Singring said...

'In other words, the purpose of reproductive organs is not reproduction.

Got it.'

Well, as I have pointed out before ad nauseam, I object to you arbitrarily assigning a metaphysical 'purpose' to one particular function of an organ.

In our last discussion on the matter, you first stated that your reason for doing so was that this was 'self-evidently' the purpose of the penis, then you said that you 'looked at it and that seems to be what it does'.

I pointed out that the penis does a whole lot of other things, too. It is used for urination far more frequently than for any activity potentially leading to reproduction. Likewise pleasure is derived from stimulating the penis far more frequently than it is used in any sexual acts that could lead to reproductive success. So the whole idea of 'looking at it to see what it does' to derive some metaphysical puprose is not only absurd on teh face of it - it does not even correlate with empirical data!

I might say the 'purpose' of the penis is to be used to derive pleasure - and presto, gay marriage is metaphysically justified. A gay man might say the purpose of the penis is not to be in onvolved in reproduction - and this would apparently rule out heterosexual marriage. Which brings me to my final point on this issue:

I take it you believe that celibate homosexual marriage is alright - because no 'verboten' use of the genitals would be involved, correct?

So instead of playing this silly game of random assertion, I asked you here once more: what is your data to support the claim that homosexual marriage in any way, shape or form is damaging to society?

It is rather telling that the only reply you were able to muster is a snyde remark on a matter that we have already dealt with and that does nothing at all to answer this question. I told you - I'm an easy convert. I've changed my mind before. All you need to show me is the data. So where is it?

Lee said...

> It is rather telling that the only reply you were able to muster is a snyde remark on a matter that we have already dealt with and that does nothing at all to answer this question.

Now I'm curious. What is your objection to snide remarks, Singring?

I heard a stand-up comedian once opine that Burt Reynolds had made so many bad movies that, whenever someone made a bad movies, they had to send Reynolds a royalty.

So, what's the going rate on making snide remarks?

KyCobb said...

Martin,

"There is no "rational basis" (as the lawyers say) for not affirming it. Even if that were true (it isn't), as I have pointed out before, the same can be said for incest and cannibalism"

As the lawyer, I will point out that there is no class of person being discriminated against by laws prohibiting incest and cannibalism, thus there is no violation of the equal protection clause. Further, since incest can lead to birth defects, and cannibalism carries disease risks, there are rational bases to ban both.

Plus, I would love it if you would point out what the rational basis for prohibiting same sex marriage is that you so blithely assert exists. The last time I asked you, you cited an article which wasn't available on the internet.

Cheap Essay said...

Great post and some really useful tips there. I love resource lists like this. Have social bookmarked it in the hope that others can also benefit.

Singring said...

'Now I'm curious. What is your objection to snide remarks, Singring?'

Nothing at all, so long as they are accompanied by an actual argument or - in the case of a 'double-whammy', represent the argument itself.

As I pointed out, the 'argument' Martin's remark was intended to refer to has already been dealt with extensively both here and elsewhere (as I laid out) and did not adress the more pertinent question raised here.

But hey, maybe you can tell me where in that post I was referring to lurked a reference to evidence indicating the adverse effects homosexual marriage has on societies. I'd love to read it.

P.S.: Being compared to Burt Reynolds is truly flattering.

Lee said...

> As the lawyer, I will point out that there is no class of person being discriminated against by laws prohibiting incest and cannibalism, thus there is no violation of the equal protection clause.

Your whole spiel is dependent on the definition of marriage changing from what it was, to what now suits your agenda.

Remove the change in the definition of marriage, and there is no equal protection issue.

Singring said...

'Your whole spiel is dependent on the definition of marriage changing from what it was, to what now suits your agenda.'

Lee, what is your obsession with the 'definition of marriage'?

The 'definition of marriage' used to be that whoever was marrying had to be of the same skin colour. There apparently were societies in the past where the 'definition of marriage' included homosexual marriage (hence the slaughter of the Canaanites and Sodomites).

Do you consider it a valid argument against the legalization of interracial marriage that it was changing the 'definition of marriage'???

Tell us - who gets to define what marriage is (and based on what)?

You?
Martin?
Catholics?
Protestants?
Muslims?
Jews?

Mormons?

I'll tell you who: if government is the body that is sactioning marriages, then it is the society that gets to decide (and thank goodness for that). The way society decides on what it defines as marriage and what it does not define as marriage is hopefully based on rational, empirically verified arguments - not on based on whoever can scream their metaphysical convictions at the top of their lungs for long enough to drown out everyone else.

Your current 'definition of marriage' is exclusionary for no good reason. Simply asserting over and over, like a broken record: 'I don't like your agenda! The definition of marriage is not to be changed!' is infantile as long as you cannot provide any arguments beyond the incessant 'because I say so' nonsense we are being subjected to here by you, Martin and your fellows.

Specifically, what agenda are you talking about and what about it displeases you? Maybe you have some really solid arguments and some good evidence to show that this perceived agenda is damaging to society and is causing a lot of problems? I'd like to hear about it.

I said it above: It is trivially easy to convert someone like me in this matter - all you need to do is roll out the evidence that shows that gay marriage leads societies to be worse off, leads people to be worse off. It's that simple.

But what do we get instead? We get an 'argument' that goes like this:

'The definition of marriage is what I say it is and that's the way it is and that's that and nothing else matters.'

Toddlers arguing over a pacifier make more cogent arguments than that.

Lee said...

> Lee, what is your obsession with the 'definition of marriage'?

Why don't we talk about your obsession with question-begging epithets?

> The 'definition of marriage' used to be that whoever was marrying had to be of the same skin colour.

So you are another one of those who believe that marriage evolved arbitrarily with regard to sex.

KyCobb said...

Lee,

"Remove the change in the definition of marriage, and there is no equal protection issue."

You can't depend on the dictionary as a defense. If the state is going to make gender based laws, it has to have a rational basis for doing so if those laws are challenged. And I'm still waiting for Martin to actually give a rational basis, rather than merely asserting that at least one exists.

Singring said...

This is the request:

'Specifically, what agenda are you talking about and what about it displeases you? Maybe you have some really solid arguments and some good evidence to show that this perceived agenda is damaging to society and is causing a lot of problems? I'd like to hear about it.

I said it above: It is trivially easy to convert someone like me in this matter - all you need to do is roll out the evidence that shows that gay marriage leads societies to be worse off, leads people to be worse off. It's that simple.'

This is the response:

'Why don't we talk about your obsession with question-begging epithets?'

I stand defeated in the face of such well-reasoned, eloquently argued and meticulously researched and referenced arguments.

Obviously, the defenders of 'traditional marriage' have the facts on their side. I mean, who can argue with this pummeling litany of studies and research?

'So you are another one of those who believe that marriage evolved arbitrarily with regard to sex.'

Marriage 'evolved'? What on earth are you going on about? Marriage is defined (at the moment, in the US) as the government recognition of a formalized social contract between a man and a woman - no more, no less. There were no 'marriages' in the Cambrian, there were no 'marriages' in the Triassic, there were no 'marriages' 200,000 years ago, when our ancestors walked the plains of Africa. A 'marriage' is simply a label for a social contract recognized by others in that society.

The question is - is the current definition of what a 'marriage' is (in the US) a prudent and justifiable one when it comes to the benefits and costs for society and its members?

I am still waiting for a single, coherent (let alone sound) argument that this definition should exclude homosexual unions.

I am beginning to suspect that I will not be getting one anytime soon.

Seamus said...

The 'definition of marriage' used to be that whoever was marrying had to be of the same skin colour.

Good grief. No, the "definition of marriage" did not depend on skin color. Certain regulations enacted in certain jurisdictions restricted legal marriage to those between people of the same race, but that wasn't an attempt to "define" marriage. Similarly, those states that make marriage between first cousins illegal aren't "defining" marriage as something that takes place between people who are more distantly related than that degree of consanguinity, nor are those state that require people to be 18 years old in order to marry "defining" marriage as something that can only be done by legal adults.

Singring said...

Seamus - then what is the 'definition of marriage' and why should it not include unions between people of the same sex?

Lee said...

> You can't depend on the dictionary as a defense.

If you can change the definition of marriage to suit your agenda, what is stopping anyone else from simply changing any inconvenient definition? What about "equal protection"?

As marriage is defined, gays have the same right to marry as straights: the right to seek for a mate of the opposite sex.

So not only do you have to expand the definition of marriage, you must as well maintain that the Constitution protects groups based on sexual attraction. It isn't at all obvious that the Constitution does so.

> I stand defeated in the face of such well-reasoned, eloquently argued and meticulously researched and referenced arguments.

So now you are maintaining that your incessant use of question-begging epithets constitutes sound argument? And it is somehow irrational of me to notice?

> Marriage 'evolved'? What on earth are you going on about? Marriage is defined (at the moment, in the US) as the government recognition of a formalized social contract between a man and a woman - no more, no less. There were no 'marriages' in the Cambrian, there were no 'marriages' in the Triassic, there were no 'marriages' 200,000 years ago, when our ancestors walked the plains of Africa.

Thank you for illustrating my point. It evolved. Or it was ordained by God, and I don't think you want to go there, do you?

Singring said...

'So now you are maintaining that your incessant use of question-begging epithets constitutes sound argument? And it is somehow irrational of me to notice?'

And this kind of post is supposed to constitute your argument that gay marriage is detrimental to society...how exactly?

'It evolved. Or it was ordained by God, and I don't think you want to go there, do you?'

You left out the third - and correct - option: It was ordained by man.

Lee said...

I have no idea why you, of all people, are fighting the notion that marriage evolved. Anything is allowed, I suppose, if it allows you to contradict something I said. I guess air is wrong if I breathe it.

But whether marriage evolved or not, I don't see how "ordained by man" contradicts "evolved."

Doesn't matter for my purposes. Let's use your terminology: ordained by man, not evolved.

Now back to my original point: are you suggesting that marriage's ordination by man has been, up to this point, arbitrary with regard to sex?

Singring said...

'I have no idea why you, of all people, are fighting the notion that marriage evolved. '

I am fighting the notion of using the term 'evolved' in this debate because it is not pertinent. Of course, ultimately - if you adhere to materialism as I tentatively do - everything could be said to have evolved. But that simply reduces the statement to a tautology.

The point I am making is that as a society, we are free to define the term 'marriage' any which way we like - we are not bound by evolution or by God - all we are bound by is our own imagination.

The question then becomes - what is a sensible, empirically defensible definition of marriage as far as the government as teh representative of societal consensus is concerned?

I have asked you and Martin for any kind of empirical data, evidence, just some kind of coherent argument that gay marriage is damaging to society and brings more detriment than advantage if implemented.

Yet somehow, you never do. The only reason I am given to oppose gay marriage is either that it contradicts the 'self-evident purpose' of the genitals or, in your case, simply because you say so. Your latest post again does not contain even an attempt at providing any convincing reason for me to adopt your position.

I'm terribly sorry, but I'm very reluctant to accept any position just because you say so. Would you accept any of my positions just because I says so? No. So you have to be a little more persuasive.

'Now back to my original point: are you suggesting that marriage's ordination by man has been, up to this point, arbitrary with regard to sex?'

No. But how is that relevant?

Up until the early 20th century (and in some places much later) the right to vote was not assigned arbitrarily. Does that mean it was right to deny women the right to vote?

Are you seriously suggesting that a society should base its legislative decisions on 'the way its always been'? Is your diea of the ideal society one in which slavery is commonplace, racism is rampant and women have very few rights?

One Brow said...

In other words, the purpose of reproductive organs is not reproduction.

Got it.


More like reproduction is one of the many consequences of the proper use of sexual organs, other consequences still being active in homosexual relaitonships.

One Brow said...

Lee said...
... precursors of Darwinism -- the idea that the children would become greater than the parents.

I have no idea what "Darwinism" teaches, bt the Theory of Evolution does not teach that children tend to become "greater" than their parents (whatever "greater" is supposed to mean).

One Brow said...

Seamus said...
Good grief. No, the "definition of marriage" did not depend on skin color. Certain regulations enacted in certain jurisdictions restricted legal marriage to those between people of the same race, but that wasn't an attempt to "define" marriage.

Seamus makes an excellent point here. Changing the laws regarding marriage is not changing the definition of marriage. In partiular, no one on this board is any more confused by what what a "same-sex marriage" is then residents o Verginia were confused by what an inter-racial marriage is. The definition of marriage is obviously and easily aplied to same-sex couples. The pretense that making such unions legal is a change in definition is nothing more than a plea to traditionalism.

KyCobb said...

Lee,

"what is stopping anyone else from simply changing any inconvenient definition? What about "equal protection"?"

Equal protection is in the Constitution, which is difficult to amend.

"So not only do you have to expand the definition of marriage, you must as well maintain that the Constitution protects groups based on sexual attraction."

No, its gender discrimination. When you tell two men they can't have a marriage license because one of them has to be female, you have to have a rational basis for that requirement.

Lee said...

> Equal protection is in the Constitution, which is difficult to amend.

That's why liberal judges invented "emanations of penumbras."

One Brow said...

Lee said...
That's why liberal judges invented "emanations of penumbras."

Conservative justices have been subverting the Constitution at least since Plessy vs. Ferguson. The notion that conservatives are the ones who really believe in the Constitution si demagoguery, not serious debate.

Lee said...

I agree that, before the Warren Court, there was a lot of judicial activism from the conservatives, though I'm not familiar with many specifics. I'm relying on Thomas Sowell as my authority on that issue, see his discussion in his book, "Knowledge and Decisions."

Since the Warren Court, however, the pendulum has swung the other way with a vengeance.

Clarence Thomas was once giving a speech to a college audience and was peppered with questions critical of his more strict-constructionist leanings. His response was simple: it has to be that way. He said (paraphrased), let me ask you, the audience, a question: would you prefer that I base my votes on my own personal conservative values and convictions, or that I base my decisions on the Constitution? All of a sudden, some of them began to see the value of his philosophy.

Seamus said...

Seamus - then what is the 'definition of marriage' and why should it not include unions between people of the same sex?

Since you're the one who first pontificated about what the "definition of marriage" is or was, it's your responsibility to you to clarify your use of the term, not mine to come up with an alternative definition. It is, however, perfectly appropriate for me to point out that your attempted (historical) definition isn't a definition at all.

Singring said...

'Since you're the one who first pontificated about what the "definition of marriage" is or was, it's your responsibility to you to clarify your use of the term, not mine to come up with an alternative definition.'

I never pontificated on, nor proposed a 'definition of marriage' myself. My whole point was that the very idea of an immutable 'definition of marriage' was absurd as the 'definition of marriage' has changed over the years.

You say that it is not your responsibility to 'come up with an alternative definition'.

So you agree that we can come up with all kinds of different 'definitions of marriage', that, prima facie, all have equal validity?

'It is, however, perfectly appropriate for me to point out that your attempted (historical) definition isn't a definition at all.'

I was simply illustrated that it is absurd to claim that a 'definition of marriage' that goes like this:

'Marriage is a legal contract of personal commitment between a man and a woman'

is inherently immutable, while a definition of marriage as

'A legal contract of personal commitment between a man and a woman of the same race'

is subject to review. In just makes no sense whatsoever, so it makes no sense to say that there being this supposed 'definition of marriage' is any kind of argument in favour of banning gay unions being recognized by the state.

One Brow said...

Lee said...
I'm relying on Thomas Sowell as my authority on that issue,

He will tell you what you want to hear.

The truth is that today, as always, both conservatives and liberals use and ignore te "original intent" whenever they see fit.

Lee said...

> He will tell you what you want to hear.

For me, it works the other way: if Sowell says it, I want to hear it.

If he were as blindly partisan as you seem to be suggesting, why would he have written about the history of conservative judicial activism at all?

One Brow said...

For me, it works the other way: if Sowell says it, I want to hear it.

Tomato, tomato.

If he were as blindly partisan as you seem to be suggesting, why would he have written about the history of conservative judicial activism at all?

If he were not blindly partisan, he'd acknowledge that "activism" is merely code for "I disagree". There is no such thing as judicial activism, just findings people don't like.

As for why Sowell would write such a history, it's because he doesn't want to defend historical conservatives, just modern ones.

Lee said...

> Tomato, tomato.

More like cause and effect.

> If he were not blindly partisan, he'd acknowledge that "activism" is merely code for "I disagree". There is no such thing as judicial activism, just findings people don't like.

So then you reject the notion that someone could sincerely believe in upholding and defending the Constitution. In your view, people, including yourself, are only interested in doing whatever they want, and then retrofitting the Constitution to justify it. Is that a fair summary?

> As for why Sowell would write such a history, it's because he doesn't want to defend historical conservatives, just modern ones.

If you have any specific criticisms of Sowell's writings, we could eschew all the speculation on your part.

One Brow said...

Lee said...
So then you reject the notion that someone could sincerely believe in upholding and defending the Constitution.

On the contrary, in any case where the vote is not unanimous, both sides believe they are upholding and defending thd Constitution. Both the majority and the dissenter in Plessy vs. Ferguson believed they were upholding Constitutional principles.

In your view, people, including yourself, are only interested in doing whatever they want, and then retrofitting the Constitution to justify it. Is that a fair summary?

Actually, not that far off, except retro-fitting implies a conscious process. Rather, I would say that people have a tendency to assume other people will basically agree with them, and so read documents from that perspective.

If you have any specific criticisms of Sowell's writings, we could eschew all the speculation on your part.

Why bother? I could spend two hours reading through a couple of his columns and detailing carefully chosen examples, overlooked objections, deliberately simplistic analyses, etc., and at the end of it it won't change what Sowell writes, what you think of him, or what I think of him.