Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Ed Feser hits Bottom

Joseph Bottum, that is.

Bottum, former editor of the conservative First Things, came out in a rambling and logically incoherent Commmonweal essay a few days ago in favor of same-sex marriage, causing a firestorm of criticism and comment.

I've been waiting for the proponents of same-sex marriage to repudiate Bottum's support on account of his arguments being too embarrassingly bad even for them. But, alas, apparently I overestimated their logical standards. They will apparently tolerate even Bottum's logic.

One of the best of the responses to Bottum's article is by Catholic philosopher Edward Feser:
Though Bottum’s conclusion is entirely un-Catholic, un-conservative, and contrary to natural law, what is most remarkable is just how very thoroughly he still accepts the substance of the Catholic, conservative, and natural law positions on this issue. To be sure, when you see that he starts the article with some personal remarks about his bluegrass-playin’ gay friend Jim, your eyes cannot help but swivel back in their sockets. You expect at first that it’s going to be yet another of those ghastly conversion stories, long on celebration and short on cerebration, that have become a staple of the “strange new respect” literature. “Yes, fellow right-wingers, I too once opposed gay marriage -- until a long heart-to-heart over lattes with my central-casting gay [son, dentist, fellow bluegrass aficionado] convinced me that deep down we’re all just folks.” The conservative as the dad in Heathers.  
Yet that isn’t quite how it goes. For one thing, by the end of the piece, Jim comes across not as a patient dispenser of homespun, tolerant wisdom, but as a thoroughly repulsive ideologue -- humorless, paranoid, intellectually dishonest, seething with hatred, and even totalitarian in his desire juridically to force the Catholic Church to take on board his pseudo-moral prejudices. For another, Bottum never quite affirms “same-sex marriage” as per se a good thing -- though he does make a half-hearted attempt to see the empty glass as half-full -- but mainly as a fait accompli he thinks it is counterproductive to oppose anymore.
Read the rest here.


KyCobb said...

Apparently he doesn't understand, as Bryan Fischer does, that conservatism means sweeping away the gay community by emulating Vladimir Putin's Russia and adopting repressive measures to clamp down on free speech.

Martin Cothran said...

Who's Brian Fischer? Does he mischaracterize people's comments and create straw men to argue against too?

KyCobb said...

Bryan Fischer is a director at the American Family Association who has a radio show broadcast widely on American Family Radio. He actually thinks that Russia has not gone far enough in repressing free speech about homosexuality. You really don't know who he is? Its difficult for me to mischaracterize your comments hoping for the gay community to be swept away, since you refuse to elaborate on how you think this might be accomplished. Thus all I have to fall back on are how your fellow social conservatives like Bryan Fischer (who was called "poisonous" by Mitt Romney at a Value Voters Summit they were both speaking at) think the gay community should be swept away.

Martin Cothran said...


Where did I say I "hoped the gay community" would be "swept away"? I'm sure, as an intellectually honest person, you must have actual proof of an accusation like that.

KyCobb said...

"And if we're going to lose the public battle on this issue, which looks likely, we might as well do it with our moral theology intact, so that, in a better time, when the "gay community" will have been swept away by history, the Church can speak it anew."

I suppose you now intend to argue that doesn't mean you are hoping for the gay community to be swept away to avoid the issue of how to accomplish it. But if so, why aren't you hoping the gay community will be swept away, since that will be a "better time"? Are you hoping for worse times?

Lee said...

America will be done in by the contradictions of liberalism, eventually. It's only a matter of time now.

The family is all but destroyed. One of the last enduring institutions that stood in the path of total liberal power. The cherry on top is SSM. Birthrates in the U.S. are dropping as they did in Europe when they adopted similar policies.

And the liberal multi-culties, while suppressing the family and Christianity, are welcoming Islam. When Muslims obtain sufficient power -- if not this generation, then the next, or the next, since they have continued having children and the (former) Christians have not -- there goes your gay rights. Along with every other freedom we enjoy.

And then in supreme irony, liberalism will go to its grave, blaming Christians and conservatives for its untimely death.

Bank on it.

KyCobb said...


Your xenophobic fantasies aren't remotely credible to any rational person. I'm sure 19th and 20th century nativists muttered about how America was being ruined by those papist Irish, or the Chinese, the Italians, and the Eastern Europeans. You want high non-muslim birth rates? Encourage immigration from Central America. They have higher birth rates than we do, and most of them are good Catholics.

Hank Reynolds said...

Former American nativists grumbled about the Irish, Chinese, and Italians. Therefore, objections to same-sex marriage are xenophonic fantasies. So that's the kind of argument a rational person is supposed to find credible?

A rational person would recognize that achieving a higher birth rate depends on heterosexuality, not Central Americans.

Singring said...

'A rational person would recognize that achieving a higher birth rate depends on heterosexuality, not Central Americans.'

And denying gay people the right to marry will increase heterosexuality or birth rates how exactly?

Do you think that, if gay people are not permitted marriage, they will suddenly turn straight and start having babies?

How do you suggest we increase 'heterosexuality'?

As a rational person, you should be able to explain this kind of stuff...rationally.

KyCobb said...


Lee's fear of a muslim takeover of America is a xenophobic fantasy. Your apparent belief that banning ssm will increase heterosexuality is irrational.

One Brow said...

I've been waiting for the proponents of same-sex marriage to repudiate Bottum's support on account of his arguments being too embarrassingly bad even for them.

I have seen exactly those complaints on Pharyngula and Friendly Atheist. If you like, I'll put in some links. More likely, you were just being snide and wrong.

Lee said...

> Your xenophobic fantasies aren't remotely credible to any rational person.

Where did you get "xenophobic"? Does that just happen to be your favorite epither, or second-favorite (after "homophobic")?

Hell, any xenophobia real or more likely imagined aside, I actually hope you're right.

But where are my facts wrong?

Family under attack? Check, for like the last sixty years.

Birthrates in the U.S. dropping? Check. Like Europe's? Check.

Liberal multi-culties embracing Muslims? Check.

Muslims being anti-gay rights? Check.

Muslim respect for the U.S. Constitution? That's an opinion, but check anyway.

And I am absolutely 100% fine and on board with Hispanic immigration to the U.S.

But enforce the darn laws.

KyCobb said...


No-one is attacking families. Birth rates are dropping everywhere. The world's billion Muslims are not monolithically homophobic and anti-democratic; our longtime ally, Turkey, is a functioning democracy. Your bigoted fantasy of a breeding horde of muslims (who make up less than 1% of the US population) taking over is just another example of rightwing fear mongering to keep old white people voting their prejudices. All the GOP has to offer is fear: of African-Americans, Hispanics, Homosexuals, Muslims. Fortunately the politics of fear and bigotry are slowly coming to an end, as most young people now belong to the very groups the Right demonizes, so not surprisingly, they view the GOP, as the College Republicans said, as "old-fashioned, close-minded, rigid and racist."

Lee said...

> No-one is attacking families.

No one is attacking your privacy, said the NSA.

No one is attacking the Tea Party, said the IRS.

No one is attacking Poland, said Hitlet.

No one is attacking the kulaks, said Stalin.

> Birth rates are dropping everywhere.

Not in Muslim-occupied Western Europe.

> The world's billion Muslims are not monolithically homophobic and anti-democratic

Yep. Not all Muslims crashed into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Not all Muslims intimated newspapers to not print cartoons poking fun at Mohammad. Not all Muslims burn homosexuals to death or call for the execution of gays. Not all Muslims say the fatwa against Salman Rushdie was just (but only the ones who sing at liberal rallies). Not all Muslims stone women who are raped. Not all Muslims shot up over twenty people at Ft. Hood. Not all Muslims killed four Americans in Libya. Not all Muslims are killing Coptic Christians today in Egypt. Not all Muslims treat women as chattel. Not all Muslims are killing fellow Muslims in Syria. Not all Muslims rioted in the streets in Paris and Stockholm. Not all Muslims honor-kill family females who date infidels.

And any attempt to insinuate that Islam is anything but a religion of peace is wrong. Because shut up.

But you can be certain that all Christians shoot abortion doctors and burn abortion clinics.

And I'm not a Republican. But your critique of their racism is proudly spoken, for someone who champions the party of Robert Byrd and William Fulbright.

KyCobb said...


The College Republicans said young people view the GOP as racist. The Right isn't fooling anyone trying to pretend the party of the President is a bunch of Klansmen.

Lee said...

> The College Republicans said young people view the GOP as racist.

And as we all know, perception is always reality, without fail.

Do you say these things because you think we're stupid? Or are you just hoping we're stupid?

The great thing about being a liberal is everyone who disagree with you on public policy is a racist by definition.

Takes away a lot of the responsibility of, you know, defending your position.

Q: Do you think we should enforce our immigration laws?
A: You racist.

Q: Should we be concerned about invasion by a culture that believes in none of the things that form the basis of our society.
A: You racist.

Q: Should we change a working definition of marriage that has existed for thousands of years in order to keep from hurting some people's feelings?
A: You racist. Oh, excuse me. You homophobe.

Ever thought of adding any other arrows to that meager quiver of yours, Ky?

Martin Cothran said...


I can't believe you're defending the part of George Wallace and Lyndon LaRouche.

KyCobb said...


George Wallace is dead and LaRouche is just nuts. On the other hand, you just posted a new thread defending racism, like an increasing number of conservatives.