Wednesday, July 01, 2015

More People Who Shouldn't Vote: Same-Sex Marriage and Keeping Your Selfishness to Yourself

Ellen Rosenman has a rather strange op-ed in the Herald-Leader today arguing (and I use that term loosely) that since the gay marriage decision had no discernible impact on her family the day after, that therefore there was nothing wrong with it.

So far the government has not seized our house to bestow it on a gay couple. We've managed to keep our jobs, our cars, our marital tax break and our children. Our dogs remain clueless as ever (especially Bailey, the white one, whom the vet once diagnosed as D-U-M-B).
Now Rosenman is a professor in the English department at the University of Kentucky. I take great comfort in knowing that, and in knowing that she isn't in, say, the philosophy or political science department. I'm assuming there are at least intellectual standards in those departments.

Of course, she's using this fact--that the decision didn't seem to make any difference in her own life--as an argument that the Obergefell decision is perfectly fine. Presumably the opposite ruling would have had the same immediate lack of impact on her life. So would she have penned this same article if the outcome had been different?

Of course not.

Why is the lack of impact on her life an argument in favor of the decision rather than against it? In fact, it isn't much of an argument at all.

I have always wondered what it is the people who use this kind of reasoning see in it. Whenever anyone asks me, "But how would this affect your family?" (which I have been asked a number of times), my answer is always the same: It doesn't matter. Why should it?

Do you mean that, as a citizen, I am only supposed to be concerned with myself? Is that what this whole citizen thing is about? It's really just all about me?

If this is the way people think, no wonder we're so screwed up.

Of course, this is the outcome of the long process of radical individualism stemming from John Locke and Thomas Hobbes: All we are as a society is a group of atomistic individuals who have agreed to get along with each other. The social contract. Check it out.

This is the view shared by both social liberals and the liberals who call themselves libertarians or, in a popular oxymoronic expression, "libertarian conservatives." They share the same exact view: It's all about me.

I hear Leland Conway, an otherwise great radio talk show host on WHAS, making this same argument all the time.

Well, it ain't all about me. It's about the common good. And if I don't have the ability to think beyond that simplistic and selfish notion, then I just shouldn't say anything publicly at all. And furthermore, I should stay away from the ballot box. And everyone else who thinks this way should stay away from it too.

Keep your selfishness to yourself. It's not good for the country.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"When the Supreme Court legalized gay marriage, I was deeply concerned. For years I'd been reading that such a move would destroy traditional heterosexual marriage."

No selfishness here. Rosenman is merely pointing out that all those dire warnings of the collapse of heterosexual marriage if gay marriage were permitted are incorrect, at least based on her experience. [Google can find many examples to those not familiar with such claims.]

j a higginbotham