Thanks to alert reader BS
From The Atlantic:
If only America were fighting more wars, Russia would never have taken Crimea. That’s basically the argument John McCain made last Friday in The New York Times. “For five years,” he complained, “Americans have been told that ‘the tide of war is receding’.… In Afghanistan and Iraq, military decisions have appeared driven more by a desire to withdraw than to succeed.” As a result, “Obama has made America look weak,” which emboldened Vladimir Putin to invade Ukraine.
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For as long as I can remember, in fact for longer than I've been alive, longer than my grandfather was alive, economic conservatives have been against secondary boycotts.
Never heard of a secondary boycott? More than a hundred years ago, when the labor movement was still developing a full head of steam, it was one of labor's primary tools in the campaign for an 8 hour day and a 5 day week.
In those days, titans of industry used paramilitary tactics to wreak violence on pro-union pickets. "Titans of Industry" is what conservatives called business tycoons in those days. Sounds more dramatic to me than the "Job Creators" of current Republican language.
The secondary boycott was a refusal to buy products, not just of a company involved in a labor dispute, but also of other corporations that did business with that company.
Picket lines would be formed by workers outside the walls of a company that told employees they had to work 10 or 12 hours every day or that paid workers a very low wage. Other workers who supported the pickets would refuse to cross the lines.
But pickets would also form around other businesses. Corporations supplying to, or buying from, the company in a labor dispute would be protested. The parent company that owned a protested business would be picketed. These boycotts were called secondary boycotts. You do business with someone who is stomping on working people, we won't buy your products and we will discourage others from buying your products.
Conservatives could not prevent all labor actions, even when they sent in hard men to break heads. The labor movement was on the march. But they did campaign effectively at the margins, pushing at the ragged edges of labor conflicts. In 1890, they managed to pass legislation discouraging many boycotts targeting corporations not directly involved in a labor dispute. In 1947, secondary boycotts were pretty much outlawed by the Taft-Hartley Act.
The theory was that targeting a company that did nothing directly objectionable was wrong and ought to be against the law.
I always regarded anti-discrimination laws, the most famous of which was passed in 1964, to be of a similar principle in a more wholesome direction. Targeting an individual person who had done nothing objectionable, except existing, was wrong and ought to be against the law.
It was controversial then. The idea that a business owner could not pick and choose between customers seemed like forbidden ground. I should be allowed to do business with whomever I want. "You can't legislate morality," was the objection to anti-discrimination laws.
The response was "the hell you can't!"
Over the last 50 years, such legislation has come to be accepted as an essential, needed, part of American law. Of course it should be illegal for a restaurant owner to order a black customer out simply because of race. Religion and ethnicity are also seen in a similar light. Singling me out, ordering me out, forcing me out of a retail outlet because I am a Christian or because I am a Muslim or a Jew is illegal, and very much ought to be.
More recently, laws explicitly allowing discrimination against gay people were proposed. The logic in favor of such proposals was simple. Some folks had moral objections to dealing with gay people.
The similarity of the arguments to those of half a century ago was too much for most folks. The freedom of a business owner to do business only with those of the same sexual preference is demeaning to the target of the bigotry. It was obvious to most that it should be illegal for a restaurant owner to order a customer out simply because of sexuality.
If we go with the logic of the right of refusal, there is no logical barrier to any form of discrimination. If I can refuse service to a gay couple by exercising my right to do business with whomever I want, then why can't I do the same thing to a black or interracial couple?
In fact, some argue that the right to throw folks out of a restaurant because of race is not only an extension of the same principle, they propose that all such discrimination should be legal.
State Senator Phil Jensen (R-SD) is one such Republican. He has introduced legislation that would allow discrimination against gay people. He's adamant about the right to throw gay people out of a place of business.
They have that right, as a business, to do that. And yet thy're getting bullied and harassed by the gay-lesbian community for something that is a personal, deeply held, religious belief of theirs.
- Phil Jensen (R-SD), recorded by KOTA Radio News of Rapid City, February 1, 2014
But, like a growing number of Republicans, Senator Jensen goes a little farther. He not only acknowledges the similarity to discrimination against black people, he embraces it. The free market would do a good enough job of eliminating racist practices.
In an interview with the Rapid City Journal, he explained:
If someone was a member of the Ku Klux Klan, and they were running a little bakery for instance, the majority of us would find it detestable that they refuse to serve blacks, and guess what? In a matter of weeks or so that business would shut down because no one is going to patronize them.
- State Senator Phil Jensen (R-SD), March 16, 2014
One South Dakota equality advocate is quoted in the same piece. David Patton of the Black Hills Center for Equality makes an obvious point. "The free market didn't do away with slavery."
Free enterprise does many wonderful things. Eliminating discrimination has not been a reliable result of unfettered business.
Republicans, even very conservative Republicans, might want to reconsider relitigating anti-discrimination laws from 50 years ago.
From the Detroit Free Press, last week
Michigan residents who buy health coverage in the private marketplace after Thursday will not have access to abortion coverage, even if a pregnancy is the result of rape or incest.
On that day, a new state law goes into effect that prohibits insurance companies from covering abortion services unless customers purchase separate add-ons — called riders — to their insurance plans ahead of time.
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sent by Alert Reader BS with this comment:
"Makes you want to run out and fly."
Accompanying Explanation at Wired.com
Asked "What would resolve the gender pay gap?"
Well, if you look at it, women are extremely busy. We lead busy lives, whether working professionally, whether working from home, and times are extremely busy. It's a busy cycle for women and we've got a lot to juggle. So when we look at this issue we think, what's practical?
- Cari Christman, Executive Editor, Red State Women PAC, March 16, 2014
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Practically all educated black Americans, for example, are communists. And white conservatives are the only people in the U.S.A. trying to transcend contentious racial issues.
- John Derbyshire, interviewed by Communities Digital News, February 28, 2014
When John Derbyshire was separated from the post-Buckley National Review a couple of years ago, the projected image of the move was one of a hostile divorce between American political conservatism and overt racism.
That Derbyshire is a racist comes from a source that can leave little doubt. That authority is Mr. Derbyshire himself. That was his self-description in 2003. He later modified his definition of racism to race consciousness. He offered a parallel to an antisemitic who says "Oh, there’s another one."
What got him in trouble was his reaction to the killing of Trayvon Martin.
For generations, minority children have been instructed by parents about survival in an often hostile environment. What do you do if you are approached by an angry police officer? Yes sir, no sir, polite to a fault. Any abusiveness by a figure of authority deserves a complaint, but only later, in a formal setting - with witnesses.
Derbyshire recommended that parents of white kids instruct them on the virtues of avoiding black people, especially in group settings. You never know what those people would do when they got together.
That was enough for the National Review to show him the door.
A few months ago, Derbyshire explained the problem with the movie 12 Years a Slave. It was one sided, failing to include the virtues of slavery.
Whenever there’s a deep and long-standing difference between two sets of social principles, a genre of lurid tales will come up in one camp, denigrating the other.
His own view? "Slavery is more irksome to some than to others; and freedom can be irksome, too."
To be fair, Derbyshire is not alone in feeling that slavery had its good points. Michael Medved and Pat Buchanan are considered more mainstream. Both have a history of participation in well known discussion programs.
It's the more recent interview that makes news now. The interview with Communities Digital News, the one in which he describes educated black Americans as practically all communists, contains more. He refers to actions all white people must take against minorities.
I am reluctantly coming to agree with my friend Jared Taylor of American Renaissance: whites may as well start asserting themselves and join in fighting for the spoils.
If that’s right, ‘colorblind conservatism’ is a dead end, and the future of the conservative movement is as a home for white ethnocentrism.
- John Derbyshire, interviewed by Communities Digital News, February 28, 2014
Such talk was more common in some parts of the country when I was a kid. I would still encounter it every once in a while as a young adult. Now it brings back memories.
In those days, the talk of global racial war was accompanied by forceful action. Homes were bombed. Advocates of equality were assassinated in their driveways.
Most of us in those days heard of the murders of civil rights workers. The bodies of James Earl Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Henry Schwerner were found in an earthen dam.
Not as well known is that other bodies, other murders, were discovered in hidden places as federal authorities searched for the three. Racial murder was an accepted response, in some circles, to advocacy of equality. Jury nullification was an obstacle to conviction of even the most blatantly guilty.
The violence went to official action. Marchers were beaten by police as they crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge in 1965. Voting rights were routinely violated. Obstacles to voting by minorities were routine. The ruses were varied. Literacy tests and poll taxes were only a few. The main thing was to protect the integrity of elections by preventing minorities from voting.
Today's prominent conservatives, for the most part, reject such spokespeople as John Derbyshire, Jared Taylor, and Robert Weissberg (fired by the National Review shortly after the dismissal of Derbyshire). Even Pat Buchanan, who laments that too many white soldiers, not enough black soldiers, die or are wounded in combat, is now rarely seen on major television networks. He does remain nationally syndicated in print.
The verbal assaults on black people, the predictions of racial war, the urging of collective action to preserve white dominance, are seen on the fringes. They are more common among the base, those unschooled in the niceties of public relations.
But the nullification by juries of murder convictions are making a comeback. Voting rights restrictions are going well beyond the worn excuse of preventing virtually nonexistent double voting, or equally nonexistent voting by non-voters. Election days are reduced. Identification required of non-drivers is unreasonably stringent. Voting places are closed or moved to locations that are difficult to reach.
No public figures, with the exception of Derbyshire types, actually say the words: "the future of the conservative movement is as a home for white ethnocentrism."
No need. Actions speak louder.
Conservatives Losing on the Definition of Marriage Equality (4:10) - Click for Podcast
For Original Text
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Mad Mike's America reports more Pat Robertson revelations. This time the good reverend reveals that God is punishing Democrats with a DC electric power interruption. The almighty really hates anyone who disagrees with Pat Robertson. Watch yourself if you're laughing.
Rumproast brings us the musings of a leader from the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute who suggests that liberal academics should be led away and shot. That strikes me as a departure from Pope Francis.
A conservative blogger manages to crash the exclusive White House Press Corps. Wow. Good for him!! Tommy Christopher reports the blogger asked hostile questions about Obamacare. Sadly, Press Secretary Jay Carney quickly showed him the errors of his facts. Humiliating. Still, it was a noble quest for stardom.
Infidel 753 suggests why it is wrong to compromise the rights of gay people as anti-gay Christians claim oppression. I would suggests one additional reason. Many Christians are supportive, and we would also oppose negotiating away gay rights.
Jonathan Bernstein, writing for Bloomberg, covers the amazing Odyssey of former Republican Senator Scott Brown of Massachusetts who wishes to be the future Republican Senator Scott Brown of New Hampshire.
- On podcast, Blue Gal, leads a discussion about, among other topics, that terrible RINO Abraham Lincoln.
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I was diagnosed with leukemia. I found out that I only have a 20 percent chance of surviving. I found this wonderful doctor and a great health care plan.
I was doing fairly well fighting the cancer, fighting the leukemia, and then I received the letter. My insurance was canceled because of Obamacare. Now, the out-of-pocket costs are so high, it’s unaffordable.
If I do not receive my medication, I will die. I believed the president. I believed I could keep my health insurance plan. I feel lied to. It-it’s heartbreaking for me. Congressman Peters, your decision to vote for Obamacare jeopardized my health.
The Koch Brothers sponsored anti-Obamacare ad was quickly debunked. The poor woman who was featured turned out to be unaware that she was getting a better health deal through Obamacare than she had been led to believe.
The woman was sought for interviews and, as details of her traumatic experience came out, a complete analysis became possible. She lives in Michigan, so the Detroit News took an interest.
"I found this wonderful doctor and a great health care plan."
They discovered that she would be getting measurably better coverage under the new plan provided through Obamacare. And, as it turns out, she is able to keep the same doctor.
"Now, the out-of-pocket costs are so high, it’s unaffordable."
The cost for the superior coverage would be. Well, less than nothing. The cost per month would be a little more than half. Her astounded reaction: "I personally do not believe that."
And who can blame her? She had been told by anti-Obamacare activists that the most expensive of her prescriptions would not be covered. She would have to pay for it in addition to the new insurance coverage. So there goes the savings.
Obamacare is composed of guaranteed and regulated private coverage, so the Detroit News contacted the insurance company.
"If I do not receive my medication, I will die."
A representative of the company providing the new coverage confirmed that all prescriptions would be covered. The leukemia victim had been lied to, but not by Obamacare.
Other news outlets paid attention to the story. Anything involving the Koch brothers and the gazillions they use to influence elections tends to make news. Outright falsehoods, if they are blatant enough, make pretty good copy.
The fact checkers at the Washington Post performed their own research and gave the ad a rating of two Pinnochios. That's their cute way of saying the Koch brothers had pretty much dreamed up the financial part of the story and gotten a victim of a serious illness to believe it, then repeat it.
Other papers followed suit. The ad was discredited.
As more details became available the Washington Post changed the fact check rating to three Pinnochios. The explanation from the Post was that "one cannot claim that a plan is ‘unaffordable’ when over the course of the year it will provide you with substantial savings."
The Koch brothers response was interesting. They simply paid out more and more bundles of cash and ran the ad more times than you can count. It was as if the debunking had never happened.
The Congressman targeted by the false ad is Democrat Gary Peters. One of the supporters of the Congressman is a lawyer who wondered if it was legal for a media outlet to run advertising that was known to be the opposite of documented truth.
He sent a standard letter to television stations asking them to get documentation of the Koch brothers ad before running it any more.
Seems reasonable. If a political ad can be shown to be deliberately deceptive a news outlet should, out of simple decency, ask for evidence.
As you might expect in these extremist times, conservative organizations are on the attack. They aren't exactly defending the bogus ad. They have, instead, formulated a new approach.
Congressman Peters, they charge, is trying to bully a poor victim of a deadly illness. It is an attempt by a powerful politician to silence a brave woman who stands alone against the vicious attack.
The conservative website Powerline.com headlines their account
DEMOCRATS TRY TO BULLY CANCER SUFFERER INTO SILENCE
The headline from the ever reliable Daily Caller is more detailed:
BEDFORD: This Democratic Senate wannabe just picked a fight with a mother who has cancer
As far as I can tell, nobody has attacked the star of the ads. Leukemia is a scary condition. It isn't easy to tell what combination of fear and partisanship produce a panicked narration of falsehood. The woman really does have a terrible form of cancer. That is the truth. And she was married to a minor Republican official. That is truth as well.
Of course, the Koch brothers have gotten around to their own answer. They are running a different ad. The same leukemia victim appears again:
"When I heard that Congressman Peters was going after my credibility it was devastating."
Then: "He's trying to silence me."
The Koch brothers do not appear on camera themselves, of course. They merely recruit, finance, and continue running ads they know to be untrue. Conservatives across the landscape take the story and run with it.
Such is the condition of contemporary conservative thought.
From Think Progress:
As state legislatures practically trip over each other to see which one can pass the most stringent abortion restrictions in first few months of 2014, Missouri is pulling into the lead. The state is currently considering 32 different anti-choice bills. And, since there’s only one abortion clinic left in Missouri, all of that legislation will end up targeting a single reproductive health facility.
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We have got this tailspin of culture, in our inner cities in particular, of men not working and just generations of men not even thinking about working or learning the value and the culture of work, and so there is a real culture problem here that has to be dealt with.
- Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI), March 12, 2014, interviewed by Bill Bennett
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As World War II unfolded, one unanticipated side effect was that the Great Depression ended. Keynesian economics came to dominate all of economics, although not public discussion.
Economists came to recognize, through a tsunami of evidence, that deficit spending tends to cure economic downturns, relieving the human suffering that accompanies financial slumps.
Public discussion is often impervious to evidence. What is intuitive more often prevails. Even today, we get the same lecture from deficit scolds that came during the reign of Herbert Hoover. Some of that scolding comes from liberal Democrats.
Pearl Harbor pretty much wiped away deficit hawks for a time. America needed planes. America needed ships. America needed munitions and transport and supplies for an instantly expanded armed force. The common wisdom during World War II was that we needed those expenditures more than we needed fiscal caution.
When the war was gone, the Depression was vanquished as well. Surprise!
But war that does not involve massive, long term, continuous infusions of government spending that stops a recession has another effect. That effect is increasing as the world becomes more globally interdependent.
Vladimir Putin's current adventure into Ukraine has provoked conservatives into a sort of toughness envy. The Putin autocratic style, combines with a muscular anti-gay bigotry, producing an image that those on the right have always fantasized about themselves. A bare chested Putin on horseback adds to the swoon.
Much of the Republican Party is overcome by the imagery. It plays into strange and self-contradictory stereotypes. Joe Lewis may have destroyed that part of the age old Stepin Fetchit portrayal of weakness as he pummeled Max Schmeling to the mat. But it never takes much to revive age old images. This is a black guy who thinks he is tough and pretends to have an intellect.
Clearly out of his depth (can't you tell by looking?), President Obama plays dominoes against a Russian who brings guns to the battle. The timid affirmative action professor is in the ring against Hulk Hogan.
No such weakness was alleged when President George Bush was faced with Russian aggressiveness in another former Soviet satellite. Like Ukraine, Georgia had been part of the USSR. Putin, through his proxy, then Russian President Medvedev, put troops into Georgia.
But the world has evolved a bit since then. Unlike Bush, Obama has not looked into the eyes of Vladimir Putin and caught a glimpse of his soul. And there are new pressures, only some of which are coming from Obama. The rest come from commerce.
With each bellicose pronouncement by Putin, Russian markets take a downward turn. With each expression of hesitation by Putin, of possible peace, they rebound.
The American administration adds to commerce a new personal pressure. Those Russian personalities who are seen as interfering with the democratic evolution of Ukraine face an additional consequence. Whatever assets in the West that the United States can reach will be frozen. Since massive portions of those assets were gotten from bribery, theft, and other forms of corruption, they are a sensitive area for the ruling Russian elite. Do they really want to publicly protest what they have stolen from ordinary Russians?
One claim Republicans can truthfully make is currently overshadowed by mouth foamed Obama-hatred.
Trade inhibits war. Enough trade makes war almost impossible.
Republicans have been the party of free trade. For all the fair market to free market caution that it warrants, trade tends to regard war as an unmistakable disruption of commerce. War has become a costly venture.
"I'm a businessman," says drug king Sollozzo in the Godfather. "Blood is a big expense."
At the moment, Putin is learning that gangster truth.
In Response to John Myste's Abortion Reaction Without the Rationalization
In short, I don’t believe that those of us who “answer the whys” actually address the axioms on which the “whys are based,” at least not as a group. You can argue that you try to answer that and I do believe this somewhat, as I have seen it. I don’t believe you are immune to the problem, though, as you have a well-defined philosophy that guides you.
- John Myste, February 27, 2014
That philosophy (desirism of some form) doesn't offer much in the way of guidance. It is mostly descriptive, not prescriptive. Even when it is prescriptive, there is room to change when new information arrives and, more importantly, a recognition that what is right for one person may not be right for another, according to his desires and circumstances.
So, I do not support abortion up to at least some point of sentience because I was raised to do so by liberal parents, indoctrinated by a university, involved somehow in an abortion myself and felt a need to rationalize it, or because I developed a philosophy around supporting it. None of that even occurred.
I support abortion up to at least that point because I do not recognize any reasons to *not* support it, except for reasons that are not my business, such as potential damage to the mother's health. Much as the burden of proof in knowledge is on the one who would make an assertion, the burden of proof in moralizing is (and in legislation certainly *ought* to be) on the one who would deny others freedom to act as they please.
And when I look at what the (pre-sentience) anti-abortion camp has to offer in that regard, I am not moved.
The simplest explanation for that is that their arguments appeal to desires that I do not have: the desire to please a god, to adhere to scripture that they believe to be correct, to prevent a slippery slope, and to preserve even a potential human life. Each of these is a valid reason to oppose abortion *only* to the extent that it is based in something true, if it is based on anything at all.
For the first two desires to make sense, there must either be a god for whom opposing abortion is pleasing or an accurate holy text that condemns it. You know my position on these. The third desire is based on a fallacy, but is worth keeping in mind when explaining why abortion of one form or another is acceptable while murder as it is currently defined is not. This leaves the last desire.
In my previous response, I noted that I regard the "potential person" argument to be the best argument against pre-sentience abortion. This is because I regard it as a potentially valid desire: one that is not necessarily contingent upon some false belief or other bad desire, but simply *is*, like empathy.
I can only argue with it to the extent that it is inconsistent with the rest of someone's behavior, e.g. if someone accepts sex or male masturbation but cannot explain why voluntarily allowing sperm to die is sufficiently different from killing a fetus.
Otherwise, while totally foreign to me, it is akin to my lack of a desire: a fact of someone's existence that probably cannot be explained. You speak of axioms on which our whys are based, but more fundamental than those are these desires, which no amount of reasoning can reliably change in everyone.
I am not sure if this is what you meant. The text that I quoted suggests that we collectively fail at questioning our axioms and that I still partly fail because I am guided by a philosophy, which in turn suggests that we could succeed if we weren't guided by some philosophy.
But at some point the answers to our whys cease to be answers to which we have access or even answers that have relevance to morality. By this I mean: we can ask ourselves why we regard murder as wrong and find that we just have a strong aversion to it; but once we ask why we have a strong aversion to it, we enter the realm of biology, where our answers to why are more speculative and do not provide any reason to attempt to adjust our aversion anyway.
Axioms, as opposed to desires, become more significant when we consider abortion past the point of sentience, whatever and whenever that is. I can no longer dismiss the controversy on the grounds that the victim in question is incapable of victimhood. Now, I have to truly consult my desires and make sure that my conclusion is consistent with my other positions:
If I declare that it is wrong to abort after sentience, can I explain why it is acceptable to kill even fully grown non-human animals?
If I declare that it is acceptable to abort after sentience, can I establish a clear point at which abortion is no longer allowed and explain why? (Especially if I do not want to seem to others like a monster, like Peter Singer does?)
Does the nature of the child's conception and its effect on the mother have any bearing on the issue?
If I find that my position on abortion clashes with my positions on other issues, would I rather adjust my position on abortion or my positions on the other issues?
Conflicts like these are where we rightly become--or should become--concerned with developing a consistent moral code, which involves axioms. How we choose or reconcile those axioms when they conflict, however, depends on our desires (see the fourth question above). This is all in line with what you have said about rationalization.
"There are two bodies involved. As I stated before, it is incorrect methodology to try to determine if a woman has a right to do what she will with her own body, and then use the answer as a categorical imperative that justifies abortion, the execution of another body. A more correct methodology would be to determine if a woman generally has this right. All would agree that she does. Then, independently of a mother’s rights, determine when a fetus has some rights."
I therefore do not see how the method that you propose changes anything. These very determinations of rights will and do vary for each of us according to our desires, since there is no standard, objective method: those who support abortion can determine that the fetus does not have the right to live against the mother's will until it leaves the mother's body or reaches the point of viability; those who reject abortion can determine that the mother has no right to abort the fetus at any point.
If pre-existing axioms interfere, they will be adjusted to accommodate the desire. No one is required to find that the fetus has the right to live after becoming sentient. There is no scenario quite like pregnancy, such that you could point out that allowing this would hold us to allowing something more popularly objectionable.
This is another case, I think, where the desires are generally not subject to change through argument, since they aren't contingent and can't be shown to their holders to be bad, except in some cases through appeals to emotion like horror stories and gruesome images. Some people would rather abort than endure pregnancy; some would rather endure pregnancy than abort. If they can reconcile that preference with their other preferences and behavior, then they have a consistent moral code.
Whether or not that moral code is any good is really the subject of a separate, meta-ethical discussion, one that we have already had without ultimate agreement (your moral sense vs. my desires) and which has little bearing, I think, on the questions of the quality of arguments in the abortion debate and our ability to recognize and analyze our own axioms and desires.
Ryan is an important voice in our discussions. His frequent contributions are greatly appreciated.
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There has never been a state in this country that has ever banned gay marriage. That is a liberal lie.
- Michael Medved, CPAC Panelist, March 7, 2014
Michael Medved's outburst at the 2014 CPAC conference has provoked some well deserved laughter.
Hunter at Daily Kos summarized the reaction, saying of Medved, He went on to declare that rain falls up, George Washington was a robot from the future, and that he doesn't believe that France actually exists."
Actually, the argument that anti-gay legislation is not really anti-gay legislation has been a staple of cultural conservatism for as long as gay marriage has been part of public discussion.
Gay people are free to marry, as long as they don't marry each other. Those who are attracted to the same gender as themselves may, like anyone else, marry someone of the opposite gender. Similar logic has been debated on our site.
Michael Medved is no stranger to this reasoning. Years ago, he wrote in vigorous defense of Proposition 8, the California referendum that, for a time, prohibited same sex marriage.
Under the proposition, a gay male and a straight male would face exactly the same options in marriage—free to choose any woman who is not already married or a blood relative. The fact that the gay man won’t want to marry any of the women available to him doesn’t change the fact that he and his straight neighbor face precisely the same opportunities and restrictions in their marital choices.
- Michael Medved, Townhall.com, August 11, 2010
Well, yeah. Just as cultural conservatives want to prohibit both men and women from undergoing abortions, rich and poor alike from sleeping under bridges or on park benches, both gay people and straight people would be kept from same sex marriages.
No unequal treatment here.
An analogous view extends beyond policy to who gets to choose those who decide policy. The wealthy, the poor, and the middle class all have to right to spend millions anonymously on political campaigns. All have the right to hire lobbyists to petition Congress, to lavish gifts and trips on power brokers.
Of course it gets granular. It has to.
Those who own automobiles, those who are licensed to drive, are required to show their photo IDs in order to vote. No problem, they just have to look in their pockets and fish out their licenses.
Those who ride buses to and from work, those who are elderly and have given up driving, new voters who study in college trying to get ahead, may not be licensed to drive.
Any treatment is okay as long as it's equal. Those licensed to drive, and those who are not, are equally required to show photo IDs in order to vote.
Other expressions of equality are endemic, practices that may appear less than equal to those unversed in conservative language. We see it in courtrooms, in zoning laws, in the large and small courtesies informally extended.
Michael Medved fights the fight for word meaning on many issues. His battles concern pop culture, entertainment, and history. Conservative definitions prevail on many fronts. That is often the battleground of power. Success in defining words often foretells victory in gaining conservative primacy.
"When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean -- neither more nor less."
"The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things."
"The question is," said Humpty Dumpty, "which is to be master - - that's all."
- Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass
In the area of marriage equality, Michael Medved and cultural conservatives are losing their mastery.
That, at least, is one area where equality is coming to mean equality.