Sunday, May 18, 2008

Conservatism Now

Since the Republican Party and the conservatives gave up being a political faction that stands for limited government, what issues excite voters on the right? Abortion, immigration and gay marriage.

The Republicans have become a party of religion and bigotry. What genius thought up that?

I know I'm courting controversy by dismissing opposition to immigration and gay marriage as bigotry. Intelligent people have sophisticated arguments against both. But underneath the legalistic arguments lie ugly passions and irrationality.

Gay marriage has become an issue in California. (Since it is in the news, I will focus on this issue and set aside abortion and immigration.)

The California Supreme Court ruled yesterday that gays have a constitutional right to marry, striking down state laws that forbade it, in a decision that is likely to reenergize the election-year debate over same-sex marriages and gay rights.

Conservatives see this as the court "legislating" from the bench. If a majority of voters pass a law violating the individual rights of a minority, conservatives think the judicial branch should allow the unjust law to stand. Democracy over all!

Religious people oppose gay marriage because of anti-homosexual passages in a book written in ancient times called the Bible. Their opposition rests on superstition. (Religion is superstition widely held and therefore respectable.)

I can see nothing wrong with two people of the same sex marrying. How does their mutually consenting contract violate anyone else's right?

On what basis do we deny homosexuals the right of marriage? Because 2,500 years ago some semi-barbaric tribe wrote down its hatred of homosexuals in a group of writings that Christians and Jews today worship as the word of God? By that reasoning, we might as well start burning witches again.

I say gays have a right to be as miserable as the rest of us. Let them marry.

I realize that I am redefining the traditional concept of marriage. But note that capitalism has from the start been a revolutionary force redefining the traditional values of feudalism. Capitalism cares naught for tradition; it cast aside the values of God and king to give individual rights to man. In this respect, medievalist conservatives such as Richard Weaver and Hillaire Belloc are right in seeing capitalism as the enemy.

Some traditional values needed to go, such as primogeniture, serfdom and women as chattel. If we redefine marriage to include same sex unions, rights will only be expanded and strengthened. The marriages of heterosexuals will not be threatened in the least.

Abortion, immigration and gay marriage -- on all three issues, conservatives come down against individual rights. Liberals deny rights in the name of collectivism; conservatives deny rights in the name of mysticism. No wonder the right is on the losing side: who, aside from the deeply religious, wants to fight for a political agenda based on superstition?

Conservatism is as wrong, as foolish and as dangerous as liberalism. Let us cast aside these old standards and forge a new movement dedicated to individual rights in both the economic and the spiritual realms -- a movement of radical capitalism.

UPDATE: Revision.

9 comments:

Craig Ceely said...

"Conservatives see this as the court "legislating" from the bench. If a majority of voters pass a law violating the individual rights of a minority, conservatives think the judicial branch should allow the unjust law to stand. Democracy over all!"

Yes: so much for republic vs. democracy, so much for anything approaching federalism, and forget about anything even appearing to suborn such subversive ideas as "the pursuit of happiness."

Or, to paraphrase Penn Jillette, your possible political rights are less important than my relationship with my Imaginary Friend, which must be written into law. So you're correct: "Conservatism is as wrong, as foolish and as dangerous as liberalism." Although I'd have employed an Oxford comma there....

Yes, this is conservatism now.

Myrhaf said...

Does an Oxford comma come before the and?

Craig Ceely said...

Yes, but I was only half serious. Good post.

madmax said...

Read this and see what the consistent Conservative argument against marriage is. I saw this posted in the Noodlefood comments:

http://www.amnation.com/vfr/archives/004656.html

"Another point is that homosexual marriage separates us once and for all from the idea of being a Christian or Judeo-Christian society based on biblical morality. Thus it would destroy our continuum with the past. We are today facing a dread challenge from Islam. The Muslims have powerful religious identity, that they seek to impose on the whole world, as the Koran commands them to do. What do we believe in on our side, other than individual rights, tolerance, and the freedom of everyone to do as he likes? Can a rootless people, a people that has destroyed the religious morality that formed it, a people that has destroyed its connections with the past, a people that has destroyed its own identity, defend itself against the expansive crusading religion of Islam? I argue that it cannot. And we see this very plainly in today’s Europe, where Islam becomes more and more aggressive, and the Europeans keep retreating. So, this is not a time for weakening the historic bonds that have formed our culture, but to restore and strengthen them."

The conservatives keep arguing that homosexual marriage and heterosexual sexual liberation makes people weak because people only focus on their own individual pleasures and do not care about anything "higher" than themselves like country or culture. So, according to these conservatives, individualism leads to cultural suicide. Only a people right with God and Jeebus are fit to survive.

How are these people supposed to protect us from Islam without them turning America into a Christian Sharia state?

mike18xx said...

> If a majority of voters pass a law violating the individual rights of a minority...


"Individual rights" to *what*? Getting "married"?

Look: Very few give a damn if two guys live together, or if two women are living together (large dogs optional).

What all of this is REALLY about is using the special *legal* status of being "married" as grist for qualifying to various government largess. I.e., taxes are lower, and bennies higher, if you're "married". Thus, naturally, everyone scrambles to be "married".

Rachel said...

It's amazing how most of the challenges are from a religious/conservative viewpoint. Apparently, reading about homosexuality jeopardizes our society as well.

Between 1990 and 2000, of the 6,364 challenges reported to or recorded by the Office for Intellectual Freedom (see The 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books):

1,607 were challenges to “sexually explicit” material (up 161 since 1999);
1,427 to material considered to use “offensive language”; (up 165 since 1999)
1,256 to material considered “unsuited to age group”; (up 89 since 1999)
842 to material with an “occult theme or promoting the occult or Satanism,”; (up 69 since 1999)
737 to material considered to be “violent”; (up 107 since 1999)
515 to material with a homosexual theme or “promoting homosexuality,” (up 18 since 1999) and
419 to material “promoting a religious viewpoint.” (up 22 since 1999)
Other reasons for challenges included “nudity” (317 challenges, up 20 since 1999), “racism” (267 challenges, up 22 since 1999), “sex education” (224 challenges, up 7 since 1999), and “anti-family” (202 challenges, up 9 since 1999).

{from www.ala.org}

Jim May said...

What all of this is REALLY about is using the special *legal* status of being "married" as grist for qualifying to various government largess. I.e., taxes are lower, and bennies higher, if you're "married". Thus, naturally, everyone scrambles to be "married".

True, that. What is interesting is that this issue of "the bennies" is a big factor in opposition to immigration also.

And that's what points up the contradictions of conservatism. Rather than stand up to the altruists and abolish the "bennies" (to the extent that they are welfare, *or* tax incentives), they end up opposing freedom on both issues.

Patrick Joubert Conlon said...

Even though I'm queer - I played Cleo in HS ;) - I've never much been in favor of "gay marriage" and have written quite a few tyically "conservative" rants against it: "don't rock the boat" etc but, reading what some of the gays in California have been saying, has made me think that, if that's what they want because it makes them feel "included" and "validated" etc, it's fine with me.

I read that there are 70,000 kids of gays in California. A bit of stability in their lives would be nice.

Oh irony - the "word verification" is "durexw."

EdMcGon said...

Myrhaf,
You inspired me to do my own gay marriage post over on my blog. ;)

BTW, it's not conservatives you dislike. It's SOCIAL conservatives.

Finally, if marriage is a "right", as you state, why does government need to be involved at all? By calling it a right, you elevate marriage to the level of free speech and freedom of religion. I don't think marriage is that clear cut.