Skeptophilia (skep-to-fil-i-a) (n.) - the love of logical thought, skepticism, and thinking critically. Being an exploration of the applications of skeptical thinking to the world at large, with periodic excursions into linguistics, music, politics, cryptozoology, and why people keep seeing the face of Jesus on grilled cheese sandwiches.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

The last gasp

I have a question this morning: is it a good sign when people defending counterfactual or morally reprehensible claims start resorting to idiotic arguments?

I kind of think the answer is "yes."  If you look at our history, there are many examples of humanity shedding prejudices, oppression, and cruelty.  At first, those things are taken for granted, and are so entrenched that no one questions them (publicly, at least).  Opposition builds, but at first is quelled by "don't be foolish, we've always done it this way."  Once the people favoring the bad old system realize the opposition isn't backing down -- i.e., the system status quo is losing -- they become desperate, sometimes violent.

And toward the end, all that is left is a few wacko extremists, spouting off ridiculous nonsense that would only appeal to other wacko extremists.  After that, the bubble bursts, and lo!  Social sea-change has occurred.

I'm neither a historian nor a social scientist, so I can't say this with any kind of academic certainty, but from what I've read, many of the biggest social changes -- the breaking of the church's control over governments in Europe, the improvement in race relations and civil rights in the United States and elsewhere, our acceptance of the science as a way of knowing -- have followed this pattern.

If I'm right, we are on the cusp of a change in our attitudes toward homosexuality.

I say this because when you consider what has been written and said recently on the topic, most of it boils down on analysis to bizarre paranoia.  Take, for example, what Renew America columnist A. J. Castellitto wrote this week:
If one were determined to take down America; if it were not possible by force; the secret weapon would come from a surprising place.... 
From out of the closet... 
Based on the expressed concerns and priorities of the current administration, it's almost as if they are living in an alternate universe.  In fact, one could argue that both the media and our president have been willfully negligent (considering alternative media reports of increased persecution and hostility against Christians worldwide).  Meanwhile, religious conservatives, especially those of the Judeo-Christian persuasion, have been experiencing a hostility of a different sort, pertaining to their reluctance to embrace non-traditional marriage. 
However, if we take it back to the "hypothetical," it would seem as if the same-sex marriage phenomenon has proven an exceptionally effective tool in uprooting our fundamental foundations. 
When applied to the "takeover" agenda, it could be perceived that American homosexuals are merely commie pawns unknowingly being used for the hat-trick trifecta destruction of freedom, faith, family..... 
What if individuals with same sex desires are merely being held up and exploited as objects of intolerance? What if they are just the means to a much greater and darker end-game agenda.....?
Yeah.  Right.  What?

Now we're supposed to be against gay marriage because all gay people are secretly communists?  Or, maybe, that they're being manipulated by communists?  It's hard to tell what he's talking about, frankly.  It sounds a bit like he's run out of any reasonable arguments (not that there were many to start with), and just figured that it was time for some shock tactics.  "I know!  Let's link the gays to the communists!  That'll get people's hackles raised!"

Then, of course, we have Rick Santorum, who can always be counted on for a loony commentary:  "If the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual [gay] sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery.  You have the right to anything...  In every society, the definition of marriage has not ever to my knowledge included homosexuality.  That's not to pick on homosexuality.  It's not, you know, man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be.  It is one thing."

Sure.  Because two consenting adults having sex is exactly the same as cheating on your spouse, or victimizing a child or an animal, and will lead to having "the right to anything."

Just two days ago, Santorum said what may be his most mystifying pronouncement on the issue yet, with the claim that legalizing gay marriage will lead to more single mothers raising children.  Yeah, Rick?  How's that supposed to work?  Because, you know, gay sex has a 100% success rate in not leading to conception.

Maybe he never took biology in high school.  Probably trying to avoid that uncomfortable unit on evolution, but he missed the chapter on human reproduction as well.

In all seriousness, though, I think a lot of this furor harkens back to the Puritan days:

For some reason, these people can't stand it that folks might be having sex because it's fun, and that therefore there might be other valid expressions of our sex drive than making babies.  And not only do they feel that this should apply to their own lives -- to which I say, well, okay, if you want to live like that, fine, but kind of sucks to be you -- but they feel the desperate need to force everyone else to conform to the same rigid standards.

But my hope is that this last, bizarre outpouring of lunacy might signal the fact that we are on the verge of a cultural shift.  A Gallup poll found in May that American support of gay marriage had reached a new high of 55%.  This certainly seems like a foundational change to me, and one that might well be unstoppable.

And high time.  What consenting adults do in their bedrooms is absolutely no business of mine, nor of A. J. Castellitto's or Rick Santorum's.  It does not devalue my marriage to my wife; it does not increase the likelihood of pedophilia or bestiality; it does not alter people's political beliefs; it does not rip up the fabric of society.

All it does is give loving adults the right to express that love publicly without fear of repercussion, and have the social benefits that have been conferred to married straight people since the dawn of the institution.

And there honestly is no rational argument against that.

1 comment:

  1. Hey bro, read my next entry for more clarification......