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Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah, Blaaaah
11/23/2003

Barry made a comment to my post about David Brooks's and Glenn Reynolds's support for gay marriage, and my response became sufficiently long and detailed that I thought I should make it a post of its own:

Barry,

Yes, arguing with those who take such stances is a lot like arguing with teenagers. I emailed my David Brooks post to Mr. Reynolds shortly after I read his and Brooks's opinions, and watching the updates that he's chosen to make instead gives me the impression of a group of people intent on merely stuffing more straw into the strawman, as if to validate the beating that they're giving it.

They've rejected all forms of cultural wisdom, which requires either deep and difficult thought or the willingness to accept some degree of social "because I say so," and disconnected themselves from all forms of influence that conflict with their emotional drives. Therefore, the only basis for judgment happens to be emotional/personal inclination. Thus, they can only imagine that people who believe differently are either repressed or domineering or both.

The email that he posts from Bruce Bridges is a perfect example of the type. It pushes and pulls without ever making a substantive point — without ever making a true or valid point, for that matter:

As a single man that has not found the right girl even at this late date, I am one of those that has been pulverising all that is private and delicate blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blaaaaaaaaah.

Frankly, I'm suspicious that Bruce has ever faced such an argument made to him. He certainly didn't listen well enough to understand what the other person was trying to say. Instead, he covers his incomprehension with "blahs." And then he takes it as a personal attack, not a suggestion about how he might improve his own spiritual wellbeing:

The problem with those that need to point out my failings is of course that they can't stop themselves. First it was gays, then single sinners and of course eventually, married people that are corrupt enough to venture beyond the missionary position.

Huh? Where is this guy getting his chronology? What world does he live in? Morality has been crumbling, not being further, and more-harshly, molded. And it's hardly been a matter of picking on the fringes of sexual deviancy and working in, rather the fringes are always expanding on corrosion already accomplished.

The republicans would do well to recognize that this way of thinking is what most of us think of as "fringe".

Most of whom? Is he kidding?

More often than not, it seems to me, these people provide, with their arguments, proof of that which they claim to disprove. Reynolds is hardly a spiritual man, so I don't know on what basis he objects to the suggestion that he committed "spiritual suicide." More universally, it's obvious that he and many others are willing to follow erronious ways of thinking as long as they coincide with their sex lives. They may very well be happy people, but the problem that they refuse to face is that the reason for institutional practices is that, over the centuries, mankind has learned that certain decisions come at a higher risk of a higher cost.

The wealthy and/or the very lucky can get through their earthly lives without feeling or having to acknowledge the weight of their sins. But even when the damage does come, there's always a convenient boogeyman (or strawman) to blame and a further corruption in which to hide, rather than the decision itself. Moreover, the real, lasting damage takes place over time, and we're quick to lose sight of its origin.

So many in our culture have been coddled in a broth of like-thinking. You can see it in the clichés to which they resort and in their inability to question themselves.

Posted by Justin Katz @ 03:50 PM EST