#1 Gay marriage: a case study in conformism
03-05-2014, 04:56 AM
- Join Date
- Jun 2008
Gay marriage: a case study in conformism
Anyone who values diversity of thought and tolerance of dissent should find the sweeping consensus on gay marriage terrifying.
11 April 2013
... But I have never encountered an issue like gay marriage, an issue in which the space for dissent has shrunk so rapidly, and in which the consensus is not only stifling but choking....
Many are commenting on the juggernaut-like rise to respectability of the gay marriage issue. Christopher Caldwell of the Weekly Standard says gay marriage has gone ‘from joke to dogma’ in a decade. Time magazine says there has been a ‘seismic social shift’ on gay marriage, which has been ‘as rapid and unpredictable as any turn in public opinion [in history]’...
How do we account for this extraordinary consensus, for what is tellingly referred to as the ‘surrender’ to gay marriage by just about everyone in public life? And is it a good thing, evidence that we had a heated debate on a new civil right and the civil rightsy side won? I don’t think so. I don’t think we can even call this a ‘consensus’, since that would imply the voluntaristic coming together of different elements in concord. It’s better described as conformism, the slow but sure sacrifice of critical thinking and dissenting opinion under pressure to accept that which has been defined as a good by the upper echelons of society: gay marriage. Indeed, the gay-marriage campaign provides a case study in conformism, a searing insight into how soft authoritarianism and peer pressure are applied in the modern age to sideline and eventually do away with any view considered overly judgmental, outdated, discriminatory, ‘phobic’, or otherwise beyond the pale.
....There have also been massive shifts in public opinion. In the US, a recent ABC poll found that 58 per cent of Americans support gay marriage, compared with just 37 per cent a decade ago. A recent British poll found 62 per cent in support of gay marriage and 31 per cent against. A new book by Michael J Klarman, From the Closet to the Altar: Courts, Backlash and the Struggle for Same-Sex Marriage, documents the extraordinary rise of the gay-marriage idea in the US, where since 2009 there has apparently been a four-point rise in support for gay marriage every year. Some see this as a good thing; but I’m more inclined to agree with Christopher Caldwell, who says: ‘Public opinion does not change this fast in free societies. Either opinion is not changing as fast as it appears to be, or society is not as free.’
Certainly, the idea that the ‘seismic shift’ in political and public opinion is down to the fighting of gay-marriage campaigners is spectacularly unconvincing. One Guardian columnist, liberally borrowing from the black civil-rights movement, says the ‘breathtaking’ progress of the gay-marriage issue shows that Martin Luther King was right to say ‘the arc of history is long but it bends towards justice’; it shows what campaigners can achieve when they combine ‘idealism with action’. What action? Where? Bringing King into the picture only highlights the unusualness of the gay-marriage campaign: there has been no mass march on Washington for same-sex marriage; no streetfighting; no getting water-cannoned by the police, mauled by dogs, chased by the KKK, thrown in jail. There has been no real public action at all, certainly not of the sort that might have terrified the US Senate so much that its members felt the urge to bow one by one before the issue of gay marriage. If gay MLK-style campaigners are responsible for the transformation of gay marriage ‘from joke to dogma’, then they must have achieved it through osmosis, since they certainly didn’t do it through any kind of mass, messy uprising.
In truth, the extraordinary rise of gay marriage speaks, not to a new spirit of liberty or equality on a par with the civil-rights movements of the 1960s, but rather to the political and moral conformism of our age; to the weirdly judgmental non-judgmentalism of our PC times; to the way in which, in an uncritical era such as ours, ideas can become dogma with alarming ease and speed; to the difficulty of speaking one’s mind or sticking with one’s beliefs at a time when doubt and disagreement are pathologised. Gay marriage brilliantly shows how political narratives are forged these days, and how people are made to accept them. This is a campaign that is elitist in nature, in the sense that, in direct contrast to those civil-rights agitators of old, it came from the top of society down; and it is a campaign which is extremely unforgiving of dissent or disagreement, implicitly, softly demanding acquiescence to its agenda.
So for all the comparisons of the gay-marriage movement to the civil-rights movement, in fact the most striking thing about gay marriage is its origins among the elite. As Caldwell says, ‘never since the Progressive Era has there been a social movement as elite-driven as the one for gay marriage’. In his new book, Michael Klarman describes how judges, not streetfighthers, spearheaded the gay-marriage campaign; he even bizarrely calls judges a ‘distinctive subculture’ of the cultural elite, which ‘tends to be even more liberal than the general public on issues such as gender equality and gay equality’. Another favourable account of the rise of gay marriage notes how it was led by ‘lawyers and professors’, who counselled against engaging with the public since making ‘open demands for gay marriage [could] trigger a backlash’ (1).
...The conformism around gay marriage cannot be put entirely down to handfuls of campaigners, of course, and certainly not to any conscious attempt on their part to enforce political and moral obedience. The fragility of society’s attachment to traditional marriage itself, to the virtue of commitment, has also been key to the formulation of the gay-marriage consensus. Indeed, it is the rubble upon which the gay-marriage edifice is built. That is, if lawyers, politicians and our other assorted ‘betters’ have successfully kicked down the door of traditional marriage, it’s because the door was already hanging off its hinges, following years of cultural neglect. It is society’s reluctance to defend traditional views of commitment, and its relativistic refusal more broadly to discriminate between different lifestyle choices, that has fuelled the peculiar non-judgmental tyranny of the gay-marriage campaign, which judges harshly those who dare to judge how people live. Through a combination of the weakness of belief in traditional marriage and the insidiousness of the campaign for gay marriage, we have ended up with something that reflects brilliantly John Stuart Mill’s description of how critical thinking can cave into the despotism of conformism, so that ‘peculiarity of taste, eccentricity of conduct, are shunned equally with crimes, until by dint of not following their own nature, these [followers of conformism] have no nature to follow’.
Last edited by Elspeth; 03-05-2014 at 05:03 AM.
03-05-2014, 11:06 AM
There's a case in Federal Court in Detroit that is probably going to make it about children's rights. A lesbian couple is suing the state because they each have a child and want the other to be the second parent, which is not allowed under Michigan's adoption laws. Single parent and married couples can adopt kids, but an unmarried couple cannot.
I think the plaintiffs will win at this level, but I don't know what the federal court of appeals will rule, because the current AG will pursue an appeal on it as far as he has to.
03-05-2014, 06:54 PM
What's so troublesome to me is how the idea of gay marriage has been used as a weapon to stripe other people of their rights. Bakers and photographers have had the full weight of the State heaped upon them for refusing to take part in a gay wedding.
When one group says they have the right to force others to their will, then we all suffer and Liberty dies just a little bit more.CU's Paranormal Expert.
Keep your powder dry, your sword sharp and your wits intact.
03-05-2014, 08:05 PM
I haven't seen twinkle toes in a long time has he left or something?We're from Philadelphia, We Fight- Chip Kelly
- Join Date
- Apr 2005
03-06-2014, 10:59 AM
These people think they have the right to use the force of the State to make you do what you don't want.
A few years back a Wal-Mart came under fire for refusing to make a Nazi birthday cake; and the Left didn't say a thing about it. Now some baker might lose his business because he refused to make a gay wedding cake, and the Moonbats fell on the poor guy like ton of bricks. The Left in this country are bullies and cowards. Every time this happens, the locals are on the side of the business, not the Moonbats ( who are delusional enough to think that everyone thinks just like them).
We're Americans, and we don't like bullies of any kind picking on lone indivduals to make themselves feel good.
Last edited by Dan D. Doty; 03-06-2014 at 11:11 AM.CU's Paranormal Expert.
Keep your powder dry, your sword sharp and your wits intact.
03-06-2014, 02:58 PM
You can't be free if you don't have the freedom of free thought. This is why hate crime legislation is bullcrap. Crime is crime. Murder is murder. Just because someone has an issue with a particular group doesn't mean we can start prosecuting people for what they think. If you want to prosecute an action so be it but free thought is free thought. This is supposed to be America.The Obama Administration: Deny. Deflect. Blame.
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