November 09, 2008

Are Some Bigots More Bigoted than Others?

More from Eric on the aftermath of Prop. 8:

By any standard, the conduct displayed by the bigoted gay demonstrators is outrageous, inexcusable, and indefensible. However, speaking as an individualist, I don't think it any more reflects on gays as a whole than it would reflect on blacks as a whole if some angry black demonstrators hurled epithets at gays or Jews. The people who do these things are the ones who do them. That they are in a crowd of demonstrators might reflect poorly on the other demonstrators, but the problem with extrapolating from angry demonstrators to the group they claim to "represent" is that they are rarely more than a small percentage of that population. So, if a half a dozen gay bigots use the N-word at a demonstration, it no more reflects on all gays than something shouted from a crowd at a McCain rally would reflect on all Republicans.

Yes. But it gives me a queasy feeling, like the black-Jewish schism, which has always struck me as so counter-historical, and so unnecessary. And so stupid. Of course, my species is not that bright; I must remember that.

Where I must disagree with Pam Spaulding is with her view that these awful incidents somehow constitute an "escalation of the 'blame the blacks' meme that has been swirling about the blogosphere and the MSM." She also refers to "the desire to scapegoat blacks for Prop 8's defeat" as "not-so-latent racism in our movement." Well, at least she said "in our movement." Because, at least in my case, I don't see how observations based on a statistics can constitute a "blame the blacks meme."

Statistics are not memes. Saying that 70% of blacks voted for Prop 8 is no more a meme than saying that 30% of gays voted Republican.

Yup. This next part is pivotal:

As far as blaming or scapegoating goes, while I'm against Prop 8, I'm more or less neutral where it comes to gay marriage, because I'm highly distrustful of government involvement in a minority lifestyle which, like it or not, goes to the heart of human privacy. Gay marriage advocacy is inextricably intertwined with forcing people out of what is called "the closet." The closet (as any regular reader of Andrew Sullivan knows) is said to be at the root of much evil. Therefore, closeted gays need to be liberated -- for their own good and for the good of society. Because of the nature of the hegemonic bureaucracy which surrounds family law, family courts, family services, once gay marriage is established it will inevitably have a spillover effect, and gays who want to live their lives in privacy will be unable to do so. Sure, there will continue to be sexual flings, but once lovers move in together, there will be no way to guarantee privacy, because the state will have created not merely a sense of entitlement, but legal rights of the same sort which customarily flow to heterosexuals thanks to the evolution of family law. There are many gays who want privacy and who live in the closet. While I realize that this is immoral to Andrew Sullivan's way of thinking, I think it's fair to ask, how would they opt out?

Perhaps by simply living together, as heterosexual couples do who don't want to make the ultimate commitment—or who have, themselves, mixed emotions about the institution of marriage?

But your larger point is well-taken: people have the right to privacy. There is a right not to wear one's love life on one's sleeve, and there is a middle ground between being quiet and discreet vs. the type of "living in the closet" one associates with the 1950s in America.

What are the implications to the right to simply to be left alone?

The closet being what it is, though, I don't think this concern is likely to be voiced. I mean, who's going to voice it other than a kooky libertarian theoretician? Angry, in-your-face, "in-the-closet-and-proud" activists. (What this means, of course, is that whatever the extent of the right to be "in the closet," it will remain largely undefended, no matter how many of its immorally discreet members are taking advantage of it. This leaves Andrew Sullivan and other activists are free to blame people who are in "the closet" for almost anything they can think of -- the latest being Prop 8.)

Game, set, and match.

But speaking of blame (and scapegoating), I noticed that in other posts, Pam Spaulding looks at Mormon and Catholic churches and sees them (unlike blacks or black churches) as proper targets of Prop 8 protests. While I don't know what she thinks of angry gay demonstrators chanting "Mormon scum!" (and I do not suggest that this compares to the use of the N-word), she does not hesitate to condemn the Mormons as bigoted:
The amount of hot air and vapid defensiveness from an institution that has a history of bigotry and oppression against black people has earned every second of this bad press brought on by this media exposure and demonstrations. That the Mormons have trained that bigotry onto gays and lesbians families only confirms that the LDS is what is erroneous and it is repeating that sorry history.

Both Catholics and Mormons are accused of calling for theocracy:

These extremist statements and positions are nothing less than a call to establish a theocracy. Americans, regardless of their sexual orientation, should be moved to name this behavior of these institutions for what it is -- and question the tax-exempt status of these institutions.

By that logic, taking a religious position against abortion is also a call to establish theocracy. That is not what the word "theocracy" means.
And if it is "theocracy" to invoke a religious argument against gay marriage, then why isn't Barack Obama a theocrat, as Glenn Reynolds suggested? [In ironic imitation of the left's standard.] I don't think Barack Obama is a theocrat, any more than the Mormons or the Catholics are theocrats. But you can't just draw a line and say that Mormons and Catholics who voice religious objections to gay marriage are theocrats, but Democratic United Church of Christ members who voice the same objections are not.

There's altogether too much bigotry for comfort and too many double standards for comfort.


And, the clincher:

I can't help notice that completely left out of this debate are Muslims. While an LA Times article in April noted that "U.S. Muslims share friendship, similar values with Mormons" and that "the connection is based not on theology but on shared values and a sense of isolation from mainstream America." Can there be any doubt about the Muslim position on gay marriage? While there are no statistics on the Muslim vote, I would be flabbergasted if support for gay marriage mustered more than the single digits.

Yet Mormons have been singled out as bigots.

That's because it's wrong to bash Muslims, silly: even when they are enslaving women, carving away their genitals, and killing them more or less at whim. Don't you know anything?

The Pam Spaulding post we've been quoting is here.

I read Eric's post yesterday, of course—because he linked me—and considered responding, but was busy / too self-centered / tired. When Glenn Reynolds linked to it again today, though, it reminded me of what a bitchin' guy that Eric Scheie is.

Posted by Attila Girl at November 9, 2008 11:04 AM | TrackBack

Our leftist gay friends are irritated at being left at the altar by their leftist straight friends. Their agenda of electing a black socialist friendly president turned out to be more important than supporting Gay marriage. Sometimes you have to lie to the useful idiots in order to advance the cause.

Any idiot other than the useful kind would would have seen this coming, good church going black folks are repulsed by Gay behavior and they were going to the polls to vote for Obama.

I wonder if the supporters of Gay marriage would support a pro-polygamy proposition?

I wonder if parading the most disturbing members of the gay community on TV on Halloween night was a good idea, particularly when you are seeking acceptance from an admittedly more conservative straight community.

Posted by: Sejanus at November 10, 2008 01:48 AM

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