Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The liberal time machine, part 1: same-sex marriage

Liberals have an odd tendency to artificially compress the timeline of history in order to exaggerate present-day burdens.

For example, Courtney Martin is a straight liberal who writes in The American Prospect about her refusal to get married as some sort of ill-advised protest against ... well, she seems to be protesting a huge cauldron of assorted social ills: racism, homophobia, gender roles, patriarchy... I'm getting worn out just listing all of America's evils.

What's Martin's problem with marriage? Click the link for the whole explanation, but this point is especially ludicrous:

I don't want to participate in an institution that's been historically sexist and currently discriminates against my gay friends, especially considering that my partner and I couldn't have been married in some states just 40 years ago (we're miscegenators)....
I can't think of a more glaring example of the tendency of liberals to willfully blind themselves to social progress. If one of your main gripes with society today is something that ended forty years ago, you're really lucky!

Martin's attempt to depict marriage as a racist institution despite Loving v. Virginia is unintentionally comical:
But the institution is still constructed in subtle ways to fit best with same-raced, preferably white, couples. Imagine a traditional wedding in which two white families are sitting on either side of the aisle. Now imagine a wedding in which one side is completely white and the other completely black. See the problem?
James Kirchik (the author of the above-linked blog post about Martin's article) has the right answer:
No, I don't. Sounds like a wonderful example of America's exceptional multiculturalism to me.
But even if you do have a problems with that specific tradition, don't blame the government -- blame ordinary people. They're the ones who choose to practice those traditions. The government doesn't care what you do.

If Martin really believes seating arrangements in interracial marriages are a "problem," she could just ... solve the problem by getting married without having "a traditional wedding." No one's forcing you to do things the way they're done in movies.

But that implies that she's arguing in good faith -- that she'd love to make society better, and has unfortunately been thwarted by the man. Well, that's hard to believe. For liberals like Courtney Martin, politics isn't about solving problems at all. It's about wallowing in them.


Nihimon said...

Wow... I guess I wasn't expecting this kind of observation from you... I just came for the Grunge, but I have to say "Preach on!"

Tully said...

More likely is that Martin is a neurotic young woman insecure about her own personal romantic situation, and thus feels compelled to rationalize/justify her situation to herself and others.

"I didn't want a beer anyway, because brewers are part of the corporate-industrial godarchy!"


John Bisceglia said...

Our souls are equal. Our children's souls are equal. More and more of us will not pay into a federal system that excludes us, because it is immoral to deny our families and children civil marriage (gay tax protest).

John Althouse Cohen said...

Yes, that's an excellent strategy for gay people to secure equal rights: portraying themselves as resentful scofflaws.

John Bisceglia said...

Well, I was never a "resentful scofflaw" until I experienced how this lack of legal rights and protections can absolutely devastate one's entire life. Yes, myself and others ARE resentful of the unethical and immoral tax burden our families endure, so we are withholding tax not out of spite, but simple math:


John Althouse Cohen said...

Well, I was never a "resentful scofflaw" until...

OK, so you admit that "resentful scofflaw" is an accurate label for what you're talking about doing.

I stand by my comment that that's not a good image for proponents of same-sex marriage.

There's a difference between what's theoretically justifiable in the abstract, and what's actually effective for achieving your goals. If your goal is simply expressing your own righteousness, you may have found a way to do that. But if same-sex marriage is really such a momentous issue -- and I agree that it is -- then the goal should be to actually get same-sex marriage enacted.

The answer isn't negativity; it's positivity.

John Bisceglia said...

I still think you do not understand the motivation behind tax resistance (and you're not alone).

Live 20-30 years, have YOUR family & children experience REAL harmful discrimination, and then see if YOU would give a rat's patootie about any perceived "good image" or not. You'd most likely react like many of us, simply refuse to comply IN ANY WAY with the one discriminating.

Tax withholding is NOT about holding one's breath until we get our way; it is about a complete refusal to submit to our government's inhuman treatment of our families.

Not bowing to the slave owner = TAX RESISTANCE.

Sharing personal stories (#1 most effective means), outreach, volunteering at LGBT organizations, etc. = HELPING THE MARRIAGE EQUALITY MOVEMENT.