And Then Sometimes Conservatives Just Make Me Sad

If I had to choose between a world full of depraved  conservatives who were at least enjoying themselves while they made the rest of us miserable and a world full of conservatives such as the kind Ned Williams is purporting to be today, I think I’d choose the depraved conservatives.

Because at least the depraved conservatives are not lying to themselves.

But, Ned, dang it*, do you honestly read that stuff and find it to be the truth?  Is there no gut check you do where some part of you just says, quietly, “Hey, something about that is not right” and, even if you don’t know what is right about it, you listen?  If not, well, then, I feel even worse for you than I did from the beginning.

Let’s go through the lies Maggie Gallagher tells you that you pass along as truths, even though, dang it again, you should know better.

1.  “The male-female divide”–What is that?  I mean, once you get passed all the Men are from Mars, Women from Venus crap, do you really feel that you don’t know your wife?  And, if you do, do you really believe that that’s because she’s a woman and not just because she’s another person, independent of you and no matter how much you love her and come to know her, there will just be parts of her that are secret because you can’t know what it’s like to be her–as a person.  We are not strangers to you because we are women, or at least, we don’t have to be.

2.  “Marriage is the fundamental, cross-cultural institution”–no, it’s not.  Families are the fundamental, cross-cultural institution and families might be constituted a lot of ways.  Long before there was “marriage,” there were families.

3.  “Marriage is the fundamental, cross-cultural institution for bridging the male-female divide so that children have loving, committed mothers and fathers”–Again.  You know your history.  You know this is not true.  Marriage, as a social institution, is historically about inheritance rights, not about love or commitment.

Aw, you know what?  Fuck it.

Most people who oppose gay marriage know at some level that there’s no good reason for it other than the ick factor.  They’re opposed to gay marriage because they think gay people are gross.  All this nonsense about “preserving the traditional meaning of marriage” is just bullshit.  Come on.

Even conservative Ned Williams is not arguing that he should own all of his wife’s property outright and that she not be allowed to have a bank account or a credit card in her name.  He doesn’t believe he should be able to beat his wife in public and carry on with mistresses and prostitutes if he wants.  He doesn’t believe that, if he should die tomorrow, some other man–either designated by him or appointed by the courts–should decide to whom his kids get shipped off to and, regardless of what his will says, how much of his property his wife should be able to make use of until she dies.  He doesn’t believe that he should be able to arrange marriages for his children to wealthy clients or local political families in order to directly benefit his business, regardless of the wishes of his children.

No, he’s basically bought into the idea that there’s some pretend pleasant history of marriage always full of love and devotion and monogamy and happy children and that he can refer to that pretend history as having any legitimacy when arguing against gay marriage.

That’s a joke.  And I should be able to laugh at it as a joke.

So, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, etc.

*That’s conservative for “damn it.”

21 thoughts on “And Then Sometimes Conservatives Just Make Me Sad

  1. “They uphold an institution that developed, over thousands of years, in thousands of cultures, to help direct the erotic desires of men and women into a relatively narrow but indispensably fruitful channel. We need men and women to marry and make babies for our society to survive. We have no similar public stake in any other family form–in the union of same-sex couples or the singleness of single moms.”

    Ahh, the old “Marriage is for Baby Making” meme … I have to wonder: is my childless marriage viewed as somehow less “real” than a marriage that includes progeny? Am I somehow less married because I haven’t pushed out a couple of sprogs yet?

  2. I started to post this comment at Ned’s blog, but then I realized I’d never go back to follow up because he’s on blogger and I’m lazy. So here was my response to what he posted:

    The belief that marriage is meant to bridge the male-female divide requires the belief that men and women are intrinsically, perhaps biologically different. I don’t believe that, so I’m out of this argument from game on.

    I also think it’s a little foolish to presume that a marital unit is the only beneficial environment for the raising of children.* It’s a fairly convenient one – it’s easier to support children on two incomes than one, and it’s easier to work out the differing parent strategies of two parents than many. But in many cases one or both of the parents is incapable or unwilling to parent – and in that case, a marital unit is not in the best interests of the child. Enter the village. There’s only one thing a mama-daddy marital unit does better for children than other support units: inculcate traditional gender roles in the kids.

    *I wrote that in response to “when children are involved,” but I saw later that the piece specifies “making babies.” To this I can only point to the globe’s enormous population, still growing. I don’t think the human race is in danger of dying out anytime soon… “marriage” or whatever ethical choice you make re: children should be about their raising, not the multiplication of them.

  3. Pingback: Nashville is Talking » Motherhood

  4. Pingback: Volunteer Voters » The Ick Factor

  5. But, but, but the swarthy non-white people are breeding like rabbits and we’ll be OVERRUN! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH!

    Or, something like that. In any event, B and Tanglethis are absolutely correct.

  6. The belief that marriage is meant to bridge the male-female divide requires the belief that men and women are intrinsically, perhaps biologically different. I don’t believe that, so I’m out of this argument from game on.

    Tiny nitpick: men and women are, indeed, biologically different in most cases.* Chomosomal makeup, hormone profiles, arrangement of internal organs, childbearing capacity, general breast size and proportion of fat to muscle in secondary sex characteristics etc.

    The question for me, whenever these differences are brought up, is whether the differences are relevant to the discussion at hand. I don’t believe that biological variation means that we’re separated by greathugegiant mystical gulfs, or that it means that we somehow can’t understand each other. Just because most men don’t have periods doesn’t mean that they can’t understand that they can hurt and be messy. (I would argue that they can’t fully comprehend what the exact sensation is, as they don’t have near enough analogues… but that’s different than not being able to understand the ramifications, or the way it influences my actions. The impossibility of true empathy does not preclude sympathy.)

    Errr… the point being that the particular phrasing you used about biological differences tends to invite melodramatic yelling over how we Don’t! Even! Know! Basic! Biology! and all that. And, y’know, the essentialists.

    * “In most cases” to avoid the essentialist claim there that the biological differences are inherently and only the relevant distinguishing markers for this distinction. I suppose one might still argue that for sex rather than gender, which is a divide that I typically find useful, but not exactly the point I was trying to make. Mostly I just don’t want to exclude trans- and inter-sexed people from the equation by stating that people are either This Way or That Way, when there are whole bunches of people who fit differently.

  7. I’m sorry I wasn’t clear – I was really thinking of the software, not the hardware. I don’t think men and women are wired through genes or ancestral instincts or some other biological determinant to be fundamentally different in terms of behavior, identity, desires, and other socially mediated extensions of self.

    Or, let me be even clearer… I don’t completely discount that those things could have some effect on behavior etc., but I think that Inherent Sexual Difference is too often used to reinscribe a particular status quo (this is how we’ve been for ages, so this is how we must really be), and I don’t think that it’s actually relevant… because, as you say, difference doesn’t preclude understanding. And also because men’s identities, desires, etc. can vary more among men than they do from women. And so on.

  8. Breast size…mmmm…

    Okay, for the past few days I’ve been reading far too much from these professed Christians and their full quiver bullshit. If it was all about preserving innocent life, these assholes would be racing us to get to war protests. If it was all about promoting families, they’d be outshouting us in clamoring for universal health care and day care. If it was all about loving and nurturing children, the adoption agencies would be turning them away and the orphanages would be empty.

    But no, LeftWingCracker is spot on about this issue. It is about breeding more White Babiez to keep up with the niggers, the beaners, and the Foreign Brown Menace. It is about boosting one’s ego through prolific reproduction. It is about seeking control and order in a world that seems chaotic (to the spiritually immature reactionary). And, as is often the case, it is all wrapped in the pious bow of an unquestionable belief system.

    I have no problem with belief in a higher power, or in subscribing to a system of moral absolutism for oneself. But, in addition to creating their own private religious fiefdoms, these fundamentalists are trying to force their medieval belief systems on the rest of us.

    By the way, I was once something of a Bible student myself. And I can safely say that most of these Quiverfull and anti-choice types have about as much to do with Jesus Christ’s example and teachings as did the Pharisees.

  9. >Even conservative Ned Williams is not arguing that he should own all of his wife’s property outright and that she not be allowed to have a bank account or a credit card in her name.

    Of course he *would* have thought those things not long ago, and would today if that’s what the people in pointy hats who tell him what to think were still saying.

    Of course when it comes to Ned it’s all very simple. He’s one of the most obvious self-hating closet cases around. Why else would he routinely describe gay sex as “indulgent” unless it was something he figures he’d like to “indulge” in?

  10. Wow, that was judgmental CS. Not to mention absolutist.

    tanglethis,
    I really wish that you had posted your comment(s) on my blog, because now I’m going to have to post them for you. AuntB couldn’t bring herself to say it as bluntly as you did (or maybe she really just misunderstood the “divide” and “cross-cultural” references), but thanks for laying it out there. And out blunting AuntB ain’t easy.

    AuntB,
    One trait of Liberals that always impresses me is the ability to read minds (and hearts!) Yes, I do believe that men and women are generally very different in the way they view sex, intimacy, commitment, duty, responsibility, etc. The fact that you do not acknowledge such differences has little bearing on their truthfulness though it does explain why you reject any other rationale for marriage than keepin’ womyn down. Maybe my fateful choice not to major in “Women’s Studies” has handicapped me, but I think God’s intent for marriage (contra. society’s perversion of it) and modern society’s stake in marriage is as stated by Gallagher in that article. Marriage isn’t “going steady” on steroids, and I don’t agree that it exists today (or has existed for the last century) for the purpose of inheritance.

  11. Wow, that was judgmental CS. Not to mention absolutist.

    Yes, and I notice you didn’t say wrong. And speaking of absolutism:

    …God’s intent for marriage…

    Kind of hard to argue with the Creator, isn’t it? As I’ve said before, you’re welcome to roll the bones, read the tea leaves, or parse your favorite holy book all you want. And you’re welcome to exclaim your piety for all who can stand to listen. However– contemporary fundamentalist historical revisionism aside– our Republic was founded on a basis of religious freedom. No one’s interpretation of any particular religion is to be codified and rammed down the rest of our throats. Pro-choice activists aren’t trying to force anyone to have abortions, nor are they attempting to force people to use contraceptives. We’re well past the point of pretending that anti-choice fundies are willing to show the same restraint.

    I’m willing to make you a deal, nedwilliams: you stay out of my bedroom and out of my wife’s womb, and your beliefs will be cool with me. If your faith is so strong, and your way is so right, then you don’t need to force it on me or on anyone else, anyway. Let your works show your faith, brother. There are thousands of post-born unwanted pregnancies out there just waiting to for loving homes. There are millions more foreign brown babies suffering under the yoke of the policies that are lining our wealthier pockets. There are loving families wilting under the strain of a greed-infected health care system. Can you spare some zeal for all of the above? Or does your god only care about fetuses and blastocysts (especially the white ones)?

  12. Most people who oppose gay marriage know at some level that there’s no good reason for it other than the ick factor.

    I’m reminded of this story from Salon, “Sinners In The Hands Of An Angry GOP,” about the “War on Christians” conference last March. The creepiest part about it was Peter LaBarbera, one of the most whacked out dudes on the Christian right you’ll ever meet. He’s absolutely obsessed with gay sex, trolls gay message boards, etc., all to get the word out that “gay sex is gross.” He believes if gay sex becomes the issue, not the gays, then gay marriage bans will be in place all across the country in a heartbeat.

    What’s so creepy about him, besides the obvious, is how phony some of these “messages” he purportedly picked up on a gay message board are. The article printed one that was supposed to be from a teen gay, and you just knew it was made up. It just reeked of fundie-Christian fiction. You know this is what some fundie Christian Bible thumper thought a gay teen would say, not what anyone actually would see.

    … he’s basically bought into the idea that there’s some pretend pleasant history of marriage…

    Must be something in the water, I just got into a big debate with someone about this. The bottom line is, men don’t have a a good sense of perspective where marriage is concerned, since it’s always been a pretty good deal for them. Yet they’re the ones making the rules. Throughout history marriage has been a raw deal for women. And I wonder if all these fairy tales about the wonderful institution of marriage isn’t just s symptom of feminist backlash.

  13. Men and women have vast differences in both their physical and mental makeup, and I’m not exactly sure how it helps the cause of equality to state otherwise.

    We live in a gendered world, and there’s no getting around that. The inherent differences between the sexes only become ammunition for the status quo when they aren’t put in context, and that can’t happen until those differences are acknowledged and understood.

    Regarding gay sex, the Bible, and the “ick factor,” here’s a fun little game: Ask your favorite Bible-thumping homophobe if their church preaches against men who enjoy blowjobs and anal sex with their wives. I think most of the readers of this blog can figure out where to take the discussion from there. It’s a real mind-opener, let me tell you, both for you and the homophobe.

  14. I don’t agree that [marriage] exists today (or has existed for the last century) for the purpose of inheritance.

    really? it’s been a hundred years since anybody inherited anything of significance from a passed-on spouse or parent? we could easily remove the whole issue of marriage from estate and inheritance law, and nobody would complain about it? there haven’t been any large, public inheritance disputes in which the past and current marital statuses of the disputants played any significant part for the last century?

    i don’t think you’ve thought that through.

  15. I don’t think there’s any way to know for sure which gender differences are biological and which are social, and I think it’s impossible for anyone to say with certainty “Oh, so and so is that way because she’s a woman,” and not “Oh, so and so is that way because that’s how so and so is.” We ascribe all sorts of things to gender which may just be individual diversity.

    Ned, you’re so cute when you’re pissed off. See, here’s the thing, I don’t have to “read your mind or heart.” I can see what kinds of legislation you’d like to pass and what kinds of social policty you’re angling for and draw conclusions.

    See, it’s kind of like your little “womyn” thing. I think that’s indicative of the kind of person you think I am, which may be why we’re constantly butting heads.

    “Man” is the default. It just means something like “those with hands.” “Weopman” and later “werman” meant male man and “Wifman” or woman or wife meant female man. Jsut because your gender managed to equate yourself with the default doesn’t mean I’m willing to concede it. Man doesn’t equal “male.” And I’m certainly not going to erase my humanity by adding a “y” to woman just because you guys have managed to convince yourselves that the default for “man” is “male.”

    In fact, I think it’s a shame you never took a woman’s studies class. You might have found it interesting. It would have, at least, prepared you for a country full of women who aren’t that excited about letting you dictate what happens to us just because your god said so.

    One of my gods says that you can’t blame a woman for keeping lovers on the side. Do you think that would justify you and I meeting for drinks and smooches?

  16. AuntB, though one of your gods might be fine with it but my wife would be hurt and I might also if you gave me the Diet Dr.Pepper treatment . . .

    But, in the limited time I have right now, I think I’ll handle nomen nescio’s fat curve . . . no, I didn’t say that, I posited that our rationale for marriage over the last century or so hasn’t been inheritance. Of course inheritance is relevant and integral to the discussion of marriage, but something I don’t think you’ve thought through is why that is true.

  17. So, Ned, since the rationale for marriage has been changing over the past century or so, why do you demand that the change now stop?

  18. Oh, oh, call on me! I know…

    Because the changes no longer stand to benefit him?

    (So the rationale for marriage has only been changing over the past century? I need to let all those historians of marriage in ancient Rome know that they are wasting their time.)

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