Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Same-Sex Marriage: No Surprise Conservatives Lost

Philosopher Bill Vallicella has three excellent posts on the recent same-sex "marriage" issue.  I was going to put them all together in one post, but in case anyone wants to comment here or on Facebook I will separate all three.


Four reasons off the top of my head.
1. Conservatives don't know how to argue and persuade.  In the main, conservatives are not at home on the plane of ideas and abstractions where one must do battle with leftist obfuscation.   Conservatives are often non-intellectual when they are not anti-intellectual.  I am talking about conservatives 'in the trenches' of ordinary life, politics, and the mass media, the ones with some clout; I am not referring to conservative intellectuals who are intellectual enough but whose influence is limited.
Conservatives, by and large, are doers not thinkers, builders, not scribblers.  They are at home on the terra firma of the concrete particular but at sea in the realm of abstraction.  They know in their dumb inarticulate way that  there is something deeply wrong with same-sex 'marriage,' but they cannot explain what it is in a manner to command the respect of their opponents.  George W. Bush, a well-meaning, earnest fellow whose countenance puts me in mind of that of Alfred E. Neuman, could only get the length of such flat-footed asseverations as: "Marriage is between a man and a woman." 

2. Conservatives muddy the waters with religion, when the topic ought to be approached in a secular way. After all, we need to convince secularists and that will be impossible if we rely on religious traditions and doctrines.  You may believe that traditional marriage is an institution with divine sanction.  But that will cut no ice with an atheist!  Sorry to say something so bloody obvious, but it needs to be said.
3. Liberalism is Emotion-Driven.  Just as one cannot hope to persuade people using premises they adamantly reject, one cannot get through to people whose skulls are full of emotional mush.  To the emotion-driven, the obviously discriminatory exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage ends the discussion.  They won't stay to listen to an explanation as to why some forms of discrimination are justified. 

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