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August 20, 2010

Palin on Dr. Laura; Coulter v. Farah

The other day I questioned whoever was tweeting for Sarah Palin about her comments on her Dr. Laura controversy. It struck me that it probably wasn't Palin, but an employee popping off.

It wasn't that I disagreed with her conclusion -- it was just that it was naked conclusion without predicates that built to that conclusion, and I thought that was pretty impolitic on a controversial issue. I was going to suggest -- this is really something better for FaceBook where you can develop your argument.

Well, she did that.

oes anyone seriously believe that Dr. Laura Schlessinger is a racist? Anyone, I mean, who isn’t already accusing all conservatives, Republicans, Tea Party Americans, etc., etc., etc. of being racists? Adversaries who have been trying to silence Dr. Laura for years seized on her recent use of the n-word on her show as she subsequently suggested that rap “artists” and other creative types like those producing HBO shows who regularly use the n-word could be questioned for doing so. Her intention in discussing the issue with a caller seeking advice was not to be hateful or bigoted. Though she did not mean to insult the caller, she did, and she apologized for it. Still, those who oppose her seized upon her mistake in using the word (though she didn’t call anyone the derogatory term) to paint her as something that she’s not. I can understand how she could feel “shackled” by those who would parse a single word out of decades of on-air commentary. I understand what she meant when she declared that she was “taking back my First Amendment rights” by turning to a new venue that will not allow others the ability to silence her by going after her stations, sponsors, and supporters. I, and obviously many others, have been “shackled” too by people who play games with false accusations, threats, frivolous lawsuits, misreporting, etc., in an effort to silence those with whom they disagree. That’s why I tend to defend people who call it like they see it while others stop at nothing to shut them up.

That's pretty much right. Was this a firing offense? Oh please. She didn't use the n-word in anger; she was illustrating its ubiquity among black comics and rappers.

To the extent it was "wrong" to do that -- well, she apologized. What more do you want? Oh right -- you want her job. Because that's always what this was about. It was never about principle or sensitivity; it was about cashiering someone you didn't like.

In the Coulter and Farah dust-up, here's the email Farah wrote to Coulter:

Until now, I have asked you a couple of pointed questions about your participation in the Homocon event.

Now, in the Christian spirit of Matthew 18, I want to tell you what I think in very clear terms. We don't really know each other well. But I still consider you a friend and a fellow freedom fighter.

Homosexuality is a sin, according to the Bible. God calls it an abomination. Paul (Romans 1:18-32) calls it a judgment on societies that turn away from God. I'm sure it has not escaped your attention that America is now one of those societies. Meanwhile, we have people – homosexual and heterosexual – who take pleasure in the increase of this abomination and its acceptance, just as Paul said.

This is how homosexuality literally destroys societies.

I know you don't want to see America destroyed. I've read all your books, and I'm a fan of your columns. I know you want what's best for our country – and I believe you're a sincere Christian.

Whether you believe it or not, or whether or not it is your intent, your acceptance of this speaking engagement is affirming GOProud, which is, I'm sure you've noticed, winning the hearts and minds in the conservative movement – with CPAC, Grover Norquist and others who don't necessarily bring a Judeo-Christian worldview to the party. GOProud is having a field day marketing you and legitimizing itself further in the conservative movement through its association with you.

It's a very big deal, Ann, and it's bigger than you. Glenn Beck threw in the towel last week on same-sex marriage, saying since it doesn't affect him, it doesn't matter. Materialistic utilitarianism – much of the conservative movement is moving in that direction.

I believe this is a time when God is calling his people to stand up for what's right. I'm afraid you're really blurring the lines for many of your fans.

Speaking to this group is not the same as speaking to a group of college students anywhere. Presumably, you speak to them not just for money, but to change their minds. The only way you might change some minds and hearts at Homocon is to confront them with their sin. I don't get the impression that is what you are being paid to do. These are folks who are being sheltered from the consequences of their sin. By giving a standard conservative rah-rah speech to them, you are embracing them as part of the conservative movement.

GOProud truly represents a blight on the conservative movement. The more the movement embraces them and accepts them, the more it will render the conservative movement useless and irrelevant.

He also quoted from Ann Coulter's emails, which I can't find.

Here's what I think of Farah's position: It's poison. It's not merely political poison, it is moral poison.

1. The GOP cannot be an overtly, officially religious party charged with monitoring everyone's personal sins. It cannot be. Ever. I view the party on morality as I view it on economics. A government cannot create wealth; it can only, and should only endeavor to, foster a wealth-friendly environment in which wealth-creation is likely.

Similarly, a government cannot mandate what sort of sex is legal and what sex is illegal. It can only foster a morality-friendly environment win which moral behavior is likely.

There are situations when the government is required to make some kind of official legislative choice on matters typically deemed moral. The law of marriage is an obvious one; drug prohibition has typically been considered another.

But the party cannot agitate to expand and multiply the number of decisions it will make on "behalf" of citizens, against their will, to enforce a morally hygienic lifestyle.

Some may object and say what Farah is doing is not that at all; he is simply using moral suasion, not government power, to pursue his ends. Well, it's not government power, I concede that, but it is using what power he has. He doesn't have government power, he has Farah Power, and he's using that in a coercive manner.

This is the folly of liberals which breaks my heart to see conservatives follow in: That we can make people better if only we use the tools of coercion at hand to force them to be better. The fact that he's willing to use what power he has for coercive means suggests to me he'd do the same were anyone imprudent enough to place him in a position of government power.

I am far less bothered by holding these beliefs -- people have the right to believe what they want -- than by the attempt to impose them on others through whatever little chinzy lever of power one might have.

I don't believe in that; I just don't. I don't want a Mommy Party and I also don't want a more-disciplinarian Daddy Party either.

I've got a Mommy and I've got a Daddy. I don't need nor want anyone presuming to fill those slots for me.

2. Coulter is not a gay marriage advocate, but an opponent, which leads me to conclude that Farah is ultimately not agitating for a policy position like traditional marriage only, but simply for that which is impermissible: taking an anti-gay-person stance, period.

It's true that 90% of gays (including conservative-leaning gays) want gay marriage. It's also true that a significant portion of the greater conservative caucus is Paulite in its hostility towards the use of military force, and a larger (but now no longer majority, I don't think) part of the caucus is neocon in its faith in military solutions.

We generally disagree on these issues without attempting to cast out the unbelievers. (Okay, admission: During the height of the Iraq War, and the height of manufactured "Paulmania," with all of his appearances on Truther Alex Jones' show, I sure did welcome the prospect of purging the party of such people. But as a general rule, we don't do that.)

Farah's position is essentially that gays simply cannot be conservatives at all and must be purged from the party. He does not seem to be an opponent of a policy, but an opponent of specific people. That doesn't strike me as fair, conservative, or keeping with the American way of doing things.

3. I can't help but notice that homosexuality is elevated to rather higher position on the food-pyramid of sins than seems necessary. I note that in my every day life, I wrestle with all sorts of sins: Sloth, probably at the top, then Lust, then Envy, then Wrath.... actually, all four of those are separated only by the slightest titches; it's nearly a four-way tie. Pride and Gluttony aren't far behind, either.

And other sins too. Premarital sex? Sex only for lustful purposes and not procreation? Yeah, I'm all about that.

I presume Joseph Farah is as well -- on that last point. I am not prepared to believe that he only engages in sex for purposes of creating children. I do not believe that is true of nearly anyone.

I'll tell you one sin I never have to wrestle with: the sin of homosexual fornication. Why? Because I'm straight. It never even occurs to me that gee, maybe if I'm not scoring with the ladies lately I should change up my game and try for a dude.

Never. Not once has it even crossed my mind.

And I submit that this is true for 99.9% of straight men, which in turn means it's true of 97.7% of men, period.

So Farah is essentially elevating to the position of Worst Sin the one sin he has absolutely zero chance of committing, zero chance of even being tempted by.

I find this breathtakingly convenient. According to Farah's priorities, hell, I'm a pretty moral guy -- never had gay sex, never wanted to have gay sex, never even thought about gay sex. So I'm pretty pure, right?

Of course I'm not. I'm just not guilty of that sin, but I'm not free of that sin due to devotion to God or exercise of willpower or the strengthening power of faith: I'm free of that sin for the same reason I'm free of the sin (were it a sin) of eating tarantulas. Because I don't want to.

It strikes me as very convenient, self-serving position to take that the most important sin out there, the most destructive sin, the one, as Farah says, actually destroys whole societies, is the sin that those who are most concerned with it aren't ever tempted to commit in their entire lives.

And that, on the other side of the coin, the 3% of the population that is gay is soaked in sin and offense to God.

I find it a little curious that Farah flames on about gays but doesn't seem terribly bothered by non-procreative heterosexual sex, non-procreative heterosexual sodomy (which includes the old blow-jay), non-procreative lustful use of pornography.

Now some will probably say he does mention those. Yes, I would guess he does; but as far as I know he wouldn't forbid Ann Coulter from appearing at a party I was hosting, and I'm an admitted (and unashamed) pornography user and non-procreative heterosexual sex fan.

Why the special elevation here? Again, I just find it damnably convenient for a proponent of morality to pound and pound on the one sin that he is almost incapable of engaging in, due to deep-seated revulsion to the act.

I have a deep-seated revulsion to it. Most straight guys do -- it's inborn. We even shy away from touching other men.

Which is, again, why on the list of sins it's so damnably easy for me to forgo this particular activity.

But what about people who are exclusively attracted to those of their sex? Can we get an admission that it might be somewhat harder for them to avoid this particular sin? That if they sin more in this area, perhaps it is because they carry special burdens? The burdens of actually wanting to do this in the first place?

What is Coulter doing, really? Is she endorsing the gay conservatives' (likely majority) position on gay marriage? No. Is she suggesting conservatives give up legitimate positions of policy in this realm? No.

She's appearing with them and by doing so telling them "Hey, you're not bad. I like you. I'll appear with you."

This is so terrible? This is like a firing offense, to Joseph Farah?

By the way: Ann Coulter's been unmarried her whole life. And yet, at her age (I assume she's 29, like me; I mean, I will be 29, in November), she has dated a bunch of guys.

I don't want to invade her privacy: But am I to understand that Joseph Farah believes she was celibate throughout this time period? That her various boyfriends were content with some hand-holding and maybe some light necking?

Am I to understand he is that childishly naive?

So my question is: What was he doing keeping this shameless wanton hedonist whore on his payroll in the first place?

Her own lifestyle he found unobjectionable? Why?

Let me add in point four:

4. You may disagree with this, but I personally consider Ann Coulter to be very conservative on almost all issues, and I feel she occupies generally the most conservative position prudent in conventional politics, anyway. She isn't exactly super-traditionalist in her personal lifestyle decisions, but as a general matter she occupies the furthest-possible-acceptable-rightist position out there.

Maybe she likes her gays. Okay, maybe she does. But to me, if Ann Coulter is saying that you can't simply purge gays from your party (or your movement, or your circle of social acquaintances), then really, doing so is unacceptably fringe.

If your beliefs lead you to the conclusion that Ann Coulter is too damn liberal, then I really think you either need to reexamine your first principles, or consider maybe you're not really engaged in politics at all, that actual politics are not truly your interest. Something related to politics, a cousin of politics, perhaps; perhaps political philosophy, perhaps metaphysics, perhaps simply religion.

But if Ann Coulter is a licentious liberal in your eyes, you are not close enough to the Overton Window to fire through it with a sniper rifle.

Anyway: Coulter blasted Farah as a self-serving "publicity whore."

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posted by Ace at 02:43 PM

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