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November 22, 2014

Fundamental Concepts-Ends and Means [WeirdDave]

[So, this actually happened, but I'm writing this here instead of risking a cherished friendship. Oh, I'll make the same points to her, but subtly, over time.]

Dear Gay Friend,

I talked to you today after the president's amnesty announcement. You were upset about him assuming dictatorial powers and bitched about trampling the Constitution. You made some good points, about how our American system of government is a historical anomaly, for most of history all of mankind has been ruled by one form of oligarchy or another, and that this portends the US regressing to the mean. You talked about concentration of power to the few at the expense of the many, and you astutely recognized the giant F.U. Amnesty is to the black community in America. You were smart, profane, witty, spot on, and you understand so much, but here's the thing:

In my mind, you don't have the right to say anything.


I've known you for more than 20 years now. I know that you're a self styled libertarian atheist, and I know why you adopted that philosophy. You're black, gay and the rest of your family is highly religious. I understand how their condemnation of your sexual identity led you to reject their values (I also remember when you came out to them and they did NOT disown you even though you expected that they would). In some ways this is good, they're dyed in the wool Obamaphiles and your libertarian streak inoculated you from that madness. In others though, I think your wholesale, almost frenzied rejection of Christianity leaves you without spiritual grounding and with a curious blind spot towards Christians, whatever you believe Christianity says about your sexuality, Westboro is an extreme aberration, not the norm. In short, you're human, as flawed and as wonderful as any of us, and I love you.

When you bitched and ranted about presidential usurpation of legislative prerogatives, however, I find it hard to take you seriously. It's not that you're wrong, gods no, it's just that I remember you crowing about judicial usurpation of legislative authority on the issue of gay marriage. "We've got 35 states now!" you said triumphantly a few weeks back when the latest ruling was issued. When you talk about how laws must be followed, I remember you cheering when OJ was acquitted, even though you told me privately that you thought he was guilty. "As a woman I should be horrified, but I'm just glad the system didn't take down another black man " was how I believe you put it. "The system" didn't take down OJ, he did it himself, and when that didn't take he had to go and do it again years later. (Personally I thought that the OJ trial was a miscarriage of justice, but also a vindication of the law, the prosecution didn't make their case)

See, your libertarian tendencies, while very real, are frequently superfluous when it's your ox being gored. That's not an accusation, far from it, it's the most human of tendencies. As a conservative, however, my philosophy is rooted in the belief that what makes the US system work is the adherence to the rule of law in all cases. The civil rights movement came about to force southern culture and social mores to conform with the law. You like to claim that gay marriage is a new civil rights movement, but it's not. The civil rights movement was a force to uphold the law, the gay marriage movement seeks to overturn by fiat laws that it doesn't like. It's OK that you don't like the law, and it's fine that you seek to change it. There are democratic methods (referendums) and legislative methods (laws) to do that. What isn't fine is to impose your will on everyone else just because they disagree with you. There are processes to be followed, when those processes are shortcutted, the entire system of rule of law is undermined. This is a perfect contrast. You can't be enthusiastic about fiat rulings when they benefit you and aghast when they harm you. That attitude is what will destroy the entire system. Adherence to the rule of law is the only thing standing between us and anarchy, and anarchy always evolves into totalitarianism. You're on the right track with regards to your political philosophy, but you really need to think it through. I'll leave you with one final thought. All of this should be important to you, personally, because you are a black lesbian. If blind pursuit of short term goals achieves them at the cost of destroying the larger societal structure, and we fall into totalitarianism, what then? Can you name one totalitarian regime in history that has been kind to minorities or homosexuals? I can't think of any. Can you?

Your Friend,

Weirddave

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posted by Open Blogger at 09:01 AM

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