October 22, 2008

Nonsense, Bigotry, And Lies

INTRODUCTORY NOTE: Some of you may not be familiar with a long-lost literary convention called "sarcasm." This post makes extensive use of that technique. To help the humor-impaired, I have designated those areas of the post which are intended to be sarcastic through the use of a purple color for the text. All text appearing in that color should be considered "sarcastic." Thank you for your attention, and you may now proceed to enjoy today’s rant. -- TL
Months ago, Dennis Prager laid out the parade of horribles awaiting California if Proposition 8 fails to pass.

1. Girls might become lesbians. Oh, and boys might become gay, too, but mainly, the big danger is that girls might become lesbians.

Prager: “…young girls will be discouraged from imagining one day marrying their prince charming -- to do so would be declared ‘heterosexist,’ morally equivalent to racist. Rather, they will be told to imagine a prince or a princess. Schoolbooks will not be allowed to describe marriage in male-female ways alone. Little girls will be asked by other girls and by teachers if they want one day to marry a man or a woman.” “The sexual confusion that same-sex marriage will create among young people is not fully measurable. … Much of humanity -- especially females -- can enjoy homosexual sex. It is up to society to channel polymorphous human sexuality into an exclusively heterosexual direction.”

After all, no one was gay before May of this year. Certainly not in California. Now, of course, there’s a proliferation of gay people, which is all the fault of four unelected (oh wait, they are elected) judges in San Francisco decided to make themselves Dictators Of The Universe. And now that they’ve done this, the floodgates are open, birth rates are going to decline, and even those of you who think you still like the opposite sex will be required to provide photographic proof that you have recently performed sex acts with members of the same gender before getting your California Driver’s License renewed.

It's bizarre: Prager is really, really upset that a girl might have sex with another girl. But he does not seem nearly as disturbed by the idea that a boy might have sex with other boys. The idea of boys with boys seems to have less immediacy and moral gravity to him than girls with girls. I’ll let you draw your own conclusions about what that means, because I'm still trying to figure it out myself.

2. Free speech will be curtailed.

Prager: “Any advocacy of man-woman marriage alone will be regarded morally as hate speech, and shortly thereafter it will be deemed so in law.” “Anyone who advocates marriage between a man and a woman will be morally regarded the same as racist. And soon it will be a hate crime.” “Companies that advertise engagement rings will have to show a man putting a ring on a man's finger -- if they show only women fingers, they will be boycotted just as a company having racist ads would be now.” “Films that only show man-woman married couples will be regarded as antisocial and as morally irresponsible as films that show people smoking have become.”

These have been serious problems up in Canada for the last five years. You’ll remember the tragic story of the riot that grew out of the gay-led protests in front of the offices of Canadian Engagement Rings, Inc. in Saskatoon in mid-2006, in which so many people were senselessly killed and hurt because the company didn’t run an ad with an image of two male fingers. Downtown Saskatoon is still struggling to recover. And it’s been well-documented that all the TV and movie stars from Canada are coming down here to find work because the writers, directors, and producers in Canada simply can’t abide by the repressive, restrictive atmosphere that forbids them from referring to heterosexual relationships in any sort of positive way.

3. Evil Atheists Will Win.

Prager: “Traditional Jews and Christians -- i.e. those who believe in a divine scripture -- will be marginalized.”

Help! Help! We religious folk are being oppressed! We only possess 85% of the electorate and our rights are being trampled upon by people who want something that we already have and costs us nothing to let them have, too!

4. Adoptions will become illegal.

Prager: “Catholic groups in Massachusetts have abandoned adoption work since they will only allow a child to be adopted by a married couple as the Bible defines it … .”

It’s a little-known but sadly profound fact that no child has been adopted in Massachusetts for the last four years. Because the only entity doing adoption work in the entire state of Massachusetts was the Catholic Church and unless the adoption agency places each and every child with a gay couple, it gets sued out of existence.

5. People will afford less significance to genders and gender roles.

Prager: “[T]he terms ‘male’ and ‘female,’ ‘man’ and ‘woman’ will gradually lose their significance.”

Which is going to make it that much more difficult to discriminate against women, and we certainly can’t have that!

6. Divorces involving children will be awkward.

Prager: “And what will happen after divorce -- which presumably will occur at the same rates as heterosexual divorce? A boy raised by two lesbian mothers who divorce and remarry will then have four mothers and no father.” Because divorces involving children go smoothly and have few deleterious psychological effects on the children involved now.

So obviously, Prager is upset that Prop. 8 might fail. (The latest polls have passage or failure within the margin of error.) Proposition 8, according to Prager, “will determine whether judges or society will decide on social-moral issues.” Because if Proposition 8 fails, the California Constitution will be suspended and Ronald George will, with the assistance of three gun-totin’ robe-wearin’ septagenarian judges, singlehandedly pull off a coup against the Schwarzenegger Administration, dissolve the Legislature, and cause California to secede from the United States. Act now to preserve your proximity to the Leader.

Prager claims that “every religious and secular society in recorded history has defined marriage -- as between men and women.” (He concedes, however, that the number of spouses does vary.) Barbaric and backwards places like the Netherlands, Canada, Spain, Norway, South Africa, Belgium, and Massachusetts don’t count.

Attorney General Jerry Brown, “a liberal Democrat,” is taken to task for changing the proposition’s wording, so as “to make the proposition appear as a denial of a basic human and civil right.” Dude, if the shoe fits…

Prager also makes the astonishing claim that “Marriage has never been regarded as a universal human or civil right.” Prager has decided that the United States Supreme Court does not count here, because to acknowledge the actions of that obscure and unimportant branch of government would disprove his thesis.

Now, Prager claims that he’s no homophobe and he recognizes that he’s arguing for an unfair position: “I readily acknowledge that it is unfair when an adult is not allowed to marry the love of his or her choice. But social policy cannot be made solely on the basis of eradicating all of life's unfairness.” Because the Civil Rights Act of 1964 has proven what a disaster enforcing social policy in the form of racial equality was. So sometimes, social policy must be advocated solely for the purpose of perpetuating some of life’s unfairnesses? If so, Proposition 8 is a fine example of that.

It’s nonsense and lies packed densely together. Prager admits that Prop. 8 is unfair. He admits that he just plain doesn’t like the idea of people becoming gay or thinking that gay people have moral equivalence to straight people. Yet he insists that he is not a bigot.

No safe harbor here.

You cannot say that it is bad for people to be gay without saying, in the same breath, that gay people are bad. Maybe it's possible to articulate a non-bigoted reason for opposing same-sex marriage. This, however, is not it. Your reasons for advocating Proposition 8 are rooted in bigotry, Dennis Prager, which despite all your protests to the contrary makes you a bigot.

You are also almost certainly a liar, Mr. Prager. Your columns demonstrate that you are an intelligent, educated man who keeps up on current events and the law. You knew all of these things before you wrote those columns. It is one thing to be ignorant, but it is something else entirely to say something that you know perfectly well is incorrect, for the purpose of encouraging others to rely upon the truth of your inaccurate statement. It is something else to, as I have done here, say something obviously incorrect in order to emphasize the opposite point; that is called sarcasm. The difference between an ignorant misstatement, a sarcastic remark, and a lie is found in the knowledge of the untruth of one’s remarks and one’s intent in knowingly making the incorrect statements.

Contrary to what you have said, marriage is a civil right, the Supreme Court said so in 1964. Contrary to what you have said, secular societies, in the industrialized western world, have had same-sex marriages for years. The California Supreme Court is a democratically-elected institution and democracy is alive and thriving in California, as the very existence of Proposition 8 proves. A man of your intelligence, interests, and resources could not possibly have been ignorant of all of this when you wrote those columns, Mr. Prager. Yet, you stated these things in great seriousness, passing them off as the truth. You did this with an explicit intent to encourage people to vote “Yes” on Proposition 8.

That makes those statements lies, which in turn makes you a liar.

If the only way to get people to vote for Proposition 8 is to promulgate nonsense, bigotry, and lies, then Proposition 8 does not deserve to pass and should not become law.

3 comments:

bobvis said...

the big danger is that girls might become lesbians.

Wait.

So this is supposed to be bad?

Transplanted Lawyer said...

Prager's objection could be that the lesbians aren't hot. Or it might be that he wasn't invited to watch.

Michael Reynolds said...

Penthouse Forum Axiom #1: Any two hot women are never more than a glass of white wine away from being lesbians.