Aug 24, 2012
commented on Dan Savage vs. Brian Brown: The Dinner Table Debate
@102 Re: "Anthropologists have studied tribes of hunter-gathers living in remote regions of the Amazon rainforest and the island of Borneo. Is it really so far fetched to assume that, in the distant past, people who survived using similar tools formed similar societies?"
Your assertion was that people had been getting married longer than they had been making laws, which is a) not a testable hypothesis, and b) doesn't sound like a reasoned assumption at all. If other [nonliterate or preliterate] societies included similar institutions, then they would also probably include traditions resembling law, much like other nonliterate societies from more recent history have demonstrated. It is more reasonable to assume that marriage, in its various forms, has always been a civil institution, as it has been in our own Western traditions.
That is, earliest extant texts on marriage as a civil institution::ancient nonliterate marriage-like traditions as earliest extant legal texts on other topics::ancient nonliterate law-like traditions on other topics.
It may well be the case that marriage, like law, is a "universal human institution," as you put it. It does not follow that that universal human institution everywhere and always excludes same-gendered pair bonds, because that is demonstrably untrue. It has always been a constant that it involves one man, one or more women, and babies, but only if you disregard all the times that it involves some other configuration that doesn't conform to that constant.
Brian and Maggie have faith in one definition of marriage, and that definition has not been a constant across time and culture, as they like to believe and restate ad nauseum. John Corvino addresses this adequately in the book he co-wrote with Gallagher.
Jul 31, 2012
commented on Capitalism's Capitalism Problem
Libertarians, like most people, live almost entirely inside their own heads, which are embedded within their own asses. They are the turducken of political philosophy.
Jul 11, 2012
commented on Q&A With John Corvino
I highly recommend the Corvino/Gallagher book. It is simply the best exposition I've seen of all the arguments gathered into one book, which aims to produce more light than heat. As compelling as Gallagher's arguments aren't, I appreciate that she made a genuine effort at civility. And Corvino is a capable spokesman and a solid thinker. Departing from Corvino on one point, though: the only argument Gallagher advanced in the book that even made me do a double take was one that Corvino had the most difficult time addressing.
Basically, Gallagher says that same-sex marriage will alter the culture, probably gradually, such that people who adhere to the Pauline view of sexual morality (that all sex outside of heterosexual marriage is sinful) will be marginalized, and to some degree criminalized. Corvino basically acknowledges the truth of the fear, and counters only that cultural marginalization will shift somewhat no matter who "wins" the marriage debate, toward the winning side and away from the losing side.
Where does that leave the people we call "the bigots?" Well, it's not good news for people who don't like normalizing the gays. So it's probably not fair to expect those people to listen to reason. And there are a whole lot of those people.
May 25, 2012
commented on Rob McKenna's Favorite Band Is Nickelback
Every once in a while I land on Spirit 105.3 and as always, they're playing a highly derivative anthem or ballad, and I think: "they're imitating some horrible secular band, but who?"
And now I know: it's Nickelback. Nickelback is the model for praise music.