Friday, July 01, 2011

UPDATE: Until posting bugs get worked out, InstaPunk is squatting here.

UPDATE: Until posting bugs get worked out, InstaPunk is squatting here.

UPDATE: Until posting bugs get worked out, InstaPunk is squatting here.

UPDATE: Until posting bugs get worked out, InstaPunk is squatting here.

From: brizoni@hell.yeah
Subject: Logjammed (and not in the fun dirty way)

"Don't let big posts get in the way of the little posts," you tell me. Like it's that easy. All my little small post ideas have ended up feeding back into one of the big ones. And I've got either two or four HUGE ones coming down the river, depending how you count.

1. The Gay Marrigae Thing

I mostly agree with you that gay marriage is, in and of itself, dull pagentry (is that your turn of phrase or mine? I call dibs if you can't remember). But the debate around gay marriage has become a locus of significance. We discussed some of this on the phone, but I've thought of more that needs the Zoni exegesis. I've identified three issues that, the more I write, the more it looks like they'll each need their own post.

Do I mean locus or nexus?

A. ZERO-SUM FREEDOM. We all know the left subscribes to a kindergarten Marxist zero-sum economic model. Similarly, their idea of freedom is, as you pointed out all those years ago at the end of Writing America Down and in the Shuteye Nation Glossary, the freedom to limit the freedom of others. They don't put it quite in those terms, of course, but that's what it amounts to.

I found a blog with a handy roundup of the legal troubles so far encountered by those who oppose gay marriage. Have to admit, it's worse than I thought.

Why was a photog from AZ sued for refusing to work on a gay marriage? #ramifications

Why was a church in New Jersey sued for disallowing a gay marriage in their auditorium? #ramifications

Why did the Catholic Church pull its adoption services out of Boston? #ramifications

True or False? A pastor in Canada was brought before a tribunal for preaching against homosexuality? [sure, that's only Canada, but still]

Why wouldn’t I expect the govt to use tax exemption as a weapon against religious institutions who disagree with GM?

Of course, I'm not talking about the right and correct distinction between Equal Liberty and Absolute Liberty. There's a difference between limiting the power someone has over you and limiting their autonomy.

B. AUTO-SOPHISTRY AND THE THEOCRATIC URGE. But the conservative response, like I mentioned to you, has been a tragedy and a farce. In the blog I linked above, author Justin Hart admitted "Religiously, I oppose homosexuality and gay marriage but that is not a convincing (or even valid) argument to warrant a legislative ban on gay marriage." The right has noticed the "not convincing" part, but hasn't noticed or hasn't wanted to face the "not valid" part. Their tack against gay marriage has become a real blight on the movement.

You know the specious narrative they've contrived. Marriage is primarily for purposes of childbearing and rearing. Marriage is essentially and necessarily a contract two people make with society, not each other. Since marriage is for childbearing, marriage by infertile men and women is OK because their biology is symbolic of fertility, but man/man and woman/woman marriage is not, and that symbolism would crush the entire institution.

BS, BS, BS. And the worst lie of all? That all this BS has traditionally been understood as this. Consider the implications. History is the chief cornerstone of conservatism. Modern conservatives have taken to lying about it.

This isn't just a small fringe on the right. It's, with maybe only one notable exception, the WHOLE right. Otherwise smart cats, like Josh Trevino on Twitter and even Melanie Philips. Her resorting to BS is particularly inexcusable. A quick look at the sacrament of marriage in The Book of Common Prayer puts the lie to all this nonsense PDQ.

C. INSTAPUNK EXCEPTIONALISM. That exception I mentioned? You. (And Doc Zero has started to come around) Like you emailed me, and in numerous posts over the years, your perspective on the whole tedious gay thing has been quite a bit different. This post will be mostly a "best of" compilation, along with me oh-so gracious suggestion that the right get its head out of its theocratic keister and follow your example.

I've got this other log in the jam.

2. Jesus, Ayn Rand, and Beyond.

Did you catch the Ayn Rand Institute's latest op-ed on

A doozy, right? The only reason it didn't get more attention is it was published on the same day we learned John Lennon may have been a closeted Reaganite in his final years.

[I had an idea for what was supposed to be a short post about that. Lennon survives his murder, continues intellectually down the free market path, and in 1984 releases a Chuck Berry-style album of ideologically purified versions of his greatest hits. "Revolution" with a lot more smack talk about Mao. "Instant Karma" reworked as a paen to Adam Smith's invisible hand. "Imagine a seperation of state and economics." "Give Liberty a Chance." Strange days, indeed. But I'd have to write extensive new lyrics to all these new songs and decided it wasn't worth it the time it'd take.]

But even though most of us were distracted and didn't hear the clang of the gauntlet as it was thrown down, it has been thrown down nonetheless.

Why won't I shut up about Ayn Rand? Blame CS Lewis and his best work, the underrated Abolition of Man. Huxley had a similar idea he called the Perennial Philosophy, and, more recently, some hippie came out with a lesser take called The Four Agreements. The idea is that, among all the conceptions of right and wrong in human history, there is a broad consensus. A messy but definite overlap. Lewis envisioned this consensus as having a source. Borrowing from the Chinese, he called that source The Tao.

In a telling passage, Lewis said this about moral progress:

Does this mean, then, that no real progress in our perceptions of value can ever take place? That we are bound down for ever to an unchanging code given once and for all? And is it, in any event, possible to talk of obeying what I call the Tao? If we lump together, as I have done, the traditional moralities of East and West, the Christian, the Pagan, and the Jew, shall we not find many contradictions and some absurdities? I admit all of this. Some criticism, some removal of contradictions, even some real development, is required.

I don't have to remind you that Lewis is the most highly regarded Christian apologist of the last century.

The post will go into more detail and contain a lot more justification, but in my mind, there's clear progression. Moses improves on Abraham, Jesus improves on Moses and the prophets, The Founding Fathers improve on Jesus, Rand improves on The Founders. It's not a tidy progression-- The Founders are not just better than Jesus, Rand is not just better than The Founders (or Paul or name your influential Anno Domini philosopher). But improvement has been made, and improvement must still be made on Rand, and then made on whoever the next great moral developer turns out to be.

The question is not who to deify. I propose we deify none at all, while at the same time rendering due reverence to those who have done the best work in the field of moral thought.

No small ground to cover. But it'd make one hell of a 4th of July post, am I right?

So that's what I'm working on. I'm not derelict. Just have too much posty greatness to sort through in a timely fashion. You know how it is. Right?

Rib treating you any better?

- Z

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