Friday, May 23, 2008

RightWing Roundup #6: Conservative Hate, Slippery Slopes, and Paranoia

1. Being Peaceful is, Like, So Immature

If you remember, my biggest qualm with Washington University in St. Louis' granting of an honorary degree to Phyllis Schlafly is not because she espouses anti-feminist views, but rather because she perpetuates an angry, divisive, us versus them, simplistic way of thinking that distorts feminism rather than informs. So, kudos to the students, faculty, and family members who peacefully and silently protested WUSTL's conferral of the degree. When a speech honoring Schlafly was read:

"about a third of the graduating students draped in the school’s green and black robes turned their backs to her, along with some faculty members sitting on the stage behind her. Many family members in the audience also took part.

Three faculty members made the extra point of walking off the stage and then turning their backs from the audience."

Unlike other protests where students have disrupted free speech, silent protest is a respectful way to demonstrate that you oppose a person or his/her views while still letting that person have a platform. Phyllis Schlafly, unsurprisingly, takes another view. Of her detractors, she said:

"I’m not sure they’re mature enough to graduate."

And the culture of hate lives on!

2. It's All a Slippery Slope, My Friend!

Now that same-sex marriage is legal in California, we can all take a deep breath and focus on our true ultimate goals of legalizing polygamy, man-on-goat marriage, and incest. Okay, seriously. After the California decision, we can pretty much cue a revival of these shrill slippery slope "arguments" from those opposed to gay rights. It's Only a Matter of Time (TM).

Legal Commentator Dale Carpenter gives a good rundown of arguments as to why same-sex marriage does not, contrary to the scare tactics and misunderstandings of others, automatically lead to polygamous nuptials. One of the strongest arguments, I believe, is that "there is nothing in principle that necessarily leads from the recognition of a new type of monogamous union (same-sex unions) to the recognition of polygamous unions."


3. When Your Inaccuracy and Paranoia Automatically Discredit You

Speaking of the slippery slope, read what the Traditional Values Coalition (TVC) says is the true goal of same-sex marriage advocates:

"Homosexual activists are now beginning to openly admit that they don't want to marry just to have a normal home life. They want same-sex marriage as a way of destroying the concept of marriage altogether-and of introducing polygamy and polyamory (group sex) as 'families.'"

The TVC is a Christian organization and, because it's un-Christian to lie, what the TVC says must be true.

[Insert laughter]

But seriously, what's most funny about this TVC "fact" sheet is that most of the "homosexual activist" quotes they provide don't even support TVC's conclusion that the gays are really out to legalize polygamy. For one, the quotes are largely taken out of context. And secondly, since when is one person the spokesperson for any minority group? Sure there are gay people who have no problem with the legalization of polygamy, just as there are heterosexuals who have no problem with it, but they don't speak on behalf of "the gay agenda." No single person or group does.

But, of course, any thinking person knows all of this already. Contrary to its stated goal of empowering "people of faith through knowledge," TVC woefully misinforms its members- many of whom are probably decent, trusting people. Unfortunately, I think many Americans swallow the lies hook, like, and sinker. For instance, in the past "Reverend" Sheldon of the TVC has stated,

"A dangerous Marxist/Leftist/Homosexual/Islamic coalition has formed – and we’d better be willing to fight it with everything in our power. These people are playing for keeps. Their hero, Mao Tse Tung is estimated to have murdered upwards of 60 million people during his reign of terror in China. Do we think we can escape such persecution if we refuse to fight for what is right?"

That quote is uncannily similar to the paranoid comments of our blogger friend "Fitz" (two-time winner of Fannie's Room's Red Scare Awards) who never fails to discuss this alleged Leftist/Marxist conspiracy in virtually any comment or article he writes. Here, for instance, he "informed" me that Critical Race Theory has Marxist roots (a-der), dismissed the theory on that sole basis rather than substantively addressing it, and as if reading a TVC script he repeated the "50 million people [who] were slaughtered and countless more held in bondage" bit. Continuing to show that he's eaten up the Commies Are Under Your Bed theory of what's wrong with America, Fitz is also responsible for inspiring the Leftist Gender Warrior Chronicles, as he believes "leftist gender warriors" are pretty much ruining everything.

I don't write this to pick on the fellow. Rather, he's the perfect example of a real person who lets these vague conspiracy theories do the thinking for him. Pretty much whenever I hear someone "warning" us about the commies, the only thing red I see is the warning light telling me that I'm not dealing with a rational thinking person.

In short, it's unfortunate that groups like the TVC are seen by some as legitimate and trustworthy sources of news and information. No news source is completely objective, but when one regularly lies and misrepresents, that has tangible consequences as it affects the thinking of real people.

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