Wednesday, November 09, 2005

The Hate Is On


Texas voters Tuesday overwhelmingly approved a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, making their state the 19th to take that step... The contest in Texas was decided quickly -- the ban was receiving about 76 percent support with about a third of precincts reporting.

"Texans know that marriage is between a man and a woman, and children deserve both a mom and a dad. They don't need a PhD or a degree in anything else to teach them that," said Kelly Shackelford, a leader Texans For Marriage...

Why is it that intelligence is always devalued by these sorts of people? Is it, to bastardize C.S. Lewis, Mere Inferiority? Are they so intimidated by the sort of language and argument deployed by people with PhD's or degrees that they need to consistently infer that intelligence equates to godless heathen-ism?

It explains a lot. The stubborn anti-intellectualism of evangelical moralists like Kelly Shackleford displays a remarkable anger toward the unknown, of which there appears to be more than a little. This Xenophobia, this hatred of the "other," is at the root of almost every dispute between social progressives and social traditionalists. They fear change, not because what they have is wonderful, but because change is bad.

Do I sound holier-than-thou? It strikes me that I do, maybe, just a little. It's not my intention. It just tweaks my biscuits to see someone deny another human being civil rights, especially when that person's reasoning includes a vehement rejection of education in knee-jerk anti-intellectual moral righteousness.

Meanwhile, in more evolved climes:

Maine voters reversed themselves on a contentious issue Tuesday by embracing the state's new anti-discrimination law, giving supporters of gay rights a convincing referendum win after two previous losses... The vote reversed a trend that dates back to 1998, when voters narrowly rejected a gay rights law in a special election. Voters again opposed a gay rights law in a follow-up referendum two years later.

(links courtesy of


At 8:39 AM, Blogger Scott Roche said...

While I cna't deny that I think this "children deserve both a mom and a dad" is true, that doesn't mean that a homosexual couple can't raise a child well in a loving home. And if she (and Texas)really believed that then they should make it harder to get a divorce and mandate pre-marital counseling before any couple gets married.

At 8:40 AM, Blogger Scott Roche said...

Of course pre-marital counseling after a couple gets married is stupid. Yeah it's early.

At 2:25 PM, Blogger codemorse said...

Still, I here you, early or not.

People who are against gay marriage gussy it up a lot to make their arguments more complex, but at the end of the day there's simply no rational reason to deny gays the right to marry . At the end of the day this is about animal prejudice, and that prejudice allows people like Morrow to tie themselves in logical knots to defend a point of view that is ultimately reduced to "I don't like gays. And God hates them too."

That's a terrible reason to deny someone equal rights.

At 2:25 PM, Blogger codemorse said...

And that's "hear you." I don't even have the excuse of it being early.

At 9:59 AM, Blogger Scott Roche said...

Their theology is bankrupt of any grace. They forget what was given to them and have no wish to give it to another.

At 12:30 PM, Blogger codemorse said...

That's very powerful, Cap. I couldn't agree more.

At 1:38 PM, Blogger Jabawacefti said...

Ok. I'm going to be the one dissenting guy now, because nobody likes everyone agreeing with each other.

Let me just comment on one discrete issue that you raised, (i.e, "Why is it that intelligence is always devalued by these sorts of people?") since I basically disagree with Ms. (or Mr.) Shackelford's opinion, in its entirety.

First of all, I'm not entirely sure what you mean by "these" people. Morons? Religious folk? Texans? People against gay marriage?

Second, criticizing those with PhD's does not equate to devaluing intelligence. There are plenty of morons who have PhD's.

Which gets me to my point. Right or wrong (and once again, I think she/he's wrong), the criticism is not directed, I do not think, toward intelligence or language or argument. I think (and once again, speculating) that what this person is railing about is primarily the condescending disdain for those from the purportedly elite institutions toward those religious folk in the "flyover states."

It's the moral relativism advanced by these so-called elite institutions, and the failure to acknowledge any basic fundamental morality, but for universal tolerance.

At 3:21 PM, Blogger Scott Roche said...

ANytime I've ever heard someone say, "You don't need a Ph. D. to understand X." they were saying that you don't need to be brilliant, i.e. that it should be common sense. And I would have agreed with her if she said that marriage in a Christian context is between a man and a woman. Christians however did not invent the concept of marriage, so by making a blanket statement like that I would be forced to disagree wit hteh statement that "marriage is between a man and a woman" and I would also say that she should ammend the statment "children deserve both a mom and a dad" to "children deserve to be loved by those raising them" since I know a gracious plenty of people who were raised by other loving caregivers to be wonderful people. So a "mom and a dad" are not necessary, but at least one loving caregiver is.

At 3:24 PM, Blogger Scott Roche said...

There's at least one run-on sentence there, but I think you get my point.


"It's the moral relativism advanced by these so-called elite institutions, and the failure to acknowledge any basic fundamental morality, but for universal tolerance."

This is grossly stereotypical of the upper echelons of education. You can still get a Ph. D. in a conservative University and they do exist.

At 3:36 PM, Blogger Jabawacefti said...

True. Grossly stereotypical of PhD education. I plead guilty. Fair enough. Nolo contendere. I submit.

That being said, take college professors as an example:

"By their own description, 72 percent of those teaching at American universities and colleges are liberal and 15 percent are conservative, says the study being published this week. The imbalance is almost as striking in partisan terms, with 50 percent of the faculty members surveyed identifying themselves as Democrats and 11 percent as Republicans. The disparity is even more pronounced at the most elite schools, where, according to the study, 87 percent of faculty are liberal and 13 percent are conservative." -The Washington Post

As much as I would like to believe it were anything but so.

At 3:38 PM, Blogger Scott Roche said...

Okay so now you're saying that liberals are morally relative? ;-)

At 3:52 PM, Blogger Jabawacefti said...

Would I be willing to make such a gross overstatement? No.

But will I contend that there is a certain moral relativism advanced by a percentage of liberals, particularly those at universities and institutions of higher education? Absolutely.

Is it a generalization? Of course. But one I am willing to confidently express.

That being said, it is statement that cannot really be disproved or defended. It's a feeling, based in part on anecdotal evidence and some personal experience at these so called higher institutions. A feeling not unlike that which would support a statement saying "at the end of the day this is about animal prejudice." To read into the hearts of men (or women) is beyond my powers, despite all evidence to the contrary.

At 8:51 PM, Blogger codemorse said...

I can't believe you'd make that generalization after your arguments in the Carlin post, but you're certainly entitled to do so. While annoying, they are occasionally fun and/or entertaining. Let's discuss.
I tend to think that the elitism that you speak of seems more a wounded fabrication of the people who are supposedly being attacked - namely the supposed "fly-over" states. In fact, some of your fellow conservatives seem to have fairly thin skin when it comes to criticism.

Certainly its entirely dependent on your own opinion, sensitivity, and point of view, but I'd argue that if we're going to discuss such elitism (generalization or no), we should also discuss the anger, withering insults, and overblown rhetoric of various people on the right. To hear them tell it, liberals sit in their lofty, ivory, Manhattan and LA towers under their smarty-pants doctorates sipping the blood of human babies they've corrupted with their entertainments and their godless hedonism out of elitist china cups.

And anti-intellectualism, while perhaps not practiced by well-balanced, thoughtful, educated people like yourself, is practiced by much of the conservative community. This is not a slur against you, or against the many intellectual conservative people I've met. But it's a hard fact in many other places throughout the country. The most notable example at the moment would be Kansas, where they aren't going to let the definition of science, or godless scientists, get in the way of the "truth."

At 4:55 PM, Blogger Jabawacefti said...

Agreed. In virtually all respects. But for one. Sipping the blood of human babies is a charge lobbed at conservatives, not liberals. I've heard a million different criticisms of liberals, some warranted, some not. But never that.

Conservatives, on the other hand, are either stupid warmongerers or evil warmongerers. And human baby blood sipping is a charge not ignored, unfortunately enough.

At 10:17 AM, Blogger codemorse said...

Then let me reassure you that I've never harbored the suspicion that Conservatives are actually the Children of the Night.

In seriousness, I think that this is one of the most serious problems facing our country. The ease with which we label our ideological/philosophical/political/religious adversaries all too easily reduces the level of discourse to name-calling.

It disgusts me, and I think that anti-intellectualism is a particularly virulent example, particularly when it is combined with fervent religious belief.

Take Tim LaHaye, co-author of the wildly popular series "Left Behind." I don't think I'm veering too far into nutball territory when I say that you should be very afraid of the rhetoric he promotes.

"We must remove all humanists from public office and replace them with pro-moral political leaders," he writes in The Battle For The Mind.

In the last book of his Left Behind series, which has sold millions of copies and is regarded with almost worshipful eyes by those who have read it LaHaye brings Jesus back to earth where He destroys the army of the Anti-Christ (an army of "unbelievers, Jews, and secular humanists).

"Far from being a Prince of Peace, the Christ depicted in the 'Left Behind' series is a vengeful Messiah - so vengeful that the death and destruction he causes to unconverted Jews, to secularists, to anyone who is not born again, is far, far greater than the crimes commited by the most brutal dictators in history. When He arrives...Christ merely has to speak and 'men and women, soldiers and horses, seemed to explode where they stood.'...'all unbelievers would soon die.'"
-Craig Unger

Sure, there's generalization to be had in this discussion but can you really argue that the above line of thinking, combined with a culture that often professes that "No one in our family read newspapers...Growing up, our only source of information was the Pastor," creates, I'd argue, a climate of dangerous, reactionary anti-intellectualism where those who are different from you are demonized, and where your beliefs cannot be questioned, because the godlessness of the secular world is blanketedly not to be trusted.

Are all conservatives this way? Of course not. But the success of Left Behind and the sentiments expressed by people like the woman in my post are flags that educated people of all political stripes and religious faiths would do well to observe.

At 10:37 AM, Blogger Jabawacefti said...

I don't know. For whatever reason, the "left behind" folk don't scare me nearly as much as Michael Moore and friends. Maybe it's because I have never met anyone that takes the "left behind" stuff seriously, and I have met too many people that take Michael Moore seriously. But perspective is everything, I imagine.

At 12:38 PM, Blogger codemorse said...

I know you're being funny, but you need to get out into the country some more if you seriously think the Micheal Moore people are scarier than a group of people who find inspiration and entertainment in the destruction of your religion.

And if I may, you're far too smart to start making statements like that. Who are these Michael Moore "people"? And what scares you most about them? Their interest in seeing GM confronted about job loss?

Moore's no different from any conservative commentator. If we're talking potential social influence, he's easily outweighed by Hannity, Limbaugh, Malkin, Coulter, O'Reilly and the rest of their ilk. At the very least, they're all emergent of the same primal, partisan, soup.

As far as your lack of exposure goes, come down to Alabama sometime and I'll introduce you to my relatives. They're big fans of Left Behind. They're also of the belief that "Coloreds" pollute swimming pools, Jews control the banks, and that all of them -especially the gays- are inferior and unworthy.

The Left Behind philosophy, one shared by many of the books readers, is dangerously close to that of fascism with Jesus as their homeboy.

At 1:03 PM, Blogger Jabawacefti said...

First of all, I am not saying the Moore's ideas are scarier, I'm saying that his influence is scarier.

But perhaps you're right, maybe the "left behind" people are secretly wielding all sorts of influence that I am unaware of. I confess ignorance to such things. I have spent time in Alabama. And Mississippi. And some parts of Georgia and Northern Florida, where I've heard all sorts of wild claims to which I would not personally adhere. And I've never met a "left behind" person. To my knowledge.

Meanwhile, Michael Moore is invited to the Democratic National Convention, where, if I remember correctly, he was seated next to former President Jimmy Carter.

But frankly, no, I don't care about Moore's GM issues, or even his gun-control issues. I am most concerned about his intellectual dishonesty (namely in Farenheit 9/11, of which we have had many discussions), and the swarms of followers that were willing to digest that drivel as gospel.

Which is why, I think, I'd be more concerned about Hannity and friends (as part of the same commentator soup) than the "left behind" people.

Plus, everyone knows we control the banks, the media, and Hollywood.

At 3:50 PM, Blogger Scott Roche said...

I think that extremists on both sides are scary and if you ain't scared of both of them then you are probably one of them.

At 4:51 PM, Blogger codemorse said...

Brother, I couldn't agree more.

Death to extremism! Err...wait..that's sort of extreme, isn't it?

I tell myself I'm not extremist, because I'm willing to hear the other side of my argument and change my mind if the reasoning's good enough.

Nizzle's good at making arguments that accomplish the latter, though my personal inclinations will always run a bit more to the left than his will.

This will be a great advantage to us when we start up our consulting firm in Washington.

At 5:17 PM, Blogger Jabawacefti said...

Hurry up and get your butt down there. I just narrowed my search to Washington only. I'll save you a seat if I get there first.

At 7:25 PM, Blogger codemorse said...

My secret plan is to have you installed in a position of obscene power and then ride your gargantuan coattails to fame, fortune, and all the Russian Mail-order brides my Onyx Amex can handle.


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