Friday, March 29, 2013

High surrealism

This blog has stayed away from the current debates over gay marriage, since the topic doesn't interest me much. I'm not against gay marriage; I'm against marriage period. Not my battle, this is.

What is my battle, and everyone's battle, is the fight for sane political discourse. And if this piece by Erick Erickson (blogger, radio host and CNN talking head) is any indication, that battle is lost.

Erickson dislikes the idea of gays getting married. Okay. Fine by me. I'm not going to fly into hysterics just because someone has articulated a viewpoint at odds with my own. What bothers me is the form of the argument -- if argument it can be called, and if it may be said to have any form whatsoever.

Here are some words. I would like you to search through these words to determine if they contain any kind of rational narrative. 
Once the world decides that real marriage is something other than natural or Godly, those who would point it out must be silenced and, if not, punished. The state must be used to do this. Consequently, the libertarian pipe dream of getting government out of marriage can never ever be possible.

Within a year or two we will see Christian schools attacked for refusing to admit students whose parents are gay. We will see churches suffer the loss of their tax exempt status for refusing to hold gay weddings. We will see private businesses shut down because they refuse to treat as legitimate that which perverts God’s own established plan. In some places this is already happening.
That's right: Even though a million people have stipulated a zillion times that civil weddings and religious weddings are two very different things, this nutcase actually thinks that gay marriage will lead to churches losing their tax-exempt status.
Churches, businesses, and individuals who refuse to accept gay marriage as a legitimate institution must be protected as best we can. Those protections will eventually crumble as the secular world increasingly fights the world of God, but we should institute those protections now and pray they last as long as possible.

The left cannot allow Christians to continue to preach the full gospel. We already see this in, of all places, Canada. Gay marriage is incompatible with a religion that preaches that the unrepentant are condemned, even of a sin the world has decided is not one. The religious freedom will eventually be ended through the judiciary.
Does any of this make any sense to you?

I'm not asking if you agree with Erickson. We may fairly presume that you do not, if you are a regular reader of this blog. There is no need for you to mount a counterargument or to offer a contrary opinion.

My question is more basic: Can any kind of logic be salvaged from this collection of verbiage? Does Erickson develop a point which leads to another point in a rational fashion? Do you see anything here that reminds you of those "How to write an essay" lessons you sat through in high school? Or is Erickson playing a fundamentalist variant of Mad Libs, with words like "gospel" and "sin" and "gay" and "Canada" tossed into his text at random? Has Erickson favored us with his own riposte to Noam Chomsky's famous observation that "colorless green ideas sleep furiously"?

I mean...just which leftists have disallowed which Christians from preaching the Gospel? When has that happened? Who did what?

For more insanity, glance at the comments section:
Great analysis! The goal is not gay marriage, the goal is the destruction of religious freedom. Once they accomplish that, then freedom of speech, assembly and petition are not far behind. Then the Third and Fourth Amendments will crumble and the rest of the Bill of Rights, and the Fourteenth will be gone, and other constitutional protections as well.
The Left are relentless in their desire to rule the rest of us like serfs, and they will stop at nothing, especially constitutional niceties, until they have won their goal. "Reaching across the aisle" is only hastening our own downfall.
So. The fact that I don't give a damn what people do in private means that I must be ruthless in my desire get rid of the First Amendment because I want to rule everyone else like serfs. That's like saying: "Eric Erickson drinks water, and therefore Hitler will rise from the dead and eat fried squirrel dipped in chocolate."

At one time, the only rightwinger who specialized in high surrealism was Steve Ditko, back when he drew Doctor Strange. At one time, conservatives who wrote articles for a mass audience tried to make sense. I may not have agreed with their opinions, but at least I could follow their train of thought. Things are different nowadays. David Lynch's Inland Empire is a model of clarity and simplicity compared to what passes for discourse on blogistan right.
To clarify: you, Cannon, adhere to a "libertarian pipe dream". An uncommon occurrence.

For the rest, forget it Joe, it's Chinatown.
"The goal is not gay marriage, the goal is the destruction of religious freedom. Once they accomplish that, then freedom of speech, assembly and petition are not far behind."

Huh? Isn't this a little ass-backwards? Doesn't freedom of religion derive from freedom of speech, assembly and petition? What a maroon!
This is merely a manifestation of the current reality that such drivel is a paying gig if you are on the right edge of the political spectrum.

Similarly idiotic word salad has no market on the left side, so no one will pay to have it done.

Life is not fair: Erick Ericksonsonsonson has a comfy life while Driftglass and the Rude Pundit beg for tips.

I believe a sage of Baltimore figured this out many years ago, and I quote, "No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public."
You know, walking around this town, you'd never know that Baltimore once had sages. But it did. One of these days I should find out where H.L. Mencken lived.

But don't deny Erickson his right to recompense. It takes a great artist to come up with a truly fine non sequitur.
Quite simply, no, this doesn't make any sense at all. I really wonder where these people get their ideas from. I have never encountered a liberal/lefty that wants to destroy the freedom of religion. In fact, I have always encountered the opposite (I haven't ever known any hard core communists myself, who presumably want to ban all religion, but I guess they might possibly exist......certain Soviet Russia never succeeded in stamping out religion, not tried all that hard to do it......China may be different, but I don't think they ever really embraced the "big 3" religions as a culture anyway). It seems to me that the vast majority of the time, it's fundamentalist nut jobs like these people that are trying to stifle the free speech and free expression of non-Christians.
The truly scary bit is that as the economy melts down this logic will become the new norm.
Now you've got it. These people simply do not operate by reason or rationality or logic. That's why it is so frustrating trying to reason with them. And that's why I don't bother anymore. However reason and logic are formed in our brains, that process never occurred with them.
Just as universal back ground checks for all firearm transactions will lead to universal confiscation, so will gay marriage lead to dissolution of the Christian religion.

This guy's audience is the paranoid among us it doesn't have to make sense to rational Americans.
Well at least the Laurel and Hardy thing on gay marriage was funny.

Someone mentioned non sequiturs.

How about this?

In several absolutely disgraceful articles, the western media are reporting that North Korea is threatening to attack the US...oh yes, and that this threat was issued after "nuclear-capable" US stealth bombers "were deployed" in "ongoing military drills with South Korea"...or over a land area described as "the Koren peninsula", depending on which bit of the arsehole press you read.

So who the fuck is threatening whom? What series of events has taken place? And what are the two governments actually saying? Well, don't bother reading the newspapers if you want to find out!

Erick Erickson's effervescent efforts, and the probable fact that there is an audience for them, are illustrative of a much broader-scale fall in common sense and brainfulness over the past 30 years. Ditto today's articles in newspapers such as the Guardian and Torygraph about North Korea.
Meanwhile in reporting North Korea, Julian Ryall at the Guardian doesn't seem to know what a 'large-scale' map is. He either thinks it means what the rest of us call 'small-scale', or he thinks it means 'big'! Careful everyone, the North Koreans have got large-scale maps on their walls!

Apparently US bomber planes carried out a simulated bombing raid against North Korean targets, on a South Korean island. I'd say that was a little bit 'threatening' myself.

I mean...doesn't North Korea have the right to defend itself? Imagine if Iran carried out simulated bombing raids against Israeli targets, using nuclear-capable aircraft, on a Lebanese island.
Excellent comment, Anonymous. May I ask you, in the future, not to be anonymous? You don't need to sign with your real name -- one of our regular contributors uses a single letter, which, I suspect, doesn't even relate to his real name. And you don't have to "sign in" to Google or any other system. Just attach a nick the same way you would if writing a snail mail letter.

I'm as confused as anyone else by the strange interplay with North Korea.
It turns out Erickson's points are not completely lacking predicates, although he misunderstands his own examples. from MMFA discusses what he thinks show his predictions correct already.

In a March 26 column for, Erickson warned that "gay marriage and religious freedom are incompatible," adding that marriage equality supporters aim to "punish and silence" those who disagree with them.

To support his claim, Erickson listed a number of examples meant to highlight the conflict between marriage equality and religious liberty. But none of his examples are actually about same-sex marriage. In fact, most of them come from states where same-sex marriage is still illegal, and almost all of the examples pertain to non-discrimination laws, not marriage laws:

Christian photographers Elane Photography in New Mexico were approached by a same sex couple looking to hire a wedding photographer. Elane Photography politely declined citing their Christian faith and were sued by the couple under the state's anti-discriminatory laws, and won.

Same-sex marriage wasn't legal in New Mexico at the time.

The photographers violated the state's non-discrimination law, not a marriage law.

So, what appeared to be Erickson's unfounded raving deductive arguments are really predictions based on what's already going on under a different legal issue, projected into the new legal framework of granting gay marriage a legal status.

Not persuasive to me, but at first blush, more persuasive than one might suppose, to his target audience with these examples.

Well, the Erickson piece is still a nest of non-sequiturs. That said, my sympathies are entirely with the photographers who didn't want to shoot a gay wedding. I used to be an illustrator, and I've turned down work from gay guys who, pretty obviously, wanted "upscale" gay porn, usually disguised as something else. (You'd be surprised how often that sort of assignment comes along.) A job like that is best done by a gay artist -- and it's not as though they are in short supply.
Hi Joe - sorry, the 'Anonymous' at 1.34 was me. A simple error on my part, forgetting to sign as my usual 'b'!

I've no idea who the other 'Anonymous' was at 10.29.
The North Korean official news agency operates from a .jp address ( Just in case anyone didn't realise the internet is US-owned.

As a communications medium, one can compare it to Twitter in that respect - projecting 'soft power', in the jargon, as also does Wikipedia, and of course Google. Bloody 'freedom', eh?
Thank you, b, for noting the incessant and insane war drumbeat on North Korea. It's infuriating.

Joseph, the nutcases soiling their Depends over what we will dictate for their hate-cults need to worry about their own fascist tendencies. There are attempts to make blasphemy illegal. Puke. I mean, California already has invasive laws as regards how people may NOT mock the godbags and the Scientologists are vigilant in pursuing prosecution.

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