To Fear A Painted Devil

'Tis the eye of childhood that fears a painted devil

‘Tis the eye of childhood that fears a painted devil

Over the week I’ve been watching the kerfuffle between the SFWA glittery hoo ha who decided that binary gender was a bad default assumption, and that no SF novel should include it.  Then Larry Correia weighed in.  Then Jim Hines weighed in against Larry Correia and then–  Sorry, by that point the mind boggled.  I like Larry Correia, and I have a good idea he might like me (as a cousin, say) but honestly, I wouldn’t go up against him when sarcasm or wit is on the line.  Particularly when you come unarmed to a battle–  No, wait.  Never mind.

The entire kerfuffle – in its initial phase – was covered by my friend Kate who makes some apropos comments on gender too.  If you’ve been living under a rock these last few days, go and read it.

But my own personal disturbance over it started with a comment left over at MGC on that post of Kate’s.  Actually not even the comment, which was the stupid, but the way the commenter tried to prove his “conservative” bonafides.  It opened with (I SWEAR!) “I’m a conservative.  I read Heinlein and Orson Scott Card.”

Right at that moment my mind shut down.  Because the chances of that person being conservative are about the same of my being an aardvark, and I just looked in the mirror.  I’m not.

Look, first of all I know very few readers of Heinlein who’d define themselves as conservatives.  We might sometimes, to make things shorter, call ourselves libertarians.  A few of us with a little more sense of humor will call ourselves Rational Anarchists.  But very few hardcore fans of Heinlein, such that he’d be the first mentioned in their comment, would say “I’m a conservative.  I read Heinlein.”

First of all, because for a conservative, in the sense it is understood by most sentient people, Heinlein was a lousy one.  A patriot, sure.  A lover of freedom, sure.  But he liked goring sacred cows too much to conserve anything.  And most of his readers who could be called “conservative” purely loathe his later workers.  (Most of his readers who call themselves liberals but are really establishment conservatives do too.  I’ve been with them on panels.  Never mind.)

At any rate proving your bona fides as a conservative is never followed by “I read Heinlein” and proving your bona fides as a Heinlein fan NEVER starts with “I am a conservative.”

But the second point was where my mind snapped.  Heinlein AND Orson Scott Card.

Guys, I don’t know if I’m a fairly typical Heinlein fan.  I don’t know if there’s such a thing as a fairly typical Heinlein fan.  I do read Heinlein and I read half or so of OSC’s works.  In the statism/freedom scale, I’d place OCS far to the left of me and probably most Heinlein fans.  Now, he still writes a good story (about half the time) and he’s on my “trust but verify” list.  That is, he’s on my “don’t buy sight unseen, because this might be one of the books I can’t stand.”  And yeah, a lot of his opinions and plot twists bother me at a fundamental level, as a Heinlein fan.  But he’s not horrible about it, he tells a good story, and half the time I suspend my disbelief by the neck and read on.

However I’d wager good money against any Heinlein fan coming up with “I read Heinlein and OSC” like that.  Look, I’d say “Heinlein and Pol Anderson” if I were going for a political thing.  And if I were more conservative than I am, perhaps “Heinlein and Pournelle.”  (Yes, I do read Jerry, but I mean if I were trying for political bonafides.)

I just couldn’t imagine the circumstances in which any sane person who really meant it would write “I’m a conservative, I read Heinlein and OSC.”

I told my friend Charlie Martin this and he said, “Oh, that’s easy.  It was a liberal troll trying to quote the “biggest fascists he could think of.”

He’s probably right.  As almost all tests show, liberals can’t in any way analyze the way in which a conservative thinks.  This explains things like people coming here assuming I MUST be a fundamentalist, or that I’m an admirer of Hitler or that I am – of course – racist and trying to blend in by pretending all these things.  It reminds me of nothing so much as the guy who shot up a conservative organization by going in with a Chickfillet bag as camouflage.

But that made me think again on what the heck is going through their minds.  Look, I’m going to be absolutely and plainly blunt: no one – no one in his right mind or even out of it; no one in possession and enjoyment of more than one working braincell, in fact – can read either Heinlein or Card and think they’re “fascists.”  Yes, Card is far more statist than Heinlein, but he’s not advocating for a government bigger than we have now – at any time.  And Heinlein advocated a government as small as possible (at least after he got out of his Fabian socialist mindset, but that’s a discussion for another time.)

What I mean is, it’s impossible to read these two authors and think they are a liberal’s definition of “conservative” which includes of course, racist, sexist, homophobic, and whatever else ist we’re not supposed to be today, including I suppose lookist and intellectualist.

Both men DO have a pretty strong dose of the populist, meaning a sort of rock-bottom common sense that meant they were never full statists, and they are in general highly approving of humans, including the defective ones and those of other races.

And yet, in the minds of readers who have in fact never read them – or at least never with an open mind – these people are “fascists” and “haters” and we who read them are reading them because we’re Hatey McHaters.

I’m tired of going the full rounds about this on Heinlein panels.  It always comes down to “Heinlein is a sexist because his women enjoy hetero sex” or “Heinlein is a sexist because not every one of his characters is a woman” or “Heinlein is a sexist because aprons.”  (If you search for apron, I did a post about the irrationality of this in the past.)  None of it makes sense, and the women (they’re always women) I argue this with either have not read Heinlein or changed their opinion of Heinlein after academics told them often enough that he was racist, sexist and awful.  If they’re my age or younger, they’ve never read him because they KNOW he’s sexist.  One of my friends hated him because she read the opening of Friday and he had her raped, so of course he enjoyed it, and he was a rapey McRaper.  (Look guys, I had a character tortured in AFGM.  I guess that makes me a sadist.  And because of who it was, I guess an homophobe, too?  Or maybe I was just showing what dictatorships will do? And that Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness have a price, often paid in blood?)

I’m still not sure why they turned on Heinlein, but I think it was his unwillingness to go along with the demonization of the US that had become fashionable, and the fact that if you read him very carefully you can’t help but notice the similarity between his totalitarian societies and some of what is going on.  (No?  I was recently listening to If This Goes On and as soon as I locate the paper copy, there will be blog post apropos what happens when a people has its history stolen, and also when you’ve been taught not to think.  Which is where we are, with this.)

I know when they turned against Orson Scott Card and it was because he disapproves  of church-observant Mormons being homosexuals.  Not because he thinks the later is inherently the worst thing ever, but because he thinks it’s incompatible with total commitment to a demanding religion.

Okay.  It’s his religion.  I could care less.  I think the reasons he gave are silly, but also understandable for the gay culture he’d have known in the fifties.

This does not make him a horrible person.  It doesn’t make him a monster.  It doesn’t make him a fascist.  It makes him an older man whose opinions might be slightly out of touch with today’s realities, and someone you can read and enjoy and still disagree with.

But the first time I heard about this was from a friend who had heard that he wanted all gays executed.  She didn’t trace the original comment, but she’d heard it from friends she trusted…

And this is how demonizations occur.  We saw this with Resnick and Malzberg and the whole nonsense about their “leering over women in bikini” when all they’d done was comment on how beautiful a now dead editor was.  (I don’t know about you, but I’d love to be remembered that way after I’m gone.)  And we saw it full force with Orson Scott Card.

Right after Kate made her post, they started in on Larry, taking off after him on twitter, about how he was a misogynist and various kinds of hater.

And then when he took the idiots to school, he got accused of attacking those smaller than him.

Sigh.

Next time a troll on MGC tries to establish his “conservative” bonafides, he’ll tell us he reads Heinlein, OSC and Larry Correia.  And he’ll never understand why we’re laughing so hard.

The funny thing, though, is that they are not only completely ignorant about us, and so unaware of it that the dime never drops, but that these demonization cycles seem to be coming closer and closer and get more hysterical.

The next person who disagrees with them or pokes the tiniest bit of fun at them will be declared “worse than Hitler” and they’ll call for his hanging.

I think I know why.  Part of the reason the episodes are coming closer together and getting crazier is that they’re losing power and they know it.  They convinced an entire generation of women that Heinlein should not be read.  This was because “all the right thinking people know that.”  This is breaking.  There are enough blogs, and enough of us female Heinlein fans ready to tell them they’re idiots and then describe exactly in what part of their anatomy their head is lodged.

With Resnick and Malzberg the backlash was faster and louder and even a lot of their number thought (privately) that they were off their rocker.  With Card, I think only the choir thinks he’s “a fascist.”

And with Larry…  There is no word for this.  It’s like a Chihuahua trying to hold onto a car by the back bumper.  They have not only bit off more than they can chew, they’ve bit off more than they can… bite.  In tactical terms it’s getting involved in a landwar in Asia or going up against a Sicilian when death is on the line.

But wait, there’s more.  The other reason they’re getting crazier and crazier and trying to enforce group conformity more and more is that they are no longer in possession of the bully pulpit.  It used to be due to quirks of distribution and culture in NYC that got get bought and properly distributed you had to be a darling with a “not Baen” house.  Oh, Baen had bestsellers, but they were more a midlist house.

So advances with other houses were bigger, and prestige was immeasurably higher.

Well… The times they are achanging.  The collapse of the chains; amazon; the internet where people can find out about books that were publishing put paid to the cozy gentleman’s arrangement of yore.  Even when these people are getting published, their advances are smaller, and they have to compete with all the great unwashed for sales.  They no longer feel their own specialness.

For some of us this was a wonderful freeing thing – we could be ourselves and never mind that we might lose a little money (we didn’t.)

But for people whose only thought has been to kiss as much derriere as possible so they could be the biggest darling around, and get pushed and called wonderful by the NYC houses, this HAS to be a scary and unstable time.

So, how to keep the “followers” in line that will at least give them some prestige and cash?

Simple.   If you have nothing to offer; if your incompetence is glaringly obvious; if you can’t entice voters readers, scare them of the other side.  Tell them what monsters the other guys are.  How they are terrible horrible scary.  Make people ashamed of admitting they read these Haters McHateys.

The problem with that is that this tactic works about as well as crying wolf.  After a while the fatigue of all denunciations will set in.  And having found how exaggerated ONE accusation is, these people will never believe the next group-madness episode.  And then people start believing everything you say is a lie and believing the opposite.  It’s inevitable.  And I know it is because it was a similar process that brought me out of the left. (Though I never arrived at believing the exact opposite of everything they say.  They’re not that reliable.  And I ain’t surrendering my right to think things through for myself.)

You can create scarecrows all you want to, but after a while even dumb birds realize these are just clothes stuffed with straw.

“It is the eye of childhood that fears a painted devil.”

And most children eventually grow up.

826 responses to “To Fear A Painted Devil

  1. Nailed it in one.

    Heinlein and OSC are the two SF Authors hated most by the left (Although I thought it was Starship Troopers that usually got Heinlein tagged with “Fascist”.) so therefore to be a conservative, you must love what all good thinking leftists hate. Thus to be a Seminar Poster, just trot these names out and boom, you’re in.

    Hell, I smelled a rat too (although probably the wrong rat).

    • You hear it on conservative talk shows all the time. “I’m a super-duper right-wing conservative. I voted for Reagan, and I voted for [name of last Republican candidate], but I just can’t, in good conscience, vote for a Republican again.” And then they go on to prove how big a blatant lie they started with by the reasons they give.

      • It’s not limited to politics. I remember the time someone showed up at a Catholic blog, said he was Greek Orthodox, and proceeded to launch a ferocious blast, with fundamentalist arguments against a Catholic doctrine — that is also a Greek Orthodox doctrine.

    • Christopher M. Chupik

      And the real irony is, Card was one of the first SF writers to write about gay characters. Not that he’s getting any credit for it now.

      • It’s been a while since I read either, but my impression of both is that they defied traditional morality… in different ways. But both were about writing stories about the other. To take two better known books, Friday was considered un-human and Ender was hated because his parents (apparently) didn’t conform to societal norms by having him at all.

    • Actually, what REALLY set the Left off was his essay “Who Now Are The Heirs of Patrick Henry?”, from “Expanded Universe”. Or perhaps it was his graduation address to the Corps of Midshipmen at the Naval Academy.

      Granted, his next work was “Starship Troopers”, which was in much the same vein.

    • Personally, I think the left decided Heinlein must be evil when he referred to the 60’s as The Crazy Years. Thou Shalt Not Disparage the 60’s. Or mention that JFK was more conservative than half the Republicans currently in Congress.

      • Huh? METHUSELAH’S CHILDREN, where the “Crazy Years” reference is, was published in its final form in 1959 (and started in 1941).So the left then turned on him because they knew they were going to idolize the 60s?

  2. Andrew Sivula

    To establish my conservative bonafides I would say I read and like Tom Kratman but I feel that he panders too much to the progressive elements in his writing.

    • T establish myself as a conservative I would say that while I like the good Colonel I find too much truth in his writing and cannot read himbecause of my blood pressure

    • Somewhere, a colonel just twitched.

      Might be laughter.

    • I’d probably say I found C.S. Lewis far too liberal. :-)

      • Is this like railing against Adam Smith because Wealth of Nations didn’t include provisions on making the trains run on time?

        • The funny thing is I was recently rereading through the Narnia series, and when I hit the whole “tempted by infinite gold” thing, my first response was along the lines of, “That would crash the price of gold, but it would be really useful to be able to make drain-pipes out of gold instead of lead, and avoid the whole lead poisoning thing.”

          Its kind of amazing how much, and what, they really lost by not being able to deal rationally with an infinite gold supply.

    • I don’t think I’d dare to try and establish myself as a conservative, since I do know that I don’t actually have that much of an idea what counts as a genuine one over there. By conservatives, that is, I think I have gotten a fairly good idea of what your liberals, or ours for that matter (except ‘liberal’ here means something a bit different than it means there so maybe I should always use leftist, that has pretty much the same meaning – labels…) think is one. I could, on the other hand, maybe pass myself as a bona fide liberal to Americans, I know that language pretty well since it’s what the people around me mostly use. And besides, I live not only in Europe, I’m in Scandinavia (okay, technically maybe not, but Finland usually gets counted in anyway). :D

      Well, since I’m not either now I’m feeling orphaned.

    • Kratman has too high an opinion of the USA. Carerra, on the other hand, and Balboa — that is a functional state. More so that Williamson’s Grainne. But both, of course, are fictional — as is that hyperefficient killing machine by Stirling called the Draka.

      I’d like to live in Grainne, could tolerate Balboa, and would be executed by the Draka — they suspect serious Calvinists. And, although I really like Weber and Ringo… their worlds are far too blood soaked to actually live in…

      But then… I like Charles Stross and Ken McLeod. They write well.. probably better. And I own almost everything Jerry wrote.

      Which proves you cannot define a man by his taste in fiction. So why do these twits cite authors?

      • Thank you for getting the point. I was starting to think I’d written this post in Mandarin Chinese.

      • Which proves you cannot define a man by his taste in fiction. So why do these twits cite authors?

        Because it’s easier than actually having to examine their stances and realize at lot of them contradict each other. Self-examination is too hard! Too much effort.

        And how DARE anyone read for pleasure!?

        • Purportedly Stalin advocated universal literacy so that citizens could read instructions from The State — but nothing else. Because that is how counter-revolutionary thoughts and ideas get loose in a country. All literature is to further the interests of the state else it is decadent and must be suppressed. This is especially true of works which contain valid facts contradictory to the political facts ordered by The State.

      • How about Churchill?
        As far as blood soaked goes, have you looked at our world? It’s plenty blood soaked, although thank God not here.

  3. Heinlein indeed was not a “Conservative” of any kind, albeit he shared some values with some forms of conservatives. He wasn’t really a Libertarian entirely either, to his credit. He was a story teller and a great one, not a political oped writer.

    • Yes, this. My initial gut response to the troll was based on his inclusion of OSC, and I have read enough OSC to know he’s not a conservative… Or at least not how *I* define it. But Heinlein isn’t either. I’m glad Sarah took the time to go through all this!

      • You don’t have to read his fiction to find out his politics–Card is a Democrat by his own admission. But he’s not a Leftist, Progressive Democrat (which means that his own party left him behind long ago). He’s much more of a classical democrat. If you read his “Uncle Orson Reviews Everything” blog, you can sense his frustration with and dis-identification with the modern Democratic party.

    • Clark E Myers

      “…….not a political oped writer”

      We disagree. My kneejerk is to say: Sure he was in a very literal sense; he wrote opeds. And when he had to pay for his column inches to see print he paid willingly if not often. See also the potential to lose sales and have his stories go unwritten when he chose to keep his oped style dirty linen in the family. Jo Walton, a great fan of Heinlein for what it’s worth though hardly what I would call a conservative, still complains about that exclusion.

    • And that’s what I aspire to. But I understand I’m a “fascist” and a gender traitor. Meh. I thought I was American.

    • An Ornererian. There are a lot more of them than folks realize, because they usually misidentify, and they do cover both Heinlein and Card, plus from what I can tell Dr. Pournelle. And our hostess….

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        And what is an Ornererian? I’ve never heard the term and Google search didn’t recognize it.

        • I made it up a few years… um… decade and a half ago.

          They’re Ornery. Not to the point of being irrational, but the fastest way to get them to consider doing something is to try to force them not to.

          I suspect several of our founding fathers were of this inclination.

          • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

            Ah, that makes sense. Oh, I’m ornery as well. [Wink]

            • I’m not.

              I’m a Samwise Republican.

              I’ll go along with most anything for those doing what I think is right…but you’d better not try to cross The Things That Shouldn’t Be Done.

              Mom swears it’s like cornering a mouse and finding out it’s a badger.

            • PersonFromPorlock

              I’ve started describing myself as a “Dilbertarian” lately, indicating someone who thinks society (and government) look remarkably like Dilbert’s company.

          • I’m not sure when he started the blog, and OSC hasn’t apparently posted to it since May 2013, but he has a blog at http://www.ornery.org/ and titled “The Ornery American.”

            From the “About” page:
            Who Is the Ornery American?

            The word “ornery” began as “ordinary.” In the days when you were either of the “gentle” class or merely “ordinary,” parents would say to their stubborn children when they refused to do as they were told, “Don’t be so ordin’ry.”

            On this website, we look for the voices of those Ornery Americans — the common folk who don’t pretend to be intellectuals or elite in any other way, but who are just stubborn enough to think that we ordinary folk are the ones to whom this nation was entrusted from the start.

            1. We aren’t impressed by your credentials, Dr. This or Senator That. We aren’t going to take your word for it, we’re going to think it through for ourselves.

            2. We don’t like being spun. That doesn’t mean we aren’t sometimes fooled by the way reporters slant their stories, but when we find out how we’ve been manipulated, we get a little mad and we refuse to trust that writer, commentator, that magazine, that newspaper, that news network, or that politician again.

            3. We think America is larger and more important than our self-interest. You can’t buy our integrity with a boomtown economy, and we won’t let you shame our country just to avoid risking American lives. We Americans have never been afraid to make sacrifices for a worthy cause.

            4. We believe that character matters — our own character, the character of our leaders, and the character of our nation as a whole. We don’t like bullies and cowards, liars and hypocrites, and we don’t appreciate it when our leaders make our nation behave as if that were what Americans are.

            5. We’ll forgive your misdeeds, but only if you apologize sincerely and never do it again. Our trust, once betrayed, is not lightly restored.

            6. We vote.

            7. We know that good, wise people sometimes disagree. So we listen to the views of others, and have no patience with those who shout others down or use ridicule or coercion to silence serious arguments. Only fanatics and dictators assume that anyone who disagrees with them must be evil or stupid.

            8. We believe in right or wrong. Individual cases may merit compassion, but the law must be respected. Along with individual freedom must come responsibility for others. Along with compassion for the minority’s needs must come respect for the majority’s will.

            9. We believe in representative government, with the separation of powers set forth in the Constitution. Judges do not have the right to create law. Presidents do not have the right to lie to, conceal information from, or ignore the prerogatives of Congress. Congressmen must act first for the good of the nation, and only secondarily for the benefit of their constituents.

            10. We reject violence except in self-defense or to protect the weak against aggression.

            [SNIP]

            • I’ve read it a few times, but it had as little effect on my recognition of the group as the Mozilla browser had on my handle. (“Foxfier” dates from 1996 at the latest, and I’m pretty sure 1995.)

            • I’m not sure when he started the blog, and OSC hasn’t apparently posted to it since May 2013

              It’s been there long enough for his fans to blast him for supporting the war in Iraq on it.

          • Then they must include John C. Wright (who led me to this page.) He’s the most Ornery writer I know.

  4. Paula Handley (aka Mystik Waboose)

    Loved the post, however, you did leave out the fact that whilst Larry is a “Hatey McHaterson”, he’s not the most evil devil at Baen. That lofty position seems to belong to Ringo, at least according to the women that I’ve had the same argument with (over and over).
    Now since I live up here in “Hippy-Dippy” land (which is, sadly, the nicest way I can put it), I’ve discovered a few things about the *accepting & open minded* liberals I’m surrounded by. When it comes to Baen authors, the following applies:
    1. They “love” you, hence why you were invited here for conventions. Strong female writers are the darlings of this crowd. So, any females that write for Baen are acceptable.
    2. They “like” David Weber, because Honor Harrington….so he can’t be all bad. And some of them do read the 1632 series, so Eric Flint is not completely horrible and his politics are good (for certain quantities of good).
    3. People like Larry, Ringo and Col. Kratman are horrible evil misogynistic devils. Ringo especially because of the “Ghost” series. So folks are always shocked when I bring up Princess & Queen, because “how dare he try to write about how women feel/act/think/believe”.
    I’m not really looking forward to NASFIC this year because of the amount of “tongue-biting” that will be involved…..

    • Ah, and here I thought it was a tie between Col. Kratman and Ringo. Thanks – I’ll update my scorecard. ;)

    • Trying to reconcile “‘how dare he try to write about how women feel/act/think/believe.'” and “They ‘like’ David Weber, because Honor Harrington” makes my brain hurt.

      That’s the thing about leftism. It only gained popularity because it was an easy way to seem intelligent. You don’t have to put in the work to gather data, analyze it, and generate predictive theories; you just have to parrot the talking points. The problem, from their standpoint, is that it’s not working anymore. More and more people are realizing that the talking points are stupid, and they’re aware that they’re not alone in this knowledge.

      • The last is the important thing. The beginning of a preference cascade is realizing you are NOT alone.
        Their power depended on portraying everyone who disagreed with them as stupid. Thus, Sarah Palin, working mother who made it to the governor’s mansion and was extremely popular before being selected to run as McCain’s VP, is a dunce. But Hilary Clinton who rode her husband’s coattails to power is a genius. And so is Nancy “we’ve got to pass it to see what’s in it.” And we best not look too closely at the last two presidents and compare their utterances.
        BUT that’s breaking down because of person to person communication online and because that facade is so outrageously FALSE it can only survive if the voices that are heard are all the same. More and more they’re losing control of that and reach only the very young, the very old and the very stupid.

        • “the very young, the very old and the very stupid.”

          Unfortunately for us, that puts them within cheating distance of 50.1%.

        • This latest John Stewart interview with Nancy Pelosi had to leave the liberal audience stunned. That woman is pithed frog stupid and it was there before a huge liberal audience and un-ignorable. (Is un-ignorable really not a word? It ought to be.)

          • Saw a clip of part of that interview. One of her comments caused Stewart to laugh in her face. He was trying to be respectful, but couldn’t help himself.

            • Christopher M. Chupik

              He lasted longer before laughing at her than I would have.

              • I consider it something of a minor miracle that any intelligent, freedom-loving person can be in the same room as her without reaching for the piano wire and a lamppost.

      • Paula Handley (aka Mystik Waboose)

        Jeff, welcome to my world. There’s a reason that I’m doing fewer conventions here in Michigan, and I spend a lot of time biting my tongue. I enjoy doing cons that are “barfly heavy” because I can actually say what I think.

      • But David has not written a series that discussed the evils of white slavery and how it supports prostitution. If John had written it as a docudrama instead of a novel then it would have been acceptable. But since he wrote it in a sensational manner instead of a boring Michael Moore film, the liberals do not like him.

    • Haven’t read Queen, but I found Princess completely and utterly shocking because Ringo portrayed religious faith with an understanding of what it means and how it really works. (Not the magic, etc., which was clearly fantasy, or the setting, but the logic of it and why the “pretend” of the coach was so offensive.

      Ghost was… well, I didn’t read any more and I warn people of what it really is so they’re not surprised, but I simply don’t understand how people are unable to experience what he writes as each individual work and separate from the person who wrote it. As if none of us could ever write something that isn’t all about exactly what we are, or examine how else humans experience the world beyond our own parochial identity.

      I don’t know what Ringo is like because I’ve never *met* him.

      • I tried to read one of his books– I believe it was Princess– and I didn’t like it… because it was too Protestant. It really is a different mindset from Catholic, and I just really didn’t have the mental energy to deal with it. Contrast with Weber’s Bahzel series, where I can slip into his head without much trouble at all.

        I know women like the one he wrote, though– and they take too much of my energy in person, too!

        Not sure if that’s exactly a recommendation, but it definitely wasn’t an issue with his writing.

        • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

          What’s funny Foxfier is that John Ringo is a lapsed Roman Catholic. [Grin]

          • So are a lot of those ladies….

            The “spirit” of Vatican II has a lot to answer for; hopefully it will be in purgatory, not hell.

          • Well, she’s right about the character and her mindset being Protestant, and I’m sure that Ringo was accurately describing the mindset of whichever religious group she was in (which may or may not be the same as his own religious group). Catholics who become Protestants often Try Harder, just as Protestants who become Catholics do. However, if Ringo is ex-Catholic, that makes a lot of sense of the whiplash feel in certain passages.

            I really wanted to like Queen of Wands, but I ended up having trouble with the overarching system. There was way too much of “And it all works because,” and not enough “And it all works because God is good and gives His blessing, in a manner they can understand, even to those who don’t understand Him yet (and watch out for demons),” which would have been the natural conclusion for a Christian character. Admittedly it’s been a while since I read it, but I get tired of “it works because” or “strong human belief makes things happen because.” I don’t like it, and it doesn’t make sense if, at the same time, you’re not going to allow people to just do magic because.

            Theurgy presupposes the divine being the boss, unless you’re just playing little summons games; in which case it presupposes that enslaving supernatural beings is okay and possible, or that contracts with supernatural beings are okay and possible. In which case lawyers should be the great wizards, and nobody wants that — except maybe those schlubs who went to law school and now can’t get jobs.

          • Christopher M. Chupik

            Eh, Protestants are just a bunch of lapsed Catholics. They’ve just been lapsed longer. ;-)

            • I like to tell Catholics that my family has been apostate for about 400 years.

              • And Catholics are just lapsed heathens. :P

                • No they aren’t. Christianity is something entirely new.

                  • Not so much. Christianity is an outgrowth of Judaism. Some Judaic practices were dropped, some additional practices were added. Judaism believes in a Messiah that has not come. In Christianity, they believe he has come and was Jesus.

                    Now, historical evidence would appear to be that Judaism started as more monolotry (worship of one God) rather than monotheism (one God exists). Note that the context of many of the confrontations between early prophets and the “idol worshipers” of other peoples was “our God is stronger”.

                    Ergo, Christians can be considered lapsed Jews and Jews lapsed Heathens. Quod Erat Demonstradum.

                    • Not True. Judaism has always been Monotheistic. Whatever lapses a particular or group of Jews do doesn’t change the focus of the religion.

                    • That requires ignoring the difference between “lapsed” (not currently practicing”) and those who think they’ve got some basics right, but others wrong.

                      It’s like describing those who think 2+2+2=6 as “lapsed,” because the basics of it is 2+2=4. (note, if you’re Jewish, then you disagree on that last 2 existing, not needfully on what it would result in.)

                    • Since it was in response to “Protestants are lapsed Catholics”….

                    • *headdesk* No, that’s not what I said.

                      Protestants are, grossly, in “protest” of Catholicism.

                      Lapsed Catholics, recently, are grossly in the same area as “protestant.”

                      The category of “I grew up Catholic” is populated by folks who wouldn’t know genuine Catholic teaching if it bit them on the ass, and that is in some part (I think largely) not their fault.

                    • But Jewish posters in “Religion” fora have kept telling us that Christianity has nothing to do with Judaism. It just dropped from Mars one day, and it is “nonsense” to even say “Judaeo-Christian”. And it is imperative on “real” Jews to disagree with TheChristians at all costs, including consistency.

                    • *cough*

                      “Real” Jews can’t agree on anything. As the saying goes, “two Jews, three opinions.”

                    • Not quite. There are certain tenets that all Orthodox Jews believe. Inerrency and divine origin of the Torah. Adherence to the 613 commandments. etc.

                      The two Jews, three opinions is because we love to dispute with each other.

                    • Obviously I cannot agree — but please, let’s not argue in front of the goyim.

                    • hee! I wrote about Orthodox Jews because I know them best.

                    • ONLY three? That’s not how I heard it!

              • I’m afraid to ask, do you get much argument?

              • In this area, among a certain set of people, it is a routine thing to state, “I am a recovering Catholic.” It strikes a chord when spoken in context. Half in comic relief (and half seriously), I usually point out that there are very few “recovering Catholics.” This is as opposed to the many, many non-practicing ones.

            • So, does that mean they’re Pro-lapsed? (runs)

            • Whatever religion Mr. Ringo is, Barb Everette is Protestant.

        • The Princess of Wands / Queen of Wands books weakness IMO is that Ringo does not convincingly write a religious female POV. Guess who I wish had written those books?

          • …someone who writes convincingly homosexual males who will be reading this very soon?

            I REALLY couldn’t get more than a chapter or two in, because the lady was so familiar. I don’t know if she was convincing for what he wanted her to be, but I know her!

            • You know what I found frightening about PoW? I could have BEEN Barb. With the exception of the martial arts thing, she is a familiar skin to me, and one that was (on the brink of a divorce, as I read it) sickeningly all too real. Oddly, when I read QoW last year, I identified more with Janea. *shrug*

            • Maybe my fault … being raised Baptist instead of Episcopalian? ;-)

              • Hey, it’s my guess.

                Also, your homosexual males are more believable than, say, standard slash or Mercedes Lackey. (Note: not that I dislike her writing, I’m addicted to 500 Kingdoms like like the historical alt history.)

                • No, I mean was SPQR tagging me?

                • Since you mentioned slash I need to ask, what fandoms? I’d love to ask you other fandom questions.

                  • Mostly Star Trek– especially Deep Space 9. I kind of accidentally co-wrote a Garak/Bashir slash fic. (I wrote the fic, Saki wrote the slash….)

                    I’ve read a little bit of slash for everything, because for some unkown reason the best writers seem to gravitate to that early on and then grow.

                    I drew the line at Jackson/Tiel’k slash, though.

                    Vathara is the awesome sause– and Embers is finished, now!

      • You ought to try Rick Cook’s Limbo System. The priest is believable. Or some of Poul Anderson’s — though I suspect he knew his limitations, because he only portrayed Christians or other religious souls from outside.

        • Try the first several books of Christopher Stasheff’s Wizard In Rhyme series, which deal intimately with the problems of Catholicosm (new word; remember — you saw it here first!)

          • Eh. Didn’t impress me much.

          • Stasheff does a piss-poor job of explaining Catholicism from the INSIDE. He does not seem to know the difference between clergy and monks/friars, and has Gallowglass say nuns are “sort of female priests.” Not to mention I kept waiting for the guy from Rome to explain to the Gramaryeans that their orders and all their sacraments had been invalid for centuries, since they left Earth without a bishop .

            • Wrong series. Gallowglass is the Warlock series.

              All complaint miss the critical point: he tried to address the issues and consequences. Lord alone knows why, given the slings and arrows hurled his way.

              • Because the sad fact is that in art, good intentions do not suffice whether you’re grappling with Catholicism or default binary gender. You have to succeed.

                • Better to have tried and failed than never to have tried at all. Happily for Stasheff, the series’ longevity suggests your evaluation of its success was not universal.

                  The fact that you do not care for a work of art does not equal it being unsuccessful except in the particular case of you.

                  • Actually, that’s not his most popular work and the series didn’t last nearly as long as the earlier ones, which suggest coattails.

                    Even you said nothing more in its favor than that it tried.

                    • No, on both counts.

                      The fact that the series didn’t last as long as the Warlock & Family suggests nothing more than he found less cause to extend it, for whatever reason. Not having the family’s extended adventures to pursue, having written himself into a corner with the effort to become more multi-cultural, or even that the books were more serious, more challenging to the readership and thus had a higher lowest common denominator — any and all might have been his reasons to stop and there might be many more (perhaps pressure from his publisher to make the series “less Catholic”?)

                      .I do hope you are not going to claim that popularity is the most important measure of literary success?

                      And in spite of your effort to cram words into my mouth, I did more than say “it tried” — I endorsed it as an interesting attempt “which deal[t] intimately with the problems of Catholicosm.”

                      I am not such a fool as to think my preferences the arbiter of literary merit, thus I made the endorsement based on undeniable fact; the degree to which he succeeded is for each individual reader to decide. Clearly you think he failed, but I as clearly do not share your opinion.

                      I trust we have now sufficiently exhausted Hunnish Patience with the topic while making our respective views clear that it can be dropped without further effort to misrepresent opposing views?

                    • What? You don’t want to defend your assertions in this comment? Fine, I won’t poke the obvious holes in them.

                    • Judging by the reading comprehension you’ve displayed discussing this mionr point I think I understand your disdain for Stasheff’s Wizard. Whether or no I want to defend my assertions was not the issue; the question whether or not I think it polite to use somebody’s blog to engage in tendentious literary debate over issues of subjective literary merit.

                      Have you not scruples about such boorishness nor better use of your (and other readers’) time? Or is there some point so enlightening that you feel compelled to make it?

            • Yeah, Canticle for Leibowitz does a much better job with the ‘Catholics in Space’ problem.

              Still, the Warlock books are entertaining… and Catholics in scifi/fantasy novels are so rare, it’s fun when you find them. (I really like Doria Russell’s two books, even though she’s nuts on the whole ‘Church suddenly deciding contraception is grand’ thing. And once I read an old pulp novel with Franciscans in space who find a new planet, only to discover the inhabitants are ancient Romans who want to throw them to the lions. Not a great book, but…. notable for a future with religious orders.

              That’s one thing I loved about Bab5 as opposed to Star Trek– it assumed a future where religion endured, as opposed to one where we transcend God, except when he needs a space ship….

              • I gave up the Warlocks when I saw that Stasheff was writing the same book over and over.

                • I only read the first 4…but they were fun. It’s like David Eddings– He only has one story. It’s a fun story, but you’re not going to read ALL of his books.

                  Actually Brian Jacques really only had one story in the Redwall books….but if you read one a year, they’re nice, like a cup of hot tea in front of the fire on a stormy night nice.

                  I wonder if the reason that F/SF tends to fall into trilogies is that anything longer just gets repetitive?

              • It is no original observation that Roddenberry devoted several episodes of Star Trek to the theme of killing God. WIsh fulfillment?

              • Which is one reason I was hoping that Marvel would use JMS’ Thor storyline as a reason to have him write the movie scripts. JMS in B5 produced a series that even some of my more fundie acquaintances applauded for how well it handled religion.

    • I notice MadMike is not mentioned at all, possibly because he makes the Hippy-Dippies heads hurt, trying to decide whether they like or hate him?

      • Oh, they know they hate him. The issue is that if they invoke his name, he may appear, and then his arguments will make their heads explode. So they just never mention the dev- er, that one author.

  5. I wonder if the people who are trying to sell Orson Scott Card as some sort of reactionary religious fanatic have ever read any of his books.

    “The Seventh Son” series has such a strong anti-religious slant that I couldn’t read past the second book. His novel “The Lost Boys” shows both mainstream Christians and Mormons in a very unflattering light.

    I can’t think of a single novel or short story of his in which religion was portrayed positively, in fact. The one article of his that I’ve read about gay marriage doesn’t talk about religion at all, he appeals to biology to make his points.

    • Oh. The one I found was for his church newsletter.

    • Folk of the Fringe IMHO and shared by some others portrays the Mormon church and history positively. There are dramatic works, arguably works for hire, that are intended to portray religion positively. Within fandom consider Card’s Secular Humanist Revival and the very mixed reaction depending on what the listener brought to the revival – and Card’s own discussion of reaction and why he stopped doing it.

    • “The Lost Boys” is his best work, in my opinion. Or at least tied with “Speaker for the Dead”.

    • Speaker for the Dead portrayed the flaying-alive religious ritual of the aliens in a very sympathetic light.

      • I guess flaying isn’t the right word, sorry. Icky anyway.

        • Having finally gotten around to reading the book, I think “disembowelment” is probably the most accurate English word, although I would have to research descriptions of Aztec, Incan and Mayan* practices to be sure.

          *For whatever reason, I cannot keep those three distinct in my mind. The more I try to distinguish them the more I end up confusing them. Anybody have a good mnemonic for them?

          • No help here. I just think of the Incas as being the southernmost, the Mayans as the oldest (of those three) and the Aztecs as the gory ones (not necessarily true, but close enough). I suppose you could use altitude of residence: high are the Incas, not so high are the Aztecs, and the Mayans were/are the lowest.

            • But the creepy people who made craft projects out of skulls and dioramas out of their enemies’ cannibalized bones were further south than the Incas.

              • Could be. I focused on the “civilizations” of South and Central America rather than the tribal groups and Amazonia. The Incas were as far south as I got.

    • Seventh Son might be anti-organized religion. Seeing as how it’s a fantasy retelling of the founding of Mormonism, I don’t see it being anti-religion per se. But now that you mention it, I can see how it might be interpreted that way.

    • “Anti-religious”? The entire series is an expy of Joseph Smith, and permeated with LDS theology.

    • I had a hard time with his “seventh son” series. I quit reading him after the third book… (It was too much like reading religious scriptures of my youth.) lol

      • The best quote I ever heard on Card was “He’s a good writer when he’s not trying to beat you over the head with his Mormonism.” The Worthing Saga was especially bad for that, IMO.

        OTOH, now there are a whole bunch of non-didactic Mormon F/SF writers. I’m a huge fan of Jessica Day George, and I think she was a BYU grad. (Yes, I read a lot of YA and Kidlit. I’m…previewing for my kids! Yeah, that’s it…)

        • Yep – since I was raised Mormon (and left) I am especially sensitive to that from Card.

        • So, Brother Card manages to be anti-religious while beating you over the head with his Mormonism! He must be an even more-skilled writer than I thought.

          • I never found him to be anti-religious. His religious world view is just totally different from mine. As a Catholic, the Mormon cosmology is really hard for me to get my head around… so he may come off as anti-religious from a Judeo-Christian perspective, but that doesn’t mean he’s anti-Mormon-religion.

  6. Card is actually less restrained than that in his views. I personally read a column of his that asserted that granting the legal status of marriage to a same-sex relationship was so egregious a violation of the proper definition of marriage, and of proper law, that any government that did it had no right to exist, and that the people were entitled to rise up and overthrow it by force. That’s not purely a position about the internal belief system of the LDS; it’s a position about the rights of his fellow citizens—and one I seriously don’t agree with. I find Card’s views objectionable, and I’m hardly a “feminist” as the term is used now.

    • Okay — I didn’t find that article. He’s not alone in those views and no, I don’t get them (or agree with them) either. It hardly makes him a conservative as these people define conservative (which includes large and small l libertarians.) As I said “He’s well to the left of me” which those views confirm. And he’s not going to get it. Most people my age and younger either think “Gay Marriage, sure” or don’t care the least about it. Our only fear is that under these idiots it would be an opportunity to violate church’s right of religion.
      You know what bugs me? If these crazy people get their dictatorship of the left they will find how fast it turns on their pet causes. No? Do you think women are “free” in Russia and China? How about gay people? In any communist/leftist state the “morality police” is almost as strong as in an islamic state.
      If they do get their way I’ll be dead in the first crunch. Which is good. I have a certain curiosity to see how many of these idiots turn on a dime to “gays are unnatural and a sign of capitalist decadence” and how many are honest enough to cling to their views and suffer for it. I’m going to guess 90% turn on a dime.

      • If I’d wanted to talk about that I would have. I was solely concerned with the question of how restrained Card’s views are, not with which category he should be assigned to.

      • Wasn’t quite overthrowing the government because of gay marriage, it was overthrowing the government because it allowed courts to make large-scale changes to law without legislative power. He does, however focus most of his arguments on gay marriage, since that was the specific ruling he focused on.

        article is at http://www.ornery.org/essays/warwatch/2004-02-15-1.html

        • Allowing courts to make large scale changes to laws IS wrong and I object to it.

        • Thanks – that is what I remembered as being his argument: process, not result. Too many people fail to properly distinguish the two, on the Right nearly as often as on the Left.

          I presume we do not need to engage an argument over the principle of allowing an unelected aristocracy to impose their values by fiat on society? Because that is what the courts and regulatory state engage in.

        • I’m not sure that I believe that that was his criterion. After all, if that were sufficient reason to overthrow the government, then the expansion of the Interstate Commerce Clause, or some of the civil rights decisions, or Roe v. Wade, or Loving v. Virginia had long since provided such grounds. I can’t see that the same-sex marriage decisions were anything special as far as assertion of court power is concerned. If he made a big point in this last case, it seems to me to indicate that he thinks that changing the boundaries of “marriage” is a uniquely major change, greater for example that changing the law regarding abortion.

          But, also, that way of approaching the matter reflects a basic misunderstanding of what the courts are doing. Alexander Hamilton spelled the whole thing out in the Federalist: If there is a conflict between the will of the people and the will of the legislature, it’s the duty of the courts to resolve it; and the courts are bound to hold the people above their agents in Congress, and to hold the will of the whole people (as embodied in the Constitution) above the will of a mere majority either of the people or of the legislature. In doing so, they are not “legislating”: They are adjudicating a conflict between two laws, which is exactly their job.

          Nor are the people helpless if the Supreme Court oversteps; they have the power to convene a constitutional convention and make changes, or to elect members of Congress who will pass an amendment that does so. Such desperate measures as Card advocates are at least premature.

    • I would just like to point out that the gay marriage debate has nothing to do with rights. Those who say otherwise are claiming that people have the right to a government license, which is patently absurd. Right now gay couples can freely throw a celebration where they announce and affirm their love in front of friends and family. What the debate is about is should gay couples have access to one piece of paper that combines the benefits of trusts, corporations, and living wills; as well as some unique tax benefits? Ultimately it’s about what kind of behavior the government should be encouraging.

      • Okay. I’d prefer government out of the marriage business… but that’s me.

        • I like Mark Davis’ definition of Marriage. You need two legs of a 3 legged stool for a “valid” marriage. The legs are Societal, Religious, and Governmental. any two of those and you have your legit marriage. in many places gays are trying to force the gov’t when they have none of the legs to try and force through the societal acceptance. Is there a religion that recognizes the right? I mean a valid one and not a made up one like pastafarians or whatnot.

          • I believe Reform Judaism and a few liberal Protestant churches. I’m thinking United Church of Christ, maybe? And Unitarian Universalism.

            It’s an interesting constitutional issue: If Church X performs a ceremony of marriage for two men, and the state refuses to recognize it, is this a denial of freedom of religion? It seems as if the state is then endorsing the view of some religions over that of others.

            • Which has been the situation for a long time with plural marriages.
              I keep asking why it is “hate” and “bigotry” to say that “Marriage is the union of a man and a woman”, but not “hate” to say “Marriage is the union of any two, but only two individuals.” I have yet to get a response which makes more sense than “That’s DIFFERENT!”

              • I had this discussion on another list, and our resident Anarcho-Capitalist basically endorsed calling any relationship between consenting adults “marriage” if they wanted it to be. Poly, Incestuous, Gay…didn’t matter.

                I’ll give him this, he carries his ideals to their logical, if insane, conclusion. Otherwise a nice guy.

                • I believe poly, in 90% of the cases is its own punishment.

                • …On what basis do they restrict them to adults?

                  Other than that, presumably, the guy agrees with that restriction…. (Problem with knocking down buildings on the justification “I want.”)

                  • The basis is that children are not sufficiently mature to give informed consent, but that raises the question of what constitutes “sufficiently mature”, how do you know when someone *is*, and why does that matter? Most people will agree that it *does* matter, but then there’s things like this.:-(

                  • Didn’t we have a similar conversation on my LJ about this?

                    I always laugh whenever Rhys just says “Yeah, it’s perfectly okay to rape the Eiffel Tower,” in the most sarcastic tone imaginable to sum up the insanity involved in the ‘I want’ argument.

                    • Other things you can rape — your bedroom lamp, the chair, the vacuum, bowling balls…and… oh, never mind. My SIL is a doctor and used to talk after emergency stints.

                    • *grabs onto the slightly more sane thread of thought, because oh gods oh gods my brain*

                      My grandmother was a doctor in the province, and Mom related how she was quite disturbed by the various… odd things that she would pull out of people’s… orifices. Soap, bottles, pens, a wristwatch, and the one she was quite angry about was the condom-covered eel she had to remove from the ass of a gay man. Mamang was a very strict Roman Catholic, but she was angrier about how unsafe the practice was, because they also had to fix tears in the man’s lower intestine from the eel’s spiny fins.

                    • Yes. That sounds like a stupid thing to do.

                    • Probably, heaven knows I’m such a shy and wishy-washy person that nobody ever hears the same thing twice… *lol*

            • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

              As I’ve heard from some of the nuttier pro-gay marriage folks “why should the State support the Churches views?”. Note, some of those nuts think that man-woman only marriage is a violation of “Separation of Church And State”.

              • Ask them their views on the civil rights laws. After all, the voters were told to vote for legislators who would “do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with [their] God”.

                • And prominent segregationists were excommunicated by the Archbishop of New Orleans. I did not hear any complaints about the Catholic Church “imposing its beliefs”.

                  • A lot of the crankiest gay marriage and abortion advocates are lapsed or dissenting Catholics. Their beef isn’t ‘the Church imposing its views on society” as much as “The Church imposing her beliefs on her MEMBERS.” So they won’t stop until their choices are enshrined in law and celebrated by all, including by grandma who keeps sending prayer requests to the nuns about how she wants her grandson to repent and return to the faith of his baptism……

                    Because, realistically, if we went to ‘domestic partnerships for all’ and let marriage be a religious thing, the Church would have no say in things. BUT it would still refuse to marry gays, adopt out children to gay couples, and to give communion to ‘married’ gay couples. And so, domestic partnerships for all will never be enough….

                  • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                    Which is the *real* reason that John F Kennedy gave his “the Pope doesn’t tell me what to do”. It was given to Southern Democrats worried about what a Catholic President would do regarding segregation.

                    • In fairness, anti Romanism was a deeply rooted idea in Anglo American culture. Given the way in which liberty came about in England it was even understandable at one point. But I agree that segregation was part of the point with JFK. But then so was the abortion question.

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      When JFK was running for President, the abortion question hadn’t “raised its ugly head”.

                      Although it was “interesting” to hear Kerry (who’s Catholic) trying to put himself on both sides of the issue when running for President. [Very Big Evil Grin]

                • People don’t like being reminded that Martin Luther King Jr. was a religious man… or a preacher.

                  I haven’t read about the man since I was an eleven year old who was handed a biography and told it was interesting reading. It was interesting reading, but why is it it seems like I remember those little bits and pieces more than folks who actually learned it as part of their history?

        • Me as well.
          One of my pet soapbox issues has long been my wish that all the government do is issue a certificate of civil union simply for all the legal and tax purposes. Then if a couple, or group for that matter, wanted to call themselves married all they need do is find an amenable preacher.
          Having the government so intimately involved in the whole marriage issue has always seemed to me to be an egregious violation of our rights and privacies.

          • That would be the most fair way to do it.

          • Birthday girl

            It would also allow for partnerships that we don’t have now … I’m thinking of an aged parent and caregiving single child partnering up for mutual benefit … I know some people who could really benefit from that.

          • Because government distributes various benefits — direct and indirect (e.g., tax statuses) — on the basis of marital status the remainder of the camel is sure to enter the tent. In England there have been “issues” with polygamists collecting absurd levels of state-provided benefits because of household size — a predictable result of multiple wives and dependent childrens.

          • I’ve actually been arguing for a “household” thing since I was a teen– not because of sex, but because of not-sex.

            Housemates, widowed aunts, etc– a lot of people form households, and for crying out loud there’s an entire TROPE around women who make their “living” by forming a household with old ladies and taking them for all they’ve got.

            • And how hard do you want to make it to get out of this household when you want out? Is it a binding obligation?

              • How hard is it to get a civil divorce? In most states, not too hard, if there are no kids to fight over and the couple agrees to split everything 50/50

                • and the couple agrees to split everything 50/50

                  Doesn’t even have to be 50/50 so long as they agree on a split and it’s not so egregious as to cause a judge to go “wait a minute!”

                • Perhaps that needs to be fixed. If the state is interested enough in matrimony to sanction it, the state’s interests are important enough to protect.

                  • Why does anyone care what the ‘state’s’ interests are? Why would we want to take steps to protect the ‘state’s’ interests in private matters?

                    • Because the state is involved in both the divorce court and the marriage license. If you drag the state in, it’s in.

                    • So you drag the state out. Then toss in a “and stay out!” for good measure.

                    • And without religious objections to divorce, why SHOULD divorce be hard when there aren’t kids involved? The state’s main interest in marriage is really the stability of child-rearing arrangements. If there are no kids, who cares what 2 consenting adults do or don’t do with their contractual living arrangements?

                      Hmm…. that would be an interesting, fascist solution to the gay marriage/straight marriage issue:

                      1. If there are no kids, you don’t get tax benefits and can fill out a simple form to designate someone your heir/medical decision maker/etc.

                      2. If kids are involved, you and their other parent are immediately declared ‘in a binding contract’ with each other until the youngest reaches the age of majority. This automatic contract can only be dissolved with great pain, but confers certain tax benefits in addition to certain responsibilities for supporting the offspring……

                      In the cases of religious people, option 2 would tend to overlap with their idea of marriage. In other cases, option 2 might encourage couples to think carefully before they reproduced with someone they didn’t want to be stuck with for the next 18 years.

                    • We’re out of nesting levels out here, so I just want to note that – while I’m sure there would be problems I don’t see yet – my knee-jerk reaction is “I like it.” Also, that it hasn’t got a chance of being enacted given the current culture.
                      And as I’m writing, I see a potential problem (from my perspective) – a sharp increase in abortions to avoid falling into category two. Gotta take on the culture first. Then it could work.

                    • Yeah, the abortion problem was the one biggie I saw, too. Maybe if we combined the ‘forced marriage’ aspect with some sort of carrot to encourage adoption?

                    • I cannot help but fear y’all are trying to contrive a rational model for a fundamentally irrational enterprise.

                    • “So you drag the state out. Then toss in a “and stay out!” for good measure.”

                      Every single culture on earth provides blessings and sanctions for the martial union. And every single one that has a government has the state’s finger in there.

                      Therefore, here I am going to invoke Chesterton’s Fence.

                      In the matter of reforming things, as distinct from deforming them, there is one plain and simple principle; a principle which will probably be called a paradox. There exists in such a case a certain institution or law; let us say, for the sake of simplicity, a fence or gate erected across a road. The more modern type of reformer goes gaily up to it and says, “I don’t see the use of this; let us clear it away.” To which the more intelligent type of reformer will do well to answer: “If you don’t see the use of it, I certainly won’t let you clear it away. Go away and think. Then, when you can come back and tell me that you do see the use of it, I may allow you to destroy it.”

                      This paradox rests on the most elementary common sense. The gate or fence did not grow there. It was not set up by somnambulists who built it in their sleep. It is highly improbable that it was put there by escaped lunatics who were for some reason loose in the street. Some person had some reason for thinking it would be a good thing for somebody. And until we know what the reason was, we really cannot judge whether the reason was reasonable. It is extremely probable that we have overlooked some whole aspect of the question, if something set up by human beings like ourselves seems to be entirely meaningless and mysterious. There are reformers who get over this difficulty by assuming that all their fathers were fools; but if that be so, we can only say that folly appears to be a hereditary disease. But the truth is that nobody has any business to destroy a social institution until he has really seen it as an historical institution. If he knows how it arose, and what purposes it was supposed to serve, he may really be able to say that they were bad purposes, that they have since become bad purposes, or that they are purposes which are no longer served. But if he simply stares at the thing as a senseless monstrosity that has somehow sprung up in his path, it is he and not the traditionalist who is suffering from an illusion.

                    • While it is a useful parable and one I’m quite familiar with, it is not of itself a refutation of an argument. It can be quite condescending in the implication that I have not considered the reasons behind the state’s fat finger in personal matters. Shall I presume that was not your intent?

                      I have laid out my objections to government involvement in private matters, here and elsewhere on this blog. I take the comments of many folks regarding potential state actions to be fine examples of why I oppose the state’s continuing involvement. Your own contention that the state having an interest in matrimony justifies the state acting to protect that interest by making the contract more binding offers one such example.

                      Many things exist in all cultures, and are interfered with by all governments. While this is a factual observation, it does not then follow it is a justification. Again, Chesterton’s observation is worth considering, but once the reasons for erecting the fence have been examined and found wanting it is perfectly reasonable to advocate tearing the thing down. And it is perfectly reasonable to advocate leaving it in place. It is not perfectly reasonable to point at the fence, say it is there and therefore we should extend it, build more and/or wire the gate shut.

                      If you intended a more nuanced argument, please forgive my obtuse, canted brain. If you did not, please forgive me if this is the last I say on the matter here.

                    • Maybe because “marriage” at bottom is a contract between the parties…. and enforcing contracts without blood feud is a basic reason for government.

                      Incidentally, this whole idea of marriage as contract is / was extremely explicit in Judaism… and is a foundation for why adultery was Christ’s only grounds for divorce (once a contract is broken, it’s broken).

                    • The state as (final) arbiter of a contract is a reasonable role, as I’ve said elsewhere. That doesn’t necessitate the state’s interests be represented in the contract.

              • Basically I was trying to find a way to protect the folks I saw getting preyed on from their predators.

                From things like roommates not paying their share of the rent to one of a pair of sisters being kicked out of the house when one dies.

                Even then I knew that I didn’t know enough to get too deep into the details, but there are already informal arrangements– and exploiting them causes folks a lot of trouble, ones who usually can’t afford to do anything about it.

        • Question for both JP and Lar — why government involvement and why tax differences for marriage? I’m not advocating anything, just wondering (1) why the current system evolved as it did and (2) is it beneficial in this day-and-age? For the purposes of the qeustion, I’m assuming the continuation of taxing personal income as we know it, which is another issue I don’t want to tackle in this thread.

          • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

            I’m no expert so I could be wrong but I think part of it is that government (at its best) reflects the society it serves. When the society values Marriage then the government values Marriage and gives the institution of Marriage benefits. IMO it isn’t “government stealing Marriage from Religion”. It’s the fact that both Religion and government valuing Marriage. Civil Marriage is only the “paperwork” that government requires to *show* that the marriage has taken place. For the benefit of the non-religious, most governments rightly see no reason to require that a religious ceremony takes place.

          • In a nutshell, a legitimate purpose of government is the enforcement of contract law, ie to ensure that legal agreements are kept and folks aren’t cheated just because the other party is bigger and more powerful.
            The problem with marriage in our society is that it is bound so tightly with taxation, inheritance, and spousal rights. All somewhat contractual issues.
            As JP points out, there are three aspects involved in our current system. The difficulty arises when there is conflict between those aspects, which is the current case. My modest suggestion is to separate two of those aspects, religion and government. Do that and the societal aspect will sort itself out in time.

            • From what I know some of the complaints by gays have been quite valid – like the fact that once upon a time a partner would not have any rights compared to the biological family once one person of a gay couple died or got sick or injured badly enough to be unable to express his will (sometimes even if there was a testament), even when the partner was the one who had lived with the deceased most of his adult life, had shared resources and possibly had acted as a second parent to her partner’s children.

              But it might be better if those rights were not tied to the concept of marriage. You could also argue that sometimes there are couples who share everything except sexual relations, like perhaps unmarried or widowed friends who move together when they are older and want the companionship, and if they then, for practical purposes, become more of unit, pool their resources and so on, and one then dies, the remaining person should also have some rights of inheritance and so on. So I guess I would like the idea of some sort of merely contractual type of deal as the basis for all cases where people want to pool their resources and live together, and leave marriage to which ever church is willing to perform it in case of which couple.

              • And yes, that’s mostly based on what the situation used to be like in Finland.

              • Birthday girl

                You and I are thinking alike — separation of legal partnership from the assumption of sexual relationships. I would love to see legal partnerships enabled for, say elderly parents with single children, to enhance the well-being of that situation.

              • It’s been pointed out in other places that any number of people can have contracts written up that grant the same legal rights as marriage is supposed to automatically cover. The immediate response is always, “Well, in this one case, these people HAD that [the usual example is a hospital refusing to allow visitation – WB], and they were ignored.” I don’t really see that it would make any difference, since refusing to honor a contractually-valid right won’t change once the name changes.

                • As said, the way things are in Finland. :)

                • It’s hard to get a contract that fits all the “implieds”

                  • And there are some aspects that cannot be done in contracts other than marriage (tax code issues, for example–whether that’s a good thing or bad, I leave to the reader). And marriage can actually supersede other contracts (“rights of survivorship” being an example–this was described when I bought my house. I had put it in my name alone because my wife’s status was still in legal limbo but even if I tried to will it to someone else she would have “right of survivorship” as my spouse and the will would, thus, be invalid).

                    So long as these things remain, and so long as marriage remains simple “one stop shopping” for a large collection of legal relationships, rights, and responsibilities that would be expensive and time consuming to set up the argument that “you can get everything in other contracts” simply does not work.

                  • Won’t it be even harder to get someone who disagrees to go along with the “implieds”, whether the definition is to include gays or not? If they won’t honor things specifically laid out in contract, why would they take implications into account?

                    • Wayne, what worries me about “civil unions” is not that the gays won’t go along with the implications of marriage, but that straight people will pick “civil unions” “because we’re friends with benefits, and we share some stuff, but we totally still sleep around” etc. Not that this bothers me in individual cases, but because if it becomes the preferred mode of union it WILL destroy marriage.

                    • That’s a good point, and you may very well be right.

                    • I think that the destruction of marriage is the ultimate goal. Even though they don’t say so.

                      How can it be a marriage if the participants aren’t faithful to each other?

                    • If I remember the studies of homosexual marriages, the ones that aren’t dissolved tend to be those that are explicitly not exclusive.

                      IE, “Dating other people” while married.

                      Not going to weigh in on which is less “marriage”ie than the other, sex neutral or (explicitly) non exclusive.

                    • Again, not true, or not in most places. (There is a “bohemian community” — that’s something else.)

                    • Fight I do not wish to have, ma’am.

                    • Not that this bothers me in individual cases, but because if it becomes the preferred mode of union it WILL destroy marriage.

                      And absent marriage, men have no reason to treat women (in general) as anything more than sex objects. Why work to support a woman and her children if you have no reason to believe that those children are also your own? The sexual exclusivity of marriage gave men a genetic investment in the future, an investment that they could be confident of, and thus a reason to work hard to make the world a better place for their children. Without that confidence in paternity, better to Enjoy the Decline and avoid the stress.

                    • Power of enforcement and traditional contract provisions. Case law behind marriage rights is fairly robust, certainly more robust than unique civil union contracts that attempt to cover the bases. Which is what gets us in this mess to start with.

                      Leave out the activists, they’re lunatics. Reasonable, rational, kind-hearted people wanted recognition of marriage because various governments have tied ‘rights of union’ to marriage automatically. They aren’t trying to overturn the social order, or disrupt traditional marriage, or push camels under tents or anything else. They’re trying to ensure that they have access to the same protections and rights with their loved ones that other loving couples enjoy. And that is all.

                      That these other things follow is another story, and one they can be sensitive to, but still wish to have the rights and protections granted to other loving couples. As individuals, as people, the abstract argument that granting them the right to sit at the bedside of their lifelong mate as they face the end of their life is a risky precedent does not hold much weight. And it wouldn’t hold much weight with me in the same situation. At that moment, in that place, I wouldn’t give a damn, at all, what precedents were being set.

                      It’s an extreme example, I grant, but a legitimate one. Which is why I, whatever anybody else argues, argue for getting government out of marriage. Remove the automatic associations and make it possible for reasonable, rational, kind-hearted people to form loving and stable relationships and to carry those relationships in the logical directions and to the logical conclusions without government imprimatur either way.

                      I’m not so naive as to believe this is going to happen tomorrow. But long odds are not always the significant factor in deciding how I proceed.

                    • Foxfier – not completely true. I know of three homosexual partnerships that are exclusive. One of the partnerships lasted over 20 years before one of the partners died. One of the partnerships is over ten years old and the other partnership is now over five years old.

                    • The reason I protested is that I’ve seen any number of these surveys and most of them are suspect.
                      I’ll also point out that Heinlein who lived in artistic circles thought this was true of ALL marriages and said so explicitly. Since such communities have a lot more homosexuals as a rule… well…

                    • I see – well the Bohemian culture is still around today. I think in Heinlein’s day, Bohemian was the artistic culture– so yea.

                    • I know of some heterosexual ones that are non-exclusive, too; thus the appeal to the general state. I seem to remember the studies from those states where it’s been legal for a while are overwhelmingly non-exclusive.

                    • The non-exclusive heterosexual marriages that I know about disintegrated eventually. I do have a distrust of the “studies” unless I know who does them and the motivation for them. ;-) There is always a spin, of course.

                    • True, but then one has to try to correct for the sainty level of those one knows, too.

                      Mine is shockingly high, when compared to those I know via friends.

                    • Most of the couples I know are family … so maybe different

                    • Well, at least a few of the ones I know would brag the OTHER way, if there was anything to brag about…

                    • ALL the non exclusive marriages I know, gay or straight (or marriage equivalent) dissolved faster than snow in the sun. Which is the other reason I find those studies suspicious.

                    • These things suffer from the “who is willing to discuss it” — the nice, quiet couple in Iowa who doesn’t make a big deal about their relationship won’t. The “out front” guys in San Fran will.
                      Again, Heinlein in the twenties and thirties thought most het marriages that survived were “open” too. There is also the POV wishing to be pushed — and I don’t mean that of people against, though they too — from the people who do want to destroy the culture and who think all marriages should be open.

                    • “Why work to support a woman and her children if you have no reason to believe that those children are also your own?”

                      Why even if they are your own? Were they not HER CHOICE?

                      One thing demographers agree on is that legalizing abortion increases illegitimacy by decreasing masculine responsibility.

                • Clark E Myers

                  It’s been pointed out in other places that any number of people can have contracts written up that grant the same legal rights as marriage is supposed to automatically cover.

                  I’d quibble about rights and privileges. I’m not clear on automatically convey as in self enforcing.

                  That said it is certainly true that people (and certainly not any number of people) can’t have contracts written up that grant the same legal rights as marriage is supposed to automatically cover.

                  Assume they could.

                  Then imagine transaction costs in making the health care industry a party to the contract for purposes of access to services as well as visiting hours, communication and medical privacy; follow with transaction costs in making the IRS a party and also modifying enabling statutes and rules and regulations to suit the wishes of the married parties be they conventional, line …….. Imagine any number of people n asking for company benefits including survivor’s pension rights for a group or line marriage.

                  Imagine choice of forum issues in enforcement. Imagine immigration and family reunification issues including negotiating with ICE as a party to the contract.

                  In the absence of privileges created recognized and enforced by the powers that be I’d say the deal between Elihu and Allucquere – “in this state you marry yourselves” works. Common law marriage – the parties hold themselves out as married with a rebuttable just kidding presumption of and so they are has worked just fine some places and yet has been disfavored in other places.

                  • Then imagine transaction costs in making the health care industry a party to the contract for purposes of access to services as well as visiting hours, communication and medical privacy

                    Excepting this one portion, all valid points. The contracts I mentioned, to my knowledge, did not contain any language pertaining to granting any specific monetary privileges which would have to be supplied by others to the parties involved.

                    The reason I excepted the first part is that, because of my wife’s recent medical history, I have been party to a large number of privacy policy papers, and no one has ever suggested any limitations on who we could specify as being legitimate to share medical information with. If you have had a different experience, I suggest it is a state issue. Also, most standard rules for visitation could quite easily be extended to include those not currently considered “family”. Again, if your mileage varies, it is probably a state issue. And I simply don’t understand what you mean by, “Access to services”, as I don’t know what kind of restrictions you could be referring to.

                    • In order to do a lot of medical stuff for my husband, legally, I have to get an unlimited power of attorney.

                      Military legal officers are really reluctant to make those…even though/because they’re the most common thing needed. *sigh*

                    • I expect, and I should really be the last person to discuss this because of my personal prejudices, the “right to visit” comes out of situations where one party’s family bars access to the partner because of personal prejudice or disapproval on part of the family of the terminal patient against the life choices made. I am sure this was exacerbated during the heights of HIV infections with no real therapy, but still: is the hurt feeling from being excluded by a bigoted minority sufficient to overturn social, legal and religious standards?
                      And if it is, what can we do to pander to MY personal prejudices?

              • Over here, an unlimited power of attorney would have the same (in some states, greater effect) than marriage.

                There have been a couple of cases where folks were supposedly kept from their homosexual lover anyways, but that’s illegal. You can’t fix illegal by changing the law.

            • Birthday girl

              So if the contract is not implicit in the marriage — e.g. the spouse inherits — it would have to be spelled out in legal documents, more work for lawyers — or is there another way?

              • Could be made a standard thing. Funnily one of the people who got pissy about this said it would be harder to dissolve. My answer of “Good” shocked heck out of them. :-P

              • Generally there is a standard formula set by the state for dealing with these sorts of estates (it is late, I want to dance around chanting “Intestate-Estates”). Unless otherwise determined it usually goes to spouses, children, siblings, and so on to some sort of limit, and then it escheats to the state. (love that word)
                If you are willing to die intestate it might be wise to check what your state will do with your estate without your input.

            • The problem with marriage in our society is that it is bound so tightly with taxation, inheritance, and spousal rights.

              While not agreeing or fighting you on the contracts thing– those are all three inherent to marriage.

              Even the Catholic Church recognizes that Marriage is a preexisting thing– that thing that makes more people. That means that the woman is going to be unable to take care of herself for at least several months, and will be split to taking care of kids for several years, and you need this to happen several times to keep from going extinct. So spouses need rights– traditionally women did, but they’re more elementally than mens’. (The crisis with men’s rights is pretty good #firstworldproblem fodder, not to degrade them– we have it so good that there’s actually a serious worry about men being abused.)
              I hope I don’t have to explain how having kids relates to inheritance.
              And taxation– those states that punish the raising of new citizens in a good environment won’t be getting enough to survive.

            • Can you imagine the software nightmare polygamy or line marriages would play on income tax? Right now you have married, married filing single, single and head of household. What if you have a poly-whatever and three of the members want to file jointly and the other two want to file married filing single, but still want to keep the aid-to-working families credit since they contribute most of the cost of child-car? Should the family be forced to file jointly or singly? Would they have to incorporate to include all the partners? Do you realize how many forms would have to be changed?

          • 1) To support the having and raising of children. 2) no. Het marriages are as likely to be childless as gay ones. (A lot of gay guys/gals get kids, anyway. The “baby fund” has become a normal thing to ask for gifts for from gay newlyweds. “In lieu of gifts, would you a make a contribution for our baby fund.” — for guys this means egg from donor and surrogate mother. Gals have an easier time, natch, but yeah.)

            • Het marriages are as likely to be childless as gay ones.

              While I usually agree with you on most points, Sarah, I have to say I doubt this one is true. Do you have evidence for this? Certainly there are some gay couples who’ll want to adopt children together, but will they be anywhere close to the number of heterosexual couples who have kids (whether born or adopted)? Given how many gay people I’ve seen online railing against “breeders”, I have a feeling the number of gay couples who want kids will be significantly smaller than the number of straight couples who want kids. But that’s just a gut feeling, so if you have any evidence on the matter, I’d be interested to see it.

              • I should note that I’ve also seen straight people railing against “breeders”, so there are plenty of straight couples who are childless by choice. But how many of those couples actually get married, as opposed to, say, regarding marriage as outmoded? If we’re talking couples who are traditionally-minded enough to get married, I think my gut feeling holds: the number of heterosexual couples who want children will be significantly greater than the number of homosexual couples who want children.

                • The “breeder” thing is an eco freak thing, not gay or straight.

                  Take in account there are a lot fewer gay couples, but I’d say you’re wrong. Unless my acquaintanceship — right AND left — is highly atypical, they’re running the other way.

                  • I’m going to have to suggest that your acquaintanceship is atypical. When working at a restaurant some 28 years ago, one of the supervisors (who was one of the five gay men working there) came from Boston, where he said that in the community he was from, IF they happened to see a straight couple with children (a very unusual thing), the reaction would be (and at this point he waved his hands back and forth like someone having hysterics), “Breeders! Breeders!”. Given that he never gave the impression of being an Eco-Freak, I have to presume that the reaction was implicit with it being a gay community.

                    Incidentally,when he did this, he went instantly from normal to the epitome of the “flaming homosexual”. I nearly died from laughing.

                  • I’m afraid I have to disagree, Ma’am.

                    “Breeder” is applied outside of eco-freak junk– I’ve got a pretty (unwillingly) wide range of aquantance, and “breeder” is an extremist homosexual thing.

                    Note for those slow to figure it out: most homosexuals would cut themselves first, even the ecofreaks. Using a phrase for “continues the species” as a slur take a special type of stupid.

                  • No, it’s also a childfree thing. And the childfree are such pathological narcissists that when they eventually drag up the eco-freak argument — after spewing all their selfish reasons not to have a child — it’s clear they are doing it in the narcissistic expectation that any such excuse whatsoever makes them better than the unselfish parents.

                    And I once read through something of a “hardcore” childfree board. Wow. They posted a FAQ claiming they meant “bad parents” by “breeders” but their discussion made it clear than “bad parent” meant “anyone whose child impinges on my awareness.”

                • I think you mean to phrase that as “the percentage of heterosexual couples who want children will be significantly greater than the percentage of homosexual couples who want children.”

                  Otherwise the simple fact that heterosexual couples outnumber homosexual couples by a factor of about 20:1 assures you are correct even if 100% of homosexual couples want children compared to 33% of heterosexual couples.

              • The “epidemic” of childlessness is mostly infertility, through marrying late. All the people who marry with the woman older than 25 usually need help conceiving. BUT more than that, a lot of women/guys want no children or only one.
                The gay people I know — not activists — actually are more interested in having kids than my hetero friends. It’s a screwed up age.

                • The infertility thing is why I mentioned adoption, as the point being debated is couples wanting children, not whether or not they’re currently able to have kids without assistance. (A criterion which would automatically exclude gay couples anyway, which is why it’s not a good criterion for this discussion.)

                  As for the point in question: knowing you, Sarah, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to learn that your acquaintanceship is highly atypical. ;-) But since I know my own acquaintanceship is highly atypical*, it’s interesting to get a different view.

                  * All the gay people I know personally are Christians who hold the “feeling the way I do isn’t a sin, but acting on my feelings would be a sin, so I will choose to be celibate” position. So naturally, none of them would be interested in gay marriage personally, as it would violate their conscience. Which is why I can’t really draw conclusions about “how many gay couples are interested in having kids?” from my own personal knowledge.

                  • My brother and his wife tried to adopt. At the time he was a Vice President at a bank, made quite a bit of money, his wife was a college professor, and they had a nice home. After three years they still were not allowed to adopt a baby or a small child. Eventually they decided to go through fertility treatments and had a baby boy. It looks like that is the only one they will have… Yes they would like to still adopt. No, they will probably not get the chance unless they adopt a foreign baby. That is what the state of adoption is now in the Western states.

                    As for me I was almost 32 when I married. If I had married younger I might have had a child or two. Considering ten years later I became extremely ill with a chronic disease– it was probably for the best.

                    • *breath fire*

                      Don’t get me started on how adoption is simultaneously a reason to abort, something infertile couples won’t do AND something that homosexual couples do in sufficient numbers to justify reorganizing society.

                    • It is a sad thing for non-fertile couples… abortion hasn’t done our society any good imho

                      I’ll backtrack and say that I can see one or two reasons– but for birth control– I am totally against abortion.

                    • The only person I know who’s gone from proabort to pro-adopt did so on a demand basis— she finally picked up a paper and found there were articles asking for babies, and they didn’t care what condition or age.

                      No, I don’t want to think on how “horrible slavery” became “acceptable price” because there was demand.
                      Her reasoning was wrong, but her conclusion was right– you can’t just kill people because they’re in the way.

                    • It’s almost impossible to adopt in this country unless you’re wealthy and or have contacts otherwise. Look, we’d have adopted three or four more kids, but we couldn’t afford either the money to go abroad or money and the time it took here, and I wasn’t willing to risk having the baby yanked away because baby daddy got religion and suddenly wanted him/her.

                    • A couple of friends tried to adopt many years ago. I’m not sure how old they were, but I’m almost certain they were under 40, but they were told they were, “too old”.

                    • I wondered if they were told they were too old. They were in their mid-30s.

                    • Oh yes. Our lifespan has grown, but they still don’t allow anyone over 35 to adopt without even more hoops.

                • It may be a “folks you know” thing– none of the homosexuals I know want kids, but half are divorced from men and now married to women, and already have kids.

              • While I agree with your disagreement generally, I can also see building a disagreement based on the way that homosexual marriages largely include divorced women with children, plus the rate of heterosexual marriages (especially Nth remarriages) without children to arrive at a statistically fairly accurate claim.

            • The thing is that het marriages can produce children unpredictably. Which is why societies like you to be married before you chance it.

          • I linked this earlier, but in case the title threw you off:

            http://ricochet.com/member-feed/Marriage-licenses-were-not-introduced-to-prevent-miscegenation

            He goes into why marriage licenses are.

          • For why there’s a tax favor to those making and raising children– here’s me losing my temper at a generally nice lady who decided to whine. Before declaring she doesn’t like whining. *sigh* Humans, they’re so— human!

          • Because the government has an interest in the procreation of children and their stable upbringing. If you were interested in preserving its original purpose, the logical thing would not be extending it but annulling marriages where the couple do not intend to have children. (OTOH, heterosexual couples who are certified medically sterile and do not want children have been known to produce them — one of its advantages is that it can handle situations like that.)

        • And me. Arbitrate contracts (as a last extreme), the formation of those contracts left up to the interested parties, the religious sanction of those contracts left up to the attendant order. Done.

        • Let’s hear it for the separation of Marriage and State.

        • I could go either way. But I think there’s a reason pretty much every culture has some kind of marriage rite. Namely, societies that don’t encourage pair bonding and/or some kind family structure got out-competed by those that did.

          • I’m trying not to imagine the horror of every couple that makes children being at the mercy of the court system. It’s bad enough that the marriage contract can be dissolved at will by a single party, and the well known abuses (mostly of males, but also to any female that tries to put the children first) i the divorces.

            • It’s not so much being at the mercy of the court system, that part’s inevitable, it’s being at the mercy of the biased court system.

        • Why it’s a bad idea:

          http://ricochet.com/member-feed/Marriage-licenses-were-not-introduced-to-prevent-miscegenation

          Incidentally, I knew some female homosexuals who were married; it only came up because they invited my parents who politely refused, and that put a chill on the relationship for a while. (From their side; my folks don’t see the difference between a common law marriage and one with a church in that case.) They divorced well before the definition was changed in Washington state.

          In the case of one, the express reason she wanted it changed was so that she could get the benefits provided for those who will be producing children.

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        IMO it has more to do with “forcing others to approve”.

          • One of my friends is of this opinion. He’s gay. He says they want gay marriage because then mommy and daddy will have to approve (and it’s why he has issues with it.) OTOH I’ll point out that marriage is so enmeshed with government is is a rights thing. If Dan and I were both male and gay, I’d still be here, but it would have taken longer and been much more difficult, because “we want to be together and we’re married” wouldn’t have been enough. Yes, that is a rare situation but I’ve known two gay couples in that position. So… there ARE rights involved. Whether the government should be conferring those anyway, is a matter for another argument.

            • Problem is, every time I’ve read anything where that or similar things (like hospital visitation rights) comes up, it reads like they are just using that argument to put a patina of reasonability on it, not as if it’s a truly important point.

              Of course, my objection remains (besides the point that I hate activist-driven redefinition of words) that I see it as accelerating the coming demographic collapse.

              • Oh, I’m sure they are. BUT that is beside the point. DUmb activists are dumb activists.
                Wayne — no, trust me. THAT is accelerating due to all the hetero “hatred between men and women.” Gay guys aren’t going to marry a woman and have kids just because they can’t marry a guy, and they’re a tiny segment of the population anyway. (Yes, throughout history they have, but it needs either islamic level repression or a sense of family like noble families in Europe. Ain’t gonna happen.) And no person — man or woman — not thus inclined is going to become gay because marriage is legal. That’s just silly.

              • The mechanisms for giving a same sex partner those authorities have long existed in state law. We’ve done a lot of this in our practice.

                The reality is that I’ve seen hetereo couples with problems with medical authority / inheritance from laziness more often than same sex couples.

              • I remember the early days of arguing for it, and the argument I kept seeing over and over. It wasn’t hospital visitation then. It was that they had as much right as heterosexuals to use the courts to divvy up their goods when they separate.

                For some reason that one only had its heyday in the early years.

            • I mean no disrespect, but your friend is either an idiot or deeply delusional if he thinks anyone can be forced to approve of anything. Legal protection and equal treatment, yes, and I’m all in favor of that, but approval??? In any case, smacks of thought police, which come to think of it is one of the goals of your classic lib/prog dweeb.

              • No, he doesn’t think THEY can. He thinks the “activists” think so. That’s why he thinks the fight for marriage, for those people is an insane thing and they’ll never be happy. Hence chasing down cake bakers, etc.
                My friend is a libertarian.

              • I did not understand her to be saying her friend thinks it will force parental approval, but as he thinks the people advocating for gay marriage are delusional enough to believe it will — which is why he disapproves of it, knowing it doomed to disappoint.

              • Perhaps you could explain it to the photographer in New Mexico and the baker in Colorado who have been sanctioned by state boards over refusing to provide services to same sex weddings.

                • And in both cases, which I completely disagree with btw, the businesses have been forced to provide the service or go out of business, which again IMHO stinks, but I seriously doubt that the court decisions required approval as courts tend to not demand the impossible.
                  And as an aside, this sort of legal bullying does not win the militants friends or help their case with the general public, but some radicals just seem to have to be “right” even when it hurts their position.

                  • Well in the Oregon case I believe the labor commissioner is running for re-election soon and is trying to line up votes in Multnomah, Lane and Jackson counties….and the Labor commission also deals with enforcing civil rights. Then you have a judge who makes a decision that if made based on any other protected class would probably have been laughed at, and bingo! Nasty fundie has his face ground into the dirt and forced to make a cake and serves him right. Like anyone wants food prepared unsupervised by someone they have personally humiliated, threatened and blackmailed and called a hater, a facist, irrational and harmful to everyone, and cost tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees.

                • A bakery in Oregon, Sweet Cakes by Melissa, also ran into sanctions for exercising her right to free association.

                • Or tell Mr. Card how he’s still put out a Superman comic.

        • And there is where the interested parties lost a lot of ground by letting activists get a role in the discussion. Because I think you’re absolutely right, those activists are trying to use the issue to force acceptance and approval. Shouting down and shaming the opposition is a strong indicator. And like a lot of people who find activists claiming to represent them, there’s a number of people in the community (perhaps a majority, no way I could know) who are opposed to the activist’s behavior, and opposed to their mission statement. But now they’re shouted down and shamed as traitors to the cause.

          • I don’t think the activists are looking for “acceptance and approval”. I think they’re looking for revenge.

            Which is why they are intent on forcing people to take part.

            • Probably, or same difference. Forcing acceptance and approval is revenge, by my lights. But they may well be far more malicious than I credit.

            • you wrote:
              I don’t think the activists are looking for “acceptance and approval”. I think they’re looking for revenge.

              Upon whom, for what?

              • Christians and Christianity, for the sin of not embracing and approving of them and celebrating how wonderful their gayness is.

                If you ever spend any time discussing this kind of stuff with a gay marriage advocate, once they get past all the boilerplate arguments, and you get down to the root of it, they blame religion for society not being approving enough of their lifestyle, and they want to get back at it. While they claim it’s about getting equal benefits, when you propose domestic partnership, with all the same legal benefits as marriage, they’ll start squeaking about “Separate but Equal”, because they want the Word. They want to inject themselves into the most holy union of Religions, with the force of Government behind it, because they think the Christians will hate it so much. They want to use their presence to defile Marriage to get back at Christianity. There are all kinds of self-loathing implications to this idea, but they ignore that.

                They really, really hate Christianity, and blame it for everything wrong in their lives. Taking Marriage from them and getting the law to force churches to accept them is the form of their revenge.

                And the backlash isn’t going to be pretty.

                • Do they hate Jews as much? Not that that matters. This is a Christian country after all.

                • Heaven help you if you point out that the most homophobic group is that which did the most to fight the deployment of long-standing and highly effective containment method for STDs on AIDS.

                  I have actually read people say, “But they were homosexual activists” as if that were a defense.

                • Ultimately, it’s why I ended up as part of the backlash fairly recently. The examples of the baker, the photographer and the Catholic schools being sued … yeah. They drew the line, and forced me to choose what to stand for.

                  The sad thing is, there ARE people who are LGBT who are aware the noisy majority and pro-them are actively driving away the otherwise tolerant and supportive because “We’re not doing enough” to advance their cause. Being told that sympathy is not enough and that I must become at least bi, or gay myself to truly show my solidarity had me rejecting their demands for tolerance. I don’t tolerate being told I must change for the good of other people’s benefit, nor do I favor the silencing of speech simply because they find it ‘offensive and hateful’ – and mere disagreement is that to them.

              • Their parents. Sometimes Freud is right.

                • You said it, I was holding back …

                • Killing society because they’re still angry at their parents? Talk about needing a clue by four! I thought that most of Freud was discredited?

                  • ….have you INTERACTED with some of these folks!?!?!

                    I was abused all through high school because, roughly, my folks loved me and most of the other kids’ couldn’t be bothered to admit they existsed. My parents don’t always agree with what I do (ask me about home schooling or having more than three kids) but my parents are ALWAYS there, and everyone knew it.

                    I wish folks here knew how incredibly non-violent I am– I flinch from giving calves their shots– so that they could understand how extreme I am being when I wish I could non-fatally gut those who abandoned their children to the point that most of my classmates were abandoned.

                    Not only did their parents not approve of them, but they had no idea why they didn’t approve.

                  • Most of Freud is discredited. But one reason is that he looked at a small sample of highly neurotic upper-class Viennese and extrapolated that to the entire population.

                    In other words, once in a blue moon, you meet someone who really fits one of Freud’s diagnoses.

              • Not agreeing.

                Search for validation, basically.

        • I’m sure that had a lot to do with the manner in which it happened,

          I’ve long said that if gays were actually interested in equality they would have lawyers draw up standard “marriage” packages of trusts, living wills, etc., then petition the state to standardize and normalize those packages, then push for a civil union to get some, if not all, tax benefits, then push for the marriage title. It would have taken a few decades, possibly a generation, but there wouldn’t have been nearly as much resistance or animosity.

          No, I’m convinced that part of the reason tactics like court challenges and “pride” marches were chosen was to rub their sexuality in the faces of the normals.

          • Did you have to say that last part so graphically? Because ew.

          • Some, most assuredly, do want to rub it in people’s faces. I’m curious what percentage that is, versus those who just don’t want to get involved in the whole mess, keep their mouth shut, and get tarred by both sides anyway.

            • Which are the majority, like the majority of sf/f writers.

            • I’m sure most of them aren’t extremist, certainly all the ones I’ve met. Just like most Muslims just want to raise their kids, and most illegal immigrants just want to work here and send money home to their families.

              Most people are fundamentally decent, civilization would be impossible otherwise. Unfortunately history is determined by assholes.

      • I disagree. I believe that the point was to obtain government approval of being homosexual itself.

        Amusingly, a couple of decades back the radical homosexual opinion was that obtaining same sex marriage was the betrayal of what it “meant” to be gay.

      • Yes, it is, and I’m in favor of the government encouraging the formation of voluntary relationships by mutual consent.

        • There’s a difference between thinking the government should encourage an action as a matter of policy and thinking that people have the right to that encouragement, even if they don’t necessarily meet the conditions specified in the policy.

          I’m in favor of government encouraging charitable contributions by making them tax-deductible*. That doesn’t mean I have the right to claim a tax deduction for my contributions to the Jeff Gauch Support Society.

          *Not really, my ideal tax code would be a standard ~$20,000 deduction with a flat ~20% tax rate on anything above, but let’s pretend for the sake of argument.

    • Considering that the early LDS system was defined by the US government as having no right to exist because of the old federal definition of marriage, and that the Utah government was in fact destroyed for the sake of the old definition and the LDS religion remade, I think Card’s position is fair enough. Sort of a “No takebacks now, Big White Chief” position.

      • For example, how would the average Japanese person feel, if suddenly the US announced that we’d decided to send a worship delegation to the Emperor because we’d decided he really was divine?

  7. Apologies for concentrating on just one word in your post — the word Power — but I have a reason.

    Part of the reason the episodes are coming closer together and getting crazier is that they’re losing power and they know it.

    I just started taking a Master’s Degree in Communications. I thought I would be learning about how to communicate better, how to share ideas better, how to create more understanding between people. And in some sense I am. But overwhelmingly so far all the theorists we are studying talk about how communication is about power, about those poor oppressors and how we need to do something to change the balance of power and speak up for the have nots, etc.

    The funny thing is, of course, that in most of the examples, the have nots are the liberal darlings themselves, of course, versus those evil corporations, etc.

    I get the feeling their sense of creating understanding and reasonableness is about the same as David Weber put into the mind of Selkirk in that wonderful little snippet at the beginning of “A Rising Thunder.”

  8. For my money reading Heinlein and Orson Scott Card is neither necessary nor sufficient to prove a troll. The original poster may well be but on the limited evidence (and I acknowledge no right to my opinion because I haven’t trailed through all the threads) I suggest the possibility of non-overlapping Overton Windows. That is within the community the common Overton Window puts the poster on the extreme right. People like me are of course consigned to the outer darkness and my ideas – Austrian or Chicago school or Friedmanesque Milton or David – unworthy of consideration

    I find the notion of non-overlapping Overton Windows often explains left-right usage. In some circles the poster may well be considered a conservative for the very reason of reading Heinlein and Orson Scott Card. Such folks may even be to the right of some of their set.Sadly for them and for the rest of the right thinking population (pun intended) too often the phrase “no enemy to the left” is doctrine and replaces thought

    Anybody who thinks any Mormon in good standing “wanted all gays executed” shows great ignorance of the individual and of the doctrine. And therefore great prejudice.

    As I read Orson Scott Card to say ” because he disapproves of church-observant Mormons being homosexuals” is just a trifle elided missing practicing. Church doctrine as explained and repeated at great length by General Authorities and reflected in what I have read of Orson Scott Card continues to be hate the sin and love the sinner. But and it is a big but while they accept that homosexuality is innate and not a choice I’d say both the LDS church and Card put any homosexual activity (not nature) in a class with HIV positive practicing unsafe sex with the unknowing or a pedophile gratifying his desires when the alternative is abstaining. Seems to me the LDS Church in general places too much faith in the power of prayer and counseling and blessings at the ward level by the local Bishop. You really oughta wanta is a universal problem.

    The suggested association between loss of power and crazier and crazier behavior may well be correct. Interesting to explore fanaticism and redoubling efforts without sight of the objective. As Dr. Pournelle sometimes repeats “this time for sure”

    • While it may be true that, to a member of the Progressive Left, reading Heinlein and Card could be seen as evidence that the person in question is further to the Right than they are, using those examples as evidence to a group the poster believes to be conservative, is not going to convince anyone. Now, it’s certainly possible for a small-c conservative to read and enjoy both authors, but their stories do not contain fodder for providing conservative chops to anyone.

  9. Shucks, I dropped a closing I after practicing in the first sentence of the last paragraph.

  10. Christopher M. Chupik

    Let’s never forget: Card is being blacklisted for having the same opinion of marriage that the current president of the US had . . . until two years ago. And Obama wasn’t treated like this.

    • I love to point that out to people who are in the process of proclaiming that opposing same sex marriage is bigotry. Inevitably, the response is that its OK because everyone knew he was lying.

      ** face palm **

      • Christopher M. Chupik

        Let’s take it further? What about Shakespeare’s opinion of gay marriage? (Yes, he might have been bisexual, but would he have married a man?) Or to bring it closer to home for them, what would Marx say about the subject? ;-)

        • Umm – where did this bisexual Shakespeare idea come from? I am just asking because it is the first time I have seen it. I am pretty sure from his sonnets that he liked his lovers young, nubile, and female.

          • Christopher M. Chupik

            Apparently . . . from those same sonnets. The “Fair Lord” is citied as evidence, but some believe that simply referes to intense platonic friendship between men. As always, there’s a great deal of speculation concerning people whose lives were not well-documented. Take with some salt.

            • Well – I have to keep my salt to a pinch– but I get your meaning.

            • sometimes friendship is just friendship and not sex. Some people are sex obsessed.

              • Christopher M. Chupik

                The young Shakespeare certainly was. ;-)

                • Eh gods, YES. Dan had studied Shakespeare in high school. But I took linguistics and studied the language of the time. I started decoding it for him… It was funny.
                  Also, my son explaining the double meanings to his classmates in seventh grade!

                  • I read “Taming of the Shrew” at ten years old. Of course, I didn’t get the innuendos. The first time I got it was when a professor who studied the linguistics of Shakespeare (and was an English Lit professor) read it to us with his translation. My face was read through the entire semester– and at the time I was a 40 year old woman who had been married close to ten years. ( a lot of tens in there) ;-)

                  • On another note, I took a Noir Film class (English lit) with a bunch of teens and early twenties. We were showed a few scenes– kissing then cut to the smoking. I knew immediately that it was a euphemism for sex. The younger people in the class couldn’t get it. So yes, things change (euphemisms), but everything remains the same. These same young people even thought that the 30s-50s was the innocent time presented by their teachers. Augh… I was laughing at the shock.

            • Sweetie, it’s not. It can’t be if you’re even vaguely conversant with Elizabethan English. Even Thomas Sowell and William Safire finally conceded the point.

          • Sweetie, I’ve been in fights with conservative commenters over this. If the man wasn’t bisexual, he was b*g F*ck nuts. Read the sonnets. Make sure you get all the innuendo…

        • Um…. actually he only openly opposed LESBIAN marriage. (Shakespeare.) “If kissing were all the joy in bed, woman would woman wed.”
          That’s not the point though. In their time marriage was of necessity a generative enterprise. And one of mutual assistance. the pill and careers for women (note I don’t say jobs. Most women have always had jobs. I say careers) has changed that. by Shakespeare’s reckoning ALL OF US who are married are in gay marriages (equal partners. No child unless you choose and often work at it. Etc.) Which is why I say Card’s opinion is the opinion of his time and generation. I don’t agree with it, for the reasons stated above, but he’s entitled to it and it is completely understandable.

        • IIRC, and it’s been a while, Mark would disapprove because same-sex relationships do not produce offspring and so they do not support the State, plus he wasn’t a big fan of marriage in general (distraction from class struggle and so on). Now, Marx the man would be appalled and probably call the police to report sodomists, from what I understand of his personal life. But again, it’s been a while.

      • My favorite is when folks conflate outlawing interracial marriage with marriage not being gender neutral– not recognizing that this would mean that the difference between races is equivalent to that between sexes, which would win the prize for the most racist claim I’ve ever heard.

        • not recognizing that this would mean that the difference between races is equivalent to that between sexes,

          That does not follow. It simply means that the arguments used against same-sex marriage would also apply to anti-miscegenation laws.

          Case in point, when the argument for is “equal protection under the law” the counter-argument that has been raised (raised in arguments in which I have participated) is that “but they have equal protection. They can marry a person of opposite sex, just like a straight person.” That same argumenent could simply be recast “of course they (person of color) have equal protection under the law, they can marry a (person of color) just like a white person can marry a white person.” If the former argument is valid then so is the latter. If the latter is invalid, then so is the former.

          And so on.

          Marriage, as a matter of law, gives an of-age person a relatively convenient means of establishing a legal relationship setting a whole slew of rights and responsibilities with their chosen life partner, or it does when that chosen life partner is of opposite sex. That there is somebody else out there (opposite sexed, same race, whatever criteria one chooses to set for it) with whom one could establish that legal relationship does not make it “equal protection”. That is where the cross comparison comes from.

          • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

            IMO the comparison is only made to label a non-supporter of gay-marriage a bigot since there’s one major difference between the two issues.

            Historically, there have been cross-racial marriages in any time in the past (depending on your definition of race) but “same sex marriages” is a modern thing.

            IE there are no *definite* examples of “same sex marriages” in any past culture or religion.

            You can find plenty of examples where one man marrying more than one wife and some examples of one woman marrying more than one man (usually brothers).

            Even cultures that accepted homosexual relationships appear to not considered such relationships as the same as relationships between man and woman.

            The details often differed but marriage was between the sexes not between the same sex.

            Note, if people want to argue that the definition of marriage should be changed to include homosexual relationships that’s fine but don’t call people bigots when they consider marriage as being between the sexes.

            • Actually, there have been. One finds some reason to excuse them but they do exist. The earliest example of which I am aware would be Hatshupset. The Pharaoh of Egypt would have had wives. That the Pharaoh was biologically female did not change that.

              For the rest it’s arguing over labels. The substance was certainly there.

              And that’s leaving aside the issue that 1) “it’s never been done before” is non-responsive to “equal protection under the law”, and 2) if we accept “it’s never been done before” as sufficient justification for not doing it now or in the future then progress, in all fields, stops.

              • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                Sir, please note I see no problem with people wanting to change the definition of marriage.

                As for that Pharaoh, the pharaohs were considered “gods on earth” and what is acceptable for gods isn’t always acceptable for “mortals”.

                As for “some reason to excuse them but they do exist”, my cynical nature tells me that they exist only for people who want to find examples of ancient “same-sex marriages” in order to call the non-supports of gay-marriage bigots or stupid.

                Of course, as for “equality under the law” that unfortunately is just another way of saying “it isn’t fair” and I have a hard time liking those sort of arguments when the message includes “if you don’t support it, then you’re a bigot”.

                The bigots of the pro-gay marriage lobby convinced me that they aren’t interested in “fairness” but are only interested in “forcing people to approve of them”.

            • Don’t get me started on the YMMV of “race.”

              Seriously, the Scribe for my bootcamp was NOT black– just ask her– but she has sickle cell, so some parts of the Navy classed her that way, but others just classed her as “don’t do stuff to screw with SC,” and… oh, golly. Went to A School with her, she was STILL pissed.

          • That does not follow. It simply means that the arguments used against same-sex marriage would also apply to anti-miscegenation laws.

            No, because they were explicitly arguing that “different sex” is identical to “different race.”

          • As Foxfier mentions, the equivalence is a false one. In formalistic Equal Protection jurisprudence, its not a valid equivalence either. Gender discrimination under Equal Protection doctrine uses a less strict legal text that racial discrimination.

          • This may just muddy the water further, but protected classes as defined by law have specific limits. For example, although it is illegal to discriminate on the basis of age, this does not include defacto discrimination because you can’t hire a 13 year-old to mine coal (or work in other hazardous occupations), or hire one to work graveyard and during school hours, or even refuse to hire anyone under 18 because you wanted to hire an adult instead. If on the other hand(s) you make the same discrimination based on race or religion, that is illegal discrimination. The same thing would be with marriage: Just because it is illegal to prevent marriage for reasons based on skin color, it does not automatically follow that there is any illegality on restricting it on, say, age. The question is, and always has been, whether restricting marriage based on sex is a valid limitation; whether it is like a restriction against marrying someone not of your race, or if it is more like a restriction against marrying a 13 year-old.

            So far I haven’t heard this argument debated to any conclusion, just screaming and finger-pointing. I’m tired of the screaming and finger pointing, I’d be interested in the debate.

          • Really? Did anyone ever in all of history argue against interracial marriages on the grounds that marriage is defined as a union between two people of the same race?

            • Nor did anyone in the age of anti-miscegenation laws argue that “they can still marry someone of their own race”. It would have been a ridiculous argument, as “they can still marry someone of the opposite sex” is in like case today.

              And, frankly, the state lost the right to any “historical/traditional meaning of marriage” arguments when it went after the LDS and polygamy.

              • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                That last bit is a piece of nonsense. [Good Bye]

                • That last bit is a piece of nonsense.

                  Really? You mean they don’t have multiple marriage in the Bible? I don’t recall which passage of the Bible castigated Abraham, Jacob, David, Solomon, and many others for having multiple wives.

                  Plural marriage of various forms, although primarily polygyny, has been common and accepted historically. It remains accepted in many cultures worldwide (although, perhaps, in only one that’s relatively widespread at the present time). “Traditional” by definition. Remember that “traditional” does not have to mean “the most common pattern”. And “recently we have fallen into this habit” does not change that some other habit is part of “traditional”. Just the opposite, in fact.

                  So by going after polygamy and prohibiting it, the state was arguing against traditional marriage (not “the” traditional but “a” traditional). You can’t have it both ways, reject “traditional” on the one hand and then call on “traditional” as a justification on the other.

                  • I see your point in this writerinblack– (polygamy as a traditional marriage) however, I cannot and will not accept polygamy as a good system for women. I am also from a BIC LDS family and have left it. So I know you know– what I know ;-)

                    • It’s a lousy system for women. It is, however, traditional

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      From my readings of the Old Testament, I’d say multiple wives aren’t a good thing for the husband. [Evil Grin]

                    • Oh yes. I read biographies of people in Islamic countries and think “how it is possible that ONE system can make everyone unhappy, including the ones at the top?”

                    • Yes – I don’t know of any woman (historic or even recent) who is happy in this system.

                    • Try comparing “husband is legally bound as a supportive husband to multiple women” to “husband fathers children on multiple women and pays less than a case of beer to each a month.”

                      While I recognize that– to paraphrase a family friend– second or third wives in American plural marriages were generally unpaid housekeepers, they were actually KEPT.
                      Contrast with my sister, who is theoretically equal custody of their son– born with club feet– who pays all medical related to that problem, buys all his cloths, pays all medical outside of nuisance claims and pays for his education programs plus all legal problems related to his being in a “retard program” (early mixed learning–he’s considered normal).

                    • Not quite – In the old days, many of the older women in the polygamy household were told to find their own way when they weren’t useful anymore. Recently in the FLDS culture, the women get welfare and are NOT supported by the husband.

                    • That some folks violated the agreement doesn’t invalidate the agreement.

                      (The tendency to violate it is a big part of the reason against it, in my world!)

                    • If there is no recourse ( many of these women have no recourse) cannot make the agreement. In the end they are chattel (or household belongings).

                    • Very minor argument, polygamy beats the hell out of “women on their own”-gamy.

                      One daddy with five moms is inferior to one dad, one mom, but is better than the “I’m a dumb animal screwing anything that holds still” model for either sex.

                    • Spoken as one who has not been around or seen the aftermath of the system– (I am not trying to be harsh Foxfier, but I don’t think you understand the problems with this system– or what it does to the children or children’s children).

                      I am third/fourth generation from my polygamy lines and I have in my genes– bipolar, schizophrenia, depression, several auto-immunity bombshells. Plus I can go to any of the old families in Utah, Idaho, Southern California, Oregon, and Washington and be 2nd, 3rd, or 4th cousin to all the original LDS families. I have several cousins that are either bipolar or schizophrenic. Plus the more our families intermix, the more the sons express homosexual… so I do think homosexual could really be in the genes.

                      Yes — screw anything that holds still model sounds bad– but polygamy is just one inch above that one.

                    • That tiny inch is why I’ll support it over “guys screw whatever and gals take care of the results” theory.

                      It’s pathetically small, but it exists.

                    • I wouldn’t support either one– yep … the inch is too small for me. ;-)

                    • You grew up with children of the former; I grew up with children of the latter.

                      Of all the kids in our six years, two families had all their kids of married parents whop were still married. We were three of the five kids, and the remaining two are now from separated parents.
                      Fromj 56 kids in my class, 72 in my sister’s and 60-some in my brother’s.

                      Three of any of them that I know are married, five if you count my brother and I.

                      And this is a crazy high income place.

                    • The maimed children of the “do your own thing” generation are going to be the death of us.

                    • This is why polygamy develops in cultures in shock or dissolution. If we don’t halt the dissolution…

                    • Would you ladies mind not talking about tiny inches in this context? I’m at work and I really don’t want to have to explain why I was laughing out loud. :-D

                    • *snort– you probably need a good laugh at work– ;-)

                    • Thanks Robin, I was going cross-eyed…

                    • It is not good for men either. There are only a few more women then men in any given population so a true polygamist society would quickly run out of available women for the young men to marry.

                    • It does. Women go to the older, successful guys.

                    • Well – I was thinking about that point and didn’t get to it. But yes… in modern day polygamy (FLDS and others) the young men are run out of the community as apostates (so the older men don’t have to share the women). Plus many women find themselves espoused at 12 and married before their 14th birthday.

                    • *shudder* I did a lot of research and arguing about that back when the FLDS trial was going on and a lot of conservative blogs were siding with FLDS. The idea of the “lost boys” still scares me almost as much as the human trafficking with some of those girls.

                      Pissed off a lot of people, but holy crud was it hard to believe someone could come to the evidence without already having made up their mind and decide that it was all made up to get the leadership guy!

                    • Oh no– it was all true and makes me shudder as well.

                    • Currently? Today? Owwwww!

                    • Southern Utah near the four corners, Mexico (although I don’t know if that spin-off still practices polygamy), and FLDS that went to Texas. Not counting what is happening in the mid-east or Africa.

                    • Plus the living arrangements– men think it might be nice to have two or more women to fawn on them until they get the opportunity. Women living in such quarters and fighting for the available man time become vicious with each other and the male. If you want to have time with the boys (boys out night), you quickly realize that it causes more problems with the women. ;-)

                    • I think the standard male fantasy is that the women are bisexual, so when he’s taking a break they can amuse one another (and get him back in the mood that much faster).

                    • Ah well – not what happens. Sorry to burst the bubble.

                    • Particularly not in very religious communities.

                      Actually all the cases in which that has happened that I know of, the relationship still broke apart very fast. And no, none of them were from any religion…

                    • What? Wait? What?

                • Well said, and thank you.

                  Someone who refuses to see the difference isn’t going to be swayed.

          • Case in point, when the argument for is “equal protection under the law” the counter-argument that has been raised (raised in arguments in which I have participated) is that “but they have equal protection. They can marry a person of opposite sex, just like a straight person.” That same argument could simply be recast “of course they (person of color) have equal protection under the law, they can marry a (person of color) just like a white person can marry a white person.” If the former argument is valid then so is the latter. If the latter is invalid, then so is the former.

            Mmm, I don’t think so. While it’s true that blacks could marry blacks (of the opposite sex) and whites, whites (otos), neither could marry across the racial line. To make the Democrats’ anti-miscegenation laws analogous to the standard definition of marriage you’d have to say that gay men are allowed to marry lesbians, but not straight women, and straight men can marry straight women, but not lesbians. AFAIK, there is no such restriction.

            • Replying to myself here. Apparently other people have made this same point. I really need to finish reading these threads before I chime in, especially when I’m a few days behind!:-P

        • The ‘your relationship with Rhys was at one point similarly outlawed’ has been thrown in my face a few times. (Filipina + White Australian of British descent) – and yes, I’ve heard it a lot, followed up with the claim that sexuality is as unchosen and unchangeable as ethnicity and skin color.

          • Hmm. . . you know, if their sexual activity really is not their choice — well, they could give, or get, diseases that route. And they can’t help themselves.

            You know, we have laws already for that situation. And nice, secure institutions.

          • Sexuality IS a choice, at least in California elementary (and other) schools. See also: BREAKING NEWS: A PENIS IS NO LONGER A MALE PART

            It’s all San Andreas’ fault.

            • no, no, that’s gender. Sexuality is fixed but which sex you really are is not.

              One wonders what will happen the first time a boy uses that excuse to get a a girl for sexual assault.

              • no, no, that’s gender. Sexuality is fixed but which sex you really are is not.

                Sexuality is fixed unless it stops you from getting the sex you want? That’s how I interpreted it as…

                And I just creeped myself out with “Yes, they want access to the underaged virgins of both sexes. The younger the better.”

                I hate my brain sometimes.

            • Oops — i wasn’t clear. This theory is in the courts: you must let any child use the bathroom that he or she CLAIMS to be — not based on anatomy.

            • Oh Gods above and below. This idiocy. As the friend who linked it to me said “State sanctioned sexual harassment” – and one now wonders if rape will still be a prosecutable crime, or it’ll be the fault of the victims for being discriminatory and not wanting the advances of Harry, known as Hannah that day, and denying him/her/it their sexual needs and desires. After all, we should be accepting with our bodies, regardless of how we feel~! It’s something they can’t help~!!!1

              What? I just used their illogic. I also have no desire to try learn their made up pronouns.

              Yeah, it’s all San Andreas’ fault for somehow being able to support the weight of metric-ton stupid.

              (Aside: I think that raspberry M&M went down the wrong pipe, I laughed at “PENIS IS NO LONGER A MALE PART”)

  11. But wait, there’s more

    Am I the only one who heard this in Billy Mays’s voice in my head?

    OK, going back to finish reading…

  12. Is there a covert way to provoke more of these hissy-fits?

  13. OK, I’ve never expressed this publicly before. I’m 66 years old. I will say I wasn’t very good at seeing the nature of people until I was about 40. That I think was simply a matter of having a big enough sample to process. By then I know that there are certain key words and phrases people of a like nature share, and there are physiological signs they can’t cover, even if they aren’t wired up for a polygraph.
    People who publicly identify as liberal are joiners and obedient. Most of them seem to hold the views we identify in our society as feminine. I think that this is because they learned to appease their mothers and school teachers. I include male school teachers in that because the vast majority of male teachers you could cut their balls off and it wouldn’t alter their actions a bit. The possible exception being coaches, who are expected to be aggressive for sports and teach a class none of the other teachers value like shop. I swear they hire coaches based on disliking them, and physical ugliness, just to fulfill their negative views. The ideal coach is squat, hairy,pig eyed, over muscled, and can barely speak English in full sentences.
    The feminine trait that dominates in our society is to avoid risk.
    The Roman matron telling their son to come home carrying their shield or on it, or the Palestinian mothers refusing scarce food to give to their sons because they are ‘our fighters’ are as weird to most American females as a space alien.
    Low risk means do what you are told. Shut up. Stifle your feelings if you know they are not approved. Say what you know people want to hear. This way of life teaches dishonesty at a deep level.
    I can’t tell you how many men I have known who had an idea for a business or wanted to have their own business such as a store or a shop working the trades, but told me when they put the idea to their wives they were TERRIFIED, and cried and cried, and made the fellows life hell until he promised to drop it. I’ve heard this story over and over again.
    Also the same women deeply believe their husband is an idiot, and the only thing keeping them from ruin and sleeping on the street destitute is that people have not discovered it. But then they are male, and no matter how they profess a commitment to feminine safety women know they have a hidden rotten core of male risk taking and aggression.
    They still feel this way even if their husband is a brain surgeon or CEO of a multi-Billion dollar company. They are sure they are one miss-step from ruin every day.
    I believe that if you suppress all your natural feelings and your life is a facade for your mother and teachers pretty soon you have screwed yourself up internally. You have repressed your true nature so long you can’t FEEL. And the thing about the feelings you profess is you don’t really FEEL them. You can display them. It leaves you with an emotional vacuum. A shell.
    Following what others tell you to do, why should you analyze if your beliefs and adopted causes are factually correct? That isn’t a factor in following them. All that matters is if it gets you safe acceptance in the flock. And that the flock will reward you. If you didn’t believe the flock will always have the power to reward you and punish you then you’d have never started down this road. It has worked in your life for 20 or 30 or 40 years. History? Fairy tales. Things never change because they haven’t in your life.
    Violence is the worst of male qualities that must be suppressed. That why if boys fight both must be punished. There IS no such thing as self defense. It is alien. Better to die than show the ability. So many people tell me they couldn’t act out violence of any sort. These people scare me more than a known serial ax killer. I know what to expect from the known killer. I just have to avoid him or what triggers him. The professed pacifist is the sort that will wake up some day with a bloody dagger in his hand asking what happened. His brain won’t allow him to admit he bloodied it. The short version is this sort of life makes you progressively (pun intended) crazy.
    Denial once learned applies to everything. Deny your own feelings and it isn’t hard to deny anything. If you get caught out it is unnatural to say you were wrong. If you can disown yourself how easy to disown your actions. How easy to disown others too. Loyalty is a handicap. Marriage and other contracts are easily forsworn.
    If you think this analysis is extreme apply it to the worst politician you know and see if it fits.
    Of course since males are evil then heterosexual behavior is just a vice they haven’t figured out how to eliminate. Having children is an embarrassing public sign of this. The state just hasn’t figured out the tech to grow citizens in a vat yet. All other behaviors are automatically superior.
    People who write of other futures than the flock plan, and espouse other visions are from the Devil and need to die. Literally.
    I can meet somebody new now and tell you within a minute now if they are a real person or a sheep. The smarmy smile, the glancing eye meet and then look down, the standing back fearfully so they have to reach to shake your hand oh so carefully. Why, you might not let go. The immediate question what you ‘do’ – how do you fit in the flock?
    Tell me I’m wrong.

    • I think you are right, but I see it from another area. I have a number of very old friends who I have been less and less able to stand, the sort you only see at Christmas and the 4th. They are progressively more and more unhappy each year. One guy told me this year that he figured his problem is that he never listened. Well, I think he is wrong. He was taught early that if he did the right things, got the right degree, said the right words, supported the right causes, voted the right way, learned to shift his position at demand, obeyed and followed the herd, he would be a made man, he would never lack, and he would be provided for. And now he is barely making it on a wage, looking at the wrong side of 40, had little success in life and wondering what he did wrong.
      How do you tell someone that they believed a lie? That they were lied to and mistreated and dumped like a broken tool, because even though they did the right things they…well, they still weren’t the right people, they weren’t related to, or friends of, the right people, and there isn’t room for him and them? I think he listened well, but never engaged any critical thinking, and still can’t come around to any meaningful conclusion other than it was somehow his fault, like he was told.
      I have heard a number of stories of people talking about suddenly coming to the realization that the belief system they were raised in was not true – Eastern bloc refugees mostly – who basically determined that they really had to believe their lying eyes after all. I wish there were a way to condense that into some sort of outreach seminar.

      • I used to go along because it was what most people around me professed. I couldn’t quite believe lots of things of that worldview, but if you are repeatedly told that you are wrong you start to believe it, or if not believe completely at least suspect that maybe, just maybe you really are wrong, and you stop talking about what you do believe because you think that maybe it is, after all, just a fantasy, what you would prefer but is not the reality.

        Besides, being the one black sheep is hard. Life is a lot easier if you just try to blend in. And sometimes the easiest solution of blending is camouflage. Trying to change what you are hurts, thinking of it in sort of adventure story way – you are the spy in a foreign land – makes it tolerable, but if you are the spy then showing your true colors is way too dangerous, and you cease to trust people, even the ones who seem like perhaps they might be your compatriots, and you just keep up the pretense, out of habit.

        You know, it can be damn near impossible for me to make eye contact. And I usually much prefer observing instead of interacting, partly because I have gotten out of the habit of interacting. I don’t trust people.

        • And the hell of it – who knows how many other black sheep there are around. But when most of us keep bleaching our wool… (except those few badasses who are probably wearing the pelt of some hapless white sheep, and of whom you can’t tell whether they are black sheep underneath, or wolves).

          • Yeah, well. I hear what you are saying about having to blend in. But I always said I had a fortunate early run of failures. I stand out in a crowd, I act funny, I always thought funny, and we didn’t have the sort of money to blend in by buying the right toys. I could only blend in by being as not-there as possible. It gave me time to read and think, and I had to get along by being competent.
            (this does lead to introversion as well, and for a time I would get jobs that would let be alone. I started making quotas each day for how many people I had to talk to that I wasn’t buying anything from. Did you know that if you talk to people about what they do for a living a lot of people will blossom out in conversation? Especially if you know enough about what they are doing to understand it? It is amazing.)

            • Birthday girl

              Indeed. I long had a reputation as a good listener, but I am definitely NOT a people person. I just could not for the life of me make chit-chat, so I asked questions that actually meant something. If I can’t think of a meaningful question, I have to remind myself to talk about the weather or whatnot. Funny that.

      • I wish I could disagree with you more, alas. Though I do disagree with that last point about the “what do you do?” question being about “where do you fit in the flock?” There are plenty of people for whom that’s the point of the question, sure — but there are plenty for whom it isn’t the point. For those people, “what do you do?” is a question that will usually get an answer, and is a good stepping stone to more interesting discussion. “Oh, you’re an airplane pilot? Tell me about that: what’s your favorite or least favorite airport to land in, and why?” And so on.

        But for the rest of it? Our school system has been carefully designed to make “men without chests” who will be safe, non-offensive and never rock the boat.

        “We make men without chests and expect from them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst.”

        • That was meant to be a reply to the original (top-level) comment. I clicked the wrong “Reply” link.

    • Overgeneralizing; while we may be excessively risk adverse right now, men are more risk prone and being held back by their wives isn’t always a bad thing.

      This is why you need to be, to steal a phrase, equally yoked.

    • “I can’t tell you how many men I have known who had an idea for a business or wanted to have their own business such as a store or a shop working the trades, but told me when they put the idea to their wives they were TERRIFIED, and cried and cried, and made the fellows life hell until he promised to drop it. I’ve heard this story over and over again.”

      Might be because I’m rather aware of the necessity of the trades and the middle class, but such a venture would not be unopposed by me – the shrinking availability of such workers is seen by myself as a potential opportunity. Indeed the only thing that holds us back is the fact that well, lack of capital and I’m not really sure that any of us is a good manager.

  14. Well dang – I have used the Conservative gambit when talking to conservatives, but since I could leave home I have been more for freedom– thought, movement, religion, what have you that didn’t encroach on someone else’s freedom. So I guess I am more libertarian than the average conservative (read in Yogi Bear’s voice). ;-)

    I enjoy certain Heinlein especially his young adult stuff. I only like one or two OSC particularly Ender’s Game. I enjoy all of Larry’s MHI novels and can’t wait for the next one. ummm… and I am now getting my sf & f fixes with the indies. Seriously I refused to read or watch Hunger Games. The whole premise made me sick, so no– I have done the same to Pulp Fiction– gratuitous violence imho

    • The “Hunger Games” books strike me as more anti-statist than not. The villains are the elites living fat in the capital, after all.

      • The author is a CP USA member, so if it’s there, it’s not what she meant.

        • I’ve never found anything on her politics, I think they’re not mentioning it to avoid fouling the brand. Which is funny, because like Mr. Crawford, many people find most of the themes (movie, anyway) can be easily taken as anti-statist. At least so far.

          If she was trying to promote a communist agenda — well, delicious! Because LOTS of people are using it as talking points about the troubles of government, force, cronyism, etc… Pops up on the internet there and abouts fairly regularly. And I shall cackle with glee!

        • Going off of the folks approaching my mom– the face for the ranch– with ideas, frequently what they think are benefits, we think are horror stories.

          Think along the lines of “living forever”… to someone who believes the world will end in a black hole.

      • Still – when I first saw the book, read the back, then read the first chapter, it was NO. So I didn’t continue. I have feelings about certain things and this wasn’t a good feeling. Slimy actually.

      • Clark E Myers

        Potential spoilers for Hunger Games — What’s the place of District 13? Alma Coin?

  15. Actually not even the comment, which was the stupid, but the way the commenter tried to prove his “conservative” bonafides. It opened with (I SWEAR!) “I’m a conservative. I read Heinlein and Orson Scott Card.”

    Oh, Lordy. I read Mercedes Lackey. One of my “writing mentors” (for sufficient value of “mentor”) was the late Marion Zimmer Bradley. For that matter I read the fictional writings of a self-admitted Trotskyite (guess who).

    I guess that makes me a Liberal, right?

    Where do I get my liberal card?

    • the “I’m a conservative really, BUT” come across the same way to me as “You can trust my word because I’m A Good Christian(tm)” every person who said “IAGC” was a useless weasle who lied their arses off.

      I read Flint’s (and the many co-authors’) 163x and outside Virginia’s works reread them often (sorry Virginia … love your characters but it takes a lot of work for some reason to get through your stories) but then I love the Flint/Webber works (both 163x and H’verse) and of course just finished the Cauldron Of Ghosts … and last night clicked “NEXT” and got the end of the book and said out loud “You Bastards!” Now I gots to wait for the next book.
      But I certainly do not lean anywhere close to Flints end of the political spectrum.
      I find that conservatives have often read even political works by those on the leftoid end of the spectrum, but leftoids almost never have read anything by conservative or libertarian writers (wouldn’t want facts and unapproved knowledge to get in the empty spaces in their heads).

      • ” … every person who said “IAGC” was a useless weasle who lied their arses off.”

        My experience also. A truly good Christian would never describe himself that way. Too much self-knowledge.

      • See also, “I grew up Catholic, but” or “I went to Catholic School.”

        There probably are folks where it’s genuine– heck, I read Card and Heinlein– but it generally doesn’t bode well.

        • Though the sentence “I grew up Catholic” doesn’t mean the person ever believed for themselves what they were taught as a child… and what follows the “but” usually proves that. So they’re usually more honest than the “I’m a conservative, but …” folks.

          • OTOH, the IGUC folks usually horribly mangle Catholic teaching beyond recognition, or just spout flat falsehoods. (Like the “not supposed to read the bible” thing. Ugh! Oppose bad transations=/- can’t read….)

            • I don’t think that counters the point I was making so much as it expands upon it: the people who “grew up Catholic” didn’t believe what they were taught, and (my addition after reading your post) often didn’t understand it.

              Now, some did understand it and are being dishonest about it… but I’ve been in so many discussions where my interlocutor is flat-out clueless about my beliefs… So I lean towards the “most of them just didn’t get it, and still don’t get it” position.

              • There’s a reason my pet peeve theologically is “My Aunt Said”…..”

                • Oh, you’d be fine with me. “My grandma said.” (It wasn’t until I started reading about religion that I found out what a crazy mix grandma had taught me. I’m sure she came by it naturally, too.)

              • Of course, there’s also the possibility of bad teachers (i.e., teachers not teaching Catholic doctrine correctly). I know my former roommate, who converted to Roman Catholicism after growing up Protestant, has complained to me about the teachers in his “basic Catholicism” class (it has an actual name, but I forget what it’s called) getting it wrong. He’d done his reading beforehand and he knew what they were supposed to be teaching, and they were saying stuff that was almost-but-not-quite right.

          • I did grew up catholic. My middle sis likes to say there are two kinds of catholics. Good ones, and the rest of us who never go to any kind of church without some other reason (weddings, funerals, bingo, etc).
            I think she still believes in god but I am not positive.
            One of the things that annoys me about evangelical Atheists is they act like “In God We Trust” on our money is going to somehow make them believe or maybe it burns into their skin upon touching it or something … I stopped believing sometime around the same time I had doubt about Santa and the Easter Bunny, yet all that CCD and Confirmation did nothing to sway me. But I was a kid, and Mom said “Go” so I goed … but a motto the majority of Americans believe is true that I do not is certainly not worth the effort to huff and puff about. Next they’ll demand we remove the “Dead Language” from it as well as E Pluribus Unum is insulting to those who do not know Latin or some such. Then again, most of those fools also get insulted when someone has the temerity to wish them well with a “God Bless”. As I told one moron “That’s ‘Good Christian” for “Good Luck’ or ‘Have A nice Day’. Shut your pie hole after answering with a simple “Thank you” or bid them good day or something appropriate”.
            Zealots are a pain to those around them. I you are tired of people acting like you’re an insufferable arse, it would help if mayhap you stopped acting like an insufferable arse.

    • Eric Flint writes some great stuff!

    • Waaaaaaaaait you mean the authors we read now = our politics, not because we enjoy what they’re writing and the stories they tell?

      … You know, I suddenly realized that I am actually largely unaware of most of the politics of my favorite authors… and by large do not care.

      That’s completely unforgiveable, right? /tongue firmly in cheek

  16. Christopher M. Chupik

    To preempt any trolls who show up on this thread:

    “Oh Sara Hoyt, why you hate women and minorities so much?”

  17. Alex Pournelle

    Not to throw in a paid comment, but:

    Perhaps a unidimensional method of measuring political attitude can be improved; say, a two-dimensional method might better describe one’s outlook and affiliation:

    http://www.baen.com/chapters/axes.htm

    • Neo-cons seem to be in the same 3.5/3.5′ area as “Welfare Liberals”; the difference is in the goals they seek, not in their faith in Big Government, nor in its power to Do Good. Has your father ever discussed how neo-cons affect the applicability of the Pournelle Axes?

    • There’s a 2d quiz that measures your beliefs in economic and personal freedom at Advocates for Self Government. It’s been around for many years and does a fairly accurate job of measuring political beliefs.

    • Thanks for remembering to link to the pournelle axes.

    • Greetings AP,

      I thought of posting the axes but I sent Instapundit’s comments and link, for this essay, to your father instead.

  18. A thought to consider. What does one mean by “conservative”. It would appear that to a “liberal” (and, note, the same “what does one mean” could be applied here as well) “conservative” is just a catch-all for “anything I hate”.

    I just read Goldwater’s (ghostwritten, I understand, but he put his name to it) “Conscience of a Conservative” ( http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1481978292/ref=as_li_tf_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=1481978292&linkCode=as2&tag=coldserv09-20) and the “conservatism” described therein is a lot closer to libertarianism than what passes for “conservatism” in many circles today. I was a bit concerned at the start of the book when he talked about the need for conservatism to deal with “spiritual values” (which, to many these days, means the Christian Religion) since I am not a Christian, nor am I likely to become one but it soon became clear that he was talking pretty much about liberty and its effect on the psyche.

    One big area where he differed with what many Libertarians (capitalization here and above not accidental) is that he recognized that we were at war, not particularly a shooting war (although there were aspects of that elsewhere in the world), but a war being fought by “other means” and that our first priority had to be to win that war. Then the war was with International Communism. Today it’s with Militant Islam.

    On the other hand we have “conservatives” (so Identified by self and others) who say things like they think the Constitution should be brought closer in line with the Bible or “compassionate conservatives” who cede the argument that Federal government aid is the best way to help the poor and only quibble a bit over the form that aid should take or “neo-cons” which are basically somewhat hawkish liberals. Well, the term gets applied to all sorts of things that aren’t even mutually compatible let alone part of a consistent philosophy.

  19. I’m a conservative, I’ve read Karl Marx and Adolph Hitler. I think your mind shutting down is appropriate. Ideas are not viruses that are contracted by casual contact. Except by the dimmest bulbs who only read people who reinforce their current opinions.

    Had the induhvidual said, “I’m a conservative, I AGREE WITH Robert A. Heinlein” you’d know the speaker is either an ignoramus or a liar. Mr. Heinlein was not a conservative, and I enjoyed much of his fiction, but I often disagreed with his non-conservative social opinions, and I find space to disagree because of our shared libertarian opinions.

  20. The nominations for March themes have been made. Vote for your choice here:

    https://www.goodreads.com/poll/show/97629

  21. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    Getting Onto The Soapbox.

    I’ve heard several people here talking about “getting the government out of marriage”.

    While it sounds like a “good idea” the problem is that the term for the religious ceremony and the signing of the secular paperwork is the same term.

    As some of us saw in the Baen’s Bar Politics conference, some atheists get very upset with the idea that they “aren’t married” because they only did the “secular paperwork”.

    And of course, as plenty of court cases have shown, plenty of gays want the “term” marriage as well as the legal benefits that come from the secular paperwork.

    So IMO “getting government out of marriage” is only a pipe dream. [Said while smoking my pipe (with tobacco)]

    Getting Off The Soapbox.

    • That the terms are coincident between government and religious ceremonies is a result of government issuing a ‘license’ for marriage. Holding the religious ceremony does not confer marriage, in the government’s eyes (immediately, with caveats, regional applications do apply).

      The idea of getting government out of marriage is the idea of removing the licensing and (for me, at least) incentive structure. Civil contracts can be formed without any government involvement, and if needed they can be dissolved the same way. The government’s role in these cases would be arbiter in the extreme dissolution. As for all contract disputes.

      Marriage as a word should be a social and religious term. In that instance, if two people wish to claim marriage, it’s not my place to disabuse them, but society’s acceptance is not a given. As with the atheists, some do believe they are not married, because they hold marriage as a religious institution. In these cases, those wishing to refer to their contractual arrangement as marriage get the joy the rest of us have, the joy of accepting the freedom to be disagreeable.

      As in the above paragraph, marriage is a social and religious term, but no one has exclusive ownership. If a homosexual couple wants to form a civil union, sign the appropriate contracts and call themselves married, okay. They now have the benefits of the civil paperwork and the word. Insofar as the word conveys any ‘actual’ benefit.

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        I’ll let you “fight it out” it out with those atheists and will sit down with popcorn to enjoy the fight.

        • What fight? I agree with them, they are married.

          If, however, they’ve taken it in their heads to force others to accept their ‘marriage’ despite any religious objections then, yes, fighting may ensue. And popcorn provides insufficient protection.

          • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

            Sorry Eamon, like too many gays, they want the “official name” for their union to be marriage. So telling them that “marriage” is now officially only a religious term will start a fight.

            Again, you can’t get to “marriage is officially only a religious term”. You’ll need a permanent dictatorship to get there and you’d likely have to bash plenty of heads in order to get there.

            • I don’t see why marriage is officially only a religious term. “Religious marriage” as opposed to “Civil marriage” works for me.
              I WANT the term marriage — because it comes freighted with assumptions that I WANT to keep in there. Faithfulness, mutual pulling together (stop sniggering you) etc.

            • You misunderstand, I don’t want marriage to be officially only a religious term. Or officially a civil term. All I want is for it to not be a government term. Or more accurately, a government license.

              I’m not going to bash anybody’s head over word choice. So long as they understand I’m not going to stand by while they bash someone else’s head over word choice.

              If they want official sanction from government for their activities, then we have a philosophical problem. If they want social sanction for their activities, then they have a cultural problem. If they want religious sanction for their activities then it’s a problem to be addressed by the appropriate religious authority. So long as they accept that they have no authority to force society or religious institutions to sanction or ‘agree’ then I have no issues.

              • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                Sigh. Eamon, IMO you can’t get there from here.

                • Fair enough. I don’t know that we can. But windmills bug me…
                  ;)

                  • No governmental privileges for the married? So a stay at home mother (or father) is simply an unemployed adult? Not even a deduction on taxes? Don’t we have enough anti-reproduction memes in place yet?

                    Not just the government, but the entirety of the legal system treats married couples differently than [insert other term]. The hospitals that need permission to do this or that assume spouses can authorize but a “boyfriend” or “partner” can’t, not to mention simple automatic access and visiting. In probate, the automatic assumption that a spouse inherits, and can and ought to fight a will if it doesn’t second that. For the most obvious two.

                    Once you allow the usage of two terms, the rot set in. It is not equal.

                    Paul and I have done our three rounds in the ring, so I won’t post further on the matter.

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      And I still have the scars. [Very Big Grin]

                    • Acknowledging from the top that I’m talking theory, and application is somewhere between here and there, yeah, no governmental privileges. I include the judiciary in government, and believe legal activities outside the judiciary could be handled privately and arranged appropriately (Yes, I know that’s a massive oversimplification. No, I don’t believe this is a short-term project)

                      I’m unclear what stay-at-home parent vs unemployed adult impacts, though I do not doubt it does have some impact. I just can’t answer the question.

                      For the record, I have no interest in any more anti-reproduction memes. I’m very much pro-production, myself. That being said, I don’t believe it’s an appropriate role of government to attempt to incentivise social behavior. And I believe that the various attempts to do so have resulted in a burdensome and complex legal system that inevitably runs afoul of somebody’s personal pursuits. This is because we are not a heterogeneous society. Social and cultural incentives are the realm of society and culture, government’s blundering giant with a big hammer is — counterproductive, at best. I simply don’t believe government can effectively stimulate reproductive behavior. People are going to have children (or not) based on their own drives and opinions. While government most assuredly can make it more burdensome, that’s not an argument for loopholes, IMO.

                      I’ve no interest in stepping in a ring, so no more rounds are necessary. *Open palms, hands up, friendly smile* :)

                      At core, my philosophy revolves around maximizing individual freedoms. Social utility arguments leave me cold, though I’m far more sympathetic to some on a local and limited scale. I evaluate the impact of law on the individual first, society second, and government a distant third. All else flows from there.

              • Well, there’s already noises about suing religious groups to force them to hold marriages for people their rules don’t allow them to marry. Of course, the Church is always getting persecuted for marrying people the government doesn’t want married, and not marrying people it does.

                • And I stand in absolute, adamant opposition to such suits. And I know many gay folk who do as well.

                  This sort of fight is will undermine everything the activists have said and backlash on anybody even tangentially allied with them. Smart folks want no part of it. Which gets them tarred.

                  Nevertheless, I will continue to oppose the use of force against religious institutions to attempt to coerce compliance with practices they do not support.

                  • They say it– how much do they do it?

                    I know a lot of liberal homosexuals who say they violently oppose this or that…but are utterly silent, or worse.

                    • I have no reason to question their veracity or their commitment because of their sexuality.

                      I know of far too many people in all sorts of situations who are silent in their opposition to the excesses of the radicals amongst them. Those I reference are not.

                    • I have no reason to question their veracity or their commitment because of their sexuality.

                      It’s not questioning because of their sexuality, but because they’re still human.

                      There’s a big enough problem of “somebody will do it” that it’s a major cause of death in emergencies– you have to pick out a specific person and say “YOU, go get help.”

                    • There’s a big enough problem of “somebody will do it” that it’s a major cause of death in emergencies– you have to pick out a specific person and say “YOU, go get help.”

                      This has not been my experience, though I grant there are significant regional variations. To whatever extent people hesitate in emergencies, it’s a result of a campaign to ‘leave it to the professionals.’ While that has it’s applicable situations, it’s encouraged behavior in all sorts of situations. And still, largely not my experience.

                      As I said, I have no reason to doubt their veracity or their commitment.

                    • “I have no reason to question their veracity or their commitment because of their sexuality.”

                      How many of those claim to oppose such suits, while still donating money to organizations supporting and filing such suits? I have heard the Log Cabin Republicans president come out against such suits, while still advocating for gay marriage. This is the ONLY gay rights group I have heard come out against such suits. And they are not even commonly acknowledged as existing by most other homosexual groups.

                    • advocating for gay marriage doesn’t mean you want to force churches opposed to it to perform it. At least two of my gay friends who would like to get married (not to each other) are religious and one doesn’t want to force his church to perform his marriage. The other’s denomination is okay with it.

    • In Portugal they’re separate. Civil marriage and religious marriage. Religious marriage is not binding and most churches won’t perform it without the civil having been performed first. We had our civil in the US and our religious wedding in Portugal, but most people just go to the townhall two weeks ahead, with no fanfare, and it’s not considered an anniversary. That’s the religious ceremony. Unless you’re my brother and all you have is the civil, in which case it’s the big wedding, in my parents’ living room.
      THAT is the sort of thing I mean, and then you can see how to get government out of it. “this is the standard contract. This is the company that records you signed it.” There’s no reason the government should do it, any more than the government keeps track of wills. It recognizes them as a contract (I think. Don’t kill me) but it doesn’t issue them or keep them. We have ours filed with a lawyer, which reminds me I need to make a new one and change executor and also the person to whom I granted the right of continuing my work.

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        Sarah, when I hear “getting government out of marriage”, it is always framed in terms of “marriage officially only being the religious term”.

        On Baen’s Bar the idea was that “civil marriage” would be replaced with the term “civil union” for all “civil unions” gay or otherwise.

        After I supported the idea, one otherwise reasonable female Barfly jumped me for “daring to say that she wasn’t married” because she and her husband never had the religious ceremony.

        We have already heard from the gay community that “civil union” no matter if it has the same legal benefits isn’t good enough. It *must* be legally called “marriage”.

        IMO you’re “tilting against windmills” here. There are too many vested interests in keeping the legal term “marriage” as the name for the government paperwork.

        • Fine. Let’s call religious marriage Blessed Union. :-P And make it REALLY hard to break.

          • Hey, that second part might make it rather unpopular.

          • Birthday girl

            Didn’t they try that somewhere in Alabama or Arkansas? Covenant marriage, I think it might have been called? Whatever happened with that?

            • Birthday girl

              Well I got my fat fingers off the couch and surfed for it. Apparently, there is a legally distinct category of marriages called covenant marriages in Louisiana, Arkansas, and Arizona. With stricter standards for obtaining divorce. And the number of couples choosing this option is vanishingly small, like 1%.

              • 1% can be a lot of people if you are talking about 1% of millions of people.

              • Not sure about the other states, but Louisiana’s seems to be really new– like 90s– and was more like 2% as of ’09– which is the low end for guestimates of total homosexuals in the total population. (Keep in mind, the high end of 10% was based largely in prisoner interviews, and included prison rapes.)

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        Sarah, technically that’s the way the US works. Unless the minister/pastor/priest has been given the authority to “sign” the legal paperwork, the religious marriage is “meaningless under secular law”.

        Which is part of the reason why I consider this talk about “getting the government out of the marriage business” silly.

        • Clark E Myers

          Don’t take the bar in Idaho.

          • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

            So what’s the Law in Idaho? I was talking generally and to the best of my knowledge.

            • Clark E Myers

              Technically you are correct about the grant of authority but then again the grant of authority is general. Priests or ministers of any denomination, and judges, or other designated officials, i.e., mayor or governor may perform weddings. This includes Pastafarians and Jedi users of the Force.

              Historically common law marriage has been favored in Idaho – so somebody whose SCA character is Friar Tuck could do a handfasting with legal effect. This was modified in 1996.

              • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                Well, your comment about “passing the Idaho bar” implied that I was extremely off. [Smile]

                • Clark E Myers

                  We can go far afield arguing about the meaning of religious, authority - the minister/pastor/priest or a (Get Ordained for free! Register as a minister today!) and sign.

                  Colorado for instance continues to recognize common law marriage with some caveats:

                  “Nothing in this section shall be deemed to repeal or render invalid any otherwise valid common law marriage between one man and one woman.”

                  Even a failed religious marriage as a Mass by an imposter may yet be a meaningful that is valid common law marriage by first intent.

                  And the authority again is generally granted ab initio in Colorado:

                  CRS 14-2-109
                  Solemnization and Registration.
                  • A marriage may be solemnized by a judge of a court, by a court magistrate, by a retired judge of a court, by a public official whose powers include solemnization of marriages, by the parties to the marriage, or in accordance with any mode of solemnization recognized by any religious denomination or Indian nation or tribe. Either the person solemnizing the marriage or, if no individual acting alone solemnized the marriage, a party to the marriage shall complete the marriage certificate form and forward it to the county clerk and recorder within sixty days after the solemnization

                  I knew a couple who did a handfasting at sunrise on Pike’s Peak and she filed as a party to the marriage.

            • Idaho Domestic Relations Statues:
              “32-303. By whom solemnized. Marriage may be solemnized by any of the following Idaho officials: a current or retired justice of the supreme court, a current or retired court of appeals judge, a current or retired district judge, the current or a former governor, the current lieutenant governor, a current or retired magistrate of the district court, a current mayor or by any of the following: a current federal judge, a current tribal judge of an Idaho Indian tribe or other tribal official approved by an official act of an Idaho Indian tribe or priest or minister of the gospel of any denomination. To be a retired justice of the supreme court, court of appeals judge, district judge or magistrate judge of the district court, for the purpose of solemnizing marriages, a person shall have served in one (1) of those offices and shall be receiving a retirement benefit from either the judges retirement system or the public employee retirement system for service in the Idaho judiciary.”
              According to http://legislature.idaho.gov/idstat/Title32/T32CH3SECT32-303.htm

              But also:
              “32-308. Validity not affected by want of authority. No marriage solemnized by any person professing to be a judge, justice, or minister, is deemed or regarded void, nor is the validity thereof to be in any way affected on account of any want of jurisdiction or authority: provided, it be consummated with a full belief on the part of the persons so married, or either of them, that they have been lawfully joined in marriage.”
              From: http://legislature.idaho.gov/idstat/Title32/T32CH3SECT32-308.htm

        • Oh yes. In California you can be licensed for a one-time thing. I read a blogger who was asked to perform one. . . .

          he observed that the form included a notice that the state was not responsible for injuries suffered by him, or inflicted by him, in the course of the event. Apparently the shotgun marriage is not quite dead.

    • As some of us saw in the Baen’s Bar Politics conference, some atheists get very upset with the idea that they “aren’t married” because they only did the “secular paperwork”.

      Sharing a weakness I probably shouldn’t….

      They’re idiots.

      My husband and I are married outside of the Church. I’m observant Catholic, he was baptized but his godparents failed so bad he didn’t know until after we were married, but we’re married outside of the Church because when I tried to do the pre-marriage stuff I couldn’t get a call back. When I tried to talk in person, they just gave me the number again…and nobody called back. Six months later, we decided it was better to be married civilly than to live in sin and married in my folks’ living room. The local parish… I didn’t even try, because I don’t speak Spanish. Yes, that matters. The Sunday before Christmas, they passed on having an actual sermon and instead had a lay guy asking for more money for the illegals at the other parishes our priest covers. (Don’t get me started on priests ignoring the whole “render unto Cesar.”)

  22. OSC writes a column for a right-leaning local Piedmont NC free weekly paper. He reviews movies, TV, chocolates, ice cream, local restaurants and (recently) MS Windows 8 (he doesn’t like it.) He will occasionally write a Civilization Watch column (maybe three, four times a year) in which he bewails Democrat foreign policy (especially in the Global War On Terrorists And Those Who Love Them) and Republican Domestic Policy (especially on the 2nd Amendment.) I would classify him as a Scoop Jackson Democrat, probably one of the last in captivity. But they are driving him out of the party for failing to toe the party line.

    Heinlein was also a Scoop Jackson Democrat, at a time when they were more rare. His economics was never very good (I just reread Door Into Summer on audiobook and can’t determine if his description of 21st Cent econ was serious or parody) but he (and Card) had seen enough of the World to recognize that America, while imperfect, was still far and away better than any competing polity.

    But what RAH and OSC are is apostates, than whom none is more viciously denounced by the Church of the Enlightened Mind.

    BTW – the commenter attempting to prove his conservatism makes the mistake of thinking that conservatives accept all members in good standing if they flash the gang signs and give the secret handshake. Such folk are incapable of understanding that we Conservatives have to prove it every day by our arguments and our actions and that there is no approved reading list for membership — you have to have understood what you read and be able to apply it.

    I am a conservative. I read Heinlein and Card, as well as Rand (well, actually, I can’t stand her novels — she should have used Western union) Flint, Delaney, Drake, Ringo, Kratman, Hoyt, Clement, Dickson, Kornbluth, LeGuinn, Lackey, Pratchett, Niven, Pournelle, McCaffrey and assorted labels on products left lying around the bathroom when nothing else was available.

    • “But what RAH and OSC are is apostates, than whom none is more viciously denounced by the Church of the Enlightened Mind.” Spot on, RES. Card is a Democrat, but he’s the kind with the wrong ideas, hence the venom spewed towards him. He’s not a race-traitor (to use an analogy) but an ideology-traitor.

    • BTW – the commenter attempting to prove his conservatism makes the mistake of thinking that conservatives accept all members in good standing if they flash the gang signs and give the secret handshake. Such folk are incapable of understanding that we Conservatives have to prove it every day by our arguments and our actions and that there is no approved reading list for membership — you have to have understood what you read and be able to apply it.

      Our weakness, and our strength…..

      We don’t just accept what folks say after they show “we are like you.”

      On the other hand, we accept folks if they’ll prove what they say, even if they’re not like us.

      What’s that guy, Levi Something over at Whatshisnames’s blog where after Levi was excommunicated he still had a forum because he’s rational?

  23. From the “we must scream louder because they’re ignoring us” file: The latest hoop in academic job applications is, in addition to the letters of recommendation, CV, statement of teaching philosophy and writing sample, is the “community outreach” or “diversity statement.” This is where you explain how you focus on reaching out to students who are members of “previously under-served communities/minorities” and who are taking your classes or might take your class. At best, you explain that you understand that first-generation college students might have a harder time with some things, and discuss how you work with disabled/”special needs” students. At worst you outline how you teach Latina/os differently from African Americans from Anglos from Native Americans from students of Middle Eastern origin (ie Muslims) from straight from LGBTQ (if you can lump them together, which might not be the case) and you get the idea.

    • Oh, you just pinched a sore nerve there, TXRed–as a person who keeps filling out academic job applications I have come to regard these diversity statements as Rorschach tests for Liberalism. Do I write that I don’t a hoot about diversity–everybody gets taught equally (and besides, University is stronger than Diversity)? Or do I put on the mask and try to push the right buttons? It’s maddening.

      • I’ve been trying the mask, but so far I’m 0-40 more or less. That said, I suspect there are “flaws” in my CV that have more weight with committees than does my rather pro-forma genuflection to ” the importance of assisting learners from previously under-served or marginalized communities achieve their educational goals.”

      • Why are you trying to get a job in academia?

        • Because she likes to eat.

        • Because I’m a d-mn good teacher at the advanced high school and college level. And having a regular salary and being paid to do research would be really, really nice. At the moment I’m pulling together a few different odds and sods, and I still dream of being able to teach at a decent college. Although I suspect the door has closed, I’m going to keep knocking for a while longer.

  24. “I’m a conservative. I read Heinlein and Orson Scott Card.”

    Ah… I think I’ve read most of Heinlein ‘s writing and some of Orson Scott Card. I hope that doesn’t make me a conservative or libertarian

    Seriously, when did SF reading and enjoyment become a politicized?

    • Everything is politicized by the Left.

      • “I’m a conservative. I read Heinlein and Orson Scott Card.”

        I’m a conservative. I read the New York Times and the Washington Post.

    • That’s just it. EVERYTHING is politicized. I mean, I know you’re being facetious there, but they’ve politicized your choice of television network (Fox News vs. MSNBC), your choice of television SHOW (Duck Dynasty), and your choice of fast food restaurant (Chick-Fil-A).
      What gets me is that our education is so lacking that people don’t realize how hard some of them are driving towards “everything in the state, nothing outside the state” fascism.

      • Birthday girl

        YES, laughing with tears, metaphorically …. we love Chipotle Grill. When certain of my relatives, lefties of the most self-congratulatory style, learned this, they were astonished. “But aren’t they the place with the organically raised meat and dairy? You like them?” They couldn’t separate the tasty food from the political green-weenie slogans and Dr. Bronner-style notations on the soda cups. And oh the irony … Chipotle’s owner doesn’t donate to political causes, only to things like feeding programs … hence the recent boot-on-neck treatment over hiring illegals. Not that I’m defending that, but isn’t it ironic that all the hundreds of D donors that do the same thing didn’t get the neck-boot treatment … well, I haven’t looked recently, maybe he has been rehabilitated. All I know is the food is still good and there are more clueless slacker anglos behind the counter these days.

        • Chipotle is good, but the local place to go is Freebird’s. And if I had to guess at their politics… eh. I don’t care. I really don’t care.

          In some sense it’s one of the reasons O’Sullivan’s law works. On the other hand, those steak and bacon quesaritos are just too good.

    • between 20 and thirty years ago.

  25. I’m still not sure why they turned on Heinlein, but I think it was his unwillingness to go along with the demonization of the US that had become fashionable, …

    The Vietnam War.

    The Baby Boom members of the American Left decided that Good was Evil and Evil Good in that war, largely because of a well-orchestrated publicity campaign put on originally by the Red Diaper Babies (the children of the American Communists of the 1930’s and 1940’s). They directly sided with the totalitarian invading force against the South Vietnamese, and they so wed their honors and fortunes to this that, even when the Communists took over Southeast Asia, and the mass killing really started, they could not reverse their course. This led to an increasing campaign of reality-denial that spread outward from justifying their original betrayal of the Free World into justifying every future and similar one.

    Robet A. Heinlein, who above and beyond everything was an American and Free World patriot, did not go along with the Left to be fashionable in the late 1960’s, and since then became anathema to them. His subsequent bouts of sanity (for instance, his support for missile defense over Mutually Assured Suicide) only made matters worse to those for whom going with the flow was more important than exercising their intellects.

  26. It opened with (I SWEAR!) “I’m a conservative. I read Heinlein and Orson Scott Card.”

    Right at that moment my mind shut down. Because the chances of that person being conservative are about the same of my being an aardvark, and I just looked in the mirror. I’m not.

    A Navy former friend that is against guns in any hands but select gov’t authorities, isolationist, redistributionist and a whole laundry list of other lefty causes… who self-describes as a conservative because he believes Obama is a centrist, not a right-winger.

    • So… the guy might really think he’s a conservative, because he’s willing to read those horrible, tainted authors rather than burning the books of those who Are Not Tolerant.

      • The Libs scorekeep by what they read, hence “keeping score” as a faux conservative by citing Heinlein and OSC. Lib shorthand that is not often used by the rest of us. Whenever I see or hear “I am a ____ because I _____ _______”, I know I am dealing with a phony. Most of the rest of us are who we are, and believe what we believe, and might follow with a citation, but rarely lead with one.

  27. And having found how exaggerated ONE accusation is, these people will never believe the next group-madness episode. And then people start believing everything you say is a lie and believing the opposite. It’s inevitable.

    Example: drug warning labels. After you call the poison control two or three times for a toddler that ate three times the amount used to brush, and eventually you find out that even a feather weight would have to eat half a tube– or you call about hand sanitizer, and find out they’re worried about kids getting DRUNK– you’re tempted to ignore them. I don’t, because I know sometimes they’re accurate, but….

  28. Just as a minor point, folks, arguing about gay marriage is deckchairs/Titanic stuff.

    “Chicago’s per person number is even worse than the Morningstar report found — [president of the non-partisan Civic Federation budget watchdog group Laurence] Msall noted the $18,596 figure does not include pension debt at the CTA, Chicago Park District, Cook County Forest Preserve District and the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District. In Chicago, the per-person pension debt for City Hall pension funds was alone is $7,149.”

    http://www.the-american-interest.com/blog/2014/02/02/in-chicago-if-you-have-a-pulse-you-owe-20k/

  29. …I… tried to read the original post-binary link. I tried. I really did. And then closed it, because the incoming cyclone is giving me enough of a headache.

    Read Sir Correia’s rebuttal instead. And felt my mind return from hardlocking and failing to respond to the killall command my soul was trying desperately to enter into my mental terminal. Mind needs restart.

    *buries face in hands and whimpers, for her mind hardlocked on the indescribable stupidity of “Post-binary gender in SF is the acknowledgement that gender is more complex than the Western cultural norm of two genders (female and male): that there are more genders than two, that gender can be fluid, that gender exists in many forms.”*

    OH GODS IT HURTS WHY IS IT NOT HURTING THEM?!

    • The liberal mind is designed with many tiny compartments that are designed to keep all their conflicting ideas apart, lest they come into contact and the resulting cognitive dissonance blow their heads off like an anti-matter explosion. It’s how they’re able to think things like being opposed to the death penalty, yet wish their political opponents could be sent to prison where they could get shanked by another inmate. Or be opposed to Rape and Racism, yet wish Sarah Palin could come to New York and be gang raped by black men (Who would gladly do it at the behest of Sandra Bernhardt, or at least so she believes.)

      BTW, do I know you on LJ?

      • don’t know about you but I do know her there.

      • Possibly, if you’ve participated on a few discussions on jordan179’s LJ. Might have seen me there a few times over the years as cutelildrow. I’ve also participated in a few discussions on ford_prefect42’s LJ and there’s a certain amount of cross-pollination of friendslists there. Headnoises / Foxfier and Mary Catelli have mentioned this lovely blog to me on and off again and I’ve been reading, and finally worked up the courage to participate.

        I often read that a liberal (well, progressive, I would say, because Down Under, a Liberal here would be somewhat closer to the US idea of Conservative; Democrats are closer to Labor Party) has problems understanding how other political philosophies think. After your description, I … end up wondering how they are able to even believe anything at all, regardless of whether or not it’s backed by science or history or fact or all the things they profess to use to be superior over the ‘religious, irrational conservatives’ – Coz that line still makes my brain go record-scratch-stop. I’ve found myself encountering more of that lately (And I still haven’t gotten past the ‘all p-i-v sex is rape, even if it’s consensual’ concept some feminazi came up with.)

        I’m not sure that progressive thought is… thinking, especially given that example. Can we find a more accurate term for it, perhaps? I’ve never been fond of their appropriation and changing of terms.

        • That PIV makes me go cross-eyed too– cross-brained as well

          • I spent today listening to my roomie rant about the stupid tech support calls he had to reject hard over the years. I think the one where someone called him to troubleshoot ‘computer overheating due to it being in flames’ is still the dumbest call ever, but the one where computers are powered by the Internet (thus, no reason to pay POWER BILLS) came damned close. There’s been a number of ‘using magnets on computer cases and then being surprised the data’s gone’ and ‘stuff not being plugged’ but those two were… special.

            Some days, I wonder how people such as these manage not to kill themselves more frequently in the most idiotic possible ways. I mean, the PIV and Internet = power source irrationality is the kind of stuff that has me wonder if they have social justice decisions and self-rationalizations before they decide if they’re wearing socks that day. The leaps of illogic are cosmic web level huge.

            • I was a computer tech from 1988-1998 and the calls haven’t changed much. The magnet and data– happened so many times I wonder how smart some of these folks are– (even after telling them). So yea– I told my husband just yesterday that I think the IQ points have dropped 10 to15 percent over the years. I know that mine has due to chemo– I don’t think these younger folks have the same excuse though.

              • We’ve come to the conclusion that ‘because, potato’ is a valid argument with that ‘thought’ frame. (Seriously, computer on fire. OF COURSE YOUR COMPUTER’S ‘OVERHEATING’ AND YES THAT IS BAD.)

                Oh, for amusement though, apparently there was, at one point, a computer model that did have a cup holder pop out if you press a button, much like the CD/DVD-rom drive would.

                • Made me laugh about the cup holder. My imagination is getting a workout with what could happen to the poor computer from that one–

                • I’m reminded of the classic “Do you still have the box your computer came in? Pack it up and take it back to the store and explain to them that you’re too stupid to own a computer.” call. (For when it was eventually revealed that there was a power outage).

                  Now, phones do get their power from the phone line, so they typically work when the power is out (unless you have a cordless phone), so I can almost see where that idea comes from. But it always drove me nuts, and it happened a number of times, when helping older folks with their computers and they referred to the big beige box as the “Modem”.

                  • There was an online tech support chat that was passed around several friends, involving the story of a cheese-covered router. It was one of those ‘not sure if serious or trolling or stoned gamer’ ones. Summary was, someone with a Linksys router had ‘due to circumstances they did not want to discuss’ gotten it covered with cheese. And just refused to clean it off, like well, any other sane and normal person would have, and the cheese baked onto the router like a crust. Which the dog apparently ate half of. The customer was trying to get the router replaced on warranty and the support guy was patiently explaining that routers being eaten by dogs was not covered under the warranty. Caller DID ask if he renamed his dog to Linksys, would they service the dog? They said no, the caller should probably take the dog to a vet. At no point did the customer get angry or upset, and from my reading, I suspected the customer was pleasantly in a MJ induced fog.

                    I woke up this morning to a cranky housemate, who said he spent most of the night having to deal with yet another idiot. Housemate is forgiving of the older folks, it’s the ones of the 40 and below age range being unmitigated idiots that he wants to reach through the Internet to strangle. Me, I learn new and creative ways of stringing together adjectives, nouns and swearwords! But apparently he didn’t want to tell me about it till he’d slept off some of his mad.

                  • That one is fact-based up to the point at which he’s told of the power outage.

                    After that, it’s what he wished he could have said.

                    • In the case of the support call housemate had to endure, he discovered that the appliances that the caller felt important were ‘also powered by the Internet.’ … I’m not sure what that meant, but I ph34r the contents of the caller’s fridge. It may crawl out chanting praises to Cthulhu.

        • After your description, I … end up wondering how they are able to even believe anything at all…

          Easy – they’re like the Red Queen. They can believe six impossible things before breakfast.

        • Yup, I’ve been in discussions on both those guys’ LJ’s. Most of my posts are Friends-locked because I’ve had some stalker issues in the past, so anything personal is locked. Political and video stuff is in the clear though. I’m (curiously enough) mauser on LJ.

          • I’ve had my LJ turn from open to friendslocked over the years due to the actions of a Certain Stalker. I stopped posting very personal stuff on LJ because I became fairly certain that the friendslock was not enough and Said Stalker could see the posts anyway. The LJ is still friendslocked, but it’s more so we can continue having discussions in peace without being harassed by anyone who felt the need that I or the people in the discussion be re-educated on my ‘wrong and bigoted impressions’ on this or that topic. I’m actually quite pleased that it’s gotten to be a fairly civilized place to discuss, even on disagreements.

            And yes, I recognize the handle, hello ^_^

        • There you go collaborating with the enemy. . . .

          “85,000, that’s the maximum number of views I had in one day a couple of weeks ago when the liberals and MRAs circulated my PIV blogpost for punishment. Unlike a normal blogger, attracting 85,000 hits isn’t something I want to celebrate. It’s threatening: you know they’re after you, it only means you’ve hit men’s radar and you have no idea what they plan to do.”

          You shouldn’t even have read it, apparently.

      • Dangit – even though I wasn’t drinking anything, that one got me so bad that I sprayed spittle all over my monitor from trying not to laugh loud enough to bring the HR manager.

    • They took their mind into the woods and shot it dead LONG ago.

      • Used certain abortion procedures, perhaps. I don’t think they would have touched icky, icky guns.

        • They don’t use guns themselves, no.

          But curiously enough, they have no issues with guns being used on their behalf. Say, against wicked-icky-traditional-marriage-evuls, rightwing-nutjob-vigilante-gun-owners, and binary gender types. Those folks using guns for *their* ends are okay. Totally not oppressive at all.

          *shakes head* The lack of knowledge of history is what kills me.

          • Free Mumia!

            Alternatively:

            Bill Maher: Time For a Mass Shooting at The Country Music Awards

            Anyone recall what Maher had to say about Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck after the Rep. Giffords shooting?

            • Video link here.

              To dissect the doubletalk, basically, the right is the source of all the crazies that want to cause violent death and murder their opponents. “This Jared guy’s chalkboard in his basement… I’m not sure it would look all that different from Glen Beck’s chalkboard.”

              As for mass shootings, the amount of crazy in the shooter’s head is likely a more solid rubric than political affiliation. Curiously, the easily verifiable fact that progressive regimes have killed millions in pursuit of their political goals is often glossed over.

              One dead family is a tragedy. One million families grieving their dead is (often) a revolution. Or for the revolution. *shakes head* It’s why they come for privately held weapons first. It is easier to control an unarmed population.

  30. In fairness, the philosophy of Starship Troopers has some awfully strong fascist elements. Though Heinlein was, I think, being deliberately provocative in experimenting with the idea of a semi-democratic fascism.

    But extrapolating from there to the conclusion that reading Heinlein makes you a conservative involves some astounding non sequiturs. Starting with the notion that there’s anything the least conservative about fascism, and continuing with the notion that reading stuff by people with different political views automatically makes you part of their circle. I suppose the latter is the kind of obtuse thinking that gets Mein Kampf banned in Germany.

    My own brief experience of Mein Kampf is finding a copy in my grandfather’s basement, in English translation, from 1943. It was a “know your enemy” edition from the Second World War, through which my grandfather lived. I read a few pages and concluded that, yep, it was turgid nonsense. Seems to me that’s a reason to *not* ban it in Germany.

    • Uh. Maybe they are so persuadable that they do believe everything they read that’s halfway convincing?
      And yep — read it. And the communist manifesto.
      EWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW

      • On my list to read is my birthday copy of Che’s Guerilla Warfare. Poked at it – so many words.

        • “My dear, young man, don’t take it too hard. Your work is ingenious. It’s quality work. And there are simply too many words, that’s all. Cut a few and it will be perfect.”

          • no.

            Froth and spittle. And I liked Kaczynski’s prose and logic better

            • I thought it was amusing that one of the first eBooks I had was the Unibomber Manifesto on my Apple Newton.

              • I swear I’m gonna re-write that puppy from the point of view of Ralph Raico or Henry Hazlitt.

                The development of statist social welfare and its consequences have been a disaster for the human race. They have may have greatly increased the material comfort of those of us who live in “advanced” countries, but they have destabilized society, have made life unfulfilling, have subjected human beings to indignities, have led to widespread psychological suffering (in the Third World to physical suffering as well) and have inflicted severe damage on the natural world. The continued expansion of socialism will worsen the situation. It will certainly subject human beings to greater indignities and inflict greater damage on the natural world, it will probably lead to greater social disruption and psychological suffering, and it may lead to increased physical suffering even in “advanced” countries.

      • My dad, ever the gadfly, used to give copies of Mein Kampf to hardcore socialists who grew up not knowing Hitler existed. For extra entertainment, he did this in East Berlin. Looking back, I’m quite surprised we didn’t get declared persona non grata and kicked out of the country. Living there was… interesting.

        I keep trying to read Rules for Radicals and planned to read the Communist Manifesto for the ‘know your enemy’ knowledge, but I find my skin crawling whenever I get past a chapter or two.

    • What are those fascist elements?

    • Okay, I read through the entire thread before backing up to here. I’m conservative, for certain values of conservative, but mostly, I’m a military type, with forty some years, officer and civilian, in service. I admit that, yes, I left home as a teenager when I discovered that my parents were civilians. But I have to ask, what parts of Starship Troopers have strong fascistic elements?

      Was it the absolute reverence in which the society held the franchise? Or the limitations on it, none of which have any real historical basis and which, Heinlein points out, were accidents the social history described? The reliance on a small military until forced into existential conflict? The pride in uniform and service? The laissez-faire form of worldwide capitalism or the total lack of racial prejudice? Was it, perhaps, the willingness to die for one’s fellow humans?

      With respect, be forewarned that I’m ready to pull my dusty copy of Nolte’s Three Faces of Fascism off the bookshelf and start quoting.

      • Starship Troopers is “fascistic” because it fails to condemn the military. That is a stupid and invalid reason but it suffices. The accusation is indicative of shallow thought and no actual understanding of fascism beyond that explained by Orwell.

      • I want to point out this is not my opinion, but some people consider political office being held to those who have served (and voting rights) to be fascistic.
        I myself think we’re closer to fascism now. (Shrug.)

        • “some people consider political office being [limited] to those who have served (and voting rights) to be fascistic”
          I think that is the most common reason that leftists have called it fascistic.
          This is, when you think about it, absurd:
          First, if you know anything about the political theory of fascism then you know that limiting the franchise to veterans is irrelevant. But paying too much attention to “everything within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state” is not something leftists want to dwell on because it might lead to awkward questions about the sort of government that leftists favor.
          Second, the ancient Greek democracies required military service as a condition of citizenship, and no leftist would dare call Athens a fascist state lest he be laughed at.

          • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

            The “silliness” of calling somebody fascist was IMO demonstrated by one poster here when he? called Jules Verne a fascist. A French writer who lived before fascism was “invented”? While Verne had stereotypical views concerning Jews, that was common among the French of his times. [Sad Smile]

            • And, not to put too fine a point on it, anti-semitism is only an important part of German National Socialism. Other branches of fascism did not have that obsession. Anti-semitism alone was not enough to establish fascistic street cred back in the day because it was already prevalent as a muted undertone in European society at large.

            • That is bizarre–and funny. I don’t recall anything Verne wrote that would suggest he favored a fascist-style state.
              On the other hand, I think it is in principle reasonable to describe as fascistic a writer that lived before the advent of fascism, if you can show that the writer’s ideas do resemble modern fascism. Take, for instance, Edward Bellamy’s Looking Backward, which was published in 1888. It envisioned a utopian future which was strikingly fascistic. (Which I think simply reminds us that fascism did not just suddenly appear out of nowhere in the 1920’s. It had roots going back to the previous century..and arguably to Rousseau and the French Revolution.)

              • The closest things to a “Fascist” state in Verne’s work are the scientific dictatorships of”Stahlstadt” in “The Begum’s Legacy” and “Blackland” (which is also dependent on black slave labor) in the “Barsac Mission”. But these cities are both run by the BAD Guys.

            • I wonder if the original poster was thinking of Wells when he wrote Verne. I sometimes get writers confused, and Wells was, IIRC, the source of the “friendly fascism” idea, per Jonah Goldberg’s book of that name.

          • It is fascistic to assert any qualification for office or voting other than being a Party Member in Good Standing. :-P

  31. Sarah, just had to say that a day after I read this, saw Vox pointing to:

    https://www.inkshares.com/projects/the-old-iron-dream

    Seriously, OSC is “far-right”. Can someone post a Picard facepalm pic for me?

    • Iron Dream was written by Norman Spinrad. Spinrad was Far-Right? We should send that idiot a copy of The Men in the Jungle and tell him it is a how-to manual.

  32. Pingback: According to Hoyt | John C. Wright's Journal

  33. I’m conservative.I’ve read some Heinlein, but can’t seem to get through Stranger… I’ve read some Card, and think it’s hit or miss. In my youth, I read wayyy too much Anne McCaffrey. And Mercedes Lackey. I love Pratchett. I cut my teeth on Tamora Pierce and still read everything she writes, even though she’d probably think I was a fascist. I still haven’t forgiven Diane Wynne Jones for dying. Asimov will always be one of my first loves. I like Jerry Pournelle. I like Nix. I read a bunch of YA – some of it is great, some of it is not.

    What fascinates me is that liberals seem to think that ‘people whose stories and characters I enjoy’ and ‘people whose politics agree with mine’ would have to overlap 100% in any world. You could be head of the green party and eat Catholics for breakfast, but if you write a good story and have great characters, I’ll still read you. (However, I’ll check you out of the library instead of sending you my hard earned cash…)

    It gives a lot of insight into the liberal mind, though. They’re like the people who insisted ‘Fireproof’ was a great movie b/c of the message. They’re more concerned with affiliations than art.

    • Actually – I’m not sure I even buy the main message it presents, as told me by fans of the movie.

      • His first chapter is really, really good. It’s a great set up. I think, “This is going to be a really awesome book!” and then,…. blah. It’s like he didn’t know where to go after that. I really wish someone would take the set-up and write an INTERESTING novel based on it!

  34. Oh boy, already another two minutes of hate for not being sufficiently inclusive and checking the diversity boxes:

    http://legalinsurrection.com/2014/02/gawker-tries-to-inspire-2-minutes-of-jerry-seinfeld-politically-correct-hate/

    Basically, Seinfeld doesn’t feel he should include black/minority comedians just to include them, and figures comedians are either funny or not, regardless of skin color.

    Cue rage at Gawker media…..

  35. The reverse? I wouldn’t say that, quite. What the Left says in propaganda format is mostly true about them. The opposite, though, isn’t definitely true.

    In other news, since they worry so much about fascism, look at what they actually do about it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f1U3kQ9FYhQ

  36. “And most of his readers who could be called “conservative” purely loathe his later [works].”

    I just can’t let this slide. Heinlein’s last books were terrible, not because of the ideology of the reader, but because they stank on ice. Here’s my theory: if Lazarus Long is in a book not named “Time Enough For Love,” the book is terrible. I’m a huge fan of the majority of his books, but he really cranked out some turds before he died.

    • Eh. I became a fan with his later books, so de gustibus, etc? Other than a prevalence of 70s lingo (sigh) I find them interesting and challenging.

      • Heinlein started sliding down hill with, I want to believe, the onset of heart problems. He even referred to the effects on his thinking. His later reliance upon self-referential characters, all versions of Lazarus Long in various guises and sexes, began to grate on my nerves, though I plowed through all of them. In my opinion, in Friday he ruined a great book by switching suddenly to his version of the Great Oz behind the curtain.

        In my pet theory, the old man was trying to cheat death, in some weird, if it is written, it can happen in some universe sort of way. Anyway, doesn’t change my opinion of his ability in the slightest.

    • I have to admit that Heinlein’s last three or four books were quite terrible, but only by Heinlein standards; compared to anybody else writing (except Niven and Pournelle) they were still pretty good. “Number of the Beast” was OK; “Friday” was readable; “To Sail Beyond the Sunset” was tolerable, and “Cat Who Walked Through Walls” …… OK, you’ve got me there; “turd” is almost appropriate. Clearly, he was wishing to live forever, but don’t we all?

      It’s just that when he started from such a high level, even a LONG fall only takes him down to “average”.

      • Okay, I don’t like The Cat Who Walks Through Walls. Or at least I rarely re-read it. And I haven’t re-read To Sail in… ten years. I did re-read The Number Of The Beast recently and 70s language bothered me, but hey.
        And I agree with your conclusion.

    • Personally when Lazarus Long appears in a book I am done reading it. Since that is the end of the story line of the book anyways, and I despise the nonsensical Lazarus ‘storyline’ I find no point in continuing to read it. Up until that point I liked The Cat Who Walked Through Walls, and Friday was a decent read, although as with practically all of his later works I had problems with the jarring unbelievability of the ‘free-love’ so prevalent in it.
      What Heinlein was great at was inspiring other authors… who all claim to not be as good as him.

      • Friday doesn’t have Lazarus.

        • Friday doesn’t have Lazarus.

          Are you sure? After all, The Senior has used many names over the years. ;)

          • That occurred to me afterwards… but where he’s hidden as in If This Goes On he doesn’t derail the story.
            All I can say is that a lot of characters are like that. I keep killing Jarl and the BASTARD won’t die.

        • I know, probably one reason why I liked it.

          Sorry rereading my post it does look like I meant that Friday was a decent read up until Lazarus Long entered it. Should have been a period between The Cat Who Walked Through Walls and Friday.

          Actually I really liked Friday as a character, it was just the constant partner-swapping with no one getting jealous that made it an unbelievable read.

  37. Leftists are case studies in fruedian projection. Anytime you have an accusation from them that makes no sense, you can bet your bottom dollar that it is something they’re guilty of themselves.

    You are also quite right that leftists have no idea how conservatives think.

    Jonathan Haidt, a professor of psychology and expert on the psychology of morality, wrote a layman-friendly book in which this topic, among others, is explored.

    This book is, in my humble opinion, one of the best descriptions of human nature out there. It really demolishes the notion of human beings as rational creatures. We’re not. We are capable of dealing with a world that is rational, but that is not our nature.

    When conservatives were asked to determine what a leftist’s position would be on various topics, and what the rationale behind each position was, the conservatives did a good job. They were able to predict what a leftist would think/do and and how the leftist would rationalize it.

    When leftists were asked to do the same thing with the positions and beliefs of conservatives, they failed miserably. Worse yet, positions and beliefs they imagined for conservatives were pretty much the same caricatures and malicious fabrications we see on the internet from leftists every day.

  38. To the left, “conservative” is both interchangeable with “fascist”, and that which is not positively leftist/socialist in nature. So from that odd meaning at least the troll was being true to his own perverse sense of disproportion, grotesquely warped though it may be. How else can we explain an “accusation” so bizarre as to equate the author of “Job: A Comedy of Justice” and “To Sail Beyond The Sunset” with those politico-cultural conservatives who picket outside of abortion clinics or demand the immediate closing of our southern borders (and how bizarre itself that such a position could in any sane society be considered anything but a vital necessity and obvious common sense).

    How bizarre indeed. Dear God…uh, “Gaia”…er, “Che”, how could the little troll possibly have thought he could brazenly sneak past wearing emperor’s clothes that transparent?

  39. I’m still not sure why they turned on Heinlein, but I think it was his unwillingness to go along with the demonization of the US that had become fashionable, and the fact that if you read him very carefully you can’t help but notice the similarity between his totalitarian societies and some of what is going on

    I think that’s way too sophisticated.

    They turned on the old man because he had the damn nerve to be both more monitarily successful and popularity successful than they were. Even Asimov thought this if you read between the lines in his last menoir when he talks about Heinlein.

    Most, if not all, of the Heinlein hate is, in the end, pure envy.

    Look, first of all I know very few readers of Heinlein who’d define themselves as conservatives. We might sometimes, to make things shorter, call ourselves libertarians. A few of us with a little more sense of humor will call ourselves Rational Anarchists. But very few hardcore fans of Heinlein, such that he’d be the first mentioned in their comment, would say “I’m a conservative. I read Heinlein.”

    You can add to to that few. I’d even go so far as to say Heinlein helped draw me to conservatism (more on that in a second). That said, citing Heinlein is very low on my list of proofs. Off the top of my head if I was going to quote an author to support my conservatism it would be Burke or, if pushed to use a sci-fi author, Pournelle as you suggest below.

    In my younger days I did call myself a rational anarchist and probably has once or twice in my not so younger days around those I’d expect to get the joke. Oddly, I find the fundamental argument for rational anarchism Heinlein gave in Moon a fairly conservative one.

    That said, I wonder if this is an instance of my upbringing in the US versus yours in Portugal means we have very different definitions of the word.

    But he liked goring sacred cows too much to conserve anything. And most of his readers who could be called “conservative” purely loathe his later workers.

    I think loathe is too strong a word. I generally enjoy The Moon is a Harsh Mistress and its predecessors to his later works but Job: A Comedy of Justice is my favorite Heinlein after Moon and maybe Troopers. I’ve more than once refered to Friday as a “Heinlein juvinille for adults” as a compliment. I think it is the best bridge from early Heinlein to later Heinlein for those who really liked the juvies. Number of the Beast is a fun romp but if you’re not in on the jokes it can be plodding. I read about a third of it when it first hit paper and I was…younger and I didn’t get a lot of the references. Thus I never finished it. Rereading it 20 years later I found it a blast.

    Now, to my point about Heinlein influencing my conservativism when I started reading your post I immediately thought about one particularly conservative mouthpiece dialog in Heinlein. In the OCS morals class in Starship Troopers one cadet is asked to explain the moral reason to maintain the current political system and how it survived. After an interesting analogy the prof points out it maintains because it works.

    To me that argument cuts to the bedrock of conservatism. Conservatism does not oppose change in a knee jerk fashion…well, GOP establishment conservatism does but that’s their problem and how liberals made them the tax collectors for the welfare state. The conservative opposes change because he knows stable and relatively safe societies are fragile things. He knows human nature tends to lead men to break those fragile things.

    So, the first test for a conservative when a change is proposed is not will it fix a problem but will it break something that works. Then we ask if it fixes something.

    Heinlein’s writing, very specifically in the above mentioned section but elsewhere, is a huge fan of social structures that work. He is clear that human nature tends to break them including the human tendancy to statism and other hierarchies. It is in his distrust of the later, although certainly not an absolute distrust, he diverges, in my mind, for most conservative thought. Even then he is a big fan of the family. His supposedly very liberal ideas on family such as line and clan marriages are actually changes designed to maximize a conservative view of family, stable enviroments for children and for inheritance of property, instead of the modern liberal ideal of marriage as a direct source of personal fulfillment.

    So, I see your point about Heinlein and conservatives. I think you’re right to a degree but not quite as strongly as you contend. Heinlein influenced a lot of people who call themselves conservative, mostly through his earlier works, and advanced what I consider a relatively conservative world view.

    And they turned on him out of envy.

    • Envy is one reason, but there are indeed many. Most significant is probably the undeniable fact that Heinlein remains the only SF author worth attacking. He is the sole author in the genre who you can “build yourself up” by tearing down.

      When was the last con panel on Asimov’s flaws, or Clarke’s or Bradbury’s failings?

      Just so, Campbell is the only SF editor of sufficient stature that you can elevate yourself by standing upon his rubble.

  40. Just to mention, Doctor Pournelle self references as Conservative. And he certainly read Heinlein.

    Just sayin.

    • I’m aware of this. Jerry is a friend. BUT there is a difference between reading Heinlein — I do — and using him as “conservative credentials.” Doctor Pournelle is more of “conservative credentials.” And to mention “Heinlein and Card” borders on the ridiculous. Card does NOT call himself a conservative. (And in many ways really isn’t.) That’s what I mean, if you go back over my post, not that Heinlein readers can’t be conservative.

    • I would venture to say that practically all major SF authors have read Heinlein. Doesn’t say any more about their politics than the fact that all English majors have read Shakespeare does about theirs.

    • Dear Sweet Ghu in Nirvana. Do none of you people read for comprehension? Sarah did not say “conservatives don’t read Heinlein, or card.”

      She said starting a troll with “I’m a conservative, I read Heinlein, and Card, but …” makes it quite clear you are not a conservative, but a seminar poster, quite likely a paid shill, trying to establish bonafides your subsequent writing will make quite clear you DO NOT HAVE.

      And by the way, it’s particularly stupid to use ORSON SCOTT CARD for the purpose, because, aside from his personal stance on gay marriage, he’s really rather liberal. (I like the guy personally, but to say he’s a conservative is just mind boggling.) It outs you as a liberal twit because no actual conservative, who actually understands the issues (and most of us do) would ever name Card a conservative. But then, recent studies have shown that while conservatives can and do understand the way liberals think, the reverse is not true. So ya’ll just pull out someone you think caricatures the right in the worst possible way in order to establish street cred.

      So. bloody. STUPID!

      • But he is a Mormon, which according to lefty “thinking” automatically makes him a Rightwing Religious Fanatic.

          • Kennedy Exemption.

            It’s OK if you’re part of an organized religion, as long as you don’t act like it.

            • Exactly — religious identification is fine so long as tenets of the faith are secondary to the tenets of Political Faith. Reid is a Democrat before he is a Mormon, Pelosi is a Democrat before she is Catholic, OSC is Mormon before he is a Democrat, thus he is an apostate worshiper of false idol, guilty of placing an alien authority above The State. Such people are useful only so long as they can be counted on for needed votes (see: Blue Dog Democrat) but will be chastised when The State has assumed its rightful place.

      • How come no one ever offers me a job as a paid seminar poster? :-( (I could use the money.)

        On Thu, Feb 13, 2014 at 9:17 AM, According To Hoyt wrote:

        > Patrick Richardson commented: “Dear Sweet Ghu in Nirvana. Do none of > you people read for comprehension? Sarah did not say “conservatives don’t > read Heinlein, or card.” She said starting a troll with “I’m a > conservative, I read Heinlein, and Card, but …” makes it quite clear you > a” >

      • I think someone linked the post with an incorrect snippet, given the number of folks I don’t recognize suddenly showing up on a ten day old post.

        • Actually Insty didn’t have an incorrect snippet… So it’s reading comprehension fail.

          • It’s an Instalanch? That explains my inbox!

            • Yeah. I haven’t got around to putting a welcome because it’s ten days old and because my husband has strep and (I was told that the UNAffordable care act would cause this) our doctor of 21 years has been folded into a group practice with hospital supervision. So, you can keep your doctor if you can find your doctor. It’s like a more high stakes game of where’s waldo.

              • Husband spent the morning finding a doctor– O-care+ Federal employee research= half the doctors he called haven’t been accepting new patients for a couple of years, and one’s retiring.

              • My fun with the Unaffordable Care Act was getting to hear the Pharmacist say, “GASP! Oh, my god!” when she saw the price of one of my wife’s meds. Then she told me (since the medicine is synthetic THC) that the price would cover flying to Colorado and getting the real thing.

                We were able to keep our doctor, who was already part of a hospital group, but my overall costs have gone up $600/month.

                • It’s that expensive now, really? When I was in high school people from the college (local community college) used to give it away free. And it was always available because most preferred the real thing unless they absolutely couldn’t afford it. Of course I don’t know what the real thing costs nowadays either, chances are it has gone up in the last 15 years, just like everything else.

                  • Oh, no, that’s how much my costs have gone up, because of the increased premiums and the FSA I have to pay into, plus the cost of the (legal here in Kentucky – unlike the other) drug after the insurance starts to pay their 80%. The prescription is $1035 per month. I covered the first two months, while in the process of meeting the deductible, with the FSA card. After the insurance kicks in, it will drop to $200 out of my pocket, to go with the $175/mo increase in premiums and the $200/mo to pay into the FSA.

          • And here I was being all mentally humble about “our” side being as bad as the other for reading a snippet and charging into battle without bothering to see what it actually was about.

            • I actually hadn’t had much time to be at the computer, and hadn’t had the chance to read back on the posts I had missed (and the number of replies on this one told me it would take a while) until I was sick and spent about twenty hours sleeping, then the rest of yesterday recovering from sleeping.

  41. I can get along with a Randite . . .
    That’s bona fide.

    • Er… in the same book, Wyoming is an international socialist!
      I’m not sure what you think you’re saying.

      • But her “Fifth International” doesn’t even sound particularly socialist (at least by comparison with current liberalism) — “Private where private belongs, public where it’s needed, and an admission that circumstances alter cases.”

        • Sounds exactly like European liberalism. The secret is that, in action, private never is needed anywhere.

          • It revolves around the presumptions* taken: presumption of private sphere is conservative, presumption of public sphere is the anti-thesis (Fascism, Socialism and Monarchism all tend to presume there is a State Interest unless proven otherwise, and often take a State interest just in case.) For conservatives the involvement of the State requires that the State prove a legitimate interest and that the interest would be beneficial to the culture.

            *e.g., presumption of innocence is a hallmark of British descended culture.

        • Funny how often people decide where public is needed, ennit? For example, most people in the history of the USA never thought there was a need for government involvement in determining what your health insurance ought cover, nor how an employer decided who to hire, nor what grocers in your neighborhood ought offer for sale. As for public involvement in who owned guns (aside from the government giving them out) that was one of the issues critical to the colonies declaring independence.

          It is surprising (appalling) how often the Socialists contort perfectly good words into having the opposite meanings.

  42. I’m a conservative. And Heinlein is probably my all-around favorite author.

    The flaw in your reasoning is that you forgot that some of us read just for the fun of the story. We don’t actually look at Stranger in a Strange Land as a plausible manifesto, but just a wild and amazing tale. Are line marriages or Maison Long really plausible? Would Tertius really function? Who cares? I view these things as plausible artifacts that make the story step smartly along, like a warp drive or time machine, either one of which are about as flimsily implausible as a Fair Witness or happy and well-adjusted incestuous sexual partnership.

    There are, to be sure fanatics who take the fantasies of any sf author way to seriously, and who do draw lessons for real life from fiction books. So long as they stay in mom’s basement and merely post angry 55-paragraph essays on obscure fora, that doesn’t seem like a problem, but I doubt they represent the bulk of the Heinlein book-buying public.

    Heck, I like Verne, too, and he was pretty much a fascist, and Ursula Le Guin, about as unreconstructed a Berkeley lefty as you could find. I wouldn’t necessarily vote for these people as political candidates, or endorse a single idea they had for actual real social change, but they can all write an exciting and interesting story.

    • Where did she forget that people read for the fun of the story? She said that using Heinlein (AND Card) to establish conservative credentials was laughable. Your statement merely reinforces that logic, not invalidates it.

    • Good Lord — would you read the post this time with your reading comprehension turned on? I’m not attacking Heinlein. I don’t even have problems with his free love stories given immense longevity, etc. I NAMED MY SON AFTER HIM. I’ve been called “conservative” — I’m a libertarian — and I read all of those too except Verne who is more boring than an Obama speech, but SERIOUSLY no one on the right would flash Heinlein AND CARD as gang signs before starting on a lefty diatribe.
      Would you say “I read Ursula Le Guin and Andre Norton, but I have to say the feminists of SFWA are right?”

  43. This amazes me. When I first read Heinlein in the 70s, I thought he was a leftie hippie with all the free love and “thou art God” stuff in his books. Now he’s held up as an example of conservatism? How far we’ve fallen.

    • Heinlein is a fascinating mix. You should try some of his other stuff. He is conservative in many of his ideas and was responsible for the Marxism they pounded me with in school not taking. However, gang credentials for “conservatives” he’s not.

  44. Well, I am a Conservative because I belong to a Conservative Jewish Congregation. Truth be it known, most Conservative Jews are very, very liberal (and they are changing the name to Masorti because they hate being called “Conservative”). Okay. I am a Conservative because I used to work for the Christian Coalition of America in their Washington, DC offices and I was once the Treasurer for the CAP City Young Republican Club in Ohio. Better (and really hilarious….I got a double take from President George W. Bush when he shook my hand back in 2001 at the signing ceremony for the tax reduction act).

    I am a Conservative because I believe that we need to be careful when we change things because we often overlook the merits of the system as it exists right now. In order to keep our system working, we constantly need to adjust it and fine tune it. But we need to be careful about dramatic change.

    I am not a professional writer and I probably never will be. But if I were one, I doubt that the sexuality of my characters would be a primary element of my stories. Some of my characters would probably be gay, but who would know? I a lot of the people around me are gay but I have no idea unless they tell me so.

  45. And thus it is that another group of elites commits suicide. The comments about Amazon, et al are also spot on, and reflect poorly on the part of people who are supposed to write about the future.

    IMO this is partly about an aging group of once-influential people (mostly baby boomers) who are finding that time is passing them by. This is their last stand at some sort of rebellion, but this time, it’s in defense of the mainstream, the establishment, the tried and true-and the politically correct.

    As for Heinlein, I would suggest reading Spider Robinson’s classic essay, “Rah, Rah, R.A.H.” which appears in his Callahan collection Time Travelers Strictly Cash. A better defense of Heinlein you’d be hard pressed to find anywhere. As for politics, for the most part, I read to be entertained-tell me a good enough yarn, and I can accept most political viewpoints in the story, whatever they might mean to the writer (for that matter, I can even accept gay fascist Huns, if written well.)

    • I like Heinlein better than Robinson. Note, son is named Robert Anson ;)
      As for gay Huns (my fans call themselves Hoyt’s Huns) from fan mail? About 1/3 of them. (Probably because of A Few Good Men) But they’re more libertarian than fascist.

    • Try reading Heinlein in Dimension, a Critical Analysis. by Alexei Panshin (Jun 1968) . Which I just noticed, I no longer have on my shelf. And which is now selling on Amazon for $101.34 new. Luckily, it is in reprint for $10 paperback. Of course, the book was written pre-slippage, for want of a better description.

      • Heh. I remember when that book was new and engendering outrage protests from Heinlein’s fanboys of all plumbings.

        I can think of several critical analyses of Heinlein — Panshin’s, Heinlein’s Children: The Juvenile, use your search engine for more — and he remains, so far as I know, the only SF writer whose biography was considered worth publishing.

        And that is why Lilliputians tear him down.

        • Not to mention outrage from Heinlein, face to face. I was there.

          • Heinlein was certainly entitled to this — witness Sarah’s complaints this site re: reading comprehension. But many of the fanboys were outraged that anybody dast challenge their idol; Heinlein’s outrage was, I ‘spect, a consequence of the , not the challenge.

        • Yes, apparently, it ruined Panshin, who forever found it difficult to get beyond the defense of his sometimes unfair criticisms. To paraphrase one comment about him: When you seek to kill the king, make sure you kill him. At the time, I didn’t think it was a big deal, but I was crassly learning how to be an officer and pilot at the time, so I paid little attention.

  46. I have read Heinlein and think that, at his best, he is the best. He could, in fact, have quit writing sometime around 1965 and he’d still be the best. And I wish he had quit. The older he got, the more embarrassing sex scenes there were between young, beautiful, nubile women and dirty old codgers (in the case of Lazarus Long, very old). TMI.

    And if I am a troll, I’m a conservative one. I’ve read Heinlein, and just enough Orson Scott Card to know it’s not for me. I’ve also read William Buckley, James Burnham, Whittaker Chambers, Joe Sobran, Michael Novak, Milton Friedman, Russell Kirk, P.J. O’Rourke, Jonah Goldberg, and (the best for last) Thomas Sowell.

    And I would agree that Robert Heinlein was no conservative. But whatever he was, we need far more like him.

    • Again, I must be writing in Cantonese. I’m not attacking Heinlein. I actually think he was conservative (or libertarian, which is what I am) in many of his positions. I NAMED MY SON AFTER HIM.
      I’m just pointing out how the left thinks we idolize the people they’ve demonized and that we read for ideology only.
      I’m sorry, next time I shall try to find a translator. How did I come to write in a language I don’t speak?

    • Have you read F A Hayek or Ludwig von Mises?
      Sowell is the best!

      • “The Road to Serfdom” is a classic.

        Mises reads too much like an academic for my tastes. That’s only fair, I suppose, since he was an academic. I own a couple of his books, but have never gotten very far into them, even with the best of intentions.

        Sowell, somehow, manages to cut through all the academic chaff and deliver little shaped charges of wisdom that penetrate the mind, even one as dense and armor-plated as my own. And for that, he will always be my favorite and I owe him a tremendous debt.

      • Yes. On all of them. And yes, I like Sowell. We have some minor disagreements, but he’s my “economist crush” like Dr. Pournelle is my “Sci fi writer crush.”

  47. Pingback: To Fear A Painted Devil | According To Hoyt | Head Noises

  48. OK, anyone else besides me think that Sarah’s conservative bona fides may not be all she claims? I mean, obviously, any real conservative would know that it is Chick-Fil-A, not chickfillet.

  49. I’m not a huge fan of Heinlein (because of his writing style, which always strikes me as verging on ‘squee’ – might just be me. I think it’s because of phrases like ‘her nipples went spung’ etc). But I do think people need to read him as part of the history of SF, if nothing else.

    I’m a long way from conservative, being a lefty feminist Brit. However, attempts to nail down your desire for a particular reality by trying to control what people say (beyond what I regard as basic politeness, which I do believe in) have always seemed to me to be doomed to failure and I watch, with depression but no surprise, as the internet tricoteuses of the left once more attempt to devour their own young. Or in this case, their own old. I’m the wrong kind of feminist for a lot of the left, the wrong kind of writer; I don’t like scripts or party lines. To which I can only say: tough.

    • That phrase can only be found in very late Heinlein and hell, I’m kind of squee myself.
      My complaint was not about Heinlein — I named my son after him — but about using him as a flashing gang sign, which no one calling himself a “conservative” — note not a libertarian like myself, but a CONSERVATIVE would use, particularly in conjunction with Card.
      As for lefty, I assume that any system that has killed more of its own than any other system in history (even monarchy) will keep doing it. And that’s the issue. The glittery feminists of SFWA are — at their extreme right are socialists, at their left are Stalinist. It’s no wonder they eat their own.
      Oh, and if the phrase about nipples offends you, for the love of Bog, don’t read romance.

      • It was the ‘spung’ more than the nipples, to be precise.

        • English edition? Here it was sprung.

          • What the heck are sprung nipples?

            • They stick up. It is IIRC in The Number of the Beast. I might be the only person in the world (oh, wait, me and Kate Paulk) who likes it, but I do.

              • I might be the only person in the world (oh, wait, me and Kate Paulk) who likes it, but I do.

                The Number of the Beast, or sprung nipples? (Runs)

                I like The Number of the Beast, until it gets weird at the end. If you ask me, endings were always Heinlein’s weak point. Some worse than others.

                • Sigh. I like the ending.
                  As for nipples — I can’t speak. Mine go…. uh…. easily, are often visible through bras, and embarrass the kids. Sigh. (And it’s Dan’s fault.)

                  • My wife was always uneasy about that same thing. Then I at least got her to stop complaining about it when I saw an old advertisement for bra inserts that made it look like they were always sticking out, so apparently the standard has changed over the years.

                    • LOL. It would scare the boys.

                    • Makes sense — it is easier to “present” at all times than to suppress such presentation, and it is the change of state that is significant.

                      Men should also be aware that sometimes erect nipples merely indicate a cold environment — somewhat the opposite reaction to cold than that which men experience.

              • I might be the only person in the world (oh, wait, me and Kate Paulk) who likes it, but I do.

                I’m afraid I like it too, although on first read it was a bit jarring. Given that it was written in First Person, I expected it to basically be Zeb’s story but in the end it really turned out to be more “Sharpie’s”.

                • Yes. I liked that experimentation. I opened it in the train station at 10 am. At 5 pm I realized I’d missed all my trains home. I dragged home at seven and mom chewed me out. TOTALLY worth it.

            • If I remember the context correctly, that expression was used to imply that they became hard so quickly it was like they were spring-loaded.

            • I believe Heinlein was shooting for an onomatopoeia by using “spung” to indicate sudden erection. Which many of his male writers probably understand.

  50. I am a conservative and I have read both Heinlein and Card. I haven’t read everything they have written, nor do I agree with everything they say. But they both tell a good story, at least in the books of theirs I have read.

    • You’ve missed the point. I too read them both and tons of people consider me a conservative. What I meant is that no sane conservative would flash them as gang colors before launching into a a lefty diatribe.

  51. Though I never arrived at believing the exact opposite of everything they say. They’re not that reliable. And I ain’t surrendering my right to think things through for myself.

    For those who ARE willing to surrender their thinking (it is, afterall, a lot of work), simply believing the exact opposite of such people is at least in the running for best thoughtless choices to follow.

    No, they aren’t ALWAYS exactly wrong, but it’s more reliable than just about anything else I know of, save working it out for myself.

  52. CombatMissionary

    Good grief, Ms. Hoyt, you are brilliant. I read Space Cadet when I was a kid, but I didn’t read anything else by Heinlein or by Card or Correia until after my combat tour in Afghanistan. Then I read Starship Troopers, Ender’s Game, and a friend introduced me to Monster Hunter International. All wonderful, although I didn’t go through as much political analysis as you have here (I also went through all of Glen Cook’s Black Company series. It was great for a combat vet to read. But that’s another topic.) I thought the whole brouhaha over Card’s views on homosexuality amounted to the Left’s intolerance of intellectual diversity. I fear I may soon start buying your books (I have a massive amount of kids, so, you know, tight budget), as I imagine from an intellect such as yours, they’re going to be a good read.

  53. Actually, OSC’s best work is neither political nor religious: it’s “How Software Companies Die”.

  54. Since most of Sarah’s post is about the demagogic scare tactics of the left, consider this a minor criticism, but when it comes to conservatives, she actually does more than a little bit herself of what she condemns from the left. The divide she assumes between conservatives and libertarians is ahistorical and ignorant. In the land of liberty, a conservative is first and foremost a liberty lover. This includes, in case Sarah is not aware, a very large fraction of the fundamentalist Christians in this country, many of whom actually consider themselves libertarian.

    Please remember that this nation, established to preserve the blessings of liberty, was founded by a group of people who almost to a man would today be considered fundamentalist Christians, and they ALL believed that liberty comes first. They CREATED that ideal, and conservative Christians overwhelmingly believe in it today. They are pro gun-rights, pro school choice and pro small government on every issue but defense (a la Heinlein).

    Even on abortion a solid majority conservatives more broadly defined (republicans vs. just fundamentalist Christians) are pro-choice (like the fundamentalist Christian Sarah Palin, who doesn’t believe in abortion, to the point of carrying a Down’s syndrome baby to term, but doesn’t think she has the right to impose that belief on others).

    Anti-abortion AND pro-choice. Pollsters have been finding this supposedly paradoxical result for decades. But there is no paradox. The answer is simple: conservatives believe in liberty! People get to follow their OWN beliefs. This is no surprise. It is the American experiment, founded by what would today be called “conservatives,” however radical they were in their day.

    Virtually all attacks on liberty have always come from the left. Good to see Sarah knock them for a proper loop, but please don’t try to pretend that there are enemies of liberty on the conservative side (unless you are talking about RINOs: Democrats in conservative clothing).

    I like Sarah’s observation about the consequences of the left’s mob mentality about who must not be read: “they are not only completely ignorant about us, and so unaware of it that the dime never drops.”

    Unfortunately, libertarian Sarah seems to be similarly ignorant about conservatives. We don’t like Heinlein? What??? We don’t like OSC? Only libertarians like Heinlein? As if it is even possible to make a coherent distinction between conservatives (who created our institutions of liberty) and libertarians. Yes, plenty of libertarians are militantly atheist, especially the capital “L” Libertarians, but obviously that is not a requirement of libertarianism or the term becomes an oxymoron.

    Indeed, religiosity has to be irrelevant. The defining feature of libertarianism HAS to be the priority of liberty and that originated with American conservatism, which gets it from the Bible (we are created in God’s image, thus we must be free). That’s where our Constitution comes from. That’s what ended slavery. Let’s not have any Johnny-come-lately libertarians pretending that they are the real voice of liberty.

    • Rolls yes. Yes. Your last paragraph proves I’m the one being demagogic. (Rolls eyes so hard they fall off.)

      • Oh. Here they are. Rolled all the way to the East Part. You should watch that. Which would be a trick, come to think of it.

      • You rolled a Saving Throw against the comment? Using your Wisdom stats or your Constitution stats?

      • Not sure what problem anyone has with my last paragraph. Are Sarah and others denying that the moral foundation for liberty amongst those who wrote the Constitution came from the Bible? There is simply no doubt about it. I oversimplified a little, citing only the Bible’s statement that man was created in God’s image.

        There is also the more specific notion of “Christian liberty,” following the statement of Paul in 2 Corinthians 3:6 that under the new covenant followers of Jesus are to be guided by the spirit of the law rather than the letter of the law. The spirit of the law is the second commandment of Jesus, the “law of love,” to love your neighbor as yourself, which according to Jesus (following Hillel) captures “all the law and the prophets.”

        Even the Ten Commandments can give way to this spirit of the law. This is why Jesus was able to minister on the sabbath: because love requires it, and this is the great accomplishment of Christianity, that it gives highest priority to the correct moral criterion. That correct moral criterion then informs the concept of what it means to be created in God’s image and why we have to be free. We have to be free to act for love of our fellow man, or more colloquially, to act for value as we are able to see it.

        Of course there are non-religious grounds as well for arriving at these moral principles but that isn’t what I was talking about. The subject was where these principles were sourced in the founding of this nation. They absolutely did come from the Reformation, when people started reading the Bible for themselves and figuring out what it actually meant.

        How is it demagogic to point that out? Eye rollingly demagogic… If I was an eye roller I might roll my eyes in return. As for Mister “social conservatives, by popular definition, are people who wish for the government to regulate social issues.” Wrong wrong wrong.

        Social conservatives want government OUT of social issues. Stop forcing social approval for same sex marriage. Stop having the government take over the education of children and then extirpating all religion from that education. Stop discriminating against religious speech in the public square. Stop forcing people who think contraception or abortion are wrong to pay for other people’s contraception and abortions.

        Many social cons want to restrict abortion but that’s because they believe it is murder. In other words, they believe it is NOT a “victimless crime” that can be properly considered a private decision because there are no 3rd party victims. So just where are all the places where social cons are supposedly out trying to regulate private behavior? Sorry, it’s not happening.

        • Stay in your happy little bubble, Alec. You wouldn’t like what you saw if you emerged.

          Not only is your diatribe a painful, incoherent wall of text, it has buggerall to do with the actual topic at hand, namely leftist types trying to “prove” their credentials by citing what they suppose to be the icons of those they lump together as “conservatives”.

          Just try to imagine the reaction you’d get if you waltzed into say, the DNC and said, “I’m a big fan of Lenin and Stalin, but…” and followed up with a stereotypical conservative diatribe. You’d be lucky if you only got tossed out on your ear.

          Now, since there are numerous social conservative types who are actively attempting to ban anything they disapprove of, could you kindly cease trying to claim that this increases freedom. Now for the list: we can start with the Federal DOMA, then move to numerous attempts to have religious (specifically Christian creationist) doctrine taught in schools as science by multiple idiot governments, assorted regulations banning sex someone doesn’t approve of, even when it’s between consenting adults, the various sex offender registers which get used to stigmatize someone for life for something as trivial as taking a leak in public, the so-called War On Drugs which has done such a lovely job of turning this country into a police state… all of which are loudly and enthusiastically supported by social conservatives in politics (and quite a few of the more obnoxious social conservatives outside politics).

          • Now, since there are numerous social conservative types who are actively attempting to ban anything they disapprove of, could you kindly cease trying to claim that this increases freedom

            While the libertarians likewise charge out to destroy any rule, agreement or standard of which they do not themselves approve, all the while accusing those who resist of “imposing.”

            • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

              But but Foxfier, don’t you know? Libertarians are always Right. [Sarcasm]

              At times, they are almost as bad as Lefties.

            • Which is why I don’t fit in anyone’s dogma. My personal preference would be to go through the legal code with some actual constitutional scholars and sensible lawyers, and remove the items that put people in a no-win situation (large portions of the illegal substances laws), violate older laws without explicitly stating that they replace the sections they violate (a good sized chunk of the DMCA), are outside the scope of the constitution based on a reasonable person standard (might be a bit harder to argue this one, since parsing 200+ year old grammar, much less 200+ year old grammar *and* more recent legalese can be… “interesting”. But I suspect there’s a lot that could go), and anything that has not seen the light of day in… oh, 50 years should be long enough to identify obsolete laws that should have been sunsetted. You know, an actual review process.

              Because any law cuts both ways. If it can ban something you dislike, it can also ban something you approve of.

          • Okay, have to say this is first time I have heard it was Social Conservatives who push to have taking a leak in public be sex offense.

            I do have to take some offense to you stating that multiple idiot governments are attempting to teach Christian creationist doctrine in schools as science. I have NEVER seen an American government attempt this, I have seen them ban any mention of it (even by students) while simultaneously teaching other doctrines as THE TRUTH, with little more physical proof and in some cases (such as man caused global warming) plenty of discrediting proof.

            I am going to ignore the phrase, “even when it’s between consenting adults,” because I know you well enough to know that was an unfortunate choice of words.

            Otherwise, I unfortunately have to agree with you. There are plenty of power hungry whack jobs of every political stripe.

            I consider myself personally socially conservative, while being politically libertarian. Meaning I have social conservative personal views but believe everyone should be at liberty to practice their own beliefs, even if I believe those beliefs and/or actions are wrong, as long as they don’t harm me they should be free to do as they wish.

            • Honestly? I don’t actually care what your personal beliefs are as long as you don’t try to force me into them. As long as what you do doesn’t harm me, I don’t have the right to tell you what to do or believe, regardless of whether I find your beliefs offensive or not. And vice versa.

              When you’ve trawled the comments of most more-or-less conservative sites, you tend to see a lot of the whackjobs there who do in fact try to get “creation science” legislated in. And of course on the other side of the fence you get their pet campaigns.

              The power hungry on either side of the fence are doing exactly the same thing: trying to use the law as a bludgeon to enforce their view of what should be.

              • When you’ve trawled the comments of most more-or-less conservative sites, you tend to see a lot of the whackjobs there who do in fact try to get “creation science” legislated in. And of course on the other side of the fence you get their pet campaigns.

                That’s a bit like equating a toy poodle to a pack of hunting poodles, because they look somewhat alike. I’ve never had someone try to outlaw explaining the theory of evolution, but an awful lot of the “teaching creation science” stuff boils down to “mention that science cannot comment on if something is absolutely random.”

              • They do??? Geeze, if only somebody would have come up with a system limiting governmental power, if just to the extent of allowing one community to enforce any idiotic norms it likes so long as people are free to move out and they can’t force the next community over to follow. Mebbe with a recognition of some rights as inalienable or unalienable or something.

            • I am going to ignore the phrase, “even when it’s between consenting adults,” because I know you well enough to know that was an unfortunate choice of words.

              I’m not sure I understand this one. There are definitely laws against certain forms of sex in some States, whether between consenting adults or not. Sodomy is illegal in Kentucky, for example, and it wasn’t until one of my friends was charged with it that I found out how broadly that term is defined.

    • Uh, no. Conservatives are not libertarians. Looking for overlap does not result in an equivalence.

    • Alec, dear, please go back and actually read what the post contains. Sarah is talking about the demonization campaigns and insane hatred certain factions are spewing at anyone who dares disagree – and bringing up their ever-so-charming tactic of trying to sow dissent among the evil by citing themselves as followers of those they imagine to be the evil ones idols.

      In short, I have never seen an actual conservative or an actual libertarian state their credentials by saying “I am a conservative” or “I read Heinlein” or anything of that ilk. They tend to prefer to let their actions (or the content of their discussions) be the proof.

      Conservative and libertarian certainly have a fairly big overlap. It is not identity. Not when the libertarian view of “if it doesn’t hurt me or steal from me it’s not my business” regularly comes into conflict with the rampaging socons who think that anyone who doesn’t follow their particular creed is a Godless savage (to their credit, most of them have enough manners not to actually SAY this, but you can hear them thinking it even with a whole internet between you and them). And really, REALLY not when it comes to the conservative establishment, which isn’t conservative and is only establishment because it’s a collection of politicians who’ll do whatever they have to to keep whatever power they’ve got.

      As for your last paragraph, sir, one can arrive at the same conclusions about the inherent rights without them needing to be endowed by a creator (who in the view of many of the founders of the USA was not the big-G big-brother type so many modern evangelicals like to postulate but was rather more of a motive/driving force (aka “Providence”)). Of course, this takes logic, something demonstrably beyond your capacity as evidenced by your comments here

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        I wonder if you ever meet a real religious Conservative in your life. Of course, I suspect you’d call John Adams an “evil” so-con.

        • I’ve met religious conservatives, Paul. You don’t want to go there. I’m religious and even I can see serious issues with enforcing faith.

          • Paul, I’m a certified Evangelical Christian Conservative, would you like to clarify that remark?

            • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

              First Patrick, Sarah has said “let’s not go there”.

              Second, I dislike hearing stuff from people I normally agree with that sounds like it comes from the Left’s Anti-Religion Playbook.

              Have a nice day.

              • Third, Kate most CERTAINLY knows at least ONE actual Christian Conservative — ME. And as I flatter myself we are fairly close, we’ve actually had long conversations about what actual conservative christians believe. Kate may have been a bit overstrong in her response in that aspect but neither was she completely incorrect.

                There are plenty of idiot SoCons who, in response to the intolerant left, have hardened their positions to the point Kate discusses.

                Instead of knee jerking, as you did, I asked your for clarification.

          • We might oughtta wantta note the distinction between “religious conservatives” and “political conservatives.”

            Can we all agree that the problem is people, conservative or liberal, who believe their Faith (religious or otherwise) should use the power of the State to impose conformity? (Heck, not even The Creator endorsed that! Is why we have Free Will.*)

            Conservative has become so broadly (mis)defined as to approach semantic uselessness.

            *Free Will — don’t leave home without it!

            • I find the fairly-new-to-me description of “three prong” to be useful– it’s usually phrased as fiscal, religious and military, but is a bit more accurately called FiCon, SoCon and MilStrong…..

            • No.

              Because “imposing conformity” will be (and indeed is) used as an excuse to shut down debate and disenfranchise people. Mostly by people who will have vapors if you point out the deeply religious rhetoric and arguments of the civil rights movement.

              • No? So, you are saying that we cannot all agree that the problem is people who believe in using the power of the State to impose conformity? And the reason for your disagreement is “because ‘imposing conformity’ will be used as an excuse to shut down debate and disenfranchise people”?

                I think there is something here that is escaping my comprehension; perhaps you could show your work?

        • It’s a perspective thing. My younger daughter turned her numbers sheet upside down yesterday and informed me the 9 was a ‘b,’ because that’s how she saw it. (yes, that was a mommy brag– she’s TWO!)

          Never mind that I’ve never thought of someone as “Godless,” though I’m a quite solid SoCon; usually focus on right, wrong or “that doesn’t make any sense,” then move on from there.

          The problem of deciding who gets to be counted as a person is an example of the type of radioactive topics where the other person’s motivation and/or theology doesn’t even come up until things have dead ended.

          • I’m less troubled by the “Godless” than I am by those worshiping false gods — and insistent on imposing their idolatry on me.

    • If you’re going to define the world solely from the basis of your own terms, and then from that basis, argue that yellow is purple and night is day, it’s hard to refute you because you’re confined within a microcrosm where you have set the values as such. And you entitled to do so, but there is a line around your world, onto which intersects the world of reality.
      Whatever you choose to call yourself, you express the beliefs of a maybe small-L libertarian. But you are not an average SoCon, nor is the average SoCon the average conservative, except within the confines of your head. Social conservatives, by popular definition, are people who wish for the government to regulate social issues. You can call them anything you like: RINOs, not-really-conservatives, or Fleeblegordies. But when you communicate with other human beings, do not be surprised if your discussions of Fleeblegordies fail to communicate the point you wish. You remind me of people who call themselves “classically liberal”, as though that’s seriously going to change the popular definition of liberal.
      With the understanding that we will be using terms as normal humans use them, here is my proposition. Out of charity, since you have failed to understand how the popularly understood groups of libertarians and conservatives differ, allow me to give you a quick primer to help gently correct your overreaching and self-aggrandizing in public forums.
      Let’s start at the basics. First, no, the constitution does not come from the bible. It might arguably have the second degree contact of being developed by civilized, educated people who held approximately Christian values. We could likewise assume that any constitution drafted by the Aztecs would not be particularly pleasant, even if it never mentioned Quetzalcoatl. The constitution comes from a broad and deep… and incidentally, surprisingly dispassionate… analysis of all preceding history known to its drafters. It was designed to try to avoid the pitfalls that had destroyed thousands of prior governments, and like a review paper in a scientific journal, collated the results from this empirical evidence into a single point which tried to form a clearer picture of a path ahead. Likewise, the beliefs of the founding fathers varied considerably. Some of the best known ones leaned more towards Deism. You would not like Deists. They reject the supernatural out of hand. They believe that G*d set the world in motion and now watches strictly as an observer. They see prayer, sacrifice, and supplication as meaningless… we are left to steer by our reason and knowledge. Indeed, what was more true of them as a general statement was that they were simply reasonably well-educated (By their standards. By ours they’d be utter geniuses.) and reasonably successful men, conversant with and attracted to the ideas of the age of enlightenment.
      The constitution is oriented towards liberty because the founders recognized the government impinging on liberty is A) without ethical basis in valuing one person over another given no information on either (though sadly, it would be some time before certain pieces of information were recognized as irrelevant), and B) historically leads to turmoil, stagnation, and decline in direct proportion to the level at which it happens. This must be emphasized. They were empiricists first. They stood in a room of broken machines and, by observing that wreckage, attempted to devise a machine that would last.
      A conservative, as the term is generally understood, is anyone interested in maintaining that design. A liberal is a person who wants to throw it away and… I will editorialize here… go back to making the same design mistakes that broke the machines the founding fathers avoided replicating when they built their own. That encompasses a broad, very broad pool of people, because many wish to get in and tinker.
      It may surprise you to hear that a libertarian is not necessarily in the camp that wants the constitution inviolate. A libertarian is a person who wants the constitution inviolate if the odds are better that tinkering with it will backfire. But the fundamental idea for a libertarian is an abstract idea of liberty going beyond America. America is on the high-score board, don’t get us wrong. But clearly there was a flaw in the plan, or have you been somewhere else for the past five years? The tactics of power-grabbers evolve. Libertarians routinely contemplate whether there is a way to take the lessons we’ve learned and make it harder to take away human liberty, and think constantly about human nature and human systems as the context in which all ideas are put. So, yes, libertarians are correctly drawn outside the fold of the obligate religious. They are also, my friend, closer to the spirit of the founding fathers. The spirit of the founding fathers was to look at and integrate a broad pool of history, first and foremost the history laying right under our noses.
      Conservatives outside the group of libertarianism often support solid political ideas, but the sources for those ideas vary and are more prone to internal inconsistency. Like any other political party a great number of the general conservatives have beliefs that boil down to a dogmatic or unreasoned source, and/or make little effort to maintain consistency between beliefs on different issues. That would include, for example, sourcing the Bible. Sure, I’m catholic, but the last group of people who thought G*d could regulate their political affairs waited for a warrior and got a carpenter. The almighty moves in mysterious ways on average, but human nature he very predictably leaves us to figure out ourselves. Leviticus has little to add to the discussion except as a case study of a human of two millennia ago trying to filter the thoughts of the almighty through a humble human skull. But the fact that most people do not view politics as a libertarian does is not a problem worth worrying about, in most cases. Certainly, the fact that the beliefs are often inherited, not reasoned, can dilute them. Many factions of the right only stand for liberty approximately or on average, because they are playing a game of telephone without knowing it. Yet few try to argue that this patchwork of odds and ends is somehow superior to trying to derive a properly fleshed-out, contiguous whole based on logic and reason.
      Which I suppose makes you very unusual. But call us upstarts and get as haughty as you like. At the end of the day, the constitution and the founding fathers derived from the enlightenment and the people who think you can base things on the Bible and call it done controlled the world they swept away.

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        Sarah has said “let it” but I consider it nonsense to say that Christianity and its beliefs had nothing to do with our founding principles. In addition, the idea that the founders were all Deists (or mostly Deists) is IMO a common delusion of the modern secularists. Christians have been involved in this country even before it was independent. The British would have loved to silence the New England pastors who spoke out against the Crown. The Southern Slave Owners would have loved to silence the Northern Ministers who spoke out against Slavery.

        This idea that Religious Conservatives are somehow un-American is the biggest lie of the Left and the secularists.

        As for the so-called Enlightenment, the French branch had no problem with putting the Priests under government control. For that matter, you might want to look up the Religion/Church Of Reason that some involved in the French Revolution wanted to force onto France.

    • Unfortunately, libertarian Sarah seems to be similarly ignorant about conservatives. We don’t like Heinlein? What??? We don’t like OSC? Only libertarians like Heinlein?

      It damages your credibility in all other areas to demonstrate so profound a reading comprehension failure as to interpret anything said here as meaning “conservatives don’t like Heinlein [or] OSC.” This is especially so as her argument insists that liking of those two (or any other author) is irrelevant to conservatism and/or libertarianism; indeed, proving one’s bona fides by citing “approved” authors is prima facie evidence of Leftist affinities.

    • Oh, no, not the “Everyone’s a libertarian” thing again– with a side helping of “where conservatives disagree with libertarians, they’re just less liberty loving.” Because it can’t possibly be that pro-life folks support the liberty of the small humans involved to not be killed, or any other actual considerations……

      Watch words like “ignorant.” They tend to bite the hand that tosses them.

  55. I’m not sure you made your case as to why Conservatives can’t/don’t read Heinlein and Card. This one is really a head-scratcher for me. I read Heinlein and Card and Pournelle and Niven and Barnes and Ringo and Abraham, McClellan and Drake and (I could go on)…

    I’m a Conservative. Which isn’t going to be an asset in my writing career, I’m sure. But what I got out of Heinlein is a belief in personal responsibility,that a strong defense preserves peace and hard work should be rewarded. Those are all Conservative virtues, as far as I know.

    You’re right, I don’t think much of Heinlein’s later work but that’s because it started being about his sex fantasies and not about the plot, IMO.

    As for Card, I suspect he has faith in truths that don’t change with ‘today’s realities’, whatever they may be at a given moment. And, I’m not a Mormon, but I too would rather put my trust in an unchanging God rather than the ranting of a decadent mob.

  56. Pingback: Moe Lane » This is a remarkably fascinating S/F conversation…

  57. “You can create scarecrows all you want to, but after a while even dumb birds realize these are just clothes stuffed with straw.”

    I would agree except that blaming the Jews has worked for thousands of years.

  58. Oh My…UH… Did someone take out a front page ad somewhere misquoting Sarah as stating that “conservatives don’t read Heinlein and Card.”?

  59. I’ve called myself a rational anarchist for years.

  60. If you go first, Sarah – regarding the long-dead editor being beautiful, “I don’t know about you, but I’d love to be remembered that way after I’m gone” – I promise to do this for you.

  61. Sarah is correct – I wouldn’t have thought of it the way she did so cogently; and I’m far from “conservative.” I am a Libertarian.

    These are my intuitive thoughts right now – and if these things are coming it will be good for freedom. Regarding some of the things you see that may sound “liberal,” keep in mind that the “liberal” way is to continue and exacerbate control and harm and trauma to those who are vulnerable. Therefore they stay weak and under control maintaining the “power structure.”

    http://www.asterling.com/2014/02/something-big-is-coming-in-2014.html

    • Amy — some of our thoughts are cogent, and a lot of it stuff I’ve been shouting from the rooftops. I’m “libertarian” — small L simply because I don’t think we can lay down weapons.
      Somewhere here there’s a post called “in the future we’re all ducks” which is about how the economy is slipping the bonds of the nation state and will therefore be hard to control.