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Welcome to The Asylum. Just as before, Josh is always right.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Dr. Phil Speaks Out?

Let me begin this installment of Uncommon Sense by pointing out that I have two issues with Phil Morgan's February 26th diatribe on "traditional family values" in the Hillsdale Daily News.

The first is as a media-type person, and as a media-type person, I couldn't care less what his opinion is.  What I care about more, as a media-type person, is the fact that Morgan, the sports editor, was allowed to share this opinion in the newspaper as an editorial.

Now, don't get me wrong, I have nothing against sports editors.  I'm a sports-type person myself, as well.  But a responsible news organization does not mix sports and politics.  You don't let the sports guy comment on social issues outside the realm of the sports world.  You don't let the weather guy give his opinion on the latest election.  You don't let an arts writer take potshots at a local bar for no justifiable reason.  The list of no-no's goes on.

The point is that the responsibility for social editorials falls strictly to the editor in chief.  If the sports editor wants to share his opinion on same-sex marriage with the rest of the world, there are other venues for that purpose, and using them instead of his employer as an outlet is necessary to protect not only himself, but his employer, as well.

Make no mistake about it, this piece will only generate negative publicity for the Daily News and anyone who publicly agrees with Phil Morgan's opinion (as some already have).

These are all signs of a severe lack of editorial oversight, and in this particular case, it's a sign of the complete disaster that has befallen the Daily News on account of twenty years of varied ownership which, like most other old media, stubbornly refused to adapt to new technology, so as their bottom line got smaller and smaller, so did the staff.  Each new owner slashed and slashed and slashed away until the sports editor and minimal sales staff are all that's left.

Consequently, I didn't even know this article existed until yesterday when a friend pointed it out to me, because I -- like most other Hillsdale County residents -- don't read the Hillsdale Daily News anymore, and haven't for many years.  It is now an irrelevant publication and has been for quite some time.  This is merely proof of that fact.

The second issue I have with the article is as a person, regardless of whatever type I assign to myself (or anyone else assigns to me, for that matter), and as a person, I find everything in the world wrong with Morgan's opinion.  Roger Corman's movies have fewer plot holes than this masterpiece of illogical reasoning.  So, as is the case from time to time, I find it necessary to respond to the article word-for-word, in responsive format, because it's just that ridiculous.  So let's jump right into it, shall we?

We often hear that the gay rights movement is a continuation of, or at least similar to, the civil rights movement of the early 1960s and that people who insist that traditional lifestyles are best for their communities, businesses, schools and families are akin to the Ku Klux Klan.

First of all, anyone referring to this as the "gay rights movement" has automatically lost.  This is not a movement to bestow any special rights or privileges upon LGBT individuals, it's a demand that government-sanctioned inequal application of the law be put to an end.  This is the ultimate conservative value: no one can tell anyone else what they can and cannot do unless it brings harm to other people.  It's called the Harm Principle, and no one under the LGBT banner is causing anyone else any harm by demanding that the law be equally applied to them, as is their God-given right according to the Fourteenth Amendment.  Advocating anything less is allowing violation of inherent human rights, and if you allow a violation of human rights to occur without at the very least speaking out against it, you're complicit in that violation.

Secondly, what defines "traditional lifestyles" to you, Phil?  I have friends and family who happen to be gay and live more traditional lifestyles than many heterosexual couples and individuals do.  Which says to me that your language is meant to imply that anything other than heterosexuality is a "lifestyle" and a "choice," to which I demand you provide substantial evidence to back up that claim.  While you're doing your research, here's some proof that such an idea is flat-out incorrect.

In 2006, the American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association and the National Association of Social Workers jointly filed a brief with the California Supreme Court that stated:

"Currently, there is no scientific consensus about the specific factors that cause an individual to become heterosexual, homosexual, or bisexual—including possible biological, psychological, or social effects of the parents' sexual orientation. However, the available evidence indicates that the vast majority of lesbian and gay adults were raised by heterosexual parents and the vast majority of children raised by lesbian and gay parents eventually grow up to be heterosexual."

And in 2007, the Royal College of Psychiatrists contributed to a listening exercise (or request for information) from the Church of England on human sexuality.  Their submission took a much more conclusive tone:

"Despite almost a century of psychoanalytic and psychological speculation, there is no substantive evidence to support the suggestion that the nature of parenting or early childhood experiences play any role in the formation of a person's fundamental heterosexual or homosexual orientation. It would appear that sexual orientation is biological in nature, determined by a complex interplay of genetic factors and the early uterine environment. Sexual orientation is therefore not a choice."

Care to debate this further, Phil?  I've got more.  You're only going to be wasting your time.

We are told that the future will judge us harshly for promoting the belief that a man, a woman and their children are the foundation of a healthy society.

I don't know what you're afraid of, Phil.  The present judges you harshly for it already.

I am not sure when protecting traditional family values became weird. It could only be recently, for the perpetuity of humankind is enough evidence to suggest man and woman making children is the natural order.

I refer you, once again, to science: female embryonic stem cells, in 2008, were used to create sperm cells, which could one day lead to children born of two women.  And in 2013, scientists were able to use primordial germ cells from a male mouse to create a female egg cell, and the same type of cells from a female mouse to create male sperm cells.

In addition to same-sex families, you're also invalidating single-parent families, divorced and combined families, adoptive families and so forth.  These people are just as capable of raising children as a male-female couple.  How dare you take it upon yourself to dismiss them?

Unfortunately, the discretion necessary for good self-government is not just weird anymore, it is considered by some to be politically incorrect, bigoted and shameful.

What does the natural existence of homosexuality have to do with your self-government, Phil?  You have absolutely no rational justification to tell anyone that they cannot love who they love.  Yet you do so.  Screw political correctness, this has nothing to do with it.  But bigoted and shameful?  Refusing someone their rights on the basis of the way God created them?  Yeah, you bet that's bigoted and shameful.

Fearing how future generations will judge us is misguided, weak-minded and a careless approach to raising children. The problem with caring about what the future thinks is that in modern society the most "up-to-date" people throw the elders into nursing homes, revise history and sneer from their perches at the backwardness of the old ways.

Buried somewhere in that convoluted point is, I think, a commentary on society being ever-obsessed with what's new and flashy, but that has nothing to do with anything being discussed here, Phil.  No one is revising history.  In fact, if you look back into history, you'll find some rather shocking facts about countries and empires which did not collapse due in whole or in part to upholding equal rights for their non-heterosexual citizens.  Despite the fact that homosexuality has existed from damn near the very dawn of time, society -- modern or otherwise -- still somehow seems to march on and function just fine.

And that point about sneering at the backwardness of the old ways?  Have you never found yourself looking back at legalized slavery in this country and thinking, "what viciously horrid people could possibly justify this?"  Don't be a hypocrite, Phil.

Future generations might claim that three middle-aged women and a 15-year-old boy constitute a marriage and are a social unit fit for adopting and raising children.

Oh, here we go with the "slippery slope" argument again.  "Legalizing gay marriage will lead to bigamy, pedophilia and incest!  What's next, a man marrying his dog?!"  No one (except maybe some families in Utah) is arguing that marriage should be anything other than two consenting adults.  Though I would argue that you have no right to tell multiple consenting adults that they have no right to marry.  And given that the age of consent varies from state to state in this country, and that some states make exceptions to age of consent laws in certain circumstances, you also have no right to say that a legally-consenting 15-year-old cannot marry a consenting middle-aged woman.  Do you have to agree with it?  No.  Do you have the right to stop it?  No.

They would be wrong, of course.

According to you, Phil.  According to you.

Rather than fear how our children will judge us, we should fear how our forefathers are judging us. If we understood history, we would want to perpetuate the work of our best ancestors. Only from there can we focus on initiating the young into good traditions and the natural order.

The best work of our ancestors was ensuring that we live free to make our own decisions so that others cannot make them for us.  Good traditions follow organically from that freedom.  And if you say "natural order" one more time, I will be forced to explain to you just what that term means.  Do you understand how patently ignorant you are being, not to mention expressing hatefulness that borders on just this side of latency?

One of the many ironies of comparing the civil rights movement to the gay rights movement is that the civil rights movement was led by very religious people justified by the past. The Montgomery Bus Boycott was organized by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Martin Luther King Jr. was a Baptist minister who defended his belief in inalienable human rights by studying the Bible, Plato’s Republic, the teachings of Ghandi and the Declaration of Independence.

Have you ever actually talked to a gay person, Phil?  Have you ever actually spent time around anyone involved in the "gay rights movement?"  There are LGBT individuals in churches all over the world.  There are LGBT activists who are profoundly faithful people.  Profoundly faithful people who also are justified by the past, and also find their justification for inalienable human (not gay, human) rights in the Bible, Plato's Republic, the teachings of Ghandi, the Declaration of Independence, and many other historical documents that have helped articulate and spread the ideals of individual liberty and civil rights.  If you think there's any lack of religion or historical context involved here, you obviously have no clue what you're talking about. 

When Thomas Jefferson penned the Declaration of Independence he wrote that nature’s God is the source of human rights. The moral absolutism of natural law became the rock upon which the Founding Fathers broke slavery in eight of 13 states in just 24 years and kept it out of the Northwest Territories.

Less than 100 years later abolitionists, also mostly Christians, led another charge for human rights that ended with the Civil War and emancipation.

Gee, if that moral absolutism based on natural law proved that the owning and withholding of rights from black people -- their pigmentation a natural, biological trait -- was clearly wrong, then that same moral absolutism based on natural law also proves that the withholding of rights from gay people -- their homosexuality a natural, biological trait -- is also clearly wrong.  You're operating strictly on dogma, Phil, and there is a maxim that I share specifically with people such as yourself: if science is one of God's ways of telling us who He is, then when science proves dogma incorrect, the dogma must be changed or eliminated.  Your dogma, Phil, must be changed.

The point is that when we look back and see the march of human rights we see Christian virtue, moral absolutism and people’s fear of a just creator.

All of which, as I pointed out to you above, we're also seeing today.

Dr. King said people should be judged based on choices, not on color. I doubt he would want his work compared to an anti-religious movement that says "whatever works for you."

The demand for equal application of the law is not anti-religious, nor does it say "whatever works for you."  Now you're just being deliberately inflammatory.

Interestingly, everyone’s ancestors through all of time, at least for one night, adhered to this suddenly weird idea that all life springs through the masculine, the feminine and the natural order. Every living person’s parents were, if only once, pro-heterosexuality and pro-life.

Firstly, you said "natural order" again, so here's your lesson: natural order is the relationship of one thing to others without any outside influence.  Since homosexuality exists in nature without outside influence (having been observed in many species, not only humanity, in the wild), it is part of the natural order of things.  Therefore, homosexuality does not violate natural law.  Your entire argument is, thus, invalid.

Secondly, only thanks to a society which has ignorantly demanded adherence to the male-female dichotomy has any LGBT individual been frustrated by their natural sexuality to the point of acting against it.  In fact, studies have shown that homosexuals raised by heterosexual couples who are loving and accepting of their homosexual child grow up to be very comfortable about their sexuality.  "Pro-heterosexuality?"  What the hell does that even mean, Phil?  No one is anti-heterosexuality.  What a ridiculous statement.

The nature of man and the nature of woman is visible in the soul and reflected in culture — the means by which truth passes downward. Moderns attempt to rewrite human nature and condescendingly send it backward, alas arriving in dystopian catastrophes.

And how many homosexuals' souls have you seen the nature of man and woman in, Phil?  The only modern attempt to rewrite human nature and condescendingly send it backward into a dystopian catastrophe is being carried out by people such as yourself.  If you seek to withhold the inherent human rights of anyone, be they gay, straight, transgender, cisgender, black, white, blue, neon green or born on Jupiter, you are creating exactly what you fear: a dystopian society in which one group of people who claim to have the moral authority are the only people granted full, uninhibited access to their God-given rights.

Once upon a time, village elders took the young men into the wilderness to teach them fundamental lessons of their humanity. Today understanding what it means to be a human is trampled by the whims of public education, public outcry and political correctness.

Also once upon a time, people died of the bubonic plague and blamed the alignment of the planets causing "bad air."  There are some old concepts that science has proven incorrect over time, Phil.  No whims of the public are necessary.

C.S Lewis called the old approach the Tao, or the way. People who believe in the Tao are not bigots; they are moral absolutists who believe in preserving the things they cherish most.

This position of yours is not the Tao, Phil.  What you're expressing in this piece is that age-old argument of fools: "that's the way it's always been, so that's the way it always should be."  It has nothing to do with morality, because morality would tell you to allow those with whom you disagree the freedom in which to find their errors and correct them.  That is, after all, the approach in keeping with Jesus' teachings.  Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.

But that's just the problem, Phil: you know, deep down inside, that homosexuality is not an error.  You simply dislike it.  You dislike it, and you dislike the idea that non-heterosexual people have the same exact God-given rights as you do.  You're willing to violate the Constitution, natural law, and natural order -- and use them in a blatantly hateful attempt to justify their violation -- simply because that's the way it's always been.  Same-sex families raising children in no way hinders the preservation of the traditions you claim to cherish most.  In fact, your refusal to accept that same-sex couples have the same rights as yourself hinders their ability to preserve those traditions.  You're arguing against your own interest, Phil.

When we take bad episodes and then vilify the general past, we risk losing everything.

Bad episodes would be one thing, but we're not talking about bad episodes, we're talking about systemic and repeated violations of the inherent human rights of a certain group of people.  If you cannot see that, Phil, I have no choice but to refer to you as the fool which you have proven yourself to be.

All in all, what we have here is more of the same old ignorance and bigotry that has perpetuated inequal application of the law to one subset of society or another for far too long.  Pardon me for demanding that people be judged on the content of their character rather than the sex or gender of the people to whom they are naturally attracted.

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