Opposing Gay Marriage vs. Opposing Inter-Racial Marriage

Jonathan Rauch blogs, “Lots of people compare the opposition to gay marriage and the resistance to interracial relationships. It’s a flawed analogy. Here’s why.” Excerpt:

I recently talked to a gay-rights organizer whose job includes building support for marriage equality and anti-discrimination laws in conservative states….When I asked if the analogy to racism was helpful, she groaned. No analogies are helpful, she replied, but this one is especially counterproductive. People snap into a defensive crouch and shut down. No one will trust or talk to someone who calls them, in effect, a racist, the worst thing you can be in America. Winning converts, finishing the fight, she said, requires taking people on a journey toward seeing marriage and homosexuality in a new light. It’s a process, and an accusatory approach aborts it.

58 Comments for “Opposing Gay Marriage vs. Opposing Inter-Racial Marriage”

  1. posted by Doug on

    I’m sorry but it is NOT a flawed analogy. It’s about civil rights. Just because people don’t like the analogy does not make it flawed. And yes, most of those who were against inter-racial marriage were racist. It may not be a pretty picture but it is reality and people just have deal with it.

    • posted by Tom Jefferson III on

      It may not be a good idea — in terms of strategic lobbying for state bills — to compare homophobia to racism. I have to see what state activists say — not just one unnamed source in one state.

      However, that does not mean that attacks on gay marriage are not similar to the attacks on interracial marriage. It just means that maybe, its not the best argument to make you when lobbying for a state gay rights bill; the fact that you don’t always confront your audience with reality, does not mean that it ain’t reality.

      Also, I can think of at least one state where same-sex marriage is technically illegal — criminal sanctions apply — if you enter into a same-sex marriage. It has brought up here before.

      Frankly, an old boyfriend of mine — who is Jewish — said that anti-Semitism and homophobia seem very similar.

  2. posted by Houndentenor on

    Yes, people hate being called racist, even when they are racist. I’m sure that even Cliven Bundy doesn’t think he’s racist. No, no. We can’t call anyone RACIST. #facepalm

    • posted by North Dallas Thirty on

      Sure, Houndentenor.

      Is that why white liberals like you call black people who vote against you Nazi collaborators and race traitors?


      After all, you whitey liberals know what’s best for them and that they’re too stupid to make up their own minds, just like Harry “Negro Accent” Reid says, right?

      • posted by Houndentenor on

        I’m happy to step aside and here what African Americans have to say about Bundy’s comment. Sorry ND30 but I know plenty of TeaPartier racists, as in still use the N-word racists. Bundy’s comments weren’t the least bit surprising to me.

        • posted by Jim Michaud on

          One of my Facebook friends had a great comment about l’affaire Bundy: his former supporters are backpedaling so fast it should count as aerobic exercise.

          Who let NDT out of his cage?

        • posted by North Dallas Thirty on

          How nice.

          And then if those black people disagree with you, you’ll scream that they’re Nazi collaborators and Uncle Toms.

          That’s what makes your stories so entertaining, Houndentenor. They’re just projections of the fact that you and Jim Michaud only like the black people who enslave themselves to you. You two presume all conservatives and Tea Partiers are racist because you both are.

          • posted by Houndentenor on

            No. I presume Teapartiers and conservatives are racist because I’ve heard them use the N-word or post racist cartoons and comments on Facebook.

  3. posted by Jorge on

    That’s not a good explanation on why it’s a “flawed” analogy.

    While tactically there may be so many other fruitful tactics that it is better to avoid the analogy, it may well be an analogy that can bear fruit if used wisely. The fact that progressives are insensitive boors does not mean they are intellectually bankrupt.

    Much change happens when people are made uncomfortable internally, and it seems to me that the racial analogy (much though I disdain it) can be used effectively if it is intellectually coherent. Don’t simply tell people opposing same sex marriage is the same as opposing inter-racial marriage. Ask people to tell you why they are different. But beware! You may well wind up having people take Justice Scalia’s position of “Because the people say so!”

    The reason I believe it’s a flawed analogy is very simple: inter-racial marriage bans are most famously known as criminal offenses, or situations in which you could be subject to violence. Same-sex marriage bans do not have the same cultural connotations. Same-sex marriages are no longer criminal offenses even in those states which do not recognize it. The battle has been won in 2003 with Lawrence v. Texas overturning sodomy bans. As for violence… ehhhh.

    • posted by Jorge on

      The article itself is better reasoned.

      2. Religion, unlike racism, is constitutionally protected, and opposition to gay marriage has deep religious roots.

      Yeah. “The anti-gay “clobber texts” in the Bible, though overemphasized by homophobes, are really there.”

      Clobber texts? More like blubber texts : (

      “all three of the Abrahamic faith traditions condemn homosexual love, and all of them have theologies that see marriage as intrinsically heterosexual. . . . Here again, racism is a different story. The defenders of anti-miscegenation laws in the 1960s claimed to have God on their side, but it was evident that they were distorting and abusing the tenets of their faith, not exercising them. Racism was not a core doctrine of mainstream Christianity or Judaism; rather, religion offered a powerful moral critique of racism (and religious leaders played a critical role in fighting it).”

      Hmm….. that’s an argument I must remember, the idea that religious arguments for racism are a distorion of their faiths. Seems to me a strong argument in the grand scheme of things (socially). A weak one on an individual basis (legally). But Mr. Rauch says the courts never gave any such protections for racism for religious reasons. Fine, fine, FINE!

      3. There is no political emergency

      I am astounded of the ability of some people to take the protoplasmic ameobas of my mood and turn it into intelligible thought. But Mr. Rauch describes it in a way that points to why the analogy is so offensive to black Americans. Well, even I had not fully considered this in such a way, so it is appreciated. Now, what are those paralells again?

      • posted by Tom Scharbach on

        Now, what are those paralells again?

        According to Rauch:

        “There are important parallels between the Loving case and the gay marriage cases today. And there are also important parallels between the gay civil rights movement and its African-American predecessor. Gays were systematically excluded from jobs and careers, terrorized by thugs in order to keep us in our place, sometimes killed if we looked at someone the wrong way. Instead of protecting us, the police hounded and harassed us. Our churches were burned, our young people humiliated. Of course, our government systematically and openly discriminated against us. I could go on, but suffice to say this: People who deny any kinship between racism and homophobia are ignorant, malicious, or both.”

      • posted by Tom Scharbach on

        The reason I believe it’s a flawed analogy is very simple: inter-racial marriage bans are most famously known as criminal offenses, or situations in which you could be subject to violence.

        I wouldn’t count on same-sex couples not being subject to violence — or at least threats of violence — in a wide swath of the country. I know couples who do not drive together in parts of my own county too late at night, and I got my share of credible threats during the 2006 anti-marriage amendment campaign, when I was out most days knocking on doors — close to 3,000 doors over a six-month period.

        With respect to criminal liability for marrying, I would invite you to Wisconsin, where a same-sex couple, resident in Wisconsin, who travels out-of-state to a free state like Minnesota to get married is subject to criminal prosecution, with a penalty of $10,000 and nine months in the slammer.

        I don’t think that the law will ever be used (it was enacted during the period when Wisconsin banned interracial marriage and has been used only occasionally since), but if a prosecutor was stupid enough to arrest a married same-sex couple, the legal situation would almost perfectly fit Loving.

        • posted by North Dallas Thirty on

          Actually, hate speech by bigots such as Tom Scharbach has been directly linked to violence against Christians and Christian organizations.


          Since Tom Scharbach and his fellow liberal gays claimed Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh should be imprisoned for the Tucson shootings, I’m sure Tom Scharbach and his fellow liberals will apply the same to themselves.

          • posted by Tom Scharbach on

            Bosh, Dan.

          • posted by North Dallas Thirty on


            No one expects you to live up to your own rules, Tom Scharbach.

            It’s just more entertaining to watch you spin and try to deflect for why you can’t.

          • posted by Jorge on

            I wouldn’t count on same-sex couples not being subject to violence — or at least threats of violence — in a wide swath of the country.


            *: I must admit to being a little rueful lately that I don’t have the power of North Dallas 30’s massive Actually library at my command.

          • posted by Doug on

            How lovely to see you back NDT but I’ve already seen Poltergeist II.

    • posted by Tom Scharbach on

      Rauch did not discuss the legal similarities in legal principle and precedent between Loving and the marriage equality cases.

      In terms of legal precedent, the analogy is strong, and you can bet that Loving will be cited in marriage equality decisions going forward, just as the case was cited in Perry v. Schwarzenegger, Kitchen v. Herbert, Bostic v. Rainey and others.

      I suspect that the organizer that Rauch quotes is right — trying to draw an “accusatory” analogy between interracial marriage and same-sex marriage probably is counterproductive in trying to win hearts and minds. Not so, though, when it comes to building a legal foundation for a marriage equality decision in court.

    • posted by Doug on

      “The fact that progressives are insensitive boors. . . . ”

      Were is not for us progressives being gay would still be a diagnosable mental illness, it’s highly unlikely there would be same sex marriage anywhere and you couldn’t serve in the armed forces.

      • posted by Jorge on

        If you mean to say “were it not for us gays being progressive”, I agree with you.

        That does not mean that progressive tactics are the only tactics that need to be used at this time. Consider that in order to succeed, progressive tactics need to draw the backlash and fight through it, address and rebut all concerns. A very difficult and arduous process that many people of older generations bear with pride. But times are different now. A decision must be made whether times are different enough to merit more effective tactics…

        …and different enough still that they merit the worldview needed to believe in them.

  4. posted by JohnInCA on

    So his three arguments for why the analogy between miscegenation laws and marriage bans are…

    (A) deny the eons-long history of gay marriage/unions just because it’s obscure.
    (B) deny that the racists of the 60s were every bit as firm in their belief that their religion demanded racism as anti-gay bigots today are firm in their belief that their religion demands anti-gay bigotry.
    and (C) that it’s not politically expedient.

    The only one that has merit if C, but that’s an argument for politics and tactics, not an argument that the analogy itself is flawed.

    You know, I gotta say, I’m really enjoying these waves of opinion peaces on why I should be more Christian and turn the other cheek to people who are emphatic in their desire to annul my marriage.

  5. posted by ctdawg on

    I dunno. I’m done with being polite to homophobic bigots. Lots of people are saying we’ve already won the marriage debate; it’s just a matter of time. I say rub their noses in it. Hard.

  6. posted by Mike in Houston on

    It appears as if Stephen is wanting to turn IGF into an annex for the idiots at Gay Patriot.

    You gotta wonder about the pathology…

  7. posted by Jorge on

    By the way, for all those people who love asking the hypothetical “what if they said racism???”, here’s a gift. And I’ll bet it’s still laying eggs:


    A fair warning: Make sure you unwrap your gift before you attempt to use it, so that you know whether or not it works. The time for hypotheticals may well be over.

    • posted by Jorge on

      Oh, I guess I’m late to that party. Oh well.

    • posted by Houndentenor on

      You know you’re off the charts of nutbaggery when even Sean Hannity denounces your comments.

  8. posted by Kosh III on

    “(and religious leaders played a critical role in fighting it).”

    Yes, “liberal” religious leaders. Others fought hard to support Jim Crow. From the end of WW! to the late 60’s KKK leaders were often Southern Baptist pastors or from other like-minded denominations(Southern Methodist, Southern Episcopal). Why do you think it’s named SOUTHERN?

    • posted by Jorge on

      Why do you think it’s named SOUTHERN?

      I have no idea. Why is it named Southern?

      I read an interesting Encyclopedia Britannica entry the other day that one of the root causes of the Protestant reformation was that certain Catholic intellectuals wanted the Bible to be translated from Latin so that the people, not just the Pope, could interpret it.

      Well they’re translated now, and now most Catholics in the United States support gay marriage. Problem more than solved if you ask me. I would be interested in knowing whether the same is the case for the Southern churches.

      • posted by Tom Scharbach on

        Kosh: Why do you think it’s named SOUTHERN?
        Jorge: I have no idea. Why is it named Southern?

        During the period 1835-1861, as the nation divided over the question of slavery, a number of national denominations — Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians — did likewise.

        The “Presbyterian Church of the Confederate States of America” (later the Presbyterian Church in the United States), the “Southern Baptist Convention”, and the “Methodist Episcopal Church, South” were formed during this period.

        The northern and southern wings of the Presbyterian and Methodist churches reunited a few decades after the Civil War. The Southern Baptist Convention, which eventually grew to become the largest Protestant denomination in the United States, never reunited with the northern Baptist denomination.

        Suffice it to say that the abolitionist movement did not spring from the southern denominations, and the Southern Baptist Convention was firmly aligned with segregation during the Civil Rights era.

        The Catholic Church was, on the other hand, a strong voice against racism during the Civil Rights era. Archbishop Joseph Rummel of New Orleans, for example, desegregated Catholic parish churches in the 1950’s and parochial schools in 1962.

        • posted by Jorge on

          The desegregation of parochial schools was a surprising feature for me in Doubt, starring Meryl Streep and Chris Hoffman.


          Suffice it to say that the abolitionist movement did not spring from the southern denominations, and the Southern Baptist Convention was firmly aligned with segregation during the Civil Rights era.


          What is the difference between a schism over what the Bible says about black slavery and a schism over whether the Pope has a better authority to interpret the Bible than a layperson? (And a schism over what the Bible has to say about marriage?)

          Besides the fact that in one case the side that split off won, and in the other case it lost? Does political or theological victory or defeat alone dictate which side had the right of it under divine law?

          We’ve already established that the Southern Baptists were against the Civil Rights Movement and used to be for slavery, yes? Too bad, they get their own heretical religion now, so stop accusing them of distorting Christianity, because they’re not Christian anymore.

          My thought experiment leads me to conclude that defending segregation in court on religious grounds failed because “they were distorting and abusing” the already racist tenets of the southern churches. Could anyone prove in court that they had a Leviticus-like list of every segregationist political policy they liked? Doubtful, and irrelevant. Even a religious belief that one race is superior to another does not create “deep religious roots” to the idea that one race cannot vote.

          So I still agree with Rauch on this one, eh? Well, I gave it my best shot. Racism is invidious for its adaptability. You can create new rules out of whole cloth out of its broad generalizations. It is that very slipperiness that was struck dead by the courts and the Civil Rights Act, turning the flexibility on its head by forcing people to use their racist beliefs in a way that accomodated blacks.

          There is far less slipperiness and flexibility around the idea that marriage is only between a man and a woman. Still, I am sure that those who are skilled at pointing out the hypocritical rule-changing of the right will find a way to help people adapt to the emerging realities of our time.

  9. posted by Aubrey Haltom on

    Rauch should know that racism was defended as biblical and required – all the way up to the 60s in the US.
    In fact, the chutzpah of an organization like the Southern Baptist Convention stating that its opposition to same sex marriage makes it the abolition movement of its day – is mind numbing.

    The Southern Baptist Convention formed directly in support of slavery as the South tried to break away from the USA. And not only did the ‘fathers’ of the SBC invoke biblical quotes and reasons for upholding slavery (and the necessity of slavery as a biblical requirement) – the SBC continued to support segregation up through Jim Crow and into the fights for desegregation.

    Only finally offering an apology to African-Americans (and to the US?) after almost 150 years of religious excuses for racism.

    If people look back at the reasons given at the time in opposition to miscegenation – biblical/religious reasons were paramount.

    Finally, I don’t think we as a community and a movement are going anywhere resembling forward – if we continually constrain our fight so that we don’t offend those who oppose our equality.

    • posted by Houndentenor on

      People under a certain age are too young to remember what that time was like. I’m almost too young myself.

      Comparing interracial marriage to gay marriage is obviously not a perfect analogy. Almost no analogies are perfect. There are similarities, however, most significantly almost the very same people in the same places in opposition. And even the same main argument: “What about the children?!”

  10. posted by AG on

    Comparing the opposition to gay marriage to the opposition to interracial marriages is not terribly useful because the latter is so marginalized in our society. A better example would be what to do with tens of millions of people who support racial discrimination today.

    I think that discriminating against someone because of the color of his or her skin is appalling, immoral, and racist by definition. Most Americans agree with my take on racial discrimination. Still there are many Americans who think it’s okay to discriminate, they typically use the euphemism “affirmative action.”

    Referendums took place in a number of states to ban racial discrimination. Should we try to punish anyone who donated to the sides that fought to keep racial discrimination legal? What about individuals who voted for or donated money to the politicians who explicitly supported racial discrimination? Most Democratic and even Republican politicians endorsed it.

    How should we treat all these racists?

    • posted by Houndentenor on

      Oy. So you’re claiming that people who are trying to undo decades of racial prejudice are the only true racists left in America? #facepalm

      • posted by Mike in Houston on

        This sort of thing happens when you finish your College Republican days under Professor of Negro Studies, Cliven Bundy.

    • posted by JohnInCA on

      You’re certainly free to try and be the start of a sweep of public condemnation for people who donated to support Affirmative Action in Washington or California in the 90s if you want.

      And if you get enough people that vocally agree and can exert pressure, preferrably of the economic in the form of boycotts or threats to the ability of a company to recruit and retain talented employees, then you might see some effect.

      That’s kind of how the free market of ideas intersects with capitalism.

      • posted by AG on

        You didn’t get my point. I tolerate people around me whom I honestly consider racists. They voted for and donated money to the Democratic politicians who support racial discrimination. Although they may not like very much this particular aspect of the Democratic policies, they still supported it indirectly with their votes and money. In the very same fashion I can tolerate people opposed to gay marriage. I do not want to make people fired even if I think they are racists or anti-gay.

        • posted by Jorge on

          YO! AG!

          You’ve no business posting here until you have answered for your own accusations. Houndentenor has asked you in a previous topic to ask Dan Savage yourself what he has to say about the Freedom to Marry, Freetom to Dissent petition. Why haven’t you done so? I asked you in another topic to contact Dan Savage or one of his friends of friends to ask if he will be assigning the petition and why; and to tell them your evaluation of Dan Savage’s comments that the resignation of Brandon Eich was a step backward for the LGBTQ rights movement. Why haven’t you contacted him?

          Stop complaining and then disappearing every time someone nails you on something. Put your principles where your mouth is.

          • posted by Houndentenor on

            Wow. I’m now on the same side of an argument as Lori and Jorge. I have to say I’m liking this. You are both exceptionally adept at expressing your opinions. It’s nice to be fighting with you rather than against you.

          • posted by AG on

            Why on Earth would I do what some random commenter on the Internet told me? Yes, it turned that Dan Savage disapproved of the progressive pressure to make Eich resign. Good for him, this improved my opinion of him. Why do you pretend that this is some kind of a gotcha moment? The poster on Savage’s website was delighted when Eich resigned, that’s why my initial guess about Savage’s position seemed reasonable to me, obviously wrongly. But all the regulars here don’t find this position terrible per se. So, it’s not like I accused Savage of something awful from your point of you.

          • posted by AG on


            Why are you surprised? Lori is a standard-issue Democrat, who used to claim (why?) to be some kind of a libertarian. Not anymore. And Jorge. Well, I’m glad I understand the point he makes in half of his posts. Though I usually skip them.

          • posted by Jorge on

            Well I appreciate that, Houndentenor, as I thought I was being too long-winded in this topic.

            All three of us agreeing would be a rare event, and I do value my ex-liberal side, although in this topic you should call it neutrality.

            Why on Earth would I do what some random commenter on the Internet told me?

            That depends on what you’re being told to do. I think you should try to answer questions that will help further explore a viewpoint or discussion. You can get one of two good results: a clarity of differences, or a clarity of similarities. Something like that.

            You choose the answer.

        • posted by JohnInCA on

          Then your point was poorly was poorly made and I question the strength of your convictions.

          But regardless, your idea of “tolerance” is interesting.

          Because patronizing someone’s business by using their products? Working for them? Using the sweat of your own brow to enrich them? That’s not tolerance, that’s *support*.

          And you seem to be confusing tolerance and support. Because I can tolerate Eich. He is in no danger of me ever trying to pass a referendum to divorce him, which is more then he can say to me. But “tolerance” does not mean “support”, and he, nor anyone else, is entitled to my, or anyone else’s, support.

          • posted by Houndentenor on

            I’m going to say this again. I hate the word “tolerance”. Loathe, detest, despise. I only ever hear it these days from right-wingers angry because someone called them out on their own bigotry. The same people who wanted to boycott a world hunger initiative because they announced a policy of nondiscrination against married gay people got butthurt because gays complained about an anti-gay CEO. None of us “had him fired”. None of us were in a position to do such a thing. (Meanwhile the hunger relief organization reversed its decision within days of announcing it.) They want “tolerance” for themselves but don’t want any for anyone else. In other words they want rights they deny to others. What nonsense. I don’t give a damn about anyone’s tolerance. Some people like me and others don’t. There’s not a damn thing I can do about that and besides I don’t have the time or energy to be BFFs with all of the billions of people on our planet. So long as someone isn’t causing me any harm their opinion of my isn’t really any of my business. Others may feel different. Some people really do feel a need to make everyone pay lip service to liking them. Personally I think that’s a complete waste of time and just leads to hypocrisy. It’s like the fundamentalist Christians who get bent out of shape if someone wishes them Happy Holidays! instead of Marry Christmas (even when it’s weeks from Christmas Day). They don’t care if those people are actually Christians. They just want people to act as if they are. What exactly is the point of that? Yes, it’s good if people in our society are polite and civil to each other, even if they don’t particularly care for each other. That’s just good manners. But I don’t particularly care if people think I’m going to hell so long as they don’t interfere with my legal rights or block me from being hired or keep me from being able to buy or rent a home. It’s none of my business what they think. It does matter to me what they do and in some situations what they say (especially if those words are likely to inspire negative actions by others).

          • posted by Jorge on

            …..am I supposed to create a “right wingers are hypocrites” file now?

            Okay, you’re angry enough that I can’t help but be sympathetic, but I am going to have to limit the holding.

            The same people who wanted to boycott a world hunger initiative because they announced a policy of nondiscrination against married gay people got butthurt because gays complained about an anti-gay CEO.

            One incident involved the most outstretched feathers of the right wing, the other involved everything from both shoulder blades to the… wing.

            It’s like the fundamentalist Christians who get bent out of shape if someone wishes them Happy Holidays! instead of Marry Christmas (even when it’s weeks from Christmas Day)….

            “I’m Offended, Therefore I Am” is a chapter title or theme in so many political books bemoaning the sorry state of social-political discourse I’ve lost count. And I place the blame squarely on left.

            You think you’re all big now that you have this rancher to beat up on for saying [I will not repeat it]. For how many years has Clarence Thomas been a liberal punching bag simply because he’s black and conservative? Do you know how sick I am of reading Michelle Malkin write about all the names she’s been called? Why is it somehow okay in society for women to make jokes about how stupid men are, but if a university president simply cites a study that suggests men and women tend to excel intellectually in different areas his job is in danger? And all the people frequenting this site who say “Yeah, let’s have some revenge for all the indignities inflicted on us?” Well, your prayers have been answered, someone clearly got their revenge.

          • posted by Tom Scharbach on

            You think you’re all big now that you have this rancher to beat up on for saying [I will not repeat it].

            If Republicans had a half-ounce of sense, Bundy would never have been lionized in the first place.

            Bundy denied the legitimacy of the government of the United States and was preparing to fight off the BLM with the help of armed militia who were openly talking about putting the women up front.

            That makes him an American Hero?

            What the hell were people like Rand Paul thinking, anyway?

          • posted by Jorge on

            If Republicans had a half-ounce of sense, Bundy would never have been lionized in the first place.

            Wannabe separatist militia yahoos pop up with some frequency among the right, and so they exercise some considerable political power and sympathy. Inflammatory racists only have that level of frequency and power among the left.

            It’s an interesting thing in this country. People at the extremes tend to be defended by the people on their side of the mainstream, until they say or do something “beyond the pale”. Yet the dividing line is seen as totally unsatisfactory, “they should have abandoned him a long time ago!”

            They’re useful idiots, fighting battles we are too honorable to wage ourselves.

            There is a force that we witness from the vantage point of this site that is against apologizing for the gay (LBT) rights movement, a force which lately is almost continually on the opposite side of Stephen Miller. Why does such a force exist? Most every poster here has answered that question.

  11. posted by Lori Heine on

    “Lori is a standard-issue Democrat, who used to claim (why?) to be some kind of a libertarian. Not anymore. ”

    Ah, yes…but AG is indeed a true conservative. He can twist truth into pretzels just like the rest of them.

    Conservatives have been especially hard at work since the presidential defeat of 2012, trying to hijack the libertarian label.

    Thus were Arizonans treated to the spectacle of “religious freedom” legislation that would have given government the authority to determine whose religious beliefs were sincere and whose were not.

    Now social-reactionary nutbaggery is being repackaged as libertarianism. So I can’t be a “real” libertarian. No, “not anymore.”

    Tell you what, AG. Ooze back into the sewer of Gay Patriot, where everybody hides behind an alias, calls people’s dead mothers streetwalkers and just generally exudes traditional Christian morality. And if we want the company of cockroaches, we can just go over there.

    • posted by Tom Scharbach on

      I agree with you that the far right is trying to hijack libertarianism, just as they tried to hijack the flag and the cross in earlier times. I’m an outsider to the faith, but I can’t help but laugh at the mental image of Jesus wrapped in an American flag brandishing an assault rifle, roaring through John Wayne Land on his ATV blasting away at liberals right, left and center. And as for the so-called “patriots” on the right, don’t get me started.

      It might be an interesting exercise for folks to take the “Are You a Libertarian?” test on the Libertarian Party’s website. It won’t take but a minute and folks might be surprised. I’ve taken it (or similar tests) a few times over the years, and I always end up in the same place — slightly to the Libertarian side of the Liberal/Libertarian line, a bit above the Modertate diamond. That makes some sense, given that my politics have always been an uncomfortable mix of Barry Goldwater’s defense of individual (not corporate) liberty and Bobby Kennedy’s passion for social justice.

      Libertarian ideas have appeal to many on both the right and left, although different Libertarian ideas tend to play to the right than to the left.

      It is a bit like NASCAR, of which I’m a long-time fan (Joey! won last night in a spectacular display of driving in the last few laps, much to the disgust of my neighbors, who think Matt Kenseth walks on water, for those of you who don’t know a real sport when it bites you in the butt). Folks on both left and right (in rural areas, anyway) enjoy NASCAR, but tend to favor different drivers.

    • posted by Houndentenor on

      I do not understand this tendency from some people to completely distort facts or simply make them up. I considered voting in the Republican primary this spring because I wanted to be able to have some say in who represented me in the state legislature and in the House of Representatives. The Democrats rarely even bother running candidates here. That would not mean that I had changed my views and was now walking lockstep with the GOP. I changed my mind about that after researching the candidates who were, in every race in which I would vote, tripping over each other to see how anti-gay (and anti-woman and anti-minority) they could be. It’s not so much the smell test (which was a problem) but that so far as I could tell, not one of them was any better than any of the others on any issue I cared about.

      Lori, similarly (not exactly obviously) decided that she would vote in the Democratic Primary to choose moderate candidates even if she didn’t vote for them in the general election. (But might depending on who wins the other primaries.) That makes perfect sense to anyone who isn’t a wingnut (on either side).

      I don’t know what’s so hard about understanding that some of us, because of location, have no choice but to make informed compromises in order to try to get people elected who aren’t complete idiots or dangerous extremists. But most perplexing is that anyone would think Lori is a standard-issue ANYTHING, much less standard-issue Democrat (not that there’s anything wrong with that). AG obviously can’t be bothered to try to understand anyone else’s position on any issue. Granted, libertarians don’t always make it easy since it seems they are far better at explaining what they are against rather than what they are for. (And I’ll admit to some ignorance on my part but I have tried and I still don’t understand how exactly they’d govern if they ever achieved a majority and I don’t think they know either.) But there’s no point completely mischaracterizing someone’s views, especially when, as here, it was done not from ignorance but intentionally.

      • posted by Jorge on

        I don’t know what’s so hard about understanding that some of us, because of location, have no choice but to make informed compromises in order to try to get people elected who aren’t complete idiots or dangerous extremists….

        AG obviously can’t be bothered to try to understand anyone else’s position on any issue.

        You humble yourself too much.

        Some people have oversensitive antibodies that activate when presented with certain stimuli.

        BUSH ROCKS!

        The allergic reaction is too strong for understanding to be a reasonable option.

        Step 1 is improving their understanding of the allergic reaction. It’s very time-consuming and frankly it is not always worth my time.

        I sometimes forget that I have made my own journey in years past and learned some lessons the hard way.

        That quiz isn’t loading up for me. I take the Political Compass test every so often. I always end up somewhere near zero on the libertarian/authoritarian scale and within 0 to -2 on the economic left/right scale. People’s heads explode around me because they don’t understand there is such a thing as a well-informed and calculating moderate. That’s because moderates don’t win elections for some strange reason. It is not my problem.

  12. posted by Tom Jefferson III on

    The Paleoconservatives and the Libertarian-right have basically been sleep together since the ‘New Right/Reagan’ revolution of the 1980s.

    Notice that it was pretty easy for Ron Paul to go from being a Libertarian Party nominee (one of the major elements of the libertarian right in America) and then back to being a Republican Congressman, without really changing his positions.

    From what I have read the paleoconservatives and members of the the libertarian-right (LP, Objectivists, etc) made something of a ‘gentleman’s agreement’ back in the 1980s.

    They would back the Reagan, ‘New Right’ revolution and fuzz over ‘difference viewpoints’ on civil liberties, equal protection and due process by claiming to hold onto a ‘state’s rights’ position.

    Both groups could agree that “big government” and “socialism”
    was bad, so on a superficial level this deal might have made some sort of sense to the people making it. They also both like to use the word ‘freedom’, ‘limited government’, ‘founding fathers’ and the like in their speeches.

    The problem was that the libertarian-right couldn’t really go along with the paleoconservative views on civil liberties, due process and equal protection.

    Since the 1970s the Libertarian Party (again, probably the most visible entity of the libertarian right) had — for example — opposed “victimless crime” laws, supported a secular government (church/state separation) and opposed government discrimination against gays.

    Basically, they came up with the idea that they could just claim that a ‘cultural wars’ issue was a state issue or that they didn’t want to tell a business what to do….at least when the state — as a states rights issue — was going to go the ‘right’ way.

    paleoconservatives and libertarians bought it — at least during the 1980s and much of the 1990s.

    What we have started to see is that younger members of the libertarian right, the ‘South Park Republicans’ if you will, want legal pot and want legal gay marriage.

    This has put people like Ron Paul and his son in a tight spot. Basically, they have to say that its a ‘state’s issue’, but then when the states don’t do what the paleoconservatives want…well

  13. posted by Tom Jefferson III on

    “Inflammatory racists only have that level of frequency and power among the left.”

    I cannot claim to be surprised by this statement. I hear it time and time again by conservatives — especially of the birther movement and the God-fearing cultural sort, but I do not believe that it is a truthful statement.

    Part of the issue is how “racism” — or indeed any sort of ism gets defined. People rarely talk about how they define racism, but their definition is implied and generally is where people get upset about.

    Conservatives tend to view racism as something that only individuals do, and the best way to fight racism is this to (a) deal with individuals (civil rights) and pretend that we live in a ‘color blind society’

    Liberals (and frankly most centrists) tend to view racism as something that individuals and institutions do. Thus fighting racism requires looking about civil rights laws but also institutional and historical practices.

    • posted by Jorge on

      Part of the issue is how “racism” — or indeed any sort of ism gets defined.

      That’s why I qualified the term. Three times. It’s still true.

      I can’t think of any examples of really offensive and shocking institutional racism on the right. There’s one in the center that’s sharply contested–the alleged racially discriminatory promotion test in the Fire Department of New York, and the FDNY’s racial distribution–but I don’t side with the black firefighters on this one. Most institutional divisions are like this: equal treatment vs. disparate outcome theory.

      I adopt the liberal definition of racism, but it leads me to the conclusion that everyone and everything is racist, and thus the term itself is rather meaningless to me. I generally believe that reform of institutions should be slow and steady while keeping pace with new forms of bias.

      • posted by Houndentenor on

        I could have saved you a lot of trouble and just sent you to a performance of the musical Avenue Q. As the song says…”Everyone’s a little bit racist.” The question really shouldn’t be “is so-and-so racist?” but how much and what are they going to do about it. Of course hardly anyone wants to have THAT conversation and so here we are stuck with accusations flying from all corners and very little progress being made. (For example…what if we all submitted resumes with only our social security number or some other identifier that did not indicate gender or ethnicity thereby eliminating any bias from at least the first round of screening?)

  14. posted by Lori Heine on

    Actually, I find I’m coming back around to what I’ve been most of my life, which is a libertarian-leaning liberal. As Houndentenor says, I want to vote in the primaries of a major party, hopefully to exert an influence. The GOP is so hopeless, I only briefly (in a moment of apparent insanity) thought it worth the bother. Conservatives have that party in a death-grip, and they are far too rigidly authoritarian to have any real appreciation of liberty.

    Just listen to people like AG and NDT (if you can stand to). Do they sound like they have the slightest clue what liberty is? Yet here’s AG, pronouncing judgment on who can, or cannot, qualify as a “real” libertarian. Balderdash and poppycock.

    I still agree with most of the principles liberals believe in. I guess this makes me either a libertarian liberal or a liberal libertarian. TJ III is right that right-leaning libertarians have been in bed with conservatives for years.

    I think it even dates to before Reagan. I admire Goldwater very much, but he, too, had some odd notions about states’ rights. To me, tyranny is tyranny — regardless of whether it’s exercised at the federal, state or city level. In the Civil Rights era, the feds had to come clean up the messes Southern state governments were making.

    “True” libertarians would scoff at this, but we don’t live in Heaven, so we must deal, in our imperfect world, imperfectly. Those are the cards we’re dealt.

    I got impatient with the Libertarian Party because it seems they live on some mountaintop, with their heads up in the clouds, instead of down on Earth where real life must be lived. They won’t ever govern, because if they did they’d quickly find out that pristine ideals don’t translate into reality.

    I suppose Winston Churchill would be disappointed in me. I’m not one of those sensible middle-aged folks who’s grown more conservative. Since the 2012 elections, I’ve woken up to what a scam conservatives are really running.

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