Thursday, June 01, 2006

Hate, and other labels

Paul Waldman over at writes:

What do the flag-burning amendment, the gay marriage amendment, the immigration issue and the national language amendment have in common? It’s not just that they seek to solve “problems” that a month or two ago no one felt required urgent attention. The real common denominator is the lowest one: hatred. If you’ve got hatred in your heart, the GOP has a piece of legislation for you.
Yes. It's so simple. We don't have to discuss the merits or demerits of an issue if we can just label the "other side" as "haters".

Paul's article was linked by RealClearPolitics today. Paul would do well to read another article RCP linked yesterday by Dennis Pranger. In case you don't have time for the whole article, here's the crux of it.

Here is a list of terms liberals apply to virtually every idea or action with which they differ:

- Racist
- Sexist
- Homophobic
- Islamophobic
- Imperialist
- Bigoted
- Intolerant

And here is the list of one-word descriptions of what liberals are for:

- Peace
- Fairness
- Tolerance
- The poor
- The disenfranchised
- The environment

These two lists serve contemporary liberals in at least three ways.

First, they attack the motives of non-liberals and thereby morally dismiss the non-liberal person.

Second, these words make it easy to be a liberal -- essentially all one needs to do is to memorize this brief list and apply the right term to any idea or policy. That is one reason young people are more likely to be liberal -- they have not had the time or inclination to think issues through, but they know they oppose racism, imperialism and bigotry, and that they are for peace, tolerance and the environment.

Third, they make the liberal feel good about himself -- by opposing conservative ideas and policies, he is automatically opposing racism, bigotry, imperialism, etc.

How being against flag burning is about hatred, first of all, is extremely contorted logic. (by the way, I'm against flag burning, but I'm also against it being against the law to do it.) But the same people who call anti-flag burning "hate" would be quick to call the burning of a Mexican or Iranian flag "hate". Such double-standards smack of ... wait for it ... "hate" ;-) .

The immigration issue isn't "the immigration" issue. It's the "illegal immigration" issue. I've yet to find a conservative collegue who is "against" immigration. Many of them are immigrants themselves. To call it "hate" when all we ask is that laws be followed and those who break them not be rewarded for it is blatant misdirection.

The "National Language" issue makes sense, actually. Look anywhere in the world. Cohesive cultures speak a common language. Nobody's saying it should be against the law to speak Spanish or any other language. What we are saying is that being legally required to print signs and official documents in languages other than English leads us down a very expensive, both in cost and cohesiveness (note, that's the opposite of "divisiveness"). You want to get along in this country? We teach in English. Our signs and forms are in English. Learn it. That's not hate. It's sense.

Gay marriage? I've gone on record before saying legal unions between gay people should be defined and honored. However, marriage comes has, throughout most of history and culture, been defined as a union of people of opposite sexes. I could characterize attempts to re-define it as "hate" because it's at least as insulting to Christians and Muslims as the Muhammad "cartoons" were to many Muslims. Not that that should be the standard, but once again note the double-standard. People don't want it called the same thing because it is not the same thing and they hold marriage to be sacred in some form or another. They have their similarities, but they are demonstrably not the same thing. Why call it the same thing?

man + man <> man + woman

woman + woman <> man + woman

person + person ... a more inclusive category - use a different word

A square is a rectangle, but a rectangle isn't necessarily a square. A marriage is a legal union, but a legal union is not necessarily a marriage. I would venture to say that most people who believe homosexually is wrong take more offense to the re-definition of the word that describes and has described their unions than they to the practice itself -- kind of like me & flag burning.

If people would stop trying to re-define that word, the problem would largely go away.

However, Paul avoids discussing the merits and demerits of the issues by saying it's all about "hate", which makes him feel good about himself. And that dovetails nicely with my last post.

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