Over at the Dis…

Over at the Dish, Andrew Sullivan writes

I’ve long thought that gay men are a natural fit for a non-bigoted GOP. We await one. And the wait seems to be getting longer.

This is all well and good, in one sense.  The more a person can feel comfortable as themselves in both political parties, the more our culture as a whole will be showing signs of progress.  That the general consensus across all sorts of demographic cleavages, including political ones might converge in such a way that the solid mainstream is social acceptance is a positive.

But let’s keep in mind what “non-bigoted” really means, Andrew.  It means a Republican party that isn’t actively hostile to women’s rights, including reproductive choice, access to contraception, and a legal framework that protects them from violence.  It means a Republican party that doesn’t actively harbor folks like John Derbyshire for years, including years in which Derbyshire self-described themselves as a racist.  It means a world in which the Republicans advance to considering the “T” portion of the LGBT acronym as people.   (To be fair, Democrats need to work much harder on this too, I’m looking at you, Barney Frank.)  And Republicans are going to need to stop being so actively and powerfully aligned with powerful financial interests against people with fewer means — upper class bigotry against lower class people is still bigotry, folks!

S the idea of the Republican party being non-bigoted being a way for a gay male to get along with them really limits itself to one specific kind of gay person, that is, a rich, white, cisgendered, male gay person.

I’m sad to say that I think Sullivan and the person he’s talking with are probably right on the merits of their prediction.  I think a lot of gay men, especially if the Republican party isn’t actively opposing their marriages, will probably start to migrate to the Republican Party.  But I say that’s a shame, because whatever that party might become, let’s not call it “non-bigoted” just yet.  We might just find that rich, white, cisgendered gay men are more bigoted than we originally thought.

I’d love for them, and for the Republicans, to prove me wrong.  And, as a white, cisgendered gay man who might one day be wealthier than some thanks in part to the privileges of my color and my gender, I’d hate to be someone who jettisoned all principle once my own personal satisfaction had been achieved.

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Culture Goes All The Way Down

I read on Andrew Sullivan’s blog today this story by Paul Bloom.  Sullivan quotes the following snippet:

[O]ur initial moral sense appears to be biased toward our own kind. There’s plenty of research showing that babies have within-group preferences: 3-month-olds prefer the faces of the race that is most familiar to them to those of other races; 11-month-olds prefer individuals who share their own taste in food and expect these individuals to be nicer than those with different tastes; 12-month-olds prefer to learn from someone who speaks their own language over someone who speaks a foreign language. And studies with young children have found that once they are segregated into different groups — even under the most arbitrary of schemes, like wearing different colored T-shirts — they eagerly favor their own groups in their attitudes and their actions.

[…]

The aspect of morality that we truly marvel at — its generality and universality — is the product of culture, not of biology. There is no need to posit divine intervention. A fully developed morality is the product of cultural development, of the accumulation of rational insight and hard-earned innovations. The morality we start off with is primitive, not merely in the obvious sense that it’s incomplete, but in the deeper sense that when individuals and societies aspire toward an enlightened morality — one in which all beings capable of reason and suffering are on an equal footing, where all people are equal — they are fighting with what children have from the get-go.

This presents a few problems, however, that the author doesn’t seem to dwell on nearly enough.

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Will You Just Leave Obama Alone Sheesh

A friend alerted me to a post over at Ephphatha Poetry on the politics of the Tea Party — and what might be the response if the protesters were black.  It’s a nice thought experiment, for sure, but even more valuable than that, I thought, was the documentation of several recent actions and statements by Tea Partiers and their supporters that I had missed.

And if you haven’t heard yet, this just happened:

[An armed man] was arrested Sunday near the runway around the time President Barack Obama’s flight was leaving Asheville Regional Airport.

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(God) I Love Philip Pullman

Andrew Sullivan posted this video:

Let me be clear: I don’t agree with Pullman on his materialist atheism.  But boy do I love a man who defends free speech like this!

But on this Good Friday, I thought I would say this: Christ was a scoundrel, and the Christian who is offended by that statement hasn’t read the gospels.  The Christ I proclaim as crucified on this day threw a wrench in the organized system of cruelty that was the Roman Empire, and was hung between robbers as a result.  The Christ I worship opened his public ministry to scoundrels and vagabonds and the powerless.  I pray that I might one day be counted as such a scoundrel.

A thing I thought

This video went around the interwebs a while back:

It makes a valuable point, so watch it.

But I was thinking about another way, not always so obviously racially coded, that doesn’t get as much media play and yet still gives a good example of the problems associated with idealized notions of what humans are and the way they look and act and communicate.

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