Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Right Wing Press

The one daily newspaper in my area is geared toward the Republican party. Of that there can be no doubt. This is most evident in the kinds of letters they choose to publish in their print version. I think they try to publish the most radical and inflammatory rhetoric they get in order to make their own editorials and opinions seem moderate by comparison. The following is my reply to one such letter (the letter is italicized, my answers are not):

"Why is homosexual legitimization even a question and why now?"

Why not now?

"And why homosexuality alone among the many forms of sexual deviance?"

Because some sexual minorities, or "deviants" as this writer so disparagingly puts it, cause harm to others. Those deviations that do not cause harm are not legally sanctioned. Those that do are. Same sex attraction does not cause harm. The constant attempts to introduce other subjects into this discussion are attempts to set up straw man arguments which are logical fallacies. Just because people who are attracted to same sex partners are in the minority does not mean they should be denied civil rights.

“Pointless questions in the political realm where advocates know rationality doesn't influence human decision making or behavior, but the perceived beliefs of others does. We are sheep.“

This doesn’t make any sense to me. Am I missing something or is the writer?

“The homosexual advocates have used mass media to relocate this centuries old line between normal and deviant.”

The line between what is considered normal and deviant has been shifting constantly throughout history and between cultures. Scientific knowledge expands and our considerations of what is “normal” (an ambiguous word in the best sense) changes. Would the writer deny the centuries of scientific progress because they violate old norms?

“They supplement this with name calling even though they had to invent a name to call, and they emphasize the new social acceptability (political correctness) they have arbitrarily remade. They also use blackmail, extortion, denial of employment, and boycotts.”

For someone who uses name calling as a major weapon in his rhetorical arsenal this comment is quite hypocritical. The other charges are pure hyperbole and have no basis in fact, except maybe in the case of boycotts, which the right wing uses regularly. Boycotts are an accepted form of political expression. Why should people spend money to enrich those who oppose them politically?

“Rational argument does not convince people, but it is valued as a fig leaf so people can believe or pretend they are acting rationally. But a lie or naive logical fallacy serves just as well as truth. The favorite is the equal rights argument.” But homosexuals have the same rights as the rest of us. They don't want to live equally by our rules. They want new special privileges for themselves. That's their point.”

The logical fallacy that is being promoted here is that having the “same rights” is the same as equal rights. This is not true. The writer tries to take a technicality to distract people from the real issue. Take this hypothetical situation,

“If the government passes a law requiring everyone to practice Christianity, it doesn’t infringe on the rights of those who are Jewish because they are treated equally; Christians can’t practice Judaism and neither can Jews.”

The fact is that heterosexual people can marry those they fall in love with. Same sex couples cannot.

“Next comes the discrimination argument. But the aspects of homosexuality that the law and custom proscribe and abhor are behavioral. Society and custom have every right to discriminate on the basis of behavior. That's what they do. “

Same sex attraction is not a behavior as much as it is a deeply held trait, an orientation. Behaviors can be changed. Is opposite sex attraction simply a behavior? Can it be changed? Hardly! Then again, the TLGB agenda calls for equality in discrimination under the law, not special exemptions the way many religionist organizations do. If a choice like religion or a trait like race can be protected because these traits have been historically targeted for unfair treatment, then same sex attraction as well as gender expression and identity should be as well.

“Never can advocates explain why their arguments don't equally apply to other deviations. They just insist they are already normal. In formal logic, that's called assuming the question.”

What do you call the fallacy of putting words into other people’s mouths? Straw man arguments, perhaps? The issue is about rights for those citizens who happen to be attracted to members of their own sex. It’s not about those other things, many of which cause harm to others.

“The real reasons for the homosexual legitimization drive are a desire to reward a group that has been extraordinarily valuable to the Democratic party, the yearning of baby boomer misfits to recapture the camaraderie, the attention, and the feeling of importance they had in their youth and the desire of younger malcontents to emulate their role models, the leftist hatred of morality and restraint, and a pathological desire of the left to destroy the achievements of Western Civilization particularly things of importance to the parental generation and the Christian religion.”

All I see here and in the rest of this rant are specious statements made without support or real logic. It’s deceitful propaganda at its worst. I think it’s a shame that the PJ would stoop to such a low level as to provide a forum in their print editions for this kind of rhetoric.

Fortunately the paper's online edition allows comments for these "Letters to the Editor." I do know that more than one letter I submitted for publication to their print edition was ignored because of my support for equality for ALL deserving citizens. This activity is something we can all do to influence local perceptions of this issue. You may not convince the ideologues that write this kind of rant but you just might reach the more reasonable readers, many of whom don't write in but still read and heed what is written.

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