January 23rd, 2010

Godzilla, default

A question for anti-gay marriage activists:

Explain to me how your argument against gay marriage differs to any degree at all from those used against abolition, woman suffrage, interracial marriage, and the end of Jim Crow?

In the case of the first, abolition was held to be both a God-given right to some and a necessary part of the social order. Abolition was to cause mammoth social harm and to threaten black men treating white women as white men treated black women. In fact most Southerners fully and blatantly expected a gigantic race war following abolition once blacks had the dictatorship removed from repressing them. In fact 1866 was notable for its very *lack* of such. The abolitionists were a bunch of urban minorities imposing their radical agenda on the majority. So, answer me then-are we to presume that by the standard that minority activists cannot do this that you would favor reverting the 19th Amendment?

Against woman suffrage the argument used was that suffragettes were sexless freaks who hated all men and would willingly tear down the very fabric of society. The irony of course was that denying women their full rights under the law was of course perfectly sanctioned by God and by Church. The idea of women voting was against the natural God-given gender order in which men and men alone ruled all things and women were to stay in their houses and never do anything (which ironically was not how it was prior to the 19th Century in *any* society including the United States but we'll not go there).

The idea of legalizing miscegenation provoked a real outcry. Leaving aside that white men had a long-standing tendency to rape black women because they had no legal way to fight back, there was much appeal to the Bible and its prohibitions on Israelites marrying their neighbors to justify why in a 20th Century industrial nuclear superpower on a continent that Biblical authors didn't even know existed Europeans were not to marry Africans. The idea of legalizing it was from radical minority Communists who were against God, guns, and apple pie. Nowadays I don't think Limbaugh would state that abortion is necessary if it's a white and a black the way Nixon did.

And of course the collapse of Jim Crow was also followed with a lot of arguments that it was the Southern way of life. Jerry Falwell saw the hand of the Soviet Union in the collapse of the order instituted for the Children of Ham by the Noahic curse. And, too, it was seen as a bunch of outsider activists riling the blacks up because blacks evidently enjoyed second-class citizenship enforced by lynching. /snerk. And of course we just couldn't have those urban minority elitists pushing civil rights on us God-fearing Bible-Believing people who don't want our children attending school with a Negro /snerk.

Now, explain to me how the anti-gay marriage argument of "The Gays are going to recruit our children and society will implode from these minority activists pushing their view on the God-ordained view of society" is somehow going to work this time? Unless you mean to imply that God is also for slavery, women being incapable of voting, banning black men and white women from having sex, and blacks being kept firmly in their place?

I'm all ears.

Reflections on Afghan war reporting

The NY Times this morning contains two thought-provoking articles on the conduct of US forces in Afghanistan and Pakistan. One of them deals with an increase by the CIA in the use of Reaper drones to attack Mujaheddin bases in Waziristan. The other reports on Robert Gates' meeting with Pakistani officials.

In the article on the CIA operations, an official denies any vengeance at work in the escalation. Given all of the literature published by and about CIA officers, the assertion opposes the Company's modus operandi. They are a vengeful agency in denial.

Robert Gates had some denial of his own in Pakistan. One Pakistani official tried to place all of the burden for the Mujaheddin presence in Pakistan on American shoulders. He correctly observed that the Americans drove the Muj out of Afghanistan into Pakistan. He incorrectly failed to recognize Pakistan's involvement in training and equipping them in the first place (along with support from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and America).

It seems that both the DoD and CIA are well mired in a large African water course.

Obligatory question: Do you believe the CIA when it professes to legal use of lethal force? Also, if they perform military operations, how can they be considered an "intelligence" organization?

Chess as an elective?

Assertion: Public high schools should offer chess as an elective same as they offer music or art. It's mentally challenging and probably cheaper for the school to fund. A room of chessboards cost less than a room of guitars or trumpets, right? This is not suggesting we *stop* teaching music or art. Just an extra option.