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No Biggie

Over the weekend, a couple of my colleagues discussed matters they thought worthy of note. And, as occasionally happens, I happen to disagree with them -- and intend to say so publicly.

Publicly, but civilly. We're colleagues, after all. We can disagree without being disagreeable.

(I hope.)

First up, Rick discussed New York becoming the latest state to approve of gay marriage. In what should come as no surprise to anyone who has ever read anything he's ever written, he's against it.

I like Rick. I respect him. I enjoy reading his pieces. But I have to disagree with him here.

As I've said many times before, I support gay marriage -- as long as it's implemented the right way. By some way that reflects the wishes of the people. A bill going through the legislature and then being signed into law certainly fits the bill.

Rick's objections seem to be primarily theological, and I respect that. As a pronounced agnostic, I respect the Bible as a good source of wisdom, but I don't accept it as authoritative. And I think that it's OK for our laws to use the Bible as one source for inspiration (Several of the Ten Commandments are also enforced by law), it in no way should be used as the sole basis. Rick's absolutely entitled to his beliefs, and the law should never be imposed on any religious body where it conflicts with their tenets, but personally, I'm glad New York has followed the lead of such states as.... well, New Hampshire.

Secondly, John Stansbury took on the Chris Wallace - Michelle Bachmann "flake" controversy. And I have to admit, I, too, was offended when I heard the question.

But not for the same reasons. I couldn't believe that Wallace, of all people, was giving Bachmann such a softball question.

That kind of question is the kind that really good politicians routinely knock out of the park. Instead, Bachmann seriously fluffed the question.

Here's how Bachmann should have answered the question:

"Am I a flake, Chris? I'm called that by some because I have some very strong, very serious beliefs, and I don't sugar-coat them or softpedal them or deny them. And that bothers some people, so they try to discredit me.

But you want to know what's really 'flakey,' Chris? President Obama saying that his war in Libya isn't really a war, because he says it isn't. President Obama and his staff not knowing who he's presented the Medal of Honor to directly, and whose awards were received by their next of kin. President Obama running up literally trilliions of dollars of debt in two years, and then arguing that the problem is that the government needs even more money. President Obama appointing a confessed tax cheat as Secretary of the Treasury. The ATF coercing law-abiding gun dealers to make illegal sales to get guns into the hands of Mexican drug cartels. Suing Arizona for enforcing the laws the federal government refuses to enforce. I could go on and on, Chris, but I think you get the point."

(Feel free to append your own "flakey" Obama policies.)

Wallace served her up a nice, hanging fastball, and Bachmann just let it slide. I don't know which of the two I'm more disappointed in.

But my colleagues? Am I disappointed in them, for getting the stories "wrong?"

Hardly. They've got their opinions, I've got mine, and we get along just fine. I disagree with them here. I agree with them on other matters. And I look forward to more of the same in the future.

But if a single one of them disses the duck, it's war.

(Note to Chone: Mr. Duckie is NOT rubber, he's a counterfeit beanie baby. Call him "rubber" again, and his lawyers will be in touch for defamation.)


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Comments (34)

If Wallace meant to served ... (Below threshold)

If Wallace meant to served up a fast ball why did he apologize? Did he mean to use a knuckle ball instead?

Perhaps because he didn't i... (Below threshold)

Perhaps because he didn't intend it to be a bean ball?


JT, I agree with 9/14. Wall... (Below threshold)

JT, I agree with 9/14. Wallace should know that kind of language is disrespectful and expected from the MSM. Plus, I would have asked him to quantify who is driving this question. Bachmann comported herself the proper way.

All I can say about the homosexual marriage deal is it is poor law. ww

That was more of ... (Below threshold)

That was more of an accusation then a question and I think she answered it fine.

"I am a serious Person."

"I have brought fourth legislation to repeal ObamaCare." That alone validates sanity as opposed to the constitution trasher in chief.

Wow, you wrote a good one. ... (Below threshold)

Wow, you wrote a good one.

I see a bit of dis... (Below threshold)

I see a bit of dissonance here, Jay--specifically-you respect the Bible as a good source of wisdom but not an authoritative source?

But it's okay to use it for inspiration, even if it isn't "authoritative?"

Could you clarify that a bit?

Jay,Rick must have... (Below threshold)


Rick must have had a theological objection. I mean, he quoted Christ for crying out loud! It's not like people think Christ was a philosopher, or a good guy, or anything like that. We only know him as the Lord God Almighty.

And besides, it's an unintentional acknowledgement on your part that there really aren't any other possible objections to immoral behavior.

Yes, yes, we've heard before how you can be without religion and still be moral and have such beliefs.

Hogwash. You may act moral, but you don't have any reason (IE: Logical) to do so.

So yes, obviously his objections were theological, or religious in nature. Because those who are otherwise are morally bankrupt.

Love the Pundits who always... (Below threshold)

Love the Pundits who always know, after the fact, how people in the cross hairs should have responded.

This epsisode was about what I would expect from Wallace. That is why I never listen to him. Oh, Brit Hume we miss you so. Bachmann did not have days to dream up the perfect response to this off the wall zinger. She did fine.

Heard Rush's substitute defending Wallace today, and criticizing Bachmann for not accepting his apology. Maybe she feels that if he actually apologized, she would accept. An on-line note, or an on-air confession that you screwed up is not an apology. An apology is a personal thing. I have seen no quotes from Wallace, saying I called Michele Bachmann and apologized. Nope. Just the usual lame crap from a media person after they trash someone and it backfires on them. I will give Wallace credit for not saying..."if anyone was offended".

"Hogwash. You may act mo... (Below threshold)

"Hogwash. You may act moral, but you don't have any reason (IE: Logical) to do so."

Why not just 'because it doesn't hurt the people around you'? Or isn't that 'logical' enough? And when enough people act in that manner, life is a lot more pleasant?

What's the percentage in acting immorally? How many orgasms can you have before the pleasure palls? How many times can you find, screw, and then dump a lover before it starts wearing on your self respect?

How many times can you get puking drunk, beat on folks you dislike, or get drugged out of your mind? Well, and stay alive and/or out of jail, of course.

How many times can you rip off others - telling yourself that they OWE you, or that they somehow deserve your theft?

And on the reciprocal - if you're hurting others, why would you have any objection to being hurt? If you're ripping off others, feeling fully justified in doing so, what objection would you have being ripped off in turn?

Maybe part of being 'moral' is a desire to live in an environment where you don't have to be constantly on guard against emotional and physical damage.

No, I guess that's not good enough reason, is it? Religion's one thing that provides guidelines for a society to get along - and let's be honest, societies do need guidelines and customs to keep functioning. There's customs and courtesies involved that serve as the social grease - and when those customs and courtesies are ignored you end up with serious problems in your society.

And the weird thing is that the 'intelligent' self-appointed elite never seem to notice that when you drain the social lubricant from the societal engine, (down to something as little as simply saying please and thank you) you get a lot of heat and friction and warning lights... and then the engine seizes up and NOBODY'S happy.

Because the one thing can't possibly have anything to do with the other, right?

Sometimes I think the 'intelligent elite' overthink what's essentially a simple concept - you act morally so that others will, in turn, treat you morally.

I can tell my son he should be honest and respectful of others - but if I'm badmouthing everyone, indulging in racial slurs, and not doing the right thing when it's not important (like not returning the excess if a cashier gives me too much change) how can I expect HIM to act in an honest and decent manner?

Kids learn by example, Baggi, and they tend to respond to how others treat them in the same fashion. What sort of example do you set? How do you treat others?

Baggi, nearly all moral phi... (Below threshold)

Baggi, nearly all moral philosophy is written by atheists or agnostics these days, and they make cogent arguments with no reference to any supernatural authorities.

You really don't have a clue what you're talking about.

I beg to differ.Ju... (Below threshold)

I beg to differ.

Just because JLawson, Jaytea and others have mastered the art of cognitive dissonance, doesn't mean we have to go into that swamp with them.

There is no logical reason (As long as we discard fallacious reasoning) to appeal to morality if there is no higher power.

You can try and argue, as you'd like, as JLawson does, but it's not logical reasoning, its merely appealing to ones common sense because we all behave that way.

Ultimately though, you can whine and scream and cry all you like that someone "ought" to behave a certain way.

But you can only assert that they "ought" to behave that way because, "It's your opinion" that they should. Which of course, is meaningless to anyone who isn't you.

Add one more vote to Rick's... (Below threshold)
Don L :

Add one more vote to Rick's side to stop the moral corruption our our culture. Natural law must be followed, not ill-formed consciences.

You're not even using techn... (Below threshold)

You're not even using technical terms like 'morality' and 'logical' accurately. From what I can discern, you seem to think that 'logical' means 'in accordance with my own perspective'. And it seems that you think that without an all-knowing arbiter of moral truths, there can be no moral truths whatsoever. That's false.

We have deep psychological reasons to not harm other persons, and whether or not we are raised to hold religious beliefs does not impact our capacity to do right by one another.

Read Kant's A Critique of Pure Reason. Shouldn't take you longer than six months if you put your mind to it. Then read everything by Bernard Williams, Joseph Raz, and John Rawls. I've read your Bible, cover to cover, but I'm pretty sure you haven't read any of the landmark works in secular moral reasoning. That makes you uninformed and unqualified to criticize non-believers' beliefs. QED, and such.

Don L: 'natural law' is a childish conflation of the status quo for the way things ought to be. Natural law was invoked by opponents of miscegenation. It's just a blanket justification for assholes with no capacity for formulating intelligent arguments to stand athwart history, yelling "Ewww!"

Yes... my opposition is lar... (Below threshold)

Yes... my opposition is largely theological and moral... however... I think there are secular reasons to oppose gay marriage...

Heterosexuals have made a mess of marriage and Catholics are included in that critique but I can't see where lowering the bar to now include homosexuals is sound reason... the fact is that there are many studies out there that claim that children are best raised by a father and a mother... gay marriage means accepting as a norm that which isn't best... it's a lowering of the bar...

In an age when the family unit is under attack in numerous other ways, we've now, in New York, allowed yet another front for attacks on the family...

The other reason does indeed deal with the procreative nature of marriage..

Legalizing gay marriage leads to more gays and more gay marriage which logically leads to less heterosexuals and less heterosexual marriage which leads to less procreation which leads to societal decay...

Give homosexuals the right to a civil union... leave marriage alone...

There is a purely secular c... (Below threshold)
Jim Addison:

There is a purely secular case for traditional marriage, because the institution predates Biblical instructions. In fact, by providing a secure mechanism for the survival of children to adulthood, it paved the entire way for the human race to populate and dominate the earth.

Thus the institution is based upon the natural family, and gay marriage cannot bring those benefits and so is unnecessary. Sure, some couples cannot or do not have children, but that is not something known to anyone (usually even the couple with any certainty) until after marriage anyway.

So gay marriage simply trivializes the institution which has provided the very basis for civilization by extending its benefits and privileges to gay couples because . . . why? So they will feeeeeeeel better about themselves? Rubbish.

The thing about Jay Tea's agnosticism (which he barely goes a week of regular posting without mentioning) is that he not only proclaims his ignorance, he seems to believe it confers some sort of neutral authority on his opinions. Sorry, but ignorance is bliss only for the ignorant. It's still annoying to the rest of us. ;-)

Howzabout you provide some ... (Below threshold)

Howzabout you provide some links to these studies, Rick. Do keep in mind that they're only meaningful if they're peer-reviewed academic papers written by professional psychologists and sociologists.

Nobody is attacking anyone's family. You're paranoid and sound like that thrice-divorced adulterer Newt Gingrich. I assume you have no gay friends, let alone gay friends with kids (why would they want to spend time with someone who thinks they're inherently bad at raising a child?). I know lots of gay people with children and their kids are perfectly normal. Gay people tend to be more educated and earn more money compared to straight people--but you think they're generally less fit as parents, because... Adam & Eve?

And as for the decline in population, that's a really dumb argument at face value. Gay people are not more likely to have gay children than are straight people--they're just more likely to have gay children who aren't made to feel ashamed of themselves and don't spend ten years of their lives in the closet. Every single gay person has a biological mother and father, most of them heterosexual.

You're capable of stringing together some sentences in a more or less articulate fashion, yet your arguments themselves are tired and debunked (if not downright hilarious/creepy). You're on the wrong side of a civil rights issue, and as everyone knows, history doesn't look kindly on those who wailed impotently in the face of inevitable social progress.

"You really don't have a cl... (Below threshold)

"You really don't have a clue what you're talking about."

Pot, meets kettle. Sparks don't fly.

"You're on the wrong side o... (Below threshold)

"You're on the wrong side of a civil rights issue, and as everyone knows, history doesn't look kindly on those who wailed impotently in the face of inevitable social progress."

Tell that to the Roman empire.

"...and so is unnecessary"<... (Below threshold)

"...and so is unnecessary"

You heard it from Jim Addison, Serious Thinker: we should only permit people to do things that are necessary for the survival of our species. Otherwise, minorities can fuck right off.

"we should only permit peop... (Below threshold)

"we should only permit people to do things that are necessary for the survival of our species."

The state should not be in the business of sanctioning behaviour in one fashion or another. But here is a little secret, they do it anyways as long as they can tax it.

Anyway, why would you care? You are not even an American. Just a loud mouthed temper-mental Canadian liberal who impulsively votes neg when confronted with truth..

Hyper:"We have dee... (Below threshold)


"We have deep psychological reasons to not harm other persons, and whether or not we are raised to hold religious beliefs does not impact our capacity to do right by one another."

I fully agree with you there. The problem arises, I think - regardless of religion - when people start to believe there's some innate capacity to do right by one another without being TAUGHT what's right and what's wrong. And there've been enough people over the years who've floated that idea that we can see how it works long-term.

Religion can serve as a framework for that sort of teaching. Of course, it can also work for ill.

How do you raise a child to show compassion for others? By being compassionate yourself? I'll testify to the fact that small children don't have any moral framework more than "This feels good right now, and I don't care if you don't like it." You have to teach them what's right and wrong, and guide them to a point where they fit in society. Yeah, it's fun to toss out the rules - but in the long run, you end up with a lot of damage.

How do you raise a child to believe his highest possible yearning should be to strap explosives onto himself and detonate in the midst of enemies? Do it with religion, glorify those who martyr themselves - and they'll do it to be honored and get into Paradise.

Theory's all well and good, but unless you teach kids otherwise they end up as self-centered little shits, who grow up into self-centered big shits. Some way or another, 'morality' has to be taught. And it doesn't have to be a 'Christian' morality - but a framework of rules and ideas that allow them to function well in the world. You don't even have to call it 'morality' - call it 'adhering to the wishes of the FSM' if you like.

I'm not trying to come up with college-level work here - but just trying to explain what seems self-evident to me. If the kid grows up with no rules or restrictions, then they never learn self control. If the kid doesn't get taught he needs to be polite, he won't learn the basics of how to get along and he'll be rude and obnoxious. If they don't get taught how to handle money, when it comes time for them to they won't have a clue.

You get more of the behavior you reward - and that reward doesn't necessarily need to be a tangible one. Sometimes it can simply be not being corrected for being nasty to others. When there's no penalty, there's no reason to stop.

As far as gay marriage goes - I joke about it being an untouched bastion of potential legal work (Gay divorce! Huzzah!) - but I think you're right. Society is in the process of normalizing it, and... I just don't see the problem with it.

I believe Personal Integrit... (Below threshold)

I believe Personal Integrity is the key to a full and successful life. While I may not be able to cite a peer reviewed academic paper (which is completely unnecessary, IMHO); we should all hope, when it comes to our basic nature of who we are, that as we learn and grow, we become wiser and more capable.

But what happens if that doesn't occur? Why do some folks stop developing and growing - essentially topping out early in life at their maximum potential?

To get right down to it, I believe it all boils down to "Honesty." Thus, if one cannot be honest with oneself, then how can one be expected to be honest with others? And if one cannot be honest with themselves and others, then how can they truly judge their prospects in the world? They cannot. And thus, such individuals are truly handicapped. Honesty means self-evaluation and change. Lets unpack that (feel free to substitute your own examples as you see fit).

Ever get a speeding ticket? Made you feel pretty bad, huh? Its like, "I can't believe I did that." Which is a normal first reaction. Its the beginning of the self evaluation process. But, what then frequently happens?

About two weeks later... It was that snake-in-the-grass Sheriff who bushwhacked me, and why didn't he get those other six speeders in the convoy in front of me that I was riding caboose with? See whats going on here?

The blame for one's behavior gets projected onto someone else. Others are now responsible for what happened, and they get all the blame. Thus, there is no need to change one's own behavior or habits... and no reason to learn, or become wiser, or to grow (up).

We've all met folks like this - the adolescent 34 year old with a ring in his nose, sporting a "Born-to-Party" tattoo, and wearing a Budweiser Bikini Babe T-Shirt. The dude has just stopped growing, and has reached his life's full potential... Think not?

Just ask yourself: Will he ever learn some manners?, Or is he ready for additional duties and responsibilities in the world? How'd you like to work for him? Or better yet, would you hire or elect someone of his stature to be your employee? Be honest -

SF - Brucepall

The problem with legalizing... (Below threshold)

The problem with legalizing homosexual marriage is that it legitimizes homosexuality. Homosexuality is a perversion of God´s creation (call it nature if you prefer), and a great danger to society. Any society that strays from bisexual relations, bi-sexual marriage and wholesome families is headed down the drain toward elimination. History teaches it over and over, but the world doesn´t learn from history.
Yes Jay, you´re entitled to your opinion, but God is entitled to His, and I would rather pay attention to Him than to you.
I don´t always agree with Rick, but he´s right most of the time.

Regarding same-gender marri... (Below threshold)

Regarding same-gender marriage . . .

Whether or not you approve of it will be determined by whatever you use to judge right from wrong, moral from immoral.

As for the Wallace-Bachmann brouhaha,I suspect that Wallace was simply playing the role of Devil's Advocate, in that he wanted to address a perception that some people have of Bachmann. Anyway, Wallace apologized.

A metaphor: its like Peter-... (Below threshold)

A metaphor: its like Peter-Pan and the Lost Boys. One never has to grow (up).

SF - Brucepall

Well, since we're over-gene... (Below threshold)
Walter Cronanty:

Well, since we're over-generalizing, let me join in. Without religion, I find most people fall into two groups: 1) Government is God - government gave us our rights in the US, not "our Creator", thus government is our benevolent saviour, or should be, if only you racist, right-wing Bible-thumpers would get out of the way - and we won't think about those societies were government was/is, in fact, god and took all of those rights away - oh, and if I can put it over on the government, you know, cheat a little here or there and not get caught, well, it's not like there's an afterlife or anything; or, 2) There is no God but self-absorbed, narcissitic me. Kick out the jams, M/Fer.
I see a lot of both groups in US society today - I don't think it bodes well.

#26Amen//... (Below threshold)



"The blame for one's beh... (Below threshold)

"The blame for one's behavior gets projected onto someone else. Others are now responsible for what happened, and they get all the blame. Thus, there is no need to change one's own behavior or habits... and no reason to learn, or become wiser, or to grow (up)."

Brucepall - I've told my son that accepting responsibility for his own behavior is a sign of manhood. (He's 13. God help me...) And that sometimes, one of the hardest things to do is screw up a job, then go to whoever is responsible for assigning you the job, and going "Boss, I screwed up."

A kid doesn't want responsibility, and will do anything to avoid it. An adult accepts it and lives with the results of his decisions, even if he doesn't want to.

And there's a hell of a lot of gray-haired kids out there.

As far as "gay marriage" go... (Below threshold)

As far as "gay marriage" goes, when they can pro-create without outside help, then it's a marriage.

Until then, since you folks always tout how "creative" you are.........find another word.

Hint: It ain't 'marriage'.

Your problem still is that you're still looking for acceptance from the general population. And your not getting it.

Life's a bitch. Then you die.

Hyper should stay the hell ... (Below threshold)

Hyper should stay the hell out of here. Is it me or do you notice how he has to look down his long probiscus at us "God Worshipers" and then gives us a reading assignment like he is our tutor. I would take a reading assignment from Biden before our canadian loser.

I have three gay couple on my street. We go together to dinner each month for our HOA. And they are successful, they do take care of their homes but what the hell does that have to do with this? I believe deeply that homosexuality is a deviant sexual behavior right up there with others. We are the only species that has sex with our own gender. I do not hate them and in fact we are friends but they seem more mature than hyper, because they know my view, they do not agree, but they and I are human and act civily. Just because something is now popular doesn't make it right. Bad is bad is bad is bad. ww

JLawson, I agree with you 1... (Below threshold)

JLawson, I agree with you 100%, and I think that any functionally rational adult human should be more or less capable of instilling 'normal' moral values in their progeny with realistic probability for success. That's all that Christian families strive to do, and that's all that atheist families strive to do. One family incorporates a series of metaphysical parables into their children's moral education, while the other does not. Their kids should still get along though.

Brucepall brought up the notions of 'integrity' and 'character': it's the fundamental concept in Bernard Williams' Moral Luck, which might be the most important work of moral philosophy published in the past 40 years. Williams was an atheist, but that didn't prevent him from writing important (and accurate) stuff about how we make moral decisions.

Willie, I couldn't care less whether you choose to avail yourself of grown-up literature on certain subjects that you purport to understand. I really don't. All that I want you to know, though, is that there are hundreds of thousands, likely millions, of pages published on moral issues by people who get paid to do conceptual analysis for a living; and yet your opinions are settled by a combination of your faith and your overt prejudice. Good for you! I really don't care! Just know that you don't know very much about a great many things.

Also: what sort of person enjoys spending time with someone who thinks they are "deviant"? I feel sorry for your friends. Seems they need to expand their social horizons.

I would say they were under... (Below threshold)

I would say they were understanding friends even if they think I am a homophobic bigot. It is called being grown up hyper, you should try it. Also, what makes you think I don't know what your talking about or that I don't read? Another look down your snooty nose. I bet you your friendships don't last because they feel they are being intellectually judged all the time by you. You seem to be the annoying no it all type that cannot keep their mouth shut. ww

Willie's friends: "Hey, let... (Below threshold)

Willie's friends: "Hey, let's go to Willie's dinner party. He thinks we're hell-bound freaks, but he can tell a good joke and grill a nice steak and does a decent job concealing his contempt for our sinful lifestyle. I'll make the potato salad."

Woah, that's pretty strange! It's like you live in a John Waters movie and not, like, reality.

Good writeup Jay Tea.... (Below threshold)

Good writeup Jay Tea.
ps Great tactic... you wrote the article and then sit back and get to watch the entertainment.






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