Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Gay Marriage Or Civil Union?

So now New Jersey is becoming the third state to legalize civil unions as an alternative to marriage. Looks like a good thing. Here is why: Society has an interest – a big interest – in encouraging monogamous relationships among gays (especially male homosexuals), because in this country homosexuals (and bisexuals) have been a major vector for AIDS. Meaning, the less gays screw around, the better for dealing with the AIDS pandemic.

It is also good because it is retaining a distinction between such unions and marriage, because that has an entirely different social purpose. Marriage is about creating a permanent bond between a (prospective) father and mother for the sake of protecting family life and reproduction, which are fundamentally necessary for the continuation of not only society but also human existence.

Notice I am not defending the usual PC arguments for gay “marriage.” Those arguments are not relevant to society, and the continuation of human existence. The arguments revolve around the convenience or financial benefit of the persons in the homosexual relationship, as if that mattered compared to such important matters as the continuation of society and of human existence itself.

It is quite possible that, as time goes on, we will find that it is important that there be a distinction between encouraging reproduction and the protection of children on the one hand and the ability of people to inherit property from each other or have power of attorney or such because they have a nonreproductive but sexual relationship.

In future, it might well make sense that heterosexual couples who have no interest in children be put in a class of civil union, not a class of marriage intended to protect families and children.

In the meantime, what is to be said of people who equate such matters as whether people are included on each other’s health insurance policies with the fundamental question of how the procreation of future generations is to be encouraged and protected? In my opinion, not much. They seem to be into narcissism, not social responsibility. The world deserves better.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

About Iran, Israel, Europe, and nuclear weapons…It’s beginning to feel like 1936

Today, Iran obviously if disingenuously drives toward nuclear weapons and missiles to deliver them – and much of Europe pretends not to see it happening. In the 1930s, Hitler obviously drove toward his vision of Greater Germany and military domination of his region – and much of Europe pretended not to see that happening, until the occupation of Czechoslovakia finally made it impossible to ignore. Today, Iran (and much of the Arab world) is viciously anti-Semitic and calls for the destruction of Israel, and except for Iran’s ludicrous Holocaust-denial conference, much of Europe does not care. In the 1930s, Hitler was viciously anti-Semitic and called for the destruction of “International Jewry,” and much of Europe did not care. Today, it is fashionable among much of the political left to be anti-Israeli and excuse or approve its enemies, even including open terrorists. In the 1930s, it was fashionable among much of the political left to be anti-Semitic and excuse or approve anti-Semites, at least until Krystal Nacht, and for some, thereafter. Today, Russia has a de facto alliance of convenience with Iran. In the 1930s, Stalin signed a nonaggression pact with Hitler, under the circumstances a de facto alliance of convenience with Germany. Today, Iran is controlled by religious fanatics who despise democracy and freedom and think the West is morally corrupt and weak-willed and think themselves right and strong. In the 1930s, Germany was controlled by ideological fanatics who despised democracy and freedom and thought the West was corrupt and weak-willed and thought themselves right and strong. Today, politicians and self-styled intelligentsia call for negotiating, compromising with and appeasing these fanatics to gain peace when the fanatics plainly are not interested in either compromise or peace except as a deception adopted to pursue long-term conflict. In the 1930s, politicians and self-styled intelligentsia called for negotiating, compromising with and and appeasing fanatics to gain peace when those fanatics plainly were not interested in either comporomise or peace except as a deception adopted to pursue long-term conflict.

In the 1930s, people at last finally woke up when Hitler invaded Poland. What will it take this time? Fanatics actually carrying out their final solution – again? Some of these people have argued publicly that in the event of a nuclear war with Israel there would be 5 million Israeli dead and 50 million Muslims dead, that then there would be no more Israelis and there would still be over 1 billion Muslims – the Muslims would win.

What is needed here is a price certain Iran would have to pay that even the regime in Iran will think is not worth paying. There seems no-one in sight who is prepared even to define, let alone impose, such a price.

The means to carry out this death wish are being assembled. I fear for the Israelis. I fear for the world. And I fear to hear the excuses Europe will make if and when it happens.

And what of us, The United States? Today, there are voices calling on us to withdraw from engaging the world “over there,” in the name of protecting the homeland and avoiding war. In the 1930s, there were voices calling on us to withdraw from engaging the world at all, in the name of protecting America and avoiding war…

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Liberal Politics? Conservative Politics? Nah: Chinese Restaurant Politics

Conservatives were right about free-market economics. Liberals were right about antiracist social policy. Shrill Conservative blogs litter the Internet. Shrill Liberal blogs litter the Internet. The media slants left or slants right depending on which part of the media you’re looking at. But where are the Chinese Restaurant blogs and media? That is the kind of political thinking the country needs.

You know: Take the best from Column A and the best from Column B, maybe add a little mustard or soy sauce at the table, and leave the rest in the kitchen. The stuff that stays in the kitchen long enough eventually gets thrown out.

When ideologically fraught issues finally get down to the voters, this is what they often do, and in reasonably practical fashion, if they can see the issues clearly. But not always; sometimes the air is too thick with smoke and confusion to sort things out, which is not a good way to run a proper kitchen, or a country.

If your thinking has a red or blue label, chuck the label and rethink. And don’t hesitate to leave a lot of the stuff in the kitchen.