Saturday, September 17, 2005

What It Isn't

The thought cops of the "Political Correctness" movement would have us believe that "gay marriage" is an issue of equality and fundamental rights for an oppressed minority. It is an interesting comment on our times that anyone challenging these claims is dismissed as a bigot or as a reactionary ideologue. Such is the power of thought control.

One expects that people who consider themselves progressive and find themselves agreeing with arguments advanced by conservatives may be suffering a crisis of conscience. But at least they are thinking. They may be thinking, for example, that the thought cops have successfully promoted an agenda based on the worst kind of muddled thinking. Proponents of "gay marriage" insist that legislation be based on equal rights, but of course what they are really talking about is not equality but sameness. In other words, if they have equal access to "marriage" they will then be the same as heterosexual couples. But of course they are not the same at all. This is not to suggest that homosexuals should not be entitled to equal protections under the law. Of course they should be, as should all citizens. But that does not mean, ipso facto, that marriage is one of these entitlements. Sameness is not equality.

As a matter of fact, marriage pre-dates society as we know it; any reasonable person can see that regardless of the enormous power they do possess, the power of politicians does in fact have limits. The mere fact that they write a law calling a homosexual union marriage does not make it so any more than a law, written of course in the interests of fundamental "equality" rights, requiring all persons to be called "myn" would in fact make all people "myn." Granted, the manipulation of language and fundamental meanings in the interest of a political agenda is nothing new. The indiscriminate slaughter of innocent civilians in the U.S. on September 11th, 2001 is a barbarous atrocity; the indiscriminate slaughter of innocent civilians in Iraq is the ringing of freedom.

Back to cases-marriage is an arrangement arrived at as a conscious imitation of, and participation in, nature and as a means of preserving societies and protecting children. It is universal, intuitive, and ancient. The rhetoric of political correctness would persuade us that, because it is sometimes found in nature and has always existed in society, homosexuality is natural or normal. This is yet another example of muddled thinking. Homosexuality is predictable, but that does not make it natural or normal. Small percentages of populations will be afflicted with Down's syndrome and autism; small percentages will be pedophiles and psychopaths. Although these conditions are predictable, they are not natural or normal.

Human sexuality is deeply complex but it is inescapably and fundamentally connected to the imperative to reproduce. This is the natural arrangement-just a matter of fact. So the argument that homosexuals are entitled to marriage because their sexuality is really natural and normal is quite simply false.

It is easy to sympathize with a minority that has suffered terrible injustices including individual hate crimes, institutionalized persecutions and even exterminations. It is easy to understand the need of a marginal population to feel accepted, legitimate, or "normal." It is also easy enough to be so swept up in the tide of sympathy and rhetoric that one might abandon logic and reason. Gay union is what it is. But it is also isn't what it isn't. It is not marriage.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Mark Steyn, Unfortunately, on Labour Day

Sometimes, I just have the stomach for reading smug, dismissive, condescending writing. Today is such a day as I strolled to Mark Steyn's website and read what he wrote for Labour Day three years ago.

My favourite line that helps me appreciate his uselessness at commenting on broad, authentic human experience is this: "the intellectual left has been scrambling for decades to come up with explanations as to why, if everything's so bad, everything's so good."

Everything's so good. In the last two generations in the western world, particularly North America, individuals are working more hours per week with fewer benefits and lower real wages. The single income home has virtually vanished. McJobs are abundant. Starbucks provides full-time benefits at 20 hours/week, yet such limited hours provide insufficient wages to work just at that job alone.

Oh yes, income disparity between the richest 20% and poorest 20% of the developed world [and the whole world as well] is widening.

Big Pharma has caught on and markets anti-depressants as major revenue sources. Families are internally alienated, kids hardly read anymore and resist critical thinking, and political apathy is the norm while whole populations can easily ignore the profound disrespect inherent in the federal Liberals' sponsorship scandal and a vacationing president during a hurricane disaster, a president who has attended a total of zero funerals for soldiers he ordered "into harm's way" [and if I hear that phrase from his mouth one more time I might lose my mind].

But Mark Steyn thinks we've got it all so good.

And after some perverse interpretations of doom-sayers like Maude Barlow, David Suzuki and Bill Moyers, he thinks we've go it so good that:

There's no such thing as "sustainable" development. Human progress and individual liberty have advanced on the backs of one unsustainable development after another: When we needed trees for heating and transportation, we chopped 'em down. Then we discovered oil, and the trees grew back. When the oil runs out, we won't notice because our SUVs will be powered by something else. Bet on human ingenuity every time.

The trees grew back. Something else will power our SUVs. Invention and technology will save us.

I'd like to know which trees he's talking about.

If the ignorance of consequence is the stupidity of man, Mark Steyn is our king because trees simply grow back: problem solved.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

On Katrina

A humorous take by Mark Steyn:

Consider the signature image of the flood: an aerial shot of 255 school buses neatly parked at one city lot, their fuel tanks leaking gasoline into the urban lake. An enterprising blogger, Bryan Preston, worked out that each bus had 66 seats, which meant that the vehicles at just that one lot could have ferried out 16,830 people. Instead of entrusting its most vulnerable citizens to the gang-infested faecal hell of the Superdome, New Orleans had more than enough municipal transport on hand to have got almost everyone out in a couple of runs last Sunday.

Why didn't they? Well, the mayor didn't give the order. OK, but how about school board officials, or the fellows with the public schools transportation department, or the guy who runs that motor pool, or the individual bus drivers? If it ever occurred to any of them that these were potentially useful evacuation assets, they kept it to themselves.

So the first school bus to escape New Orleans and make it to safety in Texas was one that had been abandoned on a city street. A party of sodden citizens, ranging from the elderly to an eight-day-old baby, were desperate to get out, hopped aboard and got teenager Jabbor Gibson to drive them 13 hours non-stop to Houston. He'd never driven a bus before, and the authorities back in New Orleans may yet prosecute him. For rescuing people without a permit?

It's time for a little perspective.

For a little while now I have been hearing from people that President Bush is somehow culpable for the devastation of Katrina. Not so much that he is responsible for the size and intensity of it, although some environmentalists have argued that his—and yet strangely not Congress’—failure to sign Kyoto has wrought this calamity. What has been argued is that Bush failed to provide timely leadership, the kind he provided on 9/11. A hurricane with a week’s worth of warning, 24 hour news coverage and a call for a city wide evacuation is not the same as 19 terrorists hijacking planes and inside of four hours bringing down WTC 1 & 2, crashing into the Pentagon and crashing in Pennsylvania. Katrina was not a surprise.

For an excellent piece on the administrative problems regarding the handling of Katrina and its aftermath read this article in the Wall Street Journal:

Many in the media are turning their eyes toward the federal government, rather than considering the culpability of city and state officials. I am fully aware of the challenges of having a quick and responsive emergency response to a major disaster. And there is definitely a time for accountability; but what isn't fair is to dump on the federal officials and avoid those most responsible -- local and state officials who failed to do their job as the first responders. The plain fact is, lives were needlessly lost in New Orleans due to the failure of Louisiana's governor, Kathleen Blanco, and the city's mayor, Ray Nagin.

The primary responsibility for dealing with emergencies does not belong to the federal government. It belongs to local and state officials who are charged by law with the management of the crucial first response to disasters. First response should be carried out by local and state emergency personnel under the supervision of the state governor and his/her emergency operations center.

The actions and inactions of Gov. Blanco and Mayor Nagin are a national disgrace due to their failure to implement the previously established evacuation plans of the state and city. Gov. Blanco and Mayor Nagin cannot claim that they were surprised by the extent of the damage and the need to evacuate so many people. Detailed written plans were already in place to evacuate more than a million people. The plans projected that 300,000 people would need transportation in the event of a hurricane like Katrina. If the plans had been implemented, thousands of lives would likely have been saved.

In addition to the plans, local, state and federal officials held a simulated hurricane drill 13 months ago, in which widespread flooding supposedly trapped 300,000 people inside New Orleans. The exercise simulated the evacuation of more than a million residents. The problems identified in the simulation apparently were not solved.