Rod Dreher

Rod Dreher


We are all ideologues to some degree

posted by Rod Dreher

Andrew Sullivan, on the Octavia Nasr/Shirley Sherrod foofarahs:

It seems completely obvious to me that the USDA needs to re-hire Sherrod just as CNN needs to rehire Octavia Nasr. Both were canned based on knee-jerk reactions to distorted fragments of speech, which, when viewed in their entirety, are completely within the realm of fair – and honest – discourse. I think it is the honest discourse that the ideologues hate – because it violates their doctrines, which must be maintained regardless of the complex human beings and complicated stories our lives invariably tell.

Well, yeah, but I hope Andrew will recognize himself in his condemnation of the right-wing ideologues he rightly condemns here. He’s often an ideologue about the issues he cares most about, and abusively unfair to those he’s identified as his enemies. Is there any word more loaded and less meaningful than “Christianist”? It means, “Christians Andrew Sullivan doesn’t like.” It’s a way of slapping a label on that sort of Christian so their arguments and their concerns don’t have to be taken seriously. Andrew does the same thing, in principle, that he condemns others for. And guess what? So do I. And you, Reader, do too; if you don’t think you do, you are not examining yourself closely enough.
It’s human nature for us to make snap judgments of others, based on limited information and experience. I made a quick and emotional judgment about the Journolist thing based on what I know from personal experience about liberal bias in the media, and based on my own personal experience of very nearly being the professional victim of a group conspiring on its semi-private e-mail list to destroy me personally and professionally because they didn’t like serious questions I was raising about their beliefs in my journalism. I still believe I am right about Journolist, but upon reflection, especially reflection about the Shirley Sherrod story, I wish I had waited to get more information before reaching a conclusion. The point, though, is that the facts in the Journolist case fit my personal biases like a glove, and I thought I knew what I was seeing. The truth is more complicated.
It is impossible to make completely objective judgments. We cannot possibly know everything about people. We do the best with the information we have. But if I’ve learned anything in the past decade of thinking and writing, it’s an appreciation for the limitations of my own judgment. This is a lesson I have to learn almost every day, and probably will keep learning until the moment of my death. It’s called humility, and it’s the unfortunate truth that we often have to be humiliated by our own foolishness and rashness to learn it.
A clarification: sometimes things really are what they seem to be. Often our judgments are sound. I do not believe that if one’s enemies or opponents only “understood” one, they would agree with one’s conclusions. We are tempted to think that because we are certain that our conclusions are correct, as everyone would agree if only they would see things clearly. That’s a fallacy, and a destructive one, because it could lead one to assume that the only reason others don’t agree is because they are malicious or willfully ignorant. I don’t believe, for example, that Andrew Sullivan disagrees with me on gay marriage because he’s bad; I believe that we have different, and mutually contradictory, beliefs on what sexuality is, and what marriage is. I think Andrew is wrong on this, but I don’t think his being wrong makes him a bad person, nor do I think that the whole of Andrew Sullivan comes down to how he stands on same-sex marriage. A few years ago, I was talking with a friend about how unfair I thought Andrew was to conservative Christians in his blogging, explaining that I didn’t expect him to agree in the least, but I thought his commentary was totally without nuance, and failed to draw important and fair distinctions. The friend then told me of an act of mercy Andrew performed for someone who was a virtual stranger, something so unbelievably risky and loving that it permanently changed the way I thought about Andrew. Whenever he publishes something about people like me that I think is outrageously unfair or nasty, I remind myself that that’s not who he is; it’s only part of who he is.
I hope people cut me the same break. I want to be clear here: none of us have a right to avoid being judged at some level by our words and deeds. Mel Gibson, for example, is guilty of acts of incredible viciousness to his ex-lover. Perhaps his struggle with alcoholism and mental illness should mitigate our verdict on his behavior, but that kind of behavior needs to be judged, and harshly condemned. We cannot be a society that condones or excuses it. Still, we know enough about Gibson to know that there’s more to him than the raging and quite possibly depressed drunk that we heard on those phone messages. This does not excuse what he did, and none of his artistic accomplishments can justify such rotten behavior (nor, for that matter, does his vile behavior sully his artistic accomplishments). My point simply is that people are complicated, and cannot normally be reduced to a few deeds, or selected words. The porn star I wrote about yesterday has no right to claim exemption from moral judgment, for good or for ill, because of her deeds and words, which I find worthy of ridicule and condemnation. I hope, though, that I always keep in front of me the truth that she is a human being and a child of God — a fact that in no way excuses or justifies her actions, which are worthy of strong refudiation repudiation (heh heh), but which should keep me squarely focused on her essential humanity, however stained by her sins and failings.
The day will never come when I, or you, can avoid snap judgments based on our own prejudices, and confirmation bias. It’s just not in our nature. But we can learn to do better. I do think it’s horrible what Breitbart and others who believed his lie about Shirley Sherrod did to that good woman. But looking at my own record over the years, I know I have to be careful about getting on my high horse, because I’ve been caught out too many times rushing to conclusions based on faulty information and judgment. So, to circle back to how I started this post, I agree with Andrew that ideologues don’t want to see the full, messy, complicated truth, because it might interfere with their preferred story line. But I would challenge Andrew — as I challenge myself, and you readers — to think about ways in which we act the same way. One man’s close-minded prejudice is another man’s standing firmly on principle. The line between the two is murky, but we should be conscious that it’s there, and form our judgments in light of it. This is not to say we shouldn’t make judgments; if you believe, for example, that gay marriage is a civil right, or a moral outrage, you should fight for what you believe to be right. We should, however, be careful in how we arrive at our judgments, and how those judgments may close our minds to further information that could and should change our minds. Be careful not to become so focused on winning that you deny the humanity of your opponents, and cast fair play out the window. It’s a constant temptation for bloggers. Trust me, I know, having been guilty of it so often. All I can do is to try to recognize that weakness in myself, and try to be more discerning going forward.
The older I get, and the more mistakes I make, the more I see that humility is the most important epistemological virtue.



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celticdragonchick

posted July 21, 2010 at 11:42 am


Awesome essay.
This is the Rod that I keep coming back to read.



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Bill H

posted July 21, 2010 at 11:52 am


Amen.
captcha: very Margret (Thatcher?)



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Helen

posted July 21, 2010 at 11:53 am


Rod –
This piece is why so many of us read your blog — especially those of us on the left. Excellent, excellent essay. Full of truth. Thanks for posting this.



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J. M.

posted July 21, 2010 at 11:59 am


I stopped reading Andrew Sullivan’s column when it appeared to me that he harbors more than just a political dislike for Gov. Palin. He appears unglued about Trig’s “true” maternal origin to the point of pathology. What further “proof” should Mrs. Palin provide that she indeed gave birth to her own son? Neither is it clear to what end, except character assassination, Mr. Sullivan promotes this issue. It’s just plain mean, with no redeemable purpose.



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kevin s.

posted July 21, 2010 at 12:04 pm


Are snap judgments the product of ideology? By my lights, ideologues (who should not be confused with partisans or issue advocates) are less likely to make snap judgments since they apply a consistent philosophy to their judgments. They use events as a test of the efficacy of their chosen ideology.
Of course, everyone has chosen an ideology. Non-ideologues fail to consider the consequences of their ideological preferences. This explains why some who supported Bush’s Medicare Part D are just as fervently opposing government spending. They are making snap judgments as they go, failing to consider whether they are consistent in the application of their preferences.



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ipcress

posted July 21, 2010 at 12:06 pm


What celticdragonchick and Helen said. Bravo.



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RSG

posted July 21, 2010 at 12:15 pm


Nicely done, Rod. And to echo Celtic Dragon Chick, it’s why I come back here to read.



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My Name

posted July 21, 2010 at 12:16 pm


Great essay Rod. These are things that I think about a lot. A few people in my conservative family can be completely batty about liberals. Many of my coworkers are equally contemptuous of conservatives. They talk as though any solution to a problem is obvious if one looks at the facts, without acknowledging that people really do place value differently. One of the few people with whom I really enjoy talking about these issues is very liberal, something *very* different from my views. Nonetheless, because we both acknowledge the others’ good motives and acknowledge that we value certain things differently, we can have very fruitful and civil debates about issues that matter deeply to both of us.



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John in Austin

posted July 21, 2010 at 12:17 pm


Thank you for this insightful post, Rod. At times, I have nearly stopped reading this blog because of what I thought were uncharitable comments toward your “opponents.” But I think you wrestle with important issues more honestly than most of the bloggers I’ve encountered, and that’s why I am still here. Keep up the good work!



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Peter

posted July 21, 2010 at 12:18 pm


Very good thoughts.



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Franklin Evans

posted July 21, 2010 at 12:28 pm


A principle caveat/warning in conflict resolution is very simple, and stated very well in Rod’s essay: Understanding is not the same as agreement.
Certainly, understanding another’s POV is a necessary step towards finding agreement with it, but it is not by any stretch causally connected. Those who insist on equating them, who fear that understanding will inevitably lead to agreement (a clear and present paranoia in many religions), do so not because they have a valid concern, but because they have less than full confidence in their positions. They’d rather control agreement than permit understanding.



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thehova

posted July 21, 2010 at 12:48 pm


woot Rod!!! Sullivan is extremely unfair. Time will only make that more apparent (Sullivan’s biographer will have to confront a lot of dark stuff).



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Chuck Anziulewicz

posted July 21, 2010 at 1:29 pm


I’m reminded of a commentator on a Southern Baptist website who wrote, “I can’t reconcile how someone could feel he or she was born with strong homosexual feelings, love Christ and yet take on the limitations of what seem to me to be straightforward biblical teachings. That’s agonizing, and I don’t really understand it.”
And this is the weird thing: “Straighforward biblical teachings” should at least be understandable to the average person. So often I hear it said, “OUR ways are not GOD’s ways,” as if God was some sort of inscrutable alien being.
Consider The Golden Rule: We do unto others as we would have them do unto use. Put all the religious dogma and ritual aside, and this is what our laws boil down to. We don’t lie or bear false witness because we won’t want people to lie to us. We don’t steal from other people because we do not want people stealing from us. We don’t betray the trust of our spouses because we wouldn’t want them doing the same to us. Same goes for killing and a variety of other “bad” behaviors.
And yet somehow there seems to be this sheepish adherence to a double standard for Gay and Straight people. If you’re Straight, it’s all so wonderful to be able to find a compatible person of the opposite sex, court and get engaged and marry and live happily ever after. But if you’re Gay, all of that is completely out of the question. Don’t even bother trying to find a compatible person. Lesbians and Gay men are precluded from any hope for romance or commitment. Gay people are simply told: “Gosh, sorry about that. You make us uncomfortable; acknowledging your existence means we might have to revise what we’ve been teaching all these years – meaning, Whoops! No infallible Magisterium or “literal” Bible … so you’ll just have to sacrifice your life and any hope of finding somebody to love. Tough luck, kid. God said it, I don’t necessarily understand it, but there it is.”
I wish more conservative Christians would at least TRY to wrap their minds around why this makes so little sense to Gay people. I wish they would try to grasp why we get a little pissed off when the people who oppose marriage equality for Gay couples say, “WE get to marry. YOU do not.”



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Rod Dreher

posted July 21, 2010 at 1:47 pm


Fair enough, Chuck — but the more interesting question in light of this thread is: How hard have you personally worked to try to see the issue through the eyes of conservative Christians?



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Chuck Anziulewicz

posted July 21, 2010 at 2:00 pm


DEAR ROD:
What am I missing, exactly? Are Gay couples seeking to legally marry asking conservative Christians to sacrifice anything? Not as far as I can tell. We understand that most people are Straight (i.e. heterosexual), always have been, always will be. And despite all kinds of ominous suggestions to the contrary, I don’t see how allowing Gay couples to marry is going to affect “traditional” marriages. Straight people will continue to date, get engaged, marry, and build lives and families together as they always have, regardless of whether that tiny segment of the human population that is Gay is allowed to do the same.
I don’t see this as affecting churches or other houses of worship. No church or pastor has ever been forced to conduct a wedding ceremony against their will. And besides, it is not the CHURCH that bestows the 1,138 legal benefits, protections, and responsibilities (according the Government Accountability Office) on couples as soon as they legally marry.



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Rod Dreher

posted July 21, 2010 at 2:09 pm


Chuck, you’re missing the point. I don’t want to argue this particular issue with you. I’m suggesting that you so strongly believe in the justice of your cause that you may not be considering fairly why your opponents disagree with you. I’m not telling you to give up your point of view. I’m saying that you perhaps should do a thought experiment and try to see how the same set of facts that lead to a conclusion you find to be obvious might look different to conservative Christians, who start from different first principles than you do.
The point I’m trying to make here is not that you’re wrong and they’re right (and in any case, I don’t want this thread to be distracted by a debate on gay marriage, which is only ancillary to the gist of the post). The point is that all of us tend to get so caught up in certain causes and issues important to us that we cease to try to understand the other side, and see them only as impossible people who need to be bulldozed for the sake of Justice. You are guilty of this at times. So am I.



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Turmarion

posted July 21, 2010 at 2:10 pm


Excellent, excellent post, and I second celticdragonchick, Bill H., and Helen. Would that there were more oases of reason and humility in cyberspace–or in real life!



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Turmarion

posted July 21, 2010 at 2:15 pm


Rod, in light of what you and Chuck are discussing, I put forth an anecdote. I taught a college course in ethics once and I gave the following assignment for the term paper: Pick something that you strongly oppose morally, and write a paper supporting it. So if you’re pro-choice, write a paper defending the pro-life stance; if you’re pro-life, write a paper defending the pro-choice view; etc. It opened some eyes.
I think this would be an instructive exercise for all of us to do now and then.



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HalSF

posted July 21, 2010 at 2:21 pm


“Is there any word more loaded and less meaningful than ‘Christianist’?” The answer is yes — many, many words are. Whatever faults you find in Andrew Sullivan, this is a very poor example, and it’s an excellent example of misrepresenting a neologism that Sullivan has been careful to define, delimit, and utilize in a thoughtfull, non-reductionist way. His usage of “Christianist” is always tethered to specific examples of people who are subordinating Christian faith and belief to Christian identity power politics. I’d be very interested in seeing you produce even one example of Sullivan using “Christianist” in the shorthand, context-free, I-don’t-want-to-think-about-it way you say he does. Andrew Sullivan is often a half-mad ninnny. But he’s not guilty of slapping meaningless labels on things to wiggle out of dealing with the implications of his opponents’ arguments. With this accusation, you should either stand and deliver, or you should back down.



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Franklin Evans

posted July 21, 2010 at 2:23 pm


Chuck, understanding is not agreement. “Know your enemy” is not about being able to identify targets, it’s about being clear on their ideas, motivations and opinions. Anyone who (not saying you are) dismisses attempts to understand with lines like “I already know as much as I need to, to know you/they are my enemy” is selling himself and his position or cause short.



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FdS

posted July 21, 2010 at 2:27 pm


Well said, and very true, Rod. Sadly, in today’s political climate, everyone feels as though he has to be right *all of the time*. Thus very few people are ever willing to make this kind of humble admission. Kudos. The world needs more people like you.
It’s worth noting that in today’s media climate, we *usually* get the sensationalistic interpretation of an event before we get the full story (if ever). It would do us all well to withhold judgmnet on *any* news story until several days after its airing so that we can get the full picture. I know the blogosphere loathes this sort of patience, but decency demands it.
Finally, Rod, in light of your very humble admissions here, might you not also want to reconsider your judgment on some of the shoddy AP & NYT stories about the Pope from earlier this summer?



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Chuck Anziulewicz

posted July 21, 2010 at 2:33 pm


DEAR ROD:
I’m 51 years old. I have heard just about every single argument against marriage equality that there is, and I have yet to hear any that aren’t either easy to refute or just downright silly.
One person says, “I don’t care if Gay couples have the same rights, just don’t call it MARRIAGE.” Okay, fine. And yet conservative Christians fight tooth and nail against “civil unions” for Gay couples, as the states of Hawaii and Washington demonstrate. They even claim that allowing Gay couples to have things like hospital visitation rights is nothing more than a slippery slope that will ultimately undermine the “sanctity” of marriage.
I heard people say, “Of course Gay people have the right to marry … as long as they marry someone of the opposite sex!” … a line guaranteed to get a chuckle at the Sean Hannity Comedy Club, but one that is patently absurd to anyone who actually KNOWS someone who is Gay.
I’ve heard all kinds of Scriptural arguments made, even though the United States is not a theocracy. I’ve heard arguments about what’s best for children, even though couples do not have to marry to have children, and the ability or even desire to have children is not a prerequisite for getting a marriage license. I certainly don’t see any purely Constitutional justification for denying law-abiding, taxpaying Gay couples the same legal benefits and protections that Straight couples have always taken for granted.
Perhaps you are weary of this constant bickering over marriage rights for Gay couples. God knows I am! But I still have to wonder what YOUR biggest fear is about this, since you are so fond of raising the issue (re: Andrew Sullivan).



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Rod Dreher

posted July 21, 2010 at 2:36 pm


Good grief, Chuck, you really are incapable of understanding what I’m trying to say, aren’t you? I’m not going to have the argument you want to have, because it’s Completely Beside The Point. If you’ve been reading my blogging for so long (and you have) that you still have no idea what my objections to SSM are, it just proves my point about ideologues.



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Chuck Anziulewicz

posted July 21, 2010 at 2:57 pm


Well I’m sorry, Rod, but I was just pulling up the first arguments that came to mind. I don’t have a database full of YOURS. Forgive me. At the age of 51, I should probably just retire and save myself the heartburn.



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Franklin Evans

posted July 21, 2010 at 3:16 pm


Chuck, with respect (and I’m 54), it’s simply about topic-thread etiquette. No one is suppressing a debate about civil rights, we just aren’t having that particular debate in this thread.
I’m guessing that you’ve seen a few examples of discussions where you and others would very much like to debate the points raised in the opening post, but are being ignored by everyone else shouting about tangents that are barely implied, let alone explicitly mentioned.



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Mont D. Law

posted July 21, 2010 at 3:19 pm


This is okay as far as it goes but for me there are just some arguments I will no longer have. I am too old to argue that due process has suddenly become optional, that Andrew Breitbart is not scum, that Fox provides news, that the Tea Party is something new and non-racist or that women should be forced to bear children. I am just to old and tired.
So it goes.



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Mark Gordon

posted July 21, 2010 at 3:19 pm


If this winds up being the final substantive post on this blog, it will be a magnificent closing flourish.
Captcha is for Chuck: you’re excusable



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kevin s.

posted July 21, 2010 at 3:43 pm


Chuck,
Why don’t the best arguments against gay marriage come to mind? Do you know what they are?
The most compelling argument is that government recognizes marriage because it serves a civil function. As you mention, we are not a theocracy. As such, citizens may determine how we the people recognize marriage, and whether or not a particular standard meets the definition of a civil function.
I am ultimately unpersuaded by this argument, as it is is begging the question. What civil function merits governmental blessing of personal relationships? None that I can see.
The argument that gays may marry someone of the opposite sex may not be very strong, but it is an adequate response to the argument that this is an issue of equal rights, which is also a flimsy argument. You rights are precisely identical, even if they do not match your proclivities. Since gay marriage represents a change from the status quo, it is insufficient to match flimsy argument for flimsy argument.
Your only response to this argument is a Sean Hannity joke.
It is my experience that gay activists are among the worst at understanding the opposing point of view. As such, there is no nuance to their position, which makes me fear what would happen if we allow gay marriage.
It’s not as though these advocacy groups are going to go away. What’s next for a movement that sees dissent as laughable? I’m not sure I want to find out.



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Liam

posted July 21, 2010 at 3:52 pm


Rod,
One major experiential difference on the empathic understanding of gays vis a vis straights is that gay children grow up in homes, churches, schools and societies oriented to the perspectives of straight people. Gay folk add another perspective over time, but can remember the perspective in which they were raised. This is much less common for straight people, unless they are people have a similar experiential context that can make the transference easier. This general lack of symmetry helps explain the condescension that frequently erupts in these conversations.



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Charles Cosimano

posted July 21, 2010 at 4:51 pm


A marvelous essay and one of the true reasons that I keep reading Rod, even when I am convinced that he sat down too hard and damaged his brain cell. (Ok, I had to get one last joke in before he moves.)
Yes, it is true. In the end we are all ideologues about something, all have things we are judgmental about and this is not, in and of itself a bad thing. What is bad is not admitting it. Show me someone who claims not to be judgmental and I will show you a liar. And there is nothing wrong with being judged. Show me one person who has lived more than a year who has not been.
But we must not let the judgments of others, or the fear of them, rule our lives. It is right and proper for Rod to judge the porn star, it would be shameful and cowardly of her to change because of that. The proper attitude is to say, Judge me? Let ‘em judge God damn them! A lot of good it will do them.”
And on the other side, as we judge others we should remember the wise words of Oliver Cromwell, when he said, “From the bowels of Christ I beseech you! Pray consider that you may be wrong.”



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Liam

posted July 21, 2010 at 6:13 pm

Basil

posted July 21, 2010 at 6:37 pm


Liam,
The answer to Rauch is that many if not most gays on the coasts grow up in “Red,” heterosexual households. We understand the importance of marriage in red country to the extent that we live in exile in some precisely because we are not married.
Yet even in exile, we do what we can to support the marriages in our family.
I know a gay male couple, C and L, who provide a pretty good example. L’s family is baptist and when L came out and introduced C, L’s father threatened to murder C with a shotgun if L’s father ever met C. It turns out that L’s brother was a married manic depressive. L’s brother killed himself leaving behind a wife and two children. C’s response was to call L’s father and offer to buy a house for the wife and children.
My own father is an ultra-Catholic homophobe opposes any civil equality law for gays including non-discrimination in employment. I still must work in a state and for a company that supports such protections because I cannot afford to be unemployed and without insurance. I still spend every holiday at home with my aged parents cooking for them and caring for them whenever I can.
I didn’t support same sex marriage originally. The person who forced me to support it is Benedict XVI when he was prefect for the CDF. He wrote a position paper that denied same-sex couples every right that could possibly be construed to be similar to the rights of married couples.
In Catholic institutions, this included the right to visit a partner in intensive care and to make medical decisions. Since then, I’ve seen Catholic legislators outlaw everything from powers of attorney to the right to make funeral arrangements for same-sex couples.
It’s galling for me to read that criticizing the Christian right for this is somehow unfair. It reminds me of a rapist complaining that his victim got blood on him.



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Jon

posted July 21, 2010 at 6:55 pm


When dealing with people whose politics do not accord well with your own, one thing that helps (if the matter cannot be avoided entirely) is to find areas where you do agree. It is very rare that such points of agreement will not exist between two people no matter how divergent their world-views. Readers will recall a time or two when Lord Karth and I were in firm agreement here– and not just about praying for Ruthie or trying to find words of comfort for Rod.
At my church I was “adopted” by a long-established family after I moved to Baltimore and began attending St Andrews. An older couple, and two sisters of the husband and a nephew. For a while they were almost the only people I knew here other than people at work, and in 2008 into 2009 they were my only sympathetic listeners locally during a difficult period. Nonetheless the husband and I hold very different views on politics– he’s a Glenn Beck fan and let me just say that Stari would even be happy with some of this guy’s views.
Nevertheless we remain friends, and I can find areas of where he and I nod in agreement (example: the govermment should create jobs for the long-term unemployed, like the old WPA). And while I still disagree with him on things here and there, I have a better sense where he is coming from.



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Indy

posted July 21, 2010 at 7:48 pm


Nice essay, Rod, I liked it. I do think it is important to differentiate between understanding the other side and agreeing with it. Not recognizing that is a big problem at sites such as The Corner and Daily Kos. At those sites, understanding someone often seems to be viewed as a weakness. It seems it from some of the essays there that it appears to be conflated with agreeing with or submitting to someone else’s view. Not so. Anyone who really wants to reach people beyond an amen corner understands that you have to understand the person to whom you are pitching your arguments. Or selling programs and policies. That you did see the difference between understanding and agreeing/submitting is one of the things that hooked me on reading your Crunchy Con blog last year.
I differentiate in terminology between ideology and values. For example, someone may support small government (or big government) and low taxes (or big spending and high taxes) and be an unprincipled person in his personal or business life. Lying, cheating, cutting corners where doing so is dangerous, placing others – family members or customers – at risk unnecessarily. Such a person has a firm ideology but lacks firm values of a type many of us regard as good.
Someone else may have a pretty good moral compass – tries to avoid lying and cutting corners, argues for taking an ethical approach where such is feasible (nobody can be a complete goody-two-shoes on the job—most job situations are way too complicated for that), advocates for honorable actions in business or in dealing with family values. But he (or she) may not be much of an ideologue. He could say, “well, let’s find a solution, let’s do some horsetrading and see what services or programs can be cut and where revenue could be increased.” The ideologue might aruge, “No tax increases.” Or “no cuts in certain programs.”
And then there are the people who both are ideologues and who display generally accepted values. Even there, there are differences. You see ones who quietly model those values, seem comfortable in their own skins, and project genuine serenity. You also see ones who trumpet their values – may even largely live by them — but somehow seem to need constant validation and affirmation that they are right and good. I’m more drawn to the former than the latter.
The important thing to do is to recognize the differences and learn to discern the differences. And, above all, to understand humility. You’re a good dude, Rod You get it.



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