Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The splendid dupes

Among those quotes in the annals of history that turn out to be totally unverifiable there is the one about Lenin and "useful idiots." No evidence exists to support the claim that Lenin ever actually called Western sympathizers with communism "useful idiots" for advancing the agenda of the Communists; but the idea that various evils have relied on great numbers of people willing to advance an agenda whose end game and limits they don't really understand is not a new one, for all that.

In fact, G.K. Chesterton expressed a similar idea this way (hat tip: John C. Wright):
There exists to-day a scheme of action, a school of thought, as collective and unmistakable as any of those by whose grouping alone we can make any outline of history. It is as firm a fact as the Oxford Movement, or the Puritans of the Long Parliament; or the Jansenists; or the Jesuits. It is a thing that can be pointed out; it is a thing that can be discussed; and it is a thing that can still be destroyed. It is called for convenience "Eugenics"; and that it ought to be destroyed I propose to prove in the pages that follow. I know that it means very different things to different people; but that is only because evil always takes advantage of ambiguity. I know it is praised with high professions of idealism and benevolence; with silver-tongued rhetoric about purer motherhood and a happier posterity. But that is only because evil is always flattered, as the Furies were called "The Gracious Ones." I know that it numbers many disciples whose intentions are entirely innocent and humane; and who would be sincerely astonished at my describing it as I do. But that is only because evil always wins through the strength of its splendid dupes; and there has in all ages been a disastrous alliance between abnormal innocence and abnormal sin. Of these who are deceived I shall speak of course as we all do of such instruments; judging them by the good they think they are doing, and not by the evil which they really do.
If you replaced the word "Eugenics" with the phrase "Gay Marriage," and further spoke about purer marriages and happier families instead of motherhood and posterity, respectively, I think the Chesterton quote might apply rather well to the rank-and-file supporters of gay "marriage" today. But if you express this notion to the average supporter of gay "marriage," this notion that the goals and aims of the gay rights movement are ultimately evil and destructive of social cohesion, they would be just as astonished as the supporters of Eugenics were in Chesterton's day at his relentless negativity toward the concept--and yet, Chesterton was right, and the supporters were so wrong that the human cost of their little idea may not yet have been fully reckoned.

How can I say such a thing, when all gay "marriage" supporters want is a tiny little barely-noticeable and unimportant tweak to the definition of marriage that will remove the concept of opposite genders forever from the word "marriage," completely eradicate any idea that biological parenthood belongs within marriage or, indeed, has anything whatsoever to do with it, and strike a blow from which society may never recover at the clearly outdated notion that children deeply need to have a mother and a father, to say nothing of the nuclear annihilation of religious liberty that will follow swiftly upon the imposition of gay "marriage" on our society?

How, indeed.

Here's Exhibit A in the kind of thing we can expect to see in some not-too-distant future:
( – The Obama administration “strongly objects” to provisions in a House defense authorization bill that would prohibit the use of military property for same-sex “marriage or marriage-like” ceremonies, and protect military chaplains from negative repercussions for refusing to perform ceremonies that conflict with their beliefs, according to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). [...]

The memo said the two provisions “adopt unnecessary and ill-advised policies that would inhibit the ability of same-sex couples to marry or enter a recognized relationship under State law.”

Section 536 of H.R. 4310 states in part that no member of the armed forces may “direct, order, or require a chaplain to perform any duty, rite, ritual, ceremony, service, or function that is contrary to the conscience, moral principles, or religious beliefs of the chaplain, or contrary to the moral principles and religious beliefs of the endorsing faith group of the chaplain.”

Further, no member of the armed forces may “discriminate or take any adverse personnel action against a chaplain, including denial of promotion, schooling, training, or assignment, on the basis of the refusal by the chaplain to comply with a direction, order, or requirement” that is prohibited by the previous clause.

The OMB complained that, “in its overbroad terms,” section 536 “is potentially harmful to good order and discipline.”

Read the rest here.

A Catholic priest serving as a chaplain in the military cannot ever "marry" two men or two women. But if gay "marriage" becomes an absolute right in the United States, a Catholic priest serving as a chaplain in the military might be ordered to preside at such "weddings." There are only two options: carve out the kind of religious liberty exemption H.R. 4310 is attempting, or forbid Catholics to serve as military chaplains. I am convinced that the powers behind the gay "marriage" agenda want and will demand the second option.

Why? Kevin O'Brien wrote a piece recently that has had me pondering:
Occupy Wall Street and related groups were indignant, and rightly so, that the wealthiest one percent of the population seems to control the government.

We would all agree that in a democratic republic, policy that affects every American should not be set by an elite, particularly if that elite is only one percent of the people.

But what if that elite is only half that size?

The (un-"occupied") Wall Street Journal reports that, according to the 2010 U.S. Census, about five of every one thousand households is a "same sex couple" household - which, apprently means not just "room mates" but sodomites and Lesbians living together as a kind of "family".

And so, even with "gay marriage" legal in many states, and with homosexual cohabitation legal in all states, only about point-five percent of households in this country are "same sex couples". Whence, then, comes this tremendous political push to cater to the whims of one half of one percent of the U.S. population?

The only conclusion that we can draw from this is that "gay marriage" is a contrived issue, politically speaking. It is the "One half of one percent" trying to bully the rest of us. [All emphasis in original: E.M.]
Kevin O'Brien draws a different conclusion from this than I do. My conclusion, after pondering the numbers, was this: why is there such a push to impose gay "marriage" on society when so few people have any interest in it? Is it the case that this one-half of one percent, or even the two to four percent of Americans who identify as same-sex attracted, have so much money and political power that they keep pushing this issue to the forefront of American politics?

I hardly think that's even possible. Which means, I think, that it's that same one percent, that ruling class, that has decided that Americans need to fixate on this idea right now. Some of them, like the wealthy powerful men and women of Chesterton's day who promoted eugenics, might really believe that gay "marriage" is the civil rights struggle of our day--and they have delusions of being brave and heroic and self-sacrificing in pushing for the agenda, just like people in the past who fought for women's suffrage or racial equality. They are the Splendid Dupes of the Chesterton quote, the people who are not so much in love with the idea of a gender-neutral America (based upon the mandatory eradication of heteronormativity, a concept that would probably puzzle many of these Bright Sorts if they had ever heard of it) as they are with the idea of themselves as noble and wise pioneers of the new virtue.

But there are others in the ruling class who know exactly what they're doing. I think the true agenda is twofold:

1. Distract the nation from rising debt, increased governmental power over our everyday lives, the ruling class's own increased control of America and the exponential rise of the sort of thing John Stossel has been calling "the road to serfdom" for a couple of years now, and

2. Cynically wield the gay rights agenda (and similar initiatives) as a club with which to beat the churches into either submission or impotence, given that the churches have the potential to be the biggest objectors and obstacles to agenda point 1.

Think about it. Why else would there suddenly be, for instance, a "line in the sand" HHS mandate attempting to force Catholic Churches to pay for birth control? Why would the administration object to efforts to keep Catholic (and other) chaplains from having to officiate at gay "weddings?" Why was a Catholic adoption agency in Massachusetts one of the first casualties in the war against traditional families? The ruling class is showing its hand a little too plainly--it's obvious that they care much more about weakening the churches, especially the orthodox and traditional ones, than they do about advancing gay rights, at least at present. Whether they will ever actually care about gay rights, or whether they will cast aside and abandon the gay citizens who sincerely think they're working in their own best interests once the ruling class has achieved its objectives is something the average gay citizen might ponder.

The thing is, as I said today to a reader who emailed me on this subject, there's really no way for the churches and the gay rights movement to find an amicable solution. The minute the objective of the imposition of the redefinition of marriage upon the nation is achieved, the push to define all who disagree with the new definition as evil bigots motivated only by irrational hatred will accelerate, with the end goal of crippling the churches (and, it should go without saying, the mosques and synagogues who agree that marriage is between a man and a woman). Every possible strategy to ostracize, marginalize, and punish people for the "wrongthink" beliefs that gay sex is gravely sinful and that marriage is between a man and a woman will be engaged in full force. The new agenda will advance the notion that only bigots and haters oppose gay "marriage," and that these bigots and haters really don't have a place in a decent civil society. For Catholics, this may mean having to sign some sort of "statement of dissent" from Church teaching in order to work as a military chaplain (or, perhaps, to join the military at all), or in a government or corporate job, or just about anywhere other than in a Church job; it may mean being permanently excluded from adopting children (again, without that "statement of dissent"); it may mean having one's children interrogated in the doctor's office or at school about whether mommy and daddy's "hatred" and "bigotry" psychologically affects the child--and that's just for starters.

And all of that will go on until the religious (and other) bodies that disagree with gay marriage are weakened, silenced, terrorized, or even destroyed--at which point we, or our descendents, will find out what this whole agenda was really all about.

And then, perhaps, the Splendid Dupes will wring their hands and say they had no idea, none at all, what was really going on--that the end game was the tearing down and destroying that pillar of religious freedom on which our nation was founded. The possible reasons why a group of the rich and powerful might want to do that are uniformly frightening, and should be abhorrent to all who believe in the liberty our nation's founders fought and died for. Alas, that end game will probably not be recognized for what it is until it is far too late.


freddy said...

Precience: the ability to read and interpret the handwriting on the wall.

Excellent post!

Anonymous said...


I responded by email, but I also wanted to state part of my feelings here (especially on the military bill and the WH's opposition).

Here is the White House's stated opposition to HR 4310:

"Protection of Certain Religious and Moral Beliefs: The Administration strongly objects to sections 536 and 537 because those provisions adopt unnecessary and ill-advised policies that would inhibit the ability of same-sex couples to marry or enter a recognized relationship under State law. Section 536 would prohibit all personnel-related actions based on certain religious and moral beliefs, which, in its overbroad terms, is potentially harmful to good order and discipline. Section 537 would obligate DOD to deny Service members, retirees, and their family members access to facilities for religious ceremonies on the basis of sexual orientation, a troublesome and potentially unconstitutional limitation on religious liberty."
(end White House statement- the rest is me)
Section 537, which states that DOD facilities CANNOT be used for any same-sex ceremony, is obviously only restricting the rights of gay servicemembers (and their families- and this is assuming SSM were to become legal), and protecting the rights of no one. Section 536 is the more difficult one, but I agree with the White House. I'm a Navy veteran, and I knew many Chaplains. Chaplains are military officers, and are subject to military discipline. That section is worded broadly enough that a Jewish chaplain might be able to use it to avoid an unpleasant but necessary military duty on the Sabbath, for instance, or a Wiccan chaplain might disobey an order because it threatens a copse of trees or something. I think your concerns are valid. But military chaplains are already protected from having to perform marriage ceremonies that they don't approve of: "According to a memo detailing the change, military chaplains are not required to officiate at such ceremonies if “doing so would be in variance with the tenets of his or her religion or personal beliefs.”"

The additional wording (section 536) makes the protection too broad for good military order and discipline (in my opinion, and evidently the White House's as well)- and it's unnecessary, because the protection already exists. However, I would not object to a specifically worded protection- something like "no member of the armed forces may require a military chaplain to perform any marriage ceremony the chaplain or his/her faith tradition does not approve of". I think your characterization of the White House's reasoning is wrong- the words the White House uses are pretty straight forward, and I think are best explained as I just did.

L. said...

Hey, right now, this description works if you just change a few words, see?

"For [gays], this may mean having to [hide one's sexuality]; it may mean being permanently excluded from adopting children (again, without that [hiding one's sexuality]); it may mean having one's children interrogated in the doctor's office or at school about whether mommy and daddy's (homosexuality) psychologically affects the child--and that's just for starters."

Julia said...

Jamie Manson over at The National Catholic Reporter actually has an article today titled "Sacramental Marriage Beyond Anatomy" where she basically pushes for the purer marriages and happier families idea: "Now we must do away with the idea that some forms of marriage are superior to others. Rather, marriages must be evaluated based on whether they are good, just, and loving."

Red Cardigan said...

Jamie, I think Manson may well belong in the "Splendid Dupes" category. There's simply no place in the Catholic theology of marriage for any notion that "marriages" between two people of the same gender can be anything but vehicles for grave sin, damaging to the souls of both participants, and putting them both in the gravest possible danger of eternal punishment--and the same thing, it ought to go without saying, would be true for the "marriage" of two opposite sex, adulterous, already-validly-married, Catholics who attempt divorce and remarriage outside the Church.

All: I will be away from the blog for a good bit of the day today. So PLEASE don't think that if I don't approve your comments speedily it's because I'm censoring your viewpoint--the truth is, I don't expect to have five minutes even to look at comments again until sometime late this evening. Your patience is appreciated!

Siarlys Jenkins said...

Manson offers a common species of idiocy, which is rampant in American debate and discourse. I often try to put it in perspective using Humpty Dumpty's remark in Lewis Carroll, "Whey I use a word, it means exactly what I choose it to mean." As I recall, he also characterized a nursery rhyme as "A History of England" because it featured him self.

Manson axiomatically assumes that there are different "forms" of marriage. If true, she could be correct that none are superior to others. Certainly, all should be good, and loving, although I'm kind of wondering what a "just" marriage would be. Seems to be the wrong domain for this adjective.

Otherwise though, I'm finding a good deal of this discussion hopelessly muddled. I suppose dealing with federal legislation and rule making is inevitably muddled, especially once EVERYONE throws in their two cents worth.

Start with eugenics. While it was often used to promote racist nonsense, there were respected psychologists of African descent who explored using it to "improve the race," a common concern WITHIN African American circles some hundred years ago.

I have long believed that if an adult was a known carrier of a debilitating genetic condition, love, responsibility, Christian charity, all kinds of other noble attributes, would strongly move them to take steps so as NOT to pass that trait on to their children or grandchildren. Over time, eliminating such genes from humanity would be a fine purpose.

That is very different from casually classifying some people as imbeciles and undesirable and foreign and forcibly sterilizing them at the whim of some irrascible county bureaucrat.

But this wasn't about eugenics. This was about gay "marriage." There are those in the rabid gay marriage crowd who desire that "every knee shall bow, every Church confess" that gay marriage is fine and dandy. There are some equally sordid brands of paranoia which suggest that such a thing could happen under the very nose of the Bill of Rights. All of this is wrong. But in a media circus that equates the right to be left alone with a right to a marriage license, what would one expect common every day speech to insinuate.

No matter what banal assumptions people slip into, it is not the law, and not likely to become the law without a federal constitutional amendment.