On Redefining Reality: A Dialogue

This excellent and highly amusing article from “Crisis Magazine” was brought to our attention by CP&S commenter, Geoff Kiernan, on 31st March. We have been holding it till after Holy Week and reproduce it today. Thanks Geoff!

By James Jacobs

“What is a cynic? A man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.” —Oscar Wilde

“What is a cynic? A man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.” —Oscar Wilde

As I walked down the street, I noticed in the window of a shop a decal advertising the so-called “Human Rights Campaign,” the organization agitating for a redefinition of marriage to include homosexual unions. I was a little shocked somebody would be proud of that association, for I had heard the news that the founder of the Human Rights Campaign (and a major financial backer of President Obama), Terry Bean, was recently arrested in Oregon for sexually abusing a 15 year-old boy. Maybe that story was not broadcast as widely as it should have been—I can only guess why; if the president of the NRA had shot someone, certainly that would make the news.

Regardless, it also struck me how utterly debased the notion of human rights had become if an entire genus of moral claims could be reduced to a grotesque assertion made on behalf of one-percent of the population. Yet, I also saw that it is the epitome of the contemporary zeitgeist in which a “right” is nothing other than a sentimental imperative, as Alasdair MacIntyre has put it: on the one hand, it is nothing other than a bold and impulsive desire; yet, this is compounded with the tyrannical demand that others submit to your insistence that that desire be satisfied. This meretricious notion of rights debases them by placing individual desire ahead of objective value, a move which ineluctably reduces to nonsense any and all claims to have rights. I thought I might make a test to determine just how dedicated the shop owner really was to this notion of human rights: did he in fact agree that subjective desire implied the sort of right he seemed to claim for himself? In other words, would he allow me to redefine reality to conform to my own desires?

Continue reading…

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16 Responses to On Redefining Reality: A Dialogue

  1. Brother Burrito says:

    Absolutely brilliant!

  2. toadspittle says:

    “I left the shop with a small smirk but without my purchase.”
    …But confident, no doubt, that I had deeply impressed the shopkeeper as a dreary, pedantic, humourless, boring, pillock – straight out of a Monty Python sketch.

  3. johnhenrycn says:

    Don’t be so hard on yourself, Toad.

  4. GC says:

    I’m always mystified how the anti-homophobes seem to think that marriage is somehow a “gift” of the State, something the State has “the right” to grant. Surely marriage existed before Barack and Michelle got hitched, under whatever circumstances that may have been.

    I guess marriage was fundamentally more a custom among folks and was probably meant as mostly a customary permanent arrangement of guys with gals in the expectation that kiddies would be the outcome according to Nature, wherever possible. Didn’t need any “state” for that to happen.

    That the State came along millennia later and decided it might regulate matters for various reasons is not all that important, I suggest. It certainly doesn’t mean that the State “grants” marriage to its hapless constituents. The marriagees sort of “grant” marriage to each other, as the Church fundamentally recognises, but with God thrown in. B*gger the State.

    If gayboy “partners” want their “arrangements” regulated by the State, well they can just ask politely, who cares? The State can regulate them also if requested and does regulate all sorts of things, even when not specifically requested, such as the real amount of tuna in a tin of tuna.

    Boys, try to use a bit of imagination. Do not be the slaves of custom and convention. For instance, try to think of another name for your liaisons/unions. Perhaps “gym and travel partnerships”? In an effort towards being caring and thoroughly updated in these matters, how about “post online hook-up relationship possible permanency arrangements”? Whatever you like. No-one is in a position to dictate to you and the State will surely help you with appropriate bits of “legislation” tailored to your realistic expectations, just as it has done with marriage for the last hundred years or so such that divorcee status appears to be almost the norm.

  5. johnhenrycn says:

    Too bad this article couldn’t have been posted yesterday – April 8th – the International Day of Pink (not to be confused with Pink Shirt Day – the last Wednesday in February) when we’re encouraged to wear something pinkish in awareness of the need to stop homophobia, transphobia, transmisogyny and all other less important forms of bullying:
    http://dayofpink.org/about/
    I also missed the celebration, but I’m looking forward to Acid Reflux Awareness Week in late November when I get to wear my periwinkle ribbon for a whole week, although I wish they’d move the commemoration this year to just after the October synod on the family – when I fear I’ll need all the heartburn relief I can get.

  6. johnhenrycn says:

    I looked at the comments underneath this Crisis piece and there’s a link to another one by a Ben Shapiro at breitbart.com called What’s Next For Same-Sex Advocates, warning us that same-sex marriage, awful as it is, is only the start of what these people have planned. They intend to next target churches and schools. The linked article is dreadfully slow to load.
    http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2015/03/30/whats-next-for-the-same-sex-marriage-advocates/

  7. toadspittle says:

    “I guess marriage was fundamentally more a custom among folks and was probably meant as mostly a customary permanent arrangement of guys with gals in the expectation that kiddies would be the outcome according to Nature, wherever possible. “

    Succinctly and accurately put, GC.
    Marriage is, indeed, simply a custom, like saying, “Bless you,” after someone sneezes, or eating Chinese food with chopsticks, or being not too hard on senile old toads.
    Yet there are those who think God dreamed marriage up.
    But, who knows? perhaps He did. It would still be a custom, anyway.

    It was once the accepted custom that men could only marry women.
    It was once the accepted custom that only men could vote, or be soldiers, sailors, or professional jockeys.
    It was once the accepted custom that only a man could be president of the USA.

  8. GC says:

    No, no, Toad. Marriage isn’t the creation of the State. In fact, marriage pre-existed States but they arrived eventually and merely regulated or codified something that was already there. It’s like me selling my cow. People would sell their cows long before there were state laws regulating sales. States didn’t create the right to sell one’s cow by regulating the sale of cows.

    Thus, States don’t have the power to redefine what marriage is or what selling a cow is because they didn’t create them. What they do have the power to do, perhaps, is to regulate things like tennis partnerships if enough tennis partners ask them to. Or do you think there is a danger that people will end up thinking as a result that the State created tennis too?

  9. Tom Fisher says:

    No, no, Toad. Marriage isn’t the creation of the State.

    Did he suggest that it was? Certainly not on this thread.

  10. toadspittle says:

    Ah, well, Tom.
    People will see what they want to see.
    …Probably goes for all of us.

    Fortis imaginatio generat casum.
    [“A strong imagination begets the event itself.”—Axiom. Scholast.]

  11. GC says:

    I never said Toad did suggest it. I suppose then, Toad, your fortis imaginatio … or whatever was directed at Mr Fisher.

  12. toadspittle says:

    No, it was directed at you, in this case, GC. But never mind.
    Tom and I both possibly misunderstood you. Silly old us.
    The main consolation is that you and I do agree that marriage is a custom, much like any other.

    …And customs come and go. And are subject to change. And decay. Like everything on earth.

  13. GC says:

    I am not aware that marriage has changed essentially, Toad. Men still want lifelong unions with women and women with men in which to rear their young. Who changed that?

  14. toadspittle says:

    Gays, GC. Lots of them.

  15. GC says:

    Oh right.
    Now let’s try to get back to something a bit more solid, even though Toad has an aversion to such things. Much too “rational” behaviour, one suspects. Not cynical, nihilistic and arty-farty enough, probably, for toads.

  16. toadspittle says:

    You are so cruel, GC.
    But Toad loves you.

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