Different River

”You can never step in the same river twice.” –Heraclitus

August 1, 2005

Politics, Prejudice, and Hypocrisy

Filed under: — Different River @ 7:08 pm

I really have to resume blogging, since I have so many posts backed-up in my brain, but it’s hard to get back in the groove. I’m going to start by addressing some comments in the previous post, John Roberts and the “Politics of Personal Destruction”

Basically, the issue is this: The New York Times ran an article implying but not stating that Judge John G. Roberts, Jr. is gay. Some liberal bloggers picked up on this and condemned it, but other liberal bloggers praised it and even went a step futher, intimating that Judge John Roberts’ son was gay — before realizing that said son was only four years old and thus not gay or non-gay by any reasonable standard.

Commenters have had some interesting things to say, notably one commenter on the (liberal) Daily Kos who said, without citing any evidence, that “[E]xtreme conservatives seem to have a lot of homosexual children.” One wonders whether this is evidence for or against the theory that homsexuality is genetic. (Is “extreme conservatism” also genetic?)

And on this blog, our very own resident liberal Ollie wrote:

As far as double standards, here is why: the right wing doesn’t hesitate to use gay rights as a wedge issue to win elections. Were the right wing to fully embrase gay rights, then there would be no more issue made of it. But, it seems to us that the right wingers are a “do as we say, not as we do” type of group.

Now I’ve read that comment very carefully, several times, trying to figure out exactly what Ollie means to accuse conservatives of. And the best that I can come up with is, Ollie is accusing conservatives of not being as anti-gay as he thinks they are. I don’t really mean to single out Ollie here; I think he’s right when he says this is why so many liberals are applying a double standard here. (And Ollie, if you mean to be explaining other people’s arguments rather than asserting it yourself, then I apologize for attributing it to you.)

Basically, the logic seems to go like this:

  1. Liberals assume conservatives hate gays.
  2. Then liberals observe conservatives doing something inconsistent with hating gays (such as appointing them to public office, or not murdering or even disowning their gay children, etc.).
  3. Liberals then have to resolve this contradiction between their perceptions (prejudices?) about conservatives, and the actual behavior of conservatives, so they accuse conservatives of hypocritically betraying their gay-hatred — rather than admitting, or even entertaining the possibility, that conservatives don’t actually hate gays in the first place.

It should be clear from this that there is no way conservatives can win under this scheme. If they do something that’s anti-gay, they are accused of hating gays, and if they do something that’s not anti-gay, they are accused of hypocritically hiding their true hatred of gays. Either way, conservatives are branded as gay-haters, and there’s nothing they can do about it.

And what’s really ironic about all this is that the liberals doing this all claim to be pro-gay. But if they were really pro-gay, they would welcome any pro-gay actions of conservatives as a step towards national unanimity on this issue. But instead, they insist that whatever they do, conservatives are gay-haters — no matter how many pro-gay things they do. So, the folks who claim that they have no problem with gays end up being the ones accusing people of being gay as if it’s a crime.

Then they accuse the conservatives of using gay issues as “wedge issues”!

Amazing. I think the term psychologists use for this is “projection.” I think they are projecting their love of wedge issues, but who knows, maybe they’re projecting their latent gay-hatred…

(And by the way: Judge Roberts is not actually gay. The “evidence” for this claim is that he didn’t marry until age 41, his two children are adopted, and he wore plaid pants in the 1970s.)

7 Responses to “Politics, Prejudice, and Hypocrisy”

  1. ollie Says:

    Your point “3″ was a bit off: we (or at least I ) am assuming that conservatives are selling
    themselves to the religious right by either hating or pretending to hate gays.

    So either the conservatives really hate gays (which is bad) or they are using the hatred of
    gays to win votes among the fundamentalists (which is bad).

    So the conservatives have left themselves open here. Were the conservatives to say: “yes, we
    know that X is gay but we think that he/she is qualified for the job and we don’t believe in
    disrimination based on sexual orientation”, then this issue would just dry up and go away,
    as would some of the religous right support.

    So, IMHO, the right is guilty of hypocracy or of being discriminatory and is deserving of being
    called on it.

  2. Clayton E. Cramer Says:

    Your point “3″ was a bit off: we (or at least I ) am assuming that conservatives are selling themselves to the religious right by either hating or pretending to hate gays.

    Then you are misreading the issue. The religious right does not hate homosexuals (although you can find a few oddballs like Rev. Fred Phelps–although he is more a liberal gone bad than a conservative–see his NAACP awards).

  3. ollie Says:

    To Mr. Cramer: http://www.dailysouthtown.com/southtown/yrtwn/south/043syt9.htm
    Most of my friends and associates would call this “hate”. I do NOT claim that the GOP
    political leadership approves of this.

  4. Different River Says:

    Ollie: The web site to which you direct Mr. Cramer referes to the same person to which he directs you, that is, that of the “oddball” (and that’s putting it mildly) “Rev.” Fred Phelps of the Westbury “Baptist” “Church.” Phelps is a complete nut. He started out as trying to convert Mormons to Baptists, and later tried to get kissing outlawed. He was once a civil-rights lawyer and received awards from the Greater Kansas City Chapter of Blacks in Government and the Bonner Springs branch of the NAACP, but got disbarred for stealing from his clients. He disowned his own widowed father for marrying a divorcee because he believes the Bible says that’s wrong — but I guess he missed the “honor your father” part. (What Bible is he reading, anyway?)

    His thing now is protesting at funerals of soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. He sent a delegation of his childrend to Iraq in 1997 and opposes the war in Iraq because, well, because he likes Saddam Hussein. (This puts him to the left of most Democrats, and in the same place as the most extreme anti-war demonstrators.)

    To even suggest (by denial) that the GOP is on the same side as this guy is preposterous. It’s akin to saying “By the way, I do not claim that the Democratic political leadership approves of Charles Manson.”

  5. Different River Says:

    Ollie: By the way, about your initial comment on this thread:

    Your point “3″ was a bit off: we (or at least I ) am assuming that conservatives are selling themselves to the religious right by either hating or pretending to hate gays.

    Fine, in everything I said, replace “conservatives” with “religious right” and the point is still valid. Basically, you are saying that:

    1. You assume the religious right hates gays.
    2. You observe members of the religious right doing something inconsistent with hating gays (such as appointing them to public office, or not murdering or even disowning their gay children, etc.).
    3. You then have to resolve this contradiction between your prejudices about the religious right, and the actual behavior of the religious right, so you accuse the religious right of hypocritically betraying their gay-hatred — rather than admitting, or even entertaining the possibility, that they don’t actually hate gays in the first place. Or as a substitute for this, you accuse the Republicans of hypocritically betraying the religious right by claiming to hate gays but not actually hating them.

    There is still no way the religious right can win here. If they do something that’s anti-gay, they are accused of hating gays, and if they do something that’s not anti-gay, they are accused of hypocritically hiding their true hatred of gays. Either way, the religious right are branded as gay-haters, and there’s nothing they can do about it.

    You also write:

    So the conservatives have left themselves open here. Were the conservatives to say: “yes, we know that X is gay but we think that he/she is qualified for the job and we don’t believe in disrimination based on sexual orientation”, then this issue would just dry up and go away, as would some of the religous right support.

    So, IMHO, the right is guilty of hypocracy or of being discriminatory and is deserving of being called on it.

    I suppose it never occurs to you that conservatives actually don’t care if someone is gay or not if they thing s/he’s qualified! Perhaps they think that who someone has sex with is irrelevant for certain jobs. If a liberal took that point of view, you would laud the liberal as an enlightened person free of prejudice — but if a conservative takes that point of view, you claim she or he is a hypocrite. You say they “leave themselves open” by not discussing the sexual preferences of their appointees. Why? Why should conservatives be in everybody’s bedroom just to satisfy you?

    Why the double standard? I think because, for some reason, it is very important for you — and I’m not picking on you personally; I think it’s very important for a lot of liberals — to believe that conservatives hate gays.

    And probably a lot of other types of people also. After all, why the intense liberal opposition to Black conservatives like Condoleezza Rice and Clarence Thomas? Because liberals desparately want to believe that conservatives are racists, and the existence of Black conservatives undermines that view. That’s why Antonin Scalia was confirmed unanimously but Democrats fought viciously against Clarence Thomas, even though both have very similar views. Thomas is marginally more conservative than Scalia, and a better writer, but that was not known at the time and the small difference in their views is not enough to explain the vastly different reaction in any case. The fact is, if Thomas were white, Democrats wouldn’t have fought against him so much, just as they didn’t fight against Scalia.

  6. ollie Says:

    Actually, if conservatives were to say: “sexual orientation is of no consequence to us”
    I would applaud it; after all I am a human being first, an American second, and a liberal
    Democrat third.

    so, I call on conservatives to say that lound an clear.

    By the way, relatively few people accuse president Bush of being a racist, and Colin Powell
    is one of the more popular conservatives among my liberal friends.

    But the GOP is still saddled by its past; else why did the RNC chair apologize for having
    used race as a wedge issue in the past? Yes, the Dixiecrats were big time racists but LBJ
    had the guts to go against them, knowing full well that he was hurting his party at least
    in the short term.

    Dr. Rice caught heat for her part in decieving the public about the reasons for the Iraq war.
    Frankly, I approve of some of her views (e. g., affirmative action for university admissions)

  7. Different River Says:

    Yes, but if conservatives were to say: “sexual orientation is of no consequence to us” in connection with the Roberts nomination they would look rather ridiculous, since Roberts is not actually gay.

    This is why the liberal intimation that he is gay is so insidious — it is logically impossible to defend against. If you replying by saying Roberts is not gay, then you’re an anti-gay bigot; if you reply by saying “so what if he’s gay” you insult him and and wife by implying that their marriage is a fraud and they are liars.

    To see this from a liberal point of view, imagine a whispering campaign implying that Hillary Clinton is a secret fundamentalist Christian who believes New York City got what it deserved on 9/11 for tolerating the immoral environment of Greenwich Villiage. No one would believe this of course, but imagine that, say, 40% of the population did believe it. How could Hillary defend herself? She could either say “so what?” and be perceived as a heartless blame-the-victim type, or deny it, which would imply that all when she goes to church during campaign season it’s a fraud since she doesn’t believe in it. Either way, she loses.

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