Erik Kain

Erik writes about video games at Forbes and politics at Mother Jones. He's the contributor of The League though he hasn't written much here lately. He can be found occasionally composing 140 character cultural analysis on Twitter.

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85 Responses

  1. Ryan says:

    Sounds like you should just move to Scandinavia.

    In all seriousness, though, I believe you’re from the West, right? It’s odd, because you sound like the sort of person who could have sprung right out of the ground in the (highly Scandinavian) Upper Midwest. A lot of us are on the same page as you. It’s a very Prairie Home Companion vision of the world.Report

  2. North says:

    I like your list in general E.D. I’d like to comment on this one:

    “Embrace tradition and progress as one force for stability and change.”

    This strikes me as maybe one of the most challenging items on your list (though God knows you’ve got a lot of tall orders on it). My only suggestion is that there needs to somehow be a compact between the right and left that disavows the constant use of the ratchet effect. When I say ratchet I mean the form of political thought that says that since a goal cannot be reached in one swoop that it must be acquired incrementally with each incremental step being irreversible while they fight for the next one. It is fear of the opponents ratcheting goals that leads to so much of the fighting. Does the left despise parental notification in of itself? No probably not, but they fear that loosing that hill brings back alley abortions one-step closer to reality. Do they hate the idea of mothers choosing to stay home and raise their children? Of course not but they fear that conceding that point brings us one step closer to 1950 where women stay at home whether they like it or not. As long as both sides think this way there can’t be compromise because compromise even small compromise is one step closer to overall defeat.

    How to overcome this American tendency? I don’t know.Report

    • E.D. Kain in reply to North says:

      All very good points, and yes – I realize – tall orders across the board. I think, to some degree, some of these things will actually happen organically, perhaps in the form of cultural backlash…Report

  3. Bob Cheeks says:

    E. D., my little comment that you quoted above was meant in humor and in good spirit. I have a certain fondness for you, your fecund mental abilities, and your kind heart. You have a love of man to a degree that I don’t. In fact I can commit to the first article of the great commission but, in all honesty, the second, where we are to love our fellow man, is kind of difficult for me. When people start acting illogically, well, it really p*sses me off!
    I’m following your thesis here, and I’ll probably comment as it becomes more differentiated. You’re doing an excellent job.
    I would keep in mind an old Voegelinian dictum, that considered in the light of historical existence and their symbolic differentiations of reality, human consciousness has developed to the point where we can not deny the transcendent or we derail. And, when we consider that truism in the light of the current political theatre it becomes obvious that any restoration, any recapturing, of the truth of existence is impossible without Jesus.
    Of course, that’s not a popular concept among the commie-Dems, the people you want to compromise with. How can you compromise with people who have no knowledge of the truth. You’re just wasting your time.
    It isn’t about “progress,” or “social justice,” or the redistribution of the wealth, these are Marxist concerns. It is about the truth of reality and nothing more.Report

  4. North says:

    Hi Bob!

    Voeglin had a good line on the subject of the transcendent. Not definitive to me but then I’m an agnostic squish so that’s to be expected.
    I’m with you to a degree on the assertion that there can’t be a full grasp of the truth of existence without an acknowledgement of the divine. You of course call him Jesus but I suspect he has a lot of other names. That aside the problem really has never been with the divine so much when it came to us left-wingers. I mean if the extent of the requirement that came with the divine was restricted merely to the philosophically understandable like though shall not murder or even though shall not piss off the divine by saying it doesn’t exist that’s not very objectionable. But it’s when you get into the dusty old texts where a posse of hundred to thousand year old shamans and priests suddenly assert that they have a direct line to God and that he doesn’t like shellfish (or pork or gays or uppity wimmin) that suddenly the Divine isn’t seeming so unobjectionable. And to many of the Liberals and agnostics (and especially the atheists) once you get into those kinds of dictates the difference that may be owed the divine starts getting obscured by the distance one must give to the insane. Because once you get down to do/(do not do) this because God said so lines, then there’s really no difference between the revered thousand year old text, the bone waving shaman, the scimitar waving nutcase or the hate waving televangelist. So, being too polite to wrap em up in jackets and throw them in the nut house (we did away with nut houses incidentally, the mentally handicapped deserve their dignity and their bottles of Listerine on the park bench) we just try to ignore them. Unfortunately, since the dogma is wrapped around the respect for the divine like a dirty outdated newspaper around a nice piece of fresh fish the divine often gets thrown out with the dogma.

    Short version: Saying God exists makes you a good philosopher to debate with. Saying God exists and he is telling you he wants a land war with the heathen chinee (or for you to beat up the poor homo next door) makes you certifiable. We’ll probably have to agree to disagree on the divine.Report

  5. Bob Cheeks says:

    North, leftist or not, you’re a smart dude and I enjoy reading your comments. That’s why it’s such a disappointment, intellectually, to read your critique of what essentially is the experiential transcendental. The beloved Greeks explained to us that man qua man seeks the noetic existence where the practice of immortalizing (athanatizein) defined the divine attribute of being (theion-these Greek words are supposed to impress you! Oh, well). That is reality is the unfolding of the noetic consciousness that is experienced as the process of immortalizing. Which in turn, and following Plato and the boys, points to man as the zoon noun echon, more than a mortal. Consequently, having acknowledged the pneumatic experiential reality in terms of philosophy, we are led to an understanding of existence as being in the metaxy, the in-between of immanence and transcendence. And, it is this existence that defines us, dude!
    Talking to God, listening to God, loving God…your immanent being rejects such notions of reality, but your immanent being has spent the past twenty or thirty years being deceived by people who were, themselves, derailed.
    Voegelin once wrote, “The psyche of man is the battleground between the forces of life and death.” We are meant to overcome the libido dominandi and rest in the myth of God’s truth.Report

    • North in reply to Bob Cheeks says:

      Bob, watch out you’re revealing layers.

      Seriously though, you’re a very good poster when you want to be. My goodness. I view well deployed ancient languages as the blog world equivalent of the good china so I’m flattered even as I am franticly opening online references in another window to try and figure out what you’re saying.
      Me and my immanent being are only thirty so we’ve (hopefully) got a ways to go but so far we haven’t experienced the transcendental. Considering that the majority of such moments I’ve heard or read about involve moments of strong emotional heights (usually tragedy), I’m not convinced that this is entirely a bad thing. My life has generally been a mild and untroubled one.

      I’m down with loving life and disdaining death. If that is at the root of the divine then it and I will get along fine. I have a firm control of the libido, I assure you, as Jay would say “I’m monogamous!” So we’re doing fine in that category. The problem with God’s truth is that he seems to have more myths for resting in than there are beds at a Certa warehouse. And almost all of them say that the others have a shoot to the furnace hidden under them. Small wonder I don’t sit down.Report

      • Bob Cheeks in reply to North says:

        North, palsy, I’m proud of you, dude!
        What you’re explaining to me is that you are open to the anamnetic experience which is kinda like laying on the ground when you were a kid and thinkin’ on the stars. It is a look ‘back’ and through being, a recollection and remembrance and a return to a consciousness of what was potentially the truth of existence, once experienced and now forgotten…a recovery!
        So, you’ve shown me why you write and think so well. You are purposefully moving toward the truth of things and I’m impressed, not many are into that! You won’t be a Leftist much longer, they can’t hold you.
        If you have a good library with a CW of Eric Voegelin, get his Vol. 12 and read his “Reason,” and “Immortality,” “On Hegel,” and “Wisdom and Magic of the Extreme,” and “The Gospel and Culture,” and I do guarantee you that you will be very impressed with the education you will get. OBTW, go to the Voegelin website and you’ll find a dictionary that will be most helpful. Let me know if you don’t find it and I’ll do the link thing which is challenging for me.
        “To denote this movement of thought or discussion (logos) within the metaxy, Plato uses the term dialectics.” Eric Voegelin, Reason, pp.283.Report

        • North in reply to Bob Cheeks says:

          Thanks Bob. I think I can locate the Voegelin online website, no need to tax your linking skills. I’ll give a book of his a spin. I hope he’s as entertaining a writer as you are.Report

        • North in reply to Bob Cheeks says:

          Well Voegelin is the Father of the admonition “Don’t immanentize the eschaton” and I use that one all the time when I’m poking the right wingers on their forums so I probably owe him a reading of a book or two of his based on that alone.Report

          • Murali in reply to North says:

            Wait a minute, the divine is both immanent and transcendent right?

            At the very least, the divine is at least immanent, and may possibly be transcendent, if transcendence is properly coherent in the first place.Report

            • Bob Cheeks in reply to Murali says:

              M, Voegelin was making reference to his analysis of the Platonic/Neo-Platonic concept of the metaxy ( the in-between), where man exists in a tension defined by the poles of immanence and transcendence. It is the “participation in being,” or as William James said, “pure experience.”Report

  6. Luke says:

    Not to nit pick on an otherwise agreeable document, but the phrase “homosexual rights” is, whatever your inclination to use it, the backhanded way that the the current Republican Party refers to my civil rights.

    Though it may have not originally included a sneer, whenever I hear/read that phrase, the next words are almost always “but not special rights” (Title VII, marriage, so on) or is preceded with “I resist/am against the homosexual rights movement.”

    If you’re indeed working towards some honest synthesis of red Toryism and something something, and sincerely support civil rights for everyone, it’s best not to use a term that has become as popular as “colored” some years into the King Years.

    (homosexual v. LGBTQ v. Gay v. Queer can be more complex because the cycles of rhetorical transformation within the community are incredibly rapid, but using the favored term of abuse for the bigots who want to hold me back is not a way to signal anything but a support for exclusion, rather than equality.)Report

    • North in reply to Luke says:

      Aw come on Luke, loosen up. Even gays routinely ridicule the PC idiocy of the LBGTABCDEFG nonsense that rolls out of the university gay studies campuses (campusii?) every couple of weeks. What’s wrong with homosexual? It’s rather antiseptic but time tested. We spend a lot of effort trying to wrest the meaning of the words “queer” and “gay” back from the masses. Why on earth would we throw another one to them?Report

      • Ryan in reply to North says:

        What’s wrong with “homosexual” is that it’s the word conservatives have chosen to use to demean gay folks. Maybe there’s an argument that we shouldn’t give it to them, just as black people have largely reclaimed the so-called “N Word”, but it’s still the case that conservatives aren’t trying to be “antiseptic” when they use it.Report

        • North in reply to Ryan says:

          Last I heard, conservatives use pervert or fag when they’re trying to denigrate us LBGTABRACADABRA’s. Homosexual is pretty weak tea on the offense-o-meter.Report

            • North in reply to Ryan says:

              Evidently I did. That’s pretty amusing. Thanks for sharing it.

              Amusement aside, I think we should probably let our own common sense decide if homosexual is offensive. Why would we give the fundies the power to define our words for us?Report

              • E.D. Kain in reply to North says:

                Well I guess I’m not up on my lingo. Fixed up above. Though I would hasten to say that it’s pretty important that groups of whatever stripe not let their terminology fall to their opponents. Bloody wars are fought on the linguistic fields, and you don’t want to lose any ground if you can help it.

                That being said, it’s not my fight – though I have friends and family who have stakes in it, nonetheless. “Homosexual” has been axed and replaced with “gay” up above.

                And beyond this – I suppose I just don’t understand the difference. Why would anti-gay-rights groups prefer the term homosexual? Is this some crusade against monosyllables?Report

              • North in reply to E.D. Kain says:

                I don’t understand either E.D. But you’re much more understanding than I am. I honestly don’t know why the right would suddenly be axing gay in favor of Homosexual. Is it a sign of the lefts successful reclamation/rehabilitation of the word?Report

              • Kyle in reply to North says:

                Personally, I’ve always found the tortured way in which Republicans use the word homosexual to be evidence of their discomfort/disgust with the implications of the word gay, not an emphatic slur. Also, they tend to be older sort of folks for whom gay meant happy for decades.

                I really appreciate E.D.’s thoughtfulness in editing the post, I’m just with North on this one (trend?) that on the slur/non-slur dichotomy, homosexual seems like a descriptive, inclusive, non-slur.Report

              • JosephFM in reply to E.D. Kain says:

                It’s about pathologizing. “Homosexual” sounds more clinical. A lot of these groups official position is essentially the old mid-20th-century psychiatric attitude that it’s a “disorder” to love someone with the wrong kind of parts.Report

              • E.D. Kain in reply to JosephFM says:

                You know what’s funny? In first drafts of this piece I used the word “gay” too many times (or so I thought!) The writer in me wanted to vary up the terms a bit. You know how it is. Make your prose a little more interesting and all that nonsense. So…”homosexual” seemed a good choice. Better than some other words, to be sure. But I was wrong! What would have been a more acceptable substitute?Report

              • Luke in reply to E.D. Kain says:

                “Gay” works fine/best when talking about the group at large, or abstract legal things: “gay rights” or “civil rights for gays” though “gay marriage” has moved onto “marriage equality” (which is a charged change as it somewhat sterilizes the issue–but then again, is my stock-trading “gay stock trading” or is my depositing checks in my account “gay banking”). There are exceptions; colleges and younger people tend to use LGBTQ, and when you slog into things like ENDA, you can either use the above acronym (because being a transsexual is exactly the same as being a gay man, or a lesbian! Leaving that aside) or opt for the common: trans inclusive/exclusive, which seems the agreed means to settle the issue. Though, if you’re talking about the Nazis or anything before Stonewall, one can definitely interchange “gay” with “homosexual.”

                Overall “gay” or “gays” works as the acceptable plural form to embrace gays, lesbians, and queers (it’s like a Spanish third person plural: Tomas, Roberto are married, and this their lesbian friend Mercedes–they’re gays). This is not necessarily a rule that translates across the Anglosophere, let alone into Continental politics.

                I understand you thought you’d overused ‘gay’ in the original post. A good rule of thumb is to try plugging in another minority with a 20th century civil rights struggle. If you’re talking about women’s rights (broadly, Title VII, parental leave, reproductive choice/freedom) do you periodically say “ladies’ rights”(“ladies’ rights for ladies’ parts” perhaps would include Sandra Day O’Connor, but exclude a waitress)?

                (The Black/Af-Am choice is rather more supple, though mainstream seems to have settled for the latter, it’s a more potpourri approach. As with Hispanic/Latino, though in neither case would you want antiquated terms.) Or in a discussion of Islam and Muslims, if you’ve said Muslim nine times, do you for the tenth try Mohammedan?Report

              • Bob Cheeks in reply to E.D. Kain says:

                North, I gotta a picture of me hanging in a tree, etc, etc, and I’m laughing so hard I’m crying. STOP!!
                Move on, I’ve really enjoyed it!Report

              • Bob Cheeks in reply to JosephFM says:

                Hey, I’m kinda fond of that “old mid-20th-century psychiatric attitude that it’s a “disorder” .” Call me silly but aren’t homosexual “acts”, well…abnormal?
                You know you kids are pretty smart, but when you start buying into absurdity I begin to lose faith. You may very well live in a disordered age, but, my goodness, there’s no excuse for YOU to be disordered!
                Straighten up!Report

              • E.D. Kain in reply to Bob Cheeks says:

                Oy – this thread is plenty long enough already without you stirring the pot again.

                I have tremendous sympathy for the paleocon, or “Old Right” libertarian philosophies, but in this area I believe we’ve stumbled on new truths and revelations. The old views on homosexuality are simply outdated and wrong. Like the hundreds of other forgotten biblical laws we consider outmoded and unimportant. I suppose to my mind there is simply much more to Christianity than this one controversial issue.Report

              • North in reply to Bob Cheeks says:

                Sorry Bob old boy, gotta disagree with you there. Considering how long homosexuality has been with us I don’t think it’s abnormal. Heck, it’s older than christianity for petes sake.Report

              • Bob Cheeks in reply to Bob Cheeks says:

                E.D., I’m so proud. 2009 and you’ve discovered a “new” truth! And, a “revelation,” where the word implies a conversation with God, who is in fact, He who reveals.
                “The old views on homosexuality are simply outdated and wrong. Like the hundreds of other forgotten biblical laws we consider outmoded and unimportant.” Well, well can you say AIDS?” I, really, don’t think it’s “outmoded,” somehow, and call me silly, I think putting your dee-dee in someone’s doo-doo is looking for trouble! No matter how fashionable it may be in our wonderfully progressive society.
                North, my erudite son, murder’s been with us about as long and they’re still making a big deal outta that.Report

              • Cascadian in reply to Bob Cheeks says:

                This is why freedom of religion is such an over estimated right.Report

              • North in reply to Bob Cheeks says:

                “Well, well can you say AIDS?”
                Bob, would you say breathing is also unnatural based on its integral role in spreading of more airborne plagues than I can count? Or for that matter gonorrhea is living proof of the horrors of straight sex?

                I mean we can go on and on about what’s natural and what’s not. But unless you’re posting this by throwing nuts while hanging bare ass naked in a tree near a public computer we’re probably going to have to just admit that humans in general (and you in particular) are a very unnatural bunch and move on.Report

      • Luke in reply to North says:

        @ North

        ::rolls eyes::

        Really? You want to play the ‘ain’t I a stinker repressed by that horrible Ivory Tower of PCism’-nonsense? Sigh.

        There’s a structural difference between in-community discussion of appropriate labeling versus hostile outer group doing it. The emergent alphabet soup is because one major political party can’t deal with divergence from a particular sort of sex life/orientation.

        To return to Mr. Kain: I was just trying to explain that when someone says, “I’m for homosexual rights” in modern political discussion, I assume the speaker is going to be Phyllis Schlafley, and is disingenuous–someone who says “gay rights” is probably an supporter. A decent barometer is the title of various organizing/fundraising/social bodies that represent the group in question–though the NAACP’s title is antiquated, it demonstrates its endurance as an organization. Leaving aside my mixed feelings for the HRC, PFLAG, GLAAD, LAMBDA LEGAL and others demonstrate the preference for ‘gay’ over ‘homosexual.’ (The forerunners like Mattachine, Daughters of Biltis, and the Homophile Society of New York are all c. 1950 in their usage).

        Joseph is right that it’s a wish to reclinicalize gay and lesbian sex as disordered, or to not give any sort of ground. Even within the movement there’s an obvious shift between 1950 and 1970, and between 1970 and 2009–Queer has come back into circulation to indicate a certain sort of ‘radical’ gay politics or a belief in segregation/separation from normative values/institutions. Dan Savage has no problem using “faggot” and neither do, but under very limited circumstances.

        Even so, it’s part of a broader shift in English usage, the same way that Negro c. 1950 as the better to Nigra and now neither is circulation as anything but an epithet. Likewise, ‘niggardly’ has dropped out of use.

        Or ‘a Jew’ ‘the Jew’ or ‘a Jewess;’ they’re all grammatically correct, but socially, uh, rude, to say the least. In the United States, it’s also not acceptable ‘to Jew’ someone, but you may ‘gyp’ them–like a Gypsie, which has the same meaning.

        You also don’t say “he’s a homosexual, she’s a homosexual, that’s a Prada of homosexuals.” It sounds, just, off.

        You do have: “He’s gay, she’s a lesbian, and that’s a gaggle of gays.”

        When the topic comes up, I never call myself “a homosexual” the same way that Clarence Thomas was not “Colored.”

        It’s a pedantic point of language, but if you want to be seen as an advocate of everyone’s civil rights, and no some backhanded preening of the Aunt Tom-Linkin’ Logs sort, it’s important to hue to what the group will ‘hear’ in political speech as supportive. Given the tenor of the rest of the document, I figured it was just an oversight, and wanted to correct it.Report

        • Scott H. Payne in reply to Luke says:

          Out of curiosity, then, Luke, what are your thoughts on the use of the term “queer”?Report

          • Luke in reply to Scott H. Payne says:

            It’s user specific, I’d suppose. It doesn’t really have much currency outside of college campuses for a very specific sort of self-identification (which, given my broad support for individual liberty, I support) in terms of the fruit salad that is the vocabulary of gay politics.

            It’s still in high circulation at WorldNetDaily as a term of abuse; the marginally more respectable NRO has 518 hits, but most seem to be either stupid “Queer eye for the straight guy” related puns, references to the degeneracy of “Queer as Folk,” and some poorly chosen/abusive quotes by people who use that word, but don’t really know what it means–dated usage (appears to include feminists, actual gays and lesbians, blue stockings and so on.) Jonah Goldberg seems to think it means things that he doesn’t like.

            Queer contrasts with homosexual because queer has been ‘reclaimed’ within the community, while bigots have mostly moved on from it, so it’s usage is more muddled. Homosexual, at least in politics–rather than poli sci, gender studies, or a literature class, has a particular meaning: ‘Homosexual’ or ‘homosexual rights’ however, is a big hit at the NRO, including the works of Elaine Donnelly, who believes that the US military is less competent and professional than Uruguay, the UK, and Israel.

            It’s sort of like the misuse/appropriation of the Dredd Scott case by the Republican Party to mean nothing like what it actually means and to signal something totally different.Report

        • North in reply to Luke says:

          Oh not to worry Luke me lad, in order to be repressed by an ivory tower of PC-ism (or be worried about it) I would have to first have to ascribe to it some power which I don’t. I’ve been to far too many university Queer studies meetings and seen professors and advocates argue until their faces turn purple over how many letters and what order of letters should be in the ever growing acronyms that I’ve personally seen get into the double digits in size. Having watched this spectacle of utterly useless debate I have come to feel strongly that such nonsense is best left on the campus where the only thing it does is waste time, cause drama and pad the funding of overstuffed queer studies chairs.

          My point was merely that when you unleash this kind of language police silliness in an argument with anyone who isn’t already a raging leftist you can almost see their eyes glaze and their interest wane. I just don’t think that it has any value in discussions where you’re actually trying to sway a person’s opinion to your side.

          On the term homosexual I’d note that most scientific studies use the term very antiseptically. Are scientists suddenly bigots? Maybe the right wing is using it more often in that manner. So what? Why would we give them of all people the power to define our words for us? I like homosexual. They can’t have it.Report

          • Luke in reply to North says:

            North; I pointed out originally that it was in fact a nitpicking point. University Queer/gender/feminist studies tends to get bogged down in committee-ism and so forth (the consequences are not dissimilar to a Human Resources Department, etc.), but I find the ‘Blame the Academy!’ blam blam blam argument tiresome. It’s the rhetorical version of ‘I’m depraved on account of I’m deprived.’

            If you notice in my comment to Mr. Kain about the usage of homosexual, it does have context-specific meanings; I have no problem with its use in historical or scientific/psychiatric documents–it has a fixed meaning in those professions. But there’s a cleavage between its use in academic /professional disciplines and the way that words and phrases can operate as signals or dog whistles in politics (the misappropriation of Dredd Scott, ‘Bible-believing Christian’, ‘fair and balanced’). I don’t want to language police anything ’cause we could be here all day and that’s tedious.

            I don’t doubt Mr. Kain’s sincerity in support for my rights, and I am certainly not some ‘raging leftist’ but I do want to make sure that as an advocate and an ally he doesn’t sound like a bigot, so that his intended audience hears the right thing.

            As for the Republican Party, they’re stuffed full of their own homosexual problems (or rather, the bathrooms at the RNC are full of gloryholes; alternatively, what’s the do the GOP and Europe have in common? They both have more queens than a deck of cards). While I generally do not want to cede to them the right to pick words to describe me (the use of ‘homosexual’ certainly a step up from the way the Mormonologists or the Regents’ University alumni association still speak).

            The same way that the anti-choice people want to be called pro-life, or the way they want to call their enemies ‘abortionists’ and ‘baby killers;’ (when they’re really all about slut-shaming and fear of women’s liberation) the use of the term ‘homosexual’ in American politics has implications in current political discourse–the same way that ‘Urban’ is now acceptable in the same circles as a replacement for ‘Law and order’ which is a replacement for ‘Nigra.’

            To circle back to Jamelle’s post earlier about passion and the moral argument in American politics, the GOP’s adoption of ‘homosexual’ is of a piece with the broader rearguard efforts to keep fighting the Culture War that they incited–to imbue words as weapons and as a means to stand athwart history bellowing “Segregation FOREVER.”

            They’re clinging to a retro-clinical term for me to keep showing their old, white, Archie Bunker base that they know I’m disordered, I want to push their usage into the ash heap of history. (One should note that ‘queer’ and ‘queen’ were both reclaimed by the nascent gay rights movement in the 1960’s.)

            I want to do that because there’s going to be no political movement (because Exodus, Evergreen, and Love Won Out are still mainstreamed by the GOP in maintaining the narrative of ‘gays are broken toys, and the Jesus MAGIC! can fix them. Alternatively, that judgifying and legislating for that they don’t like requires ‘special’ procedures–and a fundamental breech of the Constitution. (it’s only states rights if it protects guns, school prayer, or stops abortions.)) so I have to keep pushing social norms, which means pop culture (as disagreeable as ‘Will & Grace’ and ‘Sex and the City’ were as minstrel shows, it’s paving the way for some as-yet unseen Gay Cosby show, Jackie Robinson, etc) and language, which is why ‘homosexual’ should be leperized along with ‘that’s so gay.’ (You know what’s so gay? David Dreier’s man-wife; he’s also his chief of staff–also known as a federal crime. You know what else is so gay? Lindsay Graham, teabaggin’.)

            This is way more digital ink than was needed on this.Report

            • North in reply to Luke says:

              Luke, hey my original objection was short.

              My principle object is merely to try and steer the movement away from sounding like shrill newspeaking extremists. Running down your list I don’t have any serious objections on principle. My concern is primarily one of tone. The shrill leftist, rightly or wrongly, is a common trope in this country and while pushing the language use may be a good goal my point is just that we need to be conscious of whether the benefit of pushing it in this instance is worth the cost of feeding that stereotype.Report

              • Luke in reply to North says:

                Hmm, I hadn’t meant to be shrill, and if I was, I apologize.

                It was a nit pick or a quibble, to clarify the statement–I could tell from context what was meant, rather than what it sounded like, which is why I harked to the woman v. lady argument (though I suppose the proper construction would be woman v. female for precision or identical match in meaning–or girl (a man talking about, say, a 35 year old lawyer) v. female). I wasn’t demanding herstory or womynism or rewriting history books to explain how Jesus delivered the reified Constitution to George Washington.

                Besides, sometimes you have to shout at some well meaning clod to be heard, cause they’ve yet to meet a gay person; as I’ve learned from the GOP, a sufficient demostrati0n of zeal and emotion will win concessions and allow your terminology hegemony, especially if you dress it up in moral language. Which means everyone shouts instead of talking, but the point was to help Mr. Kain communicate his point more clearly, rather than a rhetorical drum-banging.Report

              • North in reply to Luke says:

                Well I meant to be sarcastic and cutting when I denounced political correctness the way I did so I’ll offer an apology of my own. Language is a pet peeve of mine but we are on the same side ultimatly.Report

              • Luke in reply to North says:

                Ah, well. It looks like tone–the key ingredient–got lost, and we ended up talking past each other. I can understand the annoyance at language policing–but I think that there’s another angle I got at, but failed to state clearly. Like saying: Democrat Party, instead of using proper English, it’s a bratty way for the GOP to play schoolyard shove in the ribs, I don’t respect you, that the word you’ve chosen for yourself doesn’t matter.

                To be fair, I can’t be bothered debate a party of St. Grottlesex trust-funders who decry the imagined ‘fascism’ of college campuses (because of all the things one might do on a college campus, identity politics is neither sin nor crime, just a step above gauche ponchos, Che Guevera T-Shirts, or considering the works of Ayn Rand ‘literature;’ the opportunity for alcohol poisoning and date rape are more problematic than a drum circle) or how political correctness (respecting groups who’d never vote for you) while riding herd on a herrenvolken here to defeat the effete academics and swarthy foreigners to take back ‘real America’ while buttressing domestic terrorism and pretending it’s nothing.

                That’s shrill, I’d suppose, but, as (Will’s post, I think) indicated, they’re on their way out, without some serious reorientation (perhaps spreading the wide stance)Report

  7. Thomas G. says:

    When you start your new party, please sign me up. I think (hope) there’s more of us out there who hold the values you outline, but feel homeless in the current political system.
    PS – I love your writing. Keep up the good work.Report

    • E.D. Kain in reply to Thomas G. says:

      Thomas – thanks! I think the sheer number of independents in this country speaks to the fact that many feel politically – and I’d argue culturally – homeless in modern America.Report

    • North in reply to Thomas G. says:

      Man that’d be a good article. What is the actual feasibility of a third party? My off the cuff thought is slim to none. The right and the left anchor themselves with their true believers in primaries and then slide to the center to fight for independents. What would the equivalent strategy for a center party be? Maybe they could build a partisan core but when you’re in the center there’s always two directions; right and left. Which way do you go to fight for the additional votes? And also, a third party would raise the possibility of a minority American government. How would that even work?? My political wonk side salivates.Report

      • Kyle in reply to North says:

        A strong personality with political vision and ideologues committed to the vision. (Bull Moose/Progs anyone?)
        A strong issue with emotional resonance and ideologues committed to the vision. (Antebellum Republicans)

        Maybe the answer is there should be a radical Jim DeMint headed pro-life party that would spin off the Religious Right allowing Centrists to be a real party. I wonder if the country would become solidly center-left…or more importantly how the hell the committee system would work.Report

  8. Cascadian says:

    I’m with you E.D. on most of your points. However, I don’t favor increased mobility of labor. I would also encourage a more robust Federalism which would take care of a lot of the foreign affairs problems and also speak, to some degree, to traditional values which differ from one location to another.Report

  9. Bob says:

    “Support for religious freedom, and a belief in the importance of religious traditions.”

    This is really troublesome.

    The Constitution has it right, I guess that makes me a Tory, “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof….”

    What is the nature of the “support” you envision?Report

    • E.D. Kain in reply to Bob says:

      Well, as opposed to the “liberaltarian” or standard modern libertarian party, which is overtly secular and often somewhat materialistic, I envision a more conservative, somewhat more traditional platform. This would not be some anti-separation-of-church-and-state platform at all. Quite the contrary. Social conservatives used to want to keep government out of their religion, not the other way around. And that’s kind of where I’m coming from.Report

      • greginak in reply to E.D. Kain says:

        Not to quibble, but it seems like many social cons are fine with gov supporting their religion and pushing their beliefs on others.Report

      • North in reply to E.D. Kain says:

        Gotta side with Greginak on this one E.D. The social conservative agenda has always talked a lot about protecting themselves from government intrusion while in practice fighting furiously either to impose socially conservative policy on the whole country or to retain special privileges they carved out for themselves in the past.Report

        • E.D. Kain in reply to North says:

          Even if I conceded that point I’d have to say that’s not what my own intention would be. My post here indicates a more traditionalist approach to libertarianism which has become basically a political platform for atheists. That’s all. I abhor the use of religion and morals to control others through the political system.Report

          • North in reply to E.D. Kain says:

            And I’d add that it’s unfair of me to assume bad intent on your part and I apologize E.D.

            Fact is the ground you’re picking your way across is that devastated dead zone between the trenches of the two opposing sides of the culture war. It’s no fault of your own that people on the left read words like tradition and immediatly associate it with the misbehavior of the right.Report

    • Bob in reply to Bob says:

      Sorry E.D., I have no idea what you are proposing.Report

      • E.D. Kain in reply to Bob says:

        I’m not really proposing anything really. I’m saying that my own views don’t really fit in any political box. I have mixed social views and values and seemingly conflicting economic beliefs as well – but I think that with some finesse I can get them to all work together. Can a political party or view stress the importance of tradition, God, etc. without thinking those views should be shoved down others’ throats? I think so. Perhaps I’m just hopelessly naive.Report

        • greginak in reply to E.D. Kain says:

          i wouldn’t’ say naïve, but I don’t think we have that tradition here in the US of A. Nice peaceful Western European countries often have official religions and official involvement of religion in public life. But they also manage to have tolerant cultures with religious freedom. We seem to have a strong push among some religious groups to have all our laws conform to their beliefs. We have groups here who say our gov should be run on (their view) of biblical principles. We have some budding theocrat’s here that we need protection from, which makes it difficult for people who want something like what you want.Report

        • Bob in reply to E.D. Kain says:

          Bringing up religion is waiving the red cape in front of the bull.

          I took your use of the word “support” to indicate some sort of governmental support. Again who is doing the supporting? You also list help young families as one of your points, I took this to mean some sort of governmental support/help. In fact I understand the entire post as your attempt to weave together different political points of view, a unified theory so to speak. Did I misunderstand the point?Report

        • Cascadian in reply to E.D. Kain says:

          I’m not absolutely against government supporting religion. I think we should do more for Beltane.Report

  10. Bob Cheeks says:

    Hey, E. D. is our new third party, when elected going to support abortion and euthanasia? Are we going to worship at the alter of Moloch? And, what about socialized medicine….gummint going to stick its nose in again and really screw it up, just like gummint always does?Report

    • North in reply to Bob Cheeks says:

      Well Bob he has universal health care under list #1. The devil is in the details but it could mean government involvement in health care. His list is silent on abortion and euthanasia tho. Probably too specific considering that he’s sort of listing off first principles.Report

    • E.D. Kain in reply to Bob Cheeks says:

      Well I said pretty clearly that I don’t support abortion, and I’ve written against euthanasia and the death penalty as well – and against war. So I’d say this “third party” (though that’s not what I’m shooting for at all) is pro-life across the board. However, we will worship at the alter of Moloch, just for shits and giggles.

      Re: socialized medicine, surely by now you’ve read one or two of my health care posts. I believe universal health care can be achieved without socialized medicine, though I think there are worse things then socialized health care out there as well.Report

  11. JosephFM says:

    I’ll have something to say on this eventually. Sometimes I think I agree with you Gents too much! Even when you don’t agree with each other.Report

  12. E.D. Kain says:

    E.D., I’m so proud. 2009 and you’ve discovered a “new” truth! And, a “revelation,” where the word implies a conversation with God, who is in fact, He who reveals.

    Oh, Bob. I don’t think I’ve discovered it. I think it’s right there in a few good one-liners from Christ, right there in the universality of the Body of Christ, and so on and so forth. Love thy neighbor. I suppose I see sin as distance from the Creator, and where there is no harm and only love, I have trouble seeing that as a distance between God and Man. I have a hard time seeing it as sin, any more than I see eating pork as a sin.Report

    • Bob Cheeks in reply to E.D. Kain says:

      E.D., you’re doing that “kind and gentle” soul thing! I love it.
      They’re the ten commandments, not suggestions.
      “Love thy neighbor,” yes, of course, “Love the sinner, hate the sin.”
      The problem is, you are defining what is “harm.” And, the last time I looked that was God’s bidness. When WE define what is “harm,” that’s called moral relativism.
      If we live in sin, we are not in the Body of Christ.
      E.D., I’m enjoying this little discussion.Report

      • E.D. Kain in reply to Bob Cheeks says:

        Orthodox Jews observe 613 commandments. Christians ditched a few of these quite a while back – despite their continued existence in Leviticus. It strikes me that there has been quite a lot of moral relativism going on throughout the theological shaping of every religion. Indeed, our interpretation of the bible has changed a great deal over the years. Theologians, Popes, continually reinvigorate the word of God. How did one priest put it? That the Pope is God’s interpreter for each age – (and that God recently learned English). Perhaps I am too theologically shallow to wade these waters, and I’m working on that. But while I fall down on the socially conservative side of many, many issues, on this one I can’t help but disagree.Report

        • Bob Cheeks in reply to E.D. Kain says:

          There’s nothing wrong with disagreeing! I’m not a theologian, just a rather ‘conservative’ Christian. The difference, as you well know, between Orth. Jews and Christians is a rather hefty differentiation that includes on one side the Divine Logos, but we ain’t going there.
          I’m with you on the 3rd party…so don’t screw it up, get it right and well organized before 2012, and maybe you can save America!
          Praise the Lord!Report

          • E.D. Kain in reply to Bob Cheeks says:

            Also, I think it’s more politically savvy for conservatives to focus on life issues, and find allies in that movement within the gay community. I think the anti-gay-rights cause will hurt the pro-life cause, which to me is a much more fundamental Christian issue.Report

          • North in reply to Bob Cheeks says:

            Er… Bob… isn’t every organized faith on the planet currently third party or more? Well except for that guy who talks to God on the corner of Nicollette and Franklin but I don’t think he’s organized a religion yet.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Bob Cheeks says:

        Bob Cheeks,

        If I assume not only a deity, but a benevolent deity, and not only a benevolent deity but a Christian deity, I come to a handful of conclusions about how folks ought to treat each other from a handful of (presumed) god-given insights.

        Let’s say that there are two dudes who are trying to make their way in the world, they’ve found each other. I may disapprove. I may think “that’s a good way to get a UTI”. I may even politely decline to show up at their various celebratory parties (hurray, more Diana Ross songs to get stuck in my head).

        At the end of the day, I know that they have probably had a crappy upbringing, a crappy life experience so far, and it is my responsibility to be kind to them because, god knows, they have been fighting a great battle all their lives and if I can be their neighbor who, at the very least, does not add to their burden, then I am treating them the way that I would want to be treated.

        I do not have enough willpower to avoid using the whole “woman caught in adultery” story, and I apologize for that.

        A bunch of dudes caught this one chick in the act (it was a sting, you *KNOW* it was a sting) of committing adultery and they grabbed her and dragged her to Jesus and said “dude, this chick was totally doing it” and asked what he thought. He started drawing in the dirt. He eventually said “let him who has not sinned throw the first stone”.

        This is where the story got really, really interesting, if you ask me.

        The older guys in the group left first.

        Then, more slowly, the younger guys left.

        I can’t help but relate to the older guys, there. I mean, even if the sin of homosexuality is, in itself, up there with adultery (and I don’t know that it is, I mean, if it’s monogamous and everything), I know for a fact that I ought to drop my rocks and go home.

        Yes, yes. Jesus finished up by saying “go and sin no more” to the chick, but, seriously. Harping on that and chanting “the point of the story is to go and sin no more!!!” reminds me a lot more of the guys in the story with the rocks than the guy in the story without one.

        Indeed, for most of the dynamics that Jesus has with the established religious folk in the gospels, it’s all about Jesus telling them to, effectively, lighten up.

        Pray like this guy, not like that guy. Give like this woman, don’t give like that guy. When you find your lost lamb celebrate. When the prodigal son returns, throw a party. The Kingdom of Heaven is WITHIN YOU.

        You know. Hippie crap.

        It’s hard to read the gospels and come to the conclusion that it’s our job to police the homosexual threat more effectively.

        It’s hard to see those who go out of their way to more effectively police the homosexual threat as guys in the Jesus column but it’s easy to see them instead as the types of guys that Jesus talked about as cautionary examples.

        But, hey. At the end of the day, I’m a libertine and if you doin’ what you’re doin’ makes you feel good, go nuts.

        I ain’t gonna tell you how you ought to live.Report

        • E.D. Kain in reply to Jaybird says:

          Well put, Jaybird.Report

        • Bob Cheeks in reply to Jaybird says:

          Dude, I have no desire to ‘police’ homosexuals anymore than heteros, never said I did…consenting adults and all.
          My argument was about the normal/abnormal status of homosexuality. I am arguing that homosexual acts are ‘abnormal.’ That’s it!
          No, I don’t ‘believe’ in homosexual marriage, or adoption!
          “I ain’t gonna tell you how you ought to live.” Well, …er, YOU may not be telling me how to live, but your vote has had some effect on my life.
          JB, dude, your a smart fellow, but you’ve contracted your existence into a world-immanent self, and I think you’re better than that. But, hey, “if what your doin’ makes you feel good, go nuts.”Report

          • Jaybird in reply to Bob Cheeks says:

            “your vote has had some effect on my life.”

            Woo! Browne, Nader, Badnarik, and Jay!!!

            Anyway, I’m from the internet. I don’t really have a decent gauge when it comes to “abnormal”. I mean, it seems to me that “cruelty” is pretty normal and people treating other people as they would like to be treated is fairly rare. If I went by “normal”, which of those ought I pick?

            Screw normal. Follow the insights about how to treat people that you have gleaned from your studies.

            That’s the seed that I am hoping to plant today.

            But, hey. If that ain’t your bag, ain’t no drag.Report

            • Bob Cheeks in reply to Jaybird says:

              Are we at the ‘whatever’ thing yet?
              BTW, I met Browne once, twenty years ago, during a demonstration…”One, two, three four, we don’t want”…well this time it was a hazardous waste incinerator!
              “Your vote….” I was referring to propositions, taxes, etc.
              Insights and illuminations are good, but there is right/wrong, there is the revelation of the in-between of existence, where the reality of existence, as experienced in the movement, is “a mutual participation of human and divine.”
              I think “cruelty” is abnormal. It’s not the person I’m critiquing, it’s the “act.”Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Bob Cheeks says:

                Dude. This is, like, my *FAVORITE* topic that doesn’t involve Batman. I can no more think “whatever” on this topic than I could think that Iron Man is better.

                I’m cool with the whole “right/wrong” thing (I wrote an essay for the site about a ethic that didn’t have a theos!) but, at the end of the day, the “act” that is “abnormal” is the whole “treating sex as less than Divine” thing (and I deliberately capitalized that and I’m not making that dumb “I forget your name but you were Divine” joke). If it is treated as something other than two, for lack of a better word, souls uniting then *THAT* is abnormal.

                So the Larry Craig thing? That Ted Haggard thing? Yes. That is, indeed, an abomination and he strikes me as deeply insane and someone to be deeply, deeply pitied.

                But two dudes who have, despite all forces working against them, found each other in this vale of tears?

                Eh. If I don’t have to do anything, they can knock themselves out. None of my beeswax.Report