This Is Why We Don’t Argue Tu Quoque
[M]essengers have nothing to do with the truth or falsehood of the argument itself. They don’t change the relationship, if any, between the words… and the facts of reality. Those statements are either true or false, and no amount of adultery can change that.
Put it this way: Suppose [Pete] Domenici were supportive of gay marriage. Would you be less inclined to support gay marriage then?
If so, consider Gavin Newsom, outspoken advocate of same-sex marriage and confessed adulterer. If you are being consistent — and I would urge consistency above all — then his example ought to make you think twice about same-sex marriage, even as Domenici’s makes you feel more strongly in support.
Do you say you incline in favor of same-sex marriage partly because Pete Domenici is a hypocrite? Very well, let us proceed on that principle.
In December 2001, Newsom married Kimberly Guilfoyle, a former San Francisco prosecutor and legal commentator for Court TV, CNN and MSNBC and who is now a prominent personality on Fox News Channel. The couple married at Saint Ignatius Catholic Church on the campus of the University of San Francisco, where Guilfoyle attended law school. The couple appeared in the September 2004 issue of Harper’s Bazaar, a fashion magazine, in a spread of them at the Getty mansion with the title the “New Kennedys.” In January 2005 they jointly filed for divorce, citing “difficulties due to their careers on opposite coasts.”
In January 2007, it was revealed that Newsom had had a romantic relationship in mid-2005 with Ruby Rippey-Tourk, the wife of his former deputy chief of staff and then campaign manager, Alex Tourk. Tourk filed for divorce shortly after the revelation and left Newsom’s campaign and administration.
Newsom, of course, is a noted supporter of same-sex marriage. If you are being consistent, then Newsom’s misconduct will incline you at least a little away from supporting same-sex marriage.
My guess, Sam, is that you’re not being consistent at all. You’re cherry-picking a conveniently embarrassing example from the other side, and you’re ignoring the bad acts of same-sex marriage’s supporters. Consider Jesse Jackson Jr., or Barney Frank, or any number of others.
On the other side of the ledger, consider Pope Francis. He is by all accounts a personally decent man, warm, humane, charitable, chaste, humble, hard-working, and ethically above all possible reproach. If I were still a Catholic, I would be proud of his example.
Assume these accounts are correct, which I think they are. Now consider that Francis is a determined foe of same-sex marriage. In his words:
At stake is the identity and survival of the family: father, mother and children. At stake are the lives of many children who will be discriminated against in advance, and deprived of their human development given by a father and a mother and willed by God. At stake is the total rejection of God’s law engraved in our hearts.
If Domenici’s disordered personal life moves you one way, does this not move you the other way? It should! And what about the Dalai Lama — also a man of undoubted personal integrity who, though it’s not well known, is an unapologetic social conservative:
With all the North American media giving attention to the Dalai Lama during his current visit and his upcoming visit with Pope Benedict XVI, it is a good time to draw attention to his views on homosexual relations. The media harp on the Pope’s views on homosexuality, yet have remained relatively silent on a very similar position held by the leader of the world’s Buddhists.
In an interview with the Vancouver Sun in 2004, the Buddhist leader was questioned about homosexuality to which he replied, “For a Buddhist, the same sex, that is sexual misconduct.”
The Dalai Lama elaborated, “they use the mouth and the anus, this is sexual misconduct in Buddhism.” He also noted that the restrictions on sexual activity applied even outside the homosexual context to heterosexual and even married couples. “Even as (sic) a heterosexual context. Even if one uses one’s own hand this is sexual misconduct. So if you are a genuine believer, then you must avoid this,” he said.
I don’t agree that he’s the leader of all Buddhists. That’s obviously wrong, but I do take the quotes to be authentic and not forgeries.
Sam Wilkinson, I have given you two examples of socially conservative people whose personal moral conduct is above reproach. They practice what they preach. And I’ve given you three examples of scoundrels who favor same-sex marriage. And I could go on.
Even counting Domenici — and I’ll throw in Herman Cain for free — the count’s now in my favor, and I demand that you change your views. You should oppose same-sex marriage.
What? You won’t change? Should we continue the count? Does anyone in the entire world ever really decide things this way?
Tu quoque is either cherry-picking or it’s doing morality by head count. And no one does it that way.