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Tod Kelly

Tod is a writer from the Pacific Northwest. He is also serves as Executive Producer and host of both the 7 Deadly Sins Show at Portland's historic Mission Theatre and 7DS: Pants On Fire! at the White Eagle Hotel & Saloon. He is  a regular inactive for Marie Claire International and the Daily Beast, and is currently writing a book on the sudden rise of exorcisms in the United States. Follow him on Twitter.

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188 Responses

  1. Avatar zic
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    says:

    Bravo.

    This type of Intellectualism also gave us The Global War on Terror, the NSA, the Dept. of Homeland Security (the largest increase in the size of the government ever, I believe,) and we still have people running around blathering about fears of homeland terrorism, even though it’s almost always perpetuated by home-grown terrorists.

    It also gives us Rod Dreher, who’s convinced teh gays are out to get him despite the evidence of prosecution of gays like forever.

    And I’d really like to talk about the Federal Reserve, too, but I’m too busy watching the price of gold quiver.Report

    • Avatar Damon in reply to zic
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      says:

      Don’t forget the great society programs too.Report

      • Avatar zic in reply to Damon
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        says:

        @damon my mother had my eldest sibling three months after she turned 16; she dropped out of high school after her freshman year and got married. I’m the middle child of seven pregnancies. Then my parents got divorced, and my mother became a single mother with three children still at home. Back then, we didn’t have the hand stereotype “deadbeat dad,” but financially, my dad coulda been the poster child.

        The great society fed us, helped with our medical care and provided education to her; it probably kept us from losing our home. It turned her into a successful professional who contributed. It lifted us out of poverty.

        So no, I won’t forget it. I might even strive for it. We never really got there, it’s a work in progress.Report

      • Avatar Gabriel Conroy in reply to Damon
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        says:

        @damon

        A better example might be the National Recovery Administration.Report

        • Avatar Damon in reply to Gabriel Conroy
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          says:

          Meh….same same.Report

          • Avatar James K in reply to Damon
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            says:

            @damon

            The National Recovery Administration was a effort at performing some very invasive industrial policy. The Great Society was much more of a welfare state kind of deal. Even you you feel they’re both bad, they’re not the same kind of bad.Report

            • Avatar Damon in reply to James K
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              says:

              @james-k

              I guess it depends upon your level of “same”. Major insertion of the fedgov into industrial policy where it wasn’t previously and major insertion of the fedgov into social programs where it was not previously? Seems to me the only differences are 1) the area and 2) some folks like one of the insertions more than the other.Report

              • Avatar Road Scholar in reply to Damon
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                says:

                Damon,

                It’s more fundamental than that, Damon. The entirety of economics can be summed up as Production –> Distribution –> Consumption.

                Questions of How Best to Produce, at least the sorts of things addressed by the I.R.A., are largely technical and prudential in nature. Questions of How Best to Distribute for Consumption are more fundamentally moral and ethical in nature. The former is best addressed by economic theory; the latter is largely beyond empirical economics and about our values.Report

              • Avatar Damon in reply to Road Scholar
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                says:

                @road-scholar

                I think it’s a little bit more than production/distro/consumption.

                There is that whole market, supply/demand thing, you know.

                @leeesq Yeah, that’s the criticism and I’m accused of that a log. Sadly, you’re only hitting 50% when you call me that. And frankly, I’m a bit tired of the line of thinking that libertarians are all uncaring of “the poor”. There’s a whole lot of “gov’t should do this” around and no one really thinks to acknowledge that when they demand that, it means certain things….and there is real harm and force used to carry out those decisions. Acknowledge and recognition of that, added to a bit more cautiousness in banging the hammer would be nice to see.

                @sauldegraw I’ll not disagree that there have been significant improvements to the status of “the poor”. After all, the poorest in america is VASTLY richer than the average third worlder.Report

            • Avatar Gabriel Conroy in reply to James K
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              says:

              What @james-k said.

              (By the way, I don’t mean to use the NRA to impugn the entire New Deal and especially what later became known as the “Second New Deal” from ca. 1935-1938. I just think that particular program was really bad and almost destined for failure. The justifications for it, in my opinion, approach the sort of capital-I Intellectualism that Tod is critiquing in his OP.)Report

              • Avatar Kaleberg in reply to Gabriel Conroy
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                says:

                The problem with the NRA was that it tried to prop up businesses, even businesses that had basically lost their economic justification. In that it slowed the rate of collapse, it was useful, but extremely flawed. It makes much more sense to get people more money by whatever means and let the businesses build and grow to provide them with goods and services. That’s actually the big flaw of our current policy. We should concentrate on household incomes, particularly those of the lower 50%, and let the economy grow by providing for their needs.Report

          • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Damon
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            says:

            @damon this is why many people think libertarianism amounts to FYIGM in political form and mainly attracts affluent white men. Some people really do fall between the cracks of life and need help. Sometimes this is a lot of people.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to LeeEsq
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              says:

              Dumb question but are the numbers for people helped vs. harmed by the new society programs available anywhere?

              I mean, if we pointed at, say, Cabrini Green and the answer was “this is why people think Libertarianism is FYIGM. Some people need public housing and it’s our responsibility to help provide it”, would we agree that there’s a hell of a lot more emphasis on the whole “there was this bad problem that we were trying to address, you insensitive person!” than there was on “whether we made things worse by trying to address this bad problem” (and whether ignoring the outcomes of attempts to fix things is indicative of insensitivity in its own right)?

              Are the outcomes to Great Society Programs measurable?

              And if they’re not, is that a serious problem?Report

              • Avatar SaulDegraw in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                I suspect that libertarians will always argue that the harms of welfare programs outweigh the gains. Liberals will argue otherwise and the two shall never meet.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to SaulDegraw
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                says:

                Sure they will.

                That’s why I am asking for numbers.

                As it is, I’m not sure that we can even define the problem.

                Why should we? Without numbers, we can put a lot more of an emphasis on intention.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                When the money keeps rolling in, you don’t need books. You can tell you’ve done well by the happy, grateful looks.Report

              • Avatar Road Scholar in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                Jaybird: Dumb question but are the numbers for people helped vs. harmed by the new society programs available anywhere?

                Not to the precision that I suspect you want without access to a TARDIS to compare with what would have happened without them. But we can look at rates of elderly poverty pre- and post- Social Security or elderly health outcomes pre- and post- Medicare. Pointing to Cabrini-Green is sort of a cheat since the issue there isn’t really “providing public housing” or “subsidizing housing for the poor” so much as doing so by constructing huge Soviet-style apartment blocks. Everyone pretty much acknowledges that C-G was a mistake. It takes a special kind of person to conclude therefore that efforts to help the poor are always destined to be a failure.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Road Scholar
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                It takes a special kind of person to conclude therefore that efforts to help the poor are always destined to be a failure.

                And a dark reflection of that person to conclude that efforts to help the poor are always destined to be a success.

                But, sure, let’s say that using Cabrini Green is inappropriate due to it being a 1940’s effort, after all, and not part of Johnson’s Great Society.

                Instead, let’s just look at stuff like: “look at rates of elderly poverty pre- and post- Social Security or elderly health outcomes pre- and post- Medicare”.

                I’m not sure that we should look at Social Security because, similarly, it’s not from The Great Society. Medicare? Sure. We absolutely need to look at that.

                But what other numbers should we look at?
                Rates of poverty for various demographics, we seem to think is okay.
                Health outcomes as well.
                What other measurable numbers should we be looking at?

                Is there any ratio of the number of success stories to the number of less-obvious successes that might get us to say “perhaps the person criticizing this is not, in fact, a special kind of person at all”?Report

              • Avatar zic in reply to Jaybird
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                Well, after food stamps were introduced, the birth weights for newborns to mothers in poverty increased.

                With Medicare and expansion of health centers into underserved areas, elderly mortality decreased.

                With Head Start, significantly improved child health and education attainment.

                And the Dept. of Transportation (and improvements in transportation) were part of the great society programs.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to zic
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                says:

                Great, let’s put all of those in the “plus” columns.

                Are there any other numbers worth looking at?Report

              • Avatar LWA in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                I would be curious to hear the claims of “harm” from Medicare and the Great Society.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to LWA
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                says:

                I’d settle for bad numbers that existed in 1960 that went up by 1970 (and worse by 1980) and good numbers that existed in 1960 that went down by 1970 (and worse by 1980).Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                @jaybird it doesn’t involve numbers or the United States but I am currently reading David Kynadton’s Tales of a New Jerusalem series, which is a mammoth multi volume social history of the UK between the Atlee government and Thatcher’s election.

                Social housing and urban renewal were a big part of post-War and mainly White UK. The British working classes seemed divided on it. Half seemed to have loved the new developments and half wanted their old neighborhoods rebuilt. I’m sure that in the United States, opinion on public housing was equally divided.

                There was also a lot more to the Great Society and the post-War welfare state than urban renewal. There were food stamps, head start, Medicaid, and more. You should also include the middle class welfare state measures in to determine if more harm than good was done.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to LeeEsq
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                If it doesn’t involve numbers, it’s a narrative. I’m not complaining about that, it’s just that if we are going to exclude narratives that don’t get into numbers that complain about this or that, we should also exclude narratives that don’t get into numbers that sing praises of this or that.

                I absolutely would want to include the middle class welfare state measures. We could compare how much better they were before vs. after and do the numbers and compare the rates to the lower class welfare state numbers and how much better they were before vs. after.

                And if the increase in welfare of the classes changed dramatically, we can then compare what we were going for vs. what we got.Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                When it comes to public housing, I’m not sure what sort of numbers we can use to measure the difference between public housing and slums. I guess we can compare things like numbers of rooms available to families or individuals and utilities and amenities. The same is true for federally packed mortgages. What is the difference in middle class housing with or without various subsidies.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to LeeEsq
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                says:

                Were the benefits of white flight greater to the people who left than the harm to the people who did not? Do we have any way to measure that?

                If the benefits were great enough, should we enact a policy that goes for more of it?Report

              • Avatar LWA in reply to Jaybird
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                What government policy created white flight?

                What monstrous act did this Leviathan perform that forcibly uprooted millions of white families and exiled them to the suburbs?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to LWA
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                says:

                Perhaps you’re right. 2nd order effects are too difficult to discuss.

                We should only discuss the measurable numbers.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                When we discuss the benefits of federally backed mortgages, we should only discuss who got them, not where they moved to when they did.Report

              • Avatar LWA in reply to LeeEsq
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                says:

                @leeesq
                We should include in that vast middle class welfare benefit FHA/VA loans and the GI Bill and heavily subsidized colleges which directly assisted millions of Americans who now comprise the Fox News base.Report

              • Avatar zic in reply to Jaybird
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                @jaybird you might read today’s NYT editorial, Smart Social Programs

                One intriguing recent study by the economists Anna Aizer, Shari Eli, Joseph P. Ferrie and Adriana Lleras-Muney examined the records of 16,000 children whose families applied for a temporary income-support program that was in effect from 1911 to 1935. By comparing the outcomes of those who received the benefit to those of similar children who were denied, the researchers found that the program resulted in more education, higher earnings and lower mortality. Social Security data were used to follow program beneficiaries until as late as 2012, allowing researchers to show that the benefits of receiving even a few years of assistance as a child could persist for 80 years or more.

                There’s a lot more on the research that’s being done, applying big-data techniques to social safety nets since the early 1900’s.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to zic
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                says:

                I’m not sure how applicable the successes of New Deal programs would be to measure the benefits of the Great Society, though.Report

  2. Avatar LeeEsq
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    says:

    Alpha makes, bets makes, nice guys, and more are just people telling just so stories to make some sense of the romantic landscape. The results of these just so are sometimes disastrous but are usually only harmful to the individual telling them. I’m not sure if anything could be done about it. People usually try to find a pattern when there isn’t one.Report

  3. Avatar LeeEsq
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    says:

    I only come into contact with the manosphere through filters like this post but I’m relatively sure that alpha and beta are still used in the conventional sense. Anybody with the ability to observe things and a bit of common sense should realize that alpha beta doesn’t map onto human society that well but everybody likes their nest little theories.Report

  4. Avatar Gabriel Conroy
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    says:

    I believe that many (not all) of the attitudes that are often derided as “anti-intellectualism” are seen by the holders of such attitudes as “anti-capital I-intellectualism.” Note that by saying this, I’m not here making the argument that the holders of such attitudes are correct in their self-assessment–I believe we have to take it on a case-by-case basis–but just that that’s how they likely see what they’re dong.

    The trick is teasing apart the capital-I and the small-i varieties of intellectualism. It seems easy with the Shafer piece (which I haven’t read), but it’s not always so easy when one is bound up in the intellectual/Intellectual tradition in which one is talking. Some of the arguments and tropes advanced and believed in by historians strike me as caiptal-I intellectualism, but not all, and I suspect that to non-historians, an even larger number of those that I see as small-i, might actually seem as big-I.

    Weirdly–and this is sure to raise some hackles–I can even see how a legal scholar can look at changes in marriage law and family law and then after suggesting the slope will slip wildly in one direction, come to the conclusion that children and parenthood cease to exist as legal categories the law and the state recognize as discrete and exceptional things. Again, I haven’t read the Shafer piece, and even if that is what he’s arguing, it’s a bad argument for so many reasons, not the least because the reductio is ludicrous and because it doesn’t address the issue of equality. And he’s writing in the big leagues, he deserves whatever lumps he’s got coming to him for making the argument.

    But I’m suggesting that to someone caught up in that intellectual/Intellectual culture, it might be hard to notice.Report

    • Avatar CK MacLeod in reply to Gabriel Conroy
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      says:

      Gabriel Conroy: The trick is teasing apart the capital-I and the small-i varieties of intellectualism. It seems easy with the Shafer piece (which I haven’t read)…

      Maybe you ought to read it for yourself, especially since Tod doesn’t expend any effort “reading” it for us, or showing his work in any other way, and instead seems to expect us to remain satisfied with his characterizations and tendentious reconstructions. (Here’s a direct link to it, for your convenience: http://thefederalist.com/2015/05/05/how-same-sex-marriage-makes-orphans-of-us-all/ ) Tod informs us that the piece is “highly offensive,” “certainly” so, and goes on to associate the author not just with what in Tod’s description looks like a peculiarly depraved internet subculture, but with “almost everything we as a species have done to one another that could be described as so Evil that we really should have collectively known better.”

      It seems to me that accusations on that level, if they are to be taken seriously at all, deserve to be evidenced and examined in detail.Report

      • Avatar Gabriel Conroy in reply to CK MacLeod
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        The chief reason I haven’t read it, and probably won’t, is that I’m lazy and it’s long. I actually started to read it before writing my comment and then just gave up because I didn’t want to invest the time.

        That said….You’re right. If I’m so inclined to engage the Shafer piece, either to bury it or to praise it (or to speak somewhat empathetically to the type of legal discussion which Shafer is engaging), then I should read it. I actually strongly suspect whatever else iShafer is arguing, his point is almost definitely not that legalizing ssm will mean that people younger than 18 years old will cease to exist.

        But again, I’m too lazy to actually read the darn thing. So I want to give a certain benefit of the doubt to both the sympathetic reading(s) and the unsympathetic reading(s) of what Shafer wrote.Report

        • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Gabriel Conroy
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          I haven’t read it (and like you I won’t) but it seems pretty easy to me to come up with an argument for the conclusion that SSM renders offspring not children!!!:
          If being a child is viewed as deriving from adults engaging in a *formal* relationship restricted to only (child producing) heteros, then, if the formal properties defining that adult relationship change, so does the status of “children”.

          Personally, I don’t know how such an argument could or would go (since it’s just absurd), but I could sure see someone on the conservative side a things arguing it!Report

      • Avatar Gabriel Conroy in reply to CK MacLeod
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        says:

        @ck-macleod

        Well, at our admonition, I actually went and read it. Assuming I understood it, he makes a lot of slippery slope arguments and begins with a lot of assumptions about the “pre-political” nature of parenthood, family, and marriage. And although I believe all three of those things are “pre-political” in some sense*, I think much of his argument is scaremongering. To my mind, he’d be on much solider ground arguing against in vitro fertilization, against surrogate motherhood, or against certain elements of our adoption laws.

        Taking all that, however, I return to what I suspected. Shafer isn’t arguing that children literally will not exist under a legal ssm policy. He’s arguing something different. I still think he’s wrong, and not a little absurd, but not wrong and absurd in the way that Tod seems to suggest.

        *However, my preferred term is “extra-political” because to me whether one came first or not is not nearly as relevant as whether it has a dimension outside the “political,” a term that in this context I interpret to mean “having to do with policy and law.”Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to CK MacLeod
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        I think Tod’s descriptions are a bit heavy-handed. It is inargued assertions, hasty generalizations, and deliberate myopathy. Tendentious would be to give it too much credit. It is sophistic at best.Report

        • Avatar CK MacLeod in reply to Chris
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          says:

          I don’t get what you’re saying there, @Chris. To be clear, I was calling Tod’s reconstructions of Shafer tendentious. Rather than refer to Shafer’s statements or trace the development of his thesis, Tod renders the argument as what Gabriel and even Stillwater acknowledge to be an unlikely and absurd argument. So we never learn what Shafer’s argument is, or, if we’re lazy, we’re left to conjure some political enemy image based on our preconceptions.

          I don’t know whose “inargued assertions” and so on you’re referencing, unless you’re making some kind of joke. I’ve already given some indication on the other thread of problems I have with Shafer’s approach, and there are a few points where I think he might have expressed himself more precisely, but I think that overall his argument is clearly and carefully constructed, and in one way or another will need to be answered, whatever the state of the political process at this time.Report

          • Avatar Chris in reply to CK MacLeod
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            He doesn’t really argue for his positron. He just asserts it. See my comment below (and I meant tendentious would be giving the Federalist post too much credit). For example:

            Thereby do these people manipulate children into existence in a manner divorced from marital love, in which adults intend to deprive them of relationship with or knowledge of at least one, and perhaps both, of their biological parents, as well as their extended kin.

            This practice of human reproduction without relationship, of reproduction arranged by commercial transaction with service providers, graphically instantiates the precepts of same-sex marriage ideology. By eliminating the husband-wife marital norm, that ideology sunders even the conceptual connection of the marital union and fertility.

            Assertion after assertion, without any argument that any of these premises in his larger point are true. “This is how it is.” With words like “sunders” to make it sound unassailable.Report

            • Avatar Chris in reply to Chris
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              says:

              Put more bluntly, it’s an awful post. You’ve done related arguments more justice in these comment sections than it does in that bloated piece of sophistic dreck.Report

            • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Chris
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              says:

              “By eliminating the husband-wife marital norm, that ideology sunders even the conceptual connection of the marital union and fertility.”

              What’s marital union based on?

              The husband-wife norm.

              And what’s that based on?

              The concept of marital union.Report

            • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Chris
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              Wow. I haven’t read the article, but just the examples you gave have given us some examples that are literal nonsense:

              Thereby do these people manipulate children into existence in a manner divorced from marital love

              First, I’m pretty certain he’s trying to say ‘people manipulate, into existence, children, in a manner divorced from marital love’. Or ‘children gain existence via manipulation divorced from marital live’.

              You cannot manipulate people into their own existence. If your sentence seems to say that, you’ve probably fucked up somewhere, or someone has a time machine.

              Second…via *manipulation* divorced from marital love? So he’s in favor of children being create via manipulation *with* marital love? Or created via *sex* divorced from marital love? What, exactly, is the counter position to that? What does the world ‘manipulation’ even mean there?

              adults intend to deprive them of relationship with or knowledge of at least one, and perhaps both, of their biological parents,

              And, *wow*, so many pointless words. People *only* *have* two biological parents, and thus the correct way to refer to that is ‘one or both of their biological parents’. Not ‘at least one, and perhaps both’. Or just ‘at least one’, which, duh, would also include both, because that is how ‘at least’ works. Just, wow.

              Likewise, depriving someone of ‘knowledge of’ depraves them of ‘relationship with’…and who the hell says ‘relationship with’?

              Be sure to have plenty of relationship with your parents, everyone. We are all here being human being, talking the language of English.

              This practice of human reproduction without relationship, of reproduction arranged by commercial transaction with service providers, graphically instantiates the precepts of same-sex marriage ideology.

              This phrase is nonsense. It is gibberish.

              First off, the redundancy. To ‘instantiate’ something is to demonstrate something or point to an representative example of it. All instantiations should be ‘graphical’, as in, vividly show us something. That is the point of them. This is alike to referring to a ‘demonstrative demonstration’. (Of course, I’m the last person to complain about being redundent, I just thought I’d point it out.)

              Also, while it’s a bit dubious to call same-sex marriage an ‘ideology’, it might be possible to let that slide. An ideology is supposed to be a bit more than a single policy position, but okay.

              However, we *can’t* let it slide, because he’s decided to talk about that ideology’s *precepts*.

              I’d like to know ‘What sort of *general concepts* does the same-sex marriage ideology follow?’ Not specific policy positions…what is the ideological basis for the SSM political movement?

              Oh, wait. That’s right. That’s *not* an ideology, it’s a goddamn simple political position, and thus it can’t possibly have ‘precepts’.

              Let’s rewrite that will less confusing language and see what it actually says: This practice of human reproduction without relationship, of reproduction arranged by commercial transaction with service providers, is a vivid example of the core rules that people who want two guys to be able to get married are following’.

              Which is…stupid, and doesn’t make much sense unless you’re one of those people who walks around muttering about the ‘gay agenda’. And it was phrased that way so people didn’t notice how stupid it was.

              By eliminating the husband-wife marital norm, that ideology sunders even the conceptual connection of the marital union and fertility.

              It sunders…something that is conceptual. In a way that is completely unexplained.

              There’s no actual reason why gay unions can’t be *conceptually* connected to fertility.Report

          • Avatar Stillwater in reply to CK MacLeod
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            says:

            CK MacLeod,

            Just to be clear, in my comment I didn’t mean to imply that Tod’s take was an absurd rendering of Shafer’s argument. On the contrary. I was throwing out a rather trivial argument which justifies the same conclusions Tod attributes to Shafer, one which actually is absurd (to me anyway) and (edit: “conclusions”) which I have little reason to believe Tod got wrong. (I mean, he’s a smart, careful thinker who provides an invaluable service by reading this nonsense so I don’t have to. 🙂Report

      • Avatar Doctor Jay in reply to CK MacLeod
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        I don’ t know whether you would characterize the following as tendentious or not, but my reaction to Shafer’s piece goes like this.

        The title is “How Same-Sex Marriage Makes Orphans of Us All”. I was adopted at the age of 6 weeks. My sister was not my biological sister, but she was adopted at an age of a couple of months old. Neither of us were exactly orphans – we were given up for adoption by single mothers. Nevertheless, I get the feeling that I know a who pile more than Shafer about what being an orphan is and isn’t.

        The subtitle is: “The ideology that denies the meaningfulness of biological ties for human identity is called same-sex marriage.” This appears to deny the meaningfulness of my ties to my parents, in which biology wasn’t involved. It also appears to deny the meaningfulness of Martin and Andrew’s ties to their twin daughters, which I got to observe first hand, after telling Martin at work that I would like my family to meet his family.

        Attachment is a psychological phenomenon. It can happen between any two humans, and indeed between humans and other animals. Biology primes humans to form attachments with their children, but the phenomenon itself does not have some mystical component that is enhanced by genetics. This is the “gene as magic bean” which you find so often in right-wing thought.

        The first sentence of the piece reads “In a thoughtful essay ten years ago (“Family History”), New York University philosophy professor David Velleman indicted both the practice of creating children intending to sever them from their biological parents, and the excuses adults offer to justify this.” This is a discussion of surrogacy, and it is being made by people (I include Velleman, having read a precis of “Family History” published at Crooked Timber) by people who have no idea what it is to be raised by an adopted family. Hell yes I had a family history, and that family is my family dammit, and it doesn’t matter in the slightest that I don’t look anything like my father, his brothers, or his father. The attachment took hold.

        In families where the attachment has problems, adoptive children look for some other family, and try to reform the attachment there. This happened to my wife, who is also adopted. The issues were due to mental health issues, not to the lack of some mystical genetic connection.

        At this point, three sentences in, I’m done. I don’t feel the need to read further. I expect that my objections will not be mentioned, let along addressed. It is assumed that biology is paramount.

        To my way of thinking, everything else is a dramatization of “I’m very smart, you should believe me”. Which is sort of what Tod is saying.Report

        • Avatar Gabriel Conroy in reply to Doctor Jay
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          @doctor-jay

          At this point, three sentences in, I’m done. I don’t feel the need to read further. I expect that my objections will not be mentioned, let along addressed. It is assumed that biology is paramount.

          For what it’s worth–and even though I’m a little bit critical of Tod’s rendering of Shafer’s supposed “children won’t exist anymore” argument–you’re right. Your objections are not really addressed or answered in that piece. Which is why Shafer’s is a bad piece, regardless of whether he makes the claim Tod says he makes.Report

        • Avatar CK MacLeod in reply to Doctor Jay
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          Doctor Jay: I don’ t know whether you would characterize the following as tendentious or not,

          “Tendentious” would apply to an intellectually dishonest rendering of the argument. Rather than distort the argument, you have instead declared yourself incapable of confronting it at all, due to your passionate personal investment in one set of answers whose shape is fully determined by your preconceptions and expectations, rather than by exposure to a test of them.Report

          • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to CK MacLeod
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            says:

            Yeah, it’s like being on a jury: having actual knowledge of the facts disqualifies you.Report

            • Avatar CK MacLeod in reply to Mike Schilling
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              says:

              Mike Schilling:
              Yeah, it’s like being on a jury: having actual knowledge of the facts disqualifies you.

              Having an openly declared personal stake in the outcome is non-controversially disqualifying for a juror or a judge – presuming an interest in a fair proceeding. It does not preclude someone from being a witness, but it is not up to the witness to determine the relevancy of his or her testimony, or feelings about it, to the case. You know this all, of course. I doubt you honestly have any doubt about it, but apparently you prefer not to acknowledge it.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to CK MacLeod
                Ignored
                says:

                That’s what I said. It would be disqualifying in a jury trial, and since evaluating this piece is exactly like a jury trial in all particulars, we thank and excuse Doctor Jay.Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to CK MacLeod
                Ignored
                says:

                Presumably no parents can engage this argument, then, nor children, by this theory. They can’t address any arguments on this topic, in fact, as everyone has a personal investment in them.Report

              • Avatar veronica d in reply to Chris
                Ignored
                says:

                Exactly. I’m adopted, but I would not call myself “passionate” regarding that fact. It’s just — that’s a fact about my history and if someone is saying that my family didn’t exist somehow, well that’s news to me. It seemed to exist. Furthermore, the notion that my family was somehow inferior or invalid, cuz genetics or whatever — well, there was a small cost, the fact that I didn’t really look much like my siblings. I get that some people really like that. “You can totally see they’re sisters” is something people hear. I guess that would have been nice.

                But still, it seems a pretty small thing in the big picture. Certainly you can find people who value that highly, but then you can find others for whom it was not a big deal.

                My g/f was abused by her genetic father, and raised solid by the man her mom later married. So there is that. In some ways her stepdad is her “real dad,” the man her gave her the solid values she still hold to, unlike the man who gave her half of 23 pairs, alongside a fuckton of trauma.

                Human relationships and families are super complex, and you can find a narrative to support any position you care to hold. But few expect gay marriage to become the dominant form of pairing, never mind parenthood, any more than we should expect adoption to do so. However, these forms of family and bonding seem to work quite well often enough, just as the “traditional family” can be hell-on-earth from time to time.

                It’s almost as if reality is really complex.Report

        • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Doctor Jay
          Ignored
          says:

          This appears to deny the meaningfulness of my ties to my parents, in which biology wasn’t involved.

          The anti-SSM people seem to make a habit of pissing on adoptive families.

          The really odd thing is, I actually find it a little baffling that they don’t get called on this by friends.

          I mean, in my *immediate* family, I have: my brother and sister-in-law have one actual adopted child, my other brother is raising a child that is not biologically his, we all have a step-mother, and my mother is now a foster parent and before that was the legal guardian of someone’s kid while they needed some help.

          Did everyone just…forget they probably know someone who’s adopted? That they know people raised by someone other than their biological parent? We hear the ‘Someone I liked revealed they were gay so I stopped hating gay people’ stories…so shouldn’t we be hearing ‘A parent I know revealed their kid was adopted and they seem to love the kid as much as anyone, so I stopped all my nonsense about how denying children their biological parents is the worse evil ever’ anti-gay argument.

          Of course, what’s actually happening is the people advancing that argument *literally don’t mean a word they say*. They do not actually mean it, so they cannot have an ‘I met an adoptive parent and they seemed nice’ epiphany.

          If you asked these politicians, they’d say *of course* adoptive parents are just as good as normal parents…that’s not related *at all* to the stuff they’re spewing about how all children should be raised by their biological parents and anything else is an evil possibility that not only do we need to bar by law, but is *so* important to stop that we’re going to use it as a justification to stop certain people from even getting *married*. If that’s allow, it could, in theory, somehow, result in that HORRIBLE OUTCOME of people being raised by non-biological parents!

          Wait, what was the question again? Of course we support adoption, what a silly question.

          Biology primes humans to form attachments with their children,

          Let’s not even say *that*. Biology primes humans to form attachments with small children that depend on them.Report

      • Avatar trizzlor in reply to CK MacLeod
        Ignored
        says:

        @ck-macleod : On your recommendation I went and read the article in depth, and I would like my 20 minutes back.

        Here is the relevant part of Shafer’s argument:

        In such case, the law denies (among other things) that children’s identity is, in any sense that could be legally prioritized, as the natural issue of the joining of their mother and father. Therein lies the acute alteration to the governing anthropology required of societies adopting same-sex marriage … This nouveau anthropology presents children as, in principle, individuals as such, with no natural relation to or necessary identity bound up in their biological mother and father … Same-sex marriage is not just an upheaval in rules. It changes the structure of interpretation. It forbids us to know things we used to be allowed to take for granted.

        Here is Tod’s rebuttal:

        As long as there have been humans, there have been circumstances where said children were not raised by both biological parents. We have never once decided that those underaged people were therefore somehow not children — and we certainly have never argued that their very existence means that no other young people can be considered children either.

        Where is the mis-characterization? What possible interpretation is there of the quoted passage that’s not “because we now have same-sex marriage, we are all orphans with no parents, and further there are no more children.”? Shafer literally says that SSM forbids us to know that children come from opposite-sex parents.

        Switch around a few words, and Shafer could just as easily be arguing that interracial marriage must be banned because it denies the very concept of racial differences, and therefore strips all people of their ethnicity and heritage. I hope it wouldn’t take a detailed examination to determine that such a claim is both highly offensive and aligned with historical evils.Report

        • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to trizzlor
          Ignored
          says:

          In such case, the law denies (among other things) that children’s identity is, in any sense that could be legally prioritized, as the natural issue of the joining of their mother and father.

          That sentence doesn’t parse.Report

          • Avatar trizzlor in reply to Mike Schilling
            Ignored
            says:

            @ck-macleod

            Thanks for laying out your take on it in such detail. I think your framing of the discussion is both sensible and interesting, so I don’t want to dwell much more on Shafer’s clumsy pile of half-ideas. But I still don’t see Tod’s mis-characterization. Shafer is not merely saying that opposite-sex biological parents are being de-prioritized; that’s where he *starts* his argument. His bold conclusion is that “[SSM] forbids us to know things we used to be allowed to take for granted.“. That statement is unequivocal. He’s clearly arguing that SSM/adoption literally forbids the very concept that children come from biological parents. In the interracial framework, this would be like *starting* with the claim that culture/law is becoming more colorblind, but then concluding that interracial marriage forbids the very idea that skin color or biological inheritance exists. That’s nonsense, and Tod correctly characterizes it as nonsense (and we’re not even getting into the subsequent claim that this necessitates keeping SSM illegal).

            Returning to your argument, I take issue with this claim:

            [the analogy to interracial marriage] says that, for all legal intents and purposes, while contemplating a further influence on society and custom, the concept of the traditional (or natural, or complementarist, or hetearist, etc.) family is to be declared obsolete, and, not just obsolete, but as odious as racism – that to state and act upon a preference for the complementarist, biologically defined family, for oneself or for others, is to be taken as bigotry, worthy of denunciation on the same terms as we reflexively denounce racial bigotry. You will find plentiful evidence of just this view if you care to look around for it…

            I think you’re conflating two ideas here:
            1. Laws that confer additional rights on traditional families (or, alternatively, prohibit non-traditional families) are as odious as racism.
            2. The very concept of a biologically defined family is as odious as racism.

            You’re looking at proponents of (1) and claiming that they are also proponents of (2). Shafer goes on to say that because we all agree that (2) is wrong, proponents of (1) are also wrong, and the government needs to hold the line on (1). We can and should have a discussion about how the law should view the full diversity of families. But that discussion is only muddled by the false claim that one side is literally trying to forbid biological facts.Report

            • Avatar CK MacLeod in reply to trizzlor
              Ignored
              says:

              @trizzlor

              Sorry, it was easy to misplace your generous comment on this thread.

              If Shafer had, reasonably, anticipated likely uncharitable reading and selective quotation from his political adversaries, rather than the preferences and indulgences of his editors and his political allies, he might have re-phrased the “bold conclusion” that you extract, and that, transplanted and isolated, appears not just “unequivocal” but absurdly self-contradictory.

              You quote Shafer as follows (with my further clarification in sub-brackets): “[SSM [as ideology]] forbids us to know things we used to be allowed to take for granted.“ You go on to interpret the statement, as you say, “literally”:

              He’s clearly arguing that SSM/adoption literally forbids the very concept that children come from biological parents. In the interracial framework, this would be like *starting* with the claim that culture/law is becoming more colorblind, but then concluding that interracial marriage forbids the very idea that skin color or biological inheritance exists.

              I disagree with you about what’s obvious or clear in Shafer’s statement. To me, it is obvious and clear, for all of us including Shafer, that SSM-as-ideology cannot “literally” “forbid” us to know about the existence of an idea, or does not effectively “forbid” “the very idea,” since Shafer himself in his statement is acknowledging the idea in question and is quite evidently prepared to go on acknowledging it.

              Though you acknowledge some merits in my argument, you do not seem to have fully taken into account my attempt to underline the simple distinction between 1) an argument in reference to (demonstratively absurd, or highly unlikely, or undesirable, etc.) logical implication and 2) an argument in reference to observed fact. Shafer is taking the ideology or his notion of it to (what would be, he argues) its consequences, in order to portray it, as their logical antecedent, as absurd. What would make the absurdity worth discussion is that, according to his analysis of legal opinions and decisions as well as of actual events, this absurdity is an absurdity possibly or incipiently to be insisted upon in the law or as the basis of a legal theory, likely in his view to ill effect, since law, public administration, and civil society would be forbidden to take cognizance of biological kinship systematically and presumptively as a priority – to be “known” as such for legal or practical intents and purposes – even as it likely remained a clear priority in the imagination and conduct of the citizenry, and not just for its most recalcitrant segments, but even for many of the most right-thinking proponents of the new regime.

              Shafer might instead have sought to resist all temptation to put any argument more strongly than its barest and most rigorous and conservative elucidation clearly allows.The writer who follows this course will be accused of writing opaquely, diffidently, and abstractly – or perhaps “capital-I Intellectually.” If Shafer preferred the latter set of accusations to the former, especially since he was fated to get them anyway, he might have said something more like “The premises adopted by leading proponents of same sex marriage are inconsistent with taking cognizance in the law of propositions that we used to be allowed to take for granted or that were simply presumed without question.” This statement or a statement to this effect is what in my view Shafer obviously meant, as well as the only thing he reasonably could have meant.

              Now, frankly, I’m a bit exhausted by this discussion at this point, so I apologize if my attempt at clarification has served only to muddy the matter further. I do think, however, that if you ponder Shafer’s statement as Shafer must understand it, and as he develops it, the apparent absurdity of his argument, the one he’s actualy making rather than the one he’s depicting, will fade away. That is not to say that his conclusion is inarguable, only that it is not bizarre.

              I’m generally against imputing outlandishly unreasonable intentions to writers when there is any basis for doubt. There are already enough clearly unreasonable intentions around: No need to seek new ones to add to my Evil Intellectual workload.Report

              • Avatar trizzlor in reply to CK MacLeod
                Ignored
                says:

                @ck-macleod

                Thanks CK for putting up with me so far, and I appreciate your measured explanation. Shafer’s essay projected through layers of Tod’s fisking wasn’t going to be a fertile start to this conversation, so I hold no ill will if you choose to move along.

                I will readily admit that I read Shafer’s peice with a great deal of skepticism, as it was clear that he was making a prescriptive argument to strip certain people of the rights. You BS all you want about genetics & IQ; or voting and illiteracy; or the athleticism of different racial groups; but as soon as you start saying *those* people are worse and they need to be *forbidden* from the stuff we have, I’m going to read your words with a fine-toothed comb. And to that end, I don’t think it’s an accident that Shafer says “[SSM] forbids us to know things we used to be allowed to take for granted.”; or that it “forbids” us to recognize an oprhan as an orphan; or “The refusal to countenance the sexual difference of male and female”; or finally, to declare that the “Supreme Court this summer constitutionalizes a national mandate for de-sexed marriage”. You don’t use language like abolish/forbid/refuse/mandate to describe a pro-rights movement, unless you’re clearly building a case of us vs. them, where we need the law on our side. So yes, I’ll give Shafer his words, and not one inch more.

                But fine, let’s try to strip the militaristic framing of his argument, here is how I interpret Shafer’s line of reasoning:
                1. When certain behavior is given equal rights, it becomes valued equally in society. This is mostly true, though an obvious counter-example is the 1st Amendment providing equal protection for speech without leading to society accepting all speech as equal.

                2. When certain behavior is valued equally in society, it necessarily becomes valued as superior. This is much less true. I’m sure there are people who claim that inter-racial marriage is not just equal but superior, but they are far in the minority. This is the place where Federalist writers tend to stop, and then roll out their laundry list of all the ways gays have been demanding that their culture be celebrated and elevated over “traditional marriage”.

                3. When certain behavior is valued as superior, the former behavior and concepts become forbidden. I can think of a few instances in history where the minority rose to the majority and then persecuted the new minority, but none in a western democracy like the US. Interracial marriage passed, and we didn’t have squads rounding up same-race couples, or gangs getting their revenge on white/white couples in street attacks. The Civil Rights Acts did not aim to forbid the very concept of private poverty, or prevent kids from learning about race in school. Roe v. Wade did not initiate a nationwide epidemic of protest abortions. The democratizing ratchet simply tends not to over-swing.

                Shafer, for his part, starts his argument with (3): a land where the pink-booted gaystapo feed children red bull & vodka until they can’t remember their family name. He mostly skips over (2), because the evidence would have to come from pretty smiling gay couples committing to a lifetime of monogamy, and simply asserts repeatedly that having the rights and access to some new social practice (adoption, IVF, etc.) “destroys” and “abolishes” the older order. Finally, he gets to dive in to (1), the argument he should have started with, and claims that if only SCOTUS hadn’t opened the arc, all of the swirling ghosts and monsters we met at (3) wouldn’t be here anymore.

                It’s a great story, all it’s missing is any logical connections between any of the claims.Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to trizzlor
                Ignored
                says:

                It’s a great story, all it’s missing is any logical connections between any of the claims.

                Precisely. And with words like “refuse” and “abolish,” hopes to bridge this logically unbridgeable gap with fear.Report

        • Avatar CK MacLeod in reply to trizzlor
          Ignored
          says:

          @trizzlor

          The mis-characterization is in proceeding from a common acknowledgment of difference within circumstances and law governed more or less flexibly by a prevailing norm to a denial that “the natural issue of the joining of.. a mother and father… could be legally prioritized.”

          This statement goes to what Gabriel Conroy, somewhat confusingly for me, would partly acknowledge as a validly “pre-political” concept of natural marriage – that what God hath joined no government can (expect peaceably to) put asunder, or that family bonds precede the law and custom, and pre-condition them, not the other way around; or that governments exist to serve families (or human beings whose first loyalties are to their families and whose identities are formed first in their families), not the other way around. Under the “nouveau anthropology” this concept is rejected.

          You’ll find that the term “pre-political” is used precisely once in the essay, in conjunction with the word “natural.” In political philosophy the underlying notion is that if there were no governments, there would still be families, just as in states that are failing or are undergoing emergencies, people will observably cleave to their (natural) families, and just as the seemingly ineradicable tendency to cleave to (natural) families is often a sign or possibly a primary cause of political decay, and just as, in general, people undergoing crises of life will tend to look to their natural families, and their natural families will be expected to respond.

          None of these functions of biological kinship are necessarily exclusive of other resorts or other bonds, which may also be quite powerful, though the existence of biological kinship may also be seen as the foundation upon which a wider and more complex structure of affiliations are built. However variegated or flexible, for better or for worse, the law in its practical application may be, biological kinship may still provide for a set of norms operative in the law – including presumptions underlying inheritance of property, power of attorney in absence of a legally valid declaration, and so on, and so on: Any list will turn out to be a partial list, and any listing process will turn out to be an abstract of social history going back as far as you like. Furthermore, whether you consider a “pre-political” status for biological kinship a sound or valid proposition, or a proposition that deserves to be amended or replaced, it should not be difficult to understand that the law may operate as though the proposition retains priority, most obviously in questions concerning “family law” directly, just as you may not believe that a Creator really gave us inalienable rights, or that all human beings really are created equal, or that We the People really constituted the government of the Unites States of America, except as matters of convenient fiction, and yet you may still recognize and even prefer that the law still operates as though these and other, related propositions, and prior propositions, are self-evidently true.

          As for the question of racial discrimination or particularly of interracial marriage, Shafer might very well acknowledge and accept that the end of miscegenation laws very much “strip[ped] all people of of their ethnicity and heritage” for the purposes of the law, and with a (strongly desired and desirable) influence on custom. Under a post-racialist regime, the law would be colorblind, and people progressively more color-astigmatized as time passed under the regime. This framework reinforces his argument, since, while it quite questionably equates a social construct (race) with a biological fact (that it takes opposite sexes to make a baby, except possibly in a lab somewhere in China someday soon), it assigns the aim of the erasure of presumptions related to biological kinship from the law. It says that, for all legal intents and purposes, while contemplating a further influence on society and custom, the concept of the traditional (or natural, or complementarist, or hetearist, etc.) family is to be declared obsolete, and, not just obsolete, but as odious as racism – that to state and act upon a preference for the complementarist, biologically defined family, for oneself or for others, is to be taken as bigotry, worthy of denunciation on the same terms as we reflexively denounce racial bigotry.

          You will find plentiful evidence of just this view if you care to look around for it. You will find intimations of it on any discussion thread on this topic at OT. You may consider the goal a worthy goal, but you should not be surprised if those who thought the marriage equality movement had something else in mind, or who have always suspected that it was being used by those who always had precisely this goal in mind, offer resistance. You might even find that sexism/gender essentialism and biologism/hetearism retained a power of attraction among people at least as strong as remnant ethno-centrism/racism, and, if so, it would at least be wise to survey the potential battlefields dispassionately. Indeed, many of those reflexively and self-interestedly rejecting Shafer and the federalists he rode in, like Tod very much in his dismissive absurdities, are implicitly depending on precisely this residual heterosexist presumption.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to CK MacLeod
            Ignored
            says:

            It says that, for all legal intents and purposes, while contemplating a further influence on society and custom, the concept of the traditional (or natural, or complementarist, or hetearist, etc.) family is to be declared obsolete, and, not just obsolete, but as odious as racism – that to state and act upon a preference for the complementarist, biologically defined family, for oneself or for others, is to be taken as bigotry, worthy of denunciation on the same terms as we reflexively denounce racial bigotry.

            For my part, I’m just stuck here wondering why tradition is used as a defense not against the people who are arguing for destruction of the concept of the family but against the people who are hoping to forge their own.

            This would be a great argument against the “unfair advantage given to children by reading to them” guy. It’s not a compelling argument against the two people who happen to be the same sex who want to marry and adopt 2.3 children and have a dog and a house in the suburbs.Report

            • Avatar CK MacLeod in reply to Jaybird
              Ignored
              says:

              Jaybird: It’s not a compelling argument against the two people who happen to be the same sex who want to marry and adopt 2.3 children and have a dog and a house in the suburbs.

              Then perhaps those two people should carefully consider with whom or what they may have, for all the best practical reasons, allied themselves, and whether what Shafer has to say, on a higher level than most if still at points clumsily and finally unacceptably, points to a something more in line with their true aspirations.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to CK MacLeod
                Ignored
                says:

                I can easily see them having reached the conclusion that they’ve aligned themselves with each other.

                Have we opened the door to the whole “we can reach conclusions based on who is allied with whom” issue? If we don’t want to explore that sort of thing, we probably don’t want to explore that sort of thing.Report

              • Avatar zic in reply to CK MacLeod
                Ignored
                says:

                My niece has some medical problems that have meant she can’t carry a baby past the third month; repeated miscarriages.

                So they trained to become foster parents. (Yes, you train for that now.)

                And two days after the final bit of training, a 2-day old baby is in their house. That was about 10 days ago. Yesterday, the meth was finally out of the baby’s system, and he was pink instead of pale; his circulation returning to normal.

                So I basic put as much credence into biological arguments as I do into the desire to nurture, despite lack of biological ties.

                Both work and don’t work.

                And all the arguments that one is so much better is preaching from the privilege of 1) being able to have children and 2) thinking yours are better than some other persons children and 3) that your love is better, blessed than some other love.

                And that’s hubris.Report

          • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to CK MacLeod
            Ignored
            says:

            And this is where *you* should have stopped typing, taken a leisurely walk around whatever neighborhood you live, looked around at the people who live there, and said to yourself, “Shit, I totally screwed up my math somewhere:”

            ” It says that, for all legal intents and purposes, while contemplating a further influence on society and custom, the concept of the traditional (or natural, or complementarist, or hetearist, etc.) family is to be declared obsolete, and, not just obsolete, but as odious as racism – that to state and act upon a preference for the complementarist, biologically defined family, for oneself or for others, is to be taken as bigotry, worthy of denunciation on the same terms as we reflexively denounce racial bigotry.”

            Seriously, CK, you need to get out more and meet real live people, because regardless of the number of smart sounding words you’ve strung together to get here, this doesn’t actually exist.

            I know you’re a single dude, so I will have to ask you to go out on a limb trust me on this. I myself am a traditional (or natural, or complementarist, or hetearist, etc.) parent in a traditional (or natural, or complementarist, or hetearist, etc.) family raising traditional (or natural, or complementarist, or hetearist, etc.) children, and the number of times I have been accused of bigotry for that is exactly the same umber of times that everyone I know who is from a traditional (or natural, or complementarist, or hetearist, etc.) family is accused of the same — which is to say, not once ever.

            You’re kind of inadvertently arguing the OP for me.Report

          • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to CK MacLeod
            Ignored
            says:

            hetearism

            I was mostly following this discussion until it started to be about concubines.Report

            • Avatar CK MacLeod in reply to Mike Schilling
              Ignored
              says:

              It was the term favored by Engels (or in the standard translation – I’ve never gone looking for the original), in his “The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State,” especially in observing sexual double standards, and the continued relegation of women, even under relatively progressive bourgeois institutions of his day, to one of two well-known categories of socio-economic subordination. I think it deserves to be revived, the term, not the institution, for a number of reasons, but I apologize if you found it distracting.Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to CK MacLeod
                Ignored
                says:

                The

                Unter Hetärismus versteht Morgan den neben der Einzelehe bestehenden ausserehelichen geschlechtlichen Verkehr der Männer mit unverheiratheten Weibern, der bekanntlich während der ganzen Periode der Civilisation in den verschie densten Formen blüht und mehr und mehr zur offenen Prostitution wird. Dieser Hetärismus, der eine gesell- schaftliche Einrichtung ist wie jede andere, setzt also die alte Greschlechtsfreiheit fort — zu Grünsten der Männer. In der Wirklichkeit nicht nur geduldet, son- dern namentlich von den herrschenden Klassen flott mitgemacht, wird er in der Phrase verdammt.

                So yeah, it’s in The German, but the word first shows up there in a quote of Morgan, who discusses it more in depth, and of course Engels’ is a commentary on that work.

                Also, hetaerist.Report

  5. Avatar James K
    Ignored
    says:

    I believe that every mode of thought has one or more failure modes associated with it – and what you describe as Intellectualism is one of intelligence’s failure modes.

    One of the dangers in being smart is that you are better at developing sophisticated arguments that sound convincing to others and to yourself. Also, when you grow up being one of the smartest people in the room you are used to seeing that when you disagree with someone else that you tend to be right more often than they are. That give you another way to rationalize away disagreements.

    The way to short-circuit this failure mode is to, as you put it, test your math. Unfortunately I don’t think this is a life skill our education systems do a very good job of teaching. You get told you’re wrong by authorities, but too little attention is paid to teaching people how to realise on their own that they’ve made a mistake.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater in reply to James K
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      says:

      I agree with this James K. I’d also add that an additional problem with (viewing yourself as) being “the smartest guy in the room” is that it’s incredibly easy to find justifications for beliefs that are either comfortable to hold or are held because they conform to preconceptions and already-held biases. And the antidote to that problem is breaking the apriori loop where evidence is evaluated against the real world. That’s hard to do for lots of folks, since the attachment to being “comfortably correct” in their own mind is more than they’re willing to let go of. To me, it’s of a piece with some other stuff I’ve written here at the OT about how really zealous ideological thinking can often be identified by the absence of an algorithm which goes back to reality. It reverses the normal (and normative!) way beliefs are formed and justified.Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to Stillwater
        Ignored
        says:

        I’ve seen a lot of this kind of thing in mental health treatment with MSW/psychologists. Just because they can make a good theory about something or why someone is the way they are, doesn’t mean they are correct. A good theory can be wrong in reality. The idea can still be useful and a good tool, but doesn’t mean it is right.Report

        • Avatar Stillwater in reply to greginak
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          says:

          Yeah, I see it all sorts of things. I call it “smart guy disease”: a debilitating but – usually! – not life threatening condition whereby folks have just enough intelligence to be really stupid.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to James K
      Ignored
      says:

      A poster on another blog once remarked that the difference between a nerd and non-nerd misogynist is that the nerd has a theory he keeps telling you about. Many smart people seem compelled to develop theories about this or that thing in order to explain their state in life.Report

      • Avatar James K in reply to LeeEsq
        Ignored
        says:

        @leeesq

        Turning your analytical abilities on your life problems can be really useful. The problems start when you develop a grand theory on how everyone else is to blame for your problems rather than trying to figure out what you can do to make your life better.Report

        • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to James K
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          says:

          It can be very difficult to determine what you can do better. A lot of the current theorizing seems to occur because people are not satisfied with their love lives. Doing something to approve your romantic prospects is not always easy.Report

          • Avatar Chris in reply to LeeEsq
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            says:

            Ego defense.Report

          • Avatar veronica d in reply to LeeEsq
            Ignored
            says:

            Well, I’ll give the PUA dorks one bit of credit, they at least tried to be empirical. Now, I’m pretty skeptical of the whole mess. For one thing, most of this knowledge was passed around on Internet forums, with it’s own value systems and no real checks against nonsense.

            Like, I can go onto a queer forum and say a bunch of bullshit about queer lives that fits the zeitgeist of the place, but that is false, and no one will call me on it, cuz it fits the narrative. It’s what we want to hear.

            So how much will that happen on a forum filled with wannabe bros bragging about their sexual conquests? And who then treat that as a totalizing narrative on getting women?

            Inevitable failure modes are inevitable.

            But anyway, blah blah blah. Nerds will pontificate about lives they have not lived. News at 11.

            Someone needs to actually help these guys, you know, not just as an ego trip.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to LeeEsq
        Ignored
        says:

        Why do you think that is?Report

  6. Avatar Saul Degraw
    Ignored
    says:

    Does the manosphere have anything to do with Manwichs?

    I don’t think you are describing anything new. I’ve seen Internet articles about alpha and beta males from years before 4chan and years before Gamergate and what you are terming the manosphere. I am pretty sure that Usenet had a ton of similar discussions during the pre-AOL days.

    I also don’t see what this has to do with Intellectualism except in maybe taking some theories and jargon for academia. I would call it “intellectualism” though with the scare quotes. The scare quotes are necessary.

    Lee is probably on the right track. These are guys who are feeling lonely and hopeless and because they don’t have the best economic prospects, they might not be able to seek professional help and result to study and self-therapy to explain their world and find some solace to their lot in life.Report

  7. Avatar LWA
    Ignored
    says:

    Architects tend to fall victim to this phenomenon- retreating into our world of overly dense arguments to convince ourselves that our work is terrific, and its rejection by society is Exhibit A for why this is so.
    Its not new- Mark Twain famously remarked that “Wagner’s music is better than it sounds.”

    For those who want a summary of the phenomenon, read an edition of Dwell Magazine, then its parody Unhappy Hipsters. You will never be able to look at modern architecture the same way again.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to LWA
      Ignored
      says:

      I love Unhappy Hipsters! I also tend to be more of a fan of the architeture and design choices in Dwell Magazine than not. I do think that a lot of the stuff in Dwell is too stark and too spare and too white but I am still more on the modern side than the Victorian bric-a-brac side.Report

  8. Avatar Saul Degraw
    Ignored
    says:

    Another thing I think people on blogs tend to do is over-state the power of blogs and blogging and on-line media in general. ProPublica is pretty cool but it was still the NY Times that managed to get Starbucks to abandon clopening. Can anyone tell me about a real world change from an on-line story. Justine Sacco and similar examples are just the on-line mob.

    This is what is so perplexing to me about the on-line writing economy especially with twitter. There seem to be a handful of freelance writers who earn livings from articles but also spend a lot of time just reading each other and tweeting to each other back and forth all day. Sometimes as allies, sometimes as critics/frenemies.

    I believe that one blogged (Jonathan Bernstein) made occasional reminders to his audience that they were all kind of weird for reading and making comments.

    Things like the Federalist, Gamergate, Jacobin, Jezebel, Gawker TPM, Washington Free Beacon, the Daily Caller, LGM, and our own OT seem very important to us (and they are important to us). But even with the Boston Magazine article, I bet that very few people could tell you who Zoe Quinn was. I’d bet that a lot of people found out about Gamergate for the first time from the article even though the initial eruption as months ago.Report

    • Avatar KatherineMW in reply to Saul Degraw
      Ignored
      says:

      Can anyone tell me about a real world change from an on-line story.

      There are lots of claims that John Oliver’s piece on net neutrality (viewable on HBO and YouTube; given the cost of HBO, most people probably saw it on the latter) was a major turning point in rallying the public opinion and outcry that got the FCC to change its mind.Report

      • Avatar Mo in reply to KatherineMW
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        says:

        HBO is not online* and while many internet people may have seen it on YouTube, the type of people in the halls of power and who write for publications like the NYT and WSJ likely watched it on HBO directly. HBO punches far above its weight in influence, see: the Sopranos, the Wire, etc.

        * I do not mean this as HBO is not actually online, but as its nexusReport

        • Avatar KatherineMW in reply to Mo
          Ignored
          says:

          Its influence wasn’t via the people in the halls of power. Its influence was via the general public (because it was a video that explained net neutrality in layman’s terms), who took an interest in the issue and made it clear to the FCC that they were in favour of net neutrality.Report

  9. Avatar Mike Schilling
    Ignored
    says:

    there is much talk of alpha males and beta males

    And calling the rest of us sheep, making us think “What dull teeth you have, Gamma!”Report

  10. Avatar Saul Degraw
    Ignored
    says:

    Since everyone is confessing their intellectual weak spots mine is going into arts mode when analyzing all entertainment. I just saw Avengers 2 and it was fine and not boring but I would not call it a masterpiece of cinema. I often forget that people just want entertaining and they don’t always want transcendence or thought-provoking.

    Yet Superhero movies seem to be entering a phase of decadence and sensory overload. They also never seem to lose any money. Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer was a flop for merely making back its budget.Report

  11. Avatar Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    The piece was full of clever and highly intellectual observations

    This is something that afflicts Philosophy Departments as well (though, certainly, not only Philosophy Departments and, of course, #NotAllPhilosophyStudents).

    “Clever” starts to be seen as a virtue in its own right. When “right” and “wrong” are fluid (or in the realm of taste rather than the realm of morality (or in the fuzzy area in between)), “Clever” becomes the new measure of merit.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Jaybird
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      says:

      Isn’t this called being too clever by a half?Report

    • Avatar Chris in reply to Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      I don’t think this is cleverness for cleverness’s sake, or an intellectual who likes the sound of his own thinking; this is very conscious manipulation. It says “This is different, so it breaks the ordinary,” but says so in a way that isn’t meant to sound really smart, but really confident, and therefore to stave of the obvious questions: how does difference eliminate meaning? how does the unusual undermine the usual? why is the meaning of parenthood entirely contained, or at least entirely dependent on, this one aspect of it? These and other questions, the answers to which the validity of his anargued assertions depend, are left entirely unanswered.Report

    • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      “Tyler, you are by far the most interesting single-serving friend I’ve ever had.”
      “What’s that?”
      “You see, it’s when–”
      “Oh no no, I get it. Very clever. How’s that working out for you?”
      “What?”
      “Being clever.”
      “It’s all right, I guess.”
      “Keep it up, then.”Report

  12. Avatar KatherineMW
    Ignored
    says:

    Michael Ignatieff comes to mind. Very smart man who made an Intellectual argument in favour of the War in Iraq, and after everything fell apart he wrote an newspaper editorial saying, in essence, “Well, I was wrong, but my arguments were still better than those of the anti-war people, and I was still smarter than them.”

    Most of neoliberalism strikes me as being the same way. You can claim it’s beneficial, you can rally a bunch of statistical analyses, but when people actually go to developing countries and see how mass budget cuts to health care and large-scale layoffs and rising prices of necessities affect poor people, they can see it’s for the worse. It’s why you’ve got an array of people like Joseph Stiglitz who walked away from the World Bank when they saw what all the pretty theories were doing to people in the real world.Report

  13. Avatar Mike Schilling
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    says:

    Here is a wonderful example of what Tod’s talking about: someone claiming that his economic beliefs are provable from pure logic, and that it’s stupid and pointless to check them against the real world.Report

  14. Avatar zic
    Ignored
    says:

    I wonder here if there’s some negative-space argument going on, and if this type of argument is becoming a thought habit; perceived as a valid reason?

    I’m not sure negative-space argument is the correct term, but it’s sorta like, “I don’t like Obama, and Obama supports SSM and families, so I must not like SSM and families. And if I don’t like that, and don’t want to be like that, most everyone else must be like that, and do distinguish ourselves from the things we don’t like we don’t embrace or do those things; and so now, with SSM, we’ve gotta stop marrying and having kids.”

    Or something. It’s guilt by association.

    I do think the negative-space argument is blossoming in with all the fertilizer of divided politics; I see a lot of it from liberals who don’t like my state’s TP-blessed governor; too; who’s best ideas don’t get any consideration. (My favorite was the suggestion to HS and 2 yrs of community college combine, over a 5-year period; you graduate with both an HS diploma and associates degree. Never got debated the way it ought to have been, because HE suggested it.)Report

  15. Avatar Road Scholar
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    says:

    Bear with me on this comment because I’m mentally groping a bit and I haven’t worked out a “me talk pretty” version of this… but the Shafer piece bothers me in the same way that the Catholic position on contraception bothers me. It seems oddly ass-backwards from the perspective of someone who you would expect to hold that human beings are God’s “Special Creation.”

    Ethics, virtue, morality, aesthetics… are all particularly human things. My cat, for instance, possesses none of these things. Animals operate strictly on instinct. So, for instance, for an animal the act of eating is simply about continued survival, fueling the machine. But for a human a meal has an element of the aesthetic. A fine meal is more than just calories and protein; the flavor, the appearance, the presentation all contribute to the experience. And “breaking bread” has a communal, interpersonal aspect completely apart from “fueling the machine.” The Last Supper and the sacrament of Communion have very little if anything to do with satisfying hunger and thirst.

    So it’s always struck me as curious that in this one area of life — sexual activity — that such emphasis is placed on the base, biological imperative of reproduction. Over thirty years of marriage there was only a brief period, when we were actively trying to get pregnant with our first child, that the underlying biological mechanics had a damn thing to do with why we were having sex together. Shafer’s — and the Catholic Church’s — logic would render all the many thousands of other times we have made love over the years as just meaningless mutual masturbation rather than as expressions of our love for each other and an important part of the glue for our relationship.

    I also find it deeply offensive, as an uncle to thirteen nieces and nephews, that Shafer’s logic would hold that almost half of them (six) are somehow lesser, a violation of some natural/spiritual law. Because in every single one of those cases the bonds to the biological parentage were quite deliberately sundered to be replaced with the bonds of chosen, non-biological, “artificial” parentage.

    The logic presented doesn’t fail because it proves too little; it fails because it claims entirely too much. It’s one of those arguments that can only really be just a rationalization for an underlying emotional intuition that screams, “Wrong, wrong, wrong!”Report

    • Avatar CK MacLeod in reply to Road Scholar
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      says:

      Road Scholar: So it’s always struck me as curious that in this one area of life — sexual activity — that such emphasis is placed on the base, biological imperative of reproduction. Over thirty years of marriage there was only a brief period, when we were actively trying to get pregnant with our first child, that the underlying biological mechanics had a damn thing to do with why we were having sex together.

      Assuming your efforts were successful, does it similarly strike you as “curious” that during that “brief period,” or during the briefest of moments during that brief period, a child would be conceived who uniquely possessed shares of genetic material contributed by each of his or her two parents, producing and broadly defining the physical being or potential of that child for all of its life, which in turn may be passed on as a semblance, in a unique mode of an overcoming of mortality? Is that fact or notion, however you put it to yourself, meaningful to you at all, or would you have been entirely satisfied, once fertilization was complete and pregnancy and labor had run their course, you and/or your wife were handed a chit exchangeable for one (1) child to be selected from the communal creche according to some rationale other than the old-fashioned notion that it was “your” child? If not, why not? Does, in your view, an interest in, according to this old-fashioned notion of a special attachment between genetically related kin, especially between parents and children, represent an insult to adoptees? Is a father’s fascination with his son’s resemblance to himself or to other members of his or the mother’s family, or a daughter’s fascination with her ancestry, something trivial or even shameful or distasteful, unmentionable in polite company, or representative of primitive folk belief that deserves to be abandoned, left behind in the childhood of the human race? Should adoptive children who seek out their “birthparents” be treated as irrational, and be embarrassed to devote emotions and resources to finding or even re-connecting with them? Does recognizing a significance in biological kinship – as immediately constituting a bond that traditionally one might kill or die for, rather than violate, or depend on in extremis, implying responsibilities and aspirations that might shape an entire lifetime or multiple lives all on the basis of that briefest of moments – represent “deeply offensive” cruelty toward any of the individuals who have testified here about their own different experiences as adoptees, or adoptive parents, or gay parents or friends of gay parents?

      The “norm” of the complementarist relationship as second nature in relation to the biological facts as they actually arise, concretely in the lives of real human beings, over the course of generations and throughout society, not just in some brief moment, is or should remain the core of the familial bond, not in some exclusive way, but as a foundation. It deserves respect and where responsibly maintained even reverence. The non-fertile marriage, the post-fertile marriage, gay marriage, formation of families by adoption – all of these and perhaps other alternative family forms should be “adopted,” with appropriate care into an institution that for the most fundamental reasons, including the sheer weight of practice – a kind of sociobiological force of gravity that is as easy to discount or forget as the physical force of gravity – will continue to derive from that old-fashioned “conception.”

      The alternative is for SSM is to depend on an ideological alliance with what Shafer calls the “commercialization of sexual reproduction” and with a state apparatus that may be removed, or be thought removed, from the “marriage business,” but remains, because it has no other purpose, deeply involved with the social self-reproduction business. There are several reasons – practical, political-strategic, and moral – why this alternative might someday be seen as a poor choice for SSM proponents.Report

      • Avatar DavidTC in reply to CK MacLeod
        Ignored
        says:

        @ck-macleod
        Is that fact or notion, however you put it to yourself, meaningful to you at all, or would you have been entirely satisfied, once fertilization was complete and pregnancy and labor had run their course, you and/or your wife were handed a chit exchangeable for one (1) child to be selected from the communal creche according to some rationale other than the old-fashioned notion that it was “your” child?

        Yeah, all you fools with adoptive children, sucks to be you. Everyone knows you aren’t *really* happy with your kid.Report

      • Avatar DavidTC in reply to CK MacLeod
        Ignored
        says:

        @ck-macleod
        Should adoptive children who seek out their “birthparents” be treated as irrational, and be embarrassed to devote emotions and resources to finding or even re-connecting with them?

        Incidentally, where are you coming up with these strawmen, anyway? I would have assumed the article invented them, but I’m pretty certain I’ve seen them before from you.

        Is there a canonical list somewhere? Can we add to it?

        I want to add: ‘Should straight people be jailed for not allowing others to adopt their children?’Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Road Scholar
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      says:

      In theory, I suppose I can understand how someone might say “it is better for kids to be raised by their own parents than to be adopted out” without getting all huffy about it. I imagine that the person saying such a thing is comparing a child being raised in a middle-class WASPy home with a brother and sister and a dog and a cat to that of the proverbial red-headed stepchild. The deck is stacked, but there were a lot of people out there who were raised in middle-class WASPy homes and there are people who say stuff like “beaten like a red-headed stepchild” to this very day.

      But to create a deliberate policy from that that says “people shouldn’t adopt, we should have orphanages” is to make a leap that *IN NO FRIGGING WAY* is justified by the best possible interpretation of acknowledging that it’s probably better to be raised in a middle-class WASPy home than in a miscellaneous lower-class one… ignoring the *HUGE* number of people I know that have been adopted and consider their adopted parents to be their “real” parents.

      Denial of SSM is to come out and say “we prefer orphanages to adoption” with regards to same-sex couples. You don’t get to even *TRY* for a heartwarming success story. And this ignores the huge number of people I know that have divorced parents (that had marriages acknowledged by the government and everything) that refer to, for example, the father as “the sperm donor” or the mother, for example, as “the incubator” as they forged ahead on their new lives with their single parent (who may or may not have went on to recouple).

      I can understand, in theory, saying that an A+ is better than a B+. Sure. I can even understand saying that, in theory, Nature provided us the example of the A+ for centuries. Sure. I can’t, from there, get to “therefore we, as a society, ought to have a policy that says you shouldn’t have the option of trying for a B+”.

      There are too many danged Fs out there for us to be so willing to forbid B+es.Report

      • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Jaybird
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        says:

        Jaybird, I understand what you’re doing, but a lot of us take issue with the idea that adoption *is* the B+. Often times, especially with parents that voluntarily gave up their rights, adoptive families are *better* than the ‘original family’ would have been.

        In fact, it actually pretty easy to demonstrate, statistically, that adoptive families have *better outcomes* than biological ones. Although that’s because they only let specific people adopt children, and everyone does it on purpose.

        Let’s stop assuming that adopted families are somehow starting behind but could end up just as good as real families. That is, in pretty much every way, complete bullshit. The actual fact is that a lot of biological families are often…sorta shitty and happened by chance. And adoptive families are carefully planned and go through a review process.

        If we had some sort of parallel universe viewer, in a majority of cases where parents seriously considering giving their kids up for adoption, the parallel universe where the kid *was* given up for adoption and got adopted ended better for him than the universe where they kept the kid, because any parent considering that choice sees some huge problems in the future. (Of course, the universe where he was given up and *didn’t* get adopted wasn’t that awesome, but I don’t think anyone’s arguing that.)Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to DavidTC
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          says:

          I have friends who have adopted children and friends who are adopted children themselves and I don’t know a single one who has said something to the effect of “I really want to know who my biological parents are”. Every single one, without exception, has treated their adopted parents as the “real” ones. (Granted, some of the adopted children I know are not yet old enough to experience that particular existential crisis quite yet.)

          On the other hand, I know quite a few people who were not adopted and who were treated quite shabbily by their biological parents.

          I know (though, thankfully, not through direct experience) that it doesn’t take much for adopted parents to exceed the baseline set by biology.

          But, you know, saying “let’s assume what you say is true and go from there” is a darn useful rhetorical tool.

          I apologize if I offended you (or anyone out there who may have been reading). I didn’t intend to impugn adoptive parents (or children). If I raised hackles, I’m sorry.Report

          • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Jaybird
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            says:

            No, I’m not offended, Jaybird, I understood what you were doing: ‘Even if this stupid thing was true, it doesn’t prove what you’re saying.’ If I sounded a little pissy, it’s because @ck-macleod keeps insulting adoptive parents in every one of these discussions.

            I just wanted to make sure at some point, we did acknowledge that the stupid thing is, in fact, sorta stupid on its own.

            There’s literally no evidence that children are worse off being by raised by adoptive parents, compared to children raised by biological parents. There is, in fact, plenty of evidence the *other direction*, although presumably a lot of that is due to selection bias in the selection of adoptive parents. (I just had a government background check, not because I want to adopt, not because I want to foster kids, but so I could *babysit* for my mother’s foster kids. Oddly, I’ve been baby sitting for my nieces and nephews for years without that.)

            Yet all these anti-SSM people just seem to keep *assuming* this is not only true, that biological parents are objective somehow better, but it’s *so* true we don’t even need it explained or explicitly stated.

            Interesting fact: Two decades ago, anti-SSM people were *really careful* about this, making sure that the emphasis was on ‘children raised by both a man and women do better than those raised by only one gender’, and they were *of course* in favor of adoption by married straight couples, which they very strongly agreed was just as good as anything else. So their attack only crapped on single parents, but that was okay…or at least, it was back then. Maybe. Murphy Brown notwithstanding.

            Nowadays, *that* attack doesn’t work so well, considering that one third of children are raised by single parents. (And people probably noticed that comparing two parents to one parent was a pretty stupid comparison.) And thus…the current stupidity, which craps on less than 10% of families.Report

            • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to DavidTC
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              says:

              I”ve been allowed to raise two children based only on my genetic relationship to them and not having attracted the attention of CPS. I had to pass a background check in order to be able to send email to another group of children telling them which games they were unpiring.Report

          • Avatar Chris in reply to Jaybird
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            says:

            Probably worth noting that the Federalist essay isn’t about adoption, and actually contrasts what it is about (various forms of artificial insemination and surrogacy) with adoption. It’s offensive, but not to adopters or adoptees.

            It’s also not an even remotely new position, as anyone who’s read the (mostly) conservative Evangelical arguments against artificial insemination from back when it was new will recognize, if he or she can make it through the manipulative language.Report

            • Avatar CK MacLeod in reply to Chris
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              says:

              Chris: Probably worth noting that the Federalist essay isn’t about adoption, and actually contrasts what it is about (various forms of artificial insemination and surrogacy) with adoption.

              But, you know, to recognize that fact – which anyone who knew the first thing about social conservatives and their attitude towards adoption would also have assumed – you might actually have to extend yourself to click a finger on a link and spend some time reading, instead of indulging in risible speculation at length, based on a couple of selective and mischaracterized excerpts.Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to CK MacLeod
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                says:

                Yeah, perhaps the one thing I agree with you in this case is that either Tod didn’t represent the essay well, or people commenting here didn’t read/understand Tod’s piece, much less the essay to which it is a response. The fact that the comments here have by and large not touched on anything said in that essay, but have criticized it for things it did not say at all, makes it clear that one of those two things must be true. Since Tod mentions adoption, I don’t think he is entirely without blame, but the commenters deserve their fair share as well.Report

              • Avatar CK MacLeod in reply to Chris
                Ignored
                says:

                (Thanks for that much at least, @chris You make me gladder that I have withheld a response to your accusing Shafer of “sophistry,” and I’m encouraged also to refrain for now from responding to Our Tod. I do feel I owe Trizzlor a direct reply, however, and with that I hope I will be able to suspend participation in this discussion for a while.)Report

              • Avatar CK MacLeod in reply to Chris
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                says:

                (Oh, and I’m really sorry about the dreadful misspelling of “hetaerism” – twas awful of me and has led to totally out-of-control knock-on effects.)Report

              • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Chris
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                says:

                @chris I will certainly cop to being heavy handed, flip, and casually dismissive. Perhaps annoyingly, I apologize for none of that, for the exact same reason I would never apologize for taking an argument from Jason, Tim, or Burt extremely seriously. You and I may disagree about the extent to which that judgement on my part is deserved, obviously.

                On the other hand, I must disagree with your notion that I pulled adoption out of thin air.

                Consider:

                “Thereby do these people manipulate children into existence in a manner divorced from marital love, in which adults intend to deprive them of relationship with or knowledge of at least one, and perhaps both, of their biological parents, as well as their extended kin.”

                “So by redefining marriage, the law must make some other moves, too: among which is valorizing the technological and other innovative takes on parenthood, equalizing their status with that of the natural-relational process.”

                “Rather than a child’s dissociation from parents being a tragedy, it is a necessity and design feature of the same-sex regime.”

                Etc., etc.

                The fact that Shafer does not cop to the fact that he is in fact describing adoption — and he absolutely is by pretty much any metric — does not mean that he is not doing so. (Or are all the same sex couples out there raising families all growing clones from test tubes, or some other noticeably unnamed process of using eggs and sperm in a what that does not involve “natural” parents?)

                Share did not choose to make his an argument against IVF, “test tube babies,” surrogate mothers, or the future possibility of clones. He chose to make it an argument against homosexual couples — not in the future, but today — who raise children.

                So while he may not have used the word “adoption,” the notion that he never argued against it (at least where same sex couples are concerned) is something I file under “don’t piss on my leg and tell me that it’s raining. Of course he did — over and over.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Tod Kelly
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                says:

                Yeah, his article specifically mentions “Commercially arranged reproduction” which is, I suppose, the “we want a new car with this particular package” version of adoption versus the old way of adopting which was to visit the used car lot and see what was there.

                I suppose I could see arguing that the latter is preferable to the former. How, in a country with children in orphanages, people shouldn’t be creating custom children out of thin air in order to adopt a baby.

                It’s difficult to avoid the question of “why shouldn’t newly married couples adopt instead of having children? Other than the fact that she was 4 months pregnant at the wedding, I mean?” if you ask that one, though.

                Do we want to ask that question? How much of the married couple’s business is my business?Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                I think we should ask that question.

                Added: it is a question that I have primarily heard addressed by Evangelicals.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chris
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                says:

                I would never, eeeeeever, feel comfortable asking people why they had children instead of adopting.

                Where in the hell would I get the right to ask that? “On behalf of the unadopted out there” is the only answer that might make sense but we’re well into “why haven’t you done this thing that I also haven’t done?” territory there and, to be honest, the question of “why haven’t you and Maribou adopted children? There are plenty out there that could use a couple of DINKs!” is one that I don’t think that others have the standing to ask.Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                People should ask that question of themselve.

                Added: it doesn’t have to be an either or.Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to Tod Kelly
                Ignored
                says:

                I don’t blame you for being flip. In fact, you took it much more seriously than I did (see my descriptions of the essay elsewhere in this thread). However, those quotes only apply to adoption of divorced from the context in which he explicitly related them to IVF and surrogacy. He says, quite explicitly, that it is the creation of the life, not the adoption, that is the flexion point.Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to Chris
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                says:

                I’d add that, if we were to take his entirely unargued conclusions seriously, we’d probably be able to extend them, with a trivial amount of effort, to non-procreative sex as well.

                And one last thing: this (the Federalist piece) is the sort of essay you get as a last desperate attempts to stem an overwhelming tide of opinion that disagrees with you. It’s so awful because it has no other recourse.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Chris
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                says:

                I’d add that, if we were to take his entirely unargued conclusions seriously, we’d probably be able to extend them, with a trivial amount of effort, to non-procreative sex as well.

                …you might have just described something very close to, but not exactly, the Catholic Church’s position.

                And one last thing: this (the Federalist piece) is the sort of essay you get as a last desperate attempts to stem an overwhelming tide of opinion that disagrees with you. It’s so awful because it has no other recourse.

                Yeah. It’s flailing about and hitting adoptive parents in the face by accident.

                What’s even more absurd: Adoption literally is older than marriage (As in, even animals that don’t pair-bond will do it.) and is nearly identical across cultures, much more identical than these marriage laws that have supposedly always been between a man and a woman.

                Pretty much every culture says ‘You can choose to bring an already-existing child into your family, and we will treat them *exactly* as if your family gave birth to them’. In fact, many cultures let you add family members in *other* ways, like blood brothers and stuff. But *all* of them let you add children, because there is a specific universal problem of what to do with children without parents, and everyone came up with the same solution. (I’m sure there were some ‘Throw them off cliff’ cultures, but, luckily, that’s an evolutionary stupid strategy.)

                And in basically every culture, people who treat some of their own children as *not* their children just because they’re not biologically related are called…well…villains. Aka, ‘the evil step-mother’. This, also, has been a norm in human behavior for as long as I’m aware.

                There’s a concept, on TV Tropes, called the ‘Godzilla threshold’. The point that you’re losing so badly you’re willing to go get Godzilla to fight whatever the problem is. Where literally *anything* is acceptable, because otherwise you lose and everyone dies.

                I think we passed that point with gay marriage about..two years ago, was it?Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Tod Kelly
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                says:

                You left out the most blatantly insulting to adoptive kids:

                That means the law must ratify as normative—not tragic or exceptional—both adoption and the technological production of children from gametes and bodies gathered from outside the partners’ union. In such case, the law denies (among other things) that children’s identity is, in any sense that could be legally prioritized, as the natural issue of the joining of their mother and father.

                Remember, adoptive kids loved by your parents: Your life is tragic, *and* that’s not your real identity. Your *real* identity is someone else. That other identity should take legal priority, and the fact it *doesn’t* is a shame.

                Like I said elsewhere, conservatives *used* to be very, very careful about their phrasing here. Carefully riding the line by trying insist that biological relationships are very very important…but, of course, adoption by a straight couple is just as good. This made very little sense, but they managed to, barely, keep from saying outright offensive things. (They reserved those for single parents.)

                They…sorta stopped walking that line, apparently. Now they have nothing but disapproval of adoption. The fig leaf somehow got misplaced.

                And so conservatives continue piling up more people in the ‘Groups that will never forget how conservatives treated them and will never, *ever* vote for them’Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to DavidTC
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                says:

                Yeah, that’s one of the many inargued assertions, designed to scare merely by being mentioned. Sophistry.

                And “tragic” is definitely a horrible word choice there, though in keeping with his other word choices as scare tactics.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to CK MacLeod
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              says:

              I should amend my statement. As I’ve grown older, I know that some of my adopted friends wanted to know if they were going to be at higher risk for heart disease or breast cancer or what have you. With those caveats, none have seen their biological parents as particularly interesting.

              They know that they were probably Vietnamese Children of the Dust, or the offspring of teenage mothers here in the states, or some other unfortunate origin…

              But let’s look at this site.

              •Between two and four percent of all adoptees searched in the year 1990. (American Adoption Congress, 1996)

              That’s not that many. Even if it’s twice-and-a-half the high end — ten percent — it’s not that many.

              •A survey conducted in the late 1980’s estimated that 500,000 adult adoptees were seeking or have found their birth families. (Groza and Rosenberg, 1998)

              That number seems… high. I’m looking for the number of children adopted in any given year an, in 2012, it was 7,000. Divide 500,000 by 7,000 and you get, um, 500 divided by 7, pretend it’s 490… that’d take 70 years to get 500,000 adopted kids.

              Might as well Google… it says that there are six million adoptees in the country according to (Fisher, 2002), whomever that is. It doesn’t say how many of them are adults.

              Let’s assume that since we’re talking about decades of data here, we can shave off one sixth of those as being children, leaving five million adult adoptees.

              That’s 10 percent.

              Does that strike you as that many? I’m still willing to run with 10 percent not being that many.

              •The psychological literature has established that the desire of 60 to 90 percent of adoptees wanting to obtain identifying information regarding their biological parents is a normative aspect of being adopted. (American Adoption Congress, 1996)

              Does that include stuff like “risk of heart disease”? If so, I ain’t surprised.

              •In a comprehensive study of the issues involved in adoption, the Maine Department of Human Resources Task Force on Adoption found in 1989 that every birth parent who was surveyed wanted to be found by the child/adult they had placed for adoption and 95% of the adoptees who were surveyed expressed a desire to be found by their birth parents. 98% of the adoptive parents supported reunions between their adopted child and members of the adoptee’s birth family. (CWLA, 1998)

              95%? That’s… uncannily high. “Expressed a desire”… what does that mean? On a scale of 1-7, anything 5, 6, or 7 counted? “Be found by”? Does that mean “I wouldn’t mind if my biological parents found out that I was still alive”? If so, 95% seems about right to me.

              They don’t have links to these studies. Googling shows people making reference to it the same way that this page does… but the article itself doesn’t seem to appear online.

              •Sachdev’s 1991 study found that a substantial majority of birth mothers (85.5%) and adoptees (81.1%) supported access by adult adoptees to identifying information about their birth parents. (CWLA, 1998)

              Does this include stuff like “at risk for breast cancer”? Again, this doesn’t surprise me.

              •Avery’s 1996 research on the attitudes of adoptive parents in New York regarding access to identifying information found that 84% of the adoptive mothers and 73% of the adoptive fathers agreed or strongly agreed that an adult adoptee should be able to obtain identifying information on his or her birth parents. (CWLA, 1998)

              If this includes stuff like “medical info”, then let me say that *I* am in support of it.

              This data is interesting but I’d like to see the papers themselves to clarify the uncertainty about what seem to be weasel words in the phrasing.Report

              • Avatar veronica d in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                @jaybird — These stats are interesting, but as you say, what does it mean in concrete terms? I have a passing interest in finding my birth mother, insofar as it would be interesting to know that part of my story. How did I get here? What was my bio-dad like? Why didn’t bio-mom keep me? A bunch of questions.

                But my mom is my mom and my dad is my dad, and if someone would try to spin this desire to know birth-mom as somehow diminishing the quality of my adoptive family — well, why would they think that? Does knowing this other person who played such a singular role in my existence do the slightest thing to diminish the profound love I got from my adoptive (read: real) parents?

                OMG! Why would anyone even imagine that?

                23 pairs. One person might see that as profound, the next person as banal. I don’t think there is a correct answer here.Report

  16. Avatar Oscar Gordon
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    says:

    +1Report

  17. Avatar Barry
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    says:

    I disagree with the premise of the original post. I the author at First Things was not misled by ‘Intellecualism’, but had a conclusion, and marshaled intellectual-sounding argument-like word groups to support that conclusion.Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Barry
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      says:

      argument-like word groups

      That’s well-said. Something that’s gotten too little attention here is how badly the piece is written: both the prose, full of poor grammar and unnecessary complexity, and the argumentation: all assertions with no supporting evidence, and at a level so abstract that the math can’t be checked: its assertions don’t describe anything verifiable. The disagreement we’ve had here about whether he’s disparaging adoption didn’t arise because some people didn’t read it; they arose because it’s written so unclearly that it’s impossible to tell exactly what he means. other than disapproving of SSM.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Mike Schilling
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        says:

        all assertions with no supporting evidence

        No one has said this! Repeatedly. 😉Report

        • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Chris
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          says:

          I said too little, not none 🙂Report

        • Avatar CK MacLeod in reply to Chris
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          says:

          That you persist in making this claim I find somewhat bewildering. Your initial claim to this effect was, I thought, obviously faulty, since you selected an expanded re-statement by Shafer of his thesis, so abstract and rhetorical according to its proper function, attached to an evidentiary prologue by a significant and obvious initial “[t]hereby.” This three-sentence statement was followed by an additional set of observations, relating to the poignant tale of one Elton John and his child’s missing “mummy,” also intended to support the writer’s argument.Report

          • Avatar Chris in reply to CK MacLeod
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            says:

            Right, he restates the same thesis repeatedly. There is no argument. The closest the article comes to that is the quote at the beginning, which is limited and mostly also a statement of the position.

            There is no argument in the piece. Not even the semblance of one.Report

            • Avatar CK MacLeod in reply to Chris
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              says:

              Now you have shifted, Chris, from saying that he makes unevidenced assertions to the claim that he makes no argument – not even the semblance of one – which is a different claim.

              His argument can, I believe, be stated simply:

              1) In order to produce legal equality, according to a particular definition of equality, between marriage forms, under the presumption that recognition of marriage means recognition of all rights related to child custody, it is necessary to derogate any definition of marriage that privileges so-called natural or biological ties between parents and children.

              2) This derogation or deprecation of the procreative concept, pursued in this way, is not and cannot be restricted to a simple question of formal recognition of marriages, but has and must have effects throughout law and society, since presumptions related to the privileging or prioritization of procreation or of biological relationships between parents and children inform law and custom systematically.

              3) The consequences of adopting this approach would be (and to the extent it has already been adopted already are) undesirable in ways that proponents of same sex marriage are unwilling to acknowledge.

              His further claim external to the main argument is that, even though the consequences will be bad ones, and though the positions in the law that it will require may eventually be found untenable, we appear to be going ahead anyway. Whether there might be alternatives other than complete rejection of the same sex marriage proposal (and other than the complete rejection of what he calls “commercially arranged reproduction) is a question that he does not address, a defect that, like some of his ill-chosen language, makes the piece more easily dismissable by his political adversaries and especially by those determined to give it a hostile reading (no matter how absurd).

              Incidentally, the essay he references from Velleman is readily available on line. Though Velleman takes a while to get to his point, I think he writes much more judiciously than Shafer does: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/Delivery.cfm/SSRN_ID2088329_code851409.pdf?abstractid=2088329&mirid=5Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to CK MacLeod
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                says:

                Now you have shifted, Chris, from saying that he makes unevidenced assertions to the claim that he makes no argument – not even the semblance of one – which is a different claim.

                I suggest you look through this thread, and see that what I say, repeatedly, is that he makes unargued assertions. I don’t think I used the word “evidence” once, except in the quote above which allowed me to joke that someone had been saying something like that (namely, me).

                In order to produce legal equality, according to a particular definition of equality, between marriage forms, under the presumption that recognition of marriage means recognition of all rights related to child custody, it is necessary to derogate any definition of marriage that privileges so-called natural or biological ties between parents and children.

                Unargued assertion.

                This derogation or deprecation of the procreative concept, pursued in this way, is not and cannot be restricted to a simple question of formal recognition of marriages, but has and must have effects throughout law and society, since presumptions related to the privileging or prioritization of procreation or of biological relationships between parents and children inform law and custom systematically

                Not simply unargued, but its connection to the previous assertion is unargued as well.

                The consequences of adopting this approach would be (and to the extent it has already been adopted already are) undesirable in ways that proponents of same sex marriage are unwilling to acknowledg

                Unargued assertion, and an empirical claim (so in this case, yes, he has provided no real evidence).

                Again, simply stating the positions is not an argument. He has a complex (as in not one-part), three part conclusion (four parts, if you include the last bit about moving forward), and has stated it at length, without providing any reasons for us to believe him. Since his conclusion is that we should not extend marital rights to individuals, it seems reasonable to demand that he provide reasons for us to believe him. Instead, he’s basically just used scary words.Report

              • Avatar CK MacLeod in reply to Chris
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                says:

                That is an absurd, or nonsensical, or, to re-invoke the description you applied initially, sophistic reply.

                To attack a claim as merely asserted or “unargued” – or assertoric – is to imply that it had been made without supporting argumentation or evidence. I have outlined the argument, and I have referred to evidence. The outline of an argument, like the provision of a thesis statement, necessarily awaits whatever support, by logic and evidence, it may receive. To criticize an outline of an argument for not itself providing the argument in full or to criticize a thesis for not also providing its proof at the same time it is uttered is absurd. It is to criticize a statement intended for one purpose for not being a different statement of a different type intended for a different purpose, as though every statement to qualify as a valid statement must carry the entirety of whatever argument it is a part of.Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to CK MacLeod
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                says:

                It’s not at all sophistical. He doesn’t provide any more argumentation than you do. He simply states the position. It is not an argument, and it is unargued. If you disagree, show me the argument for each of the conclusions you’ve described above, and the arguments for the connections between them, in his piece.

                Again, they’re not there.Report

              • Avatar j r in reply to CK MacLeod
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                says:

                @ck-macleod

                2) This derogation or deprecation of the procreative concept, pursued in this way, is not and cannot be restricted to a simple question of formal recognition of marriages, but has and must have effects throughout law and society, since presumptions related to the privileging or prioritization of procreation or of biological relationships between parents and children inform law and custom systematically.

                You are complicating this much more than it has to be. As you point out, Shafer tries to make an argument that legal recognition of same-sex marriage necessitates some “derogation or depreciation” of so-called traditional marriage (and let’s put aside that any real excavation of the history of marriage should make us suspicious about claims regarding what traditional is). As @chris has pointed out, however, Shafer never actually makes an argument. He simply makes an assertion.

                Further, his assertion, is almost completely a matter of grammar. He has simply decided that a society that does not extend some special legal and moral place to male-female, procreation-centered marriage has debased itself in some way. Once he’s defined the outcome as undesirable, he simply reasons backwards that the means must be undesirable.

                You third point is where all the action is. The rest is just bad foreplay. Tell me what these undesirable effects are. Show me proof. If you can’t do that, then you’re just engaging in the intellectual-ism that @tod-kelly points out.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to j r
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                says:

                @j-r
                Further, his assertion, is almost completely a matter of grammar.

                Indeed. It’s the anti-SSM trick of trying to define marriage as X, and thus making it X+Y means it’s not marriage. He takes that to the next logical step, of defining someone’s ‘children’ as ‘only biological offspring’, and thus because SSM tries to define children as ‘any child people raise’, redefining children so much they don’t exist.

                Although, confusingly, ‘offspring’ is probably the word he wants there. Maybe. He’s not arguing that ‘children’, as in, young humans’, don’t exist, he’s arguing that the idea of someone *having* children has been redefined so much it’s no longer the same thing. That children no longer exist as *offspring* of people, but as unconnected entities.

                That is, I think, what is actually being argued there. It is as near as I can make out.

                And this is…uh…really really stupid. It is possible to argue, historically, that the rules of marriage *generally* restrict it to one man and one woman.

                It is, however, utterly absurd to pretend that the rules of parenthood restrict it to biological offspring. An adult taking non-biologically-related children into their own family and raising them as their own is a concept that literally predates civilization. *Penguins* do it.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to DavidTC
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                says:

                The problem isn’t with adoption qua adoption, it’s with the whole issue of paying someone who isn’t pregnant to become pregnant on one’s behalf and then provide the child to the paying customer.

                If Elton John had gone to the orphanage and picked out a couple of kids, that’d be okay (presumably).

                As it is, he had a child created out of whole cloth. Which is seen as sufficiently different from old-school adoption to merit criticism.

                While I kind of agree that it feels intuitively different from just hopping down to the orphan store and seeing what’s available (“Do you have one like that without ears that stick out?”), I’d kind of like evidence that this sort of thing is a problem before I see it as something that we, as a society, ought to fix.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                If Elton John had gone to the orphanage and picked out a couple of kids, that’d be okay (presumably).

                No. Oh, I understand some people thinks that’s what he’s saying. It’s not.

                If the argument was ‘Gay and other infertile couples should adopt before working incredibly hard to create a children using themselves as biological sources’, that would be an entirely different article.

                This article was, instead, asserting that surrogate parents have resulted in…uh, I have to call it ‘the gay agenda’, because that’s what he’s talking about. Have resulted in the gay agenda trying to make non-biological parents *normal*.

                I quote ‘No child in a same-sex household derives from the relationship of the partners in that home; every such child has been torn from at least one parent. Rather than a child’s dissociation from parents being a tragedy, it is a necessity and design feature of the same-sex regime.’

                Let’s recall that ‘going to the orphanage and adopting’ results in *no* biological parents raising a child, instead of one.Report

              • Avatar CK MacLeod in reply to j r
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                says:

                In pursuit of this argument about the existence of an argument, demonstration of the provision of an argument, whether or not it is a perfectly valid or easily understood or overly complicated argument, will be dispositive.

                You, @j-r , may reject the argument in question as inadequately evidenced or not logically sound, but you yourself have just observed the argument, and therefore acknowledged the existence of the argument, in your effort to rebut it: To use your re-phrasing of my-rephrasing of Shafer’s argument: Legal recognition of same sex marriage [according to a theory of equality of marriage forms] necesitates some “derogation or deprecation” [my actual wording] of the [formerly privileged] “traditional” [your word] marriage form.

                As for the basic tenability of this argument as an argument – the possibility that it’s not “really” an argument but merely has the outward appearance of being an argument – to me, first, the fact that same sex marriage requires the removal of some element of privilege attached to opposite sex marriage approaches the self-evident. If there had been no such privileging in the law and custom, then there would be no political or legal disputes to be had, nothing for a movement to rise up to achieve, nothing to discuss at all.

                In refusing admission of same sex couples to the civil institution, the state was applying just such a privileging. Perhaps you have some alternative expression meant to describe the barriers to acceptance that gay couples faced. I am all ears. Why any proponent of same sex marriage or would-be ally of the movement would seek to deny this point, other than for purposes of proving himself or herself more pro-gay marriage than thou, under a general policy of peremptorily denying every statement made that does not seem immediately to express total commitment to and belief in the worthy cause, is beyond me. Whether the privileging in question is or was a consistently applied, or rational, or well-founded, etc., privileging is a different argument.

                As for, second, evidence for, your word, “debas[ment],” or evidence of harms, Shafer points first to the “unsettling” characteristics of “commercially arranged reproduction,” and then refers to the implications – for law and custom – of an equalization of marriage forms (under this particular approach to the idea of equality) – for instance, that we are no longer able to provide a rationale for viewing the circumstances typically leading to adoption (which Shafer, problematically compresses with the single word “adoption”) as “tragic or exceptional.” These in theory tragic or exceptional circumstance would be separation from one’s biological parents. Under the still prevailing view, “community” with one’s biological kin is taken to be positive. To remove or lack such community would therefore be negative. To make this observation is to receive from Tod the admonition that there is no need to make it at all, since no one anywhere actually thinks that there is anything wrong with attaching such values to biological kinship… until someone like DavidTC appears to accuse the person who dares to voice a preference for the same of “pissing on” adoptees.

                I’ll set that particular discussion aside for now.

                As for going any further on demonstration of harm, since Shafer is concerned in the essay mainly with questions for legal theory and the practice of the law, the harms he adduces are not, except by suggestion or implication or somewhat incidentally, particular social harms, but rather the difficulties the new regime poses for jurisprudence (e.g., an “avalanche” of cases) and, more generally and according to classic American conservative precepts, for any resort to “pre-political” categories as a restraint on “statist interventions.” He, in short, argues from prudence regarding what he portrays, and I think honestly believes, to be a “a radical cultural innovation” undertaken “before our society has had anything resembling a discussion commensurate with the gravity of the proposed transformation.” Since the same sex marriage proposal, advanced on these terms, has not yet been fully adopted, how could he produce evidence of substantial harm that was other than speculative, or that didn’t rely on some theory of social change that must go well beyond the confines of a 2,000-word blog post?Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to CK MacLeod
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                says:

                for instance, that we are no longer able to provide a rationale for viewing the circumstances typically leading to adoption (which Shafer, problematically compresses with the single word “adoption”) as “tragic or exceptional.”

                Another unargued assertion. What’s more, if we were to accept this conclusion, it would not be same-sex marriage that rendered it true, but infertility, a natural condition that has led to people being extremely grateful for adoption for some time. You’ve lost the narrative, much less any logical connection to his larger point, when you make this claim.Report

              • Avatar j r in reply to CK MacLeod
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                says:

                @ck-macleod

                As I said, in the other thread, this so-called argument is just an incredibly convoluted way of restating premises. If you start from the position that heterosexual marriage ought to be privileged, then yes, the acceptance of same sex marriage represents an erosion of that privilege.

                Congrats, you’ve constructed yourself a perfectly fine tautology. And tautologies are fine, to the extent that they have some level of objective grounding and empirical justification. Tautologies, however, are not arguments.

                And in this case, we are dealing with a tautology that is built almost entirely on certain folks’ moral intuition and a bogus natural history of marriage.

                I will add, that I am incredibly sympathetic to the idea that we ought not go around willy nilly destroying long-lasting social institutions and arrangements in efforts to engineer superior arrangements out of whole cloth. Same sex marriage is not, however that. It is the legal recognition of changing norms. And if you want to argue against that, then you need to make an actual normative argument about why it’s wrong or an actual positive argument about how it will lead to harm.Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to j r
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                says:

                Precisely.Report

              • Avatar zic in reply to j r
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                says:

                Excellent @j-r

                I wondered about negative-space arguments; “harms straight marriage” is one such argument. It doesn’t; and we harm gay couples, including couples with children, when we deny them the privileges of marriage.

                Thank you for providing a better, concise way of framing the negative space argument that’s being used here.Report

              • Avatar CK MacLeod in reply to j r
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                says:

                @j-r

                Emphasis added:

                As I said, in the other thread, this so-called argument is just an incredibly convoluted way of restating premises. If you start from the position that heterosexual marriage ought to be privileged, then yes, the acceptance of same sex marriage represents an erosion of that privilege.

                There is no tautology. If you start from the premise that heterosexism has been privileged – which I called self-evident – then all that it is necessary at this stage of the “so-called” argument is to observe that adoption of same sex marriage as “marriage equality” represents, as you explicitly acknowledge, as any rational individual will, an “erosion of that privilege.”

                Since a writer like Shafer may never have visited an OT comment thread, he may feel little need to prove the “has been.” The “ought to” is purely your addition to and imposition upon this initial premise, and proving it would be the burden of the next stage of an argument against such “erosion,” or the entire purpose of the larger exercise (the one secondary to the one as to the actual existence of an argument attributable to Shafer). So, not a tautological argument at all, though someone of a conservative temperament or sensibility, with which you claim to sympathize, would obviously already be predisposed to accept that argument more easily than others.Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to CK MacLeod
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                Eroded privilege is not his claim. He’s claiming that the previously privileged concept is done away with entirely because another concept is allowed to exist alongside it.Report

              • Avatar j r in reply to CK MacLeod
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                says:

                There is no tautology. If you start from the premise that heterosexism has been privileged – which I called self-evident – then all that it is necessary at this stage of the “so-called” argument is to observe that adoption of same sex marriage as “marriage equality” represents, as you explicitly acknowledge, as any rational individual will, an “erosion of that privilege.”

                Will someone explain to me how that is not a tautology?

                What this says to me is that eroding the privilege of heterosexual marriage is wrong, because it erodes the privilege of heterosexual marriage.Report

              • Avatar CK MacLeod in reply to j r
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                says:

                @jr

                At the INITIAL stage of the argument, the first question is whether there has been a privileging. A tautological answer at this stage of the argument would be “a privileging exists, therefore a privileging exists.”

                At the SECOND stage of the argument, the question is whether the privileging should continue to exist (or should be eroded, etc.). A tautological argument would amount to “the privileging is good, therefore the privileging is good.”

                Because “the privilege exists” does not equal “the privilege is good,” the argument that the existing privilege is good does not satisfy the definition of a tautological argument.

                What perhaps gives the argument the appearance of tautology to you is the conservative presumption that amounts to “what exists is good,” which applied to the privilege argument would mean that, prior to further discussion, “the privilege exists” WOULD equal “the privilege is good.”

                The argument, Shafer’s argument, is that the privilege exists, and that dislodging it will be bad for reasons a, b, c, etc. Included among a, b, and c, etc., may be simple presumption of the status quo, or presumption of the negative as is said in formal debate, or the presumption against change for the sake of change, or the presumption that those seeking change carry the burden of justification, or that a “tie goes to the negative.” In that sense, “the privilege exists” may be considered a winning argument, or exists = good, but only prior to proof by the moving party or the affirmative of a justification for action. Shafer attempts to add greater force of resistance by suggesting that it is imprudent to engage in “radical innovation” without further presumably extensive and laborious discussion of as yet uncertain final shape and outcome. This argument is also, by the way, an argument, and not a tautological one.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to CK MacLeod
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                for instance, that we are no longer able to provide a rationale for viewing the circumstances typically leading to adoption (which Shafer, problematically compresses with the single word “adoption”) as “tragic or exceptional.”

                He very clearly says *adoption* is the problem. You don’t get to redefine it as ‘Whatever lead to the adoption being needed is bad, but the adoption itself is good.’ Here are the two uses of ‘adopt’ (in that sense) in that article, with context:

                The same-sex ideology, then, presents an unsettling logic that forbids us to even know that an orphan’s condition as an orphan is something to mourn. This nouveau anthropology presents children as, in principle, individuals as such, with no natural relation to or necessary identity bound up in their biological mother and father.

                If that truthfully describes their identity, then their continuing detachment from biological parents is trivial. And their assignment to homes (foster, adoptive, or orphanage) is not something we properly may classify as a deviation. In fact, it might be the most enlightened sort of condition for children, as it more vividly incarnates their liberation from assumptions insensible except in terms of the now-renounced marriage model that assigns children’s identity and place with their mother and father.

                Here, we seem to have what you’re talking about…except read that carefully.

                The first paragraph rightly implies that someone being orphaned is bad…and then it goes on to talk about their *detachment* from their biological parents, which is not how people would refer to a child relating to their *dead parents*.

                Then it says we should properly classify their assignment to someone else as a deviation. When, of course, the alternative for an orphan would be…abandonment? Nope. He stopped talking about orphans the very sentence he brought them up.

                That means the law must ratify as normative—not tragic or exceptional—both adoption and the technological production of children from gametes and bodies gathered from outside the partners’ union. In such case, the law denies (among other things) that children’s identity is, in any sense that could be legally prioritized, as the natural issue of the joining of their mother and father.

                If there was some sort of ‘tragedy leading to adoption’, the usual premise is that there *are* no biological parents, or they are physically incapable of raising children, and hence no ‘legal priority’ of any sort.

                The only context in which ‘legal priority’ means sense is if the biological parents are *still alive*, and want to raise the child. That’s the only way there is any ‘priority’. (Of course, if the child has been *adopted, the parents have already given up their rights, but I don’t expect this article to know *anything about* adoption.)

                So, in conclusion, to be fair, it’s possible that he doesn’t consider *orphan* adoption a bad thing, just possibly a ‘deviation’. This is a rather assholic way to refer to things, but okay.

                The problem is there is a *hell* of a lot of other adoption, some of which has *nothing at all* to do with a ‘tragedy’, unless someone choosing to give a child up for adoption is *itself* the tragedy being talked about.

                So let’s clarify, @ck-macleod : Do you, and does he, think that someone who gets pregnant but is in no financial condition to raise a child, who find a loving family that can care for the kid and hand it over for them to adopt, is somehow involved in some sort of tragedy?

                And let me remind you that tragedies are *events*, not ‘the world should be some other way’. The Titantic hitting an iceberg is a tragedy…icebergs existing in general is not some sort of tragedy. You can’t say ‘Poor people existing’ is the tragedy.

                So what was the tragedy here? Pregnancy? The realization she couldn’t care for the kid? Not getting an abortion? The adoption itself? Some other family willing to adopt the kid?

                Pick one.Report

              • Avatar CK MacLeod in reply to DavidTC
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                says:

                Last comment today:

                I happen to have been involved (though not centrally) in a complicated, roughly comparable situation involving custody disputes that at any given moment over the last 20+ years, and from diverse perspectives depending upon whom you were choosing to focus – adult or child, natural parent or other – might have seemed tragic one day, or month, or year, or decade, and a blessing the next day, or month, or year, or decade, or something in between, etc. – and to this day, as my email traffic today confirms, may not be fully settled in the minds of all concerned.

                Under your definition, @davidtc , the acceptance by the “loving family” of the child who could not otherwise be cared for acceptably would obviously not be taken to be a “tragic” result as regards the disposition of the child in particular or, most likely, overall from the point of view of society as a whole. Anyone personally aware of the many dreadful alternatives to this predicament – and I suspect that group would include every single one of us and Shafer and the Federalist, too – would very likely sign up for that judgment, I would guess. No one I know of would call it tragic – least of all a social conservative in Shafer’s primary audience who will have been strongly supporting the notion that carrying a child to term and putting it up for adoption is far preferable to termination of pregnancy.

                Whether, however, the antecedent circumstances that resulted in the biological mother in your example having to give up the child would qualify as “tragic” by your definition will remain a subjective determination that may also vary from case to case, and in regard to the moment to which the term or other judgment may be assigned. Some people might wish to know the feelings of the mother, and might conclude that if the mother desperately wanted to keep the child, then her loss of it might qualify as tragic for her. Others might look at a lack of strong feelings on her part, her inability to experience the loss of the child as tragic, as itself tragic. In either case (and one might conjure a vast range of alternatives), an external observer whose sympathy was engaged might at a minimum assign to some aspect of the event a reason for “mourning,” even if overall satisfied that the overall conclusion, and the concluding event in particular, was not tragic. It should perhaps be noted at this point, however, that Shafer allows for a determination of “exceptional” as well as “tragic.”

                The question is why anyone would presume that Shafer could possibly have meant anything else. He does not even, in point of fact, make an argument substantially against adoption by same sex couples or single parents, or even against “commercially arranged reproduction” – though his distaste for the latter especially seems clear to me. His true argument is against what he terms an “ideology,” and which he, dubiously (as I have previously noted), identifies as “same sex marriage.”

                His real problem would appear to be not with same sex marriage, as most people understand it, but with a “desexed” marriage concept or marriage-as-family formation finally separated from male-female biological complementarity – under an ideology of total equivalence or negligibility of biological vs non-biological bonds between parents and children. “Same sex marriage” and “marriage equality” emphasize the separation, since they propose marriages utterly without reference to male-female biological complementarity, but there might be other ways to view marriage forms and the role of biological bonds within them than via the simple binary and the question of radical equivalence.Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to CK MacLeod
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                says:

                the acceptance by the “loving family” of the child who could not otherwise be cared for acceptably would obviously not be taken to be a “tragic” result as regards the disposition of the child in particular or, most likely, overall from the point of view of society as a whole

                I think most of us are grown up enough to not only recognize that this tragedy need not be universal or inherent, but to actually make situational judgements of tragicness. The insistence on a lack of inherent tragedy removing all meaning or possibility of tragicness is silly.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Chris
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                says:

                @chris
                I think most of us are grown up enough to not only recognize that this tragedy need not be universal or inherent, but to actually make situational judgements of tragicness.

                Which is, of course, exactly what that article *does not* do, instead assuming almost all adoption is tragic. (Some of it might instead be exceptional, but exceptional things are, by definition, pretty rare.)

                Whereas I would argue that almost all voluntary adoptions (As in, the parents made a choice, not ones where they’re dead) are, in fact, a *positive* event. (1)

                Someone realizing that they cannot raise a child and thus *choosing* have the state find and vet someone else to raise the child is *good*. It is not a tragedy, it is not some sort of ‘second place’ trophy.

                And notice these sorts of adoptions are *exactly what the article is railing against*. Should the woman who gave birth to Elton’s John’s baby have instead raised it? Should the egg donor?

                Do we really think either of those, who presumably have all the kids they currently want, could have done a better job raising a kid than two *multi-millionaires* who spent all that time and effort arranging to have a child? (I mean, the answer could be yes, because Elton John and his husband could be crappy parents, but we have no evidence of that.)

                Was it tragic that someone who *specifically did not want to raise that kid* didn’t…raise that kid?

                1) And *adoptions* of orphans are also positive events, regardless of @ck-macleod trying to pretend the article was talking about the *circumstances* of the adoption…which is not what it said at all. But ignoring that for now.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to DavidTC
                Ignored
                says:

                Or, to put it another way:

                The assumption that any reproductive choice besides ‘become pregnant, give birth, raise the child’ is ‘tragic’ is being a judgmental asshole, and usually a bit sexist on top of that.Report

              • Avatar CK MacLeod in reply to DavidTC
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                says:

                If, @DavidTC , you would write less presumptuously, it would not require inordinate effort to discuss anything at all worth discussing with you.

                As I was just suggesting to @tod-kelly , and as I was attempting, gently, to suggest in my initial entry into discussion on this thread, when you repeatedly re-write and re-interpret what someone else says, always in a way that happens to serve your own argument (or seems to you to do so at the moment), as when you impose an absurd or outlandish or obviously pre-conceived and polemically convenient reading on someone else’s statements, seizing upon some metaphorical flourish, or contraction or compression, or some infelicity of expression or simple mistake, ignoring the main argument in order to seize upon some inconsequential or effectively entirely manufactured point, in order to depict a writer who merely disagrees with you as some kind of demented sociopath or impossible monster or as a ridiculous fool deserving of foul abuse, or even as an Evil Intellectual, when a more reasonable and actually interestingly arguable interpretation is readily available, then I cannot help but “suspect that [your] deification of [your] own intellect is far more important [to you] than the observations of others.” More often than not, I have heard, bad things follow, if you’re taken seriously. As for me, you may consider yourself relieved as to that latter concern, but I cannot speak for others.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to CK MacLeod
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                says:

                @ck-macleod
                As I was just suggesting to @Tod Kelly , and as I was attempting, gently, to suggest in my initial entry into discussion on this thread, when you repeatedly re-write and re-interpret what someone else says, always in a way that happens to serve your own argument (or seems to you to do so at the moment), as when you impose an absurd or outlandish or obviously pre-conceived and polemically convenient reading on someone else’s statements, seizing upon some metaphorical flourish, or contraction or compression, or some infelicity of expression or simple mistake, ignoring the main argument in order to seize upon some inconsequential or effectively entirely manufactured point

                Uh, actually, I appear to be *actually addressing* his rather central claim that ‘biology is the most important thing in a family, and the gays are trying to remove it’. Other people are taking issue with the second thing…I am taking issue with the first thing.

                The entire *article* is about adoption. That is, literally, the topic of discussion of the article: Gays require adoption, so they are attempting to redefine family to have nothing to do with biology, which is horrible thing.

                If anyone is reading the article to make it say what they want, it’s *you*. For example, you literally invented some anti-abortion reading in this article, and used it to explain that he can’t be saying what he’s saying. This in an article in which abortion is not mentioned *at all*.

                You also insert words, like making ‘adoption’ mean ‘the backstory of an adoption’.

                I am reading the actual text of the article.

                in order to depict a writer who merely disagrees with you as some kind of demented sociopath or impossible monster or as a ridiculous fool deserving of foul abuse

                …and literally no one has said that at all. Just in case I was forgetting something, I just went back and reread all my posts. Nope.

                Here are the actual two people I’ve called names: Parents who treat their adoptive kids worse than their biological kids are ‘villains’ (I *dare* you to disagree with that.), and people who judge the reproductive choices of others are judgemental assholes and probably a bit sexist.

                And I’ll stand behind that comment. Let me say it again: ‘People who judge the reproductive choices of others are judgmental assholes and probably a bit sexist.’

                The word ‘sociopath’ has not been used this entire discussion. The word ‘monster’ was used by trizzlor, but in the context of that was this article is trying to gin up *fear* of imaginary monsters, not that anyone was actually a monster. Likewise, I *did* use the word fool, but that was to sarcastically call *adoptive parents* fools for thinking that they could ever be happy with their pretend offspring.

                No one has called the writer of this article, or you, or anyone defending either of you, any of those names. (And that’s a rather dumb claim to make when Ctrl+F exists.)

                And, wow. I had a *lot* of restraint this discussion.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to CK MacLeod
                Ignored
                says:

                @ck-macleod
                The question is why anyone would presume that Shafer could possibly have meant anything else. He does not even, in point of fact, make an argument substantially against adoption by same sex couples or single parents, or even against “commercially arranged reproduction” – though his distaste for the latter especially seems clear to me.

                Quote from the article:
                That means the law must ratify as normative—not tragic or exceptional—both adoption and the technological production of children from gametes and bodies gathered from outside the partners’ union.

                Two things in that list. *Adopting* children, and producing children in a specific way.

                And what the hell do you mean he doesn’t make an argument against ‘commercially arranged reproduction’? Did you even *read* the article? That is literally the entire purpose of the article, that gay marriage is trying to make that *acceptable*, which is horrible.

                His true argument is against what he terms an “ideology,” and which he, dubiously (as I have previously noted), identifies as “same sex marriage.”

                Yes, and he argues against it because it results in ‘the practice of creating children intending to sever them from their biological parents’. That sentence is literally the thesis of the article.

                No one I know of would call it tragic – least of all a social conservative in Shafer’s primary audience who will have been strongly supporting the notion that carrying a child to term and putting it up for adoption is far preferable to termination of pregnancy.

                And now not only are you arguing he didn’t say words he actually said, you’re trying to *add* words he didn’t even slightly imply.

                In response, I will quote words he did say: So not only does same-sex marriage ideology redefine parent, but also child. For on its account, a child comes into the world not naturally related to anyone, but only transactionally connected to the persons responsible for fetching him through various means.

                Of course, ‘a child comes into the world not naturally related to anyone, but only transactionally connected to the persons responsible for fetching him through various means’, in addition to being how Elton John’s kids were born, is *literally* how it works for many people who put their kids up for adoption instead of having an abortion.Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to CK MacLeod
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                says:

                I remember that Velleman essay from the time, as he was well known in the philosophy blogosphere where I spent (too) much of my time back when. This is the sentence upon which the entire essay pivots:

                I think that forming a useful family-resemblance concept of myself would be very difficult were I not acquainted with people to whom I bear a literal family resemblance.

                This is an empirical question, one into which neither his training as a moral philosopher nor his life experience would provide much insight, but he draws his conclusion — that the concept of self, dependent in large part (though he does not argue that it is entirely dependent), he argues, upon personal/familial history is deeply harmed by gamete donation — from this intuition.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to CK MacLeod
                Ignored
                says:

                @ck-macleod
                This derogation or deprecation of the procreative concept, pursued in this way, is not and cannot be restricted to a simple question of formal recognition of marriages, but has and must have effects throughout law and society, since presumptions related to the privileging or prioritization of procreation or of biological relationships between parents and children inform law and custom systematically.

                This assertion is, in fact, complete nonsense, so it’s not surprising it’s completely unsupported.

                There is no part of the law that assumes a biological relationship between parents and children. What the law says is that if you are biologically related to a child (Specifically, the direct ancestor), and assert that right, than you can become someone’s parent if not previously.(1) That’s it. That is how the biological relationship is relevant.

                That is the *entirety* of how the law cares about biological relationships: You can force parental rights. You can force the law to recognize you as a parent. This is the *exact* same parental relationship that other, non-biologically-related people can have.

                Meanwhile, there is absolutely nothing in the laws about parenthood that assume the *converse* is true. There is not a single piece of the law that assumes that a parent is biologically related to their child, much less any sort of ‘systematic’ law. How do I know this?

                Because, duh, adoptive parents exist. And aren’t, for example, being barred from military death benefits because the law gives them to only to ‘biologically related parents’ or whatever you think it says.

                If there is, if this is *systematic*…let’s hear a single example.(2)

                I’m actually a little confused where you think the law cares about biology *at all* so would be making assumptions…this isn’t Gattica. The law isn’t trying to figure out if people are susceptible to breast cancer or have inherited musical talent.

                The few cases the law does appear to slightly care about ‘biology’, like asking for someone’s race, the law does not assume that race of the children of people is the same as their race. (Not that that would even work with biological parents.)

                1) As I’ve pointed out before and you completely ignore, the *actual* default is not technically ‘biological parents’, it’s to give custody to the person who gave birth and whoever she has specified, via either previously marrying them or writing their name on the birth cert. And those people are *still* parents even if other people are biologically the parents and prove it in court. The kid just now has four parents. But that’s not important right now.

                2) If you squint, you can imagine the incest laws work this way, that the real problem are intended to stop is biological relationships, and they just sorta *accidentally* banned adoptive relationships also because they assumed people were biologically related…but this is nonsense. The laws could have rather easily exempted non-blood relationships, and they did not.Report

              • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to CK MacLeod
                Ignored
                says:

                This entire thread is actually a pretty good idea of what I’m talking about.

                Look, just for one moment everyone forget about bandying about words like tautology, normative, derogate, etc., and take off your debating hats. Not those aren’t good words or that debates aren’t healthy — they are, and we might well need them further down the road. But first let’s see if we do.

                So instead, for the moment let’s focus on the actual crux of the post, which I think we can distill into one distinct claim:

                1. SSM has changed the very definition of child in a way that is harmful to children (even those who are born to their natural families and raised by their biological parents), parents and everyone else alike. And it’s not that this may someday happen if we aren’t careful, it’s that it already has.

                It doesn’t really matter how the claim is made; it doesn’t matter whether his choice of words were great or terrible, or whether or not he’s much of a grammarian; it doesn’t matter what type of definition he’s referring to (legal, biological, sociological, whether they now pop in an out of existence like some kind of quark, etc).

                And it doesn’t matter because no matter how you slice it it’s just not true.

                It’s certainly not true legally. None of the laws that surround my children — what they can and cannot do, what I can and cannot do to them, what responsibilities and rights and privileges they have under the law — have changed, at least in any way that hinges on our having changed the definition of a child. If I went before a court to argue that I should now be allowed to do X to them because the legal, colloquial, or sociological definition of “child” no longer existed I would rightly be laughed out of the courtroom.

                Unchanged too is their biology. So is they way society sees them. So is their actual, physical presence in the universe. There is nothing that they can do by right of being children today that they would not have been able to do had SCOTUS not dealt a blow to SSM, and vice versa. Definitionally, as children they remain unchanged, and further that definition is exactly the same as it was when I was their age.

                If there is evidence that any of these things have changed anywhere other than the author’s mind — and there should be, as he is claiming this supposed definitional change is on such a wide scale societal level — then he seems to have very deliberately chosen to obfuscate it. CK’s claim that the reason for this is that a 2000-word essay one does not have space to even hint at such evidence might be (e.g.: a link to even one new law on the state or federal level that changed the definition of a child, for example, or case law that overturned our long-held defintion, or a new sociology text book announcing a new definition of the word “child” that we should rightly find alien) is one I find highly dubious.

                This is the point where, were this a lab experiment and not a armchair salon debate, this case would be shuttered, and Mr. Shafer would be asked to go try another route to get where he needs or wants to go. Not because it’s not PC, not because we want it to be pro-SSM, not because anyone else is its political opponent — but because the single vehicle he used to carry us all to his conclusion does not appear to actually exist.

                All subsequent other conversations we now have his post — e.g.: what is and isn’t tautology — are all conversations that pivot an easily disproved thesis into something that suddenly has intellectual weight, because we are debating it all the bits that are in the weeds.

                Suddenly, it doesn’t matter whether or not the definition of a child has actually changed in any — *any* — scientific, sociological or legal discipline. Whether or not Shafer’s claim is valid now ridiculously rests on whether or not one person can win a battle over another regarding the nomenclature of words like “tautology” or “hetearism.”

                Smoke and mirrors, all the way down.Report

              • Avatar CK MacLeod in reply to Tod Kelly
                Ignored
                says:

                PS – Real last comment of the day: @tod-kelly If you’re going to refer to my argument, please try harder to state the points from it that are crucial to your argument accurately. What I actually said, as opposed to what you say I said, is right here on the page, easy to find. Anything else looks like treating one’s own observations… well, you know the rest. (You might try a little harder with Shafer’s argument, too, even if it happens to be a whole link away.)Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Tod Kelly
                Ignored
                says:

                it doesn’t matter whether his choice of words were great or terrible, or whether or not he’s much of a grammarian

                It does, because a frequent feature of capital-I Intellectualism is using fancy-looking words and extra, unnecessary clauses to make yourself and your opinions seem smarter than they are.Report

      • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Mike Schilling
        Ignored
        says:

        I’m going to start saying ‘at least one, perhaps both, biological parents’ just to annoy people. Along with things like ‘utilitarian machine’ and ‘anecdotal exemplar’ and ‘child-regard’.

        Sadly, I can’t figure out in what context I’d ever use ‘structures of conceptual plausibility’.Report

        • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to DavidTC
          Ignored
          says:

          To be fair, given what I know about you I suspect you probably don’t hang out in the types of places that have the proper structures of conceptual plausibility that would allow you to find such a context.Report

        • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to DavidTC
          Ignored
          says:

          At McDonalds, where you could ask your kids if they want to go climb on the play structure of conceptual plausibility.Report

          • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Mike Schilling
            Ignored
            says:

            To which they reply, “I could, if I thought about it”Report

          • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Mike Schilling
            Ignored
            says:

            Dammit, didn’t you read the article?! No one has any children anymore!

            Not that I had them to start with.

            Or did I? This raises the disturbing possibility that gay marriage *has a time machine*, as I postulated above. According to this article, gay marriage allows ‘people manipulate children into existence’…and, more importantly, allows people to manipulate children into non-existence, possibly?

            …wait, if children are manipulated into existence by gay marriage…how do they not exist under gay marriage?

            But I guess, without gay marriage, I could have take my brothers’ children, along with their not-biologically-related tiny-people-they-take-care-of-but-can’t-possibly-be-their-children, to the McDonald’s play structure. That seems plausible, conceptually speaking.

            Except, wait!

            The McDonald’s here doesn’t have a play structure… *dramatic turn to the camera* …anymore. *duh-duh-duuuuh* It’s all becoming clear now: Gay marriage want us to forget that children ever existed, and are willing to literally rewrite history to do it.

            This is yet another example of how obliterating the sexual-difference feature of marriage graphically instantiates the precepts of same-sex marriage ideology. (Seriously, the word-saladness of this article is *amazing*.)Report

  18. Avatar veronica d
    Ignored
    says:

    @tod-kelly — As an aside, a site such as donotlink.com can be helpful when you want to link to manosphere sites, since they won’t see you in their referrer logs, thus you’re less likely to get “return fire.”

    That said, I haven’t seen any evidence that the alpha-beta thing has really flipped the way you say. Near as I can tell, the manosphere types still see the “alphas” as the hyper-masculine bros who command instant status and get women. I’m curious to see why you think otherwise.

    (Which would require links, I guess.)Report

  19. Avatar Tod Kelly
    Ignored
    says:

    CK MacLeod: Last comment today:

    Then I will say goodnight. And fwiw, know that despite my crankiness on this topic, if you were here I’d by you a round before you went home.

    Peace.Report

  20. Avatar Barry
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    says:

    I started this sub-argument; people should be buying *me* beer!Report

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