Re: RE: Shapes of a Wedge

From: John W Burgeson <>
Date: Fri May 21 2004 - 15:45:09 EDT

Sir David wrote, in part: "Perhaps you could do the same for some
conservatives. Of course, the loudest liberals and conservatives are
generally those who aren't interested in listening, and noise gets more
publicity and airtime. "

In my 72+ years, I've probably known more conservatives (beginning with
my esteemed father) than liberals. But your point in sentence 2 is well

"There are plenty of intolerant liberals seeking to impose their ways on
everyone, just as there are plenty of intolerant conservatives seeking to
impose their ways on everyone."

All too true, unfortunately. I like to find those that don't fit the

"Returning to Bierce's definition of conservative and liberal (politician
enamoured with existing evils, or wishing to replace them with new ones),
although overly cynical, it does raise an important issue. Neither the
old nor the new is necessarily better. Society is composed of fallen
humans, and will not be perfect, though it's worth trying to improve.
Some criterion must be used to decide what is Progress and what is Going
Bad, as Lewis points out in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader."

Ambrose (one of my much loved authors) and Lewis (another of the same)
are on target here.

"For example, is increased flexibility in the definition of marriage a
good or bad thing? Homosexuality is the particular version making the
news, but there are many other possibilities as well. Would-be
polygamists in Utah are appealing to the same legal decisions:
Should we be liberal or conservative about this? Why?"

I have refrained from either supporting or not supporting gay marriage,
for I have not thought long enough or hard enough about the
ramifications. My daughter and her partner are certainly thinking of such
a step; it is difficult to support them (as I do) and still have doubts
about the wisdom of the events in the east. The polygamist arguments are
part of the issue, of course.

For me, one way of thinking about gay marriage is this: If I support gay
marriage, then on what grounds can I oppose polygamist unions?

OTOH, if the possibilities of other unions are set aside, exactly what
arguments (except religious ones) can be stated for OPPOSING gay

I have read the material put out by Dobson and his ilk; they have not
addressed this question very well; rhetoric instead of reason. Their
opposers are also often too fond of rhetoric, but they do seem to give
grounds for their position. AT least some of them.

I am quite opposed to Bush's proposed constitutional amendment, of
course, for I see it as being in the grand tradition of Prohibition, the
only amendment that specifically curtailed the rights of citizens rather
than expanding them.

At this point I AM in favor of civil unions (the Vermont solution). But I
may yet change my mind on this.

As for being "liberal" or "conservative" on this, I have seen several
editorials that argue that allowing gay marriage is the CONSERVATIVE
thing to do. One recent book that argues this is "A Place At The Table"
by Bruce Bawer, an excellent treatise on how Americans have failed to
understand why gay marriage would benefit society as a whole.


Ubi Caritas

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Received on Fri May 21 16:04:14 2004

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