Why America’s Top Students Tune Out
the GOP

November 9th, 2010 at 8:30 am | 146 Comments |

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This is part 2 in a series. Click here for part 1.


Overall, the picture that emerges is alarming for Republicans and conservatives. In good universities across the nation, students flee the Republican Party. And the better the universities, it seems, the more drastic the trend.

To simplify: Republicans have gone from having a clear advantage among top students in the decade following the Eisenhower administration, to being competitive under the Nixon and Ford administrations, and from being an energetic minority during Reagan and Bush Sr. to being almost eradicated today.

So if we accept that the trend is drastic, that it is real and applies to most of the top universities – and I think that is reasonable – the next question is: How did this come about?

Some on the right see in these numbers a brainwashing effort from “liberal elites” on Ivy League institutions, rather than a brain drain from the Republican Party. People like David Horowitz try to gather evidence of how liberals conspire against conservative professors and students. To me, these accusations seem not only often to lack any real evidence, but also to lack substantial explanatory power, even when correct. Even conservative professors find themselves surrounded by students who vote for the Democrats. Furthermore, while students have fled the Republican Party, they do not seem to have moved very far to the left. The Weathermen are long gone. Hippies, utopian Marxists, socialists, anarchists – groups that were prominent in the 1960s and 1970s – are marginal today. Rather, today’s best students identify as slightly to the left of center, policy-wise liberals who massively prefer the Democratic party.

If not brainwashing, then what? Partly, it has to do with a change in the youth vote overall – however, that is hardly much of a comfort to Republicans, but rather a source of additional worry, since it bodes ill for Republicans over the coming decades. This change, in turn, has to do with cultural changes relating to gender, sexuality and the role of religion in public debate.

Partly it has to do with the inclusion of new groups in top education institutions, first Blacks and Hispanics, followed by Asians over the last few decades. However, in the case of Asian students it could be argued that Asians trend towards the Democrats precisely because they have higher quality education.

Let me advance another hypothesis. Today’s top students are motivated less by enthusiasm for Democrats and much more by revulsion from Republicans. It’s not the students who have changed so much. It’s the Republicans.

And here is where Applebaum’s point gains its force.

Under Presidents Eisenhower and Nixon, Republicans championed science and knowledge. But over the past 30 years, national Republicans have formed an intensifying alliance with religious conservatives more skeptical of science and knowledge. I don’t know whether discarding evolution goes against common sense; but I’m pretty sure it goes against most Ivy League-educated senses.

To advance this alliance, national Republicans have derided elite universities as dangerous and hostile places. (Sometimes with painful insincerity. The senior Bush attacked Michael Dukakis as a Massachusetts liberal formed by the “Harvard boutique.” When asked how he reconciled his attack on elites with his own Yale education, he lamely responded that Yale was not a national symbol in the way that Harvard was. Yale’s reputation, Bush said, was “so diffuse, there isn’t a symbol, I don’t think, in the Yale situation, any symbolism in it. Harvard boutique to me has the connotation of liberalism and elitism.” He went on to explain that Harvard did not refer to class, but rather was an abstract term meant to signify “a philosophical enclave.”)

In the age of Fox News and the Tea Party, the cultural war has heated up, and the anti-academic and anti-science rhetoric has intensified. No doubt, Democrats try to use these trends to their advantage, as evidenced by the use of the O’Donnell video – Democrats circulated a version of the video which omitted the follow up: “I didn’t inherit millions, like my opponent.” They wanted her to seem like an anti-academic candidate, rather than someone who has come far despite lacking inherited privilege. But the reason they succeeded, I think, is that there is too much truth in the pre-existing perception of Republican anti-academic rhetoric.

Educated people may also be extra-sensitive to policy positions that do not make logical sense. While individual elements of the Republican platform can make sense on their own,  the combination of demands to  reduce the deficit, plus increase Medicare spending, plus opposing reform meant to save costs, plus uncompromising insistence on tax cuts just does not add up. Granted, Democrats have also behaved irresponsibly in opposition. Still, I think it’s fair to say that over the past decade, the Republicans have convinced educated America that they are the less policy serious party.


Click here for part 3.

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146 Comments so far ↓

  • abj

    SpartacusIsNotDead,

    By “conservative” I mean those people who claim that label as a political ideology. Puritans, Quakers and other religious leaders may, as a group, hold conservative positions on specific issues, but it is not accurate to say they claim that label as a political ideology.

    Political conservatism, at least as it exists today, is a fairly recent development. Historically, “liberalism” was most closely associated with classical liberalism, which of course is more similar to contemporary libertarianism than anything else.

    The Puritans didn’t think of themselves as conservatives (in the political sense) in the way religious right leaders do today. But they certainly saw themselves as traditionalists, and they codified their traditional views in legislation governing moral behavior (outlawing adultery, implementing blue laws, etc). In that respect, they’re no different than today’s social conservatives, many of whom could be fairly characterized as economic liberals. They got some issues right (slavery, emphasis on quality education, relative equality between the sexes) and some horribly wrong (the temperance movement, religious intolerance).

    I hate to go back to Woodrow Wilson, but the same case could be made with regard to him. He got some big issues right (he was well ahead of his time on issues like self-determination for newly-liberated territories in Europe, a concept we take for granted today), and others very wrong (civil rights – he’s responsible for segregating DC in particular, and the federal government in general).

    In sum, I think that political conservatism has gotten some things right, some things wrong. I think that’s also true of liberalism (at least how we’d define it today).

  • jimfilyaw

    as a 60s student and avid reader of ramparts, i got the impression then that horowitz had no sincere commitments beyond his personal self interests, and no principles he considered worth keeping.

    time hasn’t proven me wrong.

  • CD-Host

    Secular marriage in the United States is far removed from Jewish law that the American marriage system and the Hasidic systems operate in complete parallel. People who are married under Jewish law frequently don’t both registering that marriage under secular law. If they do, they don’t necessarily get divorced under secular law. This objection is not caused by the fact that hasidic jews believe they have anywhere near the numbers to require all Americans to live under their marital code, but rather an acknowledgement that the two marital codes are too far away to be reconciled.

    The result of this policy of ignoring the secular code is that the state when trying to determine things like property allocation it has defective records. The state has poor records when trying to determine who are the best people to contact about the welfare of a minor. The state can’t prevent under age marriage because marriages are not registered with the legal community. They can’t properly investigate violent crimes because they can’t figure out who the family of the victim is. They often can’t process basic missing person’s complaints.

    Which is to say they can’t properly govern. Effectively the state has the relationship to the hasidic community of an occupation government. Occupation governments are bad governments, are ineffective governments and are ultimately unsuccessful governments because their laws are not seen as legitimate and are rejected by the populace. That has not happened yet among religious Christians even though they strongly disagree with the state on divorce policy. But there are murmors that religious Jews have the right idea. Gay marriage may or may not create that much of a divide. Believing it is an obligation to attack religion will definitely create that much of a divide.

    Asking what is the harm… is essentially asking what is point of a government being seen as legitimate by the people it governs. The government can put anything it wants down on a piece of paper, and call it a marriage. If the people totally reject the government’s authority to regulate marriages then it doesn’t do anything other than throw the system into chaos. That happened with the hasidic jewish community and is starting to happen with the Christian community.

    Liberals object to talk like “taking our country back” believing that their laws should be seen as legitimate. You cannot simultaneously argue your laws are legitimate and that they don’t need the consent of the governed. Either you are a tyranny in which case conservatives should be using “2nd amendment remedies” or you are a democracy in which case trying to formulate policies that don’t violate norms. A huge majority of Americans, including all of US law, believes the state does not have the authority to redefine marriage, merely to administer it. The position taken here is not the position of the US government but rather the position of the pre-Napoleonic French government, of the Soviet government that marriage is an arbitrary relationship owned holy by the state. That the state is the church.

    I’m frankly floored that I’m having to debate why totalitarian communist views of religion are incorrect and the laws in America should be based on American law not Communist law.

  • jimfilyaw

    hippies a “marginal” force now days?

    i don’t think so.

    to quote a line from the clint eastwood movie, ‘heartbreak ridge’ : “there hasn’t been any hippies around here in years–they’re all dead or doing hard time.”

  • CD-Host

    that marriage is an arbitrary relationship owned holy by the state
    Freudian slip should be:
    that marriage is an arbitrary relationship owned wholly by the state

  • Rabiner

    Cd-Host:

    “Liberals object to talk like “taking our country back” believing that their laws should be seen as legitimate. You cannot simultaneously argue your laws are legitimate and that they don’t need the consent of the governed. Either you are a tyranny in which case conservatives should be using “2nd amendment remedies” or you are a democracy in which case trying to formulate policies that don’t violate norms. A huge majority of Americans, including all of US law, believes the state does not have the authority to redefine marriage, merely to administer it. The position taken here is not the position of the US government but rather the position of the pre-Napoleonic French government, of the Soviet government that marriage is an arbitrary relationship owned holy by the state. That the state is the church.”

    We object to the line ‘taking our country back’ because nothing changed in 2008 regarding the laws on the books. Only the leadership of the country changed through a legal and free election. It assumes that a democratically elected government is illegitimate by saying ‘taking our country back’. You’re analyzing this too deeply considering the people who have been saying ‘taking our country back’ haven’t been making that specific argument at all. They just want the government to keep their hands off their Medicare.

  • CD-Host

    Rabiner –

    We object to the line ‘taking our country back’ because nothing changed in 2008 regarding the laws on the books. Only the leadership of the country changed through a legal and free election. It assumes that a democratically elected government is illegitimate by saying ‘taking our country back’.

    Yes. Generally the argument is that Obama is a Marxist. A position I found ridiculous. Interesting enough on this thread the position being taken by the SSM side has been a Leninist view of marriage, a complete total and utter rejection of American marriage law. Now I tend to think that this is ignorance, the people arguing for the Leninist position seem to be actually believe there position is consistent with US law not Soviet law.

    What’s more troublesome is the idea that the consent of the governed is not needed to make law. And yes I think any government that declares that is automatically illegitimate. Democratic election is a way of trying to insure that consent of the governed is present, nothing more. Consent without Democratic election is a legitimate government, while democratic election without consent, like what the Iraqis had under Hussein is not.

    You’re analyzing this too deeply considering the people who have been saying ‘taking our country back’ haven’t been making that specific argument at all.

    Of course they have. The argument is that SSM changes redefines marriage. At first the claim was it didn’t. Then after that claim fell apart it became well it does but who cares what they think. Those people aren’t entitled to a government that represents them.

    They just want the government to keep their hands off their Medicare.

    Bull. I’ve yet to hear that argument except from liberals.

  • Rabiner

    CD-Host:

    I’m of the belief the SSM issue will be resolved in the courts by 2016 with the ruling in California being the start of that process. Considering a lack of harm for allowing SSM to be legal then it is pointless in my mind to exclude gay couples from the rights afforded to others in marriage (at a State and Federal level). Using religious traditions as a means to maintain an unequal status for gay couples to straight ones is akin to me to discrimination. If you equalize the legal distinction between civil unions and marriage but keep the distinction between the two then you’re in a Brown v. Board of Education situation where separate is not equal since there would still be a stigma associated with civil unions.

    “They just want the government to keep their hands off their Medicare.

    Bull. I’ve yet to hear that argument except from liberals.”

    http://swampland.blogs.time.com/2010/10/21/keep-your-govt-hands-off-my-medicare-cont/

    “In other pockets of the state, the reaction to Democratic proposals has been strong, too. At a recent town-hall meeting in suburban Simpsonville, a man stood up and told Rep. Robert Inglis (R-S.C.) to “keep your government hands off my Medicare.”

    “I had to politely explain that, ‘Actually, sir, your health care is being provided by the government,’ ” Inglis recalled. “But he wasn’t having any of it.” “

  • CD-Host

    Rabiner –

    That story sounds like it is 2nd hand from Inglis. And even if true, I haven’t ever heard from a conservative. You are just pointing to an earlier source. So the idea that conservatives believe that, what you actually asserted, that doesn’t come close to proving.

    As for the rest. I agree with you the courts are likely to try and enforce SSM. And states are going to resist. We have DOMA which is going to allow states to refuse to recognize one another’s marriages. And for the first time we are going to have a situation where whether people are married or not becomes highly ambiguous. Things like bigamy statutes or issuing decrees of divorce are going to be very complex.

    We might even see congress strip the federal courts of any authority over marriage law entirely. With citizens united liberals are starting to agree with conservatives that the courts have gotten out of hand and I think both sides are looking to start checking the powers of the courts.

    You may see states officials that refuse to recognize “legal” paperwork seeing the law as unjust. Very much you do with abortion right now, where state officials brag about interfering with law enforcement to broad popular support.

    And all this to avoid a simple compromise.

    If you equalize the legal distinction between civil unions and marriage

    The point of the compromise is that marriage ceases to be a legal concept at all. It becomes purely a religious concept. The only legal entity is civil union and by allowing for obvious non marital types of unions is kept far away from being a proxy for marriage.

  • Rabiner

    Cd-Host:

    Actually DOMA was ruled unconstitutional in MA by a federal court. It will also go to the Supreme Court.

    “The point of the compromise is that marriage ceases to be a legal concept at all. It becomes purely a religious concept. The only legal entity is civil union and by allowing for obvious non marital types of unions is kept far away from being a proxy for marriage.”

    And that is something I wish would happen. You currently are required to have state licenses for marriage. Just have 1 state license for civil unions instead and let religious ceremonies call it whatever they want.

  • SpartacusIsNotDead

    CD-Host: “The argument is that SSM changes redefines marriage. At first the claim was it didn’t. Then after that claim fell apart it became well it does but who cares what they think. Those people aren’t entitled to a government that represents them.”

    This is a gross mischaracterization of the argument in favor of SSM. The argument in favor of SSM is that allowing gays to call their relationship a “marriage” (as opposed to a “civil union” or “domestic partnership”) will not cause society any harm and, therefore, gays should be entitled to use the same word as others. Opponents of SSM have been given ample opportunity to describe the societal harm that will result from SSM and they have failed repeatedly.

    Aside from expressing a religious conviction/preference there is no rationale for prohibiting SSM. The absence of a rationale alone is sufficient to render laws prohibiting SSM unconstitutional.

  • CD-Host

    Just have 1 state license for civil unions instead and let religious ceremonies call it whatever they want.

    We simply pass a federal law requiring
    1) all state statutes about marriage already in effect to apply to domestic partnerships
    2) broaden the definition of domestic partnership wide enough so that it applies well beyond marriage and doesn’t act like a proxy (for example the mother / grandmother raising a child together).
    3) Require states to offer domestic partnership, or just make it federal
    4) Indicate that in the future marriage is an inherently religious concept that under the 1st amendment the state refuses to regulate.
    5) Allows churches to issue domestic partnership licenses as part of their marriage ceremonies if they so choose.

  • Rabiner

    Cd-Host:

    I agree with 1-3.

    #4-5 however gives religious institutions the ability to issue state licenses which I’m very uncomfortable with doing. The reason being state licenses come with rights, responsibilities, and benefits that are enforceable in a court of law. I don’t think a non-state entity should issue such licenses. Regarding #4 I’m fine with that if marriages that occur without a license have no legal standing or obtain any governmental benefits.

  • CD-Host

    Regarding #4 I’m fine with that if marriages that occur without a license have no legal standing or obtain any governmental benefits.

    Exactly. Governmental benefits are tied

    CD: Allows churches to issue domestic partnership licenses as part of their marriage ceremonies if they so choose.
    Rab: The reason being state licenses come with rights, responsibilities, and benefits that are enforceable in a court of law. I don’t think a non-state entity should issue such licenses.

    What’s your position on common law marriages now? Generally the law holds that there is difference between marriage and concubinage, that a couple is married if they intend to marry and present themselves to others as married. That would be an example of a non state agency (the couple themselves) being granted the authority to issue this license for themselves.

    Many states have abolished this making marriage more formal but…. that creates contractual problems. I’d want to poll people on this. Attitudes since the 1970s have changed and cohabitation is so common today and less people seem to want common law. OTOH I hate a see a situation where people who think they were married for decades have a fault with the original license found and thus are denied marital benefits. I don’t know whether my paperwork is perfect but I would want my wife not my parents to be making decisions about me regardless of the status of the paperwork. The common law would hold that because:

    1) I had the intent to marry
    2) I present myself to the community as married
    3) I lived together and consummated

    bad paperwork doesn’t invalidate the marriage. I don’t think I want to open that can of worms of having tens of thousands to millions of semi married people.

    OTOH Americans are much better about filling out paperwork properly and our society is well organized. This is an area I could give on. But I’ll let you address it since if you agree the common law should exist that invalidates the argument about the church.

  • Rabiner

    Cd-Host:

    If common law marriages have no governmental benefits tied to them (social security survivor benefits, pension benefits, tax benefits, ect.) then I’m fine with the concept of religious institutions providing another avenue to granting legal rights where there is no money exchanging hands (medical decision making, wills, ect.). Would I prefer such gray areas wouldn’t exist? yes, but I’m not completely opposed to maintaining some semblance of cultural traditions while weakening them when associated with monetary benefits provided by the State. Another example would be I wouldn’t have the State recognize such marriages when applying for governmental programs where transfer payments occur. It isn’t hard to go to a courthouse and get a license when you’ve already been married by a church.

  • CD-Host

    Aside from expressing a religious conviction/preference there is no rationale for prohibiting SSM.

    Aside from expressing a cultural conviction / preference there is no rationale for having marriage at all. The argument is vacuous.

  • Rabiner

    Actually, (wish there was a modify button still), I see a problem if government doesn’t recognize common law marriages as the same as civil law marriages due to other things beyond benefits, mainly divorce proceedings and custody disputes.

  • birneymak

    When conservatives question the science behind evolution or climate change it makes it pretty tough for anyone with an education to take the GOP seriously.

    Unfortunately, today’s conservatives seem to care more about gay marriage and abortion than issues that actually affect America’s place in the world. When educated people see this drift into ‘wingnut’ territory it is no wonder that they turn away from the GOP. If you need evidence of this just take a look at the posts on this message board.

  • Rabiner

    Cd-Host:

    “Aside from expressing a cultural conviction / preference there is no rationale for having marriage at all. The argument is vacuous.”

    That’s not actually true. There are many instances where marriage as a simple contract has a large rational. It clears the issue of who makes decisions when one is incapacitated, who has legal standing to represent the others interests, provides society with a semblance of stability at the family unit level. There is a rationale for marriage, there is also a lack of rationale to exclude same-sex couples from being able to enter into marriage.

  • CD-Host

    Rabiner –

    OK lets do a scenario.

    X and Y live as husband and wife. Y thinks she’s married to X but he signed the marriage certificate improperly. Y has 3 children with X, Y1, Y2 and Y3.
    While away on business X marries Z and has Z1.

    X and Z die in a car crash. M is Z’s mother and gets guardianship of Z1.
    Can M kick Y out of her home (in X’s name) and the kids out and take the property?
    Why or why not?

    ___

    If you say no. Now weaken it a bit. Assume there is no marriage certificate. But Y thought they were married and he presented her publicly as “his wife”.

  • ktward

    CD: I’m explaining the anti-SSM position and also have proposed a compromise that I think would work for both sides … my very post on this topic [started] with “while I’m in favor of gay marriage….”

    Your argument has gradually devolved from (apparently) I’m-actually-for-gay-marriage-but-here’s-why-RR-is-against-it to accusing SSM proponents en masse of “holding totalitarian communist views of religion.”

    Frankly, your 12:16 post demonstrates the kind of obsessive over-thinking that muddies constructive dialog.

    The pro-SSM side is in its blind hatred of religion undermining this ruling …

    Yet another gross mischaracterization of SSM proponents, many of whom are devout in the practice of their various religions including Christianity.

    Similarly liberals because they are less concerned about risk tend to create situations that increase trauma to children.

    Baseless generalization, spun from thin air to a purpose I can’t even guess.

  • Rabiner

    Cd-Host:

    After having my head spinning over all the figures in your scenario I’ve come to a conclusion:

    Did X intend to sign the certificate improperly? because from your scenario it seems that he did since he went and married Z without seeking a divorce.

    If you choose to deem XY’s marriage valid then XZ’s marriage is invalid and thus control of X’s estate goes to Y. Since in this scenario X’s estate is Y’s and not Z’s then M has no standing and cannot kick Y out of her home as the estate went to Y.

    If I weaken it and state that Y was never legally married then XZ’s marriage is valid and thus Y would lose the estate and can be kicked out of the home. Thinking one is married and being presented as a ‘wife’ does not make it so under the law.

  • Rabiner

    I should note that States have statutes regarding long term co-habitation in which rights to the spouse are given after a term of time. So if XY had been together for 10 years, the statutes might give her control of the estate, but once XZ marries I don’t think those rights extend any further. However XY would be entitled to compensation similar to a divorce settlement.

  • CD-Host

    Thinking one is married and being presented as a ‘wife’ does not make it so under the law.

    Actually it does. That’s why common law is so important. And that holds with most other contracts too. The problem is with marriage is that bigamy laws. I can rent two houses I can’t have two wives. For example in NY State, “Every person has the right to adopt any name by which he or she wishes to be known simply by using that name consistently and without intent to defraud”

    In any case if your argument is that a couple is married by the state then you are back to square one. You are completely redefining marriage. I’m not sure why you digging in here in not allowing a minister the rights of a clerk. But in doing so, you are taking position that the state is the church. It doesn’t matter whether you do or don’t allow gay to marry if the state is the only entity that can form a legal marriage then you’ve just thrown all of western marriage out the window.

    Let me try it this way. Assume the state wanted to breed you with Jenny A. Give a principled reason they can’t. You honestly do object to marriage law as it exists now.

  • SpartacusIsNotDead

    CD-Host: “Aside from expressing a cultural conviction / preference there is no rationale for having marriage at all. The argument is vacuous.”

    Not vacuous, just apparently lost on you.

    While our laws express a cultural preference, they are derived from an assessment that some observable good will be achieved or some observable harm will be avoided by the law. We do not, however, enact laws that express purely a religious preference. A law may be consistent with a religious preference, but it must have merit apart from its religious compatibility.

    A law that permits SS life-long couples to co-habitate, engage in homosexual conduct and enjoy all the state and federal rights heterosexual couples are entitled to, but denies them the term “marriage” is a law that expresses a purely religious preference and it neither produces any observable good nor avoids any observable harm.

  • CD-Host

    Yet another gross mischaracterization of SSM proponents, many of whom are devout in the practice of their various religions including Christianity.

    Baloney, I run a religion blog. I’ve had this sort of debate with devout people before. The debate jumps right into the bible the creeds, canon law. For example the last time we discussed this in terms of whether marriage was symmetrical Paul’s comments in Ephesians were used which led to the actual contents of the metaphor in the original languages. So ἐξουσίαν vs. potestatem . The people here really are operating in a vacuum because they don’t have of thousands of years of thought on these topics. Apparently thinking that no one would have questions about the nature of marriage prior to last week and there is nothing to turn to learn about what great thinkers had to say on these topics. Mistakes that the devout wouldn’t make.

  • CD-Host

    sparticus –

    No, such a law acknowledges that the state does not have any authority to marry anyone at all. It can register marriages but it is not the source of marriage. Hetrosexual or homosexual.

    We do not, however, enact laws that express purely a religious preference.

    Of course we do. The statue against murder is purely religious preference that death is a negative state, an undesirable thing. I don’t have any principled objective reason to prefer life to death.

    The statutes against trespass are based on the religious preference that land is under the dominion of man. Observable nature teaches me the opposite that men should have shared territories like other animals with no notion of ownership just a notion of temporary presence.

    There is no meaning outside religion. Again with using religion as a proxy for culture, because much as you keep trying to make this debate religious it has nothing to do with religion. What you are objecting to is all of western culture be it muslim, christian, jewish.

  • Rabiner

    Cd-Host:

    “I’m not sure why you digging in here in not allowing a minister the rights of a clerk. ”

    If you have an accreditation process to award the rights of a clerk to a minister than so be it. But the license he provides as a clerk of the state must be one of a civil union, not marriage.

  • CD-Host

    If you have an accreditation process to award the rights of a clerk to a minister than so be it. But the license he provides as a clerk of the state must be one of a civil union, not marriage.

    That’s pretty much what the law is now. Ministers are licensed by the state to perform marriages. They register marriages with the state. The change is one of language. Replace registration of marriage with registering the civil union induced by the marriage as a matter of law. That keeps the current system intact.

    Anyway it was good to talk to someone who honestly wanted to work this out. I really do believe this is a workable compromise that doesn’t change the nature of marriage while ending discrimination against gays. There is room to thread the needle but it requires both sides being careful. And IMHO this proposal would win at the ballot box because it demonstrates a genuine care about preserving western culture.

    Originally I was opposed to SSM. The fact that Christians were rejecting it on bigoted grounds rather than trying to find a viable compromise changed my mind. This thread, and frankly this board encourages the opposite sort of disgust. I support gay rights, I support them because I believe in equality, my belief in equality comes from ideals like the ruling that slaves can marry. If the state regulates marriage, then slaves can’t marry and then there is really no principled reason for believing gays have some right to. Its an obvious tautology.

  • Rabiner

    Cd-Host:

    While I wish a compromise like this would be winnable at the ballot box, I find there are too many reactionaries who would just scream at the top of their lungs ‘you’re changing marriage!’ and the like. I just have this opinion after the campaign waged during Prop 8 which I was privy to as I was living in Irvine at the time.

    The public today just doesn’t feel like compromising in nuanced ways because it takes more than a 13 second soundbite to explain the changes or compromise. They tune out and want a simpler explanation. Curious about your blog since you mentioned you run one.

  • Rabiner

    is it church-discipline.blogspot.com ?

  • CD-Host

    Yes that’s the one. The one you get to if you click on my name here.

    While I wish a compromise like this would be winnable at the ballot box, I find there are too many reactionaries who would just scream at the top of their lungs ‘you’re changing marriage!’ and the like. I just have this opinion after the campaign waged during Prop 8 which I was privy to as I was living in Irvine at the time.

    That’s the reason you have to be so careful so you don’t change marriage. That’s why I constantly you can’t have the state become the originator of a marriage. The reason these previous attempts at gay marriage have gotten tagged with “changing marriage” is because they did. The way to beat that charge is to make it factually untrue.

  • Rabiner

    Cd-Host:

    “The way to beat that charge is to make it factually untrue.”

    If there is one thing I’ve learned over the last 2 years is that facts don’t matter in political arguments anymore it seems. It just has to have truthiness.

  • CD-Host

    I think facts do matter. Obviously truthiness is a problem but people can be persuaded.

    57% of people favor civil unions with all the same legal rights up 12% since 2003. And 6% are against it because they see it as discriminatory.
    39% favor gay marriage up 1% since 2003.

    These gains are almost all with conservatives.

    Among conservative Republicans civil unions are split about 60/40 against but gay marriage is close 85/15 against. Its pretty clear that a large percentage of the population wants to make a reasonable accommodation for gays. I think conservatives would welcome a clearer line between the church and the state on issues like divorce once the advantages were explained.

    And I think a major court case after having lost at the ballot box upwards of 30 times would generate a massive backlash against gay, liberals and the court’s enforcement of civil rights. All for no apparent purpose because all that is going to happen is essentially create the same situation where “state marriage” and “religious marriage” exist as parallel institutions.

  • Rabiner

    CD-Host:

    “I think facts do matter. Obviously truthiness is a problem but people can be persuaded. ”

    I’m afraid that isn’t the case with the increasingly fractured media that allows people to get their information from sources that only reinforce their preconceived notions. If Fox News was only biased but at least presented the facts correctly I wouldn’t have an issue. But during the Health Care Debates last year what happened was mainstream conservatives were arguing about things that weren’t in the bill while liberals were arguing the merits of the proposed legislation. Time wasted trying to dispel falsehoods that bounded around in conservative circles regarding illegal immigrants getting subsidies, government paid abortion, death panels and so on meant less time on meaningful debate regarding the public option, individual mandate, how to raise revenues for this program, how to deal with cost inflation, ect.. Truthiness won the day in that situation and it poisoned the well for real compromise on some of the biggest issues of the day.

    Another one is regarding the Stimulus where conservative pundits continuously harp that it didn’t create one job. No economist has said such a thing, not even conservative economists. They may of criticized the size, way it was shaped, and offered alternatives (all worthy discussions) but to simply state falsehoods by using shenanigan statistics or unrelated statistics makes a productive discourse impossible.

  • Too much of a good thing? « Joel D. Skene

    [...] there was an excellent post on the Frum Forum about why the correlation between higher education and dislike of the GOP [...]

  • TJ Parker

    CD-Host, you speak nonsense. Jabber jabber jabber. What you say, to my ears, is barely recognizable as an intelligent utterance.

    “Of course we do. The statue against murder is purely religious preference that death is a negative state, an undesirable thing. I don’t have any principled objective reason to prefer life to death.”

    Hunh? The survival instinct is biological and primitive: we share it with plankton and virtually all motile life. *You*, perhaps, don’t have any reason to prefer life over death because you apparently believe that after your brain is a decayed puddle of ooze, you’re still gonna be alive. Whatever that means.

    “The statutes against trespass are based on the religious preference that land is under the dominion of man. Observable nature teaches me the opposite that men should have shared territories like other animals with no notion of ownership just a notion of temporary presence.”

    Perhaps you should observe animals to check your hypotheses. This is called science. What you’re doing is merely setting up a strawman argument.

    “There is no meaning outside religion.”

    Perhaps this only seems to be the case because what you accept as ultimate truth is nothing but a silly fable that bears little or no relation to reality.

    “Again with using religion as a proxy for culture, because much as you keep trying to make this debate religious it has nothing to do with religion. What you are objecting to is all of western culture be it muslim, christian, jewish.”

    Bah. You would have made the same argument against slavery. Your Bible, your God, your Jesus never said “free your slaves”. It says, “don’t marry your female slave until she’s at least 12″ or “don’t sell your daughter into slavery until she’s at least 12″. He says, “treat your slaves well”. It says, “When you beat your slaves, don’t beat them so badly that you kill them!” A recognized part of the natural order.

    Yeah, in the first century BCE.

    You and other religious types are selective readers. What you find abhorrent in your religious texts, you ignore. What reinforces your prejudices, you embrace. You *are* a bigot, sir/madame.

  • TJ Parker

    “Anyway it was good to talk to someone who honestly wanted to work this out. I really do believe this is a workable compromise that doesn’t change the nature of marriage while ending discrimination against gays. There is room to thread the needle but it requires both sides being careful. And IMHO this proposal would win at the ballot box because it demonstrates a genuine care about preserving western culture.”

    Bah. Go ahead and provide the rights, one by one, if you’d like, that give equality treatment to same sex couples. But until there is a single institution, what you’re all suggesting is just plain *offensive*.

    Why?

    Because you can not present a single reason, a single way in which marriage for heterosexual couples is *changed* by making it available to same-sex couples. And by “present a single reason”, I mean a reason that can be argued and supported in court, not one that can be used to stir up a Palinesque mob.

  • TJ Parker

    Oh, and I (male) am *married* to my husband, sir/madame. Here in the U.S. of A., right in California. I hope you feel suitably diminished.

  • CD-Host

    TJ –

    Because you can not present a single reason, a single way in which marriage for heterosexual couples is *changed* by making it available to same-sex couples.

    I’ve written about 50 posts here outlining it pretty clearly, that to do what you are talking about reverses 1800 years of doctrine regarding marriage. So that’s either ignorance or a lie.

    Oh, and I (male) am *married* to my husband, sir/madame. Here in the U.S. of A., right in California. I hope you feel suitably diminished.

    Good. Glad to hear it. Enjoy.

  • CD-Host

    I’m afraid that isn’t the case with the increasingly fractured media that allows people to get their information from sources that only reinforce their preconceived notions

    Most people look for information that balances their preconceived notions. They ignore evidence that contradicts what they would like to believe about the world. That isn’t new. Its frustrating, people are stupid, ignorant tribalistic sheep. Always have been.

    FOX is far better news than the TV news 20 years ago. Sure substantially more biased but they can assume a much higher level of information. I suggest you look at clips from 20, 30 years ago they would have to spend half their 90 second segment telling their viewership what a healthcare bill was before going on to the important stories about fashion and fluffy the whale.

    The media got so bad in its overage 10 years ago I stopped reading US newspapers and would only read foreign news. The media today is the best it has been in my life in terms of information content. I’m an MSNBC guy, watch Rachel nightly, but when I look at FOX there is simply no comparison. The bias and misinformation is unbelievable but the depth is there.
    I may not like everything about Glenn Beck but he is the first news commenter on a major channel who is willing to subject US news and government to structural anthropology. That’s a huge step forward in our discourse. You used to hear that sort of thing from the left, people like Chomsky but never on a show watched by millions.
    Two years ago Ron Paul couldn’t even get mentioned on Fox. Today Andrew Napolitano has a regular show. This presents a genuinely alternate POV.
    The quality of the political analysis on FOX has been excellent for over a decade. They have great discussion of voter breakouts and polls. They are the only network that really focus on the county / district level in their political analysis. And certainly that’s a change from when I was a kid where the networks acted like the popular vote was the important thing.

    I can be very cynical about America but in terms of news I really think we are at a high point.

  • Rabiner

    Cd-Host:

    “The bias and misinformation is unbelievable but the depth is there.”

    While I agree with you about the presentation at Fox is very good this is the issue. With such great presentation yet huge bias and misinformation it loses news value and becomes propaganda. I’m cynical about America because so many people view this product and are hoodwinked into believing it as reality when it isn’t close to the truth.

  • TJ Parker

    “I’ve written about 50 posts here outlining it pretty clearly, that to do what you are talking about reverses 1800 years of doctrine regarding marriage. So that’s either ignorance or a lie.”

    Wow. The discovery of mental illness reversed millenia of “doctrine” regarding demonic possession. The discovery of epilepsy regarded millenia of doctrine. The discovery of microbes reversed millenia of doctrine regarding evil spirits and ritual healing. The discovery of evolution reversed millenia of doctrine regarding the origins of the universe. The discoveries of neurophysiology conclusively reverse millenia of doctrine regarding the survival of the self apart from the brain.

    And the discovery of sexual orientation …

    Quantity means nothing when you speak only nonsense. The wisdom of 1st century goatherds is not wisdom.

  • CD-Host

    TJ –

    OK we’ve determine its lying then.

    The wisdom of 1st century goatherds [sic] is not wisdom.

    Can you give me one line where I’ve quoted a goat herder (I assume that’s what you meant not the goats themselves at goatherds would imply)?

    The discovery of mental illness reversed millenia of “doctrine” regarding demonic possession.

    Really? What were those doctrines of demonic possession? What are their sources?

    The discovery of epilepsy regarded millenia of doctrine.

    Again which doctrines?

    The discovery of microbes reversed millenia of doctrine regarding evil spirits and ritual healing.

    Actually no. There were several theories in-between. Why use examples you know nothing about?

    The discovery of evolution reversed millenia of doctrine regarding the origins of the universe.

    Not it didn’t. There was no “discovery of evolution”. Evolution goes back to the beginning of literature. I suspect you mean the theory of natural selection which provided a mechanism for biological evolution and that wasn’t a discovery but a hypothesis. If you want a discovery, maybe the discovery of the red shift / Hubble’s law which provided a lot of evidence for a minority theory called the big bang…. But there was no doctrine at that point.

    The discoveries of neurophysiology conclusively reverse millenia of doctrine regarding the survival of the self apart from the brain.

    Really? You mean ancient man thought things were honky dory if you got your got your head cut off? May I suggest Alcmaeon of Croton from the 6th century BCE who writes about the function of the brain.

  • ktward

    CD: The pro-SSM side is in its blind hatred of religion undermining this ruling …

    kt: Yet another gross mischaracterization of SSM proponents, many of whom are devout in the practice of their various religions including Christianity.

    CD: Baloney, I run a religion blog. I’ve had this sort of debate with devout people before.

    Given your response, perhaps ‘devout’ was the wrong term for me to use. ‘Observant’ work better?

    Point being, SSM proponents hold no collective, blind hatred of religion.
    Yours was an absurd comment in light of the fact that many Christian churches today have not only rolled out their welcome mat to the LGBT community, a good number of denominations actually support SSM.

  • WhereDidTheGOPGo

    on Nov 9, 2010 at 11:22 am GEValle opined :
    “I used to be a college student; I also used to be a Democrat. Then I grew up, started working, started understanding how wealth is produced, and voila! Now I’m a Conservative Republican.”

    I think you might have missed something. By just working, you almost certainly learned about production of goods and services. Wealth is a different beast. There is only one way to ‘produce’ or create wealth: by developing new technology. However, one can accumulate wealth by appropriating others’ production, this is called rent-seeking and it is favorite of Republicans (farmers, oil/mineral extractors, and defense contractors are great examples). Just bend the laws and regulations to ensure you get your cut of others work and you are wealthy.

    While I might have you wrong, your apparent ignorance of wealth creation is indicative of why contemporary Republicans repulse the educated. Wealth in this society is dis-proportionally created by the educated, witness Google and Apple. Both are full of the educated, urbane Democrats you seem to dismiss. Many educated people smartly see the Republican Party as the defender of rent-seeking leeches in our economy. Republicans need to figure out that this is a serious problem.