Friday, December 19, 2008

The Ambiguity of Fact

Michael Scherer breaks down the Obamanomics of Gay Marriage:
He suggests that laws preventing gay marriage are as unjust as laws preventing interracial marriage, the very union that led to his own birth. But he further argues that the best way to fight this injustice is to indefinitely cede the central moral argument--that in America all men (and women) must be treated equal--and rather score incremental victories that push the nation in the right direction. In Obama's formulation, it would have been indefinitely acceptable for interracial couples to be denied the rights of civil marriage, if other progress was being made to advance racial equality. In the same way, it is indefinitely acceptable for gay couples to be denied the right to civil marriage, if other progress is being made to give gay couples similar rights. There is an unstated assumption here: If Obama is successful he will clear the way for a subsequent politician to support gay marriage, just as the broader civil rights movement cleared the way for an end to anti-miscegenation laws in 1967 by the (activist?) U.S. Supreme Court.
It's the constant, trapped cycle we're held hostage by thanks to religion: the ceding of real-world, fact-based truths in response to the moral absolutist outrage of the faithful. Time and time again, we're asked to add nuance and ambiguity to an issue because of the belief of someone with no empirical evidence to support their claim.

Some things in this world are proven (beyond a reasonable doubt) and some are not. There is no ambiguity about the theory of evolution thanks to years and years of research and testing; there is no ambiguity about the reality of global climate change and there is no reasonable justification for the abridging of civil rights for a large percentage of the population. While Obama's position is politically savvy, it's still a compromise based on a false premise.

This is the crux of the dubious "bi-partisan coming together" mantra. You ultimately cannot find genuine "middle ground" with those whose beliefs paint the world in a stark black and white of good and evil. At some level, either the believer is remiss in her/his duty by not championing the cause of "righteousness" or we, the reality-based thinkers, are asked to sacrifice dignity for the sake of magic.

Excuse me if I have trouble with that idea.

The problem is that the believers can't be asked to sacrifice anything because they're unwilling; the moral absolutes of their systems of thought prevent such compromises; so it's always the victims of their bullshit that have to suffer through "compromise" for the sake of perpetuating their absurdity.

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1 comment:

Mary said...

"Moral absolutes" are almost always behind real horror.