So there’s a couple of things that I want to write about that have annoyed me ever-so-slightly.
First things first: This fantastically poorly thought out article by Barry Cohen. Now admittedly I haven’t read anything else Barry has written – I was in fact unaware of his existence until now – but I can only hope that as a former Labor Minister anything else he has written is far more logical and lacking in utter tripe.
“Opposing gay marriage doesn’t mean I’m barking”
He starts off okay – I suppose – (though he continually makes references to dogs), takes a shot at the ABC accusing it of being biased, takes another shot at the “cafe latte set”, mentions how he voted against legislation discriminating against Homosexuals (How noble and forward thinking of you!) and continues to applauded legislation aimed at beating back prejudice of Homosexuals. So pretty regular stuff, trying to appease everybody yada yada yada.
Then he has seemingly lost the plot and written this without actually thinking:
…Marriage between people of the same sex giving them equal status with heterosexual couples, in my view, goes way beyond the pale. They argue that the present law discriminates against them. It does. And it’s the same reason why I can’t marry Jamie or Hamish.
And how about the discrimination against pedophiles, prohibiting sexual relations with children? Why do we discriminate against 15-year-old girls and boys for what used to be called carnal knowledge? Why do we ban men from entering women’s toilets or vice versa? I could go on but I’m sure you discern my drift. We discriminate because society believes it is the right and moral thing to do.
Does he actually know what a terrible argument is? Is he even aware of the insinuations he is making? I would hope he’s just an ignorant buffoon, or he’s unaware of what he’s saying there. I mean sheesh.
The most offensive part of this is obviously his attempt to make the argument that discriminating against Homosexuals is exactly the same as discriminating against child abusers because – as he says – “we discriminate because society believes it to be the right and moral thing to do”. You’d have to be an absolute and utter fool to think that this makes any kind of sense. Firstly: We discriminate against Pedophiles because they abuse children causing irreparable and lasting harm. Basically there is a rational and logical reason behind discriminating against Pedophiles which, I’m sure we can all agree, serves the greater good. However this rational and logical basis (which you need for any discrimination to be morally sound in my opinion) does not exist when you apply it to the current discrimination Homosexuals live under. Nor does society believe it to be the right and moral thing to do – as Barry so nicely points out by mentioning the numerous polls showing consistent and growing support for gay marriage. The most dreadful thing however is that by using Pedophiles as an example Barry has insinuated that recognising same-sex couples is as bad as Pedophilia. It’s highly unlikely he meant to do that, or believes it himself, but some other opponents of extending liberty to Homosexuals do, and so he should be more careful with what he writes.
Secondly: We discriminate against Fifteen and Sixteen-year-olds because in general they are not mature enough to give informed consent. Again there’s that whole rational and logical reason for discrimination. I would hope that any two adults regardless of gender are more than mature enough to give informed consent, and in general they. That being the case Society doesn’t say “nuh uh, not doing that” to adults.
Thirdly: We don’t let men into women’s toilets (and vice versa) because – you know I really shouldn’t have to (and I’m not going to) explain this one because the argument in of its self is ludicrous.
So whilst Barry is right in saying “we discriminate because society believes it is the right and moral thing to do” in each and every single example he gave there is a solid rational and logical reason to do so. Which – quite frankly – does not apply to discriminating against Homosexuals in this way. Barry would probably realise this if had given more than a moments thought to his arguments. I hope Barry has a Louis Marinelli style turn around in the future.
One of the benefits of living in a Liberal-Democracy such as our own is that everyone is entitled to the same rights and everyone is treated exactly the same under the law, unless there is a rock solid rational and logical reason not to do so. Currently Homosexuals are not getting the same treatment in all areas under the law and so do not get the same benefits of living in this system. This, in my view, only damages the value of our Liberal-Democracy.
In the second part of this post I would just like to briefly talk about some things that are annoying me at the moment about Progressivism.
Late last night I got involved in an argument with a Socialist complaining about the ETS/Carbon Tax, Neoliberalism and how the Progressive movement shouldn’t be in favour of it. Essentially her argument was that because it is a market based mechanism we should be automatically opposed to it. This is – as I told her – absolute crap. Progressivism does not automatically equate to anti-liberal philosophies. Those narrow and blinkered debates are not something Progressivism should indulge itself in. To me the Progressive movement is about increasing equality, liberty (Yes both – it is not a zero-sum thing), and the richness of society as a whole. To borrow from Cognitive Scientist and Progressive activist George Lakoff‘s book Don’t Think of an Elephant Progressives should be advocating for: a Stronger Australia, Broad Prosperity, a Better Future, Effective Government, and Mutual Responsibility. None of these things necessarily mean needing to adopt – to the exclusion of all others – a Capitalist or Socialist program. Progressives should be looking at each goal and then debating which way is the best and fairest way to go about achieving that goal. Not the other way around.
The second thing that annoys me is the Chifley Research Centre is putting on a massive conference of Progressive Speakers in the Sydney Law School. What annoys me about this is that it is in an entirely different state than the one I live in and I cannot justify to myself spending the money to go. This makes me sad face.
Anyway that’s my two bobs’ worth.