Series: The Marriage of Equality and Inequality

The Marriage of Equality and Inequality (Prologue)

lararium

“Marriage, and essentially monogamy, is one of the absolute principles on which the ethical life of a community is based; the institution of marriage is therefore included as one of the moments in the foundation of states by gods or heroes.”

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The Marriage of Equality and Inequality – 1: Bigotry

The bigot is the individual whose beliefs are so contrary to the fundamental commitments of an egalitarian culture that they are not and cannot be worthy of serious discussion, but only of scorn and ridicule – or, for those whose political sensibilities are still impaired by remnant sympathies, of mandatory confession, self-criticism, and disassociation.

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The Marriage of Equality and Inequality – 2: Unsympathetic

The traditionalists do not believe that the word “marriage” merely should be taken to refer to the union of a man and a woman, and they do not admit of a distinction between a popular or common usage and a legal one: They insist, over and over if rarely with explanation, likely under instruction by pollsters and spin-sters, that marriage simply is between a man and a woman – period. State and the law, they believe, should reflect this primary denotation, not merely because a one-to-one correspondence between common or traditional usage and the law is preferable in the abstract, but because the heterosexual union is biologically and organically the basis of human life, making any attitude towards it other than reverence both inhuman and morbid, all the more ominous as a principle of the state.

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The Marriage of Equality and Inequality – 3: Brave New Worlds

The civilization-level question may point toward a technologically enabled defeat of organic kinship or, alternatively, its resurgence amidst the collapse of the Western or liberal-progressive model, but it may take a very long time for such a deep-going process – a matter of “generations” in more ways than one – to work itself out. At our moment, marriage equality remains a peculiar twilight phenomenon, part revision, part eclipse.

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Noted & Quoted

This is a Waterloo moment for Trump, the tea party and their alliance.  They have been stopped in their tracks not only by Democratic opposition but because of a mutiny within their own ranks. Although never particularly liked or respected, it is now clear that they are no longer feared. The bankruptcy of their ideas and their incompetence have been exposed. Their momentum has been dissipated. Their rejection of political norms has itself been scorned. Our long national nightmare may finally be coming to an end.

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One seasoned Democrat told me that among the reasons Trump won in 2016 was that a long year of Crooked Hillary talk, about emails and Goldman Sachs and the like, had steadily demoralised and demobilised the liberal base. If sustaining fury at Trump helps keep those same voters energised, so they eventually turn out to defeat him, it’ll be worth it, he says.

But it can’t just be in the form of world-weary, if witty, tweets. What’s needed is a coherent argument, one that explains why Trump’s repulsive behaviour matters. For Americans, that will surely centre on the state of their society. The civic realm is being degraded by Trump’s lies, vanities and insults. The national conversation is being coarsened. The basic democratic assumption, that disagreements can be resolved through discussion rather than coercion and violence, is being eroded from the very top. Note the language of Scaramucci’s outburst: “I want to fucking kill all the leakers.”

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[C]limate scientists have a strange kind of faith: We will find a way to forestall radical warming, they say, because we must.

It is not easy to know how much to be reassured by that bleak certainty, and how much to wonder whether it is another form of delusion; for global warming to work as parable, of course, someone needs to survive to tell the story. The scientists know that to even meet the Paris goals, by 2050, carbon emissions from energy and industry, which are still rising, will have to fall by half each decade; emissions from land use (deforestation, cow farts, etc.) will have to zero out; and we will need to have invented technologies to extract, annually, twice as much carbon from the atmosphere as the entire planet’s plants now do. Nevertheless, by and large, the scientists have an enormous confidence in the ingenuity of humans — a confidence perhaps bolstered by their appreciation for climate change, which is, after all, a human invention, too. They point to the Apollo project, the hole in the ozone we patched in the 1980s, the passing of the fear of mutually assured destruction. Now we’ve found a way to engineer our own doomsday, and surely we will find a way to engineer our way out of it, one way or another. The planet is not used to being provoked like this, and climate systems designed to give feedback over centuries or millennia prevent us — even those who may be watching closely — from fully imagining the damage done already to the planet. But when we do truly see the world we’ve made, they say, we will also find a way to make it livable. For them, the alternative is simply unimaginable.

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+ BTW, I recently upgraded some this and that on the back end of the blog, and it does seem to make comments post much faster [. . .]
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