Erick Erickson’s great line is becoming truer with each passing day. This Daily Beast column by Tim Teeman is a perfect illustration of the Law of Merited Impossibility (“It will never happen, and when it does, you bigots will deserve it”). Look at this excerpt (I’ve boldfaced the key words):
“Because today we’ve reached the point in our society where if you do not support same-sex marriage you are labeled a homophobe and a hater,” Rubio said. Absurdly. You are only labeled a “homophobe” and “hater” if you come out and say something homophobic and hateful.
Mr. Rubio, despite great provocation by you and others like you, LGBTs and their supporters—many of whom are Christian, by the way—who back equality actually think you can say and think whatever you like, as long as it doesn’t incite violence and hatred. If it does, they will object, as any reasonable person might.
If you claim that LGBTs do not deserve marriage equality, and your argument has the ring of prejudice about it—and it necessarily would because you are arguing against the principles of equality—then expect to be called out for it.
Shorter Tim Teeman: “Nobody will ever accuse Christians of engaging in hate speech for opposing gay marriage, and when they do, you bigots will deserve it, because by definition you are engaging in hate speech.” Yeah, there’s a lot of absurdity here, but it ain’t coming from Marco Rubio.
Get used to this kind of thing as the movement, having achieved landmark changes in the law, moves on to policing thoughts. Along these lines, Brendan O’Neill, the editor of the UK magazine spiked and an atheist, has a thought-provoking take on the reaction to the Irish vote:
All the commentary on how the referendum was ‘about more than marriage’, how it went ‘beyond the letter of the law’ to touch on something deeper, something psychic, confirms that the campaign for gay marriage is not about achieving social equality — no, it’s about securing parity of esteem, which is very different. The march of gay marriage has a stronger relationship with the new culture of therapy, and the need for recognition, than it does with the more longstanding ideal of legal equality and the need for rights. What is being sought here is not really the right to marry but rather social and cultural validation of one’s lifestyle — ‘societal empathy’ — particularly from the state. What we have witnessed in Ireland is not a new dawn of social equality but the further entrenchment of the value of cultural equality, and this is far from positive.
Ireland’s focus on recognition rather than rights, and the celebration of gay marriage as a means of validating gay people’s sense of worth, echoes the discussion about gay marriage in nations across the West. Time and again, the language used has been that of therapy rather than autonomy.
It is undoubtedly the business of society to ensure social equality for gays, so that they may work and live as they choose free from persecution or harassment. But is it the job of society to ensure that there is parity of esteem for gays? That they feel good? That they feel validated, respected? I would say no, for then we invite the state not simply to remove the barriers to gay people’s engagement in public life but to interfere at a much more psychic level in both gay people’s lives, in order to offer ‘sanction for their intimate relationships’, and in other, usually religious people’s lives, in order to monitor their refusal to validate gay people’s lifestyles and offer them ‘support, kindness and respect’.
It is vital that you do not credit for one second the Kultursmog about how social and religious conservatives are being paranoid about what’s coming. The clumsy Teeman column offers a perfect example of the rhetorical sleight of hand that often gets employed to confuse and distract. Writing in Commentary, Jonathan Tobin says that Rubio was right, and his saying what he did matters. Excerpt:
Critics of Rubio mock his fears by pointing to the fact that Massachusetts has had gay marriage for years without anyone shutting down Catholic churches in the Bay state. That’s true, but Catholic charities have been driven out of adoption services. If we get to the point where clergy that will not perform gay marriages are viewed as practicing discrimination — something that is no longer unimaginable — then faiths that dissent on the practice will begin to be subjected to the sort of official discrimination that will give the lie to any talk of live and let live.
It would be wrong for anyone to pretend that we are at such a point now. Indeed, as Santorum noted, we are at “the water’s edge” of viewing such traditional beliefs as beyond the pale, is a reasoned debate by which we can accept the will of the majority on gay marriage while leaving room in the public square for those who believe this contradicts their faith and values.
Is that possible? To judge by the mob mentality that forced Brendan Eich out of his CEO job at Mozilla and the way Indiana was ostracized after its RFRA was passed, maybe not. Liberals don’t want to just win the culture war, as their treatment of stray Christian bakers and photographers who dissent on gay marriage indicates, they are not interested in taking prisoners.
Sooner or later, you will be made to care.