Wednesday, August 06, 2003

One of the foremost insights of conservatism is that an old not-so-good is almost always preferable to a brand-new unknown. It is not that conservatism fears change, for some changes can be and are good; it is that change, especially untested, massive change, invariably invokes the Law of Unintended Consequences. We respect the wisdom of our forbears -- not any one, or any one group, but the totality reaching back in time -- because they tried, and experimented with, and suffered from, all of the essential conditions of humanity, and found ways to cope. Put more bluntly: We don't need to re-eat arsenic every day to find out that it kills us, because many stupid people in the past did this, and in their deaths, taught us not to eat the dully shiny metal.

And that is why I oppose gay marriage, and why every conservative should do so.

Never before has a civilization tried this little feat: Ordering marriage as anything other than a male-female combination. Oh, we've tried all sorts of variants on male-female, most of which are classic polygamy; but those failed, time and again.

We're looking to break new ground here, kids. And that's rarely a good thing where the human condition is concerned. Just because the arsenic is baked in attractive loaves of soft dough, doesn't mean it won't finish you off just the same.

So let's take a look at some of the fallout of this new wave of "progressive" thinking.

Honorable men like Ben Domenech and William Sulik are rightly upset that their Church is running face-first off a cliff. And I think we can safely say that John Derbyshire is not in his happy place:

This is a dreadful event, a triumph for the forces of death over the forces of life. Robinson cheerfully acknowledges that he is an active homosexual. The Bible is perfectly clear that homosexual acts are sinful. Our Lord gave sinners strict and clear instructions: stop sinning, and repent your past sins. Robinson is in brazen violation of fundamental Christian doctrine. Nobody has to be a Christian; but if you are going to call yourself one, you should follow the rules. Further, Robinson abandoned two little girls in order to indulge his sexual urges. [...]

That he could become a bishop in my church sickens and disgusts me. We can show tolerance and Christian obligation towards deviant minorities without handing them the keys to the house, can't we? Apparently not, not today, not in America. For shame! For shame!
And why should he be? "Progressives" in his Church have tossed 2,000 years of Christianity out the window, calling it bigotry.

Beware anyone who says that the received wisdom of 2,000 years is evil.

The Biblical injunctions on this are clear; what's at least as clear is that never in the history of orthodox Christianity (or Judaism, or Islam) has boys-playing-with-boys been licit. Never. Never has marriage been defined as anything other than a male-female relationship. And yet a nominally Christian Church has tossed all of that out the window.

Next up: "Blessings" for same-sex unions. (Update since I started writing this: Apparently, this is half a fait accompli.)

Wanna talk the law of unintended consequences? It is a common Christian prayer that the various Churches should some day reunite, for it is wrong that the Bride of Christ be as injured as she is. Admittedly, when most folks (and I am no exception) say this prayer, it is with the assumption that of course their Church is the template upon which reunion will happen. Reunion is only desirable if everything vital is not lost in the process. The Episcopal Church just cut itself off from, not only the rest of the Anglican Communion, but also the catholic (small and large C) Church. In other words, if you thought Papal infallibility was the big hangup to eventual reunion, think again.

(Yes, I know, the Anglicans exist because of a schism. Fine. But that's neither a good reason to cheer a large chunk of them heading off into an even graver error, nor an excuse for lack of mercy and pity as we pray for a wounded part of the Christian Church.)

And that's just one of the immediate, please-God-not-iterative effects. It makes my point, though: The reason conservatism is a superior outlook is that we don't proceed in a ready, FIRE!, aim sequence. Move slowly, and you're not too likely to trip over your own feet.

I don't care about the Supreme Court's sweet-mystery-of-life garbage. I don't care that an elite class, of which I'm a member, has informed the plebes that, really, they should simply submit to the superior wisdom of their unelected masters. (On a related note: While I recognize the value of having a counter-democratic institution in our Government, I have to object to much of its work: They are apparently using a copy of the Constitution etched with blackbody ink on radioactive elastic.) I do care that two tiny segments of the population (lawyers and gays) are pushing us to experiment in a way that we've never dared before. One insignificantly small portion, the Federal judiciary, whose whole job is to stop radical change, is leading the way. Any "conservative" who cheers this (or, despicably, compares any of this to slavery or Jim Crow) is not worthy of the name -- not for the effect (which might be laudatory and might be disastrous) -- but for the means of achieving it.

(This is, incidentally, for all of his invocations of "true conservatives," and Michael Oakeshott, why Andrew Sullivan is not now and never has been a conservative. If you are willing to cast aside thousands of years of wisdom and thought, for your own gratification, you are many things, including limitedly rational; you are not a conservative.

This, incidentally, is why he's not Catholic: Cheering a pro-choicebaby murder candidate, specifically for being in favor of slaughtering infants, is no more Catholic than Holocaust denial.

Then again, I suspect that all of his affection for the pageantry and emotionalism of Catholicism (as opposed to, you know, the faith and the tradition) won't hold him there any longer.)

Look, here's the deal. Where gay marriage is concerned, it's entirely possible that we'll all join hands and skip happily into a bright, shining Eschaton. It's possible that there will be no social consequences of any sort.

It's just that I'm not betting on it.

Tuesday, August 05, 2003

Hey -- does anyone know anything about Word-of-Mouth.Org? Someone is apparently doing a search for information on me, and two someones apparently know something about me (and they'll let me investigate this invasion of privacy for only $20!). I think WOM might be engaging in actionable behavior, but I'd like to know more about them before I look more closely at that.

Oh, and: Anyone who wants to know about me can just email me. I'm a pretty charming fellow.