Tuesday, April 07, 2009

The Sovereign Arbiters of Reality

Bill Murchison takes a swig of Dr. Kilmer's Swamp-Root Tonic, squints, spits, hitches his thumbs behind his suspenders, and reacts to Iowa's embrace of Homofascism:

You really can't have "gay marriage," you know, irrespective of what a court or a legislature may say.

You can have something some people call gay marriage because to them the idea sounds worthy and necessary, but to say a thing is other than it is, is to stand reality on its head, hoping to shake out its pockets.

Such is the supposed effect of the Iowa Supreme Court's declaration last week that gays and heterosexuals enjoy equal rights to marital bliss. Nope. They don't and won't, even if liberal Vermont follows Iowa's lead.
As anti-gay agitprop goes, this is fairly tepid stuff. You fags may be winning the right to life and liberty...but you will pursue happiness in vain, bwahaha!

Basically, Murchison's theory hails from that ghoul-haunted hinterland where wingnut theology meets Evolutionary Psychology:
The human race -- sorry ladies, sorry gents -- understands marriage as a compact reinforcing social survival and projection [sic]. It has always been so. It will always be so, even if every state Supreme Court pretended to declare that what isn't suddenly is. Life does not work in this manner.
What he's getting at here is that teh queers can't have offspring. Unless they decide to get pregnant, or get someone else pregnant. Or they adopt, or have kids from a previous marriage, or something like that.

Since it's the alleged lack of children that allegedly damns gay marriage to be a demonic imitation of the allegedly real thing, where does that leave childless straight couples?

At a cheap motel on the outskirts of Hell, wallowing in a viscid mélange of spermatocidal foam, saliva, and Pina Colada-flavored lube:
Marriage, as historically defined, across all religious and non-religious demarcations, is about children -- which is why a marriage in which the couple deliberately repudiates childbearing is so odd a thing, to put the matter as generously as possible.
I think it'd be a good deal more generous to say that whether or not people have kids is their own fucking business, regardless of what some self-appointed Womb Sheriff who looks like Father Jack Hackett has to say about it. But that's because I suffer from "disjointed individualism," which you can distinguish from the good kind of individualism — the kind that "goes Galt" because poor people aren't being turned away at the emergency room, for instance — by the fact that it's soft on nonprocreative sex between consenting adults.

Murchison's entire argument, here, hinges on the idea that gay marriage is "definitionally sterile." Mary Cheney, for one, might not agree. But in any case, you don't have to be a member of the Iowa Supreme Court to see that restricting marriage rights to people who can and are willing to have children would inconvenience an awful lot of heterosexual couples.

As theo-juridical overreaching goes, though, it's not that much worse than the conditions that actually obtain.
Current legal prohibitions pertaining to something called "gay marriage" don't address the condition called homosexuality or lesbianism. A lesbian or homosexual couple is free to do pretty much as they like, so long as it doesn't "like" too much the notion of remaking other, older ideas about institutions made, conspicuously, for others. Marriage, for instance.
Alright, then. A gay couple is free to do as they like, as long as they don't expect to enjoy the legal rights afforded to couples who aren't gay. But this doesn't mean that the law discriminates against gays; it's just that the law was written specifically for normal people, which is an entirely different matter, as anyone who knows How Life Works can see.

Murchison goes on to acknowledge that gay people actually can have children, sort of. But because they can't marry, the result is an illegitimate child. And illegitimacy has a "widely recognized potential for enhancing child abuse and psychological disorientation." Therefore, it's much better for parents to be married, even though marriage is admittedly vulnerable to "all those imperfections that flow from the participation of imperfect humans."

Which is why gay marriage must remain illegal, even though it doesn't actually exist whether it's legal or not.

That's clear enough, isn't it?

In summation, what the Iowa decision shows is that "judges should generally step back from making social policy," because no law is truly binding "unless it corresponds with the way things are at the deepest level, human as well as divine."

And besides:
[P]eople who set themselves up as the sovereign arbiters of reality are -- would "nutty" be the word?
It works for me.


Anonymous said...

Murchison can have what some people call intelligence but that doesn't make it reality.

Jazzbumpa said...

At a cheap motel on the outskirts of Hell, wallowing in a viscid mélange of spermatocidal foam, saliva, and Pina Colada-flavored lube:

There is a relatively short list of writers whose prose can leave me literally awestruck: John Gardner, Robert Silverberg, Robert Coover, Raymond Carver, T.C.Boyle, me (sometimes), and you. There must be others, but these spring readily to mind.

Just as an aside, my wife and I have been married for 18 years and have no children in common. We each have 2 from prior marriages. But, still, we sure are an odd "thing." (And I do so love being called a THING.)

Re: your ending question. I would prefer hyper-controlling psychopaths. But that's just odd me.

VforVirginia said...

Absolutely brilliant take, Phila.

Jay Schiavone said...

I enjoy much the essay, and I wish you had a staff of assistants to churn out as much as possible, but I am concerned as to your emotional stability. How are you able to sustain the hideous assault of any of the web sites you audit and deconstruct? One reads of cops or reporters who are deranged by the investigation of socio-psychopaths. You would seem a candidate for PTSD. I'm not joking. I followed your link to Townhall and... let's just say there's a reason I don't hang out in biker bars. Please be careful.

Phila said...


It's very kind of you to say so. I'm speechless, really.


You would seem a candidate for PTSD. I'm not joking.

You may be onto something.