Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Dynamic Nature of True Liberalism

Classical liberalism is not a static political philosophy. But it appears that some are trying to make it so.

The issue that brought this to mind was the debate regarding marriage equality. And, while that got me thinking about the issue, it is not directly relevant to the broader issue of the dynamic, or static, nature of liberalism.

One opponent of marriage equality argued that support for this right is not liberal becauseJohn Stuart Mill never said anything about gay marriage or civil unions. 

True as his observation might be, his conclusion is not constructive to the debate nor particularly relevant. There are several things contained in his remarks. But at the core of it is the idea that liberalism is static.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Seeking Perfection Leads to Tyranny

There is nothing more human than the quest for perfection. Equally there is nothing more human that the failure to obtain it.

We all have ideal concepts of how things ought to be were we living in the perfect world. We often don't agree on those ideal concepts.

To the rational person such ideals point us in a direction. They guide us. We need them.

However I've often seen this quest for perfection used as an excuse for some horribly inhumane actions.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Why Fundamentalists are Obsessed with Gays

When conservative evangelical minister Ted Haggard’s secret life, seeking male prostitutes, was exposed the media took notice. There has always been a certain drama in the tent meeting revivalist seducing young women along the “sawdust trail” or the charlatan faith healer taking money from the gullible and desperate. It is no surprise that revelations of Haggard’s hidden gay life received such attention.

That quintessential American writer Nathaniel Hawthorne tackled this topic a century and a half ago in The Scarlet Letter, his story of Hester Prynne who gives birth, out of marriage. Hester is ostracized and shamed by the community, but refuses to allow this to destroy her and she hides the secret of the child’s father—the Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale, even when Dimmesdale joins in vilifying Hester and demanding that she identify her lover.

In this somewhat prophetic tale Dimmesdale is chosen to give the Election Sermon, an important honor. What Hawthorne wrote of Dimmesdale could be applied to Haggard, “‘At least, they shall say of me,’ thought this exemplary man, ‘that I leave no public duty unperformed or ill-performed!’  Sad, indeed, that introspection so profound and acute as this poor minister's should be so miserably deceived!  We have had, and may still have, worse things to tell of him; but none, we apprehend, so pitiably weak; no evidence, at once so slight and irrefragable, of a subtle disease that had long since begun to eat into the real substance of his character. No man, for any considerable period, can wear one face to himself and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which may be the true.”