Monday, November 22, 2010

Quote of the day! Chesterton makes me giddy!



I have repeated time and again that if we cannot generalize, we cannot speak at all. Conversation shuts down, and those who shut it down fancy themselves quite intelligent.


So imagine the joy when I read the following quote, which perfectly addresses the Cranky Leila post! (There are no such things as "new ideas," but to see that none other than Chesterton had already nailed it a century ago, well, it makes me giddy!!)


From G.K. Chesterton ("The Suicide of Thought," from Orthodoxy) 
Then there is the opposite attack on thought: That urged by Mr. H.G. Wells when he insists that every separate thing is "unique," and there are no categories at all. This also is merely destructive. Thinking means connecting things, and stops if they cannot be connected. It need hardly be said that this skepticism forbidding thought necessarily forbids speech: a man cannot open his mouth without contradicting it. Thus when Mr. Wells says (as he did somewhere), "All chairs are quite different," he utters not merely a misstatement, but a contradiction in terms. If all chairs were quite different, you could not call them "all chairs".  


It's days like these that I love having a blog!

Hat tip to Monica for the quote! The Church is blessed to receive you, my dear!

85 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. Paul, the man is brilliant. His point is about shutting down conversation, stopping thought and forbidding speech. You and Miss Gwen confirmed his premise, because you did just that. Anyway, let the readers decide.

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  3. Paul, let me try it this way:

    The essence of a chair is "chairness." All chairs are, in essence, the same.

    What is the nature of a thing? The nature of every chair is to be a chair. Do chairs have distinctions? Yes, obviously. But they are all the same essence, the same nature.

    If you don't grasp this, then I see why you reject Natural Law.

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  4. Paul, what is a chair?

    Traditionally, a chair is a piece of furniture with four legs, a back, and a seat. In a rousing discussion of whether or not the innate purpose of a chair is for sitting, say we begin talking about a contemporary chair that has a wide base but not four legs does it make sense to halt the discussion and run the other way because the chair in question doesn't fit into the traditional definition of a chair?

    If we spend hours on end discussing the subtle differences in chair styles, as I'm sure we could, suddenly we lose sight of the original point of our discussion.
    This is silly and inefficient and gets us nowhere.

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  5. Leila - generalizing has it's place, but your generalization of what a "liberal" is breeds the kind of prejudice that you don't like when the tables are turned on conservatives. It's like saying all Mexicans are illegal laborers. All conservatives are frightened blowhards. Women are too emotional to be trusted, Men are always aggressive, etc.

    No one is shutting down your speech, they are correcting your wrong-headedness, especially when you are juxtaposing your caricature of liberalism with all these "questions" to learn "what a liberal thinks."

    So what is it, Leila? Are you really "curious" or are you just trying to reinforce the stereotype so you feel more "right"?

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  6. sorry for the run on in the middle there...

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  7. Anonymous, I guess we'll let the readers judge for themselves. I already know what you think about it.

    And when you (or anyone) can tell me one thing I have misrepresented in liberal thought (or in any individual commenter's thought), then please go ahead and tell me. And please be specific. There is a time for generalizing, but when you are saying I am wrong, that's the time to get specific. I have asked several times. Maybe you will be the one to step up courageously? Thanks in advance, if so.

    And can you give yourself a pseudonym, at least? There are a lot of anonymouses running around here. :)

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  8. *Meaning, they can judge for themselves my motives.

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  9. Does this make anyone feel better: I will always talk generally about ideas. I will be happy to zoom in specifically to talk about any one individual's thoughts. I believe that is what we have been doing here on the blog.

    And, anonymous, I didn't say they were shutting down MY speech. I will keep talking, of course. What they did was throw out the charge of "dumbing-down" and said they had to walk away. They shut down the conversation (which is a two-way thing). You never commented on the Chesterton quote. Please do.

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  10. Anonymous, the more I read your words, the more I realize I need to do a whole post on just your comment. I have many in the queue, but keep reading over the next couple of weeks and you may find yourself the star of your own Bubble post. :)

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  11. Paul, this is the problem with your and Leila's disagreement that ideas are complex/simple.

    Leila has posted an elegant quote from Chesterton (if I do say so myself!) that highlights an extremely interesting idea- the idea that generalization is necessary to thought (and therefore, dialogue). And rather than commenting on the idea, you brush it aside, "Oh I understand what he wants to say..." and instead of making any useful comment on the quote and the simple idea behind it, you choose to nitpick over the chair. It's ridiculous.

    This happens all the time in the comments. The topic may be about abortion, gay marriage, love, the origin of the universe... and all people seem to be able to discuss in the comments is how they are a liberal, but not like the other liberals, and don't want to rape and pillage, and never said they did.

    Argh!!!

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  12. Anonymous@10:38am, I've yet to see a post where Leila DOESN'T bend over backward to clarify that when she says, "Liberals say..." or "Liberals think..." or a similar construction, she's not saying that "Every single person on the planet who self-identifies as liberal acts/thinks/feels exactly like this," but rather, "In my experience, most people who identify as liberal act/think/feel this way..."

    Can you give an specific example from one of Leila's posts where she said something along the lines of, "Every single liberal on the planet, no matter what, acts/thinks/feels this way..." I've never seen a single instance of this.

    Also, Chesterton is fantastic. My favorite quote by him is "Having the right to do a thing is not at all the same as being right in doing it." (from, I believe, his history of England)

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  13. Man, Leila, you sure are a rock star. I also love Chesterton. Every time I want to scream in frustration about the latest conservative/liberal clash, I just go read Tremendous Trifles instead. Then I have faith in humanity again.

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  14. OK, I'll get into this one too. I'm interested in Monica's summarizing of the comments in this way:

    "The topic may be about abortion, gay marriage, love, the origin of the universe... and all people seem to be able to discuss in the comments is how they are a liberal, but not like the other liberals, and don't want to rape and pillage, and never said they did."

    I'm sure that she's talking about me here, probably a little of Miss G.

    Let's go back to the gay marriage issue. We liberals state our point, which is, for the majority of liberals, that we agree with it. Leila says, "But I just want to show you the consequences of your (liberal) logic." She leads us down a path where we are then forced to defend or deny sibling marriage - because according to Leila, this is a "logical consequence" of accepting gay marriage. Here is her quote to Miss G, from the "kind and not nice" post:

    "I am not equating/interchanging gay marriage with sibling marriage. I am just saying that it's not logical to be okay with one and not the other, as you honestly admitted."

    I'm the one who keeps saying "HOLD ON! I didn't say that!" when Leila says things like the above. "How did you go from gay marriage to sibling marriage? What LOGIC is that? I didn't say that!" I think I'm justified in that, and apparently Monica thinks I'm saying, "I don't want to rape and pillage, and never said I did."

    I'd be interesting in asking Paul and/or Marc what they think of that logical leap -- my brother-in-law says that is an ad hominem fallacy, basically "guilt by association". I'm not that well versed, I just think it's not logical to go from gay marriage to sibling marriage.

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  15. Sheesh, Leila! I can't believe these comments! How do you handle the constant controversy? It's a Chesterton quote! Who argues with Chesterton!!! You are surely earning time off purgatory here! :)

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  16. Mai, a quick question:

    Miss G ultimately did admit that if two brothers want to get married, then they should be able to. Here's what she sees that you don't: If love and marriage are simply about "feelings" and "wanting to be with someone forever" then what is your leg to stand on, in objecting to sibling marriage? (Remember, contraception and sterilization take care of any biological objections.)

    Of course you personally are against it... I get that. And of course it's not likely to happen in America any time soon... I get that, too. But what is your philosophical basis for saying "yes" to gay marriage but "no" to sibling marriage? That's what I'm trying to get at. Do you see? I hope you can understand what I'm saying.

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  18. Marcy of Marcy and Walter:
    I love Chesterton. I say just stop using words like liberal and conservative. Go back and use the terms of Paganism (kind of unfriendly sounding) and Christian. Here is another Chesterton quote: " Paganism had been like a pillar of marble, upright because porportioned with symmetry. christianity was like a huge and ragged and romantic rock, which, thugh it sways on its pedestal at a touch, yet, because it s exaggerated excrescenes exactly balance each other, is enthroned there for a thousand years." : )

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  19. Bottom line, Mai, I'm begging you to tell me why "it's not logical to go from gay marriage to sibling marriage."

    (And if you say it's because of convention, then I would say convention changes, no? Look at gay marriage, for example.)

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  20. MaiZeke
    I think I understand your frustration and feeling that, for example, gay marriage could ultimately equate sibling marriage. I guess I would reword all the things Leila has said and ask, what is the stopping point?

    I concede that most people in support of gay marriage would never condone sibling marriage but I have to look back over the last 100 years and note that many things that people said they would never support have become the norm.

    When the Anglican Church ok'd the use of birth control within a marriage to space children in 1930, loud protests were issued from such diverse personalities as Roosevelt and Gandhi (among others), both of whom were concerned about the moral implications of such a decision. By the 1960s this was a dead argument and all “right-thinking” people found the use of birth control inside and outside of marriage to be a non-issue.

    At the time of Roe V Wade most abortion rights advocates believed and stated that abortion should be “safe but rare” and that legalization would help ensure that. Today we live in a nation where at least 22% (numbers have been as high as 29% in years past) of all pregnancies end in induced abortion.

    My point is that few among us are fully capable of seeing all the paths our decisions can take us down. If gay marriage is to become the norm what will the “stop” be that keeps Leila’s example of sibling marriage to become the norm? Our own current horror can’t be the only indicator because as time goes by we become less sensitized to the possibilities and more willing to more allowances and expand the rights. We see this on a multitude of moral issues that is true and that more permissiveness seems inevitable.

    For those of us who identify as conservative and Catholic we know that our moral path has a “stop”. There are places we simply cannot and never will be able to go because we believe that a Creator has already drawn those lines.

    So Leila’s question then becomes, “I know I can’t cross x line because it has been pre-determined. It seems to us that most people who do not believe in religious or natural law believe in an internal “compass” of sorts to make those decisions. Since we know that that internal compass is impacted a multitude of factors from time to media how do you “know” you (or your descendents) will still think sibling marriage is a bad idea in 50 years? What is your “stop”?”

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  21. I can't believe the topic of gay marriage/siblings getting married is up here again! It's like a broken record playing.

    I've no problem with the use of generalizations in politics. I think most of us are aware there are subtle differences and unique shades of liberal and conservative. I may have no problem with sibling marriage, but Mai might. In either case, we're probably both voting for gay marriage because it's on the ticket, not sibling union.

    And thanks Marcy and Walter for mentioning pagan versus Christian. I'm pleased to be called pagan, even if I don't follow through with pagan practices.

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  22. Yes, and I am happy to oblige by refuting these outrageous leaps of logic, up to a point. In this particular case, I wrote a post on my own blog about it. I think that by the end of it I said something like, "Fine, Leila, if you must prove a point by forcing me to say that same-sex sibling marriage is ok, then fine. Let me know when it comes up to a vote." Case closed, according to Leila. Nothing else to talk about. Mai's philosophy is immoral, even if she isn't.

    And, by this point, we are no longer talking about gay marriage, we are talking about sibling marriage, and what matters most to people like me is not whether or not brothers will soon be marrying brothers, but why two women who love each other can't have the same rights in marriage as a man and a woman. We've gone so far off topic now, that the actual "why" of the liberal opinion is lost. Which is what I thought you wanted to know about in the first place - the why of the liberal opinion. You're not finding out what makes liberals think what they do, you're trying to prove to us, through sophism as Paul points out, that our logic is faulty. Those are two different things. Why stick around for that?

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  23. Miss G, I believe that Mai brought up sibling marriage.

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  24. Which, to continue that, is why I brought up illegal immigration from Central America. The MOST important point is trying to get Central American people able to prosper where they are, but I feel like too many people simply belabor the "it's illegal!" point.

    If you want to know what makes liberals tick, that's what makes this liberal tick, anyway.

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  25. Mai, I am assuming that the "why" of the liberal opinion is because two people who love each other should be able to get married. And, adults should use their sexuality in any way they wish (as long as it's with other consenting adults). Am I right? Correct me if not.

    And, that logically begs the question of why not sibling marriage, too? Where is your "stop"? as Elisabeth asks.

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  26. You are right that "too many people" belabor the "it's illegal" point.... but then what? Then it's policy stuff.

    If you think that conservatives don't want people in Central America to prosper, then you don't know many conservatives. I hope that is not your premise?

    What makes me tick is that I want everyone to prosper, too. Our desire for everyone ("happiness") is the same. I think they will prosper by living XYZ way. You think they will prosper by living ABC way. So, there we go. It's about ideas. We talk about ideas and we get to the bottom of things. I believe that our ideas of how to get to "happiness" is where we differ. And thus, we talk about truth and ideas.

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  27. Mai,

    An ad hominem fallacy is attacking the person rather than the argument. I don't think that is what is going no here.

    I do think it is logical to say that if you are free to re-define marriage to include same sex marriage, then the next person is free to define marriage as they see fit. That is if you want to maintain logical consistency. Unless you can show some sort of distinction between the two, then it is logically inconsistent to say one is okay, but not the other.

    If someone says that it is inevitable that after same sex marriage we will necessarily have sibling marriage or whatever, then that is probably not a logical certainty. It is possible that argument has been made here.

    I think that if we do re-define marriage that those other outcomes are likely in the future, but I don't think we can say they are necessary outcomes of legalized same sex marriage.

    However, not being a lawyer, it seems likely to me that someone who wants to marry his/her sibling could argue that the distinctions are arbitrary and therefore prejudicial if he/she is not free to marry a sibling. More likely, Muslims would argue that polygamy is a strong cultural practice of theirs and that they should be allowed to marry more than one woman.

    I hope some of this might make sense to you?

    Marc

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  28. hmm, Chesterton....so good.


    Love me some Chesterton on a Monday evening.

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  29. yikes, this went all sorts of places...i just wanted to say I love Chesterton and the quote you provided (thanks, Monica!)

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  30. Elisabeth - I can see your point. If we allow gay marriage, then we will eventually allow sibling marriage. Someone said a few posts ago, I can't remember, that if we allow homosexual marriage, then everyone will have a homosexual marriage and our society won't reproduce. Oh, and if we say that homosexuality is ok, then our children will be raised with the idea that homosexuality is ok.

    ... and then all of our children will turn out gay. Like Stephen Colbert says.

    Leila was asking for an example of that earlier, and here is one.

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  31. Leila: you said "If you think that conservatives don't want people in Central America to prosper, then you don't know many conservatives. I hope that is not your premise?" Surely it wasn't, but you make a good point.

    I looked at the republican platform, and their stand on immigration doesn't talk about making sure Central America prospered. It's mostly about stopping people from breaking the law and entering the US. I couldn't find much of anything on the Republican platform regarding foreign aid - in fact, one of the proposals that the new Republicans are bringing forward after the midterm elections is to eliminate the US Agency for International Development (gack! straight to the heart of a former PCVolunteer!)

    So ... um ... I'm sorry to have made that generalization about all conservatives, I hope I didn't offend you.

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  32. Chairs have subtle differences, sure, but they are all the same, kind of like people ;).

    As far as sibling marriage (not that this blog is about that lol), I do notice a lot of slippery slopes that come out of a gay marriage debate. "Well if two people of the same sex marry, then what if a man wants to marry a sheep?" Of course we know that a sheep cannot consent so I guess most people wouldn't argue that which then leads to siblings. Of course, come on, that'd just result in major birth defects like duck feet = ew. Lol. In all seriousness, I do see the idea behind it, two consenting adults, which is actually a very good argument even if I do think it's a leap. Since it's a "man and a woman" now, siblings already fit in that category, minus the whole legal aspect of course.

    Marriage is a religious ceremony, orginally anyway, correct? What I don't understand is why gay marriage just can't be called "garriage" or something. I realize that as a Catholic being gay is a sin (as far as I know), regardless, but outside of the church, I just don't understand why we can't resolve the problem with different word, which I'm sure would cause a separate but equal argument. And here I am basically debating with myself =)
    -"Chrissy"

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  33. Marc, regarding the Ad Hominem fallacy. Like I said, I just got it from my brother-in-law, while they were over for dinner over the weekend, and it was late, and a lot of people were talking.

    I looked it up, admittedly on Wikipedia, and there is a sub-fallacy of ad hominem that is "Guilt by Association". I was thinking that he meant that -- how can you say I will approve sibling marriage just because I approve homosexual marriage? That seems to be guilt by association to me.

    Also, just to try to be logical here (I'm trying, really I am) you say:

    "I do think it is logical to say that if you are free to re-define marriage to include same sex marriage, then the next person is free to define marriage as they see fit. That is if you want to maintain logical consistency. Unless you can show some sort of distinction between the two, then it is logically inconsistent to say one is okay, but not the other."

    I really did try to show the distinction - that sibling marriage produces non-viable offspring and I'm against forced sterilization - which is why we ended up at same-sex-sibling marriage.

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  34. I agree with wheelbarrowrider above - this conversation sure has derailed. I must say, I am flattered you want to do another post about another one of my comments, considering your cranky Leila post (and subsequently this one as well) is in response to another of my comments (I am the anonymous from earlier and the one whom you quoted to kick the cranky post off.)I am feeling a little like a rock star.

    I have not been reading your blog for long and I probably won't be. I do not say this to offend you, but I just don't care much for your arguments. You are doing fine by your logic, but not everyone lives by your logic. And just because you can refute a "liberal" point of view with your logic does not mean you are right outside of the bubble of your logic. I read your reversion story and I think you are still sort of in that place, trying to keep yourself convinced that you are living the one true, right, correct path. And this is the unspoken mission of your blog.

    Generalization does not equal misrepresentation. That is all. Thank you and goodnight.

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  35. Leila,

    People can decide for themselves what to make of Chesterton, and what this might have to do with what we're talking about.

    Chesterton's quote is clear. I understand why he wants to support what he does.

    Chesterton's conclusion is wrong. It doesn't follow.

    Monica,

    Chesterton's writing is very pretty.

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  36. Anonymous@7:22pm - consent is not the sole criterion of the good, as blogger Mark Shea says. How do you know that a sheep/goat/horse/whatever can't/won't consent? We say NOW that they can't, but perhaps that will change in 20-40 years.

    Mai, I don't recall anyone on this blog ever saying that "everyone will turn gay" or "everyone will have homosexual marriage and we won't reproduce." I can't tell if you're using hyperbole for comic effect or if you really believe this has been said. I apologize if I'm misreading your intent; tone is hard to detect via blog comments. If you are indeed serious, could you provide a link to these comments so I can read them in context?

    Incidentally, it's already happening that birth rates in first world countries are dramatically plummeting, causing current governments to worry about future economic conditions; that's not necessarily due to homosexual "marriage" but rather the use of contraceptives.

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  37. Mai might be talking about my comment when I was asking about why an atheist would be "for" gay marriage if the way an atheists brain is wired is for "survival of the species" (evolution has created a brain that makes decisions in a certain way, etc) and gay marriage obviously isn't best for survival...I remember responses to my comment that assumed I meant we were all going to die off bc of gay marriage, which isn't what I meant at all..but my guess is that is where the comment came from (I can't think of anywhere else)...

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  38. ps - when I was typing my "love it" comment I thought I was the first person commenting haha (so excited about that ;)) and now I came back to this post to see that several people commented before my post showed up! Oh sad day... ;)

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  39. Mary, thanks for clarifying! I was scratching my head wondering what Mai is talking about, but if that was the thing she was referring to, then it's obvious how it was taken totally out of context! I understood what you were saying, and it had nothing to do with "everyone becoming gay". Maybe she was referring to someone else's comment? I just don't know.

    (Hurry up and be first next time with the "love it", ha ha)

    JoAnn, that is interesting about "consent" and animals. I mean, we can even eat animals without consent, sell them without consent, even euthanize them without consent. So, why not marry them without consent? It's a stretch, and everyone is "horrified" by it now, but there are certain farms up in Washington State that cater to that sort of thing. It's pretty sick.

    (And, Mai, please don't read into this that I think you will approve animal/human marriages!)

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  40. Anonymous (Not "Chrissy" but the other one!),

    I am not at all offended. I hope you are not offended if I say that it doesn't matter to me if you like my ideas or not, or if you continue reading or not. I would write this blog if there were only two people reading. So, please come and go as you please.

    Peace!

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  41. Mai, I really worry that we are not communicating at all. I might be at the end of trying to make myself clear. Someone else might want to take over. I will give it one more shot:

    You said:
    how can you say I will approve sibling marriage just because I approve homosexual marriage?

    Um.... Mai.... I never (nor did anyone) say that you would approve sibling marriage. It is likely that you will go your whole life being opposed to it. What I said was that your philosophy has no logical argument against it. You may be against it personally, but your philosophy does not preclude it. Is that clear? If not, I don't know how to make it more clear. No one is saying that YOU will approve sibling marriage. Do you see?

    Okay, and as for your answer to Elisabeth: Huh?

    Now, as to the Central American problem: Is the Republican Platform (or any platform for that matter) supposed to talk about how to make Central America prosper? Is talk of prosperity in Central America in the Democratic Platform? I am too lazy to look it up.

    The more pressing problem for Americans today is the porous borders. As someone who lives in Arizona with a heavily Hispanic population (and many good people who are illegally here, and many criminals who are illegally here), I can tell you that even the Hispanics are worried about the borders. So, that is what needs to be (and can be) addressed right now. Prosperity in Central America will take a LOT longer to accomplish than securing our border. Is it either/or? And does that mean that we who are worried about border security (and the incredible violence of drug smugglers on a daily basis) are just big fat conservative meanies?

    Are some people against illegal immigration simply because they are racist? Of course. (And there are racists in the liberal camp, too.) But the majority of people who want secure borders do not desire it for racist reasons.

    And the immigration debate is a whole other debate, so I will end my part here.

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  42. PS: As far as eliminating the US Agency for International Development -- I don't know the details, but could it be in the realm of possibility that we are in an economic crisis and we have to cut the budget? Do you give no credit to the US for being the most generous nation on the face of the planet? Personally, there are many Cabinet-level departments that I would love to see cut first. But that is for another day and another post.

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  43. Chrissy, it's interesting that you talk about just using another word for gay "marriage". I agree, and you may find this post interesting, as it speaks to that:

    http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2010/06/while-were-at-it.html

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  44. Mai, I should be in bed at this hour, but you know what? Elisabeth (a former Planned Parenthood junior board member who was once a card carrying leftist, by the way) asked you a carefully worded, well-reasoned question. You gave her a non-answer. Why didn't you answer her question? Sorry, but that response you gave was inadequate, and I think you know it was a total dodge.

    Could you please take her seriously and try again?

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  45. I always miss the good fights while I'm busy sleeping over here in the monthercountry. Anyway...

    To put a finer point on my frustration- it seems that Paul, for example, keeps claiming he understands what Chesterton is trying to say. If you understand what he is trying to say, then respond to what he is trying to say- either in agreement or disagreement (and why) rather than wasting everyone's time disagreeing with the way he said it.

    Mai, I appreciate your generous response to my comment, since my comment was not written in the nicest tone earlier. What I mean to say is that so much time seems to be spent in the comments talking about our *personal* beliefs, that the philosophy and implications behind them are completely ignored.

    To take gay marriage as an example, yes, you have never claimed to be ok with sibling marriage, human-animal marriage, etc. But if you take as your *philosophical* basis of marriage to be love/commitment between two individuals, then the slope is indeed slippery, and not fallaciously so. On what logical basis can you accept gay marriage, but not sibling marriage? If you disagree that one logically follows the other, then show how they don't logically follow.

    Finally, it may be worth clarifying the difference between generalizations and stereotypes. Generalizations are how we analyze data. Sterotypes are to then apply a generalization with no discrimination or exception, to everyone. Ex. "For a low risk woman, unmedicated vaginal birth is generally the safest birth for both mother and baby." Stereotype: "All women should have unmedicated, vaginal births." The first is an evidence-based fact. The second is to apply that fact indiscriminately to a heterogeneous group of people.

    One of the anonymous earlier posted a pretty clear stereotype: "Catholics think being gay is a sin". This is, of course, false. Some misinformed Catholics may believe simply being gay is a sin.

    If Leila were to say, "All liberals support sibling marriage." it would be a stereotype and false. But what she says is, "The definition of marriage as love between consenting adults does not exclude sibling marriage." is true, or at least, it is the IDEA to debate.

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  46. Leila says I gave Elisabeth a non-answer to her well-reasoned question.

    "I guess I would reword all the things Leila has said and ask, what is the stopping point? "

    Mmm. What are my choices? I'll stop at allowing people to decide that someone else's baby is better than theirs and so will swap babies. That seems like a good stopping place to me. I think it is safe to say that I don't agree with the concept of the question and so forcing me to answer it is not productive.

    To address her permissiveness comment, we have also become less permissive of certain things. For example, we have stopped allowing people to enslave others. I'm glad we don't allow that any more - and that the morals of a previous society aren't imposed on my society now. We have stopped allowing the Catholic Church to kill people for heresy. That used to be very acceptable, and no longer is. I'm certainly glad we are not THAT permissive with the Church any more.

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  47. Ok - so Marc agreed, it's not a logical certainty - it does not definitely a logical follow that same-sex marriage will lead to sibling marriage. We're talking about "could" here.

    If someone says that it is inevitable that after same sex marriage we will necessarily have sibling marriage or whatever, then that is probably not a logical certainty.

    On my way into work, I thought about that "could" a lot. Am I required to actually refute a "could"? A lot of things Could happen, and since we don't need logic to bring it about, we can say a lot of them with no ability to actually refute it.

    I could throw a few out. On the way into work, I was thinking of one:

    Mai likes red. (A lot - it's my favorite color.) She wears red a lot. People who wear red could be communists.

    You're certainly not saying that Mai is a communist, that would be generalizing. And I'd like to hear you dispute that "People who wear red could be communists."

    I agree with this statement from a non-nicknamed anonymous above (7:29)

    "I do not say this to offend you, but I just don't care much for your arguments. You are doing fine by your logic, but not everyone lives by your logic. And just because you can refute a "liberal" point of view with your logic does not mean you are right outside of the bubble of your logic. "

    I'm finding that I don't care much for your arguments either.

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  48. I'd also like to make a comment on that anonymous's comment. "Your (Leila's) logic" does not exist. It is either logical, or illogical.

    Unless, of course, we are in the relativist hell where we each get our own logic and our own truth.

    If you disagree with Leila's conclusions or arguments, then it is because you believe that she is illogical.

    Maybe this is part of the problem of discussion. If half of us believe there is an absolute truth and that Logic exists, and the other half believe that there is no absolute truth and we each have the right to our "own logic", then we have a more serious problem than gay marriage.

    We can say "Your reasoning is illogical", but we cannot say "I disagree with your logic" without inadvertently complimenting Leila. :-)

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  49. Monica, if I understand correctly, the Catholic Church loves all her 'children' gay and heterosexual. However, under Catholic doctrine, marriage has been dictated by God to be defined as a sacred sacrament between man and woman. Sex, as part of marriage, has two purposes: to create new life and to strengthen the union between man and woman. Everyone bears a cross in life, a reminder that Jesus died for our sins. We carry crosses that bring us closer to God. These crosses might be anything from infertility to homosexuality to poor financial situations. These crosses in life bring suffering (again, and Jesus suffered for us) but this suffering when offered up to God is a meaningful way of connecting with him and the suffering of His Son. Homosexuals must bear the cross of never having sexual relations with other homosexuals (sin). They must remain celibate and not try to have a homosexual relationship ever and work on trying to do God's work. Is this more or less a correct view of Catholicism and homosexuality?

    Of course, I completely disagree with the above viewpoint.

    When the pilgrims landed on this continent in 1604, they believed marriage was a civil affair, not a religious one at all (not a Catholic viewpoint to be sure).

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  50. Even Marc the logician says that sibling marriage doesn't logically follow. It *could*.

    He says: "If someone says that it is inevitable that after same sex marriage we will necessarily have sibling marriage or whatever, then that is probably not a logical certainty."

    It appears to me that you're treating a "could" like a "logical certainty", that I'm supposed to logically refute. Anything COULD happen. It is nearly impossible to refute that something COULD happen. Unless we get onto the island of truth-tellers and liars ...

    My analogy for this is:

    Mai likes red. She wears red a lot. People who wear red could be communists.

    Yes. You're certainly not saying that I'm a communist even though the implication is there and I've learned to accept your stand that we're not talking about Mai, we're talking about "People who think like Mai thinks." We're talking about the *idea* that red is a good color.

    Yes, you're right. People who wear red could be communists. Hard to refute it.

    And, Monica, I certainly believe that logic exists. I just don't agree with how you apply it, as above.

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  51. Miss G, to the best of my knowledge, that is a pretty good understanding. I would say that we do not bear crosses *in order to* remind us of Christ's suffering, but simply because we live in a fallen world, and Christians use this suffering to remind themselves of Christ's suffering. But I am totally unsure on that, so ask Leila.

    Yes, the Church asks homosexuals to bear the cross of not having sexual relations at all. It also asks unmarried heterosexuals not to have sex at all, and asks married heterosexuals not to use artificial means of preventing conception.

    Also, although pilgrims were the first (white) people on the continent, our founding fathers were deists for the most part, and not pilgrims.

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  52. I'm running with this.

    People who wear red could be communists. So let's stop people from wearing red.

    If we allow gays to marry, then siblings could marry eventually. So let's stop gays from marrying.

    I think those two are the same type of logical consequences.

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  53. Mai, you seriously think this is the level of our (Catholic) discourse (and I'm gonna change one word, but not the essence):

    Mai likes ice cream. She eats ice cream a lot. People who like ice cream "could" be communists.

    I absolutely know now why I can't have a conversation with you. Maybe I will try again in a few days.

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  54. Monica, re: your answer to Miss G:

    Yes, I would agree, with the slight adjustment that Christ redeems the suffering (as he redeems all else in this fallen world), and that suffering then is meaningful in that it has the same effect of Christ's suffering (meriting grace for souls).

    So, we use it for more than just a reminder of Christ's suffering.

    But, nicely put! And Miss G, that was good!

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  55. Leila, you are the one who is repeatedly requesting that I logically refute a "could" statement. Even when I make a valiant attempt, you say that it is not a valid refutation.

    This is why *I'm* frustrated. *Your* logic is tenuous, and you treat it like it is rock hard.

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  56. To add to Monica's point - married couples are also expected to be chaste within their marriages -- no infidelity (real or fantasy), no porn, nothing that violates human dignity (e.g., S&M), no sexual acts that end in ejaculation outside of the womb (deliberately vague here as I don't want an R-rated comment!).

    Yes, the Church has high moral standards for Her children. As someone who has been on both sides of this fence, I can definitively say that the Church's way is infinitely preferable. My husband and I enjoy a much more fulfilling intimacy as chaste, NFP-using Catholics than we ever did as less chaste, contracepting Lutherans.

    Mai, the problem with your red shirt logic above is that it implies a causative relationship when, at best, only a correlative relationship exists. (It is safe to say, however, that wearing a red shirt on Star Trek means you are more likely to die, unless your name appears in the opening credits!)

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  57. Mai, I've never mentioned a "could" statement in that way. I "could" be a communist because my hair is brown; I "could" be a murderer because I am short, according to your "attempt."

    What I am pressing you about is your philosophy. You haven't told me how your philosophy of marriage precludes sibling marriage. You just say you don't like it, and then dismiss me with your shirt analogy.

    Anyway, I'll let the readers be the judge.

    Thanks, JoAnna, for your input about causative vs. correlative.

    By the way, I couldn't agree with you more about being chaste, NFP-using Catholics. My husband and I also used to live on the other side of that fence. We lived sexuality the way the culture says to, for many years. The difference in intimacy is night and day. ;)

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  58. From Leila's post at November 22, 2010 2:04 PM on this thread: "Bottom line, Mai, I'm begging you to tell me why "it's not logical to go from gay marriage to sibling marriage.""

    It is not logical because you are using Could. You have not used logic here, you are supposing.

    It's a shifting sand. If I refute your logic, then you say it's a philosophical question. If I talk about my philosophy (why I disagree), you say it's logic.

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  60. All a logical argument needs is premises and for the conclusion to follow. It doesn't matter if the premises are true. The argument's still logical. It's just wrong.

    Paul, EXACTLY!!! That is what I have said, when I said that Gwen makes sense! I also have a whole post in my head about other times that liberals make sense! Their premises are wrong, but their logic (based on a faulty premise) is excellent!

    As for sibling and incest in the Bible, I was waiting for someone to bring that up! You are correct! The reason Catholics are against incest and sibling marriage (and even polygamy) is because it is against Church teaching and Canon Law.

    It is the pagan who has no real reason to oppose it, since they do not have Church law. I don't argue that sibling marriage is against Natural Law, since at one point it was necessary. So, you won't find me disagreeing with you there.

    And if a pagan is going to forbid sibling marriage based on potential birth defects (which are NOT inevitable), then a pagan should also forbid marriage between two Jewish people who carry the gene for Tay Sachs, right? In fact, secular folk should be testing everyone for potential genetic problems.

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  61. Mai, prove me wrong. Tell me how your philosophy of marriage precludes sibling marriage. First, by defining what marriage is. Maybe that is the problem. I am not clear on your definition of marriage.

    Thanks.

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  63. Yes, Paul, I agree. If her aim was to reduce the chance of birth defects, then she would have a logical reason to forbid sibling marriage. But she would also have to forbid any two people from marrying who had a high risk of birth defects (and that causes a whole host of other problems, no?).

    But, we started with the premise of two brothers marrying. So, what is her objection? Or, two opposite sex siblings who voluntarily agree to sterilization. What, then, would her objection to sibling marriage be?

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  64. So, I'd have to ask Mai: Is it your reasoning that sibling marriage should be forbidden because of the potential of birth defects? And, if that risk is eliminated, would you then still be opposed to sibling marriage? And if so, why?

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  68. Leila, I'd love to hear your response to Chrissy's comment:

    "In all seriousness, I do see the idea behind it, two consenting adults, which is actually a very good argument even if I do think it's a leap. Since it's a "man and a woman" now, siblings already fit in that category, minus the whole legal aspect of course."

    If marriage between two men leads to marriage between two brothers, then shouldn't marriage between a man and a woman lead to marriage between a brother and a sister?

    No?

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  69. Paul: re marriage in the Old Testament -- this article is a good explanation as to why parts of the Mosaic law do not apply to Christianity: http://courageman.blogspot.com/2009/03/god-hates-shrimp-fallacy.html

    HMU - marriage has always been understood as the union of an unrelated man and an unrelated woman. This is shortened to "one man and one woman" in the context of same-sex marriage. It's when marriage is redefined as "two consenting adults" that the lines get blurred in terms of siblings (or father + daughter, etc).

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  71. HMU, you said:

    If marriage between two men leads to marriage between two brothers, then shouldn't marriage between a man and a woman lead to marriage between a brother and a sister?

    In a relativist society, yes, it absolutely could. But not in a Catholic world. The Church has laws against close relatives marrying. It's Canon Law, which is binding on Catholics. A secular, relativistic society certainly could lead to brothers and sisters marrying, but a truly Catholic society never could.

    And yes, it could be argued that a brother and a sister marrying is more "natural" than two brothers marrying, considering the normal mechanisms of sex.

    Of course, I'm against both situations.

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  72. Thanks for taking it over, Paul. I'm weary right now. I guess what I'm against is scope creep, bringing in a bunch of other things that I don't think are related, as evidenced by my little episode about tenuous logic. Which happened again here (Tay Sachs). As of right now, I just don't have the fortitude to continue, when I write an comment and get 8 questions in response.

    Don't get me wrong, it certainly helps Leila's readership, and I can't fault her for doing it. And it makes for much more interesting comments.

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  73. Mai, since I pretty much agreed with Paul, then maybe we are closer to understanding each other?

    Thanks for hanging in. I know it's not easy being the only one trying to defend a position, so I truly sympathize! (Try being a Catholic who doesn't believe in contraception -- even most Catholics attack!! :) )

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  74. Joanna,
    Okay.

    Mai,
    Thank you very much.

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  75. Then I guess my only comment about this would be to defend Mai's position:
    Just because something is possible (anything is possible), doesn't mean it's going to happen, so it shouldn't be a legitimate worry.

    Men and women have been marrying for thousands of years, and yet there hasn't been an enormous trend of brothers and sisters marrying, so I don't think this is a good argument for why homosexual unions should be outlawed.

    Although I see your point (where does the line get drawn?), I don't think it's a source for legitimate worry. If gay marriage (or any sort of "equivalent" union) were to ever be legalized, I don't foresee an explosion of brothers marrying brothers and sisters marrying sisters.

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  76. HMU, But the point is, it's not about us "worrying" or about our "feelings". That seems to be what liberals think: That we are "worrying" about sibling marriage. Not so. We are trying to challenge you on your philosophy. Maybe sibling marriage will never actually happen, but the liberal philosophy does not rule it out (unless we are talking about birth defects, and then that opens up a whole other topic). My understanding is that liberals think that two consenting adults who "love each other" should be allowed to marry. If so, then why discriminate against siblings?

    You sort of prove my point here:

    Men and women have been marrying for thousands of years, and yet there hasn't been an enormous trend of brothers and sisters marrying, so I don't think this is a good argument for why homosexual unions should be outlawed.

    Yes, men and women have been marrying for thousands of years. And no one ever thought that gay marriage would come along as it has. But it has. So, what does that say? Maybe people fifty years ago would say: "Just because something is possible (gay marriage) doesn't mean it is going to happen." True enough, but the liberal philosophy ushered in gay marriage, and there is nothing in that philosophy which rules out any other kind of "marriage" between consenting adults (incest, polygamy). Will it happen? Who knows! But no one thought gay "marriage" would come, either, and it's coming with a vengeance.

    I hope you get my point, truly. It's not about "worrying" that sibling marriage would occur. It's a way to illustrate the problem with the liberal philosophy.

    Okay, my eyes are crossed from being on this computer, so I am not even going to re-read what I wrote. Hoping it makes sense.... yikes!

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  77. "In a relativist society, yes, it absolutely could. But not in a Catholic world. The Church has laws against close relatives marrying."

    But I think you forget, we all live in the same society. Both of the states we live in probably have laws against close relatives marrying. Whether or not men were marrying men, those laws would still exist. He still wouldn't be able to marry his brother.

    I guess it boils down to the fact that I don't think something is a valid argument if it's not actually going to happen. Kind of like Mai says, "let me know when it comes up to a vote."

    I'm sorry if I can't offer you the clarity you're seeking.

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  78. HMU,

    You said: "But I think you forget, we all live in the same society."

    Yes, and it's a society that is battling between staying with tradition and going to a new paradigm. You said to ask you when it gets to a vote. Well, no one in million years would have thought that gay marriage was a possibility either. I don't know how old you are, but when I was writing an editorial column in my twenties, about fifteen years ago, gay marriage was a very, very, very fringe idea.

    And if sibling marriage ever did come about, it would happen through the court system initially, not with a popular vote. Just like abortion, just like gay marriage.

    Bottom line, I keep hearing that the "answer" to my question is, "It's irrelevant because it will never happen." However, no one has told me how their philosophy precludes it, and that's what I am trying to get at.

    I think sad that no one understands the Socratic Method anymore. Remember poor old Socrates? He was one of those pillars of western thought whose work and legacy is not taught much anymore, and it shows.

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  80. Paul, I'm pretty sure he was okay with keeping those on the side.

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  81. I would like to make one followup from Joanna's comment:

    Mai, the problem with your red shirt logic above is that it implies a causative relationship when, at best, only a correlative relationship exists.

    This is my point, Joanna. The problem with your gay marriage will bring on sibling marriage "logic" is that you are implying a causative relationship when only a correlative relationship exists.

    Marc states correctly that lawyers may eventually argue that there is a precedent for sibling marriage based on gay marriage (if it ever passes). This is similar to lawyers currently arguing that there is a precedent for gay marriage based on allowing interracial marriage. I think you would agree that interracial marriage is not causing gay marriage - the difference is that even the interracial couples are man and woman. In the same way, I will argue that the difference between gay and sibling marriage is that siblings are related to each other.

    I am happy to have Leila ask me again and again for my philosophy (even after i've explained it and she doesn't like my explanation). What I am NOT happy about is people like Monica saying that this leap of Leila's is pure logic, and that people like me are not of the group that "believe logic exists".

    I was just being nice before, and I'll stop. That is not LOGIC. That is a leap. I was only being nice when I allowed you all to call that "Leila's logic".

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  82. Mai, humor me. I've got a lot of conversations going, so maybe I am missing something. What was your objection to sibling marriage? Was it the "birth defects" issue?

    Because if it was the "It will never happen anyway" argument, that seems weak considering that was said about gay marriage, too.

    What is "marriage" to you? What is the definition?

    Maybe I'm slow. But, just one more time?

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  83. Mai,

    The thing is we already see gay "marriage" paving the way for other types of "marriage."

    For example, polygamy. Canada legalized gay "marriage" some time ago, and now the illegality of polygamy is being challenged in Canadian courts.

    I remember back when gay "marriage" began to be debated as a social issue, and the concern was raised by many that it would pave the way toward legalizing other types of "marriage" such as polygamy and incestuous relationships. The gay "marriage" advocates pooh-poohed this notion and swore it would never happen. That's being proved wrong every day, so I don't see how you can say that changing the definition of marriage from "an unrelated man and an unrelated woman" to "two (or more) consenting adults" won't help make this change.

    I sincerely doubt it'll be very widespread, granted, but the quantity of sibling marriages isn't what concerns me; rather, it's the acceptance of sibling marriage as a valid "alternative lifestyle." It's hard enough to raise kids in this world without also trying to explain that despite what society tells you, it's not acceptable or laudable to be married to your siblings, or your parent, or to animals, or to yourself, and that as long as everyone's an adult and they all consent it's just hunky-dory.

    Moreover, the definition and criteria for consent has changed over time. Girls as young as 12 (or even younger) used to be married off with nary a thought about it. How do we know consent might not take a similar turn, especially if the NAMBLA lobby gets more powerful (as it will if we, as a society, keep spreading the lie that anything goes "as long as it's TWU WUV.")

    Mark Shea talks about two phases of history, the "What will it hurt?" phase and the "How were we supposed to know?" phase. With marriage, I think we're in the first phase now, but the second phase will come eventually as society crumbles along with the traditional family.

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