Friday, April 11, 2014

Marriage Equality Shmequality

My opposition to homosexual marriage, AKA gay marriage, same-sex marriage, or "marriage equality" (idiotic ideas have a way of dashing through one euphemism after another) isn't religious. I'm not religious. Never have been. My opposition to it is lexicographical. You know the Abe lincoln riddle:

Q: If you call a tail a leg, how many legs does a dog have?

A: Four, because calling a tail a leg doesn't mean it is one.


Lincoln had his defects, but he was a lawyer and a master of the English language, so he knew that redefining words to suit special purposes was unethical and misleading.

And then we have Lewis Carroll:

'I don't know what you mean by "glory",' Alice said.

Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. 'Of course you don't — till I tell you. I meant "there's a nice knock-down argument for you!"'

'But "glory" doesn't mean "a nice knock-down argument",' Alice objected.

'When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.'

'The question is,' said Alice, 'whether you can make words mean so many different things.'

'The question is,' said Humpty Dumpty, 'which is to be master — that's all.'


Now, Lincoln was of course trying to make sense. Carroll was doing what he did best, deliberately making nonsense.  But both examples illustrate the point nicely.

And the point is that marriage has and has always had a pretty clear definition — the union of opposite sexes for the purpose of reproduction or family formation. There have been polygynous marriages and polyandrous marriages and all those funny marriage variants that Heinlein had fun with in The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, but nobody, nowhere, has ever considered any kind of union that doesn't include both sexes to be any kind of marriage at all. That is until now, and our leaders of opinion, who think themselves far smarter than everybody else in history, and who Humpty-Dumpty-like, make words mean what they want them to mean.

No. They can call their little flaky institution "civil unions" or "gay contracts" or "Barney Frankage" for all I care, but "marriage"?  Nope. Words mean what they mean. If you have a new concept, think up a new word.
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Quibcag: Here we have "Professor" (はかせ Hakase) and her cat, Sakamoto (阪本), from Nichijou (日常 Nichijō, lit. Every Day).

16 comments:

  1. "the point is that marriage has and has always had a pretty clear definition"

    This is completely and utterly wrong. It is very difficult to define 'marriage' without excluding very clear examples of it, and marriages involving partners of the same biological sex are and have long been conducted in many societies around the world. Moreover, words change their meanings readily and are never as clear-cut as you seem to think.

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    1. That's exactly how my cat — I mean my _dog_ — feels.

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    2. "biological sex" - Do you mean "gender" ?

      PS. Can you give an example of non-biological sex ?

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    3. Seriously, though, I'd have thought that if there were actually such examples, the homosexual lobby would be telling us about them all the time. Could you supply links?

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  2. There is no secular argument against gay marriage. If you're griping about people changing word meanings away from the norms then you clearly have no understanding of language.

    Please stop saying you are libertarian. Infringement on social rights and love are high on the list of libertarian sins.

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    1. Actually, there's Darwin, and he's pretty secular. And you need to read this:
      Libertarianism ≠ Liberalism

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    2. Darwin was a religious man who died with a great bit of doubt. I assume you're referring to his work about natural selection? If homosexuality was indeed a poor evolutionary path, then it would have died out. Instead we observe same-sex mating pairs all through history; both in human and natural domains.

      Citing darwin is an interesting tactic, as intervention with "natural order" is only decried by those who are not in danger of extinction.

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    3. Do you really mean "mating pairs," Anon? That's _definitely_ stretching the language out of shape.

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    4. I'm not sure I follow. I'm not trying to come up with another term for marriage, just using the phrase "mating pairs" to describe two organisms having sex. By sex I of course mean orfice penetration involving sexual organs.

      I'm also still not understanding the claim to the rigidity of language. In my lifetime there have been words that meant three different things depending on the time. Just look at the generic words of positive exclamation: cool, dank, gnar, sweet, tight....

      Honestly I don't care much for semantics, I just want to government to stop interfering in social matters.

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  3. The "problem" is that marriage has had an ever changing definition. Simple history. You may like it or not, in this last case check your spouse's genitals before tying the knot, and live your life. Not that hard, or is it?

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    1. Actually, it hasn't. Read the post again.

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  4. You claim to be concerned form a "lexicographical", your quote "They can call their little flaky institution "civil unions" or "gay contracts" or "Barney Frankage" for all I care,..." certainly shows your clear animus towards gays masquerading as your concern for language. Please keep it up. This is more fuel for courts to determine "animus" toward gays. Have a wonderful day.

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    1. Ex-Army, if your blog and all its "animus" (you can't spell "animus" without "anus") is cited as the swaying factor in the upcoming Supreme Court decision that declares queers to have Extra-Constitutional rights, I will hire a private investigator, rent a Sherpa, buy snowshoes, build a raft, whatever it takes to track you down, and buy you a beer.

      Hell, make that two beers. And good ones, too. Not the recycled urine from those Superbowl commercials.

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    2. With pleasure! With friends like Kevin, we don't need animus! Come to think of it, I did a post on liberals and their knee-jerk accusations of animus AKA "hate" towards those who disagree with them.
      Liberals and "Hate"

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  5. I suspect that if the privileges the government now gives to one-convex-one-concave to civil unions, a lot of the gay marriage hype would vanish.

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  6. Look people there's a reason pretty much every religion prohibits this stuff. Call me a curmudgeon if you will (though it would be inaccurate to do so considering my age) but from what I've seen the old semitic monotheisms put restrictions on stuff like this for a reason.

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