Richard Land offers qualified opposition to beating people to death

In response to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s speech on human rights Tuesday, Richard Land, ethics czar for the Southern Baptist Vatican, said:

I certainly don’t believe homosexuals or anyone else should be flogged or put to death for their sexual sins. However …

Wait. Stop. Before you go on, Richard Land, are you sure you want to do that?

Here’s what you just said:

I certainly don’t believe homosexuals or anyone else should be flogged or put to death.

Is that really the sort of thing you want to follow with a “however …”?

There are only two possible directions such a “however” might lead.

The first would be a total non sequitur — something wholly unrelated, such as: “I certainly don’t believe homosexuals or anyone else should be flogged or put to death. However, I’m also fond of pancakes.” A statement like that might be confusing or it might make you look silly, but morally and ethically it’s mostly harmless.

The second possibility, however, is far from harmless. The second possibility is that you’re about to follow that however with some qualification or limitation or reservation about the statement that precedes it. Let’s look at that statement again:

I certainly don’t believe homosexuals or anyone else should be flogged or put to death.

Do you think that needs to be qualified? Or limited? Do you really want to suggest that you have reservations about saying such a thing? Might it not be a Good Thing, for once, just to go on the record as being firmly against beating people to death and to say so without hemming and hawing and trying to however your way into a bit of wiggle room should the occasion arise in which you think beating people to death might be something you’d like to do?

Because that’s the only conclusion the rest of us can draw from a qualifying “however” here. If you can’t just say “beating people to death is wrong” without offering caveats and loopholes, then the rest of us will suspect that you’ve got a hankering to beat someone to death.

Where a non sequitur about pancakes will make you look silly, a qualification or limitation will make you look depraved.

In any case, I’m too late here to stop Richard Land from however-ing himself into a moral hole, so let’s just see what he had to say in full:

I certainly don’t believe homosexuals or anyone else should be flogged or put to death. However, I don’t believe homosexuals should receive special treatment over and above anyone else either.

Hmm. I said there were only two possibilities, and Land seems to have chosen both of them.

His non-sequitur about “special treatment over and above anyone else” doesn’t make any more sense than if he had started talking about pancakes. But at the same time he seems to think it offers some kind of qualification or limitation to his previous statement.

He winds up looking both silly and depraved.

 

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  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    He does not want gays and lesbians to have special treatment over anyone else?  Great, that makes two of us.  Let us begin the work of dismantling that special treatment, like those loopholes in anti-bullying laws that say gays and lesbians are okay to bully because you have some kind of spiritual conviction that makes them special exceptions.  Or maybe altering the laws of marriage so as not to exclude them in particular, otherwise that would be special treatment to disenfranchise them.  

    I am sure we can come up with lots of other special treatments for gays and lesbians to remove.  

  • Daughter

    Ditto.

  • muteKi

    I was going to make this comment, pretty much. Thanks, as it saves me the trouble of coming up with the words.

  • Albanaeon

    LOL at the “Land has chosen both of them” line.  It shouldn’t be funny, but it really reflects how ridiculous *and* depraved these people tend to be.

  • Anonymous

    Put another way: “I certainly believe all animals are equal. However, I do believe some animals are more equal than others.”

  • esmerelda ogg

    Methinks it’s code. (When is it NOT code with these folks?) We might translate Land’s garble as “I’m an Officially Good Official Christian, so I will grit my teeth and love even these depraved perverts” (that covers the part before the however) “who are so depraved they want to embarrass us Good And Moral folks by forcing us to treat them like real people.”

    Huh. It doesn’t sound any better after the clarification, does it?

  • Lori

    You would think that at some point the Christianists would move on from the “special rights” lie, but they just keep doubling down. 

    The always-lovely Chuck Colson is on it too:

     We’ve fallen into the spiral of silence in which case
    the people who might be a tiny minority but are controlling the
    conversation intimidate the rest of us…. Now where have we seen that
    happen most vividly? We’ve seen it in the gay rights movement. The gay
    rights movement is a tiny minority in America, so what you get is a
    passionate movement of 10 percent of the people, 5 percent of the people
    maybe in the gay movement, maybe 4 percent, 3 percent, and they
    control what the rest of us think because the rest of us are intimidated
    into silence. Folks, brothers and sisters, I tell you I believe in the
    depths of my being that the most important thing we can do today in
    obedience to Christ is to break the spiral of silence, to speak out, to
    point out unrighteousness.

    If people really intensely believe and have a passion for something
    and if they are given some sense of direction and purpose, it doesn’t
    take a lot of people. I’m sorry to use this example but it hasn’t taken
    very many gays in our society to change this society’s attitudes towards
    something which we would have said is sexually deviant and is, but it
    doesn’t take much. We’re the sleeping giant. We have forty percent of
    the country saying they are born again, my goodness how is it that
    Christian values are in retreat everywhere? It’s because we’re not
    organizing ourselves properly into a movement. So I want nothing more,
    nothing that I want more fervently right now that I’m giving my life to
    morning, noon and night than building a movement across this country
    that will restore what we believe will be the sanity and reasonableness
    of the Christian worldview. 

    http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/chuck-colson-warns-domination-sexually-deviant-gay-community

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    You would think that at some point the Christianists would move on from the “special rights” lie, but they just keep doubling down.

    It really is odd* that they can make “full equality” into “special rights”.  It is almost Orwellian in its effect, “freedom is slavery” type of thing.  I guess any change from the status quo counts as demanding special exception, even when those demands are because the status quo is unfair to begin with.  

    *I was initially going to use the word “queer” here for extra irony, but I did not want people who closely identify with that word to think I was being insensitive rather than using it as a synonym for strange or unusual.

  • http://mistformsquirrel.deviantart.com/ JJohnson

    It IS Orwellian.  As in it seems to have been decided on the right at some point that 1984 is a great handbook for How To Oppress People (And Get Wealthy Doing It)

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    It IS Orwellian.  As in it seems to have been decided on the right at some point that 1984 is a great handbook for How To Oppress People (And Get Wealthy Doing It)

    So many of the “Orwellian” labels that get thrown about as warnings seem focused on concerns of invasion of privacy and thoughtcrime.  But those are only the most obvious surface elements, and not necessarily the most important elements in 1984.  Even The Party in that book knew that tyranny through force, surveillance, and propaganda alone was ultimately unsustainable.  To ensure their long term domination, they needed to change the way people thought about the world, to control people’s mentality not simply by threatening them if they thought otherwise, but by altering language and culture so that such subversive thoughts would never occur to begin with.  
    And one of the biggest ways they did that was by the gradual changing of language.  Not just creating Newspeak to remove words from language, though that is part of it, but by changing the meaning of words altogether.  They would get people to assign different meanings to words than they originally had, and drum them into people so often that people gradually begin to associate the new meaning with the word more often than the old meaning.  Hence, “freedom is slavery.”  

    What I find really scary is that is exactly what people like Newt Gingrich and the Fox News Channel are doing.  They make it impossible to discuss certain topics, people, or concepts, without running into newly assigned meanings.  Meanings which have been carefully crafted to fit a certain agenda.  It is in effect making people more narrow minded, and that gives the power to the people who are deciding what those words will mean.  

    To love Fox News is to love Big Brother.  

  • http://mistformsquirrel.deviantart.com/ JJohnson

    Exactly.

    I mean hell, look at the words Liberal and Progressive for a moment.

    These are VERY positive words – words that should when put next to say… Conservative, probably ought to win out just because of positive association.  To be Liberal is to believe in Liberty – this is a simple equation.

    Yet somehow they’ve managed to get at least a third of this country to believe that somehow, Liberal = Fascist, and that Fascist also = Communist, which somehow also = Islam.

    None of which makes a lick of sense; but it’s to the place where to say “I am a Liberal” or “I am a Progressive” means really being careful where you are at the time, because doing so can provoke absolutely absurd results with absolutely nothing else out there.  There are many connotations to those terms that do not make sense and yet seem to have been drilled thoroughly into a lot of folks’ brains.

    They’ve also done an excellent job changing the very meaning of the idea of Taxation.  Hell, most people – even those who are disposed toward our views, often dislike taxes.  I mean some of that I can understand – “I earned X but only got to keep Y” – I get that; but three seconds of thinking about it reveals “… but that’s just the bill for all the stuff we need to make society work.” – it’s like the light bill,  only for the whole country.  Last I checked most people don’t go bugnuts over their electric bill simply existing.*

    *They may if the bill is high enough, but that’s usually because it was unexpected.  The bill itself is  ust taken in stride.

  • http://twitter.com/shay_guy Shay Guy

    Not that “conservative” doesn’t have any positive implications — i.e., “look before you leap.” (I’m thinking of Animorphs, where Marco usually brought up good reasons for exercising caution.) But most people identifying with that label today have more resistance than that healthy amount.

  • http://mistformsquirrel.deviantart.com/ JJohnson

    Oh certainly.  My point was just when taken plainly as one vs the other, the word Liberal is more positive, while Conservative is more neutralish – the former is pretty much exclusively plus, while Conservative can be used to denote wisdom… or foolish clinging to outdated ideas.

    So to get to a position like we have now where even self-professed progressives sometimes hesitate to use the L word…  seems absurd, and yet they managed it.  Somehow.

  • FangsFirst

    These are VERY positive words – words that should when put next to
    say… Conservative, probably ought to win out just because of positive
    association.  To be Liberal is to believe in Liberty. To be
    Conservative is to be cautious or wary of advancement. Note that I’m
    not talking conservative politics – I’m just saying that’s the
    definition of the term. So it’s a simple equation that for most Liberal
    sounds braver and more intent on Doing Something than Conservative.

    Eh, in fairness, there’s sometimes something to be said about approaching an issue conservatively (lower case…not that the other is upper case, but you get my point after I say that anyway), depending on the issue. Just, you know, saying that a balance of “liberal” and “conservative” is good. A little caution isn’t ALWAYS bad (or good, for that matter).

     “Progressive,” on the other hand, I don’t really see any negative implications to as a word. If someone said we were “progressing into oblivion” the phrasing would be half-ironic and intended to imply that it was only perceived as progress, but was not because of the end result.

    But I’m probably being overly pedantic.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    “Classical” political conservatism tends to mean supporting long-standing institutions that, though they may not be ideal, have been proven to work over the long-term (because if they did not work they would not have lasted so long to begin with) as opposed to more idealistic but untried systems.  I can actually agree with this philosophy to the extent that it favors careful pragmatism in government over over-enthuastic idealism.  

    However, it feels like the modern conservative movement in the United States is hardly politically conservative at all by the classical definition.  A lot of their demands are for a government that is more in line with their ideals, but is less time-tested (and if we are going by the era since Reagan the three decade time-test it has undergone so far seems not to speak will in its favor for any but the most wealthy.)  

  • FangsFirst

    “Classical” political conservatism tends to mean supporting
    long-standing institutions that, though they may not be ideal, have been
    proven to work over the long-term (because if they did not work they
    would not have lasted so long to begin with) as opposed to more
    idealistic but untried systems.

    My parents used to be contrary and tell people they were conservative–because they wanted to keep things like welfare intact. IE, conserve them.

    Much like my Schrödinger’s girlfriend¹ who is fiscally conservative and Christian, I’ve suggested that accurate terms are not necessarily the best ones to label oneself with–if one wishes to avoid incorrect assumptions and inaccurate groupings.

    That “conservative Christian” is currently in favour of gay marriage and is not inherently opposed to things like welfare, etc. Actually, you know, I’m not entirely sure what she is conservative on. I think that may be vestigial parental influence that no longer has any truth behind it. Her mother once suggested that a study saying the upper class was bad at empathy should look at the lower class that clearly has no empathy because it kills and robs and…

    It was funny when her mother was set to meet me. She said that even though I was a liberal, she would refrain from jokes about my murdering puppies. I was utterly lost. Aren’t we supposed to be the ones who, I don’t know, save puppies at the cost of harming the finances of the “job creators” or whatever? How does being “excessively PC” and “coddling the masses” and whatever lead to murdering puppies? Even as a joking hyperbole? That one still mystifies me.

    ¹This is going to be my shorthand for an excessively complicated situation.

  • Lori

     Her mother once suggested that a study saying the upper class was bad at empathy should look at the lower class that clearly has no empathy because it kills and robs and…   

    That sort of breezy sound you just heard was me sighing heavily. 

    So many conversations would be less exhausting if our news media were even half way useful and covered what’s important rather instead of what sells. 

  • FangsFirst

    So many conversations would be less exhausting if our news media were
    even half way useful and covered what’s important instead of what sells.

    In fairness: already a lost cause. She likes confirmation bias, that mother does. Forbids the viewing of the Daily Show outright (aforementioned Schrödinger’s girlfriend on Jon Stewart: “You know, sometimes I think he’s pretty wrong, but a lot of the time he really does have very good points. but there’s no way on earth my mother would ever let THAT show on in the household.”) just for example.

    Of course, she had never heard of Glenn Beck. I have no idea how all of this works together. I discovered this via Facebook once when I posted the video noting Glenn’s tendency to jump on the “Nazi train” for explanations of everything. It was a HuffPo link, she said she never goes there as she has no time for people who don’t know their history. I told her Glenn’s tendency to accuse anyone and everyone of being Nazi seemed to indicate that and she agreed.

    Kicker: looooooooooves Sarah Palin. I really, really don’t understand how that works when “can’t bother to research history” is an unacceptable quality in a person.

  • Madkaz25

    That is because contemporary conservatives are not conservative, but reactionary.  They want to eliminate “institutions that, though they may not be ideal, have been proven to work over the long-term” like Social Security and Medicare.  Newt Gingrich, the current darling of the conservative set, has recently been denouncing child labor laws, and has not been laughed off the stage.

  • http://mistformsquirrel.deviantart.com/ JJohnson

    I so want Newt to win the primary.

    Seriously just imagine the campaigning afterward… I’m sorry but NO amount of advertising can play down “Left wife recovering from cancer to marry woman 23 years younger than himself”; and that’s before we play back tapes of Newt being Newt.

    Seriously the guy is a Grade A jackass.  He makes being a jerk into an artform.  If a human being could embody everything it is to be an asshole, while not actually being round in shape and stinking profusely, Newt Gingrich is that human being.

    Errr,  the point is the only person more entertaining to watch run for President might be Herman Cain, and sadly he’s not going to win the primary.  *sigh*

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    Seriously the guy is a Grade A jackass. He makes being a jerk into an artform. If a human being could embody everything it is to be an asshole, while not actually being round in shape and stinking profusely, Newt Gingrich is that human being.

    I dunno’, Gingrich does seem a little round in shape* to me.  I have personally never actually sniffed the man, but I would not put stinking profusely past him. 

    *A disclaimer:  I am not trying to make a general value judgement about a person based on the shape of their face, but my opinion of Gingrich’s appearance would probably be better if he were a demonstratably nicer person.  It is not so much a person’s static looks as how they wear them.

  • FangsFirst

    *A disclaimer:  I am not trying to make a general value judgement about a
    person based on the shape of their face, but my opinion of Gingrich’s
    appearance would probably be better if he were a demonstratably nicer
    person.  It is not so much a person’s static looks as how they wear
    them.

    I know the feeling. The word “fat” does not and will not enter my brain until someone’s character becomes despicable. Which means I do try to restrain and the change the thinking anyway, as it’s not even fair for awful people. But that’s the only time it appears.

  • Strangebrooch

    I know the feeling. The word “fat” does not and will not enter my brain
    until someone’s character becomes despicable. Which means I do try to
    restrain and the change the thinking anyway, as it’s not even fair for
    awful people. But that’s the only time it appears.

    Wait, so “fat” is such a terrible thing that you can’t even say it about despicable people?

    What a charming thing to say.

  • FangsFirst

    [trigger: body image; ED]

    In my experience, “fat” is derisive.

    Yes, I know some people go about owning it and saying, “I’m fat and that is fine,” but I feel like enough people could call me an asshole if I said, “You’re fat, but it’s totally cool,” or “Hey, that fat woman is very attractive,” or “Yeah, the fat guy over there,” and I think they would be right.

    Nothing against anyone who wants to own it for themselves. I don’t think it’s my place as a scrawny stick to apply that label to anyone, because of the fact that it is generally seen as “You are more than what is considered an acceptable weight and it is gross,” versus “You are more than what is perceived to be an acceptable weight.” It has an intrinsic value judgment in my experience of the word.

    It’s not because being what some would call “fat” is bad in and of itself, but that the word, to me, is inherently derisive. So, no. I don’t even like using it about despicable people, because it turns into a body image judgment. It’s my brain grasping at straws for people I think are awful, and I’d prefer it grasp straws not related to appearance. So I try to avoid it.

    And I unconsciously avoid it with people I think are decent human beings, because I don’t think their weight is relevant to anything at all, and sure as hell doesn’t require an adjective I see used primarily as derisive.

    To elaborate on my prior statement: “[…]as it’s not even fair for awful people[ to be judged on the basis of their weight].

    PS: I know someone with severe EDs. The word “fat” is basically an enormous trigger for actual full-on panic attacks. To me, that makes it unacceptable as a word. I don’t like a word that has, for some, the automatic feeling of negative judgment. If that makes me less-than-charming to you, so be it. I’d rather not be a jerk to people who aren’t going to take it as a happy thing, and instead think they look good for whatever the hell weight they are and not care whether they are “fat” or not.

  • Strangebrooch

    I don’t like a word that has, for some, the automatic feeling of negative judgment.

    Yeah, but the whole problem is that there aren’t really any words for fatness (just for the record, I am saying this as an actual fat person) that are generally accepted as anything other than a negative judgment, because fatness itself is considered so horrible and undesirable by our culture (like, “overweight” assumes a standard ideal weight and “obese” implies higher body weight is a medical condition even in the absence of any other conditions).

    I mean, if you’d just said it’s wrong to judge even awful people on the basis of their weight, I’d have had no quarrel with you — I suppose I just reacted really badly to your phrasing and snapped at you.

  • FangsFirst

    [TW: body image]

    No, you’re right–as I was writing that I thought “…Wait, what’s the nice word for someone who is ‘overweight’ considering ‘over’ weight [explanation as you have since mentioned, after the time I had to ponder this internally]” and started rephrasing things so I could just avoid it.
    Which is why I have a lot of internal relief that it’s something that I don’t really, well, I don’t know that I could say I don’t “notice” it, but it doesn’t factor in much for me. So I don’t have a term because I don’t see any reason to talk about it, as it doesn’t matter. Except situations like the above (where it’s literally the topic being discussed), which make me intensely uncomfortable. My only lame intent was to show a little solidarity with FearlessSon on the “nasty personalities skew visual perception” front.

    I do have Aspgerger’s¹ and I’ve apparently spent years hiding it very well by learning most social stuff on my own, but I know I’m usually terrible at appropriately gauging how to discuss things like body image or race or sexism, because I have a limited experience (in large part thanks to the anxiety it causes me–one discussion about such things here made me run and hide months ago, and even my last above comment which I felt reasonably confident I had correctly laid out as respectful made me sweat and go play Arkham City to distract myself) and also because I get confused when people are decent but horrifically racist or sexist or whatever, and I can be easily misled by each experience with what is acceptable or offensive into moving the line between the two. Plus thinking on a very individualistic basis makes it very hard for me to understand the abuse of groups in more subtle ways.

    So, apologies for my poor phrasing, all the same. Practice makes perfect and all that, something more to drop into the bank of functions to use in constructing communication.

    And thanks for the relaxed response. I appreciate it. Between awareness of that being one of my major social shortcomings and being a skinny, white, straight, male–I know I can get in serious trouble talking about anything relating to privilege :

    ¹ Professionally diagnosed, just to be clear. I’m wary–considering how recent the diagnosis was–of using it as an excuse, but trying to accept that the reality is that apparently there’s an actual reason I do some things in an odd fashion, and telling myself it’s all my fault and I’m a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad person doesn’t help me learn to correct it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patrick-McGraw/100001988854074 Patrick McGraw

    ¹ Professionally diagnosed, just to be clear. I’m wary–considering how
    recent the diagnosis was–of using it as an excuse, but trying to accept
    that the reality is that apparently there’s an actual reason I do some
    things in an odd fashion, and telling myself it’s all my fault and I’m a
    terrible, horrible, no good, very bad person doesn’t help me learn to
    correct it.

    Same here. I was only diagnosed last month. It explains a LOT about my childhood, and much of my adulthood. And I’m running into the same problems you are.

  • FangsFirst

    All I could do was “like”! IT WON’T LET ME POST! ARGH!

  • FangsFirst

    Since I can apparently post again: New Aspie fist bump! Or something!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patrick-McGraw/100001988854074 Patrick McGraw

    ::Fist Bump::

  • http://mistformsquirrel.deviantart.com/ JJohnson

    No you’re perfectly correct, I didn’t mean to give the impression that Conservative as a term or even idea is strictly a bad thing.  It isn’t.   If we go purely on what makes sense, balancing the two ideas is pretty important.  You need to be brave enough to push ahead… but not stupid enough to rush into something half-assed.  You need to be willing to rethink old ideas so you don’t get mired… but not get stupid about tearing down old things just because they’re old; sometimes they got that way because they work well.

    Mostly I was talking semantics – the word Liberal has some inherently positive connotations and only has negative ones if you give it some thought.  Conservative on the other hand, even barring politics, has some negative connotations that spring immediately to mind while it’s positive connotations are also there, it’s more muddled.

    /ramble ramble >.> (Nothing wrong with pedantry, I’m all for it~)

  • P J Evans

     I’ve been describing taxes as the association fees you pay for all the stuff you want to have, like roads, and parks, and libraries, and schools, and firefighters, and….

  • Anonymous

    it’s like the light bill,  only for the whole country.

    That’s a great analogy.

    However, now I want to see each government agency issue bills to everyone with a job in the country. 

    “Honey!  The bill from the Department of Defense is here!”

  • FangsFirst

    We’ve fallen into the spiral of silence

    And just what the sam hill is a “spiral of silence”?

  • http://mistformsquirrel.deviantart.com/ JJohnson

    It’s the new model of the Cone of Silence, since the Cone never worked.

    Sadly the Spiral seems to have failed as well, as I can still hear them talking.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    It’s the new model of the Cone of Silence, since the Cone never worked.

    Sadly the Spiral seems to have failed as well, as I can still hear them talking.

    Do not forget the Silence 15′ Radius.  As a cleric, I can Sanctuary, then cast Silence 15′ Radius on myself, then walk right up to the enemy spellcasters and deny them any resistance to the spell or any clue where that silence is coming from because the Sanctuary spell is only disrupted if spells are cast on an unwilling target.  

  • http://mistformsquirrel.deviantart.com/ JJohnson

    I should add I was actually making a “Get Smart” joke <_< I don't know how many people ever actually watched that – but when I was younger I used to watch the original on TV with my grandparents.  It was hilarious, at least to my younger self.*

    The Cone of Silence was a device that was supposed to allow the two people inside the cone to talk unimpeded, while everyone outside can't hear anything.

    It usually worked in reverse, with Max and The Chief having an incredibly hard time hearing each other inside the cone, but outside the cone people hearing just fine <_<

    That said the D&D bit is clever, I am totally remembering to use that b

    *One of my favorite bits is where CONTROL has taken a serious funding hit, so now they have an auditor following Max around, questioning him about every expense.  Like having to shoot a man 6 times – he asks if that was ‘wasteful’.  (Said guy had kept coming until the 5th shot, then tried to get back up.)

    Sadly the shoe-phone bit no longer holds up due to cellphones but oh well.

  • http://twitter.com/mikailborg Michael O’Brien

    I wish Netflix “Watch Instantly” had “Get Smart”. It would be a great counterpoint to the classic “Mission: Impossible” episodes I’ve been enjoying.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    The Cone of Silence was a device that was supposed to allow the two people inside the cone to talk unimpeded, while everyone outside can’t hear anything.

    I remember when they needed to speak privately, and used instead two soundproof phone booths placed facing each other.  The voice signal is then transmitted in scrambled form from one phone booth to a satellite in orbit which would unscramble the signal, rescramble the signal, and send it down to the other booth, which would then unscramble it again.  

    Of course, everything they said ended up coming out as nonsense on the other end.  

    That said the D&D bit is clever, I am totally remembering to use that b

    It does depend a bit on the judgement call of the DM though.  Sanctuary forces enemies to ignore a cleric as long as they take no offensive action.  The intent being that a cleric can use it to get into fights and cast heal spells on their party without having to worry about being targeted.  My DM ruled that for a spell to count as being something other than an offensive action, it had to be cast on a willing target.  Things like party members in need of healing could be assumed to be willing targets for heal spells, for example, but things like inanimate objects could not because they had no will with which to accept or reject the spell.  This was to prevent us from, say, casting the spell at the ground below an enemy’s feet without it counting as “offensive action”.  But since I can be willing to cast such a spell on myself, under that ruling I can get around some of the limitations about offensive casting, at least as far as support style spells go.

  • http://jamoche.dreamwidth.org/ Jamoche

    Sadly the shoe-phone bit no longer holds up due to cellphones but oh well.

    I don’t know – over on TWoP, someone’s response to Katy Perry talking to her shoe with “who does she think she is, Max Smart?”

  • http://mistformsquirrel.deviantart.com/ JJohnson

    Well I’m certainly not going to complain if peopl

  • Anonymous

    It’s a secret weapon that was specially designed by the (ominous drum-roll) Gay Movement. Unfortunately it obviously doesn’t work because people like Colson just will not SHUT UP. 

  • http://mmycomments.blogspot.com/ mmy

    And just what the sam hill is a “spiral of silence”?

    To quote Wikipedia http://www.google.ca/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=spiral%20of%20silence&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CCoQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fen.wikipedia.org%2Fwiki%2FSpiral_of_silence&ei=bp7iTrzsJ6O0sQLJz-zyBQ&usg=AFQjCNE_Hznp3mV6OjAvFBdOC4TuVLO20AWikipedia:

    The spiral of silence is a political science and mass communication theory propounded by the German political scientist Elisabeth Noelle-Neumann.

    Put in a few words Noelle-Neumann described the way in which people who think they are in the minority are less likely to speak. Because they don’t speak others think that the opinion is indeed a minority one and further, that it is losing support. So even fewer people are willing to speak openly in support of it.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    Put in a few words Noelle-Neumann described the way in which people who think they are in the minority are less likely to speak. Because they don’t speak others think that the opinion is indeed a minority one and further, that it is losing support. So even fewer people are willing to speak openly in support of it.

    I get the impression that Fox News is trying to invoke the spiral of silence for anyone who differs from their talking points by vigorously jumping on and condemning those who do.  

  • FangsFirst

    @mmy_Margaret:disqus
    Huh. Cool. Thanks.
    I thought it was just an asinine attempt to be alliterative and melodramatic. That will teach me! Interesting idea, and one I’ve pondered of my own accord–nice to know it has a name!

  • Anonymous

    So Chuck Colson is “giving his life” to, er … shove LBQT people back in the closet and nail the door shut? People like Colson always make it sound as if they are risking some terrible form of persecution, as if at any moment they could be thrown into the arena and devoured by lions, presumably while gays look on, lolling on pink velvet cushions, drinking champagne and eating delicious little canapes. Sounds like a plan to me. Anybody got a corkscrew?

    Just as long as no actual lions are harmed in the making of this production of course, because Colson sounds terribly indigestible.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    So Chuck Colson is “giving his life” to, er … shove LBQT people back in the closet and nail the door shut? People like Colson always make it sound as if they are risking some terrible form of persecution

    To be fair, he is risking backlash by taking an anti-gay stance.  People will call him a bigot if he makes statements to the effect that gay and lesbian people should be treated as anything less than equal to heterosexual people in every regard.  

    Of course, to the persecuted hegemon, anything which implies that their privilege of majority is not an ironclad right to lord over others is perceived as “persecution.”  The thing is, they do not see their own anti-gay agenda as being bigoted, they see it as “natural” and are offended at the bigot label.  Despite, you know, doing something that fits the definition of the word “bigot”.  

  • Anonymous

    As in “States’ Rights” meant “We see no reason not to go on keeping other human beings as property”.

  • Ross Thompson

    Presumably he thinks that because so many people are being beaten and killed for the crime of being heterosexual

  • http://mistformsquirrel.deviantart.com/ JJohnson

    … And now a Special Comment on Dick Land.*

    Ya see, Dick,  you’ve been lying about people and to people for a very, very long time.  You’ve been lying so much you seem to either believe yourself or to be willing to spill forth even more lies to cover the previous lies which were to cover the previous lies which covered yet earlier lies – so on and so forth – until you have built yourself an enormous house of lies.

    Sadly you are not alone in this, Dick.  Your church has built itself on lies.  Not your belief in Jesus – I don’t care about your faith.  No, I mean you have built your entire church on a pack of tribalistic lies that serve not your God, not your Savior… but you.  In simple terms you’ve rather foolishly built your house on a big pile of sand right next to the ocean.

    You, Dick, and those like you, seem to have abandoned any pretense of care or concern for others – something that is repeatedly hammered home by the Bible, which you and your’s seem so damned fond of – to embrace an unholy pathological hatred against those you deem unworthy of decent treatment. 

    Or maybe I’m wrong.  Maybe you, Dick, don’t actually believe any of what you spew – maybe you are very simply a liar, rather than a liar who’s become incredibly self-deluded.  Maybe you’re just that cynical, that you don’t care who you hurt so long as you get to keep your prestige within the church?   I wonder.

    It doesn’t matter though.  Why you do it is only tangentially relevant.  It matters because every day you and your’s deprive thousands of LGBT couples of the chance to ever get married, because like anyone else… gay people get old and die.

    I’m not talking about a 15 minute fling in Vegas – I’m talking about 30-40-50 year relationships that you, Dick, seem to think are not worthy of the title.  Relationships that would, in a straight couple, be a rare thing these days, with the divorce rate being so high.  Oh damn, there’s that sanctity of marriage thing gone blown itself up, huh Dick?

    However there’s a lot more at stake here than just marriage.   For all the importance of marriage – and it is important, though you defenders of the institution seem to have forgotten precisely why this was so – but despite that importance there is something much more fundamental at stake here.

    That is unless you consider it “special rights” to live free of harassment and abuse.  Is it a “special right” to not be beaten senseless for daring to be gay?  Is it a “special right” to not be raped for being a lesbian?  Is it a “special right” to not be murdered, Dick?  Because while your statement suggests that it isn’t, you still seem to have no concern about actually doing anything to correct those injustices.

    Now back to  marriage for a moment.  Let me ask you something, Dick – if there really were some massive Homosexual Agenda (there isn’t, Dick**),  and your options were either marriage to another man, or no marriage at all – what would YOU do, Dick?  Cause I think you wouldn’t like that very much.  In fact I’m pretty sure you’d do exactly what LGBT people are doing right now.

    You, Richard Land, are a douchebag.***  I don’t want you to be such, but you are.  You have chosen to be a douchebag.  Want to un-douchefy yourself?  Start by asking yourself – for real, not just in a big showy “LOOK AT ME” way – What Would Jesus Do?

    —–

    *I’m normally not so petty, but.. I’m kinda pissed.  Also channeling Olberman, no I don’t know why, I haven’t watched Keith since he got fired >,<  (feel rather bad about that, but oh well.  Haven't watched Maddow in a long time either.)

    **There IS a Bisexual agenda, but nobody seems to care.  *sigh*  What, not gay enough to hate, not straight enough to love?  I'm offended at your lack of offendedness!  (Not really.)

    ***That's right, a douchebag.  (Thank you George Takei.)

  • Pustulio

    I think that when people complain about “special rights” for homosexuals what they are talking about is the special rights that the complainers themselves enjoy. They think that their special rights are awesome, and they’re worried that they won’t be very special anymore if they apply to just anyone.

  • Anonymous

    Other people’s rights don’t detract from my own, they reinforce them.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=507398586 Tim Fargus

    When the Christianists claim that they’re just trying to keep from being discriminated against, what they mean is that they’re trying to preserve their own special rights. When they say they don’t want gays and lesbians to have their own special rights, they mean that they don’t want them to have the same rights as everyone else. It seems that just listening to what they say and understanding that they mean the exact opposite would be a pretty good hermeneutic for interpreting their proclamations.

  • Albanaeon

    Hmmm.  The more I examine Land’s statement, the worse it gets.  Apparently, not being beaten to death (or merely flogged) is a special right above what the rest of us get.  So… we don’t have the right to not be flogged to death?  That can’t be right…  I guess Land was trying to say that currently gays should be flogged to death and demands that they shouldn’t are “special” rights, which is definitely a definition of “special” I was happily unaware of till now.

  • Anonymous

    Land’s full quote is somehow even worse than the truncated version:

    “I certainly don’t believe homosexuals or anyone else should be flogged or put to death for their sexual sins. However, I don’t believe homosexuals should receive special treatment over and above anyone else either. Secretary Clinton’s remarks were more than likely a painless way for the Obama administration to placate the homosexual community in the U.S.”

    Land doesn’t seem to think Obama or Clinton care about actual lives. Whether human beings are beaten to death or not is just a side issue, mere point scoring in the Culture War at home. It’s all politics as far as he can tell.

  • Twig

    Beautiful.  Just like the couple of times I’ve heard politicians start out a sentence “I don’t know anything about the issue but…”

    No.  No but.  Just stop.  Anything coming after that cannot possibly do you or anyone around you any good whatsoever.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    Beautiful.  Just like the couple of times I’ve heard politicians start out a sentence “I don’t know anything about the issue but…”

    No.  No but.  Just stop.  Anything coming after that cannot possibly do you or anyone around you any good whatsoever.

    To be fair, there is a valid use for that phrase as the beginning of a response.  It goes:

    “I don’t know anything about the issue, but…”

    “… I will have it looked into and get back to you when I have more complete picture.”  

    If only more politicians were willing to use that kind of response.  Have a staffer nearby to take notes at every interview, then look it up and prepare a brief for the politician if the subject comes up again.  Seems sound to me.  

  • http://twitter.com/shay_guy Shay Guy

    Or even better: “…I’ll get back to you once I’m done looking into it.”

    …Hm. That implies that there is such a thing as being “done.” If you want the optimal implications, it’d be better to replace the whole sentence with “I’m still looking into the issue.”

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    Well, there is some situational variance to the same sentiment.  If it is an issue that a politician is aware of, but feels that they do not have enough information to form an opinion on, then “I’m still looking into the issue,” is a good response.  But say if a politician was unaware that this even was an issue, the response would be, “I don’t know, but thank you for bringing it to my attention.  I’ll look into it.”  

  • http://mistformsquirrel.deviantart.com/ JJohnson

    See my reply to Shay Guy >.>;  I maybe wasn’t as clear as I intended.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    Oh, you were clear.  We just wanted to add a few thoughts of our own to your premise.  :)

  • http://mistformsquirrel.deviantart.com/ JJohnson

    Woops >_< I actually Mis-Replied, that was intended for FangsFirst <_< gah.  (You I knew had already got what I was meaning lol I’m having one of ‘those’ days.)

  • http://twitter.com/shutsumon Becka Sutton

    It’s the classic argument against hate crime laws. “We already have laws against murder, assault etc why does group x need a law making it more illegal to kill them”.

    It’s a stupid view because hate crime laws are about the perpetrator’s motives not who the victim is and laws differentiate different motives for similar actions all the time.

    Also news from the UK which may interest people here. The UK government has just published its Transgender Action Plan and it looks good (according to my trans friends anyway I’m cis so I hesitate to judge). If you’re interested you can read it here. http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/publications/equalities/lgbt-equality-publications/transgender-action-plan?view=Binary

  • http://mistformsquirrel.deviantart.com/ JJohnson

    That’s a good point too – about hatecrime laws.

    There have been people prosecuted under those laws for attacking straight people they merely THOUGHT were LGBT; because they still *believed* they were attacking someone who was, and that that was the whole point of the attack.

    The whole point of those laws is not to double-penalize a crime; but rather to assert that when you attack someone for being part of a group, you aren’t merely victimizing them, but to a degree attacking the entire group.  You not only physically injure someone, but you ALSO intimidate others in the community – which is precisely the purpose of gaybashing and the like.

    That some people can’t seem to get their heads around that is… angrymaking.

  • Anonymous

    There is a reasonable “however…”

    “however, it has come to my attention that in my support for some so called Christian charities, money I had donated in good faith has been used to support these acts. I am deeply sorry for my error. Here are the names of these ‘charities’, so that my fellow Christians will not be similarly misled…”

    Sadly, that isn’t the however Land chose.

  • Anonymous

    One more comment, because Land has really pissed me off:

    Here’s part of his open letter to President Obama on the eve of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell being overturned. Notice he uses “however” again:

    “It remains clear, however, that homosexual behavior cannot be normalized without rejecting God’s moral standards (Lev. 18:22; 20:13; 1 Cor. 6:9-10).”

    http://www.bpnews.net/bpnews.asp?id=34284&ref=BPNews-RSSFeed1217

    If Land wonders why his response to Secretary Clinton’s speech makes him sound disingenuous, he should stop referencing Leviticus 20:13 (“If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.”) as a guide for public policy.

  • http://twitter.com/shay_guy Shay Guy

    I’m not sure whether or not removing the “sexual sins” bit so conspicuously makes this post more or less effective. I guess it’s a “this isn’t the post for debunking that particular bit of nonsense” thing, but drawing attention to it without openly saying something like that is a bit distracting. (Plus there’s the fact that “for their sexual sins” is an unwarranted qualifier in itself — maybe he thinks flogging for marijuana possession is A-OK?)

    It’s especially relevant because without that qualifier or the gay specification, a different qualifier might be neither silly nor depraved. Example: “I certainly don’t believe people should be flogged or put to death. However, going from there to ‘soft on crime’ is complete nonsense.”

    And now, a question on terminology. We all know the following quote: “The law, in its majestic equality, forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, beg in the streets or steal bread.” Its relevance to the topic at hand is obvious. But is there an actual name for the legal/societal phenomenon being described?

  • ako

    It’s always creepy to hear from the people who are concerned about the possibility of everyone becoming a little too opposed to beating people like me to death. 

  • Anonymous

    The thing is that we do punish criminals based on the assigned social value of the victim. We do designate some people as of higher value than others. We codify it in to law. Police officers, judges, firefighters, a whole list of people who are deemed of higher value and codified into law by how we punish the perp.
    What this “special rights” argument in opposition to hate crimes legislation is at core an objection to moving certain groups people up that hierarchy of value. Specifically groups of people who were previously deemed of such low value that crimes against them were not punished at all.

    How dare you pass laws that say these bad people are equal to these good people is the dog whistle being blown with that however.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Brassknuckle.Diplomacy Mark Balycky

    It’s not always a reactionary objection to so-called special rights that leads one to be uncomfortable with hate crime legislation. I do see your point about how we treat the murderers of police officers et al. And I object to that as well, the life of a cop has no more intrinsic value than that of a homeless guy who happened to be in the wrong place when some violent prick decided to do a  little “street cleaning”.

    The argument against claiming that the extension of basic human rights to *all* people somehow constitutes “special rights” is not exactly equal with seeing hate crimes legislation as problematic. To some of us, hate crimes legislation is a little too close to attempting to punish people for wrong thinking.

  • http://mistformsquirrel.deviantart.com/ JJohnson

    Except it’s not about punishing “wrong thinking” at all.

    You can THINK whatever you want.  You can SAY most anything you want – see Phelps, Fred; and his Westboro Baptist Jerkoffs.

    What hate crime legislation does is *also* take into account the effect such a crime has on the community, because beating up say… a black person just for being black, does not target just that person.  It targets every person of African descent who hears about it.

    That’s the thing – hate crimes aren’t JUST the act of hurting an individual, they are also in a sense terrorist actions that intend to demoralize, hurt, and drive away the classification of people against who the crime was perpetrated.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Brassknuckle.Diplomacy Mark Balycky

    I understand that, and while I agree with the goal of hate crime legislation in that respect, I have no confidence in the ability for our systems of justice to get it right even most of the time, It’s essentially the same reason I can never support death penalties.

    To me, far too many mistakes can be made when you introduce things like a person’s thoughts or attitudes as material factors in criminal cases, I know it happens all the time, but the goal should be that it happens much less.

    Hard to prove, easy to screw up = not good basis for law.

  • Jared Bascomb

    Somebody’s probably brought this up further down in the comments, but . . .
    Hate crimes designations need to be backed up by *evidence* and that evidence is usually the words that come out of a perpetrator’s own mouth as s/he/they are committing the offense and which clearly indicate that they doing this because of the victim’s sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion, et al.

    Prosecutors will often decline to add hate crimes charges if that strong evidence isn’t there. See the recent Lawrence King/Brandon McInnery murder case for example.

  • Lori

     And I object to that as well, the life of a cop has no more intrinsic value than that of a homeless guy who happened to be in the wrong place when some violent prick decided to do a  little “street cleaning”.   

     

    Differential sentencing is not, strictly speaking, treating the life of a police officer as more valuable than that of a homeless man. It’s treating the job of the officer as having special value to the smooth functioning of society. There are reasonable arguments that can be made both for and against that approach, but it isn’t a matter of valuing one life more than another. 

    The thing we do that I believe is about valuing one life more than another is allowing survivor statements to be made in court and used in determining sentence. That effectively means means the life of a victim who has people willing and able to be in court and speak eloquently about his/her loss and shed tears in public over it, is treated as more valuable than a victim who does not (at least in so far as punishment of the murderer reflects the value placed on the victim). I think it’s an understandable practice and that there are reasonable arguments that can be made in favor of it, but it still makes me uncomfortable for just this reason. 

  • Anonymous

    I understand the issues that some have with hate crime legislation – or crimes against police carrying more penalty and such. I don’t agree with arguments against hate crime legislation, but I understand them.

    Basically it is not about ‘what was in the offenders mind’ – as much as ‘what can we prove, with evidence, was their motive’

    This is no different from the distinction we raise between murder (1, 2 ,3 etcs as they exist) and manslaughter. In such, intent is central to defining how the offender is charged.

    In that light, attacking a police officer equating to a stiffer penalty is on shakier ground than most hate-crime legislation. One should have to be able to show the police officer was attacker BECAUSE they were a police officer.

    This is no different, in my mind, to a hate-crime attacker … it must be shown that they targetted their victim based on the perception of that victims’ membership in a particular class. If that canot be proved, then they cannot be charged.

    Does that mean we should not have such legislation? Maybe … but, if so, then let’s do away with distinctions such as Murder vs Manslaughter too!

    I think the best approach is to broaden hate-crime legislation to include ANY motive that targetted someone because of their category membership (or perception thereof).

    Now groups could still be defined – for purposes of deciding whether such a motive might be in play, but they are not deliniated per se.

    That means … a man targetting women, because they are women would also fall into the legislation, as would a women targetting men because they are men.

    This way, we remove all notions of ‘special groups’ and focus on the realities of motive. If, however, we do not take such an approach … unless we remove distinctions such as Murder/Manslaughter, hate-crime legislation, as it stands, is perfectly consistent.

  • FangsFirst

    @EvilKate:
    Very much with you on establishing intent, though for me some of it comes down to motive in the sense that, if you commit a crime against someone because they are [insert group here, rather than trying to remember an entire list], then, unlike heat of passion or mid-robbery or whatever else, your victim and circumstances have not “disappeared.”

    Yeah, you broke into a house before and happened to catch the owner and shot him/her in fear, and since you were breaking into houses for this purpose it MIGHT happen again…

    Yeah, you killed your wife/husband/boyfriend/girlfriend/whatever and/or their lover (or whatever)–well, they aren’t going to be there again to do whatever made you respond with extreme violence (cheating, not doing what you said, or being evil and doing something truly evil to you, etc). Unfortunately they no longer exist.

    And so on.

    But if you want to kill or harm someone for being [insert group here]: there are still going to be [insert group here] people after you commit that crime. If you saw those qualities as enough for violence, then there are no missing circumstances or relationships that need to exist.

    For societal good, this makes sense, as violent opposition to the existence of a group is not a healthy element of society.

    To me, that was always the most unassailable and relentlessly logical way to present it to people.

  • Anonymous

    Oh of course – I never meant to imlpy otherwise. I was just addressing the primary objection often made.

    I think motive always should play into sentencing and the current legal notions generally do. Most judicial processes examine the likelihood of the offense being repeated. That also comes down to motive.

    Also, to me – intent and motive are intrinsically tangled, in as far as anyone who did possess intent, had motive :)

  • FangsFirst

    Oh, crap! I wasn’t actually disagreeing, just building further with my own ramblings!

    I’m not sure I even meant to separate out intent and motive so cleanly. I probably just typed “motive” the second time without thinking…

    Sorry! Not correcting at all!

  • Anonymous

    It okay hun. Please relax. I was just adding further clarity to my post – prompted by good points in yours. Didn’t think you were disagreeing, so it’s all good :)

  • Demonhype

    Yes it is different from first and second degree murder vs. manslaughter.  First degree murder is cold-blooded, second-degree is more like temporary insanity, and manslaughter is death caused unintentionally by neglect.  The first two determine whether you, say, came home and caught your wife with your best friend and shot both dead in the heat of the moment or whether you walked away quietly and ended up causing their deaths later not in the heat of the moment but in cold blood.  Both are intentional, with the state of mind (and therefore decision-making capability) being taken into consideration to determine the severity of the crime and how dangerous the individual may be (someone losing their head in an extreme moment is not as dangerous as someone who can kill in completely cold blood).  The third would be more like losing control of your car or cleaning your gun and having it go off and shoot the neighbor–still bad, but not intentional.

    Not one of them determines your actual motives or opinions behind an action, just intention and the level of intention based on circumstance and state-of-mind.  You could deliberately and cold-bloodedly plot to kill a black family that moves into your white neighborhood and that would be first degree.  Or it could be a well known fact that you dislike black people while not having any intention of violence based on that, catch your wife in bed with a black man and completely lose your shit and shoot him in the heat of the moment, which would be second degree. Or it could be well-known that you dislike black people intensely and then you lose control of your car and hit a black guy completely by accident, which would be manslaughter.  Every one of those situations could be spun into a racially-motivated hate crime when the only one that could be fairly called racially motivated (innocent until proven guilty and all) is the first one.  So they are not the same.

    On that note, there was a local case (I think it was Cleveland, though it could have been Akron) where one black guy went on a rampage and shot about fifteen white guys he didn’t even know while raging about the evils of all white people (it was on the news, so I think it was in or around Cleveland).  They tried to pass it off as “not racially motivated” on the news despite many witnesses who all confirmed his ranting and the fact that he didn’t know any of the victims personally, which was a bit irritating to me–is this a law that only applies to white people, or does it apply to anyone who kills another person based on race?  Like Mark, I also get a little unnerved at the idea of the law deciding what opinions behind an action, where if my sister hits a black guy with her car she could get a harsher sentence because she has been known to say a lot of stupid racist shit–even though she has no intention and never had any intention of violence toward any black people.  I know plenty of jerks like that, who say stupid racist shit but it’s all a show with no violent language or violent intention behind it.  But I also get a little nervous at a law that only applies to one particular group and not to the other.  I never found out how that turned out in the end (they admitted reluctantly at some point that it was “probably racially motivated” then stopped reporting on it all together), but the hypocritical attempt at spinning it really irritated me a lot.

    And before anyone suggests that that’s good and that people should be afraid to say stuff like that for fear it will  come back to haunt them if they, say, lose control of their car and hit someone by accident one day:  I do think such language should be challenged by people and I have challenged it frequently in various ways.  I don’t, however, think it should be challenged by having a law that says “if you ever get into a situation where you cause a [insert protected group here] death, your personal opinions will be used to prove that you did it due to [racial, etc] motivation and your sentence will be exponentially increased”.  Say what you will, but that scares me on a lot of levels. I would feel the same way if you had a black guy making a lot of public opinions about how evil white people are, then caused a white guy’s death for whatever reason and they tried to use his personal opinions to give him a much larger sentence.  It’s too easy, especially in the case of a murder trial and the accompanying emotions involved, to take emotionally-charged languages or opinions and convince someone it was the leading cause of the crime even when it wasn’t, and I do worry about where that could lead (especially when we have nothing but Republicans and DemocRepublicans in power).

    Plus, I want the ignorant and deluded bigots to be visible, so they can be challenged in a more useful way, and I don’t want their hatred to boil up under cover and become something volcanic in time.  I was horrified to see how much racism just crawled out from behind the sofa when Obama got elected.  You can’t swat a wasp in the room if you can’t see where it is.

    And no, I don’t think that gays asking for equal rights is somehow tantamount to special rights, and that goes for any group.  And I’m not saying hate-crime legislation is “special rights” so much as I’m saying I’m not convinced that it is a solution and also not convinced that it’s not a bad idea that could easily blow up in all our faces.  And I know damn well that legislating motive is not the same as legislating circumstance and state-of-mind.

  • Anonymous

    ” I also get a little nervous at a law that only applies to one particular group and not to the other.”

    Every hate crime law ever passed in the United States applies equally to whites, straights, men, etc. FBI statistics in the early 90’s showed ~20% of hate crimes were against white people.

    Or it could be well-known that you dislike black people intensely and
    then you lose control of your car and hit a black guy completely by
    accident, which would be manslaughter.  Every one of those situations
    could be spun into a racially-motivated hate crime

    Cite? I see no reason to believe that hate crimes laws would be applied to involuntary manslaughter.

    Perhaps you arguments would be more compelling if they referred to actual things that have happened with hate crime laws, rather than things that conceivably might have happened or that you kinda sorta remember hearing about.

  • ako

    Every hate crime law ever passed in the United States applies
    equally to whites, straights, men, etc. FBI statistics in the early 90’s
    showed ~20% of hate crimes were against white people.

    This is a very important point.  A lot of people imagine that these laws are written as protecting specific groups, when they are actually targeting specific types of crime, and protect everyone.  The reason why hate crime laws mostly go after people for violence against racial minorities, non-heterosexuals, women, etc., isn’t because they’re considered a special category under the law, but because those are the groups far more likely to be subjected to hate crimes. 

    Certainly, there are cases where injustices happen.  That is true for every aspect of the legal system.  It is, however, really easy to get the wrong impression of how widespread these injustices are, because the media tends to put a disproportionate focus on certain types of cases.  (The insanity defense is a good example – actual research on the subject indicates that the percentage of criminal defendants who succesfully use the insanity defense in the US is 0.26%, and the vast majority of people who successfully plead insanity were diagnosed as mentally ill prior to the crime, but if one looked at the reporting on a handful of exceptional cases and the many fictional portrayals of the insanity defense, it would look like an easy way to get away with crime.)  That doesn’t diminish the wrong of a particular case, but it does raise questions about where the problem actually is and what the best solution is.

  • Tonio

    It is, however, really easy to get the wrong impression of how
    widespread these injustices are, because the media tends to put a
    disproportionate focus on certain types of cases.

    Or if you have a persecuted-hegemon martyr complex, which is what the media enables and perpetuates but doesn’t cause. With the insanity defense, it’s not just an assumption but a narrative, the idea that murderers are routinely set free after simply acting insane enough to convince a psychiatrist or a jury.

  • Anonymous

    Indeed and you don’t get let free!

    This study is interesting (you can read the abstract to get the point)- http://cjb.sagepub.com/content/8/4/483.abstract – and so yeah, pleading insanity as a defense does not mean you are not incarcerated, just how you are.

    The interesting point from the conclusion – “There was no significant difference
    in the mean length of incarceration. For both groups it was slightly over 11 years.” – so yeah, same sentence length on average.

    Gotta love the myths of the population-at-large … otherwise referered to as common sense … far too common but not often very sensible.

  • Anonymous

    Suppose that Demonhypes’s sister did actually run over a person of colour a great deal would depend upon her subsequent actions. Does she immediately stop, call for help, wait with the victim until help arrives and make an honest report to the police? In such case her private opinions don’t enter into it, nor should they. If however she drives on regardless and is heard making racist jokes about the incident later, then the police ~ and a Jury ~ would have every reason to consider her a pretty sorry excuse for a human being.  No spin required.

    As to “actual things”, you may have heard of the murder of Stephen Lawrence, a young British man of colour. Justice in this case has been a long time coming and we haven’t got there yet. His assailants were heard shouting racial abuse and subsequently the suspects in the case used disgusting, violent racist language whilst under surveillance. The press and public opinion have assumed that if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck then there’s a very good case for trial.

  • Anonymous

    We do designate some people as of higher value than others. We codify it
    in to law. Police officers, judges, firefighters, a whole list of
    people who are deemed of higher value and codified into law by how we
    punish the perp.

    In principle, at least, assaulting a public servant carries a higher penalty not because public servants are better or higher-value people, but because assaulting them interferes with their Important Duties.  It’s the job that has a higher social value, not the person.  Which is why, usually, assaulting a public servant is only aggravated if you do it while they’re carrying out their duties.

    In practice, of course, many people do judge that a random police officer or judge is simply a better or more important person than a random homeless dude.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    There’s currently a manhunt in NSW for a guy who murdered two Aboriginal women. There was a $100,000 reward for information leading to his capture. Then he shot and (non-critically) wounded a police officer, and the fine rose to $250,000.

    I get the principle of punishing an offense against an individual and the justice system, for example, more than an offense against an individual. But the message sent in cases like this is not great.

  • CQAussie

    Not being beaten to death because of your sexual orientation is NOT special treatment nor is it a special right exclusive to LGBT folks.  It’s being treated with the same rights that heterosexuals enjoy.  WHY does this even have to be said?!?!!  

  • http://twitter.com/mikailborg Michael O’Brien

    Imagine Richard Land’s face if he knew that in 21st-century America, flogging is often a direct prelude to sexual sin!

    Oh, wait, he’s a Republican. Never mind.

    Stay Safe, Sane, and Consensual, folks.

  • Lori

    A little something to counter Land’s silliness and depravity—

    As some of you may have heard, NFL linebaker Scott Fujita is a supporter of marriage equality. His PSA for Americans for Marriage Equality is out:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9pYCEGxfUI8

    Also worth noting: both Major League Baseball and the NBA added sexual orientation protections to their recent players agreements. 

    Anyone familiar with the sports culture in the US can readily see the significance of these developments. I honestly believe we’ve turned the corner on this thing. Land and Colson and their ilk have effectively lost. They can still harm people with their meanness and ignorance, but their time is drawing to an end. 

  • http://mistformsquirrel.deviantart.com/ JJohnson

    This is like what Jon Stewart was talking about with McCain – these folks are going to go down in history like George Wallace, and no matter what they do afterward, that’s going to be a stain on them throughout history.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    Is it bad of me that I enjoy the thought of these people getting old, alone, where even their families avoid spending time with them because of their views?  Seeing them whither into increasing obscurity and irrelevance, railing against a society that left them behind long ago and they refused to keep up with?  Eventually dying bitter and lonely?  

    I feel like that should make me a bad person, yet I cannot help deriving some reassurance from it.  Act like a bigot in the present, reap the fruit of that bigotry in the future, and all that isolation is self-inflicted… 

  • http://mistformsquirrel.deviantart.com/ JJohnson

    I can’t draw any satisfaction from it to be honest.  If it weren’t so damned hurtful I’d pity them.  Unfortunately it is so hurtful – so it’s a tragedy all around, for them self inflicted, for  the rest of us inflicted on us.’

    That’s really what hate and stupidity do – they breed tragedy.

  • Anonymous

    Scott Fujita has a pretty interesting story.
    http://sports.espn.go.com/espnmag/story?id=3643439

  • Matri

    I certainly don’t believe Richard Land or Christianists should be forcibly lobotomized for their hateful ways. However, I don’t believe his and their churches should receive tax-exempt status over and above any other political organization.

  • Tonio

    Dumb question…I’ve been hearing about the “special rights” nonsense for a generation, long before the debate over same-sex marriage. Exactly what measures to protect equal rights are demagogues like Land spinning as “special rights”? Sort of how attempts at holiday inclusiveness are warped into an alleged “War on Christmas.” Or is the term purely a invention?

  • Lori

    The “special rights” are having the Definition of (civil) Marriage, Which Has Always Been Between a Man and a Woman**, changed to accommodate same sex couples and therefore being allowed to shove gayness down Christians’ throats**. 

    *Yes, I know that this is not historically true.

    **Yes, I think their constant use of that phrase is ridiculous and yes, I laugh at them for it. 

  • Tonio

    I could see that being the euphemistic definition in the last few years. But the phrase was in common use in the hatemongering long before most people even thought of same-sex marriage as a concept or a possibility. I never heard of the idea until about six or seven years ago.

  • Lori

     I could see that being the euphemistic definition in the last few years. But the phrase was in common use in the hatemongering long before most people even thought of same-sex marriage as a concept or a possibility.  

    In general “special rights” is what they say when what they mean is “don’t you dare reduce our privilege”. You asked what Land meant by it and he’s using it to mean “don’t you dare reduce the advantages that I have by virtue of being a straight member of the dominant religion”. Others have used it to refer to other aspects of threatened privilege. It’s a very flexible term precisely because it doesn’t actually mean anything. It’s just a dog whistle to other persecuted hegemons. 

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    Yes, I think their constant use of that phrase is ridiculous and yes, I laugh at them for it.

     

    Less funny and more scary when you realize that the same people who keep characterizing gay rights (and taxing the rich and environmental regulations and socialized medicine) as being “forced on” people and “shoved down throats” are the same people who seem determined to assert that _actual rape_ doesn’t really exist.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    The “special rights” are having the Definition of (civil) Marriage, Which Has Always Been Between a Man and a Woman, changed to accommodate same sex couples and therefore being allowed to shove gayness down Christians’ throats.

    The odd thing is, those rights are hardly “special”.  Gay marriage is an expansion of an existing set of rights, true, but they apply equally to everyone.  Heterosexual people can get married to a member of the same sex just as easily as homosexual people can.  They may not want to do so (any more than a homosexual person wants to marry a member of the opposite sex) but the right itself is equal oppertunity if they should choose to take advantage of it. 

    I am not gay, and I have no intention of marrying a man, but it is nice to know a person has options, even if they expect to never take them.  :)

  • Matri

    You know, “special rights“. Like elevating the LGBTs from their “proper place” as inferiors and second-class citizens into the unthinkable position as the Real True Christians’s *gasp* equal!

    Far easier to think of Christianists as Nazis. They’re only a couple of steps short of the Third Reich as it is.

  • Tonio

    I suspect my question didn’t come out right. Of course I know that “special rights” is code for gays not knowing their place in the RTCs’ social hierarchy. I’m asking how the term arose. That was an era when even the idea of protecting gays from job discrimination was fairly new, and DADT was at least a decade away. Those seem to me to be much harder to spin into demands for “special rights.” with First Amendment issues such as removing crosses from government-owned land, it’s very easy for persecuted hegemonists to spin these as oppression of Christianity. And not even the most virulent of the segregationists decades ago never argued that civil rights were “special rights” – that type of rhetoric only came later with affirmative action. I suppose my point is that demagogues are like bakers of hatred, where they take the dough of truth and knead it into a horrid, misshapen falsehood.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    I heard the term ‘special rights’ raised in the context of Indigenous reconciliation at least a decade ago. Basically it seems to be about the status quo being changed for the benefit of a minority (even when the change is simply eliminating a long-standing injustice again the minority). “Why do we have to go to efforts to accommodate you?” That sort of crap. Not limited to sexuality issues or RTCs.

  • ako

    Things I’ve heard described as special rights:

    – Any sort of protection from sexuality-based discrimination in housing or employment.  This is usually cited as a “special right” due to a combination of misunderstanding how these laws are typically written (it’s usually something like “can’t discriminate based on real or perceived sexual organization” not “can’t discriminate against people for being homosexual”), and the idea that it is good and right for people to end up poor and homeless if they do anything other people find icky.

    – Any law that treats beating a gay man in order to terrorize the community and drive everyone back into the closet any differently from punching out the guy who insulted you in the bar.  Occasionally, people objecting to this have the consistent “Intent should never be a factor in law ever” position, but most people spouting this nonsense only think it’s a problem if the law is protecting the queers.

    – The confused idea of hate crime legislation that involves being arrested for saying “My religion objects to homosexuality”, generally based of bits of anecdata from other countries.  So basically, it’s like saying “It’s illegal to be Christian in the US!” and only citing Islamic theocracies.

    – Marriage, marriage-like institution, and any effort to extend any of the legal benefits of marriage to same-sex relationships.  Because everyone has the same legal right to marry a woman (except women, who only have the right to marry a man, which men don’t have), so it makes perfect sense to utterly dismiss the role of love and relationships, doesn’t it?

    – Gay pride parades and pride activities, which are assumed to all be sponsored by the government (which would presumably throw anyone who held a straight pride parade in jail forever). 

    – Any school program that teaches QUILTBAG youth anything other than Pray the Gay Away.

    – The right to have QUILTBAG people and supporters advocate tolerance and call people bigots for bigoted statements, and the horrible oppressionhomophobes suffer of being verbally condemned for lying and saying nasty things about other people.

  • Tonio

    Your first item sounds like the old segregationist dodge “we reserve the right to refuse service to anyone.” Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone brilliantly dissected the Tea Party last year, showing how Rand Paul did well when he spun his libertarianism to play to that faction. (The spin basically was, “Discrimination is wrong but the government shouldn’t do anything about it.”)

  • WingedBeast

    Whenever somebody says that homosexuals are looking for “special rights” particularly when referring to same-sex marriage, I remember that “special rights” means rights that are not shared by everybody else.  That means anybody who oppose homosexuals having special rights are really demanding that they, too, have the right to marry people of the same sex.

  • Michael Cohn

    I was in the middle of writing a comment about how your criticism doesn’t make sense to me, because Land was using a common trope where “however” indicates that you aren’t at either extreme on an issue. But I realized that there’s still something awful about suggesting that beating someone to death should be _anywhere at all_ on the spectrum of responses to people you dislike. I guess that’s why you identified the other part of his statement as a non sequitur. Saying that someone shouldn’t be beaten to death should be an utterly general statement of principle, and anything else about how that group should be treated is a completely different conversation.

  • Anonymous

    The special rights argument was used as part of the opposition to the ERA. They also argued that being equal under the Constitution would deprive women of the special rights they currently enjoyed. One of the arguments against the ERA was that it would extend rights to homosexuals. Here is a sample:
    http://www.eagleforum.org/psr/1986/sept86/psrsep86.html

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    The special rights argument was used as part of the opposition to the ERA. They also argued that being equal under the Constitution would deprive women of the special rights they currently enjoyed. One of the arguments against the ERA was that it would extend rights to homosexuals.

    Oh gods, not the Eagle Forum.  Phyllis Schlafly is a horrible, horrible woman, and as I have said before, I have long since despaired of ever changing her heart as I have become convinced that she does not have one. 

    She is a traitor to her gender, working to sabotage the gains other women have made while enjoying those gains herself.  She is an obstacle to progress, has made it her life’s work to fight against anything other than some idealization of the 1950s social sterotype, and, crass though it may be, I look forward to the day in the near future where she can be laid to rest and finally cease her campaign. 

    I know I am commanded to love all, but I will love her much more when she is gone.  She makes it pretty damn hard to do so while she lives. 

  • Tonio

    I’ve always thought of Schlafly as a traitor to her gender, except that her hateful ideas about gender roles also do some harm to men.

    Those anti-ERA arguments sound very much like the sexist claim that “women already have the power,” with that power being sexual desirability and the ability to grant or withhold sex to get their way. Ugh.

  • Anonymous

    the ability to grant or withhold sex

    Since when do women have that power? Rape culture, I’m looking at YOU.

  • Tonio

    Ex-freakin’-zactly. The logical conclusion of the women-use-sex-for-control argument is that rape is justified if they withhold sex.

  • Hawker40

    On the subject of Phyllis Schlafly, I think the appropriate punishment for her would to be forced to live in a society that is exactly like she claims to want.  Since I don’t want to live in such a society, much less have my daughters* live in such a society, I can only hope that God gives her what she wants in the afterlife.

    *Or anyone else’s daughters, for that matter.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    I think the appropriate punishment for her would to be forced to live in a society that is exactly like she claims to want.

    It sounds like that is what Margret Attwood had in mind when she wrote the character of Serena Joy into The Handmaid’s Tale

    Err, though to clarify my earlier statement, I was not suggesting that Phyllis Schlafly should be killed as a form of punishment.  However I was pointing out that she is eighty-seven years old, and I doubt she has more than a decade left in her at most. 

    Actually, the amount of vigor she still has for this subject at her age suggests some dark power animating her, some force with which she has made a terrible pact…

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Charity-Brighton/100002974813787 Charity Brighton

    Actually,
    the amount of vigor she still has for this subject at her age suggests
    some dark power animating her, some force with which she has made a
    terrible pact…

    Yoga?

  • Lori

    I think it’s more likely that she’s found a way to convert pure spite into energy.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Charity-Brighton/100002974813787 Charity Brighton

    Oh… you  mean zumba!

  • Rikalous

    I think it’s more likely that she’s found a way to convert pure spite into energy.

    Destruction’s crappy poems! Why hasn’t she shared this with the world? We could end our dependence on fossil fuels, we could…oh, right. She’s spiteful. That’s why.

  • http://mistformsquirrel.deviantart.com/ JJohnson

    I don’t know why but that cracked me up faaaar more than is reasonable >_< thank you, I needed a laugh today.

  • http://jamoche.dreamwidth.org/ Jamoche

    Even when she’s gone, her son and his Conservapedia will still be here.

  • hagsrus

    Ah, Andy Schlafly and Conservapedia… I have the Main Talk Page bookmarked for a daily headdesk giggle.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    On the subject of Phyllis Schlafly, I think the appropriate punishment for her would to be forced to live in a society that is exactly like she claims to want.

    Actually, I have a much better punishment in mind for Phyllis Schlafly.  When she is lying on her deathbed, I want her to be visited by one of her granddaughters who is a navy S.E.A.L. so she had a chance to tell her grandmother that she is getting married to a wonderful woman before Phyllis dies. 

    Yeah, I know it is implausible, but the thought of her dying peacefully with the knowledge that she failed to revert society fresh in her mind is a rather sweet one. 

  • http://jakobknits.blogspot.com Jake

    I really don’t get how you can feel okay about wishing for an old woman to feel pain. My hope for Phyllis Schlafly is that she be stopped from inflicting the harm that she inflicts. Ideally this would also make her happy, but that’s not necessary because what really matters to me is that she stop. To wish her pain instead of or in addition to that seems needlessly cruel. Why become her?

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    I really don’t get how you can feel okay about wishing for an old woman to feel pain. My hope for Phyllis Schlafly is that she be stopped from inflicting the harm that she inflicts. Ideally this would also make her happy, but that’s not necessary because what really matters to me is that she stop. To wish her pain instead of or in addition to that seems needlessly cruel. Why become her?

    Because in this case I feel like that is an important part of empathy.  To inflict harm on others without remorse leads to people like Phyllis Schlafly.  It allows her to feel jolly and righteous for spreading pain.  I would like to take the pain she spreads, and make her look upon it in a way that she cannot ignore, in a way that hits home with her.  

    The fact is, if she were to realize what she were doing, if she were to come to terms with all the pain she inflicted, then yes, she would hurt.  Anyone not completely divorced from the consequences of their actions would.  If she saw how what she was doing was hurting her family, then she must be forced to acknowledge it.  

    Remind her that she is human, like the rest of us, and that she gets hurt, like the rest of us, and her tune must necessarily change.  

  • http://jamoche.dreamwidth.org/ Jamoche

    The fate of one of Terry Pratchett’s villains was to have his entire life flash before his eyes – from the perspective of all his victims.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Also, ISTR vaguely that “special rights” was first conceived of in the 1980s or 1990s as a way to pooh-pooh anti-discrimination laws that banned employers from turning down people on the basis of sex or race.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    TW: Body image discussion.

    You know, one thing I’ve noticed is that even as people on online forums (like here) make good faith attempts to avoid fat-shaming behavior, I still sometimes see an undercurrent of, “Go away, you’re fat and ugly, if you want to impress me get thin” in some of the things people write up as “pointers” for how to attract members of the opposite/same sex.

    There really probably is no way to get around the fact that society and evolution together have created built-in majoritarian preferences for conventionally attractive (which usually means thin) people, but I would ask that people lecturing Nice Guys (or even socially awkward people) about their grooming habits and other personal issues avoid sneering at their weight, regardless of whether it’s fully under their control or not (there is a guy at my work who eats nothing but salads at lunch and he’s still a pretty big fella, so that is my anecdotal example to you of someone who is trying all the “standard social messages” about weight loss, and for whatever reason his metabolism’s basically trollfacing at him).

    (This, incidentally, is why I avoid making body-shape comments to Nice Guys when I find them online; I know what it’s like for people to treat you like you’re fucking invisible because you’re overweight, and it’s far more likely that their attitude towards women [or other men] is the key driver behind why they’re being consistently politely rejected all the time.)

  • Anonymous

    [trigger: body image]

    “There really probably is no way to get around the fact that society and
    evolution together have created built-in majoritarian preferences for
    conventionally attractive (which usually means thin) people”

    I’m glad you put ‘society’ in there as well, because the reality is that it has more to do with it than evolution. Indeed, some research shows that evolution runs the other way – that is, it grants a drive to find people with more weight than not.

    Just look at any artwork prior to the 19th/20th century. Look especially at the women in many of the paintings of such ages. Full-bodied, round, fleshy hips and so on.

    It is even well-argued that such women were also socially more desirable … because to have some weight was equated to be well-fed – in an age of hunger for many. A heftier woman was more likely to carry more children to term, and those children would be healthier.

    Amazing isn’t it – how social perspectives change with such ease.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    Just look at any artwork prior to the 19th/20th century. Look especially at the women in many of the paintings of such ages. Full-bodied, round, fleshy hips and so on.It is even well-argued that such women were also socially more desirable … because to have some weight was equated to be well-fed – in an age of hunger for many. A heftier woman was more likely to carry more children to term, and those children would be healthier.

    It has a strong habit of being tied to perceptions of wealth.  Back then, someone who could afford lots of rich, fatty foods and did not have to engage in physical labor was considered to be more attractive than someone who was slim.  Then comes the industrial revolution and the percpetion flip-flops.  Highly processed food becomes mass-produced so cheaply that even very poor can afford it, while healthier food becomes more expensive by comparison.  Add to that most laborers then spend more time sitting at a workstation than more physically intensive work, and the wealthiest get to take vacations and enjoy exercising leisure activities, and suddenly the thinner people become more attractive and the more full people become less. 

  • Anonymous

    Same thing with suntans in British history. People who worked outdoors, e.g. farm labourers, had darker, weathered skin so for a long time pale skin denoted aristocratic origins. Then wealthy people could afford holidays in warmer sunny climes while the working classes were stuck working indoors as factory hands and maybe getting a week being rained on at a British seaside resort, so a tan became a sign of affluence. But now we have sun beds and cheap flights abroad the pendulum is swinging back a bit, with working class women sneered at for having “orange” skin.

  • Lori

    Weight & Body image issues:

     Just look at any artwork prior to the 19th/20th century. Look especially at the women in many of the paintings of such ages. Full-bodied, round, fleshy hips and so on.

    It is even well-argued that such women were also socially more desirable … because to have some weight was equated to be well-fed – in an age of hunger for many. A heftier woman was more likely to carry more children to term, and those children would be healthier.  

    This. In modern times evolutionary drives aren’t so much of a factor in what body shape is deemed attractive in a society. You only have to look at art through history to know that the pop ev psych people are wrong about that. 

    This issue of attractiveness is very closely bound up with class though. Speaking as a USian, that’s part of the reason we’re so totally messed up on the issue. Class is one of the things that we can’t or won’t talk about in the US, so we also refuse to acknowledge the degree to which we shame people for having bodies that are deemed “low class”. 

    Place that at an intersection with sex, women’s rights and health issues and you have a combustible combination that creates tremendous pain for a lot of people. 

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    EvilKate:

    I’m glad you put ‘society’ in there as well, because the reality is that
    it has more to do with it than evolution. Indeed, some research shows
    that evolution runs the other way – that is, it grants a drive to find
    people with more weight than not.

    Fair point; that said, people often say they can’t help who they’re attracted to, and by and large, that’s true. People who discover a sexual attraction, I’ve read from people who discuss this, usually find they’re attracted to people who fit a kind of broad central norm of appearance. (the question of how much that central norm is socially modified is a good one to ask, and one I’m not going to try and claim there’s a definitive answer to)

    On the subject of size descriptions of humans – I for one will try to expunge it from my vocabulary, if only because there are acceptable alternatives: even if two people were to somehow unaccountably wear identical clothes their hair and faces and so on are likely to be different, and there is almost no need to use “skinny” or “fat” as the only descriptor of a human being.

  • Anonymous

    [trigger: body image]

    This, a million times!

    Also, class war. Until the modern period most people, at least intermittently, didn’t get enough to eat even in rich countries. If you could afford a three course dinner every day, then by heck you flaunted it by putting on weight, while the plebs went cold and hungry (and thin).

    Nowadays most people (not all) in rich countries can actually get at enough calories to survive, so the way to show off is to live on a dainty diet of obscure fruits flown 10,000 miles in refrigerated aircraft while the plebs make do with fried crap and bad bread (and get fat).

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Yup. Yup. The ‘in’ look is whatever poor people can less afford to look like.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    @mistharm:disqus I think cultural bias is influencing your perception. I certainly don’t find that ‘liberal’ has innately positive connotations while ‘conservative’ has neutral or negative ones.

    To me, liberal evokes the idea of lack of restraints or interference- which is good for some things and some of us, but my background is one where a degree of interference in individual “liberties” was critical. Liberal focuses on negative freedom, but postive freedom was equally if not more important in my context.

    Conservative evokes the idea of holding on to what is good (the conservation movement, frex). As an idea, that’s not bad at all.

    Agree that progressive sounds good (and is good) though.

  • Tonio

    The idea of liberalism as opposing restraints sounds like an authoritarian redefinition of the word, which means that the true opposite of libertarianism isn’t conservatism but authoritarianism.

    In my experience, conservatism as an idea isn’t necessarily about holding onto what is good, but opposing change in general. So that idea’s true opposite is progressivism.

    But in the US political system, it seems that most people are typically liberal and progressive or conservative and authoritarian. That may be partly a factor of history where progress involves moving from authoritarian systems to more democratic ones, and partly because the US system like others put unequal restrictions based on ethnicity and gender.

    Libertarianism frustrates the dynamic I described because it seeks like conservatism to turn back the clock but also seeks more individual freedom like liberalism. But with many self-identified libertarians these days, that ideology is a veneer for a tribalist variety of authoritarianism, controlling everyone who is not like them.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    But we’re talking about the innate meaning of the words, not how they have been applied in the US political system.

    How is conservatism, as a term divorced from its modern context, not about keeping (conserving) what is good? Opposing change in general is being reactionary. The fact that over the last three decades most conservative politics in the Anglophone world has been dominated by reactionaries doesn’t change the innate connotations of the word.

    Similarly, liberalism meaning opposing restraint is not a redefinition of the word. It’s how it’s used in most of the world (outside the US and Canada, as far as I can tell). It’s a North American quirk that has people advocating government regulation of, say, industrial products or access to services labelled “liberal’s”.

  • Tonio

    How is conservatism, as a term divorced from its modern context, not about keeping (conserving) what is good?

    In my experience, that term has never had that meaning in the US, either in politics or out of it. In non-political contexts, it has meant approaching change or the future with a sense of prudent cautiousness. And in politics it has meant opposition to change, while reactionary positions have been about reversing change. The difference there may be largely academic or irrelevant but it still exists. And the other issue, keeping what is good, is probably also irrelevant since the definition of “good” would be wildly subjective.

    Similarly, liberalism meaning opposing restraint is not a redefinition of the word. It’s how it’s used in most of the world (outside the US and Canada, as far as I can tell).

    My objection is to how that definition is worded. It implies that individuals should be restrained unless they can prove otherwise, which is an authoritarian position. (Similar to how some atheists object to that word as treating theism as the default.) You’re right about the North American quirk in treating liberalism as though it includes progressivism.

  • http://mistformsquirrel.deviantart.com/ JJohnson

    I am of course talking about within my own culture.  It’s important to remember that not only is my frame of reference American – but not only that, so is the environment in which my particular point is relevant.  In other words:  I’m addressing US politics,  so I figure the cultural association is kind of necessary.

    I admit I probably could have stated it up front but I was hoping context would carry that element;  just saying it was the meaning of the word in-general was probably too vague.  (The invisible tacked on thought was “within the sphere of US politics and culture” – Sadly invisible thoughts are rather hard to read lol)

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    @mmy:disqus Thanks for the spiral of silence info. It’s something I’ve been thinking about and talking about a lot over the last year or so (particularly the role of the vocal minority) but wasn’t aware of the formal area of research.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    TW: body issues discussion

    I was thinking about this and I realized one thing I should have brought up earlier is that “you’re fat” has often been used to shame women, and given that in fact the word has been used quite negatively most of the time I think it would be a good idea to simply omit it from epithets used to unflatteringly describe anyone.

    I don’t think of Newt Gingrich’s weight when I think of him. I do think of his complete lack of basic decency to other humans, and his willingness to engage in brinkmanship politics as a substitute for getting things done.

  • http://from1angle.wordpress.com emilyperson

    For me, fat’s a totally neutral descriptor, like “tall” or “freckly” or “dark-haired.” I see a fat person; my brain registers “fat person” (along with a bunch of other ways this person could be described); I try my hardest to judge the fat person based on what zie acts like, same as with skinny people.

    However. I don’t call anyone fat when I’m talking to (most) other people, because it has so many negative connotations, and they might not want it applied to them, might not know that my using it doesn’t mean I’m passing judgement on someone for being fat, or might have their own prejudice against fat people reinforced if I use the word to describe someone I’m feeling negative toward (for example, “I can’t stand that guy. He’s always talking loudly to me when I’m trying to read.” “Which one?” “In the red shirt.” “There are two guys in red shirts over there.” “Oh. I’m talking about the fat one.”)

  • Anonymous

    There are plenty of perfectly ‘howevers’ that can be put in a sentence like that.  Maybe not that sentence, but a sentence like that…
    “I don’t believe murderers should be put to death, however, I do believe they should be punished.

    Sanctuary forces enemies to ignore a cleric as long as they take no offensive action.

    ‘Forces to ignore’ here means that ‘enemies must pass a will save to attack anyways’.

    From 3.5

    Any opponent attempting to strike or otherwise directly attack the warded creature, even with a targeted spell, must attempt a Will save. If the save succeeds, the opponent can attack normally and is unaffected by that casting of the spell. If the save fails, the opponent can’t follow through with the attack, that part of its action is lost, and it can’t directly attack the warded creature for the duration of the spell. Those not attempting to attack the subject remain unaffected. This spell does not prevent the warded creature from being attacked or affected by area or effect spells. The subject cannot attack without breaking the spell but may use nonattack spells or otherwise act.

    In other words, the enemy can *see* you perfectly fine, and may attack if they pass a will save.  Likewise, they *can* target you with AoE spells freely, but *any* attack from you, against a character, object or a point in the environment, breaks the sanctuary.  It is indeed a good way to protect yourself for a variety of purposes at low levels, but it is by no means guaranteed invinciblity.You could do your trick with invisibility, though.  Although wizards especially will probably see through it..

    In that light, attacking a police officer equating to a stiffer penalty is on shakier ground than most hate-crime legislation. One should have to be able to show the police officer was attacker BECAUSE they were a police officer.

    It’d be a start to say that it only ‘counts’ if the officer is acting under ‘color of law’, or as you say, attacked because they are a police officer.

    Ex-freakin’-zactly. The logical conclusion of the women-use-sex-for-control argument is that rape is justified if they withhold sex.

    The ‘logical conclusion’ only if you start with some pretty crazy premises.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    ‘Forces to ignore’ here means that ‘enemies must pass a will save to attack anyways’.

    I should have mentioned that we were playing Second Edition at the time.  We also had a party wizard who had an invisability spell ready to alternate with the Sanctuary. 


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