I admit, I don’t watch much television or follow celeb-gossip things, so it’s quite possible that I am very ill-informed and Piers Morgan is a major intellectual powerhouse who has slipped by my radar because, well, I don’t know who the major intellectual powerhouses are; they never seem to be the ones winning the prizes anymore.
I see by this Wikipedia entry that in the UK Morgan, among other things, wrote, edited, judged talent contests and is currently the editorial director of a children’s newspaper.
None of which tells me who died and named Morgan the Zeitgeist Torquemada, the “Lord Inquisitor” assigned the task of catechizing correct thinking in the United States, in matters touching both constitution and morality, or sneering, shouting, berating and belittling when his subject of interrogation refuses to conform — refuses to acquiesce and give the proper, required answer, with appropriate expressions of penitent humility for ever thinking incorrectly.
Riding a Zeitgeist takes no courage at all; you just “evolve” to the correct position and hang on, until you are delivered to the promised land, which changes to suit times and trends. Even a dead thing can be attached to it, and brought along. As Chesterton said, “A dead thing goes with the stream, but only a living thing can go against it.”
Once upon the zeitgeist was “Bush is an evil war criminal who we hate,” and all the people who uttered the words were counted as “bravely speaking truth to power.” And then his successor came in, held on to most of Bush’s foreign policies, and expanded some notions of executive power, but — since his successor was the zeitgeist they were riding — there was nothing to object to, because the zeitgeist is always right.
Then gun control became the zeitgeist and people who owned guns for their own protection, or employed armed body guards, decided that guns should only be in the hands of the correct sorts of people — and of course, criminals, who don’t give a damn about the law — and they sputtered about automatic weaponry and more than hinted that their moderate ideas of control held promise for future, power-tantalizing constitutional tweeks.
Even as that zeitgeist is still struggling to reach its destiny, another — more potent because its thrust is partially pelvic — is speedily passing it by, and oh, the brave, brave people who are suddenly grabbing on to its tail in order to make sure they’re part of it. The bravest of them all, of course, is Hillary Clinton, the former Senator and Secretary of State who first testified before Congress on a grave matter, and managed to do what weak women do when they want to change the subject: she cried and yelled until testicles duly retracted and that was a stunning victory for her. Directly after that, she — the woman who, while in the Senate, took umbrage and offense at the idea that she would support same sex marriage — courageously sent her husband out with a trial balloon to make sure it was safe, and then grabbed on to the zeitgeist with both hands, causing many to say, “wasn’t she always for gay marriage? Right? I’m confused.”
Sometimes people do not ride a zeitgeist, because they really are brave; they walk their own way, because their conscience leads them. Others simply dwell in utter, disconnected apathy. Both may believe that most zeitgeists are products of master illusionists bent on distraction and misdirection, and they tend to sidestep them, for it.
“Zeitgeist Torquemada”, by the way, is one of those dream jobs, because as long as you’re within the zeitgeist, you can never be wrong; fear of inquisition bestows a measure of power on one, for a while, which is also nice.
Over at Get Religion, Mollie Hemingway, is fascinated as she watches the ZT work, this time by keeping the stinking, incorrectly-thinking bigot far away from his own pure robes, and seated where there is a potential for confrontation:
“. . .In the words of David S. Crawford, the tolerance that will be given to those who aren’t on board with changing the basis of marriage from sexual complementarity to sexual orientation will be:
‘…provisional and contingent, tailored to accommodate what is conceived as a significant but shrinking segment of society that holds a publically unacceptable private bigotry. Where over time it emerges that this bigotry has not in fact disappeared, more aggressive measures will be needed, which will include more explicit legal and educational components, as well as simple ostracism…”
It’s a difficult piece to excerpt so go read the whole thing.
I wrote the other day about not throwing people away, and I am trying really hard to keep this from becoming about the man, Morgan (who is, in fact, less shouty and condescending to his guest than his partner, Suze Orman) instead of the role he has voluntarily taken on. As I concluded in that piece, it’s a difficult line to walk with balance: how does one criticize or analyze what is happening all around, without turning it into a diatribe against the human beings involved, and subsequently dismissing their humanity for the sake of a laugh. So, I’ll refrain from using a line I liked, ask for mercy for wanting to use it so badly, and pray instead for the the people who are actively fomenting hatred and misunderstanding among people while suggesting that, by framing an issues along false lines that will ultimately lead to more (but “deserved”) bullying, more (but “deserved” ostracizing) — all of the things we know are already destroying lives — they are only doing the noble thing.
Some gay rights advocates will believe that society needs to punish and repress these beliefs. Just as we don’t let segregated schools enjoy tax benefits and deny racists the “right” to discriminate in hiring and promoting, shouldn’t we hand out the same treatment to those backward bigots who refuse to move with the times?
At Via Meadia, we think that’s wrong. The distinction we would draw is between those who promote violence and bullying, and those who dissent from the new laws on moral grounds.
They make a great analogy to divorce and the churches, (so go read it) but few will listen to common sense, or bother with fine distinctions, when they’re sparking on the cheap fuel of emotionalism. The same government that tried to dictate to the churches whom they must call “minister”, the same government that is trying to define for people the limits of their own religious consciences and their free exercise of religion, will — particularly through the courts, as time goes by and current seats are vacated — find in favor of plaintiff couples arguing that they have a “right” to a sacrament or that their marriages aren’t working because they have been denied blessings and counselings available to other couples. Or there will be another argument, but the attempts to intrude on the churches will be made, and past cases suggest that when they are made, sexual orientation and license trumps religious freedom:
* A San Diego County fertility doctor was sued for refusing to perform artificial insemination for one partner of a lesbian couple for religious reasons. The doctor referred the patient to a colleague, promised there would be no extra cost and offered to care for her during her subsequent pregnancy. The case is now before the California Supreme Court, and justices seemed hostile to the doctor’s defense during oral arguments last month (2008).
* Catholic Charities in Boston and San Francisco ended adoption services altogether rather than be compelled by anti-discrimination laws to place children with same-sex couples. In the Boston case, Catholic Charities was prepared to refer same-sex couples seeking to adopt to other providers, but that was not sufficient. […]
In each of these cases, and other similar ones, the government has acted in some way to forbid gays and lesbians from being demeaned. But allowing same-sex couples to force religious individuals or organizations to act out of accord with their faith is not cost-free either. Their dignity is no less affected. Unless claims rooted in equal protection under the law are to sweep away claims rooted in freedom of religion, a more sensitive balancing approach is essential.
Yeah, good luck with that, too. One of the most dishonest (and stunningly passive-aggressive) things anyone ever said to me came up during the Great Chick-fil-A-Think-Correctly-or-Be-Destroyed Debacle of 2012, when a married lesbian, unimpressed to hear that I could support civil unions but had to draw a line at “marriage” out of concern for the churches and religious freedom, informed me that a) civil unions weren’t enough; marriage had to happen and b) my concerns were silly!: (paraphrased) “of course, this won’t affect the churches; if a church wants to be bigoted, I support their freedom to be hateful bigots…”
Yeahhhh…I’m sure you will.
Don’t fret about all this, though; don’t carry on about “the end of America” because that’s already pretty old, and you know, nations all tumble, eventually — we see it in history and we see it today. It seems to me conservatives and Republicans are touting a new “national/political savior” every week, but we’re pretty well past that. I honestly don’t even want to write about politics anymore, because it all seems like Distraction Theater to me; the real battle is going on in a different realm.
Don’t be afraid. Just be ready to deal with the onslaught of Zeitgeist Torquemadas about to advance and question whether you are a “good” person or a “bad” one, based entirely on how you think about this one issue. Be ready, too, to hear that, regardless as to whether you have grounded those thoughts upon natural law or scripture, your “real” motivation is simple bigotry:
If one retains the view that marriage is the institution that governs sexual complementarity and requires male and female then civil rights is the wrong framework and cries of bigotry are uninformed and scurrilous at best.
But they’re the cries people are most afraid of. “Bigot”, however incorrectly uttered, is the new card that will be played and overplayed. Don’t accept it; keep correcting the equation from “To Disagree” = “To Hate” into “To Disagree” = “Disagreement.”
It won’t work, but you know. You have to keep repeating it, for the sake of an even more basic freedom than religious conscience — one that will be threatened down the road: the freedom to be allowed your own thoughts and words, and to recognize things for the realities they are.
That freedom has always been loathsome to the enforcers of political correctness, in every age.