Monday, April 19, 2004

Dogs Do It, Trees Do It, So Don't Even Think About It, Buster!


I just got back from a hearty round of rhetorical fisticuffs with an anti-gay rights group that was on my campus (with permission, naturally). The group, The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property...

...was born of a group of Catholic Americans concerned about the multiple crises shaking every aspect of American life. Founded in 1973, the American TFP was formed to resist, in the realm of ideas, the liberal, socialist and communist trends of the times and proudly affirm the positive values of tradition, family and property.

Central to the TFP mission is the idea that the various crises threatening American society and the Church cannot be seen as separate and disjointed. Rather they originate from a single cause.

The TFP handbook Revolution and Counter-Revolution by Plinio Corr√ća de Oliveira masterfully traces the historical and philosophical roots of this single cause: a phenomenon called the Revolution.


I'm not sure which mysterious and capitalized Revolution they are referring to. I looked on their site but couldn't find any specific historical references. But after talking for about half an hour with these Nervous White Men (as they were described on a sign held up by a fellow in the pro-gay rights camp who were also present) I can only conclude that this dastardly Revolution that they are waging a lavishly red caped and banner waving Counter-Revolution against is the Enlightenment. Which isn't surprising, really. They are, after all, a catholic organization (though, one not condoned by the Vatican, as my friend Kevin and I were informed by stalwart and clean shaven James, Knight of the tweedy suit and vivid scarlet sash. How fabulous!) Such staunchly ernest and clean shaven Catholic groups have a historical animus against those dirty socialist ideas put forth by such radicals as Thomas Jefferson, and we all know what we get if we listen to those crazy guys and their ludicrous notions about, "The Pursuit of Happiness." Because, after all, who needs happiness when you've got Jesus? (which about sums up every conservative-religious argument I've ever heard. As if the two are mutually exclusive and wo be he who sticks his chocolate in that holy penut butter).

Their arguments, as could probably have been predicted, were all slippery sloped to the point of practically being conical. You know, like a dunce's hat. The standard Santorum argument, "If we let gays get married and be equal, what's to stop the hot man on dog action from becoming legit?" Man-on-dog was actually brought up by Sir James. His bosom buddy (in a thoroughly manly and heterosexual manner, of course) suggested that if we let gay couples have the same rights as straits, then we should also grant these rights of equality to human-tree relationships, and then where would we be?

Rather chafed, I'm sure, but happy none the less.

A quick perusal of their site brought up this little gem, which takes slippery slope arguments to new hights of mental gymnastics:

ANIMALS DO IT, SO IT'S NATURAL, RIGHT?

The reasoning behind the "animal homosexuality" theory can be summed up as follows:
    - Homosexual behavior is observable in animals.
    - Animal behavior is determined by their instincts.
    - Nature requires animals to follow their instincts.
    - Therefore, homosexuality is in accordance with animal nature.
    - Since man is also animal, homosexuality must also be in accordance with human nature.


This line of reasoning is unsustainable. If seemingly "homosexual" acts among animals are in accordance with animal nature, then parental killing of offspring and intra-species devouring are also in accordance with animal nature. Bringing man into the equation complicates things further. Are we to conclude that filicide and cannibalism are according to human nature?

Apaprently these folks have never read Medea, Odipus Rex or The Odyssey, but then, that's all Pagan Greek stuff, and besides, it's poetry, not Natural Law or Truth with a capital T, which these yahoos are very fond of.

But what they really hate is cultural realitivism, that evil liberal idea that different opinions are equally valid. Though, they didn't mind using it themselves when I mentioned Dr. Bruce Bagemihl's Biological Exuberance, which draws on 200 years of scientific research concerning animal homosexuaility. But they have their own books to sell, which you can buy on their website, so they can be excused. Peddling inequality for a buck is the American Way, after all.

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