Saturday, October 6, 2012

42 days: Patrick Mefford

This post is a guest post for the 42 days series. Learn more here!

The Conservative Case for Same Sex Marriage

I’m openly an atheist, nothing spectacular about that in the SSA. What does raise some eyebrows is that I am an atheist who openly identifies as a political conservative, which can make one a bit of a pariah in the “movement” so to speak. Happily, my local SSA group has been entirely accepting of me and my glorious co-president asked me to pen a blog post for his “42 days of No” campaign which not only honored me, encouraged me to dutifully comply. Before I make my simple case, I need to make some important clarifying points which might help readers unfamiliar with my opinions better understand them.

Contrary to public opinion of cable news anchors, radio personalities, and all the authors of those most terrible books that line the shelves under the ‘Current Events’ placard in the local bookstore, proper conservatism is not some fetish for the past. It is something richer than that, something that would look back thoughtfully to the talented prose of the critics of the French Revolution and draw inspiration from those who had no love for the Ancien Régime nor the revolutionaries who commandeered Notre-Dame Cathedral or basilique Saint-Denis to rechristen as their temples of reason.

I am not enamored with the past and I do not accept everything from history, but anything I do embrace must have its place in history. The most important, full blooded, and vigorous ideas have made their marks on humanity’s quick climb out of the wilderness and into the urban jungle. Almost all of humanity’s collective high points and disturbingly low points can be reduced to issues concerning such abstract ideas as justice, freedom, or the proper pursuit of knowledge (or a lack thereof in many cases). This isn’t some yearning for the past, but a clamorous plea to rupture the cycle of past mistakes.

When fellow conservatives see the issues of same sex marriage, they most often complain about the progressive/liberal assault on the institution of marriage and on the family unit. This is quickly followed up with sardonic commentary about the “tolerance” of the progressive/liberal wanting to ban free speech. I think I’ve had it with the whole routine to be honest, and I think it is one of the biggest tactical errors conservatism has made in this stunted and manifestly corrupt game we call, without a shred of self awareness, “American Politics”.

I’m more inclined to leave my progressive/liberal friends jostling for a spot in line to sign up for victim narrative that is so self serving. I think the only appropriate reaction to the same sex marriage issue is one of celebration, because the conservative ideal has won. This is a rare moment when the Thou has decided that they would rather be like I, the Them wants to become Us, the conservative ideal of strong monogamous relationships that serve as the bedrock of the family unit has appealed to those on the margins of accepted sexuality and instead of living out their sexuality in some underground atmosphere of secrecy away from prying eyes, they would rather live out the standard in broad daylight and in open honesty! Quite frankly, the GLBT community as decided when in Rome do what the Romans do. The hegemony of conservative thought has carried the day, what more could we ask for?

Much more apparently. So instead of counting this as a victory, we seem to be doing our best to convince the GLBT community to rethink the whole issue and reject the entirety of our worldview because we are demanding that they simply ignore their own sexuality and cease being human. We use terrible arguments that focus on the instrumental use of our genitals and arguments from natural law and teleology that would make even the poorest Aristotelian weep, instead of realizing the value of the family is being affirmed by those we view as our political enemies.

So that is my case, conservatives have won this important battle and it’s time to move on to more important things. There is nothing to gain by defining marriage by a correct matching of specific sex organs, rather we should welcome the GLBT community into our circle and show them that our other values are just as important as the family.

Patrick Mefford is an avid student of both Philosophy and Religious Studies and is close to finishing up degrees in both fields. He studies both Analytic and Continental styles of Philosophy and focuses on Metaphysics, Logic, Philosophy of Religion, Philosophical and Religious Hermeneutics and the history of Philosophy. He is an active member of the Student Secular Alliance and has lead multiple panels on interfaith dialogue between Muslims, Christians, and Jews.
He also blogs at The ServileConformist

As always, if you have anything to add to the conversation, just comment below!

1 comment:

  1. This is nicely done and I like the conservative perspective. I don't think anyone would argue that people as a whole are better off when married and that our country benefits from such a union. Furthermore, no one would argue against two people being married before rearing children.

    I've heard a lot of arguments against homosexual marriage due to the lack of offspring it produces. I was stumped for a while when someone asked, "If marriage isn't about the children it produces, then why not allow incestuous couples to marry, too?" Any ideas as to how to answer that? I've ended on a few ideas but I'm interested in others' views as well.