Today I have only one article to share. I usually excerpt a portion of a piece to entice the reader to follow the link and read the entire article. But this post by Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe as he responds to letter to the editor on the subject of marriage equality and why it does not affect straight marriage was too good not to include in its entirety.
Dear Mr. Balling,
I read your opinion piece in today’s Star Tribune, and I would like to take a brief moment of time to offer you some assistance in your future writing endeavors. I can only assume that you’ve never been trained in classical logic, debate techniques, or basic empathy, so I will humbly offer my own meager knowledge in these fields as it relates to your literary masterpiece “Why same-sex marriage affects my marriage”.
You start off strong, with an opening salvo ostensibly promoting the rights of other groups to have their own views (if we ignore the fear-mongering tag line “The goal is to move society — in this case, away from a safe environment for children), but then, much like a Michael Bay plot, your argument starts careening off the rails. Your first mistake is what we would consider “mind projection fallacy” – where one considers the way he sees the world as the way the world really is.
When you state that “As we have seen, and understandably so, people in homosexual relationships are trying to change society to more readily embrace and promote their view of their identity. This is possible largely due to the disassociation between sexual relationships and procreation.”, what you’re really saying is “Those gay people do sex things that I find icky, and we should oppress them because they can’t have babies.” You completely ignore the fact that “people in homosexual relationships are trying to change society” not just because they want to have teh buttsecks (or rise and grind for the ladies), but also to avoid, oh I don’t know, things like being tortured and tied to a fencepost until you die (Matthew Shepard), shot to death while attending school (Lawrence King), shot to death for being transgender (Moses King), committing suicide by hanging due to repeated bullying and taunting (Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover), shot to death and burned while standing military guard (Seaman August Provost), stabbed to death after serving in the Vietnam War (James Zappalorti) – every single one of these attacks because of the victim’s sexuality. Let’s not even get into the over 1100 federal benefits gay couples are legally unable to obtain in this state because they can’t get married – things like health care, survivor benefits, legacies to pass on to their families (including children); things like tolerance, acceptance, and compassion.
Moving on, we come to the next little pearl of wisdom hidden in your manifesto, that hoary old chestnut of “traditional marriage”. In this case, you’ve made the logical error of the “etymological fallacy” – that the original or historical meaning of a word or phrase is necessarily similar to its actual current meaning.
Which version of “traditional marriage” would you like to use Mr. Balling? Should we go back to ancient Israel and practice polygamy, with a woman’s only right that to own her own tent? Or should we use the ancient Greek definition of marriage, one more concerned with inheritance than love or procreation, one that would force a woman to divorce her current husband and marry a sibling if that was required to continue the family? Should we force a brother to marry his dead sibling’s wife? Or perhaps we should make arranged marriages with child brides, that’s certainly traditional enough. Wait, I know, let’s go with the one where you have to pay three goats and a cow in order to ensure the woman is yours to keep forever, and you can stone her to death if she cheats on you. That one sounds terrific!
You see, Mr. Balling, since you don’t actually provide a definition of what “traditional marriage” is, I think your definition of “traditional marriage” boils down to “I want to make other people who believe differently than I do miserable by taking away their free will so I’ll cloak my hate in the guise of ‘tradition’ and ‘history’ without knowing what those words really mean”, and, well, I’m not really ok with that. Also, “traditional marriage” has traditionally been rather tough on 50% of the human population, what with the whole enslavement and forced child bearing and stoning to death thing (I’m talking about women if you haven’t figured it out (sorry to the people who figured it out like 5 minutes ago but I wanted to make sure he got it)), and I’m not really ok with that either.
Deep breath. <whelps!>
Your third logical fallacy, and oh boy does this one crop up all the time, is that of cum hoc ergo propter hoc. Now I’m guessing you may not be up to date on your Latin (or maybe you are, in which case well done!), so if you need help, I’d like to ask the entire class to say it along with me.
CORRELATION DOES NOT IMPLY CAUSATION.
You can’t make the statement that “Bless the single parents who try, but there is a direct correlation between single homes and crimes of all types. If anything, the effects of broken homes indicate the importance of reestablishing the ideal of traditional marriage” and not expect any moderately intelligent person not to jump all over it. Single homes don’t *cause* crime. That’s like saying “I rode my bicycle to work today, and it rained, therefore my bicycle causes rain”. There are a multitude of factors related to crime including income, residence location, public resources available, education, education available, age demographics, police presence, temperature patterns, etcetera ad nauseum ad infinitum (that one means I could go on for a while (also, way to take a giant steaming literary dump on every single parent, infertile couple, and those who choose not to have kids; you’re making all sorts of friends today)). To single out single parents is, to put it bluntly, absolutely absurd.
And then, to make it even better, you somehow link an unsafe environment for children (somehow caused through single parents?) to same sex marriage by claiming it “reinforces changes to the marital definition”. Hooboy. Tell me, were you worried about the children when all those colored folks started marrying the white people? Because that sure was a change to the “marital definition”, and funnily enough there were a bunch of people using the same argument back then. Or how about when women started working? Are the kids unsafe now because mom wanted to actually do something with her life instead of putting on a plastic smile and tending the kitchen all day? (no offense to any stay at home mom or dads who choose to do so, I know that’s a full time job in itself and you have my respect) What happened when the “marital definition” changed to allow divorce and remarrying? Should we pass some more constitutional amendments preventing those? C’mon, don’t just stop with the gays, let’s go oppress a bunch of other people too!
AND THEN, to make it even more betterer (grammars!), you return to the mind projection fallacy by claiming that “Currently, as a society, we have wavered from this traditional motivation, and many, not all, view marriage as a venue for self-fulfillment”. It’s so nice of you, Mr. Balling, to define mine, and countless other marriages as “venues for self-fulfillment”. Odd though, I don’t remember you ever hanging out with my family and I, or with our neighbors, or providing any sort of factual information to back up your claim (and if you say I need to provide evidence to disprove it, that’s called onus probandi, in case you were interested). In fact, the only evidence that I’ve been able to glean from your entire ill-constructed argument, is that you don’t know how to construct an argument. You know, with facts and stuff. (Your argument is called an “appeal to emotion”, more specifically, an “appeal to fear”, if you wanted that for future reference)
Deep breath. <1%, don’t wipe now!>
Frankly, sir, your blatant attempt to sway people by using the “OH MAH GAWD THINK OF THE CHILDREN” argument is tiresome, bothersome, and insulting to anyone who cares to take the slightest interest in pulling aside your curtain of self satisfied drivel to expose the ugliness underneath. Furthermore, you never made any sort of logical attempt to explain how same-sex marriage affects your marriage in any concrete way, instead offering up vague generalizations with no proof. When it comes to “the children”, I can assure you that I *am* thinking of my children, and not just my children, but all the children they will come in contact with, and all the adults they will someday be; and it is my sincerest wish as a parent that I can raise them to be tolerant, to respect the free will of others, and above all, to see beneath the smug bigotry and oppression of those who would enslave the world to satisfy their own ugly lust for control. If you have any children, it is my hope that they enjoy a peaceful life, one free of tyranny.