Monday Highlights

Good morning.

  1. Mr Tiller, a Lutheran, had been excommunicated by the LCMS and was attending an ELCA church. So … how may articles about him attempted to explain the different Lutheran denominations? Is that relevant as a background to the story?
  2. More on Mr Tiller’s killing here.
  3. Outing as a conservative/liberal issue, in which a particular liberal forgets “outing” is a standard tactic against gay GOP members, which brings one to the logical conclusion that painting this as a left/right matter is a partisan fiction.
  4. Some philosophers consider the matter.
  5. And the point is made that pseudonymity requires increased not decreased politeness.
  6. An inconsistency on the left, noted.
  7. A educators prayer.
  8. Or … there might be other reasons.
  9. On the health care debate, a discussion here and here.
  10. We are all democrats now.
  11. Not to die in vain.
  12. A comparison Mr Alito and Ms Sotomayor.
  13. Grist for the legalize prostitution libertarian mill.
  14. A Baptist preacher goes to an Orthodox service and finds much to like.

9 responses to “Monday Highlights

  1. Outing as a conservative/liberal issue, in which a particular liberal forgets “outing” is a standard tactic against gay GOP members, which brings one to the logical conclusion that painting this as a left/right matter is a partisan fiction.

    Outing has been hotly debated among the gay community (which is not necessarily the same as ‘liberal’ or ‘anti-GOP’ but has historically had a lot of overlap). While no one ever agrees on anything 100%, the impression I had was that a consensus had arisen that outing should not be done *unless* the person has a notable record of being anti-gay. While we can argue what exactly that means, I think it does have an element of fairness to it. Imagine, for a moment, that you’re a gay man and see Jerry Falwell partying with you and your friends at a gay club every weekend but every weekday you see him on TV bashing gays. Is it really fair to say you have to hold your mouth and not ‘out’ him? I don’t think so.

    What I see here though is that an ‘outing’ has nothing to do with the position the person was taking. It was just pure retaliation for daring to disagree with a blogger with no relationship to the actual argument at hand. I can imagine a person who supports the military ban on gays getting ‘outed’ and there being a reasonable debate if that’s fair. But what wouldn’t be fair would be to ‘out’ the guys social security number or his credit card numbers. That is just pure thuggery. I understand here the thuggish one is a right wing blogger and Mark would seek to disfuse the outrage by making an argument that its all evenly balanced by left wingers who have acted thuggish in the past. But IMO this attempt to diffuse just enables the bad behavior by giving people the idea that its all just par for the course.

  2. Boonton,
    Mr Schraub did not present this as a “gay community” vs “conservative” community factor. Alas, your “anti-gay” has little weight, in that “member of GOP” is widely regarded by many as being sufficient cause for being anti-gay.

    I’m not “diffusing outrage” as you put it. Mr Schraub presented outing as a conservative only activity. I don’t really care if it “evenly” balanced. He presents this as a feature of the modern conservative movement. I disagree and in rebuttal point out that similar features exist on the left. My point that this sort of activity is not an essential feature of the right (or left). I used outing gays as an illustrative example.

    Furthermore, I don’t mean this as an apologetic for the outing at all. In fact, oddly enough two of the other links I make to this don’t defend it at all, a point you seem to have overlooked. The third, while not an apologetic puts into perspective some reasons for a non-anonymous blogger to be not so sympathetic to pseudonymity, i.e., volumes of hate filled anonymous e-mail.

    And, I can of course see why being a blogger might put a damper on tenure … a matter we’ve discussed regarding Mr DeLong.

  3. First of all, both I and publius both oppose outing of gay persons (for very similar reasons to why we oppose outing pseudonymous bloggers: we don’t know why they’re staying closeted, and it isn’t our call how they present themselves). I oppose it regardless of whether liberals or conservatives are doing the outing (outing of gay persons is not a liberal-only activity — the AFA, for example, reportedly posted watchdogs outside gay hangouts in conservative southern areas and revealed the identities of patrons for the express purpose of “keeping people accountable”). And you don’t give any indication that outing of gay conservatives is a “standard” tactic of liberals, that it is popular, widespread, or accepted within the liberal community.

    Second, I never said that outing was a primarily conservative activity — I made no claims as to the relative frequency of outing at all, or that conservatives do it more or less often than liberals. I don’t think that there is all that much outing going on period — there aren’t that many examples of prominent liberal bloggers being outed, and there aren’t that many examples of prominent conservative gays being outed. I used Franck’s post to note a larger observation I’ve had about the conservative movement’s ethos, which not only seems to oppose but seems to mock and deride the notion of mutual obligations to fellow humans and citizens (beyond, perhaps, bare legal positivism). Franck’s defense of outing, in other words, was predicated off a normative position I’ve seen repeated in other contexts by modern conservatives that I find appalling. Since my post was protesting this lack of other-regarding obligation in modern conservatism, symmetry would be required if there was a prominent liberal arguing something to the effect of “John Doe has reasons for doing X, but I’m under no obligation to respect those reason … I can ignore John Doe’s desire for X for any reason or none at all aside from the fact that I wanted to ignore it.”

    The relative prevalence of outing not only was not a part of my post, it had absolutely nothing to do with it.

  4. David,

    And you don’t give any indication that outing of gay conservatives is a “standard” tactic of liberals, that it is popular, widespread, or accepted within the liberal community.

    True. And you don’t give any indication that the “…off a normative position I’ve seen repeated in other contexts by modern conservatives that I find appalling.” is popular widespread of accepted in the conservative community (whatever that) might be.

    Relative prevalence was not only not part of my post either … it has nothing to do with it.

    Alasdair McIntyre is now a liberal Christian philosopher? Consider his well known book, which I would suggest gets a lot more mileage in the conservative side of things than not, Dependent Rational Animals, which belies your notions of legal positivism. How many “crunchy conservative”, communitarian, or other conservative movement ideas do you read?

    I used Franck’s post to note a larger observation I’ve had about the conservative movement’s ethos, which not only seems to oppose but seems to mock and deride the notion of mutual obligations to fellow humans and citizens (beyond, perhaps, bare legal positivism)

    Look, you (apparently) have some need to demonize those with you disagree. There is good reason why you leave your references to “consistent” observations of the larger conservative movement unreferenced and untouched … it’s because the prevalence “normative/community” claims would fall apart.

    You can now explain why Prop 8 contributors were posted on the publicly on the net? Would that be that

    John Doe has reasons for doing X [X = privately donate to pass CA Prop 8], but I’m under no obligation to respect those reason … I can ignore John Doe’s desire for X for any reason or none at all aside from the fact that I wanted to ignore it.”

    Do you want me to search a little and find “prominent liberal bloggers” supporting that outing? Or do you want to concede the point that this is just politics and crosses the aisle quite freely?

  5. I also forgot to mention that torture is wrong, that the moon orbits the earth, that H2O comprises water, that Democrats lean pro-choice, and any number of other facts or assertions. Those things share something in common: they weren’t the topic of my post, or particular related to it. My post topic was that I’ve observed a significant pattern of conservatives (not every conservative of course — different branches of conservatives believe different things. But it is an argument that I think has significant sway in some elements of the broad conservative tent) arguing that there exist no other-regarding obligations beyond bare legal positivism (Yglesias makes the argument here, see also this YouTube video on the view that “racial equality” means no longer having to care what people of other races think); an argument which here popped up in a discussion of outing. Outing was, at most, an example I used for why applying the principle “I don’t have any obligations to others beyond legal ones” leads to bad things. The observation “liberals out”, disconnected from liberals arguing they have the right to out for no other reason than they want to, is just as distant to the topic of my post as “liberals tend to elect more women” or “conservatives prefer tax cuts”. It would have been completely off-topic. I’m not under any obligation to append whatever random political point Mark Olson wants to all of my posts, if for no other reason than I’m not psychic and can’t intuit what you’ll want to hear in advance.

    But let’s pretend I did, in fact, want to talk about the ethics of outing as a generally matter. I did write a post way back when on publicizing Massachusetts persons who signed a petition to overturn the state’s permission of gay marriage. In terms of syncing it with the post I just wrote, it is pretty evident that I do not take the position that we should do it for any reason whatsoever or none at all (the Franck position). Insofar as I supported it, however, it was hinged on several points: (1) that the data was already public (donations to political campaigns and causes are public domain), (2) the interest in fostering deliberate democracy and public debate between citizens, and (3) the apparent lack of resulting intimidation. In other words, aside from the fact of whether providing greater publicity to already public acts is properly seen as “outing”, my support is hinged on stated reasons to do it here. I’m not saying that we should do it irrespective of whether we have reasons or not, or ignore the wish that it not be public — I’m saying we ought to weigh. And that’s what I generally think about pseudonymnity — we ought to start with the presumption that people should have the right to a pseudonym, and then see if there are strong enough reasons to overcome that presumption.

    One can debate the degree to which those reasons are valid, or the degree to which those reasons applied to Whelan’s acts (dealing with non-public information, unnecessary to facilitate a dialogue that was already proceeding, and with a specific intent to intimidate and chill dialogue). But at the very least, I’m not taking the position of Franck, which holds no reason is necessary. If you’re looking for symmetry, you don’t get it by finding a liberal who supports outing of non-public information, you get it by finding a liberal who does so while expressly affirming he doesn’t need a reason to. Let’s see how strong your google-fu is.

  6. Some hypothetical ‘outings’ for review:

    1. A blogger calling herself ‘TexasDarlin’ devoted herself to Obama birth certificate conspiracies. She claims she is simply a devoted supporter of Hillary Clinton who was outraged that she lost the primaries. A blogger devoted to technical issues notices that her domain and email address appear connected to a gay man who briefly made a name for himself in the tabloids several months before claiming to have had an affair with Obama.

    2. Pat Buchannan ran for President on a protectionist platform. Reporters noted that his personal cars were European imports.

    3. ‘Joe the Plumber’ makes a name for himself as opposing taxes. It is revealed he has an unpaid tax lein on him.

    4. A man steps forward and claims he had sex with Senator Larry Craig in a bathroom in DC.

    5. A man becomes a notable crusader against gays. Any position or issue involving gays features him against it. Let’s say its that guy who runs the Godhatesfags site and whose followers have been protesting at the funerals of US servicemen. Say it turns out that he leads a double life as a gay man and is exposed by other gays who are sick of seeing him in gay clubs at night.

    6. Another man is not such a crusader. He is a columnist but has only written two columns on gay issues. One opposing same sex marriage on the grounds that it is unprecedented and society should not adopt radical changes and another supporting the ban on gays in the military arguing along similiar lines…. Like #5, though, he leads a very active gay life at night. Should he be exposed?

    What I notice about these outings is that they are premised on hypocrisy or at least a perception of duplicity and the motivation to expose it. Even the outing of gay GOPers that Mark complains about seem to be based on the same motivation. Not all of the cases are clearly examples to me of people that should be exposed. Specifically I’d say #6 should be left alone but I have no problem with 1-5 being ‘outed’.

    What I think is different about publius is that it isn’t much of an ‘outing’. Nothing in exposing his name and occupation revealed any argument for duplicity, double dealing or whatnot on his part. It was essentially, IMO, not an outing but a ‘hit job’. An attempt to intimidate him and punish him for having the ‘wrong’ views. Not very different than throwing a brick through his window, except this is legal while the brick wouldn’t be.

  7. David,
    This conversation is more than a little weird. On this blog I’ve written practically reams of digital paper trying to convince my (thankfully) active liberal commenters that our connections exist and are very important. You make the (yet unsupported) claim that this is “a significant theme” in the conservative arena.

    Oddly enough, in this particular case one might wonder why the right (and left) blogs overwhelmingly came out critical of Mr Whelan’s action. Could it be your essential thesis, that conservatives support “outing” or similar activities without need of a reason is just wrong?

  8. It would be wrong if that was my thesis. But as I said, I never made the claim that the conservative movement as a whole supported outing. I said Franck’s argument for why he thought outing was okay was premised off a reason (i.e., the lack of need to have a reason) that I’d observed gaining increased prevalence (in a variety of contexts) in the conservative movement. That isn’t to say every conservative buys into that principle — obviously many don’t. But a significant enough portion do to make it worth noting when a prominent member of the conservative movement lays it out so starkly.

  9. David,

    But a significant enough portion do to make it worth noting when a prominent member of the conservative movement lays it out so starkly.

    ??? You’ve never linked Franck before, I’ve never seen him linked. Why do you call him a “prominent member of the conservative movement”? Because he blogs under the banner of the NRO? You lay a low bar for “prominent member.” Again I can’t argue or speak to your assertion that this is “gaining prevalence” and “in a variety of contexts” because it is unsupported and a personal observation and therefore unassailable.

    My counter point is that because this same flaw is one which I argue regularly against those on the left and that I personally observe on your side of the aisle that perhaps you are wrong that this is a rising “conservative” tide, but one which is bi-partisan.

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