Category Archives: facebook

some issues are too important to fool with crappy logic

Recently I got the pip with a pithy little paragraph that was being reposted all over Facebook. Grinding my teeth about its ignorance and illogic didn’t seem sufficiently cathartic so finally, with trembling, I posted a response.

My doing so almost cost me at least one friendship. I realise now I should have posted here in my own little space and not on Facebook where people I care about would be embarrassed. And I could have taken more care to emphasise that I did not mean to criticise those who had been reposting it in good faith. Anyway, I’ve more or less been able to patch up the mess I made with one much-loved friend and thought I’d note the experience here. Mostly so I can look back in a couple of years’ time and see what a pedantic twerp I was.

What follows is the original burr-under-my-saddle post and then my Facebook response to it. Oh, and in the interests of giving discredit where it is due, a little Google search revealed that the post originated here.

“So, let me get this straight...Charlie Sheen can make a “porn family”, Kelsey Grammar can end a 15 year marriage over the phone, Larry King can be on divorce #9, Britney Spears had a 55 hour marriage, Jesse James and Tiger Woods, while married, were having sex with EVERYONE. Yet, the idea of same-sex marriage is going to destroy the institution of marriage? Really?”

My FB post:

“A lot of very caring, smart people on my list have been reposting a statement which identifies some less-than-admirable celebrity marriage stories, and uses them to argue in favour of same-sex marriage.

I have to say, I’ve read the post several times, and while I’m supportive of non-discriminatory social policies for everyone, including gay and lesbian Australians, and while I think I understand the reasons why my friends are posting it, I won’t be. Here’s why:

Firstly, it’s just not good logic. Pointing out the moral or relational failures of others does not speak to the issue of same sex marriage in any way. Unless, of course, Charlie Sheen is holding himself up as an example of how marriage should be done and suggesting that same-sex couples are incapable of doing the same excellent job with their relationships and thus should be denied the right to marry. But as that post is written, Charlie Sheen and the other celebrities’ relational failures have nothing whatever to say about anything or anyone but themselves.

Further, while I understand that the post was just meant to be mildly humorous, I feel that making such poor arguments can cause detractors who spot the shoddy logic feel that there *are* no sound arguments for changing the Marriage Act to allow same-sex marriage…or else we wouldn’t be getting so excited about ones like these. And in our democracy, the good will of the people counts. I think those who are pressing for these changes need to take every opportunity to explain their case and show the community what good sense it makes.

Also, as my clever daughter pointed out, once we start criticising people on moral grounds, we are encouraging them to weigh us in the same scale. And we know that many social conservatives object to same-sex marriage on moral grounds anyway. Taking that tack seems to me to be akin to stepping back giving the other side a good clear space for a free kick.

Finally, shining a spotlight on the failures of a visible and not particularly representative few only opens the way for your enemies to treat you to some of your own medicine. It would be too easy for someone to draw attention to a few similarly uninspiring stories from the gay community. That’s what happens when we start flinging poop around – the other guy is going to come back with an infantile, ‘Oh, yeah? Well, you can’t talk!’ And he’d be right. And you’d have asked for the humiliating serve that follows.

So, I just wanted to state for what it’s worth that although I will not be reposting that statement, it’s not because I don’t care for my gay and lesbian friends or that I don’t think they deserve social equity. It’s just that I think flip statements like these may actually *harm* their cause. And I wouldn’t want to participate in doing that.”