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Love Him, Hate His Politics
October 23, 2013 9:30 AM   Subscribe

Jeanne Safer writes about being "married to [Richard Brookhiser] with whom I violently disagree on every conceivable political issue, including abortion, gun control, and assisted suicide. I thought the recent government shutdown was absurd, infantile, and destructive; he was a fan. And not only is he a conservative Republican, he’s a professional conservative Republican, a Senior Editor of National Review, the leading journal of conservative opinion in the country."
posted by Jahaza (380 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

 
I have never understood people who can do this. It just seems utterly ludicrous to me that I could love someone with such radically different opinions on political issues.
posted by knapah at 9:36 AM on October 23, 2013 [58 favorites]


I suppose it is possible that for some people the concepts of "love" and "respect" can be independent rather than conflated. Although I'm not one of those people myself.
posted by davejay at 9:42 AM on October 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


I was okay with it until the end, where she complained that not everyone feels that politics are unimportant in a relationship.
posted by jeather at 9:42 AM on October 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


I have never understood people who can do this. It just seems utterly ludicrous to me that I could love someone with such radically different opinions on political issues.

The money is usually pretty good.
posted by The Whelk at 9:43 AM on October 23, 2013 [52 favorites]


So I’m sorry for the growing number of people who look for love only on websites segregated, like TV networks, by redness or blueness. It’s really no better than a match by astrological sign, or any other external criteria, because the political beliefs people subscribe to say surprisingly little about their characters.

Oh, I think it's better than a match by astrological sign.
posted by box at 9:46 AM on October 23, 2013 [12 favorites]


I have never understood people who can do this.

I'm guessing, in this case, it's that Jeanne Safer doesn't take her own political convictions seriously.

Otherwise, a "nature loving" person might be troubled by sleeping with the editor of publication that devotes an entire blog to climate change denial. Just for starters.
posted by ryanshepard at 9:47 AM on October 23, 2013 [47 favorites]


The problems I can see coming up in this situation don't result from the fact that you have to agree on politics per se. When political opinions are diametrically opposed, it's really hard for me to believe there aren't other underlying differences about the nature of people's responsibilities to each other and to the wider society, and about science and faith, and about what you believe about the nature of being a person. Political beliefs don't form in a vacuum; you don't just wake up and feel like you're pro- or anti-one particular issue for no particular reason. It reflects your personal ethics in various ways.

It's those underlying differences I think would be more threatening if it were me, not the politics themselves.
posted by Linda_Holmes at 9:47 AM on October 23, 2013 [121 favorites]


I have "dated" people with whom I radically disagreed on pretty much all things, but I can't imagine being married to someone like that. Spending my life with someone who doesn't think that people like me deserve basic human rights? Fuck no.

scare quotes on dated because it was really more like AP fuckbuddying.
posted by elizardbits at 9:47 AM on October 23, 2013 [24 favorites]


It's also possible that his personal politics are different than his professional politics, i.e. he's not a dickhead to everyone whose politics he disagrees with even though his for print persona is completely horrible.

I've known plenty of people who can be charming and agreeable in small group settings but give them a public pulpit to try to convince people of their views and they turn into complete trolls.
posted by vuron at 9:47 AM on October 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


They will never discover, as I did, that it’s possible to find a soulmate with whom the only thing you don’t have in common is politics.

I guess that depends on if you thing of politics as an "only" thing, something minor. For a lot of people, agreeing on things like equal rights for LGBT people or a woman's right to choose or any number of other things can't be characterized as "only" politics.
posted by Mavri at 9:47 AM on October 23, 2013 [45 favorites]


I've been in more than one relationship like this (including my current one, on some issues), and it comes down more to whether the other person is an asshole, not whether the other person is [conservative|liberal]. I can have a political conversation with my spouse without either of us getting angry about it, because each of us isn't an asshole about it. And neither side has a monopoly on assholes (see showbiz_liz's comment on her transphobic gay liberal vegan friends).
posted by Etrigan at 9:48 AM on October 23, 2013 [16 favorites]


He expresses his opinions in writing or with his colleagues, not in conversation with me, and I do the same.

So the answer to "how do they do that?" is basically "we don't talk about it".
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 9:48 AM on October 23, 2013 [5 favorites]


"Don't ask me about my business, Kay."
posted by Atom Eyes at 9:49 AM on October 23, 2013 [34 favorites]


It just seems utterly ludicrous to me that I could love someone with such radically different opinions on political issues.

Yeah, it's one thing to have different opinions. It's another if your partner's opinions mean that you view them as lacking character or as a bad person. There comes a point where different opinions about political issues stop being like different opinions about the worthiness of Aliens and start being like different opinions about racism.

the political beliefs people subscribe to say surprisingly little about their characters

That's not true. Support of the shutdown marks one as either hopelessly ignorant or of low moral character. Since her husband is well educated, it marks him as having low moral character.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:50 AM on October 23, 2013 [13 favorites]


. . . because the political beliefs people subscribe to say surprisingly little about their characters.

Really? Because my own political beliefs are pretty well grounded in my basic worldview and ethical compass. Things like "People deserve healthcare even if they're poor and even lazy" and "bombing brown people for being brown is wrong" and "Adults should have the right to do what they want with their bodies and lives even if it squicks other people out" aren't even really political positions to me; they're ethical stances that are a direct reflection of my morality. The fact that they happen to cause me to have opinions about proposed laws is what makes them political. This isn't horse-race stuff; if you think gay marriage should be illegal, I will consider you to be an asshole, and I don't want to date or marry an asshole.
posted by Tomorrowful at 9:50 AM on October 23, 2013 [152 favorites]


Well, if you marry someone whose politics are based on hate, greed, and disrespecting women, you'd best hope that he never decides to leave you or vice versa. You'll find out pretty quickly that you're not the exception at all.
posted by snickerdoodle at 9:51 AM on October 23, 2013 [10 favorites]


Of course, predictably, Mefites have expressed shock. "But Republicans really are morally execrable! How can someone say they sometimes aren't? And how can you even stand to be in the same room with one?"
posted by koeselitz at 9:51 AM on October 23, 2013 [39 favorites]


I've found that if a person's political beliefs are largely grounded in greed and hate, it says a great deal about their character.

See, though, I've known a lot of libertarians and conservatives who are just as kind and generous as you could ask for. I think that their politics are super distasteful and grounded in a deficient mental model of what a human being is and needs, and I chalk this up to cognitive dissonance. I'm sure they do the same.

I couldn't be married to someone I didn't agree with politically, and I find it harder and harder to be friends with them, but that doesn't mean they live, in their personal, day-to-day lives, as monsters whose character is grounded in greed and hate.

People are weird and complex. They contain multitudes.
posted by gauche at 9:53 AM on October 23, 2013 [29 favorites]


"But Republicans really are morally execrable! How can someone say they sometimes aren't? And how can you even stand to be in the same room with one?"

I don't really think that's what people are saying. We're not just talking about generic any Republican here, we're talking about a National Review editor and fan of the shutdown. I know Republicans who aren't morally execrable, but I have no problem with people who think Brookhiser is.
posted by Mavri at 9:54 AM on October 23, 2013 [17 favorites]


I can't wrap my head around a woman marrying a man who thinks that women should not have the right to choose what to do with their bodies. I'm not shocked, I'm sad that she's willing to compromise on something so personal and fundamental.
posted by elizardbits at 9:54 AM on October 23, 2013 [13 favorites]


Of course, predictably, Mefites have expressed shock. "But Republicans really are morally execrable! How can someone say they sometimes aren't? And how can you even stand to be in the same room with one?"

Why, it's almost as if people with similar political viewpoints might agree on something!
posted by Celsius1414 at 9:54 AM on October 23, 2013


I just picture myself as this couple's gay child. What a mess.
posted by yellowcandy at 9:55 AM on October 23, 2013 [10 favorites]


But Koeselitz this isn't just a Republican who believes some parts of the Republican platform and grudgingly ignores the rest. This is a public figure who is paid to carry water for the Republican party and who's publication is ridiculously "-ist" in all sorts of notable ways.

It's not like he necessarily has a firewall between his reporters and his columnists like exists in most newspapers, pretty much all of the National Review is completely grounded in pushing a conservative ideology.
posted by vuron at 9:55 AM on October 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


We all have our rationalizations. This isn't one I could make. I can't tell anyone who to love, but I can think a little less of them for pretending that the bad things their partner does don't matter.
posted by emjaybee at 9:55 AM on October 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


I disagree strongly with the political views of some of my family members, yet somehow I still manage to love them.
posted by blue_beetle at 9:56 AM on October 23, 2013 [20 favorites]


You don't choose your family members but you do absolutely choose your partners.
posted by elizardbits at 9:57 AM on October 23, 2013 [21 favorites]


blue_beetle, that's different than choosing to marry them, though. You can't help who your family is (something I'm sure my family says about me).
posted by emjaybee at 9:58 AM on October 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


Unless you are European royalty at which point they are the same thing.
posted by elizardbits at 9:58 AM on October 23, 2013 [19 favorites]


Oddly enough I was under the impression we generally get to choose our spouses rather than our family members. Yeah you can always disavow your family (plenty of people do) but you also generally don't have to live with them day in and day out once you are an adult.
posted by vuron at 9:58 AM on October 23, 2013


I certainly can have polite conversations with people of different political stripes. that really is not a huge problem. But, while I know some can pull it off, it seems there would be more then some slight difficulties in having two very strong opposing viewpoints and living with one another day in and day out: If she is serious about "every conceivable political issue" then her husband thinks the ERA is stupid, women's bodies and birth control should be regulated by the government, and all manner of other things that seems pretty counteractive to gender equality.... which says a lot about the relationship I guess.
posted by edgeways at 9:59 AM on October 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


Yeah this isn't " oh he has some opinions I disagree with, We just don't talk about it." it's " this person's job is to be the main mouthpiece in support of these opinions which have real world, legislative effects."

I mean, I've known and drunk with lobbyists for various industries, and they're more cheerfully amoral and mercenary about it. No one is pretending to actually believe in this stuff ( and of course, it will never effect them, how could it?)
posted by The Whelk at 9:59 AM on October 23, 2013 [10 favorites]


I can't even stand being Facebook friends with people of other political persuasions. Not sure what I'd do if I depended on one to help me pay the rent and/or raise responsible human beings as part of the deal.
posted by Blue_Villain at 9:59 AM on October 23, 2013


blue_beetle pretty clearly said he manages to love his family members, not "choose" or tolerate them.
posted by Etrigan at 10:01 AM on October 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


"I have never understood people who can do this. It just seems utterly ludicrous to me that I could love someone with such radically different opinions on political issues."

Especially since many positions under the conservative Republican rubric show a fairly fatal disregard for the lives of people they interact with.

But a lot of it, from seeing similar relationships, is that often the Democrat is a privileged and fairly uninvolved one, so they're unlikely to be impacted by the policies their partner supports.

(I might have more of a personal bias because my brother's first wife was a hardcore Republican who was a pretty terrible person too.)
posted by klangklangston at 10:02 AM on October 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


Wow. This article could easily be about my in-laws, who have been married for 45-ish years and diametrically opposed in their political beliefs since at least the early 1980's. My FIL actively gives money to his conservative political orgs., my MIL gives money to offsetting liberal orgs. They also make a point of voting in order to correct each other's mistaken, misguided decisions. And yet, they genuinely love each other, in their own weird ways. :shrug: -- it works for them.

Life is strange, and people are weird.
posted by mosk at 10:03 AM on October 23, 2013 [16 favorites]


As a side note: This is a pretty goddamned thin article, and really seems like it's mostly a clickbait troller for Psychology Today. It doesn't really give any insight, and just kinda incites reactions.
posted by klangklangston at 10:03 AM on October 23, 2013 [17 favorites]


It's not just a river in Egypt.
posted by edgeways at 10:04 AM on October 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


Familial love is different than romantic love and like other people I'd have issues with someone who's basic positions on politics render me into someone who is in someway subhuman or lesser than.

I know not every spousal relationship is based upon mutual respect and equality but it's pretty much a dealbreaker for me.
posted by vuron at 10:04 AM on October 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


From the wikipedia link:

Brookhiser became ill with testicular cancer in 1992 and smoked marijuana in order to remove the nausea that chemotherapy gave him. (Before that, he smoked marijuana in college about 10 times, he said.

"Because of the marijuana, my last two courses of chemotherapy were almost nausea-free", he said in 1996. "My cancer is gone now, I was lucky.

On March 6, 1996, he testified before a Congressional committee about using marijuana, urging the committee members to support decriminalization of marijuana for medical purposes

"My support for medical marijuana is not a contradiction of my principles, but an extension of them", Brookhiser told the House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Crime. "I am for law and order. But crime has to be fought intelligently and the law disgraces itself when it harasses the sick. I am for traditional virtues, but if carrying your beliefs to unjust ends is not moral, it is philistine."


Typical right-wing asshole: X sucks and is for degenerate liberals and only bad people do X. Wait, X may make my life better, let me give it a shot. Wow, X isn't so bad! Now I'm pro-X.

We see it all the time. right-wing asshole politician has a gay son, decides that being a good father is better than being a good right-wing asshole, decides that gays aren't horrible after all. With Brookheiser, its marijuana. Right-wing assholes with loved ones afflicted by parkinsons, its stem cells. Right-wing assholes whose gorgeous backyard is destroyed by pollution, its environmentalism. Right-wing assholes whose kid gets shot in the head with a gun, its gun control. Etc etc etc.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 10:04 AM on October 23, 2013 [59 favorites]


Years back, I did some remodeling work for James Carville and Mary Matalin. They were both very nice, but the overall vibe was a little, uhm, off. Maybe it was all in my head.

(They make a very good living together, though. So, there's that.)
posted by Benny Andajetz at 10:06 AM on October 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


> it comes down more to whether the other person is an asshole

While I don't know that I could seriously date or marry someone who votes Harper Conservative (Canadian example), it miiiiiight be possible if they were a genuinely kind, well-intentioned person. On the other hand, I know people whose stated political beliefs dovetail almost completely with mine who I would cross four busy lanes of traffic to avoid because they are assholes.
posted by The Card Cheat at 10:07 AM on October 23, 2013 [9 favorites]


DTMFA.
posted by Devils Rancher at 10:07 AM on October 23, 2013 [7 favorites]


vuron: “But Koeselitz this isn't just a Republican who believes some parts of the Republican platform and grudgingly ignores the rest. This is a public figure who is paid to carry water for the Republican party and who's publication is ridiculously ‘-ist’ in all sorts of notable ways.”

I don't know what "ridiculously '-ist'" means, but – would the alternative really be better? She actually deals with this itself: she says that she wouldn't have him compromise his ideals for her. And do you really believe that people who lie about their beliefs, or support causes and politicians they believe are evil, are morally superior to people who support causes and politicians they believe are good?

klangklangston: “As a side note: This is a pretty goddamned thin article, and really seems like it's mostly a clickbait troller for Psychology Today. It doesn't really give any insight, and just kinda incites reactions.”

I can agree with that somewhat. It's a worthwhile topic, but the solution to disagreeing with one's spouse on a subject is not "never talk about it." Disagreeing with respect is a pretty useful skill in a relationship.

MisantropicPainforest: “We see it all the time. right-wing asshole politician has a gay son, decides that being a good father is better than being a good right-wing asshole, decides that gays aren't horrible after all. With Brookheiser, its marijuana.”

I guess I missed the part where he changed his mind about something. Could be he always supported the legalization of marijuana. We don't really know, do we?
posted by koeselitz at 10:08 AM on October 23, 2013


In fairness, the hate fucking is probably astonishing.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 10:09 AM on October 23, 2013 [39 favorites]


because the political beliefs people subscribe to say surprisingly little about their characters.

I think that if this is true at all, it's only in regards to economic issues, and even then not in the extremes.

I don't see how anyone could think that this is at all true in regards to social issues.
posted by spaltavian at 10:09 AM on October 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


Some of the best advice my mom ever gave me was, "Never sleep with anyone who's not pro-choice. Accidents happen, and you need to have that talk before you ever get that far."
posted by klangklangston at 10:10 AM on October 23, 2013 [24 favorites]


I once attempted to date someone whose politics were different enough from mine for it to cause issues whenever things like 'feminism' were brought into the picture and, ugh, I guess I am one of those people who can't do this.

At least now with my fiancee, the few political debates we have generally revolve around who gets put up against which wall when the revolution comes.
posted by griphus at 10:11 AM on October 23, 2013 [8 favorites]


This article could easily be about my in-laws, who have been married for 45-ish years and diametrically opposed in their political beliefs since at least the early 1980's. My FIL actively gives money to his conservative political orgs., my MIL gives money to offsetting liberal orgs.

Seems like they should call a détente; if neither gave they could have the same net effect and save money, or give to a mutually agreeable charity.
posted by spaltavian at 10:13 AM on October 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


My parents are politically opposed enough that they probably cancel each other out at every election and they've been married for I think almost 35 years. My dad probably isn't as conservative or active in the movement as Safer's husband. I guess my mom wins because with the kids included the family votes blue, 3 to 2.
posted by ghharr at 10:15 AM on October 23, 2013


I guess I missed the part where he changed his mind about something. Could be he always supported the legalization of marijuana. We don't really know, do we?

National Review generally has been against the War on Drugs for a while as well, for reasons that aren't personal to one writer. There are plenty of times to club conservatives with this particular complaint, but I don't really think this is one of them.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 10:15 AM on October 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


There's something almost touching about how many comments here amount to: "I could never love someone like that, because they are hateful people!"
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 10:17 AM on October 23, 2013 [14 favorites]


Her explanation of how they make it work essentially boils down to "we don't talk to each other about it".
posted by Flunkie at 10:19 AM on October 23, 2013


I think in the great scheme of things, having someone as a partner who despises your politics but who loves and respects you as a person and finds you wonderful to be around is maybe about as close to romantic bliss as it gets. I can think of much worse scenarios -- for instance, someone with whom I have deep intellectual chemistry about politics but who absolutely despises me as a human being. That's much, much worse. Hell, someone who is aloof to me as a human being is worse. Being in love and having someone who respects and appreciates you is one of life's greatest gifts, and when you get it, you should consider yourself one of the luckiest people in the world, because it's not guaranteed and it can be taken away from you in a heartbeat.
posted by scunning at 10:21 AM on October 23, 2013 [6 favorites]


There's something almost touching about how many comments here amount to: "I could never love someone like that, because they are hateful people!"

If you want to create an uncharitable paraphrase, yes. But it's pretty widely established that healthy relationships often work best with common goals and shared worldviews. I would have a hard time being in a relationship with somebody who was regularly half an hour late to everything, not because they are hateful, but because I think timeliness is just good manners, and would want to strange that person after a while.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 10:21 AM on October 23, 2013 [13 favorites]


It's awfully sweet that you're touched by it but people are mostly actually saying "I could never love someone with whom I so fundamentally disagreed".
posted by elizardbits at 10:21 AM on October 23, 2013 [35 favorites]


I also could never date someone who created art I considered jejune.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 10:22 AM on October 23, 2013 [15 favorites]


I suppose it is possible that for some people the concepts of "love" and "respect" can be independent rather than conflated. Although I'm not one of those people myself.

I don't think the problem is that she loves someone she doesn't respect. I think the problem is that you think it's impossible to respect someone whose beliefs differ from yours.

I mean, I believe everything I believe because everything I believe is true and just and I'm perfectly right about all of it. But I understand that everyone else feels that way, too.
posted by Diablevert at 10:23 AM on October 23, 2013 [6 favorites]


What if they thought it was pedestrian yet whimsical.
posted by elizardbits at 10:23 AM on October 23, 2013 [5 favorites]


Depends on whether the whimsey was labored or not.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 10:24 AM on October 23, 2013 [5 favorites]


In the spirit of MetaFilter I hereby register, with a wry worldliness only partially concealing my deeply felt sense of personal superiority in a manner reminiscent of the sculpted drapes on the statue of the Spirit of Justice, my lack of surprise at the critical meta-commentary in this thread concerning MetaFilter commenters' critical commentary in this thread concerning this piece.
posted by invitapriore at 10:27 AM on October 23, 2013 [22 favorites]


...and would want to strange that person after a while.

Is that the astonishing hate-fucking to which you refer?
posted by griphus at 10:27 AM on October 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


It kinda comes down to how seriously you take your politics, doesn't it? If all of this is basically abstract stuff that doesn't bother you, there's no reason to fret about it very much. If you give a lot of thought to how people are hurt by practices that you don't believe in, but your partner strongly supports, I imagine it gets tough.

At some point, politics and philosophy is less "you just see things differently than I do and I respect that," and more "your beliefs are who you are, and if I find your beliefs reprehensible, what does that say about you as a person?"
posted by scaryblackdeath at 10:27 AM on October 23, 2013 [5 favorites]


Typical right-wing asshole: X sucks and is for degenerate liberals and only bad people do X. Wait, X may make my life better, let me give it a shot. Wow, X isn't so bad! Now I'm pro-X.

This is a simplified parody of Brookhiser that is not substantiated by the Wikipedia citation. The article only mentions marijuana in the context of Brookhiser's cancer. It doesn't mention any prior opposition to legalization on his part.
posted by Going To Maine at 10:29 AM on October 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


I feel like the counter-argument to "I couldn't be with someone I fundamentally disagree with" has this weird implication that it's your duty to fight through that and be with the person out of some nebulous obligation to respect everybody or something? Like it's hypocritical not to accommodate their beliefs? And that's straight bullshit. It's a fundamentally flawed argument, nobody has to have some sort of validated reason to not be in a relationship with someone.
posted by jason_steakums at 10:29 AM on October 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


Come on up here and give me some of that strange.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 10:29 AM on October 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Opposites attract. That's why I married the binary pulsar PSR B1913+16, who lives in the constellation Aquila and voted for Mitt Romney
posted by theodolite at 10:30 AM on October 23, 2013 [34 favorites]


I can't wrap my head around a woman marrying a man who thinks that women should not have the right to choose what to do with their bodies. I'm not shocked, I'm sad that she's willing to compromise on something so personal and fundamental.

Plenty of women are anti-abortion as well. I don't see why people have such a hard time comprehending the anti-abortion viewpoint, regardless of whether they agree with it. It's a very simple viewpoint: "They're babies, you can't kill them!" if people can feel this way about kittens, why not fetuses? It just seems so straightforward to me that I find it hard to believe that people can't even see where the viewpoint comes from.

for the record, I am not anti-abortion. I just find it a lot easier position to understand than say, a climate-change-denying viewpoint.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 10:30 AM on October 23, 2013 [32 favorites]


Finally an example of voter registration fraud!
posted by elizardbits at 10:30 AM on October 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Political ideology results from (or ought to result from) one's operational answers to the perennial philosphical questions - what is the good life; what is virtue; what is man's natural state; what is the ideal relationship between individual and state; what is happiness; what is/do we have purpose; do we have free will/free agency; etc. Because those kind of questions have lacked definitive answers forever, I think I can cut anybody a lot of slack if they use different placeholder answers than I do to make it through the day.
posted by klarck at 10:31 AM on October 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


"There's something almost touching about how many comments here amount to: "I could never love someone like that, because they are hateful people!""

There's something almost touching about how you've misread so many comments here, as well as the implied false equivalency of political beliefs.

No, wait, I mean "touched."
posted by klangklangston at 10:32 AM on October 23, 2013 [13 favorites]


Like... I can imagine being fine with a partner that disagreed on economic policy, gun control, drug policy, etc. But fundamental things like gay rights? Women's rights? No fucking way. I can barely tolerate people like that on Facebook because they're family friends or whatever.

If I'm a terrible intolerant asshole because I don't tolerate homophobes and misogynists, then so be it.
posted by kmz at 10:33 AM on October 23, 2013 [18 favorites]


I once had a promising romantic entanglement go rapidly south due to discussing the then ongoing miner's strike post-coitus, as you do (for some bizarre reason I forget). And we'd done so well on shared art and music the previous evening!
posted by Abiezer at 10:33 AM on October 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


Yeah, the anti-abortion case is really clear and isn't like the anti-gay marriage case at all. It seems like a big mistake to conflate anti-abortion with other, less coherent conservative policies.

(I also am not pro-life)
posted by downing street memo at 10:34 AM on October 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'm reminded of a former friend who was a staunch libertarian - Atlas Shrugged in hardback, John Galt's Credo over his desk, the whole shebang. He and I used to debate politics all the time, helped by the fact that the religious right had more of a hold on the Republicans at that point and we both loathed them. I said a few times "We'll know some sanity has come back to the Republicans when we stop agreeing on things so much."

He lived his life like a normal non-asshole person and so did I and we got along quite well.

At some point, he decided to act on his I Must Look Out For Myself Above All Else objectivist principles, subsequently divorcing his wife of 10+ years, reconnecting with an old girlfriend and being largely unconcerned over breaking up her marriage w/kids in the process, and other various horror stories. I severed contact, both because I was appalled at the homewrecking and because life is too short to spend energy on those who are no longer subject to reason or empathy.

A Senior Editor of Fuck You Got Mine Review? That person also falls into that category.
posted by delfin at 10:34 AM on October 23, 2013 [7 favorites]


Many years ago, before getting married, I dated a Republican woman who was very anti-Democrat and thought anyone who voted that way was foolish.

Yet she was a firm believer in giving away a third of her salary to charity and would be first in line to help out a charity event. She volunteered at hospitals to work with children and the dying, even going so far to take classes to bring her dog in to the hospital for time with sick people. She was a saleswoman and a very, very, VERY good one, just great natural instincts with people and had a firm policy of treating everyone as equals. She had no problem with gay people or minorities and loved to learn about other people.

We probed each other a lot with questions and arguments and there ere a surprising number of similarities between us at the core. But where I was fair believer that people should do and take care of themselves, she took it several steps further where any sort of government help or National Health Care plan was just immoral (this was during Hillary and Bill's attempt at that). When discussing the difference in our personalities, she attributed its continuance to her California upbringing, which instilled in her a respect for people's individual choices, even if they disagreed with her. This did not stop the "how the fuck can you believe that" arguments which usually ended with me saying "eh, we're different in this aspect" as she continued her questions.

After a while, I came to the conclusion that she was fundamentally unable to process viewpoints that were different from hers, they would always be "wrong". Since she had been able to become successful by doing X,Y and Z in a particular fashion, then damn it everyone should and if they didn't the were fundamentally flawed. She adored my artistic side but was confused and angry that I wasn't actively marketing and selling that aspect of my talents. Ultimately it ended because she was a type A personality who wanted to compete on almost every level to prove herself (probably to the father who continually refused to acknowledge how successful she had become) and I was not and had no desire to become such a person.

The sex was so good I remain convinced that global warming is partially our part.

On preview:
Her explanation of how they make it work essentially boils down to "we don't talk to each other about it".

Then how does she know what he thinks of the government shutdown?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:36 AM on October 23, 2013 [11 favorites]


The things is they will still likely agree on the vast majority of political issues. Within America's current narrow political overton window these seem like big differences but they are really just minor variations in an overall neo-liberal political belief system. The background taken for granted political issues that make up the majority of American political thinking are still shared between both parties.

Now if a Marxist were married to a Republican I would be surprised. A Democrat? Not at all.
posted by srboisvert at 10:36 AM on October 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


I once had a promising romantic entanglement go rapidly south due to discussing the then ongoing miner's strike post-coitus, as you do (for some bizarre reason I forget).
Cross the picket line, baby, cross it! Cross it!
posted by Flunkie at 10:36 AM on October 23, 2013 [7 favorites]


tylerkaraszewski - sure, but she's pro-choice - so how does a woman who is pro-choice marry a man who is anti-abortion? i've personally only slept with pro-choice guys - not because i need our political ideologies to exactly match up, but, considering how a woman's chances of being murdered by her partner raises when she's pregnant, it's always struck me as dangerous to have sex with someone who doesn't believe i should be able to have an abortion.
posted by nadawi at 10:39 AM on October 23, 2013 [11 favorites]


I could never marry a conservative, because I am married to a liberal, and bigamy is illegal.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:41 AM on October 23, 2013 [11 favorites]


> I also could never date someone who created art I considered jejune.

Hell, I once lost interest in a potential romantic partner because her CD collection consisted almost entirely of Barenaked Ladies and Great Big Sea albums.
posted by The Card Cheat at 10:41 AM on October 23, 2013 [6 favorites]


from article: “... because the political beliefs people subscribe to say surprisingly little about their characters.”

spaltavian: “I think that if this is true at all, it's only in regards to economic issues, and even then not in the extremes. I don't see how anyone could think that this is at all true in regards to social issues.”

It's interesting; this is a significant point of disagreement between conservatives and liberals. Not on social issues – on the question of disagreement about social issues.

Liberals love to believe that we are fighting a culture war, even still; that there's this battle of social conservatives versus social liberals; that the Civil Rights Era is not actually over, and that we're seeing those battles still being fought heatedly, over issues like gay rights, gay marriage, the legality of abortion, bullying, etc.

There are a lot of conservatives – a sizable proportion, I would say, maybe even most conservatives, and the proportion is growing – who disagree strongly. They don't think we're in a culture war. They don't think gay marriage, gay rights, abortion, etc, are major battles being fought right now. They believe most of those issues are pretty much settled, and if they aren't now they will be soon. They believe the broad consensus of support that most of those things have means that they're pretty much foregone conclusions. Gay marriage will be a fact within the next few years, for instance. The conservatives I know don't really believe there's much conflict on that, aside from an archaic wing of their party that's pretty much defunct at this point anyway.

Whether or not they're right about that – personally I think they underestimate the social conservatives in their party, though those social conservatives really are on the way out – they have something of a point. Most of the liberal arguments against conservatism are outdated. Fifty years ago, conservatism was anti-Union, pro-segregation, almost completely socially conservative, and actually not very fiscally conservative at all. Those are the conservatives Nixon harnessed so well in the voting booths, and those are the conservatives we fought during the heyday of the Civil Rights Movement.

But – partially because of the Reagan era's redefinition of conservatism – that has really changed. Ironically, although Reagan was the one who initiated the long Republican alliance with religious leaders, he himself and much of his staff seemed distanced from their old social-conservative tenets. He pursued fiscally conservative policies while in office, and although he sometimes cloaked these in very divisive social categories, he seems to have studiously avoided true social-conservative issues. As far as I can tell, for instance, Reagan never expressed an opinion on abortion himself while in office. (And I'm fairly certain he actually supported abortion while governor of California.) He gave a lot of social conservatives the privilege of pursuing social-conservative goals in exchange for their voting base, but he avoided making these goals his own. Which is, of course, the foundation of the uneasy alliance between the Republican party and the Religious Right which lasted through the George W Bush administration.

So – through all this, whereas conservatism fifty years ago was chiefly dominated by social-conservative goals, today it is much more in agreement with social liberals than either side seems willing to admit. I mean – they claim Lincoln and Martin Luther King as one of their own, attempting to say that MLK was a Republican, although obviously the evidence on that is not even existent, much less thin. Grasping Republican politicians still engage in the dog-whistling that others have honed, but they don't seem to believe it themselves, and they seem only to do so in order to win votes. There are true social conservatives who campaign – Rick Santorum being the best example in the past few years, I think – but they fail so dismally that even Santorum was reduced to spending most of his campaign for the nomination insisting over and over again that he was actually fiscally conservative, and taking hits every time he made a comment that seemed to be to the contrary.

All this is a long way of saying:

Most conservatives don't see themselves the way liberals see them. An editor of the National Review doesn't see himself as a racist, sexist, reactionary hater of Civil Rights. He sees himself as a fiscal conservative who is fighting against the creeping restriction of those Civil Rights by a government that's out of control. He's not fighting the battle you think he's fighting; he doesn't even think it's a battle at all.
posted by koeselitz at 10:41 AM on October 23, 2013 [25 favorites]


I'm reminded of a former friend who was a staunch libertarian - Atlas Shrugged in hardback, John Galt's Credo over his desk, the whole shebang. He and I used to debate politics all the time, helped by the fact that the religious right had more of a hold on the Republicans at that point and we both loathed them. I said a few times "We'll know some sanity has come back to the Republicans when we stop agreeing on things so much.""

As I've mentioned here before, I once pretended that I'd read Rand to impress a girl, but all she wanted to do was complain. I once pretended that I'd read Fanon to impress a girl and got to touch her breast. Thus ever, I was a leftist.
posted by klangklangston at 10:42 AM on October 23, 2013 [9 favorites]


I can imagine being friends with and respectful of someone who was pro-life. Wait, I don't have to imagine it -- I AM. I don't agree with that position, but I recognize that it can be a sincere position which is sincerely and lovingly held. What I can't imagine, as a woman of childbearing years, is being married to someone who held that belief -- who believed that his opinion as to what was right to do with my body held a greater sway than my own. That way lies madness.

My husband and I disagree on a number of things -- whether roundabouts are better than traffic lights, which way to load knives in the dishwasher, the efficacy of shouting at the children, whether or not chili con queso is a food. I can even imagine being married to someone with whom I disagreed on tax policy, or economic policy in general, or even foreign policy. But feminism, GLBT rights, gender essentialism, civil rights? No, I'm sorry. Those have to be aligned for me to have a happy match.
posted by KathrynT at 10:42 AM on October 23, 2013 [22 favorites]


Yeah, I think it is in essence a lot easier for a man to be able to look at both sides of the abortion debate and say "this is not as black and white as it seems," because neither side is a direct attack on his personhood and his actual physical body.
posted by elizardbits at 10:42 AM on October 23, 2013 [35 favorites]


It can work and it doesn't depend on one person being a pushover, but it does require two people who can respectfully disagree. In my past experience you just make peace with the fact that you don't need to change the other person's mind. It helps if the person can articulate a coherent reason for their position on matters. The reason, loosely speaking, may be an article of faith but as long as they also understand how people could arrive at different conclusions it works out.
posted by dgran at 10:42 AM on October 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


Hell, I once lost interest in a potential romantic partner because her CD collection consisted almost entirely of Barenaked Ladies and Great Big Sea albums.

Do you still have her number?
posted by KathrynT at 10:43 AM on October 23, 2013 [22 favorites]


Then how does she know what he thinks of the government shutdown?
Maybe because he's an editor for the National Review. Maybe she reads the crap he puts out there, who knows. Or maybe she just assumes it based on what she's learned of him over decades, or maybe "we don't talk about it" means "when he says something about it I don't respond".

I don't know. All I know is that she says "He expresses his opinions in writing or with his colleagues, not in conversation with me, and I do the same", and "We rarely fight, at least about public policy, having learned over the years never to begin sentences when discussing the headlines with “Do you really support [fill in the blank]?”" and "I reserve my opinions for my like-minded friends".

They just don't talk about it, apparently. Sounds to me like living in denial, especially given that he's invested in politics to such a degree. But what do I know.
posted by Flunkie at 10:44 AM on October 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


I knew one relationship was doomed when I found out that the other person hated any narrative without a happy ending.
posted by invitapriore at 10:44 AM on October 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Political ideology results from (or ought to result from) one's operational answers to the perennial philosphical questions...

Well, no, it really doesn't for most people. Most people do not have coherent, non-contradictory answers to questions like "What is the Good Life?" and so on; what most people have are stakeholder positions based on their senses of personal need, life experience, and cultural belonging.

That's why, as srbiosvert puts it, most white people (and frankly, most people, period) in the U.S. end up inside a comfortable range of neoliberal consensus. The experience of being part of a globally privileged economic class and a nationally privileged ethnic/cultural group tends to have far more impact on daily life than what are usually uncommitted or superficial ideological commitments.

At a guess, though, the marriage works partly because she is simply less passionately ideological and his rather "hard" ideological commitments are tempered by plenty of experience with the "business as usual" realities of being part of the opinion industry and "the Beltway."
posted by kewb at 10:45 AM on October 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


Things like "People deserve healthcare even if they're poor and even lazy" and "bombing brown people for being brown is wrong" and "Adults should have the right to do what they want with their bodies and lives even if it squicks other people out" aren't even really political positions to me

I really think there ought to be a rule - if you're going to impersonate someone else's beliefs, you have to present a version of their argument that they would, themselves, recognize and agree with.

This fails that test. Republicans don't believe that lazy and poor people don't deserve healthcare; they believe that state intervention to offer healthcare to the poor and lazy (and anyone else who doesn't have it) creates bigger problems than the lack of healthcare in the first place. They don't support "bombing brown people because they're brown", they support pinpointing and eliminating terrorists.

The third thing is a slightly different case but you should realize that no one thinks people should be able to do anything they want with their bodies. I doubt you support blackface, for instance. I bet you do support the healthcare mandate, and other state-imposed mandates, that progressives see as being for the greater good. As I mentioned above, the anti-abortion case is quite coherent, even if you don't agree with it.

Digging deep into the meat of conservative and progressive positions, you usually find that the two sides agree on principle and disagree on the means. I don't understand why this kind of difference is prohibitive of a successful romantic relationship.
posted by downing street memo at 10:47 AM on October 23, 2013 [35 favorites]


A lady friend and I recently got into a (cool, calm) argument about how women who have worked in adult film are often shunned in non-porn workplaces after they retire. She has no problem with this at all and says they know what they're getting into; I think it's an appalling double-standard, and I'm equally appalled by her blithe acceptance and tacit support for it. We're both fairly liberal. I think we're both coming at this from a "feminist" standpoint, but as a couple of mutual friends have told me since this argument, she's Southern and this whole thing conflicts with her ideas of proper behavior.

I said at one point in the discussion that I was really disappointed to hear all this from her, and I fully expected her to tell me to go to hell (wouldn't have blamed her, it's not like I'm her dad), but she maintained her ladylike poise, told me that meant nothing to her, and since then has been perfectly friendly and asked what to bring over to my place for a party this weekend.

She's also a football fan who's totally fine with the brutality of the sport (concussions, the bounties for hard hits thing, all of it). And yet she generally works in non-profits with lots of dedication and I respect the hell out of her.

Some things just don't compute. All I can think to do is avoid this topic, but... yeah. Wow.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 10:48 AM on October 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Republicans don't believe that lazy and poor people don't deserve healthcare
lol
posted by Flunkie at 10:48 AM on October 23, 2013 [29 favorites]


Republicans don't believe that lazy and poor people don't deserve healthcare; they believe that state intervention to offer healthcare to the poor and lazy (and anyone else who doesn't have it) creates bigger problems than the lack of healthcare in the first place. They don't support "bombing brown people because they're brown", they support pinpointing and eliminating terrorists.

I've never met anyone who woke up one day and decided to be evil. Most people genuinely believe they're the good guys.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 10:49 AM on October 23, 2013 [9 favorites]


downing street memo: "Republicans don't believe that lazy and poor people don't deserve healthcare; they believe that state intervention to offer healthcare to the poor and lazy (and anyone else who doesn't have it) creates bigger problems than the lack of healthcare in the first place. They don't support "bombing brown people because they're brown", they support pinpointing and eliminating terrorists."

You're from the East Coast, right?
posted by invitapriore at 10:49 AM on October 23, 2013 [7 favorites]


tylerkaraszewski - sure, but she's pro-choice - so how does a woman who is pro-choice marry a man who is anti-abortion? i've personally only slept with pro-choice guys - not because i need our political ideologies to exactly match up, but, considering how a woman's chances of being murdered by her partner raises when she's pregnant, it's always struck me as dangerous to have sex with someone who doesn't believe i should be able to have an abortion.

There are lots of women who are pro-choice but have already decided that they would not have an abortion if they were pregnant. These women might place lesser importance on this issue than others because they're pretty sure it's never going to affect them personally. There are lots of issues that I have only a mild opinion on. If I date someone who disagrees with me on one of these things, it's not going to be a big deal.

I can never actually remember having a discussion with a sexual partner beforehand about abortion issues. It's not that important to me (I know, I'm a man, so maybe it wouldn't be). But really, do you do this because you're afraid that a man would *murder* you because you're pro-life? I find that hard to believe.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 10:49 AM on October 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


Metafilter: Roundabouts, Knives in the Dishwasher, and Shouting at Children.
posted by blue_beetle at 10:49 AM on October 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


How can any case be coherent when you can pose an example that compares the abortion debate to the racism of blackface.

what is this i don't even
posted by elizardbits at 10:50 AM on October 23, 2013 [15 favorites]


elizardbits: “Yeah, I think it is in essence a lot easier for a man to be able to look at both sides of the abortion debate and say 'this is not as black and white as it seems,' because neither side is a direct attack on his personhood and his actual physical body.”

Very few of the conservatives I know believe abortion is an issue on which there is significant disagreement among Americans. They kind of have a point there.
posted by koeselitz at 10:50 AM on October 23, 2013


It has never even occurred to me how it might be possible for me to date a conservative. I have one ex-wife who would get reactionary at times and make these weird sweeping generalizations about [socio-economic/ethnic group] but it turns out that was how she delt with our relationship as well. The whole thing melted in one giant blob of "You ALWAYS foo and NEVER blah!" We still voted the same way, though.
posted by Devils Rancher at 10:50 AM on October 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Really? Because my own political beliefs are pretty well grounded in my basic worldview and ethical compass.

I think people tend to overestimate the determinism in the relationship between values and politics. I think it's possible to have similar fundamental beliefs that lead to different conclusions, especially when furnished with different sources of supporting data. For instance, both conservatives and liberals often defend their stances on very different matters in terms of ideals of "liberty" and "freedom," and as strange as it may seem, they actually are often talking about the same thing.

Yeah, I think it is in essence a lot easier for a man to be able to look at both sides of the abortion debate and say "this is not as black and white as it seems," because neither side is a direct attack on his personhood and his actual physical body.

As someone who is pro-choice, I still have to point out to you how unpleasantly ironic that statement is. You see, anti-abortion supporters (both male and female) even more fundamentally see abortion as a direct attack on personhood and a physical body.
posted by Edgewise at 10:50 AM on October 23, 2013 [10 favorites]


At some point, he decided to act on his I Must Look Out For Myself Above All Else objectivist principles, subsequently divorcing his wife of 10+ years, reconnecting with an old girlfriend and being largely unconcerned over breaking up her marriage w/kids in the process, and other various horror stories. I severed contact, both because I was appalled at the homewrecking and because life is too short to spend energy on those who are no longer subject to reason or empathy.

This seems like a silly example, to me. I have a lot of problems with Objectivism. But there's plenty of people who profess any number of other philosophies who act like selfish dicks in their personal lives. People whose personal actions are completely in line with their personal philosophies are so rare we call them saints, and even so for practically every Mother Theresa out there you can find a Christopher Hitchens pointing out all their shortcomings.
posted by Diablevert at 10:51 AM on October 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


tylerkaraszewski: "I can never actually remember having a discussion with a sexual partner beforehand about abortion issues."

I'm guessing you discussed birth control and/or use of condoms though. Two sides, same coin.
posted by zarq at 10:51 AM on October 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


Hell, I once lost interest in a potential romantic partner because her CD collection consisted almost entirely of Barenaked Ladies and Great Big Sea albums.

I'm sorry, the CBSA has been notified and your deportation order has been processed.
posted by kmz at 10:52 AM on October 23, 2013


Edgewise: "You see, anti-abortion supporters (both male and female) even more fundamentally see abortion as a direct attack on personhood and a physical body."

Sure, but it's telling that you use the indefinite article. They see it as an attack on another body. That's still a more abstract position.
posted by invitapriore at 10:53 AM on October 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


I doubt you support blackface, for instance.

I despise blackface but I'm not going to pass laws or amendments banning blackface.
posted by kmz at 10:54 AM on October 23, 2013 [14 favorites]


How can any case be coherent when you can pose an example that compares the abortion debate to the racism of blackface.

Uhhh...the statement was that progressives believe that "Adults should have the right to do what they want with their bodies and lives even if it squicks other people out". This is very clearly obviously not true, at least not universally so; there are clearly actions that people do with their bodies that squick people out that progressives do not support.
posted by downing street memo at 10:55 AM on October 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


I really think there ought to be a rule - if you're going to impersonate someone else's beliefs, you have to present a version of their argument that they would, themselves, recognize and agree with.

That's a really good principle. Hard to follow, but good.

Sure, but it's telling that you use the indefinite article. They see it as an attack on another body. That's still a more abstract position.


Are you a person of color? If not, do you consider the principle that one should not enslave people of a different race than you as a "more abstract position"?
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 10:55 AM on October 23, 2013


The Card Cheat: "Hell, I once lost interest in a potential romantic partner because her CD collection consisted almost entirely of Barenaked Ladies and Great Big Sea albums."

KathrynT: "Do you still have her number?"

:D
posted by zarq at 10:55 AM on October 23, 2013


Importantly, this couple does not appear to have kids.
posted by en forme de poire at 10:55 AM on October 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


My play Minstrel Show is performed, for about a third of its running time, in blackface.

It is, thankfully, not jejune.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 10:56 AM on October 23, 2013


...progressives believe that "Adults should have the right to do what they want with their bodies and lives even if it squicks other people out".

People should have the full right to go out in blackface and face the consequences. There's no reason "blackface is bad" needs to be codified in law. The reason there are no minstrel shows on television anymore has nothing to do with legal repercussions.
posted by griphus at 10:57 AM on October 23, 2013 [11 favorites]


I really don't get refusing to associate with people based solely on their voting record. Think of all the people you know who share your political persuasion. Are they all such wonderful people? Or do they do shitty things sometimes just like everyone else?

What if Republicans and Democrats both acknowledged that those on the other side have different influences informing their viewpoints, right or wrong, but were people nonetheless and very possibly good people to boot? Neither party is doing itself or the country any favors reducing the other to being either completely evil or completely stupid.

It's like the people who were saying that the Oklahomans affected by the monster tornado last May shouldn't get federal aid because their representative voted against it for others. You can be petty and judgmental about it or you can do the decent thing and treat people like human beings and possibly foster some understanding and respect in the process.
posted by Jess the Mess at 10:57 AM on October 23, 2013 [8 favorites]


Also, just because I don't support blackface doesn't mean that I want blackface to be illegal.
posted by KathrynT at 10:57 AM on October 23, 2013


downing street memo: "How can any case be coherent when you can pose an example that compares the abortion debate to the racism of blackface.

Uhhh...the statement was that progressives believe that "Adults should have the right to do what they want with their bodies and lives even if it squicks other people out". This is very clearly obviously not true, at least not universally so; there are clearly actions that people do with their bodies that squick people out that progressives do not support.
"

You're confusing two different senses of the word allow, one of which refers to condoning an action and one of which refers to merely not making it illegal. Blackface is disallowed by progressives in the former sense, while abortion is (prospectively) disallowed by Republicans in the latter sense. It's not a useful comparison.
posted by invitapriore at 10:59 AM on October 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


remember when all those people died from infections because of illegal back alley blackface?
posted by The Whelk at 10:59 AM on October 23, 2013 [44 favorites]


remember when all those people died from infections because of illegal back alley blackface?

OK, so that's a practical argument about why we should allow abortion, one I happen to agree with. It's not a normative one a la "People should be able to do whatever they want with their bodies."
posted by downing street memo at 11:01 AM on October 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


You know, if Billy Joe Jimbob hates Obama and maybe votes in the presidential elections but never any other ones, and is nice to his family, a loving husband, and doesn't think racism is ok or that you should kick out children who are gay, I can see living with that, if you loved him.

But this guy is a big player, in terms of spreading political ideas and messages that the author says she is genuinely opposed to, and presumably cares about. His actions have real effects. In this case, what he genuinely believes is actually fairly irrelevant, because what he does has far more impact than your average conservative guy.

It's the same conundrum you get with rabidly anti-gay types who are closeted; I can't give them a pass for all the shit they did because everyone knows they are actually gay. I can feel pity, but I still want them to stop spreading pain and destruction on all the other gay people doing things they are afraid to do or hate themselves for wanting to do.

To me, you don't get to say "I love my wife!" and use your magazine to advocate for laws that remove her right to make medical decisions for herself, make the same pay as you, and in general be treated with fairness and justice. You don't get to say "I love my kids!" while using your magazine to adovcate destroying the planet your kids and their kids are going to have to live on.
posted by emjaybee at 11:01 AM on October 23, 2013 [10 favorites]


downing street memo: "remember when all those people died from infections because of illegal back alley blackface?

OK, so that's a practical argument about why we should allow abortion, one I happen to agree with. It's not a normative one a la "People should be able to do whatever they want with their bodies."
"

That you persist in your blatant misunderstanding of the terms of your own position is making me question your earnestness, to be honest.
posted by invitapriore at 11:01 AM on October 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


It remains a specious comparison.
posted by elizardbits at 11:02 AM on October 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


There's no reason "blackface is bad" needs to be codified in law. The reason there are no minstrel shows on television anymore has nothing to do with legal repercussions.

more and more I feel like THIS is the fundamental difference between liberals and conservatives in the United States. Conservatives believe so thoroughly in the conflation of legality with approval --not just allowance, but active praise-- that they cannot fathom a person who could think something is a) totally gross and b) still should be entirely legal.
posted by like_a_friend at 11:02 AM on October 23, 2013 [35 favorites]


the political beliefs people subscribe to say surprisingly little about their characters.

I've read reputable studies that claim otherwise. I'm calling bullshit except for a few outliers. Maybe her husband is one of those outliers.

More importantly, people on the completely opposite political spectrum from me (especially on social issues) are simply NOT ATTRACTIVE. They don't trigger the sexytimes part of my brain, they trigger the mild-to-strong revulsion part of my brain. A woman might be absolutely stunning, but once I discover she holds abhorrent and narrow-minded views, the attraction switch is turned off entirely. But it's even weirder than that. Most of the time there's something unattractive about her before I even discover she holds those views. I'm not psychic, I just have a hairpin trigger for people I need to avoid.
posted by naju at 11:04 AM on October 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


You know, if Billy Joe Jimbob hates Obama and maybe votes in the presidential elections but never any other ones, and is nice to his family, a loving husband, and doesn't think racism is ok or that you should kick out children who are gay, I can see living with that, if you loved him.

I could never marry someone with four first names.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:05 AM on October 23, 2013 [7 favorites]


I can never actually remember having a discussion with a sexual partner beforehand about abortion issues. It's not that important to me (I know, I'm a man, so maybe it wouldn't be). But really, do you do this because you're afraid that a man would *murder* you because you're pro-life? I find that hard to believe.

i've slept with a lot of guys and i've discussed birth control/what happens if.../testing status with nearly all of them. i file it in the part of my brain that makes sure i cover my drink, walk to the car with my keys out, park close to stores when it's dark, have an emergency plan if a date goes bad, and all the other tiny little things that women have been socialized to do because we've repeatedly been told that we're responsible for crimes done to us.

i wouldn't say that i would fuck someone i thought might actually murder me - but i do think i've thought every time i've slept with a new guy "if i get accidentally pregnant, will i be safe?" and that's not just about abortion, but it is a big part of it.
posted by nadawi at 11:05 AM on October 23, 2013 [9 favorites]


People are clearly *not* allowed to do whatever they want with their own bodies, as can be seen by laws banning assisted suicide nearly everywhere, even in "progressive" locations.

I think that for most people, "It's your body, do what you want with it!" is something they say after they've considered an action and it didn't trip any of their "Oh my god, I can't believe you'd think that!" filters more than it is a guiding principle for what is right and wrong.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 11:06 AM on October 23, 2013


(oh god can we please not do the Abortion Debate here?)
posted by emjaybee at 11:08 AM on October 23, 2013 [9 favorites]


yeah, i'm totally not trying to have the abortion debate - i'm trying to specifically talk about letting someone ejaculate inside of me who doesn't agree about abortion.
posted by nadawi at 11:09 AM on October 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think that for most people, "It's your body, do what you want with it!" is something they say after they've considered an action and it didn't trip any of their "Oh my god, I can't believe you'd think that!" filters more than it is a guiding principle for what is right and wrong.

I think for most people, "It's your body, do what you want with it!" is something they say when they mean, "It's my body, and I'll do what I want with it!"
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:10 AM on October 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


As I've mentioned here before, I once pretended that I'd read Rand to impress a girl, but all she wanted to do was complain. I once pretended that I'd read Fanon to impress a girl and got to touch her breast. Thus ever, I was a leftist.

You're not alone, and that kind of behavior could explain her comment: "I’d known and been treated abominably by too many men who shared all my opinions to let his convictions get in the way."

For the record, chalk up one more child of a many decades long married and happily politically mixed marriage.

I could never marry someone with four first names.

Not even William Arthur Philip Louis?
posted by IndigoJones at 11:10 AM on October 23, 2013


i've slept with a lot of guys and i've discussed birth control/what happens if.../testing status with nearly all of them.

Not all women, even liberal women, do this ahead of time, for various reasons. Metafilter is a sort of little microcosm where everyone acts as if people in sexual situations do exactly what people would recommend in a human sexuality or feminist studies college class. This is quite often *not* what people actually do, especially people who've never taken any of those courses or discussed the topic at length on the internet.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 11:12 AM on October 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Not even William Arthur Philip Louis?

Too young for me.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:12 AM on October 23, 2013


I could never marry someone with four first names.

Mary Kate Ann Ashley is kinda cute, but not really mariage material.
posted by Devils Rancher at 11:12 AM on October 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure I understand you Downing Street Memo, can you give an example of something codified in law that breaks the rule? Blackface is clearly legal though socially frowned upon. Assisted suicide might be one though it's certainly a divisive issue. Other than that is there another example?
posted by Carillon at 11:12 AM on October 23, 2013


i did fool around with a strident conservative libertarian in high school - she had an american flag above her bed and made me read rand as part of the wooing. but, i was pretty secure in the fact that our lady sex wouldn't impregnate me, so her views on fetuses seemed less important.
posted by nadawi at 11:13 AM on October 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


People are clearly *not* allowed to do whatever they want with their own bodies, as can be seen by laws banning assisted suicide nearly everywhere, even in "progressive" locations.

That people CURRENTLY are not allowed something does not mean that they SHOULD NOT EVER be allowed it. Otherwise no law would change ever and we'd all have body parts missing due to our strict adherence to the Code of Hammurabi.

I don't believe for a second that it never occurred to you that many of the same people who support abortion rights might also support the right to assisted suicide. The fact that we haven't successfully repealed these bans at this exact moment doesn't mean we don't consider them faulty and misguided.
posted by like_a_friend at 11:14 AM on October 23, 2013 [6 favorites]


I have fairly strong political beliefs but I'm not so invested in them that I refuse to acknowledge the validity of other people's belief. I feel like if someone disagrees with me politically, but they came to their conclusions coherently, reasonably and intelligently, I would like them so much more as a person than someone who blindly agrees with me without reason.
posted by cyml at 11:16 AM on October 23, 2013 [6 favorites]


emjaybee: “(oh god can we please not do the Abortion Debate here?)”

This is a somewhat predictable thing, though – and to be fair it's the same on both sides. There are issues that Republicans also think are essential, and believe are significant points of disagreement on. Conservatives will tell you that every liberal always thinks complete socialism is better than a fair and free market, that the government should control and manage everything and restrict everything all the time. That is one of their pet issues, so they'll often make everything about that. It's the same with us liberals; we have certain things we think are important, and whenever we're challenged or told we're not so different from conservatives, we reach for those pet issues.
posted by koeselitz at 11:17 AM on October 23, 2013 [6 favorites]


tylerkaraszewski - someone said that they don't understand how a pro-choice woman marries an anti-choice man and you started talking about anti-choice women. i responded that the situation was different and that personally i am not comfortable sleeping with anti-choice men because i think it's dangerous. you were all like "i find this hard to believe" and i responded that yes, in fact, that is how i run my sex life. and then you came back with stuff about all women and the microcosm of metafilter and feminist studies classes. i feel like we're having completely different conversations.
posted by nadawi at 11:17 AM on October 23, 2013 [9 favorites]


i did fool around with a strident conservative libertarian in high school - she had an american flag above her bed and made me read rand as part of the wooing.

That's odd, my initiation into the Trilateral Commission was practically identical.
posted by griphus at 11:19 AM on October 23, 2013 [5 favorites]


That people CURRENTLY are not allowed something does not mean that they SHOULD NOT EVER be allowed it. Otherwise no law would change ever and we'd all have body parts missing due to our strict adherence to the Code of Hammurabi.

I don't believe for a second that it never occurred to you that many of the same people who support abortion rights might also support the right to assisted suicide. The fact that we haven't successfully repealed these bans at this exact moment doesn't mean we don't consider them faulty and misguided.


I agree with you, but there are clearly differing levels of support, with abortion being mostly legal, and assisted suicide being mostly illegal. There seems to be no underlying, "it's your body, do what you want with it!" substrate from which any majority of people are working, or the levels of support for these two things would be essentially the same. My point was that people have an opinion on abortion or on assisted suicide or whatever else a lot more than they have a hierarchical set of principle with personal body rights rooted at the bottom of it (I don't mean *all* people, just a lot of people), which is why I see "right to do what they want with their own bodies" as a bit of a false argument here, since that's not what most people are working from when discussing abortion (or assisted suicide).
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 11:20 AM on October 23, 2013


Aaaaany minute now I'm sure we'll nail down a universally agreed-upon set of rules to validate everybody's choices of lovers, friends and acquaintances. You might think you love this person and can't stand that one, and that issue X is a dealbreaker but you're willing to agree to disagree on issue Y, but don't get too comfortable with those feelings until you go through the approved Objective Evaluation Program and submit your results for peer review.
posted by jason_steakums at 11:21 AM on October 23, 2013 [8 favorites]


There are a lot of conservatives – a sizable proportion, I would say, maybe even most conservatives, and the proportion is growing – who disagree strongly. They don't think we're in a culture war.

While this may be true—and I know a few self-described conservatives of whom it is true—it seems decreasingly true of many elected conservatives, or of many conservative pundits. If you're going to tell me that the NR doesn't at least pretend to believe in the "culture war," I'm going to assume you haven't looked at it in a while.

Digging deep into the meat of conservative and progressive positions, you usually find that the two sides agree on principle and disagree on the means.

IME, not only do they disagree on the means, they disagree on what the principles they congratulate themselves for agreeing on actually mean.
posted by octobersurprise at 11:21 AM on October 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Plenty of women are anti-abortion as well. I don't see why people have such a hard time comprehending the anti-abortion viewpoint, regardless of whether they agree with it. It's a very simple viewpoint: "They're babies, you can't kill them!" if people can feel this way about kittens, why not fetuses? It just seems so straightforward to me that I find it hard to believe that people can't even see where the viewpoint comes from.

I am not at all in agreement with the notion that you have to accept at face value a person's articulation of their motives or intentions as being equivalent to their actual viewpoint, much less as the motives and intentions of a political movement they're involved in. It's often pretty easy to demonstrate that a person's claims about their beliefs or actions are very much at odds with other beliefs and actions.

I could believe that for a particular person who is somewhat naïve about the history of the pro-life movement, at least in the U.S., they might consider this as a rationale to support certain causes. But there are many countries around the world with substantially lower abortion rates than the U.S. and it's often avowedly pro-life politicians and individuals who are opposing the sort of societal infrastructure and healthcare programs that would bring down abortion rates to similar levels. And for some reason, even though there are half as many miscarriages each year as abortions, no one ever bombs a clinic in a bid to ensure that expecting mothers receive superior pre-natal care.

Hence it seems pretty reasonable to me to question and investigate whether someone's declared reverence for the lives of unborn children is substantial enough to extend beyond conventional political objectives that are justified that way, since somehow that sort of supposedly widely-held belief only manifests itself in fairly narrow circumstances with very specific political utility.
posted by XMLicious at 11:21 AM on October 23, 2013 [7 favorites]


No IRB is ever going to approve the research methods though.
posted by elizardbits at 11:22 AM on October 23, 2013


It's odd to me that we're only discussing differing political beliefs in a couple in terms of DTMFA or live with it forever. There are plenty of cases where one partner brings the other one around. My wife and I are friends with a couple where the guy was an NRA hunting loving tax-hating redneck and the woman was a union organizer who moved here from abroad. He came around--because he couldn't stand the way the immigration debate dehumanized her, because he saw the value in what she was doing with unions, because she appealed to his interest in conservation, etc. It happens. People change each other's minds.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:23 AM on October 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


The problem here is that people are focusing on differences, instead of similarities. Meeting a person who you see eye to eye on 3 or 4 fundemental things can be a powerful bond.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:24 AM on October 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


I've found that if a person's political beliefs are largely grounded in greed and hate, it says a great deal about their character.

My grandmother-in-law is one of those really nice grandmas who feeds everyone and is just so charming and cheerful and adorable.

And she's a horrible racist. It probably doesn't help that she lives on a farm in a tiny town in North Flyover where everyone is white and everyone knows each other, and everyone they don't know is out to steal their guns and women and freedom. She pretty much thinks them colored folks ought to stick to what they're good at: sports and crime. To her Obama is some kind of joke, Sarah Palin would have been the best President ever, and McCarthyism and lynchings should both be brought back.

She's not actually hateful, just so narrow-minded that she literally cannot see just how nasty that view is. But it sure does seem like Jekyll turning into Hyde whenever politics comes up.

I think a lot of conservatives have that blindness -- not just with race, but with socioeconomic class -- and they treasure it.
posted by Foosnark at 11:24 AM on October 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


Meeting a person who you see eye to eye on 3 or 4 fundemental things can be a powerful bond.

The bonds created by hating something together are far stronger than the one created by loving something together.
posted by elizardbits at 11:24 AM on October 23, 2013 [6 favorites]


The bonds created by hating something together are far stronger than the one created by loving something together.

Ever had a child?
posted by Etrigan at 11:27 AM on October 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


Ever had a divorce?
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 11:28 AM on October 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yes, and the bonds are still there. Go figure.
posted by Etrigan at 11:28 AM on October 23, 2013 [6 favorites]


Ever had a child?

Ever tried to eat over the screaming tantrum of someone else's child? I rest my case.
posted by octobersurprise at 11:29 AM on October 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Nadawi:
someone said that they don't understand how a pro-choice woman marries an anti-choice man and you started talking about anti-choice women. i responded that the situation was different and that personally i am not comfortable sleeping with anti-choice men because i think it's dangerous. you were all like "i find this hard to believe" and i responded that yes, in fact, that is how i run my sex life. and then you came back with stuff about all women and the microcosm of metafilter and feminist studies classes. i feel like we're having completely different conversations.

Someone said that "I can't wrap my head around a woman marrying a man...", which does not say "pro-choice" in it. I can no longer find that text in this page, though, so that comment must have been edited or deleted.

My comment about a feminist studies class was in response to zarq and the first sentence of your comment here. It was meant to indicate that not everyone, including liberal women, conducts their sex lives in the same way that you or a typical metafilter member might. You are of course free to conduct your own sex life as you choose, but projecting that to "well, it's hard to believe anyone else might do it differently" is what I was trying to counter.

I do feel that assuming pro-life men are significantly more likely to murder you goes a little over the top, but you are free to sleep with or not sleep with whomever you choose.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 11:30 AM on October 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yes, and the bonds are still there. Go figure.

Glad yours was/were amicable. My parents' was not.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 11:31 AM on October 23, 2013


Ever tried to eat over the screaming tantrum of someone else's child? I rest my case.

Man that must be really tough for you. How did you ever survive having a loud meal? I mean, clearly, spending 18 years trying to raise a decent human being pales in comparison to the horrific injustice you were forced to endure wherein human beings acted like human beings with the audacity to be near you while they did it.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 11:31 AM on October 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


The bonds created by hating something together are far stronger than the one created by loving something together.

I'm sorry they didn't want to be part of Goldilocks and the Three Bears Play Settlers of Cataan in your dungeon, but you really should move on.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:32 AM on October 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


People qualify love differently and have different requirements for loving and being loved. In my twenties I thought it was all about liking (or disliking) the same things, having congruent opinions and politics, etc. The truth is, I've known too many people, to whom I was suited by the metrics of my twenties, who were shallow, petty, self-absorbed, thoughtless, and cruel, yet who shared my politics. To my thinking, a litmus test for moral purity of opinion/worldview in your partner over things like dependability, thoughtfulness, personal kindness, decency, etc. is a little immature, but you have to do what feels right for you.
posted by echocollate at 11:32 AM on October 23, 2013 [5 favorites]


Yes, and the bonds are still there. Go figure.

Glad yours was/were amicable. My parents' was not.


Oh, it was (and remains) far from amicable. But the bonds created by loving our daughter are still there, for good or ill.
posted by Etrigan at 11:33 AM on October 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


Man that must be really tough for you. How did you ever survive having a loud meal?

I think that was a joke
posted by en forme de poire at 11:33 AM on October 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


To my thinking, a litmus test for moral purity of opinion/worldview in your partner over things like dependability, thoughtfulness, personal kindness, decency, etc. is a little immature, but you have to do what feels right for you.

It's not "over" those things. It's in addition to them. And frankly most of the civil rights issues are folded in under "decency."
posted by KathrynT at 11:33 AM on October 23, 2013 [12 favorites]


To me, you don't get to say "I love my wife!" and use your magazine to advocate for laws that remove her right to make medical decisions for herself, make the same pay as you, and in general be treated with fairness and justice. You don't get to say "I love my kids!" while using your magazine to adovcate destroying the planet your kids and their kids are going to have to live on.

Surely you can love your wife and hate murder? Love freedom? Think that the economy works better when companies have very few restrictions upon whom they hire and fire?

Opposite political beliefs aren't arrived at because people are Pro The Good Thing That X Will Do vs Anti The Good Thing That X Will Do. They're arrived at because people Are Pro-Benefit of X and people are Anti-Downside of X, and they think the downside outweighs the pros. The vast majority of Americans are pro-personal autonomy and individual choice; where the differ is in which circumstances they think the costs of those choices are so high that society ought to be empowered to restrict them. People aren't anti-abortion because they hate women anymore than terrorists are terrorists because they hate freedom.
posted by Diablevert at 11:34 AM on October 23, 2013 [6 favorites]


"Amicable divorce" ... I don't even know what those words mean if you put them together. My ex and I would draw pistols at dawn if we could.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:35 AM on October 23, 2013


"Yeah, I think it is in essence a lot easier for a man to be able to look at both sides of the abortion debate and say "this is not as black and white as it seems," because neither side is a direct attack on his personhood and his actual physical body."

The truth, as always, is somewhere in the middle.

Which is why I invented the halfbortion.
posted by klangklangston at 11:35 AM on October 23, 2013 [6 favorites]


Everybody saying "But someone's being a conservative says x, y and z about them" is underestimating the degree to which people's political beliefs are conditioned by really irrational stuff. I think if you could look into people's minds and see their political beliefs, not as they would explain them to others but as they live them day by day, you wouldn't see much in the way of thought -- you'd see a pulsing mass of "ick, self-indulgent," "yeesh, reminds me of the town I grew up in," and, most of all, "I want to be like these people, not those people." Basically, the way a person on the opposite side of the spectrum arrives at their beliefs is not the same as the way you would arrive at the opposite of you own beliefs, because they are not you. Not to mention that cognitive dissonance is basically the glue that holds the mind together.

It makes total sense to not want to marry a person, or even associate with them, because you find their beliefs abhorrent and can't stomach the though of spending time with someone you firmly believe makes the world worse every time they go to the polls. But political positions frequently don't say much about the rest of the person's behavior because human beings are just not that rational or that consistent.
posted by ostro at 11:36 AM on October 23, 2013 [13 favorites]


My ex and I would draw pistols at dawn if we could.

DO I HAVE THE GROUPON FOR YOU
posted by griphus at 11:36 AM on October 23, 2013 [30 favorites]


How did you ever survive having a loud meal?

The better question is how was I not arrested?
posted by octobersurprise at 11:36 AM on October 23, 2013


me: “There are a lot of conservatives – a sizable proportion, I would say, maybe even most conservatives, and the proportion is growing – who disagree strongly. They don't think we're in a culture war.”

octobersurprise: “While this may be true—and I know a few self-described conservatives of whom it is true—it seems decreasingly true of many elected conservatives, or of many conservative pundits. If you're going to tell me that the NR doesn't at least pretend to believe in the 'culture war,' I'm going to assume you haven't looked at it in a while.”

On the contrary, I think it's pretty clearly demonstrable that the National Review emphatically does not believe we're in a culture war; and while it expresses some ambivalence on where it would stand in such a war, it is pretty clear on the fact that it doesn't think it'd be a great idea. See, for example, this opinion piece by Conrad Black apparently exhorting the Obama camp not to goad Rick Santorum into re-initiating a culture war flareup:

“The moralists and the relativists have coexisted quite comfortably, usually, in the public political arena since the country’s earliest days. Jefferson wrote of the 'creator' but was a deist. Washington prayed at Valley Forge (but in those daunting circumstances, probably even Stalin would have prayed), and called for Haman’s gallows for war profiteers in the Continental Congress. Franklin and Hamilton hovered on the verge of agnosticism. Madison’s religious views are indistinct, and the only one of the principal founders who was a regularly and conventionally practicing Christian was John Adams.”

Jonah Goldberg points favorably to this piece, which seeks to dash the hopes of liberals that Obama would put an end forevermore to culture wars. He seems to think we're in the midst of a culture war only to the extent that liberals insist on extending it.

There are many instances of conservatives in the pages of the National Review supporting a culture war, and saying it must be fought. But I don't think they're so common as to be the only or even the dominant narrative there. There is some disagreement.
posted by koeselitz at 11:38 AM on October 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


One thing I find interesting reading this thread is that everyone seems to be talking in abstractions (except on the question of abortion). So, for instance, saying that a partner needs to agree on gay rights, feminism, and so on. This is interesting to me because while I am, myself, queer and in favor of gay rights and believe in the equality of men and women, and have feminist credentials out the wazoo, I am:

1. iffy on affirmative action.

2. not convinced the much-touted pay gap between men and women exists for people with comparable education and experience.

3. concerned about hate crimes legislation as a possible means of punishing people for thoughts and speech separate from crimes committed.

4. not in favor of increased funding for education across-the-board.

5. pro-choice but troubled by abortion nonetheless.

And so on.

I guess I mean that even for people who are under the same broad umbrella, there is a lot of room for disagreement on specifics.

In addition, over the 20 years my partner and I have been together, our political opinions have changed a lot. In many ways, we have changed together; in other ways, we have diverged. This has tended to make me less dogmatic and more questioning; I am not as likely as I was as a young person to feel 100% sure of my political positions. I tend to see them now as more provisional. And I don't enjoy in-person political arguments the way I did when I was younger.

So, for instance, I am able to be friends with a real libertarian I would have simply dismissed a decade ago. We don't discuss politics; we have many other things in common and we base our friendship on those things. I don't know that I could be lovers with someone who had such a fundamentally different worldview than me, and if I had ever heard her say anything explicitly racist or homophobic, I couldn't maintain this friendship.

I guess I'm just saying that I am not as quick as most to dismiss this marriage as flawed or based on denial as some folks seem to be. I do join with the folks up-thread who commented on what a thin article this was. I'd have enjoyed a more thorough, thoughtful exploration of the issue.
posted by not that girl at 11:41 AM on October 23, 2013 [17 favorites]


If you read through the comments people are not advocating for "litmus testing" so much as they are saying that in their experience, that kind of polar opposition in political opinion often indicates a difference in fundamental values that would make the relationship very difficult. For the subject of the FPP that obviously didn't turn out to be the case, but that's because both she and her partner placed high values on aesthetic appreciation, appreciation of nature, and anti-materialism (if I'm reading it right). If that's enough for them to feel like they're living in the same world and that they are on the same team, hey, whatever works, although like I said, I'm guessing other differences in worldview may come to the foreground when kids and parenting enter the picture.

(And others have rightly said that political opinions are not abstract when it comes to issues a partnered couple might well face, like abortion and birth control, and for that matter gay and trans rights if they ever have kids. The FPP doesn't talk about that at all, so we don't know whether they're just hoping it never comes up or whether they're more on the same page about that stuff than they let on here.)
posted by en forme de poire at 11:45 AM on October 23, 2013 [6 favorites]


years ago, conservatism was anti-Union, pro-segregation, almost completely socially conservative, and actually not very fiscally conservative at all.

Other than easing up on the overt racism, how is this different than modern conservatives? Look at the last time Republicans actually governed, wich was 2001-2009. While I do not believe George W. Bush was personally an affirmative racist, his presidency checked pretty much all of those boxes.

And as far as I can tell, Republican leaders have never really been "fiscally conservative", they just wanted to divert government largess towards "their" people. The idealized Republican state is somewhere between Junker Prussia and an 80's banana republic.
posted by spaltavian at 11:46 AM on October 23, 2013 [10 favorites]


Surely you can live your wife and hate murder? Love freedom? Think that the economy works better when companies have very few restrictions upon whom they hire and fire?

Diablavert, I did say "to me", meaning that this is what those issues signify to me, and presumably, to the author, who claims to be pro-choice and for preservation of the environment.

Most people who call themselves prochoice do think the rights of bodily autonomy of women trump the dubious claims on behalf of a fetus by outside parties (especially at the earliest stages of development); most people who are concerned about vast amounts of sickness, suffering and death that could result from extreme climate change/pollution find a nebulous claim of "freedom" a weak argument for doing nothing; and most people advocating for equal pay do not think the "free" (which it has never been, but that's another discussion) market can achieve it by again, doing nothing.
posted by emjaybee at 11:47 AM on October 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


She's not actually hateful

So...what is hateful? Do you actually have to be mean to everyone to be "hateful"?
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 11:48 AM on October 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


As much as my political beliefs are pretty straightforwardly liberal, even to the point of radicalism in certain areas, the amount of sarcasm and snark fired at the users here who are attempting to clarify or understand the conservative mindset/approach to these issues is seriously unpleasant. It's always the same set of people snarking in the same general ways, and while I often appreciate that snark when it's fired at some of the more repetitive and irritating discussions that take place here, in this instance it feels unnecessary and unhelpful.

I'd like to thank both downing street memo and koeselitz, among others, for their comments in this thread.
posted by Rory Marinich at 11:49 AM on October 23, 2013 [6 favorites]


Ever had a child?

For lunch? No, they're far too fatty and rich. Maybe as a special treat on holidays.
posted by elizardbits at 11:50 AM on October 23, 2013 [20 favorites]


I don't eat children for moral reasons; the carbon footprint is not sustainable.
posted by spaltavian at 11:55 AM on October 23, 2013 [5 favorites]


The bonds created by hating something together are far stronger than the one created by loving something together.

Ever had a child?


My boyfriend and I have bonded extensively over our mutual hatred of children. I guess the bond might be even stronger if we could mutually hate our OWN child...
posted by like_a_friend at 11:56 AM on October 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


me: “Fifty years ago, conservatism was anti-Union, pro-segregation, almost completely socially conservative, and actually not very fiscally conservative at all.”

spaltavian: “Other than easing up on the overt racism, how is this different than modern conservatives? Look at the last time Republicans actually governed, wich was 2001-2009. While I do not believe George W. Bush was personally an affirmative racist, his presidency checked pretty much all of those boxes. And as far as I can tell, Republican leaders have never really been ‘fiscally conservative’, they just wanted to divert government largess towards their people. The idealized Republican state is somewhere between Junker Prussia and an 80's banana republic.”

First of all, a clarification, because I realize I was deceptively unclear. When I say that conservatism fifty years ago was "anti-Union," I mean that they were against the Union, as in the Federal government that was preserved at the end of the Civil War. They literally believed it was a bad thing, that states had absolutely sovereignty that must be granted them, and that Abraham Lincoln was a heartless, shifty, lying bastard.

Trade unions, which I realize it might have sounded like I was talking about, were actually more complicated, and plenty of conservatives fifty years ago were pro-union. This was before the simple and easy identification of unions with communists and socialists and evildoers was complete, remember. And those things really weren't central to what "conservatism" meant at all back then, anyway.

I think since at least Reagan the shift from social conservatism to fiscal conservatism has been more or less obvious and outright on the Republican front. As I said, it can be demonstrated that most of these politicians seem to have sought a preservation of the status quo more than anything else, and were not actually social conservatives themselves. They used social conservatives for votes, promising them privileged positions in exchange for such; so those social conservatives had sway, but I don't think they were the true leaders of the party.

In any case, I think the changes in the conservative movement in America are pretty well established. This is a good piece I've linked to before that discusses some of the shifts that have occurred.
posted by koeselitz at 11:58 AM on October 23, 2013


Yes, and the bonds are still there.

Except now they're called peace bonds.
posted by Devils Rancher at 11:58 AM on October 23, 2013


They don't think we're in a culture war. They don't think gay marriage, gay rights, abortion, etc, are major battles being fought right now. They believe most of those issues are pretty much settled, and if they aren't now they will be soon. They believe the broad consensus of support that most of those things have means that they're pretty much foregone conclusions. Gay marriage will be a fact within the next few years, for instance. The conservatives I know don't really believe there's much conflict on that, aside from an archaic wing of their party that's pretty much defunct at this point anyway.

On the ground here in Texas, this seems a laughably distant dream. Maybe in 10-15 years. Maybe. But that's a long time when these issues affect you now.

Jonah Goldberg points favorably to this piece, which seeks to dash the hopes of liberals that Obama would put an end forevermore to culture wars. He seems to think we're in the midst of a culture war only to the extent that liberals insist on extending it.

This (and the Conrad Black piece) seem to basically be saying "geeze, if only liberals conceded on all these social issues we wouldn't have to fight about this".

The status is not quo.
posted by kmz at 11:59 AM on October 23, 2013 [9 favorites]


There are many instances of conservatives in the pages of the National Review supporting a culture war, and saying it must be fought. But I don't think they're so common as to be the only or even the dominant narrative there. There is some disagreement.

What Dreher is saying in that RealClearPolitics piece you linked is "We're not fighting a culture war—the liberals are fighting it because they're saying the way we do things already isn't good enough." Which, okay, if you're going to take that position, then anybody who wants to change anything is fighting a culture war, and the only culture wars ever are the ones fought by the people who aren't already in the mainstream.

I think that's a kind of unfair way to define the battlegrounds, since "the way we already do things" is an artificial construct that only exists because of culture wars already fought and ended. Saying "conservatives want liberals to stop fighting culture wars" is exactly the same as what Dreher says earlier in his piece about liberals wanting to WIN wars rather than END them. Except in his mind, the wars conservatives have already "won" aren't even wars at all, so why not let's keep everything exactly the same as it is now forever?
posted by Rory Marinich at 12:00 PM on October 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


The Card Cheat: "Hell, I once lost interest in a potential romantic partner because her CD collection consisted almost entirely of Barenaked Ladies and Great Big Sea albums."

Reader, I married her.
posted by namewithoutwords at 12:04 PM on October 23, 2013 [9 favorites]


why not let's keep everything exactly the same as it is now forever?

Same as it ever was. Same as it ever was. Same as it ever was. Same. As. It. Ever. Waaaaaaas!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:04 PM on October 23, 2013


Very few of the conservatives I know believe abortion is an issue on which there is significant disagreement among Americans. They kind of have a point there.

Forgot about this... like... how does this jibe with reality at all?
posted by kmz at 12:05 PM on October 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


Forgot about this... like... how does this jibe with reality at all?

"That's not the way the world really works anymore. . . . We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality" -Karl Rove
posted by like_a_friend at 12:08 PM on October 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Rory Marinich: “I think that's a kind of unfair way to define the battlegrounds, since 'the way we already do things' is an artificial construct that only exists because of culture wars already fought and ended. Saying 'conservatives want liberals to stop fighting culture wars' is exactly the same as what Dreher says earlier in his piece about liberals wanting to WIN wars rather than END them. Except in his mind, the wars conservatives have already 'won' aren't even wars at all, so why not let's keep everything exactly the same as it is now forever?”

That's true. But this is an important argument among conservative circles, though. The Tea Party is a lot of things to a lot of people, but to many it means the triumph of fiscal conservatism and libertarianism over all – with the result that there are a lot more conservatives these days willing to heap scorn on the idea of waging culture wars, and who will scoff at them as a Republican-Democrat plot to distract people from things that actually matter.
posted by koeselitz at 12:08 PM on October 23, 2013


Yeah, koeselitz, your points in this thread read as completely foreign to my own experience, and I wonder if the reason why is buried somewhere in your terminology. I mean, what do you mean by "conservative"? And the people you're describing as conservative, what demographics do they belong to? I'm pretty well acquainted with the nature of "conservatism" in my region (St. Louis) and this supposed comfort with the trajectory towards comparatively progressive social policy is not at all in line with what I see.
posted by invitapriore at 12:09 PM on October 23, 2013 [6 favorites]


koeselitz: "He seems to think we're in the midst of a culture war only to the extent that liberals insist on extending it."

Whut?

One would have to try really, really hard to completely ignore everything that's going on in a wide range of state legislatures with regards to clamping down on abortion rights, voter suppression, union busting and so forth in order to have a view point like that.
posted by Hairy Lobster at 12:13 PM on October 23, 2013 [5 favorites]


The differences in conservative mindsets are all pretty academic when the same ends that the fiscal policy wonks and the small government types aim for end up ("oops!") disproportionately hurting minorities and removing protections and pleasing the straight-up culture war crowd anyways. This is an actual, intentional tactic that the party has used since the Dixiecrats crossed the aisle so they don't ever have to repudiate the bigots and can keep on courting their votes. It's not some crazy impropriety to paint with a broad brush here, the end results of the policies are still just different shades of the same oppressive and repugnant crap. "Oh, well since John McCain tried to gut social services instead of Rick Santorum I suppose it's all right."
posted by jason_steakums at 12:13 PM on October 23, 2013 [6 favorites]


I do feel that assuming pro-life men are significantly more likely to murder you goes a little over the top, but you are free to sleep with or not sleep with whomever you choose.

that's not what i said. and thanks for your permission?
posted by nadawi at 12:15 PM on October 23, 2013 [9 favorites]


koeselitz: "The Tea Party is a lot of things to a lot of people, but to many it means the triumph of fiscal conservatism and libertarianism over all"

Your "to many" formulation is doing a lot of work here. You seem to be describing the Tea Party as originally constituted back in late 2008 / early 2009 among a bunch of Ron Paul types who were outside the inner circle of the Republican party, but polling shows that self-described Tea Partiers are overwhelmingly also social conservatives these days.
posted by tonycpsu at 12:16 PM on October 23, 2013 [5 favorites]


"This is interesting to me because while I am, myself, queer and in favor of gay rights and believe in the equality of men and women, and have feminist credentials out the wazoo, I am:



And so on.
"

What I would say to that is that, one, I pretty much broadly support all of the things there that you'd oppose, and mostly support them because of broad, social science arguments that come from a grounding of utilitarianism in public policy. I tend to think that people who are against most of those things, e.g. hate crimes legislation, don't actually understand the policy behind them. And some of those I think you're wrong on questions of fact, e.g. the male-female wage disparity. (It's not as large as often reported — the best info we have right now, from 2010, shows that while the overall disparity is still women earning about .8 when men do, only about five to seven percent of that is attributable to discrimination; the rest comes from experience, education, etc. [which may also be influenced by discrimination, but not as directly].)

But that means that I tend to differ a bit within those categories. For example, I think that affirmative action overall leads to better public outcomes than without it, but I do think that the long view of the system always needs to be toward its obsolescence. I think that more funding is necessary for public education, but I often disagree with how that funding is apportioned or disbursed.

But with the polarization of dialogue, it becomes harder to have more nuanced disagreements. For example, on anthropogenic climate change — it's happening, humans drive it, but the rate of change and best modeling procedures are still debatable. But when climate denialists get ahold of those debates, they use them to impugn the entire scientific underpinning.

Another example would be gun control. Gun deaths and violent crime, in general, has been decreasing, despite an upswing in mass shootings. I do think stronger gun control is appropriate, but most of the policies mooted are pretty ineffectual — most notably, the "assault weapons ban," which was just a cosmetic bandaid. However, the ability to pass effective gun control regulations relies on things like removing the ban on public health funding for gun control studies and thinking about things like registries and mandatory insurance, rather than getting fixated on the number of rounds in a magazine.
posted by klangklangston at 12:19 PM on October 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


klang, I think what you're calling "the polarization of dialogue" is better described as a rightward drift of both poles. The Republicans moved to the far right, and the Democrats tried to chase voters in the middle by moving to the right as well. I don't see the debate as any more polarized than it ever was -- it's just drifted toward more conservative policy on a great number of issues.

On the perils of making nuanced arguments under these circumstances, I think we have to understand what the menu of real policy choices is, and pick the best item among those, not worrying about what arguments opponents will use against you or whether it's the optimal policy solution. If there's a choice between "less funding, more funding, or funding that's allocated in ways that I support", I'd choose the latter, but usually it's just the first two choices, so you pick the second one, knowing that more funding in general will lead to more funding for the things you care about (and also some waste on things you think are terrible.) There's obviously a certain amount of "be the change you seek" that can come from showing up to school board meetings to push for specific changes, but politics is a blunt instrument, especially at the state/local levels where school policies are set.

The same dynamic exists on gun control -- I, too, think the ban on CPSC and NIH studies that reach pro gun-control conclusions is despicable and probably responsible for more harm to Americans than large magazines are, but the fact is the mass shootings made large magazines a political possibility in a landscape where any incremental change on guns is considered impossible. Suppose Pat Toomey and Joe Manchin proposed that we change the law to allow gun control studies -- do you think the gun lobby would have opposed it any less than they opposed the actual Manchin-Toomey bill?

I guess what I'm saying here is, yeah, the polarization is there, but it's always been there, and you shouldn't be afraid to vocally support a policy that might not be optimal if it's closer to your ideal policy than the one your opponents are supporting.
posted by tonycpsu at 12:36 PM on October 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


I smell bullshit.
posted by ReeMonster at 12:45 PM on October 23, 2013


Jonah Goldberg points favorably to this piece

The Jonah Goldberg who has laid down the political line on Star Trek episodes and pop songs in NR? Goldberg's a culture warrior par excellence, though the ratio of his devotion to his cynicism is debatable, to be sure.

I think it's pretty clearly demonstrable that the National Review emphatically does not believe we're in a culture war

There's nothing emphatic about it. As an editorial stance, NR is no full-throated culture warrior. That combat is left to the individual writers, some of whom take to it more than others. As a journal they pay lip service to it, however, which is a necessary thing, given the fraction of conservatives who continue to believe in such a war. You say that fraction is shrinking. I don't see it—though the fraction of Americans willing to be swayed by such nonsense may be. The government shut down and the rhetoric surrounding it is evidence enough that "culture wars" are still driving the American right.

This line from your Dreher piece, though, "And there really are people who believe these things are important enough to fight for," is exactly what some people have been saying here (though not, presumably, Mr. or Mrs Brookhiser.)
posted by octobersurprise at 12:48 PM on October 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


KathrynT: It's not "over" those things. It's in addition to them. And frankly most of the civil rights issues are folded in under "decency."

My point is that ideological purity in a mate is simply not something I insist on, and I find the idea a little childish, regardless of the politics. It's love by numbers and seems fundamentally shallow to me.

And to your point, I'm not suggesting anybody sign up for the Stormfront personal ads. But if your view is such that there is always a right side and a wrong side to complicated policy issues, with regard to civil rights or other topics, then I respectfully disagree. Decent people can come to different conclusions as matters of principle, and it's not always fuck the poor or fuck minorities or fuck women or fuck whomever (though sometimes it is, sure). I'm a staunch supporter of strong civil liberties. I believe, on principle, that those liberties are worth preserving, even at the risk of reduced security. I'm wary of the unintended consequences of forfeiting those liberties, the possible abuses, how it will shape our national character and psyche, etc. Were we to suffer another terrorist attack, does that mean I don't care about American lives? Does it really mean I invited another 9/11? To me, such sentiments are just as disingenuous as claiming that anyone who has a problem with the AHC Act or affirmative action or any number of other issues I personally support doesn't care about the poor or minorities. We can disagree about things without projecting the worst onto those with whom we disagree. I'm a progressive from the deep south, I've been doing it my whole life.

Agreeing on things, to me, is not a prerequisite for love or respect. If others feel differently, that's their prerogative.
posted by echocollate at 12:55 PM on October 23, 2013 [6 favorites]


I could believe that for a particular person who is somewhat naïve about the history of the pro-life movement, at least in the U.S., they might consider this as a rationale to support certain causes.

I think you're underestimating the naiveté and history ignorance of the American electorate in almost every issue, not simply the question of abortion.

The Tea Party is a lot of things to a lot of people, but to many it means the triumph of fiscal conservatism and libertarianism over all

The Tea Party is the preeminent conservative group of the moment, but where will they be in a few election cycles, give or take a few scandals? Where are the ballyhooed neconservatives of the Bush administration now? Where are the old school 700 Club, Moral Majority
'neoconservatives' of the Reagan administration?
posted by Apocryphon at 12:56 PM on October 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


My point is that ideological purity in a mate is simply not something I insist on, and I find the idea a little childish, regardless of the politics

I think I would find someone who insisted on my believing exactly what they believed as tough to love as someone who stood for everything I found repellent and didn't care if agreed or not. Between those two ends it all becomes a matter of precisely what it is they believe and precisely how hot they are.
posted by octobersurprise at 1:10 PM on October 23, 2013 [7 favorites]


So, when you talk about how this can never, ever work, and people can never fall in love with really different values, I have to say: you are talking about my marriage. I could absolutely have written this article.

My husband is an anarcho-syndicalist. He thinks pretty much the opposite of me in almost every political belief, with the exception of a very few. Occasionally we dislike the same people, but from different sides of the spectrum. Both of us spend a lot of time, energy, and money advocating for our political beliefs. We both want to change the world for the better, but we disagree on what that world looks like. And yet the world doesn't stop turning, and we still love each other, and it's fine in the end.

I think that people who feel that all people holding a different political position than themselves are morally wrong, bad, terrible people are suffering from the filter effect - where the people they meet, encounter, and love all agree with them, so they never have to learn that other decent human beings are in fact decent, while having different views.

And I think that's totally unhealthy for our society.

But I think some of the things expressed here are absolutely poisonous and hateful. Why is it really important to throw shit at someone else's marriage? They make it work, mazel tov. If you don't want to marry someone outside your political beliefs, or nationality, or religion, or a hundred other things that influence people's marriages, that is fine - I think you're narrowing your chances of happiness, but I'm not going to tell you not to. Why is it important to try to spoil other people's happiness?
posted by corb at 1:13 PM on October 23, 2013 [10 favorites]


Where are the old school 700 Club, Moral Majority 'neoconservatives' of the Reagan administration?

Some of them can be seen spouting off every week on The McLaughlin Group and shouting down Eleanor Clift.
posted by aught at 1:16 PM on October 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


corb, I don't see shit being thrown. This writer said "this is how my marriage is" many of us said "Huh, I could never do that for [reasons]."

Most of the heated stuff here has been people describing their own views, or else the minutiae of modern conservative thought, not that the writer is a terrible person.
posted by emjaybee at 1:19 PM on October 23, 2013 [7 favorites]


Some of them can be seen spouting off every week on The McLaughlin Group and shouting down Eleanor Clift.

Seriously that show will snap you back to the early 90s faster than a time machine that runs on Hypercolor and the tears of MC Skat Kat. It feels as dated as Lawrence Welk sometimes.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:20 PM on October 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think that people who feel that all people holding a different political position than themselves are morally wrong, bad, terrible people are suffering from the filter effect - where the people they meet, encounter, and love all agree with them, so they never have to learn that other decent human beings are in fact decent, while having different views.

People aren't saying that it must be hard to love someone who disagrees with them on campaign finance reform, or farm subsidies, or the Teapot dome scandal, they are saying it must be hard to love someone who disagrees with them on some pretty fundamental things, like: Should other people tell women what to do with their body? Is gay marriage a good thing?
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 1:21 PM on October 23, 2013 [6 favorites]


It's sort of odd to compare not wanting to marry a homophobe with wanting to marry someone who is the same nationality as you.
posted by elizardbits at 1:23 PM on October 23, 2013 [13 favorites]


The flip side of this is when my wife observed "It's amazing how we agree on just about everything that has no immediate effect on our daily lives."

Me: "Yeah, that's what happens when you meet and fall in love in college."
posted by straight at 1:24 PM on October 23, 2013 [12 favorites]


Hm. Perhaps it's simply a matter of thinking of your partner in marriage as a part of your family that you can no longer choose or control, much like a parent or child or sibling or aunt or uncle or whatever whose political views, behaviors, choices, whatever are grossly in opposition to yours, but they're still your family, so you still love them even though they make you cringe sometimes.
posted by davejay at 1:27 PM on October 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


I met Eleanor Clift once. She was really interesting and very generous with her time. I don't think I'd marry her, though.
posted by octobersurprise at 1:28 PM on October 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


I could marry someone with different political beliefs, but I could never marry someone who could marry someone whose political beliefs didn't agree with theirs.
posted by freecellwizard at 1:38 PM on October 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


People aren't saying that it must be hard to love someone who disagrees with them on campaign finance reform, or farm subsidies, or the Teapot dome scandal, they are saying it must be hard to love someone who disagrees with them on some pretty fundamental things, like: Should other people tell women what to do with their body? Is gay marriage a good thing?

Even there, I think it's not actually hard to love someone - it just requires another level of calm thinking and questioning. "Why do you think that way? Where does this come from?" Because most political opinions come from somewhere, and those places aren't usually the insults each side throws at each other.

Those of us on the "pro-choice" side often frame things as "Should other people tell women what to do with their body?" But that is a frame not universally accepted. I think even people on the "pro-life" side would say, "Women should do whatever they want with their body - but the fetus is not part of their body." And that's a hard question. This is why my actual ideal political position would involve sciencey vats, so that if a woman doesn't want to grow a fetus, it could be removed/frozen and someone else could. But in reality, non-science fiction world, everything is a mix of imperfect things. How do you handle things when two people have created a thing that could potentially be a child, but they differ on that, and both people will be held responsible if a baby is born?

These are thoughtful questions. If you love each other, you can have them. And finding out where people's ideas come from let you realize that most opinions are usually not rooted in hate. And then you can figure out how you can get to an understanding.
posted by corb at 1:38 PM on October 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


Bookmarking this thread for the next time someone insists that MetaFilter is "centrist".
posted by DWRoelands at 1:40 PM on October 23, 2013 [6 favorites]


but they're still your family, so you still love them even though they make you cringe sometimes.

I certainly had extended family with marriages like this and even as a young person thought to myself, "It just doesn't make sense, to marry someone who says and does things that make you so upset all the time."

I can understand why there might be people for whom the topic here is a little close to home who feel defensive in this thread, and I feel a little bad for them, even as I cannot imagine how they stand the constant emotional friction such lives must involve.
posted by aught at 1:43 PM on October 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


But if your view is such that there is always a right side and a wrong side to complicated policy issues, with regard to civil rights or other topics, then I respectfully disagree.

It's not even so much that there's a right side and a wrong side; it's that, for example, I'm a bisexual woman, and I could not be married to someone who didn't lovingly accept that about me. And I'm a woman who can absolutely see circumstances under which I would choose to terminate a pregnancy, and I could not be married to someone who would deny me that right. I could not be married to someone who was an active, purposeful racist. I could not be married to someone who felt strongly that we should have a national religion. These are issues which are so important to me that I can not imagine being partnered to someone who felt differently about them than I do.
posted by KathrynT at 1:44 PM on October 23, 2013 [7 favorites]


Talking about framing obscures the reality of a position. Of course people believe things because they think they are virtuous and good and not because they believe themselves to be malicious.

Of course someone who thinks that gay shouldn't be allowed to get married thinks that they are defenders of 'traditional marriage' and that they don't want to harm gays, they just think that marriage is between a man and a woman. Their thinking, or 'framing', doesn't change the fact that their opinions are bigoted bullshit.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 1:44 PM on October 23, 2013 [13 favorites]


Diablavert, I did say "to me", meaning that this is what those issues signify to me, and presumably, to the author, who claims to be pro-choice and for preservation of the environment.

Sure, and I agree with you on most of that stuff. But you comment was questioning how someone could ever love someone who was actively working to suppress women's rights. I'm just saying that I don't think that you have to be some mouchtache-twirling Commandante RedPill to be against, say, the Lily Ledbetter Act, you just have to see the world differently that you and I do, value things differently than you and I do. Being opposed to X does not necessarily equate to a desire to see the bad things that X is supposed to prevent occur.

I want to be clear: I'm not questioning you right/preference/desire to share your life with someone who shares 90% of your values. That's the way it works most often and arguably best for most people. I just think being able to live with and love someone who has different political opinions than you do is not some kind of horrible character flaw that reveals you to be some kind of quisling. People are complicated, kindness respect and a mutual love of Cherry Garcia go a long way, and most of all, le coeur a ses raisons que la raison ne connait pas, you know?
posted by Diablevert at 1:44 PM on October 23, 2013 [6 favorites]


Hm. Perhaps it's simply a matter of thinking of your partner in marriage as a part of your family that you can no longer choose or control, much like a parent or child or sibling or aunt or uncle or whatever whose political views, behaviors, choices, whatever are grossly in opposition to yours, but they're still your family, so you still love them even though they make you cringe sometimes.

I can certainly understand that line of thought, but it's really not that someone can no longer choose, it's that they won't. Which is a perfectly respectable thing, nobody has to justify anything to anyone else about what they're comfortable with in a relationship or where they define their limits of obligation to their partner, but that does cut both ways. If someone is uncomfortable with a change in their spouse's views on something they hold dear they're well within their rights to end the marriage and it's not anybody's business to judge them for it. And well before it even gets there, nobody should be judged for just avoiding a romantic relationship with someone who holds different views in the first place. I'm not saying you're advocating judging or anything, I'm just kind of jumping off of your thoughts to illustrate my own.
posted by jason_steakums at 1:48 PM on October 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Even there, I think it's not actually hard to love someone

Presuming this, there's a step before, which is asking yourself "Do I even want to love this person?"

I mean, sure, you could try to love a virulent homophobe, a sovereign citizen, or a Leninist martinet, but why choose of one them when there's probably a perfectly good domestic abuser just around the corner who needs love and understanding as well.
posted by octobersurprise at 1:49 PM on October 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


It's still choosing to overlook or ignore things, though, isn't it? Unless your spouse starts expressing long-held views you find fundamentally awful only AFTER the marriage is a done deal. In which case, yuck, run away.
posted by elizardbits at 1:50 PM on October 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


KathrynT: It's not even so much that there's a right side and a wrong side; it's that, for example, I'm a bisexual woman, and I could not be married to someone who didn't lovingly accept that about me. And I'm a woman who can absolutely see circumstances under which I would choose to terminate a pregnancy, and I could not be married to someone who would deny me that right. I could not be married to someone who was an active, purposeful racist. I could not be married to someone who felt strongly that we should have a national religion. These are issues which are so important to me that I can not imagine being partnered to someone who felt differently about them than I do.

I absolutely understand and respect your position on these, the first two because they have potentially powerful, personal (and practical) consequences for you and your relationship, and the third because, well, yea. The fourth, doesn't matter as much to me in the abstract, but I can understand how it might be contentious (though not a deal breaker for me).
posted by echocollate at 1:52 PM on October 23, 2013


Presuming this, there's a step before, which is asking yourself "Do I even want to love this person?"

Usually by the time I find myself asking this question, it already has an answer, one way or the other.

So, nobody around here watches The Good Wife, eh?
posted by mstokes650 at 1:58 PM on October 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't have a problem with "principled conservatism". The problem is, I just do not believe such a thing exists anymore. Conservatism today is entirely driven by opposition not to beliefs but to facts.

I could, in a pinch, have a civil discussion if not a relationship with someone who believed that, say, abortion is always wrong -- but not someone who believes that contraception and abortion are the same thing, because they simply are not. Yet that is what conservatives now are promoting as the party line.

Global warming is not a belief, it is a fact. Every Republican is required by principle to deny that fact. The proportion of the federal budget devoted to welfare programs is not a belief, it is a fact. Every Republican is required by principle to lie about that fact.

This goes far beyond philosophical debates about, for instance, what kind of assistance should be provided to poor people or what kind of regulations should be in place to control air pollution.

And some beliefs are firmly grounded in principles. The modern Republican Party is irrevocably racist to its core -- most of its platform is grounded in race prejudice, and not JUST race prejudice but race prejudice cynically maneuvering itself to sound more reasonable than they themselves know to be true. That's not OK. That's not something I could come home to every night. Could I reasonably be expected to "put politics aside" and love a Klan member? That's what the Republican Party has become. I ain't havin' it in my house.

Being a Republican today requires not just being opposed to gay marriage but to at a minimum sit silently while radical bigots spout utter nonsense about what a horrible moral catastrophe homosexuality is, if not actually spouting that nonsense oneself. I ain't havin' that in my house.
posted by Fnarf at 1:59 PM on October 23, 2013 [11 favorites]


Well, I couldn't marry a relativist!

Really, I reject the idea that political positions shouldn't matter to anyone except the people who hold them because everyone has them. Carrying it to its logical conclusion you can support lynchings and be AOK!!

Tolerance is not always commendable or mature.
posted by the young rope-rider at 2:00 PM on October 23, 2013 [5 favorites]


It's still choosing to overlook or ignore things, though, isn't it? Unless your spouse starts expressing long-held views you find fundamentally awful only AFTER the marriage is a done deal. In which case, yuck, run away.

I'll be honest, this hits close to home (the whole discussion) because my mother was married to a guy who, prior to marriage, was all, "I'm just a fiscal conservative." Which meant he was kind of a dick about poor people, basically. Not terribly well-informed. AFTER the wedding, he quickly let loose a whole stream of bigoted, misogynist, racist bullshit that he wouldn't cop to before he was legally bound to my totally left-wing family. In that instance, my mom did run away, because yuck.

Now, however, she's dating a guy who's more than happy to let all that disgusting shit fly. And she WON'T run away. At her age she no longer feels confident in finding single men who are not bigoted asshats. And "at least this one's honest."

It's the saddest thing I have seen in a while, and may permanently alter my (previously good) relationship with her for the worse. But it has definitely clarified for me the critical importance of my political values in my overall life and my romantic life in particular. Then again, some commenters seem to live in a world where the conservatives are not so frequently ALSO mean, hateful people. That must be a nice world. But it is probably on the East Coast and I can't afford that shit, so...
posted by like_a_friend at 2:00 PM on October 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


some commenters seem to live in a world where the conservatives are not so frequently ALSO mean, hateful people

I think they might have different standards for what they consider mean and hateful.
posted by elizardbits at 2:07 PM on October 23, 2013


Tolerance is not always commendable or mature.

"…what I think is that what AIDS shows us is the limits of tolerance, that it’s not enough to be tolerated, because when the shit hits the fan you find out how much tolerance is worth. Nothing. And underneath all the tolerance is intense passionate hatred." - from Tony Kushner's Angels in America
posted by griphus at 2:11 PM on October 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'm not shocked that a seemingly educated woman would stay with a wealthy, well-connected man, despite differences in political opinion. Wasn't Bush Elder's political adviser married to Clinton's adviser?

Power is the best aphrodisiac --- Henry Kissinger
posted by Renoroc at 2:17 PM on October 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Kathrynt: I´m not sure how bisexuality could come up as a political disagreement, so not ducking that, just confused. But re abortion: what if your potential spouse agreed that within the context of your relationship, you could make all decisions about pregnancy termination, as long as you both got to discuss it first? However, just as you see circumstances where you might want to terminate, he sees circumstances where he feels termination should not be allowed? (This is, by the way, a majority position - most people believe abortions should not be permitted at the point where the child would be able to exist outside the womb, for example, even though this is a constraint on a woman's body.)

If someone believed in a national religion, but allowed you the practice of your own faith without complaint while not being a dick about religion otherwise, would you say that was really beyond the pale of someone you could respect and love? Or would it depend on his reasons?

I'm not saying this to single you out, but more to suggest that i think it is the reasons people hold the beliefs they do rather than the beliefs themselves which are so offensive. So maybe what you really hate is intolerance - or bigotry. And i think not just against groups to which you happen to belong - in which case bigotry and intolerance are not confined to any one belief but can strike anywhere.
posted by corb at 2:21 PM on October 23, 2013


I bet their angry hatesex is AMAZING.
posted by Jacqueline at 2:21 PM on October 23, 2013


"Other than my father, I never even knew any Republicans growing up..."

Nothing to see here, move along, please.
posted by univac at 2:22 PM on October 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


So I’m sorry for the growing number of people who look for love only on websites segregated, like TV networks, by redness or blueness.

Huh? I don't think that's A Thing.
posted by jcreigh at 2:27 PM on October 23, 2013


corb: "This is, by the way, a majority position - most people believe abortions should not be permitted at the point where the child would be able to exist outside the womb, for example, even though this is a constraint on a woman's body."

A conversation with the husband is obviously not going to be taking place in the third trimester, so this reference to post-viability abortions is a complete non-sequitur.
posted by tonycpsu at 2:27 PM on October 23, 2013 [5 favorites]


Power is the best aphrodisiac --- Henry Kissinger

I cannot remember which comedian responded to this with, "Oh yeah? Then how come nobody's lining up to pinch Golda Meir's ass?"
posted by like_a_friend at 2:27 PM on October 23, 2013 [10 favorites]


I´m not sure how bisexuality could come up as a political disagreement, so not ducking that, just confused.

For example, someone who felt that it was a sin, a choice, a degeneracy, and that it should be illegal for me to be a teacher, or on the school board, or to hold office.

But re abortion: what if your potential spouse agreed that within the context of your relationship, you could make all decisions about pregnancy termination, as long as you both got to discuss it first?

Then they're pro-choice, isn't they?

This one is actually not completely divorced from my reality, to be honest. When I was pregnant with my first child and awaiting the results of our quad screen, my husband and I discussed in detail what conditions our baby could be diagnosed with, and how we would feel about continuing the pregnancy under those various circumstances. Fortunately, we were almost completely allied, but we drew our "yea or nay" lines in very slightly different places. Although my husband was completely on board with the fact that the ultimate decision would be my own, he was very nervous and anxious until our results came back, and I do believe that if we had fallen into that tiny area of disagreement, it would have been a tremendous strain on our marriage.

If someone believed in a national religion, but allowed you the practice of your own faith without complaint while not being a dick about religion otherwise, would you say that was really beyond the pale of someone you could respect and love?

Speaking absolutely sincerely: yes, anybody who felt that there should be a religious test for American citizenship, anybody who felt that there should be a religious requirement to hold office, anybody who felt that there should be a State church that all citizens were required to observe: that would be beyond the pale of someone I could be intimately partnered to.
posted by KathrynT at 2:28 PM on October 23, 2013 [13 favorites]


*yawn*

Now, if she had married a woman who opposes same-sex marriage, that would have been impressive.

Seriously, though, there's no substance here - only a couple sentences about what their relationship is actually based on. But if she demonstrates the same tendency to skate on the surface in other areas of her life, that could explain a lot.
posted by univac at 2:28 PM on October 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


But re abortion: what if your potential spouse agreed that within the context of your relationship, you could make all decisions about pregnancy termination, as long as you both got to discuss it first?

For me, personally: of course I think that within a good relationship, one would discuss these things. But the "well, I think abortion should be illegal except for us" to me would be too much hypocrisy.

If someone believed in a national religion, but allowed you the practice of your own faith without complaint while not being a dick about religion otherwise, would you say that was really beyond the pale of someone you could respect and love? Or would it depend on his reasons?

I think to some extent it depends on what national religion means. I argue that the US and Canada already do privilege (some versions of) Christianity (while generally pretending otherwise), and would be horribly concerned about trying to codify that EVEN more into law. (Something which, in a slant way, is sort of being discussed here in the Charter of Values.)

I'm not saying this to single you out, but more to suggest that i think it is the reasons people hold the beliefs they do rather than the beliefs themselves which are so offensive

I think that's oversimplifying. There are reasons to want something that are offensive and there are ones that aren't. But there are beliefs that I would consider offensive no matter what the reasoning behind it is.
posted by jeather at 2:29 PM on October 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


koeselitz: "Most conservatives don't see themselves the way liberals see them. An editor of the National Review doesn't see himself as a racist, sexist, reactionary hater of Civil Rights. He sees himself as a fiscal conservative who is fighting against the creeping restriction of those Civil Rights by a government that's out of control. He's not fighting the battle you think he's fighting; he doesn't even think it's a battle at all."

How conservatives see themselves is completely irrelevant to the point of our discussion here. I don't judge a person on the basis of how good they believe themselves to be.

The head of (any arbitrary organization that advocates disenfranchising blacks, limiting women's personal rights, and oppressing gays) may not see himself as a racist, sexist, reactionary hater of Civil Rights, but he sure as hell is, and that's what matters.
posted by IAmBroom at 2:47 PM on October 23, 2013 [9 favorites]


Exactly. Plenty of people with vile beliefs really truly believe themselves to be a defender of things that are good and right and proper.
posted by elizardbits at 2:50 PM on October 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


nadawi: "our lady sex "

Upvoted for a magnificent phrase.

Do gays ever use "gentlemen sex"? Cuz they totally should!
posted by IAmBroom at 2:52 PM on October 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


i think it is the reasons people hold the beliefs they do rather than the beliefs themselves which are so offensive

"I'm a firm believer in cannibalism, love; but trust me, it's for the most innocent reasons."
posted by octobersurprise at 2:55 PM on October 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


limiting women's personal rights

I'm just going to react to this one more time before I give up: this is emphatically not what the pro-life cause is about. This is actually quite simple: pro-lifers believe that the fetus is not part of a woman's body, they believe it is a separate person, with all of the rights you and I have.

The head of the NRLC doesn't get up, put on her blouse, and say "I'm going to limit some women's personal rights today!" She's reacting to a medical procedure that she understands as ending a life.

I can't speak to the other ones - I think the Republican party is a deeply sick beast, that openly doesn't want African-Americans to vote and uses gay marriage as a GOTV technique. But to pretend that these are somehow pillars of conservatism seems like a bit of a stretch.
posted by downing street memo at 2:55 PM on October 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


pro-lifers believe that the fetus is not part of a woman's body

Do they... do they understand where babies come from?
posted by elizardbits at 3:01 PM on October 23, 2013 [11 favorites]


Pillaries of conservatism, maybe.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:01 PM on October 23, 2013


Then they're pro-choice, isn't they?

Exactly. That's not a position that a modern "conservative" is ever going to take.

An example, not from the bedroom but from the family: I have a relative who has in recent years come to discover that she's secretly a liberal, even though she has previously held herself to be an evangelical religious conservative. She has views that are on the conservative side of some issues, but she is tolerant of dissent. For instance, she is anti-abortion. She hates it. But she knows that I disagree, and we can and do have pleasant conversations on other topics. But the conservative view today is that not just abortion but tolerance for abortion is every bit as offensive as the worst kind of murder, and some of our other religious and conservative mutual relatives have made it clear to her that not only I, but she, is essentially on a moral plane with a street thug who kills a kid for his sneakers. As a result, SHE has been ostracized by them.

It doesn't help that these same people are constantly going on about that communist Muslim Kenyan in the White House who is deliberately trying to destroy the United States so that the filthy Arabs can take over. And yes, at least one of those people is a regular reader of the National Review.

That's the kind of person I have to say no to.
posted by Fnarf at 3:03 PM on October 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


Exactly. Plenty of people with vile beliefs really truly believe themselves to be a defender of things that are good and right and proper.

And how are y'all so confident that you're not one of them? I mean, it's natural to assume that you're right and they're wrong, but I feel that it is important to cultivate a sense of doubt in ones own moral perfection, and not just by recognizing that you fall short of your own standards. Of course, the mirror image of doubting oneself is admitting that there is a chance that the other party is right. Again, I feel there's a certain irony in your surety that they are actually the evil ones despite their surety that we are the evil ones. I strongly disagree with conservative policy, but as a group, they're no worse than liberals when it comes to their ability to cultivate productive self-doubt. Which is really strange, since they tend to be a lot more religious, which I associate with lack of doubt.
posted by Edgewise at 3:03 PM on October 23, 2013 [6 favorites]


downing street memo, I understand that people who are anti-abortion don't frame it as limiting women's personal rights. However, nothing requires me to accept their framing. The way restricted access to reproductive services including abortion affects me very much limits my personal rights. Just because the anti-abortion folks don't want me to see it that way doesn't mean that I don't.
posted by KathrynT at 3:04 PM on October 23, 2013 [10 favorites]


Uh... I see the editor of NR as fighting the fights I think he's fighting because I've read the magazine. He is actually fighting those fights in public and charging admission.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 3:06 PM on October 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


downing street memo, I understand that people who are anti-abortion don't frame it as limiting women's personal rights. However, nothing requires me to accept their framing. The way restricted access to reproductive services including abortion affects me very much limits my personal rights. Just because the anti-abortion folks don't want me to see it that way doesn't mean that I don't.

That's fine, but the common theme in this thread is that conservative beliefs are self-evidently vile, and that they're adopted because those who hold those beliefs are themselves vile.

My goal is to get people to admit that people who hold beliefs that they think are vile, may hold those beliefs for entirely non-vile reasons. In other words, that Republicans and conservatives aren't monsters, and that it's entirely possible to have a healthy relationship with one.
posted by downing street memo at 3:09 PM on October 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


elizardbits: "pro-lifers believe that the fetus is not part of a woman's body

Do they... do they understand where babies come from?
"

You're not arguing in good faith, elizardbits. You know perfectly well that pro-lif... anti-choicers believe that the woman's body ends at the fetus' navel opening.
posted by IAmBroom at 3:10 PM on October 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


downing street memo, I understand that people who are anti-abortion don't frame it as limiting women's personal rights. However, nothing requires me to accept their framing. The way restricted access to reproductive services including abortion affects me very much limits my personal rights. Just because the anti-abortion folks don't want me to see it that way doesn't mean that I don't.

Sure, you can see it however you want. The issue is recognising that they in fact see it how they want also, and they aren't craven liars hiding the fact that they see it as you do or madmen who are incapable of seeing the truth because of illness. That they might be honest people who want to be good and have come through the combination of their experience and temperament to judge what is good differently than you do.

Jesus Christ, this thread makes me despair.
posted by Diablevert at 3:10 PM on October 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


Do gays ever use "gentlemen sex"? Cuz they totally should!

GENT SEX
Dim the lights and untie the ascot
GENT SEX
/Davidbowie
posted by The Whelk at 3:11 PM on October 23, 2013 [5 favorites]


Ooh, The Whelk, that's even better for scansion!
posted by IAmBroom at 3:12 PM on October 23, 2013


That's fine, but the common theme in this thread is that conservative beliefs are self-evidently vile, and that they're adopted because those who hold those beliefs are themselves vile. -- downing street memo

also

Sure, you can see it however you want. The issue is recognising that they in fact see it how they want also, and they aren't craven liars hiding the fact that they see it as you do or madmen who are incapable of seeing the truth because of illness. -- Diablevert

I said nothing about whether these people are vile or craven liars or anything else. I said I couldn't be married to them. Trust me, there are a lot of totally non-vile courageous truthtellers who are, nonetheless, totally inappropriate spouses for me.
posted by KathrynT at 3:13 PM on October 23, 2013 [8 favorites]


Conservatism today is entirely driven by opposition not to beliefs but to facts... Global warming is not a belief, it is a fact. Every Republican is required by principle to deny that fact.

But that's because many choose to subscribe to a different set of analyses, statistics, experts, and "facts" from your view. The abundance of information in the modern day has created a situation where anything can be a belief. Like religious text, everything is viewed through ideological lenses and subject to deconstruction and reconstruction, massaging and excising, until it can fit one's preconditioned views. Certainly you can claim that your set of facts has greater objective validity, but who does the validation? Who keeps everyone honest?
posted by Apocryphon at 3:14 PM on October 23, 2013


Apocryphon: "Certainly you can claim that your set of facts has greater objective validity, but who does the validation? Who keeps everyone honest?"

The scientific community.

Next question?
posted by IAmBroom at 3:16 PM on October 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Sure, you can see it however you want. The issue is recognising that they in fact see it how they want also, and they aren't craven liars hiding the fact that they see it as you do or madmen who are incapable of seeing the truth because of illness. That they might be honest people who want to be good and have come through the combination of their experience and temperament to judge what is good differently than you do.

I think some people are forgetting that this thread is about marrying someone whose beliefs differ from your own. Saying that you don't want to marry someone who holds beliefs very different from you own is not anywhere close to saying that people who hold different beliefs are bad people.
posted by jaguar at 3:16 PM on October 23, 2013 [10 favorites]


I said nothing about whether these people are vile or craven liars or anything else. I said I couldn't be married to them. Trust me, there are a lot of totally non-vile courageous truthtellers who are, nonetheless, totally inappropriate spouses for me.

Word, point taken. I'm sorry if I put words in your mouth.
posted by Diablevert at 3:18 PM on October 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


who does the validation? Who keeps everyone honest?

The A-Team.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:19 PM on October 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


Ahahaha we're now at the "progressivism is scientific!" stage of the debate, so that's my cue.
posted by downing street memo at 3:25 PM on October 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Wow that's a really uncharitable interpretation DSM. The context was clearly about global warming not every progressive thing ever.
posted by Carillon at 3:28 PM on October 23, 2013 [7 favorites]


Nobody said "progressivism is scientific". Global warming is not "progressive", it's just true. Like gravity is true. And global warming deniers KNOW it's true, but it conflicts with their belief that the marketplace will overcome every obstacle, or whatever, but they have no problem fighting against the facts because fighting against facts is a large part of their identity.

Like I said, I have no problem with supposedly principled conservatism. It's just that there isn't much of it around anymore. What we have instead is fundamentally dishonest people trying to justify their behavior.
posted by Fnarf at 3:30 PM on October 23, 2013 [5 favorites]


The problem is that polarization has gotten to the level that the mainstream scientific community, academia, etc. is considered to be inherently politicized, and so unworthy of consideration. And that's why for every heresy, there is a cottage industry of alternative experts, analyses, facts, and so on. And they are not considered fringe by a considerable amount of the electorate, who actively seeks out and subscribes to "alternate science." Maybe it's always been like that, but I guess my point is that you can't simply state global warming is undeniable as gravity, in terms of practical reasons. You can't even do that for evolution, to some extent.
posted by Apocryphon at 3:33 PM on October 23, 2013


Fnarf: "What we have instead is fundamentally dishonest people trying to justify their behavior."

... and their duped followers, because Jesus!
posted by IAmBroom at 3:34 PM on October 23, 2013


Progressive viewpoint: poor people can be helped out of poverty with government assistance, helping them make better choices and overcome obstacles. I believe it, you don't, we can still be friends.

Not a progressive viewpoint: the world is getting warmer because of human activity, and this warming has serious negative consequences for everyone. The truth is not negotiable.

Similarly, "President Obama was born in the United States" is not a progressive point of view, it's the truth. "The federal tax rate is vastly higher than it has ever been" is not a conservative point of view, it's a lie.
posted by Fnarf at 3:35 PM on October 23, 2013 [8 favorites]


Put it on the other side: I could never stay married to someone who believed that vaccinations caused autism, which is a counter-factual belief more generally found on the liberal side of the spectrum. Especially if we had kids.
posted by Fnarf at 3:36 PM on October 23, 2013 [9 favorites]


Sure, you can see it however you want. The issue is recognising that they in fact see it how they want also, and they aren't craven liars hiding the fact that they see it as you do or madmen who are incapable of seeing the truth because of illness. That they might be honest people who want to be good and have come through the combination of their experience and temperament to judge what is good differently than you do.

Many supporters of voter ID laws are incredibly adamant about how important it is to not allow a theoretical fraction of potentially-fraudulent votes to be cast that hurting voter turnout is acceptable collateral damage.

My non-generous assumption is that they aren't dumb, they know that the Republican strategy is to reduce minority voters to help Republicans hold onto power, and they don't care or actively support this.

If I take them at their word that their concern with voter fraud is of enough importance to them that the consequences are acceptable, I have to also believe that this person is supremely naive, and easily manipulated to dangerous effect.
posted by Space Coyote at 3:44 PM on October 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


The anti-vaxxer I worked with is a libertarian/tea-partying, selfish jerk. Another person I know who leans anti-vax is a lifelong conservative Republican. The Republican and I are still friends because we mostly talk about books. There are lots of reasons for people's political views, but if someone has really thought about what kind of world it should be, and is an avid Republican, especially in the current GOP, they're not someone I can respect.
posted by theora55 at 3:46 PM on October 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


Assuming that everything she says is true, it's hard to read this as anything other than his not respecting her political views either because he thinks or knows she isn't serious or because simply doesn't respect her views.

Disagreement is one thing. But they're not sitting at home not talking about things they don't share - his life's work is to work with and for those who are set on destroying the things she says she cares about - or, worse, pandering to those people for cash.

Not the same as one partner going to a monotheistic place of worship once a week while the other is an atheist.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 3:52 PM on October 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


And global warming deniers KNOW it's true, but it conflicts with their belief that the marketplace will overcome every obstacle, or whatever, but they have no problem fighting against the facts because fighting against facts is a large part of their identity.

I'm all over the political spectrum - very left in some areas, middle in others, and far right in a few. I'm not going to attempt to defend the validity of my position on Metafilter, but I can assure you I KNOW anthropologically induced climate change is a farce just as you KNOW it isn't.
posted by Nibiru at 4:25 PM on October 23, 2013


Well, we know it because of overwhelming scientific evidence. Convenient that you don't want to defend where your knowledge comes from.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:33 PM on October 23, 2013 [17 favorites]


To add to the anecdata pile, I have a pretty much unbroken track record of dating/marrying/living with men of a liberal persuasion. It's not something I've ever established parameters for, nor have I ever asked which party somebody is registered with on a first date. Yes, I know I live in Big Bad Blue NYC, but there are plenty of conservatives here and in my previous places of residence. Sometimes I wonder if I give off some sort of "right wingers B gone!" pheromones.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 4:48 PM on October 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


I love the smell of right winger B gone pheromones in the morning. It smells like: the 70's.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:51 PM on October 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


Nibiru, pesky science
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 4:51 PM on October 23, 2013


It smells like Renton, Wash., after a hard rain.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 4:52 PM on October 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


That's a long way from NYC. You must have a very sensitive nose.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:58 PM on October 23, 2013


klangklangston: "Some of the best advice my mom ever gave me was, "Never sleep with anyone who's not pro-choice. Accidents happen, and you need to have that talk before you ever get that far.""

Shortly before I met my wife, I dated a woman whose profile said she was "conservative". Since some people identify that way but hold generally more liberal beliefs when you examine them one at a time, I didn't let it bother me.

However, once the fooling around got to the point of my reaching for a condom, she told me not to bother - she believed in the rhythm method. Oh, but she takes prenatal vitamins "just in case".

Dick-shriveling.
posted by notsnot at 5:01 PM on October 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'd like to know more about couples who are politically the same, but their "beliefs" are intrinsically different. For example, I'm a very liberal person, and all of my friends are liberal, as is my partner. However, I have met a lot of liberal people who come off as partially anti-science (and I don't think that's the best way to put it, so please don't hold it against me, I'm just at a loss of descriptors). They definitely believe the science behind climate change, but are entirely against fluoridated water, even when the science is in their face. Likewise, they buy and support homeopathic medicine and believe that wifi signals are damaging children, but they'd never want intelligent design taught in schools. These sorts of differences within the same political sphere are far more shocking to me.
posted by gucci mane at 5:06 PM on October 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


A lot of lefties were raised on huge doses of woo. So even if they hold similar political beliefs, they may get there from a completely different space than a hard sciences atheist would. Also, there are plenty of reasons people can disagree on details even when they agree in principle. I am not a fan of flouridated water, for example, but that is not based on denying the medical benefits, so "the science" isn't entirely germaine.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 5:16 PM on October 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


IRFH, I lived in Renton a long, long time ago, when Seattle was a Boeing town.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 5:21 PM on October 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


My son just had his first relationship sputter out. One of the things that did it in was him realizing not that they had conflicting political opinions, but that she didn't have any political opinions! I told him he needs to find someone who appreciates his daily emails of anti-NSA grievances as much as I do.
posted by Biblio at 5:25 PM on October 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


anthropologically induced climate change is a farce

You can say that again. Claude Lévi-Strauss, Margaret Mead, and Papa Franz Boas hatched a clever plan and tried their darnedest but in the end they never could put enough carbon into the atmosphere.
posted by col_pogo at 5:25 PM on October 23, 2013 [7 favorites]


My partner went through a period a few years ago where he got pretty obsessed with fluoridation, to an extent that really unnerved me. It turned out that was coinciding with his first serious bipolar manic episode, and once that was under control, he stopped obsessing about it and returned to being willing to drink tap water again. But I suspect he still has some concerns/questions about fluoridation. We've pretty much reached a tacit agreement to live and let live on this one. I might feel differently if he were out crusading against fluoridation as I'd believe that could actively harm other people. If he wants to stick mostly to bottled water on his own, that's his deal and I pretty much just ignore it. We're probably another case where not having kids helps - "you do you" wouldn't work as well if I were worried about what he was modelling for a child.

The much bigger problem we have with differing beliefs on the same 'side' of the spectrum comes around for Democratic political primaries. For a couple who never fight, we tend to get really tense and snippy around the primaries because we're looking for different things in a primary candidate. We fought about Nader v. Gore, we fought about Obama v. Clinton, if Hillary doesn't run in 2016 we'll be fighting about whoever else it is. (I have a printed-out tweet of his swearing to me that he'd vote for Hillary if she runs in 2016, which I am saving against that day, so we'd better not be fighting about that one.)

Honestly, that's tough enough that it's part of what makes me wonder how people with more drastically different beliefs, or different beliefs that get thrown inot the spotlight more often than once every 4-8 years, manage it.

I saw that with my mom and stepdad, and I will say that in the last years he's started to come around on a few things. (My stepdad! Okay with same-sex marriage! You could have knocked me over with a feather.) But you know, she spent 30 years fighting with him about some very basic incompatibilities in worldview, or keeping her mouth shut about things that mattered to her, to get to this point of a couple of basic points of semi-agreement. I watched that every day for years, and that's how I know I would not want to live it.
posted by Stacey at 5:33 PM on October 23, 2013 [5 favorites]


I'm at a point in my life where I care really, really deeply about social justice issues to a point where I really can't spend time with people who I fundamentally disagree with because their disagreement is basically them shitting on my worldview. Casual racism, homophobia, sexism, transphobia and anti-feminism are all things I just can't and won't put up with, and my absolute lack of tolerance for that kind of microaggression in my social life makes it so that I don't put up with very many people at all. However, it means that I can actually respect the people with whom I do spend time and don't feel disrespected when I get home from socializing.

I think being able to do this seems like a uniquely privileged thing; I seriously doubt that, say, a queer woman could be married to someone like this and deal with it, because then he isn't just shitting on things she cares about, he's shitting on her. I'm white, so I can't talk to the POC experience with that, but I expect that many other members of other marginalized groups would not be able to deal with someone in the business of keeping them down.

And in a lot of ways, this feels like a woman who is, in the long tradition of patriarchy, bowing her more liberal opinions for her husband, who is in the business of spreading propaganda to make her life worse.

Some people are able to distance themselves from their politics, to have things be "just politics". Sometimes it's because they just know how to deal with microagressions; sometimes it's because those microagressions don't affect them personally. I'm not sure how they do it; I'm sure some of them are genuinely able to be tolerant of intolerance and some of them are just insincere about their opinions. But I could never, ever be married to someone who disagreed with me on fundamental issues of social justice, because those beliefs are tied to my views on basic human rights, and at my heart I'm a Humanist, and having to live day in, day out with someone with differing opinions on who deserves food, medical care, life, safety and liberty sounds like a living hell to me.
posted by NoraReed at 5:38 PM on October 23, 2013 [11 favorites]


It's Raining Florence Henderson: Also, there are plenty of reasons people can disagree on details even when they agree in principle. I am not a fan of flouridated water, for example, but that is not based on denying the medical benefits, so "the science" isn't entirely germaine.

I totally get that, as it took me a bit to come to which consensus I believed in regard to fluoridated water as the vote was coming up, but a lot of people here in Portland pushed a very anti-scientific viewpoint of it that also had issues with distorting the facts behind it. I think maybe the local group that rallied everyone against fluoride didn't want to come off as Tea Party, anti-big government types, which may explain it.

It just seems strange to me that people were on the street saying there was a conspiracy by the dental lobby to put fluoride and arsenic and all this other stuff in our water when it'd probably be in the dental lobby's best interests to oppose fluoride.

Those damn anti-dentites...
posted by gucci mane at 5:41 PM on October 23, 2013


> My wife and I are friends with a couple where the guy was an NRA hunting loving tax-hating redneck and the woman was a union organizer who moved here from abroad.

This would imply they're from similar class backgrounds, though from different countries.

He came around--because he couldn't stand the way the immigration debate dehumanized her, because he saw the value in what she was doing with unions, because she appealed to his interest in conservation, etc.

Did he "come around"? Maybe the guy's political views don't correspond to what you'd stereotypically expect from a "redneck" – especially about immigrants – and maybe she didn't start with same assumptions about white American working-class people (a.k.a. "rednecks") as you do.
posted by nangar at 6:01 PM on October 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


"It takes tact and dexterity, but doesn’t marriage require these things of everybody? Doesn’t every couple have profound, even fundamental, disagreements, even if they vote the same ticket at the polls?"

Actually?! No and no. Certainly not to such a degree.
posted by markkraft at 6:16 PM on October 23, 2013


Apocryphon: "Where are the old school 700 Club, Moral Majority 'neoconservatives' of the Reagan administration?"

They're out back with the four-legged 'ducks' who give milk and the pink, curly-tailed 'elephants' who have bacon inside them.

This is a weird formulation. Neoconservativism was a movement of largely ex-communists who became conservative in the late 1960s and early 1970s as a reaction to the excesses of the New Left. They were not part of the Reagan administration - they weren't at all trusted then, and even as studious and thoughtful a liberal as Bernard Devoto once said he couldn't take seriously anyone who'd ever actually been a communist, so why should he take them seriously? - and they sure as heck were never on the 700 Club. Most of them were Jewish atheists, after all.
posted by koeselitz at 6:42 PM on October 23, 2013


Is it possible that y'all are talking about different groups? Because all it took was one really, really confusing conversation with my dad to make me realize that different people mean different things by "neoconservative"/"necon".
posted by NoraReed at 6:55 PM on October 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


I certainly don't think every Republican is a horrible person and some of them are quite nice and I'd say are even non-deluded they just have different priorities than myself.

However this individual works for a magazine which clearly promotes a ridiculously biased and hurtful ideology that perhaps isn't even indicative of the viewpoints of the "silent majority" that mainly don't want to pay taxes and are slightly threatened by the erosion of their previous level of social privilege. This guy is totally not the "average" republican who is somewhat social and fiscally conservative but is rather someone who is actively working to reinforce a really hateful ideology which has a lot of control over the Republican party.

This is definitely not an Eisenhower style Republican.
posted by vuron at 6:57 PM on October 23, 2013


they sure as heck were never on the 700 Club. Most of them were Jewish atheists, after all.

Kristol urged accommodation with the religious right as the only way the GOP could survive; Podhoretz regarded Pat Robertson as a staunch ally, whose devotion to the idea of Israel outweighed any anti-Semitism; and Michael Ledeen, the neo-con's neo-con, was a guest of The 700 Club on more than a few occasions.

Anyway, I don't know what any of this has to do with choosing a matrimonial partner.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:05 PM on October 23, 2013


Yeah, allies, but - the Reagan administration? I think it does matter. People may think my position is skewed, but I'm describing the views of most of my conservative friends. The folks who think it's insane to believe any conservative can ever be trusted should maybe rethink that.
posted by koeselitz at 7:09 PM on October 23, 2013


> My wife and I are friends with a couple where the guy was an NRA hunting loving tax-hating redneck and the woman was a union organizer who moved here from abroad.

This would imply they're from similar class backgrounds, though from different countries.



How would you deduce this? I know plenty of upper class union organizers.
posted by sweetkid at 7:18 PM on October 23, 2013


Sorry, my high school history textbook taught me a different definition of neoconservatism pertaining to the 1980s. Looking back, their formulation is basically modern day GOP conservatism (as opposed to the paleoconservatism that the '80s 'neoconservatives' overthrew). The foreign policy of Bush era neocons is an entirely different thing.
posted by Apocryphon at 7:19 PM on October 23, 2013


koeselitz: "Yeah, allies, but - the Reagan administration? I think it does matter. People may think my position is skewed, but I'm describing the views of most of my conservative friends. The folks who think it's insane to believe any conservative can ever be trusted should maybe rethink that."

It's still not that clear on what basis you're generalizing this experience to an entire big-tent political movement, though.
posted by invitapriore at 7:31 PM on October 23, 2013


They were not part of the Reagan administration

Uh, Jeanne Kirkpatrick, to name just one? I'm not sure you know what you're talking about here.

I certainly don't believe every Republican is to be distrusted (although as one Republican said "Trust, but verify"), but just because your conservative friends are all reasonable fellows doesn't demonstrate that every conservative is. I don't even make that claim about people who agree with me, more or less, politically. I know lefties I wouldn't let in my house, much less my bed.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:32 PM on October 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Many supporters of voter ID laws are incredibly adamant about how important it is to not allow a theoretical fraction of potentially-fraudulent votes to be cast that hurting voter turnout is acceptable collateral damage.

My non-generous assumption is that they aren't dumb, they know that the Republican strategy is to reduce minority voters to help Republicans hold onto power, and they don't care or actively support this.


You should talk to more of your conservative friends about this. I had some friends who were into voter ID stuff and I was kind of fascinated about how they could possibly have those views because it seemed fairly clear to me that it was about disenfranchising minority voters to suppress the Democratic vote and I just wanted to understand why thinking people would go along with all that. I asked and it turns out none of those people felt the wool was being pulled over their eyes at all. There was this intense fear about getting a raw deal and the notion that some bad sneaky people were doing some injustice to the system. They mentioned ACORN and some stories they had read about "illegals" casting ballots in elections. It was like they felt some things were about to be taken away, that the world was this risky place and they needed to fend off the wrong-doers or something (their notion of liberty?) might be taken from them. The thing behind it was this big amorphous, kind of racist fear place. Not the stated intention to be evil.
posted by mermily at 7:44 PM on October 23, 2013


Well, we know it because of overwhelming scientific evidence. Convenient that you don't want to defend where your knowledge comes from.

Nibiru, pesky science

You can say that again. Claude Lévi-Strauss, Margaret Mead, and Papa Franz Boas hatched a clever plan and tried their darnedest but in the end they never could put enough carbon into the atmosphere.

etc.


As you're aware, my point had nothing to do with my position, but was simply to provide an example of why assuming those who don't subscribe to your position are essentially hypocritical liars is both false and incorrect.

In regard to the topic matter and in relation to the highlighted responses, perhaps Jeanne Safer is merely capable of restraining herself from constantly forcing her moral and ethical progressive leftist superiority down her husband's throat, and this rather unique ability has contributed to their successful marriage. Just a thought.
posted by Nibiru at 7:46 PM on October 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yes. Basing our understanding of meteorological phenomena on overwhelming scientific evidence is all about moral and ethical leftist superiority.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 8:23 PM on October 23, 2013 [13 favorites]


In regard to the topic matter and in relation to the highlighted responses, perhaps Jeanne Safer is merely capable of restraining herself from constantly forcing her moral and ethical progressive leftist superiority down her husband's throat, and this rather unique ability has contributed to their successful marriage. Just a thought.

Yes, lefty ladies, you too can land a douchecanoe like Brookhiser if you'd only shut up with your damn opinions.
posted by jason_steakums at 8:33 PM on October 23, 2013 [24 favorites]


I'm all over the political spectrum - very left in some areas, middle in others, and far right in a few. I'm not going to attempt to defend the validity of my position on Metafilter, but I can assure you I KNOW anthropologically induced climate change is a farce just as you KNOW it isn't.

Spoken like someone who KNOWS the Earth is exactly 6000 years old. Science isn't actually a religion, there's rules and evidence and stuff.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:38 PM on October 23, 2013 [5 favorites]


[Comment removed - please have a conversation with the people already conversing here. Metadiscussion goes to MetaTalk]
posted by jessamyn at 8:51 PM on October 23, 2013


I'm guessing, in this case, it's that Jeanne Safer doesn't take her own political convictions seriously.
Otherwise, a "nature loving" person might be troubled by sleeping with the editor of publication that devotes an entire blog to climate change denial. Just for starters.
posted by ryanshepard at 9:47 AM on October 23 [33 favorites +] [!]


Sure, one can assume that this marriage works because one person doesn't take their convictions seriously....but why jump to the conclusion that it's Safer? Why not default to the opposite assumption that, given Husband's prominence in conservative circles, he couldn't possibly, really believe what he writes? Clearly he has to be the biggest hypocrit there ever was? How else could you explain being married to such a woman?

I don't buy either, but it's interesting to assume that the woman here is the one with the shakier convictions.

What's the saying? Marriage is a mystery, most especially to those in it? Why not leave it at that?
posted by space_cookie at 9:26 PM on October 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


I'm just going to react to this one more time before I give up: this is emphatically not what the pro-life cause is about. This is actually quite simple: pro-lifers believe that the fetus is not part of a woman's body, they believe it is a separate person, with all of the rights you and I have.

Nah, most pro-lifers are really about controlling women and their private sexual behavior. The proof for this is in their ridiculously tone-deaf and strident opposition to contraception, which has nothing to do with making the distinction between a developing fetus and a human life, and all to do with stopping non-procreative sexual activity on the part of the women involved, who are less and less tied up to another male as chattel or property.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:59 PM on October 23, 2013 [7 favorites]


"klang, I think what you're calling "the polarization of dialogue" is better described as a rightward drift of both poles. The Republicans moved to the far right, and the Democrats tried to chase voters in the middle by moving to the right as well. I don't see the debate as any more polarized than it ever was -- it's just drifted toward more conservative policy on a great number of issues."

No, that's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about the shift of internal range within parties or constituencies decreasing the ability to critique orthodoxy within that party or constituency.
posted by klangklangston at 10:27 PM on October 23, 2013


"Yeah, allies, but - the Reagan administration? I think it does matter. People may think my position is skewed, but I'm describing the views of most of my conservative friends. The folks who think it's insane to believe any conservative can ever be trusted should maybe rethink that."

The thing is, the people the Republicans (including the National Review) elected just did billions of dollars of damage to the American economy for a futile fight over a law that will save lives.

That's not, "We have some reasonable concerns about this law, let's work together to fix it!" That's, "This law is so terrible that we are justified destroying the global economy."

And even there, sure, some folks thought that it wouldn't be so bad, and are insulated from the effects of the shutdown and default (or insulated enough to gamble). That's fucking stupid. That's inflicting avoidable suffering on everyone in order to prove some jackass point.

I can get along fine with most Republicans, especially being a straight white dude. But I think it's entirely reasonable to hold a lot of their views in contempt.
posted by klangklangston at 10:35 PM on October 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


Buffalo News (January 27, 2009):
Niagara County Republican Chairman Henry F. Wojtaszek at last has removed the Obama '08 bumper sticker from his minivan.

He said it occurred simultaneously with his removal of a John McCain sticker from another vehicle owned by he and his wife, Caroline.

Caroline Wojtaszek, a Niagara County assistant district attorney, is a Democrat who slapped the Obama sticker on the minivan.
posted by pracowity at 11:50 PM on October 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


I come from a family where my children's father was of the same political persuasion I was but he was just mean to us even though he professed to be a card carrying liberal. Every one had to believe as he did when he did. My present husband is a Republican but he does not have a mean bone in his body...in spite of the stereotypes that I read here....and we don't agree on many political points. But it is great that we have different opinions.
He was there for the raising of my children and as it turns out all those girls have well supported opinions all over the political spectrum and the two closest sisters are the ones who absolutely have diametrically opposed views over Obamacare....and I credit that because both my husband and I have great disdain for those who pigeon hole others based on a very superficial knowledge of who that person is and what they stand for instead emphasizing the very basic and decent human values as the most valuable. PS he believes in global warming, I on the other hand am a Democrat who does not...so take that and stick it in your stereotype pipes.
posted by OhSusannah at 2:59 AM on October 24, 2013 [5 favorites]


My point is that no matter how well they treat me personally, I would not be able to be married to someone with politics that actively are attempting to oppress me or people I love. This doesn't mean that liberals are necessarily all good guys, it just means that they choose not to shit on poor people and people of color at the polls as much as conservatives generally do. They are totally capable of being gigantic assholes in the rest of their lives. But if you only know one thing about a person and that is their political bent, you at least know whether one particular aspect of their personal philosophy and ideals are shitty, oppressive and terrible. If you're willing to put up with that aspect because they're wonderful the rest of the time, bully for you, I guess. I'd rather be with someone who's generally decent both in and out of the voting booth.
posted by NoraReed at 3:18 AM on October 24, 2013 [6 favorites]


Yes, lefty ladies, you too can land a douchecanoe like Brookhiser if you'd only shut up with your damn opinions.

Oh waly waly!
posted by winna at 4:17 AM on October 24, 2013


In regard to the topic matter and in relation to the highlighted responses, perhaps Jeanne Safer is merely capable of restraining herself from constantly forcing her moral and ethical progressive leftist superiority down her husband's throat, and this rather unique ability has contributed to their successful marriage.

What a delightful thought, you dear sweet fragile little thing.
posted by pracowity at 4:24 AM on October 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


I said nothing about whether these people are vile or craven liars or anything else. I said I couldn't be married to them. Trust me, there are a lot of totally non-vile courageous truthtellers who are, nonetheless, totally inappropriate spouses for me.

I think the problem is that "They're nice people, but I wouldn't be married to one / let my daughter marry one" has always been a stand-in for "I'm tolerant, but those aren't really full humans." In fact, "But I wouldn't let my daughter marry one" is old and worn enough to be a really shitty chestnut. Marriage is seen as the gateway to intimacy - a thing to be done only with the finest and best, of which those people could never be a part.

By saying, "I wouldn't marry one," it's essentially saying that there is nothing redeeming, nothing lovable, about one of these people - or rather, that you, noble and pure, could never find anything redeeming or worth loving in one of those people.

And it's shitty. If anyone here said, "But I wouldn't want to marry a (insert ethnicity/gender status/religion here)" it would be reviled as shitty, and probably rightfully so. But because it's Republicans, who are the people it's okay to hate, it's open season.
posted by corb at 5:28 AM on October 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


While I like rich bitter irony as much as the next guy, I'm not sure that comparing being a Republican to being a member of an ethnic or sexual minority group is really a good way to go.
posted by box at 5:36 AM on October 24, 2013 [22 favorites]


While I like rich bitter irony as much as the next guy, I'm not sure that comparing being a Republican to being a member of an ethnic or sexual minority group is really a good way to go.

But the Republicans have been forced to endure a duly elected Democratic President for five years! How can you be so cold and heartless to their ongoing torment?!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:45 AM on October 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


And it's shitty. If anyone here said, "But I wouldn't want to marry a (insert ethnicity/gender status/religion here)" it would be reviled as shitty, and probably rightfully so. But because it's Republicans, who are the people it's okay to hate, it's open season.

No. You're conflating two different senses of the word 'Republican': 'people who vote/d for the Republican Party', which is not the sense used frequently in this thread, and 'people who subscribe to the variety of far-right views the Republican Party shelters', which overwhelmingly is.

And the fact is that if someone is Republican -- in this second sense, of course -- they carry opinions that people revile, and it is fine for these people to say they could never marry a Republican.
posted by Quilford at 5:46 AM on October 24, 2013 [4 favorites]


They were not part of the Reagan administration

Team B was certainly full of neoconservatives and were certainly part of the Reagan administration.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 5:49 AM on October 24, 2013


By saying, "I wouldn't marry one," it's essentially saying that there is nothing redeeming, nothing lovable, about one of these people - or rather, that you, noble and pure, could never find anything redeeming or worth loving in one of those people.

...but yet I expect that you would not be willing to marry someone who treated you well enough and who was kind to puppies and otherwise decent but who worked as a US-based spokesman and fundraiser for FARC.

I don't think very many people here have said that they would not could not love someone who happened to be Republican or who happened to have voted for Bush in 2000 or Romney in 2012, and even the few that did are probably just hyperbolizing. Instead, the aggregate sentiment that you refuse to see in your rush to right-wing martyrdom is more along the lines of "I could imagine marrying a more conservative person, but, my God, there are limits," with the implication that someone actually, literally, working in the right-wing noise machine might fall beyond those limits.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:56 AM on October 24, 2013 [9 favorites]


[Folks let's avoid crafting all discussion now around Corb, or, in fact, dredging through anyone's personal history in order to make a personalized point. Also, going down the "Republicans = Oppressed Minority" road is probably also not the way to keep the conversation on a reasonable keel. Thanks.]
posted by taz at 6:14 AM on October 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


By saying, "I wouldn't marry one," it's essentially saying that there is nothing redeeming, nothing lovable, about one of these people - or rather, that you, noble and pure, could never find anything redeeming or worth loving in one of those people.

No, it's not essentially saying that. I would never marry someone who worked for the State department & expected to move every few years. I would never marry someone who planned to work 9-midnight every night 6 nights a week for the forseeable future. I would never marry a Catholic who expected me to raise my children as Catholics. I would never marry someone who only wants to have sex once a week. I would never marry someone who would want me to stay at home with any future children...

In none of these cases do I see "nothing redeeming, nothing lovable" in any of these people. I just don't want to live the life that marrying them would entail.

I think you're smart enough to realize that having principles and values (and expecting to share your life with someone who has similar principles and values) is nothing like the dehumanizing and violent racism that you're referencing.

BTW, my parents were in a mixed race marriage, I'm mixed race as are all of my sisters. I would find your comparison of the sentiments in this thread with the kind of racism that condemns interracial marriage offensive if I thought you were in any way genuine about it.
posted by the young rope-rider at 6:24 AM on October 24, 2013 [18 favorites]


I don't think very many people here have said that they would not could not love someone who happened to be Republican or who happened to have voted for Bush in 2000 or Romney in 2012, and even the few that did are probably just hyperbolizing

I'm saying that and I'm not hyperbolizing. By "love" of course I mean the companionate and sexual love that is largely considered the basis for marriage in my culture. I'm sure that if my child were to become a Republican in the current sense of the world, I would still love him. I would be dissapointed that I was unable to impart my values to him successfully.
posted by the young rope-rider at 6:30 AM on October 24, 2013


for me, it's not about what party you're affiliated with, it's the ideals you hold. i demand that my partners be aggressively pro-choice. i demand that they be vehemently for gay rights (and not just in speech - i dated a very liberal guy who was sort of personally homophobic/biphobic, and it's one of the things that eventually had me falling out of love with him). i demand that they value science over religion (and while i've dated people who aren't atheists, i'm not sure i would have married one). i demand that they don't hold beliefs about "stealing our jobs!" or "welfare queens" or any of the other code words for "i hate poor people who are brown."

as it happens, this list of requirements (and a bunch more) have pretty much always kept me dating liberals after high school.
posted by nadawi at 6:50 AM on October 24, 2013 [4 favorites]


If anyone here said, "But I wouldn't want to marry a (insert ethnicity/gender status/religion here)" it would be reviled as shitty, and probably rightfully so. But because it's Republicans, who are the people it's okay to hate, it's open season.

I think we've been crystal clear about the differences between the characteristics that people choose and the ones that they do not choose. The fact that you do not see this distinction and continually make these points does not mean this distinction doesn't exist. Playing this "Yeah but what if the situation were about an ethnic minority instead of about Republicans/hipsters/catlovers/people who like cilantro...?" game can no longer be considered to be a good faith argument here.
posted by jessamyn at 6:54 AM on October 24, 2013 [22 favorites]


Given that the couple doesn't have children and Safer has written a book called "Beyond Motherhood: Choosing a Life Without Children", I think it's safe to assume that Safer and Brookhiser have discussed birth control and have some kind of agreement about that, despite having different positions on abortion.
posted by nangar at 6:58 AM on October 24, 2013


Which is not to say that lumping all Republicans together isn't a sort of facile argument and often intellectually lazy, just that you need to up your game as far as interacting with perspectives that you find problematic and not go for low-hanging Godwin equivalent conversation stoppers.
posted by jessamyn at 7:00 AM on October 24, 2013 [4 favorites]


good for her that she can accept that. but down here in oklahoma, fighting against abortion access has real, tangible negative effects on my life as a woman of child bearing age. i couldn't marry someone who not only voted to remove that access, but also fought to convince others to do the same. i would view it as a personal attack. it's probably easier to separate yourself from the reality of your husband's positions in a place like new york.
posted by nadawi at 7:03 AM on October 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


Can you imagine being married to Godwin? You'd automatically lose every argument!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 7:07 AM on October 24, 2013 [4 favorites]


By saying, "I wouldn't marry one," it's essentially saying that there is nothing redeeming, nothing lovable, about one of these people - or rather, that you, noble and pure, could never find anything redeeming or worth loving in one of those people.

Bullshit, it's not saying anything of the sort. Please don't try to put words in others' mouth for melodramatic effect.

When I for one say I wouldn't marry or partner with someone who has strong typically right-wing viewpoints it's saying that, because of how I feel about some of the social issues involved, it's hard to imagine how our disagreement on these fundamental worldview issues wouldn't cause unacceptable levels of interpersonal conflict in the context of our daily lives together. I am not someone who would choose to live with that kind of conflict (or other kinds of stressful drama, like someone who picks fights with neighbors or drinks heavily regularly etc.) in my home life. I understand there are people who don't mind or even who look for higher levels of interpersonal conflict/drama in their relationships, or who can put a wall between socio-political issues and love/desire; good for them, if they can eke out quotidian happiness despite such adversity, but I am not one of them.

That's what it means, at least for me to say I wouldn't want to live with someone whose political beliefs were significantly different than mine. There are lots of beliefs, habits, and attitudes that make me (or anyone) choose not to pursue relationships with particular people. None of those choices suggests the other person is unredeemable or unlovable in and of themselves, either, and to make that accusation on the basis of this one criterion is pretty childish, frankly.
posted by aught at 7:13 AM on October 24, 2013 [9 favorites]


By saying, "I wouldn't marry one," it's essentially saying that there is nothing redeeming, nothing lovable, about one of these people

Yeah this is so obviously absurd I'm surprised anyone actually typed it with sincerity. I wouldn't marry a man, or a geriatric, but I love my grandpop.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 7:15 AM on October 24, 2013 [10 favorites]


> ... down here in oklahoma, fighting against abortion access has real, tangible negative effects on my life as a woman of child bearing age. i couldn't marry someone who not only voted to remove that access, but also fought to convince others to do the same. i would view it as a personal attack. it's probably easier to separate yourself from the reality of your husband's positions in a place like new york.

Yeah, pretty much. As far as I can tell, they're both rich New Yorkers who can afford to agree to disagree about issues that don't matter to either of them personally or to anyone they know socially.
posted by nangar at 7:43 AM on October 24, 2013 [6 favorites]


The thing is, this could be a really interesting conversation. I would love to know more about how the author deals with this in day to day life, with her friends, with his friends, talking about work. I would love to hear more about the kinds of compromises corb has made with her husband (as a specific example of someone who is married to someone of a different political bent, not just her). I think this is a topic that could have a lot of depth -- how much is politics a reflection of beliefs, what level of different beliefs on what topics do people accept (is "I wouldn't marry a person of opposite political beliefs" that much different or worse than if the beliefs are religious?) -- but the article was this shallow "Hey, I totally love my husband and we disagree on politics and people who would find it a dealbreaker" are wrong.
posted by jeather at 7:44 AM on October 24, 2013 [4 favorites]


If anyone here said, "But I wouldn't want to marry a (insert ethnicity/gender status/religion here)" it would be reviled as shitty, and probably rightfully so.

Yeah, but it wouldn't be this hypothetical xenophobe's relationship criteria that would be reviled, it would be the xenophobia that informs it.
posted by jason_steakums at 7:50 AM on October 24, 2013


By saying, "I wouldn't marry one," it's essentially saying that there is nothing redeeming, nothing lovable, about one of these people - or rather, that you, noble and pure, could never find anything redeeming or worth loving in one of those people.

My best friend is a high-powered, ambitious, gold star executive sales trainer at a Large Software Company. She is an amazing employee and a wonderful friend, but I could never be married to her; I need a partner who's more laid back. That doesn't mean that there is nothing redeeming, or lovable about her, it means that she's not a good match for me. There's a lot more that goes into making a good marriage than "both people have redeeming qualities."
posted by KathrynT at 8:08 AM on October 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


If anyone here said, "But I wouldn't want to marry a (insert ethnicity/gender status/religion here)" it would be reviled as shitty, and probably rightfully so.

I wouldn't want to marry a typical fundamentalist Christian. They probably wouldn't want to marry me either, as I am a Jewish atheist socialist. There's just too vast a gulf between our worldviews and the way we would want to live our lives.

I don't think anyone would revile that. If they do, they should mind their own damn business.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 8:09 AM on October 24, 2013


You know, I was happily married to my deleted comment. Now I am widowed.
posted by octobersurprise at 8:12 AM on October 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


My best friend is a high-powered, ambitious, gold star executive sales trainer at a Large Software Company. She is an amazing employee and a wonderful friend, but I could never be married to her; I need a partner who's more laid back. That doesn't mean that there is nothing redeeming, or lovable about her, it means that she's not a good match for me. There's a lot more that goes into making a good marriage than "both people have redeeming qualities."

I think there's a lot of qualities that go into why people don't make good marriages. I am not, for example, married to one of my ex-boyfriends - who I deeply loved - who is a flake with major honesty problems. There's lots of people I'm not married to - really, an infinite list of people I'm not married to or would have a terrible marriage with.

But I think there's a difference between quietly thinking, "Man, I don't think I want to marry this individual guy" and publicly decreeing, in the abstract, that no one of a certain category of people will ever be lovable. The latter seems performative - as though it's being done to demonstrate membership in a class, and to protect that class. In other cases, that class has been xenophobic - in this case, it seems that this is just an excuse for people to trot out their lefty credentials and say how much more left-than-thou they are, because they could never marry one of those dirty Republicans.

And I think that's terrible, and also kind of insulting to those people who somehow manage to have great marriages to people who have very different political beliefs. There is no reason to assume the people in the article aren't sincere. There's no reason to assume that in a politically discordant marriage, someone has to compromise their beliefs in order for it to survive, or that someone just doesn't feel things strongly enough. It's just possible that other people somehow manage to survive - because the bitterness of this partisan divide is really new.
posted by corb at 8:26 AM on October 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


publicly decreeing, in the abstract, that no one of a certain category of people will ever be lovable.'

No one at all is saying anything close to that.

And please stop conflating whatever you think is going on in this thread with xenophobia. I mean for fucks sake.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 8:31 AM on October 24, 2013 [16 favorites]


It doesn't matter how many times you rephrase it. Stop disingenuously conflating xenophobia and racism with people who are saying "I don't want to marry someone who is a bigot or a homophobe".
posted by elizardbits at 8:32 AM on October 24, 2013 [17 favorites]


"But I think there's a difference between quietly thinking, "Man, I don't think I want to marry this individual guy" and publicly decreeing, in the abstract, that no one of a certain category of people will ever be lovable. The latter seems performative - as though it's being done to demonstrate membership in a class, and to protect that class. In other cases, that class has been xenophobic - in this case, it seems that this is just an excuse for people to trot out their lefty credentials and say how much more left-than-thou they are, because they could never marry one of those dirty Republicans."

And again, that's shallow and facile. Would you ever marry a misogynist? I would hope not. Yet that's a category of person based on their belief.

And given that I have no problem pointing out that the policies you espouse lead to innocent people dying of preventable diseases, I doubt you'd want to marry me.

There are views that people, in this case Republicans, hold that I view with contempt. If I don't respect a person, I can't marry them. Instead of plucking fruit from the wah-wah tree, maybe you could think about that a little deeper.
posted by klangklangston at 8:34 AM on October 24, 2013 [7 favorites]


corb, perhaps as a demonstration of good faith, you could quote the specific instances where you think someone has said that they categorically could never marry any Republican. That's what you are alleging here, so please be specific about who the allegations are directed at.
posted by tonycpsu at 8:39 AM on October 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


And I think that's terrible, and also kind of insulting to those people who somehow manage to have great marriages to people who have very different political beliefs.

The only people insulted by someone voicing their own personal preferences in this matter are people who want to feel insulted. Christ, it's not about them.
posted by jason_steakums at 8:42 AM on October 24, 2013 [7 favorites]


The thing is, this could be a really interesting conversation.

I agree. It's a shame that this thread is such a trainwreck.

Rather than go into why it turned into such a horrible human centipede of posts, it might be more interesting to hear more from people whose partners do not share their political or ethical beliefs. It doesn't have to lead to either acrimony or a kind of acceptance. It can lead to people changing, sometimes quite a bit.

When I first got together with the person who was to be my wife, I was quite strongly right-wing, in a rather Randian way. We were united by any number of things other than politics, and where we found common ground was that our ethical principles were quite similar - but we differed in our beliefs about two things:

1) What kinds of institutions actually worked;
2) Who could be expected to be acting in good faith.

As far as personal responsibility, charity etc. went, we were largely in accord. What I found was that, as time went on, I saw more and more evidence that the institutions I assumed were reliably competent actually weren't; and I noticed that there was a remarkable shortage of good faith attempts to address left-wing criticisms on the right wing side.

Right-wing writers, it seemed to me, were often either strangely unaware of left-wing arguments or simply pretended they didn't exist. If they ever did attempt to refute them, they usually misrepresented them. They never employed what I think of as a fairly basic ethical standard in arguments - the "principle of charity", whereby you present your opponents case as strongly and coherently as possible, before you oppose it.

Instead, they wrote with no charity whatsoever, but always with an attempt to present their opponents as at best naive, at worst morally insane. There were left-wing writers who did the same thing. But I was actually shocked when I realised that I could not think of a single charitable, mature, kind right-wing intellectual.

This was also evident in debates online. Right-wing and conservative posters would consistently belittle their opponents, concoct straw-man arguments and cite studies that either did not say what they claimed or said other things as well that made the issue much more complex. When they started to lose, they never changed their minds or rethought things - over and over again, I would see them start up this evasive, conversation-killing whine: you're persecuting me. You don't want to listen to other opinions. And I would think: everyone did just listen to your opinion. They just disagreed with it! And then they took the time to explain to you why, AT GREAT LENGTH!

That was bad enough; but then I read a few prominent right-wing authors writing about things that I did know something about - in this case, the history of the British Empire. I'm thinking particularly of Niall Ferguson. And his work was so intellectually incoherent and - in some cases - so downright dishonest when I actually checked the footnotes, that I grew quite angry. And I also started to wonder - what if all right-wing scholarship is like this? What if this is how economists feel about right-wing works of economics and lawyers feel about right-wing legal theorists? And I checked around and started to see more and more evidence that yes, it actually was.

These small cracks gradually expanded, but it took time. Along the way, I realised that reading conservative literature never seemed to leave me feeling happy. It always made me angry. Ayn Rand talked so much about the importance of a sense of life, but all she wrote about was misery and outrage. And who was I supposed to be mad at? Left-wing intellectuals? Why? They didn't run anything, except a few departments of a few universities and a few journals. They didn't make the laws or decide whether or not a country went to war. It all seemed like an incredible amount of outrage and spite directed at a completely disproportionately small and meagre target.

Meanwhile, the more that I learned about what people on the left actually said, as opposed to the strange caricature of them presented in right-wing literature, the more I thought - "well, they do seem to be talking about things I have experienced, and real problems with systems I thought worked quite well - I should at least hear them out." And eventually my political opinions changed more or less completely.

Through all of this, my wife (to be) happily and honestly talked about all these issues and engaged with me in completely good faith. We didn't always agree and still probably don't. But it was a fair and productive and above all really interesting conversation.

TL, DR: a marriage of opposites can also end with one party changing his or her mind, or at least drifting towards the center.
posted by lucien_reeve at 8:51 AM on October 24, 2013 [16 favorites]


that no one of a certain category of people will ever be lovable.

Look, one more time: this is where you're misrepresenting what many are saying, corb.

People have been explaining that, as individuals, they would have (or in some cases have had) difficulty in a relationship with someone with a radically different political perspective.

That is NOT the same thing as saying NO ONE could love a person with a far-right political perspective (i.e., they are "unlovable"). One statement is a matter of personal preference, the other a generalized insult -- AND THEY ARE NOT THE SAME STATEMENT, no matter how many times you persist in trying to equate them in this thread.

(One wonders if you're generalizing from the example turned inside out: perhaps far-right folks you know do in fact think that liberals are bad, inferior, or unlovable people because they are "murderers" (abortion rights support), "thieves" (progressive taxation on the wealthy), "heathens" (if not religious or atheist) or "craven cowards" (pacifist beliefs)? I mean, do you know people who think this, and you've taken it to heart and turned the logic around? Otherwise, I don't get why you keep pressing this point in this way despite people trying to explain it.)
posted by aught at 8:53 AM on October 24, 2013 [6 favorites]


lucien_reeve - my dad and i went through a very similar learning and growing process - that ended much the same, with him moving away from a more conservative bent. i think it can be very beneficial to have an open mind and to listen and to really hear both sides. i do think generally one "side" is more intellectually honest, but it's important to take critique of my own beliefs if i'm critiquing another person's beliefs.
posted by nadawi at 9:19 AM on October 24, 2013


corb: "And it's shitty. If anyone here said, "But I wouldn't want to marry a (insert ethnicity/gender status/religion here)" it would be reviled as shitty, and probably rightfully so."

This is a false equivalency. Gender status and ethnicity are not the same as religion or political status. The former two are essentially immutable. The latter two are not.

One chooses to be Republican but cannot choose whether or not they are Latino (for example.) Someone who says, "I would not marry anyone whose religious beliefs reject science or a woman's right to choose" are not in the same category as one who says, "I wouldn't marry a White person."
posted by zarq at 9:23 AM on October 24, 2013


Wow. Yes, when I made the first comment I was questioning how two people with radically different political views can remain in a relationship together, not suggesting right-wingers are intrinsically unlovable. Fair play to those people who can do it, it just doesn't seem like it would be for me!
posted by knapah at 9:27 AM on October 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


I wouldn't want to join any club that would have Ted Cruz as a member.
posted by Atom Eyes at 9:32 AM on October 24, 2013 [5 favorites]


And I think that's terrible, and also kind of insulting to those people who somehow manage to have great marriages to people who have very different political beliefs.

Your marriage is insulted by someone else's choice of romantic partner? Oddly, opponents of same-sex marriage feel the same way. I'm pretty confident that Safer and Brookhiser's marriage isn't threatened by what any of us think of it, even if we did disapprove of it, something I've seen little of here. As far as I'm concerned, mazel tov! It's no skin off my nose if someone chooses to marry a Republican, a Democrat, a Communist, or a Flat Earther, but I'm not going to demand equal time for Cupid, either.
posted by octobersurprise at 9:39 AM on October 24, 2013 [5 favorites]


I was in a long-term relationship with someone whose political beliefs differed greatly from mine. But even though he had voted Republican, he was fairly socially liberal politically (pro-choice, not homophobic, etc.), which was the more important part of the equation for me. And I felt conflicted about his other beliefs, in the sense that I did believe he was supporting politicians who were making things worse for me and my friends, but I ended up coming to the conclusion that since the only way he was supporting them was by voting, I was ok with that -- he wasn't an activist, he wasn't trying to change other people's minds, he didn't have a job that gave him the power to enact new laws or enforce his views on others.

Basically, he wasn't a politician or a freakin' Senior Editor at the National Review.

(He also actually realized how far to the right the Republicans had gone and realized his values were more in line with the Democratic party during the course of our relationship, which helped. I was still always way more left-wing than he was.)
posted by jaguar at 10:27 AM on October 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


"So you hold an awful lot of people in contempt, and have a long list of views that, having decided they're not worthy of consideration, you will never have to endure from someone you are legally bound to, live with, have sex with, possibly raise offspring with, and care for in their old age."

Fixed that for you.

Seriously. When did this thread decide that the only way to grant someone humanity was to MARRY THEM? Did I wander into a Rev. Moon wedding here or some shit?
posted by like_a_friend at 10:59 AM on October 24, 2013 [7 favorites]


[Good faith non-personalized interactions here, folks. We've politely asked, now we're telling you.]
posted by jessamyn at 11:00 AM on October 24, 2013


When did this thread decide that the only way to grant someone humanity was to MARRY THEM?

Yea OMG there are a whole hell of a lot of people who do not want to marry me. I still think they think of me as a decent person, though. I would hope so.
posted by sweetkid at 11:06 AM on October 24, 2013


Did I wander into a Rev. Moon wedding here or some shit?

MANSEI, MANSEI, MANSEI
posted by octobersurprise at 11:13 AM on October 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


The comment quoted was quite explicitly *beginning* with "I hold these views in contempt", proceeded to "I hold people who hold those views in contempt", and only ended with "Therefore I cannot marry them." Deciding not to marry someone is a perfectly legitimate decision, one most people make more often than not. Deciding that 40-50% of the country is worthy of nothing but contempt is a way of building an intellectual armor so think that no thought can ever penetrate.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 11:17 AM on October 24, 2013


"I hold people who hold those views in contempt", and only ended with "Therefore I cannot marry them."

Contempt of courting.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:34 AM on October 24, 2013 [7 favorites]


Deciding not to marry someone is a perfectly legitimate decision, one most people make more often than not.

I think it's a decision everyone makes more often than not. Even Zsa Zsa Gabor.
posted by octobersurprise at 11:37 AM on October 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


I've been thinking about corb's first comment about her marriage, and it occurs to me that while I'd have a hard time dating or marrying a Republican or a Libertarian, I'd have no problem (I don't think) with an anarcho-syndicalist, because that philosophy is definitely one that I can identify as having similar values to mine, even if the proposed means of getting there are different from what I believe would work. I'm sure there are plenty of other non-mainstream political ideologies out there with wish I would mesh similarly well. The ridiculously narrowed spectrum of political debate and difference in the US makes it too easy to lump everyone into an Us vs. Them dynamic.
posted by jaguar at 11:55 AM on October 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Stop disingenuously conflating xenophobia and racism with people who are saying "I don't want to marry someone who is a bigot or a homophobe".

I thought we were talking about willingness to marry a Republican. That's really a terrible conflation, especially when other people here are taking pains to avoid such broad generalizations.
posted by Edgewise at 12:51 PM on October 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Deciding that 40-50% of the country is worthy of nothing but contempt is a way of building an intellectual armor so think that no thought can ever penetrate.

It sounds like something that might cause issues in a relationship. (Is the number we're looking for 47%?)
posted by XMLicious at 12:53 PM on October 24, 2013


So, do you think there are more conservative/Republican people who would never marry a liberal/Democrat, or are there more liberals/Democrats who would never marry a conservative/Republican?
posted by box at 2:38 PM on October 24, 2013


I recently briefly dated a guy who said he didn't care about politics because he could "see both sides" of the death penalty and gay marriage issues. I swear that bothered me and turned me off more than someone who might have had some conservative viewpoints about those issues that we could have then debated.

I also briefly dated a libertarian who folded very quickly under pressure about what his libertarian beliefs actually were, and what he thought should happen when the agencies he wanted to shutter were closed - what would/should happen to the people served? NO ANSWER.
posted by sweetkid at 2:51 PM on October 24, 2013


What a delightful thought, you dear sweet fragile little thing.
posted by pracowity at 4:24 AM on October 24 [2 favorites +] [!]


My initial point was very simple: one who doesn't subscribe to your position isn't necessarily feigning disagreement on the basis of political bias. I was greeted with an avalanche of irrelevant (in terms of my actual point) and snide comments. I reacted accordingly. And now this blatant attempt to manipulate my response into anti-feminism rhetoric deserving of the above reply? My opinion/belief/knowledge in regard to anthropologically induced climate change remains steadfast, as too my opinion/belief/knowledge in regard to the often bad, wrong, and unjust behaviour of human beings in pursuit of that which they perceive good, right and just.
posted by Nibiru at 4:04 PM on October 24, 2013


Niburu: the scientific facts you deny are about anthropogenic climate change. Anthropogenic means caused by the species Homo sapiens. Anthropological means having to do with the study of the species Homo sapiens.

A lot of the "avalanche of irrelevant and snide comments" were related to the fact that you keep using the wrong word there, suggesting you might not know as much about the topic as you think.
posted by hydropsyche at 4:13 PM on October 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yes, I bugger up the two routinely, hydropsyche. What's next? Would grammatical and spelling errors too potentially negate an otherwise valid point?
posted by Nibiru at 4:18 PM on October 24, 2013


"perhaps Jeanne Safer is merely capable of restraining herself from constantly forcing her moral and ethical progressive leftist superiority down her husband's throat, and this rather unique ability has contributed to their successful marriage." is not really an objective statement of a valid point. If you're being accused of anti-feminist rhetoric for that phrasing, there might be a reason for it.
posted by jaguar at 4:22 PM on October 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Niburu: My point was that a lot of the jokes in response to you were specifically jokes about anthropologists causing climate change.

This is a site where grammatical and spelling errors are discouraged, and people do tend to read your posts differently if they are not well-written. That is just part of Metafilter's culture.

A lot of us on this site are scientists. We use these words in our life's work, and we know what they mean. We do science and take it seriously. We not only are familiar with the scientific literature on climate change--some of us actually do research in that field. So, no, many of us don't consider you to have "an otherwise valid point".
posted by hydropsyche at 4:28 PM on October 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ah, I see. You encourage and support diversity (in theory) yet find it amusing and culturally acceptable to attempt to humiliate those without the, "privilege" of your educational background? Quite frankly, the hypocrisy is astounding.
posted by Nibiru at 4:32 PM on October 24, 2013


By the way, you repeatedly attempt to defend an invalid point...because my point had nothing what-so-ever to do with climate change anyway, as you're very well aware, hydropsyche.
posted by Nibiru at 4:41 PM on October 24, 2013


"perhaps Jeanne Safer is merely capable of restraining herself from constantly forcing her moral and ethical progressive leftist superiority down her husband's throat, and this rather unique ability has contributed to their successful marriage." is not really an objective statement of a valid point. If you're being accused of anti-feminist rhetoric for that phrasing, there might be a reason for it.

Yes, there was a reason - blatant opportunism.
posted by Nibiru at 4:45 PM on October 24, 2013




those without the, "privilege" of your educational background?

Yeah, quit oppressing Nibiru with all your knowledge and facts, you egghead.
posted by octobersurprise at 4:58 PM on October 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


What facts? Let's start with the first, shall we?

"I'm not going to attempt to defend my position on Metafilter..."

The fact is, my contributions to this topic have had nothing what-so-ever to do with climate change, and continuously attempting to manipulate the conversation in this direction is an obvious smokescreen.
posted by Nibiru at 5:27 PM on October 24, 2013


When it comes to smokescreens, it seems like obviousness is a good quality.

I mean, the whole point of a smokescreen is that the people can't see through the thing.
posted by box at 5:41 PM on October 24, 2013


Final fact - this majority of participants in this conversation are being deliberately obtuse, and are currently engaged in an enthusiastic circle jerk.
posted by Nibiru at 5:42 PM on October 24, 2013


If the "I'm not willing to marry a member of group _____" actually means that they hold the members of group _____ in contempt, there sure are a lot of self-loathing straight people out there.
posted by NoraReed at 5:45 PM on October 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


are currently engaged in an enthusiastic circle jerk.

Well, an unenthusiastic circle jerk isn't even worth the effort.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:09 PM on October 24, 2013 [11 favorites]


~*FACTS*~
posted by elizardbits at 6:14 PM on October 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


I had pizza for dinner already. Do we really have to do this
posted by invitapriore at 6:39 PM on October 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


If the "I'm not willing to marry a member of group _____" actually means that they hold the members of group _____ in contempt, there sure are a lot of self-loathing straight people out there.

The comment in question reads: "There are views that people, in this case Republicans, hold that I view with contempt. If I don't respect a person, I can't marry them. "

The logic was:
-I hold these views in contempt
-I do not respect people who hold such views
-I cannot marry them.

Marriage was the end of that particular chain, not the beginning.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 7:13 PM on October 24, 2013


Nibiru, I apologize for my part in the circlejerk. I agree that your point is valid - that you honestly hold your beliefs. And that being the whole of your point, the examples of those beliefs were irrelevant, as you professed that you didn't want to try to defend them here. It was, frankly, a jerkish thing for me to do to jump on you for expressing that opinion, and I sincerely apologize. Sometimes, I can be a real asshole. I'm very sorry.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 7:33 PM on October 24, 2013


Just realized I was thinking of soggy biscuits, not circle jerks. Carry on, everyone.
posted by invitapriore at 8:46 PM on October 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


"Marriage was the end of that particular chain, not the beginning."

So, you're complaining that I elided the clause about not respecting people who actively promote views I hold in contempt?

Further, I'm not sure what point you think you're showing. Marriage isn't required; my marrying anyone isn't required; it takes my consent to marry me. And as a universal statement, I don't think that's as controversial as you'd like it: very few people would marry someone who they didn't respect, and their political beliefs are often part of that.

For this to be disagreeable you've either got to hold that the general statement "I wouldn't marry someone I don't respect," is incorrect; or that I'm drawing the line in the wrong place. Arguing that line shouldn't be drawn at all is absurd; you've presented no case that I'm drawing the line in the wrong place (which, again, shouldn't matter to you — unless you're a conservative Republican who is on some long game meet-cute).
posted by klangklangston at 10:02 PM on October 24, 2013 [4 favorites]


corb: "By saying, "I wouldn't marry one," it's essentially saying that there is nothing redeeming, nothing lovable, about one of these people - or rather, that you, noble and pure, could never find anything redeeming or worth loving in one of those people."

If there's anything I learned from watching Moonlighting, it's that Bruce Willis may seem like an asshole when you first meet him, but he's got a heart of gold and would be entertaining you endlessly with his one-liners and sexual tension if you would just give him a chance. What you really should do is get back to work and solve a few capers together, and pretty soon you'll discover that running a detective agency with Bruce Willis is just like running a newspaper with Cary Grant. I'm not saying you're Rosalind Russell, but if you're gonna be business partners it's gonna get screwball, and you're gonna have sex sooner or later, because it's what your audience wants. Stop running away from fate. Give Bruce Willis a chance.
posted by krinklyfig at 1:40 AM on October 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


My opinion/belief/knowledge in regard to anthropologically induced climate change remains steadfast, as too my opinion/belief/knowledge in regard to the often bad, wrong, and unjust behaviour of human beings in pursuit of that which they perceive good, right and just.

Your mindset reminds me of this great political cartoon, where someone is talking at a conference about what we can do to address climate change, and some guy in the back asks "What if it's a big hoax and we create a better world for nothing?"
posted by zombieflanders at 6:16 AM on October 25, 2013 [5 favorites]


Stop running away from fate. Give Bruce Willis a chance.

I would totally open a detective agency with a fast talking, witty conservative Republican.

Actually, that sounds like a hell of a pitch for a great show: Gay and GOPper, P.I.s NBC - call me; it can't be any worse than Sean Saves the World.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 7:16 AM on October 25, 2013 [4 favorites]


Only if we get some late season payoff for the will they won't they teasing.
posted by The Whelk at 8:18 AM on October 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


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