In my post about the logical fallacies a Republican judge had to turn a blind eye in order to come to the untenable conclusion that Nikki Araguz is a dude, I caught some heat because, as one commenter put it:
For the record, ‘Republicans’ are no more monolithic than are gays. Implying that a moronic, self-identifying Republican somehow represents all Republicans is equally moronic. I’d thank author to examine her obvious prejudice as well as her practical hypocrisy.
Here’s the deal… and this is only my personal opinion… If you choose to support the Republican Party, you’re choosing to harm the GLBT community. Don’t roll you’re eyes, allow me to elucidate…
So, I know you’ve got a bag of rebuttals in your pocket and you’re ready to throw them at me. However, before you do so, please respond to my actual premise. To be clear, here’s my my simple 2-point argument:
Basically, I offer up nothing more than this simple if-then logic: If you are pro-GLBT civil rights and support anti-GLBT outcomes, then your actions are hypocritical.
If you’re offering rebuttal that doesn’t challenge at lest one of these 2 points, it’s probably a fallacious argument.
I can already hear the fallacious arguments coming:
Each and every of the above arguments are fallacious responses to my premise. I’ll go into why they’re fallacious in a bit, but I feel that I need to make my argument clear: If you do not address at least one of the above 2 points in your reply, you’ve probably created a strawman argument.
The Republican Party is the largest group in the nation actively trying to stand in the way of GLBT civil rights. In other words, the Republican Party is the largest anti-GLBT organization in the nation. You think that’s hyperbole? Here’s what the Texas Republican Party has to say about GLBT people:
Homosexuality – We believe that the practice of homosexuality tears at the fabric of society, contributes to the breakdown of the family unit, and leads to the spread of dangerous, communicable diseases. Homosexual behavior is contrary to the fundamental, unchanging truths that have been ordained by God, recognized by our country’s founders, and shared by the majority of Texans. Homosexuality must not be presented as an acceptable “alternative” lifestyle in our public education and policy, nor should “family” be redefined to include homosexual “couples.” We are opposed to any granting of special legal entitlements, refuse to recognize, or grant special privileges including, but not limited to: marriage between persons of the same sex (regardless of state of origin), custody of children by homosexuals, homosexual partner insurance or retirement benefits. We oppose any criminal or civil penalties against those who oppose homosexuality out of faith, conviction, or belief in traditional value.
This is only the tip of this bigoted iceberg. They go on to describe how they intend to limit the GLBT community’s access to everything from healthcare to parenting. By definition, a group espousing these goals is an anti-GLBT organization. I don’t care what clever rational you can come up with, the bottom line is that helping our nation’s largest anti-GLBT organization increase it’s ability to maximize suffering within the GLBT community is bad.
Think that’s just a Texas thing? Here’s what Iowa Republicans want:
We support an amendment to both the U. S. and Iowa constitutions that states that all marriages should be traditional one natural male and one natural female, omitting transgendered.
– 6.03, Iowa Republican Party Platform
They go on to say…
We call for the repeal of sexual orientation in the Iowa Civil Rights Code and we oppose any other legislation or executive order granting rights, privileges, or status for persons based on sexual orientation.
And for yet another facepalm moment to their platform, they go on to say…
The proper role of government is to protect equal rights, not to ensure equality.
Yah, yah, yah. I know what you’re going to say. You’ll say that it’s normal for state Republican platforms to be this rabidly anti-GLBT (which somehow means that the Republican Party as a whole isn’t supportive of the goals and aims of state Republican Platforms?). Okay, so here’s what the National Republican platform has to say about GLBT Americans:
To protect our servicemen and women and ensure that America’s Armed Forces remain the best in the world, we affirm the timelessness of those values, the benefits of traditional military culture, and the incompatibility of homosexuality with military service.
– Page 5, National Republican Platform
Republicans have been at the forefront of protecting traditional marriage laws, both in the states and in Congress. A Republican Congress enacted the Defense of Marriage Act, affirming the right of states not to recognize same-sex “marriages” licensed in other states. Unbelievably, the Democratic Party has now pledged to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, which would subject every state to the redefinition of marriage by a judge without ever allowing the people to vote on the matter. We also urge Congress to use its Article III, Section 2 power to prevent activist federal judges from imposing upon the rest of the nation the judicial activism in Massachusetts and California.
– Page 53, National Republican Platform
Forcing religious groups to abandon their beliefs as applied to their hiring practices is religious discrimination. We support the First Amendment right of freedom of association of the Boy Scouts of America and other service organizations whose values are under assault, and we call upon the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to reverse its policy of blacklisting religious groups which decline to arrange adoptions by same-sex couples .
– Page 54, National Republican Platform
Conclusion: Any organization making the above statements is, by definition, an anti-GLBT organization. This particular anti-GLBT organization has more money, more political power and more influence over the daily lives of GLBT Americans than any other ant-GLBT organization in America. Organizations that repress GLBT civil rights effects the quality of life of GLBT people. Therefore, the Republican Party is our nation’s largest, most powerful anti-GLBT organization in American damaging the quality of life for GLBT Americans.
– Excerpt from the largest US trans study ever
Lets say you are a member of a political organization that supported something you’re in favor of. Lets say that this organization is perceived to be a leading advocate against child rape. We can all agree that child rape is bad. For the sake of argument, lets also say that there was evidence to support the idea that this organization you belong to is somewhat effective in preventing child rape.
Now, lets say that it is proven that this organization that does this wonderful thing unfortunately uses part of the support it gains from you trying to pass laws that will force all women to wear burkas.
Lets say this organization that works to stop child rape claims that trying to force half the population to live in a cloth bag is a matter of religious freedom and that in this place called America, we should tolerate other religious views. Additionally, they claim that not every member of their organization believes that women should be forced to live in cloth bags. This organization even has a few publicly known non-burka wearing women who regularly go on news programs claiming that in America, we have to tolerate differences of opinion and besides… they try to stop child rape.
This hypothetical organization claims to do admirable work. Not ever member of this organization wants to violate the civil rights of a certain class, just the organization itself. They even have a few women advocating on behalf for the organization that is working to oppress all women. In the real world, would any of these points matter to you? In the real world, wouldn’t you choose to support a different organization that works to stop child-rape instead of the one that is actively trying to force all women to live inside cloth bags?
Now, for arguments sake, lets say that the Republican Party really is the party of small government, balanced budgets and low taxes.
Also, for arguments sake, lets say that it’s a fact that this organization does these wonderful things but unfortunately it uses part of the support it gains from you trying to ensure that all GLBT people should be forced to give up their civil rights.
Lets say this organization that works for small government, low taxes and balanced budgets claims that working to destroy the quality of life for GLBT people is a matter of religious freedom and that in this place called America, we are called on to tolerate other religious views other than our own. Additionally, they claim that not every member of their organization believes that the civil rights of queer people should be utterly destroyed. They even have a few GLBT people advocating on behalf for the organization that is working to oppress all GLBT people. They go on to claim that in America, we have to tolerate differences of opinion and besides… they strive for smaller government, lower taxes and balanced budgets.
Did your answers change?
I think most of the fallacious arguments I noted in the “Logical Fallacies” section seem to be nothing more than an effort to resolve the ethical question a GLBT-supporter encounters when they also support our nation’s largest, most powerful and most destructive anti-GLBT organization. None of the following are actual answers to this ethical dilemma; they are simply justifications:
Not one of these positions deal with the actual ethical question.
None of these arguments change the fact that the Republican Party is the largest, most powerful and most effective anti-GLBT organization in this nation.
Strawman logic is often used when we are doing something we know produces bad outcomes, but justify it with coming up with arguments that, while they do not resolve the ethical question, help us feel better about our actions.
A thief might rob a rich person and justify it by assuming that the rich person was insured or that the thief needed the cash they would get from the stolen item more than the rich person. These justifications do not resolve the ethical question of theft. They exist merely to help the thief live with the outcomes their behavior produced.
If you’re supporting the one organization that is most effective in working around the clock to increase the level of suffering within the GLBT community, in my book, that’s not good.
Between April 9-10, 2011 CNN asked 824 people, “Do you think marriages between gay and lesbian couples should or should not be recognized by the law as valid, with the same rights as traditional marriages?” 51% of the respondents said yes… which is great news! However, 71% of Republicans said no.
Now, would it be correct to say that according to this data, most Republicans surveyed agree with the stated goals and aims of the organization they support? Would it also be correct to state that the minority of Republicans that do not agree with the stated goals and aims of the organization are nonetheless complicit in supporting the stated goals and aims of the organization through their continued support of the organization?
The argument of last resort I’ve seen used by a number of people is to claim that they are trying to work within the organization to create positive change.
– From the Log Cabin Republican website, June 17, 2011
– Christ Barron of GOProud supporting Herman “Homosexuality is a sin” Cain
So, lets look at the value of this argument. In doing so, I think it is important to review a number of points:
Unlike the strawman logic I touched on above, this “last fig leaf argument” is an attempt to directly address the issue of hypocrisy. I know, you’re probably thinking, “But, how can one be a hypocrite if one is working on behalf of their convictions?” To answer that question, one must look at actual outcome metrics and not any one person’s good intentions.
The foundational falsehood that needs to be addressed with regard to this justification is to recognize and acknowledge that there is a difference between an organization which inadvertently harms GLBT people and an organization that clearly states that one of their main goals is to harm the GLBT people. When dealing with our nation’s largest, most powerful and most destructive anti-GLBT organization, we are dealing with an organization that exists to ensure that GLBT equality will never become a reality in this nation. This, as their official platform states, is a core mission of the Republican Party. This isn’t an organization that has a couple of bad apples who are homo/transphobic; this organization is a bad apple whose stated goal is maximize homo/transphobic discrimination.
About 30 years ago, a man named Louis Bonsignore – who supported GLBT equality – helped form the Log Cabin Republicans. His goal was to work from the inside to create change. Care to guess what he had to say after 30 years of banging his head against a brick wall?
We have watched with dismay as gay-friendly Republicans have cut deals with the far right to save their own necks at state and national conventions or to curry favor with them for their own “special interests” – usually business or religious zealots. Example: Pete Wilson’s vetoing Assembly Bill 101 in 1991 (a gay- rights bill he openly campaigned for in the 1990 race) to stave off the wrath of Lou Sheldon and the Traditional Values Coalition. Since serving as a field rep for former Governor Bob Ray (R-Iowa) in 1978 until September of this year, when Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed the gay marriage bill here, I have been a staunch Republican. (Is there any other kind?) Now, I am an unofficial Democrat. I will be an official Democrat after this year’s election when I can safely re-register without jeopardizing my ballot.
– Louis Bonsignore, 2005
An organization will only change a fundamental reason for its existence when its existence is predicated on changing its deliverable accomplishments. At some point, Republicans as a whole will have to get on board with GLBT rights or face extinction. The Republican Party WILL NOT change their core value (being anti-GLBT) regardless of what any well-intentioned person does “on the inside”. The Republican Party will only change because they value their continued existence more than they value their desire to produce harmful outcomes for the American GLBT population.
If you look at the above dataset, you will notice that Republican support of marriage equality has grown from 14% in 2008 to 25% in 2010. One might argue that this is proof positive that working from the inside works… And they’d be right if it wasn’t for the fact that support for marriage equality grew across the board between 2008 to 2010. Why?
Because the general population is beginning to view GLBT equality in the same way we now view racial equality.
The above graph plots out the Republican, Democratic and Independent support of marriage equality from the above dataset. In this graph, there are 4 distinct trends for the Republicans. Note that with only one exception, Republican support waxes and wanes with cultural forces and not due to any well-intentioned people working from the inside.
In 75% percent of the entire sample, Republican support coincides with Democratic and Independent support. Only during the June 2008 – February 09 period does Republican support for equality break with cultural support. Why is that? Could it be that between 6/08 and 2/09 there was a mass exodus of GLBT-supportive people within the Republican community (who, then presumably returned in March of 09)? Or, could it have been…
– The Christian Post; Fri, Aug. 22, 2008
… the 2008 Presidential Election? The Republican Presidential candidate backed Prop 8. Personally, I think it is far more likely that the identity politics of rounding the wagons around a Presidential candidate – no matter what – was a more likely source for the dip in Republican support for GLBT equality than a sudden lack of people who claim to support GLBT equality.
As far as I can tell from the evidence, I can find no statistically significant impact GLBT-supportive Republicans have had in halting the Republican Party in carrying out their explicitly anti-GLBT equality goals. As I said above, the more the non-Republican population views anti-GLBT outcomes as being bad, the more Republicans will be put into a position of being required to get on board with GLBT equality or face extinction as an organization. The demonstrably successful pressure to support GLBT equality comes from our culture’s demand for GLBT equality and not from some well-intentioned people working from the inside. Until the day comes that the vast majority of the non-Republican population views being anti-GLBT exactly like being racist, the Republican Party will continue to be anti-GLBT.
One need only Google “Republican Homosexuality” to see what 30 years of GLBT-supportive people supporting the nation’s largest anti-GLBT organization has produced:
While Republicans are still fretting over GLBT equality, Democrats, Libertarians, Greens and most Independents support GLBT civil rights. If the only reason you support the Republican Party is because you value small government, low taxes and balanced budgets, why not support the Libertarian Party? When you have other conservative options open to you that support your goals and are also GLBT-supportive, what reason do you have in your continued support of anti-GLBT outcomes?
At what point do the cons outweigh any dubious justifications? At what point does one decide that harming the people they claim to care for become a more important issue than the perceived payoff (real or imagined) of being part of an anti-GLBT organization?
Regardless of the justification, it is hypocritical to support anti-GLBT outcomes if one claims to be pro-GLBT equality. The idea of working from the inside to change what is fundamental to the Republican Party has been field tested and found to be ineffective. After decades of working from the inside, the organization is still our nation’s most destructive anti-GLBT organization. There are conservative alternatives to the Republican Party that do not seek to crush GLBT civil rights and yet, many GLBT-supportive people still choose to continue helping our nations largest anti-GLBT organization harm the lives of GLBT Americans.
The point of this post isn’t meant to berate or alienate Republican-identified people who believe that they support GLBT civil rights. I made this post because there seems to be a disconnect when dealing with the fact that input (Republican support) is linked to output (Republican-sponsored anti-GLBT outcomes). If one’s support of an organization results in real suffering within the community they claim to care about, is it really that unfair for someone else to notice that their walk isn’t matching up with their talk?
I know that some of you will want to grouse over this post. I know that some of you will want to respond and I encourage you to do so. However, please honor your position by dealing with my 2-point argument instead of offering up ad homs, strawmen or various and sundry appeals to authority. If you cannot or will not address my actual premise, I will conclude that you do not have a valid argument.
Lastly, I wanted to share the following video to hit home the fact that there are other conservative political organizations available to conservative GLBT people/supporters other than our nation’s largest anti-GLBT organization:
Disclaimer: This blog post represents my current views/opinions and does not necessarily represent the views/opinions of any organization I work with.