Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Lucia Do we want to be on the 'Wrong Side of History'?

Yep, it's that time again. There's going to be another vote in our Parliament tomorrow for advancing the cause of 'Same-sex Marriage', which has brought out a post in favour of redefining marriage from David Farrar, who ends his post with the admonition to his opponents:
As I said, there is a global and frankly irreversible trend in the “Western” world on this issue. Future generations will be just as bemused by the fact that once upon a time same sex couples couldn’t marry, as today’s generation are bemused by the fact that once women couldn’t vote.

I just wonder in the end, why would you want to be on the wrong side of history?

A post on The American Conservative explains just what is wrong with his labeling those who disagree with redefining marriage as being on the 'wrong side of history', and thus putting himself and those who agree with him on the 'right side':

“Right side of history” is a claim deployed in political debate to delegitimate one’s opponents. It’s one thing to claim that events and social processes are moving in a particular direction, such that this or that goal is likely to be realized. It’s something very different to claim that History is a moral, even metaphysical, force that’s progressing towards a morally desirable conclusion. There’s no reason to believe this at all.

The writer then goes onto explain where this concept of History being a moral force comes from - it's a secular version of the Christian understanding of the end of time:

Christianity teaches that history moves in a linear fashion, and that we are headed towards the final reconciliation between heaven and earth in the Parousia. This does not imply “progress,” though — especially because, in the Christian vision, the cruelest and most violent and oppressive period in the history of humanity will come into being just before good permanently triumphs. The Christian vision of history as progressing towards a final fulfillment may or may not be true, but it can’t be said to give false comfort that one’s own cause is justified by Progress. The closer we get to the culmination of History, the worse things will get for humanity, especially for Christians. Besides which, the Christian doctrine of original sin means that any concept of an earthly utopia is doomed. See A Canticle For Leibowitz for an imaginative exploration of the persistence of radical evil within the breast of humans despite material progress.

The secular version of this comes from Marx and his materialist conception of history. John Gray wrote a book, Black Mass, about how thinkers inspired by the Enlightenment took the Christian notion of history as progressing towards utopia, and secularized it. That is, Marx taught that history was inevitably leading towards a communist paradise, a restoration of Eden in which the source of human conflict — a fight over resources — will have been exorcised.

That looks ridiculous now, of course, but the worship of Progress remains deeply embedded within liberalism — including the conservative form of liberalism that sees free-market democracy as the telos of political and economic history (George W. Bush’s Second Inaugural address is a pure statement of the right-wing version of this). Whenever I hear someone today talk about “the right side of history,” I am sure they are on what Milan Kundera called “The Grand March,” the idea of which is the essence of left-wing kitsch. From The Unbearable Lightness Of Being:

The fantasy of the Grand March that Franz was so intoxicated by is the political kitsch joining leftists of all times and tendencies. The Grand March is the splendid march on the road to brotherhood, equality, justice, happiness; it goes on and on, obstacles notwithstanding, for obstacles there must be if the march is to be the Grand March. … What makes a leftist a leftist is not this or that theory but his ability to integrate any theory into the kitsch called the Grand March.

There you go David.  You've identified yourself as being firmly on the Left.

Go to the American Conservative and read the rest there. There's a fantastic update which explains why this 'being on the right side of history' concept is a secular version of saying that 'God is on their side'.

As I've said before, this same-sex marriage thing is a real win for the left.  It's being pushed by the left, promoted by the left,  voted for by the left and our governing party is just rolling over and letting it through because our Prime Minister supports it.

Yeah, I'm quite happy to be on the 'wrong side of history'.

Related links: A change in opinion around the world ~ KiwiBlog
Marching On The ‘Right Side Of History’ ~ The American Conservative

10 comment(s):

Chris Sullivan said...

I would have thought that the "right side of history" denotes the general public consensus on the moral goodness of historical developments. Unfortunately, the Catholic Church has sometimes been on the wrong side of history. John Paul II was humble and honest enough to apologise for much of that.

I think we just need to be gracious enough to admit that we've lost the public debate against same sex marriage.

We haven't managed to convince the majority that same sex marriage will cause a great deal of suffering. That's because it won't and there will always be MUCH more social damage from poverty, low wages, divorce and poor parenting than there ever will be from legalising gay marriage. We need to concentrate our efforts and energies on those REAL threats to marriage and families.

The general public seems to be informed not so much by argument as by sentiment. The general sentiment for gay civil rights, for tolerance, equality, and respect for the dignity of our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters is very good and noble sentiment. It is certainly one on the right side of history.

God Bless

Lucia Maria said...

Giving up already, Chris? :)

It's not the public debate that we've lost, it's the debate with the politicians. They are not listening. And the propaganda war has been stepped up by the media.

It ain't over yet.

Chris Sullivan said...

No, I'm not about to give up; but I think we've lost.

The polls are fairly conclusive that we've lost the public debate.


Even the Family First poll shows more supporters than opponents.


This is consistent with US polling showing a consistent trend of increasing support for gay marriage. In the USA, Catholics are leading the trend.


God Bless

ZenTiger said...

This debate isn't just about gay marriage, but about the continued decline of the concept of family. You label poverty as the "real" threat, and yet I would argue that marriage is at the basis of real problems.

Gay marriage is only one small part of it though, and this argument has been very loud in the public arena, but the discussion around easy divorce, absent fathers, adultery, promiscuity and marriage breakdown should have been louder.

Society has been making a steady shift towards making the individual central to everything, in such a way that concepts of responsibility, duty, sacrifice and caring for others are values that are relegated to the realm of idealism.

I think the gay marriage debate is a fantastic opportunity for the Church to take a fresh look at the institution of marriage and use it to stand apart from society, and become as counter-cultural to these times as it was to the Romans 1800 to 2000 years ago.

Chris is correct - the Church has lost the word marriage, but it can create a new one. I think the Church could start promoting the concept of a sacramental marriage, or a covenant marriage and use these terms in the specific context it wanted marriage to be used in. This though must be more than an alternative to gay marriage, it must be an alternative to things like divorce. It must be something that sets the bar high and has the people seeking out this form of marriage ready to undergo trials and tests of commitment, responsibility, understanding and help set Christian living up as a standard to aspire to.

Redbaiter said...

Is it true that the vote will be secret? Anyone know?

Lucia Maria said...


I haven't heard that.

scrubone said...

I guess what counts as the "right side of history" is probably influenced by what the end of history will be.

ZenTiger said...

The post is a great one, as it discusses how genuine debate gets shut down by progressives that ultimately have the arrogance to assume they are right.

Already, the implication here is denigrating to those that act as a sounding board to what represent major shifts in our social structure.

A genuine democracy with genuine liberals would welcome debate and be open enough to consider that other viewpoints do have some merit, even to their own particular world view.

Instead, we get the typically leftist "we won, you lost, so eat that".

The world will not end redefining marriage to mean something else, just as the world would not end if the word "boy" was redefined to mean "any child of any sex, under 15". However, it obviously changes things and the concern in this debate from Conservatives is that the changes may be fine for a small percentage of gays and the children they buy or adopt or half spawn, but may end up being disastrous for a larger proportion of children who are shuffled from one set of parenting units to another, with biological connections treated as irrelevant to the needs of the child. We've already seen the polygamy groups pushing their agenda for redefining marriage further, and the ink hasn't even been put to paper yet on the Bill. So much for waiting for 5 or 10 years and getting stuck in then.

Anonymous said...

In the U.S. people like David Farrar are being called out as RINO's. What are we to call them here in N.Z.? Because I'm getting really sick of left-wing rhetoric being spouted by faux right-wing bloggers.

Lucia Maria said...

Ashey, at the moment "liberal" works or "social liberal". Annoying how Parliament is predominantly this way.

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