Red is married, blue is single

Another poll that looks into the red state/blue state divide in American politics that we’ve discussed before: Americans deeply split over politics. The main conclusion is that

“married and single voters live not on different planets, but different solar systems, when it comes to their politics and values … Republicans have a problem with single voters, especially single women. The Democrats’ problem is with married people, especially married women.”

All of which makes sense. Liberals want to get rid of traditional institutions like the family, and connections to particular people generally, as the basis for social order. They want to substitute abstract universal institutions like the world market and the bureaucratic PC welfare state. So it’s not surprising that those who marry and so accept particular connections and traditional institutions as the basis for who they are should reject liberalism, while those who don’t marry accept the views all current public authorities tell them to accept. (It’s interesting, by the way, to see the company that American Catholics have fallen into.)

54 thoughts on “Red is married, blue is single”

  1. let me get this straight

    let me get this straight Mr. Kalb:

    “good sheep”= red wool—plugged into a group personality that someone thought up for them a while back…

    “bad sheep”= blue wool—plugged into a group personality (group alienation? crazy!) that someone thought up last week…

    you cannot judge which group is “right”, because you either have to accept to the criteria of one group or the other…

    one problem—is everyone a sheep in your scenario?

    it sure seems like it. your thinking here is as muddled by structuralism as ever, my friend.


  2. It seems to me Mr.

    It seems to me Mr. Fiore is insistent that all views be understood to reflect a single explanation of everything. I don’t say anything about a “group personality” or about the impossibility of rationally deciding between different views. I do believe that culture and natural patterns of human life are a large part of what makes us what we are, and it’s smart to accept that. It doesn’t seem to me that either is a totally closed self-referential system, though. Both are part of a more comprehensive human reality.

    I don’t see that anyone is necessarily a sheep in my scenario. It’s true I alluded to a sheeplike aspect of the behavior of many liberals, as an implicit rejoinder to liberal claims of intellectual independence. The allusion doesn’t mean that I believe that aspect of things explains everything. It’s quite comprehensible that the liberal view of things would have immediate appeal to young unmarried careerist urban people today. Nor do I believe that liberals are necessarily stuck being liberals, on the grounds that they have a view of things and every view of things declares itself justified. On the contrary, I urge them first to put their view on the same common footing as other competing views, rather than on some pedestal of supposed neutrality that makes it a priori a superior authority for all other views. I then invite them to contemplate its implications in life and thought and consider whether those implications really make sense.

  3. Dave, your summary is flawed.

    Dave, your summary is flawed. “[T]hat someone thought up for them a while back” leaves out, at the least, “and generations have thought about since and agreed with, more or less.”

    There is more to this site than what you tried to boil it down to.

  4. Chris,

    not many people (since the


    not many people (since the Reformation and Enlightenment) have been able to assent to the kind of traditions you folks are espousing without cultivating a pitch black blind spot to social injustice…

    Mr. Kalb,

    We can’t even begin to “contemplate its [liberal democratic individualism] implications in life and thought and consider whether those implications really make sense” if we can’t let go of outmoded, a priori definitions of what a “working society” looks like…

    Just for example:
    Are you willing to discard the idea that a growing child needs a male and female role model in place at all times? As a child of divorce who has no psychological maladjustmednts of any kind, I certainly am!

    We could go on forever, but I’ve got to leave for work

    Good day sirs!

  5. I agree that in thinking

    I agree that in thinking one’s way out of the liberal box one can’t rely on what, from a liberal view, are “outmoded, a priori definitions.” I also agree that some children recover from almost anything but think that a tolerable society probably needs a more demanding standard.

    The general point Mr. Fiore raised initially has interesting aspects. It seems that any sufficient account of truth would have some aspects that aren’t rationally demonstrable at least not by us. On the other hand, modernist accounts like liberalism can be shown insufficient because of their very clarity. So on that line of thought it seems that the progress toward truth would involve knocking down false self-contained “truths” like liberalism and then coming to a truer and more open-ended understanding of things through recognitions that are not fully articulable, and can be logically defended against objection but not logically demonstrated. Newman’s Grammar of Assent ( ) describes the process.

  6. You make some good points

    You make some good points Mr. Kalb, although, regarding single-parent households, I would argue that, far from “surmounting a difficulty”, I benefitted from only having one obstacle to my dvelopment—as opposed to the usual two.

    but your remarks about “clarity” raise a very important question, namely: which of us, exactly, is a champion of “abstractions”? As you seem to agree, I stand for something far more “concrete” than you do!

    I will speak to this issue on my blog this evening!


  7. “I will speak to this

    “I will speak to this issue on my blog this evening!” — David Fiore

    After seeing Mr. Fiore affirm here more than once his belief in the unimportance of the two-parent family for the psycho-social development of a society’s young, I somehow don’t think his is a blog I’ll be visiting. (And yes, Mr. Fiore, I refer to the *opposite-sex* two parent family, in case you’re wondering, not the “Heather Has Two Mommies” version or whatever…)

  8. They say ignorance is bliss.


    They say ignorance is bliss.

    “Unadorned” knows for sure.


  9. David,

    You seem to think it’s


    You seem to think it’s enough to generalize based on your own personal anecdote, when in reality, it is painfully obvious to all how utterly uninstructive your experience is. Another person could just as easily come in and say “I was raised by a heroin-addicted prostitute, and it made me strong and resilient to life’s troubles! Thus, I conclude that being raised by a drugged-out streetwalker is good for children.”

    Now both of us know how silly that argument would be. Individuals may rise above their circumstances because they have free will, but there are certain factors in one’s life that are decidedly not positive influences. Coming from the broken home of a single parent is among these factors. I shouldn’t even have to explain why children are better off when their parents aren’t aloof.

  10. Mr. Fiore makes an interesting

    Mr. Fiore makes an interesting point about concreteness. Certainly the views of someone who supports existing general tendencies in public life to that extent supports something that is more concrete than the views of someone who’s critical, thinks the general tendencies are destructive, and wants something else. Still, in this case it seems to me that the general tendencies lead to a situation in which abstractions like the unconditioned liberal ego are everything, while the “something else” leads to a contrary sort of situation.

  11. Mr. Kalb wrote:”It seems that

    Mr. Kalb wrote:

    “It seems that any sufficient account of truth would have some aspects that aren’t rationally demonstrable at least not by us.”

    This is, in fact, what Kurt Goedel’s incompleteness theorem suggests:

    “In 1931, the Czech-born mathematician Kurt Gödel demonstrated that within any given branch of mathematics, there would always be some propositions that couldn’t be proven either true or false using the rules and axioms … of that mathematical branch itself. You might be able to prove every conceivable statement about numbers within a system by going outside the system in order to come up with new rules and axioms, but by doing so you’ll only create a larger system with its own unprovable statements. The implication is that all logical system of any complexity are, by definition, incomplete; each of them contains, at any given time, more true statements than it can possibly prove according to its own defining set of rules.” (from Jones and Wilson, An Incomplete Education).



  12. Is Mr. Fiore really prepared

    Is Mr. Fiore really prepared to stake out his ground for illustration of his argument on the proposition that children will mature and flourish as well in a divorced household as in a traditional two-parent household? Is he really prepared, further, to defend this ground by referring us to his personal experience?

    Somehow I take Mr. Fiore to be a more thoughtful man than such a course of logical and empirical stupidity would suggest.

  13. Mr. Kalb says:
    “Mr. Fiore

    Mr. Kalb says:
    “Mr. Fiore makes an interesting point about concreteness. Certainly the views of someone who supports existing general tendencies in public life to that extent supports something that is more concrete than the views of someone who’s critical, thinks the general tendencies are destructive, and wants something else.”

    But this is more of the same—it treats abstract entities and ideas as if they were “real things” rather than the Frankenstein monsters that they are, and ignores the reality of the people who are trapped in them… I would submit that, if you want to fight to prevent your next door neighbour from doing what they want to do with their lives (for example—marrying the “Wrong kind of person”), then you are an “abstractionist” of the first order. Which is fine, I guess. Just stop pretending that you have some sort of connection to some sort of “holistic”, evolving truth. All traditions are man-made—and nothing man-made ought to be treated with kid gloves. How about you save your reverence for the real people whose existence you deny with your a priori generalizations!


    My intention was not to create any new theory about what “works best” when it comes to child-rearing, it was to illustrate that, if you come to analyze a situation armed with an a priori notion of what a “happy family” looks like, then you aren’t going to see anything worth seeing…

    To wit:

    If your playbook says—“broken home”=”bad childhoood”=”we need institutions to prevent this”, then you are going to to completely ignore my very concrete insistence that, “hey!, I’m alright… I’m a functional adult and I’ve never paid a dime to a therapist…”

    And since—as J.W.’s ‘incompleteness theorem’ makes clear—we’re never going to build a system that’s anywhere near responsive enough to our needs, I think it’s wiser to consult the people who are going to be affected by that system, here and now, rather than the dead people who thought up the system in the first place.

  14. I don’t understand Mr. Fiore’s

    I don’t understand Mr. Fiore’s point about denying the existence of real people. I don’t think it denies the existence of real people, for example, to say that they don’t have to treat something as a marriage that is nothing of the kind.

  15. that’s what I’m saying Mr.

    that’s what I’m saying Mr. Kalb—you place more importance on a faltering institution than on the people it affects… you’d rather prop up an abstraction than tinker with it at the suggestion of those real people (I’m not making them up!) for whom it manifestly does not “work”.


  16. Boy – I was a

    Boy — I was a philosophy major & I am now a lawyer.
    David wants to “tinker with tradition” because of real people have “wants”
    Meanwhile Jim would like to peal back the antological truth to its core understanding.
    Meanwhile -HALF my sisters friends (35+) are going BARREN without good husbands (or even prospects) all because of the “tinkering” of the 60 generation who would love to make some (utopian)perfect the enemy of the good.
    [& they most manifestly did not “choose” this fate]

    Look at the facts on the ground Dave.
    (Stanley Kurtz -Weekly Standard Article on the condition of the family in Scandanavia would be a good start)

    These are “real” people too.

    Thanks — Fitz

    • For a lawyer, Fitz, you have
      For a lawyer, Fitz, you have terrible grammar, your argument against whatever Dave stated is incoherent with no support, and your vocabulary simply stinks.

      What law school did you go to?

  17. Mr. Fiore apparently considers only

    Mr. Fiore apparently considers only the immediate desires and experiences of particular identifiable individuals to be real. Everything else that makes up the life of an individual or society is an abstraction. The consequence is that for him all social order — all durable connections among human beings — becomes a complex of abstractions to be judged in a purely technical way and modified freely to facilitate particular individual goals.

    I have a much broader range of things that I view as concrete. For example I view — and experience — marriage as quite concrete. It has definite features that correspond to permanent aspects of human nature and can’t be made other than what it is by an act of choice. It seems obvious to me that it is fundamental to any tolerable social existence, and that it is part (along with the other aspects of family) of what makes people what they are. To undermine marriage and family is to undermine the possibility of stable and satisfying human identity. It is an attack on humanity as such.

    Mr. Fiore says he views it as an advantage that he only had one parent to get in his way. That is not the view of most children and others affected by divorce. All those others are real people, and they suffer. I think our understanding of what is real should be broad enough to understand how and why they suffer.

  18. Fitz,

    Here’s where I differ from


    Here’s where I differ from a lot of the “60’s generation” tinkerers that you blame for your sister’s friends’ “barrenness”—I DON’T argue that the state exists to gratify the wishes of its’ citizens (in fact, this seems to be YOUR position—”these poor 35-plussers need husbands? the state is obligated to create an environment in which they can find one”…)

    I hate the “cult of empowerment” that many soft lefties have embraced just as much as I despise the paleoconservative cult of tradition. I have never argued that people ought to get what they want—all I’ve said is that we are obligated to listen to them. It’s one thing to not be able to find a husband—but it’s quite another to be told, by the government, that your choice of a life partner is somehow “immoral”. Fate is something we just have to deal with. Institutions, on the other hand, were MADE to be unmade!

    And just in case people think I’m arguing out of self-interest here, keep in mind—neither my girlfriend or I is gay, and we’ve lived together without wanting to get married for almost three years now… the point is that, if we wanted to get married, we could! And I think everyone ought to have the same right…

    I’m not talking about a Catholic marriage service either—the Catholic Church can make whatever decisions it wants regarding its’ own sacraments, and, as a monolithic, “unliberal” organization, it is not required to be responsive to its’ parishioners’ feelings. They mold themselves to the institution. That’s fine. But it’s not fine when you try to transpose the model to the political state…


  19. And to Mr. Kalb,

    You say

    And to Mr. Kalb,

    You say that most children of divorce suffer, and you may even be borne out by surveys, but wouldn’t it be interesting to go back and study what how badly estranged husbands and wives (and their children) suffered when they had no option to divorce?

    We know from the historical record that being forced to stay married didn’t mean being forced to refrain from taking lovers, or hiring scads of prostitutes. Is that good for the young ones? The “Daddy’s gone on a business trip” scenario? And what about slavery Mr. Kalb—did it “work” for the slaves—and if not, why? Just answer that question and I’ll be satisfied. We’ve got to start talking particulars here. The debate has been far too abstract.


  20. By Mr. Fiore’s logic, all

    By Mr. Fiore’s logic, all we need to do if find a few slaves somewhere who will actually defend the institution of slavery (on account of their enlightened masters, or suchlike) in order to undermine the moral case against slavery; and, more importantly, the moral case for the state to destroy said institution.

    The evil of slavery is a mere abstraction; abolitionists are mere “abstractionists”; there are REAL PEOPLE out there who like slavery just fine and, by jolly, “we are obligated to listen to them”!

  21. Replying to Mr. Fiore:

    Replying to Mr. Fiore: our side of course never looked upon the ill-effects of divorce with approval, but merely asks that the other side once and for all stop weakening and even prohibiting precisely those very elements of spiritual feeling and community feeling which have traditionally kept divorce to a minimum and wayward husbands and wives in line through shame and stern disapproval at the level of everyday social interaction and broadly-accepted formal and informal communal moral authority (elements such as religion-expressed-out-in-the-open-not-forced-into-hiding, patriotism, and the moral authority which inheres in the sense of the settled, broad traditional community in which one lives and all the ramifications of that such as the two-parent family, opposite-sex marriage, etc. — elements which the left has not succeeded in replacing with successful alternatives because the bureaucratic, anti-religion, anti-tradition alternatives which the left keeps offering deracinate and alienate instead of inspiring feelings of legitimacy and moral nourishment). We are asking the left to stop tearing down, so that we can build back up.

  22. Yes- Well put (unadorned)

    To put

    Yes- Well put (unadorned)

    To put a human face on it (as so many always require)

    At 33yrs old, me and my peers are about half unmarried. This goes for my older sister and her friends also.
    None of them made a “choice” to be this way.
    All would much rather be married, have already been married -or heading in that direction.
    What happened was we got sold a false bill of goods.
    We tried to live the lifestyle MTV and the Boomers sold us. Easy sex without commitment, multiple relationships, pursuit of career over family — illreligion ect.
    Well — now as we get older (& the girls grow barren) we lack the social structure of a serious mateing ritual to fall back on to find spouses.
    We also lack a morally serious public language that would help us in this all important endevour.

    It is truly tragic- very real pain and dissolutionment -(all for want of some simple moral values and reinforcment of them in our youth)

    The autonomy principle & libertarian values are INCAPEABLE of addresing these very real human needs.

    (for those who never went to law school)
    (commercial transactions)
    The problem with a false bill of goods IS
    you can NOT sue the person who sold it to you!
    Because it is incumbent upon the purchaser (of said bill) to make sure that what is described in that bill of goods — IS ACTUALLY THERE!

    Woe is us……
    Thanks — FITZ

  23. To Mr. Fiore: We can

    To Mr. Fiore: We can agree that every setup, laws against murder or whatever, causes some problems for some people. It seems glaringly obvious though that the effects of the weakening of marriage and family have been bad for almost everyone. If you want to look into the overall issue you might read Maggie Gallagher’s The Case for Marriage. She’s sensible, humane, and well-informed.

    As to slavery, I discussed it repeatedly on the 2Blowhards interview. I think there was something about it each of the three days. So why not look at what I say there if you’re interested.

  24. To Unadorned, Fitz, Mr. Kalb,


    To Unadorned, Fitz, Mr. Kalb,

    Okay—I think this has gone far enough. We can’t come to terms here, because we aren’t even using the same terms, and we aren’t ever likely to.

    I applaud Fitz for being forthcoming enough to express the problem in existential terms… Believe it or not, I sympathize. Really. I do. But the fact is that, even though I’m only three years younger than Fitz, I don’t feel like we’re part of the same generation at all.

    Let’s look at the evidence:
    My parents divorced when I was three. There’s a history of alcohol abuse in my family. I did not benefit from privilege of any kind. And yet—I’ve never done anything harmful to my body or mind. I’ve never done anything because MTV told me to. I have many friends and I live with a woman I love and three wonderful cats. I’m on my way to a nice PhD and a good career, and I’ve published a novel… I’ve been productive. I’ve been sociable. I think I’ve had a positive impact upon the people in my life. And I did all of this without even coming close to flirting with religion or traditional structure of any kind. In fact, the only thing that could possibly have held me back is the kind of “pre-assigned role culture” that you folks are craving.

    Have I ever felt “alienated”? Sure. But I think that has only made me appreciate the people I care about all the more. All I have to do to keep those thoughts from affecting my mood or social behaviour simply to interact, borne up by a fundamental understanding of the reality of the people I’m interacting with—an understanding that can only come out of the experience of loving a person very much… I imagine it’s the same with a devout Christian and God—with the difference being that all I get from the experience is the grounding I need, while a Catholic/Muslim/strong traditionalist of any kind has to accept the massive structure that has been built upon the sacred ground they were seeking in the first place.

    Whether you guys believe it or not, people in the West today are finding new ways to relate to each other, and from what I can see they’re doing just fine. And for those that fail—or crave a predesigned role, well, no one’s saying you can’t become a Catholic/Muslim/Strong Traditionalist, all I’m saying is—don’t ask other people to give a freedom that has enriched their lives.

    My objections to Mr. Kalb’s position has focused upon his seeming desire to bury the liberal traditions of the West in a Catholic Social philosophy that has never had any place on this side of the Atlantic (outside of Quebec)… Be Catholic, by all means, but don’t expect the rest of the continent to embrace Catholic first principles! And recognize, please, that many people my age or younger are pleased (if not altogether satisfied—there will always be room for improvement) with society as it is. We’re not all directionless hedonists!

    And Paul—it seems that there ARE people who like being slaves, and they’re welcome to find “masters” and play out that role, if that’s what they want to do with their lives (sounds ridiculous to me—but so do a lot of things, and it’s none of my business) But if these slaves wanted to force the government to bring back the institution of slavery (thus re-enslaving a lot of people who have other plans), I’d be just as opposed to their position as I am to yours—they amount to the same thing.

    Pace Turnabout!

    Our discussion is at an end (but feel free to visit my blog sometime—I’m not on about liberalism all of the time!)


  25. Mr. Fiore, you wrote:”And yet

    Mr. Fiore, you wrote:

    “And yet I’ve never done anything harmful to my body or mind. I’ve never done anything because MTV told me to … I’ve been productive. I’ve been sociable. I think I’ve had a positive impact upon the people in my life. And I did all of this without even coming close to flirting with religion or traditional structure of any kind.”

    The above comments strike me as the words of a man who has never really made an examination of conscience. Am I accusing you of lying? No—I believe that you believe what you wrote. But I understand human nature, and the fact is that there is scarcely any man alive who hasn’t harmed his own mind and body in some way, or impacted others in a negative way, the effects of which will reverberate through the generations. There is scarcely any man alive, in this country, who has not somehow been influenced by MTV and the anti-culture it promotes.

    That you live with a woman you love is noteworthy, but whom will you love tomorrow? You can’t answer that, because you don’t believe that love is a grace-infused act of the will, or that love imposes obligations. At least, that is what one may reasonably conclude from your comments.

    You’ve been comfortable enough to be very candid with the host and readers of Turnabout, which speaks well of them all. I’m a child of divorce too, and am also reasonably well-adjusted. However, as a result of that divorce, I will be saddled with certain weaknesses until my dying day. These effects of divorce may not be universal in kind or degree, but they are indeed normative. Being aware of them, one may counter them—but it is foolish to willingly blind oneself to them.

  26. Well said, Mr. Culbreath.

    Mr. Fiore:

    Well said, Mr. Culbreath.

    Mr. Fiore: I tried to post this comment at your own blog, but to no avail, so I’ll post it here.

    May I take the liberalism you espouse as “the most ‘concrete’ political theory that has ever existed” [quoted from Mr. Fiore’s blog] to be, mutatis mutandis, the liberalism of John Stuart Mill? That is, a theory predicated on the principle that no man may lawfully force, or attempt to force, his moral views on another man? We might call this “Open Society Liberalism,” because it posits as its guiding principle the ideal of the Open Society.

    May I also assume that you are an atheist?

    Finally, let me just say this in defense of what you are disparaging as abstractions: Human civilization is, at base, a product of human imagination. To maintain it requires not merely that we punish and control barbarism and cruelty in concrete manifestations, but also that we “police” the imagination with the instruments of custom and prescription and inherited tradition.

    To illustrate that, consider the effect it would have on you if an acquaintance turned to you and said, “Dave, occasionally I dream of violently raping your girlfriend. Of course, it’s just in my imagination.” Would you ever let this acquaintance, say, drive your girlfriend to work? I submit that you would think very hard about it.

    My point is that, if men felt empowered at all times to utter their darkest thoughts, the cement of trust and neighborliness, so to speak, would rapidly dissolve; and the binding of civilization would follow in sort order.

    Part of civilization is this control on our imaginations; our trained habit to repudiate our darkest thoughts, or at least, to never utter them. The prosecution of the crime, when it happens, is only the last option, and the state only the most obvious, but hardly the most important, element of civilization.

    You write that “I am convinced that no problem was ever solved by silencing dissent,” [again, quoted from Mr. Fiore’s blog] but we have quite a number of examples of societies where all dissent was accepted, even celebrated and empowered. Two good examples come to mind: Weimar Germany and Spain of the early 1930s. In short, societies that just kept on talking without limits — and talked themselves into civil war.

  27. “And yet–I’ve never done

    “And yet—I’ve never done anything harmful to my body or mind. I’ve never done anything because MTV told me to … I’ve been productive. I’ve been sociable. I think I’ve had a positive impact upon the people in my life. And I did all of this without even coming close to flirting with religion or traditional structure of any kind.”—Mr. Fiore

    One person can walk on the grass. If everyone walks on the grass, there’ll be no grass to walk on.

  28. Paul,

    I apologize for Motime’s recent


    I apologize for Motime’s recent wonkiness. Yjings seem to be back to normal, and I’m about to post your interesting comment and my reply at the blog.

    Thank you.


  29. Mr. Fiore:

    You must get a

    Mr. Fiore:

    You must get a new comments program. Here is my reply:

    My problem with Mill’s Open Society Liberalism is that it is incoherent. It claims that “all questions are open questions,” but what it really means is that all questions are open questions _except_ for the question of whether all questions are open. That one is quite closed.

    In short, the Open Society is an orthodoxy in its own right, as you admit when you declare that Liberalism is a faith which “must be defended.” As such, it must act to protect the orthodoxy, generally by placing too high a price on certain opinions for most people to continue espousing them (and, off at the end, by persecuting them). This, I submit, is what we refer to as “political correctness”: the Open Society defending its orthodoxy; in this case, defending its orthodoxy of negation.

    A man in Britain recently was prosecuted and fined for carrying a sign that condemned homosexuality, even though _he_ was attacked by demonstrators. Young children are rebuked by their teachers for praying together before lunch. Etc, etc. The assertion of moral absolutes is an infraction against the Open Society, and must be discouraged, silenced and finally prosecuted. The logic is inescapable.

    Now, because the Open Society is not constrained by any moral stricture whatsoever, outside its own principles, it must become even more ferocious. There is no obligation to act with charity or mercy against violators; nor even fairness. There is only the commitment to the negation.

    For example, your “neo-Calvinism” is incompatible with Open Society Liberalism: personal relationships _cannot_ be sacred, in the sense of making claims prior to one’s commitment to the Open Society. That is, however much you value human relationships (or animal relationships), they must still be subordinate to your assent to the Open Society.

    I submit that the Open Society must, by virtue of its logic, degenerate into a cruel and inyielding tyranny. The fact that societies do not do this, merely reveals that they have not altogether committed themselves to the Open Society.

  30. Mr. Cella,

    I have no problem

    Mr. Cella,

    I have no problem acknowledging the contradiction you describe—it’s true, the open society cannot question its’ own first principle… But that first principle is that people—unlike ideas or doctrines—cannot be deconstructed! That’s why, when a person tells me that they want to live their life in a way that I can’t understand at all, I’m willing to just let it go. The open society=”faith in the reality of other people”.

    You’re right to bring up this example of the “man with the sign” to illustrate the limits of what the open society can tolerate. Anytime you express a belligerent judgement of what other consenting adults do, you have crossed the line and become a bully, and the liberal state exists to prevent that. The right to oppress others is the one right that cannot be countenanced—that way lies fascism. (which is not to say that the man with the sign deserved to be attacked…)

    On the question of the children who wish to pray—I have no problem with that, and there’s no reason they should be prevented from doing so. I feel similarly about the argument about “not being able to wish people Merry Christmas” and other standard anti-PC arguments. Of course you’re “allowed” to say Merry Christmas. And if anyone takes that the wrong way they can go home and whine about it to whomever they want. Expressing culturally specific goodwill is not the same as condemning a person for behaviour that has nothing to do with you.

    But these are largely questions of application, not theory. In an open society, you are free to do anything you want so long as it does not oppress others. All “bucks” must stop somewhere—and in the liberal scheme of things, the buck stops at the individual’s right to our respect, even if we believe that they are acting foolishly (so long as they hurt no one but themselves) or even that they are going to Hell… Go ahead and think it—but put away your signs, or save them to express something you believe in about the way you live your own life, rather than to express a judgement about someone else’s…


  31. Just so I have this

    Just so I have this absolutely clear, Mr. Fiore: You endorse the proposition that the Liberal State may suppress certain kinds of dissent, namely, the dissent of “judgmentalism”? And, on the logic of the Open Society, there is no limit to the _means_ by which the Liberal State can suppress this dissent (because, of course, to admit limits is to admit truths or standards _outside_ the principle of the Open Society)?

    If the above statement fairly describe your position (and please correct me if they do not), then it is quite clear to me why the advent of the Open Society Liberal State must be resisted unceasingly.

    Moreover, if the Liberal State is achieved in this country through means other than constitutional amendment process, then it is quite illegitimate, and makes no valid claim to the assent of American patriots and citizens. For the very document by which “We the People” became one people precludes the Open Society: “We hold these truths to be self-evident.”

    And again, in the United States Constitution: “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

    There are six proposition there to which we are committed — Unity, Justice, Tranquility, etc. — and none of them can be construed, absent the most brazen of sophistry, to point to the Open Society.

  32. What I’m saying is that

    What I’m saying is that pseudo-moral hooliganism has nothing to do with the “pursuit of happiness” or “more perfect unions”. If you really want to get into the first priciples subscribed to by the founding fathers, we can that Paul—but believe me, they were more concerned about tyranny/Papistry than sexual orientation back then, so be careful about reading your own ideology into the roots of America—that would be sophistry of the grossest sort. There is no sanction whatever in the country’s history for shame-based “volk” ideology that is espoused at this site. Even Jim Kalb knows the founding fathers are on MY side Paul (not that they would have agreed with me on every particular, mind you—but my thoughts are more in line with the tradition than yours are…)

    Shall we lay this to rest?

    You can get busy stockpiling armaments for a confrontation with the inevitable.


  33. Actually, I don’t know that

    Actually, I don’t know that the Founding Fathers were on Mr. Fiore’s side. Thomas Jefferson, for example, proposed castration as the penalty for consensual homosexual acts. I don’t believe he proposed any comparable penalty for papolatry, let alone shame-based volkisch whatevers (to the extent such things are relevant to the discussion). I do believe that some of the formal public commitments of the FFs have had catastrophic consequences. Does it make sense, though, to say that a man is “on the side” of all the ultimate implications of his stated principles?

  34. As regards homosexuality, my impression

    As regards homosexuality, my impression has been that in discussions here and at VFR the outcry isn’t against homosexuality but against its legitimation, against the push by homosexual groups for society’s official approval of their sexual perversion through teaching in elementary schools, high schools and colleges that it is normal, through extending the traditional state of matrimony to include homosexual partners, through according to homosexuality the legal status accorded to a race for example by means of the enactment and interpretation of certain sorts of anti-discrimination statutes, through high-level official gestures like the deliberate, explicit selection of United States presidential cabinet members afflicted with this perversion (Janet Reno and Donna Shalala for example) and of judges at all levels of the judiciary — both state and federal — who suffer from it, etc., etc. Homosexuals can do what they like among themselves. Normal people don’t want it forced down their or society’s throats thank you very much. That’s all we ask. (It is well-known that those who are shocked at seeing these attempts to force it on society as something normal, healthy, and good include many homosexuals.) Mr. Fiore will find that those of us who do not want this forced on us or forced on our children or on our society are not going to be flexible about the question. We are not going to compromise about it. Can he understand what that means?

    • If you believe homosexuality
      If you believe homosexuality is a perversion you apparently have no room to accept how people are brought into the world. Reading your comment did nothing less than make me disgusted with the negative traits you have given to individuals. What if a person were to say that a childrens book portraying heterosexual families as -I’m sorry, what did you call it, oh yes “normal”- was immoral? What if they called it perverted? Would that make sense to you at all? I don’t think so, maybe your views are narrow and unfiltered, but at least I have the satisfaction of being able to sleep at night knowing I haven’t failed at being a descent human being. How are you sleeping lately, “Mysterious Stranger”?

      P.S. You see, what schools are trying to do is teach children about the realities in the world. Your children will learn about the real world one day, and when they learn about Gays and Lesbians I think it’s fair to provide them with what homosexual families can be and are like-“NORMAL”. If you fail to recognize the homosexual community as equal to you, you are only contributing to the seemingly progessing view of hatred among this diverse world that we live in. If you fail to be open minded, you fail to learn.

  35. Clarification of the comment above:

    Clarification of the comment above: No one on our side has any objection whatsoever to a cabinet member’s or Attorney General’s being privately homosexual. That’s his business; we’re all entitled to have our private defects, blemishes, and imperfections in life (up to a point, of course). The objection in the case of Janet Reno is that she was chosen *explicitly because* she was a lesbian. They explicitly wanted a homosexual woman for that post.

  36. Whatever discrete points of agreement

    Whatever discrete points of agreement the Framers had with Mr. Fiore’s Open Society Liberalism (anti-Catholic many of them were for sure), they stand squarely against him on the central point at issue here: namely, the reality of objective and absolute standards of moral judgment. In short, a moral law which exists _outside_ the incessant rumblings of the human intellect, which is discernable by reason, and applicable to all places and all men, to which We the People have solemnly committed ourselves, and about the refinement and perfection of which we are all, as Americans, locked in argument. “We hold these truths.”

    I’ll note, also, that I am not particularly concerned (at least in this context) to discover “what the Framers _really_ thought”; whether they were more influenced by Locke or Rousseau or Montesquieu, etc. I am concerned with the documents they produced which are binding on us as the highest law of our Republic.

    In that sense even the First Amendment and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, which are the two primary instruments by which judicial usurpers are attempting to foist Open Society Liberalism on us by fiat, must be understood as operating within a structure laid out in the Constitution — a structure, again, which aims at forming a more perfect Union, establishing Justice, insuring domestic Tranquility, providing for the common defence, etc, etc.

    That is to say, even th First Amendment, currently (mis)interpreted, is subordinate to other principles.

  37. “Mr. Fiore will find that

    “Mr. Fiore will find that those of us who do not want this forced on us or forced on our children or on our society are not going to be flexible about the question. We are not going to compromise about it. Can he understand what that means?”

    Aww—does this mean that you aren’t prepared to accept that “fur is murder” either? I was so hoping to convince you!

    All I ask is that every point of view be given a fair shot. I know you people are hopelessly retrograde and it makes you feel good to say “gay people are perverse”; “people outside of the true faith are going to hell”; “interracial marriage is the tool of the devil”; etc. etc. Aging, frightened, misanthropes. That’s what you sound like, and that’s what you are… It’s okay, I understand your motivations, and you’re welcome to them… However, I trust that—with enough exposure to influences from outside of your bigoted homes—your children, and your children’s children, etc. will gradually shed their prejudices. But that’s what you’re afraid of—isn’t it?


  38. One last thing–“One person can

    One last thing—

    “One person can walk on the grass. If everyone walks on the grass, there’ll be no grass to walk on.

    Posted by: Unadorned at January 29, 2004 08:23 AM”

    if you’re afraid you’re the kind of person who “tramples the grass” then you’re right to to zip-lock your brain in the hermetic doctrine of the Church… but keep in mind that there’s an even better institution that we’ve devised for people who can’t help tresspassing against others in our society—it’s called prison!


  39. Mr. Fiore writes:
    “However, I

    Mr. Fiore writes:
    “However, I trust that—with enough exposure to influences from outside of your bigoted homes—your children, and your children’s children, etc. will gradually shed their prejudices. But that’s what you’re afraid of—isn’t it?”

    I don’t consider it even a remote possibility, actually. The narcissistic pluralists don’t reproduce in enough numbers to be much of a factor a few generations out. The real problem for my grandkids’ kids is more likely to be escaping from under the tyrannies wrought by the progeny of the third-world replacement populations currently being imported on mass scale. It is really anyone’s guess what they will actually face, but my confidence that whatever it is it will not be narcissistic modern liberalism is very high.

  40. Mr. Fiore wrote,”[D]oes this mean

    Mr. Fiore wrote,

    “[D]oes this mean that you aren’t prepared to accept that ‘fur is murder’ either?”

    People on my side 1) don’t agree that slaughtering or hunting animals for food, fur, or other necessary or useful animal products is murder or wrong; 2) feel that animals should be treated at all times humanely and to do otherwise—to torture or otherwise mistreat them—is very wrong and we fully agree with the laws against that; 3) favor all normal wildlife conservation measures such as bag limits on hunters, catch limits on fisheries including whale fisheries where needed, interdiction of all hunting of endangered species like certain big cats hunted for fur, elephants for ivory, rhinos for horns, certain raptors or carion birds for feathers or sport, etc., etc. “Normal” conservation measures means ones that make sense to a normal person, rather than the way-out-radical-left-wing-looneytoon-Marxistfront-nihilistic-psycho-weird ones that the left keeps trying to shove down everyone’s throat exclusively in order to destroy society. Those we don’t favor, while we do favor all normal ones.

    “[I]t makes you feel good to say ‘gay people are perverse’ […]”

    I’m not sure in what way gay people—that is happy, festive, merry people—would be perverse. Incidentally, my side rejects by and large the other side’s replacement of the word homosexual with the word gay, just as it rejects other “countercultural terms of implicit approval” such as the expression “doing drugs” in place of “taking drugs,” and many others. As regards homosexuals, their condition is not normal but a sexual perversion, an illness, exactly as are sexual sadism, sexual masochism, necrophilia, coprophilia, pedophilia, and many other pathological conditions in the broad category of sexual perversion. Calling someone “perverse” is of course different from saying he has a sexual perversion.

    “people outside of the true faith are going to hell”

    I can’t comment on this, not knowing enough about my religion, which is Catholicism.

    “interracial marriage is the tool of the devil”

    My side doesn’t believe this. We endorse Steve Sailer’s view that “everyone should marry the one he loves,” regardless of race, religion, or other considerations. My side is not against interracial marriage. Notice that opposing genocide-by-excessive-incompatible-immigration-carried-out-by-detached-and-aloof-élites-for-personal-gain-against-the-wishes-of-the-races,-ethnicities,-populations,-and-communities-which-are-being-destroyed-and-exterminated is not at all the same as opposing inter-racial marriage.

    “[…] misanthropes. That’s what you sound like, and that’s what you are”[etc.]”

    Any number of times and in a multitude of ways voices at VFR have correctly identified the other side—the side making this “misanthrope” accusation, above—as precisely what it is, namely a will to death of self and the utter extinction of everything else; a will to nothingness, to the void. All who desire that outlook are welcome to sign on.

    There’s an alternative: those who oppose nothingness; who favor somethingness; who are against entropy and in favor of meaning; who oppose the void and favor existence. At bottom, Mr. Fiore’s side opposes somethingness, opposes meaning, opposes existence.

  41. “…if you

    “…if you’re afraid you’re the kind of person who “tramples the grass” then you’re right to to zip-lock your brain in the hermetic doctrine of the Church”

    Well, all this is good clean fun, like Voltaire’s witticism that “religion began when the first charlatan met the first fool”. But, Dave—seriously, now: could you identify specifically the profound philosophies and broad intellectual vistas that open up for the person who leaves the ‘zip-lock bag’ of the Church? I’d really like to know, because truthfully, I can’t think of any.

  42. But Paul, repeat after me,

    But Paul, repeat after me, ‘hermeticity is vice and leakiness is virtue.’ Indeed the more holes from which one leaks (intellectually of course) the more virtuous one becomes.

  43. Mr. Fiore wrote (today, 01:53

    Mr. Fiore wrote (today, 01:53 PM),
    “if you”re afraid you’re the kind of person who ‘tramples the grass’ then you’re right to to zip-lock your brain in the hermetic doctrine of the Church— but keep in mind that there’s an even better institution that we’ve devised for people who can’t help tresspassing against others in our society—it’s called prison!”

    He completely misunderstood the meaning of the post of mine which he was commenting on. In my post I had meant to say that, just as people who disregard the “Please Don’t Walk on the Grass” signs do no harm individually but would bitterly regret it if everyone did the same (since there’d be no lawn left), so people who disregard all religion do no harm individually but would bitterly regret it if everyone did the same, since there’d be no civilization left. They have no understanding of what creates the world around them, including the things they very much value.

  44. Unadorned–I did not misunderstand what

    Unadorned—I did not misunderstand what you said. I merely expressed my FAITH in the proposition that human beings are capbable of respecting each other without being blinkered by dogma. You expressed an opposing point of view—presumably because you are certain that you would run amok if you weren’t afraid of the moral authority of the church… Let’s just get it straight in our heads which side has a lower opinion of humanity.

    Or, then again, let’s not bother to get anything straight. You people aren’t arguing against ME anyway, you’re opposing a straw bogey man that your parents scared you into believing in.

    The only difference between us is that you all feel quite comfortable making psychological/moralistic judgments about other people’s private behaviour, and I am not.

    It might surprise you to learn that I, personally, lead about as unimpeachable a life as you guys could ever want. For instance, it would be analogous to a sin for me to ever:
    —intoxicate myself with drugs of any kind (including alcohol, which I’ve never touched)
    —have sex with anyone I did not love
    —harm another being (yes, that includes animals—and I understand that it will be a while, maybe centuries, before other people agree with me on this point, and I don’t preach vegetarianism because I’m a liberal, and we just don’t do that kind of thing—my girlfriend eats meat and we don’t discuss it and there’s no problem—can you people even imagine a close union between two people with such opposed opinions… probably you can’t. but it works for Christine and myself because we are BOTH liberals)
    —tell lies, fail to make an effort to make genuine contact with people

    aside from the fact that I don’t feel I need to enter into a religiously sanctioned union with my girlfriend, I don’t think you people could find any fault with me—except for the fact that I deny your right to authoritarian government.

    Like I said—think about it. Or don’t. The choice is yours. Just don’t assume that I’m some kind of narcissist/hedonist/fringe-lunatic because I take people as they are, and I think you should too.


  45. David.
    You are a product

    You are a product of our age.
    Post Modernism is the intersection of narcassism & nihilism. (who said that?)
    This produces what they call a “herd of free thinkers”
    Your thoughts as presented here..
    may be right, you may be wrong.
    but one thing is for sure.
    Your not uncommon.

  46. Mr. Fiore,

    You wrote:
    I know

    Mr. Fiore,

    You wrote:
    I know you people are hopelessly retrograde

    I don’t know if I count as “you people” since I rarely post here, but I am a traditional conservative, or at least as much as one can be in our society. Specifically an rather traditional (though not very good) Orthodox Christian, which probably would seem rather retrograde to you.

    and it makes you feel good

    Why would you assume that someone’s opinions and beliefs concerning the following issues are primarily based in “feeling?”

    to say “gay people are perverse”

    By “gay” you mean homosexual. Look up the word “perverse” in the dictionary. Now explain to me how someone who believes that the moral law taught by traditional Christianity (whether Orthodoxy, Roman Catholicism, or traditional Protestantism) is normative for all of humanity would not affirm that homosexuality is perverse. Thus homosexuals are perverse at least in regard to their sexual practice. A soul afflicted with a soul-destroying perversion does not make me “feel good.” In terms of my society, it is true that I am bothered by a homosexualist agenda, but with regard to the souls of individual homosexuals all I can do is pray for their change of heart and mind (repentance) and God’s mercy and stand firm in my defense of Church’s teaching.

    people outside of the true faith are going to hell

    Well this certainly does not make me “feel good,” if it is indeed true in every single case. Why would I take delight in the eternal suffering of fellow men?

    Of course, I do not and cannot speak for all traditional conservatives, but as an ideal (if not always in practice) I hold to the words of a recent Orthodox saint from one of the more un-PC places in modern Europe (Mt. Athos), St. Silouan the Athonite:

    “Do only good, don’t seek revenge, never hold grudges, be happy and joyful, don’t get upset, feel no hatred, anger or resentment, have no aversion nor repulsion against anyone, don’t judge, sincerely forgive, strive to be reconciled with all, feel compassion and pity for all, sincerely wish salvation for all, pray for all, and love equally no matter who or what they are.”

    Part of loving someone is certainly being concerned about their salvation, and about their going astray. So this does not mean that we do not defend what is right. Nonetheless I admit that there is always a danger for traditionalists of morphing into what you seem to think we are, and that is why those of us who are Christians must examine our consciences daily, to make sure that we keep our first principles first and the love of God in our hearts.

    interracial marriage is the tool of the devil

    I certainly do not feel this way, though some conservatives probably do.

    It should not have to be said that there are a lot of different views on race besides “self-anointed crusader for multiculturalism and leftist notions of equality” and “cross-burning gapped-toothed kluxer.” On the paleo and traditionalist right, this ranges from those like Robert Nisbet who believed that race was entirely a social construct to Jared Taylor who is a kind of racialist and “yellow supremacist” (if I am correct he believes that in most areas in which whites on average outperform blacks and hispanics, Asians on average outperform whites). I personally do not think that the reasoned opinions of others on race automatically qualify them as “bad people” because for me race and views of race are not nearly so polarizing an issue as they are for most leftists. In fact, I agree with Thomas Sowell that if any progress is ever to be made in our understanding of race and racial differences, researchers (including scientific racialists) must be allowed to do their research without being hindered by PC police.

    To return to main point: if someday I have a daughter and she comes to me wanting to marry someone of another race and she asks for my blessing, I will be far more concerned about whether he is an Orthodox Christian of traditional views and morality, a genuine patriot who loves his homeland and the best of its traditions, someone who sees the culture formed by true Christianity as ideal, and in short someone worthy to enter into the sacrament of holy matrimony with my daughter, than I will be about his race. However, it does not particularly bother me that there are some men and women who consider interracial marriage to be undesirable (generally for more and more complex reasons than “it’s the tool of the devil”).


    Yes, since the day I was born, but I am not as far along in the process as you are, my friend. (From previous posts I think I learned that am something like 7 to 10 years younger.)


    About some things, not others. Surely the same holds for you?


    Being a Christian who fully believes in the incarnation, I am not sure it is possible for me to really hate “anthropon,” or “anthropous” in general.

    I understand your motivations

    I am not so sure about that.

    However, I trust that

  47. I appreciate the responsive response

    I appreciate the responsive response Jeremiah, believe me, and I don’t think I have any problem with most what you’re saying (if you want to hope that homosexuals “see the the light”, that’s your right…)

    but the crux of my disagreement with Turnabout has been over the question of authoritarian government. if you’re in favour of it, then I count you among those I labelled “you people”. If you’re not, then I’m very pleased that you’ve found a life, and a faith, that works for you. I’m happy for you either way really—but in the first case I have to fight with you, in the second case I can do what I WANT to do, which is defer to your judgement about what’s best for you.


  48. You’ll have to define your

    You’ll have to define your terms for me here, Dave. I do not consider the view of government put forth by Mr. Kalb to be “authoritarian,” though I may not agree with it in every particular. But I am not sure how you are using the word. What in particular seems authoritarian to you about the view of government set forth here? Perhaps you’ve been reading longer and more closely than I.

  49. This bit,

    This bit, ,

    from Thrasymachus Online (excerpt below), makes a point which is closely related to the one I was trying to touch on in my posts about “What if everyone, not just one person, disregarded the ‘Please Don’t Walk on the Grass’ sign?; i.e., What if everyone, not just one person, disregarded religion?”

    Excerpt from Thrasy’s web log:

    “JJ: That is an interesting perspective on it I hadn’t thought of at all. My wife had one of her professors who taught in a Moslem country for a while and said he woke up one day and saw the children had a bunch of kittens they were throwing up in the air and hitting with a baseball bat against the wall and the mothers just sat by and watched. He said, ‘I am not a Christian, I am an atheist, but I am a Christian in that I could not tolerate that.’ There has been an influence in our society that has made us different from pagans.

    “GW: We vastly underestimate the importance of Jesus. We think we don’t. We have all these churches and we say how can we be underestimating Jesus? We don’t until we start trying to figure out what it would be like if he had never lived. When you really start trying to figure out what it would be like if He never lived you realize that He is a much more pivotal figure than we give him credit for. All of these people, everybody at this convention is in that sense a Christian although most of them would tell you that they are not and some of them would tell you quite truthfully that they were Jews who practice Judaism in one of its various forms and so on and so forth. Nevertheless they have been influenced by Christ much more than they realized. We are very lucky to have had Him. We are very fortunate. A friend of mine learned to read Turkish. And he got hold of a Turkish joke book and read it. And I said, ‘What were the jokes like?’ He said it was horrible. They were all about ugly tricks that were being played on blind people and things like that. This is what we have escaped from and we don’t realize that it is there and we came very close to falling into it. We very easily could have and we still may.”

  50. Paul wrote (Jan. 30, 02:51

    Paul wrote (Jan. 30, 02:51 PM):

    “Well, all this is good clean fun, like Voltaire’s witticism that ‘religion began when the first charlatan met the first fool.’ ”

    For any who may not be aware of this, Voltaire believed profoundly in God, as is evident in many of his writings and as was stated explicitly by him in various places. Among the things he objected to about organized religion of his day were certain complex tenets and rules of formal Catholicism that struck him as not coherent yet which Catholics were obliged to accept of course by the powerful clergy of that era in France. And he was repelled, as so many thinkers have been down through the centuries, by human failings on the part of the clergy, such as outrageous hypocrisy, wrong-headed political influence, etc., etc. Voltaire could be scathing in his criticisms of the organized Church. But he most definitely was not an atheist or agnostic. He believed in God.

  51. I understand that he had

    I understand that he had a Catholic chapel built on his property. But he also looked forward to the day when “the last king would be strangled with the entrails of the last priest”. And his slogan “Ecrasez l’infame” apparently refers to the Church—”crush the infamous thing”. The word “conflicted” springs naturally to mind…

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