thanks for the reminders, guys

 

Robert Wright and Jonathan Haidt on Bloggingheads

So let me just lay my bias out there for you: my own family formation was complex. The story’s not of interest to most people. I bring it up only to remind us all that there are a lot of different ways in which families end up outside of the Rick Santorum-approved family model of “mom and dad, two kids, a dog, a Volvo, and a Firefox cache full of gay porn.” Life is complex. America is complex. Outcomes are unpredictable and family formation is hardly ever a matter of choice.

“Maybe raising people with a single parent is not so good.” Maybe so, Dr. Haidt, maybe so. And maybe people dying of cancer or in car accidents is not so good. And maybe mothers having to flee with their children at night because the father is an abusive alcoholic is not so good. And maybe generations of people having their sense of self-worth and ability to comport with society’s norms ground into dust by decades of poverty is not so good. A lot of things are not so good. The question is, what do you want to do about it? I’m afraid cancer is immune to legislation. Social mores have proven almost entirely incapable of preventing drug addiction. Social science can’t tweak the “number of marriageable men” dial and ensure that every successful woman who wants to raise a child has some strapping, nurturing brodude at her side to help her do it.

I’ve been reading these laments my whole life. The Murphy Brown debacle was one of the first national political conversations to puncture the bubble of childhood, for me. Since that time, there’s been many people trying to put a human face on enforcing family norms and attacking the legitimacy of my family and families as nontraditional as mine. There’s plenty of them out there now, your Ross Douthats and your William Saletans and your David Brookseseses. At this point, I kind of prefer the old school, judgy variety, your Pat Robertson-style sanctimony. There’s something more honest, and thus less cruel, about it. At least when Rick Santorum tells us our lives are wrong he has the guts to just come out and do it.

Honestly, what do these people think is happening? Families aren’t cooked up in a lab. Liberals aren’t out there campaigning for fewer traditional families. They aren’t rubbing their hands together and scheming on how to drive people apart. They don’t have to. Life does that. Loss does that. The endless bullshit of human existence does that. What liberals are trying to do is to deal with the messy nature of life in a way that asserts the dignity and value of nontraditional families. The new breed of moralists gives us no rational advice on how to deal with those inevitable realities and so function as just more tongue-cluckers, asking us to feel guilty about situations we have no control over. (If you really care about stigmatizing people, you don’t keep using the term “illegitimate,” I’m sure of that.)

Haidt says that “the most dangerous person in the world is mom’s boyfriend.” He references his research with Brazilian street kids and how often their mother’s boyfriends end up hurting them in some way. What Haidt doesn’t explain is what, exactly, single mothers are supposed to do. He’s just said that single parent households are bad for kids. But okay, Mom getting a boyfriend is bad too. What is Mom supposed to do? Live a life of chastity? What if the father is dead? What if he’s in jail? What if he’s just the wrong guy, and staying with him is bad for everybody? There’s never any notion of what better alternatives are, of what should have been done and what should be done now. Very little good is ever accomplished by declaring that things aren’t ideal.

I confess: were Haidt to lend me the keys to his time machine so I could journey back like Sam from Quantum Leap and preserve my family in its “optimal” state, I probably wouldn’t do it. Just like I wouldn’t go monkeying around with the family with a single lesbian mother, or the family where a second cousin is raising the kids, or the family of street kids who aren’t biologically related. Nor, I must confess, am I willing to judge them. My life experience has been an education in tragedy, and it’s taught me that the project of the human species is the effort to manage that tragedy. Yes: nontraditional families can house acres of hardship and dysfunction. So can the classic kind. If I ever take that knowledge as an invitation to put the screws to those struggling under the burden of that hardship and that dysfunction, strike me down and leave me for dead.

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115 replies
  1. 1
    Cheryl from Maryland says:

    Moving, heartfelt and right. Thanks.

  2. 2
    Shinobi says:

    Also lets not forget that perfect little nuclear church going families can fuck up their kids just as bad if not worse. I knew a girl from a well off two parent perfect catholic family who didn’t use birth control. She’s been gone for years now, the same route as Whitney Houston actually.

    A nuclear family and comfortable living conditions can’t protect you from a mother with borderline personality disorder or an alcoholic father.

    Sometimes life just sucks, and we can either deal with our lives in a realistic way, or pine endlessly for some false utopia that will never exist.

  3. 3
    Evergreen (formerly Betsy, forever ago) says:

    I read the piece you linked to, and all I was left with was “Wow.” That is an amazing, wrenching, wonderful piece of writing.

  4. 4
    kMc says:

    Thanks Freddie. Great post, man.

  5. 5
    Persia says:

    NGL, if anything happens to my husband I’m not going to date again until the kid’s out of school. But guess who’s out there telling men they should be ‘tough’ and ‘masculine’ and everything in the house is their property to take? It sure as fuck ain’t the liberals.

  6. 6
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    But okay, Mom getting a boyfriend is bad too. What is Mom supposed to do? Live a life of chastity?

    Put an aspirin between her legs, and make sure it never moves.

    The slut needs to control her wanton desires. Period.

    The man, of course, is never taken to task for any action he takes. Just ask Rep. Joe Walsh.

  7. 7
    gaz says:

    The problem with this, is that the moral scolds underpin their crazy with the belief that if everyone went to church, hated on teh queers, and (damnit!) just did what they were told to do by their moral superiors, then none of life would be messy. Seriously, as far as I can tell, they actually sincerely believe that.

    IOW: CLAP LOUDER!

  8. 8
    Judas Escargot, Your Postmodern Neighbor says:

    My parents divorced when I was 2. My mother probably decided that getting strangled by the Marine when he came back from overseas wasn’t the best environment, so she (and therefore I) fled Arizona and eventually ended up back in Boston, where she was from.
    __
    A big part of what pisses me off about the “One-Parent Families Create Broken Children” argument is that it’s self-sealing. Once someone has decided you’re “broken” because you came from a single parent family, then, by definition, everything you say, every argument you make is colored by that fact.
    __
    I’m sorry the fact that my mother didn’t opt for the likely regimen of nightly beatings for me offends you, Mr Haidt. But, sincerely: Fuck you.

  9. 9
    Xecky Gilchrist says:

    Applause (for the post, not for the clap louder in #7.)

    Honestly, what do these people think is happening? Families aren’t cooked up in a lab.

    That’s about it – it’s that typical fallacy you see so often particularly from Libertarians, the idea that every circumstance in life (job, family, income, etc.) is something you can simply choose.

  10. 10
    david mizner says:

    Well, if we stop talking about the things government has no capacity to control, we might have to start talking about, or even doing something about, those things it can control, like, you know, poverty, economic inequality. Some of these cultural conservatives surely believe what they’re saying — might even fall backward into a unridiculous point every year or so — but I have trouble seeing their existence as anything but the class war’s decoy.

  11. 11
    Persia says:

    @Judas Escargot, Your Postmodern Neighbor:

    Once someone has decided you’re “broken” because you came from a single parent family, then, by definition, everything you say, every argument you make is colored by that fact.

    God, yes. And since no one is perfect, every flaw is for that reason too.

  12. 12
    Trentrunner says:

    The entire Republican agenda in one sentence:

    Why are these sluts having sex in the first place?

  13. 13
    AnotherBruce says:

    Just once, I would like to see someone like you address one of these moral and social scolds like this in real time. It would be nice to see their stubborn ideals challenged.

  14. 14
    LittlePig says:

    Well said.

    These people are trying to force their Happy Public Myth view of America into law. It wasn’t so bad when most folks knew that bromides like “a dad, a mom, two kids and a mortgage” and “All criminals are punished justly” was just happy public thought for civility’s sake that had no applicability in the real world. Now they want to force this childhood fantasy reality fed to idiots to be public policy enforced by the power of the State.

    The country is now being run for the benefit of its morons. That is not a sane way to govern.

  15. 15
    gaz says:

    I was adopted when I was 3. My adopted parents divorced when I was 5. They each remarried. I hooked up again with my biological family when I was 18 or so. Of that family, my mother and father had been divorced for I don’t know how long – but were best friends up until he died.

    I packed up my baby half-sister and moved her to my place recently, because my mom is getting on in years and can barely take care of herself. (I say baby, but she’s a teenager – I’m getting old)

    Anyway – I usually need a piece of paper and a slide-rule to work out the number of siblings I have. I think it’s somewhere around 11. Step, half, full, and all points in between.

    My family is confusing. My family is “non-traditional” (whatever the hell that even means). My family (some parts more than others) are pretty goddamned broken.

    But we survive, we stick together, and I wouldn’t trade them. Even the ones I don’t really get along with =)

    Fuck anyone who was blessed with a relatively calm, stable and drama-free family – and decides that it gives them license to feel superior to other people.

    You may look like a sears portrait ad at thanksgiving-time, but bring that sanctimonious shit to our doorstep and my family (pick one) would cut you. seriously. We’d fuck your morally superior shit up.

    Merry christmas =)

  16. 16
    Mike P says:

    Strong stuff, Freddie. Spot on post and thanks for sharing your story.

  17. 17
    japa21 says:

    Excellent, heart felt post and total heart felt appreciation for it.

    I grew up in a “normal” family. Six kids, mother stayed at home while father brought home the bacon. As I have gone through life I have discovered that what happened with our family was a miracle of sorts. All six of us have turned out to be pretty responsible adults. We can have family gatherings without major discord. When my mother died (years after my father did) there was no haggling over who gets what.

    From my experience doing couples counselign, I realize that my experience was, if not unique, at least a minority occurrence.

    Maybe being a child in a single parent household is not optimum. But it may be a lot better, if that parent is a loving giving parent, than being in a two parent household where the whole concept of loving is foreign.

  18. 18
    Tom Levenson says:

    My dad died in a boating accident when I was ten. My mom raised four kids, 7-17, on her own. She was devastated by my dad’s death, but hung on and did the hard work of grieving as unnoticed as possible while trying to make sure we didn’t fly apart as a family. Anyone who disses her lands on my forever shit list. (The sibs get to kvetch of course; that’s family life.)

    Jonathan Haidt is someone I’ve been aware of for a bit as a remarkably selective clever dick. (The British phrase works just fine in American, doesn’t it?) Saletan’s review of his book recently made me loathe Saletan more, but I gave Haidt just the slightest benefit of the doubt, given that I didn’t want to ascribe to him Saletan’s glosses. But I think he is just another credentialed idiot — or rather not an idiot, for he’s not stupid, but another guy addicted to being the smartest bloke in the room, and hence immune to any complexity of experience that might shadow the brilliant sunlit insights of his spotless mind.

    Or, in other words, intercourse him sideways with an oxidized farm implement

  19. 19
    slag says:

    Did Dan Savage’s ironically named “Every child needs a mother and a father” series come up in their conversation?
    __
    Personally, I think parents who love and educate their children and don’t set them on fire are the kinds of parents we want as a society. Gender, quantity, and income-level of parents are non-issues, as far as I’m concerned.
    __
    Also too…correlationisnotcausationyaddayaddayadda…

  20. 20
    MattF says:

    Right… For almost all of us, we do our best, and that will just have to be good enough.

  21. 21
    gaz says:

    @Tom Levenson:

    Or, in other words, intercourse him sideways with an oxidized farm implement

    Consider this line stolen. =)

  22. 22
    WereBear says:

    Are they, as they so often do, mistaking correlation with causation?

  23. 23
    slag says:

    @Tom Levenson: For the record, I actually liked Haidt’s exposition of political morality. But I liked the atheist-driven “authoritarianism is moral relativism” demolition of it even more. Sometimes, you can’t have the win without the wang.

  24. 24
    gaz says:

    @WereBear: I’d say the larger mistake is confusing incoherent fantastic gibberish with rational thought.

    mistaking correlation and causation is just a tiny swell in the roiling ocean of stupidity.

  25. 25
    The Very Reverend Crimson Fire of compassion says:

    Bless you. Fuck him.

  26. 26
    vernon says:

    @slag:

    Sometimes, you can’t have the win without the wang.

    [applause] Very nice.

  27. 27
    beltane says:

    Where I live, the Republican-leaning people are actually the most likely to live in highly unstable, transitory family units. There are an awful lot of young, white, rural Christians who never marry and whose fleeting relationships bring numerous unplanned and not-well-cared-for-children into the world. From what I’ve seen, it’s the people preaching the loudest who are the problem.

  28. 28
    gaz says:

    @beltane: I’ve noticed a lot of that too.

  29. 29
    japa21 says:

    @beltane: Standard projection. They hate themselves, can’t deal with that, so they project it outward. And for much of that crowd, since they believe they are saved anyway, so what they do isn’t really wrong. Their ability to create internal justifications for their external hypocrisy is beyond the understanding of us mere mortals.

  30. 30
    BroD says:

    Great post.

  31. 31
    debg says:

    Freddie, thanks for such a fantastic post. And all the commenters, thanks for your great discussion too. I don’t always wade into the comments just because there aren’t enough hours in the day. I’m really glad I did this time.

    ETA: It’s interesting as well that this conservative wet-dream looks so much like Leave It To Beaver. My brother, a proud conservative, once said to me (paraphrasing broadly), “I wish we could just go back to the way things were in the 50s. I think life was easier then, because men and women knew what to do.” Sure. Everybody knew what to do, and FSM help the woman, child, POC, etc. who stepped outside those rules. I’ve been meaning to read Stephanie Coontz’s The Way We Never Were for years now–she studies the pop culture nostalgia for a 1950s America that never really existed.

    @slag, I second @vernon’s applause. Beautifully done, madam/sir!

  32. 32
    Crusty Dem says:

    Don’t forget that the assault on the non-nuclear family is often a not-so-subtle dig at our president. We have to question his moral judgement because he didn’t have a father, etc, etc, etc. Using the situation you were born into as a cudgel to suggest you are a bad person might be the height of assholity, if only these idiot savants hadn’t demonstrated how much further they can go…

  33. 33
    Mnemosyne says:

    Complicated family here, too. Mom died after a long struggle with cancer when I was seven, dad remarried when I was 10 and she brought her three boys with her.

    You know all that stuff that the right wing loves to mock about “it takes a village”? It’s true. My grandparents and aunts and uncles all pitched in to help out and give our damaged little family the extra support it needed. For the most part, it worked despite the continuing challenges (like my brother being in a serious car accident that put him in rehab for a year and left him a partial paraplegic). My paternal grandmother spent a LOT of time with me. My maternal (step) grandmother did, too. My father’s sisters pitched in with child care and with carting me from place to place. When we all lived in the same town, my older cousins would walk to school with me.

    The way the right wing talks, you’d think that a kid who barely met his father and was raised by a mother who always had something more important to do would have no chance of getting out of poverty, much less of becoming the president of the United States. Then you look at pictures like this one, and you understand how he turned out the way he did. I think the Obamas understand that, too, which is why Grandma Robinson moved to DC with them.

  34. 34
    catclub says:

    @japa21: “As I have gone through life I have discovered that what happened with our family was a miracle of sorts. All six of us have turned out to be pretty responsible adults. We can have family gatherings without major discord. When my mother died (years after my father did) there was no haggling over who gets what.”

    Every happy family is essentially the same. Every unhappy family is unhappy in its unique way. I think it comes from Shakespeare, but I am not sure.

  35. 35
    beltane says:

    @catclub: It was Tolstoy, an expert on unhappy families, who wrote that. It is the opening sentence of Anna Karenina.

  36. 36
    Commenting at Balloon Juice since 1937 says:

    Wait, street kids don’t have great home lives? Say it isn’t so!

  37. 37
    LiberalTarian says:

    Beautiful.

  38. 38
    Tmill says:

    Thank you. This is so well said!

  39. 39
    Ash Can says:

    Atta boy, Freddie.

    I had a very normal, very traditional childhood. And nowadays, I have a very normal, very traditional marriage. What’s important about both situations is not their traditionalism, but their stability and security, qualities that can exist in any non-traditional family setting as well. Unlike Jonathan Haidt and his ilk, I recognize and acknowledge that I am lucky, not superior, and it’s because of the security and health of my relationships, past and present, not their traditionalism. Traditionalism is a structure, a mere setting, not a quality. It can’t sustain the health of a relationship in and of itself.

    People such as Dr. Nobody here are all confused about what makes a good relationship. They’re mistaking the structure/setting for the qualities that actually produce a healthy, beneficial relationship.

  40. 40
    ET says:

    @gaz: I am in the same boat gaz. My own family history is decidedly non traditional and am equally fed up with people from “happy” homes moralizing at me.

  41. 41
    slag says:

    @vernon: @debg: Thank you thank you. But the real credit here goes to Levenson who pitched that one over the plate. Haidt is a “remarkably selective clever dick”. He truly outdicked himself in this clip, though. Hard to believe it possible.

  42. 42
    Democratic Nihilist, Keeper Of Party Purity says:

    I’ve been here quite some time and this might be the best front-page post I’ve read.

  43. 43
    superluminar says:

    I come from a “normal” family, and I just want to say it is heartbreaking to read what some of you guys went through – I can only begin to imagine but it really makes me feel like saying “fuck you, assholes” to those who would impose their twisted beliefs on everyone else. I fucking hate rightwingers with a passion and it’s stuff like this thread that remind me why that is.

  44. 44
    Clime Acts says:

    Beautiful essay, Freddie. Thank you.

  45. 45
    catclub says:

    @beltane: Thanks!

    I also realize (on further thought) that it is fairly inappropriate for this thread.

  46. 46
    Bubblegum Tate says:

    @Xecky Gilchrist:

    it’s that typical fallacy you see so often particularly from Libertarians, the idea that every circumstance in life (job, family, income, etc.) is something you can simply choose.

    Not only that, but that each option to choose from is equally easy.

  47. 47
    liz says:

    I know it wasn’t your intention, but now I feel weird for having just two parents who’ve been married for 25 years. How boring. At least we aren’t white? or something.

  48. 48
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Ash Can:

    People such as Dr. Nobody here are all confused about what makes a good relationship. They’re mistaking the structure/setting for the qualities that actually produce a healthy, beneficial relationship.

    Great point! In theory, my dad and stepmom’s marriage shouldn’t have worked, because they’re from different social classes (she was literally raised in a trailer), they were putting two sets of kids together, my dad is/was a binge alcoholic, etc.

    But they always have that core feeling of respect for each other even when they would get pissed off at something the other person had done, and they’ve been married for over 30 years now. Same with my aunt and her second husband — he’s 12 years younger, she brought a kid to the marriage, she’s constantly traveling, but they, too, have been married for over 30 years.

  49. 49
    jibeaux says:

    I thought my parents were pretty normal, until my dad offered to take my mom anywhere she wanted to go for their fortieth wedding anniversary, and she decided that what she really wanted to do was go with her husband, three adult kids, their spouses/SOs, and five grandchildren out West in a motor home; and he agreed to this and began excitedly shopping for a motor home and motor home accessories, and planning the route into an excel spreadsheet. Clearly, they are actually completely nuts. TV rights to the reality show are still available if you’d like to bid.

  50. 50
    Aaron Baker says:

    I enjoyed this post AND your backstory. I’m not sure I’ve ever read a more apt riposte to the casual moralizing that these professional scolds love so much.

    I, too, lost my mother when I was a child (five years old). It was only much later that I started to appreciate how difficult this must have been for my father.

    Later, when one of my wife’s nieces died at the far-too-young age of 29, the family let us adopt her baby. We love our Laura–but I’m a bit sobered to know I’m the beneficiary of someone else’s tragedy.

    I bring these anecdotes up because I was quite struck by your emphasis on loss. Loss, and limited opportunities, have to be mentioned again and again whenever these sanctimonious twits start to hem and haw.

  51. 51
    porter says:

    “Firefox cache full of gay porn”

    Probably not far from the truth as this chart clearly shows.
    http://www.calamitiesofnature.com/archive/?c=550

  52. 52
    Jerzy Russian says:

    @Democratic Nihilist, Keeper Of Party Purity:

    I’ve been here quite some time and this might be the best front-page post I’ve read.

    Yes, this one is definitely in the top two or three.

  53. 53
    Gravie says:

    Thank you for that, Freddie. Beautifully reasoned and beautifully written. I have shared it.

    I came from a traditional two-parent home, but my parents divorced when I was 14. I was spared the “horror” of growing up with a single mom because she died two years later and my sisters and I went to live with our Dad and his new wife, in a so-called two-parent home. Our stepmother HATED us. Hated us. My middle sister still bears the emotional scars from those years, and she’s in her late 50s.

    Life is complicated; there are no easy answers. All we can do is be kind to each other and try to remember that most people do the best they can with the hand they’ve been dealt. It makes a whole lot more sense to help them than to condemn them.

  54. 54
    doxastic says:

    What angers me about Haidt’s milquetoast moralizing (as I heard it laid out on “Fresh Air” the other day anyway), is that Haidt can’t make a distinction between aspects of life that are deliberative-friendly, and those that aren’t. So, in the radio discussion, Haidt would say things like “Democrats need to understand what is sacrilege to religious conservatives and adjust their arguments accordingly.”

    This isn’t how deliberation works. It’s one thing to say that one must understand the limits and beliefs of their audience (they should!), and another to say that the terrain of argumentation and discussion should have uncontestable “sacred” out-of-bounds lines.

    Sacrilege is not bound by rules, but by actual human interaction–sacred is as sacred does. And when privilege, power and material circumstance determine what is considered sacred and what is not (see: entire social history of religion), we have a recipe for conversations structured less by how we talk about what to do and more by what we cannot say and do. Haidt is searching for communion without communication.

  55. 55
    Bubblegum Tate says:

    @jibeaux:

    Could they raid some sort of storage facility at every town in which they stop? If so, TLC will be calling you shortly with an offer.

  56. 56
    th says:

    Truthful, beautiful, last paragraph brought the tears up.

  57. 57
    Shinobi says:

    @liz: My parents have been married over 30 years and I AM white. I AM BEING THE MOST PERSECUTED IN THIS THREAD POOR ME. (/sarcasm)

    Really though this:
    @Gravie:

    Life is complicated; there are no easy answers. All we can do is be kind to each other and try to remember that most people do the best they can with the hand they’ve been dealt. It makes a whole lot more sense to help them than to condemn them.

  58. 58
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Gravie:

    It may have been because he was a widower, but my dad was very careful when he was dating to make sure any woman he liked also liked my brother and I. I distinctly remember going on a “date” with my now stepmother and spending time alone with her (or alone with her and my future stepbrother) before my parents got married.

    I’ve heard so many horror stories about awful stepparents that I am very grateful that my dad thought about the good of the whole family when he was dating and not just what he wanted. It seems that too few parents do that.

  59. 59
    catclub says:

    @porter: 1. Why do I hope it is IE cache rather than firefox?

    2. Who searches for ‘God’ on the internet? Isn’t there a song about looking for love in all the wrong places?

    3. Normalization is by population, rather than ‘population with internet access’, so might be skewed by that.

    4. Also with normalization, one or the other search could be far larger – I fear to find out which.

  60. 60
    Loneoak says:

    I’m someone who came from one of those ‘ideal’ families and has put one together for himself as an adult (at least as far as I can see). I was definitely raised in a moral, upright environment where my parents taught me right from wrong … by cursing out Dan Quayle constantly during the Murphy Brown debacle for being a cruel, sanctimonious asswipe.

    Nice post, FDB.

  61. 61
    Ann Marie says:

    I was raised in the “typical” household these guys think everyone should have and yes, my parents were wonderful. They were each raised, however, for a part of their youth in a one-parent household. My mother’s father died of pleurisy when she was 13 and my father’s mother died in the flu pandemic when he was around 7. My mother’s mother never remarried (how many men want to marry a woman with five daughters to raise?) and worked to support her family. My father’s father did remarry, but not until after his kids were grown. In each case, their children turned out pretty darn good. These pundits should be ashamed of themselves for this nonsense.

  62. 62
    TooManyJens says:

    Fantastic post, Freddie. I see this attitude all the time when I am trying to persuade conservative pro-lifers that they should support sex ed, access to contraception, support for single mothers, etc. And even though all of that stuff would and does work to reduce abortions, there’s a faction (not everyone, but DAMN is it a dedicated faction) that just can’t let themselves accept it because it would stray from their ideal of nobody ever having sex until they are heterosexually married, and then using “natural family planning” to space the ensuing kids. The fact that almost nobody actually lives that way or wants to live that way, and thus their proposed solutions are irrelevant to the reality we live in, doesn’t matter. The fact that refusing to help people who don’t live by their ideal contributes to disease and death and misery today, in the real world, doesn’t matter, because if those people wanted to avoid disease and death and misery they should live the way conservatives tell them to. That’s the only legitimate way to live according to these people, and everyone would be better off if they would just accept it instead of listening to those immoral liberals who lie to them and tell them that other sexuality choices can be safe and fulfilling too. It makes me scream.

  63. 63
    Gretchen says:

    @catclub: I’m thinking Tolstoy.

  64. 64
    KS in MA says:

    Beautiful post. Thank you.

    I wish absolutely everybody could read it.

  65. 65
    TooManyJens says:

    Following up on my own comment: and the hell of it is, at least some of these people actually believe it. They really believe that the only way to ensure people have safe and fulfilling sex lives is to constrict them to this one narrow vision of the correct sexuality. They really believe that everything else is dangerous for both body and spirit, and that liberals and feminists are willfully leading people down a destructive path because we’re just too animalistic to control our sexual desires and we hate anyone who urges people to control themselves. Never mind that there’s plenty of self-control involved in having safe, consensual sex. Never mind that liberals and feminists are at the forefront of working against sexual assault. Never mind that it wasn’t liberals and feminists who argued that husbands were entitled to have sex with their wives and needn’t control themselves, so there could be no such crime as marital rape. Never mind that it’s not liberals and feminists who argue that women have to watch what they wear because men can’t be expected to control themselves when they see a woman wearing a short skirt, or exposing cleavage, or not wearing a burqa. No, we’re the animals who want nothing but unbridled sex all the time.

    It’s possible that I have some feelings on this topic.

  66. 66
    samara morgan says:

    freddie, this is just another instantiation of the EDK formula post “don’t conservatives sukk”.
    His blog is dead since March 2 btw.

    unless you are gonna quit your firebagging ways and support Obama i don’t give a fuck about your sad sad childhood.
    lead, follow or get out of the way.

    This is what i have learned from reading Mooney’s new book.
    People like Cole, who lets you post here, are horrified that conservatives are basically anti-enlightenment.
    Sure, people have a right to believe in bad, stupid, and wrong things.
    but they have no right to impose those beliefs on the rest of the country.

  67. 67
    samara morgan says:

    @Jerzy Russian: this a crap formula post.
    “Dude, dont conservatives sukk” is the real form of this post.

    ax de Bore if he has changed his mind about voting for Obama.

  68. 68
    samara morgan says:

    @KS in MA: a crap post.
    you have been spoofed.
    ax freddie who he gonna vote for.

  69. 69
    TooManyJens says:

    @samara morgan: This may be hard to understand, but this can be a great post even if Freddie is planning to make a terrible mistake in voting. People are complex, not always right and not always wrong.

  70. 70
    samara morgan says:

    /sigh

    now i hafta go see if that Intransigent Conservative Shill Andrew Sullivan has linked de Bore on his site.
    and if he has i have to deconstruct de Bore with Chris Mooney stats and mail Sully evidence of de Bore’s slimy stupidity.

  71. 71
    TooManyJens says:

    @samara morgan:

    i have to deconstruct de Bore with Chris Mooney stats

    I almost feel a morbid curiosity as to what this could mean. (Yes, I know who CM is. No, I don’t know WTF he has to do with this post.) Almost. But not quite.

  72. 72
    samara morgan says:

    @TooManyJens: its a crap post. its just another dude-don’t-conservatives-sukk-post.
    freddie can lead, follow, or get out of the way.
    i membah freddie when he was a liberal, from Culture 11 and TAS.
    he is a libertarian now.

  73. 73
    samara morgan says:

    @TooManyJens: /shrug
    read the book.
    its an order of magnitude better than corey robin.

  74. 74
    Arm The Homeldess says:

    I have never actually had the pleasure of meeting someone so married to the idea that anything other than a hetero, nuclear family that they would opine in public on the subject. Perhaps I am sheltered.

    I come from a family which was both loving and abusive. My parents have been married, “separated”, re-married-ish, and I can honestly say that I have learned bad habits from the experience. “Normal” is what fucked-up people call themselves when they get out of their wetsuits.

  75. 75
    Arm The Homeless says:

    I have never actually had the pleasure of meeting someone so married to the idea that anything other than a hetero, nuclear family that they would opine in public on the subject. Perhaps I am sheltered.

    I come from a family which was both loving and abusive. My parents have been married, “separated”, re-married-ish, and I can honestly say that I have learned bad habits from the experience. “Normal” is what fucked-up people call themselves when they get out of their wetsuits.

  76. 76
    Ruckus says:

    Very nice stated.
    Life happens. It’s not a fairy tale, it’s not a romance novel nor a 50’s TV show, sometimes it sucks, sometimes it’s grand, sometimes it’s boring, sometimes it’s terrifying. It still happens none the less.

  77. 77
    Arm The Homeless says:

    @samara morgan: Yo, Phuck-nuckle. We have all heard your war stories. Down in the trenches fighting the good fight. For Allah’s sake, get a better schtick or STFU (PBUH)

  78. 78
    samara morgan says:

    this same reality has to speak to Occupy…

    you fucker. its stuff like this that makes me want to puke.
    you don’t know anything about occupy.
    you are such an asshole freddie.
    you haven’t slept under a tarp in six inches of fresh snow for an idea.
    you are a fucking libertarian.
    a CIVIL libertarian. that means you are “polite.”…AND a glibertarian.
    go post this crap at Reason where it belongs.

    don’t you understand college mortgages? they are the new sub-primes, you fuckwad.
    praps it would have been better for you if your father had had Alzheimers and vascular dementia.
    do you know what i remember of my father? changing his depends while he tried to punch me and cursed at me while my mother wept…. because fucking Bush shut down scientific research in this country for a decade.
    i fucking hate your guts.

  79. 79
    samara morgan says:

    @Arm The Homeless: you haven’t heard anything.

    It is a tale so strange and so amazing that were it engraved with needles at the corner of the eye, it would be a lesson for those that wish to consider.

    from the arabic.

  80. 80
    g says:

    “Maybe raising people with a single parent is not so good.”

    So what are people to do? Arranged marriages, apparently.

  81. 81
    Arm The Homeless says:

    @samara morgan:

    Put aside your pride,Set down your arrogance,And remember your grave.

    Stop trying to transfer your agony to everyone else, you psychic mooch.

  82. 82
    Arm The Homeless says:

    @g: Places like Liberty U. and Pensacola Christian College serve the same purpose. It’s simply an updated cotillion circuit. If they can divert funds through voucher systems, you better believe that new segregationism moves into fifth-gear.

  83. 83
    Freddie says:

    I’m sure as fuck not voting for any Republicans. I dunno what I’ll do on election day. Living in Indiana, it likely won’t make much difference.

  84. 84
    Freddie deBoer says:

    Sorry, that was me. Meant to sign in first.

    (ps I’m not a libertarian.)

  85. 85
    mere mortal says:

    @samara morgan:

    Mr. deBoer decided to share some insights informed by some of the events of his life, and you would like to disqualify them because his politics aren’t quite what you would prefer?

    You don’t seem like a nice person.

  86. 86

    Just a quick note before I scurry back to work:

    Single parents are very often the person that did not walk away from the child.

    I think that single parents are to be admired.

  87. 87
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Freddie:

    Living in Indiana, it likely won’t make much difference.

    Uh, Obama won Indiana last time by less than 23,000 votes. He was the first Democrat to win Indiana in 40 years.

    But, hey, if you fatalistically tell yourself ahead of time that there’s totally no way he could win Indiana this time around and don’t vote, then you’ll be able to take comfort when your self-fulfilling prophecy comes true and Obama loses Indiana instead of winning it a second time, right?

  88. 88
    Freddie deBoer says:

    But, hey, if you fatalistically tell yourself ahead of time that there’s totally no way he could win Indiana this time around and don’t vote, then you’ll be able to take comfort when your self-fulfilling prophecy comes true and Obama loses Indiana instead of winning it a second time, right?

    Relax, okay?

    Look, for those who aren’t aware….

    I’ve been dealing with this particular troll, under a variety of names, for at least five years. It’s no biggie. Trolls are a fact of life. But I do want to make it clear: I’m a liberal, running to socialist. I’ve been registered as a Democrat for the entirety of my adult life. I voted for Gore in 2000 and 2004 and Obama in 2008. I’m not a libertarian and have never called myself one. You can check my record, on that. I have called myself and continue to call myself a civil libertarian, which is a bedrock part of conventional American liberalism/progressivism. You know, the people should be able to have sex with who they want/people have freedom of speech/government shouldn’t force kids to say the pledge of allegiance civil libertarianism. Boiler plate stuff. For the record, I support a vastly more redistributive social welfare system, single-payer health care, and a variety of other commie stuff.

    I am a left-wing critic of Obama. It’s complicated. Like our fine host here, I have a lot of problems with the foreign policy of this administration and how we conduct ourselves in the Muslim world. Part of the reason I rarely post here is because I realized that I was out of step with most commenters when it comes to loyalty to Obama. That’s okay. Those disagreements are important in general and for liberals specifically. I respect that difference by not bringing my complaints about Obama here (anymore). Occasionally, I feel like I have something worth sharing in this forum.

    Will I vote for Obama? I don’t know. There is no chance– literally none– that I would ever vote for a Republican presidential candidate. I have some very deep problems with some of this administration’s policies. Again, I expect and welcome disagreement, and I also know that this is a pro-Obama blog and not to write about that on the front page. I would hope that I can feel that way and continue to make points that are relevant to the passionate, committed commenters here.

  89. 89
    samara morgan says:

    @Arm The Homeless: isn’t that freddies gig? sympathy farming?

    @Freddie@Freddie trash talking the occupies is what i was reffing, you intransigent fire bagger assclown.

  90. 90
    Freddie deBoer says:

    You’re aware that most people affiliated with Occupy hate Obama, right?

  91. 91
    samara morgan says:

    @Freddie deBoer: you said you were a “civil libertarian.” All libertarians are the same to me.
    its true, you once were a liberal.
    you are no liberal now.

    given that I have the commitments I’ve laid out above, how can I possibly support Barack Obama? He bragged– bragged– yesterday that this deal would be lowering non-defense discretionary spending to its lowest levels since the Eisenhower administration. That is, he bragged about his role in ending essential government programs that defend our environment, educate our children, provide crucial scientific and medical research, and in a myriad of ways contribute to the flourishing of our country and our people. At some point, the charade can’t continue. This is not merely a person who doesn’t deserve my support. This is a person who is unequivocally and demonstrably not an American liberal, and someone who has no interest in defending the historical constituencies or commitments of the Democratic party.

    i might be a troll but you are liar and a scammer.
    go back to your epic kangaroo slap fights with the sully borg and trying to engage with the A-list bloggers like Matt and TNC.
    actually, TNC’s commenters called you a troll, didn’t they?

  92. 92
    Arm The Homeless says:

    @samara morgan: Whatever his faults, ‘farming’ implies work. Not everyone enjoys radish, hasn’t ever stopped you from takin’ your bite.

    You don’t do any work. You’re a roadside vegetable thief

  93. 93
    samara morgan says:

    @Freddie deBoer: more lies.
    every occupy is different, every occupy is local.
    you are a bullshytt talker de Bore.

  94. 94
    samara morgan says:

    @Arm The Homeless: nah, ima guerrillero.
    i steal ideas and stab you dumb cudlips with them.

  95. 95
    Arm The Homeless says:

    @samara morgan: Even Bin Laden recognized that he wasn’t getting anywhere when he started blowing up his own folks.

    You are dumber than a cave-dweller, whodathunk!?

  96. 96
    samara morgan says:

    This blade is for Cole.

    Liberals and scientists….have failed to think as we will in this book…because it leads to a place that terrifies them: an anti-Enlightenment world in which evidence and argument don’t change peoples minds.

  97. 97
    samara morgan says:

    @Arm The Homeless: except OBL won. his goal was to turn the WoT into a War on Islam, so that the US would be driven off the Arabian peninsula.
    And behold! we have been driven out of Iraq, we are being driven out of Afghanistan, and next year when Imran Khan gets Zardaris job, we will be driven out of Pakistan.

  98. 98
    samara morgan says:

    shorter de Bore: please feel sad for my horrible childhood while i trash talk Obama and the occupies.

  99. 99
    samara morgan says:

    @Freddie deBoer:

    You’re aware that most people affiliated with Occupy hate Obama, right?

    is it any wonder that i perceive freddie as a libertarian/conservative, inspite of whatever he is calling himself this week?
    de Bore says Occupy is monolithic and top down, just like Andrew Breitbart said.
    freddie says ALL Occupy and affiliates hate Obama, just like Breitbart said ALL occupiers rape.

  100. 100
    Arm The Homeless says:

    I would like to offer this to the blogging gods.

  101. 101
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Freddie deBoer:

    First off, ignore Samara (aka toko_loko) — we all do. Not only will people here not think worse of you because she’s attacking you, we’ll probably cut you more of a break than you deserve in response to her attacks. :-)

    That said, it’s spectacularly silly to claim that your vote for Obama won’t make a difference in Indiana, a state that very narrowly voted for him last time. That’s like a 2004 voter in Florida claiming that it doesn’t matter one way or another if s/he votes for Kerry.

    If you’ve decided that your policy differences with Obama are so great that you would prefer to have Romney as president rather than see Obama re-elected, then be honest and say that and take your lumps from us less pure folks. The whole coy “oh I don’t know” schtick is already a little old, and it’s only March.

  102. 102
    samara morgan says:

    @Arm The Homeless: fail-link.
    ;)

  103. 103
    Freddie deBoer says:

    You’re aware that most people affiliated with Occupy hate Obama, right?

    freddie says ALL Occupy and affiliates hate Obama, just like Breitbart said ALL occupiers rape

  104. 104
    samara morgan says:

    @Mnemosyne: mnem, what about freddie on Occupy?
    he’s isomorphic with Breitbart.
    Some/most occupiers hate Obama so they all must; some rapes (1?) happened in owe protests so all occupiers rape.
    both freddie and brietbart saw the occupies as top down and monolithic.
    i only have experience of Denver–in denver we love Obama.
    does that mean all occupiers love Obama?
    nope.

    it shows a deep misunderstanding of the occupy movement.
    and freddie dissing students for complaining about college loan debt burden…that is immediate to them.
    that is valid, that is real.
    college mortgages are the new sub-primes.
    i know teaching students that are graduating with up to 100k of student loans.
    and everyone i know has some student debt burden.
    but in denver our main concern was citizens united.
    local, bottom up, and self-organizing.

  105. 105
    samara morgan says:

    @Mnemosyne: and none of you ignore me– why should de Bore?
    you all pester Cole with calls to ban me.
    ;)

  106. 106
    samara morgan says:

    @Mnemosyne: is de Bore really that stupid that he doesn’t get that a vote for anyone but Obama is a vote for Romney?
    or is he going to stay home and not vote?
    same difference.

  107. 107
    THE says:

    @samara morgan:

    a CIVIL libertarian. that means you are “polite.”…AND a glibertarian.

    Not really Samara. In an American context, “Civil Libertarian” usually refers to supporting human rights (like in the Constitutional Bill of Rights).

    A good list of the beliefs of “Civil Libertarian”s, would be this list of the positions of the American Civil Liberties Union.

  108. 108
    samara morgan says:

    no THE.
    THIS is what all libertarians believe, including civil libertarians.
    otherwise, they would call themselves SOMETHING ELSE.

  109. 109
    THE says:

    No Samara.

    It’s not: civil (libertarian).

    It’s more like: (civil liberties)-arian

    Where “Civil Liberties” is a synonym for “Human Rights”

    It has a long tradition, particularly in the American Civil Liberties Union.

    It is not really a political belief system, so much as a legalistic or constitutional one.

    Many ACLU activists are lawyers, and they act through the legal or judicial system.
    They are not strictly political activists.
    You could almost say that the ACLU is a-political.

  110. 110
    samara morgan says:

    @THE: you didn’t read what dr. manzi SAID.
    like i SAID….they would call themselves something else.

  111. 111
    THE says:

    I know what libertarians are Samara.
    But you are parsing it the wrong way.
    Civil Libertarians are human rights activists.

    The ACLU is a human rights organization, like say, Amnesty.
    It is not a political party.

  112. 112
    Tehanu says:

    @Ash Can:

    What you said goes for me too. Sometimes luck is all you have and if it’s bad luck….

  113. 113
    THE says:

    @samara morgan:

    like i SAID….they would call themselves something else.

    Unfortunately that isn’t really possible.
    You see the term Civil Liberties is older than the term Libertarian.
    EDIT: People were talking about “Civil Liberties”, before they were talking about “Libertarianism” as a political ideology.
    “Civil Liberties” originates in the English Civil War era (1600’s)
    “Libertarian” originates in the American Independence era. (1700’s)

  114. 114
    samara morgan says:

    @THE: dude.
    they COULD call themselves liberals. and i predict that is what will happen in the future.
    because the term libertarian now means crypto-conservative.
    everything evolves.

  115. 115
    THE says:

    But they’re not liberals Samara.

    For one thing, even the term “liberal” is not consistent across the English speaking world. In some countries it means “classical” liberal. i.e. Laisez Faire.

    everything evolves.

    Yes exactly. But it’s precisely because human languages evolve that they are not logical. They are full of historical anachronisms and living fossils like this. Actually the same is true for the genome.

    Perhaps the term human rights activists would be less ambiguous. But if you shortened it to “human rightist”, you would have problems with the ambiguity of “rightist”

    But even the American usage of “liberal” to mean “social progressive” has problems, because what about Political Correctness? which is very illiberal? What about hate speech? Many “socially progressive” countries don’t permit it.

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