The American Conservative, 19 May 08

This issue‘s highlights include:

Bill Kauffman praises Students for a Democratic Society Founder Carl Oglesby as a leader of “a humane, decentralist, thoroughly American New Left that regarded socialism as ‘a way to bury social problems under a federal bureaucracy,'” in Oglesby’s words.  Called upon to name the corrupt system that needed to be smashed in order to create a democratic society, Oglesby chose the name “corporate liberalism.”  In Oglesby, Kauffman finds a fellow admirer of the localist, traditionalist, anti-statist Old Right, one who saw virtues in the contemporary libertarian right but who warned those of that tendency that they might well “remain hypnotically charmed by the authoritarian imperialists whose only love is Power, the subhuman brownshirted power of the jingo state militant, the state rampant, the iron state possessed of its own clanking glory.”  Kauffman goes on to argue that another 60’s leader matched Oglesby in his understanding of the importance of rootedness and community, and that leader was George Wallace.  “If you can get beyond Wallace’s reprehensible race-baiting… certain of his policies overlapped with the humane Left.”  “If you can get beyond Wallace’s reprehensible race-baiting” you will have gone further than any of his supporters ever did.  The Guvnah’s whole national career consisted of race-baiting.  Still, anybody William F. Buckley saw fit to attack as a “country and western Marxist” must have had something going for him.  Kauffman does not mention one highly pertinent fact about Oglesby’s standing as a critic of corporate liberalism and bureaucratization, a fact which emerged in an interview Kauffman himself conducted with Oglesby this year.  Oglesby endorsed the presidential campaign of H. R. Clinton, an avatar of corporate liberalism if ever there was one.

Michael Brendan Dougherty reports on the formation of J Street, a lobbying organization that intends to give a voice to American Jews who do not support the hawkish policies of groups like AIPAC, the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, etc.  Dougherty devotes some space to the prominent Israelis who have declared their support for J Street and its program.

Margaret Liu McConnell argues against institutionalizing same-sex marriage on the grounds that a same-sex couple can become parents to a child only if one or both of that child’s biological parents relinquishes his or her parental role.  She doesn’t argue that same-sexers should be prohibited from adopting children or from using donated genetic material.  Her last sentence: “To those who ask how reserving marriage for one man and one woman is any different from yesterday’s vile prohibition against interracial marriage, the answer is evident in the faces of the… children of mixed-race couples, belonging to and loved by both parents, relinquished by neither.”  Liu McConnell’s argument doesn’t convince me, but it is the first conservative argument against gay marriage I’ve ever seen that actually has any substance at all.  I did see a radical argument against it 10-15 years ago in a law review, but I haven’t been able to track the article down.

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3 Comments

  1. cymast

     /  September 26, 2008

    ” . . a same-sex couple can become parents to a child only if one or both of that child’s biological parents relinquishes his or her parental role.”

    Gee, that happens all the time in divorces and adoptions. So what?

    “She doesn’t argue that same-sexers should be prohibited from adopting children or from using donated genetic material.”

    Well give her a cookie. But does she have rules for divorced/remarried parents and their children? How about transgendered and intergendered individuals and their spouses? Drumroll . . Should single people be allowed to procreate? McConnell should write a Rulebook.

    “To those who ask how reserving marriage for one man and one woman is any different from yesterday’s vile prohibition against interracial marriage, the answer is evident in the faces of the… children of mixed-race couples, belonging to and loved by both parents, relinquished by neither.”

    So adopted children belong less and are loved less, and have the stigma of being relinquished. I wonder if anybody has ever told her who she can and cannot marry, and whether she is permitted to be a biological parent. She comes off as a desperate fundie, and her lies do not impress me.

  2. acilius

     /  September 26, 2008

    As I say, I’m not convinced by Liu-McConnell’s argument. What’s new is that she provides an argument. Most opponents of same-sex marriage just mutter darkly about some never-specified process by which the existence of same-sex marriage is supposed to weaken opposite sex marriage.

  3. cymast

     /  September 26, 2008

    Next thing you know, people will be marrying rocks! If somebody somewhere marries a rock, even if I never hear about it, my marriage will be in shambles! And you know where that will lead- rocks will start marrying each other! So we may as well start rioting and looting right now . . in the name of God, of course.

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