Monthly Archives: March 2012

Cameron Slater’s Obsession With Gay Marriage

I enjoy reading the Whale Oil blog.  If nothing else it is entertaining.  If I have any great problem with it, it’s because of Slater’s predilection for focusing on the micro-battles and minutiae of the political debate (“look at what that arsehole Garry Parsloe is doing now!”) instead of the great ideological battles on the principles of society and government (“the council should not own a port, end of story”).  But I realise I am on thin ice to criticize too much here, since Slater has built his blog up to be the most widely read in New Zealand, while I have gone from having a top ten blog half a decade ago to having sweet buggerall people reading me now.  C’est la vie.

But I find myself very frustrated by Mr Slater’s constant carping on the issue of gay marriage.  He posts almost daily on the subject, despite the fact that he is not gay, and despite the fact that the issue is largely irrelevant to the great political debates of our age.  It is becoming embarrassing.

What is even more risible is that he is deliberately deceptive in his arguments in favour of the state sanction of gay marriage.  I have no problem with somebody arguing that the state should issue marriage certificates to same-sex couples who make that commitment to one another.  But he is not doing that.  He is trying to argue that the government is preventing gay couples from marrying – a complete lie.  He is arguing that the government currently discriminates against gay couples – again, a complete lie.  He is framing the debate in terms of people being bigots if they do not agree that the government should confer the status of “married” on gay couples making a commitment to each other.  And while there are plenty of bigots out there to reinforce his bullshit by their over-reaching comments, his demagoguery is a disgrace.

In New Zealand, any gay couple who lives together for two years is regarded as a defacto couple by the state.  And any couple who decides to go to their local liberal Anglican church and get married in front of some atheist bulldyke priest can do it.  It’s legal.   No police will show up to stop you.  Yet Slater continues to argue, on a daily basis, that neither of these things can occur in New Zealand.  It’s bullshit.  The only substantial difference is that a gay couple cannot get a Certificate of Marriage issued by the government – if they want a certificate from the government confirming vows undertaken to each other, they have to get a Certificate of Civil Union instead.

So the rights of couples making a formal commitment to each other, straight or gay, are essentially equal in New Zealand.  There is no human rights issue here.  It’s all in the name and nothing more.  Therefore, what homosexual couples are asking for is a privilege from the government – they are asking for a title to be conferred upon their relationship which only heterosexual couples can currently ask for and obtain.

I have no problem with this situation, because it is fair enough.  I don’t believe two men, or two women, constitute a “marriage”.  That has not been the traditional definition of marriage for thousands of years, and can no more be accommodated into the concept of marriage any more than the traditional definition of a vegetable can include strawberries.  I think it is ludicrous to ask the government to call a relationship a marriage when it is not.  And petty and pointless to boot, since it is only symbolic.  I can understand that some gay couples want to “normalize” themselves in society, but since men and women identifying as gay constitute less than 5% of the population, and gay sex is, by objective scientific definition, biologically abnormal, such attempts will fail whether you call it a “marriage”, or a “menage a deux”, or simply “two dudes, y’know… just hangin’ out, like… doin’ guy stuff”.  I am not going to presume to completely understand the paths these men and women take in life, but frankly, if they want to be normal, they should not live as “gay”.  They are mutually exclusive ideas.  And why be “normal” anyway?  Normal is boring.  I sure as hell ain’t “normal”.  Why would you want to be “married” when you can just be a committed gay partnership, beloved and adored by bored, gossipy Remuera housewives everywhere?

Even if you don’t buy my argument and still think that a committed gay relationship should be as normal as a committed straight one – well fine.  Let’s get the government out of the marriage business entirely.  They can either offer civil unions, or nothing at all, leaving it to cultural and religious organizations to decide for themselves what constitutes a marriage.  This is actually the point of view that I support.  To me personally, marriage is something between me, my fiancée, my church and my God, and the Department of Internal Affairs is an unwelcome intruder.  Let the government legally protect commitments couples make to each other, as they do now, but leave the definition of those commitments to the people making them.

To my mind, if you disagree with this viewpoint, and are still pushing the gay marriage barrow, then you have conceded that the government should have a vested interest in steering that aspect of our culture and society.  You have conceded that there is a vested social interest in the government supporting the commitments couples make to each other.  In which case, why assume all relationships are equal?

Now it is possible to argue about various aspects of gay vs straight couples and which coupling, on balance, contributes better to society as a whole.  I’m willing to concede that most of these are swings and roundabouts.  But to my mind, if you are going to argue the value of government supporting marriage as a social good, the most important of these social goods, inasmuch as they exist, would be the raising of children in a stable and secure environment.  Well what is better for a child then?  A straight couple raising them, or a gay one?  You could name some terrible straight couples and some very worthy gay ones, but all things being equal, it is clear that for a child to have a mother and a father living in the same house together is the most ideal environment for them.  If the goal of government is to support good conditions for child-rearing, and promote a stable society of well-adjusted citizens, and one way of doing that is through the issue of marriage certificates, then why would the government issue them to anyone other than a man and a woman?

None of this is bigoted – it’s all logical, practical stuff based on a clear and consistent view of how society works.  You can disagree and debate of course, but there is no ill will here.  I am happy to tolerate a society where gay couples can have sex, form relationships, formalize their relationships, have a right not to be discriminated against, and even adopt children if that is no problem with the biological parent or parents.  I just don’t think that marriage is a term that should be applied to gay couples, don’t think the government should be involved in the concept anyway, and think that if they are involved, the stable upbringing of children is better served by keeping marriage as a heterosexual institution in the eyes of the state.

Mr Slater is entitled to his opinion the other way, but his continuous carping bothers me.  In Britain it is currently illegal to quote certain passages of the Bible dealing with this very topic, because it is classified as “hate speech”.  I think that is far more of a disgrace than any issue that a couple can’t get the government to call their relationship what they want to call it.  But Slater has been all but silent on this outrage against freedom of speech.  He has also been very much silent on his personal beliefs about homosexuality.  Does he believe it is a sin?  Does he believe God creates people gay, or is same-sex attraction a learned behaviour developed as someone grows up?  If he takes the view that it is not a sin and that God creates some men to fuck other men, that is one thing, and we are now in the realm of theology and psychology, not politics.  But if he holds to the opposite, evangelical viewpoint, as I do, why support a policy that actively promotes it in society?  It is one thing to display Christ’s love by accepting all people equally as they are, and not discriminating against them just because the sins they commit are not the sins you commit, but I am not sure that granting the government the mandate to sanction gay marriage falls within that scope.  It seems a bit above and beyond the call of duty!

So why is Slater doing this?  In one post he intimated that Christians need to reconcile with how they have discriminated against gays in the past, and apologise for being judgmental.  I agree with that, but allowing the government to gay marry is not how you do that, no more than you should apologise to Maori for confiscating their land by giving them half the seats in parliament.  No, this is a simple case of someone on the right seeking credibility from the left wing elites.  Gay marriage is one of those relatively insignificant issues which you can take a populist approach on, so that when you start advocating something really right wing and “nasty” like a flat tax, or privatising hospitals, you can say “oooh but look – I’m not a right wing nutcase – I support gay marriage remember?”

Unfortunately, the left are never going to respect Slater no matter what liberal causes he supports.  He should just do what he does, not give a fuck as is usually the case, and reassess this silly one-track recording of his on gay marriage.

Strange Things That Happen To Me #1

I want to apologise to all five of my loyal readers (excluding all the pervs looking for nekkid pictures of Kimberley Guilfoyle) for my lack of blogging over the last month or so – I haven’t had much time or energy lately.  I hope for better days soon.

In the meantime, here’s a video of something that happened to me this afternoon.  I got home from work, and instead of parking on the same side of the street as my house, which is what I normally do, I parked on the opposite side (there was a UPS van coming the other way and I couldn’t be bothered waiting for it to pass).  I was parked on the street, perfectly legally.  Not five minutes later I get a knock on my door from the gentleman below, very irritated and asking me to move my car!

I responded that I was happy to move my car, but I couldn’t see the problem as I was entitled to park there and there was plenty of other street parking available.  The gentleman then got very upset and started to argue with me.  I reiterated that I was quite entitled to park where I did, and it was a public road.  He then started swearing at me, and threatening to call the cops on me, at which point I asked him to leave MY property.

The video was taken about five or ten minutes after this conversation:

 

 
Eventually a security guard from the neighbourhood association showed up on my doorstep. He confirmed that I was entitled to park there, but politely asked me if I could move to keep the peace. I told him I’d move it in an hour when I went out, and he was fine with that.

I don’t know what country this fellow is from, but the whole incident was very strange!

Stupid Americans

Since Cam Slater decided to post an Alexandra Pelosi video of ignorant Mississippi rednecks on his Whale Oil blog, I thought I would show the flipside of the coin by the same woman.

I don’t generally comment on welfare issues, which is what the video addresses, but I do want to say that you can find stupid people wherever in the world you go.  I get really sick of New Zealanders making fun of “stupid Americans who don’t have passports and can’t find their own country on a map”.  I find it hypocritical, because some of the most ignorant and intellectually retarded people I have ever met have all been New Zealanders.  I mean, come on, can there be any more intellectually bereft place on earth than West Auckland?  This is a place that overwhelmingly continues to vote for Soviet Liquor, despite being the drunkest, most dysfunctionally alcoholic part of the entire country.

It also needs to be said that, yes, Americans are ignorant of geography, mostly because it is not a widely taught subject in US schools.  What they do learn is history.  Most Americans could tell you what George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King did.  But find me a New Zealander who can tell you anything about Samuel Marsden, Te Rauparaha, Hone Heke, George Grey, Richard Seddon, Apirana Ngata or Charles Upham, and you will have found a rare individual.  Probably an individual who laughs at ignorant Mississippi rednecks and needs to take the log out of his own eye.

WTF?!!! Kooky Fundie Pat Robertson Wants to Legalise Cannabis?!!

This is why the art of satire is dead.  Real life is far crazier than any comedian could come up with:

“I really believe we should treat marijuana the way we treat beverage alcohol,” Mr. Robertson said in an interview on Wednesday. “I’ve never used marijuana and I don’t intend to, but it’s just one of those things that I think: this war on drugs just hasn’t succeeded.”

Mr. Robertson’s remarks echoed statements he made last week on “The 700 Club,” the signature program of his Christian Broadcasting Network, and other comments he made in 2010. While those earlier remarks were largely dismissed by his followers, Mr. Robertson has now apparently fully embraced the idea of legalizing marijuana, arguing that it is a way to bring down soaring rates of incarceration and reduce the social and financial costs.

“I believe in working with the hearts of people, and not locking them up,” he said.

Robertson is a crazy old man who says some incredibly stupid and even un-Christian things, but this is not one of them.  He is bang on the money this time, and we should welcome him as an ally against the counterproductive and damaging policy of drug prohibition so prevalent around the world.

So listen to the crazy fundamentalist – legalise drugs now!  Do it for the children.

Jesus Heals Cancer

I see some bigoted grouch is having a go at a Hawkes Bay church for daring to express their beliefs in a public forum.

A church in Napier which claims to have members recently healed of cancer has disgusted a local family by erecting a billboard stating “Jesus heals cancer” on its wall.

The billboard made the Condin family’s “blood boil”. Their son Toby, 3, is undergoing treatment for leukaemia.

Now, if this family had shown up to the church, had hands laid on their child, and had the elders pray for Jesus to heal their son’s cancer, then I might understand their anger somewhat.  But they do not seem to have done this.  They haven’t actually asked Jesus to heal their child of cancer, so they have no right to be angry.  They are just assuming that the church is lying.  Or, to put it another way, they are being bigoted.  Not only that, but they are protesting the church’s exercise of free speech.  If the church has members who have been healed of cancer, then they have every right to state their belief that Jesus did it in a public way.  How dare anyone in a free society attempt to stop them from doing that!

For the record, Jesus DOES heal cancer.  It happens all the time.  There are countless folk out there who can testify to the power of prayer in healing cancer, and in many other things.  And while I’ve never had cancer, I can also testify to Jesus working in my own life.

That is not to say that Jesus always heals cancer.  I personally watched people lay hands on former Avondale College Principal and National Party candidate Phil Raffills.  He, and the people around him, were Godly individuals with strong faith, but Jesus did not heal his cancer, and he died.  However, the sign, and I am assuming, the church, is not claiming that Jesus is some sort of magic genie – he’s the saviour of the universe and he is not under any obligation to us or our prayers.  But he heals cancer enough to make the statement an accurate one.  And nor is the church saying that people shouldn’t seek medical assistance, as the article implies.  The Lord helps those who help themselves.

This is a matter of personal faith, expressed publicly, as is our right.  Why all this would make somebody mad is beyond me.  And furthermore, to have the ASA investigate the advertisement borders on fascism.  We have freedom of religion in New Zealand, and the only thing being sold is the idea that Jesus of Nazareth is the Son of God who can restore us spiritually, emotionally and physically.

I am going to pray for Toby Condin, that Jesus would heal him of his leukaemia.  I hope other Christians, and especially the Napier Equippers Church, will join me in doing so.

The Great Betrayal of Working People in New Zealand

Consider the lot of the working class man in New Zealand…

Right from the start, you are prevented from finding work, because draconian employment laws prevent employers from taking risks on the working class.  There is no point in an employer starting or continuing a business employing unskilled or semi-skilled labour, because that sort of labour is not worth the $13.50 an hour he is forced to pay.  Business in NZ is becoming a high-end boutique preoccupation.  So those jobs are hard to come by.

Then if you do find work, you are hit by 15% GST on everything you buy, making it hard to make ends meet.  You still pay income tax, no matter how little you earn, and the only way to get any of it rebated is to start a family.

You have to live in Auckland, because that’s where your job is, so you pay ridiculous rents for a small flat, probably half your income if not more.  You do this because Nick Smith and Simon Upton decided to make it almost impossible for developers to build new subdivisions, and Len Brown and Mike Lee conspired with council bureaucrats and planners to  decide that building outside of current city limits should be illegal.  Buying a house, when the average one would cost fifteen years worth of your income, is an impossibility.  To commute to your job, you need a car, and are forced to pay ridiculous prices for petrol, because government tax on petrol is so high that it literally doubles the pump price.  You have almost no money left over to save after that.

In New Zealand, a working class hero is something to be.  And on top of it all, Susan Edmunds from the Herald, and the Labour Party that is supposed to represent you, tells you that the taxes you pay on food, petrol and your income should be directed to keeping women like Glenda Connon in her three bedroom, quarter acre house for a quarter of a century.  A house that you could never afford, or dream of living in, on your current income.  And if you dare say that she should be moved out, and should live somewhere a bit more modest, somewhere in a place a bit more like the one you pay half your income every week for, you are called “meanspirited” and “greedy” and “right wing”.

Why would you be working class?  Why would you try to earn a living when you don’t have connections, and a privileged upbringing?  Wouldn’t you just rather go on the dole and make babies?  Then maybe Housing NZ can give you your own house, paid for by the suckers you’ve left behind.

This is why New Zealand is in the shit.  This is why I fight.  Because the politicians are conspiring to create two New Zealands – one where the wealthy drink in Parnell cafes and run their little boutique businesses that feed off the custom of other wealthy people, and another where poor families live in State Houses on welfare, unable to further themselves or contribute to our society.

We have a Labour Party that was formed to defend the interests of working people fighting against them every step of the way.  We have a National Party of old money and wealthy farmers who are perfectly happy with this underclass because they never have to deal with them.  And the activists on the Right – the very people who should be fighting against all this – are more worried about gay marriage and stupid labels like “classical liberal”, and how that nasty John Banks got rid of Saint Rodney and took over their precious little 1% party.

We need to tell this National Government that we have had enough of their prevarication, and that we will not tolerate a New Zealand like this any more.  We will not tolerate their wetness and unwillingness to reform our country and make it the great nation it should be.  We need to fight to get our country back.

Andrew Breitbart

The loss of Andrew Breitbart is a disaster for the Right.  His vicious war against the media and the Left was just starting to step up.  After his CPAC speech this year, I thought, “Finally, we have a champion, a Braveheart who can lead us into battle!”  But at 41, he left us far too soon.

Hopefully his legacy will be one of allowing those of us who believe in more freedom and less government to embolden ourselves and stand up to the bullies on the Left.