Thursday, August 12, 2010

Speak Up, You Sassy Ibex


Apropos these trend lines illustrating the increasing acceptance of legal equality for gay people, this uppity ibex is now my hero:



What can we learn from a sass-talking ibex? Something we already should have known, and should forever stop pretending not to know: that making arguments is a proven way to alter perceptions and opinions:
[I]t's only been fairly recently that gay rights groups -- and other liberals and libertarians -- shifted toward a strategy of explicitly calling for full equity in marriage rights, rather than finding civil unions to be an acceptable compromise. While there is not necessarily zero risk of backlash resulting from things like court decisions -- support for gay marriage slid backward by a couple of points, albeit temporarily, after a Massachusetts' court's ruling in 2003 that same-sex marriage was required by that state's constitution -- it seems that, in general, "having the debate" is helpful to the gay marriage cause, probably because the secular justifications against it are generally quite weak. [emphasis mine]
Nate Silver is too kind with "generally quite weak;" the secular arguments against marriage equality are uniformly and consistently (not 'generally') weak; they are embarrassingly insipid. They haven't stood up to a few years worth of stiff breezes.

In a fair fight, fairness wins, and so do common sense and reality. Regrettably, this sometimes involves entering a fight rather than laboring to evade it by trying to compromise away the difficult parts.

We should remember the heroic ibex: rather than backing down from bigots and bullies, we should be ready to spit back and speak forcefully, even if we're not sure it will be immediately understood, appreciated, or embraced. It really works.

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