Irish Voters Overwhelmingly Vote In Favor Of Same-Sex Marriage

Voters in Ireland have overwhelmingly approved a referendum legalizing same-sex marriage.

Ireland Marriage Referendum

Irish voters have overwhelmingly approved a referendum to legalize same-sex marriage in that country, making Ireland the first nation in the world to legalize same-sex marriage via popular referendum:

DUBLIN — Ireland has become the first nation to approve same-sex marriage by a popular vote, sweeping aside the opposition of the Roman Catholic Church in a resounding victory Saturday for the gay rights movement and placing the country at the vanguard of social change.

With ballots from 34 out of the 43 voting areas counted, the vote was almost two to one in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage. All but one of the districts that were counted voted yes, and it appeared to be statistically impossible for opposition votes to overcome the ayes.

Turnout was large — more than 60 percent of the 3.2 million people eligible to vote cast ballots. Government officials, advocates and even those who had argued against the measure said that the outcome was a resounding endorsement of the constitutional amendment.

Not long ago, the vote would have been unthinkable. Ireland decriminalized homosexuality only in 1993, the church dominates the education system and abortion remains illegal except when a mother’s life is at risk. But the influence of the church has waned amid scandals in recent years, while attitudes, particularly among the young, have shifted.

The vote is also the latest chapter in a sharpening global cultural clash. Same-sex marriage is surging in the West, legal in 19 nations before the Irish vote and 37 American states, but almost always because of legislative or legal action. At the same time, gay rights are under renewed attack in Russia, in parts of Africa and from Islamic extremists, most notably the Islamic State.

The results in Ireland, announced on Saturday, showed wide and deep support for a measure that had dominated public discourse and dinner-table conversation, particularly in the months before the lead-up to the vote on Friday. Supporters celebrated in gatherings and on the streets, with the rainbow colors of the gay rights movement and Yes vote buttons conspicuously on display.

Surprising many who had predicted a generational divide, the support cut across age and gender, geography and income, early results showed.

With early vote counts suggesting a comfortable victory, crowds began to fill a courtyard of Dublin Castle, a government complex that was once the epicenter of British rule. By late morning, the leader of the opposition, David Quinn, director of the Iona Institute, conceded the outcome on Twitter: “Congratulations to the Yes side. Well done.”

For older activists, the moment marked a profound evolution of their country. For the world, it suggested how far the gay rights movement has come, to make such a significant step in a country with a storied history as a religious stronghold.

“Throughout my youth, adolescence and young adulthood, it was a criminal offense to be gay,” said David Norris, a 70-year-old Irish senator and longtime activist.

He said he had faced “total isolation” as a young man.

“There was silence on the subject,” he said. “It wasn’t mentioned in the newspapers, it wasn’t mentioned in the broadcast media. Then there was a fear of criminal prosecution, of being involuntarily placed in a lunatic asylum, losing your job, being socially destroyed. It was a terrible situation.”

The referendum changes Ireland’s Constitution so that civil marriage between two people is now legal “without distinction as to their sex.” It requires ratification by both houses of the Irish Parliament and the president. Though that is a formality, the date when gay and lesbian couples can marry will be determined in that process.

There was support for the measure across the political spectrum, including from Prime Minister Enda Kenny of the center-right Fine Gael party, and his Labour coalition partner, which had pushed for the referendum. Sinn Fein, an opposition party, also expressed support.

The Irish Times has more:

Ireland has officially passed the same-sex marraige referendum with 1.2 million people voting in its favour.

The result was confirmed just before 7pm with the final three Cork constituencies counted.

Roscommon-South Leitrim was the only county to reject same-sex marriage. The No vote there finished with 51.4 per cent.

Donegal, against some expectations, has approved the amendment to the Constitution by a small margin.

Donegal South West was on a razor edge with 50.1 per cent voting Yes, representing a margin of just 33 votes.

The Yes vote in Dublin has been particularly pronounced. Dublin Midwest reported a Yes vote of 70.9 per cent, Dublin Southwest returned 71.3 per cent, Dun Laoghaire 71.6 per cent, Dublin Northwest 70.6 per cent and Dublin South Central 72.3 per cent, all in keeping with an overall 70 per cent positive vote anticipated in the capital. As the result emerged thousands of people gathered, against convention, in the courtyard of Dublin Castle signalling widespread jubilation.

Senior politicians have welcomed the the result with Minister for Health Leo Varadkar saying the overwhelming Yes vote makes Ireland a “beacon of light” for the rest of the world in terms of liberty and equality.

“It’s a historical day for Ireland,” he told RTÉ, adding that if any constituencies voted No, it would only be a handful.

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin said it wa snow time to focus on other myriad inequalities in Irish society.

“I have the strong belief – there is a strong belief in the church – about the nature of marriage and the family,” he said, after the result was beyond dispute.

“I would like to have seen that the rights of gay and lesbian men and women could have been respected without changing the definition of marriage. That hasn’t happened but that is the world we live in today.”

The eyes of the world too have been trained on Ireland hoping to carry the first popular vote on same-sex marriage. The story has featured prominently in international media today.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said the same-sex marriage referendum turn-out showed the “palpable movement” of people wanting to be involved.

He particularly noted how young people had travelled around the country to “to put a single mark” on a ballot paper, something that demonstrated the value of the issue at hand.

Paul Moran of Millward Brown told RTÉ voter turnout had proved vital and that youth had driven the result, if not entirely deciding it. Social media has played a central role, he said.

No campaigners have congratulated the Yes side. Prominent No campaigner and director of the Iona Institute David Quinn seemed to concede the vote shortly after counting began when he tweeted: “Congratulations to the Yes site. Well done.”

The Iona Institute issued a statement congratulating the Yes side “on their win” which they described as “a handsome victory”.

“We hope the Government will address the concerns voters on the No side have about the implications for freedom of religion and freedom of conscience,” it concluded.

No campaigner Senator Ronan Mullen said he was not surprised by the seemingly “very substantial majority” in the Yes vote but remains concerned about changes to the Constitution and its negative impacts.

Nobody in the No campaign thought it was going to be easy, he said.

“We are operating in a political time and place in Irish culture”, up against a very skilled Yes campaign which had the support of all political parties.

Senator David Norris, who fought from the 1970s to 1993 to have homosexuality decriminalised, welcomed the result. “I believe that by the end of today gay people will be equal in this country. I think it’s wonderful,” he said.

Minister for Children James Reilly said while the same-sex marriage referendum yes vote is strong in Dublin, it is also strong around the country. He says a lot of voters have been thinking about their grandchildren and giving them the same opportunities in life should they be gay.

Ireland will become the first country in the world to approve same-sex marriage by popular vote.

In the weeks leading up this vote, the minimal amount of polling that had been done in Ireland seemed to indicate that there was overwhelming support for the “Yes” campaign but many observers were unsure how reliable those polls were. For one thing, these polls were coming right off of the rather spectacular polling failure in the British General Election, so there was some trepidation about acceptable polls at face value to begin with. Additionally, though, many supporters of the “Yes” campaign spoke about what had happened in California in 2008 when polling indicated that Proposition 8, which reversed a California Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage, would lose and ultimately the referendum ended up passing. Something similar happened in California four years later with a referendum to legalize marijuana that was doing very well in the polls up until Election Day, only to fail at the ballot. That caused many observers to wonder if there wasn’t a phenomenon regarding polling for referenda on controversial social issues similar to the so-called “Bradley Effect” that led people to tell pollsters one thing while voting another. As it turned out, the polls were largely correct. With all 43 of Ireland’s constituencies reporting, the “Yes” vote comes in a 1,201,607 (62.07%) and the “No” votes are at 734,300 (37.93%). With 60% turnout, one of the highest for a referendum in Irish history, that’s an overwhelming victory for marriage equality.

Rod Dreher, after quoting extensively from the column of “No” advocate John Waters, who accuses the “Yes” forces of a campaign of intimidation among other things, is typically apoplectic:

We are dealing with a less intense version of the same thing here. Gay marriage is going to come to this country by Supreme Court vote next month, but do not be under the illusion that this will settle anything. The “new climate of prohibition concerning certain forms of thought and speech, an Orwellian revisionism directed at texts and records bearing witness to old ideas” is coming to America too. If you don’t see this, you are being willfully blind. Bishops and leaders of the orthodox, or at least officially orthodox, churches — Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox — who are not soberly but unhesitatingly preparing their people for this is a sign of their dereliction of duty.

There can be no doubt that elites embraced the gay marriage cause early, and have campaigned relentlessly for it. The propagandist role of the news and entertainment media, which barely pretended to neutrality, is one that will be studied by future historians. But we must resist thinking that this outcome is one forced on the rest of us by elites, and we should take this landmark moment to reflect philosophically on why it happened. And, we should stop reacting to every single one of these advances, and step back and consider the long game.

One of the most difficult things for many American conservatives, especially religious conservatives, to accept is that gay marriage did not come from nowhere. It is the logical outcome of the Sexual Revolution, which in itself is the logical outworking of Enlightenment liberalism.

So there you have it. What Dreher is basically saying her is that it isn’t just same-sex marriage that is the enemy, but the Enlightenment and all that has flowed from it that is the enemy of the orthodox Christianity of which he has become enamored, and which he quite obviously prefers would control the society we live in. Considering the fact that one of the most Catholic countries in Europe has just endorsed marriage equality and that polling in our own country shows that support for same-sex marriage is at similar levels to what the Irish people demonstrated yesterday, it would seem rather obvious that he is on the losing end of that argument. But then, the traditionalists lost the battle against the Enlightenment centuries ago. Apparently they still haven’t gotten over it.

FILED UNDER: Europe, ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. grumpy realist says:

    And of course, Rod Dreher is convinced that civilization has collapsed. He doesn’t see this vote for what it is: a lot of people really, really pissed off at the Catholic Church.

  2. Yes, we probably should not discount the impact that the Irish Catholic Church’s abuse scandal has had on changing social attitudes in that country.

  3. Another Mike says:

    @grumpy realist:

    He doesn’t see this vote for what it is: a lot of people really, really pissed off at the Catholic Church.

    Or maybe just a lot of people, most of whom are themselves Catholic, just ignoring the teachings of the Catholic Church. They probably don’t even have enough emotional attachment to the Church to bother being pissed off at it.

  4. Jane2 says:

    People aren’t so much pissed off with the Church as sending the message that there’s a difference between public and religious life. And the Church’s response is certainly much more measured than that of the perennially angry US Evanglical Right would ever be.

  5. Paul Hooson says:

    Good for them. Irish eyes are indeed smilin’. One’s own private religious observances cannot be used to restrict the civil liberties of others in a democratic state….”And for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” means just that, and not forcing the neighbor or neighborhood to also live by your own private faith church teachings or rules as well.

  6. Ron Beasley says:

    When you’ve lost Ireland! The Roman Catholic Church has been losing it’s influence in the west since the French Revolution and the Reformation. The Church continues to preach against birth control when 98% of Catholic women of child bearing age in the US use it. Here locally hardly a year goes by that another Catholic Church isn’t shuttered because of a lack of clergy and or a lack of congregants.

  7. grumpy realist says:

    @Doug Mataconis: It was the Magdalene Laundries plus the abuse scandal, PLUS the fact that the Church hasn’t really apologized for either.

    As the old saying goes–it isn’t the crime but the cover-up that kills you….

  8. argon says:

    @grumpy realist: Rod’s never going to step foot in Ireland because he’ll fear harassment by gays rubbing his nose in their victory. I do wish the man would commit to his ‘Benedict option’ instead of perpetually wringing his hands in fear of being victimized.

  9. edmondo says:

    Now if we could get a few million people to emigrate from Ireland to Alabama maybe we could get that state to move into the 1990’s…Never mind, the Irish have suffered enough; they shouldn’t have to live in Alabama too.

  10. Grumpy Realist says:

    @argon: it does sound a bit like a Christian equivalent to “going Galt”.

    (I should probably do my usual link to Bob the Angry Flower’s “Atlas Shrugged: Part II” but am too lazy right now)

  11. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    Good for the Irish. And good for the activists in doing it right, through referendum, instead of just having some judge impose it.

    I was expecting a quote from the first couple planning to get married, Gerald Fitzpatrick and Patrick Fitzgerald…

  12. Paludicola says:

    An opponent of same-sex marriage named John Waters? Heh-heh-heh.

    As for Rod Dreher, I think he should be filed under ‘mistook losing unquestioned supremacy for persecution’.

  13. MBunge says:

    I’ve read way more of Dreher on this subject than is good for me and I still don’t know what he’s talking about when he whines over pro-gay marriage “propaganda.” Does he mean the media presenting homosexuals, and allowing them to present themselves, as actual human beings?

    Mike

  14. PJ says:

    @Mutt Williams:

    Good for the Irish. And good for the activists in doing it right, through referendum, instead of just having some judge impose it.

    So, still pissed about Loving v. Virginia?

  15. Rafer Janders says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Yes, if there is one institution in present-day Ireland with less moral authority to speak about marriage and sexuality, I don’t know what it is.

  16. Rafer Janders says:

    @Ron Beasley:

    When you’ve lost Ireland! The Roman Catholic Church has been losing it’s influence in the west since the French Revolution and the Reformation.

    Well, in Ireland in particular it was the revelation that the Church had for decades (hundreds of years, really) been complicit in the widespread rape, abuse and torture of Irish children and unwed mothers. Hard to keep your influence after you’ve been revealed as essentially a child abuse criminal cartel.

  17. Rafer Janders says:

    @MBunge:

    Does he mean the media presenting homosexuals, and allowing them to present themselves, as actual human beings?

    Yes.

  18. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: So a right is only a right if the majority says it is.

  19. Scott says:

    If Dreher laments the Enlightenment then he really doesn’t believe in the entire concept of America

  20. Grewgills says:

    So there you have it. What Dreher is basically saying her is that it isn’t just same-sex marriage that is the enemy, but the Enlightenment and all that has flowed from it that is the enemy of the orthodox Christianity of which he has become enamored

    He’s not wrong.

  21. michael reynolds says:

    @Rafer Janders:
    I don’t think a lot of Americans understand just how furious the Irish are at the church. The reaction there is orders of magnitude more intense than ours.

  22. Rafer Janders says:

    @michael reynolds:

    They trusted the Church more, so the betrayal was all the more intense.

  23. JohnMcC says:

    Having amused myself on his site, I have to say that Mr Dreher is not only in rebellion against the Enlightenment as most of us know it — with Locke and Newton and Jefferson and Descartes. He considers that the game was over when the Nominalists who do not believe what really matters is the greater, ‘Universal’ Truth but prefer particular ‘experimental’ facts overcame Thomas Aquinas and Plato.

    Our own Grumpy Realist has had great fun with Rev Dreher over this.

    She has invited him to enjoy his Benedictine existence free of the encumbrances of modern science, medicine, agriculture, machinery and such. He has not been enthusiastic about her suggestions — saying (I paraphrases) “Leave me alone! It works so beautifully the way I imagine it!”

  24. MBunge says:

    @JohnMcC: I paraphrases) “Leave me alone! It works so beautifully the way I imagine it!”

    In case anyone thinks Dreher is getting a raw deal, Dreher was recently asked how out-of-the-closet gay people would be treated in the world as Dreher would want it to be.

    His response: “I don’t know. It would depend on the community in which they live.”

    Mike

  25. Ron Beasley says:

    Earth to Rod Dreher: You fought the enlightenment and the enlightenment won. A smaller and smaller portion of the population buys your 2000 year old doctrine.

  26. stonetools says:

    Rod Dreher cites Locke, Berdyaev, Ortega y Gasset-it’s like Philosopher Central over there. What he has yet to articulate however is a rational, non-religious, evidence based argument why a secular government should forbid same sex marriage. No one has, which is why the anti SSM side loses every time the issue is raised.
    Dresser seems to have thrown in the towel, and is now focusing on what he calls the “Benedictine option” , which he is writing a book about. We will have to see how that works out. In the meantime, it looks like the acceptance of SSM will continue its advance across the Western world.

  27. Argon says:

    @JohnMcC: That’s right. Further, and ironically, one can only retreat to the Benedict Option if you live in an Enlightenment society. The church used to periodically torture and burn people who didn’t conform to their particular views. Heresy was not generally accepted.

  28. James Pearce says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    And good for the activists in doing it right, through referendum, instead of just having some judge impose it.

    I guess this is what happens when you start to believe your own BS. You really thought people rallied against gay marriage because they had principled feelings on democratic process?

    This is one of the reasons why that side lost. They couldn’t even be honest with themselves. This whole time, the right has been operating under the bigoted notion that same-sex couples are inferior to opposite sex couples. The big con, which apparently you bought, was that it was about procedure.

  29. JohnMcC says:

    @Argon: “The church used to periodically torture and burn people who didn’t conform to their particular views. Heresy was not generally accepted.”

    Of course. First, error has no rights. Second, they were actually doing you good by allowing the political authorities (since they didn’t actually light the fire on their own, usually, but rather made sure that the ‘temporal’ powers enforced orthodoxy) to torture you because it could possibly save your soul from the sin of error & heresy; you suffered in this life in order to get into heaven. If God has given the church His inner thoughts about sin & salvation and charged the church with the task of guiding His faithful to Heaven, how could they not?

    It’s easy to see why Diderot could say that ‘man will never be free until the last King is strangled with the entrails of the last priest.’

  30. michael reynolds says:

    @JohnMcC:

    Thanks for bringing that Diderot quote up from the murky depths of my memory. Can’t believe I forgot it. I may have to have it chiseled in stone.

  31. Tyro says:

    Rod’s essentially problem is that his entire identity is tied up in adhering to conservativism and anti-gay ideas because he thinks that doing so is socially desireable. It is an offense to his entire worldview that his ideas might have a social cost because he adopted those views for the social benefits. For liberals to be mainstream and conservatives to be derided upsets his entire conception of how the universe should operate.

  32. michael reynolds says:

    @Tyro:

    Yeah, he’s a bit slow on the uptake. Modern American history is a story where liberals figure things out at least a decade before conservatives. The things conservatives think they are conserving are often liberal ideas from earlier times: everything from individualism to one-man-one-vote and now to gay marriage. Conservatives don’t have ideas, they just recycle ideas, generally with poor judgment as to what deserves to be kept alive.

  33. de stijl says:

    @Tyro:

    Rod’s essentially problem is that his entire identity is tied up in adhering to conservativism and anti-gay ideas because he thinks that doing so is socially desireable. It is an offense to his entire worldview that his ideas might have a social cost because he adopted those views for the social benefits.

    That is very insightful. I may have to consider that more fully. His reaction to the loss of traditional, orthodox Christian privilege is most fascinating.

    My own theory about Dreher is that he is a Borderline Personality Disorder sufferer with a religious orientation and a huge monomania about homosexuality. Hence, the denominational wandering and the longing for an unquestionable authority that supplies a handy orthodoxy.

    He has an idee fixe and his whole life has been a series a rationales trying to deal with that. He sees the social acceptance of homosexuality as the end of everything he holds dear.

  34. MBunge says:

    I think you are giving Dreher credit for too much psychological depth. He’s a decent writer but not much of a thinker and discovered this gay stuff gets him more clicks than anything else he writes about.

    If you read some of the commenters at his blog, you may find their views on homosexuality and SSM to be abhorant but at least you can make sense of them. Dreher is incomprehensible.

    Mike

  35. Grumpy Realist says:

    @JohnMcC: I must have hit him where it hurts at some point because he’s been accusing me of trolling.

    Sigh. The dear man hasn’t learned one of the very first things we learn as science students: attacking an idea is not the same thing as attacking the person who is holding that idea. If your ideas turn out to be inconsistent, tried before with devastating results, or conflicting with well-understood axioms, better get back to the drawing board and try again…

    And if you want to go back to before Nominalism and try again, you don’t get to keep the benefits of Nominalism. I have no idea what a non-Nominalistic track would have resulted in for the human race, but somehow I don’t think the scientific method would be part of it. We would probably still be treating brain cancer with exorcism and ulcers with magic incantations.

  36. Grumpy Realist says:

    P.S. And you don’t get to moan about how Wonderful It Would Be To Go Back To A Supernatural mindset and then get shocked when the local mob decides to kill your wife for being a witch.

  37. Lenoxus says:

    John Waters:

    I met men whose daughters begged them not to let anyone know they were thinking of voting No, lest they, the children, be ostracised by their peers.

    Having a terrible secret and being afraid everyone will shun you if they discover it? Imagine how awful that would be…

    Of course, homophobes think this is a “gotcha” in the other direction (“I thought you liberals wanted to be ≤em>tollllerant) but that’s because they’re so incredibly fragile. Tell them they are, in fact, homophobes, and you may as well have banned their marriages or forced them to be chemically castrated or whatever, because it’s the same thing really. (In addition to the wide difference in the two groups’ actual lived experiences, there’s the relevant point that homophobia is, well, bad, and homosexuality isn’t.)

    I would be willing to accept their attempt to claim ironic-reversal victimhood here if they showed the slightest remorse for what gay people have been through for centuries. But they just can’t, because it seems so “normal” to them that homosexuality was so despised. There’s a striking absence of empathy there.

  38. JohnMcC says:

    @Lenoxus: I don’t recall where I saw it — possibly in the same post in which John Waters’ quote above appeared? — but a NO supporter in Ireland recounted that he had noticed numerous African and MidEastern persons standing in the voting lines (“queue”) and was pleased because he assumed they would be voting against SSM. There was no self-awareness at all that the so-called-conservatives have been explaining that we are and have been at war with Islam.

    Turns out that 7th century mindset is exactly what they wanted. They just hadn’t thought it through.

    @Grumpy Realist: I noted that reply from RD and was amused that he was obviously upset that someone had pointed out the plain consequence of rejecting modernity in the sense of being able to cure disease and feed billions without endless cruel toil.

  39. JohnMcC says:

    @michael reynolds: Ha! I will match the murkiness of my mind against anyone’s.

  40. argon says:

    @Grumpy Realist:

    I must have hit him where it hurts at some point because he’s been accusing me of trolling.

    He’s a bit of a concern troll, himself, Mr. “I’d be OK with civil unions and stuff just so long as they don’t call it ‘marriage’.” And he wonders we most people laugh. It’s kinda like the scene in Life of Brian with the authorities sentencing a chained man who said “Jehovah!”, except for Rod, the word that cannot be spoken (by gays) is “marriage”.

    Personally, and I don’t want to start any rumors here but… methinks he doth protesteth too much.

  41. superdestroyer says:

    Maybe Ireland voted for homosexual marriage because getting married and having children have become unimportant to the citizens of Ireland. Ireland had a low marriage rate for heterosexual couples cite and a lower than average fertility rate compared to other countriescite

    If one wanted to predict the next countries that will legalze homosexual marriage using a referendum, I would suggest looking at countries with similar low marriage and birth rates.

  42. Lynn Eggers says:

    @argon: “He’s a bit of a concern troll, himself, Mr. “I’d be OK with civil unions and stuff just so long as they don’t call it ‘marriage’.” And he wonders we most people laugh.”

    I used to suggest that we call those joined in civil ceremonies “civil partners” and those joined in church ceremonies “married.”

    That idea got enthusiastic responses from many on the far right, until I mentioned out that my husband and I would be civil partners but that our friends Jane and Nancy would be married.

  43. michael reynolds says:

    @superdestroyer:

    Um. . . what?

    Dude, advanced countries have low birth rates. Advanced countries are socially tolerant. Really not hard to figure out.

  44. superdestroyer says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Advanced counties have below replacement birthrates because getting married and having children will lower one’s socio-economic status. Thus, it is easy to be tolerant when one has no stake in the future and do not really care what happens. When politics is a form of status seeking and people in advanced countries live in a culture where status seeking is very important, then those people will take different political positions that one would expect from history.

  45. Tyro says:

    Thus, it is easy to be tolerant when one has no stake in the future and do not really care what happens.

    I really have no idea how having children affects how one feels about gay marriage.

    The truth is that the population in the west is well about what it was 50 or even 20 years ago. If their populations remain the same because people aren’t having as many children, that’s hardly a crime.

  46. michael reynolds says:

    @superdestroyer:

    That is absurd.

    People in advanced countries have fewer children because 1) They have access to birth control, 2) Women are welcome in the workplace, 3) There is no economic advantage in large families since in advanced countries we do not set our children to picking poppies but rather educate them, 4) Having babies is no picnic and women everywhere will reduce births if given the chance.

    In other words there are very logical reasons why birth rates drop as economies advance.

    It is just fascinating to watch people like you try unsuccessfully to come to grips with the simple fact that most people see no reason to treat gays like second-class citizens. Apparently people not behaving like aszholes is a baffling phenomenon to you. I’m not surprised. Amused, not surprised.

  47. PogueMahone says:

    Reading Dreher reminds me of reading literature from an upper level undergraduate course – you don’t really understand what’s going on unless you’ve taken the prerequisite courses.
    In his case:

    Hate: a survey course
    Introduction to Shame
    Batshit crazy 101

    Only after taking these courses can you begin to understand what the hell he’s talking about.

    Anyway, way to go Ireland!! So proud of my ancestral homeland.

    Slainte.

  48. James Pearce says:

    @superdestroyer:

    Thus, it is easy to be tolerant when one has no stake in the future and do not really care what happens.

    And as this comment shows, it’s easy to be intolerant when you have no idea what you’re talking about.

    It’s amazing how once gay people are allowed to form families, they do.

  49. DrDaveT says:

    @James Pearce:

    It’s amazing how once gay people are allowed to form families, they do.

    This.

    Why do so many people assume that the historical characteristics of homosexual relationships have everything to do with being homosexual, and nothing to do with needing to be clandestine, being forbidden long-term relationships, and being shunned / imprisoned / castrated / drugged / tortured if you buck that system? Occam’s Razor, guys.

  50. michael reynolds says:

    @DrDaveT:

    Fear/Victimization of the other runs deep in humans. It probably explains about 90% of politics. People like @superdestroyer are baffled by people’s ability to suppress this instinct. They don’t see why the instinct has to be suppressed (because: civilization) and they can’t figure out how we do it (reason, kindness). Elaborate rationales must be invented to explain what strikes us as self-evidently proper and requiring no sacrifice.

    Next they’ll need equally elaborate theories to explain why the world did not implode when dudes started marrying dudes. I imagine they’ll go into some notions of a world in a long, slow decline. The religious ones will say God’s just letting us play out the string before he casts us into hellfire. Both will boil down to, “Just you wait, the end is still nigh!”

    Same as it ever was.

  51. James Pearce says:

    @DrDaveT:

    “Why do so many people assume that the historical characteristics of homosexual relationships have everything to do with being homosexual…”

    It’s either ignorance or spite. (Both?)

    It was taken for a given that my Mom’s lesbianism made her an unfit mother and she was only granted visitation rights during the custody fights of my childhood. Branded an unfit mother….simply for being gay. (Yeah, I’m still bitter. My Dad and step-mom were awful.)

    And then it was only last year that Mom was able to marry her partner of 30+ years?

    In other words, I think the LGBT members of my family have already allowed uninterested 3rd party’s more than enough influence on our lives. It’s to the point where I’m willing to say, “You don’t have to like us. You don’t have to agree with us. You just have to leave us alone.”

  52. stonetools says:

    Man, Dreher is going full apocalyptic over there:

    Now, when gay-rights groups start suing under anti-discrimination law to remove the tax-exempt status from religious schools and institutions that uphold traditional Christian teaching on homosexuality and sexuality in general, how strong do you anticipate bishops, priests, and lay leaders — Catholic and non-Catholic — to be in the face of those kinds of attacks? How much support do you expect they will have from a laity, the majority of which has already gone to the pro-SSM side? And on the Catholic front, how strong do you expect a bishop to be when he cannot count on Rome having his back, as is the case under this pontificate?

    Questions like these are why there is no more important story in the life of the Christian churches in the West today than the struggle over gay rights. It cuts to the heart of the authority of Scripture and Tradition, as well as radically challenges the normative anthropology of Christianity. There are plenty of people, both inside and outside the churches, who have a vested interest in denying the radicalism of this struggle. But don’t be fooled

    Apparently, Christians will be hiding in the catacombs in a few years at the most.The atheist commenters are busy telling him to calm down, take a breath, and realize that this doesn’t have to be the end of Christianity. The guy is quite the drama queen!

  53. michael reynolds says:

    @stonetools:

    It’s really quite primitive thinking when you look at it. “Christian” is a stand-in for “us” with gays and atheists and no-doubt people who drink craft beers as the “other.” The “other” is analogized to an invader/occupier anxious to take away everything belonging to “us.” It is inevitable that if “we” don’t stop “them” then all will be lost. To the barricades! They must be stopped or we’ll all be enslaved!

    I’ve always said they key difference between liberals and conservatives is that we have imaginations and they don’t. They’re trapped in their existing paradigm, incapable of imagining other modes of thinking or living. They are desperately trying to fabricate a threat where none exists because the other must be a threat, the other is always a threat, and violent reaction is the only way of dealing with that threat.

    Deep down they have minds identical to the Taliban or ISIS or the average Russian.

  54. PJ says:

    @superdestroyer:

    If one wanted to predict the next countries that will legalze homosexual marriage using a referendum, I would suggest looking at countries with similar low marriage and birth rates.

    Oh! this is fun!
    Ireland is an island, and thus only islands have legalized same sex marriage using a referendum, so I would suggest looking at other islands!
    Ireland starts with an I, and thus only countries starting with an I have legalized same sex marriage using a referendum, so I would suggest looking at other countries starting with an I!

  55. Grumpy Realist says:

    @michael reynolds:take a look at any medical technology involving sex or birth or whatever. Birth control–dubious. IVF isn’t accepted; egg and sperm donation are evil. It’s as if any technology which changes things has to be considered evil. I’d love to see a uterine replicator finally developed–it would drive them bonkers.

    I love technology with world-impacting effects. I love getting confronted with stuff that challenges my own assumptions. It would be totally neat if I could (say) turn into a man for a week, just to see what it would be like.

    Yet Rod and those like him seem to be terrified of any of this–why?

  56. humanoid.panda says:

    @michael reynolds:

    It’s really quite primitive thinking when you look at it. “Christian” is a stand-in for “us” with gays and atheists and no-doubt people who drink craft beers as the “other.”

    The interesting thing about Dreher is that he has great fondness for craft beers and France, and all sorts of things that most American conservatives hate; he is also at great pains to emphasize that his “Benedict option” is nothing like the declasse religion of people like the Duggars…

  57. wr says:

    @michael reynolds: Can you imagine what it must be like to be SuperD? (I mean, if you can come close to imagining why you would ever adopt that pen name…) What it must feel like to go out on the street and hate and fear at least half of everyone else walking down it… to be convinced that everyone who doesn’t look like you wants to kill you or take what you have… to be flat out terrified of every change?

    It would be unutterably sad, if people like that weren’t so toxic.

  58. wr says:

    @PJ: I’ll take Iceland for $400.

  59. Tyro says:

    @humanoid.panda: Dreher is from a certain strain of middle class striver conservatives from the 1990s where being conservative was all about being a “cultured intellectual.” You ate nice dinners over wine with your fellow conservatives and talked about “natural law” and the Western Canon while you mocked those campus liberals with their critical theory and their gays. Adhering to this whole milieu gave Dreher entry into the National Review and the various right wing sinecures that have supported him since.

    Meanwhile, at the end of the day, those “great books” “conservative intellectuals” both (a) had no use for a Louisiana Country Boy, and (b) were only using a veneer of intellectualism to justify tax cuts, hate on liberals, and invade the middle east. But it was already too late for Rod because he invested all of his identity in this while at the same time the intellectual underpinnings of conservatism pretty much collapsed when it both became clear that the Bush administration was a huge scam and that, in the end, most rich conservatives don’t really have that much of a problem with gays, except when whipping up anti-gay fervor is necessary to get elected.

    Dreher is grappling with a personal crisis as he is realizing that all the things he thought would fulfill his intellectual and class ambitions weren’t taken seriously by the people he was ingratiating himself with.

  60. michael reynolds says:

    @Grumpy Realist:

    It re-balances life in favor of the female. Males remained dominant because of their protective function during the long period of human gestation during which females are not exactly able to run along with the tribe. In evolutionary terms we live to provide sperm and then food and water and protection during child-bearing and infancy. And to kill spiders, of course.

    But, with civilization that protective function became a group thing, a societal thing, but still under the aegis of males. But at that time men started down the long path to obsolescence. Our strength was increasingly turned away from animal predators and toward human competitors.

    The last time a significant portion of the American population was involved in protecting anything was 1945. Since then it’s become increasingly obvious that males are a net negative to civilization. We do more harm with our physical strength and testosterone happy juice than good. And as physical labor becomes obsolete you have to ask yourself: what the hell are males and their biceps for? I mean, aside from providing sperm which let’s face it really only occupies a productive hour or so every nine months.

    Birth control takes even that minor function out of our hands, and gives the female control.

    So, we’ve lost hunting, we’ve lost our protective function, we’re barely even involved in the wars we start anymore (there are 1.4 million Americans in uniform out of a population of 330 million, .004%) and even those few are frequently females, and now our sperm-contribution function is removed from our control and handed over to females. Males are essentially useless, and in fact, worse than useless since we commit virtually all the crimes and start all the wars.

    This bothers some men.

    Doesn’t bother me, I find it all fascinating, but I’m an adaptable sort.

  61. michael reynolds says:

    @humanoid.panda: @wr:

    This place is a master class in borderline personality types.

  62. Stonetools says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Hey, I’m not useless ! My mother is clear on this….

  63. wr says:

    @michael reynolds: And some who are way over that border…

  64. Mikey says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Males are essentially useless, and in fact, worse than useless since we commit virtually all the crimes and start all the wars.

    I certainly wouldn’t go this far. Humans would not have evolved as we have, were the male attributes of no value.

  65. JohnMcC says:

    @michael reynolds: A little recitation that I have amused folks with for quite a few years: There is nothing as useless as a young man. Once this wasn’t so. Once the small band of humans gathered in the mouth of the cave needed it’s young men. They were important because someone needed to say, ‘guys! listen up! there’s a g@d d@m lion out there and we’ve gotta take care of him. so get your best sticks and your sharpest rocks and LETS GO OUT THERE AND KILL THAT LION!!’

    And they would do just that – jump up with sticks and stones and kill that lion.

    Trouble is, the lions are gone and the young men are still here.

  66. Mikey says:

    @JohnMcC: Hey, so let’s all us dudes just off and kill ourselves, given we’re so useless and superfluous and whatnot.

    What is it with American liberals? Why are so many of us self-hating, misandrist men? It’s a sentiment enabled by first-world privilege.

  67. michael reynolds says:

    @Mikey:

    Dude, where do you get “self-hatred?” This does absolutely nothing to my ego.

    I like facts. I accept reality. I don’t require a supernatural gloss to get through my day. So I follow the evidence, and it’s absurd to argue that males are not the problem. Jesus, man, we commit 90 plus percent of all violent crimes. Women live their lives in fear of us, not the other way around. If homo sapiens is one big party, we’re the aszholes at that party.

    But that doesn’t have much to do with me. I don’t require membership in a group or class to be happy.

    You probably have an idea what a woman’s life under the Taliban is like, right? Thought experiment: 1) We can kill off 90% of the males or 2) 90% of the females. We check back in 20 years. Is life expectancy higher in #1 or #2? You know it’s #1. Same thing in this country. Reduce us by 90% and the whole species goes along just fine. Women + technology = males largely superfluous and even malignant.

    But here’s a nice glass of Scotch, so, okay. Doesn’t touch me.

  68. Grewgills says:

    @michael reynolds:
    The bulk of the sex/gender differences are societal. We don’t have to kill off anyone, we just have to change our expectations and stop training our children to conform to outdated notions of masculinity and femininity.

  69. Mikey says:

    @michael reynolds: I was a bit too, er, festive in my Memorial Day remembrances…hence my rather overstated objection.

    TL;DR: Don’t post drunk.

  70. Mikey says:

    @Grewgills:

    we just have to change our expectations and stop training our children to conform to outdated notions of masculinity and femininity

    Even if we as parents do our best to avoid this, it creeps in somehow. My daughter earns multiples of what her fiance earns and it bothers her in ways she never expected it would. I certainly never raised her (at least not consciously) with “traditional” gender expectations. And she calls me up saying (I’m paraphrasing but this is the general gist) “you never raised me with these traditional expectations, why do I feel this way?” Seriously, I have no idea. But I’ve always been the primary earner in my family and I think growing up seeing that created an example in her mind of what the man is “supposed” to do.

    Also, in a way it’s up to individuals to choose occupations and life paths traditionally taken by the opposite sex. This is happening in some areas, albeit rather slowly. Even the military is working on opening traditionally male-only jobs to women. But I think it may still take several generations, if even ever, to diminish the impact of the “traditional gender roles.”

  71. Scott says:

    @Mikey: It is deeply ingrained. After I retired out of the AF, I was the house husband for about a year. My wife couldn’t handle that I was a perfectly fine domestic engineer. Made meals, cleaned, got the kids where they needed to be. I actually enjoyed it. However, she believed it was her role so we ended up reversing our arrangements. I still enjoyed those days better than my current working outside the home.

  72. JohnMcC says:

    @Mikey: Have a record of stupid comments while over-indulging myself in these pages. All is cool.

    About the silly little story about killing the lion — obviously there has to be some recognition of the distinctions between the genders. I’m a great believer in organizing boyhood and young manhood into stuff that suits. Although I never had a son while raising two daughters (let me tell you about my grandchildren!), I think team sports and things like the boy scouts are actually an important sort of teacher of virtuous behaviors for young guys. Possibly that dates me to the ’50s but — oh well — that’s when I grew up and it left me with a lot of internal structures that directed me to a (mostly) virtuous adulthood. I think liberals have pretty much recognized that the nature-vs-nurture debate has swung off the high point of the pendulum that favors ‘nurture’. It would be easy to convince me that single-gender schools and even things like school uniforms are worth adopting.

  73. JohnMcC says:

    @michael reynolds: You know, it would be possible to go too far with that line of thought. Just retired from a 35yr career in a female dominated profession (nursing) and although I did learn that the ladies are over-all better to work among (hey! women bring much better food to work for one thing) there are ways of being cruel and disruptive that are distinctive to their gender.

    If you’re saying that the person who hits you in the face in almost sure to be a man, you’re correct. If you feel a silent dagger slipped into your social life, that’s a woman.

    I’d be the last person to be labeled misogynist. Not to use a cliche but I love women. But everyone has their own ways of being nasty and even evil.

    Memorial day thought on this topic borrowed from Will Rogers: ‘Did you ever notice when you talk to a ‘gold star mother’ about her dead son that she seems to take a bit of pride in that son that she wouldn’t have if he’d been killed in a car wreck?’

  74. Mikey says:

    @JohnMcC:

    If you’re saying that the person who hits you in the face in almost sure to be a man, you’re correct. If you feel a silent dagger slipped into your social life, that’s a woman.

    I’m reminded of a bit from comedian Louis C. K.

    “A man will cut your arm off and throw it in a river, but he’ll leave you as a human being intact. He won’t fvck with who you are. Women are non-violent, but they will sh!t inside of your heart.

  75. Mikey says:

    Oh come on, that wasn’t even but one bad word. Why did it go into purgatory?

    Pleeeeeease release me, let me gooooooo….

  76. Lynn Eggers says:

    @michael reynolds: “Males are essentially useless, and in fact, worse than useless since we commit virtually all the crimes and start all the wars.”

    My grandmother was a suffragette, ran for a local office in 1921.

    Dad used to talk about getting home and finding “the ladies,” complete with hats and gloves, talking about how, once women got the vote, there would be no more war, no more hunger, no more violence.

    Hasn’t happened yet; maybe we’re not as pure as Grandmother thought.

  77. DrDaveT says:

    @Grewgills:

    The bulk of the sex/gender differences are societal.

    Maybe. On the other hand, biologists know that every other higher animal species on the planet has strong co-evolved behavioral differences between male and female. If you really believe in evolution, thinking that humans are immune is somewhat magical thinking.

    Try The Red Queen by Matt Ridley. Eye-opening, I thought, if very un-PC.

    The good news is that humans can be rational, which gives us a chance to out-think the evolved tendencies. That doesn’t mean the tendencies aren’t there.

  78. Mikey says:

    @DrDaveT: I sometimes watch Dr. Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s show “Star Talk” (basically a live-recorded podcast) and in a recent episode he spoke of a colleague who had undergone gender reassignment from male to female:

    A colleague of mine just transitioned, male-to-female. And, we already know how to communicate with one another, because we’re colleagues. We’re scientists, we contemplate the universe daily. So it’s interesting to already know how to communicate with him becoming a her, and then have her now tell me the changes within her. And she was saying, she had completely different ensembles of thoughts in response to things that she knew intellectually she would have responded to differently as a man. To the point where she said–this is a phrase I’ll never forget–she began to question free will.

    There’s a lot going on under the hood that we don’t quite understand yet.

  79. grumpy realist says:

    @JohnMcC: There was a very acute comment made in one of Sherri Tepper’s books. One of the characters asks at the beginning of the tale, when she is being urged to go to war: “What is the good of dead youths?” And then, at the end, when she has seen the results of a religious war that she has been trying to avoid for her people, she comments: “The good of youths dead in war is that they are dead.”

    Maybe that’s what the major use of wars has been–to kill off young men that otherwise would be wrecking havoc in society.

  80. Blue Galangal says:

    @Another Mike: I followed this referendum pretty closely (I’m doing unrelated research on the Irish Water quango for a publication; this issue got a lot of press in the past few weeks so it was almost unavoidable). What the Irish themselves noted (and some found surprising) was that a lot of priests came out in favour of a “Yes” vote. There was more than one news item about priests urging their congregations to celebrate love, etc. IIRC, one of the Archbishops did say that the Catholic Church wouldn’t solemnise any marriages if it passed but that seemed to have been regarded pretty much as an empty threat by onlookers.

    A great deal of the “No” side’s information and funding came from a quasi-religious organisation – the Iona Institute – and a brand new organisation founded by (and funded by) Iona Institute people, the Marriage and Family Matters organisation. This is interesting to politics junkies in the US because Iona gets a lot of funding from the anti-abortion movement in the US and, up until now, has spent most of its time and money fighting any changes to Ireland’s abortion laws. They tried, unsuccessfully as it turned out, to conflate same sex marriage with endangering children. One part of the “No” campaign that backfired spectacularly was the use of a stock photo of a mom and dad kissing a baby that was entitled “All children deserve a mother and a father.” The family on the photo made a “Yes” campaign poster to counteract the No poster that was used without their permission – and legally so – but their story got a lot of free press that was positive for the “Yes” side, and so did their protests that they were not anti SSM.

    I’d say the “No” side overreached signally in one regard: they tried to equate family to intact, two parent, heterosexual families and thus turned off a lot of voters who were single parents either through death, desertion, or divorce; adoptees also felt turned off by this part of the campaign. The “No” side seemed to think that the rural, elderly, Catholic voters would vote No and apparently they didn’t; only the constituency with the oldest demographic voted no. All the other constituencies, even Donegal’s – which was assumed to be in the “No” column – voted yes. The GOTV effort by the “Yes” campaign will probably be studied for years to come.

    Ireland’s voting laws also played a part. If you had been out of the country for less than 18 months, you were still able to vote if you returned to do it in person (no electronic or by mail balloting). There was a strong voter registration drive, and a great many people came home to vote in the referendum, which I think the “No” side did not expect to happen.

  81. grumpy realist says:

    @Scott: A lot of women get antsy about house-husbands because they knew they’ll STILL be on the hook if Mom or Mother-in-Law comes over. Have enough of that in your background and there’s a lot of mental reprogramming that needs to be done.

    It’s sort of like how working women are supposed to show up with Martha Stewart-level home-baked cupcakes for bake sales even though they’re brain surgeons working 60 hours a week. Remember the scene in “I don’t know how she does that” where the hedge-fund mommy was “distressing” store-bought pumpkin pies in order to make them look “home-made”? I really wish that these women would simply say: “How much money do you need to raise? Ok, here’s a check for $5000. Now stop bothering me.” But somehow “Mommyhood” contains inside its definition the firm belief that you’re an absolute failure unless you spend your time living up to the expectations of a bunch of bored rich housewives.

  82. Blue Galangal says:

    @michael reynolds: On top of the sex abuse scandals, the Magdalene laundries really only hit the Irish consciousness about 10 years ago. There are lawsuits still pending. The last one didn’t close until 1995. The order that ran it was still selling off property at an obscene profit – and refusing to fund the victims’ compensation fund – as late as 2008.

    This referendum represents a sea change in Ireland; it was still a crime to engage in homosexual activity until 1993. Divorce wasn’t legalised until 1995. This is only 20 years later. I’m astounded and delighted by how quickly this shifted.

    Regarding the popular vote: the way it was explained to me was that they could have passed SSM in law – all the major parties were on the “Yes” side – but it would have been tied up in the courts for years. Decades, probably, given the Iona Institute’s interest and deep pockets. The popular referendum, while really icky in one way (the majority getting to vote on minority rights) had the effect of literally amending the constitution; ergo, no court challenges.

  83. JohnMcC says:

    @grumpy realist: I have had the thought that war is so horrible when seen in it’s full flower that traditional cultures would be shocked and would embed a strong anti-war element into their passed on ‘conventional wisdom’. But that modern societies with a ‘media’ that influences (or simply becomes) the received culture have a much shorter cycle-time before they are willing to go to war again. I usually start drinking when I have that kind of thought; it’s too much like ‘we’ll never learn’. I shed bitter tears in the run-up to the 1st Gulf War (and drank way too much) but got ‘script for Zoloft shortly after 9/11 because I knew that the Administration then in Washington was going to kick some serious @ss in the MidEast.

    I suppose there could be some wisdom gained by investigating the difference between ‘media’ in the US vs a real culture capable of learning and passing on learning.

    @Blue Galangal: A very interesting addition to the conversation (and back on-topic). And ‘quango’? Thanks for teaching me a new word.

  84. michael reynolds says:

    @Mikey:

    TL;DR: Don’t post drunk.

    What are you trying to do, destroy the comments section? A good two-thirds of comments are from people who are drunk, stoned or medicated.

  85. Mikey says:

    @JohnMcC:

    I have had the thought that war is so horrible when seen in it’s full flower that traditional cultures would be shocked and would embed a strong anti-war element into their passed on ‘conventional wisdom’. But that modern societies with a ‘media’ that influences (or simply becomes) the received culture have a much shorter cycle-time before they are willing to go to war again.

    Dunno…seems to me the entirety of human history and the seemingly endless string of wars would show a complete lack of the development of any anti-war sentiment no matter how far back in time you go. War is something that has occurred across all times and cultures, and I don’t think there’s been a time in recorded history during which some group of humans wasn’t waging war with another.

  86. Mikey says:

    @michael reynolds:

    A good two-thirds of comments are from people who are drunk, stoned or medicated.

    And the other third are from people who only seem that way…

  87. grumpy realist says:

    @JohnMcC: Gotta bring back the sabertooth tigers. And the Fenris wolves.

  88. gVOR08 says:

    @argon:

    I do wish the man (Dreher) would commit to his ‘Benedict option’ instead of perpetually wringing his hands in fear of being victimized.

    Apparently the Benedict Option is a lot like Going Galt; in that no one ever actually goes.

  89. gVOR08 says:

    @JohnMcC:

    He (Dreher) considers that the game was over when the Nominalists who do not believe what really matters is the greater, ‘Universal’ Truth but prefer particular ‘experimental’ facts overcame Thomas Aquinas and Plato.

    I made the mistake last month of reading Russell Kirk, The Conservative Mind. Somebody said it was the great digest of conservative thought. If true, a real slam on conservative thought. Kirk is constantly railing against the great enemy, Positivism. The whole book is 50 repetitions at great length of, “(Insert name of conservative writer) was the only one of his generation who could see the higher truth.”

  90. grumpy realist says:

    @gVOR08: It also provides a get-out-of-jail-free argument as to why he’s so dead against SSM. If the traditionalists can be blowing their stack about something that happened back in the 12th century, just imagine how long they can be blaming stuff on SSM. And it’s because of these “unknown effects” (insert scary booga-booga noises here) that we must obviously be PROACTIVE….

    Sorta like bombing Switzerland because in 500 years they’re going to be the rulers of the world. Good grief.

  91. Grewgills says:

    @Mikey:
    You might not have, but there is the entire rest of society that she grew up in. Here peers, their parents, teachers, television, etc all get their input as well.
    @DrDaveT:
    There are some, but they are generally overstated, moreso by nonbiologists. Androgens and estrogens do have some behavioral effects, but they do not account for most of the gender role stuff we see societally. As you say, society can dampen the less desirable chemical differences rather than creating new ones.

  92. Grewgills says:

    @Mikey:
    I’ve definitely posted more than a little intoxicated more than once.

  93. JohnMcC says:

    @Mikey: Sorrowfully, I have to agree. There is almost no corner of this planet where we have not soaked the ground with our brothers’ blood. Nothing ever changes, does it? And in reference to the ‘sotto voce’ theme of this thread – thank the FSM for drugs.

    I had the interesting experience of taking Freshman English and studying The Odyssey while suffering an unrecognized-at-the-time outbreak of PTSD. Homer knew more about the former-soldier’s mind than the science of psychology did back in ’68.

    @gVOR08: I was a devotee of Dr Kirk back in my earliest politically aware period. I’d forgotten the emphasis that you found on ‘positivism’ but no doubt you are correct. The worthwhile lesson that I’ve carried through the years since is Dr Kirk’s picture of human society as something that had evolved like an organic & living body, something not invented and assembled from replaceable parts. Of course, my waking from the conservative dream pretty much coincided with becoming more educated in general and in history & philosophy in particular.

  94. DrDaveT says:

    @Grewgills:

    There are some, but they are generally overstated, moreso by nonbiologists.

    Ridley’s not a biologist, but the book is extensively footnoted to the actual biology literature — as much so as any popularization I’ve ever read.

    This is one of those areas where I’m torn between my liberal quest for the truth and my progressive need to subvert discrimination. There’s so much potential ammunition for the chauvinist if there are behavioral tendency differences between men and women that are anywhere near as large as (say) the differences in typical physical size and strength. On the other hand, there’s so much we could learn about how to improve gender relations if we really understood the baselines — i.e. if we could replace the “Men are from Mars” pop psychology with genuine science.

  95. michael reynolds says:

    @grumpy realist:

    My wife and I show up with cupcakes. We go to the store and buy them and leave them in their original packaging. If either of us was going to bake it would be me, and I’m not baking to impress a bunch of mere acquaintances.

  96. grumpy realist says:

    @DrDaveT: There’s also the question as to how much of the so-called differences between women and men develops because of the size and strength difference.

    “Men are scared that women will laugh at them. Women are scared that men will kill them.”

  97. gVOR08 says:

    @JohnMcC:

    The worthwhile lesson that I’ve carried through the years since is Dr Kirk’s picture of human society as something that had evolved like an organic & living body

    I was struck by that thought as a good insight and a valid argument against wholesale change. But I recall it as Burke, quoted by Kirk, and not something Kirk really picked up on. Admittedly, one of my complaints about Kirk is the difficulty of keeping straight whether a given statement was Kirk paraphrasing his subject or Kirk himself, but I believe this thought was clearly Burke. This was early in the book, before I got to skimming heavily.

    Kirk seemed more into religion and the Burkean objection to candle makers and hairdressers having any say in affairs.

  98. wr says:
  99. Mikey says:

    @michael reynolds:

    My wife and I show up with cupcakes. We go to the store and buy them and leave them in their original packaging.

    My son’s school requires this. Home-baked stuff can have unexpected allergens. Store-bought has the ingredients clearly listed.

  100. Grumpy Realist says:

    @michael reynolds: yes, and no doubt both of you would just laugh at anyone who turned her nose up at them because “they weren’t homemade”
    A lot of women still seem to be continually apologizing and feeling guilty because they’re not stay-at-home mommies imitating Martha Stewart.

  101. Lenoxus says:

    @JohnMcC:

    Will Rogers: ‘Did you ever notice when you talk to a ‘gold star mother’ about her dead son that she seems to take a bit of pride in that son that she wouldn’t have if he’d been killed in a car wreck?’

    Why was he surprised by this? Wasn’t the soldiers-are-better-than-everyone-by-definition worship just as prevalent in his day, if not more so than now?

    @Lynn Eggers:

    Dad used to talk about getting home and finding “the ladies,” complete with hats and gloves, talking about how, once women got the vote, there would be no more war, no more hunger, no more violence.

    Hasn’t happened yet; maybe we’re not as pure as Grandmother thought.

    Or maybe the problem is that the men’s vote still cancels out the women’s… 😉

  102. Lynn Eggers says:

    @Lenoxus: “Or maybe the problem is that the men’s vote still cancels out the women’s… ;)”

    Maybe, but … Margaret Thatcher.

  103. Lynn Eggers says:

    @DrDaveT: ” i.e. if we could replace the “Men are from Mars” pop psychology with genuine science.”

    My clients used to read that crap — I told them it was OK but they had to read it out loud to each other and, after every paragraph, ask “Is that true for you?”

    It worked well.

    There is no question but that there are differences between the average man and the average woman. I’d guess, however, that the differences between women (and the differences between men) are just about as great as the between-sex differences on most variables.

  104. michael reynolds says:

    @Lynn Eggers:
    It’s hard to argue with the numbers. If rape or spouse abuse or child abuse or torture or murder have been committed and you’re the detective, do you think you’ll be arresting a man or a woman? You know the old saying to the effect that when you hear hoofbeats you expect horses not zebras? Well if evil has been done you think male not female. The stats are overwhelming and carry across every culture and throughout history. This is not simply cultural, it is innate.

  105. MBunge says:

    @michael reynolds: if evil has been done you think male not female.

    That’s a little too easy. After all, if something good has been done, whether it’s building a bridge, curing a disease or repelling a dangerous enemy…is female over male what pops into your mind?

    Men have had the power to do most of the wrong and most of the right. When women have the power, the wrong and the right may be different but I’m pretty sure the ratio will stay the same.

    Mike

  106. Lynn Eggers says:

    @michael reynolds: “If rape or spouse abuse or child abuse or torture or murder have been committed and you’re the detective, do you think you’ll be arresting a man or a woman?”

    Most variables, as I said.

    At the same time, I know that numbers can be deceiving. I think that violence, sexual and otherwise, by women is vastly under reported, although I certainly wouldn’t claim that it’s equal to that of men. But how much of that is innate and much much the result of differential socialization? I don’t think we know.

    The stats do not carry across every culture, however.

    “Anthropologist Peggy Reeves Sanday’s study of rape prone cultures vs. nonrape cultures is an important and relevant piece of evidence in discussing this topic. It first appeared in the Journal of Social Issues, one of the major academic journals published by the American Psychological Association. She looked at 95 band and tribal cultures and found that 47% were rape-free; 33% had rape present but with frequency unknown but not atypical; and 17% were “rape-prone.” A summary of Sanday’s findings can be found here. The differences between the rape-prone cultures and those in which rape did not occur were clear and statistically significant.” http://www.libertarianism.org/columns/rape-culture-yea-or-nay

  107. slimslowslider says:

    @argon:

    (Most of) the comments on Dreher’s recent post about the Duggers are pretty scary. The usual suspects all weigh in and I still have no idea what “EliteCommInc” is talking about.

  108. michael reynolds says:

    @Lynn Eggers:

    I’m skeptical of data collected in civilized parts of the world, let alone data collected by people working in steamy jungles where peer review is extremely unlikely and language disconnects are inevitable. But none of that matters anyway. Those are micro results and the macro results are all around us. Take quite different cultures – Japan, India, South Africa, France, Saudi Arabia, the USA – and in each case men account for 90% plus of violence.

    Hunting, relying on physical strength, leads to farming which leads to defense of territory (war) which again relied until quite recently on brute physical strength. Men are violent because there’s been good reason to be for 99% of our evolution. We’re violent because we’re larger and stronger and can use physical force.

  109. DrDaveT says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Men are violent because there’s been good reason to be for 99% of our evolution. We’re violent because we’re larger and stronger and can use physical force.

    Not quite. Evolution is more adaptable than that. There are multiple viable strategies for perpetuating the genes. There’s a reason why, despite hundreds of thousands of years of evolution, there are still lots of scrawny men. Craftiness counts.

    Among mammals, being the alpha male is only one strategy for genetic success. Being the pool boy is another. Being the rainy-day man is a third.

    (And, of course, there are divers comparable but not directly analogous strategies on the female side.)

  110. Lynn Eggers says:

    @DrDaveT: “Not quite. Evolution is more adaptable than that. There are multiple viable strategies for perpetuating the genes. There’s a reason why, despite hundreds of thousands of years of evolution, there are still lots of scrawny men. Craftiness counts.

    And socialization has an enormous impact.

    Men would, most probably, continue to be the more violent sex even with different socialization. But, would the disparity be as radical? We are malleable creatures, after all.

  111. Monala says:

    @michael reynolds: There are several species in which the male does little more than provide sperm (lions and honeybees among them), yet the male of those species continue to exist. I don’t think human men have to worry about extinction any time soon.

    Moreover, most women like and appreciate the men in their lives. And most straight women prefer the old-fashioned method of reproduction, even when they don’t intend to produce children by that method. 😀