Here in Asia, we have a society where the family is the basis for welfare: in disasters, you seek family to help you.. Many people are getting out of poverty because they have family members who support the rest of their family by working overseas and sending back money to pay for school fees, decent housing, and adequate food and clothing.
It’s “Confucian values”. Or maybe it’s Catholic values for those of us in the Philippines. In Malaysia and Indonesia, sacrificing one’s ambitions to help the family is undoubtably called “Muslim values”. The point is that in much of Asia, except for a small vocal minority among the urban elite, one defines oneself in relation to one’s family and culture. Confucius stressed duty came first, and that contentment would follow. Note the word “contentment”, not “happiness”. And in Confucian societies, one’s personal desires are less important than one’s obligations.
In America, we posit ourselves as free individuals. This “freedom” is about “me me me”: I WANT, and therefore I have the right to get what I want. Period. And if it hurts others, well never mind.
The dirty little secret is that in most societies, even in much of the United States, it is the family, not the government, who cares for you when you are sick, pregnant, or disabled. It is family who houses you if you are unable to find a job,or your home is destroyed by a typhoon/tornado/flood, and you can not afford a mortgage payment. It is family who is there to help you.
And it goes beyond emergency help: One elite feminist once wrote a book lamenting that one could not live on the minimum wage. Yet people do: because even in the US, poor families rely on the extended family, friends, and churches, to help them make ends meet. My poor patients often preferred a relative or friend over a certified government day care center for their kids. One million children are brought up by grandparents, not by foster homes, and don’t forget those 30 million “caretakers” who allow most of the elderly and handicapped to live at home, not in cold impersonal institutions.
The idea of family obligations is why marriage in most societies has little to do with “love”. Love is a fuzzy emotion that comes and goes with your hormone levels. Something stronger is needed to protect you when the outside world is full of chaos and danger.
But of course, the elite opinion makers cannot see these ordinary people doing ordinary things and can’t see why folks in Kansas might prefer being left alone to care for their own. Nor do many of the elites see how government policies such as easy divorce laws and the export of blue collar jobs to China have encouraged family breakup. The elites have developed an agnosia for how ordinary people live. And this includes a blindspot that marriage is an institution that is based on biological reality that has worked for western and non western societies for at least 5000 years.
Instead, they see a land of free people with a wonderful government that provides you with everything you need in times of trouble. Utopia, if only they could shut up those dang teabaggers/bigots/homophobes/religious right maniacs.
Which brings us to the gay marriage debate, or should I say the lack of a gay marriage debate. This agenda is being pushed on America by an elite media culture under a constant mantra that it is about “love”, and if you even dare to whisper: “just keep your pants on Kuya” you are now officially a bigot.
I have no objection to two gays being married to each other, chosing sexual fidelity and living a middle class life. Yet, like most folks, I don’t see why a civil contract wouldn’t do. By insisting on this contract being called “marriage”, it has implications that go far beyond the idea of a faithful lesbian couples bringing up their children in peace.
The dirty little secret that no one wants to mention is that for many gay men, “marriage” means an open marriage, and indeed Andrew Sullivan once posited that gay marriage would help remove the “hangups” about infidelity.
Hangups? Sorry, fella, but shouldn’t bad behavior be discouraged?
The media acts as if any sexual activity should be ethically neutral. Really? Reality check.
The Wayback machine remembers Dianne Feinstein doing this (in 1985):
”The basic reason for bathhouses is to enable activity that results in the spread of the diseases,” she said. ”Unfortunately, some have chosen to make this a civil rights issue, which it is not.”
The city’s Health Department ordered the bathhouses closed a year ago, but Judge Roy Wonder of Superior Court decided they could be reopened.
Yes, and one wonders how many died because the court’s “civil rights” decision ignored the reality of disease.
Similarly, gay marriage is being pushed on society as part of an agenda of “rights”. “Rights” implies something sacrosant , that cannot be taken away by law, and indeed, takes the moral high ground and allows you to shut down any argument by fiat. Criticizing or limiting a “right” is wrong: Not only wrong, but evil and bigoted and (to use the Supreme Court decision on gay rights) “irrational”.
Yet is it?
Five thousand years of customs in both east and west have posited marriage as the basis for society, and now we throw it away so someone’s feelings are not hurt? Yet if common laws, customs and religious dictates are the way society codifies what works to make a strong society. So why is no one asking if destroying such laws and customs might have unforseen consequences?
Which is why silencing those who say “nay” is not wise.
Ah, but this was decided by democratic consensus, was it not? As Andrew Sullivan wrote:
The weird part of all this is that gay marriage is virtually a fait accompli in our culture. Leading politicians in both parties either back it or say that it should be decided by the states.
Actually, it is not a “fait accompli”. The polls are fairly even on both sides, and firing folks for agreeing with their religious beliefs is not going to make such undemocratically passed laws popular.
Hence Andrew Sullivan’s worry about the latest victim of the Inquisition: firing an executive because he gave a small donation to pass California’s marriage act in 2008, when both Bill Clinton and Barack Obama opposed changing the definition of marriage:
THE PITCHFORKS AREN’T A TOOL. THE PITCHFORKS ARE AN END IN THEMSELVES. Gay Marriage Supporter Abhors Mozilla’s Decision to Fire Eich.
This is no more than political correctness gone berserk. It is totalitarianism flying under the banner of marriage equality….
And to give you an idea how dangerous this is, for those who don’t already know, the names of those who donated to Proposition 8 were leaked by the IRS in 2012 to the same-sex marriage supporting Human Rights Campaign who then posted those returns, for a time, on their website. Human rights, but apparently not for Brendan Eich.
Actually, as the conservative site HotAir points out, the names were on line as far back as 2008, so are on the public record. But there is some evidence that the group behind the boycott did get the information via the IRS, which would be a federal crime.
Yet either way, knowing one’s small donation might lead to a loss of a job is a good way to intimidate political speech.
Since the small donation was a matter of public record, Eich can’t sue the IRS for illegally releasing sensitive information to a political advocacy group, but there is a good argument that pressuring him to resign could have been illegal. I know this because one teacher tried to get me thrown out of medical school back in the late 1960’s for refusing to do abortions.
What saved me was the 1965 Civil Rights act:
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1965 states that employers may not discriminate against employees on the basis of religion in hiring, firing, or in more general terms and conditions of employment. Specifically, the law states that employers must “reasonably accommodate” employee’s religious beliefs and rights as long as such accommodation does not cause the employer to sustain severe or undue hardship. However, the law effectively places upon the employer a burden to prove such hardship.
So much for civil rights.
But although it’s easy to organize a loud and aggressive group to get a guy fired for his non political correct action many years ago, the heads of Mozilla have forgotten there are a lot of people out there who don’t get into the headlines.And wait until the “teabaggers/bigots/homophobes/religious right” types learn that Firefox is not the only browser out there.
Boycotts work both ways, you know.