Further Light and Knowledge

FLAK Statistics, a graph of posts per day.
NEW! Archive of The View from the Foyer.
It is currently Thu Jul 24, 2014 8:40 am

All times are UTC - 7 hours [ DST ]




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 20 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next
Author Message
PostPosted: Wed Jun 09, 2010 5:44 am 
Election Made Sure
User avatar

Joined: Mon Feb 05, 2007 9:08 pm
Posts: 611
I TA’d for Ralph Hancock, the BYU prof who is currently pondering perilous political naïveté & Prop 8 over at T&S in a post titled LDS & Public Square.

This is me inviting you to comment over there if you’ve got the inclination and time.

I plan on pulling together a measured and reasoned reply to Ralph's post, but in the meantime, I'm just shaking my head wondering what we've wrought when Harvard + Mormonism = this:

Image

_________________
http://latterdaymainstreet.com


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jun 09, 2010 8:04 am 
Election Made Sure
User avatar

Joined: Tue Aug 22, 2006 11:15 pm
Posts: 5638
I really loved Ralph Hancock -- definitely one of the very thoughtful and reflective conservatives. I don't buy his political naivete argument, at least not in regards to marriage equality. And despite his obviously very impressive intellect, I do always have a hard time with even really good rhetorical arguments about almost any topic coming from someone who believes in angels with flaming swords and pre-Columbian wooden submarines that are tight like a dish.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Jun 09, 2010 9:07 am 
Election Made Sure
User avatar

Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2009 3:42 pm
Posts: 761
Location: Canada
Chino Blanco wrote:
I TA’d for Ralph Hancock, the BYU prof who is currently pondering perilous political naïveté & Prop 8 over at T&S in a post titled LDS & Public Square.

This is me inviting you to comment over there if you’ve got the inclination and time.

I plan on pulling together a measured and reasoned reply to Ralph's post, but in the meantime, I'm just shaking my head wondering what we've wrought when Harvard + Mormonism = this:

Image


Please tell me that Walter Rane didn't make the changes to that painting himself.

_________________
"For some reason, mormons have this 'I can talk shit but it doesn't mean I'm a judgmental asshole' attitude." -Junesu

:typing: I blog.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jun 09, 2010 9:56 am 
Election Made Sure
User avatar

Joined: Fri Sep 01, 2006 5:27 pm
Posts: 1803
Location: Salt Lake County
The crux of his argument is that rights are a zero-sum game, and that extending a new right to one group necessarily takes rights away from another group.

Quote:
In the long run, the victory of the homosexual-rights faction would be incompatible with the religious freedom of those who oppose such rights – the freedom, for example, to teach one’s children that homosexuality is wrong and not conducive to ultimate happiness, or to run a private university in which the practice of homosexuality is grounds for dismissing a student or an employee.


Hancock's argument doesn't work if you consider rights only from a legal standpoint. For instance, there are numerous laws in place to protect the rights of minorities, and there have been for decades. But this in no way abridges a parent's right to teach his children that Mexicans are lazy, or that Jews are greedy, or that Mormons have horns and worship the devil. And it hasn't legally prevented churches from continuing various racist policies. The Mormon church continued official discrimination against blacks until 1978. Does Bob Jones University still prohibit interracial marriage? If not, this was only a recent change.

So, from a legal standpoint, adding to the rights of blacks and other minorities did not take away the rights of parents and churches to be as bigotted as they chose.

However, when society as a whole decided that blacks should have the same rights as whites, it became much less comfortable for a bigot to continue to hold and express his racist views.

Just the other day, the following scene played out at a dinner at my parents' house:

SIL: Grandmother, how long have you been staying with Bob and Amy?

GM: I don't STAY with them. I LIVE with them. Black people STAY.

<shocked silence from the entire room>

SIL: Ha, ha. Girls, Grandmother's from another generation. And from the South.

GM <clearly annoyed>: That's right. Grandmother's old and from the South.

My grandmother was quite put out that her racist statement was met with shock and disapproval. Perhaps she even felt that she no longer had the right to express herself as she chose. But it is only social expectation that has changed over the last few decades. Certainly my grandmother had every legal right to say what she did. She just doesn't have the right to say it and have everyone agree and approve.

But she never had that right. No one ever does, or ever has.

Likewise, if gay marriage were allowed--even if the entirety of the nebulous "gay agenda" were passed--people would still have the legal right to teach their children to hate gays. Churches would have the legal right to discriminate against gays.

But there would certainly be increasing social pressure to drop those behaviors. Much like BYU and the church felt increasing pressure to change their policies with regards to blacks in the 1970s, they would undoubtedly feel pressure to change their policies with regards to gays in the decade or so after national gay marriage became legal.

People and private organizations have the right to hold whatever beliefs they choose. But they don't have the right to make society approve of those beliefs. Such a right has never existed.

_________________
"If my life is mine,
what shouldn’t I do?"

--"Help, I'm Alive", Metric


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jun 09, 2010 10:10 am 
Election Made Sure
User avatar

Joined: Fri Sep 01, 2006 5:27 pm
Posts: 1803
Location: Salt Lake County
<cross-posted at Times & Seasons>

_________________
"If my life is mine,
what shouldn’t I do?"

--"Help, I'm Alive", Metric


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Ralph
PostPosted: Wed Jun 09, 2010 10:37 am 
Election Made Sure
User avatar

Joined: Mon Feb 05, 2007 9:08 pm
Posts: 611
wry catcher wrote:
I really loved Ralph Hancock.


As did I. One of my all-time fave profs. Pity he's been reduced to carrying water for the likes of Matt Holland and tscc.

Quote:
Please tell me that Walter Rane didn't make the changes to that painting himself.


I'd guess not, but I wouldn't know. I poached the image from Guy Murray's site years ago, back during my "Enough with the Emails from Mormon McVeigh Wannabes" phase. By the way, the dude waving the banner seems awfully pale. Is that historically accurate?

SPM: thanks. Great comment!

_________________
http://latterdaymainstreet.com


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jun 09, 2010 7:37 pm 
Election Made Sure
User avatar

Joined: Tue Aug 22, 2006 11:17 pm
Posts: 7342
Hancock was also one of my favorite professors at BYU. I always admired him for being diametrically opposed to my politics, but being a nurturing professor and really fostering an atmosphere where I could thrive with him gently pushing and challenging my arguments.

He and I had a long long conversation about rights and homosexuality about 3 years ago via email, in which it appears he was trying out some of these ideas on me. At the time, he was working on a re-reading of Straussian political philosophy (Strauss (at Chicago?) was one of the granddaddies of post-war conservative philosophy).

My impression of my conversations with him from a few years ago: He's still very moral in his efforts to be responsible, but I also felt in our back and forth dialogue, that he begins from an a priori moral position that is unassailable, and tries to create a democratic theory framework that justifies his moral position and excuses the real-world consequences on people's lives who are, inevitably, minorities and subordinated groups. I also got the distinct impression that someone he loves or in his family had recently come out and he was struggling with the issue. I have no idea if that last bit is accurate, just that there was a personal edge to his emails that made me feel like there was more at stake than a simple intellectual exchange between a professor and his former student.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jun 10, 2010 7:41 pm 
Election Made Sure
User avatar

Joined: Sun Aug 27, 2006 9:14 am
Posts: 433
Location: Charm City
cumom wrote:
My impression of my conversations with him from a few years ago: He's still very moral in his efforts to be responsible, but I also felt in our back and forth dialogue, that he begins from an a priori moral position that is unassailable, and tries to create a democratic theory framework that justifies his moral position and excuses the real-world consequences on people's lives who are, inevitably, minorities and subordinated groups.


His argument actually seems a bit amoral and post-modern. The thrust that that there's no such thing as inalienable rights sounds like he's arguing that there's no actual right and wrong, only power. Either I have power to establish my rights or you have power to establish yours, and I'm darn sure going to make sure it's me who wins out.

_________________
Stop not to think, ever. Society rightly abhors this solitary vice, and misery and perversity are its only rewards. Thinking leads to thought and thought leads to differentiation, and the different are properly shunned in all species. --Michael Kelly


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Postmodern blogger
PostPosted: Fri Jun 11, 2010 12:25 am 
Election Made Sure
User avatar

Joined: Mon Feb 05, 2007 9:08 pm
Posts: 611
fwiw, Ralph blogs at Postmodern Conservative.

_________________
http://latterdaymainstreet.com


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jun 11, 2010 1:05 am 
Election Made Sure
User avatar

Joined: Tue Aug 22, 2006 11:17 pm
Posts: 7342
oaxaca wrote:
cumom wrote:
My impression of my conversations with him from a few years ago: He's still very moral in his efforts to be responsible, but I also felt in our back and forth dialogue, that he begins from an a priori moral position that is unassailable, and tries to create a democratic theory framework that justifies his moral position and excuses the real-world consequences on people's lives who are, inevitably, minorities and subordinated groups.


His argument actually seems a bit amoral and post-modern. The thrust that that there's no such thing as inalienable rights sounds like he's arguing that there's no actual right and wrong, only power. Either I have power to establish my rights or you have power to establish yours, and I'm darn sure going to make sure it's me who wins out.

I agree. I think he's part of his generation of conservatives who appropriated postmodern discourse for his own ends (there's a long ongoing discussion about right-wing postmodernism in academic theory circles). But I think he himself is torn between that and his own ethics. Per the power, that's right out of Strauss and old-school "real politik" conservative political theory. It's interesting to watch someone who claims to believe in democracy attempt to reconcile democratic ideals with his belief in a specific vision of a Good Society that is an end-in-itself, and therefore justifies all kinds of immoral acts to achieve itself.

To say this differently, postmodern conservatism (like postmodern leftism) begins with a moral a priori that is usually unspoken. But where postmodern leftism uses the deconstruction of morality to argue for the existence and protection of the Other, postmodern conservatism uses it to argue (often implicitly) that there can be no moral consequences for the imposition of their moral vision by force. [Both are deeply problematic at an empirical level, by the way, but that's a discussion for a different context.]

On one hand, this is the kind of intellectual conservatism that invites rational debate and disagreement and is open to it. On the other hand, this is the kind of intellectual conservatism that invites atrocity, suffering, and mass murder when implemented in the real world, but which shrugs off any moral accountability.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Debating Hancock
PostPosted: Fri Jun 11, 2010 1:42 am 
Election Made Sure
User avatar

Joined: Mon Feb 05, 2007 9:08 pm
Posts: 611
Quote:
On one hand, this is the kind of intellectual conservatism that invites rational debate and disagreement and is open to it.


Generally speaking, but I wonder if you think there's any point to engaging Hancock in this instance on this particular issue? I was intending to leave a serious comment, but I think I'm gonna let it go. It seems pretty obvious (to me, at least) that Ralph is never going to stop willfully misapprehending the object of his scorn (teh gay), which reduces the relevance of his political philosophy discussion to that of window dressing.

By the way, the NY Times is out with a fresh editorial on the topic:

Marriage, A Basic Civil Right.

_________________
http://latterdaymainstreet.com


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jun 11, 2010 2:05 am 
Election Made Sure
User avatar

Joined: Tue Aug 22, 2006 11:17 pm
Posts: 7342
Yeah, that's really the problem. When he and I were exchanging emails a few years back, there was a willful refusal to accept either my personal or scientific evidence that contradicted his position. Eventually it made him angry. There's something driving him (his testimony?) to create a seemingly rational argument to support the church's anti-gay politics in the public sphere. At the time, the motivation was less clear; but here, that's what he's obviously doing.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 15, 2010 12:06 pm 
Election Made Sure
User avatar

Joined: Fri Nov 14, 2008 10:55 pm
Posts: 397
Quote:
In the long run, the victory of the homosexual-rights faction would be incompatible with the religious freedom of those who oppose such rights – the freedom, for example, to teach one’s children that homosexuality is wrong and not conducive to ultimate happiness, or to run a private university in which the practice of homosexuality is grounds for dismissing a student or an employee.

This is total bullshit and this guy has to know it.
Besides, even if it were true why should your religious freedom get to trump the rights of other people to live the way they want to?


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Ralph is back ...
PostPosted: Tue Jun 15, 2010 11:02 pm 
Election Made Sure
User avatar

Joined: Mon Feb 05, 2007 9:08 pm
Posts: 611
Well, Ralph is back with a new post at T&S, and I've admittedly gleaned some insights from Cumom in my responses.

http://timesandseasons.org/index.php/20 ... ird-order/

For what it's worth, exceptions like Ralph aside, I think the bloggernacle is basically in agreement with the DAMU on this issue. Cue "much rejoicing in the land" or whatever, b/c the division and anger are pretty much over.

If anyone wants to join in the discussion over there, pls feel welcome. Not that Kaimi isn't good company, but I'm feeling lonely.

ETA: Isn't reverse-engineered postmodernism weird? As a term, isn't "reverse-engineered postmodernism" a keeper? I think so.

_________________
http://latterdaymainstreet.com


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 15, 2010 11:40 pm 
Election Made Sure
User avatar

Joined: Tue Aug 22, 2006 11:17 pm
Posts: 7342
Half the time when I'm debating a really smart, academic conservative, I feel like they're just digging their heels in because they can, and that it's usually about clinging to an identity that they actually can't rationally support. I mean, how can you argue with a straight what Dr. Hancock is arguing in that article? It would make Alexander Hamilton blush with its weightless, meaningless argumentation.


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 20 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next

All times are UTC - 7 hours [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  

Powered by phpBB® © thefoyer.org, 2011