Shown this morning on Showbiz India.
Slightly better quality.
Camille Paglia Contra Mundum
16 minutes ago
Juries (as described at length in my ‘Abolition of Liberty’, in the chapter ‘Twelve Angry Persons’) used to be selected on the basis of a property qualification, which was in effect an age and education barrier. When this was got rid of, nothing was done to replace it because the government were afraid to do so. Anything they suggested was bound to offend someone. At the time, the minimum voting age was 21, which is bad enough. It is now 18, and may well soon be 16, which will mean 16-year-old jurors.
Last week, in an incident that didn't get much attention in the national news, a man named Tom Ball set himself on fire in front of the county courthouse in Keene, NH. He left a fifteen-page suicide note explaining his actions. He was angry at the state child protection bureaucracy and the courts after a ten-year battle over a child abuse charge that became, for him, a Kafkaesque struggle with cruel authority. The long suicide note he left was a thoughtful and disturbing indictment of the legal procedures now common across America that have had many unanticipated consequences - from breaking up families to homelessness - but it was also a grim comment on the condition of American manhood.
Which brings me to the troublesome subject of gay marriage, which is lately up for debate in the legislature of New York State where I live, making it the public's business. I have an unpopular view of it for men of my demographic (Democrat, Boomer). I'm not in favor of it. I don't think it is a good idea. I don't have empirical proof, but I suspect that unsettling such an age-old and fundamental social arrangement will produce strange unanticipated consequences that we are not prepared for. I don't believe gay marriage is a genuine social justice issue. I think it is a bid for a kind of broad social approbation which does not require ritual enactment in law, and would be socially mischievous to pursue. Civil unions would cover the necessary legal issues. Otherwise, it is a case of unwarranted relativism, a Boomer weakness. Not all conditions or states of being in this world are the same. Some things are on the margins because they are marginal.
What fascinates me in the debate is the narcissism of Boomers, males especially, who advocate so earnestly in favor of gay marriage. Is it really about the law and social relations, or is it about making yourself feel good? Is it just more posturing for moral brownie points, for approval? Is your job and social position or maybe even sense of yourself at stake if you have a differing view?
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