Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Brendan O'Neill on same sex 'marriage'

                                                        Wot he said....

Brendan O'Neill (H/T Gregg Beaman) gets it right again about same sex 'marriage':

It seems clear that the radical civil rights imagery cynically wheeled out by gay marriage advocates disguises that this is in truth a highly elitist, debate-allergic campaign. That is because, fundamentally, gay marriage speaks to, not any public thirst for the overhaul of marriage, but rather the narrow needs of some of the most elitist strata in our society. The benefit of the gay marriage issue for our rulers and betters is twofold. First, it allows them to pose as enlightened and cosmopolitan, as bravely willing to to enact ‘civilising measures’, in contrast with the bigots who make up the more traditional, religious or lumpen sections of society. As one observer said yesterday, gay marriage has become a ‘red line’ in politics, determining one’s goodness or badness. Supporting gay marriage has become a key cultural signifier, primarily of moral rectitude, among everyone from politicians to the media classes to bankers: that is, members of an elite who have increasingly few opportunities for moral posturing in these relativistic times. And second, and crucially, gay marriage satisfies the instinct of the authorities to meddle in marital and family life; it throws open to state intervention previously no-go zones, including the very meaning of our most intimate relationships.

(Full article here.)

I'd only add, in the Scottish situation, that it allows a contrast to be drawn between bad old 'blood and soil' nationalism and shiny new 'Jetsonist' (ie modernizing! but I'm going to keep hammering on about 'Jetsonism' until it gets into the dictionary) nationalism, as well as, more specifically, between a nasty old Scotland dominated by gloomy Calvinists and tawse wielding nuns, and a nice new Scotland that abandoned religion in favour of long secular lie ins on Sunday and the gym. (The timing of the proposal here -as so often- was also influenced by a desire not to be seen to be behind England in introducing progressive policies.)


  1. I do like your "Jetsonism" line (speaking as a devoted nationalist Jetsonist myself!) and increasingly, I can't help but wonder whether that vision of a brave new enlightened Scotland, and the exaggerated disavowals which constitute that sort of vision of the new state, doesn't overlook important elements to a nationalist argument we ought to be thinking about. The impulse agin "Braveheartism" is, I think, mostly creditable. We might detect in it, an anxiety to distinguish our nationalist argument from those premises on concerns of ethnicity, for one - but the "cultural" nationalist middle ground seems to be being neglected in the constitutional debate so far.

    We'll popularise Jetsonism yet!

  2. Yes, I agree! (Not with the Jetsonism of course!) The reaction to Braveheart nationalism is generally creditable -and the consequent absence of any racist narrative within the modern SNP is probably insufficiently remarked on and applauded. The problem at the moment is that we're in the campaigning phase: the two beasts of Union and Independence glower at each other and any nuances or doubts go out of the window. I think the best that many of us can do now is to ensure that Scotland has a political sphere that isn't simply about campaigning, where we talk the things of the polis, but at a deeper, slightly less engaged level. Whatever happens in the referendum, that's something that's going to be needed.