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Marital Strife

Lengthy argument, lengthy rebuttal. Damning Detroit. What works.

11.19.08

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STRAIGHT TALK
Re: Jim Hlavac's letter (under "Gay by Constitution") in Reader Mail's The Blame Shame:

Jim Hlavac's extended diatribe demonstrates one aspect of gay "progress" -- the "Love That Dare Not Speak Its Name" has morphed into the "Love That Won't Shut Up."
-- Stuart Koehl
Falls Church, Virginia

Jim Hlavac has written a long and rambling letter which weaves in and out with a long list of questions the purpose of which is to render paralysis to his opponents by the sheer weight of the unanswerable. To top it all off, Mr. Hlavac subtly has set himself up as judge, jury and prosecutor in that the only answers he deems valid are those that satisfy his sense of reason. His list of questions is too long to deal with in detail; but I’ll confine myself to a few points.

1.)  MARRIAGE. Strictly speaking, marriage is not a right in the sense we normal speak of rights nor is marriage a creation of the state. Instead, marriage is a “pre-existing institution.” That is, marriage is a social/religious bond recognized and supported within and across human societies according to their particular traditions and customs. Marriage existed before any one particular state and will exist long after the demise of any particular state. As such, the State’s authority in marriage is exceptionally limited. For the state to redefine and remake marriage according to its own lights or purposes, such encroachment can be only done by a degree of coercive power no state should ever have.  Socially recognized marriage between two homosexuals has never been sanctioned anywhere at anytime until the present day and even then only in a select few locations.  Even these few instances only came about by judicial fiat. The plain fact is that for gay marriage to exist it could only exist as a creation of the state.

2.)  CONSTITUTION RIGHTS AND NATURE AS DEFAULT  Mr. Hlavac writes: “If gays are created by our Creator, then surely we are entitled to certain inalienable rights, regardless of others' repugnance of the acts in bed, on which so many seem to be fixated. And we should be free from all legal penalty and prohibition.” This begs the question and (as they say) assumes facts not in evidence. The mere existence of homosexuals does not by necessity indicate homosexuality exists by the intentionality of God.

The assertion is made that since homosexuality exists to the degree that it does it is within all reasonable definitions of “natural.” As such, homosexuality is a part of God’s creation which He pronounced was “good.” It is additionally claimed that, when the “gay gene” is finally discovered, the divine blessing and intentional creation of homosexuality will definitively confirmed. There are a number of objections. Elements in this line of reasoning do not necessarily mean what the arguer thinks they mean.

The most apparent problem comes from observation. There is too much in the “created” world that are not good and we are loath to say are as God willed. Is it God’s will that so many children are born deformed? Does God “bless” a child by giving him spina bifida? Is it God’s will that some children will be stricken with cerebral palsy? Is it God’s will that young boys and girls will have genetic diseases that will kill them before they reach adulthood?

There is also a theological complication. Most Christians take the doctrine of “The Fall” seriously. In short, Adam’s sin and fall from grace brought death and alienation from God into the world. The Fall not only broke Adam. The Fall broke and torn asunder all of creation. Nothing is as it was meant to be.  lements are not where they are supposed to be. Thus it would remain an open question whether some undiscovered “gay gene” many feel so confident is there is part of the Lord’s plan or shrapnel from a broken world.  Note. None of the above actually says anything about God’s intention or non-intention for homosexuality in His creation. It is a demonstration that as a form of argument “proof from existence” does not work.

IS THERE REALLY SUCH A “THING.” The fundamental problem is one that is passed over much too often. When we call a man or a woman a homosexual, we all know what we mean. But is there really a different type of human being whose fundamental nature mind, bone and sinew differs from those of their heterosexual friends and neighbors? We readily recognize that there are men and women who engage in homosexual acts. But does this single behavioral trait justify the notion of a “third or fourth sex.” Most homosexuals believe they are “organically”, genuinely different from heterosexual men and women body and soul. But is this actually the case? There is no objective scrape of evidence for this. We hear about scientists here and there finding a physiological distinction between homosexuals and heterosexuals. Yet either the sample population is too small or the findings cannot be replicated.

To tell you the truth, I’d rather be on the other side of this question. The trouble is all the arguments put forth are found wanting. I have to be intellectually honest with myself and be forthcoming that I remain unconvinced and cannot with any integrity “get there.” Perhaps the day will come for so many of us will be compelled to think otherwise. Until then, peace on your house. You still remain and will always remain a part of the moral community we all share.
-- Mike Dooley

KILLING THE BIG THREE
Re: Eric Peters's Fixing GM in Three Easy Steps:

Eric Peters issues a positively brilliant commentary on how to fix General Motors (and quite frankly, the other Big 3 automakers to boot).

It is an extraordinary piece to behold. I am taken, in particular, with his first point about putting different badges on essentially the same car, with very slight differences. The usual gang of idiots have been pulling this stuff for over 30 years and I have an example that illustrates it quite well.

It is 1976, my wife is expecting our first child, and I'm in need of a new car. We go to several dealerships on the West Side of Cleveland, Ohio (where we both grew up) to check out a new family car. We stop at one operation to look at a Dodge Aspen, but my wife believes there's not enough leg room in the back of even the 4-door model. We go to another dealership around the corner from our house and look at a Plymouth Volare. Turns out it's the same car as the Aspen, but my wife likes it better. We go to a third place (part of a huge local family-run dealership chain that's been around for what seems to be a millenia) and find the same car. Only this one has the front end of a Volare, the Volare name badge on one side, the Aspen name badge on the other, and the back end of an Aspen. A mistake? Done on purpose? Or just more stupidity from Detroit? We just left that dealership shaking our heads (I had no intention of buying there anyway as I've never cared for their high-pressure salemanship) and went back to dealership #2 and bought the Volare.

Within 3 years, the top of both front fenders had rusted through (bad design -- a trough of some sort was formed in the production of the fender and water spray from below had collected in it, rotting out the metal) and several other holes appeared in the rear fenders. In 1980, I bought a basic Toyota Corolla, wrung 206,000+ miles out of it, and would probably still be driving it today if I hadn't wanted something with a few more items like AC, stereo-FM-AM-casette and a rear defogger. Since then I've had 3 other Corollas, 2 Camrys and a Rav. The 2001 Camry and 2002 RAV have cracked the 100,000 mile mark, not a speck of rust on the, still run like the first time, and don't have to compete with rebadged versions offered by Toyota. I've passed three of the cars down to our two daughters and they've made great use of them, eventually using them as excellent trade-ins on other vehicles.

My recommendation to the Big 3 -- take bankruptcy, throw out the old guard, restructure, rework those stupid agreements with the UAW. And follow Eric Peters' advice. Only them will you be competitive with the foreign makes like Toyota.
-- Jim Bjaloncik
Stow, Ohio

Everyone seems to offer up opinions on how to save, restructure, and redefine the American auto industry. Who wants to remember those first assembly lines? Who wants to recall how the unions came to strength, those issues that the workers voted as very important? 

Does anyone recall an emerging industry over three decades ago that was called robotics?

How long has the argument been alive that Detroit automakers just don’t know what the American consumer really wants, using the sales numbers of those foreign manufacturers as the baseball bat in this fight? 

Now that the Titanic has been found, movies made of its death, reasons analyzed; does anyone dare say that a number of energies all came together at the wrong time for this ship, at the wrong place?

When do those great, tall, strong trees in the forest become too old and turn the corner toward death? Doesn’t this also happen in the business world? How do young trees find the soils and sunlight to begin their lives  Immortality exists for who or what? 

Even robots need repairing. Unions are important, but just how important is always open for discussion. Management doesn’t know everything about anything, they get it wrong too. How many people died on the Titanic by insisting to return to their rooms in order to retrieve an important item, etc.?

Lions don’t pick the smartest, healthiest, and fastest game to attack. Our American auto industry is under severe attack because it is ripe for attack. Just look at their books...amazing debt, obligations, and negative values! 

No one, and I mean no one, that I have seen or heard in Government, impresses me with the proper acumen and understanding of business laws, of ownership responsibilities, creative ideas...this list could go on and on.

Let’s just say this, if Barney Frank and his ilk really liked the world of business they would be in business, not politics. I would have thought Frank learned this lesson years ago via his home adventures! 

Let the lions do their job! 

Stop treating the American taxpayer as the biggest sucker in the room!   

It’s really bad for good business.
-- R. Philips
New Mexico 

One of the reasons that GM won’t nix the badge-engineering is that it will cost jobs. Closing down divisions like Pontiac or Buick, will eliminate not only UAW jobs, but their suppliers and local Mom & Pop ancillaries. There’s quite a food chain there. It does need to be adjusted for today’s realities. But doing it so abruptly seems...so cruel. Sound economics is cruel but honest. 

Remember the 90’s? Political classes railed against CEO pay then too. To get all that rot off the front pages, many companies tied CEO compensation to that company’s stock performance. The CEO got gobs of shares instead of gaudy compensation. If the stock did well, the CEO’s did better. One thing I have noticed since: (IE: Fannie & Freddie, ENRON, etc.) many companies will do anything to get the stock to perform, even if the company doesn’t really do well. Many companies just followed the congressional example: book cooking was the resulting recipe.

Thomas Sowell remarked recently that sometimes it is worth buying out an incompetent CEO (Golden Parachute) of their contract when they screw up, even though it can be expensive. Sometimes that cost is less than having the bumbling exec stay and commit even more damage. It is similar to buying off the spouse in a high-profile divorce. 

The UAW, their ancillary companies, those bosses & employees, the automakers (most in the state where I live), and the political classes are all stalling the day of reckoning (via- these bail-outs). The bottom represents reality. It’s gonna suck, but we can react to reality.

They have all bought into hope. Hope & reasonable economic practices don’t mix all that well.
-- P. Aaron Jones
Michigan

OUT OF MY WAY
Re: Jeffrey Lord's The Sting: Obama's Old Deal:

"The government that governs best is the government that governs least." -- Adam Smith
 
"Something that works" is leave us alone. Nothing (and no one) works the way Americans do when we are left to our own devices. The best thing government can for its people is to get out of the way.
-- Ira M. Kessel

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