The Spectacle Blog

Discord Over DOMA

By on 2.26.11 | 5:07PM

It would appear there is not much I can say that will assuage Quin Hillyer over the Obama Administration's decision not to defend the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in federal court as evidenced by his most recent response to my previous rejoinder.

As such I will not dwell on our discord over DOMA except to make this observation. Given the vigor with which Hillyer has denounced my views on the subject (the original title of his previous post was "Is Goldstein Dishonest, or Obtuse?") I cannot help but wonder if he is more concerned about gay marriage being imposed by judicial fiat on all 50 states rather than President Obama's decision not to defend DOMA. I am not saying Hillyer isn't concerned about the constitutional implications of Obama's actions. Yet I am curious as to how he would react if Jeffrey Lord's scenario of President Sarah Palin instructing Attorney General Mark Levin not to defend Roe v. Wade and abortion rights in federal court came to pass.

With that let me turn to the more general subject of what happens when conservatives disagree with each other in public. Having read the feedback for both my posts and Hillyer's posts on DOMA there are some who think such discussion should be kept behind closed doors while others think we need to have it out in the open. It should come as no surprise that I am in agreement with the latter sentiment.

Disagreement over public matters is inevitable, unavoidable and not undesirable. Even amongst those who would under normal circumstances agree with one another on most public matters will sooner or later disagree on something. To not permit disagreement to come to the fore is fundamentally unnatural and is the first step towards totalitarianism. Conservatives engaging in debate and discussion is a good thing.

Of course, I am mindful of the fact that debate and discussion can (and often does) degenerate and deteriorate into an unhealthy game of one upmanship. Yet this should be used as a rationale to encourage rather than discourage debate and discussion. So when conservatives do feel the need to air their differences in public they should do so in the spirit of mutual respect and an openness to consider the other person's opinion. This doesn't mean minds will necessarily be changed but it can allow for an opportunity to view things in a different light.

As someone who has on more than one occasion found himself expressing a minority opinion amongst my fellow conservatives I do so with the understanding that they will find a way express their disagreement with me and I hope they will continue to do so. In that spirit I will endeavor to listen to their point of view. Hopefully, they will be prepared to hear me out as well. And if we can only agree to disagree then so be it.

Besides life would be pretty damn boring if all conservatives thought in exactly the same way.

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