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Defending Owen


The Curmudgeonly Clerk cuts one of Texas Supreme Court Justice Priscilla Owen’s critics down to size. (LvHB)

More Gay Marriage


Contrary to what Andrew Sullivan says today, I never said, and am not predicting, that gay marriage in the United States will mean the end to religious freedom or the first amendment. The case from Sweden that I cited, and the problems in Canada that David Frum cited, do represent a real danger. We need to make sure things like that don’t happen here. Still, I don’t see America turning into Sweden and Canada on free speech or religious freedom issues any time soon, even if we get gay marriage. I do think, however, that in less dramatic ways than in Sweden and Canada, open debate on gay marriage is being inhibited in the United States. And the reason is the same–the false claim that the only basis for opposition to gay marriage is prejudice. (Sullivan makes a broad and false accusation of prejudice today.) My main point in my post on the problems with freedom of speech in Sweden was to show that the Europeans are not necessarily models for us to follow. Precisely because America will not, and should not, inhibit free speech in the way that Sweden already has, we need not accept the views of the Canadians or the Europeans on marriage either.

By the way, take a look at the post from Glenn Reynolds that Andrew Sullivan praises today. Reynolds lauds David Frum as a deep thinker and a great American. Reynolds also acknowledges that there is at least a good argument to be made that gay marriage will end up undermining, rather than reinforcing, marriage. In the end, Reynolds says, he thinks it’s more likely that gay marriage will strengthen marriage itself. Now that is a fair and sensible approach to this issue. As Reynolds has framed it, we face a complex question, with plausible scenarios on both sides, about which way the social effects of gay marriage will run. The issue is not one of prejudice, but of the effects of a major reform of marriage on the institution itself. And in the spirit of that framing, Reynolds praises Frum for his thoughtfulness. Yet Sullivan, despite holding up Instapundit as a model, ends his post by tarring his opponents as prejudiced. That accusation is the real problem with this debate.


Morristown Thanks


Thanks to all the Cornerites who came to my talk in Morristown, New Jersey. One has subscribed to NRODT for 45 years, and hence is immune to NRO’s dunning, one voted for Buckley for Mayor, and one was of the rising generation of KLo. Good friends of the mag and the fleeting pixels, and now, I hope, of Gouverneur Morris.

Web Briefing: July 28, 2014

Saddam’s Alive?



More On The Rosenbergs


Thanks, Jonah, for bringing to my attention the recent NYT Week
in Review piece on the Rosenbergs. That piece cites a recent book by
one of the Rosenberg sons, which in turn was the subject of an open
letter that Ron Radosh wrote for yesterday. Radosh,
of course, wrote the book (literally) on the Rosenberg case while he was
still a man of the left, and his fearless conclusion that, yeah, they
were guilty led to his ostracization by his erstwhile friends.

Sidney Blumenthal Vs. The New York Times


Tom Cruise Lobbies The White House For Scientologists


Andrew, this one’s for you. (Here’s Stutt on Tom, Nicole, and Scientology.)

As If This Was a Controversial Question


Who’s stronger, the terminator or the Hulk?

The Nr Credit Card


Yes, there is one. I gather that NR gets a fraction of a cent every time you use this MasterCard to buy Living History, or whatever. There’s no annual fee. The number for orders is 877-518-9007 (it’s toll free); the priority code to use is EBH3. There’s really no good reason for anyone not to have one.



Right-Wing Movie


Rod: Can we enter Red Dawn for the Lifetime Achievement Award?

Movies and The Right


Conservatives often complain about
Hollywood’s liberal agenda. Here are some conservatives doing something
positive about it. The American Film Festival is planning its debut spring/summer
in Dallas. Organizers are seeking “independent films which celebrate classic
American values.” Festival founder Jim Hubbard says, “I get people
complaining to me all the time, saying let’s boycott Hollywood. I say let’s
not boycott, let’s compete.” This is a good, and much-needed initiative. If
you can help, financially or creatively, please do.



I am so relieved Jonah didn’t get ticked about me messing with the couch earlier. All for the cause…

Thanks a Ton


Ok. First fundraising drive is officially over. Thank you, every single one of you who has contributed this week or in the past. Thank you for your loyalty and goodness. If you ever want to subscribe or donate, the option is alwyas there, and your interest is deeply appreciated. And, since a few people just asked, the subscription link is here and the donation link is here. You can send checks to:

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Thanks again. I’m now going to shut up about this for a bit. Really.

Free Ways to Support Nro


There is an absolutely free way to support NRO–click on our advertisers. Need a homeloan? Want a book? Want a t-shirt? Check out the ads on the homepage and elsehwere on the site.

Pledge Plus


I should add something. While we welcome, love and appreciate the contributions and subscriptions, there’s something else some of you can do: Advertise. If you work for — or own — a firm which you think might benefit from advertising on one of the best and best-read sites of its kind, you could help yourself and us (and the country, and the world and the Universe, and the multiverse!) at the same time. Contact Jim Fowler and tell him Jonah Goldberg sent ya.

The Final Stretch


I interrupt the gay marriage debate of 2003 with this message: we are officially in the final few hours of our first fundraising drive. Go to the homepage and do your thing. You know the drill by now. Thank you. Thank you.

Marriage—a Possible Future


Uh Oh, I Didn’t Think of That


From a reader:

Before the recent discussion about Keynes in the corner, I didn’t know he was gay (I guess I missed that chapter in gender studies). But I find myself ruminating on the other possible implications. For one, it certainly creates all sorts of innuendo surrounding Richard Nixon’s famous declaration that “We are all Keynesians now.”

Re: Gay Marriage


Jonah: I would certainly count myself a do-nothing person on this. I don’t myself agree with legal disabilities against homosexuals doing what they do. Once those disabilities have been removed, however, I can’t see what else is required. Inheritance? I don’t know the laws of testacy that well, but I’m not aware of anything that prevents me leaving my stuff to anyone I please. Hospital visiting rights? Yes, some injustice there, but requiring only a change to hospital registration requirements, surely not a constitutional upheaval. And so on. I very much want the institution of marriage left

Incidental to this: There is more to the issue of male-homosexual promiscuity than meets the eye. I have read in numerous places that male homosexuals are promiscuous at levels stunningly higher than single male heterosexuals. Most recently, in Michael Bailey’s book /redirect/amazon.asp?j=0309084180 , p.86: “The panel [of male homosexuals invited to speak to Michael's undergraduate class] is also asked about the number of sex partners they have had, and their answers always elicit gasps. All the men have had hundreds of sex partners…”

Well, now. An acquaintance of mine, a conservative journalist–but this is from private correspondence, so no names–is doing some research into this topic on his own account. He points out that a study widely regarded as sound delivers much less dramatic numbers. The study is Laumann, Gagnon, Michael & Michaels, “The Social Organization of Sexuality: Sexual Practices in the United States,” 315, tbl 8.4. I confess I find the numbers, as presented, very confusing, but my acquaintance says that they “show that the averages [i.e. of numbers of sex partners] for gay men are about 1.5 to 3 times higher than for straight men — certainly a difference, but not a ’stunning’ one, I think.” He also quotes something called the General Social Survey to similar effect.

This is a curious and interesting finding. Apart from the fact that I can’t follow his readout of the numbers, which is probably just a consequence of my own mental laziness, it occurs to me that there could be a number of things going on here. For example: (1) Great differences between urban homosexuals (which would include those who have deliberately migrated into the metropolitan areas to enjoy the “gay culture” there) and provincial or rustic ones. (2) Perhaps some small subset of homosexuals is terrifically promiscuous, thus skewing the statistics, and the rest not. (3) Perhaps some larger (and possibly overlapping) subset go through a “wild phase” of great promiscuity, then settle down. I asked one of the few homosexuals I know about this, and he said he thought (3) the most probable.

As I have said before–started out by saying, in fact–I don’t think the social-science arguments are the whole story, and I don’t think they should be decisive. They are important in the debate, though, and persuasive to a lot of people, and to resolve them we need as much data as we can get. As in anything to do with people’s most private activities, there is a thick fog of misunderstanding, misrepresentation, dishonesty, propagandizing and wishful thinking shrouding the whole area.


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