The Corner

Maggie and Me

A reader emails me objecting to my latest web piece, which is my response to Maggie Gallagher about the Hatch amendment on same-sex marriage. I won’t try to respond to the reader’s Gallagherite argument in favor of what he calls a “strong” amendment, as I think I have already made my case as well as I can. I’ll just address his objection to my comment, in regard to one of Gallagher’s nine arguments, that it is “perhaps the most boneheaded” one she makes. The reader asks, “how does name-calling help this process?”

First of all, I don’t think I’ve indulged in name-calling. The adjective was addressed to an argument, not a person. Even very smart people can make dumb arguments. Second, it was a highly qualified remark. An argument wouldn’t have to be very boneheaded to be the most boneheaded in a set of arguments, let alone to be “perhaps” the most boneheaded one.

In any case, Gallagher is an adult; she is no stranger to polemics; she knows I take her seriously; and I hope she will take my directness in challenging her ideas, and my refusal to use kid gloves, as a sign of respect.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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