The Corner

Re: Stonewall Friday Night

So it is your view, Kathryn, that the action of democratically elected representatives, who are accountable to the citizens of the State of New York, is tyrannical in a way that justifies comparison to North Korea, a state in which an absolute ruler has burned people alive in a stadium. Okay. But now I want a new word for what “tyranny” used to mean.

I would like to see the reaction of a North Korean refugee to your claim.

It would also be nice if you troubled yourself to make an argument.

Update: I see that several commenters find my tone beyond the pale. With respect, I think y’all are way too sensitive. The harshest thing here is the sarcasm of “trouble yourself,” which strikes me as mild by the standards of polemical writing generally and writing at NRO (including posts by commenters) in particular. 

That said, Kathryn, I am sorry if I offended you.

I stand by my statement that it would be nice to have an argument for the North Korea comparison. (And yes, I meant on Monday; it was a challenge and an invitation.) I hope no one will be terribly hurt if I voice my opinion that writing on marriage and other contentious social issues, from both sides, deals too often in rhetorically overheated and undefended claims — and that NRO is not often enough an exception.

Update II: A few others seem to think I don’t know that Kathryn was responding to Mike’s North Korea reference. What they don’t know is that Mike was himself referencing Archbishop Timothy Dolan, who wrote, in connection with the New York legislation, “Last time I consulted an atlas, it is clear we are living in New York, in the United States of America — not in China or North Korea.” This is the claim — to my mind both absurd and offensive to North Koreans — that Kathryn proposes to defend.

(@Rook: Sure thing!) Update III: The comparison is also offensive to people who agree with or voted for the legislation. It will be good to find out whether Kathryn thinks the procedure of enactment is tyrannical, the substance, or both. I hope, in offering an exegesis of the context of the Dolan quote, she will say what she understands by “dictate,” and how the process of enactment constituted dictatorial tyranny of a kind specifically similar to the North Korean or Chinese (as opposed to, say, the Canadian), and how what has happened here is that the state has presumed omnipotence in a North Korean or Chinese fashion rather than the people’s having wickedly done this through their elected representatives, through whom they may also change their minds — a process not commonly witnessed, I do believe, in North Korea or China. All this if the point is that the procedure of enactment is tyrannical. If the substance, I suppose she can just mention the famous North Korean and Chinese tendency to redefine civil marriage as New York has done, and we will grant its deviance from her understanding of natural law, and the equivalence of this with tyranny, without requiring her here to defend all that. (Note: Last sentence edited post-publication.)

Update the Last: Insofar as I depart from the spirit of what Mike just wrote, I too deserve rebuke. Let us choose words slowly and with more care. Peace.


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