Gutless

From now until the first week of November or so, I might occasionally check in with the 1940s, also known as Australia.

In the latest in a long line of spineless, utterly un-Australian and yet definitively Australian political moves, the current bucketful of jellyfish calling themselves the Australian government has called for a “vote”, actually a “postal survey” on the subject of marriage equality.

Now, here’s what I’ve gathered about this, keeping in mind that I can only read about it or even think about it for a few minutes at a time before getting irate:

  1. No, Australia does not yet allow gay marriage. Civil unions, yes. Adoption, yes. But legal marriage, no. And of course this “vote” won’t make church marriages a thing; that will still be at the discretion of the respective church. And speaking of that…
  2. In fact, the whole “vote” won’t even be binding in any way, which is why I keep putting it in quotey-marks. It’s basically meaningless. The government will waste all this time and money, and still not have to make a decision at the end of it. All so they can say “we’re giving you what you want, it’s your choice.”
  3. Every eligible citizen (this does not include me as I am no longer on the electoral roll) gets a paper where they can mark “Yes” or “No”. Then they post it in. The votes will get counted up in November, and then – and this is important – nothing will happen.

If you want a more balanced response, this article seems to cover the main facts with less of the abuse I intend to level at the responsible parties. Turnbull sounds like an ally here, which makes his yellow-bellied crawling all the more frustrating.

Just for contrast, Finland and the majority of northern and western Europe has allowed marriage equality. New Zealand, of course, has allowed it. The United States of goddamn America has allowed it. It’s fucking embarrassing.

marriage-equality

Australia shouldn’t look as blue as this. It should be orange like its mates.

What this comes down to is Australia’s government being cowards. Utter, disgusting, despicable, incompetent cowards.

This isn’t the first time it’s happened, either. The first case in which I became aware of the Australian government’s extraordinary cowardice was the Constitutional Convention when a staunch monarchist Prime Minister dancing on the strings of staunch monarchist conservatives was allowed to ask the country “do you want to become this shitty version of a republic with all these drawbacks [*lists drawbacks*], or do you want to just keep on going the way we are, because everything’s fine?”

And what do you know, the monarchists won. And Australia still isn’t a real country. And nor does it deserve to be.

My dad is fighting this fight every day, as the Western Australian Voluntary Euthanasia Society tries to get the basic right for people to control their own deaths with dignity past a blockade of so-called Christians who apparently just want suffering people to go on suffering in the most atrocious and inhuman ways. It makes my blood boil, and I am considerably more religion-friendly than my dad, so I can only imagine how he feels. Because assisted suicide and gay marriage are not religious issues. Anyone who tries to make them religious issues is doing their religion a grave disservice.

And in both of these cases, the main issue is local and national parliament members utterly shitscared of their noisy right-leaning rodeo clown posse of an electorate, unwilling to make a decision that is definitively human and yet will cost them the clown posse vote, and which therefore is unthinkable to them.

And the problem keeps coming back to who votes. Who works in the system as it is today.

See, here’s the thing. The “postal vote” for marriage equality overwhelmingly favours the people who have the old school background and time on their hands to take a mail-in questionnaire. The coupon-clipping generation. The ones who are perfectly happy to get a piece of junk mail like this, answer it, slip it back into the return envelope provided, and take it to a local post box to mail it back.

And yes, this is totally easy to do. But a huge number of people won’t do it. Either because it’s too much hassle, or because they realise it’s pointless – or worse, it’s enabling the hatred of these bigots by giving them 50-50 weighting in a decision that does not actually affect them in the slightest. Every little bit of homophobia and hate-fuelled violence stirred up by this is the direct fault of a government that does not care about its citizens.

The people who should get to vote on this – the only people – are gays, bisexuals, other members of that demographic. The ones, in short, who are not allowed to get married now and who a new law would allow to get married. Why does anyone else get a vote? Fucked if I know. Sure, that’s a very difficult thing to put together and police. Fair enough. So just fucking legalise it already, you gutless pricks.

The people who will vote on this issue are hateful old busybodies who don’t like change. Oh, and the LBGTs, and a few – hopefully a lot – of their allies. And I sincerely hope they overwhelmingly outnumber the bigots. I really do.

But I’m willing to bet that the majority will not vote at all.

FB_IMG_1505729724832FB_IMG_1505729675049

Props to my excellent friends over in Australia, they all seem to be on the right side of history. But the very fact that someone was emboldened to crowdfund a sky writer, and managed to pay for it, to write a hate message in the sky … fuck you.

By pulling this stunt, the worst-case scenario for the government is that the Yes vote (also known as the good people vote) wins the day. They will then be called upon to actually do something about this embarrassing state of affairs … but they will put it off until the next election and then it will be the next gutless government’s problem. Let their chances of reelection suffer as a result of this awful humanity.

In reality, since doing anything about it will enrage the people these spineless shitheels are afraid of – the conservative and religious-fundamentalist minority – they will effortlessly be able to say “not binding” or even “vote tampering” and call the whole thing a misfire.

Best case, for them, is that the No vote (also known as the hate-filled bigoted fuckweasels vote) wins. This will allow them to safely go back to sidelining the entire LBGT community, basically forever.

And by making it a Letter to the Editor in ballot form, they’re ensuring the optimum result when it comes to happy hate-voters. A mass-e-mailed link to a SurveyMonkey site allowing voters to click “Yes” or “No”, on the other hand, would give the electoral power to the relevant part of the population (which includes, incidentally, perhaps 1% of Australian politicians), and deny it to the ones who should just die and get out of the way of history.

Piss off, Australia. Come back when you’ve grown the fuck up.

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65 Responses to Gutless

  1. brknwntr says:

    As a member of a religion which disapproves of both suicide and homosexuality I have a point of view to offer.

    It’s not a religious issue. It’s a choice issue. From a strictly religious standpoint, my side of the table beloved it’s the WRONG choice, however it’s also and individuals RIGHT to make that choice. This is where most religions go off the rails in my opinion. If you choose to follow (or attempt to follow) strict biblical interpretation, then you have to follow ALL of it. Including the parts that allow other people to make a choice. Also included in that is that GOD is the one who judges whether that choice is right or wrong. It specifically says that it is not for us to judge others.

    Hopefully this read as agreement with your basic premise of “nut up Australia.” As that is how I intended it.

    • stchucky says:

      As a member of a religion which disapproves of both suicide and homosexuality I have a point of view to offer.

      Sure. Keeping in mind that you’re also a member of a religion that would take absolutely no part in a vote or probably even a survey of this kind, right?

      I mean, (some) churches in Australia are demonstrably advertising in favour of the No side, to sway “voters”. Which is something you’d have absolutely nothing to do with. If I’ve understood correctly.

      It’s not a religious issue.

      Sure, which is why I’m railing against “so called” Christians here. Because like I say, it is church-led groups of moral lobbyists leading the opposition to things like marriage equality, assisted suicide, abortion, and other things – in Australia, and pretty clearly elsewhere.

      So. I completely agree with you that it’s not a religious issue – so probably something organised religions would be best served by butting out of, right? They seem to be tying themselves to an anchor here.

      It’s a choice issue. From a strictly religious standpoint, my side of the table beloved it’s the WRONG choice, however it’s also and individuals RIGHT to make that choice. This is where most religions go off the rails in my opinion.

      Lost me at “beloved”, are you talking about answering “No” in the survey being a choice, or being gay?

      If you choose to follow (or attempt to follow) strict biblical interpretation, then you have to follow ALL of it. Including the parts that allow other people to make a choice.

      Okay, as a die-hard cherry picker I’ll agree to disagree with you on biblical interpretation, I think the larger point stands. You’re saying a decent church would let the members of its flock make up their own minds based on their beliefs and teachings, yes?

      Also included in that is that GOD is the one who judges whether that choice is right or wrong. It specifically says that it is not for us to judge others.

      Agreed.

      Hopefully this read as agreement with your basic premise of “nut up Australia.” As that is how I intended it.

      Absolutely.

      • brknwntr says:

        I do not posses the ability to resist points here. However I think you are smart enough to understand what points I’m clarifying.

        “Beloved” should have read “believes”.

        No, I’m saying that a decent church should stand by the principles they believe in, for THEIR CONGREGATION. Keep in mind I was once removed from my religion for not adhering to the standards of morality they stand by. I am not bitter or angry about that. It was a fair cop. Once I straightened myself out I was welcomed back. My point is that people choosing to live a lifestyle you or your religion judge as wrong is no reason to spew hate and vitriol at others. Just because other people make different choices, does not make them sub-human.

      • stchucky says:

        I do not posses the ability to resist points here.

        I assume this was also a typo and you meant “reply to” or something. But funny anyway.

        “Beloved” should have read “believes”.

        I got there in the end! It did dramatically change the way I read your post though. You sounded like a wise old grandma.

        No, I’m saying that a decent church should stand by the principles they believe in, for THEIR CONGREGATION. Keep in mind I was once removed from my religion for not adhering to the standards of morality they stand by. I am not bitter or angry about that. It was a fair cop. Once I straightened myself out I was welcomed back. My point is that people choosing to live a lifestyle you or your religion judge as wrong is no reason to spew hate and vitriol at others.

        True. It’s also a good reason for them to put their signs on the insides of their churches, not facing outwards and not written in the ever-fucking sky. Yeah?

        Just because other people make different choices, does not make them sub-human.

        I’m gonna provisionally agree, depending on the choices in question.

      • brknwntr says:

        Fair enough. Choices to be a Nazi for example, sub-human.

    • ohilya says:

      [comment removed on request of the commenter – Ed]

  2. dreameling says:

    You may not like me after this, but…

    Let’s get the obvious out of the way first: I’m for marriage equality. I think same-sex couples should have the same legally-binding rights as man-woman couples. The idea that marriage can only be between a man and a woman is just wrong. To me, the man/woman view is a useless relic of religion-driven conservatism. (In related news, I also find religions useless in a rationalist, science-driven world. If only we fully lived in such a world. Wearing my bias on my sleeve here.)

    Also, as a sidenote:

    In the latest in a long line of spineless, utterly un-Australian and yet definitively Australian political moves, the current bucketful of jellyfish calling themselves the Australian government has called for a “vote”, actually a “postal survey” on the subject of marriage equality.

    I’ve always found your animosity towards Australia and especially the Australian government a little surprising and unsettling. Granted, I do not follow Australian politics or really anything Australian, I do not know the country or the people beyond what little I’ve seen in movies and the occasional bit of prime time news, and Australia is generally just not on my map in any meaningful way. So I don’t have your seat to whatever the show over there is. But holy crap do you seem to really, really, really, really, really not like the place. It’s almost like you’re overcompensating for something. Except I’ve no clue what that something is, or even if there is a something.

    I’m sure it’s mostly the Australian government you have issues with (to put it lightly) and not the place or the people at large, but the latter kind of get conflated with the former on this blog (or at least in my head when reading your emotional attacks on Australia’s latest antics).

    This is just my readerly impression, is what I’m saying. And it always throws me a bit. Probably because I have a rather benign, if admittedly naive, view of Australia.

    Because assisted suicide and gay marriage are not religious issues. Anyone who tries to make them religious issues is doing their religion a grave disservice.

    I disagree. They are religious issues. Many religions have specific ideas about suicide and marriage, which people that follow those religions subscribe to in varying degrees, so of course they are religious issues. They’re also not religious issues, because you can remove religion from the equation. But for religious people religion is inseparably part of most equations, so there you go. Religious issues.

    Do not excuse religion just because you don’t happen to approve of something it brings into play or has an opinion on (or because some people just interpret it differently than you).

    My dad is fighting this fight every day, as the Western Australian Voluntary Euthanasia Society tries to get the basic right for people to control their own deaths with dignity past a blockade of so-called Christians who apparently just want suffering people to go on suffering in the most atrocious and inhuman ways.

    The people who will vote on this issue are hateful old busybodies who don’t like change. Oh, and the LBGTs, and a few – hopefully a lot – of their allies. And I sincerely hope they overwhelmingly outnumber the bigots. I really do.

    But the very fact that someone was emboldened to crowdfund a sky writer, and managed to pay for it, to write a hate message in the sky … fuck you.

    Best case, for them, is that the No vote (also known as the hate-filled bigoted fuckweasels vote) wins.

    This will probably piss you off, but I think that with that kind of rhetoric you’re just contributing to the sort of emotionally-charged black-and-white thinking that’s gonna destroy the world.

    I’m pretty sure the “No” voters are not bad or hateful people. At least no more or less so than the “Yes” voters. They’re just regular people with different beliefs and ideas about things. And they’re almost certainly afraid of change, especially change that challenges their beliefs and ideas. Everyone is. You know this.

    So how is casting them as the Bad Guys in this very binary and verbally abusive way helpful? All you’re doing is venting your own bias without any consideration of other — namely opposing — points of view. (Yes, you did link to that other, less-abusive, “more balanced” article, but that’s not a defense.)

    Who’s hating who here?

    • stchucky says:

      You may not like me after this, but…

      Just remember, the fact that you wrote this means you had the opportunity to rethink and redraft.

      Let’s get the obvious out of the way first: I’m

      I know, you’re fine. Doesn’t really need to be a disclaimer though.

      I’ve always found your animosity towards Australia and especially the Australian government a little surprising and unsettling.

      Oh well.

      Granted, I do not follow Australian politics or really anything Australian, I do not know the country or the people beyond what little I’ve seen in movies and the occasional bit of prime time news, and Australia is generally just not on my map in any meaningful way. So I don’t have your seat to whatever the show over there is. But holy crap do you seem to really, really, really, really, really not like the place. It’s almost like you’re overcompensating for something. Except I’ve no clue what that something is, or even if there is a something.

      There isn’t. I lived in Australia for 21 years, and it will always be my childhood home. Seeing it through the eyes of a reasonably well-informed adult makes me embarrassed and ashamed and angry. This is what criticism of a nation and a government looks like from me.

      Maybe there’s a comparable element in the “cherished childhood movie ruined by a reboot or by the perspective of maturity” about it – but writ larger because I happen to think actual places and actual people deprived of their human rights is more worth getting upset about than a movie. Yes, this shit is ruining my childhood because I lived in that place and (aside from the fear and violence caused by normalised homophobia in the schoolyard) I was sheltered from all the bad stuff by the simple fact of my race, class and ignorance.

      I hope you live your entire life without seeing Finland on the international stage and feeling this crawling, tear-inducing shame. Maybe if it happens, you’ll be better equipped to be rational and non-responsive about it. Lucky you.

      I’m sure it’s mostly the Australian government you have issues with (to put it lightly) and not the place or the people at large, but the latter kind of get conflated with the former on this blog (or at least in my head when reading your emotional attacks on Australia’s latest antics).

      It’s in your head. I’m not sure how you reconcile my praise of the right-thinking Australians I know (mentioned in the blog post, with pictures!) with the idea that I somehow think poorly of the people as a whole. That is definitely on you.

      I have great faith that the Australians I know and love will kill this shitty ideology dead. And even the Australians (who, again, I know and love) who might be put off by the whole process and refuse to have a say – keeping in mind that a vote you don’t get fined for refusing to take part in is a luxury in Australia – are alright in my book.

      But boy, do I ever have a problem with the No voters.

      This is just my readerly impression, is what I’m saying. And it always throws me a bit. Probably because I have a rather benign, if admittedly naive, view of Australia.

      If I’ve corrected that misconception even a little with my unsettling rants, I consider every minute of them well spent.

      [snip religion OH LOOK I’m removing it from the equation]

      This will probably piss you off, but I think that with that kind of rhetoric you’re just contributing to the sort of emotionally-charged black-and-white thinking that’s gonna destroy the world.

      Doesn’t piss me off because I already knew you felt this way, and don’t agree with you.

      This is a literal Yes or No vote, dreameling. There isn’t a fucking essay section. The government of an entire nation put black-or-white hate-thought on the cultural agenda when they decided to do this pissweak survey rather than put their nuts on the anvil and just make marriage equality the law of the land. So piss on them.

      I’m pretty sure the “No” voters are not bad or hateful people. At least no more or less so than the “Yes” voters.

      What are you basing this on? Do you understand that gay people get beaten up? When was the last time a gang of gay people beat up a straight person?

      Oh, I’m sure it happens, but don’t give me this Very Fine People On Both Sides bullshit.

      They’re just regular people with different beliefs and ideas about things. And they’re almost certainly afraid of change, especially change that challenges their beliefs and ideas. Everyone is. You know this.

      Nope. There are people out there who aren’t afraid to let gay people get married at all. And they’re on the Yes side. At best, I’m willing to believe there are a bunch on the “TL;DV” side as well. But that’s it.

      I can’t reiterate this enough. To physically cross a box marked “NO” and seal it in an envelope and post it to the bureau of statistics, you have to be an active participant in denying the rights of your fellow human beings. In which case, fuck you.

      Also, these are bigots following a religious dogma against which you are utterly prejudiced. So that’s an interesting counterpoint. Open-minded of you, for sure, but … can’t say I think much of it. So, what, they’re ignorant and backwards and should be educated, but oh hey, if that makes them scared of teh ghey then that’s just folks being folks? Fuck no.

      So how is casting them as the Bad Guys in this very binary and verbally abusive way helpful? All you’re doing is venting your own bias without any consideration of other — namely opposing — points of view. (Yes, you did link to that other, less-abusive, “more balanced” article, but that’s not a defense.)

      Who’s hating who here?

      I’m hating bigoted morons. The bigoted morons are hating people who love people of the same sex.

      • dreameling says:

        Just remember, the fact that you wrote this means you had the opportunity to rethink and redraft.

        Not really. I had to say what I had to say, and I phrased it about as politely as I could or thought warranted. But it all turned out fine in the end. Maybe I should trust your receptiveness more.

        There isn’t. I lived in Australia for 21 years, and it will always be my childhood home. Seeing it through the eyes of a reasonably well-informed adult makes me embarrassed and ashamed and angry. This is what criticism of a nation and a government looks like from me.

        Fair enough.

        My point about your apparent animosity towards Australia wasn’t an argument or an accusation, but rather a statement of impression, for the record. (But maybe one we could’ve done without here.) I don’t think we’ve ever really discussed your (layered and loaded) relationship with Australia, but perhaps I’ll be better at reading you on this from now on.

        I hope you live your entire life without seeing Finland on the international stage and feeling this crawling, tear-inducing shame. Maybe if it happens, you’ll be better equipped to be rational and non-responsive about it. Lucky you.

        This could very well be a kind of privilege on my part, sure. I’m not ashamed of or disappointed in Finland, never have been. Neither am I especially proud of today’s Finland, despite all the praise and cred we get for our education system, welfare state, relatively high level of gender equality, technological innovations, and what have you. (Not all the praise and cred is earned.)

        But maybe that’s a good thing. My country baseline is so high I get to take a relative paradise existence for granted? Or maybe I’m just not that politically or socially aware. Or perhaps I’m just really privileged in the Finnish context, too. Likely a combination of all the above.

        Yeah, I don’t have your negative adult experience of a childhood homeland, so there’s definitely a disconnect there.

        It’s in your head. I’m not sure how you reconcile my praise of the right-thinking Australians I know (mentioned in the blog post, with pictures!) with the idea that I somehow think poorly of the people as a whole. That is definitely on you.

        Again, fair. I’ll take that.

        [snip religion OH LOOK I’m removing it from the equation]

        Sadly, it’s not our equation here that matters.

        Cheater.

        This is a literal Yes or No vote, dreameling. There isn’t a fucking essay section. The government of an entire nation put black-or-white hate-thought on the cultural agenda when they decided to do this pissweak survey rather than put their nuts on the anvil and just make marriage equality the law of the land. So piss on them.

        Two things. First, you’re conflating binary choice with binary motives. The vote is black-and-white, sure, but that does not mean that people’s reasons for choosing one or the other are. If you added a third option, “Maybe” or “No opinion”, I’d put money on it bleeding a non-trivial number of votes from both ends.

        Second, you keep reducing the “No” vote to hate. As though the only possibly reason a person would choose to not vote for marriage equality is hatred of non-heterosexuals. It’s not that simple. People are not that simple. Points of view are not that goddamn few.

        For example, are you telling me that you cannot imagine some well-meaning Christian honestly thinking that gay people are simply mislead or confused, and should be shown the grace of God, instead of a “Yes” vote, so that they can straighten up? Without there being any malice involved?

        I can. I’m pretty sure at least a couple of my relatives are like that. And yet they’re nice people, not haters.

        What are you basing this on? Do you understand that gay people get beaten up? When was the last time a gang of gay people beat up a straight person?

        I’m basing it on the assumption that your average Australian is not that different from your average Finn or your average anyone anywhere, all things considered; that your average Australian is naturally no more or less hate-driven than that average Finn. (The specific prejudices and bigotries may vary, of course, especially in their degrees. Different cultures, different public consciousnesses.) In short, I’m assuming that your average human being wants to live in peace, not in hatred.

        Of course you have your extremists and fundamentalists and your true bigots boiling with genuine hatred. But I’m not buying the idea that every “No” voter would be that person. Or if they are, then the “No” voters are a fucking ridiculously small minority and you’ve got nothing to worry about.

        Gay people get beaten up because of who they are in Finland, too, although surely less so now than, say, 20 years ago. And just because we have marriage equality now, it doesn’t mean everyone’s behind it, or that we’re going to still have it in 10 or 20 years. (We only got it this year, and it was no slam dunk in the parliament when they voted on it in 2014.)

        If we were to hold a similar public vote in Finland today, I guarantee you a significant portion of the votes would be “No” votes. It would not be some glorious landslide victory for the “Yes” votes. It might even be close to 50/50. (I’d semi-mutu-guess 60-70% for and 30-40% against.)

        Oh, I’m sure it happens, but don’t give me this Very Fine People On Both Sides bullshit.

        Oh, I’m sure it’s mostly just people on both sides. The other side just happens to agree with our views, so of course we like them more. (And I’m pretty sure the opposing side here aren’t Nazis. While I’m sure all Neo-Nazis in Australia are on the opposing side, obviously, I’m guessing they’re not its bulk.)

        I can’t reiterate this enough. To physically cross a box marked “NO” and seal it in an envelope and post it to the bureau of statistics, you have to be an active participant in denying the rights of your fellow human beings. In which case, fuck you.

        Yes. I agree. It so obviously looks and feels exactly like that to us. How can you deny something that you yourself enjoy from another, especially when it costs you nothing if they too get to enjoy it? How does it hurt or diminish you if your fellow human gets to enjoy this perk that really only affects their life and happiness? I know, right?

        Except it clearly is not that universally obvious. Because people look at and feel about things from different perspectives, with different assumptions and truths and preconceptions and prejudices, and in different contexts, with different agendas.

        Which brings us to the biggest fallacy you seem to be falling for over and over again: That your point of view is so obviously the right one, since it’s so obviously the only decent and humane one, that anyone who disagrees with it must be a (willfully) bad person.

        If shit really was that obvious, if an idea or opinion could actually be so unequivocally and exclusively and universally — and objectively — the right one, we wouldn’t be having this argument. Because we’d be too busy living in a utopia already hundreds if not thousands of years old. We’d already have settled all this shit ages ago.

        Also, these are bigots following a religious dogma against which you are utterly prejudiced. So that’s an interesting counterpoint. Open-minded of you, for sure, but … can’t say I think much of it. So, what, they’re ignorant and backwards and should be educated, but oh hey, if that makes them scared of teh ghey then that’s just folks being folks? Fuck no.

        I may be prejudiced against them, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to default to vilifying or demonizing them en masse.

        And no, they’re probably many different things, in different combinations. Uninformed, misinformed, uneducated, miseducated, unenlightened, unaccustomed, unexposed, prejudiced, bigoted, brainwashed, coerced, stupid, naive, afraid, feeling threatened, hateful, a bunch of other mostly negative things, and then that same stuff but with a positive spin. Depending on who’s looking.

        What they’re not is on my side in this issue. But I’d like them to be. And the only way I see that happening is by communicating with them. Convincingly. Politely. Somehow. Maybe help them see gay people as normal everyday people. Somehow. But certainly not by telling them to fuck off. Because they’re not fucking going anywhere. (The one group I’m excluding from this communication is the true extremists. The white supremacists, the Neo-Nazis, the religious fundamentalists, the zealots. I don’t want to talk to them.)

        Alternatively, I’ll just wait them out, and hope that they don’t breed too much. Or if they do, that the generational shifts and developments in public consciousness and cultural norms continue to favor my liberal side and rub off on those kids.

        The fuck I know.

        (No, I’m not going to change my mind, so obviously I think I’m in the right.)

        I’m hating bigoted morons. The bigoted morons are hating people who love people of the same sex.

        If only it was that simple.

        And oh yeah, I still like you.

        I’ll take it.

      • aaronthepatriot says:

        “For example, are you telling me that you cannot imagine some well-meaning Christian honestly thinking that gay people are simply mislead or confused, and should be shown the grace of God, instead of a “Yes” vote, so that they can straighten up? Without there being any malice involved?”

        Well for my part I can completely imagine this and I classify it as malice, at least to a degree. Certainly it is prejudiced, arrogant, and bigoted. And EXACTLY the sort of thinking you’re accusing Hatboy of having towards the “no” voters. Thinking he knows better, thinking his moral position is the right one, so on and so forth.

        Now, granted, this is a little unfair because you are guessing at what they think, right? So I’m not holding you, or them, to it. But it is the example you provided. Is there perhaps a better example? Because if that’s it, I’m not impressed by those holding it.

        Your high opinion of the average human being is I think empirically unsupported by the evidence we’ve received lately. And I do believe science also supports the position that we are by nature racist/bigoted and have to fight it every day to be better. Certainly, our survival instincts require us to be prejudiced against “the other”. So when you see that behavior, you’re seeing someone who’s not trying (or at least not winning) to be a better person than instinct.

        To vote “no”, you have to think YOU have the right to deny a right *that you have* to someone else. It is that simple. Sure, the justifications for WHY you get to do that aren’t simple. But the bottom line action you are taking IS that simple. If you disagree, perhaps it would be helpful if you could provide another hypothetical explanation for what you think the “no” voters imagine they are doing.

      • stchucky says:

        There isn’t. I lived in Australia for 21 years, and it will always be my childhood home. Seeing it through the eyes of a reasonably well-informed adult makes me embarrassed and ashamed and angry. This is what criticism of a nation and a government looks like from me.

        Fair enough.

        My point about your apparent animosity towards Australia wasn’t an argument or an accusation, but rather a statement of impression, for the record. (But maybe one we could’ve done without here.)

        I think so. This, and your Not Homophobic Butt disclaimer, cast your entire argument in really unacceptable terms for me. I find myself in complete disagreement with you on the main issue here, and that’s not a reflex that is going to go away, although I will continue to at least try to consider your point of view and respond accordingly. I think you’re fundamentally misunderstanding what is happening in Australia and I think your response to my response is so out of touch I would disregard it if I didn’t know, like, and respect you as much as I do.

        I don’t think we’ve ever really discussed your (layered and loaded) relationship with Australia, but perhaps I’ll be better at reading you on this from now on.

        We really have discussed it, at least a couple of times. And it’s not layered and loaded. Australia is a place that I am from, and that I like visiting occasionally, and I love my friends and family from there. There’s millions of great people I’ve never met there, too. But in political and sociocultural terms, the place is basically a hive of scum and villainy as far as I’m concerned.

        I hope you live your entire life without seeing Finland on the international stage and feeling this crawling, tear-inducing shame. Maybe if it happens, you’ll be better equipped to be rational and non-responsive about it. Lucky you.

        This could very well be a kind of privilege on my part, sure.

        That’s what I’m thinking.

        But maybe that’s a good thing. My country baseline is so high I get to take a relative paradise existence for granted? Or maybe I’m just not that politically or socially aware. Or perhaps I’m just really privileged in the Finnish context, too. Likely a combination of all the above.

        Agreed.

        Yeah, I don’t have your negative adult experience of a childhood homeland, so there’s definitely a disconnect there.

        It’s an interesting issue, because in many ways Finns and Australians are alike – and in a lot of ways they’re different. Finland is fiercely, almost definitively independent, its people having fought in so many ways for every freedom and advantage they have. Australia sort of laid-back acquired those freedoms and advantages from the Mother Country, at least as far as its people needed them. They’re defined, politically and historically[1], as allies of greater nations. That was Australia’s place in every war in the past hundred years. They also have British self-deprecation, while Finland maybe has a lot of Russia’s bleak, pragmatic humour.

        [1] And I mean white historically; we also have that wonderful legacy of European genocide to live with that Finland lacks, unless you want to look at the Saami.

        And yet, for all that, not so dissimilar.

        It does, however, enable Australians to be far more critical of our country. I mean, easy come easy go, right? It’s not like it’s a proper country anyway. This can be baffling to nationalistic people like many USians, who see it as unpatriotic treachery. And apparently it’s strange to some Finns as well.

        As I said in my initial response: Oh well.

        This is a literal Yes or No vote, dreameling. There isn’t a fucking essay section. The government of an entire nation put black-or-white hate-thought on the cultural agenda when they decided to do this pissweak survey rather than put their nuts on the anvil and just make marriage equality the law of the land. So piss on them.

        Two things. First, you’re conflating binary choice with binary motives.

        Nope. Nope, nope, nope.

        I think you’re misapprehending what exactly it means that the Australian government has created a national forum where it is reduced to black or white (not to mention is legally inapplicable or actionable in any way), and in order to vote “No” a person has to actively take a number of steps to ensure that a whole community is left without a basic legal right. It’s not just saying “I don’t really care for it but I won’t stand in the way because I’m not a complete arsehole, let the chips fall where they will.” That’s what the non-voters are doing (and I don’t much like that either, but I won’t rail against it because there are just as many non-voting allies out there, I’m sure).

        This is saying “I don’t want this change to happen, so I am taking steps to prevent it from occcurring.”

        And that’s not a forgivable all-humans-have-it fear of change. That’s toxic.

        The vote is black-and-white, sure, but that does not mean that people’s reasons for choosing one or the other are.

        I don’t give a flying fuck what their reasons are! You’re trying to market yourself as the rational voice in the discussion, and it should be easy since I’m doing so much yelling and swearing, so riddle me this. Ignoring the fact that this is a non-binding survey and will not lead to actual marriage rights being granted to those currently denied them, what is the outcome of the survey likely to be?

        I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt by saying it’s a weathervane, of sorts, to see what the adult population of Australia thinks about the issue. If a clear majority in the survey is “Yes”, then the government is likely to consider joining the rest of the civilised world sometime in the near future, preferably when some other schmuck can do the difficult work. If a clear majority is “No”, then status quo carries the day.

        Don’t you see that whatever a person’s reason for saying “No” on the form, the result will be either the government concluding that more people are pro-equality or more people are anti-equality? And the “No” voter has planted his or her flag on the anti-equality side? Reasons be damned.

        If you added a third option, “Maybe” or “No opinion”, I’d put money on it bleeding a non-trivial number of votes from both ends.

        Sure. And if you add a box with “Write a dirty limerick here and Malcolm Turnbull will send you a free chocolate cake”, a bunch of people would write a dirty limerick on the paper. But that isn’t what fucking happened here.

        Second, you keep reducing the “No” vote to hate. As though the only possibly reason a person would choose to not vote for marriage equality is hatred of non-heterosexuals. It’s not that simple. People are not that simple. Points of view are not that goddamn few.

        This is not a “second”, you’re still talking about the reason for voting. And I don’t give a single fumbling half-hearted premature-ejaculating teenage fuck about that.

        For example, are you telling me that you cannot imagine some well-meaning Christian honestly thinking that gay people are simply mislead or confused, and should be shown the grace of God, instead of a “Yes” vote, so that they can straighten up? Without there being any malice involved?

        I can imagine it. And I find it pretty fucking despicable. Don’t expect me to give that viewpoint any regard whatsoever. If you’re digging for a reasonable explanation for a “No” vote, I advise you to keep digging.

        And in the meantime, this is still concentrating on the reason for voting that way. Which is irrelevant. I could have the most internally watertight reasons in the world for signing off on a petition to deny you and Mrs. dreameling your legal rights as a married couple and relegate you to bureaucratic purgatory as a pair of poor misled icky-fuck-buddies, and the only important contribution I would have made would be another point on that side of the statistic. The wrong side.

        I can.

        And if you wouldn’t think less of them for taking that side, I’ll try not to think less of you.

        Of course you have your extremists and fundamentalists and your true bigots boiling with genuine hatred. But I’m not buying the idea that every “No” voter would be that person.

        Oh, I’m not saying they’re all consumed with hatred. A lot of them are just ignorant morons who have been misled by extremists and fundamentalists. And many other reasons. But again, this is about reasons and I don’t care about them.

        Every “No” voter is actively performing actual physical steps to ensure LBGT couples do not have marriage rights. So fuck them.

        Or if they are, then the “No” voters are a fucking ridiculously small minority and you’ve got nothing to worry about.

        This is what I’m pinning my hope on. I guess it remains to be seen.

        Gay people get beaten up because of who they are in Finland, too, although surely less so now than, say, 20 years ago. And just because we have marriage equality now, it doesn’t mean everyone’s behind it, or that we’re going to still have it in 10 or 20 years. (We only got it this year, and it was no slam dunk in the parliament when they voted on it in 2014.)

        And it would be a step backwards if it was revoked. What is this even? It’s not a point as far as I can tell. But then, I see you’re also about to claim my revulsion of “No” voters is because they disagree with me, rather than because they’re denying innocent people equal rights. And that has pissed me right the fuck off. So congratulations, you got there in the end.

        If we were to hold a similar public vote in Finland today, I guarantee you a significant portion of the votes would be “No” votes. It would not be some glorious landslide victory for the “Yes” votes. It might even be close to 50/50. (I’d semi-mutu-guess 60-70% for and 30-40% against.)

        Pretty much irrelevant in every way to the actual issue of this blog post.

        Oh, I’m sure it happens, but don’t give me this Very Fine People On Both Sides bullshit.

        Oh, I’m sure it’s mostly just people on both sides. The other side just happens to agree with our views, so of course we like them more. (And I’m pretty sure the opposing side here aren’t Nazis. While I’m sure all Neo-Nazis in Australia are on the opposing side, obviously, I’m guessing they’re not its bulk.)

        They’re not Nazis and I’m not about to go over and start punching them at Christmas. I’m not conveniently dehumanising them. They seem to be doing a pretty good job of that themselves – and at the same time, again, they still have more actual human rights than LBGT people. And I would not deny them those rights.

        But don’t tell me we “like” one side more because it “just happens to agree with our views”. You can go ahead and put yourself in that place, but don’t include me. I’m pretty fucking indifferent to the “Yes” side, because I’m a) cis; b) married; c) an ex-pat. It doesn’t affect me at all, except in a very distant “I want to feel less shame for my country of birth” sort of way. I hope and expect my childhood home to guarantee the same legal rights to all of its citizens, and that’s all.

        So yeah, I’m as indifferent to that side as I am to the overwhelming majority of the human race. I have nothing against them and I’m sure most of them are fine. But I can’t be expected to care in any concentrated or specific way about thousands and thousands of people I will never meet. At the same time, yes, I would definitely go to the effort of saying “Yes” in the survey and I only wish I’d had time to take part in it, which would have involved a lot of dicking around back in July and August. Because duh.

        But if you’ve gone and actively performed these “No” actions, let alone gone out to try to sway others, I have a problem with you. And it’s not because we disagree. It’s because you’re campaigning against the equal rights of your fellow citizens.

        I can’t reiterate this enough. To physically cross a box marked “NO” and seal it in an envelope and post it to the bureau of statistics, you have to be an active participant in denying the rights of your fellow human beings. In which case, fuck you.

        Yes. I agree. It so obviously looks and feels exactly like that to us. How can you deny something that you yourself enjoy from another, especially when it costs you nothing if they too get to enjoy it? How does it hurt or diminish you if your fellow human gets to enjoy this perk that really only affects their life and happiness? I know, right?

        That’s not how it looks and feels to us. That’s how it is. Objective political fact, not subjective cultural opinion.

        Except it clearly is not that universally obvious. Because people look at and feel about things from different perspectives, with different assumptions and truths and preconceptions and prejudices, and in different contexts, with different agendas.

        Their ignorance and stupidity doesn’t change reality. Except when they check that “No” box and make a conscious effort to deny the rights of their fellow citizens. That might just do it.

        Which brings us to the biggest fallacy you seem to be falling for over and over again: That your point of view is so obviously the right one, since it’s so obviously the only decent and humane one, that anyone who disagrees with it must be a (willfully) bad person.

        People are absolutely free to disagree with my opinion. My opinion of them will be that they’re wrong, and ignorant at best, but that’s fine. As long as they are not actively performing processes that will deny their fellow citizens legal rights. They can think what they like and I’ll be pretty much indifferent. It’s by your deeds that I judge you.

        If a person is an immigrant, fine. If a person picks up a knife and kills another person, fuck them.

        If a person doesn’t particularly care for homosex, fine. If a person picks up a pen and signs away a homosexual’s legal rights, fuck them. And fuck the government whose cowardice made that possible in the first place.

        What they’re not is on my side in this issue. But I’d like them to be. And the only way I see that happening is by communicating with them. Convincingly. Politely. Somehow. Maybe help them see gay people as normal everyday people. Somehow. But certainly not by telling them to fuck off. Because they’re not fucking going anywhere. (The one group I’m excluding from this communication is the true extremists. The white supremacists, the Neo-Nazis, the religious fundamentalists, the zealots. I don’t want to talk to them.)

        I don’t want to talk to any of them. In the context of a Yes / No vote that has to be concluded by the end of October, there’s no point to having a discourse with people who will crowdfund a skywriter to splash LBGT people do not deserve the same rights as straight people[2] across the fucking sky. There’s no point.

        [2] Yes, fuck you, that’s exactly what the question means.

        And there’s no point in trying to make the government not be pieces of cowardly shit. Because they’re pieces of cowardly shit.

        Alternatively, I’ll just wait them out, and hope that they don’t breed too much. Or if they do, that the generational shifts and developments in public consciousness and cultural norms continue to favor my liberal side and rub off on those kids.

        I’m up for this. Just don’t expect me not to use my words in the meantime. I want there to be absolutely no misunderstanding as to where I stand, and stood, on this issue.

        You’re on the record too.

        (No, I’m not going to change my mind, so obviously I think I’m in the right.)

        And I’m not sure what this is, either. Lookss like you meant it to be a point, but I’m having trouble seeing it.

        I’m hating bigoted morons. The bigoted morons are hating people who love people of the same sex.

        If only it was that simple.

        Good news. It’s that fucking simple, dreameling.

        In other news, the “should gay people have the same legal rights as straight people, yes or no?[3]” reply envelopes have the word “BUMSEX” in their barcodes.

        [3] Yes, fuck you, that’s exactly what the question means.

      • aaronthepatriot says:

        ‘“BUMSEX” in their barcodes.’

        Holy fucking shit. If you’d led with that, Hatboy…. They rest their own case.

      • aaronthepatriot says:

        Also I have to wonder how many straight men are fine with bumsex with a woman, just none of that gay bumsex if you please. I suppose the prostate makes it wrong or something like that.

    • stchucky says:

      And oh yeah, I still like you.

    • aaronthepatriot says:

      Because I’ve resolved myself to avoid online arguments for many, many reasons, mostly what I have to say to you, dreameling, is “wow, what the hell”.

      Not that I disagree with everything you wrote. But how in the hell did you become a “lie back and take it” liberal about the hatred coming from the right-wing? That’s what liberals have BEEN doing (at least here in America) for decades, and look where it got us: Trump. Not to mention insane gun issues and a shitty social safety net, so on and so forth. I’m sick and fucking tired of the right-wing (yes, it is a fucking right-wing talking point so congratulations) attack whenever liberals get mad and hate the hateful people of the world. It is NOT wrong to hate bigotry. Hatred is the proper reaction to bigotry. And yes, deep down, it is bigotry that makes “these people” think they should control others’ marriage rights. If you can’t accept “one adult can marry another consenting adult”, there is guaranteed bigotry at the bottom of it. You can mask it all you want, but that’s what is at the heart.

      Yes, I know it is. I won’t argue with you that I might be wrong. Tired of that shit. Tired of being a weak liberal. Maybe in Finland you’ve always had that privilege but we here do not.

      OK screed over. I guess I was arguing after all. But at least not point-for-point, eh?

      • stchucky says:

        Hitting “Like” until a stronger button comes along.

      • dreameling says:

        Not that I disagree with everything you wrote. But how in the hell did you become a “lie back and take it” liberal about the hatred coming from the right-wing?

        That’s your interpretation of me. Clearly you’re seeing something in my replies that does not reflect who I am (or who I feel I am). Also, “hatred coming from the right-wing” is not something I feel on regular basis in Finland. Lucky me.

        It is NOT wrong to hate bigotry. Hatred is the proper reaction to bigotry.

        Depends on the kind of bigotry. Let’s recap just in case:

        big·ot·ry

        obstinate or intolerant devotion to one’s own opinions and prejudices (Merriam-Webster)

        intolerance towards those who hold different opinions from oneself (Google)

        the possession or expression of strong, unreasonable prejudices or opinions (Collins)

        Now, I imagine you’re thinking about sexual discrimination or racism here, and not just any kind of prejudice. So, sure, I can see hatred having its momentary place.

        But I do not accept that hatred is the proper reaction to bigotry. Anger, for sure. Pity and sadness, absolutely. Opposition, of course. But hatred?

        If you can’t accept “one adult can marry another consenting adult”, there is guaranteed bigotry at the bottom of it. You can mask it all you want, but that’s what is at the heart.

        Agreed. But what if you cannot see the mask? What if you honestly do not feel like you’re disrespecting or denying another’s rights or opinions? What if the bigotry you’re propagating has been institutionalized to transparency? Do bigots think of themselves as bigots?

        Yes, I know it is. I won’t argue with you that I might be wrong. Tired of that shit. Tired of being a weak liberal. Maybe in Finland you’ve always had that privilege but we here do not.

        So I need to justify and explain myself but you don’t?

        And you think hatred makes you strong?

      • aaronthepatriot says:

        “That’s your interpretation of me. Clearly you’re seeing something in my replies that does not reflect who I am (or who I feel I am). Also, “hatred coming from the right-wing” is not something I feel on regular basis in Finland. Lucky me.”

        Yes indeed, lucky you. If you mean that, perhaps start acting/writing that way. If not, well, enough of these antics, I say again.

        “Depends on the kind of bigotry. Let’s recap just in case:”

        OK, ok, fine, if you talk about the broader definition instead of the case under discussion, you are correct. Gee, when I tried to use broader definitions of God, you weren’t having it. But it is THIS CONTEXT that matters, not all the other ones. Well, except if you’re trying to score points. Which you clearly have been all throughout this discussion.

        Anyway. I can see you are planted with both feet on this issue, in defense of witting or unwitting bigots (or perhaps just the unwitting ones). Therefore, further argument has no point.

        “But I do not accept that hatred is the proper reaction to bigotry. Anger, for sure. Pity and sadness, absolutely. Opposition, of course. But hatred?”

        Semantics. I’ve discovered that others don’t use that word the way I do. Anger, fine. Whatever. What an incredibly boring debate this is becoming.

        “So I need to justify and explain myself but you don’t?”

        When did I say you must? I simply won’t explain MYSELF, that’s all. You do you, boo.

        “And you think hatred makes you strong?”

        Does anger make one strong? What, pray tell, makes one strong?

        I’m strong because I am a decent human being in the face of all this bigotry. I’m a white man who could easily fall into the numbing flow of my own privilege and be a fuckface like all these others. But, because I am strong, I remain focused on equality and fairness of the law and our moral codes. Unlike these people you side with every time you try to tell me to be tolerant of their intolerance. Oh, and try to pretend their intolerance isn’t actually intolerance because, golly gee-willikers, they don’t see it that way.

      • aaronthepatriot says:

        Also, you got me to describe how I’m strong, when all I asserted was I wasn’t going to be weak anymore. What you should have asked is what I mean by “weak”.

        I mean, I’m sick to death of sitting around saying “come on, be nice everyone, can’t we all get along? Kum-ba-yah, my lord, Kum-ba-yah.” It hasn’t worked. It seems that will never work. Don’t blame me for choosing a different tactic, blame those who refused to succumb to the nicer tactic.

      • dreameling says:

        Semantics. I’ve discovered that others don’t use that word the way I do. Anger, fine. Whatever. What an incredibly boring debate this is becoming.

        Except that “semantics” clearly matters. I’m specifically talking about hatred and not anger. It’s the whole crux of this discussion for me. Hatred. “Deep and extreme emotional dislike”, to quote Wikipedia. (Wikipedia actually describes “anger” in very similar terms, but I tend to think of anger as something that can be rational and useful, among other things, while hatred is something more active and violent, more malicious, less rational, less useful in the long run.)

        So, from here on out, know that “hatred” is what I’m talking about, have been all along. The Finnish word “viha” is a really good match here. (I know, it means nothing to you.)

        If you’re bored, why are you still here?

        For example, are you telling me that you cannot imagine some well-meaning Christian honestly thinking that gay people are simply mislead or confused, and should be shown the grace of God, instead of a “Yes” vote, so that they can straighten up? Without there being any malice involved?

        Well for my part I can completely imagine this and I classify it as malice, at least to a degree. Certainly it is prejudiced, arrogant, and bigoted. And EXACTLY the sort of thinking you’re accusing Hatboy of having towards the “no” voters.

        Yes, it’s prejudiced, arrogant, and bigoted. Agreed. But it’s not necessarily malicious. It’s not necessarily hatred. This is where we part ways, I guess. If you cannot picture the above scenario without projecting malice or hatred to the hypothetical person’s perspective, then I call that a failure of imagination and empathy.

        And I’m not accusing Andy of being “prejudiced, arrogant, and bigoted” against the “No” voters (although I guess that’s implied). I’m disagreeing with his ready categorizing of all “No” voters as hate-driven scum, and I was taken aback by the vitriol of his rhetoric, which to me read like hate. (He’s certainly entitled to feeling it. But I have a hard time reconciling the aggressive Andy of the blog with the decidedly non-aggressive Andy of real life. Cognitive dissonance.)

        I did accuse him of excusing religion, but he didn’t follow up on that.

        Incidentally, I don’t have a problem with Andy being prejudiced against the “No” voters. I am.

        Your high opinion of the average human being is I think empirically unsupported by the evidence we’ve received lately.

        My high opinion? That most people just want to live in peace? I think that’s just an empirical fact. If you mean something else, do tell.

        And I do believe science also supports the position that we are by nature racist/bigoted and have to fight it every day to be better. Certainly, our survival instincts require us to be prejudiced against “the other”. So when you see that behavior, you’re seeing someone who’s not trying (or at least not winning) to be a better person than instinct.

        Yeah, we’re tribalistic by nature. It is (or at least was) evolutionarily useful. It’s precisely tribalism at work when we readily reduce groups of people outside our own to just a few simplistic attributes, and fail or refuse to understand them.

        But I think you’re wrong in assuming it’s something we’re always aware of and can readily combat. I think our brains are pretty good at naturalizing behavior and hiding motives from our conscious minds. Some people are more self-aware than others, of course.

        To vote “no”, you have to think YOU have the right to deny a right *that you have* to someone else. It is that simple. Sure, the justifications for WHY you get to do that aren’t simple.

        Yeah.

        That’s your interpretation of me. Clearly you’re seeing something in my replies that does not reflect who I am (or who I feel I am). Also, “hatred coming from the right-wing” is not something I feel on regular basis in Finland. Lucky me.

        Yes indeed, lucky you. If you mean that, perhaps start acting/writing that way. If not, well, enough of these antics, I say again.

        Pray tell, how should I act or write? Rant and rage online? Hate bigots?

        Anyway. I can see you are planted with both feet on this issue, in defense of witting or unwitting bigots (or perhaps just the unwitting ones). Therefore, further argument has no point.

        So you came to this discussion thinking to change my footing? Why?

        And are you saying your feet aren’t firmly planted on this issue?

        Again, feel free to leave.

        Does anger make one strong? What, pray tell, makes one strong?

        Integrity and empathy. Reason and intellectual honesty. Kindness. Whatever is the opposite of binary thinking. Anger can make your strong. Hatred, not so much, unless you just want a really quick fix.

        I’m strong because I am a decent human being in the face of all this bigotry. I’m a white man who could easily fall into the numbing flow of my own privilege and be a fuckface like all these others. But, because I am strong, I remain focused on equality and fairness of the law and our moral codes. Unlike these people you side with every time you try to tell me to be tolerant of their intolerance. Oh, and try to pretend their intolerance isn’t actually intolerance because, golly gee-willikers, they don’t see it that way.

        I’m not siding with the “No” voters. That’s either a willful misreading of me for the purpose of making a point, or a failure to think beyond binaries.

        Also, you got me to describe how I’m strong, when all I asserted was I wasn’t going to be weak anymore. What you should have asked is what I mean by “weak”.

        I thought you’d be beyond bored by now…

        Refusing to be weak kind of suggests that you’re going to be strong instead. Refusing to be weak and then just settling for meh, well, that doesn’t seem like something you would make a point of. Also, it seemed to me like you were making a connection between righteously hating bigotry and not being weak anymore (i.e., being strong). Sorry if I misread you.

      • stchucky says:

        I maintain that nothing is likely to work in this specific case, because this is a Yes / No survey taking place right now, so reasoned debate and the opportunity to reflect on the very real legal harm one might be perpetuating against one’s fellow Australians is off the table. And I blame Australia’s cowardly politicians for that.

        This was really the beginning, middle and end of my blog post’s point. My extremely low opinion of the people making the wrong choice (and yes, dreameling, it is the wrong choice, and not just because it happens to be the one I disagree with, although I am over my annoyance with you for making that particular pissweak argument) notwithstanding.

      • dreameling says:

        My extremely low opinion of the people making the wrong choice (and yes, dreameling, it is the wrong choice, and not just because it happens to be the one I disagree with, although I am over my annoyance with you for making that particular pissweak argument) notwithstanding.

        I’ll return to your previous reply later, because it deserves a response (and there’s at least one misreading on my part I need to correct), but this is quick and easy:

        Of course the “No” vote is the wrong choice. For me, it’s objectively the absolute wrong choice. But I’m willing to give the people that think it’s the right choice the benefit of the doubt that their choice might be driven by something other than hatred or malicious intolerance. (I’m sure that for some it is just that, though.) And I certainly don’t want to hate the “No” voters, as a rule. I’d rather get as many of them as possible on my side.

        That, I think, was the beginning, middle, and end of my response to this blog post. Mostly.

      • stchucky says:

        I just made a mass-response to close out my side of the issue, so have fun with that. As always, I feel blessed to have friends like you guys.

        And yes, I used the term blessed maliciously. You have no need to guess my motives.

      • aaronthepatriot says:

        So, dreameling, I’m going to ignore the pointless argument and all the sniping, such as asking me why, if I’m bored, am I even bothering to communicate further on this forum (first dictionary, and then THAT tripe eh? Wow.) I want to get at what’s *really* concerning me here, since we won’t agree on tactics.

        “And I certainly don’t want to hate the “No” voters, as a rule. I’d rather get as many of them as possible on my side.”

        Now that you mention it, ponder something for me if you would, and give me an honest answer. Lately, how much relative time and energy would you say you spend on the above, convincing right-wingers that their ways are wrong and damaging to society, and that liberal mindsets are the way to go…vs. fretting and lecturing liberals that they’re not being sufficiently liberal in their thoughts and words?

        I ask out of concern because it’s a pattern I’ve seen before (the shift in time and energy from the former pursuit to the latter. Also the lecturing liberals on what it means to be liberal). I won’t say where, that’s not important. Well, I’ll tell you the second item in that parenthetical is a trademark of the right-wing currently. They don’t live up to those standards, but they know WE strive to, so they’re happy to point out our failings whenever they perceive them, despite the hypocrisy.

        But if you know the expression “polishing the cannonball”, it kind of applies here. Focusing your energy where the MOST change needs to happen is, I think we should agree, a wiser course.

        And maybe you do that. Maybe this argument is just a snapshot. Just…think about it.

  3. Murray Hindle says:

    As the proud father of Hatboy , on this occasion we are both on the same page and I share his frustrations. What is clear here in Australia is that a small number of religious persons are using the old religious tactic of trying to speak for all Australians. They get their convictions from early religious indoctrination and infiltrate the political arena to propagate their beliefs for the so called benefit of ALL Australians. By far the greatest resistance to Marriage Equality and Voluntary Assisted Dying in Australia comes from the religious . How sad that we still linger in the Dark Ages and are crying out for Secular Schools and Secular Government. A forlorn hope !

    • stchucky says:

      Thanks dad. It’s not often we agree on this stuff, but there’s a reason there are sins and crimes, and they’re generally only the same thing in a theocratic dictatorship. Churches are very pretty but the spires are damn uncomfortable when they poke themselves into government.

  4. aaronthepatriot says:

    Now, since I got so serious in one comment, let me share what made me chuckle while reading this, too.

    “The United States of goddamn America has allowed it. It’s fucking embarrassing.”

    Too soon. Like literally. Don’t think “done bun can’t be undone”.

    “the clown posse vote”

    Apologies to the Insane Clown Posse and their followers, who are generally good folks. Currently classified as a gang by the US government, for little reason and a lot of bullshit.

    “Every little bit of homophobia and hate-fuelled violence stirred up by this is the direct fault of a government that does not care about its citizens.”

    Little America, indeed. Shit, I guess this isn’t going to have made anyone else chuckle but me. Sorry about that. Not much to laugh about here.

    • stchucky says:

      “The United States of goddamn America has allowed it. It’s fucking embarrassing.”

      Too soon. Like literally. Don’t think “done bun can’t be undone”.

      I don’t know, is it that easy to revoke human r-

      Oh. Yeah, okay.

      “the clown posse vote”

      Apologies to the Insane Clown Posse and their followers, who are generally good folks. Currently classified as a gang by the US government, for little reason and a lot of bullshit.

      I did think maybe I should apologise to the juggalos for that one. Heh.

      “Every little bit of homophobia and hate-fuelled violence stirred up by this is the direct fault of a government that does not care about its citizens.”

      Little America, indeed. Shit, I guess this isn’t going to have made anyone else chuckle but me. Sorry about that. Not much to laugh about here.

      It’s pathetic. It’s too late for Australia to lead the way with this in the manner I would have liked them to do. It’s too late for them to even let the inclusion slip into the rule of law with dignity. That ship has sailed like a bunch of shackled sheep-thieves.

  5. stchucky says:

    Trying not to re-edit my larger post, but I can’t reiterate this enough. To physically cross a box marked “NO” and seal it in an envelope and post it to the bureau of statistics, you have to be an active participant in denying the rights of your fellow human beings. In which case, fuck you. There is no nuance or debate in a Yes / No statement.

  6. stchucky says:

    Wow guys.

    Okay so first, let’s take an actual look at the survey, shall we?

    There we go, it’s very simple.

    I was chatting with Mr. BRKN about this, as a non-throat-stuffing religious fellow (yes, I am using terminology for maximum suggestiveness) he had some great insights but this discussion was not for him. His view / the view of his faith, which I have absolutely no problem with, is that homosexuality is a thing that happens and that it is up to each and every person to decide how to reconcile that with their way of life. A heartbreakingly difficult task, for many people.

    As to actual legal and society-affecting issues like elections and stupid surveys, they take no part.

    And that’s fine. Yes, I think a lot of the more activistic LBGT and allies would take issue, in the “if you’re not part of the solution you’re part of the problem” way, but I don’t agree. If you’re not part of the problem, hey. At least you’re not part of the problem.

    The active “No” voters are all of the problem in this specific case. I think all we can do is sit back and hope they are overwhelmingly outnumbered by the “Yes” votes. And, as Mr. BRKN said, the brave and decent thing for the government to then do would be to say “the people have spoken” and immediately enshrine marriage equality into law. I have my doubts that this will happen, but let’s see.

    If my shouting, bullying, insults and “vitriol” has driven anyone from non-responder status to a “No” vote, that’s a damn shame. If it’s driven someone from a “Yes” vote to a “No” vote, that’s even sadder. But ultimately, it’s on them. They made the wrong choice.

    I’m pretty sure nobody reading this blog, let alone this comments section, is in that boat. Most of the Australians reading will already have voted “Yes”.

    big·ot·ry

    *loses the will to live*

    *remembers this is a part of the debate I was not involved in and don’t have to care*

    *regains will to live*

    dreameling:

    Agreed. But what if you cannot see the mask? What if you honestly do not feel like you’re disrespecting or denying another’s rights or opinions? What if the bigotry you’re propagating has been institutionalized to transparency? Do bigots think of themselves as bigots?

    Answering in order: Doesn’t matter; you’re wrong; you’re wrong; of course not but they’re wrong.

    dreameling:

    So I need to justify and explain myself but you don’t?

    I’m just gonna say “yup”. Because Aaron and I are not trying to do anything but criticise the people who are actively voting “No” here. You’re not on their side, I get that, but you are trying to explain (which amounts to “trying to excuse”) their actions or motivations. So yes, you need to justify and explain yourself dude.

    I can explain myself quite clearly by saying “I am in support of marriage equality and I have a problem with anyone who is by their actions working against it.” And I don’t really need to justify that because it is socially and morally the right position.

    dreameling:

    And you think hatred makes you strong?

    I hear it leads to the Dark Side.

    dreameling:

    That’s your interpretation of me. Clearly you’re seeing something in my replies that does not reflect who I am (or who I feel I am). Also, “hatred coming from the right-wing” is not something I feel on regular basis in Finland. Lucky me.

    Aaron:

    Yes indeed, lucky you. If you mean that, perhaps start acting/writing that way. If not, well, enough of these antics, I say again.

    I tend to agree. You’ve owned your privilege and acknowledged that the middle ground is a luxury you can afford. Obviously, as I said, I’m a cis married ex-pat so I can totally afford it too. This decision doesn’t affect me. I have the “childhood home shame” issue to deal with which sets me apart from you guys, but other than that it’s just the right thing to do, to speak out against this sort of bullshit.

    It’s entirely up to you, dreameling, whether you do or not. But in my opinion you should.

    *shrug*

    Aaron:

    I’m strong because I am a decent human being in the face of all this bigotry. I’m a white man who could easily fall into the numbing flow of my own privilege and be a fuckface like all these others. But, because I am strong, I remain focused on equality and fairness of the law and our moral codes. Unlike these people you side with every time you try to tell me to be tolerant of their intolerance. Oh, and try to pretend their intolerance isn’t actually intolerance because, golly gee-willikers, they don’t see it that way.

    Agreed.

    Aaron, on anger vs. hate:

    Semantics. I’ve discovered that others don’t use that word the way I do. Anger, fine. Whatever. What an incredibly boring debate this is becoming.

    dreameling:

    Except that “semantics” clearly matters. I’m specifically talking about hatred and not anger. It’s the whole crux of this discussion for me. Hatred. “Deep and extreme emotional dislike”, to quote Wikipedia. (Wikipedia actually describes “anger” in very similar terms, but I tend to think of anger as something that can be rational and useful, among other things, while hatred is something more active and violent, more malicious, less rational, less useful in the long run.)

    I think once again you’ve misunderstood my position here, since you were thrown by the force of my opinion and my apparently unsettling antipathy towards the Australian government (yellow egg-sucking gutter-trash that they are).

    You’ve dropped a couple of references to hate here. The first is to do with my apparent accusation that the “No” voters act the way they do out of hate.

    I can’t really speak to that because I don’t know or care about their motives or reasons. Their actions are enough to damn them.

    The second is in reference to me, against the “No” voters.

    I don’t hate them. I’d have to care about them and their pissweak backward opinions to hate them. But they’re actively making Australia a shittier place, so I can’t say I’m fond of the cunts.

    dreameling:

    So, from here on out, know that “hatred” is what I’m talking about, have been all along. The Finnish word “viha” is a really good match here. (I know, it means nothing to you.)

    See, I always had trouble figuring out whether viha meant hatred or anger. I thought it was mostly context. Except of course minä vihan means I hate and olen vihainen means I am angry. Obviously (to me) they’re the same root?

    Oh boy! What a pointless sidetrack!

    dreameling:

    If you’re bored, why are you still here?

    I live here.

    I know you weren’t talking to me. I don’t care.

    dreameling:

    For example, are you telling me that you cannot imagine some well-meaning Christian honestly thinking that gay people are simply mislead or confused, and should be shown the grace of God, instead of a “Yes” vote, so that they can straighten up? Without there being any malice involved?

    Aaron:

    Well for my part I can completely imagine this and I classify it as malice, at least to a degree. Certainly it is prejudiced, arrogant, and bigoted. And EXACTLY the sort of thinking you’re accusing Hatboy of having towards the “no” voters.

    dreameling:

    Yes, it’s prejudiced, arrogant, and bigoted. Agreed. But it’s not necessarily malicious. It’s not necessarily hatred. This is where we part ways, I guess. If you cannot picture the above scenario without projecting malice or hatred to the hypothetical person’s perspective, then I call that a failure of imagination and empathy.

    Again, I don’t care about their motivations. They are irrelevant to this situation. Only actions matter.

    dreameling:

    And I’m not accusing Andy of being “prejudiced, arrogant, and bigoted” against the “No” voters (although I guess that’s implied).

    I’m perfectly happy with it.

    I have a mild objection to “arrogant”, because that implies (to me; please put your stupid dictionary down) an unwarranted and unappealing assertion of superiority. I think I am superior, in education and worldview and morality and many other categories, to anyone who would vote “No” on this. I think I’m a better person. And that shouldn’t be a negative attribute on my part. Being better than these fuckfaces is one of my finest features. And I’m talking as a man who shits tidily into a bag.

    dreameling:

    I’m disagreeing with his ready categorizing of all “No” voters as hate-driven scum, and I was taken aback by the vitriol of his rhetoric, which to me read like hate. (He’s certainly entitled to feeling it. But I have a hard time reconciling the aggressive Andy of the blog with the decidedly non-aggressive Andy of real life. Cognitive dissonance.)

    That’s because you’re bringing baggage to my writing that I didn’t put there. This is perfectly natural in a writer-reader relationship. I’m sure I do it with you as well.

    If I made it difficult to grasp at the outset that I don’t care what drives these people, as long as they stop driving, then hopefully my comments since have clarified my position.

    As to my aggression in online / blog format as opposed to real life, I’m frankly stunned that you were caught off-guard by it. But I’ll readily acknowledge that I’m raging out about this issue more than I expected to. It has just become a perfect overlap of childhood memories, narrow-mindedness, bigotry, stupidity, ignorance, cowardice and injustice, so yeah. I’m pissed about it and I appreciate you giving me a pass to be pissed about it (note: not sarcasm).

    But I still like you guys.

    dreameling:

    I did accuse him of excusing religion, but he didn’t follow up on that.

    And I’m not gonna, because it was a dumb point.

    *smile*

    dreameling:

    Incidentally, I don’t have a problem with Andy being prejudiced against the “No” voters. I am.

    Good. And kudos to you for being able to rise above it. But you have the luxury of being able to do so, safely. As do I. I don’t feel it’s right to use that luxury the way you are, however.

    Aaron:

    And I do believe science also supports the position that we are by nature racist/bigoted and have to fight it every day to be better. Certainly, our survival instincts require us to be prejudiced against “the other”. So when you see that behavior, you’re seeing someone who’s not trying (or at least not winning) to be a better person than instinct.

    dreameling:

    Yeah, we’re tribalistic by nature. It is (or at least was) evolutionarily useful. It’s precisely tribalism at work when we readily reduce groups of people outside our own to just a few simplistic attributes, and fail or refuse to understand them.

    But I think you’re wrong in assuming it’s something we’re always aware of and can readily combat. I think our brains are pretty good at naturalizing behavior and hiding motives from our conscious minds. Some people are more self-aware than others, of course.

    I think it’s a bit logically dodgy to excuse the people actually actively participating in the denial of human rights on the grounds of “we’re ingrained with a predisposition to be wary of the Other and we can’t always be aware of that” while also (or so it really, really looks from my point of view) criticising the people criticising the active discriminators on the same grounds of “you’re lumping them all together, rise above that shit.”

    Do you see? Have I lost you?

    Aaron:

    To vote “no”, you have to think YOU have the right to deny a right *that you have* to someone else. It is that simple. Sure, the justifications for WHY you get to do that aren’t simple.

    YES. Exactly. And as far as I’m concerned, the justifications don’t matter. They’re justifications for a wrong choice. You know what I call justifications for a wrong choice? Excuses.

    dreameling:

    That’s your interpretation of me. Clearly you’re seeing something in my replies that does not reflect who I am (or who I feel I am).

    When your efforts to retain the middle ground in a Yes / No issue result in you winding up defending the motives of people who ticked “No” in that picture I posted at the top of this, and sent it to the Australian Bureau of Statistics in a postage-paid envelope … yeah, if you didn’t want that to reflect on who you are, you should probably have self-examined a little bit more.

    Your call though.

    dreameling:

    Pray tell, how should I act or write? Rant and rage online? Hate bigots?

    Do you actually want me to tell you what I think you should have written in response to this blog post?

    I mean, that wouldn’t be you. And I wouldn’t have you any other way, man. But I can tell you, if you want.

    Aaron:

    Does anger make one strong? What, pray tell, makes one strong?

    dreameling:

    Integrity and empathy. Reason and intellectual honesty. Kindness. Whatever is the opposite of binary thinking. Anger can make your strong. Hatred, not so much, unless you just want a really quick fix.

    You two disgust me.

    To crush your enemies. See them driven before you. And to hear the lamentations of their women.

    dreameling:

    I’m not siding with the “No” voters. That’s either a willful misreading of me for the purpose of making a point, or a failure to think beyond binaries.

    Also dreameling:

    Refusing to be weak kind of suggests that you’re going to be strong instead.

    OMFG SO INCONSISTENT AND ALSO BINARY.

    dreameling:

    If you added a third option, “Maybe” or “No opinion”, I’d put money on it bleeding a non-trivial number of votes from both ends.

    And to come back to this again, this is a non-point, because this is one of the few exercises in Australian democracy that is not enforced. If you’re a “Maybe” (why the fuck would you put a Maybe box and who would answer “Maybe” to this question?) or don’t have an opinion, you just don’t vote. The survey by its very structure and method is only calling out the extreme views for or against. Which is – again – the main issue I really have with it. Aside from it being utterly useless and – yes, despite your protestations – hate-encouraging.

    • dreameling says:

      I know you’ve already mostly signed off from this thread, so feel free to ignore these replies. But I said I’d reply. I also get that some of my points are probably redundant by now, but I nonetheless tried to do justice to the original comments and to the discussion at that point in time.

      My point about your apparent animosity towards Australia wasn’t an argument or an accusation, but rather a statement of impression, for the record. (But maybe one we could’ve done without here.)

      I think so. This, and your Not Homophobic Butt disclaimer, cast your entire argument in really unacceptable terms for me.

      You’re going to have to elaborate on that. I get that my point about your relationship with Australia offended you, and I’m sorry about that, but you lost me at “Not Homophobic Butt”. If you’re reading homophobia/homomisia into my replies, we have a critical failure of communication and expectations.

      I find myself in complete disagreement with you on the main issue here, and that’s not a reflex that is going to go away, although I will continue to at least try to consider your point of view and respond accordingly.

      Between all the comments from multiple people in two separate threads, and a few off-blog messages, this is starting to get a bit muddled in my mind, so let’s just sync up quickly:

      We obviously agree on the “Yes” vote, which I thought was the main issue, so I’m guessing the issue where we’re in full disagreement here is how to view and deal with the “No” voters, right?

      I think you’re fundamentally misunderstanding what is happening in Australia and I think your response to my response is so out of touch I would disregard it if I didn’t know, like, and respect you as much as I do.

      Again, I admit that I’m not as up to speed on Australia as I probably should be for this discussion. I’m absolutely reflecting on this by way of what I am familiar with, namely Finland and, to a lesser extent, Europe. But I do think there’s validity in that, since LGBT rights issues are obviously not limited to Australia, and I’m pretty sure Finland and Australia, like much of the Western world, are quite close in terms of how their peoples feel about these issues, and are split by them.

      And you did compare Australia to Finland and the rest of the world, so I consider that a door opened.

      Anyways, do you mean that the specifics of this vote, where an admittedly cowardly government non-bindingly polls its people rather than just directly voting on the issue itself, are somehow particular to Australia? Or that the attitudes of the government or of the people are significantly different to those in Finland, for example?

      It does, however, enable Australians to be far more critical of our country. I mean, easy come easy go, right? It’s not like it’s a proper country anyway. This can be baffling to nationalistic people like many USians, who see it as unpatriotic treachery. And apparently it’s strange to some Finns as well.

      For the record, I think being critical of your own country and its government is crucially important. If you ever got the impression that I think you’re somehow being unpatriotic toward Australia, damn. That’s absolutely not how I see you. I’ve mostly just been curious about and sometimes surprised by your often-hostile-seeming relationship with Australia. But, in general, I think it’s a good thing that you can view Australia critically. (I hope you keep doing that with Finland, too.)

      I don’t consider myself a particularly patriotic person, at least not in the flag-waving USian sense, so I don’t really view people from the patriotism angle all that much.

      I think you’re misapprehending what exactly it means that the Australian government has created a national forum where it is reduced to black or white (not to mention is legally inapplicable or actionable in any way), and in order to vote “No” a person has to actively take a number of steps to ensure that a whole community is left without a basic legal right. It’s not just saying “I don’t really care for it but I won’t stand in the way because I’m not a complete arsehole, let the chips fall where they will.” That’s what the non-voters are doing (and I don’t much like that either, but I won’t rail against it because there are just as many non-voting allies out there, I’m sure).

      This is saying “I don’t want this change to happen, so I am taking steps to prevent it from occurring.”

      And that’s not a forgivable all-humans-have-it fear of change. That’s toxic.

      No, I do think I get how for you the “No” vote crystallizes into this premeditated physical act of denying a group of people the same rights the majority already enjoy. Or rather an act of signaling their government to deny those rights. Regardless, the “No” voters are expending effort. For you, it’s a wilful act of hate, and also a fundamentally binary thing. Right?

      For me, I just can’t not frame the “No” vote as embedded in a point of view. Meaning it’s just not the final, absolute act, but also the beliefs, motives, and reasons that drive that act. I think we just fundamentally differ in how much we focus on that physical act of voting “No”.

      As a sidenote, I honestly cannot say whether the fact the vote is non-binding makes it easier or more difficult for people to vote “No”. Or to abstain from voting. (The fact that the vote is also voluntary probably makes it pretty easy to abstain, too.)

      The vote is black-and-white, sure, but that does not mean that people’s reasons for choosing one or the other are.

      I don’t give a flying fuck what their reasons are! You’re trying to market yourself as the rational voice in the discussion, and it should be easy since I’m doing so much yelling and swearing, so riddle me this. Ignoring the fact that this is a non-binding survey and will not lead to actual marriage rights being granted to those currently denied them, what is the outcome of the survey likely to be?

      I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt by saying it’s a weathervane, of sorts, to see what the adult population of Australia thinks about the issue. If a clear majority in the survey is “Yes”, then the government is likely to consider joining the rest of the civilised world sometime in the near future, preferably when some other schmuck can do the difficult work. If a clear majority is “No”, then status quo carries the day.

      Don’t you see that whatever a person’s reason for saying “No” on the form, the result will be either the government concluding that more people are pro-equality or more people are anti-equality? And the “No” voter has planted his or her flag on the anti-equality side? Reasons be damned.

      I’m not trying to market myself as anything. If I were, I’d be faking my views and opinions here, which I’m not. So, maybe a little less cynicism there, thanks.

      I think the outcome of the survey will be to divide people and polarize opinions even further. (I completely agree with you that this vote should not have happened in the first place.) I hope the outcome will be to send the government a strong pro-equality message, which they will act upon.

      And, yes, understanding people’s reasons now obviously has little bearing on the vote, since the vote’s happening right now. But, going forward, I think understanding why people vote “No” is absolutely critical if you ever want to sway opinions, to increase LGBT acceptance cross-population. Even if the “Yes” votes win by a clear margin, and even if same-sex marriage becomes legal in Australia soon after, that’s not some magic bullet that’s going to change conservative or homophobic minds. I think the endgame should be to reduce the number of people who’d vote “No”. (But I do believe that marriage equality will help with this over time.)

      As to right now, or really ever, I don’t think lumping all the “No” voters into a single basket labeled “haters” is fair or productive. It’s not going to change the vote, and it’s probably just going to piss off some people who might have become allies later on. (Provided that people who would be pissed off by this even read this blog or similar liberal online outlets doing the same thing. We all live in bubbles, after all.) But I’ve already covered this lumping part, so let’s move on.

      PS. You’ve since indicated that you didn’t mean to lump all anti-LGBT people together, but here, to me, with regards to the “No” voters, it certainly read like that. Voting “No” obviously does lump those voters together in a very concrete way, and I get that this is the crux of your argument, but again, for me, it’s more than just the final act.

      For example, are you telling me that you cannot imagine some well-meaning Christian honestly thinking that gay people are simply mislead or confused, and should be shown the grace of God, instead of a “Yes” vote, so that they can straighten up? Without there being any malice involved?

      I can imagine it. And I find it pretty fucking despicable. Don’t expect me to give that viewpoint any regard whatsoever. If you’re digging for a reasonable explanation for a “No” vote, I advise you to keep digging.

      This is not so much about a reasonable explanation as just an explanation. Plus, I’m sure that viewpoint would be perfectly reasonable for our hypothetical Christian. And while I get the sentiment of judging that viewpoint as despicable, it’s not about how we see it, but how the person holding the perspective sees it. I’m pretty sure they would not judge their own view of the world as despicable or hateful.

      I’m not telling you to accept the reasons people have for voting “No”. I’m absolutely not telling you to do anything. But I am contesting your ready dismissal of the fact that people have reasons to vote “No” and that those reasons could be other than hate.

      No, for the here-and-now of voting on the poll, understanding those reasons makes no difference. But now I’m just repeating myself. See above.

      Gay people get beaten up because of who they are in Finland, too, although surely less so now than, say, 20 years ago. And just because we have marriage equality now, it doesn’t mean everyone’s behind it, or that we’re going to still have it in 10 or 20 years. (We only got it this year, and it was no slam dunk in the parliament when they voted on it in 2014.)

      And it would be a step backwards if it was revoked. What is this even? It’s not a point as far as I can tell. But then, I see you’re also about to claim my revulsion of “No” voters is because they disagree with me, rather than because they’re denying innocent people equal rights. And that has pissed me right the fuck off. So congratulations, you got there in the end.

      I clearly misunderstood your original point. Here’s how it went:

      I’m pretty sure the “No” voters are not bad or hateful people. At least no more or less so than the “Yes” voters.

      What are you basing this on? Do you understand that gay people get beaten up? When was the last time a gang of gay people beat up a straight person?

      I didn’t quite get why you suddenly brought in anti-gay violence, so I thought maybe you were saying that marriage equality was going to fix this. Hence my response. In retrospect, it’s pretty obvious you’re equating the “No” voters with violence against gays. Needless to say, an act of anti-gay violence would be carried out by someone who’d vote “No”. In my mind, though, when I imagine your average “No” voter, I don’t see a violent or hateful person. Hence the initial disconnect with your point. (I don’t know if anti-gay violence is significantly more common or severe in Australia than it is Finland. I guess I’m assuming it’s not. In the West, I’d assume the US, for example, has it way worse than either Australia or Finland.)

      Still, my fault.

      If we were to hold a similar public vote in Finland today, I guarantee you a significant portion of the votes would be “No” votes. It would not be some glorious landslide victory for the “Yes” votes. It might even be close to 50/50. (I’d semi-mutu-guess 60-70% for and 30-40% against.)

      Pretty much irrelevant in every way to the actual issue of this blog post.

      Yeah, this goes back to my misreading your original point. See above.

      But then, I see you’re also about to claim my revulsion of “No” voters is because they disagree with me, rather than because they’re denying innocent people equal rights. And that has pissed me right the fuck off.

      Oh, I’m sure it’s mostly just people on both sides. The other side just happens to agree with our views, so of course we like them more.

      Whoa. I never said you dislike the “No” voters simply because they disagree with you. The reason you dislike them is obviously because their stance on denying equal rights to a group of people is one you oppose. You may be indifferent to the “Yes” side, but that’s still a much more positive relationship than active dislike. All I was saying is that we tend to be biased in favor of people who share our views. I did not say that your bias is based on whether someone simple agrees or disagrees with you irrespective of why they do so.

      Yes. I agree. It so obviously looks and feels exactly like that to us. How can you deny something that you yourself enjoy from another, especially when it costs you nothing if they too get to enjoy it? How does it hurt or diminish you if your fellow human gets to enjoy this perk that really only affects their life and happiness? I know, right?

      That’s not how it looks and feels to us. That’s how it is. Objective political fact, not subjective cultural opinion.

      Except it clearly is not that universally obvious. Because people look at and feel about things from different perspectives, with different assumptions and truths and preconceptions and prejudices, and in different contexts, with different agendas.

      Their ignorance and stupidity doesn’t change reality. Except when they check that “No” box and make a conscious effort to deny the rights of their fellow citizens. That might just do it.

      You clearly have way more confidence in objective reality and absolute moral values than I do. I’m not a proponent of free-for-all, no-judgement cultural or moral relativism, but I do think most cultural norms, values, and practices are relative to some degree, and that subjectivity is absolutely inescapable. Doesn’t mean I personally value different things the same, though. And some things are just so much better or more right than the alternatives, that they’re so objectively for all intents and purposes.

      You judge your stance on same-sex marriage to be morally and ethically superior to that of the “No” voters because your stance grants rather than denies equal rights. I obviously agree with your judgement. The “No” voters equally obviously disagree with that judgement, because they do not see LGBT people as their equals in this issue, for whatever reasons. And these judgements drive our actions. So I think our subjective perspectives very much shape reality.

      I don’t think there’s anything worth arguing over here for now, this was more of an aside, so let’s move on. (But I’m happy to return to this whole subjective vs. objective, reality vs. perception debate in a separate thread.)

      They can think what they like and I’ll be pretty much indifferent. It’s by your deeds that I judge you.

      Even though it’s ultimately your actions that define your impact on the world around, I just cannot separate those actions from the mind that drives them. I think there’s value in thoughts and emotions irrespective of how they manifest as actions, at the very least in the sense that it’s useful to understand them, especially if you want to change them. I think good intentions, for example, matter.

      But I get that you’re here focusing very squarely on the physical act of voting. Clearly I just cannot give it that same tight focus.

      I want there to be absolutely no misunderstanding as to where I stand, and stood, on this issue.

      You’re on the record too.

      And I’m happy to be. Everything I’ve said here I’ve said honestly by following what I think and feel to be true. (I can’t account for all misreadings and misinterpretations, though.)

      I’m hating bigoted morons. The bigoted morons are hating people who love people of the same sex.

      If only it was that simple.

      Good news. It’s that fucking simple, dreameling.

      By now it should be obvious that we just differ on this. (Although, seeing as how you’ve since stated that you don’t actually hate the “No” voters — see below — perhaps we don’t differ quite that much, after all.)

      So I need to justify and explain myself but you don’t?

      I’m just gonna say “yup”. Because Aaron and I are not trying to do anything but criticise the people who are actively voting “No” here. You’re not on their side, I get that, but you are trying to explain (which amounts to “trying to excuse”) their actions or motivations. So yes, you need to justify and explain yourself dude.

      Trying to explain or, more correctly here, to understand [1] the actions or motivations of someone is not the same thing as trying to excuse them, not even if that someone is your opposition. If you’re honestly making that connection, and I find it very hard to imagine you are, then you’re basically saying that understanding is collusion. You’re saying that anything other than outright dismissal is, what, against the “party line”?

      And, no, I say it’s the same rules for everyone. Plus, I think I’ve pretty much explained and justified my viewpoint already. As much as I can.

      [1] By “understand”, I mean “comprehend”. Not “comprehend and approve or sympathize”.

      I think once again you’ve misunderstood my position here, since you were thrown by the force of my opinion and my apparently unsettling antipathy towards the Australian government (yellow egg-sucking gutter-trash that they are).

      I don’t hate them. I’d have to care about them and their pissweak backward opinions to hate them. But they’re actively making Australia a shittier place, so I can’t say I’m fond of the cunts.

      Well. OK. You don’t hate them. Despite saying you do. But fine, I accept that that was rhetoric and hyperbole, and probably honest anger from getting pissed off at your home country’s government and a section of its voting public. OK.

      Between you and Aaron, I can’t keep up when “fuck you” means “fuck off and die, fucksnorkel scum”, “not cool, dude”, or just “cheers, mate”.

      Incidentally, I don’t have a problem with Andy being prejudiced against the “No” voters. I am.

      Good. And kudos to you for being able to rise above it. But you have the luxury of being able to do so, safely. As do I. I don’t feel it’s right to use that luxury the way you are, however.

      By which you mean, I imagine, to excuse the “No” voters by not vilifying them and by allowing that they have their reasons (and that it would be useful to understand what they are and why they have them)? I hope I put this to rest above, and it should go with without saying that I don’t agree with this reading.

      What, by the way, did you think I should do with this luxury of distance?

      I think it’s a bit logically dodgy to excuse the people actually actively participating in the denial of human rights on the grounds of “we’re ingrained with a predisposition to be wary of the Other and we can’t always be aware of that” while also (or so it really, really looks from my point of view) criticising the people criticising the active discriminators on the same grounds of “you’re lumping them all together, rise above that shit.”

      Do you see? Have I lost you?

      Again, I’m not excusing them. Change that reading. The “No” voters should be criticized for their views. I think their viewpoint is the wrong one, so I’m pretty much critical of them by default. But that doesn’t mean that (a) I can’t also accept that they have their reasons, which surely cast me in the wrong in their eyes, and that (b) I can’t criticize people on my side for what I think is not a fair or useful way to respond.

      I’m sure there are plenty of “No” voters who lump all the “Yes” voters together. Intuitively, I feel like there must be way more lumpers among the “No” voters than among the “Yes” voters, since I tend to view the former as more black-and-white thinkers by dint of their conservatism. In any case, if they do it, is that also a justification for us to do it? (Yeah, it was a bit hard to follow your sentence there, so I’m not sure this is what you were actually saying.)

      When your efforts to retain the middle ground in a Yes / No issue result in you winding up defending the motives of people who ticked “No” in that picture I posted at the top of this, and sent it to the Australian Bureau of Statistics in a postage-paid envelope … yeah, if you didn’t want that to reflect on who you are, you should probably have self-examined a little bit more.

      Cool. Now we’ve gone from excusing to defending. Next it’s probably going to be me supporting them. But I’ll bite. No, man, I’m not defending their motives. But I am defending the fact that they have motives and that these motives can be other than hate, and I am defending the idea that understanding what those motives are and why they have them is more useful than simply dismissing the lot as hateful scum.

      How is this distinction so difficult to see?

      Btw., I think this is mostly covered in the discussion about action vs. motivation, the physical act of voting in the here-and-now vs. the broader context in which that act is embedded, far above.

      Does anger make one strong? What, pray tell, makes one strong?

      Integrity and empathy. Reason and intellectual honesty. Kindness. Whatever is the opposite of binary thinking. Anger can make your strong. Hatred, not so much, unless you just want a really quick fix.

      To crush your enemies. See them driven before you. And to hear the lamentations of their women.

      That’s just what’s best in life.

      OMFG SO INCONSISTENT AND ALSO BINARY.

      Oh, snap.

      If you added a third option, “Maybe” or “No opinion”, I’d put money on it bleeding a non-trivial number of votes from both ends.

      And to come back to this again, this is a non-point, because this is one of the few exercises in Australian democracy that is not enforced. If you’re a “Maybe” (why the fuck would you put a Maybe box and who would answer “Maybe” to this question?) or don’t have an opinion, you just don’t vote. The survey by its very structure and method is only calling out the extreme views for or against. Which is – again – the main issue I really have with it. Aside from it being utterly useless and – yes, despite your protestations – hate-encouraging.

      I imagined that people who can’t quite decide whether they like the idea of same-sex couples marrying would vote “Maybe”. My point here was to illustrate the idea that people’s reasons for voting one way or the other are not binary. (But, yeah, since the vote is voluntary, this is non-point in a practical sense.)

      Do you actually want me to tell you what I think you should have written in response to this blog post?

      Yes. I’m curious. (I can probably guess some of it, but I want to see. Unless you just wanted me to like the post and not write anything. That would be anticlimactic.)

      Finally, to cap things off, I might as well quote myself from earlier, since this pretty much sums it all up:

      Of course the “No” vote is the wrong choice. For me, it’s objectively the absolute wrong choice. But I’m willing to give the people that think it’s the right choice the benefit of the doubt that their choice might be driven by something other than hatred or malicious intolerance. (I’m sure that for some it is just that, though.) And I certainly don’t want to hate the “No” voters, as a rule. I’d rather get as many of them as possible on my side.

      That’s it. I hope I hit all the major points. I should probably see to Aaron’s replies next.

      • aaronthepatriot says:

        Dreameling, instead of wasting your time replying to my points (and believe me, that’s what it would be), watching this video Hatboy sent me would be a MUCH better use of your time. This is a funny, informative video putting left- and right-wing violence and protestors into a fair perspective. This is correct, and it is important that liberals–at least, of all people–understand it. Instead of worrying about “the violent left” and shit like that.

        So, take the time you would have spent with my comments, and PLEASE watch this. And I live here. He’s right. I didn’t find a single point where I disagreed.

      • dreameling says:

        OK. I watched it. What’s my takeaway supposed to be?

        That the US is home to some pretty scary white supremacist and Neo-Nazi groups? Check. That Antifa is not the equivalent of far-right hate groups? Check. That I’m almost certainly getting the wrong impression of Antifa through mainstream media coverage? Check. That the Sartre bit was a pretty awesome piece of editing? Check. That the Newsperson Cody was pretty funny? Check.

        (Btw., I have to say I liked the related Vox video on Antifa more.)

        Now what?

        How does this tie back to my latest reply to Andy about the marriage equality vote in Australia? (Yeah, I kind of want you to spell it out. Especially if you don’t want me replying to your earlier comments.)

        As a sidenote, I feel like you’ve now fixed on this very specific and narrow view of me, and you’re filtering everything I write through that view, or just ignoring what I write, rather than engaging with me, for the purpose of changing my mind, trusting that I will naturally arrive at the same conclusions, because you know better. (Which you very well might.)

        I gotta say, that’s not very appealing to me.

      • aaronthepatriot says:

        The video ties back to your earlier-than-this-blog-entry great concern about “the violent left”. Or are you saying you’ve decided not to be so concerned about the left? Because from THIS comment section I have a different impression.

        If you feel like I’m not engaging with you anymore, you’re probably right. Because you came out of the gate on this one attacking the good liberals here instead of the bigots who would vote no. It’s your choice, and if I say more I’ll be repeating MYself. And I have no interest in that.

        But I can say what I’ve been thinking without repeating myself, so I’ll just do that. You’re edging over towards SargonofAkkad lately, mate. And I hate to see that. I gotta say that’s not very appealing to me.

        I have processed what you’re saying as much as I want to, and I’m not interested in proving to you, or whatever it is you want, that I’m still a nice, tolerant liberal like you are and like you want us all to be. I’m not going to explain how I view the group vs. how I’d treat individuals. You’ll just have to trust me, or not. Your choice. IDGAF.

        What I DO GAF about is your increasing attacks on the left, both as a group and on me and Hatboy specifically. It’s very troubling, because I saw Sargon and many others go down this road. Hopefully you won’t start snooting on us that we’re not real liberals and you’re a “classic liberal”.

        You started your objections with stating that you think you have some people in your life who might vote “no” because of–religion I think it was–their own internally consistent and reasonable views, and that we’re being awful for impugning their nature. Right?

        Well, I don’t know these people and I’m sure you do know them, far better than I. But perhaps you don’t know how they’d vote, or perhaps you don’t know what reason they’d give, or how they’d react to a discussion. Or, perhaps, they’d vote to keep these rights away from gays without a second thought. And you know what I’d say about that sort.

        There really is no point. You want me to focus on unknown individuals in a group instead of stereotyping. But these “no” voters are not repressed minorities. These are white Christians who have been running our societies for centuries. They don’t NEED your protection, or your excessive defense.

        I think you’re the one not processing, not me. You don’t accept the above. Or it doesn’t matter to you. And since you don’t, or it doesn’t, we really can’t get anywhere here.

      • dreameling says:

        Sargon of Akkad? Really? I’ve ever only watched a couple of his videos, but I got the impression he was a secretly-right-leaning douche. I don’t know the guy’s output well enough to put the association with me in a proper context, but still. Holy shit.

        As to my “increasing attacks on the left”. I don’t even know where to fucking start with that. If my being worried about the more extreme elements of the left and my disagreement with Chucky about how to respond to the “No” voters count as attacks on the left, we are living in such different psychological spaces there really is no point in talking about this anymore. (If I missed any other attacks I’ve recently made, feel free to point them out.) That my initial response to Chucky about the “No” voters came off as a personal attack, that I don’t dispute, and I regret that.

        I think you’re bringing so much of your own package to this it’s almost hilarious. I guess we really are done here.

        PS., well, about the left:

        The video ties back to your earlier-than-this-blog-entry great concern about “the violent left”. Or are you saying you’ve decided not to be so concerned about the left? Because from THIS comment section I have a different impression.

        I’m actually less concerned about the left going to extremes now than I was a couple of months back. There’s obviously no comparison between Antifa and white nationalists or Neo-Nazis, for example. My original comment, “I’m starting to get almost as worried about the aggressively passionate (and apparently also violent in some cases) response of the liberal left to the alt-right, than I am of the rise of the alt-right itself”, was too emotional and uninformed, it was wrong. I’m still a little concerned and worried, though.

      • stchucky says:

        This is really heartening to read. And I absolutely don’t mean that in a condescending way. I’m sure there was a lot of baggage in everyone’s overhead compartments on this one, but I was happy to read this.

        Now do mine! Do mine next!

        [/Drax]

      • stchucky says:

        I know you’ve already mostly signed off from this thread, so feel free to ignore these replies.

        Oh no, this is just going to be my blog post for the day, that’s all.

        But I said I’d reply. I also get that some of my points are probably redundant by now, but I nonetheless tried to do justice to the original comments and to the discussion at that point in time.

        I’d prefer it if the discussion actually evolved and went somewhere, so that’s what I’m aiming for. I’ve been getting the strong impression that you, dreameling, have no intention of taking on any points or changing your views, which is distressing considering a) how often I have accepted the relevance and rationale of your arguments in the past[1] and b) how many times in this discussion you’ve admitted your comments were out of line, based on misassumptions, and have been worthy of withdrawal and apology. And obviously I get the impression that Aaron is no longer at home to Mr. Compromise. Which, you know, if we’re all being honest, that was always on the cards – but in this case I obviously can’t blame him.

        [1] Maybe that’s the problem, you’ve been lulled into the idea that it’s all one way because you’re basically finished as a psychological and sociocultural entity. I want to believe that this is not the case, because I don’t think you’re that unreasonable.

        Let’s go back a bit, since we’re all determined to waste each other’s time.

        Your original Not Homophobic Butt:

        I’m for marriage equality. I think same-sex couples should have the same legally-binding rights as man-woman couples. The idea that marriage can only be between a man and a woman is just wrong. To me, the man/woman view is a useless relic of religion-driven conservatism. (In related news, I also find religions useless in a rationalist, science-driven world. If only we fully lived in such a world. Wearing my bias on my sleeve here.)

        See, right off the bat, you seem to be aware that the position in the argument you’re about to adopt will call your actual position into question, hence the disclaimer. Whether it actually means you’re a closet homophobe (I’m 100% certain you’re not), or just means you’re contemplating an ill-advised Devil’s Advocacy for the purposes of debate (95% certain you were), well. That’s what happened. And you went on to say what you did. Which blew up because you massively misjudged how strongly I (and Aaron, and Ilya) felt about this. But anyway.

        The misapprehension here is exactly the one the “deep-No” side are pressing with their awful agenda: That marriage must equal religious services. They’re bitching about priests being forced to perform gay wedding ceremonies, and schools being shut down because they don’t teach the flamboyantly gender-nonbinary and highly graphic version of sex education the new “law” is going to usher in. It’s all based in kneejerk panic. None of it is going to happen. Churches still get to be stodgy and sexist and homophobic. It’s fine.

        But yes, the truth is, as we established right off the bat, that a lot of the actual objection is faith-based. “You can have civil unions, just keep your hands off marriage.” I quote literally from one famous Australian pundit.

        The problem is, marriage and civil union are not just different in terms of faith. Australia can do same-sex civil unions. Marriage is a legal contract and if you don’t have the right to it, then your life partner has no legal standing in the event of your death. I’m going to leave it to Ilya to explain this better because I’m pretty sure you and I and all the other ignorant people on both sides of this issue are talking at cross-purposes.

        You know what you should have led with, and stuck with? This:

        The “No” voters should be criticized for their views. I think their viewpoint is the wrong one, so I’m pretty much critical of them by default.

        This is the most important thing you could have said, and it got lost even within its own paragraph by the rest of the stuff you say.

        Also, you’ve said basically nothing to criticise them, except to say “I’m critical of them.”

        But that doesn’t mean that (a) I can’t also accept that they have their reasons, which surely cast me in the wrong in their eyes,

        – which doesn’t matter because they are actually trying to deny people in their society equal rights, so they’re wrong –

        and that (b) I can’t criticize people on my side for what I think is not a fair or useful way to respond.

        – which I’m pretty sure we’ve covered. Your judgement of unfairness was flawed based on a misinterpretation of my position and a reaction to my vehemence. And your judgement of non-usefulness was pointless because you a) refused to accept that I was talking about this survey case rather than the wider LBGT rights debate, and b) failed to provide actual useful alternatives.

        So, duly noted. But pointlessly overshadows your actual position, to the point where I only believe it’s your actual position because I know you in person and know you’re a decent guy.

        Now, you also said:

        I’m pretty sure the “No” voters are not bad or hateful people. At least no more or less so than the “Yes” voters.

        And I’m pretty sure the “No” voters aren’t all hateful either. A lot of them are just scared and ignorant. But no more or less so than “Yes” voters? You’re categorically wrong, and this is exactly why your “argument” reminded us so strongly of your earlier “I don’t like the far right. But I don’t like the liberal far left either, especially the US version that’s gone rabid in deciding what you can and cannot say in the public sphere, what’s safe and what’s not (see US campuses).”

        This is exactly the rhetoric being used in the case of this survey as well. The “No” campaigners are billing it as the end of free speech and the end of civilisation as we know it, and I’m not even exaggerating. And every case of the “liberal” side doing bad things in service of their agenda is blown massively out of proportion by the media (27 white supremacy horror stories, 28 antifa horror stories), if not made up entirely.

        Your concern is based in ignorance.

        But then, you also quite openly said “No, I’m not going to change my mind, so obviously I think I’m in the right.” So I really do wonder just how much point there is to any of this.

        Do you see how your comments have stacked up here? I’m trying my best to make some sort of compromise but it seems like you’re not willing to budge from your “I agree with you completely but you’re being really mean and it’s making things worse” position. Fuck that position, it’s shit. Get off it.

        My point about your apparent animosity towards Australia wasn’t an argument or an accusation, but rather a statement of impression, for the record. (But maybe one we could’ve done without here.)

        I think so. This, and your Not Homophobic Butt disclaimer, cast your entire argument in really unacceptable terms for me.

        You’re going to have to elaborate on that. I get that my point about your relationship with Australia offended you, and I’m sorry about that, but you lost me at “Not Homophobic Butt”. If you’re reading homophobia/homomisia into my replies, we have a critical failure of communication and expectations.

        And I keep telling you, if something you say pisses me off, I will say “now this pissed me off”. And I have done so, from time to time here. But not in this case.

        The reason your starting assumption about my relationship with Australia made things difficult from the beginning was because you put it in your starting disclaimer, setting the scene as “dreameling, Lone Voice Of Reason, Debates Shouty Anti-Patriot.” And you broadened the scope of my vitriolic post to the entire country and all its people, when I was criticising the government and the “No” lobby specifically.

        In short, your misapprehension tainted your entire argument and attempted, consciously or otherwise, to set me up for your claims that I’m being unreasonable. Consider yourself corrected.

        And as we already said about your Not Homophobic Butt – of course I’m not reading actual queermisia into your position. But it’s easier to find cases of you defending the “No” lobby than it is to find cases of you stating your actual position (see above, where I sifted through with a fine goddamn toothed comb). And that should be a warning sign to you that your just-for-the-sake-of-argument is bad.

        We obviously agree on the “Yes” vote, which I thought was the main issue, so I’m guessing the issue where we’re in full disagreement here is how to view and deal with the “No” voters, right?

        Correct.

        Oh, and this wasn’t part of the original scope, so it was a manufactured disagreement on your part.

        But carry on. We’re here now.

        Anyways, do you mean that the specifics of this vote, where an admittedly cowardly government non-bindingly polls its people rather than just directly voting on the issue itself, are somehow particular to Australia?

        Correct.

        For the record, I think being critical of your own country and its government is crucially important. If you ever got the impression that I think you’re somehow being unpatriotic toward Australia, damn. That’s absolutely not how I see you. I’ve mostly just been curious about and sometimes surprised by your often-hostile-seeming relationship with Australia. But, in general, I think it’s a good thing that you can view Australia critically. (I hope you keep doing that with Finland, too.)

        I don’t consider myself a particularly patriotic person, at least not in the flag-waving USian sense, so I don’t really view people from the patriotism angle all that much.

        Patriotism schmatriotism, if criticism of a nation and its government is this important to you, you should never have put my “vitriol” out on centre stage and used it as a basis (consciously or otherwise) for arguing that I should be more reasonable and stop contributing to “the sort of emotionally-charged black-and-white thinking that’s gonna destroy the world.”

        I know, you already withdrew and apologised for that but it has continued to be the backbone of your argument, so fuck your argument.

        Just as a reminder, this was you (emphasis mine):

        I’ve always found your animosity towards Australia and especially the Australian government a little surprising and unsettling. Granted, I do not follow Australian politics or really anything Australian, I do not know the country or the people beyond what little I’ve seen in movies and the occasional bit of prime time news, and Australia is generally just not on my map in any meaningful way. So I don’t have your seat to whatever the show over there is. But holy crap do you seem to really, really, really, really, really not like the place. It’s almost like you’re overcompensating for something. Except I’ve no clue what that something is, or even if there is a something.

        I’m sure it’s mostly the Australian government you have issues with (to put it lightly) and not the place or the people at large, but the latter kind of get conflated with the former on this blog (or at least in my head when reading your emotional attacks on Australia’s latest antics).

        And again, you withdrew this while continuing to stand next to it. What was the point of even having it as a disclaimer, if criticism of one’s country is actually super important?

        And don’t think just because you added “this might just be me” in there from time to time, there was any hint of “I think being critical of your own country and its government is crucially important” there until you said it just now. Mmmkay?

        No, I do think I get how for you the “No” vote crystallizes into this premeditated physical act of denying a group of people the same rights the majority already enjoy.

        See, you fuck this whole rhetorical viewpoint up by adding “for you”. This is not a thing that’s just in my head. This is a real thing that is actually happening in the real world and it’s heartbreaking.

        Or rather an act of signaling their government to deny those rights. Regardless, the “No” voters are expending effort. For you, it’s a wilful act of hate, and also a fundamentally binary thing. Right?

        The survey is binary. I can remind you of this as many times as you need me to.

        And yes, it is a wilful act of intolerance. Whether it’s hate or not, I leave to others to decide. Like I’ve said over and over again, their actual motives don’t interest me. They made the decision, for whatever reason, to answer that survey in a manner that, given enough numbers, will make a second-class demographic of society remain second-class. Outsiders. A perversion.

        Fuck that. Fuck them.

        For me, I just can’t not frame the “No” vote as embedded in a point of view. Meaning it’s just not the final, absolute act, but also the beliefs, motives, and reasons that drive that act. I think we just fundamentally differ in how much we focus on that physical act of voting “No”.

        If you think there’s something, some motive or belief or point of view, that excuses a person for voting No, then … I have no words for you.

        As a sidenote, I honestly cannot say whether the fact the vote is non-binding makes it easier or more difficult for people to vote “No”. Or to abstain from voting. (The fact that the vote is also voluntary probably makes it pretty easy to abstain, too.)

        And I don’t care if they abstain. I’ve said that plenty of times too. For me, not part of the solution does not equal part of the problem. Just not being part of the problem is enough for my magnanimous-arse approval here.

        In a way, it is an interesting approach. It’s cowardly and irresponsible and awful, but it’s a way to look at the way the general public will approach the question, and all the issues they’ll raise (and will continue to raise), without expending government effort. And without being forced to hold to a course of action depending on the result. If one side “wins” the wrong way, there’s no democratic rule that’s making that side’s opinion into the law of the land.

        Now if only the Australian government was courageous! The above would be a good thing.

        The vote is black-and-white, sure, but that does not mean that people’s reasons for choosing one or the other are.

        I don’t give a flying fuck what their reasons are! You’re trying to market yourself as the rational voice in the discussion, and it should be easy since I’m doing so much yelling and swearing, so riddle me this. Ignoring the fact that this is a non-binding survey and will not lead to actual marriage rights being granted to those currently denied them, what is the outcome of the survey likely to be?

        I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt by saying it’s a weathervane, of sorts, to see what the adult population of Australia thinks about the issue. If a clear majority in the survey is “Yes”, then the government is likely to consider joining the rest of the civilised world sometime in the near future, preferably when some other schmuck can do the difficult work. If a clear majority is “No”, then status quo carries the day.

        Don’t you see that whatever a person’s reason for saying “No” on the form, the result will be either the government concluding that more people are pro-equality or more people are anti-equality? And the “No” voter has planted his or her flag on the anti-equality side? Reasons be damned.

        I’m not trying to market myself as anything. If I were, I’d be faking my views and opinions here, which I’m not. So, maybe a little less cynicism there, thanks.

        No fuck that, you earned my cynicism. It’s all yours. Own it.

        I think the outcome of the survey will be to divide people and polarize opinions even further. (I completely agree with you that this vote should not have happened in the first place.) I hope the outcome will be to send the government a strong pro-equality message, which they will act upon.

        Yes. Again, it would have been nicer if this actual opinion of yours was easier to find amidst all the misplaced criticism.

        And, yes, understanding people’s reasons now obviously has little bearing on the vote, since the vote’s happening right now.

        Correct.

        But, going forward, I think understanding why people vote “No” is absolutely critical if you ever want to sway opinions, to increase LGBT acceptance cross-population. Even if the “Yes” votes win by a clear margin, and even if same-sex marriage becomes legal in Australia soon after, that’s not some magic bullet that’s going to change conservative or homophobic minds. I think the endgame should be to reduce the number of people who’d vote “No”. (But I do believe that marriage equality will help with this over time.)

        Again, correct. But this was never a point of contention in this argument, so please don’t pretend this was your point from the start.

        Absolutely, let’s look at the fearmongering the “No” lobby is doing, the ignorance-fuelled lies masquerading as rational objection (like the freedom of speech / expression / religion stuff that you and a hundred thousand USian homophobes just coincidentally latched onto) – all of that. Let’s look at it and see what we can learn from it – about humanity and about society, and about how we can grow from here.

        I am in complete agreement and there’s a lot we can look at there.

        None of it matters for the sake of this survey issue, which really just needed you to say “yeah, that’s fucked up, hope the Yes side wins and the government grows a pair.”

        As to right now, or really ever, I don’t think lumping all the “No” voters into a single basket labeled “haters” is fair or productive. It’s not going to change the vote, and it’s probably just going to piss off some people who might have become allies later on. (Provided that people who would be pissed off by this even read this blog or similar liberal online outlets doing the same thing. We all live in bubbles, after all.) But I’ve already covered this lumping part, so let’s move on.

        Yeah, I’m pretty sure I didn’t give a fuck then and I still don’t. So let’s.

        PS. You’ve since indicated that you didn’t mean to lump all anti-LGBT people together, but here, to me, with regards to the “No” voters, it certainly read like that. Voting “No” obviously does lump those voters together in a very concrete way, and I get that this is the crux of your argument, but again, for me, it’s more than just the final act.

        They are essentially all in a lump, though. They’re a group of people who are sufficiently opposed to same-sex marriage that they will go to the not-inconsiderable effort of responding to a postal survey to get their opinion into the statistics. That’s the lump.

        That’s more than enough to justify my act of lumping. What I’m not ascribing to the lump is any sort of motivation or reasoning. I’m sure that shit’s all over the map.

        I’m not telling you to accept the reasons people have for voting “No”. I’m absolutely not telling you to do anything. But I am contesting your ready dismissal of the fact that people have reasons to vote “No” and that those reasons could be other than hate.

        No, for the here-and-now of voting on the poll, understanding those reasons makes no difference. But now I’m just repeating myself. See above.

        You’re repeating yourself really poorly. Saying “I think my original viewpoint is right, but I admit it’s irrelevant to this situation, but I think my original viewpoint is right” is pointless. You need to just retract your irrelevant viewpoint.

        Their ignorance and stupidity doesn’t change reality. Except when they check that “No” box and make a conscious effort to deny the rights of their fellow citizens. That might just do it.

        You clearly have way more confidence in objective reality and absolute moral values than I do.

        This is a pretty simple matter of legal rights. You don’t get much more clear-cut than a Yes/No question about whether or not someone gets granted legal rights. It’s almost custom-made for thought experiments.

        You judge your stance on same-sex marriage to be morally and ethically superior to that of the “No” voters because your stance grants rather than denies equal rights. I obviously agree with your judgement. The “No” voters equally obviously disagree with that judgement, because they do not see LGBT people as their equals in this issue, for whatever reasons. And these judgements drive our actions. So I think our subjective perspectives very much shape reality.

        And they are wrong. The “No” voters are wrong.

        Even though it’s ultimately your actions that define your impact on the world around, I just cannot separate those actions from the mind that drives them.

        That’s a pretty convenient inability you have there, when it allows you to criticise those who are criticising poor actual behaviour.

        No, you fucking own that cynicism, it’s yours. Hard-earned with thousands and thousands of words of “I agree with you 99% but Imma let this 1% detail ruin my entire worldview”.

        But I get that you’re here focusing very squarely on the physical act of voting. Clearly I just cannot give it that same tight focus.

        Then your comments here continue to not be relevant.

        I want there to be absolutely no misunderstanding as to where I stand, and stood, on this issue.

        You’re on the record too.

        And I’m happy to be. Everything I’ve said here I’ve said honestly by following what I think and feel to be true. (I can’t account for all misreadings and misinterpretations, though.)

        In this debate, the misinterpretations and misreadings have been entirely on your side and your criticism of the “No” lobby and homophobes has been massively overshadowed by your criticism of the outspoken “Yes”.

        That was a fuck up. Especially considering your initial claim that I was the one contributing to the downfall of human civilisation. Again, I’ll stop mentioning that and let your withdrawal and apology stand just as soon as you stop pulling that thread.

        I’m hating bigoted morons. The bigoted morons are hating people who love people of the same sex.

        If only it was that simple.

        Good news. It’s that fucking simple, dreameling.

        By now it should be obvious that we just differ on this. (Although, seeing as how you’ve since stated that you don’t actually hate the “No” voters — see below — perhaps we don’t differ quite that much, after all.)

        If you don’t think it’s that simple, we differ. And I’m proud to be on the right side of that divide.

        You’re saying that anything other than outright dismissal is, what, against the “party line”?

        In the case of a Yes/No question? Correct. Get on the right side of history and stop trying to excuse the ones on the wrong side. When we’ve won, and we have a chance to study the losers’ psychology in an attempt to integrate their loser arses into modern society, we might need your insights then. Here and now, they’re mildly interesting but mostly irrelevant and counter-productive.

        This is a microcosm of why the haters and conservatives always win. Because the open-minded lovers can’t stop arguing with each other, and all the pieces of shit need to do is clump up and stink.

        I don’t hate them. I’d have to care about them and their pissweak backward opinions to hate them. But they’re actively making Australia a shittier place, so I can’t say I’m fond of the cunts.

        Well. OK. You don’t hate them. Despite saying you do.

        When did I say I do?

        Incidentally, I don’t have a problem with Andy being prejudiced against the “No” voters. I am.

        Good. And kudos to you for being able to rise above it. But you have the luxury of being able to do so, safely. As do I. I don’t feel it’s right to use that luxury the way you are, however.

        By which you mean, I imagine, to excuse the “No” voters by not vilifying them and by allowing that they have their reasons (and that it would be useful to understand what they are and why they have them)? I hope I put this to rest above, and it should go with without saying that I don’t agree with this reading.

        What, by the way, did you think I should do with this luxury of distance?

        Fucking anything, dreameling. Because right now you’re doing nothing. A careful bit of condemnation always appended with a “but”. A lot of sitting around and picking-apart of your ostensible allies’ points, while providing at best a vague “in the future we can use the opposition’s motives to help them not perform acts of oppression” game-plan. It amounts to nothing and you’re worthier than that.

        As for me, I’m not doing a heck of a lot either. If I’d been better informed or more invested, I could at least have taken part in the survey. That time is past.

        I will, however, use what minimal platforms are available to me, and what skill and tenacity I have as a writer and commentator, to speak out against people I think are making my world a shittier place. Loudly, and crudely, and leaving no doubt as to my point of view.

        And that shouldn’t include you. But I have an excellent class of people in my bubble, what can I say?

        I imagined that people who can’t quite decide whether they like the idea of same-sex couples marrying would vote “Maybe”. My point here was to illustrate the idea that people’s reasons for voting one way or the other are not binary. (But, yeah, since the vote is voluntary, this is non-point in a practical sense.)

        Correct.

        Do you actually want me to tell you what I think you should have written in response to this blog post?

        Yes. I’m curious. (I can probably guess some of it, but I want to see. Unless you just wanted me to like the post and not write anything. That would be anticlimactic.)

        Give me an anticlimax over an argument with someone who’s meant to be on my side any day.

        But alright.

        What you should have said:

        Man, yeah, that’s fucked up. I hope the “Yes” side wins solidly and the government grows a pair and makes marriage equality a law immediately without further cowardice. And the way it’s brought the haters out of the woodwork is pure Trump.

        Now, whether or not all those “No” voters are doing it because they really hate LBGTs, I guess it’s irrelevant right now because it’s a Yes/No vote so there’s no place for motivations and nuance. Again, that’s the government’s bad. So I repeat, I hope the “No” side loses hard. However, in the future (because as we’ve seen in Europe and the US, these issues don’t just go away with a vote), maybe Australia can look at the issues the “No” side raised, some of the opinions and attitudes that have been given a voice here, and use them to smooth away fear and ignorance, and make things work better?

        None of which can start to happen until the law is passed and the immediate toxic atmosphere is cleared away, of course. So roll on November, please.

        Holy actual shit, dreameling. That was really reasonable, decent, rational and admirable of you, and I couldn’t agree more! Let’s tongue-kiss.

        Mmm, your beard is tickly…

        Yeah, you like that don’t you.

      • dreameling says:

        Well. OK. That felt almost like a gut punch, or like hitting a wall, and it’s been a long time since I’ve had one of those online. I think I need to process and self-reflect on this a bit, and figure out how to waste some more time. Although I think it won’t actually be a waste. I don’t like being wrong and I don’t like talking past people, but I’m starting to think that here it’s way more of the former than of the latter.

      • stchucky says:

        I certainly wouldn’t have put much effort into talking to a No voter as determined as you are, my friend. And I assume you wouldn’t have put so much effort in unless you considered it worthwhile too.

        Maybe if there’s any silver lining here, it’s this. If we can’t get our points across to each other and come around, how can we possibly expect to persuade actual homophobes? Call it target practice.

        And remember, if you ever want me to write your answers for you, the offer’s always open. Just drop a [left blank for editing] in and I’ll fill out the rest. I can’t promise not to put a hot gay bear sex scene in though.

      • dreameling says:

        Just to be on the safe side — call it managing expectations — I recommend you don’t warm up to me too much just yet. You’re almost certainly going to (continue to) be pissed off by something. It’s statistically inevitable. There’s just so much stuff here. (Although, if you cut through the noise, there’s probably only one or maybe two really pertinent points. But still.)

        To be continued.

        Btw., did I really write “package” instead of “baggage”? That’s hilarious.

      • stchucky says:

        You love the package. And I was serious about writing your response for you.

      • stchucky says:

        Only by invitation. And obviously I didn’t edit your text. You did actually say “package”.

      • dreameling says:

        Check. Didn’t think you did. Sadly, I did.

  7. Pingback: Wit and Wisdom | Hatboy's Hatstand

  8. ohilya says:

    I like the word “homomisia”, Chuck. It’s much more accurate.

    Having homophobia in the same category as agoraphobia gives lie to the legitimacy of homophobia. It’s not a phobia in the same way that acrophobia, for example, is.

    Homomisia: a strong dislike of homosexuals and homosexuality.

    Usage: Those who treat gay people poorly and are anti-gay rights are often mislabelled as having a fear, homophobia, when they really have homomisia.

    As a little aside.

    Happy to participate in/join in this conversation as an out bisexual male, if it helps you in better addressing or communicating your points.

    -i-

    • ohilya says:

      Gives lie to the legitimacy of homophobia?

      I mean to say: it gives it false legitimacy.

      Editor fail.

    • aaronthepatriot says:

      It’s really cool to learn a new term, thanks Ilya! I often find myself having to remind those who use -phobia in various contexts that it signifies an *irrational* fear, and therefore (not in this case) if the subject of the fear is such that it is NOT irrational to fear it, whatever-phobia is not a correct term.

      But here, I think we have to remember we are talking about a broad group driven by many different levels of dislike, hatred, and/or fear of homosexuals and homosexuality. Perhaps that means we can’t use any narrow term, whether “homomisia” or “homophobia”, to speak of the entire group.

      Which is pretty annoying, TBH. These are bigots…I don’t want to spend too much time figuring out the precise label for them. Oh, wait a minute, I guess we could just use “bigot”!

      • ohilya says:

        While “bigot” describes the appearance, it doesn’t satisfyingly address the underlying discomfort experienced by cis-gendered heterosexuals.

        Homomisia is a good term for monosexual queers – i.e. gays and lesbians, but it doesn’t satisfyingly integrate those who are trans, intersex, pan, and asexual, to my satisfaction.

        Queermisia is currently being debated within queer circles as being a more inclusive term, so as to more properly encompass the entirety of the non-heterosexual world.

        But if you will allow me to go into greater depth…

        I am less satisfied with the use of the word bigotry/bigot as it doesn’t talk about what’s happening on the end of the person feeling the “fear” they are feeling. Is their discomfort based around:

        1. A fear that their own sexuality will come to be questioned?
        1A. If that is the case, is that because their is something suspect about heterosexuality?

        (Hanne Blank talks about this at some length in the wonderfully educational and highly recommended text Straight: The Surprisingly Short History of Heterosexuality – see here: http://www.beacon.org/Straight-P744.aspx)

        2. Does it somehow threaten the highly ambiguous notion of masculinity?

        3. Is it simply a lack of socialised exposure, that, with time, could be softened, or come to be seen as no more strange than anything else?

        4. Is it a threat to established social hierarchy and entrenched – and oppressive – power systems?

        5. Are they simply incapable of dealing with change, as can sometimes be seen/has been a noted behaviour by what we jokingly refer to as “control freaks”? Which is to say, they actually have very frail psyches that require a rigid and structured understanding of the world and are simply psychologically *incapable* of dealing with ambiguity?

        6. Is there a sociopathic element?

        Some people cannot handle change. And find it threatening, as they feel like they will be abandoned, or left behind. And so possibly fight against it as a fundamental undermining of their perceived world order.

        Often times, I have noted an abject rejection (in the face of analysis, evidence, and fact) of that which would invite nuance and complications into the world – in particular, research such as Kinsey’s sexuality spectrum, which was later developed in greater detail by Fritz Klein in his seminal text, The Bisexual Option, which introduced a three-dimensional component to the matter (past/present/future).

        Both the straight and queer world (particularly, and unfortunately, gays and lesbians) struggle with this, as it’s been convenient to see the world as being either “you’re straight” or “you’re gay/lesbian”. It’s been framed by some researchers as a threat due to undermining social expectations and cultural dominance, as gender is performative, but mistakenly treated as a norm because that is what we are told by people who would like to maintain the status quo. Status Quo Warriors, I call them.

        Also, due to a nasty combination of toxic masculinity and sex shaming, you end up with a psychosociological molotov cocktail that’s just bound to blow at some point.

        Anyways – bed time for us over here. Hope that the above text provides some useful ideas to mull over and integrate or reject at your discretion.

      • dreameling says:

        Both “homomisia” and “queermisia” are new terms to me, too.

        While “bigot” describes the appearance, it doesn’t satisfyingly address the underlying discomfort experienced by cis-gendered heterosexuals.

        […]

        I am less satisfied with the use of the word bigotry/bigot as it doesn’t talk about what’s happening on the end of the person feeling the “fear” they are feeling.

        I agree. I may be more OK with the word itself, but — needless to say at this point — I definitely agree that simply labeling people “bigots” and dismissing what’s causing their behavior is not necessarily very helpful.

        I’d maybe add a 7th point: Is it a normalized aspect of a religious or other ideology that specifically casts homosexuality/queerness as something prohibited or negative? But I guess this could fall under point 3 or 4.

      • stchucky says:

        All excellent points, I haven’t got time right now but both Ilya and dreameling have good stuff here worth a deeper response or even a separate blog post (because I’m lazy, and the weekend approaches).

        And for the record, this is a case where I agree that the motivations and mentality of an anti-LBGT person might be worth exploring, debating, and caring about.

        A Yes / No decision of polar extremes with actual human rights on the line? No, I don’t care about the nuance of their goddamn situation then. They can suck it up, be human, and make life better for somebody. And worse for nobody. Or they can get off my planet.

      • aaronthepatriot says:

        “I definitely agree that simply labeling people “bigots” and dismissing what’s causing their behavior is not necessarily very helpful.”

        OK this is probably pointless but here goes nothing. Is anyone asserting that to “necessarily” BE “very helpful”? Has anyone here asserted that?

        No, they haven’t. So that’s a strawman, even if not placed in the path of any particular person here.

        Nor do I think that was Ilya’s point about wanting to know more, but I’ll let him answer that one if he wants.

        You know, it’s pretty condescending to keep seeing this criticism from you, given that I’ve encountered and conversed with a great many of these bigots, and tried every approach I could think of. From aggression, to understanding with calm, reasoned responses, and everything in-between. It almost NEVER works. People do not want to change. Especially conservative people. You know, it’s part of the package deal.

        So FORGIVE ME if, at least for the time being, I’ve stopped giving a flying fuck WHY they are bigots. Because bigots don’t seem to want to stop being bigots. Maybe you have nicer bigots over there in Finland, I don’t know.

        Oh and one more thing. I don’t know about YOU, but for ME, if someone is calling me something I absolutely do NOT want to be (like, for example, “bigot”, or “racist”, or “asshole”), it doesn’t really MATTER who that person is or what I think of them. It will cause me introspection because, again, I don’t want to be any of those things.

        So, maybe it’s helpful to a bigot or maybe it isn’t, to be called what he/she is, but it would cause ME to think about my position. Because I’m a decent human being who wants to improve the world around me. As I’m sure we all do, we liberals.

      • aaronthepatriot says:

        Very interesting and good points, and I definitely enjoyed your going into depth on the issue, Ilya. And I’m afraid my current work crises won’t allow me to enjoin this discussion at that deeper level, certainly not in the way it deserves based on what you’ve written. But I echo what Hatboy wrote just there, which I see conveniently discusses the “deeper response” issue as well.

        This was my main point, I just wanted to reiterate:
        “I am less satisfied with the use of the word bigotry/bigot as it doesn’t talk about what’s happening on the end of the person feeling the “fear” they are feeling. Is their discomfort based around:”

        Oh, to be sure. I’m dissatisfied in the same way that a clear racist tries to force me not to call him a racist because “x is not a race”, and the like. I really do want to know what is going on in their head that’s causing the bigotry.

        I’m simply saying we cannot know. Not for all of these. You’d have to interview each person, I think.

        Some of them really do seem to have homophobia, as in a truly irrational fear of homosexuals or homosexuality, though I do agree that label doesn’t fit them all, or even perhaps most.

        There are those–some American politicians and preachers I’ve heard say basically what I’m about to write here–who worry that they won’t be able to resist their OWN desires towards homosexual behavior if it’s normalized or if they don’t denounce it with every fiber of their being. That, I think, might make it a phobia for them. Seems irrational to me.

        Now, as to why they are like that, we could have an entirely separate discussion. But the point is, you need some insights into each person if you’re going to correctly apply any term other than “bigot”. Or similar terms that only more English-skilled persons than I may know.

  9. Pingback: Queermisia | Hatboy's Hatstand

  10. ohilya says:

    There is a whole, longer, and possibly interesting story around this whole topic, Aaron, that makes it all the more complicated – which is to say, reflective of life.

    I’ll try to produce a write-up of it, possibly tomorrow if time allows (I’ve spent this weekend catching up on sleep after getting slightly sick, trying to finish my reread of The Hobbit, which I finally did this evening – fuck that is one *busy* book! No wonder it took three moves to do it justice!).

    Maybe if I’m lucky, Chucky will even let me produce a post to put up? (I don’t have the kind of level of methodical consistency that he does, and he has two kids, a mortgage, a full-time job, a wife, friends, etc.! Don’t know how that champion of a guy does it. I really don’t.)

    -i-

    • aaronthepatriot says:

      Yes, those sorts of other constraints are quite familiar to me as well ;D

      Sure, I’d be interested to see your story and further thoughts if you have the time. Of course this is complicated and challenging…never think my statements imply I believe otherwise. And yet, I’ve seen studies (and experienced reality) that changing a person in these ways is quite difficult. I don’t have time to go into that myself but I am sure you already know what I have to say on that, it’s understandable to anyone who has tried!

    • stchucky says:

      You write it up, I’ll make it a guest blog post.

  11. aaronthepatriot says:

    Some additional perspective for fence-sitters:

    Here in the US, not only peaceful, legal protestors are being arrested, but also the left-wing media that covers the peaceful protestors. And that is ILLEGAL. We have freedom of the press in Uhhmerica.

    Except to the fascists in charge now, that is. Except to the right-wing who thinks only THEIR press should be free.

    Key quote in here “Do not face me again [you’re resisting arrest]” – cop preparing to pepper spray a reporter just asking what the arrest is FOR.

    WAKE UP. PLEASE. Or at least don’t HINDER those who are awake.

  12. aaronthepatriot says:

    “You’re going to have to elaborate on that. I get that my point about your relationship with Australia offended you, and I’m sorry about that, but you lost me at “Not Homophobic Butt”. If you’re reading homophobia/homomisia into my replies, we have a critical failure of communication and expectations.”

    No. Jesus, man. I know you’re busy, and I know you did a LOT of work here, but wow. He’s just saying you are defending the “no” voters so much and so strongly that you recognized the need for a disclaimer *just like* racists say “I’m not racist but” and so on.

    “This is not so much about a reasonable explanation as just an explanation. Plus, I’m sure that viewpoint would be perfectly reasonable for our hypothetical Christian. And while I get the sentiment of judging that viewpoint as despicable, it’s not about how we see it, but how the person holding the perspective sees it. I’m pretty sure they would not judge their own view of the world as despicable or hateful.”

    Holy shit! No, just no! Here is a place where I get to fulfill Godwin’s Law without criticism against that tactic, because it perfectly illustrates how absurd your statement is!

    I’m pretty fucking sure that Hitler didn’t judge his view of the world as despicable. Hateful, who knows, but most Nazis then and now sure won’t ADMIT they’re driven by hate.

    Are you really telling me that’s what matters? That a despicable, hateful person doesn’t THINK they’re being despicable or hateful? To hell with that. Since when does a person’s own judgment of their own noble motives carry so much weight? We’re all biased genetically to believe in ourselves. FFS.

    Based on the rest of what you wrote, which indicates you haven’t moved a MILLIMETER in your approach to this through all of what we’ve written, I highly suggest something:

    Do not reply to my comments on this. Seriously. I’m not reading anything more you have to write on this. You’re focusing on the wrong people. We’re the good guys here. And no, it doesn’t FUCKING MATTER that the other side thinks THEY are. They’re wrong. You know it and so do we. And we’re tired of it.

    • dreameling says:

      Well, just a quick one, then:

      I can only conclude that you didn’t actually read the rest of what I wrote, or you read it but didn’t bother to process it.

      (It also seems to me that, in your mind, you’ve cast the average “No” voter in Australia as a member of a far-right extremist group. Which is a very different image from the one I have. If you’re right, then there can’t possibly be that many “No” voters, since I’m guessing far-right extremists are a minority in Australia. (Yes, I’m repeating myself here.))

  13. Pingback: Once more with LBGT feeling | Hatboy's Hatstand

  14. dreameling says:

    OK. So, I gave your previous reply time to sink in, I took a long metaphorical breath, and I reread your original post and all our comments since then in this thread in one go. I tried to look at it all with as fresh a pair of eyes as possible. (I’ve obviously been returning to the post and our comments repeatedly over the past few weeks, but not quite like this.) And this was my main takeaway:

    My opening reply was a dick move.

    I didn’t intend it as a dick move, I thought I was addressing something relevant, and I thought I was entitled to it, but it was basically just a derail. It was inconsiderate, too much ego, a failure of empathy. I don’t just regret the You & Australia aside or the overkill drama of “destroy the world”. I regret the whole thing of derailing the discussion into a debate about your attitude towards the “No” voters, which I misread from the beginning. I’m ashamed by it, and I have to say I fucking hate the feeling.

    I also fundamentally misjudged your passion for this issue. I didn’t understand how deep it went. And it’s not just that you’re really passionate about getting same-sex marriage legalized in Australia, because that at least is an attitude I can relate to. Where I really went wrong was fundamentally misunderstanding your relationship with Australia. I don’t think I still fully understand it, not in the “I know how you feel” way. You’ve spelled it out a few times already how angry, embarrassed, and ashamed the Australian government makes you feel, but clearly I didn’t get it. I know I’ve already touched on this, but that was in the context of the You & Australia aside [1]. I think that not understanding your attitude towards Australia (and not having a proper grasp of what’s going on there) is what really made me misread the post. And then I went off to argue with someone who didn’t really exist and about a topic that was beside the point.

    [1] I suspect I’m still getting it wrong by thinking of that opening comment about you and Australia as an “aside”. I wrote it as a side note, thinking it was a separate or different-order thing to the main discussion, but it probably went to your core.

    Rereading the post now, and knowing that you often use angry and hyperbolic language online, it’s perfectly consistent with Chucky. It’s a passionate and appropriate declaration of support for the “Yes” voters. I shouldn’t have had a problem with it, certainly not with the rhetoric of all things.

    That’s a really long-winded way of saying: I apologize for the dick move, and for keeping it going.

    Starting with your suggestion, but adding more me into it, here’s how I should’ve replied:

    Man, yeah, that’s fucked up. I hope the “Yes” side wins by a wide margin and the government then does the non-cowardly thing and immediately legalizes same-sex marriage. And I agree, this never should’ve been a public vote, it’s just going to divide people even more.

    I don’t think that all the “No” voters literally hate LGBT people. I’m sure there are many reasons why someone would vote “No” and those reasons are valid for them. But the law should be the same for everyone. Equal rights. If someone can’t get onboard with that because of some prejudice, belief, dislike, or hate they harbor, that’s on them. (But if we want the law to stick and attitudes to truly change, we should probably look into those reasons at some point.)

    And I think that’s really it. I could and probably should end this reply here. But, like you said, we’ve already come this far, and you did reply at length to a lot of points, which the above tl;dr probably doesn’t do full justice to. And stopping here would just be too easy.

    But I said I’d reply. I also get that some of my points are probably redundant by now, but I nonetheless tried to do justice to the original comments and to the discussion at that point in time.

    I’d prefer it if the discussion actually evolved and went somewhere, so that’s what I’m aiming for. I’ve been getting the strong impression that you, dreameling, have no intention of taking on any points or changing your views, which is distressing considering a) how often I have accepted the relevance and rationale of your arguments in the past[1] and b) how many times in this discussion you’ve admitted your comments were out of line, based on misassumptions, and have been worthy of withdrawal and apology.

    I’d like to think I’ve taken on a few points since you wrote that. But I admit that I don’t change my views easily. Certainly not ones that go to core of how I think about people and the world. Plus, if you approach me with the clear intent of changing my views, my brain will resist. (This is pretty much true for everyone, though.) I also hate being wrong and admitting (especially to myself) when I’ve been wrong. So there’s that.

    But perhaps you can return to this after you’ve gone through the whole reply.

    [1] Maybe that’s the problem, you’ve been lulled into the idea that it’s all one way because you’re basically finished as a psychological and sociocultural entity. I want to believe that this is not the case, because I don’t think you’re that unreasonable.

    I think there’s some truth to that, if I read you right. There are certain ideas and views I spent a lot of time thinking about when I was younger, eventually arrived at interpretations and solutions that made a kind of final sense to me, and then mostly stuck with them. I’m sure some have changed over the years on their own, but there’s a lot I haven’t actively revisited to check if it still makes sense. I just take it as a given. I know this reads hopelessly abstract, but I don’t want to create yet another tangent, and the point is basically that a big-ass portion of my personal philosophy and conceptual toolbox for dealing with the world got established 1-2 decades ago.

    Or maybe you meant something else. Anyways, I definitely feel like I’m less actively developing as “a psychological and sociocultural entity” now than I was in my 20s or even early 30s.

    Your original Not Homophobic Butt:

    I’m for marriage equality. I think same-sex couples should have the same legally-binding rights as man-woman couples. The idea that marriage can only be between a man and a woman is just wrong. To me, the man/woman view is a useless relic of religion-driven conservatism. (In related news, I also find religions useless in a rationalist, science-driven world. If only we fully lived in such a world. Wearing my bias on my sleeve here.)

    See, right off the bat, you seem to be aware that the position in the argument you’re about to adopt will call your actual position into question, hence the disclaimer. Whether it actually means you’re a closet homophobe (I’m 100% certain you’re not), or just means you’re contemplating an ill-advised Devil’s Advocacy for the purposes of debate (95% certain you were), well. That’s what happened. And you went on to say what you did. Which blew up because you massively misjudged how strongly I (and Aaron, and Ilya) felt about this. But anyway.

    My original reply was addressed to you, but the disclaimer was really for anyone else who might be reading. I figured you already knew all that about me. But since a lot of people seem to have trouble with accepting that you can examine and acknowledge a point of view without also subscribing to it, I thought the disclaimer was called for. It’s not the most elegant solution, and I wish I hadn’t included it, especially the really pretentious final sentence, but that’s all moot now. Besides, it’s not like the disclaimer was the reason my reply blew up.

    And even though a disclaimer like that might be a common rhetorical diversion tactic, it can still also be just an honest disclaimer.

    I didn’t think I was playing the devil’s advocate, since I didn’t actually argue from the “No” voter’s perspective, but that’s still probably a fair association. I did bring that perspective into play.

    The misapprehension here is exactly the one the “deep-No” side are pressing with their awful agenda: That marriage must equal religious services. They’re bitching about priests being forced to perform gay wedding ceremonies, and schools being shut down because they don’t teach the flamboyantly gender-nonbinary and highly graphic version of sex education the new “law” is going to usher in. It’s all based in kneejerk panic. None of it is going to happen. Churches still get to be stodgy and sexist and homophobic. It’s fine.

    But yes, the truth is, as we established right off the bat, that a lot of the actual objection is faith-based. “You can have civil unions, just keep your hands off marriage.” I quote literally from one famous Australian pundit.

    The problem is, marriage and civil union are not just different in terms of faith. Australia can do same-sex civil unions. Marriage is a legal contract and if you don’t have the right to it, then your life partner has no legal standing in the event of your death. I’m going to leave it to Ilya to explain this better because I’m pretty sure you and I and all the other ignorant people on both sides of this issue are talking at cross-purposes.

    I’m not entirely sure how that follows from the disclaimer point, and I can’t tell if you’re objecting to something specific I said, but the situation you’re describing sounds pretty similar to the one we had/have in Finland. I honestly don’t know if the sex education thing was ever a point of opposition here, but the faith-based view of marriage as a union naturally between a man and woman was a key point (even though marriage in Finland hasn’t actually required a religious service for who knows how long). People were also afraid that the law would force churches to perform gay weddings (which it doesn’t).

    The same-sex civil unions (“rekisteröity parisuhde”) we used to have in Finland also granted somewhat fewer rights to the couples (although I admit that I had no idea to what extent until just now when I looked it up).

    You know what you should have led with, and stuck with? This:

    The “No” voters should be criticized for their views. I think their viewpoint is the wrong one, so I’m pretty much critical of them by default.

    This is the most important thing you could have said, and it got lost even within its own paragraph by the rest of the stuff you say.

    Also, you’ve said basically nothing to criticise them, except to say “I’m critical of them.”

    What I should’ve led with and stuck with was not misread you and not go off on an inappropriate tangent. Then I could’ve focused on the important thing. Of course, that’s not what I did, so therefore criticizing the “No” voters wasn’t really my focus.

    But that doesn’t mean that (a) I can’t also accept that they have their reasons, which surely cast me in the wrong in their eyes,

    – which doesn’t matter because they are actually trying to deny people in their society equal rights, so they’re wrong –

    Again, the point is that it matters to them, and while understanding their reasons may not help with the here and now of the vote, which we agree on, I’m not going to stop being aware of that they have those reasons, no matter how uninformed, stupid, hateful, or whatever they are. We can run circles around this point of view issue all day, but I think we just differ in this.

    and that (b) I can’t criticize people on my side for what I think is not a fair or useful way to respond.

    – which I’m pretty sure we’ve covered. Your judgement of unfairness was flawed based on a misinterpretation of my position and a reaction to my vehemence. And your judgement of non-usefulness was pointless because you a) refused to accept that I was talking about this survey case rather than the wider LBGT rights debate, and b) failed to provide actual useful alternatives.

    Agreed. You I misread, that’s clear to me now, and that pretty much pulls the rug from under my whole derail (which, if we’re being fair, would’ve been a derail even if I hadn’t misread you, since even then I should’ve just backed up my friend). And I did indeed expand the scope beyond what you intended, because I thought you were hating the “No” voters, which suggested that you were hating the anti-LGBT demographic in Australia, which made me think that I could generalize.

    As to useful alternatives, if you’re talking about just the vote, I don’t think there’s that much you can do to sway people who’ve already decided to vote “No”. I suspect both the “No” and “Yes” stances trace back to beliefs and views that just won’t change in a few weeks or months. However, I do think being polite instead of crude is usually the safer and more future-proof option with people. I’m not a fan of angry rhetoric and excessive cursing when trying to make a point, much less when trying to convince someone they’re wrong. But polite or crude, I don’t think it would make much of a difference now.

    If you’re talking about beyond the vote, in the general context of changing negative attitudes towards LGBT people, which is where my mind was, well, I was gearing up to talk about this with Aaron, but that got nipped in the bud. We can discuss it here and now, if you want, but it would be a continue of a tangent that’s not really related to your original post. (I’m not sure I have that much to offer here, though, since my anecdotes are few, and it would mostly be a theoretical discussion for me, but it might be interesting to compare notes on what we think works and what doesn’t.)

    So, duly noted. But pointlessly overshadows your actual position, to the point where I only believe it’s your actual position because I know you in person and know you’re a decent guy.

    See, that’s what the disclaimer was for. As to this tangent of a debate that I manufactured, I’m pretty sure my position there was clear, even if I was ultimately arguing against a figment of my imagination.

    Now, you also said:

    I’m pretty sure the “No” voters are not bad or hateful people. At least no more or less so than the “Yes” voters.

    And I’m pretty sure the “No” voters aren’t all hateful either. A lot of them are just scared and ignorant. But no more or less so than “Yes” voters? You’re categorically wrong, and this is exactly why your “argument” reminded us so strongly of your earlier “I don’t like the far right. But I don’t like the liberal far left either, especially the US version that’s gone rabid in deciding what you can and cannot say in the public sphere, what’s safe and what’s not (see US campuses).”

    I think this ultimately comes down to what we see when we picture the opposition in our minds. When I picture a “No” voter — and I admit that I’m very much generalizing this to an anti-LGBT person in Finland, since I don’t actually know that many Australians — I see a regular middle-aged to elderly man or woman, almost certainly religious to some extent, brought up in a world where homosexuality was something unnatural or filthy or just not OK in some way. Basically, I’m seeing any number of my own relatives, a few personal friends, more than a few friends of the family, old neighbours, former colleagues, churchgoers, a big portion of the baby boomers. I don’t see these people as more “bad or hateful” than those relatives, friends, neighbours, and colleagues who I know would vote “Yes”, if the same vote was put to them, and who I see when I imagine a “Yes” voter (in addition to myself).

    Now, this “No” voter picture could very well be absolutely wrong in Australia’s context. I’ve already explained the reasons why I think it’s not unreasonable to compare Australians and Finns, but I could be wrong. Whatever you picture obviously hinges on what you’ve personally experienced and how informed you are.

    What do you picture?

    It would actually be really interesting to know what your father and Ilya, for example, see when they think about the “No” voters. What’s their baseline?

    I imagine that by “categorically wrong” you mean that since the “No” voters actively want to deny equal marriage rights to a portion of the population, they are categorically worse people than the “Yes” voters, who want to grant those rights? If so, I guess if you just look at their same-sex marriage attitude and corresponding voting action, then that’s logically so. But people aren’t defined by a single attitude, and I certainly can’t judge my imagined “No” voter just by this one attitude, so I’m going to have to disagree.

    You also seem to be thinking about the horseshoe theory and whatever fallacies apply to it, and that I’m equating extremists on the right with those on the left in the context of this discussion. You can just drop that. I don’t see the average “No” voter occupying the far-right, although, as already discussed, the far-right in Australia is bound to be almost exclusively “No” voters.

    This is exactly the rhetoric being used in the case of this survey as well. The “No” campaigners are billing it as the end of free speech and the end of civilisation as we know it, and I’m not even exaggerating. And every case of the “liberal” side doing bad things in service of their agenda is blown massively out of proportion by the media (27 white supremacy horror stories, 28 antifa horror stories), if not made up entirely.

    Well, that’s fucked-up rhetoric and media coverage. But, tangent or not, that’s not what I was doing here. I wasn’t defending the “No” side by attacking the “Yes” side. I wasn’t even defending the “No” side or attacking the “Yes” side. That would be a gross generalization and exaggeration of my criticizing the hate and vilification I read into your response to the “No” voters. (Which I was wrong about.) I think you were bringing some of your own baggage into this from seeing a lot of stuff like that in the media, and from reading a couple of vague comments by me in earlier threads (which, I admit, were off).

    Your concern is based in ignorance.

    For sure. Like I said, I’m less concerned about the more extreme or regressive elements of the left in the West now than I was a few months back. But I still don’t like them. I don’t like Antifa, I don’t like anarchists, I don’t like the hypersensitive political correctness activists, and I don’t like social justice warriors. I guess these could eventually develop into something way nastier than what they are now, but there’s obviously no comparison to, for example, Neo-Nazis or the KKK. In short, I dislike the far right more. (I don’t even know if there actually is a corresponding “far left” in the West at the moment. I confess ignorance.)

    But then, you also quite openly said “No, I’m not going to change my mind, so obviously I think I’m in the right.” So I really do wonder just how much point there is to any of this.

    You’re actually reading that wrong. But that’s my fault, because that was just bad editing on my part. Here’s the full context:

    What they’re not is on my side in this issue. But I’d like them to be. And the only way I see that happening is by communicating with them. Convincingly. Politely. Somehow. Maybe help them see gay people as normal everyday people. Somehow. But certainly not by telling them to fuck off. Because they’re not fucking going anywhere. (The one group I’m excluding from this communication is the true extremists. The white supremacists, the Neo-Nazis, the religious fundamentalists, the zealots. I don’t want to talk to them.)

    Alternatively, I’ll just wait them out, and hope that they don’t breed too much. Or if they do, that the generational shifts and developments in public consciousness and cultural norms continue to favor my liberal side and rub off on those kids.

    The fuck I know.

    (No, I’m not going to change my mind, so obviously I think I’m in the right.)

    What I meant by that last bit was that I wasn’t going to change my mind and join the “No” side instead. I’m expecting them to join my side, the right side. But, at least in principle, it’s hypocritical to expect that people will come around to agreeing with you when you’ve no intention of coming around to agreeing with them. I’m kind of just acknowledging and dismissing that.

    So, that was not a statement about me not budging from my position in this discussion with you. That was a statement to a hypothetical “No” voter who might be reading this discussion and call me on my hypocrisy. (Arguably a completely pointless statement on this blog.)

    Do you see how your comments have stacked up here? I’m trying my best to make some sort of compromise but it seems like you’re not willing to budge from your “I agree with you completely but you’re being really mean and it’s making things worse” position. Fuck that position, it’s shit. Get off it.

    I think I’m mostly off it now. But since we might still be misreading with baggage and talking past one another, I’ll let you be the judge.

    The reason your starting assumption about my relationship with Australia made things difficult from the beginning was because you put it in your starting disclaimer, setting the scene as “dreameling, Lone Voice Of Reason, Debates Shouty Anti-Patriot.” And you broadened the scope of my vitriolic post to the entire country and all its people, when I was criticising the government and the “No” lobby specifically.

    That’s probably fair. I can see how you’d get that impression. That’s not what I had in my mind, of course, at least not on the conscious side, and, as already stated, I do not consider you anti-patriotic.

    In short, your misapprehension tainted your entire argument and attempted, consciously or otherwise, to set me up for your claims that I’m being unreasonable. Consider yourself corrected.

    I do.

    And as we already said about your Not Homophobic Butt – of course I’m not reading actual queermisia into your position. But it’s easier to find cases of you defending the “No” lobby than it is to find cases of you stating your actual position (see above, where I sifted through with a fine goddamn toothed comb). And that should be a warning sign to you that your just-for-the-sake-of-argument is bad.

    I’ve now commented on this a few times, but I’m just gonna repeat it, since you keep coming back to it: I did not defend the “No” side. That would’ve required me to take their side against you, to argue for the “No” vote, and that I did not do. Maybe you feel that this is what I did because I criticized/attacked you instead of them, or because I argued in defense of the simple fact that they too have their reasons and that those reason matter to them, or simply because I afforded them attention. But not-attacking is not the same thing as defending.

    Also, my focus was broadly on the “No” voters, not specifically on the “No” lobby. I don’t know enough about Australian politics to imagine what that lobby even looks like. Which is exactly where I went wrong with reading your post: generalizing from the government and the “No” lobby to the “No” voters and anti-LGBT people. So don’t you be misreading the former into my response now.

    We obviously agree on the “Yes” vote, which I thought was the main issue, so I’m guessing the issue where we’re in full disagreement here is how to view and deal with the “No” voters, right?

    Correct.

    Oh, and this wasn’t part of the original scope, so it was a manufactured disagreement on your part.

    Yes, it was.

    Patriotism schmatriotism, if criticism of a nation and its government is this important to you, you should never have put my “vitriol” out on centre stage and used it as a basis (consciously or otherwise) for arguing that I should be more reasonable and stop contributing to “the sort of emotionally-charged black-and-white thinking that’s gonna destroy the world.”

    I know, you already withdrew and apologised for that but it has continued to be the backbone of your argument, so fuck your argument.

    We are (or were) on slightly different pages here. I apologized for my comment about your attitude towards Australia and its government, and for my excessive rhetoric. I did not apologize for my misreading of your attitude toward the “No” voters — the people, not the government — because I didn’t fully see the misreading yet, although I think I was already at least seeing that you didn’t actually hate them. The latter was the backbone of my argument, not the former. The latter turned out to be shit, too, because I misread your attitude — I thought you were dismissing them as haters and hating them back — and fucked up your scope in the process. But I never conceived of your attitude towards the “No” voters to be a government criticism issue, since I wasn’t thinking about the government. The You & Australia bit was literally a generic aside for me.

    In short, I’m prideful enough to take offense at the idea that I would apologize for an action and still carry on with said action.

    But, yeah, the “hating the haters” argument against you was ultimately wrong, so fuck it.

    No, I do think I get how for you the “No” vote crystallizes into this premeditated physical act of denying a group of people the same rights the majority already enjoy.

    See, you fuck this whole rhetorical viewpoint up by adding “for you”. This is not a thing that’s just in my head. This is a real thing that is actually happening in the real world and it’s heartbreaking.

    Or rather an act of signaling their government to deny those rights. Regardless, the “No” voters are expending effort. For you, it’s a wilful act of hate, and also a fundamentally binary thing. Right?

    The survey is binary. I can remind you of this as many times as you need me to.

    I didn’t mean it’s just in your head. The vote’s a real thing that will affect real people. I’m not arguing that. My point was that whereas you can judge the “No” voters based simply on their action to vote “No”, without giving a damn about why they’re voting “No”, since that’s immaterial, I can’t. I don’t even want to.

    For me, I just can’t not frame the “No” vote as embedded in a point of view. Meaning it’s just not the final, absolute act, but also the beliefs, motives, and reasons that drive that act. I think we just fundamentally differ in how much we focus on that physical act of voting “No”.

    If you think there’s something, some motive or belief or point of view, that excuses a person for voting No, then … I have no words for you.

    I’m pretty sure there’s no rationale they can give that I would accept as a valid objection to granting equal rights to the LGBT people. (If someone was being coerced or threatened to vote “No” against their will, I guess that would be an excuse, but I’m assuming this isn’t a thing. Peer pressure probably is, though, but I find it harder to accept as a valid reason.) My point was, again, that I nonetheless get that they have their reasons, and I can’t just brush that off. When I picture a “No” voter in my head, I can’t just reduce that image to the act of voting.

    Like I said, we clearly look at this differently. We can probably circle around this some more, throw in some new ways to phrase the same things, but I’m seeing a dead end. That everyone has a point of view and that that’s something that should always be acknowledged is not some quick argument or rhetorical tactic for me, it’s a way of thinking about other people.

    I think the outcome of the survey will be to divide people and polarize opinions even further. (I completely agree with you that this vote should not have happened in the first place.) I hope the outcome will be to send the government a strong pro-equality message, which they will act upon.

    Yes. Again, it would have been nicer if this actual opinion of yours was easier to find amidst all the misplaced criticism.

    Yeah. I never should’ve gone off on a tangent that wasn’t about my opinion about the right vote, or that wasn’t about me just supporting your post. We agree. But I did, and the opinions I dished out within that tangent — about not dismissing the “No” voters as haters, about not hating them in return, about the importance of point of view — are still actual opinions of mine. It’s too bad I was arguing about them with the wrong person.

    But, going forward, I think understanding why people vote “No” is absolutely critical if you ever want to sway opinions, to increase LGBT acceptance cross-population. Even if the “Yes” votes win by a clear margin, and even if same-sex marriage becomes legal in Australia soon after, that’s not some magic bullet that’s going to change conservative or homophobic minds. I think the endgame should be to reduce the number of people who’d vote “No”. (But I do believe that marriage equality will help with this over time.)

    Again, correct. But this was never a point of contention in this argument, so please don’t pretend this was your point from the start.

    No, it actually was my point. Not dismissing and pissing off people who could change their minds and who could come over to my side was my point. That I’d rather have the “No” voters on my side was my point. That reasons matter was very much my point. This is pretty much the gist of the “you’re being mean and it’s not helping” angle. What this ultimately was not, though, is a point of contention, because turns out I misread you.

    I’m not telling you to accept the reasons people have for voting “No”. I’m absolutely not telling you to do anything. But I am contesting your ready dismissal of the fact that people have reasons to vote “No” and that those reasons could be other than hate.

    No, for the here-and-now of voting on the poll, understanding those reasons makes no difference. But now I’m just repeating myself. See above.

    You’re repeating yourself really poorly. Saying “I think my original viewpoint is right, but I admit it’s irrelevant to this situation, but I think my original viewpoint is right” is pointless. You need to just retract your irrelevant viewpoint.

    I hope I’ve now at least addressed the irrelevant bits.

    Even though it’s ultimately your actions that define your impact on the world around, I just cannot separate those actions from the mind that drives them.

    That’s a pretty convenient inability you have there, when it allows you to criticise those who are criticising poor actual behaviour.

    No, you fucking own that cynicism, it’s yours. Hard-earned with thousands and thousands of words of “I agree with you 99% but Imma let this 1% detail ruin my entire worldview”.

    It’s not convenient. It just is.

    Also, as general rule, I don’t see why I couldn’t criticize someone criticizing others of poor behavior, if the former is doing it in a way that I feel is not OK. I was wrong about you, and here I should’ve just fucking added my voice to the chorus, but I’m still gonna hold on to that general rule. Just because we’re on the same side doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be critical of one another, but it obviously helps if you avoid misreads and pick your battles smartly.

    And I’m happy to be. Everything I’ve said here I’ve said honestly by following what I think and feel to be true. (I can’t account for all misreadings and misinterpretations, though.)

    In this debate, the misinterpretations and misreadings have been entirely on your side and your criticism of the “No” lobby and homophobes has been massively overshadowed by your criticism of the outspoken “Yes”.

    The biggest misinterpretation/misreading at the heart of this was mine, absolutely, but I sure as hell wasn’t the only one who then followed up with personal baggage and further misreadings.

    That was a fuck up. Especially considering your initial claim that I was the one contributing to the downfall of human civilisation. Again, I’ll stop mentioning that and let your withdrawal and apology stand just as soon as you stop pulling that thread.

    It was a fuck up. Despite the fact that I’m still quibbling over some of the finer points that resulted from that initial response, my argument as a whole was a fuck up and I am sorry about coming at you like that. I can’t say that I’m not still irritated or vexed by some of your responses and turns of phrase, but that’s partly reflexive, and I can’t really blame you, since I deserved it.

    And you might be thinking that I’m still “pulling that thread” despite the even bigger apology at the beginning of this reply, but I don’t think I am. Even though I misread you, and came at you with wrong assumptions and incorrect accusations, effectively tainting my argument as a whole, I did still argue seriously within that fuck up, and some of the points still needed closure/addressing.

    You’re saying that anything other than outright dismissal is, what, against the “party line”?

    In the case of a Yes/No question? Correct. Get on the right side of history and stop trying to excuse the ones on the wrong side. When we’ve won, and we have a chance to study the losers’ psychology in an attempt to integrate their loser arses into modern society, we might need your insights then. Here and now, they’re mildly interesting but mostly irrelevant and counter-productive.

    I’d like to think I already am on the right side of history. I voted for the party whose parliament members voted unanimously to legalize same-sex marriage in Finland. I’d also vote “Yes” in the Australian vote. And if the vote is all that matters, you can’t really get more right than that.

    This is a microcosm of why the haters and conservatives always win. Because the open-minded lovers can’t stop arguing with each other, and all the pieces of shit need to do is clump up and stink.

    This particular microcosm was built on a severe misinterpretation, so I’m hoping it doesn’t actually reflect the macrocosm all that much. However, I can’t subscribe to the general idea that we should just gloss over our internal differences and stop being critical of one another, and just start focusing on winning the opposition, because while it might make winning harder, it’s also what makes us us, I think. If this a luxury I can have here in Finland, where the divide between liberals and conservatives isn’t as severe or polarized as it is in other parts of the world, then I’m happy to have that luxury.

    I don’t hate them. I’d have to care about them and their pissweak backward opinions to hate them. But they’re actively making Australia a shittier place, so I can’t say I’m fond of the cunts.

    Well. OK. You don’t hate them. Despite saying you do.

    When did I say I do?

    Well, you did say in your first reply to me: “I’m hating bigoted morons. The bigoted morons are hating people who love people of the same sex.” That seemed to confirm the hate I read into the post itself, and the hatefulness you appeared to be projecting on the other side.

    What, by the way, did you think I should do with this luxury of distance?

    Fucking anything, dreameling. Because right now you’re doing nothing. A careful bit of condemnation always appended with a “but”. A lot of sitting around and picking-apart of your ostensible allies’ points, while providing at best a vague “in the future we can use the opposition’s motives to help them not perform acts of oppression” game-plan. It amounts to nothing and you’re worthier than that.

    As for me, I’m not doing a heck of a lot either. If I’d been better informed or more invested, I could at least have taken part in the survey. That time is past.

    I will, however, use what minimal platforms are available to me, and what skill and tenacity I have as a writer and commentator, to speak out against people I think are making my world a shittier place. Loudly, and crudely, and leaving no doubt as to my point of view.

    No, I agree, I obviously could’ve spent my energies way better in this than attacking you of all people. I still don’t know why exactly I read you the way I did. I should know you — both the online and RL versions — better than that by now. (You certainly seem to be giving me the benefit of the doubt a lot.) But despite that, I should’ve just thumbed-up.

    Prejudice or aggression against LGBT people is something I see very little in my everyday life. The people I share most of my personal and professional life with are liberals or close enough, a few are bisexual or gay. I have a nice, fairly open-minded bubble. Plus, I’m not part of the LGBT community myself, so I obviously can’t see what they see in everyday life. Finally, as far as the law goes, Finland’s in a good place with LGBT rights. While I’m sure there are a lot of people, including politicians, who’d like to see those rights rolled back some, and that a not-insignificant number of Finns are anti-LGBT to some degree, I’m actually not that worried right now. Attitudes have generally gotten more progressive and accepting over the years (despite the expected pushback from more conservative folks). There’s just no comparison to the Finland of the 1980s or even the 1990s. I’m also not seeing heated opposition or hostility on a scale that worries me.

    I guess what I’m saying is that I don’t feel there’s a lot I can or need to do in Finland right now as far as LGBT rights are concerned, since there seem to be no serious threats on the national horizon [2] — the parliamentary elections in 2019 should still be interesting — and there’s nothing I can do about the rest of the world, since I can’t vote there and have no presence there. I’m also not as worried about the Finnish far right now than I was just a few years back. If you think I’ve been lulled into a false sense of security and that shit’s about to hit the fan here, enlighten me. (No sarcasm. I mean that seriously.)

    [2] The one thing I can and should do is try to enlighten people in my bubble who are anti-LGBT in some way when that stuff comes up.

    For the record, I am worried about the rise in right-wing populism and isolationist nationalism in the US and Europe, and how that might affect Finland. I am worried about Putin’s Russia. I am worried about Islamist terrorism in Europe. And I am suspicious of some elements on the liberal left (mostly outside Finland for now). I’m suspicious of extremes by default.

    Anyways, to go back, my opening reply was a dick move, and I am sorry about that. But I can’t say I’m sorry about all the stuff that came out of it.

  15. aaronthepatriot says:

    Wow. Well. As the apology was directed at Hatboy and as I don’t really have time to debate this anymore, I’ll leave that to him. However I did read all of it, and putting all the details aside, this concluding statement reinforced my concerns from before. So I’d like to at least give you a chance to rebut my thoughts on it.

    “For the record, I am worried about the rise in right-wing populism and isolationist nationalism in the US and Europe, and how that might affect Finland. I am worried about Putin’s Russia. I am worried about Islamist terrorism in Europe. And I am suspicious of some elements on the liberal left (mostly outside Finland for now). ”

    So, three issues I have with this. Before I start on them, as Putin’s Russia is tied quite closely to the first issue you list, I’m going to consider them as one issue. But either way, this list is either more of a right-wing list (Islamist terrorism in Europe and suspicion of some elements on the liberal left), than a left-wing list (the other 1-2 items), or equally right-wing and left-wing. Is this representative of your current views? You are equally finding yourself in harmony with right-wing concerns as left-wing concerns?

    Second, I’m wondering what your news sources are for the “elements of the left” and the Islamist terrorism (I’m assuming you’re saying it’s on the rise and at an alarming level, and due to spread of the culture in Europe…please correct me if I’m wrong). Because only through right-wing media do I see reasons to be concerned presented. And in nearly every case, they are debunked by left-wing media or even sometimes by mainstream media. So, what are you watching to get these concerns?

    And third, particularly the “elements on the liberal left”…of whom do you speak? The one guy who punched the Nazi Richard Spencer? The others of us who couldn’t garner enough sympathy for that Nazi to condemn punching him/them? Antifa? Liberal college students acting like babies and making life a tiny bit harder for conservatives? Who?

    Because, you know, I thought you watched those videos on Antifa’s misrepresentation (and quite possibly not even being leftist in reality) and claimed to accept the points that were made. So that’d be funny if you’re saying that, and then going right back to worrying about them anyway. So I’m sure you don’t mean that, because nearly all the media’s been lying to us about them.

    Who are you concerned about on the left? Because I think you’re wasting your valuable time with that one.

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