Saturday, June 20, 2009

Open thread: SIWOTI, fascism

Just some ramblings.

1. This is so me. I've definitely got SIWOTI syndrome. Someone Is Wrong On The Internet

2. Now, on fascism. If you are reading this and have not read this, you should. In order to cover my arse, I will explicitly state what I mean when I say fascist.
Mussolini's definition of fascism is about the aligning of corporate interests and state power. While, in principle, this also ought to be avoided, this is not a particularly stinging or accurate charge with regards to Dr Thio. If we are to take mussolini's definition seriously, most governments are Fascist. But corporatism, while producing a somewhat incentive structure, is not what Dr Thio was doing.
Another definition of fascism has to do with the state taking control of the military-industrial complex in order to put the country onto a permanent war footing. That is what mussolini did, and is a reasonable definition. It is also a serious charge to level, but against Dr. Thio, is not accurate (at least I hope not).
Her views against homosexuality and gay marriage is basically like preventing non muslims from eating non-Halaal food or even banning inter-religious or inter racial marriage, or banning divorce. If those are unconscionable impositions, so are bans on gay marriage. She is not precisely theocratic either. As she says, the views that she advances are shared by more than christians. Therefore, we cannot say clearly whether she has a specifically christian  theocratic agenda which happens to dovetail with the views of other religious ultra conservatives. However, her agenda is illegitimately authoritarian, and  in our common parlance, we like to call such authoritarianism fascist.

3. On idiocy. Since I'm on the topic, we do not lightly call people who make mistakes stupid. For example, if you are a non biologist who is a creationist, while not utterly blameless, you are not stupid. You're either ignorant, or just have a blind-spot in your thinking. It is even somewhat excusable if you only work with cells and molecules. However, if you are an ecologist in the 21st century, or a geneticist, and see the evidence every day, your intellectual prowess and acuity comes into question. It is like when someone is drinving, there is a blindspot in the mirror just behind the driver's seat. Withouit checking our blindspot, we can sort of muddle our way through even though to our destination as long as traffic is kind of low. However, if a whole section of your windscreen is blacked out, one has serious problems and cannot be remotely trusted to even get to the petrol station safely.
Similarly, how can we trust the legal arguments of Dr. Thio, when she makes such an obvious mistake about discrimination? Repealing bans on gay marriage does not impose on the religious conservatives. They are still free to do their own thing. Lawyers are supposed to know the prima facie effect a law has. She, apparently doesn't.

4. This thread is open to random comments and suggestions and anything even off topic stuff. Just dont be abusive.

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