The Insecure Critic | Gay Rights and Light Rail are My Guilty Pleasures

February 5th, 2010

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Today I let myself get upset about something that I don’t care about. I was watching The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and saw his expose of John McCain’s flagrant flip-flop on the medieval Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy that is now being debated in Congress (by the way, for a great synopsis of McCain’s “opinion” on the matter, go to PoliFact).

I’m not sure if it is the pressure from his upcoming primary challenge from local blowhard and intellectual broccoli J.D. Hayworth, or if he truly despises gay people, but McCain’s reversal of opinion on the draconian military policy — in the face of every leader of the Armed Forces asking that the ban be lifted — is at best inexplicable, and at worst inexcusable.

There’s only one problem. As a person whose political and economic philosophy is somewhere between Ludwig Von Mises and Emma Goldman, I am completely opposed to the very existence of an organized coercive force like the military. I shouldn’t be offended by a ridiculous opinion about a military that I don’t really even think should exist. Yet somehow I am. Sure, I could wrap it all up in a bow of justification by saying that I see the change in the policy as a reflection of a general change in society to be more accepting of gay people. This is precisely how I found myself so unhappy with the results of gay marriage propositions in several states like Arizona and California, and happy with the results in places like Iowa. In my deep philosophical core, I don’t believe that a coercive state should have the ability to place its imprimatur on any relationship, gay or straight, but I still see these decisions as a reflection of society’s acceptance (or lack of acceptance) of gay people.

This has turned so-called gay issues into a guilty pleasure. Not a guilty pleasure like listening to Lady Gaga with the sunroof open, but a sort of philosophical guilty pleasure — a chance to feel like I am part of a play that is taking place on a stage that I don’t even believe should exist.

I do the same intellectual tap dance every time I ride public transit. I absolutely love the convenience of getting on the train and taking it where I need to go. But, I can’t help but think that every time I get on the train, I am actually pulling a couple of dollars out of the public till in the form of subsidies from the government that are required to keep the trains running. If it were up to me in my mad Austrian world, John Galt and I would form a private company to provide fast, clean transportation through the city at a market rate. Alas, that isn’t the world I live in. Instead, I live in a world in which I get on a train that is paid for by the tax dollars of a family in Missouri trying to make a house payment on one income because a family member lost a good-paying job at a factory. Now that is an odd ethical dilemma for a single, financially OK, city-dwelling guy like me.

Call it cognitive dissonance or just the ravings of a madman, but I have somehow figured out how to live out a few guilty intellectual pleasures while maintaining my sanity, and getting to Downtown without the need to drive through the First Friday hullabaloo.

  • http://www.bondwooley.com bondwooley

    How can anybody think that any form of a communication gap in the military is a good thing?

    http://bit.ly/9YNli3

    (social satire)

    • http://chadswaney.com Chad Swaney

      I couldn’t agree more. I was laughing when the senators in opposition were going on an on about how important “trust” is. All I could think is, “if trust is so important, why do you force people to lie?”

  • http://saint-rebel.com strebel

    Dont forget…

    Torture is McCains issue. He has the busted arms and all. So he was Anti torture right up until.. wait for.. 2004 when within the span of a week that included a closed door meeting with Cheney and GW he was suddenly in support of “enhanced interrogation”.. Basically Cheney Co. agreed to back McCain in the 2008 election if he support torture.. effin Sell out.

    Anyone remember McCain-Feingold? Campaign finance law? Again McCain’s signature issue.. where does he stand on Citizens United that basically allows Big Corp to spend unlimited $ on campaigns..

    “I am disappointed by the decision of the Supreme Court and the lifting of the limits on corporate and union contributions. However, it appears that key aspects of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA), including the ban on soft money contributions, remain intact.”

    nice response.. this is his SIGNATURE issue.. and he says he is “disappointed”. Dude is a spineless fool.

    Anyone for Term limits for congress? It used to be called public service.. now it is a career.

    • http://chadswaney.com Chad Swaney

      Honestly , I wish that legislative bans on “soft money” would have the desired effect, but I believe, based on human nature, that the peddlers of influence will always weasel their way into the arms of the lawmakers. To me, a better solution would be to severely limit the overall size and scope of government, so that the legislature would have less to auction off to the highest bidder.

  • Sally Strebel

    I use to like McCain but my opinion changed as he had his eyes on the presidential prize for five reasons. One, the flip flop of the torture issue. Two, the fact that he was tortured. I feel for the guy but that much damage must leave some psychological scars. Three, I met a few people from the air force base in Arizona who did not know each other but claimed that McCain is not for the good of the military. They met him personally. Four, his temper. Five, he takes his ego more seriously than the good of the American people. He’s now the leader of a gang who backs him but he doesn’t have the spine to do what’s right or unpopular.

    • http://chadswaney.com Chad Swaney

      I agree on the ego issue. I honestly have trouble believing that when he and Cindy and Meghan sit down at home, that he is so virulently homophobic, or that he takes such silly views on torture, given his history. I think that he is just scared to death of losing to the sportscaster.

  • http://downtowntphoenixjournal.com Tyler Hurst

    Hey, I listen to Lady Gaga with the top down. In fact, I listen to Lady Gaga with my top off.

    Also, marriage itself shouldn’t be a government affair.