The Clare Spark Blog

June 27, 2015

Gay marriage and what “liberty” signifies

Mediaite sign pro-gay marriage

Mediaite sign pro-gay marriage

The SCOTUS decision legalizing gay marriage throughout all the states, despite voter opposition in many instances, has aroused furious debate, including the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal, which is semi-hysterical in nature. This blog situates the SCOTUS decision within the culture wars, and argues that “liberty” and “freedom” are terms that do not invoke a common meaning between factions.

I will not go into the mixed motives that inform defenses of both heterosexual marriage and same-sex marriages (androgyny; misogyny; resentment of male power; defense of, or opposition to, state’s rights; deference to ancestors; monogamy; bisexuality; hyper-masculinity; to mention only a few factors).

Some social conservatives, not content with the religious pluralism inherent in the separation of Church and State, may wish to impose their beliefs on others. Already some comments suggest that “democratic debate,” not decrees from Big Government under pressure from a particular interest group, should have decided the issue, as if social conservatives would suddenly relinquish their belief systems in recognition of rational argument, or similarly would abandon their beliefs in the slippery slope toward perdition (if gay marriage is okay, what is next: polygamy? pedophilia? bestiality? children of gay parents diverted from heterosexual into gay relationships?)

I have argued before that there is no reconciliation possible between libertarians and social conservatives through “democratic debate,” for their conceptions of “liberty” are incompatible. Traditionalists are defending the submission to their gods as “liberty”, while libertarians believe in choice dependent on the individual and her or his unique proclivities, whether chosen or genetically transmitted.

We have been having this fight since the Enlightenment. It is yet another irreconcilable conflict, like antebellum slavery/Reconstruction or abortion rights today.

(For related blogs, see, or, or

Satyr and Goat

Satyr and Goat

December 22, 2013

What is missing in the Duck Dynasty flap?

Filed under: Uncategorized — clarelspark @ 6:57 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

DuckdaintyThe suspension of Duck Dynasty “patriarch” Phil Robertson by the Arts and Entertainment Network, following the publication of a story in the men’s magazine GQ that quoted Robertson’s fundamentalist Christian rejection of homosexuality and sins to follow via the slippery slope, has dominated the chatter on Fox and other mass media.

This blog takes issue with the undue emphasis on such issues as free speech versus rights of corporations to control speech, or the public relations failure of A & E, or whether GLAAD –part of the gay rights movement– came on too strong (Mark Steyn). In other words, the event has been covered as yet another over-the-top episode in the Great American Culture Wars.

What virtually everyone I have heard misses is the content of the original article by Drew Magary. (See Those who have emphasized Robertson’s “racism” are oblivious to the fact that the comments on happy blacks was set off from the piece almost as an inset, and was possibly derived from a ghost-written autobiography that Robertson claims he never read. In any case, he was a poor white working alongside black farm labor, not spurning their company.)

First, Magary was both attracted and repelled by the Louisiana “rednecks” and their way of life. What the observant reader might have noticed is the style of the piece: Magary is a “gonzo” journalist, drawing upon the fashionable Hunter Thompson innovation, in which subjectivity replaced any attempt to describe with minimum personal bias, the object of one’s reportage. Even a casual reader might have noticed Magary’s ambivalence, perhaps the result of an urban, effete reporter getting down with American primitives in their native habitat. We used to call this primitivism, or a test of manhood and a retreat from feminized American culture. (Ernest Hemingway did it most famously, and will be ever adored by the literati.)

Second, given Robertson’s counter-culture youth, it might have been useful to reflect on the journey from 1960s pseudo-romanticism (anarchism and the lack of boundaries) to family reunification as provided by evangelical Christianity. I have written before about those moderate conservatives who feared that an overly harsh superego would drive children into the arms of either fascist or communist extremists, so proposed a more gentle or “balanced” nurture (see But the moderate men of even such “rightist” refuges as Fox News or The Wall Street Journal are structurally precluded from reporting their own adherence to “fairness and balance”.

In the interest of attracting maximum readers and viewers, we can’t talk about ambivalence or primitivism. For a partial index to my blogs on primitivism see


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