Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Of bakers, sociopaths and brownshirts

On the religious freedom/anti-harassment bill in Arizona, V the K at Gay Patriot writes:
There are several personality traits that define a sociopath. Some of the key ones are: Superficial charm, Untruthfulness and insincerity, Lack of remorse and shame, and Pathologic egocentricity and incapacity for love,
A sociopath is not led by facts and reason to a conclusion; they are not relevant, only the conclusion is relevant. The sociopath wants what he wants. Often, what he wants is ego gratification through forcing others to capitulate.
You can’t argue with sociopaths. They don’t care about reason, or liberty, or freedom. They only care about getting their way; which in this case means forcing Christians to bake cakes and arrange flowers for gays. Because that will mean that they win and Christians lose, and that’s all that matters; the Power. And they know that their fellow sociopaths in politics, business, the media, and the courts… career fields that reward and celebrate sociopathic behavior… will be only too happy to grant them that power.
Normal, reasonable people are capable of getting along without constantly having to stir sh-t up. But Drama Queens (which, when you think about it, is just another word for sociopath) love stirring sh-t up and turn people against each other for their benefit and amusement.

Before I get into the main topic, let me first say that the next person who uses the phrase "Jim Crow" will be clopped upside the head with a history book. Jim Crow laws prohibited merchants from serving customers across the color line. They were a restriction on the freedoms of business owners, closer in intent to the "civil rights" legislation currently in place than to this attempt to mitigate their coercive nature.

Most opponents of this bill probably know only what they hear in the news, which is to say, nothing. The bill does not allow businesses carte blanche to deny service to gay people. No restaurant, no cab driver, is going to be permitted to turn away a gay customer. Even the baker and the florist cannot refuse to make a cake or arrange flowers for gay people simply because they're gay. All it does is close a loophole in existing law, to extend to religious believers the same protection from punishment by individuals that they already have from punishment by government.

Now to the meat of it. What kind of person opposes that protection? The word "sociopath" is a strong one, not to be used lightly.
In other states that have no protections, it has become a trend for gay customers to approach, say, bakers who feature their Christianity prominently in their advertising,  and order a wedding cake. The baker refuses politely, explaining that his religion forbids him to participate in blasphemy, and refers the customer to another bakery. The gay people take their wounded feelings first to court, where they bankrupt the baker, and then to the news media, where they all join in a chorus of "Ooh, those awful Jesus Freaks!" In the meantime, some other baker has made them a cake for free by way of consolation.

Here's where sociopathy comes in. If the stated purpose is true, that the goal is to buy a wedding cake, there are plenty of bakers out there to choose from. The customer has the choice of buying from one of the many who do want his business, or the one that doesn't. He chooses the unwilling one. At this point, it's not just about the cake, but about getting the cake by force. When a man does this with sex, we call him a rapist. When it's commerce, he's hailed as a courageous activist. At bottom, they're both sociopaths.

But I doubt very much that the cake is the issue. The issue is whether people who are different may be left alone, or must be ostracized and punished. Targeting a small minority – and Christians with this scruple are a minority – in order to put them out of business is (pace Godwin's Law) the same method used in pre-Holocaust Germany, albeit on an individual basis rather than a wholesale one. The law is merely the cudgel with which to beat the undesirable people. And the people who engage in it are still brownshirts, whether they display swastikas or rainbow bumper stickers.

A sociopath wants to harm people to feel powerful. A brownshirt wants to harm people because he hates them personally. Two different kinds of two-legged vermin.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Things you need to know #462:

My friend Lazarus Lupin was found dead in his home two nights ago. He and I became friends in middle school, bonding over mutual geekery. He introduced me to bad movies, thud-and-blunder fantasy literature and the eldritch horrors of H.P. Lovecraft. He had the bizarrest sense of humor I've ever encountered (and looking at my other friends, that says a lot). We lost touch after high school and only reconnected a few years ago on Facebook and in the blogosphere. I wish I could have seen him one more time.

Travel in elephants, Mike. That is all, maho maho.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Not dead yet!

I know, I know, I haven't posted since Christmas Eve. Mea culpa.

Part of the delay has been my new job. I'm no longer a one-man department at the (former) Greatest Newspaper in the Northwest™. Rather, I've been promoted and am now a one-man newsroom (and composing department and everything but ad sales) at the NEW Greatest Newspaper in the Northwest™. (The link in the sidebar will be changed to reflect the re-ranking as soon as the new paper's website is up.) It's a monthly agricultural news publication covering all of Central Washington. It's owned by the same corporation as the paper I just left, but it's kept carefully separate. This is the sort of challenge I've been working for for the last 17 years, and so far I'm loving the bejabbers out of it.

Trouble is, there was a major project (the actual term I use for it is a bit more pungent than "project") that I was still working on at the other paper. I've been trying frantically to get it out while hitting the ground running at the new job. That latter part isn't helped by the fact that my predecessor here left abruptly and took her staff and most of her archives and information with her. Frustrating.

Meanwhile, we seem to have settled everything with the bank and are going to be able to keep our house. We also were approved for SSI for Visigoth and Ostrogoth, which is good because they're the reason my Lovely and Brilliant Wife can't accept a job outside the home. It's hard to work when maybe one day out of three you get a call from the school to come and pick up a melting-down child.

You may notice a few changes in the sidebar. I'm taking out the blogs that haven't posted in forever and I've got a few more to bring in. I'll try and introduce the new ones as I add them.

You're now up to date, you few, you happy few, you band of readers who still wander by here occasionally. Thanks for your patience!