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  1. MBH

    Dude, because he just repealed DADT. I mean, you don’t think the context is relevant? Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want recruiters anywhere. But, really? I bet you’d even argue the repeal of DADT is a bad thing because it makes “the state” more appealing. {sigh}

    • Rad Geek

      No, I’d argue that the repeal of Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell is an irrelevant thing, because I don’t care about LGBT people’s equal rights to murder women and children in Afghanistan. Sorry.

      As for the context: I’m aware of it. The point is that a lot of people who voted for this guy because they believed that he was a peace candidate, or because they believed that he might at least end some ongoing wars and curb American militarism abroad. Those people ought to note carefully what he has actually done in the past 2 years.

      Obama, like most statist liberals, believes in a reformed, liberal militarism and imperialism. I do not. He is deliberately using the bully pulpit in order to try to pressure colleges and Universities into reopening their campuses to the worst, most oppressive, most mendacious, and most violent instruments of the State. In the name of equality. I find that shameful.

    • MBH

      block quote I’d argue that the repeal of Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell is an irrelevant thing, because I don’t care about LGBT people’s equal rights to murder women and children in Afghanistan.

      The black and white thinking is just weird. If we’re out of Afghanistan within the year, then what? Still irrelevant?

      I love that you talk about how the state is so big and bad out of one side of your mouth, and then how a single agent should be able to do whatever he wants within it out of the other side. Laugh with me for a second.

    • Reginod

      MBH, I’m inclined to agree with you that the context of this matters, but as I read the context that makes it even more damning not less. The LGBT rights community in the United States of America (I’m obviously simplifying here, but I think the following generalizations are true for the majority of people who identify as part of this community) largely supported Obama and during the campaign he promised to be a “fierce advocate” for LGBT rights. The gay rights community’s agenda for the first two years of Obama’s presidency was focused on 3 items – the passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), and the end of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT).

      Of those 3 items the end of DADT was most controversial (for all the reasons Radgeek points out) and had the least broad support in the LGBT rights community. The end of DOMA may not have been politically possible, but we won’t ever know because the president refused to try to end this discrimination written into law and has had it vigorously defended in the courts. The passage of ENDA, however, was absolutely possible (especially if the Democrats were willing to keep the law from protecting transpeople) it passed the House under Bush when the president’s party had a smaller majority than they did in the first two years of Obama’s term, but (as far as I can tell) they never even voted on it. And Obama did not try to get ENDA passed.

      The LGBT rights community wanted to end government discrimination in the rights extended to married couples, to use the government to end workplace discrimination, and to end government discrimination in the military. They got a government that fought to maintain discrimination with regard to marriage, refused to take up the issue of workplace discrimination, and ended discrimination in the military (or reduced it, since the actual policy may not end discrimination).

      Context matters, you are right, but I think that in this context it is clear that the government is not interested in LGBT rights, but rather it is interested in having enough bodies in its military to keep the war machine going. And in that context the end of DADT is not something I can celebrate.

    • MBH

      {…} the government is not interested in LGBT rights […]

      I actually agree. If we’re talking about state-manifested government, then you’re right. Please see Will Wilkinson’s distinction between government and state. I also think that no one person within the government — no matter of which branch — can override the state.

    • Reginod

      That’s an interesting distinction – I have to think about it some before I have anything intelligent to say about it – but for the purposes of my comment above I meant both the state and the government in Wilkinson’s sense. I think the context makes it fairly clear that the Obama administration doesn’t really care about LGBT rights (and the status quo makes it clear that the state in Wilkinson’s sense doesn’t).

      It may or may not be the case that no one person in government can change the state (I suspect it isn’t the case, at least on the margins, but I don’t think that is central to my point here)– but I’m not sure how that changes the context. I think it is clear that Obama has no interest in trying to change the state’s attitude toward LGBT rights, I think it’s clear that he promised to try to change the state’s attitude toward LGBT rights when he was campaigning for office, and I think it’s clear that he is using the end of DADT as an opportunity to advocate for increased militarism while pretending to care about LGBT rights. I think all of those facts together make Obama morally blameworthy even if he could do absolutely nothing to change the state’s attitude toward LGBT rights.

    • MBH

      I think it is clear that Obama has no interest in trying to change the state’s attitude toward LGBT rights […]

      I think that’s true of the Obama administration — not necessarily of the person.

      I think all of those facts together make Obama morally blameworthy even if he could do absolutely nothing to change the state’s attitude toward LGBT rights.

      I think that’s probably right.

      […] I’m not sure how that changes the context.

      If proposed idea is that DADT was repealed merely to strengthen the war machine, then I’d say judgment needs to be withheld. If the freedom movements open the door to peace, then you’d regret that judgment. And it should be noteworthy that these freedom movements strengthen Obama’s hand in foreign policy.

    • Rad Geek

      MBH:

      I do love Bill Hicks.

      The black and white thinking is just weird.

      A paint-by-number is not a refutation. Some things really have nothing positive in them, and fiddling around the edges with military recruitment and retention policies is one of them. It may well reflect a positive development (broader cultural acceptance of gay men and lesbians) but for something to be the consequence of something positive is not the same thing as for it to be positive — in any respect — in itself. It’s not in any case a good reason to nuance my position on campus recruitment officers.

      If we’re out of Afghanistan within the year, …

      I think you mean the United States military. I’m not in Afghanistan; are you? In any case, don’t hold your breath. Not even Obama is claiming that the U.S. military will be withdrawing before 2014. Did you miss the announcement last November? Or are you just confusing the announcement of the beginning of a 3-year-long drawdown (after almost 3 years of escalation) with being out of Afghanistan?

      … then what? Still irrelevant?

      Yes, still irrelevant. The eventual end of one mass murder campaign — after a decade or a decade and a half or however long it takes — does not change the nature of the murder machine, and it does not change my attitude towards those who call for increases in efforts to recruit young people to join it.

      I love that you talk about how the state is so big and bad out of one side of your mouth, and then how a single agent should be able to do whatever he wants within it out of the other side.

      I have no idea what you mean to claim here; and certainly no idea what justifies your accusation of mendacity. Of course it’s true that Obama acts within an apparatus that is larger than him.

      I don’t think it’s particularly likely that he personally wanted not to include that line calling for increased ROTC and military recruitment on college campuses, but was constrained to do so for fear of — what? Being assassinated by the spooks? But if it were true, well, then so what? Broadly, I’m sure it is true that people within government often could not possibly do the right thing in many circumstances, even if they wanted to, because of the constraints imposed by the political apparatus. But if so, then that seems like that’s a good reason for people not to go into government. It’s not a reason to excuse would-be governors for their despicable policy statements.

      MBH:

      I think that’s true of the Obama administration — not necessarily of the person.

      I don’t think that anyone other than Obama, his pastor, or his therapist has any particular reason to care about that. The issue is what he is doing to people every day, not how he feels deep inside.

      Reingod,

      Thanks for the comments! And, right on on the analysis.

      The passage of ENDA, however, was absolutely possible (especially if the Democrats were willing to keep the law from protecting transpeople) it passed the House under Bush when the president’s party had a smaller majority than they did in the first two years of Obama’s term, but (as far as I can tell) they never even voted on it. And Obama did not try to get ENDA passed.

      Well, you know, he’s a busy man. I’m sure he wanted to (just like how he wanted so much to get around to comprehensive immigration reform, etc.), but he’s had so much to do the last couple years, like not closing Guantanamo, and fighting for repeated extensions to the PATRIOT Act.

    • MBH

      Charles,

      The eventual end of one mass murder campaign — after a decade or a decade and a half or however long it takes — does not change the nature of the murder machine, and it does not change my attitude towards those who call for increases in efforts to recruit young people to join it.

      Good call.

      Broadly, I’m sure it is true that people within government often could not possibly do the right thing in many circumstances, even if they wanted to, because of the constraints imposed by the political apparatus. But if so, then that seems like that’s a good reason for people not to go into government.

      Maybe. Maybe not. I mean, if you buy Will’s government vs. state distinction — obviously I do — then there’s plenty reason to work in the government.

      I’m not in Afghanistan; are you?

      Jewish guilt: we feel responsible for everything.

  2. smally

    Whoah, let’s all just hold on a minute. This war-mongering, shamelessly lying head of one of the most destructive States in the history of humanity just conceded to allow LGBQTs to openly slaughter in the name of U.S.A (NUMBER ONE!).

    Context is key. Give credit where’s credit due. He meant well, right?

    Jesus fucking Christ.

    • MBH

      Right smally, no shades of gray. Conventional institutions should remain segregated. It will all come together once the state falls. No need to upgrade cognition. Just get rid of the state. You’re so smart.

· March 2011 ·

· April 2011 ·

  1. Discussed at radgeek.com

    Rad Geek People’s Daily 2011-04-30 – Change You Can Believe In (Vol. III, No. 4, April 2011):

    […] Here’s January 2011; here’s February 2011; here’s March 2011. […]

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