Young Turks and gay marriage

Since last October, at least, I have been using the phrase “Young Turks” to describe the restless young intellectuals of the conservative movement. Most of these young men — not to slight the ladies, but nearly all of these writers seem to be male — who would be tomorrow’s Weavers and Buckleys and Kirks are not strictly political writers. That is to say, they didn’t spend 2007-08 obsessively handicapping the presidential election, but they are “political” and conservative in the sense that they have made clear their general commitments to the Right.

Now, if you talk to these bright young fellows — and I find excuses to talk to them as often as possible — one of the things you learn is how many of them are either (a) in favor of gay marriage as a matter of social justice, or (b) defeatist in conceding that the legal recognition of gay marriage is a political inevitability, even though they personally oppose it.

Is it really so? Permit a geezer his doubts. I remember being 15 years old when our teachers at Douglas County High School arranged a teleconference between our classroom and our state’s senior senator, Herman Talmadge. And I remember that all of us long-haired hoodlum types — this was 1974 — were eager to ask Sen. Talmadge about legalizing marijuana, so that he had to fend off two or three questions on the subject. (“Uh . . . hey, man, like . . . what about weed?”)

Thirty-five years ago, it seemed to us teenage weedheads that we were on the cutting edge of social change, but the Jeff Spicoli Nation never came to fruition, did it? Nowadays, America is perhaps more socially tolerant toward the herb — I confess to having been an adolescent doper without fear that I’ll be hounded out of polite society for the revelation — but the stuff is still illegal. (And thank God for that, as who would want to deprive the stoners of the undeniable frisson of their outlaw status?)

Yet the Young Turks generally view the gay-marriage debate as following in the historic path of Social Progress, an irresistible floodtide, so that such opposition as there is must speak in tones carefully measured, lest offense be given to the eventual winners of the debate.

Measured tones have never been my style. My defiance of the irresistable floodtide has been couched in reference to Roy Moore’s concurrence in Ex Parte H.H., and I have defended my position by asserting that men and women are not equal in the sense of being fungible. (Men and women are different; therefore, a union of differences implies a natural complementarity inherently missing from same-sex relationships. Viva le difference!)

While it may have seemed that, in making such a bold assertion, I was merely engaged in my favorite sport of baiting Conor Friedersdorf (guilty, your honor), there is nevertheless a real and politically relevant argument involved, and I would be interested in stirring it up again, if only to gin up some weekend traffic. So, what say you? J.P. Freire? Ross Douthat? Helen Rittelmeyer? Perhaps some old geezers like Andrew Sullivan and Rod Dreher would also like to weigh in, as well. Linkbacks are guaranteed under the Full Metal Jacket Reach-Around Rule, and anyone else who wants to weigh in is welcome to leave a comment.

ADDENDUM: Comments are moderated, so if you want to call me a “faggot” — hey, start your own blog.

UPDATE: Helen Rittlemeyer:

Being publicly pro-SSM is the quickest way for a young journalist to signal that he’s one of the right-wingers it’s okay to like. Haven’t they heard that it’s better to be feared than loved? Or, to put it less glibly, the real respectability of a solid argument is preferable to the worthless respectability one gets by being on the Harmless Right.

Note to Helen: Please install SiteMeter and Technorati at your blog, so as to keep track of your traffic and help others know when you’re linking them. (Gee, you’d think a girl genius could figure these things out for herself!)

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