How a staunch opponent of same-sex “marriage” surrendered to it
When I said recently that the reason for David Frum’s constantly changing views is that he is a careerist, a Canadian reader replied, no, Frum has always been a consistent, Canadian-type soft “conservative,” never comfortable with the stronger, American-type conservatism, and therefore his recent moves toward liberalism are not a betrayal but a reassertion of where he has been at all along. However, that claim is not consistent with Frum’s record, ranging from his paleocon-like first book, Dead Right, in which he argued that conservatism was “dead” because it had signed on to big government, a positon he soon abandoned, to his opposition to homosexual “marriage,” which he also abandoned.
Thus in June 2003, Frum described the Lawrence v. Texas decision as a disaster for society and strongly advocated a Constitutional amendment to protect traditional marriage.
But in January 2008, in a New York Times op-ed, he said that conservatives must abandon their opposition to homosexual “marriage”:
Social traditionalists too need to adapt to new realities. Opposition to same-sex marriage is dwindling.By Frum’s reasoning, if you found yourself living in the city of Sodom circa 1500 B.C., where opposition to, uh, sodomy had dwindled to the vanishing point (see Genesis 19), you must adapt to new realities and sign on to sodomy.
In any case, Frum’s call for “adapting to new realities” represented a 180 degree reversal in four and half years. This Canadian transplant has no principles. He goes with the flow, and with his desire to promote himself as the flow is going. He does not believe in truth or the order of our civilization, but (in the manner of European leftists) in social “harmony,” a value which makes the removal of conflict the top priority of politics.
As evidence of my point, in April 2009 Frum wrote about the spread of same-sex “marriage” in several states, and how the conflict between SSM states and non-SSM states over such matters as child custody and inheritance would lead to years of federal litigation, with the federal courts gradually giving greater and greater recognition to same-sex marriage:
With their rulings on gay marriage, state courts have set in motion a cultural conflict that will embitter Americans and pit them against each other for years. It’s now too late to prevent it and too baffling to imagine how to resolve it. So we are left with the even more daunting problem of finding ways to contain and mitigate it—By the phrase “contain and mitigate it,” Frum doesn’t mean contain and mitigate homosexual marriage and the calamitous human and social harm it will cause. He means contain and mitigate the cultural conflict generated by opposition to homosexual marriage. And in his 2008 Times op-ed he had supplied his answer as to how that conflict could be contained and mitigated: conservatives must adapt to new realities.
Apart from Frum’s implied call for conservative surrender, the article is worth reading for his list of likely nightmare litigation scenarios that will inevitably result in a country divided between SSM states and non-SSM states.
Mark P. writes:
You wrote:LA replies:
The world is filled with people who say we have to “adapt to new realities.” The counsel to “adapt to new realities” is as old as the hills. To pick this out as “an oddly Jewish sensibility” shows a mind that is spinning its wheels.Mark P. replies:
I didn’t mean to make it sound like a blame-the-Jews comment at all. It just seems that Jews have been among the best adapters, many times out of necessity. Although, you are right that this really is an old and tired comment.LA replies:
I wasn’t criticizing your idea for its “blame-the-Jews” aspect, but for the illogic and the overreaching of taking a common atttitude that has been known throughout history, an attitude that has been written about at least as far back as Plato’s criticisms of the sophists of Athens, and attributing it to one tiny group: Jewish neocons.
The Canadian reader referred to at the beginning of the entry writes:
Thanks for not calling me out by name in pointing out where I erred :-). Clearly, he has changed his public views with the prevailing winds. I would have to correct my argument that he has now moved back to the set of ideas with which he would have been raised, including liberalism, tolerance, pragmatic utilitarianism (how to get elected rather than following bedrock principles), and avoidance of conflict (a very Canadian social trait when compared to the U.S.). You can believe all of those things and still be on the right in Canada, because the center of gravity is so far left compared to that in the U.S.
Posted by Lawrence Auster at October 07, 2009 01:21 PM | Send