Why you can’t fathom how a social conservative could have a gay liberal friend

It is as hard for most people to maintain a nuanced position between worship and hatred as it is to believe others are capable of the same.


3 thoughts on “Why you can’t fathom how a social conservative could have a gay liberal friend

  1. The only reason political differences would prevent friendship is that people might feel the need to self-censor in order to avoid annoying each other, and that would prevent the openness that friendship requires. The reason a heterosexual man might not be able to be a homosexual man’s friend isn’t so much political as personal/social — we converse with women in one way, men in another way, because women and men are socially very different. And it isn’t clear whether a homosexual man is socially male or female. I guess you could just ask him, “Should I think of you as socially male or female?” But then he might get offended.
    There’s a Wiki page on The Scouring of the Shire, by the way. The chapter’s a nice story in it’s own right, and there’s no magic in it. It’s about country-people returning from the Wars to their area and being shocked by its industrial transformation/ruination. They have to chase out the “Ruffians” who did the damage. It’s in the last volume of Lord of the Rings, “The Return of the King”; you can buy a paperback copy of that last volume for less than $10 and just read that one chapter. It’s pleasant — will take you only an hour. My point was just that someone who’s joining a Traditional community would probably want to join one that’s in principle committed to its own violent self-defense, if necessary, even if the chance of this ever being necessary is extremely small. Of course, there are such communities, so I agree with your own basic point: “Go find a community that suits you!”
    I did an Orthodox Jewish conversion several years ago, by the way, so I sort of proactively followed your advice — but it didn’t work for me because I was already too old and too much of a weird low-income loser anyway to be able to marry and start a family in that community.
    Would you mind offering some general information about yourself? (Would give me a clearer picture of my interlocutor.) General age? General type of employment? Attend a church of some kind?

    • I never had much problem being friends with gay guys, though there’s probably some self-selection too: the ones with a real feminine affectation would be less likely to run in my circles and wind up as my friends. Same for ones who are very wrapped up in “gay rights” politics.

      Nevertheless, my main point is that it’s difficult for most people to walk this balance between “I disapprove on some philosophical level with a key aspect of your lifestyle” and “I value you as a person and want to see you happy and afforded all the same opportunities as anyone else.” Similarly, it’s hard for someone to wrap their minds around how I could, say, oppose same-sex marriage and yet have had in my adult life three or four very close friends who were gay. (And I don’t mean polemically-self-effacing Milo-style gay either.) Granted, me and my gay friends never talked politics much. Maybe that’s part of the point: I don’t have to talk politics or agree on politics with people to be friends with them. Politics is just not that big a part of my day-to-day, or at least I try not to let it be.

      Most people don’t know enough about the Amish to know they’re pacifists, and like I said, I doubt that would enter into most people’s calculation about whether to join them anyway. The major factor is almost certainly the “Ew, I don’t want to poop in an outhouse and not have a smartphone” type stuff. Incidentally though, the Amish have fared much better with their pacifism than, say, Nazis or the Klan who are willing to use violence: Amish attrition rates are lower every year while Nazis and the Klan are disappearing. Maybe instilling trust in the wider society is worth something…

      I’m in my early 30s. I have a career in the tech industry. I believe in God and the Torah but not in the authority of the Rabbinical/Talmudic canon.

  2. Oh, you’re young! Lord of the Rings is for old people like me, I guess. (I’ll be 51 in a couple of weeks.) Well, you seem like a good guy; more power to you.
    I take God pretty seriously, even in an I-Thou kind of way, but the Orthodox Jewish thing always seemed to me to be an awesome game for intense people to play together — and I’d see the Amish thing the same way. (Torah seems crazy to me, except on a game-level, and then it’s just the preliminary stage or something; the full game seems to require Rabbinical stuff of some sort just to make it workable.) Not much good art/literature among the serious OJs and Amish (I assume) … that’s another problem. As opposed to the Catholics, Anglicans, and Eastern Orthodox who made so much beautiful stuff … some bloggers think that Eastern Orthodoxy is still viable but I doubt it. Maybe a serious effort to colonize the rest of the solar system would reactive people, religiously, and motivate them to have babies.

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