My Links


Listed on BlogsCanada
Posted by eleanor

The wrong reason

Unaccountably famed ethicist Margaret Somerville has always argued that marriage is hetero because heteros say it is.

Her argument's a squirming stain to those who believe in, well, the clean lines of logic. So opposition to Ryerson University's offer of an honorary doctorate to Ms S is understandable. Except that this petition to keep Somerville from getting the award has nothing to do with the fact that she's an embarrassment to the rigourous thinkers of academia, but rather simply because her anti-gay and anti-feminist views are "controversial."

Please don't sign it. Not if "controversial" is the reason cited.

All together now: We are big enough and brave enough and strong enough to allow people to disagree with our politics. Those who sign this petition are stifling dissent, and helping to create a martyr.


# re: The wrong reason
June 20, 2006 12:05 PM
With little time to think it over, I can still name at least two problems with Margaret Somerville's position against same-sex marriage. First, if her objection to same-sex marriage is all about a child's "right" to having both a mother and a father, what about same-sex couples who don't plan to be parents? Are they to be denied marriage just so that Margaret's hobby horse of children's rights can be respected? There's painting with a broad brush!

Secondly, I eagerly await her pronouncements about the "duty" of widows and widowers to remarry at their earliest convenience, so that their child's "right" to a parent of each sex can be respected all the time. I can just imagine the paeans of thanks the children of those invented unions will accord their parents once those kids are grown.
# MS's fame accounted for (sort of)
June 10, 2006 8:05 AM
As a fellow ethicist (and former journalist wannabe) I am also appalled by MS. Most recently I've been appalled by her "children's rights" arguments against same sex marriage. Give me a break. And she doesn't have stature among academics, so do journalists love her? I have asked journalist friends and they all say the ame thing, she answers her phone and returns their calls. On any subject. At any time. Doesn't take days to think about the questions. Just talks (and talks, and talks) in easy accessible sentences. Since I heard that I've gotten better about returning calls. I try to think, better than having MS talk to them. Since my new policy I've been interviewed on a range of sensible subjects such as Henry Morgantaler getting an honorary degree at my institution (yippee) but also about the ethics of regifting and e-baying your holiday loot, and about student privacy and the so-called Saugeen stripper (a student who took off her clothes in her university dorm room to entertain a friend and then posted pics on the web for all the world to see). It's made life a little more interesting but I still worry about talking outside my narrow area of research expertise area and I still wonder "why do they care what I think?"
# re: The wrong reason
June 8, 2006 4:32 PM
Thanks for doing what you're doing.
# re: The wrong reason
June 8, 2006 12:54 PM
Might it be that you are taking issue with the protestors for the wrong reason? Your problem may be more with the fact that the petitioners refuse to directly challenge her arguments than with a challenge to controversy, per se. It's not so much that the protest is against controversy, but that they have turned controversy into some sort of code for 'because I don't agree with her.'
That's the sad part.