Hat tip to Catelli's cogent deconstruction of Rosie Dimanno that jump-started my mind.
I've noticed something. The older I get, the stupider the world seems.
It's not that I'm smarter; hell, no. I'm just as dense as anyone else, just in (usually) different ways. And people are free to remark on just how dumb I can be. My wife does so on occasion (always with love in her voice, and she's always right, damn it all). But the specific mode of stupidity I'd like to talk about here is a weird strain of exclusionary thinking that seems to permeate brains, driving out logic and reason.
I'll take a couple of hot-button issues to explain what I mean: same sex marriage and euthanasia. As I believe I've made clear in previous entries, I am unreservedly in favour of both, and for much the same reason: your life and your marriage are your own. (If they aren't, whose, exactly, are they?) I should be able to end my life whenever I choose; with certain exceptions due to consanguinity, and provided there is no coercion, I should be able to marry whomever I choose. I see no logical reason why Eva shouldn't have two or three husbands, for that matter.
Every time I encounter someone against same-sex marriage (which is distressingly often, even now), I ask them -- with as much politeness as I can muster -- why. The answers I get, when they don't cite Scripture, tend to be along the lines of "it's against nature". Which I find amusing, since marriage itself is against nature; relatively few species are monogamous, and to my (admittedly limited) knowledge, no other species has anything akin to a marriage ceremony. (I freely admit I could be wrong here: our understanding of animal societies is rudimentary at best, but at least in the case of certain species, the more we learn, the more we wonder just how intelligent and 'civilized', after their fashion, they are.)
At any rate, if I'm allowed to press the matter, I'll ask how same-sex marriage affects the person I'm talking to. It doesn't, beyond offending their sense of morality, but I've yet to coax that admission out of anyone. And one day it occurred to me to say "you know, just because same-sex marriage is legal, doesn't mean opposite-sex marriage has been outlawed!"
But that's how many opponents of gay marriage act: as if their marriages are null and void (or at least endangered somehow) if Jack and Gil down the road tie the knot. I pride myself on being able to get inside heads...this attitude is like a giant padlock and a sign saying BEWARE OF ATTACK DOGS.
Likewise with euthanasia. There seems to be this pervasive attitude, among those against assisted suicide, that if it's made legal it'll be open season on the elderly and handicapped...that anyone wanting to live will have their wishes ignored. The choice to live, against whatever odds and contending with whatever amount of pain, is as equally valid a choice as the reverse, and just as much to be respected.
No euthanasia advocate I've ever read has suggested that people should be killed without their express permission. Where euthanasia is already legal there is a required process of varying complexity to go through ensuring that people are of sound mind and that they understand precisely what they are demanding. But no, make mercy killing legal and anyone waiting too long for their inheritance can simply take matters into their own hands. I just don't get it.