September 26, 2005

Mr. Zeitgeist

A columnist in a small daily newspaper recently complained that the Christian right should stop telling people how to live. He said that those who don't like to have an abortion shouldn't have one, and those who don't want gay marriage shouldn't marry one. It's a familiar refrain (although the abortion argument is particularly ridiculous, as if we should all mind our own business and not worry about babies getting killed).

The argument that the left doesn't tell people how to live is very popular and hip. Very Jon Stewart-ish. And there is an explicit assertion within that that we are all autonomous agents with no influence or effect on one another. What's a gay marriage have to do with mine? Yet the columnist seems to be perfectly a man of the world - doesn't that somewhat contradict his argument? If he is so "modern" and so in sync with our age, that could hardly be seen as accidental. His own autonomy may well be overrated.

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