I never know what to make of Michael Novak. He pretends, at least, to be a serious scholar and he is often taken seriously by other scholars. But then he writes drivel like this post for the National Review blog and I can’t help but dismiss him as a partisan halfwit with serious problems following basic logic. He lists a few things that Obama did or said in his first few days in office and reacts to them with all the intellect of Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity. Like this one:
On January 20, President Obama called for the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act. He also declared his intention to give multiple rights and privileges to homosexual couples.
And his absolutely silly reaction to it:
From these announcements we learn that President Obama recognizes no difference between the Jewish-Christian covenant between a woman and a man (a covenant that they will have and nurture children, if they are so blessed), and a civil contract between two persons of any sex, in order to set up a household of affection and sexual favors.
This is a relapse into paganism. The point of monogamous family networks is to treat male and female with complementary and mutually cooperative dignity and to tie the power of sexuality (male, especially) to self-sacrificing communities of love.
This is utter nonsense. It is Novak who does not recognize the difference between a civil and legal contract and a “Jewish-Christian covenant.” It is Novak who is conflating the two and insisting that the civil and legal aspects of marriage in this country conform to the religious conceptions of a Biblical covenant when the two should really have nothing to do with one another.
And the second statement — “The point of monogamous family networks is to treat male and female with complementary and mutually cooperative dignity and to tie the power of sexuality (male, especially) to self-sacrificing communities of love.” — is meaningless drivel. Can gay couples not also form monogamous family networks and form self-sacrificing communities of love?
The millions and millions of families headed by gays and lesbians in this country and around the world clearly prove otherwise. And those families are no less deserving of the same kinds of legal protections automatically granted to families headed by straight people, no matter what Novak’s Bible might say.
On January 22, he issued an order announcing his intention to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay within one year, but admits he has not figured out how to do that. President Bush had expressed a similar wish, but could find no nations willing to take responsibility for the detainees.
And Novak’s reaction:
We learn, second, that this president’s guiding light in matters of national security is not a realistic assessment of the national interest but personal concern for what kind of figure he is cutting in the international eye. Good headlines first, practical thinking later.
Oh, right. The only possible reason that Obama could have for wanting to close the Gitmo prison is concern for his image abroad. It couldn’t possibly have anything to do with a genuine concern for human rights or for America’s moral credibility. It couldn’t possibly have anything to do with meeting the legal obligations we willingly took on when we ratified multiple treaties. It couldn’t possibly have anything to do with wanting to see justice done by putting in place a process that would actually distinguish between dangerous criminals who need to be locked up and innocent people caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. Nope, he’s just striking a pose to make those cheese-eating French surrender monkeys like him more. Seriously, this is the kind of rank idiocy that one expects from Ann Coulter, not from a scholar of Novak’s standing. It is beneath him. And if it’s not beneath him, why does anyone take him seriously as a thinker at all?