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Gary Schouborg, PhD
Schouborg, Gary (2005).
"Liberal Fascism and Same-Sex Marriage".
Liberal Fascism and Same-Sex Marriage
Liberals are spinning the recent California state legislature’s vote for same-sex marriage as a courageous stand for conscience, and Governor Schwarzenegger’s veto as a craven bow to fascist tendencies in his right-wing constituency.
On the contrary, in voting out a bill for same-sex marriage, the legislature is demonstrating that the left is also quite capable of yielding to fascism, the rule of a minority over the majority (the 61% of Californians who voted for Proposition 22 to ban same-sex marriage). Instead, the governor is standing up for democracy, the rule of the majority.
That conservatives are susceptible to becoming fascist is relatively obvious. Impressed by what they see as the moral faults in human nature, conservatives strive to control it. Since moral values cannot be determined by majority vote, in extreme cases conservatives can feel justified in the moral minority over-ruling the straying majority.
That liberals are also susceptible to fascism is less obvious only because the moral faults on which liberals primarily fasten are selfishness and intolerance. And the virtue that counters them is openness, which seems the opposite of fascism. However, when selfishness and intolerance are majority failings, liberals can feel every bit as strongly as conservatives that they are a moral minority justified in over-ruling the majority.
Liberals are therefore fascist in legalizing same-sex marriage over the wishes of the majority of Californians. Liberals justify over-ruling the majority in this case because “it’s right.” The implication is that they don't just believe it’s right (which would undermine their unconditional demands) but that they know it's right (which makes opposition to their view intolerable).
However, in a democracy the majority rules — not because the majority is right but because true democrats know that, when people disagree, (1) government cannot reliably determine who is right and who is wrong; and (2) for that very reason, government cannot countenance rule by a minority merely because they're convinced they know what's right. Power is therefore given to majority vote by default. That’s why democracy is the worst of all possible political systems, except for the alternatives.
True democrats therefore accept the dictates of democracy. They have the courage — and the humility — to participate in the marketplace of ideas, where the majority rules and where they must learn to build the majority they want through persuasion.
This is a courageous and principled pragmatism, the road that the California state legislature has fascistically exited and that Governor Schwarzenegger has democratically embarked upon.
Gary Schouborg is a Principal of GaryNini.com, life and communication coaches in Walnut Creek, California.