This televised discussion is a marvelous microcosm of the marriage debate.
1. Ryan Anderson is talking about what’s true about marriage; Piers Morgan and Suze Orman are talking about what’s true about their feelings about marriage.
That’s admittedly an oversimplification, and Morgan did bring up good questions about over-50 and about prisoners. But in the main it’s true. Just compare the number of feeling words used by either side to make their case against the other; and look at how the discussion progresses. When Anderson answers Morgan’s challenges, Morgan and Orman revert in the end to emotional appeals.
So it’s no wonder we can’t come to agreement on this: we can’t even bring the same topic up for debate. For what is true about marriage is not the same as what’s true about feelings about marriage.
It seems to me that if we’re talking about changing the definition of marriage, the relevant issue is what marriage is, not what we feel about it. For suppose Anderson were wrong in his position concerning what’s true about marriage: would feelings show it were so?
2. Note the power play. Anderson was shouted down more than once. When he has talking with Suze Orman, his mic was probably 2-3 dB lower than hers: not enough that he couldn’t be heard, but enough that her message dominated.
This ties in with the feelings approach the other side took: an approach not geared toward discovering truth. If a major social policy issue cannot be settled by an appeal to truth, it can only be settled by the exercise of power. If one side cannot persuade the other, “you are wrong,” it can only prevail by, “you lose.”
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