On Rod Dreher and the Futility of Arguing

I read something like this about same-sex marriage and my mind just boggles:

Civilization was made possible by controlling and channeling sexual desire, and harnessing it to a framework that makes for stable communities. My side believes that the liberation of sexual desire that this culture has embraced, and the obliteration of the traditional family as the ideal, will in time have devastating consequences for us all. There is no institution more important to conserve than the family. As has been widely acknowledged by our side, heterosexuals have done a terrible job of living out our convictions. Even we Christians have internalized the Sexual Revolution to an appalling degree. Nevertheless, normalizing SSM really is the Rubicon on all this, because from our point of view, it fundamentally changes the definition of marriage and the family, and with it, definitively topples the cultural authority of Christianity, which was the basis for Western civilization after the fall of Rome. That’s not nothing. This matters. 

How does one even begin to argue with someone, like Rod Dreher, who thinks this way? I guess you can’t. Logic doesn’t work, because a person’s beliefs are a product of one’s own psychology, one’s own biochemistry, one’s own history, and those are deep-rooted and powerful things. It’s like thinking all you need to do is repair a patch in the ceiling, and realizing you actually need to tear the whole house down to fix the problem.

Anyway, to counter Dreher: he really thinks that letting five percent of the population get married is what will “topple the cultural authority of Christianity”? Does he not realize that centuries of epochal change in our understanding of the universe and ourselves have already toppled it? Galileo, Newton, evolution, the germ theory of disease, Freud, brain science, the whole scientific revolution — no, apparently gay marriage is the Rubicon, the final straw.


I don’t understand how someone who is intelligent can think this way. It’s not like Dreher is some rube who can’t string sentences together. He can obviously write and he’s obviously smart. But his world view is so thoroughly different from my own that I wouldn’t even know how to begin to convince him.

I used to think logical argument could be enough to change people’s minds. Eventually I learned that it doesn’t always work.

It’s discouraging. But I guess we just have to work around people like him.