Tuesday, October 31, 2006

ThePolitic.com, and the "Defense of Dumbass Stupidity Act"

And as I promised earlier, we're going to look in on Spanky, Alfalfa and the rest of the gang, to truly appreciate the level of dumbassitude over at ThePolitic.com.

Here, we have Spanky totally fucking up the explanation of a recent COMPAS poll on the "Defense of Ignorant Bigotry Act" (or DORA). Quotes Spanky:

The COMPAS poll suggested there would be significant public support for such a move, with 72% of those contacted for the survey saying that clergy should have the right not to marry a same-sex couple if it runs counter to their beliefs.

“Those numbers are at the level of overwhelming support,” said pollster Conrad Winn, the president of COMPAS. “I mean, you can’t get three-quarters of Canadians to agree on the weather.”

But the above is simply not an issue -- no one is suggesting that members of the clergy should be forced to marry anyone they would prefer not to. That point has never been even remotely open to debate -- marriages within the context of a religious ceremony are entirely up to the dictates of the denomination, so what Spanky is presenting here is a red herring, from one end to the other.

(What's amusing about that poll number, though, is that only 72% of respondents agreed with that position. Quite simply, it really should have been virtually 100% since, as I pointed out, that issue is not even on the table. The fact that some 28% actually dissented is something I find moderately interesting. But that's not why we're here. We're here to deal with Spanky's overwhelming dumbfuckitude, so ... onward.)

Spanky finally gets around to the actual issue, quoting from Chris Wattie's rancidly dishonest Post article:

A COMPAS poll conducted last week found 57% of those surveyed said officials who conduct generally secular wedding ceremonies should be allowed to “not officiate at gay marriages,” provided there are enough marriage commissioners available for same-sex unions.

You will, of course, notice how carefully that question seems to be phrased -- specifically within the context of same-sex marriage. But what if the question were worded in a more appropriate way which represented its actual consequences for public employees in Canada as a whole? Something like:

Should Canadian public employees, who are paid by the taxpayer, be allowed to discriminate against anyone based on their personal bigotry?

Now that's the way the question should have been presented, and I'm betting we would have seen somewhat less than 57%. Besides, I notice that that figure of 57% was based on the assumption that there would be another official available to perform the SSM ceremony. And if there wasn't? Was that question even asked? Because if it was, I'm betting that figure of 57% would have dropped significantly, which only proves how very carefully these questions were constructed to produce the desired outcome.

In short, the poll is worthless, Wattie's article is crap, and Spanky's opinion on all of the aforementioned is amazingly ignorant swill, masquerading as a blog post. Colour me shocked.

P.S. Given the irrelevant and/or outright misleading questions in that survey, does it come as any surprise that the opening sentence of the poll itself is:

Following enactment of same sex legislation, COMPAS was commissioned by The National Post and the Institute for Canadian Values to gauge the public’s attitudes towards freedom of religion under the law.

The National Post and the Institute for Canadian Values. Is it any wonder that the survey is utter crap? Note carefully two of the issues that were raised: about writing a letter to the editor about SSM, and a printer refusing to print a gay group brochure, both of which hideously misrepresent two recent events that were savagely debunked here.

In the end, I'm not sure if the folks at the Politic.com are pathetically dishonest, or just astonishingly stupid. But, frankly, I doubt it's worth investing the time to find out.

LATE BUT ENTERTAINING OBSERVATION: Did anyone else catch the interesting wording used here:

A COMPAS poll conducted last week found 57% of those surveyed said officials who conduct generally secular wedding ceremonies ...

"Generally secular?" And in what way, might I ask, would a same-sex marriage be necessarily non-secular? Man, the dishonesty of this poll is seriously jaw-dropping. We just need some Jews and badges, and the atrocity would be complete.


Anonymous said...

Can anyone join in?

I just wanted to point out that this poll was commissioned by the Institute for Canadian Values. Earlier you linked to an excellent article by Marci McDonald in Walrus on how the Conservatives co-mingle politics with Christian fundementalism. McDonald had this to say about the ICV:

Funded by a $250,000 gift from a retired trucking magnate named Sidney Harkema, the new institute was prompted in part by McVety’s impatience with the Evangelical Fellowship, which published a guide for clergy on just how far they could go fighting Bill C-38 without incurring Revenue Canada’s wrath. McVety scoffs at that scrupulousness. “There’s nothing inthe regulations that says we’re second-class citizens not allowed to have a voice,” he says.

To head the icv, McVety tapped someone who shared his taste for a more boisterous approach: Joseph Ben-Ami, an Orthodox Jew who’d been B’nai Brith’s point man in Ottawa and a top operative in Stockwell Day’s leadership campaigns. A ubiquitous presence at Conservative and evangelical gatherings, Ben-Ami emerged during last spring’s child-care debate as more than just a quotable source defending Harper’s family allowance. He showed up brandishing Access to Information documents charging that some advocates of public daycare, including the Caledon Institute, had received Liberal government funding. “It’s a con game,” Ben-Ami declared, “and Canadian taxpayers are the victims"...

McVety’s preoccupation with Israel has become the thread that knits together his whirlwind organizational activities, from the fundamentalist theology that the college dispenses tothe curiously wide-ranging agenda of the Institute for Canadian Values, where Ben-Ami fires out press releases on subjects as apparently disparate as same-sex marriage and Hamas terrorist threats. Both issues are concerns shared by the intensely conservative wings of the Christian and Jewish communities that rally around McVety and his closest collaborator, Frank Dimant, executive vice-president of B’nai Brith Canada, who has an honorary doctorate from Canada Christian College on his office wall.

Dimant and McVety’s mutual interest in Israel and family values is exactly what Stephen Harper had in mind three years ago in his Civitas speech when he laid out his plans for a new Conservative coalition that would unite social conservatives across faith lines..."

Ok lets review: a think tank headed by a prominent Conservative insider commissions some junk polling to generate buzz about its anti-gay marriage agenda and it gets prominent play in the National Post.

Quelle surprise.

The only thing more tiring than the National Post pimping itself for every wingnut cause that comes down the pike is wingnut bloggers treating this trash as legitimate "news".

CC said...

lexington writes:

"To head the icv, McVety tapped someone who shared his taste for a more boisterous approach: Joseph Ben-Ami, an Orthodox Jew who’d been B’nai Brith’s point man in Ottawa and a top operative in Stockwell Day’s leadership campaigns."

And just what kind of ignorant reprobates is Ben-Ami hanging out with these days? Oh ... those kind.

Anonymous said...

As a commenter notes on my dissection of the poll, this amounts to little more than a thinly disguised attempt at manufacturing public opinion.

Anonymous said...

I like the idea of getting the government out of the marriage business altogether.

Marriage is a religious institution, so why on earth does our government marry people?

Want to get married? Convince a religion to perform the ceremony.

On the other hand, our secular government should be compelled to allow any two unmarried, competent adults to bind themselves together.

I'd like to see our government utterly barred from marrying anyone - and I do not understand why noone seemed to like the civil union = equivilant to marriage thing.

Ti-Guy said...

Anonymous....those questions and solutions were debated for three years and rejected over a year ago.

Get up to speed, will you?

God, modern life is like Ground Hog Day, isn't it?

My never-ending opposition to social conservatives is that they eventually have to...lie, lie, lie...in order to promote their beliefs. And people who lie just don't deserve to have their beliefs respected or promoted in secular society. End of story.

Alison said...

Wouldn't be the first time Chris Wattie has been involved in manufacturing public opinion.

Ti-Guy : "Groundhog Day" - that's great.

Alison said...

"Note carefully two of the issues that were raised: about writing a letter to the editor about SSM, and a printer refusing to print a gay group brochure"

Both examples can also be found in an Institute For Canadian Values paper published on October 20 entitled Same Sex Marriage Law - A case for Review.

The thing's worth reading (warning-pdf ), if only to appreciate their willingness to slag clergy who do perform SSMs as being only in it for the money.

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Mike said...

"Marriage is a religious institution, so why on earth does our government marry people?"

Actually, its been the other way around most of the last 3 or 4 thousand years. Civil marriage was brought about to provide the orderly transfer of land and other property upon death. It was a civil obligation during Roman times, when Jesus was still known as Dionysus or Osiris...

In fact, the Christian Church did not even get into the marriage business until well into the 11th century, relying instead on what ever local custom and rules were in place. Notice that Jesus, a supposes rabbi, did not officiate the wedding, he merely brought the wine.

So marriage is, in fact, a private law, civil construct and contract for the orderly handling of property and chattels, regardless of the religious affiliation of those married (especially useful in Europe in the Middle ages, what with Prots and Catholics not recognizing each other...).

As for Conrad Winn, well not surprise there. He was my Political Science prof back in 1986 at Carleton and considered himself a 'ultilitarian'. Meaning he would do what it took to get a paycheck, as this 'study' shows.

Anonymous said...

A reliable source told me that Conrad Winn was at McVety's anti ss-marriage shindig in Ottawa last week telling the wankers how polls could be really useful in making their case - COMPAS is obviously a sham of a polling company.