Haters of Gays versus Lovers of War Propaganda

Carrie Prejean, pageant contestant and anti-equality activist, explains:

On April 19, on that stage, I exercised my freedom of speech, and I was punished for doing so. This should not happen in America. It undermines the constitutional rights for which my grandfather fought for [sic].

Wow! What happened? Was she arrested? Was she fined?

Um … no. All that happened was that she was verbally attacked for her views. Does she really think she has a constitutional right not to be criticised? That she can express whatever bigoted views she wants, but others have no right to call her out for them? Is freedom of speech something that applies only to herself and not to her critics?

Carrie Prejean and Keith Olbermann

On the other hand, some of her critics have been saying inane things too. Olbermann, for example (sorry), tonight said something like “Her grandfather didn’t fight for her right to speak her mind in a beauty contest, he fought for her right not to have her speech interfered with by the government.”

Huh? What did World War II have to do with defending her right not to have her speech interfered with by the government? Didn’t the U.S. government on the contrary use World War II as a pretext to increase such interference? Or does Olbermann mean that Prejean’s grandfather was fighting to prevent Nazi Germany from conquering the U.S. and imposing still harsher censorship? If so, does Olbermann really believe that the U.S. was in serious danger of being conquered during World War II?

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23 Responses to Haters of Gays versus Lovers of War Propaganda

  1. MBH May 12, 2009 at 9:26 pm #

    Agreed–to the second point. To the first, she seemed to mean that she was punished because she didn’t win the competition. Or at least, that’s how Olbermann took it.

    • Roderick May 12, 2009 at 9:59 pm #

      I guess there are three possible things she could mean:

      a) She was criticised for her views.

      b) She didn’t win the competition.

      c) There were moves to take her earlier title away.

      If it’s (a), what I said above stands.

      If it’s (b), then of course there’s no such thing as a right to win a beauty contest — and since answering the question was part of the contest, obviously it was appropriate for the judges to take the content of her answer into account.

      If it’s (c), the charges against her weren’t related to her answer, and besides, the charges were dropped.

      • MBH May 12, 2009 at 10:09 pm #

        In her heart, I think she probably feels (b). But if pressed she would more than likely claim (a). Either way, she definitely holds an undue sense of entitlement.

        And then there’s Olbermann: getting a bit careless these days.

  2. Kevin Carson May 12, 2009 at 11:33 pm #

    Among other things, she’s also said the interview question was motivated by a personal agenda, and that she felt Satan was behind the question.

    So maybe she’ll have a job when Elisabeth Hasselbeck moves on.

    • Roderick May 13, 2009 at 12:48 am #

      she’s also said the interview question was motivated by a personal agenda, and that she felt Satan was behind the question.

      Are those two claims consistent? I mean, unless Satan is himself gay (a question on which I’ll of course defer to Ms. Prejean’s demonological expertise — but Milton does imply in Paradise Lost that Satan had a heterosexual, albeit incestuous, relationship with Lady Sin), his pro-gay agenda isn’t a personal one, is it?

      • MBH May 13, 2009 at 10:12 am #

        Those claims are consistent if she believes the fella’ asking the questions *is* Satan (incarnating a gay man)! God bless America.

  3. littlehorn May 13, 2009 at 3:31 am #

    Hi Roderick. Actually this is a topic that makes me uneasy.

    Are there limits to free speech, or not ? What are they ? I’ve long had the position that everything is permissible. Then I read about libertarianism being founded on respect for persons; and also this in Punishment vs Restitution:
    Suppose I gratuitously insult one of my neighbors, and steal the car of another. Each of my neighbors thereby acquires a moral claim against me: the first neighbor has a claim to an apology, the second a claim to his car.

    What is gratuitous ? Certainly, if you feel angry at someone, expressing that anger is not gratuitous ? And how would you know if someone were or were not feeling angry ? He could fake it. And does respect for persons imply the non-use of bad language towards them ?

    • Mike D. May 13, 2009 at 8:08 am #

      I believe Roderick would point out that there is a difference between a moral claim and an enforceable moral claim. The gay community has a moral claim on Ms. Prejean, but not an enforceable one. Ms. Prejean may or may not have a moral claim against the pageant, or Keith Olbermann (I am of the opinion that she does not), but in any case it is not an enforceable one.

      • littlehorn May 13, 2009 at 11:20 am #

        Hi Mike. Um, no I had gotten that part about the difference between moral rights, about which you’re your own judge; and legal rights, which can be forced on you.

        I think I should ask straightly: Why is there a moral claim to an apology in the first place, if you’re verbally abused ? I would think we should acknowledge hatred, instead of going against a natural feeling like this. I think we apologize in the first place because we want to make up with someone; and, on the other hand, we don’t apologize when we truly despise her, and it’s not going away. So is there really a moral claim ? And why…

        • Roderick May 13, 2009 at 12:48 pm #

          I tend not to call non-enforceable moral claims “rights,” to avoid confusion (though it is one of the ways the term “rights” is used).

          But anger can be justified or unjustified, depending on the details; and even when anger is justified, expressing that anger can be justified or unjustified, depending on the details.

          Maybe you’re thinking that anger is just a feeling that happens to us and that it can’t be justified or unjustified. But as Aristotle et al. point out, emotions aren’t just raw feelings; they embody normative judgments, and those judgments can be justified or unjustified. Plus emotions aren’t literally outside our control; we control them indirectly via habituation, and to some degree directly by sustaining the modes of consciousness involved.

          Certainly, if you feel angry at someone, expressing that anger is not gratuitous

          It’s gratuitous if the anger is unjustified. It can also be gratuitous in cases where the anger is justified but expressing it isn’t. There are plenty of cases where it’s right to feel an emotion but wrong to express it. Aristotle gives the example of fear — there are cases where you ought to face danger, where it would be wrong not to feel fear (since the fear is a recognition of the genuine badness of whatever you’re facing) but also wrong to act on the fear (by running away). Or to take an example from Karen Stohr — suppose I have to break the news to a friend that their loved one has died. There’d be something wrong with me if I didn’t feel reluctant to perform this duty, but it would also be wrong to act on my reluctance by not telling them.

  4. littlehorn May 13, 2009 at 5:33 am #

    Also, I’ve done a French translation of the above text. Who knows, you might need to show off to some fine French woman.



    • littlehorn May 13, 2009 at 5:34 am #

      “Who knows, you might need it to show off to some fine French woman.”

  5. martin May 13, 2009 at 6:36 am #

    “Haters of gays”? As far as I know Prejean only said she opposes gay marriage, does that make her a hater of gays?

  6. Sergio Méndez May 13, 2009 at 8:01 am #


    Well, if you do not hate someone, why will you deny them a basic right like to chose who to live their lives with (or more properly, the right of free asociation)?

    • martin May 13, 2009 at 9:04 am #

      There could be a number of reasons (none of which I agree with), but my point is: people deny each other people basic rights (well at least things I, and probably you too, consider basic rights) all the time, that doesn’t mean they hate these other people. At least I hope not, or else there would be a lot of hatred around.

      E.g. many (most?) people oppose polygamy, but do you really think they hate (would-be) polygamists? Do people who favor a smoking ban hate people who smoke?

      Off course some do, but most likely most don’t.

      • martin May 13, 2009 at 9:07 am #

        Oops, “each other people” should be “other people”.

      • littlehorn May 13, 2009 at 11:24 am #

        Yes, I think you can say she’s not automatically a gay hater. She just denies their rights, which is just as wrong.

        • Roderick May 13, 2009 at 12:53 pm #

          In a political context, the term “hate” has come to mean bigotry toward, or support for the oppression of, the targeted group even if it’s not accompanied by feelings if hatred as traditionally defined.

          Plus, Merriam-Webster defines hate as “intense hostility and aversion usually deriving from fear, anger, or sense of injury.” Certainly attempting to deny people’s rights is a form of hostility, whatever its emotional accompaniments. And I do think it’s usually motivated by some form of “fear, anger, or sense of injury.”

  7. john harlan May 13, 2009 at 4:42 pm #

    Apart from the boilerplate comment on what free speech really is, wasn’t Olbermann motivated by his disgust at Christianity? Why else the gleeful exploitation of contradictions like struggling with Satan while pursuing a modeling career? I would rather hear what Camile Paglia might say on this, since she has made it a theme that western christianity is an uneasy mix of christian and pagan elements. Camille is currently discussing the Brazilian mix of religion and eroticism. Evidently this is a real problem for Protestants and what Bertrand Russell called atheists who come from Protestantism. Olbermann, who’s real WTF moment is his sudden turn to prudishness, called the Miss Whatever pageant “soft porn.” Would he call the liberals’ favorite movie, “American Beauty,” soft porn? All I see here is an opportunistic bully.

    • Roderick May 13, 2009 at 4:54 pm #

      One needn’t be an opponent of Christianity to be disgusted at Prejean’s simplistic nonsense about Satan.

      Of course a beauty pageant isn’t soft porn, but Olbermann’s point — overstated (olberstated? olberblown?) as usual — was that parading in a skimpy costume fits oddly with the socially conservative values she’s identifying herself with.

      • b-psycho May 14, 2009 at 1:39 pm #


        I’m still laughing at the idea of a silicone-enhanced blond from California suddenly becoming a spokesperson for the “Traditional Values” crowd.

      • Anon73 May 21, 2009 at 4:40 pm #

        Maybe conservatives are trying to rebrand themselves as the party of fiscally responsible girls in swimsuits.

  8. RTRebel May 21, 2009 at 1:09 pm #

    Frankly, I would equally offended if she said she supported gay marriage. That would still make her a freedom hater, but only towards a different group (groups that recognize only heterosexual marriages in their personal lives). The correct response is if she didn’t want the state to have anything to do with the definition of marriage, or make any distinctions or regulations for it, whatsoever.

    I think more “pro -gay” and “anti-gay” marriage advocates could find some peace with that.

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