This can’t go unanswered. Last week Kentucky Senatorial candidate Matt Bevin got in hot water for some comments he made about gay marriage.
“If it’s all right to have same-sex marriages, why not define a marriage — because at the end of the day a lot of this ends up being taxes and who can visit who in the hospital and there’s other repressions and things that come with it — so a person may want to define themselves as being married to one of their children so that they can then in fact pass on certain things to that child financially and otherwise,” Bevin said on “The Janet Mefferd Show,” a conservative talk-radio show.
In spite of Bevin clearly making a point about abuse of a system for tax benefits, many, even some on our side, chose to view it as a comparison between homosexuality and incest. His argument was a perfect illustration of how the slippery slope operates but was entirely limited to a concern about how loosely defining a beneficial tax status could result in abuse and manipulation of that status.
When actor Adam Baldwin used a bit of his trademark twitter snark to highlight that people were being silly, HuffPost Gay Voices went on the attack.
“Firefly” star Adam Baldwin went on a Twitter rant about same-sex marriage Thursday and compared it to incest.
As Baldwin helpfully pointed out, it wasn’t about incest.
@huffpostgay Please correct/retract your false "incest" post. I never made that comparison. My point was strictly re: tax avoidance marriage
— Adam Baldwin (@AdamBaldwin) February 24, 2014
By then of course, the damage had been done.
This is an example of the left missing the point, and I believe, on purpose. Although the writer will probably loathe that I’ve linked to him, this liberal blogger perfectly understands that HuffPo is missing the point:
Mr. Baldwin and Mr. Bevin were talking about tax and inheritance benefits. They choose an inflammatory example to control the argument, and to allow their opponents and supporters to make the association between same-sex marriage and incest for themselves. It also allowed them to make their underlying point against same-sex marriage without anyone challenging it.
While I can’t say for certain that this writer is accurate about the underlying reasons for the line of argument Baldwin & Bevin chose (undermining same sex as opposed to simply commenting on the carelessness with which it is being handled), they are absolutely right about incest being an association that HuffPo and others drew on their own.
The entire purpose of using the father/child marriage as an example was precisely because it would be an absurd scenario, not because they are necessarily equal.
Drawing the conclusion that this was a comparison between homosexuality and incest simply because the illustration included a potential tax benefit derived from legal marriage would be like saying President Obama thinks peanut butter & jelly sandwiches and taxes are the same thing.
These are called comparative analogies. They are used to illustrate the potential for a problem or to highlight the absurdity of an argument. The entire point of these analogies is usually that they are not the same thing, but the circumstances surrounding them could or would be similar or identical.
That was Matt Bevin’s point. That was Adam Baldwin’s point. And Huffington Post knows this.