Sympathy for Kim Davis

There is no good reason whatever for Rowan County clerk Kim Davis’ ongoing refusal to issue marriage licenses, but some digging by U.S. News & World Report has turned-up some history that points toward a possible explanation of her toxic religiosity.

The Kentucky county clerk facing potentially stiff penalties for refusing to issue same-sex marriage licenses has been married four times, raising questions of hypocrisy and selective application of the Bible to her life.

The marriages are documented in court records obtained by U.S. News, which show that Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis divorced three times, first in 1994, then 2006 and again in 2008.

She gave birth to twins five months after divorcing her first husband. They were fathered by her third husband but adopted by her second. Davis worked at the clerk’s office at the time of each divorce and has since remarried.

It doesn’t need much imagination to understand how that string of bad marriages and relationships, and the complicated paternity of her children, might have had a debilitating effect upon her judgment, her self-esteem, her sense of self and worth.

And then she encounters a predatory cult that targets the insecure and the damaged, and fastens on to it like a lamprey — because her ‘church family’ and the love of an Invisible Friend are all that she has.

Maybe that’s how it happened, and maybe not; obviously, I speculate. It’s a familiar progression, however.

None of this excuses her failure to obey the law, or to rise above her own peculiar history, but to my mind it makes her a more sympathetic figure and, perhaps, just another casualty of Christianity’s degrading ideas.

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The Will to Power

Book Two: A Criticism of the Highest Values That Have Prevailed Hitherto
Concluding remarks concerning the criticism of morality

§402   Morality, a useful error; or, more clearly still, a necessary and expedient lie according to the greatest and most impartial of its supporters.

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Davis refuses to issue marriage licenses

Kim Davis, Pious Yahoo and, unfortunately, still the clerk of Rowan County, Kentucky, continues to refuse to issue marriage licenses, though she lost her appeal to the Supreme Court yesterday.

Invoking “God’s authority” in a testy exchange with same-sex partners, a county clerk has again refused to issue marriage licenses to gay couples – this time in defiance of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling against her.

On Tuesday morning, Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis’ office denied the licenses to several couples. At first, Davis was in her office with the door closed and blinds drawn, and her staff said she wouldn’t be available. But Davis emerged a few minutes later, telling the couples and the activists gathered there that her office is continuing to deny the licenses “under God’s authority.”

Well.

Ignorant characters like Davis enjoy justifying their ill behavior with brave declarations like, “I don’t leave my faith at home when I go to work,” et cetera, et cetera. The fact is that the state has no religion — and neither may Davis during the hours that she toils as its agent. She is wrong, and wildly and embarrassingly so.

There is a bright side to this unseemly debacle: Nobody with two eyeballs connected to a functioning mind can fail to see how vicious and inherently incompatible with democratic self-government Christianity actually is when people are so foolish that they take it seriously.

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Resetting philosophy

This is interesting: They’re asking over at Daily Nous what one statement/question/passage from Western philosophy would you preserve if all of the rest of philosophical thought were to be removed from the earth?

Resetting, or jump-starting, Western thought is an idea that has been around for a while; the need for that is the aim of Nietzsche’s Beyond Good and Evil, and John Dewey’s Reconstruction in Philosophy. Rightly so, too. Western thought is derived chiefly from Plato who, taking his cue from mathematics, taught that our world is a poor copy of a perfect, ideal world somewhere else. Layer-on Original Sin to explain why that other world is inaccessible to us, and you’ve got Christianity. The West has reached the dead-end of Plato’s thought.

I need to think about it, but my first thought is the challenge posed by Socrates in Euthyphro:

Is the pious loved by the gods because it is pious, or is it pious because it is loved by the gods?

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The Will to Power

Book Two: A Criticism of the Highest Values That Have Prevailed Hitherto
Concluding remarks concerning the criticism of morality

§401   Which values have been most valued hitherto. Morality as the leading value in all phases of philosophy (even with the Sceptics). Result: this world is no good, a “true world” must exist somewhere.

What is it that here determines the highest value? What, in sooth, is morality? The instinct of decadence; it is the exhausted and the disinherited who take their revenge in this way and play the masters —

Historical proof: philosophers have always been decadents and always in the pay of Nihilistic religions. The instinct of decadence appears as the will to power. The introduction of its system of means: its means arc absolutely immoral.

General aspect: the values that have been highest hitherto have been a special instance of the will to power; morality itself is a particular instance of immorality.

* * *

Why the Antagonistic Values always succumbed.

  1. How was this actually possible? Question: why did life and physiological well-constitution succumb everywhere? Why was there no affirmative philosophy, no affirmative religion?

    The historical signs of such movements: the pagan religion. Dionysos versus the Christ. The Renaissance. Art.

  2. The strong and the weak: the healthy and the sick; the exception and the rule. There is no doubt as to who is the stronger —

    General view of history; Is man an exception in the history of life on this account? An objection to Darwinism. The means wherewith the weak succeed in ruling have become: instincts, “humanity”, “institutions”—.

  3. The proof of this rule on the part of the weak is to be found in our political instincts, in our social values, in our arts and in our science.

* * *

The instincts of decadence have become master of the instincts of ascending life –. The will to nonentity has prevailed over the will to life.

— Is this true? Is there not perhaps a stronger guarantee of life and of the species in this victory of the weak and the mediocre? Is it not perhaps only a means in the collective movement of life, a mere slackening of the pace, a protective measure against something even more dangerous?

— Suppose the strong were masters in all respects, even in valuing: let us try and think what their attitude would be towards illness, suffering and sacrifice! Self-contempt on the part of the weak would be the result: they would do their utmost to disappear and to extinguish their kind. And would this be desirable? Should we really like a world in which the subtlety, the consideration, the intellectuality, the plasticity in fact, the whole influence of the weak was lacking?

* * *

We have seen two “wills to power” at war (in this special case we had a principle: that of agreeing with the one that has hitherto succumbed and of disagreeing with the one that has hitherto triumphed): we have recognised the “real world” as a “world of lies” and morality as a form of immorality. We do not say “the stronger is wrong”.

We have understood what it is that has determined the highest values hitherto and why the latter should have prevailed over the opposite value: it was numerically the stronger.

If we now purify the opposite value of the infection, the half-heartedness and the degeneration with which we identify it.

We restore Nature to the throne, free from moralic acid.

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