Confusion and Aristotle in My Home Town

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AP photo reproduced in the Huffington Post

This morning, The New York Times published an article on several county clerks in New Mexico who have begun to issue marriage licenses to couples regardless of their sex. “The loudest” opponent to the practice, a state senator from my home town of Farmington, was quoted as saying the acts are “pure lawlessness.”

The Times had a link that took me to Mr. Sharer’s web site:

http://www.williamsharer.com

The front page, at least as of today (Stars of the Debate), had a somewhat cryptic reference to a debate in which he apparently said something controversial. It began with an appeal to authority that confuses (and delights) me:

I used several pre-Christian definitions of marriage directly from the sources.  I used Confuses, Alexander the Great, Aristotle and Pocahontas specifically.  I also used some general examples of how marriage has been defined.  Of course, the deceitful pulled one sentence out of context and blasted that across the country.

So it seemed that the best way to shut down honest debate is to lie about your opponent.  Many people reacted the way the deceitful wanted and expressed their opinion that I should make love to myself. 

What did he say that would draw such a loving reaction from the “deceitful”?

Here is the section from Sharer’s blog post about marriage that cites Alexander and Aristotle (and there’s a brilliant reading of a passage from the Ethics):

Alexander the Great’s – View of Marriage

Alexander the Great (356-323 BC) married a Bactrian woman – modern day Afghanistan.  Alexander may have engaged in homosexual activity, but he married a woman.

He directed his officers to stop “whoring” around and find a local woman to marry.

WHY?

BECAUSE

“It is only through blood relations that hatred and war will end”.  In other words, Alexander the Great thought that marriage was about creating and raising the next generation.  

This is the reason for Marriage – 

The creation and raising of children who have the best chance to grow to be peaceful, responsible citizens.

Aristotle – Another pre-Christian philosopher

Aristotle (384 – 322 BC) – teacher and mentor to Alexander, disagreed with Alexander’s directive to his officers.  Aristotle felt strongly that ONLY Greeks had the virtues necessary to handle the freedoms Greeks had know for a century.  Non-Greeks were less than fully human and the marrying of Greeks and non-Greeks would weaken the virtues of Alexander and his army. — Notice that Aristotle thought that marriage was about men and women making babies.

Aristotle fully believed that marriage, between Greeks, was fundamental for civilization – marriage between a Greek man and a Greek woman to make virtuous Greek babies.  It was only with virtuous Greek babies that Greek civilization could succeed.

Further, Aristotle wrote in his book “Ethics” (350 BC) that women must rule the family.  The family trained the young and disciplined the rest so they would behave ethically in society.  In modern speak – if momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.

I’d just like to say that I’m proud that Confuses and Aristotle have their place in the farming and oil town where I grew up. Who says we’re just hicks?

About Scott Abbott

I received my Ph.D. in German Literature from Princeton University in 1979. Then I taught at Vanderbilt University, BYU, and Utah Valley State College. At Utah Valley University, I directed the Program in Integrated Studies for its initial 13 years and was also Chair of the Department of Humanities and Philosophy for three years. My publications include a book on Freemasonry and the German Novel, two co-authored books with Zarko Radakovic (REPETITIONS and VAMPIRES & A REASONABLE DICTIONARY, published in Serbo-Croatian in Belgrade and in English with Punctum Books), a book with Sam Rushforth (WILD RIDES AND WILDFLOWERS, Torrey House Press), a "fraternal meditation" called IMMORTAL FOR QUITE SOME TIME (University of Utah Press), and translations of three books by Austrian author Peter Handke, of an exhibition catalogue called "The German Army and Genocide," and, with Dan Fairbanks, of Gregor Mendel's important paper on hybridity in peas. More famously, my children are in the process of creating good lives for themselves: as a model and dance/yoga studio manager, as a teacher of Chinese language, as an ecologist and science writer, as a jazz musician, as a parole officer, as a contractor, as a seasonal worker (Alaska and Park City, Utah), and as parents. I share my life with UVU historian Lyn Bennett, with whom I have written a cultural history of barbed wire -- THE PERFECT FENCE (Texas A&M University Press). Some publications at http://works.bepress.com/scott_abbott/
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