Buttigieg's Argument Does Not Convince

Letters to the Editors

To the editors:

Peter Buttigieg’s analysis of sex and violence (Column, “Prudes and Puritans,” Feb. 9) contains much rhetorical persuasion. But those of us with functioning craniums beg to differ.

I get the feeling that Buttigieg is yearning for reasons—any reason at all—to make us believe that Democrats are good and Republicans are bad. In a very absurd argument, Buttigieg says that since sex is self-evidently good, the fuss over Democrats such as Clinton is overblown. Republicans are bad because they participate in violence. And violence is bad. Why (according to Buttigieg)? Because “we can all agree.” Of course, this answer depends on a false assumption of a broad consensus.

But is there a consensus on state ordered violence? After all, the state does have a monopoly on it. War, police and criminal laws all work together to maintain what the Brits call “peace, order, and good government.”

Violence which is in the context of war is paralegal. Or to dumb it down for Buttigieg, if you happen kill people while fighting in Grenada, it is not quite the same as plotting to murder an innocent civilian. Thus, it is nothing extroardinarily damaging in the public eye for a President to be involved in ordering paralegal activities. The state does have a monopoly on violence after all.

Secondly, his contention that sex is inherently good, and thus sex ought to be embraced, is off the mark too. Once again, since we “can’t help to admit that sex is a good thing,” there must be nothing wrong with showing some skin or involving in any ‘extra-curricular’ activity while married.Anyone who has taken an intro critical thinking class recognizes this as a classic bandwagan jumping logical fallacy.

The other problem Buttigieg’s argument has is that he so easily transfers something intrinsically good like sex from a private to a public act.I suspect that “if we are honest with ourselves,” his argument doesn’t fair so well in describing why “all of us” think that public urination or even sex in public should be illegal. His argument could be logically extended to say that since we urinate in a toilet, we might as well urinate in other people’s drinks at a restaurant. Does the gesture seem unwanted? If so, perhaps this can be used to explain to Buttigieg as to why the Super Bowl nipple fest was offensive to some: it was an unwanted and offensive sight.

Jonathan Maryniuk

Feb. 14, 2004