Colbert’s Double Game

Published Date: October 10, 2014 | Topics: Politics and Current Affairs

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By Robert P. George 10 . 10 . 14

The cognoscenti tell me that Stephen Colbert, who is a self-identified faithful member of a Church that teaches that homosexual inclinations are intrinsically disordered and that sodomy is a mortal sin, is a smart guy—a really smart guy. Evidently, his shtick is to adopt the persona of a certain type of individual whom he regards as intellectually and morally inferior to himself so that he can ridicule people of that sort. This, I’m told, is the kind of humor that people who watch Stephen Colbert, who is a self-identified faithful member of a Church that teaches that homosexual inclinations are intrinsically disordered and that sodomy is a mortal sin, relish.

Although I’ve not watched his television program often enough to form an opinion of my own, I’m perfectly willing to believe that Stephen Colbert, who is a self-identified faithful member of a Church that teaches that homosexual inclinations are intrinsically disordered and that sodomy is a mortal sin, is indeed a really smart guy. But that leaves me puzzled about something. A really smart guy ought to be able to understand what an analogy is. He should know that to analogize something to something else is not to say that the two things are identical. It is to suggest that they are alike in a certain respect or in some respects, though not alike in others. Lawyers and legal scholars work with analogies all the time. But one doesn’t have to be a lawyer to understand that to say that something is analogous to something else is not to say that they are identical or of equal importance or gravity.

But Stephen Colbert, who is a self-identified faithful member of a Church that teaches that homosexual inclinations are intrinsically disordered and that sodomy is a mortal sin, somehow doesn’t get it. Recently he tried to lampoon the distinguished constitutional scholar Matthew Franck who had, perfectly reasonably, referred to the imposition of same-sex “marriage” on the nation by a series of judicial fiats as “slow motion Dred Scott.” What the two have in common, of course, is that they involve judges abusing their power by substituting their own particular moral judgments and political preferences for those of the people and their elected representatives. But Stephen Colbert, who is a self-identified faithful member of a Church that teaches that homosexual inclinations are intrinsically disordered and that sodomy is a mortal sin, seemed to think that Franck was insisting that the redefinition of marriage to include same-sex partnerships is just like, or just as unjust, or just as horrific and evil as the institution of slavery.

Could a guy who is supposed to be so smart really be that dim? Or is Colbert, who is a self-identified faithful member of a Church that teaches that homosexual inclinations are intrinsically disordered and that sodomy is a mortal sin, actually playing a double game? Is he adopting the persona of a pompous, self-important liberal comedian who adopts the persona of a mindless social conservative to mock the pomposity, self-importance, and absurd sense of intellectual and moral superiority he perceives in social liberals?

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