Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Good news from the elections!

Yes, there's the bad news of a second term for Obama, but a Romney victory would only have been marginally better.  On the other hand, there is some genuinely good news for liberty.  In every state in which a same sex marriage issue was on the ballot, the cause of individual rights for gay people won.  In Maine, Maryland, and Washington, ballot initiatives were passed that permit same sex marriage.  In Minnesota, an initiative to ban such marriages was voted down.

This is great news for three reasons.  First, gays and lesbians have the same rights as anyone, and ought to be free to choose their marriage partners.  This is something deeply personal and neither the state nor "society" has any authority to interfere.  Besides, the legal prohibitions on same sex marriage are based on religious doctrines rather than individual rights, and have no place in a free society.  Social conservatives pretend to care about social stability, but do not -- they try to prevent gay people from forming stable and permanent relationships and in reality are simply attempting to mandate their religious ideas.

Second, this takes away the whiny argument from conservatives that recognition of the rights of gay people is just a lot of liberal judicial activism and contrary to the will of the people.  In four very different states, the overwhelming will of the majority is to recognize the rights of everyone, regardless of sexual orientation.  Most Americans have no interest in the culture wars, or if they do, they are against those lunatics who want to reform the law to match the Old Testament.  The religious right has a built-in tendency to be oblivious to reality, but hopefully other sorts of conservatives will catch on and start shedding the religious right.  We could use a sane opposition to progressivism and the Democratic Party in America.

Third, this outcome has a broader implication -- social conservatism is a dying doctrine and an electoral dead end.  This is further corroborated by the overwhelming defeats of Republicans Richard Mourdock and Todd Akin in U.S. Senate races in the red states of Indiana and Missouri.  Both were expected to win handily.  But their radical anti-abortion stances, the callous, dangerous, and crazy way they regarded rape, turned the majority of voters -- and most of the country -- against them.  The radical anti-abortion crowd should take note.  (I've not blogged on abortion, but the idea that human life begins at conception is silly from the standpoint of biology, arbitrary from the standpoint of philosophy, and dangerously insane from the standpoint of law.  And it's unbiblical besides.)

I argued this past March that social conservatism would cost Romney the race, and I think I'm right.  I also argued that social conservatives would not learn a thing from this, and that's already proving to be right.  I'm hoping that conservatives who are actually interested in smaller government and freer markets (there must a few somewhere) will kick the religious right out.  Let 'em go off to the Constitution Party or some similar nuthouse.

I can't help but think that conservative Republican Barry Goldwater would have been relatively happy with this election.  He certainly would have opposed the Democrats' continued expansion of the welfare state, but as he also argued:

"It’s time America realized that there is no gay exemption in the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness in the Declaration of Independence."

That's now happening.  Goldwater also said:

"Today's so-called 'conservatives' don’t even know what the word means. They think I’ve turned liberal because I believe a woman has a right to an abortion. That’s a decision that’s up to the pregnant woman, not up to the pope or some do-gooders or the Religious Right. It’s not a conservative issue at all."


"Religious factions will go on imposing their will on others unless the decent people connected to them recognize that religion has no place in public policy. They must learn to make their views known without trying to make their views the only alternatives."

Maybe at some point these will happen too, and the GOP will kick the Taliban from their midst and return to some semblance of reality.  In the interrim, anyone interested in individual liberty does have something to be happy about in this election.

Oh, please. Gay marriage has nothing to do with equal rights. If gays cared about equal rights, they would fight to extend legal marriage to everybody-polygamists, polyandrists, multi-way marriage types, etc. Or, more rationally, they would fight to take marriage out of government's hands altogether. Govt does not define, enforce, or regulate friendship, so why should it define, enforce or regulate marriage?

This was a victory for more government, not for rights or equality or anything. Gays know it damn well, which is why they always bother to deny that giving them "marriage rights" will not lead to a "slippery slope" of giving the same rights to polygamists. In fact, a major part of their fight is to embrace "conservative family values" and to show that they form stable, long term relationships, that they are good parents, etc.

I can't believe you fell for that equal rights garbage. Even Ron Paul got that issue right.
"But their radical anti-abortion stances, the callous, dangerous, and crazy way they regarded rape,... "

As for "radical anti-abortion stances": what is so radical about them? The fact that they oppose the rape exemption? I've written about it and you seemed to agree. How are their views of abortion worse than the "standard", which supports the rape exemption?

And what's so callous in the way they view rape? There are two issues here:
1. "The body has ways of shutting this thing down" issue: a scientific issue approached by a moron and explained in a moron's language, but not altogether untrue. I haven't bothered to look it up, but I'm certain rapes result in fewer pregnancies than consensual sex, even when untreated.

2. The "god's plan" issue: standard religious rhetoric that is no different from the standard belief that everything is god's plan. Nothing new or unusual here.
Wow! This voting thing really seems to have lit your fuse.

Your comment is a great example of libertarianism as religion, instead of a philosophy that might actually help make people freer in the real world.

Yes, the only libertarian solution is to abolish all laws pertaining to marriage, abolish all state recognition or enforcement of marriage contracts, repeal all laws that take any note at all of the marriage status of couples. In the interrim, same-sex couples will be treated differently under law; they'll be treated badly regarding adoption, regarding their children, regarding inheritance, regarding visitation rights in hospitals, regarding taxes, etc. etc. etc. Sure, they'll be screwed on the deal in every case, discriminated against by the force of law, but so what? The purity of the Libertarian religion comes first. All gays have to do is keep at it until they've finally eliminated all state recognition of marriage, child-parent relations, and everything else.

Yes, you have a second great point here, this really is a victory for more and more government, just as Loving v. Virginia was. First those darned mixed-race couples expanded the state by abolishing laws that banned them from marriage, next it's those darned gays. Who knows what will happen next? Maybe those polygamists? The bounds of the state will ever expand at this rate!

And yes, you have even a third great point! There's an underlying sinister element here -- gays secretly want to embrace conservative family values. Sounds like something that libertarianism qua religion must oppose. We're not sure why, but since conservatives promote family values, they must be bad.

Look, if a tax cut or a reduction in regulations is proposed, do you condemn it b/c taxes and regulations should be abolished? If a state considers passing shall-issue CCW, do you oppose it b/c there should be no permits needed at all? Were you opposed to the U.S. abolishing conscription for an all-volunteer military, b/c the military itself should be replaced with private protective services?

Re the rape point: I already agreed with you on the rape exemption argument. No abortion for any reason at all is as radical as you can get on the issue. So what's your problem here?

It is indeed callous to disregard a rape victim's opinion in this matter. Let her decide. To hell with some politician's opinion.

Who cares whether the body has some mechanism that reduces the probability of pregnancy from rape; that's irrelevant to the discussion at hand.

Finally, the "everything is God's will so accept it" issue (which pertains to a different post, are you going to threaten to remove your comments for this?) is indeed standard belief. Apparently a majority of Mourdock's potential constituents didn't didn't take much comfort in that.
You're the one who seems to have blown a fuse. Let's just take one of the issues you mentioned: taxes.

There is fundamental difference here, which you seem to have missed. Say government decides that whites should pay a lower tax rate than other races. Some black leaders argue that this isn't fair, and they attempt to push a law that says that blacks, too, should pay a lower rate, but they do not support extending that lower tax rate to Asians and Latinos.

In this case, I'd argue that those black leaders who push for that legislation are scum, but I'd still support them, because screwing fewer people is better than screwing more people, ceteris paribus.

Is this the same situation with same-sex marriage? Not at all.
Gays are not fighting for the right to marry. They are fighting for the right to force others to acknowledge their marriage. No one is preventing two gay men from saying, "we are married". What they want is to force others to treat them as they treat other married couples, and they have no right to do that.

This is a fundamental difference.

In practice, through a jillion laws on the state and federal level, people would have to provide services and products against their will to gay couples: an employer will have to pay for a spouse's healthcare insurance; a psychologist will be sued for refusing to counsel a gay couple; a night club owner will be forced to allow gay couples into couples' dance night, etc. The injustice against gays will be offset by an injustice against those not wishing to recognize gay marriage.

For that reason, the path that gays have chosen is the wrong one. In addition, their talk of fairness and equality is laughable, as would the talk of the black leaders I discussed above.

Re the rape issue: You mentioned Murdock's and Aiken's stance on rape and abortion, so why is this irrelevant or belonging to another thread? I've never heard of Murdock, so I Googled him and found what I assumed you were referring to.

To reiterate: from what I've read, their views are no worse than those of standard conservatives, and may be better because they are more consistent.

You said, "But their radical anti-abortion stances, the callous, dangerous, and crazy way they regarded rape..."

It is radical only in the good sense of the word, as in reaching to the root of the issue, and it is not crazier, more dangerous, or more callous than that of mainstream conservatives.

Don't snap at me for taking you to task for things you said.
As for Loving V. Virginia: from Wikipedia, "[the Racial Integrity Act of 1924] expanded the scope of Virginia's ban on interracial marriage by criminalizing all marriages between white persons and non-white persons."

If my understanding is correct, the law stipulated that a priest saying to a mixed couple, "you are now husband and wife" would have been arrested for breaking the law. Needless to say, that law should have been repealed.

Is this the case here? No! You can say "you are now husband and husband" all you want and issue a certificate and you won't get in trouble for that. The problem, your problem, is that city hall/the courts/the feds won't recognize that piece of paper you brought with you.

That's a completely different situation.

While I'm at it, I'll add this: say an American Jew goes to his employer and says, "I won't be coming to work on the 14th of September, 2013 because it is Yom Kippur, the holiest day in Judaism." The employer replies, "This is neither a federal nor a state holiday. You shall be at work at 8:00 AM sharp, or else you shall be dismissed forthwith."

The Jew pushes for federal legislation that makes all Jewish holidays Federal holidays for Jews who, if they opt for the Jewish holidays, forfeit their Christian holidays and thus do not gain more vacation time than their Christian colleagues (we'll assume for simplicity's sake that the number of holidays is equal in both religions, although it is not).

Question: will you support this legislation?

I need not point out the obvious inconsistency that would follow a reply in the negative.
PL, you are not making sense.

What do you think marriage is? You realize it is a legally enforceable contract and it provides all sorts of things like lower tax rates, protection from privacy laws that interfere with family relationships, easily & transferred shared legal title to property, etc. It's ridiculous to say that gays should be satisfied with being able to claim they are married, with no legal ramifications at all.

Re Mourdock & Aiken -- what is so hard to understand? They take an unusually radical position. If one thinks, as I do, abortion shouldn't be prohibited, then their position is worse that someone who at least allows for a number of exceptions. Yes, these guys are consistent, but that's not "good," unless you really think that consistent application of bad ideas is better than inconsistent.

The Jewish holiday example isn't analogous. E.g. how does requiring hospitals to permit a gay person access to a hospitalized spouse, say, impose some new and difficult burden?
"how does requiring hospitals to permit a gay person access to a hospitalized spouse, say, impose some new and difficult burden?"

Who are you (or I, or anyone) to require hospitals to do anything? If they wish to discriminate against gays (or blacks, or women with three nipples), it's their business. I'm not condoning it, and I definitely think that hospitals should recognize same-sex relationships in the same way they recognize heterosexual marriage, but who am I to force them to do so?

And what if the hospital is a Mormon one, and it's an abomination for them to say the words "sex-sex couple"? Why should they be forced to recognize it? Where's the justice here? Where's the respect for property rights?

You are playing the leftist game here of insisting on equality at the expense of property rights.

Political means vs. economic means, remember?
Also see my new post about yet another discriminated-against group that no one cares about: we who don't want to listen to some jackass tell us he certifies our relationships:
So here's an example: a person in a same-sex relation has an emergency crisis, taken by ambulance to a hospital, where she lies dying. The partner & children show up and are blocked from seeing her. This was the case in Langbehn v. Jackson Memorial Hospital.

I see your point re private hospitals. So far as I know all of them in the U.S. are vigorous in seeking taxpayer funding; for any who are I'm unsympathethic to their right to discriminate, since they aren't advocating gays be exempted from paying their "fair" share.

Re equality v. property rights: no, this isn't a leftist conception of equality -- it's equality of rights. I'm not arguing for equal income or whatever, but against legally enforced discrimination against same-sex couples.

Another example: one partner in a same-sex relationship dies or is incapacitated, and the other has no legally recognized rights with regard to their children. This was one of the issues in Goodridge v. Department of Public Health.

BTW, correction on Ron Paul -- he didn't get this one right. He says the federal govt should only do things authorized in the Constitution, yet has said he supports DOMA. Similarly, while he's said that no govt at any level should be in the business of recognizing marriages (I assume this was his point you were referencing) he has also endorsed states passing laws that define legal marriage. He's also co-sponsored the Marriage Protection Act, which would bar any court from considering whether DOMA is Constitutional. A clever idea, Ron; let's attach such a provision to every law Congress passes so we can be done with this frivolity of worrying about Constitutionality.

(PL, I'm sure that pointing out to you that RP is a nut is not necessary, but I suspect that some readers of these comments don't realize that Paul is a social conservative.)
Explain to me, unless the opportunity cost precludes you from doing so, why WA state needed a gay marriage law if, according to my understanding, the state already had an "all but marriage" legislation, which I assume covers state taxes, hospital visitation, etc. It seems that all those things that bother you are taken care of by the "all but marriage" law.
PL, I only just now saw your question.

Do you suppose it's possible that a same sex couple might travel out-of-state? It ought to be obvious why the Washington law you cite isn't sufficient. Must I belabor the details endlessly for you?
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