December 11, 2012

“Marriage Matters”

As my last post on this topic sparked a spirited debate here in our right-wing echo chamber, where no dissent is ever brooked and we all walk in ideological lockstep in order to oppress minorities and the poor through racism, sexism, nativism, and homophobia — all while looking to poison the air and water and cause suffering in autistic children and the elderly in pursuit of a constant, monocle-clad greed — I figured why not continue the discussion by introducing the kind of debates that don’t necessarily feature mewling, poisonous indictments against opponents of same-sex “marriage” presented in mannered baby talk.

To that end, here’s Ryan Anderson, the William E. Simon Fellow in Religion and a Free Society at The Heritage Foundation as well as the editor of Public Discourse, the online journal of the Witherspoon Institute of Princeton, New Jersey and co-author (with Sherif Girgis and Robert P. George) of the new book, What Is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense, attempting to situate the debate over redefining marriage into what he calls its “proper context”:

[...]

Some people wonder why conservatives choose to focus exclusively on same-sex marriage. The answer is simple: We don’t. First, conservatives always did—and still do—make other social and political efforts to strengthen the marriage culture. The push for same-sex marriage was brought to us. Second, now that this is the live debate, we can’t ignore it, for its outcome will have wider effects on the marriage culture that really is our main concern.

Long before there was a debate about same-sex marriage, there was a debate about marriage. It launched a “marriage movement,” to explain why marriage was good for the men and women who were faithful to its demands, and for the children they reared.

Articles in mainstream magazines such as Barbara Dafoe Whitehead’s 1993 cover story for The Atlantic, “Dan Quayle was Right,” documented how family fragmentation was wreaking havoc on society. In 1996 Mike and Harriet McManus launched Marriage Savers to combat marital breakdown, and in 2001 Wade Horn championed the Healthy Marriage Initiative for the Bush Administration. Their targets were high divorce rates and the rising birthrate for unmarried women. From pre-Cana programs to various fatherhood initiatives, examples could be multiplied ad nauseam.

Same-sex relationships weren’t on anyone’s radar. (It may be hard to remember, but until just recently same-sex marriage was inconceivable to almost everyone.) The marriage movement leaders’ concern, like that of today’s leading conservative scholars and activists, was much broader.

So it’s not surprising that the leading opponent of redefining marriage today, Maggie Gallagher, was active throughout the ’80s and ’90s in this marriage movement. She wrote a book in the late ‘80s on how the sexual revolution was “killing family, marriage and sex” and “what we [could] do about it;” in a 2000 book she made “the case for marriage,” showing the many ways that marriage is better for couples than cohabitation.

The question of whether to redefine marriage to include same-sex relationships didn’t take center stage until 2003, when the Massachusetts Supreme Court claimed to find a constitutional right to it. Those who had been leading the marriage movement for decades had to ask themselves: Would recognizing same-sex relationships as marriages strengthen the marriage culture, or weaken it?

They saw that redefining marriage to include same-sex relationships was not ultimately about expanding the pool of people eligible to marry. Redefining marriage was about cementing a new idea of marriage in the law—an idea whose baleful effects they had spent years fighting. That idea—that romantic-emotional union is all that makes a marriage—couldn’t explain or support the stabilizing norms that make marriage fitting for family life. It could only undermine those norms.

Indeed, that undermining already had begun.  Disastrous policies like “no-fault” divorce, too, were motivated by the idea that a marriage is made by romantic attachment and satisfaction—and comes undone when these fade.

Same-sex marriage would require a more formal and final redefinition of marriage as simple romantic companionship, obliterating the meaning the marriage movement had sought to restore to the institution.

Anderson’s argument mirrors one I’ve made in a more general sense in my discussions of  social conservatism as a kind of natural alliance with libertarianism / classical liberalism — particularly as regards the way federalism is supposed to operate within our constitutional republic.  As Anderson points out here, it wasn’t the “social cons” who chose this battle, nor is it the social cons who were necessarily focused on same-sex marriage, which they see as a relatively new social agenda being pushed by the very same people who had in earlier incarnations had pushed an agenda for, eg., cohabitation, no-fault divorce, non-traditional child-rearing relationships, etc.

That is, they see in the same-sex marriage push ulterior motives that have little to do with same-sex marriage per se and everything to do with, as Anderson puts it, “cementing a new idea of marriage in the law—an idea whose baleful effects they had spent years fighting. That idea—that romantic-emotional union is all that makes a marriage—couldn’t explain or support the stabilizing norms that make marriage fitting for family life. It could only undermine those norms.”

Here, a social conservative is framing the marriage question in several ways:  first, placing it in the context of an earlier attempt to strengthen the institution of marriage by juxtaposing what they considered a healthy marriage culture against high divorce rates, single-parent homes, and out-of-wedlock birthrates.  And second by noting that the attempt to change the marriage culture legally has a history that pre-dates the same sex marriage push, while sharing its goal — if indeed one buys the argument of marriage movement defenders that the goal is to weaken the hold traditional relationships have on societal organizations, affecting (in their view, and based on studies they cite) both the popular culture, the successful acculturation of children, and the relative health of a civil society — down to questions of criminality or educational success.

My own concern — and Anderson touches upon them here glancingly — have to do with the legal implications of any change.  If marriage is no more than the idea “that romantic-emotional union is all that makes a marriage” — and this view takes hold legally and is established by SCOTUS precedent — the proverbial unintended consequences (which to some I don’t believe are unintended at all, because I believe they care less about same sex marriage than they do about destabilizing traditional “bourgeois” relationships) could be quite severe and far-reaching.

Conservatives tend to be cautious and prudent when it comes to decisions that perform, legally, an enormous break from long-standing social and political status quo (particularly if the status quo is and was successful).  Here, what Anderson notes is that those same people who are opposed to same-sex marriage on definitional and compositional grounds were already critical of the changes to the marriage culture that preceded the same sex marriage movement — while at the same time laying the groundwork for it.

That is, they were already fighting what they believed to be assaults on traditional marriage before this latest attempt to redefine marriage and weaken its usefulness as a societal stabilizer for children and families.

The counter to this — which oftentimes comes from libertarians who promote what they call optimal freedom — is that the government should have no role in what comes to count as marriage.  But that is itself a rather slippery rhetorical move.  Because from the perspective of representative government, the only way “the government” gets to make that determination is though an edict of the court or some governmental official — while votes by the electorate in individual states pushed to establish an acceptable definition for marriage is really no more than allowing the people, not the government, to determine how they wish their states to run, with the government’s role then reduced to protecting the will of the electorate.

Which seems to me the federalist position and the libertarian position — provided you aren’t among those libertarians who believe “marriage” is a positive natural right, a position that commits you, were you to draw out the argument a bit, to allowing for all and any sort of consensual relationships to fit within the parameters of “marriage” once it is redefined.

These are difficult questions, ones that aren’t helped along by cheap appeals to consensus, or attempts to shame those who disagree with same-sex marriage by labeling them homophobes.  In fact, the rejoinder to those kinds of arguments would be that sometimes adults have to make decisions that fly in the face of populist, media-driven waves because they are taking a longer view of the consequences of any legal changes that are not carefully thought through.

As I noted in my last post on the subject, I am fine with a state decided to change its definition of marriage — the states being the proper experimental proving grounds for new ideas in a representative republic run democratically and answerable to constitutional law on both the state and federal levels.  But I reject the notion that because one state decides to change a definition, other states who disagree with those changes are thereby compelled by law to recognize that definition.

If civil unions — which create a new category for what is a new thing entirely — is an unacceptable compromise to same-sex marriage advocates, then surely the federalist solution should be.

That it’s not suggests to me that it isn’t the “social cons” who are trying to drive a blue-nosed theocratic agenda; but rather the obverse is true, where those who are bent on destabilizing traditional societal structures, for whatever their purposes and motives, are committed to using the law and the courts to try to legislate from the bench — something we on the right, be we libertarian or classical liberal or social /fiscal conservative, are supposed to denounce.

Discuss.

 

 

Posted by Jeff G. @ 9:46am
431 comments | Trackback

Comments (431)

  1. Because from the perspective of representative government, the only way “the government” gets to make that determination is though an edict of the court or some governmental official — while votes by the electorate in individual states pushed to establish an acceptable definition for marriage is really no more than allowing the people, not the government, to determine how they wish their states to run, with the government’s role then reduced to protecting the will of the electorate.

    Kind of sounds like the kind of government I could get behind. Almost like a republic. Maybe I’ll see one before I die.

  2. Damn it. That’s a lot of reading. And thinking is hard work.

    To say nothing of writing.

    Whereas mannered baby talk….

  3. Whereas mannered baby talk….

    Heh.

  4. Minnesota tried to amend the state constitution to make marriage one-man-one-woman. It failed because marriage today is about Love and Commitment and Growing Old Together, it is no longer about protecting children and preserving marital wealth. In other words, marriage has become a Me Generation plaything. If that’s the case, why limit marriage to two women – why not three? Or two men and one woman? Hey, we love each other (for now) and are committed to our marriage (for now) and we want to grow old together (if the marriage lasts) . . . where are equal rights for us?

  5. sometimes adults have to make decisions that fly in the face of populist, media-driven waves because they are taking a longer view of the consequences of any legal changes that are not carefully thought through.

    Damn. Jeff won the thread even before it got started.

  6. they care less about same sex marriage than they do about destabilizing traditional “bourgeois” relationships

    Don’t forget the “so that…” follow-on: SO THAT the state may become the parent, the spouse, the family, the only thing we all belong to.

    For some, getting rid of anything “bourgeois” is a sufficient end in itself, because those squares are a stone drag! For others, you have to get rid of the bourgeois to make way for the God of State. They’re the tireless ones for whom adolescent rebellion is an eternal pose, all the better to attract naive, useful idiots.

  7. The Republican platform is expressly anti-civil union so that’s a non-starter like the elephant lamp in breakfast club

  8. I don’t think anyone here but you cares what the Republican platform is.

  9. I know I’ve mentioned this before –often enough, in fact, that I ought to program a macro into Word in order to save time– but if you want to get a glimpse of the consequences to society that comes from hollowing out all the institutions intermediating between the individual and the family, all one has to do is read Theodore Dalrymple.

  10. That idea—that romantic-emotional union is all that makes a marriage—couldn’t explain or support the stabilizing norms that make marriage fitting for family life. It could only undermine those norms.

    Part of the problem is the concept of “love” itself has been corrupted. Love is not the feeling one experiences when around someone they want to be emotionally close to. It is the choice, the decision, to regard the object of your love as important as yourself.

    Love is not best represented by your desire to “make love”, but by your desire to stay with that person, and respect them, even when you aren’t feeling that love. Is why “for better or worse, richer or poorer, through sickness and health” are in the vows. In other words, love isn’t about wanting to get naked together, it’s about honoring your commitment even when you are feeling anger, disappointment, temptation, or whatever.

    Even non-romantic love has been corrupted. It’s what gave rise to the idea children need to be instilled with a “good” self esteem, rather than a “proper” one. Too many parents today think if you love your child, you will do all in your power to keep the kid happy and shield them from disappointment, when in fact if you really love your child, you will teach them virtue through correction and example.

    That paragon of wisdom, Solomon, tells us “spare the rod, spoil the child”. What we got now is a nation of spoiled children.

  11. “spare the rod, spoil the child”.

    People think that “rod” means a whipping stick, but it means “discipline” or “rules,” else “thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me” is about as twisted as it gets.

    The other corrupted love is something you can see in the world of fanfic, especially among the tweenies. They interpret any close friendship as sexual at its root (no really! they’re so cute together!). Shippers are already annoying enough, but then they go and ship every pair in sight, slash or straight, as if there were no other way to look at it.

    In centuries past, close friends could express their affection in strong ways without it being sexual, because everyone knew that sex was reserved for marriage (and trysts, natch). David and Jonathan were not lovers, but they said they “loved” each other, so our modern idiots think it can only mean sex.

    Philia and Agape are therefore conflated with Eros. We do NOT want to see the day when Storge gets added to the mix.

  12. What the hell is a “shipper?” he asked.

  13. I don’t think anyone here but you cares what the Republican platform isyou think.

    Could not resist.

  14. Sometimes a whipping stick is necessary too. At least my dad seemed to think so.

    Not that we got whipped with a stick all the time, just the once.

    We Bascoms are fast learners.

    Actually, the only time a hand was raised to me (a boot actually) was when I was about 10 and lipped off to my mom. Dad grabbed my shoulder and kicked my ass around in a circle while explaining NO ONE talked that way to my mother.

    It was true too. To this day, as far as I know, I’m the only one that’s done it!

  15. What the hell is a “shipper?” he asked.

    Bless you for not knowing that.

    It’s a derivative of “relationship(per),” which means a fan who enjoys matchmaking speculation among the characters of a fictional franchise. During the development of the Harry Potter series, for example, there were Harry/Hermione shippers, Ron/Hermione shippers, Harry/Ginny shippers, etc. They’d say “I ship R/H” to identify their camp. About 99% of those freaks were women.

    In the HP forum that I helped run, we made them identify their shipping in the subject line so that the rest of us could skip it and move on to the analysis of the education system in the Potterverse or the alchemical symbolism. Even so, they were confined to “canon” shipping, meaning that the ship had to be plausible based on the evidence in the text. Other forums and fanfic sites permitted every possible ship regardless of canonicity. The Hogwarts/Giant Squid ship was amusing, but there are only so many Lupin/Sirius, Harry/Snape, Hermione/Snape, Crookshanks/Mrs. Norris ships you can endure before prying out your eyeballs with a spork.

    Shippers are the ones who ruined The X-Files. They harassed the writers for SO long, begging them to get Mulder and Scully together, even though they had written them as platonic (and a wonderful platonic relationship it was). The storyline of Scully having Mulder’s baby right before he bailed on the series was so lame it brought down the whole thing.

    So if you’re even a writer of a TV or other series, never give in to the shippers: they’re so besotted with their romantic imaginations that they cannot see how their wish-fulfillment would ruin the story.

  16. Thanks for asking Ernst, I now feel stupider from learning.

  17. In the HP forum that I helped run

    [starts backing towards the door slowly, trying not to look too unnatural as he reaches behind him for the doorknob]

    Well, lookat the time!

  18. In the HP forum that I helped run.

    That pleases me for reasons I don’t quite understand. That and the idea of a Hogwarts/Giant Squid ship.

  19. Ick. Now I know why I couldn’t ever get through the Harry Potter books even though my kids loved them.

    In centuries past, close friends could express their affection in strong ways without it being sexual, because everyone knew that sex was reserved for marriage (and trysts, natch). David and Jonathan were not lovers, but they said they “loved” each other, so our modern idiots think it can only mean sex.

    Thanks for this. It has been greatly upsetting to me over the past 30 years or so that I can’t ever know if someone, male or female, likes me for me or if they are eyeing me up for something else.* It’s enough to expect the normal parrying and teasing with the opposite sex, but to have that turn into both sexes was very off-putting. Can I ask Linda to lunch or will she think I’m hitting on her? If Gina asks me out for drinks after work, is she planning something else? Do we dare to go shopping and share a dressing room or is that an invitation to something I don’t want? And so on.

    * Actually, that should probably be ‘were’ now that I’ve passed 50, that ship has sailed. Even though I’m aging well, thankyouverymuch, I’m a museum piece (pun intended).

  20. I would think you’d know if someone crossed the line to seductive. Worrying about it before hand seems kinda silly to me.

  21. Love is not the feeling one experiences when around someone they want to be emotionally close to. It is the choice, the decision, to regard the object of your love as important as yourself.

    Etch this in stone, please. It deserves to be carved into something I can use to bash overgrown children over the head.

  22. That and the idea of a Hogwarts/Giant Squid ship.

    I’m guessing that one was never consummated.

  23. I’m thinking if it was the offspring probably sank to the bottom and drowned.

  24. Worrying about it before hand seems kinda silly to me.

    Not really, Lee. I’m a psychologist remember? We worry about everything.

  25. If I was young and single again there’s no way I would ever get married. I would definitely keep a separate address and file taxes separately. I would maybe write some kind of “exclusive pussy” contract, but until I was ready to die, no marriage license for me.

    I was actually counseled to file for divorce last year to maximize my kid’s access to financial aid for college. It was only half in jest. My oldest will probably not have to pay for school, but my other three? I’ll miss them, but they’ll get diplomas.

  26. in order to oppress minorities and the poor through racism, sexism, nativism, and homophobia — all while looking to poison the air and water and cause suffering in autistic children and the elderly in pursuit of a constant, monocle-clad greed

    Hey! I’m down with the rest of it, but I absolutely refuse that stupid monocle-clad look!

  27. In the HP forum that I helped run,

    You ran an HP forum? Do you know how to connect a HP inkjet directly to an MSA1500 array so I can get a hard copy of the diagnostics report?

    What?

  28. LMC, my single successful college grad son says the same thing. We’ll see what he says in a few years since he just turned 23 and the world is his oyster.

  29. On the serious side, in my personal life, I travel in the world of dog agility – a world that is NOT populated/dominated by white heterosexual males. In fact, the GLBT representation is way above the general population percentage – maybe as high as 40%. And add to that the fact that I live in Mass. and “same-sex marriage” is already recognized as accepted. These folks are my friends – I want them to enjoy all the legal and financial benefits and responsibilities that my wife and I have because we are married. But I refuse to accept their relationships as “marriages”. We all just refuse to discuss the politics/ramifications of it because it might cause riffs in the agility community.

  30. Let’s face facts. In spite of their weasel protestations to the contrary, the various religious coalitions are not arguing in favour of preserving the institution of marriage from “redefinition. Their real argument is that they think gays are sinful and/or filthy and they’re disgusted by them. They want to hurt them, if they can. [..]

    They are liars. They’re not concerned about marriage and they’re not concerned about linguistics. They simply hate gay people and see any social, legal or cultural advance by gay people as a very bad thing.

    From the other side of the fence. The one with all the straw.

  31. - “Yeh man, where does the time go”…..(joins Ernst, edging covertly for the nearest exit)

  32. That is quite a load of straw indeed.

  33. You ran an HP forum? Do you know how to connect a HP inkjet directly to an MSA1500 array so I can get a hard copy of the diagnostics report?

    No, but I did write the help files for an HP security module for their zl line of layer-3 switches.

    Ick. Now I know why I couldn’t ever get through the Harry Potter books even though my kids loved them.

    In no way did the books promote or enable the shipping; that’s the problem: there was no earthly reason to get all gooey-eyed about Ron/Hermione vs. Harry/Hermione or whatever, let alone the other dreck. That’s why shippers are so annoying and why they ruin absolutely everything.

    The very first HP conference was overrun by squeeing fangirls who were all hot and bothered about every ship available, especially slash. Men may think visual lesbian porn is hot, but until you’ve seen middle-aged women drool over slashfic…

    Seriously, you haven’t lived.

    BTW, the forum still exists: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/HPforGrownups/

    I don’t know if you can access the posts without being a member. My stuff’s still there, the most famous piece being this twoparter about Harry and Ron, which, to my dismay, provided fodder for the Harry/Ron shippers on a different forum. Shipper motto: No misreading too inappropriate for us!

    I’m guessing that one was never consummated.

    Not in canon, but never underestimate the perversity of fanficcers.

  34. “…obliterating the meaning the marriage movement had sought to restore to the institution.”

    Right after Dan Savage and Andrew Sullivan got married (not to each other), both announced that it was high time we re-evaluate other characteristics of marriage. Specifically, that ‘forsaking all others’ nonsense, since that really doesn’t square with the gay lifestyle. So yeah, it’s not about joining the marriage club (“equality”) so much as re-making marriage to best benefit their lifestyle choices.
    Plus, sticking a finger in the eye of organized religion and any other organization that doesn’t approve of your lifestyle is soooo satisfying.

  35. dicentra says December 11, 2012 at 12:32 pm

    When I was very young there were things that even when explained I couldn’t really understand. Now its come full circle.

  36. Let’s face facts. In spite of their weasel protestations to the contrary, the various religious coalitions are not arguing in favour of preserving the institution of marriage from “redefinition. Their real argument is that they think gays are sinful and/or filthy and they’re disgusted by them. They want to hurt them, if they can. [..]

    They are liars. They’re not concerned about marriage and they’re not concerned about linguistics. They simply hate gay people and see any social, legal or cultural advance by gay people as a very bad thing.

    Argument is easy when you can simply dismiss the opponent’s actual position and replace it with the one you’ve ascribed to them.

    And you can do this because your goodness allows you to see the evil in their hearts.

    Give yourself a nice pat on the back and treat yourself to a hooker. You’ve earned it!

  37. On the serious side, in my personal life, I travel in the world of dog agility – a world that is NOT populated/dominated by white heterosexual males. In fact, the GLBT representation is way above the general population percentage – maybe as high as 40%. And add to that the fact that I live in Mass. and “same-sex marriage” is already recognized as accepted. These folks are my friends – I want them to enjoy all the legal and financial benefits and responsibilities that my wife and I have because we are married. But I refuse to accept their relationships as “marriages”. We all just refuse to discuss the politics/ramifications of it because it might cause riffs in the agility community.

    This is where I am, only with the tie being music and the arts mainly. I understand the threat to society and all that, but I think the dysfunction of the straight side is a far, far greater threat than a few gays trying to do right.

    Protect churches through much needed tort reform and concede this one.

  38. Plus, sticking a finger in the eye of organized religion and any other organization that doesn’t approve of your lifestyle is soooo satisfying.

    - Life can be so much more serene and low stress if the focus of your existance is not all about sticking things in something.

  39. They are liars. They’re not concerned about marriage and they’re not concerned about linguistics.

    Sometimes I’m concerned about projection.

    They simply hate gay people and see any social, legal or cultural advance by gay people as a very bad thing.

    I am very close to a gay person that I recently consoled from the breakup of a 14 year relationship. Other than gender designations, the conversation would have been no different if the person was straight. I even helped the person out financially due to a hardship suffered from the breakup(I know I’ll get paid back).

    Also, if I would have been invited to their wedding instead, I’d not have gone, nor recognized any so called “marriage”.

    “Sorry”, I would have said, “it just isn’t. Love you though… “

  40. The very first HP conference was overrun by squeeing fangirls who were all hot and bothered about every ship available, especially slash. Men may think visual lesbian porn is hot, but until you’ve seen middle-aged women drool over slashfic…

    No way I’m asking what slashfic is. No way in Hell.

  41. i got no problem with gay marriage

    no sir not a bit

  42. We know happy.

  43. Ernst, I dare ya. Go on, ya chicken.

  44. i got no problem with gay marriage

    As it turns out, the best way to create laws is to take a personal inventory about what we do and do not have a problem with.

    The lack of “having a problem” with something being a sure sign of moral superiority.

    I understand the threat to society and all that, but I think the dysfunction of the straight side is a far, far greater threat than a few gays trying to do right.

    Protect churches through much needed tort reform and concede this one.

    That doesn’t make sense. If both are a threat, why give in at all? Gay marriage won’t reform straight shenanigans, nor will it improve the general marriage landscape.

    Don’t conflate the desire to resolve an extremely difficult tension with your conscience being your guide.

  45. No way I’m asking what slashfic is. No way in Hell.

    Star Trek, the first frontier. Fanfic flourished via the mimeograph machine.

    And the first Kirk/Spock romance fantasies were born. See the punctuation mark separating the names?

    A genre is born.

  46. i got no problem with gay marriage

    no sir not a bit

    Well slap my ass, put me in swaddling clothes, and call me “baby”, ‘cuz I was that innocent of the fact!

  47. gay marriage already walks among us and me i say bienvenidos gay marriage would you like a peppermint shake from m burger?

    and gay marriage says ask them to split one and i says good idea!

    and so it came to pass that me and gay marriage got to have tasty peppermint shakes from m burger without feeling guilty like you would if you had a whole one all to yourself

    life

    is

    good

  48. scott, create a loopback adapter, install the usb printer, share the printer, then create a network printer share: net use lpt1 \\computername\printername /persistent:yes

    Oh, wait, not what you wanted?

  49. The Dalrymple essay to read is this “Ibsen and His Discontents” from the Summer 2005 issue of City Journal

    The right—indeed, the duty—of everyone to decide his own moral principles and to decide what is right for him, without the Ghosts of the past to misguide him, leads Mrs. Alving to approve of incest, if incest is what makes people happy. While Oswald is still unaware that Regina is his half-sister, he falls in love with her (very quickly, it must be said), and she with him. He wants to marry her.

    Mrs. Alving discusses the matter with Manders, who by now is aware of the consanguinity of Oswald and Regina:

    Manders: . . . That would be dreadful.
    Mrs. Alving: If I knew . . . that it would make him happy—
    Manders: Yes? What then?
    Mrs. Alving: If only I weren’t such an abject coward, I’d say to him: “Marry her, or make what arrangements you please. As long as you’re honest and open about it—”
    Manders: . . . You mean a legal marriage! . . . It’s absolutely unheard of—!
    Mrs. Alving: Unheard of, did you say? Put your hand on your heart, Pastor Manders, and tell me—do you really believe there aren’t married couples like that to be found in this country?

    This is an argument typical of people who wish to abolish boundaries: if these boundaries are not—because they cannot be—adhered to with perfect consistency, then they should be obliterated, as they can only give rise to hypocrisy. Mrs. Alving adds the kind of smart-aleck comment that has ever been the stock-in-trade of those to whom boundaries are so irksome: “Well, we all stem from a relationship of that kind, so we are told.”

    [....]

    The modernity of Ibsen’s thought hardly needs further emphasis. The elevation of emotion over principle, of inclination over duty, of rights over responsibilities, of ego over the claims of others; the impatience with boundaries and the promotion of the self as the measure of all things: what could be more modern or gratifying to our current sensibility? [emph. add.] Not surprisingly, Ibsen regarded youth rather than age as the fount of wisdom. “Youth,” he assures us, “has an instinctive genius which unconsciously hits upon the right answer.”

    Substitute gay marriage for incest.

  50. That doesn’t make sense. If both are a threat, why give in at all?

    Because one is a very small threat, and one is a very large one. And I was taught as a child that I couldn’t always get my way, so in this case I am willing to concede the small enough to be trivial threat to me so I can better focus on dealing with the large enough to be existential threat.

  51. oh god not more incest

  52. - So di, you actually wrote things pertaining to Potter without getting sued by Rawling. Amazing.

    - As an adult reading her stuff, I think her ‘genius’ ran more to litigation than writing, which, not being a glandular teeniebooper, seemed rather pedestrian. The hook, it appears, was putting all those hyper-excitable teens in a coed setting, giving them magical powers, and turning them loose on each other. The possibilities were endless.

  53. So shippers create slashfic?

    What do slashers create?

  54. Read the essay or don’t, rodent. Nobody gives a damn.

  55. That’s a good essay. Thanks, Ernst.

  56. So di, you actually wrote things pertaining to Potter without getting sued by Rawling. Amazing.

    Rowling only went after Lexicon Steve because he cataloged the series online, which, she herself used to consult the Lexicon while writing when she needed to confirm some detail or other.

    But then she decided she wanted to write something that overlapped the Lexicon, so no doubt her lawyers made her go after him. Prior to that, she never indicated that she was upset by anyone’s HP-related activity online: even with the conferences they only asked that we not title our papers “Harry Potter and the [x],” to avoid the echo effect. In fact, she seemed thrilled by the fanfic and the forums and stuff.

    Lawyers are second only to shippers in their tendency to ruin everything. Lawyers, at least, are useful at times. Shippers? Never.

  57. dicentra, I love you even more than I did now.

    I never hopped on the Harry Potter boat, but I’ve watched other fandoms spiral into insanity and explode due to ~*sexual politics*~ being far more interesting to 90% of the fanbase than anything else.

    I don’t even talk about what I’m interested right now because the fandom is pretty much “all of tumblr compressed into one shrieking, drooling entity”. It’s embarrassing to confess to having the same (superficial) interests in things as that group.

  58. Because one is a very small threat, and one is a very large one.

    I don’t think either of us is able to calculate the relative magnitude of the two threats. Furthermore, hetero shenanigans have been around forever to one degree or another: the push to legalize gay marriage is new.

    Far too soon to throw in the towel, especially when you don’t have to.

  59. dicentra, I love you even more than I did now.

    Oh, hey, sorry. I don’t play for the B team. NTTAWWT. :-)

    Online fandom is perilous indeed. The forum I hung around on was fairly healthy, comparatively speaking, and yet we had some spectacular blowouts behind the scenes.

    Of course, the big kahoona blowout was sparked by a lawyer with a personality disorder who stopped taking her meds when she soared into her manic phase.

  60. would you like a peppermint shake from m burger?

    and gay marriage says ask them to split one and i says good idea!

    And then they hand you a banana shake and tell you it’s peppermint.

    It doesn’t matter, does it?

  61. Oh, quite all right. Relevant to discussions upthread, it’s a perfectly platonic love–you are just a great person and I always enjoy reading what you have to say.

    I mostly stick to small groups of friends with similar interests at this point to avoid the rampaging drama inherent in larger social groups. The recent EVERYTHING MUST PERTAIN TO SOCIAL JUSTICE trend and fall-out associated with people I kinda liked jumping on that bandwagon thoroughly crushed my heart and willingness to participate in big communities.

    Which depresses me. I only have a handful of good friends, and even then I’m very cautious about what I say to them to avoid igniting controversy.

  62. I don’t think either of us is able to calculate the relative magnitude of the two threats.

    Sure you can. On one side you have folks who are actually having children then abdicating the responsibility to raising them to the state and the tax payers, on the other side you have folks who aren’t.

  63. di, I’ve always wondered something, and you’ve probably given it some thought: what’s the deal with the slashfic writers, and their (blasphemous!) original Kirk/Spock pairing?

    I mean, as a somewhat representative male-person, I can see the appeal of lesbian fantasy – but we like watching the naked girlies on the videos, and lesbian action, well, that’s just more naked girlies on screen.

    Whereas I’m thinking that the middle-aged, straight (cat-owning) women that I presume are/were the proponents of slash and this ‘shipping’ thing you speak of wouldn’t be interested in a video of two guys engaged in various unspeakable acts, because eww! and all. But if the two guys in question are famous fictional characters, now it’s apparently interesting — though I still don’t think they’d want to actually watch such a thing.

    Now, Uhuru/Yeoman Rand… there’s something we can all enjoy! :)

  64. B Moe, they’re both about undermining marriage. Did you not read the post?

    The activists don’t want to do marriage right, they’re trying to do it in. They know, even if many don’t, that SSM eliminates the logic against polygamy, for one thing.

    Once that’s normalized all bets are off.

  65. what’s the deal with the slashfic writers,

    As a single middle-aged, cat-owning woman, I can’t figure it out, either. It has exactly zero appeal for me.

    Supposedly, dudes enjoy watching a couple of hot babes getting it on because the babes are in a sexual situation with no rival male involved.

    Maybe it’s the same with slashfic, except that women tend to dig romance novels for their porn (cf. 50 shades of gray) because women are verbal where men are visual. The women who are into slashfic see it as highly romantic stuff, and their hearts break for the tenderheartedness of it all.

    If I’m gonna ship fictional characters, I’m gonna ship ‘em with ME, and I’ll keep the storylines to myself.

    The way God intended.

  66. Just as a reminder: The Equal Rights Amendment was inevitable, too.

  67. That pleases me for reasons I don’t quite understand. That and the idea of a Hogwarts/Giant Squid ship.

    “Three points for House Cthulhu!”

  68. So, what steps do you take to ‘cement’ marriage, to re-establish the institution, to strengthen it’s bonds?

    Outlaw no fault divorce? Impose strict penalties for activities that corrupt or ‘defile’ a marriage such as criminalize adultery? Attempt to ostracize divorcees; vilify bastards? Certainly change ‘welfare’ to penalize single mothers; add civil penalties for relationships outside of marriage?

    I don’t need to get into same sex marriage. I support marriage because I have seen both the damage and the benefits and the benefits are important to me.

  69. Dunno about cementing it tracy, but — with a view to beginning to understand the human phenomenon on its own terms — reading Jane Austen’s entire opus might be a good start, after, of course, absorbing the teachings of the Odyssey. Too, I’ve linked The Persian Letters heretofore for those with an interest in polygamy.

    To the extent human pair bonding is natural in a strict sense, no “re-establishment” will ever be necessary, if even contemplable as such. Will everything else associated with the phenomenon as we encounter it today be merely nominal, i.e. customary, of nomos? I dunno, yet it seems a strong possibility.

  70. Outlaw no fault divorce? Impose strict penalties for activities that corrupt or ‘defile’ a marriage such as criminalize adultery? Attempt to ostracize divorcees; vilify bastards? Certainly change ‘welfare’ to penalize single mothers; add civil penalties for relationships outside of marriage?

    yes yes yes

  71. one quibble

    vilify bastards?

    no the ones who created the bastard

  72. I doubt you could find anyone here who doesn’t realize that marriage, as an institution, is severely damaged. However, that does not give us license to damage it further.

    Since marriage is a contract, and fidelity is implied if not explicitly stated, you might be able to make a case for civil liabilities for adultery to the extent that it violates the contract. However, I would rather we reclaim the concept of virtue, and with that the notion of shame.

    Shame can be a powerful motivator. The fact that no one is supposed to judge another’s actions is ridiculous. We need to bring that back.

    Also, we should not economically reward bad behavior. As P.J. O’Rourke wrote (paraphrased), “If you promise one can of cat food every day for every cat, you get kittens.” As conservatives, we intrinsically understand this aspect of human behavior. We cannot ignore it.

    I know all this would be very difficult to do, but I don’t see giving up as an option either.

  73. Outlaw no fault divorce?

    That’s a fine place to start. If the contract is known to be meaningless when it’s entered, it’s meaningless when it’s in effect.

    Impose strict penalties for activities that corrupt or ‘defile’ a marriage such as criminalize adultery?

    Criminalize? No. But you can restore the penalties that existed under the marriage contract for such things by eliminating no-fault. You break the contract, it costs you in the dissolution.

    Attempt to ostracize divorcees; vilify bastards? Certainly change ‘welfare’ to penalize single mothers; add civil penalties for relationships outside of marriage?

    Certainly we could stop celebrating and subsidizing situations that promote generational poverty, among other things.

    Rampant single motherhood is not heroic. It is not noble. It’s destroying us. This is not to denigrate all single mothers. Some of them do an admirable job, at great personal sacrifice. It’s a damn tough job, doing the work of two parents. Some do it nobly, heroically. Some turn out amazing, successful kids. Thing is, a lot, probably more of them, don’t. If we don’t get some sort of handle on that, we, as a society, are screwed.

  74. newrouter, so, you are for the use of government to enforce a set of moral principles. Good to know.

  75. Pablo said most of what I wanted to say better than I did.

  76. newrouter, so, you are for the use of government to enforce a set of moral principles. Good to know.

    gay marriage is what exactly? divorce laws that penalizes men are what exactly? affirmative action is what exactly? handicapped parking spaces are what exactly? carbon taxes are what exactly?

  77. cranky, you nailed the stuff I missed. Endorsed.

  78. Philia and Agape are therefore conflated with Eros.

    di, have you read C.S. Lewis’ The Four Loves? Very good on this topic.

  79. tracey, what I favor is stopping government from incentivizing immoral principles / stupidity.

  80. SDN, I am against government incentivizing anything.

    newrouter, social justice is the lefts pet morality play – it can only lead to tyranny but they still want to use government to enforce it. Affirmative action is just one example of it. MY problem is that once it get’s involved that it do so following some rules but I personally oppose it’s getting involved in the first place.

  81. It is a very difficult situation, as most of life is.

    I prefer doing it socially as much as possible, rather than getting the government involved, which means, yeah, having kids out of wedlock and shacking up or getting a divorce would have a stigma about it.

    If failure is treated no different than success then there is no such thing as either.

  82. So, what steps do you take to ‘cement’ marriage, to re-establish the institution, to strengthen it’s bonds?

    you might want to look at the past and see what is causing problems. but i’m not a forward in all directions guy

    link

  83. happyfeets: fine with gay marriage; not fine with whorebanging.

    I am not really sure what to make of that, but I don’t care enough to ponder it further.

  84. MY problem is that once it get’s involved that it do so following some rules but I personally oppose it’s getting involved in the first place.

    it is called federalism methinks.

  85. Say! Does happy know that Jenna Bush is preggers? I mean, wotta slut, huh? /s

  86. We have this bad habit on our side of thinking of the government in the abstract.

    We are the government.

    It’s not entirely our faults. We’ve been conditioned to think of the bureaucracy that way since FDR.

  87. I don’t need to get into same sex marriage. I support marriage because I have seen both the damage and the benefits and the benefits are important to me.

    Benefits to whom?

  88. The libertarian approach—evabody do what they want, get the state out—seems an attractive way to cut the Gordian Knot.

    Especially since “getting the state out of it” is the right solution 99% of the time.

    But as Ann Coulter explains (yes, I know), government involvement in the contract-enforcement aspect is not dispensable. Marriage requires community recognition and the force of law behind it: government keeps the papers for us because it’s an authority we all recognize.

    Back in Old Europe, the Church was the only entity that kept track of who’s married and who ain’t: in the USA, we don’t want any one church to have the say-so over anyone else, so the civil authorities serve as the neutral agent that says who’s got the authority to perform a marriage (all clergy of all faiths, plus judges) as well as maintains the contracts.

    It IS a legitimate role of government to adjudicate between parties of a contract, and insofar as the state keeps the records for the public as a whole, state involvement doesn’t categorically constitute overreach or impingement of liberty. This is the government functioning as servant of the people, not as our parent.

    Unfortunately, we tend to confuse “government involvement” with “the tax code,” which affects us only because of the 16th Amendment. The tax code aspect is very much dispensable, and has naught to do with “what marriage is,” or even with the proper role of government in administering it. Same with insurance benefits, which are a matter between two private parties, as well as hospital visits and similar arrangements.

    So getting the state out entirely doesn’t solve the problem. Getting rid of the 16th Amendment?

    Sign me up!

  89. With apologies to Tracy Coyle for running several comments together in order to show linkages important to me, which perhaps she didn’t intend:

    [W]hat steps do you take to ‘cement’ marriage, to re-establish the institution, to strengthen it’s bonds?

    Outlaw no fault divorce? Impose strict penalties for activities that corrupt or ‘defile’ a marriage such as criminalize adultery? Attempt to ostracize divorcees; vilify bastards? Certainly change ‘welfare’ to penalize single mothers; add civil penalties for relationships outside of marriage?

    [Are] you are for the use of government to enforce a set of moral principles[?]** Good to know.

    I am against government incentivizing anything.

    [S]ocial justice is the lefts pet morality play – it can only lead to tyranny but they still want to use government to enforce it. Affirmative action is just one example of it. MY problem is that once it get’s involved that it do so following some rules but I personally oppose it’s getting involved in the first place.

    **Bowdlerized the worst, please see the original comment in context.

    Something of a theme that’s run through the previous thread, and which I’ve highlighted, perhaps unfairly, through Tracy’s comments here is the misunderstood apothegm “you can’t legislate morality.”

    What Goldwater meant by that wasn’t that it was inherently wrong to try to enact a moral vision into law, but that you can’t make people behave in a moral manner merely by force of law. That is, in the original context, you couldn’t make a racist bigot stop being a racist bigot merely by forcing that racist bigot to sit at the same lunch counter as the object of his racist bigotry.

    If we always took Goldwater’s apothegm in the distorted sense ascribed to it, we’d abolish all laws, including those against murder. Murderers usually think they have good reasons for doing what they do. Or so they claim, when not claiming to themselves being the victim of circumstances beyond their control.

    I think, perhaps unreasonably, that all law has some small element of morality inherent to it. Even regulatory law (e.g. it’s not nice to lie to your regulators).

  90. When I say gov is already involved and it should not be, I am specifically focused on government sanction – as gov must apply itself ‘equally’, a sanction has to be applied equally – hence the problem in California. I agree that one of the authorities granted to government is to act as mediator in disputes (judicial branch) and it is appropriate for it in that area. Also, as a repository of information, such as recorder of deeds and clerk of court, it serves as a place to note the status of many different contracts.

    When you start using the words, encourage, incentivize, promote in terms of government actions, you get a government that is misusing it’s powers. I accept that the government needs a taxing system – I strongly oppose using it for social engineering. A favorite on the Right is employment tax credits for hiring vets – that is no different an incentive to manipulate business than giving subsidies to ethanol producers. Giving people mortgage interest credits encourages higher real estate prices and the marriage penalty of course encourages more single people. Generally, all incentives from the government end up perverting something/someone.

    Ernst, marriage can bring stability to a couple, to a family and to a neighborhood/community. The benefits to the couple, the children if they have them, families and neighborhood.

  91. [M]arriage can bring stability to a couple, to a family and to a neighborhood/community. The benefits to the couple, the children if they have them, families and neighborhood.

    So if we had to create a heirarchy of beneficiaries, how would we go about doing that?

    I don’t mean to bait you by getting Socratic on your ass, so to speak, but I do want to draw out your thinking.

  92. I was finally going to read that piece SW linked earlier, but I couldn’t make it past the motto:

    “Liberty, if it means anything is the right to tell people what they don’t want to hear.”

    Well, as long as you’re not going to make the listen, I suppose. But all in all, I can’t escape the feeling that I’d be wasting my time reading more.

  93. I think, perhaps unreasonably, that all law has some small element of morality inherent to it.

    Rule of Law is itself a moral construct, because the only alternative is Might Makes Right. When you establish laws by which all must be impartially judged, from the prince to the pauper, you’re doing so as a matter of morality.

    Likewise, the free market is a moral construct, predicated on the idea that people have a right to the fruits of their labor and also have the right to dispose of those fruits as they see fit. The free market exists only under the Rule of Law, wherein a contract between MegaCorp and a little old lady must be honored, even though MegaCorp has the power to crush or ignore the lady.

    Every law is predicated on the concept that some things are moral and others not, even if the creators of the law are black-hearted cynics trying to fool the people into ceding ever more liberty to the state. (It goes without saying that the “morals” that a law establishes can actually be unjust by inverting the moral order, e.g., making it legal for the strong to pillage the weak.)

    You can’t legislate morality in the sense that the law can’t change a man’s heart. On the other hand, if we think that legislation can be morally neutral, we just haven’t thought it through well enough.

  94. Well damn, Dicentra, that wasn’t very nice of you, to say what I was trying to say so much better than I said it! [wink]

    Have a good night.

  95. Ernst, for me, there is no hierarchy. I do what is in my best interest. I could spend an inordinate about of time explaining the consequences of that, but I support people of faith having their faith, I support people being charitable, I support marriage because in the end, they all serve my best interest….even when I do not have a faith, do not give to charity personally and will never marry.

    Dicentra, on an entire range of premises, I disagree. Can you state a moral precept for an acre being 43,560 sq ft? How about a parking space being 20′ long? The foundation of our laws is based on rights. We have no law that says ‘thou shall not kill’. We have a law that sets out the criteria of murder and the punishment for it.

    We can get into moral = right/wrong and the subjective nature of those determinations and the belief that there is some objective standard but that doesn’t really matter because if a law was based upon a moral standard you did not agree with or to, you would either be forever compromising any principles you may have associated with that standard or you would forever be in violation of it…as I would be if I lived in a state that required me to wear a burqa…

    We have to have a moral people because government can not provide that moral foundation and we abdicated our responsibilities to ourselves and each other when we gave government the authority to establish a moral foundation and surprise, it has failed. You don’t really believe that if a person ALWAYS follows the law that makes them ‘moral’ do you?

  96. Ernst Schreiber says December 11, 2012 at 10:20 pm

    We have this bad habit on our side of thinking of the government in the abstract.

    We are the government.

    It’s not entirely our faults. We’ve been conditioned to think of the bureaucracy that way since FDR.

    We are the ones we’ve been waiting for?

    When we starts oppressing me I am no longer the government.

  97. Can you state a moral precept for an acre being 43,560 sq ft? How about a parking space being 20? long? The foundation of our laws is based on rights. We have no law that says ‘thou shall not kill’. We have a law that sets out the criteria of murder and the punishment for it.

    Forest. Trees. Learn the difference.

    I can easily state a moral precept underlying each of your examples.

    In the case of acres and parking spaces, it’s the moral concepts of honesty (selling someone an acre that is 43,560 square feet today and 34,560 tomorrow) and justice (standard measurements help ensure the law treats everyone equally).

    Leaving out your standard mistranslation of “murder” as “kill”, it is only in having the definition of murder that we can enforce the moral principle that killing someone is wrong. Otherwise, murder depends on whatever the guy with the biggest sword says it is.

  98. We have to have a moral people because government can not provide that moral foundation and we abdicated our responsibilities to ourselves and each other when we gave government the authority to establish a moral foundation and surprise, it has failed.

    No, that’s not what we did. The moral foundation predated the government. We’ve since eroded it. Either we restore it, or the government fails and we go to Plan B, which looks an awful lot like socialism. And we all know how well that works.

    “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” – John Adams

  99. A favorite on the Right is employment tax credits for hiring vets – that is no different an incentive to manipulate business than giving subsidies to ethanol producers.

    Actually, it is. That is the government forgoing income to promote the transition of veterans into the private sector. That functions as a post-separation job benefit for the vets whereas the ethanol subsidy is a matter of picking winners and losers in the energy marketplace.

  100. Can you state a moral precept for an acre being 43,560 sq ft? How about a parking space being 20? long? The foundation of our laws is based on rights. We have no law that says ‘thou shall not kill’. We have a law that sets out the criteria of murder and the punishment for it.

    I see the SDN already covered most of this, but about the bolded part I’d say “where do you believe these ‘rights’ come from?”

    The concept of “rights” as expressed in the Constitution is a moral one.

  101. No, that’s not what we did. The moral foundation predated the government. We’ve since eroded it. Either we restore it, or the government fails and we go to Plan B, which looks an awful lot like socialism. And we all know how well that works.
    “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” – John Adams

    Benjamin Franklin’s remarks to the Convention are also apropos:

    I agree to this Constitution with all its faults, if they are such; because I think a general Government necessary for us, and there is no form of Government but what may be a blessing to the people if well administered, and believe farther that this is likely to be well administered for a course of years, and can only end in Despotism, as other forms have done before it, when the people shall become so corrupted as to need despotic Government, being incapable of any other.

    The highlighted bit is of course straight out of Aristotle.

  102. ain’t nothin immoral about gay people getting married lessin it’s just for a green card or whatever

    but even then it’s not really immoral it’s just cause green cards take forever to get otherwise

  103. I blame the bureaucracy

  104. Dicentra, on an entire range of premises, I disagree. Can you state a moral precept for an acre being 43,560 sq ft? How about a parking space being 20? long?

    That’s not a law; it’s a standard. A law says that if you do X, you suffer penalty Y. Specifying the meaning of a unit of measurement falls into a whole ‘nother category.

    It’s another part of the legitimate function of government, to establish weights and measures that everyone abides by, so that when the can of soup says 16oz, it means the same as a 16oz can of peaches or a 16oz soda.

    Which, there’s your morality right there. It’s self-evident that 16 ounces of soda are immoral.

    The foundation of our laws is based on rights. We have no law that says ‘thou shall not kill’. We have a law that sets out the criteria of murder and the punishment for it.

    The Ten Commandments were the condensed version: the rest of the Law of Moses sets out the acts with their respective penalties. Exodus and Leviticus are lousy with penal code.

    The Hebrews differed drastically from their neighbors in this wise, because they had Rule of Law (but not legislative branches) instead of the whim of the monarch. Everyone was to be judged according to the law that God gave Moses, regardless of social status. Hence the book of Judges.

    When in the days of Samuel the people demanded a king, God said, “You SO do not want to go there,” but they insisted, so he anointed Saul, who went insane, and then David, and then Solomon.

    Our Founders combed through the Old Testament to derive God’s idea of just government, and they saw that God prefers the Rule of Law to monarchy. THAT’s why there are simulacrum of The Ten Commandments in the courthouses: not to say, “Hey, we be Judeo-Christian, bitchez” but to acknowledge the intellectual tradition of the Rule of Law. (They also found the Exodus narrative to parallel their own, but that’s another subject.)

    In the history of human society, absolute monarchy dominates; rule of law is the exception. You might not believe that the God of Abraham exists, but you have to acknowledge that Rule of Law is far more just than monarchy. The only exception is the rare case of a just monarch or the all-too-common case of a corrupt populace who enacts corrupt laws, or who circumvents Rule of Law to the advantage of the strong over the weak.

  105. ain’t nothin immoral about gay people getting married lessin it’s just for a green card or whatever

    If it were immoral, ‘feets, how would you know? What’s your standard for determining moral and immoral?

    You might want to share THAT instead of rattling off the same old.

  106. Ain’t nothing immoral about chickens laying puppies.

  107. I am specifically focused on government sanction – as gov must apply itself ‘equally’, a sanction has to be applied equally – hence the problem in California

    Tracy, I don’t mean to be flip here, but the sanction of marriage IS applied equally as the marriage statute is open to every consenting adult regardless of race or sexual orientation – as long you pick one partner of the opposite sex.

    To say the gov must either sanction every form of marriage thought of or invented or to say the gov not define any form of marriage (get “out of marriage business”) is the same — the definition of marriage will cease to exist.

    “When everyone is special no one is.”

  108. What’s your standard for determining moral and immoral?

    Whether or not it makes him want to share a cupcake.

  109. Ernst, for me, there is no hierarchy. I do what is in my best interest. I could spend an inordinate about of time explaining the consequences of that, but I support people of faith having their faith, I support people being charitable, I support marriage because in the end, they all serve my best interest….even when I do not have a faith, do not give to charity personally and will never marry.

    So can I take it as a given that we both agree that the interests of the individual are often (not always, but more times than not) best served by protecting and promoting the interests of society as a whole?

    We have to have a moral people because government can not provide that moral foundation and we abdicated our responsibilities to ourselves and each other when we gave government the authority to establish a moral foundation and surprise, it has failed. You don’t really believe that if a person ALWAYS follows the law that makes them ‘moral’ do you?

    No, I don’t. I thought that was implied. Nor do I think we abdicated to government our responsibility to establish a moral foundation. Instead, I think what’s happened is we’ve either neglected or surrendered to government our responsibility for maintaining the moral foundations of society. And that of course raises the relevant (to the topic at hand) question, what institution or institutions are responsible for establishing the moral foundations we’ve neglected?

  110. Well, as long as you’re not going to make the listen, I suppose. But all in all, I can’t escape the feeling that I’d be wasting my time reading more.

    In as much as they fancy themselves the decent, intellectual left, yes Ernst, Harry’s Place is worth reading. I find it an instructive few minutes out of my day to remind myself why I am not a leftist.

  111. OK, we’re doomed. But we’re tolerant, so that’s nice.

    New Army Manual Orders Soldiers Not To Criticize Taliban

    More than three dozen insider attacks have killed 63 members of the U.S.-led coalition this year, according to the article, and some blame “American cultural ignorance.” The bottom line is that troops may experience social-cultural shock and/or discomfort when interacting with Afghan security forces, the new military handbook says. “Better situational awareness/understanding of Afghan culture will help better prepare [troops] to more effectively partner and to avoid cultural conflict that can lead toward green-on-blue violence.”

    The draft leaked to the newspaper offers a list of “taboo conversation topics” that soldiers should avoid, including “making derogatory comments about the Taliban,” “advocating women’s rights,” “any criticism of pedophilia,” “directing any criticism towards Afghans,” “mentioning homosexuality and homosexual conduct” or “anything related to Islam.”

    Get. Them. Out. Right. Now.

  112. You don’t really believe that if a person ALWAYS follows the law that makes them ‘moral’ do you?

    Oh, heavens no! The laws that are on the books may be just or unjust, but you have to use a measuring stick external to the legal system to determine that.

    If a law were enacted to require that all women wear burqas, those who vote for the law ostensibly do so because they believe there’s a problem with women not wearing them. That doesn’t mean that the law IS just, only that the existence of the law reveals the value system of those who are in favor of it.

    Likewise, if a law permits the strong to prey on the weak, that reveals a belief that the strong ought to be able to exploit the weak with impunity. Might Makes Right is a twisted and corrupt moral system, but because laws that enable it make a statement on what is and is not OK, it’s still a moral system.

    (I’m using “moral” generically to mean “concerning right and wrong,” not in the sense of moral vs. immoral. I’m using “just” and “unjust” to indicate value judgments.)

    when we gave government the authority to establish a moral foundation

    Progressivism? I’ll buy that. The idea that the proper role of government is to be a Savior figure—to redeem fallen society and to perfect it—is insidious and evil. Man as God is never a good idea, which is why Rule of Law is the closest we mortals can get to actual justice. I’m totally down with phasing out the mortgage interest deduction, for example. (An abrupt abolition would implode the housing market.) I don’t want the gubmint to have the power to socially engineer in any direction, including mine.

    But we’re so used to the idea that the gubmint Ought To Do Good or to Help Good Things Happen that it’s hard for us to let go of those tax credits for hiring veterans. A flat tax, or even a graduated tax with no deductions, would help curb the gubmint’s ability to use the tax code to socially engineer. (Given how many CPAs and lawyers would be put out of work with a flat tax, I doubt it will ever happen.)

    Football referees are my favorite analogy: there’s a rule book that everyone has to abide by, and the refs’ job is to call the violations, assess the prescribed penalties, and govern the clock.

    The use of instant replay, for example, is to determine EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENED: Was his foot over the line? Did the ground cause the fumble? Did he grab the face mask? The whole idea is to determine the truth so that the rules can be properly applied. We may not like the fact that our player actually did grab the face mask, but if it’s evident from the film that he did, we always abide by the truth (insofar as it can be known).

    Both teams respect rigorously impartial referees; you can’t really have a good game without them.

    However, the refs absolutely cannot score points for either team nor can they score points for themselves. They cannot walk the ball into the end zone and have it mean something. They cannot call either teams’ plays. They cannot say which players should be on the field. They cannot intercept a pass or make a tackle.

    If they could, it would be absurd and everybody knows it. Nobody would want to play. Rigged games are absolutely no fun.

    (Here I should point out where the analogy stops working, and it’s in the fact that—except for the rules that prohibit behavior likely to cause serious injury—sports rules are purely arbitrary. There is no objective reason to have 11 players per team or for there to be four downs to advance ten yards or that a safety gets you two points. For that matter, there’s no objective reason for football to exist, except on the Homo ludens premise. Our legal system is supposed to protect the weak from the strong, which is a moral imperative rather than an arbitrary boundary.)

    Monarchy, minarchy, libertarianism, socialism: all are predicated on some concept of right or wrong, no matter how twisted, else there’s only true anarchy, wherein there are no laws and no adjudication of grievances outside of revenge.

  113. Whether or not it makes him want to share a cupcake.

    Hey, I might want to try that. I LOVE cupcakes!

  114. Oh, heavens no! The laws that are on the books may be just or unjust, but you have to use a measuring stick external to the legal system to determine that.

    There are many ways in which one can be a rat bastard without breaking the law.

  115. The really rotten rat bastards abuse and pervert the law.

  116. Get. Them. Out. Right. Now.

    +1

  117. The [Progressive] idea that the proper role of government is to be a Savior figure—to redeem fallen society and to perfect it—is insidious and evil. Man as God is never a good idea, which is why Rule of Law is the closest we mortals can get to actual justice.

    David “Spengler” Goldman had an interesting thought on that point. He observed that after the Civil War, WASPs generally, and particularly New England Puritans, gave up on God, but they never abandonded the idea of building a New Jerusalem.

  118. SDN: Leaving out your standard mistranslation of “murder” as “kill”

    I would note that I have three Bibles, different ‘translations’ and all have the word kill but I responded as if the word was murder which I believe was the intent of the statement.

    SDN: In the case of acres and parking spaces, it’s the moral concepts of honesty (selling someone an acre that is 43,560 square feet today and 34,560 tomorrow) and justice (standard measurements help ensure the law treats everyone equally).

    There is no fraud if someone sells an acre and discloses it as 34,560 sq ft but you didn’t answer why an acre IS 43,560, only that it is an arbitrary standard. The law is quite capable of treating people equally even if the nature of their holdings is unequal.

    Pablo: That is the government forgoing income to promote the transition of veterans into the private sector. That functions as a post-separation job benefit for the vets

    So you agree that government is using tax policy to promote (encourage) the private sector to give preferential treatment to one group (vets) over another (non-vets).

    I would suggest Ernst is making my point to Pablo – I agree that the moral foundation for individual behavior existed prior to government being formed, my comment suggested that people started using government as a means of enforcing a moral behavior that has changed into the desire to CREATE a moral foundation to replace the one that existed prior to government, specifically, social justice.

    Dicentra: Exodus and Leviticus are lousy with penal code.

    Yea…a woman is unclean for 7 days after giving birth to a male child; a woman is unclean for 14 days after giving birth to a female child. A reasonable standard for law if every there was…

    Darleen: the marriage statute is open to every consenting adult regardless of race or sexual orientation – as long you pick one partner of the opposite sex.

    And everyone can buy peanuts even if some are fatally allergic to them. If we enacted a statute that only Christian churches could be built but any religion could meet in them would we have religious freedom?

    If gov is going to issue a license to people to get married, it is going to have to show a compelling reason why the state should not treat couples the same. Why does gov have to license marriage? When I got married, we did so under California’s private common law – no license required but I think even that has been changed now.

    Ernst: So can I take it as a given that we both agree that the interests of the individual are often (not always, but more times than not) best served by protecting and promoting the interests of society as a whole?

    If I said: it is sometimes more efficient for the people that government have the authority to act in their stead is different than government has authority because it is more efficient for it to have it – would you note the difference? We give government the authority to negotiate treaties because it is efficient for us; if gov mandated only one type of car be built that would be more efficient for it. Your statement assumes that my interests and the interests of society are the same. They may be at some times and points. And if by protecting, you mean to give government that authority, then I disagree. I don’t want a government that protects the interests of the society as a whole because sometimes my interests will not be the same as society – what Mill called the tyranny of the majority.

    Ernst: What Goldwater meant by that wasn’t that it was inherently wrong to try to enact a moral vision into law, but that you can’t make people behave in a moral manner merely by force of law.

    I agree. I think we all have a foundation, some reason to support a law. I think many people find a moral foundation for their support of a law, even though I don’t think that is the foundation of the law. My foundation for supporting laws is based on a concept of ‘rights’, your foundation might be a belief in a specific right/wrong system, but we can both agree the law is valuable.

    Ernst: Instead, I think what’s happened is we’ve either neglected or surrendered to government our responsibility for maintaining the moral foundations of society

    That is my meaning. However it goes a little further in as much as morality changes over time (the end of slavery, universal sufferage) and sometimes government moves those changes along faster than society may want it too (Loving v VA). Sometimes a minority has to tell the majority, ie society, that it’s moral foundation has a flaw that needs to be addressed even if society doesn’t see a problem (a woman being raped by her husband).

    Ernst: I think, perhaps unreasonably, that all law has some small element of morality inherent to it.

    I don’t think you are being unreasonable, I think the distinction : people have moral reasons to support a law & laws have moral foundations, may just be semantics. My ‘moral’ system is one based on rights, so when a law protects rights, I find it to be ‘moral’, when it infringes upon rights I find it to be ‘immoral’. Now, taking that statement and paring it with ‘all laws infringe upon a right’, would suggest I am much more an anarchist at worst, or a libertarian at best. But I agree that we give up some sovereignty in order to live in a reasonable society. As long as the infringement upon a right is equally applied – we all suffer the same loss, it is acceptable.

  119. Dicentra, I don’t think you and I are that far apart on many subjects. I too use football and refs to describe things. I think you might like my Apocalypse Plan, An Alternative Federal Budget (the plan is free, the book with all the charts is not – http://tracycoyle.com/apocalypse.htm

    Ernst, were you suggesting that

    Tracy:Impose strict penalties for activities that corrupt or ‘defile’ a marriage such as criminalize adultery?

    newrouter: yes

    Tracy: so you are for government enforcing a moral principle, good to know

    was somehow not a logical inference?

  120. So you agree that government is using tax policy to promote (encourage) the private sector to give preferential treatment to one group (vets) over another (non-vets).

    Yes, that group being its newly discharged employees. There are quite a few things that are done to privilege that group based upon their direct service to the country. What it does not do it promote one industry or product over another. So, different.

    I would suggest Ernst is making my point to Pablo – I agree that the moral foundation for individual behavior existed prior to government being formed, my comment suggested that people started using government as a means of enforcing a moral behavior that has changed into the desire to CREATE a moral foundation to replace the one that existed prior to government, specifically, social justice.

    I’d suggest that the moral foundation was not merely individual, but part of the social fabric of the time. That is what has been eroded. You could track it along with the decline and demise of shame. You are correct that there’s a movement afoot to replace that with social justice, but if that be morality, then morality is over.

  121. things are immoral if you don’t want your mom to find out

  122. Your mom might not be the best arbiter of morality.

  123. Ernst, were you suggesting that
    Tracy:Impose strict penalties for activities that corrupt or ‘defile’ a marriage such as criminalize adultery?
    newrouter: yes
    Tracy: so you are for government enforcing a moral principle, good to know
    was somehow not a logical inference?

    Not at all. I took your specific response and turned it into a general question in order to get at the larger idea of legislating morality.

  124. What next, queer cough drops?

    Homo ludens

    Never mind.

    Small point, A “facemask” penalty is a judgment call that is not reviewable by replay.

  125. However it goes a little further in as much as morality changes over time (the end of slavery, universal sufferage) and sometimes government moves those changes along faster than society may want it too (Loving v VA). Sometimes a minority has to tell the majority, ie society, that it’s moral foundation has a flaw that needs to be addressed even if society doesn’t see a problem (a woman being raped by her husband).

    Now you have me confused (he said slyly). Didn’t you say you were opposed to using government as a means of enforcing moral behavior?

  126. Quoting below from the Introduction in Eva Brann’s Paradoxes of Education in a Republic (eschewing block-quote html in order to escape the tyranny of pan-italicization and to preserve the emphases of the original.) Brann divides her Intro into four parts: 1) The Intent of This Inquiry, 2) The Sources Used, 3) Definition of Terms, and 4) The Three Paradoxes: Utility, Tradition, Rationality. The first quote selected comes from Part 1, the second quote from Part 2.

    [begin quote -- sdferr]

    And finally [at the end of a short list of things she will not do in the book -- sdferr], I want strictly to avoid all those problems which are usually referred to an agent called society. I must confess right away that I think that society, viewed as a source rather than a sum of actions, is a debilitating anthropomorphism. It is debilitating because it encourages people to call for large remote revisions instead of doing here and now some small immediate thing, and to scatter general blame without pointing precisely to the persons, possibly themselves, who are responsible and should pay. It seems to me that the social construction of educational problems, at least, is usually a futile misconstruction.

    [...]

    Another difficulty of our day is that works on education (like other counsels on public concerns) have no particular addressee. Formerly, such advice was addressed to a patron. Then all the obligatory obsequiousness could be confined to the dedication, and the body could contain all manner of magnificent presumption — as, for example, in Bacon’s Advancement of Learning, dedicated to James I.[5] Present-day writers, on the other hand, must make themselves acceptable to a general reading public. Consequently, the issues must all be conceived very broadly, in terms of “our changing times”, the “needs of society”, “the whole system”. As Tocqueville puts it, the democratic writer “perceives only the immense form of society . . . His ideas are all either extremely minute and clear or extremely general and vague.” (Democracy in America, II, bk. 1, xviii.) Furthermore, certain obligatory words, signals of rightmindedness, punctuate all the texts. I defy anyone to produce a present-day effusion on education that does not mean to further students’ creativity;[6] for example, picked utterly at random out of a collection: “To create . . . is the uniquely human attribute.” Now, I would have thought that that was what it was precisely not, and that to become a creator a student should not go to school but to heaven. Similarly with values; it is de rigeur to demand that a “sense of values” be instilled. It seems to bother few people that the subversive term value was given currency by Nietzsche to devalue our instilled beliefs and our received morality, so that nothing might be good in itself, but only as someone valued it.[7]

  127. Your statement assumes that my interests and the interests of society are the same. [Except for the part where I said they weren't.] They may be at some times and points. [So I said.] And if by protecting, you mean to give government that authority, then I disagree. I don’t want a government that protects the interests of the society as a whole because sometimes my interests will not be the same as society – what Mill called the tyranny of the majority.

    Pretty sure Madison called it that first. But be that as it may, if your going to insist on rights for the individual without any concomitant duties or obligations to society, and if you take that to it’s logical conclusion, you become a majority of one.

    I’m not a fan of Utilitarianism, so Mill is to my mind a mixed bag at best. More of Theory of Moral Sentiments kind of guy myself.

    Of course, the older I get, the more of a Thomist I become

  128. This bit from sdferr’s fortuitously posted comment:

    It seems to bother few people that the subversive term value was given currency by Nietzsche to devalue our instilled beliefs and our received morality, so that nothing might be good in itself, but only as someone valued it.

    is why, as time passes, I find myself on the Ancients side of the Great Divide.

    If the Enlightenment paradigm is being erroded, as it indisputably is, I’m going to retreat to the pre-moderns rather than be subsumed by the post-moderns.

  129. It’s hard to beat reading Moral Sentiments and Smith remains extremely “readable” but these podcasts had some interesting and relevant discussion.

    (Think sdferr linked them long ago for the hat-tippery.)

  130. Aristotle, Nichomachean Ethics, bk I, 1095a – 1095b:

    And we must not overlook the distinction between arguments that start from first principles and those that lead to first principles. It was a good practice of Plato to raise this question, and to enquire whether the true procedure is to start from or to lead up to one’s first principles, as in a race-course one may run from the judges to the far end of the track or the reverse. Now no doubt it is proper to start from the known. But ‘the known’ has two meanings—‘what is known to us,’ which is one thing, and ‘what is knowable in itself,’ which is another. Perhaps then for us at all events it proper to start from what is known to us. This is why in order to be a competent student of the Right [kalon -- better translated "beautiful", "noble", "fine" -- sdf] and Just [dikaion -- "the just things" is adequate -- sdf ], and in short of the topics of Politics in general, the pupil is bound to have been well-trained in his habits. For the starting-point or first principle is the fact that a thing is so; if this be satisfactorily ascertained, there will be no need also to know the reason why it is so. And the man of good moral training knows first principles already, or can easily acquire them. As for the person who neither knows nor can learn, let him hear the words of Hesiod:

    “Best is the man who can himself advise;
    He too is good who hearkens to the wise;
    But who, himself being witless, will not heed
    Another’s wisdom, is a fool indeed.”

  131. Or, as Gulliver privately confided to me: “a Houyhnhnm could guide the Yahoo to a book, but could not make the Yahoo curious about the subject matter therein.”

  132. Of interest:

    If demography is destiny, democracy is toast-at least those democracies where citizens can vote themselves a living at someone else’s expense. It doesn’t take a mathematical genius to see that governments’ addiction to intergenerational income redistribution is not sustainable unless someone keeps supplying babies at an accelerating pace.

    The root cause of the economic disaster that lies ahead is the kamikaze drive of democratic governments to displace the functions of the family, including the care of relatives in their old age. Since time immemorial, in every human society that ever was, and buttressed by social mores central to every religion ever practiced, children, grandchildren, and kin did what governments the world over now promise to do.

  133. geoffb kindly sent me this link to Michael Knox Beran’s short article “Abolish Social Studies: Born a century ago, the pseudo-discipline has outlived its uselessness.

    The lede:
    Emerging as a force in American education a century ago, social studies was intended to remake the high school. But its greatest effect has been in the elementary grades, where it has replaced an older way of learning that initiated children into their culture with one that seeks instead to integrate them into the social group. The result was a revolution in the way America educates its young. The old learning used the resources of culture to develop the child’s individual potential; social studies, by contrast, seeks to adjust him to the mediocrity of the social pack. [...]

    It’s a good ‘un. Read the whole thing.

  134. Ernst, I like Mill for his observations, his solutions, iffy at his time look downright silly today,

    Ernst: if your going to insist on rights for the individual without any concomitant duties or obligations to society, and if you take that to it’s logical conclusion, you become a majority of one.

    Which is why I am writing the followup to An Assertion of Right to deal with the other half of the equation:

    To assert our unalienable rights we assume certain unalienable responsibilities, among these are to defend ourselves and our families, to provide for our needs, and to ensure the future for the generations to come.

    My rights are my responsibility, so are my responsibilities – I don’t see the value of abdicating either my rights or responsibilities to government. If I concede some authority to government for my benefit on those grounds then I have not room to argue against government acting with that authority to benefit others, even to my detriment. I’d rather avoid the problem in the first place.

    As to your slyness….the use of government to protect rights is an appropriate use of government. Is there any doubt today that slavery was wrong and that using government to end it – which could be argued was government enforcing a moral principle but also protecting rights – was an appropriate act? If universal sufferage was a right, using government to protect (or open up) that right to all would be appropriate; if marriage between a man and woman is a right – and I and the SCOTUS agree it is – then Loving v VA was protecting that right. Where people can seem to always find a moral principle I generally can find a right without slipping into the idiocy of the left.

  135. Damn Sdferr, that thing is chilling.

    Where people can seem to always find a moral principle I generally can find a right without slipping into the idiocy of the left.

    Where did your “right” come from.

  136. What is marriage?[link to PDF file], an argument against SSM.

  137. Pingback: Larwyn’s Linx: This is who they are. This is what they do. | Preppers Universe

  138. Sdferr, The individual is sovereign: each, born with a need to breathe, eat, sleep and survive has the need to act in ways that fulfill those needs, those acts, necessary and unalienable, inform our responsibility to ourselves to survive. Survival being our responsibility, we must defend the liberty to act in those ways necessary to ensure it. Self defense is a result of that need. Our thoughts, the function of internal and external stimulus, belong uniquely to us. Their expression, a function of free will, can not be taken from us. Us, our selves, belong to us, we are responsible for our selves and we at all times control how, when, where we act, express our free will, fulfill the needs of self to survive. Our actions, our labors likewise belong to us and those labors constitute a claim on the fruits of those labors we call property. Others may have claims also and that is the nature of the limits of those acts. My need to eat does not create a claim on food not a product of my labors, my need for sleep does not create a claim on shelter not a product of my labors. These necessary acts are a right: the liberty to act according to free will to satisfy a need. The limit of a right is our ability and reach to the limit of another’s similar claim.

    That each of us has exactly the same needs, responsibilities and rights is the foundation of ‘all men were created equal’. Murder attempts to take away my life, stealing takes away the fruits of my labors.

  139. Where people can seem to always find a moral principle I generally can find a right without slipping into the idiocy of the left.

    As long as your not finding a right to a job providing a guaranteed minimum income, or “affordable” healthcare, or a roof over your head, I suppose.

  140. LBascom, the first paragraph of the paper can apply to same sex unions that desire to rear children. It also is suggestive that marriages not oriented to procreation are somewhat inferior – seniors? A couple that can not bear children from the combination of their own genetic material seek sperm or egg donors – does that make them less of a marriage?

  141. The paper Lee just linked is the forerunner to the book that’s the subject of the Ricochet Post which is the subject of Jeff’s post here.

    By the by.

  142. Keep reading Tracy, those questions are answered. I don’t know how to cut and paste from the file…

  143. There’s a baseball analogy. Just because the team didn’t win the game doesn’t mean they aren’t playing baseball.

  144. LBascom: Just because the team didn’t win the game doesn’t mean they aren’t playing baseball.

    Doesn’t work for me…

  145. Sure it does.

    If you don’t like how the game is played, play cricket or stickball.

    But don’t tell the rest of us that cricket is baseball is stickball.

  146. Ernst…please don’t…please…I have three projects in process right now…please don’t ask me to read and respond to their arguments…

    Although the world’s major religious traditions have historically
    understood marriage as a union of man and woman that is by nature apt for procreation and childrearing, this suggests merely that no one religion invented marriage. Instead, the demands of our common human nature have shaped (however imperfectly) all of our religious traditions to recognize this natural institution. As such, marriage is the type of social practice whose basic contours can be discerned by our common human reason, whatever our religious background. We argue in this Article for legally enshrining the conjugal view of marriage, using arguments that require no appeal to religious authority.

    We are of Nature, but we are not bound by it. We can decide to be vegetarian, or celibate. We can choose to replace organs or supplement existing ones. If the word marriage never existed, marriage – the pair bond – would still exist BECAUSE as the author suggests, it is NATURE for us to form them. So, institutions that support the pair bond are ‘natural’ institutions that need no defense and no assault upon it can survive except as a possible, short limited victory. Humans can not be made to go against their nature – and societies that attempt it fail, over time. But the pair bond reasserts itself, regardless of society’s desires. Institutions that assault the pair bond can not stand.

    But all pair bonds are not the same. Most gays could not pair bond with a member of the opposite sex than walk if you cut off their legs. But pair bond they do. Often with the same natural desire to procreate and thanks to advancements, can. If you want to create an institution that supports pair bonding, then it should be flexible enough to consider pair bonds that don’t want to procreate, that can’t procreate, that establish all the characteristics of a pair bond. Such an institution exists: marriage.

    I understand people don’t see same sex couples the same way they see opposite sex couples, they ARE different…but not.

  147. The best way to frame marriage is, the fusion of one man and one woman. If there are children, then you (should) have a stable framework for launching that new life to the next generation. Humans need years of nurturing, that provided best by two married parents. Of opposite sex, and committed by vow until at least the children are mature. A damned shame there aren’t many who take that seriously.

    That stable family platform shouldn’t be damaged by attacks on it’s foundation by society’s outliers. Emotional bonds between two people of the same sex do not qualify for the same special arrangements given by government (the basic license) or by higher power (the sacred vows) to a married couple.

    Natural law vs. progressive radicalism. Marriage will survive only as long as we can keep a strong civilization. This one? Unsustainable, by design it’s seeming.

  148. I understand people don’t see same sex couples the same way they see opposite sex couples, they ARE different…but not.

    i luvs how the darwin is the big stick to the teaching of “creationism” but here the darwinian oxymoron goes unmentioned.

  149. So? Regurgitating Hobbes’ don’t cut no cheese with me.

  150. Ernst…please don’t…please…I have three projects in process right now…please don’t ask me to read and respond to their arguments…

    I know what you mean.

  151. why is a ho hum shopping mall killing spree giving anderson cooper multiple organisms exactly?

  152. nobody tell him about chicago

  153. If you want to create an institution that supports pair bonding, then it should be flexible enough to consider pair bonds that don’t want to procreate, that can’t procreate, that establish all the characteristics of a pair bond.

    Pair bonds aren’t the goal of marriage, creating the best circumstance for children is. The evidence is overwhelming that children do best, with better lifelong outcome, if reared within a stable marriage of both biological parents. If marriage is redefined to be more “flexable”, it can only move away from that ideal. The orientation becomes about the emotional bonds of the spouses, which may or may not be designed to rear children. Then the question becomes; what is the point of marriage?

    Those of us being urged to surrender to the zeitgeist suggest that is the point of the matter. To make marriage meaningless.

  154. ” anderson cooper multiple organisms exactly?”

    guns what need controlled. it is a bondage thing with andy

  155. wow look at you crazy kids

    everybody talkin bout gay marriage gay marriage everybody talkin bout gay marriage gay marriage

    it’s like the hot topic this christmas!

    matrimonial homos so tender and mild
    shepherds bake wedding cake
    sleep in heavenly peace sleep in fabulous sheets

  156. darwin says your gay marriage is a dead end

  157. It also is suggestive that marriages not oriented to procreation are somewhat inferior – seniors?

    In the micro, no. In the macro, yes. They are not a building block of society. They do not produce citizens. That is the reason that we privilege marriage, to keep us in existence. That we don’t exclude non-reproductive unions is a result of recognizing the generality and not verifying procreative ability. Which is none of the government’s business.

  158. It also is suggestive that marriages not oriented to procreation are somewhat inferior – seniors?

    oh you think you found a loophole to ram your agenda forward! nay you are being stupid about our society.

  159. So, because some small percentage of hetero couples can’t conceive and reproduce, reproduction cannot be central to marriage. Is that about it?

  160. riddle me this if procreations are so central to marriage why do so many married gay people not have kids Mr Pablo?

    They’re a lot more likely to have french bulldogs actually than kids.

    I know this cause of i am a keen observer of the human condition not unlike Ernest Hemingway actually

  161. Happyfeet finish this sentence:

    Polyamorous unions and non-sexual unions (best friends, relatives, room mates, etc.) by nature cannot be marriage, and should not be recognized as marriage, because…

  162. Yeah, Pablo, what do you have against chickens laying puppies?

    Bigot

  163. riddle me this if procreations are so central to marriage why is darwinism relevant to the “freaks of nature ” debate?

  164. Query: did those wacky ol’ Greeks have different terms between normally* procreative unions and normally non-procreative unions*?

    I’m not asking that slyly. I’m just ignorant but curious all of a sudden out of the blue.

    *”Normal” as in the standard state of affairs in those circumstances.

  165. riddle me this if procreations are so central to marriage why do so many married gay people not have kids Mr Pablo?

    Same reason children playing house don’t have kids.

  166. They can’t, that is.

  167. Seriously, if you can ask such an asinine question on a language blog such as this, you might want to find a less rigorous/bigoted place than this to hang out.

  168. “Query: did those wacky ol’ Greeks have different terms between normally*”

    how dem greeks doing these days?

  169. In the sense that it matters to my question, nr, you’re using (mostly) Greek letters to type all your comments.

    They (the ancient Greeks) continue to do remarkably well.

  170. well it is all greek to me and also proud member of the idiot union. union forward!

  171. the pair bond – would still exist BECAUSE as the author suggests, it is NATURE for us to form them.

    But the “nature” you describe is one of vast majority or generally. And that pair bond is one that puts two people that are The Other to each other together.

    Call it yin/yang, synergy, convex/concave … you have two beings of fundamental difference coming together in a complimentary way to produce the next generation AND GIVE THAT CHILD a secure place in which he/she can have a relationship with BOTH sexes and observe the way these different sexes interact.

  172. Query: did those wacky ol’ Greeks have different terms between normally* procreative unions and normally non-procreative unions*?

    Yeah. Same as ours: married couples and fuck buddies.

    I’ll have to double check to make sure my translations are accurate.

  173. Call it yin/yang, synergy, convex/concave … you have two beings of fundamental difference coming together in a complimentary way to produce the next generation AND GIVE THAT CHILD a secure place in which he/she can have a relationship with BOTH sexes and observe the way these different sexes interact.

    ‘cept that none of that matters now that we’ve declared the sexes fungible…at least until the Gods Of The Copybook Headings limp up to explain it once more.

  174. Reminds me of when Tony Soprano and his buds had a Jewish fellow tied up and were threatening him. He said something to the effect that the Jews had persevered through a lot worse, said something about the Romans and asked where they were today, and Tony said, “you’re looking at ‘em.”

  175. So, not only is the perfect the enemy of the good, it is victorious over it, BECAUSE OF THE HYPOCRISY!!!!

    I hereby nominate Jeff Goldstein as the preeminate documentarian of the Decline And Fall Of America.

    Can I get an amen?

  176. amen maybe

  177. Good line, Charles.

  178. oh bosh and bother like a north face logo I sit smugly askew the cloying pious certitude of you gay marriage deniers but a Merry Christmas I bid you nonetheless proteins for I know in your hearts you do mean well

  179. wow that little shopping mall incident has really freaked cnn’s shit

  180. Let’s all suck a Christmas dick!

  181. awkward

  182. gay marriage deniers

    that is so proggtard deniers stuff. it is also gay.

  183. is a “gay marriage” a happy marriage?

  184. darwin had no use for the “lgbt community”. is darwin homophobic?

  185. Reader Bart Hall writes: “‘Frantic orthodoxy is never rooted in faith but in doubt. It is when we are unsure that we are doubly sure.’ Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971). We are witnessing the frantic late-stage thrashings of a badly-wounded animal. Still dangerous, but nevertheless in the process of mortal exsanguination.” Yes.

    link

  186. for the laugh

    Out of the blue I asked, “Have you ever read Reinhold Niebuhr?”

    Obama’s tone changed. “I love him. He’s one of my favorite philosophers.”

    So I asked, What do you take away from him?

    “I take away,” Obama answered in a rush of words, “the compelling idea that there’s serious evil in the world, and hardship and pain. And we should be humble and modest in our belief we can eliminate those things. But we shouldn’t use that as an excuse for cynicism and inaction. I take away … the sense we have to make these efforts knowing they are hard, and not swinging from naïve idealism to bitter realism.”

    My first impression was that for a guy who’s spent the last few months fund-raising, and who was walking off the Senate floor as he spoke, that’s a pretty good off-the-cuff summary of Niebuhr’s “The Irony of American History.” My second impression is that his campaign is an attempt to thread the Niebuhrian needle, and it’s really interesting to watch.

    link

  187. well that and the pants crease.

  188. American history only got ironic quite recently some say it’s a defense mechanism not unlike the kind you see in rape victims

    asked Lena Dunham for to explain it more better than I can she did a paper on it at Oberlin

  189. gay marriage deniers

    That’s useful. No, it actually is.

    In a few weeks we’ll be able to identify those stupid enough to repeat it along with you.

  190. it’s a defense mechanism not unlike the kind you see in rape victims

    yea the proggtards like to hurt their victims. ax mao! or (goodwin) hitler/stalin.

  191. In a few weeks it will be 2013 I don’t have any plans for new years yet I might try and be in the rockies but I’m kinda over the cold which is funny I think I’d like it ok if I lived in it but if I have a choice I feel like trudging about in wintry climes is silly

  192. Irony is played. It’s the last bastion of the hipster and failed screenwriters.

    It’s time to let the adults back in the room.

  193. What is funny is back in the old days folks actually said things like the individual was sovereign.

    Fucking hilarious.

  194. It does seem like a long time ago doesn’t it?

  195. in a world full of people only some want to fly Mr moe

    is crazy, no?

  196. Beemoe, you’ve been pretty caustic lately.

    People have been talking about what they see as the underlying issues at depth here. I don’t know why you wouldn’t try to add to it (the actual discussion, not the empty snark) or just have a drink and relax instead.

  197. If I’m not mistaken, it’s actually a kind of newish usage ascribing the individual as sovereign — not to say I have anything in particular to discourage the practice — just to note that it has become a commonplace where heretofore is was not. It would take considerable digging into in order to ascertain where or when it arose.

  198. we live in a little country with thousands of married gay couples and proteins natter on about how cause of they are in a non-procreative relationship they can’t be married cause lookitupinthedictionary

    they can’t they can’t they can’t

    and yet they are no less married

    except for maybe not in the eyes of our quintessentially failshit federal government

    what is adjudged by the aforementioned proteins to be surpassingly authoritative and wise in these matters

    except for yeah they say it would be better if these marriages were left up to the states

    the states what are creating a burgeoning population of married gay people

    who can’t be married cause of they are in a non-procreative relationship

  199. is was!

  200. That’s t drop s squib syndrome. Some think it has a viral etiology, others bacterial, yet others think it’s booze, others still, the shakes. We won’t know until it’s too late.

  201. I think it was in terms of a man owning his physical person at first, sdferr. The sovereign twist? No idea.

  202. is was is the shortest poem in our whole language

  203. It’s an easy metaphorical move from the former usages pointing to the political authority, then passing to the individual as authoritative over his person and properties, which is all well so far as it goes. The trouble seems to arise when we attempt to move back in the other direction. I’ve been scanning the Federalist for a few minutes and haven’t yet seen any use like this though.

  204. If one owned one’s physical body they couldn’t be another’s serf and tied to the land, so that’d be Enlightenment thinking. If one was their own sovereign I’m not sure how you’d be able to jail them for public drunkenness, for instance, without declaring formal hostilities.

    Not many sovereigns agree to that sort of deal.

  205. Rather than jail me I might determine simply to punish my drunken self walking by, say, overeating until I was puking sick so bad I fall over into stupor. That’s a kind of declaration of hostility, with the aim of vengeance upon my person by my person. The question I’d ask me is, who’s having the fun here, the pissdrunk me or the pukestuffed me? Where’s the interest? Bored now, but too sick to read a book.

  206. We are each legion when it comes to apportioning this blame.

    Coffee-soaked is the self to look out for in my opinion. That guy? that guy is super, super sure of himself. And he’s smarter than the rest of us. We should consider doing something about that guy.

  207. imperium in imperio, it’s a black-hole all right. Smoke ‘em out with cancer sticks.

  208. Sdferr, if the institution of marriage is such a fragile thing that it needs the force of government to maintain it, it’s a failed institution for the society that has reached this state. I however don’t think it is that fragile because I think it is a ‘natural’ institution and if the people that honor, respect and seek to support it believe it is doomed, it is. The Left can not destroy what will not be destroyed, they can not break down what people refuse to break down – for the last 50 years straights have done nothing to support marriage despite loud voices warning that the Left would do what it could to destroy it.

    Don’t tell me you hate Hobbes when it is exactly Hobbes you want to follow – the imposition of civility and morality upon the natural man.

    serr8d: Emotional bonds between two people of the same sex do not qualify for the same special arrangements given by government (the basic license) or by higher power (the sacred vows) to a married couple.

    Yea, they do. I understand you oppose it, you will fight against it and I will support it and fight for it. The higher power can bestow what it will when it will how it will, but government is not the tool of part of society. You think gov should give special arrangements well there ya go – you gave it the authority now it is being used to benefit people you didn’t want to benefit – that is why I support a limited government.
    Once you gave gov the authority to teach children, you lost the control over what children are taught. If you give gov the authority to give out special favors, you lose control over who it gives favors to.

  209. If the individual is both sovereign and, as David Hume said, a slave to his passions (at least as far as reason is concerned), what worth is that sovereignty?

  210. I had noodles and co tonight just cause I can’t get that in LA but I didn’t finish it cause of the noodle part

    still I bet it’s nice when you live somewheres where you know you can just up n go to noodles and co if you want

    you can’t do that in LA

  211. imperium in imperio

    Ha! Sometimes I worry that I’m being too esoteric with my dumb jokes but then you return serve without missing a beat.

    Good times.

  212. tracy, I fear you are attributing opinions to me on questions of marriage and Hobbes which I’ve not expressed. In the first instance, I don’t happen to think marriage is necessarily fragile, nor have I expressed any such concern. Political arrangements I had thought to be quite durable, on the other hand, are proving to be swept away with astounding ease from my point of view. As to Hobbes, I certainly don’t hate him! Far from it. But what I’d like to inquire of Hobbes is what he’s up to, and with what cleverly hidden principles of motion does he progress? On the other hand, I’ve no particular desire to “follow” Hobbes, certainly not as you describe the “following”. Indeed, where did you find or what gave you that idea?

  213. Don’t tell me you hate Hobbes when it is exactly Hobbes you want to follow – the imposition of civility and morality upon the natural man.

    You’re going to have a really hard time convincing me that homosexuality is natural.
    Sorry for being blunt, and no pleasure taken in saying it.

  214. unnatural stuff is like nanobots and gummi bears and taylor swift

    gay people are just people

  215. “[Against the claim of the Sophists that] all moral standards are merely artificial, conventional and relative to the political power structures of society[,] Aristotle makes bold to say that the starting point of society is the natural union of male and female; it is the family[:]

    The first coupling together of persons then to which necessity gives rise is that between those who are unable to exist without one another: for instance the union of female and male for the continuance of the species ?and this not of deliberate purpose, but with man as with the other animals and with plants there is a natural instinct to desire to leave behind one another being of the same sort as oneself?; and the union of natural ruler and natural subject for the sake of security ?for he that can foresee with his mind is naturally ruler and naturally master, and he that can do these things3 with his body is subject and naturally a slave; so that master and slave have the same interest).

    “From several households arise a village, and from the union of several villages, the city. The family, and by extension, the city, ‘belongs to the things that exist by nature,’ and from that we can conclude ‘that man is by nature a political anima’l[:]

    The partnership finally composed of several villages is the city-state; it has at last attained the limit of virtually complete self-sufficiency, and thus, while it comes into existence for the sake of life, it exists for the good life. Hence every city-state exists by nature, inasmuch as the first partnerships so exist; for the city-state is the end of the other partnerships, and nature is an end, since that which each thing is when its growth is completed we speak of as being the nature of each thing, for instance of a man, a horse, a household. Again, the object for which a thing exists, its end, is its chief good[.]

    “We are naturally social and we are naturally political and politics, rightly understood is not about power but about perfecting our human nature insofar as is possible. [emph. orig.] That last proviso keeps Aristotle from being a dangerous utopian, even while it sets a moral standard that pushes us upward.”
    (Benjamin Wiker, Ten Books Every Conservative Must Read, Plus Four Not to Miss and One Imposter, New York, 18)
    [references to Aristotle's Politics turned into quotations from the relevant passages -E.S.]

    Naturally, I don’t expect the libertarians amongst us to necessarily agree.

  216. omg you’re quoting dead people

  217. It’s worse than you think. They’re both white European* male heterosexuals.

  218. And Wiker is still pre-dead.

    the asterisk was to refer to the note about how Wiker’s of European descent that I forgot.

    Getting in too much of a hurry.

  219. The term translated (poorly, in my view) as “partnership” is in Greek koinonian, “the common thing”, or alternatively “communion”, or “association” in Liddell-Scott. (Note, for interest, def. A. II. : sexual intercourse. )

  220. the relevant dead person for to quote is Mr. Thomas Kuhn I think

  221. That fits, given that we’re talking about families forming villages and villages forming (city-)states by means of intermarriage.

  222. Sometimes it’s hard not to think that Franz de Waal and his little troop of ethologists are kicking ol’ Tom Hobbes hard in the nuts. But then, Tom is dead too.

  223. the relevant dead person for to quote is Mr. Thomas Kuhn

    If/when they identity the gay gene(s), you’ll rue the day.

  224. Anderson Cooper says it’s an epigene and I didn’t pay attention to the rest of it cause I figured if it was important I’d hear about it here

  225. oops have to go bed forgot I was in Central

  226. Individual sovereignty is the nature of individual rights. Government has no sovereignty except that it comes from us.

    “Of liberty I would say that, in the whole plenitude of its extent, it is unobstructed action according to our will. But rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others.” –Thomas Jefferson to Isaac H. Tiffany, 1819.

    Hobbes, Locke, Madison, Jefferson, Mill….the concept of individual sovereignty has been around a long time.

  227. I remember seeing something on I think Nature about male chimpanzees patrolling their band’s territory, looking for intruder chimps from another band

    –so they can bite off the intruder’s balls.

    So de Waal and Hobbes might be more sympatico than you credit.

  228. Eh, I’m willing to look at any documentary evidence you can put your hands on tracy, but I can’t recall the particular uses that fit the case myself. I’m not saying that there aren’t any such, just that they don’t come readily to mind.

  229. In Hobbes, individual sovereignty is there so you can give it over to the state,
    lest you get your balls bitten off.

    Just to run with a theme.

  230. Ernst, I’m thinking rather of the certitude Hobbes makes of his claim that man is not by nature a political animal. It just seems to me that the clannishness of the chimps works against him there.

  231. If epigenetics is real, then Frank Herbert is a fucking genius of the first order!

  232. I’m thinking rather of the certitude Hobbes makes of his claim that man is not by nature a political animal.

    The war of all against all?

  233. In what sense the war of all against all? I mean, for the most part that has always seemed like errant bullshit to me.

    But then, what do I know?

    Again, sure it’s a nicely scary scenario if one’s object is to frighten people into believing the fear of violent death is the sine qua non for establishing a political order.

    But shhhush! — don’t anybody bother to notice that there may well have been highly functional political orders established on very different principles theretofore.

  234. Couple quick thoughts. 1) Tracy, you might be reading everyone a bit too simply. Tonight isn’t the first night people have encountered the novel idea of individual sovereignty. Read the room a bit better here. Consider the possibility that people are messing around a little bit here for humor or to make points. 2) Hormones in the womb, that’s always been the organic answer, I think.

  235. Like I already mentioned, the older I get, the more Thomist I get, which means pre-Hobbes, by definition.

  236. Sdferr: So? Regurgitating Hobbes’ don’t cut no cheese with me.

    Was I? I went looking for a definition of right and after much reading, that is where I ended up starting from – I didn’t reach the same places as Hobbes as I picked up with Locke and continued. I went back to Aquinas on Law and Justice. If my definition of ‘what is a right’ is reflective of them, I say great….where does your definition of right come from? What IS your definition of right?

    Ernst…the Left uses the term ‘right’ but nothing I have read suggests they have a definition grounded in any particular reality.

  237. There goes ceiling kitty, being all helpful and promoting dialogue when most of us just want to get newrouter/happyfeet on somebody’s ass.

    Said the pot stirring asshole.

  238. the Left uses the term ‘right’ but nothing I have read suggests they have a definition grounded in any particular reality.

    That’s another one of those things that’s necessarily true. If they were grounded in reality, they wouldn’t be leftists, would they?

  239. You’re a good egg, Tracy Coyle, and I’m honestly sorry we’re never going to find any common ground on the question at hand.

  240. On that question of individual sovereignty, let’s look at Montesquieu for a second? From De L’Esprit, bk II, sec. 2:

    “2. Of the Republican Government, and the Laws in relation to Democracy. When the body of the people is possessed of the supreme power, it is called a democracy. When the supreme power is lodged in the hands of a part of the people, it is then an aristocracy.

    In a democracy the people are in some respects the sovereign, and in others the subject.

    There can be no exercise of sovereignty but by their suffrages, which are their own will; now the sovereign’s will is the sovereign himself. The laws therefore which establish the right of suffrage are fundamental to this government. And indeed it is as important to regulate in a republic, in what manner, by whom, to whom, and concerning what, suffrages are to be given, as it is in a monarchy to know who is the prince, and after what manner he ought to govern.

    Libanius says that at Athens a stranger who intermeddled in the assemblies of the people was punished with death. This is because such a man usurped the rights of sovereignty. [...]”

    All of these uses, so far as I can see, take the “people” (and with them their sovereignty) in their co-joined or collective sense.

  241. bh, I tend to be pretty direct, I take people that way. I don’t consider this a hostile audience (much). I don’t make the Left’s argument or take it’s position. I have tried to as a conservative understand the foundations of a philosophy that I am sometimes at odds with in practical matters.

  242. Ernst: You’re a good egg, Tracy Coyle, and I’m honestly sorry we’re never going to find any common ground on the question at hand.

    Probably not…too bad too. Marriage could use all the support it can get…

  243. Yes, it’s true. I’m quite helpful and just want to promote dialogue.

    Also… kind to strangers, known to have a well-kept lawn, quite possibly giving those valuable coins to the Salvation Army at Christmas time, and rumored to be the guy putting that impish grin on Kate Upton’s face.

    Okay, I think we’ve covered just about everything that needed covering in this thread.

  244. tracy, just for safety’s sake, lemme point to my whatchmacallit there — it’s a cheese board with freshly made and cut cheese. The question “what is right?” is the right question: what counts is that it should be a question.

  245. Two follow-ups to the original item Jeff linked:

    So, What is Marriage?

    and

    Why is Government in the Marriage Business?

  246. [T]oo bad too. Marriage could use all the support it can get

    Then stop trying to redefine it because it’s personally advantageous/convenient [grin]

  247. Bh, I’ll overlook your do-gooderism, since you believe in lawn upkeep. Lawn care is quintessentally conservative.

    Because I said so, that’s why.

    And I’m watching you, do-gooder.

  248. ← yay! found one. yes, that thing. the gravatard.

  249. OT: Minority reporting for duty.

  250. Not personally advantageous: my partner of 18+ years passed last year. I have no intention of getting married or involved again. Two and I’m done. Not convenient for me – it affects me not at all. (grin)

    Ernst, my principles lead me where they will; whether I like the outcome or not is irrelevant.

  251. Food for thought from the second of the Anderson essays I just linked:

    [Traditional. heterosexual] [m]arriage benefits everyone, because separating child-bearing and -rearing from marriage burdens innocent bystanders: not just children, but the whole community. It’s the community that often must step in to provide (more or less directly) for their wellbeing and upbringing. A child born and raised outside marriage is six times more likely to experience poverty than a child in an intact family—and therefore welfare expenditures grow. So by encouraging the norms of marriage—monogamy, sexual exclusivity and permanence—the state is strengthening civil society and reducing its own role. [emphasis added]

    In other words, the most basic function of limited government—protecting civic order—also justifies legally regulating marriage. So the goals of marriage law—which do not involve banning other consensual relationships— [emph. add.] are legitimate for government, even from a libertarian perspective.

  252. So….for 50 years the institution of marriage has been under attack, mostly from those most likely to participate either doing so badly or not bothering. 72% of black childbirths occur out of wedlock, 38% of whites do.

    I understand people see gay marriage as an attack on marriage but as marriage would not end if gays were allowed to marry, 99% of marriages would still be by straights.

    Am I just taking it personally or does every post saying what a wonderful thing marriage is to society AND FOR THE CHILDREN, meant to steel yourselves, buck up the troops?

    V adopted CJ from China. CJ was found on December 26th abandoned in a building known by the police as a place where children (girls) were left. She was 3-4 days old. She was given the name Wei Du Wa and assigned a birthday of Dec 23rd. After a brief stay in the hospital to be checked, she was transferred to an orphanage in Hefei. Her general features suggested her parents were from much farther north in the country.

    CJ was selected for adoption based on a picture V sent of herself when she was an infant – some aspects of their facial features are strikingly similar. CJ was taken from the orphanage and placed with a foster family in June. V and 10 other families arrived in China in early September. We celebrate ‘Gotcha Day’ on September 11th.

    When the families returned, due to the novelty at the time, the press meet their plane (Chicago O’Hare). I met them coming off the plane and we beelined home. That evening on the news after the video of the arrivals, the anchor said, “Of course there are 50,000 children in this country waiting for homes’. True. Many have been in the system for years. V and I were foster parents for two years. As with the adoption of CJ, we were subject to a FBI background check, ‘surprise’ home inspection visits by social workers and a personal review.

    17 years later, CJ and her cuzzies, those girls that came here in the same group, are getting ready for college.

    This is not to say that gay parents can raise children well, they can. This is not to say that because tens of thousands of children have been abandoned in this country, the institutions for the family have failed them, they have.

    This is to say the ideal doesn’t always happen in real life. And while arguing what is best for the children is great, actually DEALING with the children still has to happen in a non-ideal world. And like the abortion platform of the Republican party, while arguing for what’s best, the situation has gotten much worse.

    Like I said…I am not sure if I should take the posts about what’s best for the children personally or just note that it is an attempt to restate the consensus position as a reinforcement mechanism. Would CJ, in our family, have benefited from us being allowed to marry? What say you?

  253. Sdferr, if the institution of marriage is such a fragile thing that it needs the force of government to maintain it, it’s a failed institution for the society that has reached this state.

    And yet gay marriage is so wonderful and strong that we need government to legislate it into existence and impose it.

    Am I just taking it personally or does every post saying what a wonderful thing marriage is to society AND FOR THE CHILDREN, meant to steel yourselves, buck up the troops?

    I’d first have to know how you missed all those comments bemoaning the current state of the institution.

  254. This is to say the ideal doesn’t always happen in real life.

    But does that mean we must abandon the ideal because not everyone can achieve it?

    I don’t believe “gay adoption” is much of an issue unless one believes that one has to treat ss couples as fungible with os couples. In adoption there should be a hierarchy … all other things being equal (the people are good, kind, loving, mature) then married couples first, committed ss couples second, single people regardless of orientation 3rd.

    Because it has nothing to do with the “rights” of the prospective adoptive parents, but with the right of a child to have first dibs on having a mother AND a father.

  255. we live in a little country

    hf keeps getting this wrong.

  256. I love our little country you can scoot from place to place and there’s always something going down in these nothing towns is what Mr. Aldean says

  257. Pablo: I’d first have to know how you missed all those comments bemoaning the current state of the institution.

    I didn’t, I just ignore people complaining about the state of their car after wrecking it because of their own poor driving.

    Pablo: And yet gay marriage is so wonderful and strong that we need government to legislate it into existence and impose it.

    V and I were a couple recognized by friends, family, neighbors and community, just not the government.

    Darleen: But does that mean we must abandon the ideal because not everyone can achieve it?

    No one is asking you to. Only you (the generic you) think marriage ends just because gays get to join in the institution.

    With tens of thousands of kids waiting for adoption, many for years, do you really think a gay couple is depriving a child of a loving home?

    Darleen: Because it has nothing to do with the “rights” of the prospective adoptive parents, but with the right of a child to have first dibs on having a mother AND a father.

    They had a mother and father and for whatever reason, none having to do with the child themselves, that mother and father abdicated their responsibilities. A straight couple gave birth to that child and abandoned it.

    CJ knows shes adopted, has known for most of her life. She wonders about the straight couple that abandoned her, threw her away and we can’t offer her much comfort because we don’t know WHY they chose to leave her in an abandoned building in the middle of winter. Maybe they already had one child, maybe they didn’t want a girl. But she was born with a mother and father and they threw her away. We on the other hand spent a long of money, went through a lot of hoops, had to get permission from two governments, had to be inspected and vetted and wanted more than anything else in the world to give her a chance at a full life. Yea, I can see how we were the 2nd choice…

  258. *putt*

    *putt*

  259. Interestingly, CJ was likely abandoned due to government policies. And not because her parents were straight.

    Because we don’t know that they were. Just that the had heterosexual sex at least once.

  260. And, I’m pretty married, straight couples have to jump a lot of hoops to adopt as well.

  261. And, I’m pretty married, straight couples have to jump a lot of hoops to adopt as well.

    Tell me about it. It’s actually easier to outsource, as it were.

    Or maybe it’s insource. I never can keep track.

  262. …by which I meant: adopt from a foreign country. Not that other thing you were thinking.

  263. A variation on the theme:

    There has been an unholy alliance between those on the Left, who believe that man is endowed with rights but no duties, and libertarians on the Right, who believe that consumer choice is the answer to all social questions, an idea eagerly adopted by the Left in precisely those areas where it does not apply. Thus people have a right to bring forth children any way they like, and the children, of course, have the right not to be deprived of anything, at least anything material. How men and women associate and have children is merely a matter of consumer choice, of no more moral consequence than the choice between dark and milk chocolate, and the state must not discriminate among different forms of association and child rearing, even if such non-discrimination has the same effect as British and French neutrality during the Spanish Civil War.

    The consequences to the children and to society do not enter into the matter: for in any case it is the function of the state to ameliorate by redistributive taxation the material effects of individual irresponsibility, and to ameliorate the emotional, educational, and spiritual effects by an army of social workers, psychologists, educators, counselors, and the like, who have themselves come to form a powerful vested interest of dependence on the government.

    Emphases are mine, of course.

  264. Is it to early to have any meaningful statistics concerning the percentage of ss marriages that end in divorce?

    Are those percentages broken down by length of time partnered prior to marriage?

  265. It may be too early for that, BT, but it’s never to early to take SS marriage and begin to tweak it to fit the gay lifestyle. Andrew Sullivan has already gotten out in front of that. Monogamy being a quaint tenet of traditional marriage, while the new definition of marriage, to include same sex marriage, necessarily problematizes those hoary old customs in order to be more inclusive to competing ideas of fidelity.

    What could go wrong?

  266. Wouldn’t we be facing the same escalation of definitions if we went with civil unions as the designator for ss marriage?

  267. Civil unions would be strictly a legal designation. Which should be all the government offers, AFAIC. Leave marriage to the churches and leave the legalities to the government.

  268. Besides, it’s not like straights never experimented around the edges with unconventional marital arrangements. Why, CBS even devoted a tv show to it!

    And how ABC failed to pick it up, I’ll never understand.

  269. Hm. Having an ‘Open Marriage’, as Sully is advocating, is a sign that one needs a divorce.

  270. Civil unions would be strictly a legal designation. Which should be all the government offers, AFAIC. Leave marriage to the churches and leave the legalities to the government.

    Some might say that marriage is one of those areas where temporal and spiritual realities meet.

  271. See, you just don’t understand marriage, leigh. You’re so narrowminded.

  272. There’s a Venn diagram for that, Ernst.

  273. Yeah, I know Pablo. I’m sheltered.

  274. Sometimes we can’t choose the people that agree with us, sometimes, our friends are the worst enemy, sometimes, people want to do right for all the wrong reasons and sometimes, no matter how much you wish they didn’t, stupid people want to ‘help’.

    I can’t defend the Left, I really try not to. I argue much more with people on the Left than on the Right in person (I did live in Madison, WI for 13 years, with a raging liberal as a partner) and the number one reason they give for any position, in the end, is

    Because….

    Ok, argue might be too strong a word for the usually rather short, one sided statements of principle… Frankly, for the most part, gays have more shooting accidents than Yosemite Sam…it’s amazing any of them can walk….

  275. Pablo, so civil unions would encompass ssm as well as osm, just for legal purposes like inheritance, taxation and whatever other benefits that osm married people have that gay partners want? Marriage as a legal designation would no longer used?

  276. Tracy, since happyfeet won’t (too busy begging the question), maybe you want to give it a whack.

    Finish this sentence:

    Polyamorous unions and non-sexual unions by nature cannot be marriage, and should not be recognized as marriage, because…

  277. s it to early to have any meaningful statistics concerning the percentage of ss marriages that end in divorce?

    Are those percentages broken down by length of time partnered prior to marriage?

    That answer is no. It’s not too early.

    I can’t remember where I read it (geoff usually comes through where I falter) but gay women marry and divorce at higher rates. Gay men, OTOH, marry less often but are also more likely to last.

    The conclusion was that it was usually the woman who both WANTS to get married and then initiates the divorce.

  278. LBascom: Polyamorous unions and non-sexual unions by nature cannot be marriage, and should not be recognized as marriage, because…

    …individual liberty in offense of general sensibilities and institutional intransigence degrades the general acceptance of majority will and due reverence to laws beneficial to entrenched organizations designed to mitigate both the opportunity and desire for free will.

    or….

    …then the Left will have won one and we can’t stand that possibility even if we have to compromise every principle of a free people to do it….

  279. is it to early to have any meaningful statistics concerning the percentage of ss marriages that end in divorce?

    There’s stuff here.

    A 2001 National Center for Health Statistics study on marriage and divorce statistics reported that 66 percent of first marriages last ten years or longer, with fifty percent lasting twenty years or longer

    A 2002 U.S. Census Bureau study reported similar results, with 70.7 percent of women married between 1970 and 1974 reaching their tenth anniversary and 57.7 percent staying married for twenty years or longer.

    The 2003-2004 Gay/Lesbian Consumer Online Census surveyed the lifestyles of 7,862 homosexuals. Of those involved in a “current relationship,” only 15 percent describe their current relationship as having lasted twelve years or longer, with five percent lasting more than twenty years.[4] While this “snapshot in time” is not an absolute predictor of the length of homosexual relationships, it does indicate that few homosexual relationships achieve the longevity common in marriages.

    Also of interest:

    In The Male Couple, authors David P. McWhirter and Andrew M. Mattison reported that, in a study of 156 males in homosexual relationships lasting from one to thirty-seven years:
    Only seven couples have a totally exclusive sexual relationship, and these men all have been together for less than five years. Stated another way, all couples with a relationship lasting more than five years have incorporated some provision for outside sexual activity in their relationships.[18]

    As the following chart shows, the extremely low rate of sexual fidelity among homosexual men dramatically contrasts with the high rate of fidelity among married heterosexuals.

  280. We constrain free will all the time.

    And rightly so.

  281. “Even if we have to compromise every principle of a free people to do it”?

    Oh brother. Your mask is slipping.

  282. I’m sorry, you wanted me to state a conclusion based on a philosophy I barely understand and don’t agree with and you think if I don’t get it right, it says something about my position?

    Way to go picking out the slivers of the log I rammed through…

  283. then the Left will have won one and we can’t stand that possibility even if we have to compromise every principle of a free people to do it….

    I’ve been meaning to use this here. This looks like as good an opportunity as any :

    ““Philosophy,” said the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein, “is a battle against the bewitchment of our intelligence by means of language.”

  284. Pablo, so civil unions would encompass ssm as well as osm, just for legal purposes like inheritance, taxation and whatever other benefits that osm married people have that gay partners want? Marriage as a legal designation would no longer used?

    Yup.

  285. Pablo, so civil unions would encompass ssm as well as osm, just for legal purposes like inheritance, taxation and whatever other benefits that osm married people have that gay partners want? Marriage as a legal designation would no longer used?

    Yup.

    Way to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

  286. a philosophy I barely understand

    It ain’t that hard. If I may, a parable:

    There’s a stereotypical American family living in the suburbs. They have bird in a cage inside the house, and a large dog that isn’t allowed in the house, living comfortably in the yard. Both creatures are loved and equal (but different) in the family. The parrot was handed down from grandpa, and is 87 years old, could live to be 120. The dog is a three year old, but the family has always had an outside dog, generations of the same breed of a kind who’s nature is not compatible with the confinement of a house.

    In steps little 5 year old Jimmy who doesn’t think much of the bird, and is best friends with the dog. Loves to play with him in the yard, spends hours gayly frolicking with him around the neighborhood. Jimmy doesn’t think it’s FAIR that the dog can’t go in the house with him to play.

    So Jimmy demands everyone call the dog a bird, so he can go inside too.

  287. Mom says “Isn’t that cute! What could it hurt?”

    Dad says “No damn way, he will want to go in and out every five minutes, tracking in mud, shedding, chewing on my shoes, and barking at the damn bird.”

    Crazy uncle Ron says “drag’em both out and put a bullet in their heads”

  288. I see it as taking the baby away from the state and giving it back to its parents.

  289. I see it as taking the baby away from the state and giving it back to its parents.

    That would be Spouse A and Spouse B. “Parents” is a bigoted term.

  290. I see it as taking the baby away from the state and giving it back to its parents.

    I see Big Love being not just for those breakaway fundamentalist mormons with the big compound outside of Custer, SD (and wherever in TX) on the one hand. And it’s mirror image on the other.

  291. Pablo, if the things people get married for are called something other than marriage, the result will be that what people do to have the benefits of marriage will still be regulated by the state. And behind closed doors they’ll still call it marriage.

    Why go to the trouble of making a change in the law if it’s going to be meaningless and empty? At least the SSM proponents are trying to make a change that would mean something — and what it would mean is why we’re opposing it.

    Your proposed change tries to be palatable because it wouldn’t mean anything. It might as well have come from the RNC.

  292. Ernst: Way to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

    Yea….perfectly good word to work for everyone, everyone knows what it ‘means’.

    Lbascom: It ain’t that hard. If I may, a parable:

    You’d never make it in the Old Testament. See, the dog is being kept outside by the owners choice, not because it CAN’T come in…poor little kid is just trying to figure out the arbitrary nature of the separation…

  293. the modern way is to just drain the water from the tub so at no point is the baby in peril of being thrown anywhere

    that’s how we been doing it anyway

  294. Yea….perfectly good word to work for everyone, everyone knows what it ‘means’.

    What word is that? Marriage?

    If so, then obviously not, or we wouldn’t be having this discussion.

  295. could you please pass the gay marriage

    my goodness you’ve already had two helpings

    you know how I love your gay marriage baby

    well it’s mom’s recipe I’ll tell her you like it

    I tell her myself after church come sundy

    she’ll like that

    we have anymore of that pumpkin roll left what sissy made

    let me look if not for sure we have blue bell

    oh nevermind the pumpkin roll then

  296. poor little kid is just trying to figure out the arbitrary nature of the separation

    Arbitrary?

    No, it’s pretty important the kid learn that a dog is a dog and a bird is a bird.

    Otherwise you end up with people that think an entitlement is a right.

  297. I see Big Love being not just for those breakaway fundamentalist mormons with the big compound outside of Custer, SD (and wherever in TX) on the one hand. And it’s mirror image on the other.

    I guess that would be up to the next batch of assholes we elect or the one after that or the one after that…

    Pablo, if the things people get married for are called something other than marriage, the result will be that what people do to have the benefits of marriage will still be regulated by the state.

    People would get married because they want to be two united as one under and in concert with God. People would get civilly united or not the same way they do now. Want to get partner bennies? Get a civil union. Want to keep your full welfare nut? Don’t. Want to avoid the marriage tax penalty? Don’t.

    And behind closed doors they’ll still call it marriage.

    “A cat can have kittens in the oven but that don’t make ‘em biscuits.” If you want to call ‘em biscuits behind closed doors, that’s fine with me.

    Why go to the trouble of making a change in the law if it’s going to be meaningless and empty?

    Marriage, under the tender ministrations of the state, is already meaningless and empty. It’s a throwaway contract, void as soon as it’s executed. Marriage in the view of the state is contract law and the state is the unchallengeable arbitrator of it. Why not just let it be what it is to them? Do you see the state holding marriage in any particular esteem? Do you see it treating marriage as a sanctified institution? I don’t.

    At least the SSM proponents are trying to make a change that would mean something — and what it would mean is why we’re opposing it.

    Yes, and this would forestall that. If they want to change the definition of marriage they can take it up with the church of their choice. “Oh, you guys got married? What church?”

    Your proposed change tries to be palatable because it wouldn’t mean anything. It might as well have come from the RNC.

    The Royal Nuptials Commission? The Regional Nookie Center? Surely, you’re not referring to the GOP. They’ll compromise on public abortion funding before they’ll cede control of something. This is a very Libertarian idea. It’s also a return to a time when you hardly recognized the government in your daily life.

  298. Lbascom: Arbitrary? No, it’s pretty important the kid learn that a dog is a dog and a bird is a bird. Otherwise you end up with people that think an entitlement is a right.

    See…different lesson. The kid sees a dog that he wants to come into the house, the parents ARBITRARILY say no, but he sees his OTHER pet in, so wants to use that as a way to get around the arbitrary decision about the dog. The parable was not about misnaming an animal, but about how the arbitrary decisions of others seem inconsistent by some. If the bird can come in, why can’t the dog. Oh, the dog would be messy and ewwwww, keep them far away from our nice clean home…

  299. you know how I love your gay marriage baby

    darwin and biology says no. who’s anti science? who’s a religious fanatic?

  300. rick santorum

  301. how the arbitrary decisions of others seem inconsistent by some

    because 2000+(christian scale and mulicult with the +) years of human history is the definition of arbitrary?

  302. rick santorum

    you be wrong mr rick has used his dick to make babies with his wife and not rube paul.

  303. The kid sees a dog that he wants to come into the house, the parents ARBITRARILY say no…

    Arbitrarily? There’s no reasoning behind the decision? Or are we just brushing the reasons aside because THAT’S NOT FAIR!!!!?

  304. I just call em like I see em Mr newrouter

    the whole family values shtick is so 80s

    but the economy is so weimar

    you ever ask yourself hey why did hitler never wear a sweater vest?

    I bet you never asked yourself that

    you should though

  305. newrouter: because 2000+(christian scale and mulicult with the +) years of human history is the definition of arbitrary?

    No because they were ignorant barbarians.

  306. The parable was not about misnaming an animal, but about how the arbitrary decisions of others seem inconsistent by some. If the bird can come in, why can’t the dog. Oh, the dog would be messy and ewwwww, keep them far away from our nice clean home

    This is your parable now?

    Hint: the bird cage is marriage.

  307. Pablo: Arbitrarily? There’s no reasoning behind the decision? Or are we just brushing the reasons aside because THAT’S NOT FAIR!!!!?

    Sure there was a reason, an arbitrary one. The dog was messy. The bird is messy too, unless you think it doesn’t shit and drop food where it sleeps. My parents have a parrot, damn thing is more work than my 50# dog…cleaning the cage, food and clean water every day, changing the paper in the bottom every other day and the damn thing DOESN’T SHUT UP…squawking, squawking. My dog only gets noisy when he wants out.

    So, yea. Arbitary: this pet is ok for inside, this pet is not. Both make noise and are messy, but one is ok, the other is not.

  308. No because they were ignorant barbarians.

    really! augustine, virgil, cicero collectively fart in your general direction.

  309. oh shat i mentioned the effin’ patriarchy

  310. newrouter: really! augustine, virgil, cicero collectively fart in your general direction.

    Point. And, yes. Collectively.

  311. It’s arbitrary because it’s a crappy analogy. (Sorry, Lee. Love ya.)

  312. LBascom: This is your parable now?

    No, but it is my interpretation of it. If it fails to make the point you wanted to, you can blame the audience, or we can blame the author.

    LBascom: Hint: the bird cage is marriage.

    Really? Didn’t think you would have wanted to go there…but I guess from your perspective marriage is a type of slavery…

  313. So, yea. Arbitary: this pet is ok for inside, this pet is not. Both make noise and are messy, but one is ok, the other is not.

    So, the non-arbitrary decision would find either the dog living in a cage in the house, or the parrot living outside?

  314. Didn’t think you would have wanted to go there…but I guess from your perspective marriage is a type of slavery…

    Wow. Here I was thinking that it was a mutual constraint borne of a mutual commitment consecrated in a vow before God. But I guess slaves had that until death do you part thing going too, so

  315. So, yea. Arbitary: this pet is ok for inside, this pet is not. Both make noise and are messy, but one is ok, the other is not.

    Yes The bird wouldn’t be allowed the benefits of being in the house if he didn’t stay in a cage. The dog wouldn’t want to live in the house if it means living in the cage.

    Dogs aren’t birds.

  316. Dogs aren’t birds.

    Bigot.

  317. My parents have a parrot, damn thing is more work than my 50# dog…cleaning the cage, food and clean water every day, changing the paper in the bottom every other day

    Does your dog go outside? Does their parrot?

  318. I guess from your perspective marriage is a type of slavery

    Absolutely. Voluntarily entered into. You think when you get married you still live for yourself?

  319. So, yea. Arbitary: this pet is ok for inside, this pet is not. Both make noise and are messy, but one is ok, the other is not.

    i like how in ssm discussions darwin is not relevant. you ssm folks are a cult. darwin = science i’m told.

  320. Of course the dog could live in the house, learn to behave and get along but the people in the house are too lazy to teach a dog new tricks.

    Of course the house could have been the marriage, large, inviting, comforting, able to have a variety of liberties in a safe environment that included a variety of participants, each with their own part to play.

    Afterall, the kid is OUTSIDE the cage but inside the house.

    Oh, my parents let their parrot out of the cage when there are no visitors there…

  321. Of course the dog could live in the house, learn to behave and get along but the people in the house are too lazy to teach a dog new tricks.

    No, in a cage in the house. No tricks necessary. Just the ability to live like the bird.

    Oh, my parents let their parrot out of the cage when there are no visitors there…

    No, outside the house, like the dog. Do they let it do that? I’m guessing not, and I suspect they know that birds aren’t dogs, and dogs aren’t birds. Accounting for reality is not arbitrary.

  322. Pablo, yes, my dog does go outside. My parent’s bird does not.

    LBascom, slavery is such an apt metaphor… or not. But, hey…perspective.

  323. Lee, slavery is not voluntarily entered into. Commitment is.

  324. As my dog (and those I’ve had in the past) were all cage trained, they spend significant amounts of time in the house, in a cage…including overnight and most of the day.

  325. tracy

    Sorry for the late answer — I cannot post while at work.

    Only you (the generic you) think marriage ends just because gays get to join in the institution.

    No, not because gays join the institution. It’s that the word marriage ceases to exist and what will be referred to as “marriage” will have little resemblance to what the original definition – when you radically rewrite the mission statement, you cannot pretend it is the same institution.

    I’ve never considered sexual orientation as a primary identity — maybe because I came of age in the early 70s when homosexuals were asking NOT to be judged primarily on their orientation. My dad had been in the Army at the end of WWII then was called back as a DI during Korea. He knew who the gays were in his units and as long as they did their job and didn’t break regulations, so what? I had/have the same attitude, I neither fetishize teh gheys nor H8T them. Who you fall in love or in lust with just isn’t on my radar as an indicator of character.

    But here we are, where being “gay” is the be all/end all of one’s identity — and it is a political identity, much the same as being a minority “race” or being female.

    Well, f*ck it, no. I reject it, I won’t be bullied into it. I know that makes me an “inauthentic woman” a “gender-traitor” but that’s where I am.

    With tens of thousands of kids waiting for adoption, many for years, do you really think a gay couple is depriving a child of a loving home?

    I didn’t say gays could NOT adopt, I said that first pick is a married os couple. Kids need to be in a stable home asap – OUT of institutions. Note that I put ss couples ahead of singles. Singles should be able to adopt but come 3rd.

    They had a mother and father and for whatever reason, none having to do with the child themselves, that mother and father abdicated their responsibilities. A straight couple gave birth to that child and abandoned it.

    You don’t know that. And if the kid has another chance at a stable loving mom & dad, they should get the crack. If an adopting mom & dad are not available, then two moms or two dads are the next best choice.

    In adoption, it isn’t about you.

  326. Pablo, yes, my dog does go outside. My parent’s bird does not.

    Is that because the bird requires containment and the dog needs to go outside? Because they’re not the same?

  327. the house could have been the marriage, large, inviting, comforting, able to have a variety of liberties in a safe environment that included a variety of participants, each with their own part to play.

    the lgbt communists can’t reproduce on their own. shaker II

  328. the gay marriage neurosis makes it a lot harder for the Rs to be a modern political party what elects presidents and stuff

    but it doesn’t seem to bother them so you shouldn’t let it bother you

  329. As my dog (and those I’ve had in the past) were all cage trained, they spend significant amounts of time in the house, in a cage…including overnight and most of the day.

    Like the bird does? No, right? (BTW, we generally call that kennel or crate training with dogs. You don’t have to train a bird to be in a cage.)

  330. Ferchrissakes, happy, will you just go bang a Republican and get it over with? Your fixation on them is really getting tedious. Satisfy it, son!

  331. As my dog (and those I’ve had in the past) were all cage trained, they spend significant amounts of time in the house, in a cage…including overnight and most of the day.

    Hint #2: SSM advocates are little five year old Jimmy, insisting a dog is a bird.

  332. the gay marriage neurosis makes it a lot harder for the Rs to be a modern political party what elects presidents and stuff

    modern = anti darwin anti science

  333. Mr. Pablo it’s not like that

    the point is team r is super enthusiastic about embracing these really micro extremely small ball issues what have an out-sized propensity to alienate voters

    the first rule of holes applies

  334. gay/lbgt peeps are a made up social construct. fail proggtard pikachu. try some bean and bacon soup!

  335. Darwin did groundbreaking work in the turtle sciences he deserves to be on a postage stamp just for that

  336. what have an out-sized propensity to alienate voters

    why are you a darwin h8ter?

  337. I think happy is discounting the gop’ers act on principle while backing the gay marriage proponents who are acting on their own principles.

    Winning elections is worthless if it means compromising your core beliefs.

  338. Darwin did groundbreaking work

    the “freaks of nature” are the pink shirts of “the revolution”. hugo boss queer with less brown

  339. I had lobster bisque today hey did you know up north in lots of places you can get the campbell’s soup at mcdonald’s?

    havent tried it yet myself

  340. the whole family values shtick is so 80s
    but the economy is so weimar

    And you’d prefer the values of Weimar as well? You’ve seen Cabaret too many times.

  341. the gay marriage proponents who are acting on their own principles.

    anti – biology principles are what exactly?

  342. the point is team r is super enthusiastic about embracing these really micro extremely small ball issues what have an out-sized propensity to alienate voters

    As are you. Bang a gong, ‘feets.

  343. So is gay marriage a litmus test now, happy? I thought it was abortion.

    Quite frankly, there is entirely too much press and noise about this whole gay thing. There was a giant No H8T concert thing in LA last night. If there is a town that is more gay friendly than LA, it is SF or NYC or DC. No haters there. The entire entertainment industry would collapse if there was so much hate-y hatred in the industry and around the country.

    Gays are the ones who are living in the 50s with their attitudes toward straights. It’s like a gigantic anti-Klan rally when there aren’t any Klansmen except for a handful of losers. I find it very offensive for gays to seize a civil rights mantle over gay marriage and compare it to miscegenation.

    Being black is not the same as being gay, as has been discussed here before.

  344. bean and bacon on a cold winters night. add ham too

  345. anti – biology principles are what exactly?

    Immaterial

  346. as more gay marriages happen every day the more toxic the issue becomes for Rs mr BT

    conversely if this issue were a winner we’d have president romney in our white house as opposed to food stamp

    or is the feeling that romney failed to harness the pro traditional marriage enthusiasm? I don’t see any evidence for that idea. He would’ve used it as an issue if he could’ve figured out how to make it work for him.

  347. The entire entertainment industry would collapse if there was so much hate-y hatred in the industry and around the country.

    See leigh, that is little Jimmy gayly frolicking around the neighborhood with his beloved dog.

    The parable is solid, and I stand by it. Pablo gets it.

  348. from my mountain people friends in the appalachians i learned how to make the simple pinto beans n onions… the key is to go easy on the seasonings for the beans and then add a BUNCH of diced onions when you serve it and then if you want you can add salt and butter

    so good and so much healthier than brown sugaring them up and infusing them with all that bacon fat which is how i usually do them

  349. conversely if this issue were a winner we’d have president romney in our white house as opposed to food stamp

    Jesus Christ himself wouldn’t have beat Obama in this culture.

    Same with Saddam and Gomorrah…

  350. yes leigh gay marriage is a litmus test you saw how Mitch Daniels freaked Team Rs shit with his truce talkings

  351. Immaterial

    why is darwin irrelevant concerning marriage? you clowns don’t like science?

  352. You know where I meant…

  353. slavery is not voluntarily entered into.

    Not in the last 1500 years or so. At least not in the West.

  354. as more gay marriages happen every day

    the “freaks of nature” don’t procreate. their bs is a lie.

  355. The parable is solid, and I stand by it.

    Oh, I knew what you meant, so close enough.

  356. Mitch Daniels freaked Team Rs shit with his truce talkings

    is there a spineless bastard on the team d side????

  357. Happy,

    I think Romney was a lukewarm candidate for the GOP. People were not enthused about him. Maybe his ground game was faulty and he put energy in places he shouldn’t have. Maybe the Candy Crowley deal hurt him worse than we thought. Maybe Sandy saved Barack, but he certainly didn’t lose because of his position on gay marriage alone.

    Look at the swing states. What percentage of voters were in play based solely on the gay issue? Not enough to swing the election.

    Maybe the real deciders were the hispanic voters. Maybe govt spending didn’t resonate with the voters as the crucial issue facing the country today. Who knows.

  358. is bob casey d stupidville or pa for or against?

  359. I think Romney was a lukewarm candidate for the GOP.

    i’m effin’ gobsmacked by this revelation!!11!!

  360. why is darwin irrelevant concerning marriage? you clowns don’t like science?

    Clown,

    Do you know any heterosexual couples who are childless by choice or design? If prcreation is the determining factor as to whether a marriage is real or not then what do you do about those couples? Revoke their license?

  361. Mitch Daniels freaked Team Rs shit with his truce talkings

    That’s because he’s too smart for them, happy. Not because he’s all about gay marriage since that is a social issue that he rightly says needs to be left behind with all the other social issues until everyone is back to work and we seize the checkbook from the big spenders who are keeping us chronically overdrawn.

    That should take at least 20 years and then we can get down to the pressing issues of Adam and Steve exchanging vows.

  362. Mr. Lee i think the economy was a winning issue for Romney but he didn’t close it

    what it looked like to me is that in the closing weeks of the campaign the limited media Team R has to work with went 24/7 benghazi, and nobody voted benghazi

    stupid Rs forgot it’s the economy stupid

  363. Jesus Christ himself wouldn’t have beat Obama in this culture.

    That’s the second time Christ would have lost to the Democrat.

  364. conversely if this issue were a winner we’d have president romney in our white house as opposed to food stamp

    No, if Romney hadn’t run on this, we’d have a President Romney. Losers united.

    Yep, she’s on your team. Bet on it.

  365. Also, in a nation of children, Santa wins.

  366. Do you know any heterosexual couples who are childless by choice or design? If prcreation is the determining factor as to whether a marriage is real or not then what do you do about those couples? Revoke their license?

    You ignore them. They’re outliers. The perfect is not the enemy of the good, unless you’d like to go ahead and declare it the victor. Procreation is not the determining factor. Man and woman, who generally procreate, is. That some couples don’t doesn’t change the overwhelming reality of the fact that unions of man and woman procreate.

  367. Darleen, I appreciate that YOU specifically (vs the generic) and many of the others here are open to the discussion even if the likelihood that anything will change is small.

    Darleen: No, not because gays join the institution. It’s that the word marriage ceases to exist and what will be referred to as “marriage” will have little resemblance to what the original definition – when you radically rewrite the mission statement, you cannot pretend it is the same institution.

    I disagree. All of my knowledge and understanding says you are inaccurate. I was married, opposite sex marriage. I was in a same sex ‘marriage’. I can tell you they are the same thing BECAUSE the sex thing is not the issue. My little experience is not transferrable – I can’t give you the understanding and to try and explain what the relationship IS (or in this case, was) is probably as impossible for you to describe your marriage to someone having never been married (sorry to assume you are married if you are not).

    I was in the AF, there were two gay guys and a lesbian in the squadron. We all knew, no one cared – they socialized off base and away from people that DID care, and they did their jobs well. My brother served for 26 years, said they were never an issue for him or in his squadrons. Yea, they weren’t ‘open’, but they were not closeted either.

    I agree that ‘gay’ has become a ‘thing’ and I’d like to suggest that it is ONLY a Left or Liberal thing, but I can’t say that. Look, I just deleted two paragraphs that probably would only confuse things more….

    Darleen: Well, f*ck it, no. I reject it, I won’t be bullied into it. I know that makes me an “inauthentic woman” a “gender-traitor” but that’s where I am.

    No such from me. CJ introduces me as her Tracy, not mom, or other mom, or second mom or anything like, just her Tracy.

    Darleen: I didn’t say gays could NOT adopt, I said that first pick is a married os couple

    I think the first option is a child should be with it’s parents, period – yes, preferrably, MOST preferrably, with both of them. As a single parent now, I can’t tell you how hard this last year as been. I am glad that she is turning 18, if she was 8 or 9 I don’t know how I could have done it. Having V, even in the condition she was in the last years, made things much better/easier. If the parents are not available, then I agree that a stable home is the next best thing, and I STRONGLY believe two parent (and of course ss or os). Do I think ss is more difficult than os? Yes, but no worse than mixed race – which I’ve seen among our friends.

    V was a divorce attorney…know what seemed to be a major factor in many breakups…religion. Young couple (os) bought the house behind ours. They were getting married, she was a devout Catholic, he was ..not…someone I call an antagonistic….(someone that claims not to be atheist but really doesn’t like religion). They got married. One day, we were cutting our respective lawns and I talked to him. They had a fight. She wanted him to go to church with her. He refused. I attended church with CJ and V because it was important to them. I told him, HONOR and RESPECT her…was his position/belief so weak that it couldn’t stand a little church? They divorced after 4 years and two kids. The breaking point was enrolling the kids in Sunday school. He never got it.

    Pablo: You don’t have to train a bird to be in a cage.

    Ah, their natural habitat? :)

  368. 24/7 benghazi / sandy with a bonus dollop of chris christie’s fat ass at the end

    there was no economic narrative in play at the end there

  369. a social issue that he rightly says needs to be left behind with all the other social issues until everyone is back to work and we seize the checkbook from the big spenders

    Rightly?

    By my lights, the social issues and the spending are hopelessly intertwined.

  370. They are Lee, The problem is it creates a giant cloud of smoke.

    Getting the checkbook back comes first.

  371. why is darwin irrelevant concerning marriage? you clowns don’t like science?

    And at least from my observations a lot of the younger ssm couples are having to go the in vitro fertilization route and that same medical technology is available to same sex couples of the female variety.

    Maybe technology has made the Darwin deal breaker moot.

  372. Ah, their natural habitat? :)

    Depends. Was it caught or bred? Either way, they figure it right out. If you kept a dog like that the ASPCA would crawl right up your ass. Because, arbitrary, right?

  373. By my lights, the social issues and the spending are hopelessly intertwined.

    Yup. If family was what it was for ages, there would be no dependency on that state. The state changed that, by design, to our collective peril.

  374. The problem is it creates a giant cloud of smoke.

    It’s not just smoke.

    Look, it’s been pointed out before, the progressives progression is to declare a problem that needs a solution, impose their remedy, wait for the intended UN-intended (wink wink) consequences that arise from their remedy, and then use those as the new problems requiring more of their remedies.

    They have been undermining the family since there was a Dept. of Ed., and now they are claiming the family is in such bad shape (der!) that fucking GAY marriage can only strengthen it.

    And some people think people don’t become slaves voluntarily…

  375. I’m not down with in vitro, either. I always have been since it smacks of playing God.

    What’s so fantastic about your own genes that you’re willing to go through all that time, trouble, expense and marital angst to have your own gene pool enlarged? Adoption should be a lot easier. I’m not clear on when it became such a pain in the ass, since several of my cousins were adopted either as infants or as toddlers. But that was back in the 50s.

    Look at all the abusive douchebags who foster kids (Mrs. Bascom can tell you stories, believe me) yet, you must be a regular Mother Theresa to adopt an American child. Or very wealthy.

  376. Maybe technology has made the Darwin deal breaker moot

    no turkey baster don’t count. still need a dick squirting the stuff. you ssm clowns think you can repeal darwin with unicorns or obama’s budget. copybook headings asshats.

  377. I agree with both Pable and Lee about the trajectory of spending and social issues being intertwined.

    I was speaking to Daniels saying he wished to tackle economics in the macro FIRST. Whether or not that can be done remains to be seen. It’s one of the many reasons I hang out here: to learn things.

  378. Maybe technology has made the Darwin deal breaker moot

    because the “hal 2020″ makes nice bean and bacon soup. to be a proggtard to be stupid 24/365.5/2000+

  379. What’s so fantastic about your own genes that you’re willing to go through all that time, trouble, expense and marital angst to have your own gene pool enlarged?

    If you stop to think for a few minutes about the implications of descent with modification, I believe you’ll hit on the significance without too much trouble.

  380. Well perhaps God revealed the technology that developed and perfected the in vitro process, if you believe in the invisible hand.

    What is strange is that the couples i know who are going through these procedures are either affluent themselves or come from money.

    The lunch pail crowd doesn’t seem to have any problems at all in that area.

    Is in vitro an issue within the religious communities? Been a while since i have been inside a church.

  381. Look at all the abusive douchebags who foster kids (Mrs. Bascom can tell you stories, believe me)

    Actually, the foster parents she worked with were pretty much saints. It was the low life parents that think only of their own sorry asses that she has great contempt for.

  382. Daniels saying he wished to tackle economics in the macro FIRST

    really like food stamps and obamaphones?

  383. NR

    I make my own ham and bean soup. Picking up the honey baked tomorrow. Should be boiling the bone by Sunday.
    Not to worry , I’ll be staunchly conservative with the spices.

  384. What is strange is that the couples i know who are going through these procedures are either affluent themselves or come from money.

    You should ask them: “if there is found to be a gay gene, and it can be modified, will you pick one over the other for your (genetically pre-determined) son?

  385. Is in vitro an issue within the religious communities? Been a while since i have been inside a church.

    there’s your problem. you keep looking for the extreme. you want “equality” for the extreme. the extreme can pound sand and read darwin. quit looking for unicorns and their farts.

  386. If you stop to think for a few minutes about the implications of descent with modification, I believe you’ll hit on the significance without too much trouble.

    Of course. It’s another discussion, so I’ll stop for now.

  387. if there is found to be a gay gene

    why would there be a “gay” gene? darwin cancels that. see how you peeps give in to the left’s bs? we are “victims” of our genes. fu!

  388. In vitro is against Catholic church teachings.

    I had arrived at my opinion independently while I was being a heretic.

  389. It sort of gets back to the (peculiar) question a few people ask every now and then leigh: “Why sex?” I’m not sure the question has been completely solved but the best sallies so far look to go a long way to it.

  390. You should ask them: “if there is found to be a gay gene, and it can be modified, will you pick one over the other for your (genetically pre-determined) son?

    Why? They will be great nieces or nephews. I’ll love them just the same.

  391. In vitro is against Catholic church teachings.

    Hmmm. Well it’s been what 40 years since i’ve been to mass, not counting weddings and funerals.

  392. Is in vitro an issue within the religious communities?

    The Catholic Church objects.

    Techniques involving only the married couple (homologous artificial insemination and fertilization) are perhaps less reprehensible, yet remain morally unacceptable. They dissociate the sexual act from the procreative act. The act which brings the child into existence is no longer an act by which two persons give themselves to one another, but one that “entrusts the life and identity of the embryo into the power of doctors and biologists and establishes the domination of technology over the origin and destiny of the human person. Such a relationship of domination is in itself contrary to the dignity and equality that must be common to parents and children.

  393. Those crazy Catholics seem to think that sex is what makes babies. That’s so 1950′s.

  394. the “gay jean” is a bs narrative. “freaks of nature” are “freaks of nature”

  395. Techniques involving only the married couple (homologous artificial insemination and fertilization) are perhaps less reprehensible, yet remain morally unacceptable. They dissociate the sexual act from the procreative act. The act which brings the child into existence is no longer an act by which two persons give themselves to one another, but one that “entrusts the life and identity of the embryo into the power of doctors and biologists and establishes the domination of technology over the origin and destiny of the human person. Such a relationship of domination is in itself contrary to the dignity and equality that must be common to parents and children.

    I suspect they will change their thinking in a century or two.

    Just like they did Meatless Fridays.

  396. What will the voters think?

  397. I suspect they will change their thinking in a century or two.

    Right, because sex won’t make babies then.

  398. The Church is eternal, BT. Change takes centuries so you’re right there.

    Heck,we’ve only had Mass in anything other than Latin since the 60s.

  399. About what?

    This crazy idea that sex makes babies. Preposterous, ain’t it?

  400. I’m not sure the question has been completely solved but the best sallies so far look to go a long way to it.

    St. Augustine had a lot to say about it and still didn’t answer it all. Maybe the answer is with the Ancients?

  401. Why? They will be great nieces or nephews. I’ll love them just the same.

    That seems an evasion. Make it your own son. If a test could tell you your son would be gay, but they can easily remove that possibility, would you?

    I would.

  402. these really micro extremely small ball issues

    for want of a nail

  403. They dissociate the sexual act from the procreative act. The act which brings the child into existence is no longer an act by which two persons give themselves to one another,

    cold and sterile. big gov’t as parent. go for it hitler/stalin/sanger

  404. Maybe the answer is with the Ancients?”

    I don’t think so. They may have approached the subject in some sense, but not in the sense in which the question is asked today. Hell, I’m not even certain the Ancients were aware of asexual reproduction; if they were they certainly didn’t make a big deal about it.

  405. I suspect they will change their thinking in a century or two.

    the stupid is timeless

  406. Hell, I’m not even certain the Ancients were aware of asexual reproduction; if they were they certainly didn’t make a big deal about it.

    True enough. They were still talking humours of the body so there’s probably no help there.

  407. That seems an evasion. Make it your own son. If a test could tell you your son would be gay, but they can easily remove that possibility, would you?

    I didn’t even want to know the sex of my son before he was born. But to directly answer the question, i would not want them to test for a gay gene, nor would i want them to remove it if they did so against my wishes.

  408. Night Pablo.

  409. First the telescope. Then the tiny world came later. In some respects, besides the profound change in orientation wrought by Bacon following the thread, it does come down to instruments.

  410. Y’know, this whole night thing seems pretty arbitrary. There are people who work at night and sleep during the day. What do we do with them?

    Maybe I should stay up for several hours, just to fight the power.

  411. Correction: “night” and “day”. Archaic classifications are just stupid. As far as anyone can tell, it’s almost noon here. Or maybe 3. We should probably vote on it. And check with Jimmy Hoffa Jr. before we do.

  412. Such a relationship of domination is in itself contrary to the dignity

    full stop

    if anything is sorely in short supply it is dignity

    Funny thing, we were yakking about this at work … I was making some people laugh when I related that as a young girl I would sneak into my younger sisters room when she wasnt around and dress her dolls that she had dumped into the toybox naked

    I thought they would be cold and embarrassed laying naked in the toybox.

    I was worried about their dignity.

  413. Whatever BT, you’re the one brung the test tube into the conversation.

  414. Flex schedule it is then.

  415. In my shoddy memory there are some lines of verse about that (the idea, not the specific), sdferr.

    It’s killing me now.

    On the plus side, I just learned a new word while looking. Refulgent.

  416. It’s not Pope, btw. First one I checked.

  417. I think dicentra used that word just a couple of weeks ago. But don’t nobody (serious) trust my memory. I don’t.

  418. On the odd chance anybody’s interested in some ersatz ‘high-minded’ genuine mudslinging, here’s a gagalicious example of it coming and going.

  419. Okay, I found it. Borges on Spinoza:

    The Jew’s hands, translucent in the dusk,
    polish the lenses time and again.
    The dying afternoon is fear, is
    cold, and all afternoons are the same.
    The hands and the hyacinth-blue air
    that whitens at the Ghetto edges
    do not quite exist for this silent
    man who conjures up a clear labyrinth—
    undisturbed by fame, that reflection
    of dreams in the dream of another
    mirror, nor by maidens’ timid love.
    Free of metaphor and myth, he grinds
    a stubborn crystal: the infinite
    map of the One who is all His stars.

  420. Another translation:

    The Jew’s translucent hands
    Shape the crystals in the twilight.
    And the dying evening is all fear and chill.
    (In the evenings, evenings are the same).
    His hands and the hyacinth’s space
    Paling at the purview of the ghetto
    Are almost inexistent for the quiet man
    Dreaming a clear labyrinth.
    Fame does not perturb him, that reflection
    Of dreams in another kind of dream,
    Nor the girls’ fearful love.
    Free of metaphor, free of myth
    He shapes a rigid crystal: the infinite
    Map of the One that is All Its stars.

  421. I’ve not seen that before bh, thanks for digging it up (twice even!).

  422. And here‘s with Spanish and Italian, plus another poem.

  423. I think dicentra used that word

    Nope. Only one until today.

  424. There are people who work at night and sleep during the day

    Did it for over 40 years.

  425. Ah, good. Well, I don’t know then but believe I’ve seen it somewhere quite recently? At a loss for a where though.

    Just took peppermint brownies out of the oven and forgot to stand well back and — wham! — a blast of peppermint oil gas to the eyeballs, enough to tear up instantly.

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