Mona Charen on Same-Sex Marriage


Mona Charen is a syndicated right-wing columnist who appears in the Austin American-Statesman. I usually find her pieces loaded with soft-peddled right-wing vitriol and poorly thought out. She published a piece on same-sex marriage on October 13, 2014 titled “Olsen Evades Gay Marriage Questions” in the Washington Examiner. In the Austin American-Statesman, it was titled “Give Acceptance, Without Undermining Marriage.” There is so much wrong in this editorial that it makes me wonder whether she really believes what she’s writing.

First, let me fix some framing that Charen doesn’t address in her editorial. Almost all opposition to same-sex marriage and to treating gays and lesbians as human beings in the United States comes from Christianity. In the 70s, Christian leaders figured out that selling hatred of gays was a big money maker. It was precisely the sort of red meat issue that got the “base” riled up and kept the money flowing. It speaks volumes about the actual morals of Christians that they have created this sort of market. When seen in historical perspective, anti-gay prejudice just another faith-based initiative like the Crusades, Pogroms, Witch Burnings, torture of infidels, slavery apologetics, and murdering of Jews that one might expect from a bunch of people who blindly follow an invisible genocidal maniacal thug whose only communication is a functional Rorschach test for the morally challenged. Today, the homophobia industry is in decline, largely playing itself out in the minds of people who are no longer taken in by the lies and hysteria. The die-hard peddlers of this product are screaming like scared children. The are terrified of having their power and wealth slip away.

To begin her piece, Charen points out the hypocrisy of Ted Olson, a politician who has previously won elections pandering to Christian hatred but who has now read the handwriting on the wall that his message will have to change or he’ll risk losing re-election. We can be overly generous and say he is just representing the evolving views of his constituents. Or we can just chalk it up to politicians being politicians.

After showing her warranted disgust at Olson’s seeming change of principles, Charen asks, “… why not leave the matter [of same-sex marriage] to state legislatures and voters rather than taking the question out of their hands?” The answer is simple: that’s not the kind of country the United States is. The Constitution protects the rights of the minority against the tyranny of the majority. Perhaps Charen missed the recent Supreme Court ruling on this very question. Maybe she is unaware of a variety of circuit court rulings striking down various marriage laws on the basis of equal protection. I recommend Charen go back to high school and get a civics refresher. A patriot would have a clue how the government works.

And Christians love majority rule, exactly when it allows them to advance their agenda. They claim to follow and have a “relationship” with a dead guy who allegedly said to “do unto others what you would have them do unto you,” but I have yet to meet a single believer who thinks that the marriage rights of Christians should be put up for popular vote by gays. Think about it. If the gays voted against marriage rights for Christians, it would be a delicious just desert for the Christian thugs. If instead they voted for it, it would show that gays own the moral high ground. Either way it’s a win. But that will never happen. Christian leaders wouldn’t allow following their own god-man’s words to get in the way of their political agendas.

Next in her editorial Charen champions the views in Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, an anti-gay hate group. To his credit, Mr. Perkins’s views are unwavering, but far from exemplary. Let’s be clear here. Tony Perkins, Ted Olson, and even Mona Charen herself are all making their livelihoods trading on the rights of other Americans. All three are despicable low-lifes whose ideas are unworthy of consideration, though I fully support their right to express their wrong-headed views. It makes me wonder why Charen even chose Perkins as some sort of champion. It makes me wonder if, were she was writing in the 1500s, would she be in full support of Martin Luther on the question of whether Jews should be able to live, worship, or have businesses.

Throughout her editorial, Charen decries the use of “emotionally laden expressions such as ‘dignity’ and ‘respect’ as if to say that those who resist same-sex marriage are opposed to those civilities.” What amazing irony coming from the defender of a movement that has championed the “sanctity of marriage,” that has insinuated at every turn that gays are out to “recruit” children, that AIDS is God’s wrath on gays, and that gays are out to destroy civilization. The same Christians seem to ignore the fact that, the Catholic Church is a de facto crime ring that molests children with impunity and even gets tax subsidies in the bargain. Does Charen realize how stupid she sounds?

For the record, I’m a married gay man who works hard and makes an honest living. And while I’ve never been a married straight man, I’m pretty sure I feel the same way about my marriage as others do about theirs. I have made a family that I care a lot about. Conservatives seem to feel it is their right to meddle in mine and others’ families. It isn’t their right at all. There isn’t a single person in their ranks qualified to do so. If conservative Christians want to persist in this sort of meddling, please forgive us if we start “doing unto others” and actively sabotage their marriages. We’d only be following their example.

And let’s face facts. Conservatives lie when they say they are for families, liberty, and religious freedom. What they really mean is that they are wanting to control others’ families, take away others’ liberties, and foisting their religion onto others. Religious freedom means that I can be free of the murderous fraud known as Christianity just as others are free to uncritically support it.

Back to the editorial, Charen goes on to assert that the rights of gays and lesbians are not worthy of support because they constitute only a small fraction of the population. What fraction of the population are Christian demagogues? What rights do they deserve? And do I get to take those away? What fraction of the population has sworn allegiance to the Pope (a leader of a foreign government / organized crime ring) while harming US citizens? What fraction of believers kill their children through faith healing, prayer, or though the anti-vaccination craze? Charen quotes CDC statistics on the population size of gays, throwing a bone to those in the base that still are convinced by Christian propaganda that homosexuality is a disease. But the groups I mentioned above have all done measurable harm while gay marriage does not harm anyone. Well, perhaps with the exception of those like Charen who peddle hate for a living. Gay normalcy takes food out of their mouths.

In a pathetic attempt to seem nice, Charen says that gays are worthy of “dignity” and “respect”, but not worthy of the right to build families, have legal protections, enter contracts, and have some measure of security in our later years. I guess to conservatives, they long for the day when they could suppress women, blacks and other minorities and not be called bigots. Perhaps if Charen does return to high school, she could also take in some history about the Jim Crow laws and how “separate but equal” worked out only to benefit the already privileged. I suspect Charen and her readers long for those days. I can’t see why I should be treated as a second class citizen when, quite frankly, I’m a better human being than those trying to oppress me.

Like many conservatives, Charen argues for something resembling traditional marriage, but she and they prefer to be vague about exactly what they mean. Traditionally, a man owned many wives who were his property. The wives had no rights as independent people. This is the concept of marriage in the Bible. I find it ironic that only Christians on the radical fringe think highly enough of their holy book to openly support such a crazy idea while the rest lack moral conviction. But this begs the question of why did the US already destroy traditional marriage by preventing Mormons from taking multiple wives just like Abraham, Solomon, and David did in the Bible? Why don’t Christian conservatives champion the legal framework of women as property, passed from father to husband, with no independent lives? Why do Christians tolerate divorce, especially as instigated by an unhappy wife? Which specific version of marriage do conservative Christians want? If we ever get an answer, let’s check the calendar to see how long this “tradition” has been in force. The perpetual vagueness on what “traditional marriage” means is nothing more than intellectually dishonest attempt at emotional manipulation–precisely what Charen criticized Olson for doing.

Christians and conservatives during the 60s made arguments against mixed race marriages that echo with same-sex marriage arguments today. Back then, the arguments were about God purposefully separating races and fake concern about how the mixed-race children would be treated by bigots as they entered school and public life. Ironically, the bigots were precisely the people making the false and self-serving arguments. Over and over again, history repeats with Christians marching under the banner of God in the wrong direction.

Finally, we get to the meat of Charen’s editorial. She argues that “… same-sex marriage [will send] the message to heterosexuals that mothers and fathers don’t really matter.” If I’m to understand correctly, the idea is that heterosexual couples are not bright enough to raise children without proper cultural meddling, and so the rights of others need to be trashed to set the right ambiance for baby making. I think life would go on splendidly without the Christian conservatives. Christians are obsessed about controlling reproduction for the simple reason that there is no god who can make babies who will grow up to become the next generation of gullible tithers and who will support the parasite class more commonly known as priests and ministers. Penises and uteruses must be co-opted for this lofty goal. If only the Christian god could “get it up,” there’d be no need to control anyone’s reproduction. The parasites have every interest in keeping their exalted place. It is true gay marriages aren’t about government control of reproductive parts in service to the majority religion. And yes, that poses an existential threat to those living of the fat of others. May I suggest that priests stop having sex with teenage boys, take wives, and make babies of their own. They could get then get honest jobs and raise those kids with their own money. Nobody is stopping them from doing this. Perhaps then they would be busy enough that they wouldn’t feel the need to meddle in the affairs of others.

Conservatives like Charen falsely conflate the concepts marriage and reproduction. I have yet to hear a single proposal from conservatives regulating child birth, which is what they really care about, yet they want to step in to regulate marriage as some sort of proxy. Perhaps Charen could help us pick a government agency she thinks should crawl up into her uterus and play traffic cop. With artificial hormones, women can carry babies well into their 60s and sperm is cheap and plentiful. Even conservatives know this is level of control a non-starter. One need only look at the horrors of the Ceaușescu regime’s Decree 770 birth control program that are still playing out today.

If we are really concerned about the institution of marriage, shouldn’t we be concerned about the fact that the divorce rate of conservative Christians is higher than, say atheists? In a jaw dropping leap, Charen blames the idea of same-sex marriage for high divorce rates. She claims that marriages based “only on love” are to blame. At the same time, Christians are using marriages as the only socially acceptable means young people can have sex (and only for the purpose of making babies). Charen even nods to this Christian entrapment tactic in her editorial. Have the conservatives stopped to consider the harm done to a child growing up in a home where the parents are miserable and the child know that they are the cause of the suffering? Next, if we are really concerned about the sanctity of marriage, shouldn’t we prevent a fraudulent religion from trying to co-opt the institution of marriage to perpetuate the fraud? Also, given that, belief in Christianity is correlated with a variety of social ills, shouldn’t we be actively preventing Christian marriages? Sadly, the arguments of conservative Christians more aptly apply to the ills of their marriages than to same-sex ones.

Yes, stable families are good places to raise children. And guess what? About one tenth of gay people are parents. When conservatives prevent same-sex marriage they actually penalize the children by inhibiting those families. Most people realize that such punitive policies demonstrate Christians to be uncaring thugs. Perhaps everyone but Charen is aware of the wealth of scientific evidence in support of same-sex child rearing (one article here). I think the real fear of conservatives is that gays will someday soon surpass conservative Christians at child and marriage longevity. It’s a relatively low bar.

Charen closes her editorial with the claim that gays only want social acceptance, not really marriage. I personally have no desire for “social acceptance” by bigots. They have chosen me as their enemy and I welcome their hatred and bigotry. Celebrate it and imbue your institutions with it. It is your God-given right to do so. God is on your side. Go ahead and return to witch burning and Jew murdering. Be honest for once about the history of your religion and embrace the harm you have caused. Then I want to separate that evil from civil society like a callus around a wart. Let Christian leaders be marginalized like the KKK and the Westboro Baptists. I want conservative pundits and religious leaders to be held accountable for lying and fomenting hate in the public arena. I want all institutions that have sold hatred of gays to forever lose any tax exempt status as they have proven themselves unworthy of public support. I want the money that such groups have made selling the hatred of gays to be paid back tenfold–not to gays, but for the benefit of society. Then, I want the United States to honor its separation of church and state and forever separate the legal rights and privileges of marriage from whatever irrelevant rites may be performed in churches. Churches don’t own marriages and they should have their noses rubbed in that fact. Oh yeah, I also want the same rights and responsibilities that everyone else has. (How selfish of me, I know.)

Charen still seems to think that the marriage rights of gays is still up to debate and she and her pals can make a decision not to “undermine marriage.” I’m already married and the “decisions” of conservatives is nothing more than self-serving noise.

Comments

  1. blue says

    “that one might expect from a bunch of people who blindly follow an invisible genocidal maniacal thug whose only communication is a functional Rorschach test for the morally challenged”

    Awesome.

    Love your work, Don. I find a really quite thrilling level of unholy glee in seeing the PTB having to dial back on the hate speech to keep up with their base, who are learning to be more moral.

  2. garnetstar says

    “Let Christian leaders be marginalized like the KKK and the Westboro Baptists.”

    Exactly right. Christians are afraid of more marginalization, of even less de facto theocracy. They’ve been kicking and screaming to hold on to their power ever since the Enlightenment.

    What they really don’t want is for gay people to just be normal members of society, accepted like anyone else. They want to be in a society where gay people don’t visibly exist. Because that would help preserve the theocracy. So, this ranting about “acceptance” is just a smokescreen.

  3. houndentenor says

    What Mona doesn’t seem to understand (and it confounds many people on the left and the right) is that Olson is not nor has he ever been a conservative. He’s a libertarian. Mostly he sides with Republicans but on many social issues, especially gay rights, his views are more in line with liberals, although his reasoning for getting there is different. It’s useful to have someone like that arguing in front of conservative judges because he can speak their language better than a liberal attorney can. In fact one of our problems has been liberal framing of an issue that ought not have a left-right component. It’s not Olson that is inconsistent. He doesn’t think the government should be telling people what to do with their personal affairs. Conservatives claim that too unless it involves sex. They are the ones who are inconsistent, not Olson.

    Also, I did not know that Don was gay. Not that it matters, but that’s a pleasant surprise for a Monday morning!

  4. Matt Gerrans says

    Wow. Great article, Don. Many good points, laid out forcefully and with moral veracity. I like the whole paragraph that blue quotes from above.

    We can further point out that “marriage between one man and one woman” is a redefinition of biblical marriage, since the original definition was essentially “one man and as much property (that being women, whether as wives, concubines or slaves) as he can afford.”

    A few typos, FYI:
    The are terrified of having …” -> “They…”
    “It makes me wonder if, were she was writing in the 1500s, would she be in full support…” -> “were she writing”
    “But this begs the question of…” -> “But this should make us wonder…” (“begs the question” means putting the cart before the proverbial horse)
    “…existential threat to those living of the fat of others.” -> “off”
    Sadly, the arguments of conservative Christians more aptly apply to the ills of their marriages than to same-sex ones.” –> Doesn’t seem sad as much as amusing, ironic, unfortunate or embarrassing.
    “…someday soon surpass conservative Christians at child and marriage longevity.” -> Missing a word? Did you mean “child rearing and marriage longevity” or something like that?

    “It’s a relatively low bar.” -> “It’s a low bar.”

  5. L.Long says

    ALL religions should be marginalized to the MAX!!!!
    I really dislike states rights laws!!!! I can think of only one or 2 places where they have done better then national laws…..the right to die laws and the legal use of mary-wanna. Other wise is is mostly used to oppress the minorities.
    Solve marriage? Easy! get the gov’mint out of it. No tax breaks for married with children, lower the tax rate a little and make it fair. If we need some form of ‘who decides in Hospitals’, well we can have some form of civil union contract thingy. The religious marriage thingy DOES NOT COUNT FOR ANYTHING!!! They don’t like the law they can stay outside of it…let them have xtian sorry-ass law, like islame. Give them 5yrs before many find out why the gov’mint became involve with marriage in the 1500s.

  6. xscd says

    Ted Olson is not “a politician … who has now read the handwriting on the wall.” He’s a lawyer.

    Conservative Ted Olson is one of the two-member high-powered legal team (which includes liberal David Boies) that has argued before the Supreme Court several times (against each other in the Supreme Court case which elected G. W. Bush by, essentially, one vote, that of the Supreme Court justice who made the opinion the majority one), who are working together in the legal realm surrounding the gay marriage issue.

    Thank you Don for this nice article critical of Mona Charen.

  7. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Quoting Don:

    an invisible genocidal maniacal thug whose only communication is a functional Rorschach test for the morally challenged

    Brilliant!

    Quoting Don:

    Back then, the arguments were about God purposefully separating races and fake concern about how the mixed-race children would be treated by bigots as they entered school and public life. Ironically, the bigots were precisely the people making the false and self-serving arguments.

    Wow. Impressive.

    Quoting Charen Asshat:

    The problem with endorsing same-sex marriage is that it conveys to heterosexuals that mothers and fathers don’t really matter. If two men who love each other or two women who love each other are equally good for children’s welfare, then the argument that men and women should marry and remain faithful to the partner with whom they conceived children loses its force.

    The “being with someone you love” case fits nicely on a greeting card, but it also contributes to the divorce culture, because the implicit message is that when you no longer love someone, the purpose of the marriage is over. Adults’ feelings will trump all, as they too often do already.

    The move for same-sex marriage was never about marriage. It was about social acceptance. We should give the social acceptance, but not undermine marriage.

    Don states his understanding. I don’t know if he gets it right. I get this weird vibe that marriage is about child rearing only (a common Christian theme, especially among Catholics). I also get this weird vibe that purposefully avoiding kids in a loving, fulfilling opposite-sex marriage while avoiding kids is being selfish because reasons (a common Catholic teaching). I didn’t bother to check, but I’d guess that Charen is a Catholic. Finally – and perhaps I’m reading into it – but it’s almost as if Charen views marriage and especially kids as some sort of punishment for allowing sex, and divorce is always bad even with no kids, because you have to take your punishment because you already had sex (another common Christian theme).

    Quoting Don:

    Christians are obsessed about controlling reproduction for the simple reason that there is no god who can make babies who will grow up to become the next generation of gullible tithers and who will support the parasite class more commonly known as priests and ministers.

    Here, I think Don makes a mistake. Specifically, the mistake is when he implies that there is only “[one] simple reason”.

    In animal species, there are many cases of behaviors which are good for survival, and where the animal does not understand how. I recall a specific Dennett video about this, but I cannot remember any specific examples, sorry. Specifically, Dennett correctly notes that understanding is not a prerequisite to competence. Evolution has selected for genes which produce a brain which produce certain behaviors which are good for survival, and it can do so without producing a brain with understanding of why those behaviors are good.

    Similarly, we can take a meme-view of religion. It may be true that controlling reproduction in this way is good for producing new believers. However, it may also be that no one particular religious priest understands this. Understanding amongst the priests is not necessary to produce the memes that produce this behavior. Rather, I think it more plausible that happenstance produced certain memes which were good at replicating, and priests reproduce these memes for other reasons. At least, I think this is an important component. I don’t think that all Catholic priests at levels in the organization are working in concert in some sort vast conspiracy to control births expressly to create more Catholics. At least, I think this meme “competence without understanding” motivation is an important component.

  8. says

    houndentenor @#4, a correction: All neo-feudalists (what people commonly call “libertarians”, buying into – on purpose or by accident – the propaganda inherent in their self-identification) are small-c conservatives. Conservatism lives and dies off of demonization of the concept of government and neo-feudalism has demonization of gvernment as its core concept.

    That neo-feudalists side with liberals on certain social issues, based solely on their beliefs that government should have no real say whatsoever in the lives of citizens, does not make them liberals or even non-conservative. It simply makes them into the proverbial stopped clock.

  9. blue says

    @llong, States rights laws are the reason we will shortly have marriage equality all over the country. It was the example set by more reasonable states which let universal marriage become accepted by more and more people, paving the way for more states to change, making it run of the mill for more people, etc, etc. Just like the religious feared, a domino cascade of mundane equality. (I know when each state falls it’s thrilling, but after a while it’s just normal, mundane).

  10. Narf says

    States rights laws are the reason we will shortly have marriage equality all over the country.

    How can you say that with a straight face? If states rights trumped federal rights, gay marriage would be banned in about 39 states or so, and the federal government couldn’t do anything about it.

    32 States with Legal Gay Marriage and 18 States with Same-Sex Marriage Bans

    Of the 32 states in which it’s legal, 21 were forced into it by court rulings. The residents of Utah and North Carolina don’t get credit for being progressive. If states rights were a thing, as you seem to think they are, it would take another 20 years, probably, for a majority of states to legalize gay marriage, and it would be at least another 2 or 3 generations before we would have nationwide gay marriage.

    I can see local regulation of industry and a few other things handled at the state level. But when you allow social policy to be set at the local level, it has historically resulted in the oppression of local minorities and forcing everyone to abide by the mores of the majority of the most extreme, as in the case of county-level Blue Laws.

  11. edmond says

    @Narf, @L.Long, @blue

    The way I see this “state’s rights” business, the states DID get their say, and they decided on marriage equality.

    “The State” is not JUST the citizens alone, expressing a vote. “The State” also includes all three branches of the state government. This includes the judiciary. When “The State” chooses a legislative direction, it is because a larger process took place which pointed them that way. That state process has taken place, and the appropriate agencies have all had their say. The votes of the citizens alone are not enough to sway “The State” into an action. The other branches get to weigh in also, as part of the voice of “The State”. That has happened, and through the judiciary, those states have spoken. It may not be what EVERYONE in the state wanted, but it’s what the process demands.

  12. says

    @13 While some of the state courts have made rulings in favor of marriage equality that contradict a vote of the people or legislation, the buck stops at the federal judiciary, where district courts encompass multiple states and the SCOTUS that encompasses the entire nation. For example, the California State Supreme Court found Prop 8 (California’s anti-equality ballot initiative) to be in violation of equal protection, but it was still appealed to the 9th District Federal Court. While I get your point that the judiciary is part of “the state”, the federal judiciary can reverse individual rulings at a state’s judiciary level. “State’s rights”, as an idea, has less to do with “the state” and more to do with an individual state within the United States having the right to enact laws that are in conflict with federal laws or laws in other states.

  13. L.Long says

    OK let’s look at abortion. The feds say it is legal. Many (if not all) states would ban it if they could but can’t. So what do they do? Make the STATE RULES such that abortion or any other women’s aid groups can’t afford to stay open.
    Like I said…state laws are used for oppression of the minorities.

  14. Narf says

    @13 – edmond

    You’re equivocating, man. You aren’t using the word in the same way in both cases.

    It wasn’t the state judiciary that decided, in those cases, anyway. The state constitutional bans were shot down because they violated the federal constitution. In every case that I’m aware of, it was done in a federal court.

    If it was “the state” that was the decider, then the change to the state constitution would be the supreme word. As it is, because states rights are not as powerful as the libertarians wish, the federal constitution and laws wipe out anything that explicitly conflicts with them, at the state level.

  15. Narf says

    @15 – L.Long

    Like I said…state laws are used for oppression of the minorities.

    Or the majorities, in the case of women, since women outnumber men by a tiny percentage, in most places. And they often turn women into proponents of their own oppression.

  16. ThereIsGrandeur says

    the groups I mentioned above have all done measurable harm while gay marriage does not harm anyone. Well, perhaps with the exception of those like Charen who peddle hate for a living. Gay normalcy takes food out of their mouths.”

    That’s a nice bit of clarity on some of the issues at hand. It’s shocking to realize that many organizations profit directly from espousing anti-gay propaganda. Gay Hate Sells! How fucked up is that? But I think you have to be careful not to imply a restriction on this type of behavior. Yes, it is unconstitutional for these organizations to use government funds and I think the argument could tip over into the political arena. Yet, I cannot endorse the position that tries to limit speech in any fashion. Hate speech, however harmful, should be opposed, refuted, and humiliated while never being infringed upon or suppressed by any governmental authority. I will not restrict my right to hear what anyone has to say, even if that message is abhorrent.

    I think the real fear of conservatives is that gays will someday soon surpass conservative Christians at child and marriage longevity. It’s a relatively low bar.”

    Exactly. What motivates this hatred and bigotry is the fear of being alienated from society in the same way that they’ve alienated minorities. As more people realize that the moral majority is everything but moral, the conservative factions are pushed further and further into obscurity. If the current trend of public acceptance of LGBTQ’s continues at all, this quote will become reality – it’s happening this very moment.

  17. edmond says

    @Narf

    I admit, I’m FAR from any kind of expert on politics. Still, there is a “process”, the State is involved, and decisions go through THAT process. “State’s Rights” doesn’t mean that the citizens alone make the call, or that the citizens can remove the other parts of state government from the decision-making process.

    The people who cry “State’s Rights!” seem to think they can do that. It’s just another way for them to push “majority rule”, by invoking a more isolated state majority instead of a national majority. The majority doesn’t have ultimate power in either case.

  18. says

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/States%27_rights

    In American political discourse, states’ rights refers to political powers reserved for the U.S. state governments rather than the federal government

    Another way to put it, it’s a convenient phrase for bigots to use when they want to argue for their state’s (as in Alaska, Colorado, Maine, etc.) bigoted state level laws, but don’t want to directly defend the bigoted law itself.

  19. corwyn says

    @19:
    Hey, Maine was one of the very first state’s to grant same sex marriages by a popular vote of the people!

  20. Narf says

    @19 – edmond

    “State’s Rights” doesn’t mean that the citizens alone make the call, or that the citizens can remove the other parts of state government from the decision-making process.

    In most states, yes it does. The buck stops at the constitution. In the case of states rights, that means the state constitution. In most states, it’s terrifyingly easy to amend the state constitution. Once something is enthroned in the state constitution, the state courts are bound to uphold it.

    In every case, the only appeal has been to bring it to the federal level, which trumps the state level, because states rights are not as much of a thing as the Republicans and other regressive types wish it was. That’s why they’re trying to strengthen states rights, because it means they could take down abortion and gay rights in most of the states, where there’s support for it.

    The initial statement that I was objecting to, by blue, said that we have states rights to thank. That’s blatantly not true, because if we had a federal ban on gay marriage, which stood up to federal constitutional muster, the states that legalized gay marriage early on would have just been shut down. However, gay marriage is perfectly legal, at the federal level, so the process was allowed to proceed.

    If states rights were as powerful as you seem to think they are, all that people would have to do is muster the 50% popular vote necessary to change most state constitutions, and those states could then go back to running around arresting gay people for having sex. It’s the federal constitution that is preventing that and which invalidates the anti-gay bigotry that is enshrined in most state constitutions.

  21. Narf says

    @20 – changerofbits

    More or less, yeah. The real use of the word essentially covers those areas that the federal constitution says are left for the states to sort out for themselves. If the federal constitution is changed to take over any of those areas, then that area is no longer a matter of states rights.

    The way that the word is being thrown around in the current political arena, it’s used to try to throw many things that have been and should be decided at the federal level back to the states. The most ardent supporters, like Ron Paul, basically want to strip the federal government to almost nothing and grant the states an almost feudal-level autonomy.

    I’ve spoken to several anarcho-capitalist libertarians who want us to break almost all government down to the county level. They don’t seem to comprehend the kind of horror that would cause, as those tiny feudal units were slowly bought up by corporations and other special interests. Corruption is bad enough, with a large, country-wide scale. It would be far easier to corrupt small units like that, without a higher level to appeal to.

  22. says

    @23 There are pro-business arguments against states’ rights too, which boil down to it being an undue burden for national companies to do business when the laws governing them vary from state to state. Here in California, whenever a new progressive law is being debated, this is almost always brought up as point against. I wonder how the anarcho-capitalist libertarians reconcile “the freedom to do business in any corner of the country” when the rules can change completely every ~30 miles instead of every ~300 miles. I guess that they could argue that there are no rules, your business just needs to take enough bitcoins, gold and guns to the next county over.

  23. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    I’ve spoken to several anarcho-capitalist libertarians who want us to break almost all government down to the county level. They don’t seem to comprehend the kind of horror that would cause, as those tiny feudal units were slowly bought up by corporations and other special interests. Corruption is bad enough, with a large, country-wide scale. It would be far easier to corrupt small units like that, without a higher level to appeal to.

    As I’ve said before, if you abolish government, someone else will be more than happy to impose a new one on you. Because of human nature and physics, as long as there are people, there will be government.

  24. Narf says

    @24
    Oh yeah. Absolutely. It would turn everything into an organizational cluster-fuck and make it nearly impossible to function as a modern society.

    Long-distance travel would become nearly impossible for individuals, as well. You would have to check the laws all along your route and make sure that you aren’t carrying anything that will get you fined or arrested. Small, fundie counties that are so full of extremists as to be completely dry counties would probably take it a good deal further, if not prevented from doing so by a higher authority.

    @25
    Yup. I’d rather have a ruling body that I’m at least theoretically a controlling member of.

  25. Frank G. Turner says

    @ Narf # 26

    Small, fundie counties that are so full of extremists as to be completely dry counties would probably take it a good deal further, if not prevented from doing so by a higher authority.

    You know a part of me has almost argued for something to that effect. Getting together all the fundie groups and herding them off to a state where they can be enclosed and form their own country with its own constitution. It can be as dry and as anti-gay and as anti-evolution as they want to be. Of course gay children will still be born to said families and they will have a hell of a time developing hospitals where no doctor knows anything about biology due to lack of understanding of things like evolution and their economy will go to shit with the dry policies. But you wont have to worry about driving through areas with changes in laws. Of course, much like super Xtian groups they will wind up fighting one another over trivial bullshit like the 600 or so protest group in Ohio against the Satanic mass, but they could all do so in an enclosed space. i wonder how many of them would handle the idea of their children being born gay when all they are surrounded by is non gay people. Just imagine, “well nobody in my family I know is gay so I don’t see how dat’s genetik-ly possible har har.”

  26. mr.spagheddy says

    Brilliant rant, Don. Love it!
    What always makes me wonder is this argument that marriage is about reproduction. If one should deny homosexuals the right to marry, the same would apply to heterosexual couples that can’t or won’t have children for whatever reason.
    Following this reasoning (if you can call it that), then if these people can marry “just because of love”, so should any two people can.
    I really can’t believe the amount of fuzz about this issue.

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  1. […] Conservatives lie when they say they are for families, liberty, and religious freedom. What they really mean is that they want to control others’ families, take away others’ liberties, and foist their religion onto others. Religious freedom means that I can be free of the murderous fraud known as Christianity just as others are free to uncritically support it. -Don Baker […]