Krauthammer: It Can’t Be Bigotry if a Majority Believes it.

— Resistance to the vast expansion of government power, intrusiveness and debt, as represented by the Tea Party movement? Why, racist resentment toward a black president.

— Disgust and alarm with the federal government’s unwillingness to curb illegal immigration, as crystallized in the Arizona law? Nativism.

— Opposition to the most radical redefinition of marriage in human history, as expressed in Proposition 8 in California? Homophobia.

— Opposition to a 15-story Islamic center and mosque near Ground Zero? Islamophobia….

Note what connects these issues. In every one, liberals have lost the argument in the court of public opinion. Majorities — often lopsided majorities — oppose President Obama’s social-democratic agenda (e.g., the stimulus, Obamacare), support the Arizona law, oppose gay marriage and reject a mosque near Ground Zero.

What’s a liberal to do? Pull out the bigotry charge, the trump that preempts debate and gives no credit to the seriousness and substance of the contrary argument.
Charles Krauthammer

Has it really been so long since World War II that a Jewish person could use “the majority believes it” as a defense against the claim of bigotry?

Let’s consider each of these issues.

–Anger about increasing government power, intrusiveness and debt? Not while George W. Bush is president; only after Barack Obama becomes president. White guy does it, no problem. Black guy does it, crisis. A double-standard at the very least. And it’s not as though conservatives haven’t exhibited some fairly overt racism. Here’s a tip, Mr. Krauthammer: If you don’t want people to think you’re a bigot, don’t hang out with bigots and support the same causes they do.

–Getting all worked up about Latino illegal immigrants, while ignoring the sizable number of illegal Irish and Filipino immigrants in the U.S.? Selective targeting of a vulnerable group sounds a lot like bigotry to me.

–Insisting that homosexuals not have equal rights? Just how often have the opponents of equality not been motivated by bigotry? The opponents of Irish immigration a century ago (the Irish have come a long way, baby!)? The supporters of interment camps for Japanese-Americans? The backers of Chinese exclusion laws? The opponents of women’s suffrage? The defenders of Jim Crow? Hmm, no, no, no, no, and no. Sorry, Mr. Krauthammer, you’re going to need a more substantive argument than, “we can’t redefine marriage” to avoid the charge of bigotry. Especially as my marriage has somehow managed to avoid being redefined in any way since homosexuals started getting married, as, I would guess, has yours.

–Calling a mosque somewhere in the general vicinity of Ground Zero a “sacrilege”? Claiming it will not be a place of religion, but a “a terrorist recruitment, indoctrination and training center“? Does that sound like reasoned, serious and substantive, debate? Or does it sound like wild hyperbole designed to inflame people and play on their fears? And who engages in fear-mongering about the terrible thing an unpopular minority is planning to do? Yeah, bigots.

It’s fairly easy to see what Krauthammer is upset about. He knows that a charge of bigotry puts conservatives on the defensive, and he knows that they can’t persuasively defend themselves against the charge as long as they are targeting unpopular minorities. So he attacks the use of the bigot claim, trying to delegitimize it so that critics can’t effectively point it out. It’s not bigotry that bothers him–it’s the gall of pointing it out that he finds offensive.

More and more it seems as if conservatism has declined into nothing more than a vulgar embodiment of every bigoted impulse felt by the American public. But no matter how many people share the impulse, it’s still vulgar, and still wrong.

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About J@m3z Aitch

J@m3z Aitch is a two-bit college professor who'd rather be canoeing.
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73 Responses to Krauthammer: It Can’t Be Bigotry if a Majority Believes it.

  1. I am with you on all except the immigration thing. Though I do agree we need to be consistent and apply the immigrant laws to all groups. Including Europeans that are here illegally or quasi-legally.

    I also agree that the Tea Party people need to renounce the racist elements in it more often. But the race card is being played too much. Lets have a debate about ideas and not get into the race thing. We need to get past that.

  2. Heidegger says:

    James, I’m really suprised how easily you have played right into Dr. Krauthammer’s hands. He has completely stood your argument on its head—in every instance you have cited, you have characterized disagreement as bigotry. Why is it bigotry if someone disagrees with fundamentally changing a 5000 year old institution, marriage? Every time it’s put on a ballot, the voters have substantially defeated it and don’t forget, Obama, is also opposed to same sex marriage. So, in your very large and growing bigotry camp, you really must include him as well.

  3. Heidegger says:

    Same sex marriage is not a civil right. There are all sorts of restrictions with marriage. It would only be a violation of ones civil rights if he or she were prevented from marrying a member of the opposite sex which is exactly what happened when interracial marriage was criminalized only to be overturned in 1967 in the Loving v. Virginia case.

  4. Nick says:

    Heidegger, the “institution of marriage” has changed drastically over the thousands of years the -concept- has been around.

    First, even before Christianity, the practice of giving property (Yes, women were considered property then) to a man without her consent was common and accepted. Do we still do that? Yes, in some countries, but it is extremely frowned upon.

    Second, even in the Bible, marriages often included rapists and their victims, multiple wives, etc.

    Third, even when monogamy started being the norm and when women were seen less as property, the man still had majority rights. After all, it was tradition for the man to be the ruler of the household! Why change it? Tradition’s obviously perfection!

    Fourth, interracial marriages haven’t even been legal in America for a century yet! Anti-gay marriage people have argued the same exact faulty logic against interracial marriages back then too! And, gasp, guess what! The sky hasn’t fallen!

    Now, I have to ask you, how in the world would gay marriage affect you. If your marriage/sexual orientation is so insecure that two people who love each other and want to be federally recognized just like you would cause you trouble, then you need to rethink your life.

  5. Nick says:

    I have to ask how, if marriage between a man and a woman is a civil right, a marriage between a man and a man or a woman and a woman isn’t. There’s no difference. No study has shown any difference in child upbringing, no evidence shows homosexual married couples to be more or less stable, there is nothing, NOTHING that can be said against same-sex marriage that holds up to the Constitution.

  6. Heidegger says:

    Nick–thanks for such a thoughtful reply. You mentioned several cases illustrating how marriage has changed over the thousands of years, but not once has it included sanctioning same sex marriage–never. Not even close. My biggest objection to same sex marriage is that it eliminates the possibility that an adopted child can have a mother or father depending on whether it is between two women or two men. I consider that a very, very hurdle to overcome. In any case, every state has a right to legalize same sex marriage–certainly that’s a huge state for proponents isn’t it? Off to work now—good points you’ve raised–have to think about this.

  7. James Hanley says:

    Heidegger,

    No, you want me to play into Krauthammer’s hands, by going soft on the bigotry issue, and saying, “Oh, maybe you’re right, maybe it’s not bigotry.” The way to not play into his hands is to say, “You’re just trying to obscure your bigotry.”

    As to children in same-sex marriages, children are already being raised by same-sex couples. Gay adoption is legal, regardless of marriage, so disallowing same-sex marriages isn’t going to stop the thing you fear.

    And you repeat Krautmann’s irrelevant point about how the people vote. Get it through your skull–just because a majority of people hold a particular view does not mean it’s not a bigoted point of view! Minorities are always the targets of bigotry, so it’s common for that bigotry to be expressed by a majority in its voting. Having 50%+1 person think something does not suddenly move it out of the realm of bigotry.

    Anyway, as to “radical change” for marriage, see my upcoming post on the subject.

  8. James Hanley says:

    King,

    I think countries can legitimately pass and enforce immigration and border control laws (although I’m pro-open borders myself). And I think our laws are enforced fairly evenly–whatever your race you’re not too likely to be caught, but if you are you’ll probably be deported. If I gave the impression that the government simply gives the Irish a pass, I didn’t mean to.

    But I think the public outrage is racist, because the public is concerned only about “our southern neighbors.”

  9. Mark Boggs says:

    Heidegger,

    What if one of my opposing sex parents dies? Should the state assign an appropriate gendered individual to fill that role? ‘Cause it sounds like you think the gender is more important than the love given. And finally, are orphaned children better off as wards of the state in some institution rather than being raised by two same sex people who desperately want to love and care for a child?

  10. Mark Boggs says:

    Heidegger,

    And your insistence that never in history has there ever been any same-sex marriage – “not even close” as you put it – is really, not even close.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_same-sex_unions

    While it is a relatively new practice that same-sex couples are being granted the same form of legal marital recognition as commonly used by mixed-sexed couples, there is a long history of recorded same-sex unions around the world.[2] Various types of same-sex unions have existed, ranging from informal, unsanctioned relationships to highly ritualized unions. It is believed that same-sex union was a socially recognized institution at times in Ancient Greece and Rome,[2] some regions of China, such as Fujian, and at certain times in ancient European history.[3] These gay marriages continued until Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire.

  11. “But I think the public outrage is racist, because the public is concerned only about “our southern neighbors.”

    Believe me since I have lived in Florida I have seen the red neck element of the Tea Party type movements that want to call Obama a Muslim and other more aburd things than that. But lets not give that stream more credit than it deserves. As far as the Mexicans, which is who I assume you are talking about, some of that concern is justified in that they are by far the largest contingent. I would honestly have to say in my interactions with them they are also the most anti-American and assimilate the least. I worked with many Mexicans for years. Nice guys but I disagree a great deal with their mentality.

    Now keep in mind that I lived in Montgomery County, MD. I have interacted with about every immigrant group you can find. So I am not singly out Mexicans or other Latin Americans.

    The bottom line is that it is illegal and they all need to go home unless we make it legal. I do not care what culture or race they are. In fact, when citizens cannot find jobs and permanent residents that are here have them I think they gotta go too. I know a very nice older English gentleman that looks and talks like me a lot more than our neighbors to the South and others from different parts of the world that I would send home tommorow if I was in charge because he is taking a job that someone that is a citizen here could have.

    I know you will disagree with this on at least some level but citizenship has to mean something in my mind. Especially in nations that came together by consent to certain ideals.

  12. As far as the marriage thing goes if it is based on mutable characteristics like freedom of religion then you gotta be fair and allow it. Those that seek to make on some supposedly immutable characteristic and attempt to elevate a chosen behavior to the same status as a race do not have my support.

    The homosexual community cuts off its nose to spite its face by using the immutable characteristic argument rather than the more rational and compelling mutable characteristic argument.

  13. James Hanley says:

    King,

    You have the mutable characteristics matter backwards, as a matter of law. The government must have a compelling reason to discriminate, and may do so only with the most narrowly tailored regulation if the regulation affects either a fundamental liberty or an immutable characteristic. Religion is not immutable, so it falls into the fundamental liberty category.

    But there is no precedent saying you can’t discriminate on mutable characteristics. So from a legal perspective, no the gay community is not cutting off its nose to spite its face–it’s grabbing the most secure legal principle.

    Anyway, there’s no evidence that sexuality is mutable. Whether it’s wholly genetic, wholly shaped by environment (which includes the hormonal environment of the womb, as well as the early social environment), or, as I suspect, a combination of both, it is in fact immutable for adults.

    As to Mexicans, well, I prefer to use the term Latino, because many of the from-south-of-the-border immigrants are from south of Mexico. But, yes, there are a lot of Mexicans. And in my experience in California, they assimilated quite well. I think what most people focus on is the first-generation immigrants, the adults who have a difficult time learning English (because adults don’t learn languages well), and who naturally seek the comfort and social connections of ethnic enclaves. So of course their kids live in that enclave, too, and speak Spanish in their daily lives because that’s what their family and neighbors speak. But what’s not seen is what those kids do when they grow up. People who claim non-assimilation are not doing longitudinal studies, but are taking snapshots, a moment frozen in time. Those kids normally end up being very well assimilated, particularly if they’ve had a chance at a good education. I went to college with, and worked with, numerous second and third generation Latinos in San Francisco, Bakersfield, and L.A. They were all well assimilated, even while maintaining strong identity ties to their culture and ethnic community. They didn’t normally eat steak for dinner or listen to Britney Spears–it was carne asada and ranchero. Big deal.

  14. James Hanley says:

    Heidegger,

    Every time it’s put on a ballot, the voters have substantially defeated it

    In the immortal words of Homer Simpson, “Hey, that’s a half-truth!”

    First, let me reiterate that when we’re talking about fundamental rights, the voters don’t get a say in it. Period. (The only exception would be if we used the state convention method of ratifying amendments, which has been used only once, for the 21st Amendment.)

    Second, we don’t normally demand that the public be allowed a direct vote on the laws. That’s why we have legislatures. So to say, “but the people didn’t vote for it” disingenuously ignores the fact that approval by legislatures is democratic enough.

    Third, legislatures, the people’s representatives, have both voted for and chosen not to vote against, same-sex marriage.

    –In D.C., same-sex marriage was approved by the city council, the public’s representatives, and the U.S. Congress, the people’s representatives who have direct authority over all things in D.C., chose not to override the city council.

    –In Connecticut, after the state Supreme Court ruled that denial of SSM was a violation of the state constitution’s equal protection clause, the state legislature–the representatives of the people–took up an already submitted bill authorizing SSM, passed it, and it was signed into law by the state’s governor.

    –In New Hampshire, the state legislature–the representatives of the people–passed a bill allowing same-sex marriage, and it was signed into law by the governor.

    –In Vermont, the state legislature–the representatives of the people–passed a bill allowing same-sex marriage, which was vetoed by the governor, but then was re-passed over his veto.

    –In Massachusetts, same-sex marriage was the consequence of a state supreme court decision, but the state legislature–the representatives of the people–can amend the constitution by approving an amendment in two consecutive sessions. This allows the people themselves to get involved by voting for/against representatives running for re-election, before they get to the second session’s vote. The Massachusetts legislature has repeatedly chosen not to pass an amendment forbidding same-sex marriage, and the public has repeatedly refused to punish them at the ballot box for allowing SSM to continue.

    Fourth, voters in Washington approved an “all but marriage” law that extends all the rights of marriages to same-sex couples, absent only the name. The law was initially passed by the state legislature–the representatives of the people–then challenged through a ballot initiative, where voters supported the law 53% to 47%.

    It used to be said that same-sex marriage had only happened through judicial fiat. When that became false, opponents shifted to the “but the public has never approved it” argument. Now even that is only partially true, at best.

    Anyway, both arguments are fallacious, as they both disregard the fact that we are a representative democracy, with a judiciary whose responsibility is to ensure that we adhere to the Constitutional guarantee of equal rights for all.

    and don’t forget, Obama, is also opposed to same sex marriage

    First, who the fuck cares? Why do people make really stupid irrelevant arguments like this? Am I supposed to take my lead on equal rights from the president? Is the president’s statement on equality any more meaningful than mine or yours? Jumpin’ Jesus on a pogo stick, even if I liked this president it just wouldn’t effin’ matter what he thinks on the issue.

    Second, anyway, you’re wrong. He’s just saying that to avoid losing political support.

  15. Mark Boggs says:

    King,

    The idea that homosexuals make a choice to be attracted to each other while us heterosexuals didn’t is strange. Unless you’re arguing that heterosexuals also make a conscious choice about digging the opposite gender. In which case, it’s doubly strange. ‘Cause I don’t remember making a choice about whether to hit on Mary or whether to hit on Larry. Do you?

  16. I have been in a number of these conversations about homosexuality. I am not going there again. I said what I said.

    As far as Latinos and assimilation I am not seeing in Maryland or Florida. I am talking about the kids. I guess I may have mis-spoke in saying the refuse to learn English. I should have said, from a teachers perspective, they refuse to learn it well. More and more they are living in their own enclaves.

    I was in Miami the other day and informed that I had to wait in line at the DMV so long because I was in Latin America?! No joke.

  17. Mark Boggs says:

    King,

    You certainly are entitled to the opinion that homosexuality is a choice so long as you’ll admit that your and my heterosexuality are choices, too, and that it is a conscious choice we make daily to continue to be attracted to the opposite gender.

  18. AMW says:

    I know a very nice older English gentleman that looks and talks like me a lot more than our neighbors to the South and others from different parts of the world that I would send home tommorow if I was in charge because he is taking a job that someone that is a citizen here could have.

    KOI, in sending that gentleman home, you wouldn’t just be telling him that he couldn’t work here. You would be telling his American employer that he would need to find someone else to fill the position. And you’d be telling his landlord to find someone else to rent his flat. And you’d be telling the grocery store he shops at to find a new customer. Etc., etc., ad nauseum. As far as I’m concerned, that’s a violation of Americans’ freedom of association.

    It also puts the lie to the notion that peaceful immigrants can be deported for the good of the citizenry. The only people who would really be helped would be that slice of the populace being out-competed in the workforce. (There might also be a slight wage effect.)

  19. James Hanley says:

    Heidegger,

    I suggested that you see my upcoming post re: radical change. After writing a first draft, I decided I needed to see if the policy institute I write for will publish it. So don’t waste any effort looking for it here yet.

    In a nutshell, my argument is that going cautiously with radical change is a good idea, but multiple states and countries have been experimenting with SSM, with no quantifiable negative side effects. That should reassure all us Burkean that it’s ok to move forward. As one Massachusetts legislator who was initially opposed to SSM said in ’05, “Nothing has changed for anyone in the Commonwealth, except for those who can get married” (paraphrased from memory). That’s music to a Burkean’s ears.

    As to the effects on children, there have been several studies, all of which reach the same conclusion: there’s no harm to children from having same-sex parents. So let’s cut out the Helen Lovejoy comedy act.

  20. James Hanley says:

    AMW,

    So the interests of that unknown person who would be holding that job, instead of some other job, don’t outweigh the combined interests of his landlord, employer, grocer, bartender, barber, car salesman, etc? How cruel you are.

    And I would add that King of Ireland is implicitly applying the “lump of jobs” fallacy in thinking that Mr. Englishman has somehow squeezed an American out of “a” job. No, he’s just squeezed an American out of “that” job (presumably because his employer finds him more productive), and the American has an “other” job. The total number of jobs available for American citizens is not shrinking due to immigration, contrary to what Lou Dobbs might have you believe. Economies are driven by human wants, so the more humans there are, the more wants there are, creating more jobs filling those wants.* Consequently you can’t have too many people for the number of available jobs (not long term, anyway).

    __________________________________
    *AMW and JamesK, am i right in thinking that is the crux of the argument against the lump of jobs fallacy?

  21. James Hanley says:

    I should add that human wants are limitless, so the potential number of jobs is limitless. The actual constraint on the number of jobs available is the number of people available to fulfill them.

  22. The Englishman works at Home Depot in a job anyone can do.

    Mark,

    I am not discussing the homosexual thing further. What bothers me is that someone like me can change his mind, I did and now have no problem, from a liberty perspective, with it. But that is not good enough, if it comes up people are going to brow beat me until I agree that it is innate and with their view of whether it is right or wrong. That leads me to believe that the issue is not just the right to do it but to brow beat people into agreeing with it. Or perhaps even demonizing them until they argree with it.

    The more this comes up the less sympathy I have for the movement because it seems that nothing is good enough except total agreement. If that is true then the Religous Right has a point that there is a larger agenda out there with the marriage thing. I hate to believe it but am starting to.

  23. I know people out of work right now, including me until I got a real estate job today, that would do many of the jobs I see illegals doing. They hire them because they do whatever they say include break laws and dangerous shit. I have seen it first hand. When the average citizen would tell someone to fuck off I ain’t doing that illegals do it all the time. I am not talking about reasonable requests either. I am talking about shit that can kill them and anyone else around.

  24. AMW says:

    James H.,

    I don’t recall the terminology “lump of jobs,” but you’ve got it right as far as I can see. One thing I will note is that there is some debate among macroeconomists whether the lump of jobs perspective is accurate during recessions but becomes a fallacy during normal economic times. Since KoI emphasized that it’s times like the present he’d like to send them home, I wouldn’t want to be too harsh about it.

    I should also point out that my initial comment wasn’t as rigorous as it might have been. The Englishman is worse off, as are his American employer, landlord and customary relations. I originally noted that the newly employed American is better off, but I failed to bring up the improved situation of his landlord, customary relations, etc. Economically speaking, the loss can be measured by how much the employer’s benefit is reduced by having to hire the American when he wanted to hire the Englishman. But the point still stands that kicking out immigrants doesn’t help Americans at large at the expense of immigrants. It helps some Americans at the expense of immigrants and some of their fellow Americans.

  25. AMW says:

    What bothers me is that someone like me can change his mind, I did and now have no problem, from a liberty perspective, with it. But that is not good enough, if it comes up people are going to brow beat me until I agree that it is innate and with their view of whether it is right or wrong.

    It’s good enough for me. I support the right of homosexuals to marry, but that doesn’t mean I would invite them to get married in my church.

    I know people out of work right now, including me until I got a real estate job today, that would do many of the jobs I see illegals doing. They hire them because they do whatever they say include break laws and dangerous shit. I have seen it first hand.

    I believe you have. But that’s pretty easily fixed by making it really, really easy to immigrate legally. Just by virtue of being in the country illegally, undocumented workers are at a bargaining disadvantage with their employers.

    Consider the following immigration reform. We remove (or drastically increase) the limits on the number of people to can legally immigrate every year. Immigration just requires that one 1) have a clean background check, 2) be free of any of the most contagious communicable diseases, 3) fill out the proper (short) form and 4) pay a nominal fee for the cost of processing the papers. (Maybe not so nominal if you think poor immigrants pose undue infrastructure costs.) If someone’s in the country illegally, they also have to prove that they’ve paid taxes while in country, or pay back taxes or some sort of fine. (They can pay it off over time, though, just like you or I can. They don’t have to, say, leave the country until they’ve paid the entire bill.)

    Under that immigration regime, how many new illegal immigrants do you think would enter the country on an annual basis? How many of the 12 million or so existing illegals do you think would remain illegal? I’d say new illegal entry would drop by 95% or more, and at least 80% of current illegals would get legal. That would quickly dry up the population of people who would do illegal or stupid things on the job. Sure, people from poorer countries are used to more lax safety codes and the like. There would be some carry-over. But it wouldn’t reach the levels that you have first-hand experience with. And after being in country for a while, a lot of our more safety-conscious ways would probably start rubbing off on a lot of those guys.

    Now here’s a final thought. Conservatives rail against illegal immigration. But I would bet that the vast majority would reject the policy proposal above, even if they knew it would completely eliminate illegal immigration. Now, they may have perfectly liberal-minded reasons for opposing it. But it’s hard for me to imagine what those might be.

  26. D.A. Ridgely says:

    “I know people out of work right now, including me until I got a real estate job today, that would do many of the jobs I see illegals doing. They hire them because they do whatever they say include break laws and dangerous shit. I have seen it first hand. When the average citizen would tell someone to fuck off I ain’t doing that illegals do it all the time. I am not talking about reasonable requests either. I am talking about shit that can kill them and anyone else around.”

    You can’t have it both ways. Either illegal immigrants are taking jobs U.S. citizens would do or they’re doing work under crappy (and possibly illegal) conditions that U.S. citizens wouldn’t do. But not both.

  27. AMW says:

    Oh, and at the top of my last comment, I should, perhaps, have mentioned that I do believe homosexuality to be innate. I also suspect it’s about as mutable as heterosexuality. I know a man who has homosexual proclivities, but is married with several children and says that with time and effort his proclivities have lessened. You can insert the self-hating gay Christian joke of your choice here, but I take him at his word.

    That said, I believe sex researchers place sexuality on a sort of sliding scale; so likely there are some men who have lived totally heterosexual lifestyles but could, with some time and effort, reconcile themselves to a homosexual lifestyle. That doesn’t mean that every gay man could live straight, or every straight man could live gay. But there are probably people at the margin on both sides.

  28. James Hanley says:

    AMW,–I should have said “lump of labor” rather than “lump of jobs.”

  29. Mark Boggs says:

    Koi,

    Again, you’re entitled to your conclusions about the innate nature of heterosexuality and the consciously made choices of homosexuality. But I’ve read you long enough to know that you’re probably an influential person in the world around you and people trust your judgment when you speak. The perpetuation of the idea that these “attractions” are so dissimilar that one gets put on a pedestal while the other can serve as the basis for discrimination is troubling. I understand you’re aren’t saying that they should be discriminated against, but let’s face it, a whole bunch of folks use your same logic to come to a different conclusion.

  30. James K says:

    James Hanley:

    Yes, you have the right of it. What one should remember is that our society is just a more sophisticated form of barter: you go to work to make stuff, you then swap the stuff you make for the stuff you want. If you take one of the stuff-makers and send them overseas you have less stuff. Furthermore, division of labour, trade opportunities and idea exchange is limited by the extent of the market. More people means more opportunities to improve productivity. My country has a mere 4 million people, stuck at the bottom of the world, surrounded by thousands of kilometres of ocean on all sides. Most policy experts would agree our policy framework is better than yours and yet we are much poorer. Agglomeration effects are probably a large part of the reason why.

    Personally, I’d really like it if we could add another 10 million people or so to our population through immigration, then maybe we’d have enough people to get some agglomeration effects going in Auckland.

  31. Heidegger says:

    James Hanley, I am grateful for your very interesting reply. However….”Get it through your skull–just because a majority of people hold a particular view does not mean it’s not a bigoted point of view!” And, conversely, just because a majority of people hold a particular point of view does not mean it IS a a bigoted point of view. When the vote doesn’t go your way you seem very eager to dismiss the unwashed masses as being clueless, knuckle-dragging Neanderthals. And please don’t put the cart before the horse with the “fundamental rights” argument. Same sex marriage is not a “fundamental” right. If love and commitment are the overriding conditions that determine the legitimacy of a marriage then why have laws against marrying your sister or brother or mother, father, best friend, dog, horse, etc. What leap of logic allows you to make such a statement? Why do think it is more legitimate if a 7 (by a 4-3 decision) member State Supreme Court can somehow, with a microscope extract a constitutional right for same sex marriage than what the voters choose as a definition of what constitutes marriage? That’s elitism at its worst. And 45 states disagree that “fundamental” rights extend to same sex marriages. This is clearly an issue that needs to be settled by voters and not judges.

  32. Mark Boggs says:

    Many states believed that fundamental rights didn’t extend to colored folks. Clearly that was an issue best left to the masses, eh?

  33. Mark Boggs says:

    And as far as laws against marrying your relatives, I’m no geneticist but doesn’t inbreeding lead to some disturbing results? I’d think the state might have some interests against perpetuating that kind of mutation in the gene pool. And when was the last time a horse or dog could consent to marriage? You make the same mistake others do when they try to compare homosexuality to pedophilia, but they forget one important component: The ability to consent. When was the last time a dog or horse consented to a marriage proposal?

  34. James Hanley says:

    JamesK,

    How easy is it to immigrate to NZ?

  35. Heidegger says:

    James H, Mark, Nick–you’ve presented very good arguments for your positions on SSM. I feel checked–but not checkmated! I have no problem admitting when I’m wrong but not ready to admit that yet. I still believe the institution of marriage was specifically set up to bond a man and a woman to protect what that love produces, namely, a child. I know that sounds terribly corny but that’s the way it goes. It’s hardly a sophisticated legal argument. How about sanctioned civil unions that have every legal right, protections and benefit as marriage? It wasn’t too long ago that that was the desired goal of gay activists. However, it seems they’ve been moving the goal posts down the field for the past ten years.

  36. James Hanley says:

    Heidegger,

    Despite all the evidence that marriage has historically treated women as property, and that throughout history polygamy has been common, you’re still going to insist it was “set up” for one man, one woman, and their children?

    And as for moving the goalposts, how shocking it is that homosexuals would want full equality, instead of half equality. They fought for civil unions because marriage seemed like an impossible battle, and half a loaf is better than none. But now you say, “Oh, why don’t you just settle for the half a loaf. At least you’re no longer third-class citizens, just second-class ones.”

    I can’t, with any decency, express how disgusted I am when a fat and happy member of the majority gets all sanctimonious and preachy about a minority trying to overcome discrimination.

  37. Mark Boggs says:

    So…separate but equal?

    Also, the whole “fruits of marriage” argument is negated by the fact that many people don’t or can’t have children. Should their marriages be invalidated? If not, doesn’t it simply come down to the arrangement of certain parts fitting together in a certain manner sexually? Is that the magical threshold for what constitutes the ability to marry? Doesn’t seem so magical or sacred when looked at like that.

    Trust me I understand the fact that the idea of gay people doing what gay people do creeps alot of folks out, especially those with stronger religious leanings. However, this is not an excuse for denying them the protections of the law.

    How about sanctioned civil unions that have every legal right, protections and benefit as marriage? It wasn’t too long ago that that was the desired goal of gay activists. However, it seems they’ve been moving the goal posts down the field for the past ten years.

    Replace “gay activists” with the word “negroes” and replace your civil unions and marriage comparisons with drinking fountains and lunch counters and see how far that takes you. From 1863 until 1964 and 1965, they just kept moving them damn goal posts. This why when I hear folks like KOI use the word “agenda” to describe gays desire for equal rights, it sounds alot like “uppity” to me. Like there is some unreasonable expectation there.

  38. Mark,

    Thanks for the compliment and I do try to choose my words carefully because, whether I like it or not, my words do tend to influence others. I have read what you said and will ponder it over. I just do not want to get into this whole thing again on the internet. It never ends good and people’s feelings get hurt. That is the last thing I want. I have nothing against homosexuals at all but sometimes since I am a Christian, possibly theistic rationalist :), people twist my words and try to lumb me in with people I do not agree with.

  39. “You can’t have it both ways. Either illegal immigrants are taking jobs U.S. citizens would do or they’re doing work under crappy (and possibly illegal) conditions that U.S. citizens wouldn’t do. But not both.”

    The US citizen, under normal circumstance unlike this almost Great Depression atmosphere where people put up with shit that they never would have just to keep a job, would not do it and turn the assholes in. And they should be turned in if it is dangerous and illegal. Let’s not assume someone gets a job because he is the best candidate anymore. It ain’t so all the time. It seems it is the person that is willing to put up with the most amount of bullshit gets it now.

    This collapse is bad and I am not sure people realize just how bad until they become part of the army of unemployed. Theory is great and we can discuss all this but the bottom line is people are hurting out there. The illegals too. Who while I think they need to go home do feel for.

  40. D.A. Ridgely says:

    Well, in the first place, there’s nothing wrong with doing dangerous jobs and, in fact, many such jobs are necessary. You or I may not be willing to undertake various jobs either because they are too dangerous or too distasteful or pay too little, but neither of us has the moral right to tell someone else that they can’t decide to take such a job.

    So with illegal. Whether something is legal or not has little if any bearing on whether it is ethical. If I may go all Godwin here for just a moment, hiring Jews in Nazi Germany was illegal. It sure as hell didn’t make it wrong.

    I think at some level you continue to either misunderstand or refuse to see the underlying point regarding the cost of labor in general and its effect in general on this or any other economy. The current recession aside — and the inevitable business cycle would have led to temporarily higher unemployment even without the housing bubble bursting — the reality of a 21st century competitive global market is that significant numbers of U.S. employees in general have been overpaid relative to the available labor pool. You’re focusing on the visible benefit to a few and ignoring the largely invisible but nonetheless real detriment of the many here.

    Breaking my own rule about anecdotes, here’s a fictional but significant one. There was a 2006 movie called Outsourced in which the customer service center of a novelty (i.e., cheap crap) catalog business is completely outsourced to India. But the customers balked both because the new employee wasn’t an American and because the item being purchased wasn’t made in America. So one of the Indian employees tells such a customer (and here I must paraphrase) “Yes, we understand and respect the fact that many of our customers feel this way. As a result, we have the exact same product for sale made entirely in the United States.” “Hey, that’s great! Does it cost the same?” “Sadly, no. It costs [ten times the made in China price]” “Um, I’ll take the Chinese one, then.”

    As for “going home,” I currently live in Texas where, especially in the southern part of the state, many towns are majority Hispanic (both legal and illegal, by the way, and the overwhelming majority of whom speak English at least to some extent). Ask them about going home and most of them will tell you their ancestors never moved in the first place, the border moved on them.

    Look, I understand from your earlier comment that you have personally suffered from the current recession and I’m sorry about that. Still, there’s much to be said for the old joke that a recession is when your neighbor loses his job and a depression is when you lose yours. No one is denying the pain of dislocation in the labor market, but neither can anyone guarantee a job at a certain real income level in perpetuity. There’s nothing theoretical about that at all, except maybe in the sense that a map is the ‘theory’ of some real geography. Economies are dynamic things. Even when the pace of change was glacial (e.g., the Middle Ages), change was still occurring. It’s much more rapid now and that creates considerably more psychological distress, but it also means that the overall standard of living on a worldwide basis is rising faster than it would if that change were not occurring.

    And while I agree that is not an unmitigated good, it sure as hell is, on balance, a good thing.

  41. James Hanley says:

    Let’s not assume someone gets a job because he is the best candidate anymore. It ain’t so all the time. It seems it is the person that is willing to put up with the most amount of bullshit gets it now.

    “Best candidate” is not an objective measure, but a subjective measure. The best candidate is the one the employer wants most. Period.

    And please don’t lecture me on the recession. I live in Michigan, where we’ve been in a recession since several years before the rest of the country got into one (and I mean that literally, with the state’s GDP declining). And my wife recently lost her job in a community with an unemployment rate of 15%. We’ve contemplated me giving up my tenured job so we could move someplace where it’s more likely she could find work. And I’ve had students I liked who had to drop out of our expensive private college because both parents lost their jobs. I had a student come to tell me she was dropping out because her family was losing their home.

    Yeah, I’m an academic, so I’m supposed to be living in some ivory tower where I’m completely divorced from reality. Maybe if I was at Stanford or Yale I might be, but not where I’m at. But stepping out of the ivory tower doesn’t mean accepting the economic fallacies bandied about by the Lou Dobbs crowd.

  42. AMW says:

    How easy is it to immigrate to NZ?

    Pretty damn easy. There’s a formula that assigns points based on your age, educational achievement, years of work experience, etc. You get extra points if you’re in an occupational category on the long term skill shortage list (university lecturer is on the list). You fill out an expression of interest to apply, and inform them how many points you’ve got. Periodically, everyone with 140 points or more is automatically OK’d for immigration, as long as they can prove they’re in good health, don’t have a criminal record, and have a minimal mastery of the English language. If there are slots left over, they invite people with fewer points.

    Why is everything so sane in New Zealand?

  43. D.A. Ridgely says:

    Alas, as an American I doubt I could demonstrate a minimal mastery of the English language. On the other hand, I’ve been lecturing universities for decades now. That must count for something!

  44. “Well, in the first place, there’s nothing wrong with doing dangerous jobs and, in fact, many such jobs are necessary. You or I may not be willing to undertake various jobs either because they are too dangerous or too distasteful or pay too little, but neither of us has the moral right to tell someone else that they can’t decide to take such a job.”

    I should say then I mean unneedlessly dangerous. There are work place rules for a reason. Do we want to go back to child labor where the die on the shop floor because no one gave a shit? They were the “best” person for the job because they could not stand up for themselves like an adult would

    James,

    If the “best” person for the job is who they want then we are fucked. I have not had a job in years where the best people were recognized and rewarded. In the education field many times those are the ones that get the boot. In other venues I have seen people that work their asses off while other fuck off never get a raise or promotion. What if the “best” person for the job is the idiot nephew? Come on dude.

  45. “Look, I understand from your earlier comment that you have personally suffered from the current recession and I’m sorry about that. Still, there’s much to be said for the old joke that a recession is when your neighbor loses his job and a depression is when you lose yours. ”

    True. But I am not just speaking for me. I actually made more money last year than I ever have. My issues have been more in the short term. I felt just as bad and was just as pissed when I had tons of money.

    As far as to the rest of what you and James are saying about the global economy I will process it I promise and I am sure this will come up again later. You bring up some good points for sure.

    James,

    I was not directing my comments at you. But in economic theories in general. I think you teach politics anyway right? I am sure you have had it bad. None of us knows if his job is going to be here tomorrow anymore. That is why I think we need to re-think working conditions in America.

  46. D.A. Ridgely says:

    “Do we want to go back to child labor where the die on the shop floor because no one gave a shit?”

    Of course not. But there is a huge difference between protecting children from exploitation and ‘protecting’ adults against taking jobs they deem it to be in their best interests to take.

    I forbid my children from doing all sorts of dangerous things and I’m happy to extend that prohibition to children in general. But I don’t have the moral right to protect you from yourself, nor do you have the right to protect me against my will.

  47. DA,

    Like I said, you bring up some good points. I am sympathetic to the libertarain POV and would call myself more or less a libertarian. There are just some aspects of the ideology I struggle with. Discussions like these are good because it helps me sort out my beliefs. I am not arguing or debating with you so much as processing my own thoughts in response to some good points.

  48. “Economies are dynamic things. Even when the pace of change was glacial (e.g., the Middle Ages), change was still occurring. It’s much more rapid now and that creates considerably more psychological distress, but it also means that the overall standard of living on a worldwide basis is rising faster than it would if that change were not occurring.

    And while I agree that is not an unmitigated good, it sure as hell is, on balance, a good thing.”

    I agree. A lot of this is structural and needed. Everyone thought the Industrial Revolution was Aramagedeon too but things worked themselves out over time. I would just have hated to see that last 200 or so years without unions and other things that elevated the tide of all.

    I would even agree that the model of union that we see today needs to and is going to change with the times. There have been abuses. But I think most of the blame should go to the govt. not so much the unions. They propped up companies that were fat and happy for too long. I think we can agree on that.

  49. James Hanley says:

    I’ve been lecturing universities for decades now

    I don’t think standing on the street corner ranting about the coming gold crisis counts as “lecturing.” *grin*

  50. James Hanley says:

    King,

    We can slow the pace of change by creating regulations that stultify our economy and make us poorer overall. But it would give us greater stability, and I think a great number of people would make that tradeoff.

    Because I think stultifying the economy is bad in the long run, but understand people’s fear of a rapidly changing economy that gives them little job security, I’m all in favor of buying them off with generous unemployment benefits. Basically it’s a bribe–let us open up the economy so it’s more dynamic, and we’ll make sure you (not you personally, the generic you) have the basic economic security you crave.

    There’s precious little economic justification for it perhaps, and it’s not very suitable to a strict libertarian approach, but the alternative, I believe, is a public backlash that forces us back toward the old pre-Carter era of regulation.

    And, yes, I teach political science, but only from an economic perspective.

  51. James K says:

    AMW:
    On an immigration, related note we also grant voting rights to all permanent residents, so once you are granted permission to move here, all you have to do is reside here for 1 continuous year, and you can vote in our elections. Libertarians take note: there’s an opportunity for creating a “free state project” here 😉

    Why is everything so sane in New Zealand?

    Because our government blew its self to bits in the early 1980s, necessitating radical reform. Basically we learned that there are limits to how incompetent a government can be without it causing catastrophic failure. I sincerely hope the US learns this lesson without paying the price that we did.

    And to be fair, we do have our downsides; our health care system is pure NHS (and as perversely popular as the UK NHS is as well).

  52. James,

    I am not a regulation guy. But some laws do make sense. I think you can see, if you look at the back and fort between DA and me, that I am not asking for more regulation per se on behalf of workers but less. I think you should be able to strike even if it is going to shut down the country, I do not think you should have to negotiate for the free loader in right to work states, I do think that the company should be able to bring in police, as they used to, and beat the shit out of strikers.

    Many of the laws that slow things down now were created because of Corporate abuses and often times with government support. The cronyism you say you deplore, and I believe you and here it from most Libertarians, I do as well. The question is how does one curb it with the least amount of govt. interference as possible.

    The bottomline is that the nature of work is changing just like it did in the Industrial Revolution and the Luddites are out in full force thinking that the end of the world is here. We shall see but for every crap job that industry killed in the last 200 years it created exponentially more good jobs. So much so that autoworkers were paid crazy wages. I fail to realize why that will not happen with the Information Revolution.

    I am not a stats guy but if someone like yourself was to do a study of how many new and good jobs were created because of innovative technology in the Industrial Revolution and show how the change in work created the middle class we all seek to protect I think it would go a long way toward calming these fears.

    I keep telling you that you and I agree a lot more than we disagree I hope you are starting to see that now. In fact, I think the stupidest thing that both parties do is not to listen to Obama when he talks about the”new economy” I have chewed out more than one Tea Party type on that one.

  53. I also think because you look at politics and things like borders from a more economic view you miss some of the sociological and cultural factors as to why a nation would want to draw and defend borders. But that is a discussion for another time.

  54. Heidegger says:

    Greetings, James and Mark! And you’re both wrong, wrong, wrong!

    Just teasing. Mark, there is zero discrimination against gays when it comes to marriage so to draw a comparison to what blacks experienced when interracial marriage was illegal very much diminishes the effects real discrimination had on African Americans. Gays and lesbians have the exact same marriage rights every other US citizen has—to marry anyone they want providing they are a member of the opposite sex. Being able to bear children has nothing to do with race moreover, blacks, unlike gays,WERE denied the fundamental right to marry a member of the opposite sex–procreation has zero to do with the color of ones skin. It is absolutely indisputable, that the very best situation and environment for a child to be raised in is with his two biological parents. Propagation of the species is always in the interest of the state—SSM offers zero in this regard. What’s more, in countries where SSM is legal, male homosexuals have a divorce rate 60% higher than heterosexual couples. What’s more, males have an average of 11 sexual partners outside of wedlock–is this an environment you would want your children reared in?
    James—it sounds like you’ve come to the conclusion that there is no debate on this subject–it’s all or nothing. Either you support SSM or you’re an irredeemable bigot. Is this the case? If so, you’ve completely reaffirmed every point Krauthammer was making in that column. If it isn’t, what aspects of SSM are open to debate?

    Sorry, must run–I hope we can continue this discussion later. Time to bust rocks in the hot sun…I fought the law and the law won! No, not an inmate–just love that song. James, also a Michigander–born in PA–came here as a child. Yes, we know what a real recession feels like. Very sorry about your wife losing her job. I sincerely wish you the best and hope you’re able to work things out–we need great teachers and you would be a terrible loss to the Great Lake State–so, hang in there! What’s more, out of the blue, my nephew has expressed a strong interest in attending Adrian College. I’ll certainly try and steer him in the direction of classes you’re teaching–I have no doubt you’re a very, very good teacher, and would not resort to spoon feeding all this left-wing crap about how evil this country is.

  55. Mark Boggs says:

    So…overpopulation is in the best interest of the state, huh? Which is why China just lets ’em breed and breed, right.

    And you miss my point about blacks and gays. Actually blacks had every right to marry, so long as it was someone with the same color skin. And basically, you’re allowing that there is gender discrimination when it comes to who gays can marry. But I like how you make it sound like such a broad range of options for gays exists in the marriage category while quietly qualifying with the fact that they can marry only the people you think they should marry. And you make the mistake of assuming that homosexuality is some sort of choice whereas your heterosexuality is innate. It doesn’t follow. It does make it easier for you to discriminate on that assumption, but it doesn’t necessarily follow. You may as well say that we are all predisposed to Catholicism, but some of chose to be Baptists or Mormons. Except, I’d argue that neither homosexuality or heterosexuality is a choice but an innate inclination, one that AMW earlier argued was a much more sliding scale than black or white.

    And I’d love to see your sources for your information. Especially as it relates to the number of men stepping out in heterosexual relationships and in relation to the number of extra marital partners for lesbians. Those cagey lesbians always seem to throw a wrench in the SSM opponents’ logic.

    And Mr. Hanley made the argument again earlier that the benefit of the doubt should always err to the side of freedom. You can give me your facts (again, I’d love to see who did the studies you quote) about SSM and I can give you the facts about gun deaths and alcohol use and driving deaths, but we don’t just out and out discriminate before hand on who can do those things (other than by age). Should we start to limit whether the offspring of alcoholics should be allowed to drink because of the genetic predisposition to the disease? Maybe if a kid was a discipline problem in school we can assume that he’s probably going to be a hazard on the road and restrict his freedom to drive as an adult. Yes, these are rather absurd comparisons, but so is the idea that problems are only inherent in SSM. Some heterosexuals beat their kids, shall we outlaw heterosexual marriage because of that? Or do heterosexuals beat their kids because gay marriage has driven them to it?

    I’m not sure why you oppose SSM. It could be religious, it could be the “ick” factor of you equating two consenting adults wanting to make a lifelong commitment (through a contract with state) with yucky butt sex. I’m not sure. It could be because of your concern for the children based on the studies you quote. But it does seem awfully selective. I mean, it seems that, based on your logic, we should be compelled to keep racists from marrying and procreating based on the fact that we know those children will be raised in households that will warp those children into believing that people of another color are “bad.”

    It almost seems that, based on your opinion about what two people do in their private arrangements with the state, you’d also be concerned about gays being teachers. Think of all the damage they could do to the children in such an influential position there. Are you opposed to homosexuals being teachers? Bus Drivers? Working in soup kitchens? Being counselors? Anytime they interact with the public, especially children, there is an opportunity for gays to influence and woo people to “their” side. At some point, doesn’t it seem that it is their “gayness” with which you have a problem? And this seems the easiest way to target them as they admit to their homosexuality by wanting to marry someone of the same sex whereas in a job interview, their certainly not offering that information and, as far as I know, an employer can’t ask.

    (/rant)

  56. James Hanley says:

    Heidegger,

    I was able to marry the person I was deeply in love with, that I want to spend the rest of my life with, and whom I want to raise kids with.

    My gay friends don’t have that right. They are denied that right, and you would continue to deny them that right.

    And don’t worry, if SSM becomes legal, you’ll have the right to marry someone of the same-sex! Now if that doesn’t sound like a valuable right to you, you’ll understand just how homosexuals feel about their right to marry someone of the opposite sex.

    This is one of those bad arguments against SSM, and as I’ve noted more than once now, I have yet to see a good argument against same-sex marriage. I have yet to see an argument that persuasively explains what harm would come from allowing same-sex marriage, but I have seen many arguments like this one that are very condescending to homosexuals.

    So, yes, I do think that the opposition is all bigotry. Frequently it’s just unexamined bigotry, and sometimes those people come around when they hear the arguments, or when they get to know gay people and realize they’re just people like you and me, not villainous perverts. We all have certain latent bigotries (southern accents instantly put me on guard), but the fact that we all have them doesn’t mean they’re not bigotries and shouldn’t be so called. And when people are presented with solid evidences, and still cling to bad arguments, the most plausible cause is bigotry.

    But you’re absolutely 100% dead wrong about this reaffirming Krauthammer’s point. Because Krauthammer is lying, or at least deceiving himself. He wants to say it’s not bigotry, even though it is bigotry. He’s saying there actually are good arguments for his stances, and I’m sure as hell not reaffirming that, because I’m saying there are no good arguments for his positions. For pete’s sake, Mr. H, if a Klan member said, “Oh, those northern liberals, they can’t deal with the substance of our arguments for denying blacks rights, so they all they can do is call us names like ‘racist'”, would you say that calling him a racist was reaffirming what he said?

    Don’t you get it? Krauthammer is trying to insulate himself against accurate and true charges of bigotry. I’m not going to let him. I’m going to point out exactly how untruthful he’s being, and reiterate that he’s not being called a bigot because the left is out of arguments, he’s being called a bigot because he is a bigot. If I follow your advice and stop calling him a bigot, then his dishonest strategy succeeds!

  57. James Hanley says:

    Heidegger,

    About your comment on gay male couples having higher divorce rates and rates of extra-marital sex.

    This is a perfect example of how you haven’t really done your research or considered the implications. Because this has been well-studied. Gay males have high rates of extra-marital sex because they’re males, not because they’re gay. Men cheat more than women, so a marriage with two men would be expected to have more total cheating than a marriage with only one man. But it’s their maleness, not their gayness, that causes it.

    But here’s the two rubs for those who use these mere facts as arguments against same-sex marriage.

    1. We don’t ban marriages for people who cheat a lot. So it would be discrimination against homosexuals to make them the only people who are banned from marriage because they cheat. If you want to be fair and consistent, you have to apply the marriage ban to all people who cheat excessively. Are you willing to have that intrusive of a government?

    2. Women cheat less, so guess which couples have the least amount of cheating? Those with no men. Yes, indeed, lesbian couples have the lowest rate of extramarital affairs. So by your argument, we should ban gay male marriages, but we should strongly promote lesbian marriages!

    So, do you begin to see what I mean by “no good arguments against same-sex marriage?” Each one leads you either into a logical quandary or is a weak justification for denying equal rights.

    When someone has no good arguments against the denial of equal rights, but wants to deny equality anyway, what would you call it?

  58. AMW says:

    Heidegger,

    If it’s for the children, there is a more narrowly tailored solution than banning gay marriage: ban gay adoption.

    As for propagating the species, we live in an age where IVF and surrogacy open a world of procreational possibilities that were unknown to homosexuals of the not-to-distant past. And anyway, gay sex doesn’t destroy existing children, it just doesn’t create new ones. So how does gay marriage hinder the propagation of the species?

  59. James Hanley says:

    AMW,

    When our kids see how happy Bob and Doug are together, and how happy Linda and Jane are, they’ll all decide to be gay and get married to someone of the same sex, and nobody will ever have any more kids. Within two generations of allowing same-sex marriage, there’ll be no more children; no one under age 30.

    Of course I won’t care because I’ll be dead, and I don’t care much what happens to the species after I’m dead. And of course it would be great for the natural environment.

  60. Heidegger says:

    Gentlemen, gentlemen, you have indeed given much to think and rethink regarding this issue–thanks for the excellent replies. Hey, this is starting to look like the ’62 Mets (me) going up against the ’27 Yankees (you guys–gulp). While I know this is a hot and contentious issue (my ex-fiance broke a plate over my head once when we got into a discussion about this) I truly don’t think I’m looking at this through a bigoted prism. Granted, I was raised in a very strict Catholic household–a choir boy, then alter boy, Jesuits, nuns, priests, the whole deal. I’d like to think that I’ve been able to put that in the past, but sometimes things, ideas, viewpoints, attitudes get drilled so deeply into one’s template that it’s not so easy to be entirely purged of them. I’ll be honest—I have major problems with SSM and have no idea why an identical civil contractual agreement giving them the exact same rights as a married heterosexual couple would not be sufficient. I don’t see how that would represent a “half-loaf” solution when the only difference at that point would be symbolical. I will admit that the momentum is on the SSM’s side at least with respect to the states judiciary finding denial of SSM rights unconstitutional. Imagine, even 10 years ago, that gay marriage would be legal in 5 states and it would be beyond incredible. I remember Andrew Sullivan passionately writing in defense of federalism, allowing each state to determine whether or not SSM should be legal. Well, that’s happened and if I’m not mistaken, the score is 30-0 in favor of defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman. And James I know all the arguments about the “tyranny of the majority” when it comes to resolving issues of fundamental rights. I would imagine that when put on a ballot, every state would vote in favor of banning gay marriage and just about every state judiciary would rule that ban as unconstitutional. So where does that leave us? As a society, deeply fractured. Hey, you’ve won the battle, a skillful battle of attrition–it’s legal. There is no turning back…and yes, I’m mired in a logical quandary. Hopefully, reason prevails.

  61. James Hanley says:

    Heidegger,

    “Only” symbolism isn’t a phrase that really exists in politics. Again, turn it around against yourself and consider how you’d feel.

    But as many of us libertarians have said, if heterosexual couples are willing to accept just the civil contract, as a legal matter, and leave the term “marriage” to just a religious matter with no actual legal connotation, then all would be good, because the rights would be perfectly equal. Personally I’d prefer that, but realistically it just ain’t gonna happen.

  62. OFT says:

    Heidegger says: I would imagine that when put on a ballot, every state would vote in favor of banning gay marriage and just about every state judiciary would rule that ban as unconstitutional. So where does that leave us?

    Not what the Founding Fathers envisioned, isn’t it? When that happens, the Congress is to get involved, and overturn the judiciary. Especially when the President executes the wrong decision. Our first one hundred years Judges back didn’t violate the will of the people, unless the ruling was clearly consistent with the Constitution, or they were fired.

    Government is as popular as an 80’s video game.

  63. James Hanley says:

    Our first one hundred years Judges back didn’t violate the will of the people, unless the ruling was clearly consistent with the Constitution, or they were fired.

    We could make a drinking game out of spotting the errors in that statement. We can begin with noting that Mr. OFT clearly doesn’t understand the Constitution if he thinks members of the federal judiciary can be fired.

    And if he doesn’t understand that basic point, what hope do we have that he understands the more sophisticated elements, such as the Court’s ruling in Marbury v. Madison (in which they first claimed the power of judicial review (while cleverly not actually exercising it), and of course the Dred Scott case, which overturned federal law that was in no way “clearly unconstitutional.” There’s also the Slaughter House cases, where the Court managed to essentially strike down part of a constitutional element (the privileges or immunities clause).

    But it’s typical of right-wing stock-phrases, pulled right out of the dollar-a-dozen “Can o’ Conservatisms,” to claim that the Supreme Court was perfectly docile and well-behaved until that rascal Roosevelt came into power.

  64. “But as many of us libertarians have said, if heterosexual couples are willing to accept just the civil contract, as a legal matter, and leave the term “marriage” to just a religious matter with no actual legal connotation, then all would be good, because the rights would be perfectly equal. Personally I’d prefer that, but realistically it just ain’t gonna happen.”

    Thats about where I am on it.

  65. OFT says:

    By fired I meant impeached. Judicial Review (the right of the court to declare a law void) can be ignored by the President (Jackson in Cherokee Nation v. Georgia, 30 US 1 (1831) and Lincoln’s emancipation proclamation) and the Congress, from countless quotes by James Madison et al:

    “As the courts are generally the last in making the decision, it results to them, by refusing or not refusing to execute a law, to stamp it with its final character. This makes the Judiciary department paramount in fact to the Legislature, which was never intended, and can never be proper.”

    -(James Madison, The Papers of James Madison, Vol. VIII, p. 293. October 15, 1788.)

    If Congress can overrule the supreme court, wouldn’t the Congress take a vote and throw it out? The court, as Montesquieu says, is the least of the three branches, except today.

  66. James Hanley says:

    OFT,

    Just how many members of the federal judiciary have been impeached, and how many convicted? And how many impeached and convicted on the top level Supreme Court? The answers are 12, 7, 1 and 0.

    More importantly, how many have been impeached for their rulings, as opposed to actual bad behavior,* and how many convicted? The answers are “hard to say, but probably not many,”** “zero, zip, nada, zilch.”

    So you’re wrong on the facts. Congress has not used impeachment to control judge’s decision-making. Nor is it clear they constitutionally can, since impeachment is for high crimes and misdemeanors, and a difference of constitutional interpretation is hardly a high crime. Several justices who were impeach for drunkeness or abusive behavior on the bench were acquitted because their actions weren’t seen as high crimes and misdemeanors.

    As to presidents ignoring Supreme Court rulings, their constitutional authority to do so is exceptionally shaky and uncertain, at best. They can get away with it because th Supreme Court has no police force. Don’t mistake “ability to do” so for “authority to do so.”

    I don’t even understand your last question, or its relevance. And it was Hamilton who called the Court the least dangerous branch, not Montesquieu.

    ______________________________
    *Article III says they will hold their offices during good behavior.
    **Political impeachments can be obscured by charges that aren’t technically about politics. In the 19th century, several judges were impeached for drunkenness. But the only obvious case of impeachment of a federal judge for pure political purposes was that of Samuel Chase.

  67. D.A. Ridgely says:

    Apropos of Mr Hanley’s most recent comment, I may never get a better opportunity to post this:

  68. James Hanley says:

    Hilarious–thanks, Mr. R.

  69. OFT says:

    How many persons impeached has nothing to do with impeachment itself.

    James said: Nor is it clear they constitutionally can, since impeachment is for high crimes and misdemeanors, and a difference of constitutional interpretation is hardly a high crime.

    According to Justice Story, Thomas Jefferson, and Justice Wilson, subverting the Constitution is a high crime. They called them Political Offenses. Getting drunk was not seen as a high crime against the Constitution.

    James said: As to presidents ignoring Supreme Court rulings, their constitutional authority to do so is exceptionally shaky and uncertain, at best.

    This statement just doesn’t support the facts. Lincoln ignored Dread Scott, and the evidence for refusing to execute a decision is massive:

    The President can “refuse to carry into effect an act that violates the Constitution.”

    -James Wilson, One of only six men to sign the Declaration and Constitution. Penn Ratification Convention, Saturday, Dec 1, 1787.

    TJ flat out ignored the Sedition Law:

    You seem to think it devolved on the judges to decide on the validity of the Sedition law. But nothing in the Constitution has given them a right to decide for the Executive, more than the Executive to decide for them. Both magistrates are equally independent in the sphere of action assigned to them. The judges, believing the law constitutional, had a right to pass a sentence of fine and imprisonment; because the power was placed in their hands by the Constitution. But the Executive, believing the law to be unconstitutional, were bound to remit the execution of it; because that power has been confided to them by the Constitution. That instrument meant that its coordinate branches should be checks on each other. But the opinion which gives to the judges the right to decide what laws are constitutional, and what not, not only for themselves in their own sphere of action, but for the Legislature and Executive also, in their spheres, would make the judiciary a despotic branch. Nor does the opinion of the unconstitutionality, and consequent nullity of that law, remove all restraint from the overwhelming torrent of slander, which is confounding all vice and virtue, all truth and falsehood, in the United States. The power to do that is fully possessed by the several State Legislatures. It was reserved to them, and was denied to the General Government, by the Constitution, according to our construction of it. While we deny that Congress have a right to control the freedom of the press, we have ever asserted the right of the States, and their exclusive right, to do so.

    -Memoir, Vol IV, p. 27. to Abigail Adams on September 11, 1804.

    James said: And it was Hamilton who called the Court the least dangerous branch, not Montesquieu.

    It was Hamilton who quoted Montesquieu.

  70. James Hanley says:

    OFT, keep moving those goalposts, eh? First you say they were fired, then you say you meant impeached, then you say that you didn’t really mean they were impeached, but they could have been. But the absence of an impeachment doesn’t prove impeachment was what constrained the judiciary. There’s no dog that didn’t bark here, there’s just no dog.

    As to presidents defying Supreme Court decisions, you only present a case where a president did, which doesn’t demonstrate that it was legitimate, just that he was able to do it. Your other examples relate to presidents refusing to execute unconstitutional laws; they don’t say anything about defying the Constitution.

    I give you Hamilton referencing Montesquieu.

  71. OFT says:

    James said: Your other examples relate to presidents refusing to execute unconstitutional laws; they don’t say anything about defying the Constitution.

    The principle James Wilson, and the framers are referring to, is, independent spheres of action assigned to them. Whether a law or decision is constitutional or not is irrelevant.

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