Tyranny of the majority overturned in California

Few things exemplify the brainless white noise of howling human dumbness and tyranny of the majority better than “Proposition 8“, the 2008 ballot initiative that banned marriage equality – by majority rule, no less — in California.  Prop 8 is infamous for many reasons, among them putting a twisted, ironic shit-stain on an election day that was being heralded as a “transformative” civil rights landmark.

But not for everyone.

So there is much to celebrate in the wake of a scathing decision yesterday by California’s district court to overturn the vicious “Prop 8″, and return gays and lesbians to the fold of the full complement of rights under the law that every other Californian enjoys. It was a crushing and well-deserved defeat for those born-again pinheads and punishment freaks who would give the state the authority to legislate “morality”.  (It’s only slightly ironic that the decision came down on the Transformative President’s birthday.)

And the opinion written by District Judge Vaughn Walker (Maddowblog has a .pdf, well worth the read), while careful and well-researched to a fault, was indeed scathing as legal opinions go, stopping just short of ridicule at times (and that in itself is an accomplishment, given the unrelenting ridiculousness of Prop 8 proponents).  It’s indicative of Prop 8’s utter inane absurdity that its proponents’ arguments fell apart like wet 1-ply toilet paper under legal scrutiny, “legal scrutiny” being that which examines and argues only The Facts.  Stripped of its imaginary monsters and fear-mongering and bigotry and religious delusions, there was little to support Prop 8.

But you already knew that.

An important aspect of the overturning of Prop 8 is that it reinforces the truism that rights are not something that can or should ever be put to a vote. Rights are innate, intrinsic to humanity, and in some lucky parts of the world, protected by the state against just the kind of tyranny of the majority that gave California Prop 8. It’s ludicrous to imagine that we can “vote” on who has rights and who doesn’t — and no decent person should even want to.

Prop 8 was a public opinion, but that is all it was — an opinion — and public opinion, even majority public opinion, even when the majority is vast (which in the case of Prop 8 it wasn’t) is completely irrelevant to individual rights.  Some of us have always known this, but for others there’s apparently a learning curve.

*****************************

On that happy note, let’s congratulate blogging buddy Mark and his beloved on their marriage this week.  See?  No earthquakes, no storms, no plagues of locusts.  (I was hoping it might set off the Rapture, but no luck there either.)  Just another joyful couple looking forward to a long and happy life together.  (Maybe it’s just me, but doesn’t that sound kind of, you know, traditional?)  Cheers, guys!

UPDATE: You could set your freaking watch by these half-baked halfwits.  Right on schedule, the shrieks of “judicial activism!!!” began reverberating through the moronosphere as word spread that Judge Vaughn Walker has a private life, and in that private life, he is gay. (How this affects his ability to interpret the Constitution is anyone’s guess, but anyway…)

Unfortunately, he’s also a registered Republican, nominated first by Reagan then again by Bush the Elder, a nomination which was opposed by liberal Dems and gay rights groups.  But don’t take my word for it, listen to the conservative libertarian Cato Institute:

In other words, this “liberal San Francisco judge” was recommended by Ed Meese, appointed by Ronald Reagan, and opposed by Alan Cranston, Nancy Pelosi, Edward Kennedy, and the leading gay activist groups. It’s a good thing for advocates of marriage equality that those forces were only able to block Walker twice.

Aw, snap!

UPDATE II: Social Conservative idiocy was showcased on Hardball last night with the appearance of nutcase Wendy “Concerned Women of America” Wright, who artlessly sleazed out of answering any of Matthews’ direct questions about why she actually opposes gay marriage:

If ever there was someone who needed to be smacked across the side of the head with a phone book, pushed down a flight of stairs and set on fire, it’s that brainless twat.

99 Responses to “Tyranny of the majority overturned in California”


  1. 1 deBeauxOs Thursday, August 5, 2010 at 11:07 am

    Yes, that was certainly good timing on Mark’s part.
    ;)

  2. 2 Bruce Thursday, August 5, 2010 at 11:34 am

    That was really great, comprehensive ruling, Walker didn’t leave much room for the haters.

    It’ll be interesting to see what happens in the 9th Court, seeing as the basis of the ruling is the 14th amendment. That’s a tough one to beat.

    I’m expecting backlash, things could get ugly for a while. The haters know they’re screwed and they don’t always handle these things in a dignified manner, yes I’m being polite.

    I gave Mark a hard time for failing to invoke the wrath of gods or upsetting the balance of nature. When instead, all we got was some pretty Northern lights. I’m so disappointed with the boy.

  3. 3 J. A. Baker Thursday, August 5, 2010 at 11:48 am

    It’ll be interesting to see what happens in the 9th Court, seeing as the basis of the ruling is the 14th amendment. That’s a tough one to beat.

    Especially in light of how the Rethuglicans are itching to dump the 14th amendment as a means of furthering their hategasm against Latino immigrants.

    Oh, and get this. The teabaggers and AM radio hatemongers are shrieeeeking about how Judge Walker should’ve recused himself from the case because he’s openly gay!

  4. 4 Bleatmop Thursday, August 5, 2010 at 12:46 pm

    This is definitely awesome. This isn’t the last straw, but as you said (and other media) that this is a fairly comprehensive ruling that considers all matters of fact and law.

    From what I understand, matters of fact are pretty concrete and are hard to overturn by a higher court. This is good because this ruling threw out and derided all the “facts” from religion and the made up ones about teh gay will affect families if they get the marriage. The matters of law from what I understand are easy to change because that is what appeals are meant to consider, that the judge on the lower court made an error of law. From all the experts I saw on the tv last night, they all seemed to agree that it was a sound legal ruling.

    This isn’t over yet, but its definitely looking good for the people of California.

    Oh and to JAB: It makes you wonder why they think a heterosexual judge would be any less biased in this case, no? Following their absurd train of logic, anyone who is married should also remove themselves too.

  5. 5 Bruce Thursday, August 5, 2010 at 1:11 pm

    When read the decision, it reminded me a lot of happened in Canada and the government’s decision not to fight it because you can legislate to ignore it, but that doesn’t change constitutional rights. You drag it through the courts all you want.

    Even though it only applies to California, this is a ruling based on the National constitution, and it is so well presented as be almost bullet proof. It’s beautiful thing.

    This is why the haters are going to go nuts. I expect to see Maggie Gallager’s head to do 360’s any second now.

  6. 6 KellyJ Thursday, August 5, 2010 at 3:17 pm

    Is it normal for a man to stick his pee-pee up another mans poo-poo hole? I don’t think thats right.

  7. 7 The Vindicator Thursday, August 5, 2010 at 3:17 pm

    It had to happen.

    There is no constitutional basis for preventing same-sex couples to marry. None. Why the far right believes it should be allowed to legislate that in defiance of this fact is far beyond me, or any other rational person.

  8. 8 Cornelius T. Zen Thursday, August 5, 2010 at 3:33 pm

    Good morrow, all!
    KellyJ: Does your mother know you have access to a keyboard?
    Maybe you should recuse yourself from anything resembling social interaction.
    When the slaves were set free, the world did not end.
    When women got the vote, the world did not end.
    When minorities of color were granted full and equal civil rights, the world did not end.
    What exactly is God waiting for, if it’s really all that bad?
    The sin of Sodom and Gomorrah was not homosexuality – it was arrogance, cruelty and abuse of strangers. It was inhospitality.
    God loves us all – and once in a while, it shows – CTZen

  9. 9 Bruce Thursday, August 5, 2010 at 4:25 pm

    C.T.Zen,

    Let’s just leave Kelly alone with his or her own misguided thoughts on homosexuality.

    After all, this is someone who no longer has even a legal basis to foster hatred.

    Show a little compassion, man.

  10. 10 KellyJ Thursday, August 5, 2010 at 4:54 pm

    Bruce,

    Is what I said not true?

  11. 11 JJ Thursday, August 5, 2010 at 5:05 pm

    Kelly – You’re Jasper. Stop fucking around, jasper.

    By the way, butt sex is not just for gay men. But I understand how someone who gets all his lovin from Mrs. Thumb and her four daughters might think so.

  12. 12 JJ Thursday, August 5, 2010 at 5:08 pm

    deBeauxOs – It makes a nice subtext: “Meanwhile, back in the civilized world where everyone has equal rights…”

  13. 13 JJ Thursday, August 5, 2010 at 5:15 pm

    Bruce – It’s a wonderful ruling, really quite stunning in its dotting of the i’s and crossing of the t’s. No loose end left behind!

    And there’s something else important: the legal counsel were the same guys who were adversaries in Bush v. Gore. This issue has finally achieved the point where it transcends politics, as people slowly begin to realize that there is no valid reason to oppose it. There is only superstition, bigotry and irrational hate.

    Of course it’s just the beginning of a battle that will go all the way to the SCOTUS, and the haters have a ton of money to pour into it, but meanwhile, wow. This will re-energize activists all over again.

    W00t!

  14. 14 Bene D Thursday, August 5, 2010 at 7:38 pm

    Congratulations to Mark!

    I’ve been following the Nom Tour Tracker (Courage Campaign) this summer and Nom’s OneManOneWoman blog.(The Nom bus driver) Not the brightest bulb on the planet.

    Mrs. Maggie Gallagher Srivastav isn’t handling this well, nor are her ideological buddies.

    Judge Walker is quite quotable isn’t he?

  15. 15 Cornelius T. Zen Friday, August 6, 2010 at 5:06 am

    Good morrow, all!
    Bruce: Hey, when it comes to compassion, I’m down. Jasper, KellyJ, Brian. No problemo, amigo.
    Like Phil Coulter wrote and Luke Kelly sang:
    Scorn not their simplicity – CTZen

  16. 16 Brian Friday, August 6, 2010 at 8:06 am

    This ruling in California has two parts.

    It has the result with respect to homosexual marriage, and it has the part that is the legal means by which the first part was accomplished.

    Unfortunately for the United States, the means by which the first was accomplished does violence to federalism.

    The judge did, indeed, cite the 14th amendment. But that citation was done in a way that is unlikely to be very helpful on appeal. Of course, that will not be the bulk of the defense’s argument wither to the 9th Ckt or the SCOTUS.

    It should be pretty clear to an objective observer that the judge in this case had decided to rule as he did before the case was even prevented. He made quite an effort to get news cameras into the courtroom, for instance, until the Supreme Court slapped his hands and told him to knock it off.

    The judge was very deliberate (it appears) to include as much material from Justice Kennedy as possible, recognizing that Kennedy is frequently the swing vote, and therefore lobbying Kennedy before the fact. This is campaigning. Judges rulings ought not to be part of a campaign.

    The 9th Ckt will probably not overturn this ruling. But also, in turn, the 9th Ckt is the circuit most frequently overturned by the SCOTUS. The real action will be there, not at the circuit level.

    This judges ruling, rather than blocking the “tyranny of the majority,” imposes the opinion of one person onto the majority. That is substantially more tyrannical.

     

     

    Kelly,

    It is natural for all of us to relieve ourselves in our pants, and to hit when we don’t get our way. It is natural for men to try to stick their pee pee in another man’s wife, and in teen-aged girls.

    We frown on these things, even though they are natural. Your question implies that if it is natural, then it is allowed, further indicating that hitting when you don’t get your way, and adultery, both are okey dokey. Your question implies that “if she’s big enough, she’s old enough” is valid reasoning. Yet we have laws against men having their way with teen-aged girls.

    The question you posed has no horsepower. When you post powerless postings you give the impression that you are posting purely to satisfy yourself, rather than to engage in any meaningful dialog. My advice is not to do that. Posts like that just get ignored, with respect to moving the dialog along.

    Do you see that every response to your posting has to do with you, and that you posted it, rather than what it is that you posted?

  17. 17 JJ Friday, August 6, 2010 at 9:53 am

    Brian

    the means by which the first was accomplished does violence to federalism.

    Interesting point, well-taken. My understanding of federalism is limited, but from what I do know it’s about states’ legal sovereignty vis-a-vis the federal government. (Up here, “federalism” usually means opposing Quebec splitting away from the rest of Canada.)

    I generally favour the concept of states’ rights to determine their own policies on many issues. But I question whether it’s a good way to deal with civil rights policy. WRT same-sex marriage, it means that a marriage that’s valid in Boston would be invalid somewhere else — this is an infringement on liberty.

    The judge was very deliberate (it appears) to include as much material from Justice Kennedy as possible, recognizing that Kennedy is frequently the swing vote, and therefore lobbying Kennedy before the fact.

    Someone (either Maddow or Olbermann) called the decision “a love letter to Justice Kennedy” :lol:

    Pre-emptive lobbying of the swing vote on the Supremes might be pushing the envelope a bit, but Justice Kennedy has a lot of experience in this area and a history of voting on the side of gay rights, so why not. It’s not like his arm is being twisted.

    This judges ruling, rather than blocking the “tyranny of the majority,” imposes the opinion of one person onto the majority. That is substantially more tyrannical.

    I don’t agree with that at all. At ALL.
    What is being “imposed” on the majority? Are straight couples being forced to marry same sex partners? That would be an imposition. Are straight couples being told their marriages are invalid? That would be an imposition. This is what I’ve never understood about this whole debate — it imposes nothing on anyone to recognize that a minority group has the same rights as everyone else.

    By that logic giving women the vote “imposed” something on men.

  18. 18 Rob F Friday, August 6, 2010 at 10:11 am

    The argument about “overturnig the will of the people” could easily apply to the Heller case, where SCOTUS struck down a popular gun law. Clearly, anyone who opposes this ruling on the grounds of “overturning the will of the people” takes the same view of Heller, right? (Crickets chirping)

    If Justice Walker was so biased as to need to recuse himself, then a motion to ask for recusal should have been raised before the trial started. That’s a lawyer’s job. They have no basis for complaining about it now, as they had the chance to raise it but didn’t. Also, if same-sex marriage threatens different-sex marriage to the extent that opponents of SSM claim, then any heterosexual judge who is married or who is planning on getting married would also have a conflict of interest and therefore grounds for recusal!

  19. 19 Brian Friday, August 6, 2010 at 11:21 am

    Good morning, JJ (at least, it is here)

    I generally favour the concept of states’ rights to determine their own policies on many issues. But I question whether it’s a good way to deal with civil rights policy.

    This is exactly what should have been being decided — an issue of scope.  Instead, what was examined was the probable motivation of the voters as they cast their votes [!], and the motivation of those who got Prop 8 onto the ballot.  Those are not issues of legal scope.

     

    WRT same-sex marriage, it means that a marriage that’s valid in Boston would be invalid somewhere else—this is an infringement on liberty.

    The issue here has to do with state recognition of marriage, which is not a liberty issue.  In all states (AIUI) individuals can contractually obligate themselves to one another.  In those locales where homosexuals are not able to leave inheritances, visit in the hospital, and other such issues, I would strongly favor getting the government out of prohibiting or restricting those things.  Then this would not be a liberty issue at all.

     

    Pre-emptive lobbying of the swing vote on the Supremes might be pushing the envelope a bit, but Justice Kennedy has a lot of experience in this area and a history of voting on the side of gay rights, so why not.

    Because it does violence to jurisprudence.  Rulings ought to be based on law, and ought to restrict themselves to the case being adjudicated.  Justice needs to be as passionless as possible (in the procedural execution) to guarantee that actual justice prevails.

    If this is thrown overboard on one case — a special case — then precedent is created for non-special cases.  The process that brings justice is the process that brings justice, irrespective of the particulars of the case in question.

     

    This judges ruling, rather than blocking the “tyranny of the majority,” imposes the opinion of one person onto the majority.  That is substantially more tyrannical.

    I don’t agree with that at all. At ALL.
    What is being “imposed” on the majority?

    What is being imposed on the majority is the outcome of a ballot proposition.

    The Cali. voters decided one way, and Judge Walker reversed the outcome.  He did this with respect to categories that were not actually part of the case before him — the type of case before him.  The point I am making here is not the case that was reversed, but the method of reversal.  On high-passion issues like this one those two can be hard to separate in people’s minds, but I believe there will be really bad future outcomes if this means of ruling by judges stands.

    His role was to decide the application of law to the outcome of the election, which Walker did not restrict himself to.

    For instance, at one point he said “There certainly is some discovery that is going to be necessary here, isn’t there?” This caught counsel Ted Olson completely by surprise.  Olson responded, “I’m not sure.  Is there discovery necessary?  If there is, what is it?  What form would it take?”

    The reason for Olson’s surprise is that there is no place for discovery in a question of law.  The law is published, the case being brought is defined in the complaint that brings the trial, and that is that.

    But Judge Walker had an outcome chosen before the trial got underway, and he did as Jean Luc Picard so often requests — he made it so.

    Since it is a ruling of preference for outcome rather than as a result of law, it becomes an outcome that is the judge’s choice being supplanted in place of the outcome of the voters’ choice.  That is why I say it was imposed on the majority.  My meaning was not really connoting “this is an imposition.”  I was using an alternate meaning for the word.

  20. 20 Brian Friday, August 6, 2010 at 11:32 am

    The argument about “overturning the will of the people” could easily apply to the Heller case, where SCOTUS struck down a popular gun law. Clearly, anyone who opposes this ruling on the grounds of “overturning the will of the people” takes the same view of Heller, right? (Crickets chirping)

    Chirp, chirp…

    Overturning the will of the people is part of the context, but not all of it.

    An additional part of the context in re.  Heller is that the US Constitution is very specific with respect to firearms, firearms being specifically itemized in the Second Amendment.

    The context is different when the Constitutional footing is not as clear.  Equal protection under the law has lent itself to more variety in understanding how it applies than understanding of the Second Amendment has.

    The above is not intended to “settle the argument” whatsoever, only to point out that it is not as clear of a parallel as you seem to me to be implying.

    OK.  This is going to inspire ire, but it is not meant to; it is only meant to show an example of some of the room for differentiation of opinion that application of the Fourteenth Amendment experiences.  Apologies in advance for blood-pressure elevation…

    One side says (accurately) that homosexuals have the same marriage rights as heterosexuals.  Then can marry a non-blood relative single adult of the opposite sex.  Equal rights — equal protection under the law.

    The other side counters (accurately) that homosexuals do NOT have the right to marry the person they love, as a heterosexual does.  Denial of rights — unequal protection under the law.

    But there really is no parallel with respect to the Second Amendment.

    Chirp, chirp.

  21. 21 brebis noire Friday, August 6, 2010 at 11:32 am

    Since KellyJ is obviously not an adult, it would be wise not to engage him/her. I’m pretty sure his mom is going to intervene pretty soon and curb his internet use. Anyways, school starts again pretty soon. :-)

    “By that logic giving women the vote “imposed” something on men.”
    Excellent point, JJ. You could say the same thing about overturning slave-owning rights. It imposed a whole new economy on the south.
    Brian is just upset because (in the words of a National Post blogger) the Bible just lost again.

  22. 22 Brian Friday, August 6, 2010 at 12:15 pm

    Few things exemplify the brainless white noise of howling human dumbness and tyranny of the majority better than “Proposition 8“, the 2008 ballot initiative that banned marriage equality.

    In the interest of accuracy, it should be noted that Proposition did not “ban” anything.

    Or, alternately, if one wants to hold that Proposition banned homosexual marriage by virtue of the category not being recognized by a proposition that established what was recognized, then it banned polygamy, marriage to non-human species and living together without getting married.

    If only the union of one man and one woman is recognized, anything that is not included in that definition can be equally considered as banned.

    The only thing the proposition established is what will be recognized by the state, not what is permitted.  (I don’t mean to shout, only to emphasize the main point…)

     

    It was a crushing and well-deserved defeat for those born-again pinheads…

    You really think there is a majority of the voters in California who are “born again Christians?!?”  In California?!?

     

    … who would give the state the authority to legislate “morality.”

    Inasmuch as morality is the issue of what is right and what is wrong, and every law is a bid to forbid that which is wrong, every law — by its very nature — is a bid to legislate moral behavior to the degree that it prohibits that which is not moral behavior…

     

    Wendy “Concerned Women of America” Wright, who artlessly sleazed out of answering any of Matthews’ direct questions about why she actually opposes gay marriage.

    I don’t agree.  I thought she avoided his questions pretty artfully.  He brow beat her relentlessly — any time his question didn’t flumox her he interrupted her answer to try to shake her up by other means, yet she remained pretty composed, and even managed to inject some personality.

    The topic was Prop 8 & homosexual marriage, but Matthews tried to inject whether homosexuals should be allowed to be teachers.  That was not the issue for the segment, but I’m left to presume he thought he would better be able to attack Wright on that tack.

    And listen, you know this very well:  Advocates do not appear on shows to answer questions, but to present their topic of advocacy to as large of an audience as possible.  It is not reasonable nor fair to find fault with an advocate — any advocate — for not answering direct questions.  Everyone knows that’s not why they are there.  The only time any advocate answers direct questions is when the host/moderator is already on their side, and is throwing softballs to facilitate the advocate’s presentation of their issue.  That’s how these shows operate — all of them.  Right?

  23. 23 Brian Friday, August 6, 2010 at 12:21 pm

    Brian is just upset because (in the words of a National Post blogger) the Bible just lost again.

    Oooh!  Ouch!  You got me right in the liver!

    SEVEN MILLION CALIFORNIA VOTERS!

    The Bible lost?!?  Man!  You are so dedicated to your assumptions that you just are unable to see what’s going on around you.

    SEVEN MILLION CALIFORNIA VOTERS!

  24. 24 JJ Friday, August 6, 2010 at 12:25 pm

    Brian – That’s all well & good, if you accept the idea that majority rule is a valid way to determine civil rights. I most definitely do NOT accept that proposition, and apparently neither does Judge Walker.

    I think what Walker’s decision gets at is that ballot initiatives, referenda, etc. shouldn’t be used to make civil rights policy. It’s one thing to take a referendum on whether there should be traffic lights at intersection A&B, then allowing majority opinion to drive whatever civil engineering decision is ultimately made. It’s something else to let majority rule decide who has rights and who doesn’t, and doing so clearly compromises individual liberty. Gay people have less liberty than straight people if they’re not allowed to marry the person of their choice — it’s so blatantly obvious, I don’t know how anyone can’t get it.

    Everyone has a right to their opinion about gay marriage, or interracial marriage, or May-September marriage or anything else, but ultimately it’s only an opinion: it might be statistically interesting, but otherwise it should be of zero importance.

    That is why this is such an important decision. It will be interesting to see what the Supremes do with it when it eventually ends up in their docket. Exploding Head Watch is on high alert! :shock:

  25. 25 JJ Friday, August 6, 2010 at 12:34 pm

    You really think there is a majority of the voters in California who are “born again Christians?!?” In California?!?

    Don’t be naive. A lot of the financing and other support for Prop8 came from out-of-state, and that is the pinheads and punishment freaks I’m referring to. People like Maggie Gallagher and her slimy ilk.

    Ultimately a slim majority of voters did vote for it. though, which just goes to show you what massive media campaigns of fear-mongering can accomplish.

  26. 26 brebis noire Friday, August 6, 2010 at 12:36 pm

    Ooooh, voters, now I get it!! Yes Brian, the fact that it’s people voting against the rights of others that is particularly disturbing. I’m sure that if you took a vote in the South c. 1860, you’d have found a majority of VOTERS who wanted to continue keeping slaves.

    I see a pretty strong dedication to assumptions in all of your posts. I.e. the assumption that the Bible is true.
    I’m glad you read JJ’s blog, it must feel very refreshing.

  27. 27 JJ Friday, August 6, 2010 at 12:59 pm

    brebis – That’s right, I’m the proverbial Breath of Fresh Air! :lol:

    Re your point about slavery: very true, and often used to point out the folly and stupidity of allowing the majority to decide what rights people should have.

    Given the track record of “the majority”, I shudder to think what kind of a society we’d be living in if it was left up to them to decide on it.

  28. 28 Cornelius T. Zen Friday, August 6, 2010 at 4:31 pm

    Good morrow, all!
    A simple question for our less-than-progressive friends:
    If freeing the slaves in 1865, and, 100 years later, giving their grandchildren full civil rights, did not destroy the white race in America…
    If giving women the vote did not spell the end of male participation in politics in Western countries…
    How, EXACTLY HOW, does Gay Marriage threaten Straight Marriage?
    Don’t quote your Bible, don’t wrap yourself in the flag, just tell us poor benighted souls, how?
    It’s not like we’re about to run out of tuxes and dresses anytime soon, or florists will suddenly experience catastrophic shortages…will they?
    If I recall correctly, the Bavarian general that whipped Washington’s troops into shape, and enabled the Colonials to put the boots to German George’s Hessian mercenaries, was gay,
    In other words, the USA owes its very existence to a fairy godfather.
    Since hate OF ANY KIND has no basis in Reason, what Reason do any of us have to deny full civil rights to our children, our brothers, sisters and cousins, based on how they keep warm at night, and what makes THAT any of OUR business?
    This should be…fascinating – CTZen

  29. 29 Cornelius T. Zen Friday, August 6, 2010 at 4:52 pm

    Good morrow, again!
    Wendy Wright: “That judge has opened the door to polygamy!”
    Is it just me, or is it incredibly ironic that the biggest push behind Prop 8 came from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints? You know, the Big Love People?
    Mormon Elder: Quote the Bible passage that forbids polygamy!
    Mark Twain: No man may serve two masters!
    Thank you, Mr. Clemens – CTZen

  30. 30 Bleatmop Friday, August 6, 2010 at 4:58 pm

    “How, EXACTLY HOW, does Gay Marriage threaten Straight Marriage?”

    This is how I prefer to put it:

    How, EXACTLY HOW, does Gay Marriage threaten Straight Marriage?

  31. 31 Bleatmop Friday, August 6, 2010 at 4:58 pm

    Woops, didn’t mean to strike the last marriage, but I think I got my point across anyway.

  32. 32 Brian Friday, August 6, 2010 at 8:48 pm

    That’s all well & good, if you accept the idea that majority rule is a valid way to determine civil rights. I most definitely do NOT accept that proposition, and apparently neither does Judge Walker.

    The state’s recognition is not a right by any measure;  actions by the state are of a different sort than rights.

    I do believe homosexuals ought to be able to enter into binding contracts, including binding contracts regarding living arrangements and inheritance.

    But Prop 8 was about the state recognizing that as a marriage, and that is a purpose other than a right.

    I agree, the majority does not get to choose civil rights.  But they should be able to have a say about the position of the state, inasmuch as in the US it is official that the power to govern flows from the consent of the governed.  Votes assess that consent.

     

    [R]eferenda, etc. shouldn’t be used to make civil rights policy.

    As I said above, I agree, but I also do not see this as a rights issue.  The issue here is state sanctioning of this type of union.

     

    Gay people have less liberty than straight people if they’re not allowed to marry the person of their choice./i>”

    I don’t find this to be true. Many heterosexuals cannot marry the person of their choice either.  They cannot marry someone who is already married, then cannot marry their sister of mother if that would be their choice.  Sometimes the person they want doesn’t want them.

    It is pretty common for people not to be able to marry the person of their choice, sometimes because the state outlaws such a union, sometimes because the state does not recognize such a union, and sometimes just because of fate.

     

    Don’t be naïve. A lot of the financing and other support for Prop8 came from out-of-state.

    I am not being naïve;  I just don’t think it is that straightforward to buy an election.  The electorate in Cali. still were the ones doing the voting. That a state like Cali. voted this way is a significant bellwether, it seems to me.

     

    ==============================

     

    Yes Brian, the fact that it’s people voting against the rights of others that is particularly disturbing.

    See above for why I do not see this as a rights issue, but a state-sanction issue.

     

    I’m sure that if you took a vote in the South c. 1860, you’d have found a majority of VOTERS who wanted to continue keeping slaves.

    Freeing slaves was in large measure an actual rights issue.

     

    ==============================

     

    That’s right, I’m the proverbial Breath of Fresh Air!

    You usually are.  I really look forward to reading your contributions to the after-threads.

     

    ——————————————————————————————————————

     

    If freeing the slaves [a genuine rights issue] [and] giving their grandchildren full civil rights, did not destroy the white race in America…
    If giving women the vote [a genuine rights issue] did not spell the end of male participation in politics in Western countries…
    How, EXACTLY HOW, does Gay Marriage threaten Straight Marriage?

    The marriage of a man and a woman — as an institution, not with respect to any one particular couple — is the foundation of society, because that is the place where the replacement members of society are supplied from.

    Changing the definition of what is or is not a marriage as recognized by the state affects whether junior citizens want to join in.

    We have a lot of troubles now that we did not used to have due to the fewer numbers marrying, but having children anyway.  That sort of thing matters, evidence has shown.

    If any union is a marriage, then many will say “what’s the point?”  That affects marriage.

    If a homosexual union is regarded as exactly the same thing as a heterosexual union, then there is no remaining basis for agencies preferring to adopt children out to heterosexual, married couples.  This matters greatly for the children involved.

    I would anticipate that you disagree, but these are reasons not wrapped in the Bible or the flag, and held to be true by some atheists, as well as by Christians, Jews, Muslims, et al.

     

    It’s not like we’re about to run out of tuxes and dresses anytime soon, or florists will suddenly experience catastrophic shortages…

    True enough, but not germane.  No one I have heard of opposes state recognition of homosexuals marrying due to any logistical reasons.  Therefore, pointing out that there are no shortages will have no import.

     

    If I recall correctly, the Bavarian general that whipped Washington’s troops into shape, and enabled the Colonials to put the boots to German George’s Hessian mercenaries, was gay.  In other words, the USA owes its very existence to a fairy godfather.

    Maybe, if that Bavarian was the only person available, and Washington would otherwise have lost. But with no control group, it is hard to be definitive.

     

    Since hate OF ANY KIND has no basis in Reason, what Reason do any of us have to deny full civil rights to our children, our brothers, sisters and cousins, based on how they keep warm at night, and what makes THAT any of OUR business?

    Some hatred has a basis in reason.  (But I know, that won’t fit as well on a poster…)

    Again, it is my opinion that Prop 8 was not a rights issue, but a performance-of-the-state issue.

    Whether it is our business or not how people keep warm at night, it IS our business who the state recognizes wiith respect to marriage.

     

    Is it just me, or is it incredibly ironic that the biggest push behind Prop 8 came from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints?

    I am not a Mormon, and I believe the C of JC of LDS to be a cult, and therefore hostile to God and to the actual historical Jesus.  But to be fair, they have opposed polygamy for many, many decades.

      

    Mormon Elder: Quote the Bible passage that forbids polygamy!
    Mark Twain: No man may serve two masters!

    I will try to remember that one — it’s funny..  I sure appreciate Mark Twain’s quickness of wit.

  33. 33 Jasper Saturday, August 7, 2010 at 5:15 am

    “If freeing the slaves in 1865, and, 100 years later, giving their grandchildren full civil rights, did not destroy the white race in America…
    If giving women the vote did not spell the end of male participation in politics in Western countries…
    How, EXACTLY HOW, does Gay Marriage threaten Straight Marriage?
    Don’t quote your Bible, don’t wrap yourself in the flag, just tell us poor benighted souls, how?”

    Cornhole,

    Just watch the video with Wendy Wright, she explains it well. They are now teaching my 9 year old in school (I live in Mass.) that sodomy is normal.

  34. 34 brebis noire Saturday, August 7, 2010 at 5:16 am

    “True enough, but not germane. No one I have heard of opposes state recognition of homosexuals marrying due to any logistical reasons. Therefore, pointing out that there are no shortages will have no import.”

    Er, but this seems to be exactly what you are arguing: that people will stop getting married because they’ll think “what’s the point?”. And further, that children from state-sanctioned marriages will become rare (and you seem to be making the point that children from marriages are more valuable than children from non-marriages…). These appear to be your non-bible-wrapped arguments.

    Where I live (Quebec), it has become nearly impossible to distinguish married couples from unmarried ones, because a c. 1983 law stipulates that married women retain their birth names (the children from a married or non-married couple will then either hyphenate, or not, their family name; illegitimacy is an antiquated notion, I suspect you’d get blank stares if you brought that up among people under 40.) It’s possible that marriage has become more rare here, but on the other hand, society has not fallen apart, the children are doing fine (often better than before, because the social and economic stigma of divorce is no longer an issue; I’ve even observed that many children whose parents are no longer together benefit from a larger social network…) and I can’t tell which of my aquaintances in 15 or 20-year-long relationships are married and which aren’t. In a context like this, where values are more utilitarian, marriage looks different: it’s more like a celebration than a social contract. Which seems as it should be, although in the other provinces and in the US, the celebration is more tightly connected to the social contract. As long as that connection remains tight, marriage will be a civil right.

    OK, now your point was again??

  35. 35 Cornelius T. Zen Saturday, August 7, 2010 at 8:11 am

    Good morrow, all!
    Jasper: “They are now teaching my 9 year old in school (I live in Mass.) that sodomy is normal.”
    “Normal” is relative. When you were an infant, it was “normal” for you to have no control over your bodily functions. Eventually you learned otherwise (let us all hope). Once upon a time, it was “normal” to imprison, torture and murder people for disagreeing with “normal” religious convictions (long may you dream). Time goes by, people learn, and “normal” changes.
    Brian: “Some hatred has a basis in reason.” Really? Do you have any compelling examples? Hatred is a dark emotion, and all dark emotion is rooted in fear, which is the anticipation of pain. So what pain would you say forms a “reasonable” foundation for hatred? What pain do you anticipate in giving gay couples the right to call their union “marriage”?
    Hatred of any kind does not serve God, or Life, or Truth. It does not create or nurture. It does not support or affirm. It kills the soul. If any of you choose to hate, you choose only to destroy. To paraphrase that famous saying, “Those who live by hatred, die by hatred.”
    You have every right to call me a fool. I don’t mind. That sort of thinking will do more damage to you than it would ever do to me. God bless and keep you, Jasper and Brian – far away from all of us, if only for your own sakes.
    I bid you peace – CTZen

  36. 36 JJ Saturday, August 7, 2010 at 10:07 am

    Bene D

    Judge Walker is quite quotable isn’t he?

    No doubt! Judge Walker rendered a pretty cool legal opinion, and did so with great care and elegance. There is really little that Prop 8 supporters can do or say in response… even the old standby argument “The Chiiiiiiildren!!!” was completely neutralized by the facts.

    No, Maggie et al are not taking it well, and it looks good on them.

  37. 37 JJ Saturday, August 7, 2010 at 10:11 am

    Rob F

    Also, if same-sex marriage threatens different-sex marriage to the extent that opponents of SSM claim, then any heterosexual judge who is married or who is planning on getting married would also have a conflict of interest and therefore grounds for recusal!

    Well, exactly. It’s a stupid, desperate argument, being made by stupid, desperate people. People who see that they’re on the wrong side of history in this debate, but are loathe to admit that it just isn’t a big deal even to their own children.

    The best thing that can be said about them is that as they shuffle off this mortal coil, the young people will prevail.

  38. 38 JJ Saturday, August 7, 2010 at 10:15 am

    CTZen

    How, EXACTLY HOW, does Gay Marriage threaten Straight Marriage?

    It’s a question for the ages :lol:

    I myself have always thought that anyone who’s really interested in strengthening the institution of marriage should welcome gay couples into it with open arms — strength in numbers and all that. If more couples are getting married, marriage is more relevant in society. Simple logic.

  39. 39 barklee Saturday, August 7, 2010 at 2:54 pm

    It seems to me, that if California were truly serious about the so called sanctity of marriage, they would just abolish divorce. See how that would turn out…

  40. 40 fern hill Saturday, August 7, 2010 at 3:57 pm

    I’m late to this bunfest, but here are my two cents.

    Marriage, recognized by the state, is quite different from other arrangements.

    My sweetie and I have a 35-year history, the first nine years spent living together. After realizing the error of that (took 15 years to get over), we got back together but did not want to cohabit.

    Not cohabiting meant we were not considered common-law partners. Just friends, I guess.

    When sweetie got a huge health surprise, I vividly remembered scenes from the early years of the AIDS crisis when life-long partners were separated at death-beds by evil homophobes. I wanted a legal connection to sweetie and I wanted him to have a legal connection to me.

    So we got hitched.

    And as I’ve blogged, there are financial benefits too.

    As far as I’m concerned, any nit-picking arguments about state’s rights FAIL in the face of simple equality.

  41. 41 Brian Sunday, August 8, 2010 at 11:40 am

    brebis noire

    [Brian]: True enough, but not germane.  No one I have heard of opposes state recognition of homosexuals marrying due to any logistical reasons.

    “Er, but this seems to be exactly what you are arguing: that people will stop getting married because they’ll think ‘what’s the point?’ ”

    A logistical reason is one where you run out of supplies to do the task, not where doing the task makes you run out of something caused by the task. CTZen had mentioned running out of tuxedos, and I was saying that no one thinks we will run out of tuxedos, wedding cakes, space at wedding chapels, limos to get to the reception, ad infinitim.

    I was not arguing that we might run out of those things, and no one I have heard of is either.

     

    … illegitimacy is an antiquated notion …

    Though that might be the case, the results of children being raised by just one parent are real, whether anyone has that notion or not.

    Additionally, living together before getting married, to see whether you are compatible, is a lie. In marriage, you have made a commitment, so the environment is different than one is which you are tacitly saying “I’m not sure about you yet — you’re on probation.” When children are born into that environment, their experience differs from what it would have been to have been born into a relationship characterized by commitment. By definition, children born into a live-together-first couple’s home is illegitimate, though of course, the term sucks — they certainly are legitimate persons.

    Parents not being married matters. The situation plays a larger role when one of them isn’t even present in the home.

     

    …but on the other hand, society has not fallen apart…

    This is an exaggeration. No one thinks society is going to fall apart, only that it is going to be worse off — which it is.

    It is good that divorce does not carry the stigma it used to, but it is unfortunate that that has made some couples more willing to divorce. The only person who wins in a divorce is the lawyer.

     

    I’ve even observed that many children whose parents are no longer together benefit from a larger social network.

    Well, this is just ludicrous. Children are harmed by divorce. The fact (which it probably is) that they gain some benefit from some other quarter does not argue for reducing concern over divorce, but for increasing effort put into building social networks while staying married at the same time.

     

    … where values are more utilitarian …

    Pragmatism in the area of values is the sure path to devolution of values. God save us from “utilitarian values!”

  42. 42 Brian Sunday, August 8, 2010 at 12:22 pm

    Brian: “Some hatred has a basis in reason.” Really? Do you have any compelling examples?

    Hatred of sociopathic killers, leading to intense, unyielding manhunts to get them, immediate court proceedings to incarcerate them (or execute them if they have killed), locking them away forever.

    If treatment is invented that causes them no longer to be sociopathic, then , of course they no longer would be the target of that specific hatred.

    Hatred of people having a political agenda that has the intention of killing everyone like you. Members of such a group cannot be afforded any quarter as long as that is their intention — giving such any breathing room would be tantamount to suicide. If they change their position — genuinely change their position — the situation changes. The hatred only reasonably persists until they relent. But while they hold that position, they must be despised for what they have chosen to be.

    Hatred of the carpenter ants that live in my ceiling, which I cannot afford to have removed.

    Hatred over skin color or gender is, of course, unreasonable.

     

    Hatred is a dark emotion, and all dark emotion is rooted in fear.

    I’m sorry, but reality does not conform to universals like this very often. It is a current political bromide that finding fault with any group can never be anything but a manifestation of phobia or fear.

    But that simply is not true. Some is a manifestation of phobia or fear, some is not. Each case/category must be contemplated following its true characteristics, rather than pasting an ill-fitting universal over it.

     

    … which is the anticipation of pain. So what pain would you say forms a ‘reasonable’ foundation for hatred? What pain do you anticipate in giving gay couples the right to call their union ‘marriage?’

    Here is a really good example of why it matters to contend over the little things. You first inaccurately posit that all hatred is the result of fear. This in turn forces you to use that template to take the next step, resulting in false dilemae.

    Even if your premise were accurate, it doesn’t apply to your last question. I do not hate homosexuals. I do not fear homosexuality, nor homosexuals. I believe homosexuals have a right to call whatever they do a marriage. They have a right to call a one-night-stand a marriage, if they so choose. I am not being facetious, I anm saying exactly what I think. The state has no power to infringe on anyone’s use of language. My word choices, and yours, is a right.

    I do not, however, believe anyone has a right to compel the state to recognize their union. State sanctioning of marriage is in a different arena than the arena of rights.

    I do not fear (as in trepidation) state sanctioning of homosexual marriage. Rather I anticipate negative outcomes that therefore compels refusing to have the state recognize such unions.

     

    Hatred of any kind does not serve God, or Life, or Truth.” [Emph. added.]

    Jude 1:23 says:

    … save others, snatching them out of the fire;  and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh.

    Have mercy with fear, because contact with really debauched people can have really negative effects on those trying to help them. The fear is to keep in mind who you are. The hatred is for the horribleness of the debauchery of the person you are trying to save from that debauchery.

    In Revelation 2:2, Jesus commends the believers in Ephesus, saying,

    “Yet this you do have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.”

    You say, “[hatred] does not create or nurture. It does not support or affirm,” which is true.

    But not everything someone does needs to be creative, nurturing, supportive nor affirming. It is right for police to use deadly force to apprehend someone committing a felony. That is not creative, nurturing, supportive or affirming, yet it is exactly the right action. Other examples could be proffered.

    Your implication seems to be that everything one does must be in one or more of those 4 categories, but that does not seem to hold up.

    Surely your closing implying that you might hurt me were to find ourselves in one another’s presence is not nurturing, supportive, affirming nor creative, but rather is violent…

  43. 43 Brian Sunday, August 8, 2010 at 12:59 pm

    …even the old standby argument “The Chiiiiiiildren!!!” was completely neutralized by the facts.

    It was wrong for judge Walker to seek facts of that nature in his ruling. Whether he was right or not is not really the question, to me, because if he ruled based on facts that essentially did not have “standing” in what was before him, that sets a precedent for any judge to make any ruling they like — irrespective of the case before them.

    This makes the judicial class a monarchical class, having the power that kings used to wield.

    Since he ruled outside the case before him, there is a pretty good chance the Supreme Court will reverse him. They probably will not do so with prejudice, since Walker seems to have skirted the case before him. That means that the trial will probably be done over again.

     

    [I]f same-sex marriage threatens different-sex marriage to the extent that opponents of SSM claim, then any heterosexual judge who is married or who is planning on getting married would also have a conflict of interest and therefore grounds for recusal!

    Well, exactly. It’s a stupid, desperate argument, being made by stupid, desperate people.

    Not so fast! If a judge were an activist or public advocate for restricting recognition of marriage to only one-man-one-woman unions, then they absolutely should recuse themselves.

    Following is a blog post by Eva Rodriguez of the Washington Post, that I think bears contemplation (italics in original):

          If I were a legislator, I’d vote to legalize same-sex marriage.  And if it were up to me, I’d allow cameras in federal courts.  So why am I having trouble with a federal judge’s decision to allow YouTube broadcasts of the trial challenging California’s gay marriage ban?
          Maybe it’s because I think judges should be impeccably fair, adhere without agenda to the rule of law and be as transparent as possible, so that even those who disagree with their decisions may nevertheless respect those decisions.  Judge Vaughn Walker, who is presiding over the gay marriage case, has failed on these counts.
          Walker performed legal pirouettes worthy of “Dancing with the Stars” to ensure cameras in his courtroom for the same-sex marriage trial…  [R]ather than accept that the legal framework for trial broadcasts was not yet in place, Walker cut corners and rushed through proposed changes in the proverbial dead of night—on New Year’s Eve, no less…  And he gave short shrift to opponents of gay marriage, who argued that broadcasting the proceedings would subject them to increased harassment by gay marriage supporters…
          Judge Walker didn’t allow sufficient time for those and other concerns to be raised and considered.  If I can’t trust Judge Walker to be unflinchingly fair about something that simple, how can I trust him to be fair to both sides when deeply held beliefs and constitutional rights are at stake?

    To me (and probably millions of others), the question is not whether Walker is a homo- or hetero- sexual, or whether he’s married.  It is that he appears to be an activist for homosexual marriage, and judges who are activists for any specific cause should recuse themselves from presiding over a case that involves the topic of their advocacy.

     

    … as they shuffle off this mortal coil, the young people will prevail.

    Ewww!  Trusting the future to the young!  Scary!  Have you noticed how youthful police officers are looking these days?!?

  44. 44 Mark From Slap Sunday, August 8, 2010 at 3:55 pm

    Thanks for the well-wishes, JJ!

    The wedding was fantastic. I couldn’t have been happier; the weather was gorgeous for our outdoor ceremony and it was really great to see so many friends and family there to share their love and support. Even strangers at the botanical gardens were peeking in with giant smiles. Everyone had a marvelous time at the reception, too; the restaurant really outdid itself.

    And, although it’s a complete coincidence, I couldn’t be happier with the timing of California’s news. Knowing that so many new couples will soon be able to formalize their relationships so joyously really sweetened the deal for both of us.

  45. 45 brebis noire Monday, August 9, 2010 at 4:07 am

    “A logistical reason is one where you run out of supplies to do the task, not where doing the task makes you run out of something caused by the task. CTZen had mentioned running out of tuxedos, and I was saying that no one thinks we will run out of tuxedos, wedding cakes, space at wedding chapels, limos to get to the reception, ad infinitim.”

    You totally misunderstood. Running out of persons means running out of supplies in the marriage business. The task is wedding (or marriage); not the people themselves. You were indeed making this argument, apparently without even realising it. CTZen was simply pointing to the tuxedos etc. as metaphors for people. (I know you’re a biblical literalist and have a hard time with metaphors, but I thought this one was obvious; at least that’s how I understood it – otherwise it was not much of an argument about anything at all.)

    As for your observations about living together prior to marriage, illegitimate children, etc. – you can burble on as much as you want about the “lies” of living together before marriage (which so many people do, succesfully) and “preserve us from the devolution of values!!!” but from what I’ve observed and experienced of US society, I am personally very grateful to be preserved from certain of its overtly religious and essentially bigoted “values”.

  46. 46 Brian Monday, August 9, 2010 at 9:06 am

    You totally misunderstood. Running out of persons means running out of supplies in the marriage business. The task is wedding (or marriage); not the people themselves. You were indeed making this argument, apparently without even realising it. CTZen was simply pointing to the tuxedos etc. as metaphors for people.

    That was your point after you hijacked people’s previous posts.

    You say that CTZen was using a metaphor for the number of people actually getting married, but that was not what he said, and there was nothing in what he said that indicates he meant what you say he meant.

     

    I know you’re a biblical literalist and have a hard time with metaphors, but I thought this one was obvious; at least that’s how I understood it – otherwise it was not much of an argument about anything at all.

    In fact, you apparently know next to nothing about me. You cannot be a biblical literalist without a good understanding of metaphors and similes.

    I know you thought it was obvious; that’s the problem.

    It wasn’t meant to be an argument, it was meant to be a sarcastic barb with a twist of reductio ad absurdum, a specialty of CTZen

     

    … the ‘lies’ of living together before marriage (which so many people do, successfully) …

    Data is not the plural form of anecdote. Some people live healthy lives into their 90s as cigarette smokers. Yet it is well known — proven, even — that cigarette smoking is a health challenge.

    Some will swear they know of someone who died in a car collision while wearing a seat belt, asserting they would have lived had they not been wearing it.

    Yet it is proven that your chances of survival are better in a collision if you are properly wearing a seat belt.

    Even you probably recognize that a higher percentage of living-together situations are characterized as a test than the percentage of marriages are. To be sure, some individuals in marriages absolutely are seeing it as a testing phase, and some couples live together having made a strong commitment.

    But on balance more live-together environments are testing phases than are married environments.

    When all other things are equal, but there is one feature that is significantly different, the results will be different.

    That testing motif pervades everything else. Each member has at their disposal a much easier path to thinking “[he/she] doesn’t want me.” Each person is aware that bailing out is really easy. (That is a metaphor, where there is an implied similarity to jumping out of an airplane with a parachute on.) That awareness has an effect. Do you think employees on probation act differently than employees who have passed their probationary period? I can tell you, I have personally heard employees talking about how they need to be really careful, because they are still in their probationary period.

    If you think that there is zero reality in what I have said above, you are unable to meaningfully assess reality. If you think there is at least something to what I have just said, then it is, at the very least, an overstatement for you to call what I posted earlier a lie.

     

    … but from what I’ve observed and experienced of US society, I am personally very grateful to be preserved from certain of its overtly religious and essentially bigoted “values”.

    Yes, yet again showing that your understanding is rather poorly illuminated. (By the way, that’s a metaphor; I’m not actually talking about lighting.)

  47. 47 brebis noire Monday, August 9, 2010 at 9:54 am

    Comparing cigarette smoking to living together prior marriage is simply baffling. I have no idea what point you are attempting to make. As for your other comparisons, they’re objectionable because they have nothing to do with the reality of marriage, divorce and lives lived. I’m sorry that your viewpoint is so narrow and unable to accomodate other ways of being or thinking.

    And in spite of your gross lack of brevity, you still have not explained how your argument is not about running of people who wish to get married.

  48. 48 Brian Monday, August 9, 2010 at 4:11 pm

    Comparing cigarette smoking to living together prior marriage is simply baffling.

    Are you daft? You accuse me of being too simple to follow a metaphor, but you say something stupid like this?!? Whatdoes it take to get you to pay attention.

    I made no comparison of smoking cigarettes and living together outside marriage. I implied no comparison. If you are so scrambled that you don’t recognize that, perhaps it actually is not possible to communicate with you. Since you cannot follow a simple, simple analogue, the idea of communicating anything more complex or abstract than things like, “Please set this on the table” seems impossible

    Perhaps your thinking I was comparing the two explains why you see metaphors where there are none — you have some polymerizing aberration where anything you come into contact with gets conjoined in your thinking.

    What I did was give you examples of cases of mistakenly trying to press anecdotes into service as data that you would recognize as flawed attempts, to help you see why knowing couples who live together equitably does not constitute data about living together.

     

    I have no idea what point you are attempting to make.

    You’re telling me!

     

    I’m sorry that your viewpoint is so narrow and unable to accomodate other ways of being or thinking.

    As if you would be able to tell, when you can’t even follow simple, simple analogues!

     

    you still have not explained how your argument is not about running [out] of people who wish to get married.

    Yes, I did. You just are completely unable to follow simple points, so you missed it.

    Perhaps this is why you have adopted the political view that you have. Though I know very well that it is not the case for most liberals, perhaps you have adopted liberalism because it takes more mental prowess than you possess to be a conservative. Liberalism can be easily supported through appeals to emotionalism, and through emotional reactions, which seems to be your speed.

    It’s sad.

  49. 49 Cornelius T. Zen Monday, August 9, 2010 at 4:27 pm

    Good morrow, all!
    Since both Jasper and Brian like to quote various passages from the Bible, here, I offer from the book of Oscar Hammerstein II:

    You’ve got to be taught to hate and fear,
    You’ve got to be taught from year to year,
    It’s got to be drummed in your dear little ear
    You’ve got to be carefully taught.

    You’ve got to be taught to be afraid
    Of people whose eyes are oddly made,
    And people whose skin is a diff’rent shade,
    You’ve got to be carefully taught.

    You’ve got to be taught before it’s too late,
    Before you are six or seven or eight,
    To hate all the people your relatives hate,
    You’ve got to be carefully taught!

    Hate is learned. It is not natural to the human heart.

    Man is not a rational animal; he is a rationalizing animal. –
    Robert A. Heinlein.

    Fear is natural, as it contributes to self-preservation. But hate is learned, and it requires regular reinforcement (otherwise the Nuremburg rallies would have been unnecessary).

    Hate also releases cortisol, a sweet catabolic hormone that is designed to provide emergency energy for an organism under attack. It literally answers the question, “What’s eating you?”
    Cortisol slows the kidneys, suppresses the immunological system, causes bone calcium to be released into the blood (osteoporosis, anyone?) and throws off the balance of electrolytes.

    Fear is natural, hate is learned, and I have yet to be convinced that it is ever a good thing – sort of like explaining that plutonium is a great source of fiber.

    When a person hates, that person grants power to the object of that person’s hatred, making that object disproportionately important to that person. Since it is not particularly good for one, why would one indulge in it, as one might a destructive drug? Does it feel good? Does it improve one’s health, put monmey in one’s pocket, or improve one’s compatibility with one’s acquaintances? Maybe it does, somewhere, somehow, but somehow, I’m not convinced.

    Hate is like crystal meth – easy to come by (once you know where to look) and possibly, for all the wrong reasons, addictive.

    Please don’t waste your breath trying to tell anybody that hate has any foundation in reason. Reason guides us to do the things that are good for us, and for all whom we value. Hate has no such foundation.

    I bid you peace – CTZen

  50. 50 Brian Monday, August 9, 2010 at 4:27 pm

    Actually, I might be being too hard on you. I was thinking about it as I waited for my dinner to cook. I have been presuming that you are an adult, but I don’t really know that. Are you a teenager? I mean, It really would not be fair to expect you to act as if you have experience that you have not lived long enough to have.

    If you are a teenager, I will adapt myself to that when responding to you. Also, if you are, please accept my heartfelt apology for expecting more from you than is proper to do.

  51. 51 Brian Monday, August 9, 2010 at 5:05 pm

    If it is Oscar Hammerstein II’s belief that humans need “to be taught to hate and fear,” he is not really worth following the advice of, due to poorly understanding people. Almost before they can talk children will mistreat one another, and children less than 6 months old know how to fear.

    Hate does not need to be learned. It is a natural emotion. What needs learning is how to use intellect to tame it appropriately, just as we need to learn to tame anger, and even affection. (Affection shown at the wrong time to the wrong person can, in some cases, get you killed.)

    Actually, all emotions are natural. It is a mistake to use them in some cases where that is the urge, but emotions themselves are a neutral thing, and the full panoply is natural: fear, anger, love, antipathy, affection, hesitancy, joy, Eros, amusement, scorn, excitement, boredom, friendship, allegiance — all of them.

    It is true that “Fear is natural, as it contributes to self-preservation.” It is untrue that “hate is learned, and it requires regular reinforcement.” some hate requires that, as did the level of racism that the Nuremburg rallies engendered. Apparently, though, antipathy toward outsiders is very natural, as it exists everywhere, and has existed at all points of human history. It even exists in the wild.

    I have even had cats that hate each other. Grizzly and Calvin, any time they saw one another — even from greater tha 60 or 70 feet away, would run toward each other to tangle aggressively. Grizzly’s territorialism was converted into a hatred toward Calvin.

    I am sure that you and I are in agreement that there is far too much hatred in the world, and that the vast majority of it is addle-brained. For instance, the ongoing generational hatred between the Hatfields & the McCoys, or the grudges that are still held stemming from the military action(s) of the War Between the States.

    But differing from you, I see it as a much more complex issue, one that is natural (which is not synonymous with either good or desireable), and finely woven into human nature (not all of which is commendable).

    Of course hate feels good; that’s why people engage in so much of it. It gives the hater hope that perceived wrongs will be righted through vengeance. You and I both know that that can be tragically destructive, but that doesn’t argue against the idea that it does feel good.

    I mean, think of this witticism: “Stress is the body’s reaction to avoiding slapping silly someone who richly deserves it.” This derives its humor from our recognition that vengeance is at least momentarily rewarding, and realizing as well how wrong it is to participate in it.

    Those who have not learned to control their vengeful urges will be doomed to seek opportunities to exercise vengeance, and probably will spend some time in jail as well. But that does not argue against vengeance feeling good, nor against it being a natural emotion, and/or motive.

    Less vengeance and less hatred would be, as the photographer of my wedding was wont to say, “moh behdda.” But that will come about by misleading ourselves about the nature of hatred. Accurate assessment is preferable in bringing about desired outcomes.

    One case where this is especially so is where one side of a debate accuses the other side of hatred or \fear where neither of those are motives. Just as failing to recognize something wrong where it exists impairs bringing things to right, ascribing that wrong where it does not exist muddies the water. neither is desirable. An accurate perspective is best.

  52. 52 brebis noire Monday, August 9, 2010 at 6:50 pm

    Thanks Brian, for reminding me that a certain polite, civil and nicey-nice evangelicalism is really just a thin and brittle veneer that covers an awful lot of fear, anger and insecurity.

    You’ve continually and at length resorted to lame analogies and ad hominems in your responses to me, therefore I don’t think it’s worth my time to argue any more on this. Besides, my almost-teenager just hit a a few doubles this evening, putting an end to a heartbreaking slump, so I’m in much too good a mood to even wonder why you’d think I was a teenager myself.

  53. 53 Brian Monday, August 9, 2010 at 8:47 pm

    Thanks Brian, for reminding me that a certain polite, civil and nicey-nice evangelicalism is really just a thin and brittle veneer that covers an awful lot of fear, anger and insecurity.

    It’s always the case that non-Christians call on Christians to act a certain way that will be to the benefit of the non-Christian doing the asking. And then, usually, to top it off, they call the Christian a hypocrite!

    And then you trot out that stupid idea that when someone disagrees, it stems from fear, and/or anger and/or insecurity. Elitism is not really very compelling in making your case against one who disagrees. Just a tip: just as the first person to raise the name “Hitler” has lost, in the same way the first person to assert that their opponent holds their view because of a fear, a phobia or because of some hatred they hold also has lost. Wait, let me guess, you want to know why I called you Hitler. Just to assist you before you bring it up, I didn’t.

    I am devoid of fear in these exchanges on this thread.
    I am frustrated by your brutish attempts at intellectualism through gall and sneering, but I’m not angry.
    I am not insecure. If I were I would have been unable to continue on here at UROH long ago.

     

    You’ve continually … resorted to lame analogies …

    Of course they’re lame to you! They escape your understanding! What else could you feel?

     

    … and ad hominems in your responses to me …

    Here I go bringing a gun to a knife fight; but like Pop-Eye, ’I yam what I yam…”

    I have not responded to you ad hominem. Insulting you does not constitute an ad hominem. Insulting you does not constitute an ad hominem. It is ad hominem when you use the insult as if it were evidence in the point you are making. When the point itself is insulting, then the insult is not an ad hominem attempt to make a point, it is just an insult.

    I thought you might be a teenager because you are so abysmally bad at making points, as well as at recognizing one. It occurred to me that it had a lot of the character of arguments by teenagers who, by virtue of their inexperience, have not had a chance to learn any better. After all, I cannot see nor hear you, all I can do is read what you type.

    Seemed sporting to at least check my premises before concluding that you just aren’t capable of intelligent debate. You are unable to recognize points when they are made, you have a large chip on your shoulder, and so on.

    I find it a little ironic that CTZen is having the discussion on anger with me, when here you are, right next door, blogwise speaking, and you’re practically consumed with anger.

    I don’t like modern liberalism (no surprise there), and find liberals often hard to make conversation with. But I don’t despise liberals.

    On the other hand, it appears to me from your posts that you do, in fact, despise me. Others here have actually said they despise me. (I am “unpacking” fuck you! to actually convey “I despise you.” Seems a safe translation.)

  54. 54 hemmingforddogblog Tuesday, August 10, 2010 at 1:12 am

    Anybody else think that Brian is suffering a serious case of verbal diarrhea? and enough with the religious quotes… Yer aiming them at the wrong audience…

  55. 55 brebis noire Tuesday, August 10, 2010 at 3:48 am

    Brian, you write these endless posts, which, when I read them, I feel like I’m being lectured, harangued, talked and projected at (re: anger). If you’d have actually read my posts you’d have noted that while I pick at and mock your arguments and your position as an evangelical, I’ve never come close to pulling an insult of your person. I have no idea who you are besides except from what you’ve written, and what you write is what I’ve been poking at. Additionally, if you can’t address points directly, and make your own clearer and especially more concise, that’s not my problem. If you still think I’m a teenager, then you must hold teenagers’ writing abilities and ability to process life experience in very high regard.

  56. 56 Janus Tuesday, August 10, 2010 at 9:52 am

    “It’s always the case that non-Christians call on Christians to act a certain way that will be to the benefit of the non-Christian doing the asking. And then, usually, to top it off, they call the Christian a hypocrite!”

    That’s because it’s strictly a Christian rule to treat everyone with niceness and “love” — a rule they tell everyone else about and then promptly forget to follow, themselves.

    It’s the Christians who break their own rules — rules that do not bind anyone else. Why should they not be called hypocrites?

  57. 57 Janus Tuesday, August 10, 2010 at 9:57 am

    “I don’t like modern liberalism…”

    Then don’t be a modern liberal. But don’t you dare try to stop anyone else from being what they want to be! No one here lives by your standards — whatever they are.

  58. 58 Bleatmop Tuesday, August 10, 2010 at 8:56 pm

    “Anybody else think that Brian is suffering a serious case of verbal diarrhea?”

    Yes. I’m surprised he’s not seriously dehydrated with how long it’s gone on too. I do find it impressive that I haven’t caught him simply copy and pasting his responses yet though. He usually synthesizes his own diatribes.

  59. 59 Brian Wednesday, August 11, 2010 at 9:35 am

    That’s because it’s strictly a Christian rule to treat everyone with niceness and ‘love’ 

    Part of the problem is the misunderstanding that “nice” and “loving” are synonyms. Both Christians and non-Christians make this mistake.

    It is not a Christian rule to be nice. The best example is when Jesus fashioned whips out of the ropes, and used those whips to drive the money changers out of the temple courtyard. I don’t think they though He was being nice. There are other examples where He was much more verbally harsh than I have been here.

    This is not the normal day-to-day behavior, but it is not outside the pale, either.

     

    ‘I don’t like modern liberalism…’

    Then don’t be a modern liberal. But don’t you dare try to stop anyone else from being what they want to be! No one here lives by your standards — whatever they are.

    OK, let me be more explicit. I believe that modern liberalism — as opposed to classic liberalism — is a threat to liberty and to society. Just as a member of society, I would have to oppose it for that reason.

    But beyond that, as a Christian, and therefore caring about the fate of others as I might not were I not a Christian, I am concerned by the suffering that modern liberalism causes others, and so I oppose it for that reason as well.

    I thought it would be simpler to wrap that all up in the statement “I don’t like modern liberalism,” but I see now that the packaging prevented getting the point across.

    I will always try to stop someone from embracing liberalism through dialog, whenever and where ever I can. I will never try to employ more forceful measures than that.

    And finally, because it is my right as a member of society, I will do what I can to legislatively and through law block the implementation of modern liberalism, just as you try to block modern conservatism.

    When you say, “But don’t you dare try to stop anyone else from being what they want to be!” you are issuing an imperative that I live by your standards. That is the very thing that you are telling me not to do when you say that.

    To a certain level, all people tell others to live by their standards. Beyond that certain level, all people avoid telling others to live by their standards. Where that level is, differs for each individual. As one example, almost everyone will command, as a bystander, “Hey! Don’t hit!” to children, or even adults. But that is an imposition of one’s standards upon another.

     

    Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocrities.”   — Albert Einstein

    This quote has much more horsepower than the situation calls for (none of us are Einstein, clearly!), but is analogous.

    I produce a large volume of words, no doubt. It is how I communicate. All my life I have heard from those who communicate with fewer words that I use too many words. Sometimes, as here sometimes, that also comes with “Don’t impose your standards on others!” I’m used to it.

    It has given me trouble in one are though. I long to be a songwriter, and come up with really good orchestrations. But when it comes to writing lyrics, I just can’t…

     

    I’m surprised he’s not seriously dehydrated with how long it’s gone on too.

    I keep a cup of coffee nearby, at all times…

  60. 60 Janus Wednesday, August 11, 2010 at 10:31 am

    “I believe that modern liberalism — as opposed to classic liberalism — is a threat to liberty and to society.”

    No it’s not. It might threaten your definition of “liberty” and “society,” because it changes them. Change is necessary. And inevitable. If you don’t change with the times, you’re the one who threatens yourself. No one else does that. We’re all too busy changing.

    “I am concerned by the suffering that modern liberalism causes others…”

    I don’t believe you. I think you’re mostly concerned with having to move with the times and get yourself out of that nice, comfy rut into which you’ve settled. Not changing with the times will cause more harm to anyone than change will. But if you really want to stay in your rut, I’ll bet that everyoe else will be satisfied to leave you there while they move on.

    “I will always try to stop someone from embracing liberalism…”

    That makes you anti-choice. You are more concerned with your own comfort than with anyone else’s (it’s a natural trait, and it would make you completely and understandibly normal), but your idea of comfort is for things around you to stay the same as that to which you’ve become accustomed. You don’t want to move, so you try and keep anyone else from doing it, either. I guess the old quote is right, after all — misery really does love company!

    “I will do what I can to legislatively and through law block the implementation of modern liberalism, just as you try to block modern conservatism.”

    You are so wrong. No one is trying to block you from being what you call a “modern conservative,” if that’s what you want. No one is passing laws making you marry a man or preventing you from going to the church of your choice. But by the same token, more and more people are demanding to be unimpeded in their own choices. You are NOT going to stop progress. You might not want it for yourself, but you are not allowed to keep it from anyone else if that’s what they want!

    “When you say, “But don’t you dare try to stop anyone else from being what they want to be!” you are issuing an imperative that I live by your standards”

    Well, that’s just so much bullshit and you know it as well as everyone else knows it. I’m not telling you any such thing. You can live by whatever standards you like. But you’re not allowed to set those standards for anyone else.

    I think I actually know what’s really bothering you, Brian. You’re afraid of being alone. And you see all these people moving ahead of you, leaving you behind. In the dark.

    You have a choice, and it’s only your choice: you can stay there, or you can keep up. But if you stay, you stay alone. If you keep up, you’ll have company, but you have to keep up on your own steam. No one is going to carry you.

  61. 61 Brian Wednesday, August 11, 2010 at 11:24 pm

    Change, per se, is not the issue. Liberalism has increased the size of government tremendously, and that threatens liberty.

    Modern liberalism sees the government, and an elite of experts (health experts, child-raising experts, diet & exercise experts, finance experts, ad infinitim) as better able to make decisions for us, and that threatens liberty.

    It is an infantile argument to accuse anyone who disagrees with you, or who thinks a certain idea is a bad idea of being afraid. It doesn’t take any thought, it’s just a knee-jerk reaction allegation.

     

    &nbsp‘I am concerned by the suffering that modern liberalism causes others…’

    I don’t believe you. I think you’re mostly concerned with having to move with the times and get yourself out of that nice, comfy rut into which you’ve settled. Not changing with the times will cause more harm to anyone than change will. But if you really want to stay in your rut, I’ll bet that everyoe else will be satisfied to leave you there while they move on.
    Not all change is good change. But even if that statement weren’t true, my problems with liberalism have nothing to do with change, and everything to do with seeing it as ill-informed, unable to accommodate objective history, with it having a complete failure to understand both economics and demographic-scope human behavior, and so on.

     

    That makes you anti-choice. You are more concerned with your own comfort than with anyone else’s (it’s a natural trait, and it would make you completely and understandably normal), but your idea of comfort is for things around you to stay the same as that to which you’ve become accustomed.

    Think of this for a minute: A person is diagnosed with cancer, has a drug prescribed that both you and they believe will be effective. They tell you that they are going to put the bottle on the night-stand, and let the healing energy of the drug glow on them during their sleep. You, on the other hand, think this is a stupid idea, that they should swallow the pills as prescribed, and you want to make them do the healthy thing. Would you say that you would be legitimately labeled as anti-choice with respect to this person?

    I suppose you could make the case, but I think to do so would so undermine the meaning of “anti-choice” as to render it almost useless.

    I oppose some choices. So do you. For instance, you oppose my choice to oppose some choices. Everyone is anti with respect to some choices, and not with respect to some others.

    But this misguided, mis-apprehended notion that my positions stem from opposition to change per se, discomfort with change, fear, anger, phobia, is going to prevent you from understanding me at all. They say that if the only tool you have is a hammer, everything becomes a nail for you. This concept you have with respect to me is the equivalent of having a tool set that is grossly limited, compared to reality.

     

    You are NOT going to stop progress.

    Implementing policies that you think will bring about one result, but which bring the opposite is hardly what one would call progress, even if it is movement. Liberalism, which ironically has adopted the moniker “progressivism” accomplishes the opposite of what is desired in far too many categories for it to be legitimately, or accurately called progress.

     

    I think I actually know what’s really bothering you, Brian.

    I believe that you are being honest when you say that, but your particulars make it clear that you do not.

     

    You’re afraid of being alone. And you see all these people moving ahead of you, leaving you behind. In the dark.

    I am afraid the individuals who wind up in positions of power are going to continue destroying the worldwide economy, plunging millions, hundreds of millions of people into profound hardship, leading once again to a world-wide war.

    Progressivism has so destroyed Greece that Greece is not able to defend herself. Fortunately, no one is currently threatening Greece, and fortunately, Greece has allies who everyone knows would come to her aid. But as things are going, Greece’s allies will become unable to help before long.

    That kind of situation makes military speculation more likely.

    Though California is not exposed to the same kinds of dangers a nation (such as Greece) are, but “progressives” have destroyed the economy of California, trying to use the state government to implement ideas that there simply was no money to provide. But in their utopianistic world view, and lack of understanding of even basic economics, they pulled the state over the cliff anyway.

    FDR’s “progressive” policies took a significant downturn that would have lasted a few years, and made it worse, and extended it to more like 10 years. Obama’s policies (with a good deal of help from Congress, of course) is taking a significant downturn, and making it much worse. And now they want to do substantially more of what has already made things so much worse than they otherwise would have been. This comes from having a really bad grasp of economics, along with a determination to implement ideas now, while he can, even though there is no money to pay for them. This is much like what FDR did, and it is having the same effect: reduced economic growth, reduced consumer confidence, and increased unemployment. These results can increase the taste for war, too. As I said, “progressive” polices bringing exactly the opposite of what “progressives” say they want, and believe they are creating.

    If progressives drive hard in reverse, and conservatives stand fast (a hypothetical, since that is not what conservatives are doing), then by the end of the journey the stand-fasters, having not moved, will be farther ahead.

    In a differnt domain, all over the world, educational systems are creating less scholastic abilities, and less ability to recognize when a good case has been made, vs. propaganda. This is a harbinger of really bad things to come. The most recent example I know of of this was how the German people were led to adopt horrible positions through emotionalism, not (apparently) having the wherewithal to recognize that “the emperor (or Fuhrer, if you will) had no clothes,” so to speak.

    None of these misgivings have to do with loneliness. None of them have to do with being left behind. I don’t live in Greece nor California, so their problems don’t make me lonely, nor make me feel left behind. (Relieved I don’t live there? You bet!) It does make me feel sorrow for the people who do live there though.

     

    … but you have to keep up on your own steam. No one is going to carry you.

    Well now, that’s not a very progressive thought. Where’s my welfare that’s supposed to provide the steam for me? (Kinda snarky, I know. Couldn’t help myself.)

     

    Listen, this was a good post on your part. I disagreed with much of it, as I have laid out above, but it had a lot of content, and was an interesting read. Thanks, Janus.

  62. 62 hemmingforddogblog Thursday, August 12, 2010 at 1:10 am

    F*ing amazing! Brian can write ad nauseum about how bad the US economy is and never once mention George Bush. Talk about focus! George W. Bush was no progressive and he pretty much trashed your financial system, Brian. Or weren’t you aware of this?

    And Obama? He inherited GWB’s spectacular mess and added to it by the massive bailout of the financial morons who are basically running your country. They are your new overlords. There was no way the financial industry would take a hit…that would have hurt the rich people.
    1
    Get real Brian

  63. 63 brebis noire Thursday, August 12, 2010 at 3:44 am

    Brian appears not only unaware of George W. Bush (and his posse’s) role in trashing the economy, but oblivious to the tax cuts applying uniquely to the rich, AND the growing chasm (we won’t talk about a mere gap anymore) between the very rich and the rest of us. Not to mention how it’s become screamingly obvious that you don’t make it in the US anymore by working, you can only make it by inheriting, making friends with the very wealthy, becoming a celebrity à la Palin or “starting up a business” (aka scam).

    Much like Berlusconi, who rails in his speeches against “communists” while the economy of Italy falls in tatters around him – never once mentioning issues such as the Mafia, or concentration of wealth in the hands of a few, e.g., Brian and his Tea Party pals rail against progressivists, liberals and socialists. And like Berlusconi, they’re not to be taken seriously.

  64. 65 Janus Thursday, August 12, 2010 at 8:50 am

    “Liberalism has increased the size of government tremendously…”

    Oh, please. Government is a hydra — it grows its own heads, and it does not depend on the social temperature to do it.

    “Not all change is good change.”

    Of course it is. For somebody. Certainly not for everybody all the time, but all change is for the good. You’re only objecting to what you call “liberalism” because it makes you squirm and feel icky. So for you, it’s “bad.” But you don’t get to tell anyone else that they’re responsible for making you feel comfortable and safe.

    “…my problems with liberalism have…everything to do with it having a complete failure to understand both economics and demographic-scope human behavior…”

    Like Social Security? Are you going to resist collecting it when your turn comes? Assuming, of course, that it’s still in existence when your turn comes.

    “You, on the other hand, think this is a stupid idea, that they should swallow the pills as prescribed, and you want to make them do the healthy thing.”

    Here’s the difference between you and me (and pay attention, ’cause the rest of your continuing conversations with me are the test): I might think it’s a stupid idea, but no way do I want to “make” him do anything other than what he wants to do! I fhe doesn’t want to swallow the pills, I’m not going to shove them down his throat. Unlike some people in this conversation.

    “…you oppose my choice to oppose some choices.”

    Not when you make your own choices, I don’t. It’s when you try to interfere with others’ making their own choices that I oppose you. You really need to stop thinking you know best for anyone except yourself.

    “I am afraid the individuals who wind up in positions of power are going to continue destroying the worldwide economy, plunging millions, hundreds of millions of people into profound hardship, leading once again to a world-wide war.”

    That will happen regardless of whether or not gay men and women are allowed to marry. And it will happen because people are essentially lazy, not because they are “progresive.”

    “Well now, that’s not a very progressive thought. Where’s my welfare that’s supposed to provide the steam for me?”

    Surprise! I’m not a “progressive!” Why would I care about your “welfare?” And that’s not snark on my part. Keep up or fall behind. That goes for everyone. Even me.

  65. 66 Brian Thursday, August 12, 2010 at 8:52 am

    1) Bush did not create a “mess” that was “spectacular.”
    2) Polling shows that people and pundits, both, are adopting the position that Obama owns the current situation, since he has been in office long enough.

    Talk about being left behind!

     

    To expand on those two points:

    Congress has a lot to do with economic policy. The president exerts leadership too, but it is not all the president. In 2006 a Democrat congress was elected, and they were sufficiently hostile that they played a larger role than is usual for a congress in the US economy.

    Bush spent way too much — there can be no disagreement with that. But Obama has already trebled the full eight years of Bush’s deficit spending (in concert with Congress).

    The congressional majority and Obama together are a leftist team. So that still indicates that leftism has a horrible understanding of economics, Bush’s involvement notwithstanding, and shifting the focus to a bogeyman won’t change that. Bush has been out of office for a couple of year, he is not responsible for California’s economic polices, and he is not responsible for Greece’s economic policies.

    George W. Bush was no progressive…

    The seniors prescription drug benefit was definitely an implementation of the sorts of things “progressives” support, especially so because the benefit was not set up to test seniors’ means. Many seniors (certainly not all, but many) are financially well off due to a lifetime of wise financial decisions. There is no reason for taxpayers to purchase prescriptions for seniors who are well off.

    The No Child Left Behind was a massive intrusion of central government into education.

    Some aspects of Bush were quite conservative. Some were much more what would be expected from a dedicated leftist.

  66. 67 Brian Thursday, August 12, 2010 at 9:00 am

    … but oblivious to the tax cuts applying uniquely to the rich …

    This is an example of “The Big Lie,” something false repeated often enough to be taken as true. Bush’s tax cuts were across the board. People at the lowest bracket had their taxes lowered from 15% to 10%, a 33% reduction in taxes. Beyond that, the minimum income to be required to pay anything was raised, increasing the number of people paying no taxes at all. Apparently this is the pot calling the kettle oblivious…

     

    the growing chasm (we won’t talk about a mere gap anymore) between the very rich and the rest of us.

    This is another example of “The Big Lie.”

    What is actually happening is more people are moving from the lower rungs to the upper rungs. This leaves a gap where they used to be, giving the appearance of the “gap between the rich and the poor” growing. But it is merely financial sleight of hand pressed into service as propaganda — and you took the bait.

  67. 68 Brian Thursday, August 12, 2010 at 9:53 am

    Government is a hydra — it grows its own heads, and it does not depend on the social temperature to do it.

    Though there certainly is always pressure in this direction, “government” is made up of people, and the politics of those people matter. There have been (woefully few) periods of shrinking the size of the central government.

    But beyond that, the rate of the expansion of government has been quite different under Republicans and under Democrats. If you are going too fast, you can’t always stop immediately. Sometime you need to use the brakes to slow first, and get around to stopping a little later. You do what you can.

     

    Of course it is. For somebody. Certainly not for everybody all the time, but all change is for the good.

    It is possible for a change — some specific change — to actually be bad for everyone. but besides that, you should realize that our discussion is on a macro scale. So pointing out that every change benefits someone only injects muddying of the water, since that statement applies to a scope we are not discussing at.

    And the idea that all change is for the good just seems to fail to take reality into account.

     

        ‘…my problems with liberalism have…everything
         to do with it having a complete failure to
         understand both economics and demographic-scope
         human behavior…’

    Like Social Security?

    Perhaps you hav heard that Social Security is on the cusp of failure — spectacular failure.

    Social Security is just another example of a socialist idea that robs the future to pay the present.

    Had Social Security taxes not been taken out of people’s pay, we don’t really know what the result would have been. But there is a chance that 1) with that money in peoples’ hands, the populace would have been sufficiently better off that people requiring SocSec as things are would not have, and that 2) with the government not providing charity for them (giving them a sense that they need do nothing because it was “covered”), enough people would have been giving personal charity, eliminating the need that SocSec sought to handle.

    What did people do before SocSec came around?!? Also, you should keep in mind that virtually the whole world saw a general increase in financial position as the 20th century advanced. SocSec might have been a case of jumping the gun, “solving” a problem that was set to be solved without any action being needed at just about the same time.

    Whatever I do or do not do has no bearing on assessing whether a given program is a good idea or a bad idea. I cannot make SocSec function by not taking it, and I cannot make it fail by taking it. If there were a ballot item to eliminate it tomorrow, I would vote to eliminate it, because I would think there never would be another chance, not because I think it should be eliminated tomorrow.

    But it is absolutely true that SocSec cannot survive.
     

    Here’s the difference between you and me (and pay attention, ’cause the rest of your continuing conversations with me are the test): I might think it’s a stupid idea, but no way do I want to “make” him do anything other than what he wants to do! If he doesn’t want to swallow the pills, I’m not going to shove them down his throat. Unlike some people in this conversation.

    I can’t press this info into use in our further conversation without a clarification. You have named 2 extremes, one being physically shoving the pills down his throat. (I, too, would not physically shove the pills down his throat, btw.)

    Would you brow beat the person? (“Look you have to actually take these pills! Please! leave the bottle on your night stand while you’re sleeping, but take one out and swallow it in the morning!” and so on.) Would you not bring it up at all? Where is the level where you would insert yourself into this example?

     

    It’s when you try to interfere with others making their own choices that I oppose you.

    But my point is that that, too, is opposition, making it seem to me that your point not as absolute as you would portray it.

     

    My band (I play lead guitar) is headlining an outdoor festival Saturday afternoon (it’s supposed to be 94ºF — 34.5ºC), and so I need to practice my guitar for tonight’s pre-show rehearsal.

  68. 69 Janus Thursday, August 12, 2010 at 10:57 am

    “It is possible for a change — some specific change — to actually be bad for everyone.”

    Give us a ferinstance.

    “…you should realize that our discussion is on a macro scale.”

    Who decided that? I musta missed the memo.

    “Perhaps you hav heard that Social Security is on the cusp of failure — spectacular failure.”

    That’s why I mentioned it, duh. Its implimentation was based on the idea that families will never change and that people will always have more and more children to grow up and pay into it with their taxes. Guess what? Social ideas changed! Guess what else? It’s gonna keep happening!

    “But it is absolutely true that SocSec cannot survive.”

    Because it cannot change.

    “Would you brow beat the person?”

    Not on your — or his — life!

    “Would you not bring it up at all?”

    That’s the idea.

    “Where is the level where you would insert yourself into this example?”

    That “level” does not exist.

    “But my point is that that, too, is opposition, making it seem to me that your point not as absolute as you would portray it.”

    Your point is off by about ninety degrees. My point was that you get to make your own decisions for your own self. You do not get to make anyone else’s decisions for them. That is interference. And if you want to interpret that as interfering with your interference, well, fill your boots. But if you persist, you might want to choose to wear armor…although I won’t insist that you do. Your choice.

  69. 70 barklee Thursday, August 12, 2010 at 10:59 am

    There’s Brian, and then there’s reality…

    http://www.oreilly-sucks.com/bushtaxcuts.htm

  70. 71 Brian Thursday, August 12, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    Barklee,

    I did not say it was not inclined to the rich. You were completely out of touch when you said the cuts applied uniquely to the rich. I explained that they were not uniquely applied to the rich by pointing out that everyone got a tax cut.

    Cutting taxes — when they are too high, please note the qualifier — improves the economy. That only happens, though, if the cuts change the rate of flow of money to the government (I emphasize “rate,” because under these conditions cutting the rate actually increases the amount). Since the bottom 50% of taxpayers pay less than 5% of the total revenue gathered through taxation, you could eliminate their taxes completely without generating much of a positive effect in the economy. To get the beneficial effect, you need to change the flow rate to the government. That can only be done by modifying payments where most of them take place — with those who make a lot of money.

    By the way, we don’t tax the rich — those who have a lot — we tax those who make a lot, who likely are becoming rich.

    Finally, many of these you call “rich” are actually individuals who have small businesses set up so that the company’s income shows up as their personal income. When that income (which is calculated as gross rather than net), we powerfully affect that business’s ability to grow, hire additional workers, or (in some cases) to even stay in business. Because of that, this snarky class warfare directly inhibits the financial health of the nation, and therefore the prosperity of the nation’s citizens — at every level.

  71. 72 hemmingforddogblog Friday, August 13, 2010 at 1:29 am

    “When that income (which is calculated as gross rather than net), we powerfully affect that business’s ability to grow, hire additional workers, or (in some cases) to even stay in business.”

    If you are saying that small business owners are paying taxes on gross income rather than net, I say that you are full of merde. What nonsense! These are someone else’s talking points. “…to even stay in business.” OMG! OMG! I have never heard of a business closing down because they had to pay tax…sorry. You sound like crazy Larry Kudlow whose mantra is “Well, Bob, if we lower taxes, that would solve the problem!” Even if the problem is people speeding in a school zone. Larry would lower taxes.

    Oh, Brian, people PICK the most advantageous tax structure for their business not the government! Suivant…

  72. 73 Brian Friday, August 13, 2010 at 3:05 pm

    Dang!, it’s not like this is complicated.

    If a business is on the margin, a slight shift in cost v. income can spell the difference between staying in business, or going out of business. It tells me a lot that that appears to be news to you.

    Of course such a business failure would not be reported as “going out of business due to taxation,” nor as “going out of business due to the cost of electricity,” or “… to the cost of printer paper.”

    Pretty crazy, huh…

  73. 74 Rob F Friday, August 13, 2010 at 6:12 pm

    An increase in personal income taxes will have no effect on sole proprietorships and partnerships, as those entities do not pay tax. Rather, their profix “flows through” to the owner(s) and is considered part of the owners’ income. Similarly, an increase in a VAT or sales tax will not hurt (almost any) business as sales taxes are only charged to final consumers (so inventory is exempt) and on VATs like the GST or HST, a business deducts the VAT it pays from the VAT it collects on behalf of the government.

  74. 75 brebis noire Saturday, August 14, 2010 at 2:26 am

    “If a business is on the margin, a slight shift in cost v. income can spell the difference between staying in business, or going out of business. It tells me a lot that that appears to be news to you.”

    Um, Brian, I wouldn’t want to accuse you of having little or no real-world experience, but you’ll have to explain yourself a bit better. Comparing direct expenses such as energy costs to taxes (any kind of tax: income, payroll, VAT…)? Excuse me? Would you also quit working or refuse a pay raise because it increases your income tax rate? And then when you’re asked why you’re not working, do you say that the income tax “costs” were just like the gas it cost you to drive your car to work, but really, it was the taxes that pushed you over the edge and made you quit?

  75. 76 Janus Saturday, August 14, 2010 at 9:31 am

    “If a business is on the margin, a slight shift in cost v. income can spell the difference between staying in business, or going out of business.”

    And this bothers you why? Unless that’s your business that’s on the margin, why do you care? Businesses that cannot thrive in their market are a symptom of an over-population of those kinds of businesses, and that makes the marketplace inefficient.

    You’re arguing as if you think businesses are actual living beings — that they have a “right to live.”

    They do not.

  76. 77 southern quebec Saturday, August 14, 2010 at 11:18 am

    Brian, you didn’t address the ridiculous statement that businesses pay tax on gross rather than net. I would like you to expand on this because I find it fascinating.

    BTW I am an accountant…just a heads up…

  77. 78 Cornelius T. Zen Sunday, August 15, 2010 at 12:50 pm

    Good morrow, all!
    I shall commit a great heresy here. You have been warned:
    Where does any business get its money? From customers who pay for that business’s products or services. How does a business establish a reasonable price for its products or services? By taking into account all costs associated with doing business — including taxes. In other words, all taxes which a business is required to pay in the course of doing business will be included in the price paid by the end user of the product or service.
    Now, who does not understand that? Should that business price itself out of the market, and find that its marginal revenues do not meet its marginal costs, the business will most likely close its doors. Does that make sense?
    So, who is actually paying the business tax? The customer. You. Me. Joe Sixpack. Thurston Howell the 27th. Whoever is buying, is paying the tax. When you tax a business, you tax its customers.
    You pay at the pump. You pay at the checkout. You pay at the closing. Ultimately, you are paying for everything, and everything will cost more, the longer you live.
    So, instead of a tax on income, you pay a tax on whatever you consume, which, actually, puts the control in your hands. The less you consume, the less tax you pay. Teach enough people to consume less, and less tax revenue will flow to government.
    So, reduce income taxes, for the working middle class, and more people will spend more money, and thus pay more tax at the pump and the checkout.
    OCTJMO – ICBW – CTZen

  78. 79 Bleatmop Monday, August 16, 2010 at 12:10 pm

    Consumption taxes are regressive. The higher the consumption tax, the higher the cost of everything. That also includes basic amenities such as bread, eggs, milk, ect. The higher the consumption tax, the higher the tax on the poor since they have to spend virtually everything every month just to survive. Income tax is the most equitable, combined with Sin taxes on things such as alcohol, cigarettes, and McDonalds, as well as perhaps a consumption tax on luxury goods only is, in my opinion, the way to go.

  79. 80 Cornelius T. Zen Monday, August 16, 2010 at 4:40 pm

    Good morrow, all!
    Bleatmop: As long as government has to spend, it has to tax. And government has to spend as long as citizens insist on anything in the way of government service.
    Income tax would be equitable, except for all the loopholes built in to keep rich people from leaving the country altogether. The best thing to do is to have a cutoff point, below which the poor pay no income tax at all.
    And who says you have to have that latest plasma big-screen, or update your car every two years? People insist on being dumb with their own money, and then they complain that the government spends too much.
    Ever notice that the rich don’t buy Cadillacs, they buy Mercedes? They don’t buy domestic anything, because when you have that much money, buying domestic is simply not done. They send money out of the country in so many ways, they actually bleed the economy instead of feeding it. Tax breaks for the rich go offshore. This is a good thing, how?
    You want tax breaks? Buy American. Build American. Invest American. Create jobs at home, not in Mexico or Taiwan. Refuse to buy or invest in any company which sends jobs overseas.
    Too little, too late – CTZen

  80. 81 Bleatmop Monday, August 16, 2010 at 9:46 pm

    CTZen: I’m aware that a government has to tax if it intents to spend. I agree with Joe Biden that paying your taxes is patriotic. I’m also not advocating having an income tax that is not progressive (meaning that the poor pay no tax while the rich pay much tax). In fact, I’m very much for a progressive tax and I’m fighting for it in the place that I live.

    To the point about the rich spending money outside of their boarders; that’s why I said a consumption tax on luxury goods. That includes ones bought in another country and brought home. I’m also against loopholes for the rich, or anyone really. Also, I don’t say that you have to have that latest big screen plasma TV or update your car every two year. In fact, that kind of rampant consumerism makes me ill.

    I don’t know how sending a countries wealth outside of its boarders through consumerism is a good thing. Foreign aid that takes place in infrastructure building, education, and
    feeding the hungry is a very good way to send your countries wealth outside of its boarders.

    I’m not asking for tax breaks, though buying American won’t help me in creating tax breaks. I prefer to buy Canadian (being Canadian) when I can, and always local when I can.

    My point still stands. Consumption taxes are regressive and going to a consumption tax only system would only help the rich. What do they care if they pay a little extra for everything if they no longer have to pay 50% tax on income over $250,000??? If I were to be rich (I’m not), I would be right behind you cheering for a consumption only tax system.

    Also, I’m a big government type of person. I think they do most things better. Health Care, infrastructure, education, natural resource development and so on. Why? Because they are accountable to the people and the people have someone to complain to. People who have to listen to them because their job depends on the same people to vote for them again come election time.

    Capitalism if fine, for consumer goods. Socialism is great for building a strong nation.

  81. 82 Cornelius T. Zen Tuesday, August 17, 2010 at 5:17 am

    Good morrow, all!
    Bleatmop: we would all do well to remember that the suffix “ism” is an acronym in Latin. It’s short for “In Simplex Manipulatem” which is Latin for “there’s one born every minute”.
    The best government possible is the least government necessary.
    The boogie man of the tea party drones is “BIG GOVERNMENT!” What they don’t tell you is that Big Government is in response to Big Business. Hey, how about this? let’s get rid of ALL government! Then we can have nothing but company towns, you know, like the good old days, when Daddy went to work, and doffed his hat or tugged his forelock to the boss every morning and every evening.
    No unions, no government bureaucracy, just another day in the sweatshops for everybody, hurray! 12 hour days, 15-minute lunches, if you live to 65 they send you home with a gold watch, pension? don’t be absurd!
    Oh, for the good old days of unfettered capitalism! -CTZen

  82. 83 Janus Tuesday, August 17, 2010 at 10:42 am

    *sigh* Taxes and government: the evil twins of modern living. Without taxes, we’d need less government. With less government, we’d have less taxes. They are symbionts that have grown way out of propartion to their original intent.

    And as for the concept of “patriotic” — which is loyalty to a concept that does not return the favor: pththththththththththththththththth!!! And the horse it rode in on! And its ace of spades!!!

  83. 84 Bleatmop Tuesday, August 17, 2010 at 10:47 am

    CTZen: I’m unsure if you’re actually responding to me or if you’re just talking about the evils of capitalism without regulation?

    The best government possible is the least government necessary.

    Highly subjective statement because what is the least government necessary. I’m pretty sure if you ask 50 people this question that you will get 50 different answers. What is your definition of the least government necessary?

    Me? I just don’t agree with the statement. It sounds too much like something Milton Freedman would say.

  84. 85 Cornelius T. Zen Tuesday, August 17, 2010 at 4:10 pm

    Good morrow, all!
    Back on the original topic:
    Why do I support gay marriage? Mostly because many conservative straights think of marriage as an institution – in other words, an abstraction. It’s only real if and when you talk about it.
    I’ve been married for a good long time, longer than most of my acquaintances have been alive.
    What I’ve learned is that marriage is a relationship – and that is no abstraction. Marriage is real to me. It has weight, and substance, and it affects my life like nothing else.
    Now, considering myself a relatively compassionate person, why would I deny anyone, ANYONE, the fulfillment that a happy marriage provides? When you deny happiness to someone, simply because you don’t like the color of their skin, the language they speak, or how they keep warm at night (which is WHOSE business, exactly?) you exhibit prejudice, bigotry, or just plain hate, which is the grandchild of fear?
    So, why exactly do conservative straights fear homosexuals?
    Maybe, they are afraid that it’s contagious (poor Joe, did you hear, he caught TEH GHEY!)
    Marriage, as an institution, is an abstraction. Marriage, as a relationship, is real. There was a time when slavery was an accepted practice – until we all grew up a little. There was a time when the very thought of women voting was anathema – until we all grew up a little. There was a time when civil rights for ANYONE who was not white, male, with property, was unthinkable – until we all grew up a little.
    Gay marriage will happen, and the sky will not fall (much as the end-timers pray for it) and that will demonstrate that, hey, we’ve all grown up a little bit more.
    I look forward to that very day – CTZen

  85. 86 Brian Friday, August 20, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    Um, Brian, I wouldn’t want to accuse you of having little or no real-world experience, but you’ll have to explain yourself a bit better. Comparing direct expenses such as energy costs to taxes (any kind of tax: income, payroll, VAT…)? Excuse me?

    Anything that affects the money coming into a company versus money going out of their hands — in any direction — can affect that company’s viability.  There are a lot of accounting mechanisms at work, taking into consideration whether it is tax being paid, or direct costs, or the cost of supplies, and whatever else.  Following the application of these mechanisms, the income vs. outflow at that point is what I am focusing on.

     

    Would you also quit working or refuse a pay raise because it increases your income tax rate?

    No.  But if my tax rate changed apart from a raise, I might wind up bankrupt.  Admittedly pretty unlikely, as the margin would have to be razor thin for that to happen.  But I am considering quitting the band I play lead guitar for, for a number of reasons. One of those reasons is the cost of gasoline, a big chunk of which is tax.  I own the PA, the lights, and the band name.  If I do quit, the income the other band members are currently making will stop until they can reform (if they are motivated to do that), and a part of the reason will be the influence of taxation.

  86. 87 Brian Friday, August 20, 2010 at 2:25 pm


    If a business is on the margin, a slight shift in cost v. income can spell the difference between staying in business, or going out of business.

    And this bothers you why?  Unless that’s your business that’s on the margin, why do you care?

    That’s a pretty short-sighted outlook.  Businesses are intimately involved in the economic health of the society in which I live.  The people who work in companies around me are neighbors in the strict sense of the word, and those who work anywhere (that is, more far flung; next state, etc.) are my neighbors in the sense Jesus indicates in the story of the Good Samaritan.  It does not matter to me as directly as it would if I worked at the company and lost my job, but that does not put me in the position of not caring at all.  What’s the matter with you?  Where is your compassion for others?

     

    Businesses that cannot thrive in their market are a symptom of an over-population of those kinds of businesses, and that makes the marketplace inefficient.

    This is certainly true in a free market.  But when the government reaching in and taking cash from the company brings about its failure, that is not a symptom of over-population of those kinds of businesses.  That is an unnatural influence, and is not as clear of an indicator of the business environment as it would be without the government doing that.

     

    You’re arguing as if you think businesses are actual living beings — that they have a ‘right to live.’ 

    No, I’m not.  I am acting as if I do not want them to go out of business, since that harms the economy that I want to be healthy and robust.

  87. 88 Brian Friday, August 20, 2010 at 2:55 pm

    Brian, you didn’t address the ridiculous statement that businesses pay tax on gross rather than net. I would like you to expand on this because I find it fascinating.

    Alright, perhaps I am wrong about that.  I’m not very inclined to try to find out for sure, and am willing to take your word for it.  I do feel that for this case it is moot whether it is net or gross;  the difference is in the amount, not the phenomenon itself.

    A small business such as we are discussing is generally the livelihood of the owner. So if the net is reduced through taxation, that is a smaller reduction than the gross being reduced by taxation, but their living expenses don’t change based on whether their gross or their net is what is taxed, and if their income falls below a certain level, they will no longer be able to maintain the business in the manner they have been. They might let an employee go, they might reduce hours, or they might fold up their tent and get a job instead, letting any and all employees go.  That was the point.

  88. 89 Brian Friday, August 20, 2010 at 3:05 pm

    Income tax would be equitable, except for all the loopholes built in to keep rich people from leaving the country altogether. The best thing to do is to have a cutoff point, below which the poor pay no income tax at all.

    Quite so.  Personally, I favor a flat-rate tax (say, 17%) on all income above a certain point, somewhere around $30,000/year seems about right to me.  People below that level would be paying no taxes. People making 31,000 per year would pay $170 in taxes. Someone making ~ 33% more, $40,000 per year would pay $1,700, a ten fold increase from the person making only 31,000.

    Without mortgage allowances, etc., there are fewer areas for inventive people to hide from paying, and since just about everyone’s taxes would be lower than their current burden, just about all would be better off.  A secondary effect would be that some who cheat on their taxes now because of the difference that makes to them would stop doing so, because the risk would not be worth the lower benefit from cheating, and more taxes would get paid, offsetting the fact the each person pays less than they have been.

  89. 90 Brian Friday, August 20, 2010 at 3:11 pm

    Tax breaks for the rich go offshore. This is a good thing, how?

    It is not optimal.  but not all of their money is spent on cars and such. They buy houses built at the location of the house (of course…), they go to local symphony/opera, etc., they dine at local high-end restaurants, they tip, they get their hair done locally, they build hot rods locally — they live, in other words.

    If they put any of their money in the local bank, that becomes funds available for lending to people starting businesses, or building/remodeling their home, buying a US-built car and so on.

    Plus, often they start or become partners in businesses,  Having a lot, they are more willing to put some of their own money into whatever the enterprise might be.

  90. 91 Brian Friday, August 20, 2010 at 3:24 pm

    …sweatshops for everybody, hurray! 12 hour days, 15-minute lunches…

    It seems significant to me to keep in mind that the period you are describing is a period in which the production that one man could accomplish was almost vastly less that what one man can now produce, give electricity, solid-state control systems, advances in how to make manufacturing machines the do a lot.

    Because each man can do more, his time is worth more, so he doesn’t need to work 15 hours to take home the pay he needs anymore.

    Additionally, the things he makes cost less to produce, so when he leaves work and goes out to spend his pay, he can purchase what he needs for less than used to be the case.

    The biggest influence on how many hours people now work, and the pay they get (in terms of its purchasing power) is the increase in number and efficiency of the machines he uses to accomplish their work.

  91. 92 Brian Friday, August 20, 2010 at 3:31 pm

    And as for the concept of “patriotic” — which is loyalty to a concept that does not return the favor…

    Pretty cynical.  And not altogether accurate.  It isn’t really loyalty to a concept, it is loyalty to an abstraction.  That’s not the same thing.

    The concept is really a point along a continuum.  You make a friend, and the two of you stand together against the neighborhood bully, honoring “the friendship.” But that friendship is an abstraction flowing from the full experience of inter-relating to your friend.

    The same of standing up for your family, or for your lover.

    Then their is loyalty, and admiration for the softball team you play for.

    This is all the same behavior, merely applied at a different scope.  Patriotism is the second largest scope, with standing with your species against the ravages of weather, attack by locusts, or hostile visits from space-aliens being the biggest.

  92. 93 Brian Friday, August 20, 2010 at 3:35 pm


    The best government possible is the least government necessary.

    Highly subjective statement: … what is the least government necessary? I’m pretty sure if you ask 50 people this question that you will get 50 different answers. …

    Me? I just don’t agree with the statement.

    It would appear then that the options for you are less government than is necessary, or more government than is necessary.

    Both would seem like things you also would disagree with.

  93. 94 Brian Friday, August 20, 2010 at 3:58 pm

    What I’ve learned is that marriage is a relationship.

    Not in this context , it isn’t. The question is not about the function within a marriage but is what will be officially recognized as a marriage. This is a question of law, not of relationship.

    Your statement describes what happens inside the box, but the question is which boxes will be officially recognized — by the state.

     

    Now, considering myself a relatively compassionate person, why would I deny anyone, ANYONE, the fulfillment that a happy marriage provides?

    This is not the point. Though some would deny this to homosexuals, that is a small group. Homosexuals can live together, they can bind themselves to one another contractually, officially, and how they choose. But the legal issue is whether they will be recognized by the state as a marriage.

    These other points that you are bringing up then become red herrings at best, or straw men at worst, because their happiness together as a romantic couple is not what is in focus.

     

    …or how they keep warm at night (which is WHOSE business, exactly?).

    It is well within the purview of the state to determine what they will recognize as a marriage. Either way the Prop 8 issue goes, they can still keep warm at night with whomever they choose (as long as they are not already exclusively bound to another, of course).

     

    So, why exactly do conservative straights fear homosexuals?

    They don’t. We don’t. As long as you insist against all evidence to see conservatives’ opposition to state recognition of homosexual unions, you will be doomed to ask the ceiling “Why do conservative straights fear homosexuals?” just as Freud was doomed by the falsehoods he clung to to ask the ceiling “What do women want?”

  94. 95 Bleatmop Saturday, August 21, 2010 at 1:14 pm

    It would appear then that the options for you are less government than is necessary, or more government than is necessary.

    Oh so very clever. You win the semantics war this time Brannigan. Do tell, how long did it take you to come up with that one?

  95. 96 Janus Sunday, August 22, 2010 at 12:26 am

    “This is all the same behavior, merely applied at a different scope.”

    Actually not. I read (with some surprise, I must admit, that you took the time to answer what I was using as a throw-away quip, however richly felt) your examples of loyalty, and they are all reciprocal and chosen loyalties. “Patriotism” is not chosen. It is demanded. And it is never reciprocated.

    And I tried looking for the difference between “concept” and “abstraction.” Found not much. But…perfectly honestly…neither of them is the word for which I was actually searching. “Ideal” comes closer, since a country is actually an ideal that only exists because everyone agrees that it does, and that those silly lines on maps actually mean something.

  96. 97 Janus Sunday, August 22, 2010 at 12:34 am

    “But the legal issue is whether they will be recognized by the state as a marriage.”

    Yes, because if the state does not legally recognise their declared partnership as a marriage, they are vulnerable to open and blatant discrimination in several ways that scream, “No human rights for queeeeeeers!”

    Whether or not individuals or religious groups want to recognise a husband and husband partnership, the state MUST recognise it. Otherwise, that state must cease to insist that it holds all its citizens to be equal under the law and declare that some of its citizens are, indeed, less than fully human.

  97. 98 Cornelius T. Zen Tuesday, August 24, 2010 at 7:59 am

    Good morrow, all!
    The other day I saw an interesting animal.
    It looked like a duck. It walked like a duck. It quacked like a duck. I asked my wife, “What is that interesting animal?”
    She replied: “It’s a duck.”
    “How do you know?” I asked her.
    “Well, if it looks like a duck…”
    So, when the religious political conservatives of North America insist that they do not fear women, gays or visible minorities, but they labour mightily to thwart their “agendae” because…
    “Hey, I’m no redneck/bigot/homophobe/misogynist/xenophobe…but God is!”
    It looks like fear, it sounds like fear, it behaves like fear.
    What could it possibly be?
    Quack, quack – CTZen

  98. 99 Ephesus Monday, December 6, 2010 at 7:03 am

    Very good information, I’ll write it verywhere.


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