"A government big enough to give you everything you want is strong enough to take away everything you have."

Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Case for Marriage As the Union Between a Man and a Woman

NOTE: I originally wrote most of this article more than a year ago, but never got around to completing and publishing it.  Now that gay marriage is in the news, both in Maryland and nationwide due to President Obama's "flip-flop-flip" on the issue, I decided to revisit and complete this.  It is of necessity long, because I am trying to address the issue as comprehensively as possible and respond to many of the claims made by gay marriage advocates.  I have two main goals in writing this.  The first goal relates to conservatives and religious people who are uncomfortable with gay marriage but may not be able to articulate why and may be reluctant to take a stand.  I hope this article will help them to realize that there are good public policy reasons to keep marriage between a man and a woman and encourage them not to back off in the face of accusations of bigotry from the left.  The second goal is to convince any supporters of gay marriage who may read this that there are good reasons for our opposition to gay marriage and that we are motivated not by hatred or the desire to deny gay people basic civil rights, but by our desire to preserve an institution that benefits children and society and to protect religious liberty.  I don't necessarily think that this article will change the mind of someone who believes strongly in gay marriage, but I think if that person is honest and fair-minded it will convince him or her that there is a clear case against gay marriage that is not based on bigotry and hatred.

The other day, I glanced at a letter on my dining room table from my state delegate. He was talking about all the supposed "accomplishments" of the 2011 session of the Maryland legislature. One of the items he mentioned was the issue of same-sex marriage. Even though same-sex marriage narrowly failed to pass the House of Delegates this year, my delegate considered it a great triumph for equality that the legislation came so close to becoming law. He even included a quote from Martin Luther King, Jr.: "The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice."

This got me thinking about how thoroughly social conservatives are losing the battle over marriage in this country. Everyone knows that the key to winning an argument is framing the debate in terms favorable to your position. No matter how strong a case you may have, it is next to impossible to win an argument when you are fighting on your opponent's turf. In this case, gay rights activists have succeeded in convincing a sizable percentage of the American population that gay marriage is a fundamental human and civil right guaranteed by the Constitution, and to ban it is to deny equality to millions of Americans. In almost any debate on this topic nowadays, the onus is on defenders of traditional marriage to prove that they are not the hate-filled, discrimination-loving bigots that they are assumed by default to be. Indeed, most of the time the media calls the issue a debate over "marriage equality." Talk about loaded definitions! Obviously, no one wants to get stuck on the side of inequality, which explains why support for traditional marriage from many conservative quarters has been tepid at best.

I think it's important to take a step back and think about the actual institution of marriage -- what it is, why it exists, why it is important to society. In my view, understanding these points is a critical first step to discussing whether changes are needed in the definition of marriage. Instead of allowing our opponents to pick the battleground, we have to redirect the focus back to these critical questions.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Primary Elections Yesterday

For conservatives, there was a lot to celebrate in the primary election results yesterday:

In Indiana, 36-year GOP incumbent Senator Richard Lugar lost by a massive 61-39 margin to State Treasurer Richard Mourdock.  Lugar was so out of touch with Indiana he sold his home in the state years ago.  For most of his tenure in the Senate, Lugar was a conservative, but over the past 5-10 years he had been drifting steadily to the left, even going so far as to agree to be featured in an Obama campaign ad in 2008 (viewed by some as a quasi-endorsement of Obama).  Lugar will certainly not be missed by me, and Mourdock should have no problems winning the general election in a conservative state like Indiana.

In North Carolina, voters passed a state constitutional amendment to reiterate the traditional definition of marriage as the union between a man and a woman by an overwhelming 61-39 margin.  I expected the measure to pass but not by such a wide margin in this supposed swing state that Obama apparently entertains hopes of carrying in November.  I also found it interesting that 21% of Democrats (200,000 voters) voted for "No Preference" rather than for the unopposed Obama.  Hmmm.

In West Virginia, Obama did have an opponent.  A convicted felon who has been incarcerated in a Texas prison since 1999.  This guy got 41% of the Democratic vote statewide!  Obama got only 59%.  I think it's safe to say this is one state Romney has locked up.

In Wisconsin, Democrats nominated former Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett to run against Scott Walker in a gubernatorial recall election in June.  The interesting thing here is that Barrett comfortably defeated Kathleen Falk, who was Big Labor's nominee of choice.  After all, this recall election was engineered by Big Labor in the first place, and they spent big money on Falk's behalf.  Barrett is downplaying the union issue, to the point that he backed out of a unity rally with Falk and union leaders the final weekend of the campaign in an apparent attempt to avoid being associated with them.  It seems pretty obvious that the non-stop union protests and recall shenanigans over the past year plus have turned off voters and provoked a backlash.  Walker was practically unopposed in his primary and there were no other GOP primaries occurring, while the Democrats had a competitive gubernatorial primary as well as a number of competitive primaries for state legislature recall races.  Therefore, Democrats should have had far more motivation to turn out than Republicans.  Yet, the total votes cast by Democrats and Republicans was virtually equal, and Walker got more votes than Barrett and Falk put together!  I'm feeling good about Walker's chances in the recall election next month.  He is one of the most courageous and principled politicians out there, in my opinion.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Testimony before sub-committee this week

Dr. Jeffrey Herbener of Grove City College and the Ludwig von Mises Institute (also a former professor of mine) is testifying before the Subcommittee on Domestic Monetary Policy and Technology which is chaired by Ron Paul (Committee on Financial Services) tomorrow.   Dr. Peter Klein of University of Missouri is also testifying.  Both are excellent economists and should say what needs to be said.  I can't say as much for their colleagues who will also be testifying before the subcommittee, including James Galbraith.

Dr. Shawn Ritenour over at Foundations of Economics has more details, including links to Dr. Herbener's and Dr. Klein's written testimony.  I encourage you to take a look at the written testimonies if you can!      

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Some Dude's Profound Profundities of Profoundness

Thomas Sowell occasionally writes a list of pithy sayings which are too short for their own article.  I'm doing the same.  -- S.D.

1. There is one reason and one reason only to oppose voter ID laws: you support election fraud.

2. Or maybe you think that voter ID laws are discriminatory against differently-animated Americans.  Or differently-naturalized Americans.

3. One argument from liberals opposed to voter ID laws is that the number of fraudulent votes cast is miniscule and that this is a "solution without a problem."  In that case, maybe I should wait until I get a cavity before I brush my teeth.

4. I am a little amused when I read about efforts to end bullying in schools.  Liberals seem to think that passing a federal law against bullying will somehow make bullies disappear.  All it takes is passing a law and hiring some motivational speakers?  Why did no one think of that before?  In that case, why not ban jerks?  That would eliminate a whole range of crimes and antisocial behaviors...like silencing dissenters and demanding that other people pay for your recreational activities, for example.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

There oughta be a bumper sticker... (cont.)

Continued from here...

7. Keep your ovaries out of my wallet.  (See this.)
8. If obstetricians made large donations to Democrats' campaigns, giving birth would be a sacrament.
9. I want a pony.