Political, Economic, and Personal Philosophical Convergence?

Does political philosophy boil down to economics? Is it a reflection of religious faith? Does it hinge on the “mankind is innately good or evil” philosophy? Politics is certainly influenced by all of these factors, and the practical exercise of governance seldom reflects a single consistent philosophical approach, but there’s one philosophical framework that I think comes closest to capturing the essence of politics.

I don't remember much of anything from a distance-learning sociology class I took ages ago while stationed in Germany, but I liked the concept of "locus of control."

As I recall it, locus of control hinges on whether we see ourselves as controlled, or in control. Do we see ourselves as pawns of the universe, destined by fate, and primarily controlled by forces beyond our control? Or do we believe that we make our own luck, control our own fate by the choices we make, and able to exercise our free will to shape our place in the world? Do we have an external or internal locus of control?

The locus of control can be seen contrasted in some religious frameworks; one faith may believe that "the Lord helps those who help themselves," while another accepts "God’s will" with more passive resignation.

Economic systems run the gamut from absolute free market faith in the individual to drive the system by the force of his choices, to communist systems where all resources are managed collectively.

Our two party system and our delineations of liberal and conservative generally follow the internal/external divide. The external locus of control can be seen reflected in the liberal Democrat's reflexive turn to government for solutions to life's challenges. The internal locus of control is more evident in the entrepreneurial spirit and small government approaches that Republicans profess.

However, the widely applied concept of "conservatism" may not clearly fit the internal/external distinction. Many traditional conservatives broadly accept the individual freedoms and laissez faire government consistent with an internal locus of control. But many social conservatives attach substantial merit to destiny and even divine providence. They profess autonomy in their personal internal control and that of like-minded fellows, but look to government to provide control to those whose choices they find objectionable.

These "external locus" conservatives look to government to impose their conservative social values. They've even proposed constitutional amendments to codify their views. Rather than amendments embodying more freedom, they propose "protections" from offensive expression and committed relationships; prohibitions against flag-burning and gay marriage.

Our forefathers strongly demonstrated their respect for self-determination in rejecting the divine right of monarchs. They respected providence, but honored free will. They established fertile ground for individualism and self-determination. They generously established freedoms to nurture the internal locus of control, and hamper those who would impose external controls. In that fertile ground of freedom we see not only one of the most creative and productive societies in history, but we often see non-conformity and perhaps even deviance. To stretch the "fertile ground" analogy; fertile ground not only encourages crops, it fosters all growth - even weeds. We can pull some of the weeds, but we shouldn't sterilize the soil.

Our challenge is to act with integrity; exercising our own locus of control while honoring the similar rights of others, even if they exercise their choices poorly. Social conservatives need to recognize that by banning internet gambling, regulating foul language on TV, or tapping phones without warrants, they are limiting the fertile ground of liberty, not enhancing it. Republican and conservatives need to embrace the internal locus of control and the traditional support for smaller, less intrusive government.

Michael Smith, Republican Candidate for President

Posted by Michael Smith at December 10, 2006 11:55 PM
Comments
Comment #198632

Michael, in a nutshell, I could never vote for a party that attempts to legislate morality as much as the Republicans. For me, loss of liberty is a far greater issue than paying higher taxes. As I see it, it is the opposite with many Republicans. They may hate the social agenda of their party, but they dread that less than the fear of higher taxes. It’s a question of priorities. Add to that the fact that Republicans don’t couple fiscal restraint with tax cuts, and it’s hard not to see it as a party comprised of many who have no problem taking a short term gain at the expense of their children and grandchildren, all the while wrapping themselves in the flag and yelling patriotic rah-rahs. Meanwhile, anyone who objects is a communist or terrorist sympathizer. I appreciate, Michael, that you don’t engage in that, but many in your party do. Some post here.

Posted by: Trent at December 11, 2006 12:37 AM
Comment #198634

Michael, your entire article is rendered bogus by the following sentence: “The external locus of control can be seen reflected in the liberal Democrat’s reflexive turn to government for solutions to life’s challenges.”

You see, the government is the people in our country, the government is how 300 million people decide on things without warring with each other like Hatfield’s and McCoys, or dare I say it, Sunnis and Shiites in Iraq.

So to ascribe this as external is fallacious on its face. Additionally, to ascribe it to Democrats, after Republicans just used government for every manner of exploitation and resolution to desires frustrated is, well, laughable to say the least.

Know a person or group by their deeds, not their rhetoric. Then you may begin to write articles about reality instead of wishful constructs born of fantasy designed to prop up one’s artificially constructed prism through which the world can be made to appear other than it is.

Your article appears to seek fundamental differences between the Democratic and Republican parties. But, in reality, they are few and far between. Face reality square on. It is the only way to gain control of reshaping it.

The philosophy closest to rugged individualism and self-reliance is Anarchy. I don’t see that philosophy exhibited by either Democrats or Republicans, though Libertarians talk it up like a religion in other words.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 11, 2006 12:53 AM
Comment #198640

David, I’ve heard the “we the people” argument before, but can’t accept that we went to the trouble to write the Bill of Rights, only to have the majority impose whatever they wish. The Constitution outlines boundaries to the power of government and when either party violates those under cover of “we the people” or “providing for the common good,” it’s an infringement on the individual.

Yes, both parties are guilty. As a member of the Republican Party I’m trying to address an obvious disparity with my Party’s stated philosophy. I don’t see any such disparity in the Democratic Party’s philosophy, so I assume they’re beyond hope.

Posted by: Michael Smith at December 11, 2006 1:15 AM
Comment #198641

Michael, the majority may indeed impose whatever they wish outside of the limitations of the Bill of Rights and any other amendments protecting minority rights. Them’s just the facts. It is a democratic republic.

Your argument of infringement on individual rights only applies to those rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights or Amendments to the Constitution protecting other individual rights. Outside these, there is no infringement of individual rights. Our nation was never meant to be ruled by individuals, but, by representatives of the people and representatives of the Constitution (i.e. the Courts).

Yep, it is the Democrat’s position of being beyond hope which made them the majority in Congress. Your comments like this one don’t make sense, nor do they address reality.

Republicans would do well to shelve their ideologies and rhetoric which they proved they are not willing to live up to, and attend to the practical problems the nation faces, like saving Soc. Sec., preventing either the safety nets or the economy from sinking as a result of the other, and securing our nation against attacks without compromising American guaranteed freedoms and liberties in the Bill of Rights.

Stick to those practical issues with some practical solutions, and your party just might find a backbone and respect amongst the people again, though winning back trust will take some time, for sure.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 11, 2006 1:27 AM
Comment #198648

A lot of fancy rhetoric and you just became the run of the mill Republican.

I had read what you wrote in the past with some interest. Too bad.

This is second only to the prebate, which has to be the stupidest idea yet.

Posted by: womanmarine at December 11, 2006 5:04 AM
Comment #198664

Trent, if we don’t “legislate morality” then immorality is the rule? Whatever we base our legislation on it must not be the “moral” stand? Why are you so proud to stand for any law as long as it has no basis in moral thinking?

Is it ok to kill others? No? How dare you legislate YOUR morality and make it “wrong” to kill? Is it ok to steal? Why not? What moral code tells you though shall not kill? How dare you legislate a MORAL thou shall not steal?! Thou shall not steal? Though shall not lie in your business affairs? Thou shall not kill? How dare you sneak in a moral code to your humanistic legal philosophy?

Trent, If we don’t legislate morality we might end up with a nation that butchers 45 million babies in the womb by abortion! Oh, we have that! I guess your happy now. It’s ok to kill 45 million before they are born because it’s been deemed “constitutional” by men who essentially rewrote the constitution…a power they do not have!

Does anyone here in their wildest state of denial pretend that the often and inconveniently (for the left) Christian founding fathers with their respect for life would have sanctioned a 45 million baby genocide! Get real! Do you think those 5 people who voted to rewrite our constitution (a power they don’t have) would have done so if they realized they were voting to kill 45 million babies? I suspect most would not have done it. It’s a national genocide and the fact that 5 people on the supreme court violated the law and rewrote the constitution does not make it “constitutional”. Congress should have done their job and forced them down for subverting the constitution.

I’m so sick of this crap being put forward by the left that republicans try to “legislate morality” all the while they are out there legislating immorality and pushing for genocide of the unborn! Laws must have a base. And that base can be moral or immoral. They can lead to life and justice or they can lead to death and injustice.

How dare Republicans try to base laws on morality and be opposed to murder, theft, etc! I’m all for having a bit of morality in my JUSTICE system because justice itself is at least in part a MORAL concept. Otherwise, I think we are all doomed.

Michael, Conservatives are Republican. Conservatives are Democrats. Yes, the radical left agenda and amoral political correctness may CONTROL the democratic party but it does not define individual democrats or that vast middle ground that swings the elections. A part of the cultural war is realizing that there are a lot of people in the middle in both parties that will vote for a moderate, a man not entire radicalized left or radicalized right.

Look at Lieberman. He spoke truth to power, he refused to bow down to political correctness and refused to take a stand that the far left dictated he take. And the far left nearly defeated him, but they failed in the end.

Interesting that the same far left is about to run Hillary who also voted for the war in Iraq and has refused to renounce it!

Posted by: Stephen at December 11, 2006 10:32 AM
Comment #198665
Michael Smith wrote: Or do we believe that we make our own luck, control our own fate by the choices we make, and able to exercise our free will to shape our place in the world? Do we have an external or internal locus of control?

In a voting nation, we are ALL in control.
In a voting nation, an educated electorate is paramount.
Unfortunately, when the majority is wrong, the minority (that is right) must suffer with them.
But, that is an incentive for the minority to work harder at education of the majority.

Voters like to blame politicians, but voters keep rewarding them by repeatedly re-electing them.

Michael Smith wrote: The external locus of control can be seen reflected in the liberal Democrat’s reflexive turn to government for solutions to life’s challenges. The internal locus of control is more evident in the entrepreneurial spirit and small government approaches that Republicans profess.

What a bunch of gobbledy-gook.
That statement is nothing more than partisan spin, and an attempt to fuel partisan warfare.

While there are some minor differences between what Democrat and Republican politicians say, there is little difference between what they do.
The proof of it is staggering.
While politicians of both parties talk a lot, they accomplish little.
And what they do accomplish belies what they say (e.g. “Read my lips”, “I did not have sex with that woman”, “that depends on what the definition of ‘is’ is”, “I voted for it before I voted against it”, etc.).
That’s why the call it the Do-Nothing Congress.

But, voters keep rewarding them by repeatedly re-electing them.
So, we all get what we deserve.
That’s how we learn.
The hard way, mostly.

But, on the bright side, things are improving.
It is 2.000 steps forward and 1.999 steps backward.
Yes, it is too slow.
It could and should be faster.
Better decisions require education.

But, don’t worry.
Our education comes from consequences, and that education is already in the pipeline.
We will get it one way or another.

One thing that voters need to learn to do is become educated enough to recognize things like your statement above that is mere partisan spin designed to fuel the circular, distracting, divisive partisan warfare to pit voters against each other.

That partisan warfare is extremely effective, because it taps the inherent laziness in most people by letting THEIR party do their thinking for them, and some voters are all too fond of wallowing in the circular, distracting partisan warfare.

In the past, it was class, race, color, gender.

Not it is party.

Voters will catch-on eventually.

Perhaps we saw a bit of it in the last election?

So, when does logic and reason prevail, and a lesson is finally learned?
When the pain of our laziness becomes too great.
So, in a voting nation, as long as we have the right to vote and get an accurate vote-count, there is hope we will get our education.

2.000 steps forward, 1.999 steps backward.
If you’d like to speed it up, learn to recognize and ignore those that try to tap-into and use your laziness to fuel the circular, distracting, divisive, destructive, petty partisan warfare.

The internal locus of control is more evident in the entrepreneurial spirit and small government approaches that Republicans profess.
Really? Ha ! What a crock of [explicative] ! What we have witnessed in the past six years is anything but smaller government. In fact, the federal government has grown by several hundred thousand (which is probably part of a strategy to prop up poor employment numbers).

And what you call “entrepreneurial spirit” has been more like corpocrisy, corporatism, and global pillage.

Especially starting unnecessary wars for nefarious reasons (i.e. false/trumped-up intelligence), as Americans continue to sell each other out in every way possible.

Especially as politicians pit Americans and illegal aliens against each other, and voters against each other (via circular, distracting, divisive, petty partisan warfare).

But, we keep rewarding them by repeatedly re-electing them.

Posted by: d.a.n at December 11, 2006 10:45 AM
Comment #198680

Michael,

So, which one do you view yourself as? Also, I’m curious how providing government resouces in support of those less well off is an “infringement on the individual”?

I’m trying to rediscover a link to a recent (I believe from Baylor University) study that investigated this subject quite deeply.

Posted by: Dave1-20-2009 at December 11, 2006 12:42 PM
Comment #198682

Dave, I believe we shape our own fate through our choices and that the vast majority of “those less well off” are where they are through their choices in life. As such, I don’t think government owes them much. To tax those who have made good choices to subsidize those who make poor choices is a definite infringement.

I do believe in a safety net for those who encounter illness, or have diminished capacity, or just temporarily fall on bad times. We owe something to those who can’t fend for themselves.

Posted by: Michael Smith at December 11, 2006 1:01 PM
Comment #198684

Stephen, being against legislating morality is not the same as being against legislation for which there are moral arguments. Of course there should be laws against murder or theft; everyone has a legitimate interest in not being killed or in not being robbed.

One can believe abortion laws are too permissive without legislating morality. I see the abortion issue as a conflict of interest between the right of the mother for self determination and the right of the fetus to exist.

I am NOT saying that people should ignore their morality in the exercise of their citizen rights. I am NOT say that you should ignore your beliefs in deciding how to vote.

What I object to, which is not the same thing as saying I want it to be illegal, is government telling me behaviors I cannot engage in when there is not direct harm to someone else. For example, I love to play poker. I studied the game very thoroughly, have read many books, etc. I’m not terrific at it, but I am good, and consistently win more than I lose. It’s a game of skill. But I can’t play online anymore because of legislation pushed through by Bill Frist. That’s B.S. Oh, I can still gamble — I can play the stock market or buy lottery tickets, but I can’t play the game I love without breaking the law. Feh.

Sodomy laws are another example. What business of it is mine what consenting adults do in the house next door? Why should I care if they are homosexual lovers who want to formalize their union? It has no affect on my own relationships. As long as they respect my property, don’t steal my mail, or harass me, I couldn’t care less what they do in the privacy of their own homes.

The Democrats aren’t innocent of this stuff, either, of course. Not that I’ve researched the issue, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Democrats were behind the ban in NYC agaisnt restaurants using trans fat. Good grief. I might support posting notices because information is a good thing, but banning? Might as well ban parachuting.

You know, 1 out of every 32 Americans is behind bars, and much of that is because of our drug laws. Our prisons are a mess — prison rape is a commonplace, brutality is a commonplace, etc., etc. What the hell are we doing? If my neighbors light up a jay in their house, why should I care? As long as they don’t give it to minors, why the hell should I care? It might be stupid to get stoned all the time, and of course for public safety reasons I support the laws against driving etc while stoned, but why should I care if they get stoned or snort coke? We shouldn’t try to ban stupidity as long as that stupidity does not have a direct effect on others. Raise a stoner’s insurance premiumns; I have no objections against that. If you say that stoners or coke addicts or alcholics through neglect endanger their children, fine, bust them for that.

I disaprove of many behaviors but I don’t try to impose my beliefs on others. We have a secular government, not a religious one. We’ve seen in the middle east the restrictions placed on people in the name of morality. I also still hear, though not as much as I used to, clergy in this country who wish to curtail the role of women. I doubt seriously, Stephen, that you wish to restrict the roles of women, but the fight for women’s liberation did involve a fight against “morality.”

Posted by: Trent at December 11, 2006 1:12 PM
Comment #198701
believe we shape our own fate through our choices and that the vast majority of “those less well off” are where they are through their choices in life…Posted by: Michael Smith at December 11, 2006 01:01 PM
To me that is the ultimate cop out from responsibilty towards your fellow human beings; simpy state “it’s your own fault”. How is choosing to major in Painting the same as being born to a carck addicted mom and a sexually abusive father? No food for baby, sorry, you shouldn’t do drugs…Too bad you became an addict, America has nothing for you. Posted by: Dave1-20-2009 at December 11, 2006 2:15 PM
Comment #198706

Trent,

You position is inconsistent. First you indicate that individuals can use there moral code as a part of their decision making process then indicate that you should never impose your moral code on others.

Sorry, if you oppose murder because you simply think it’s wrong, immoral, you have just imposed your code, your religion, whatever on others. What if I said murder is good, it’ helps the strong oppose the weak. It creates a society of people who can stand up and fight and win and removes those who cannot defend themselves? What if I am for murder and can get enough of my fellow citizens to support murder that murder becomes legal? Then is it wrong? It’s legal, we all agreed to it! Tough luck, you’re dead!

I believe our founding fathers felt that certain rights were given to use by our creator. That law had a basis in morality. To deny this is to remake America into something it was not intended to be. To forget this heritage leads us to such things as a mass genocide. 45 million abortions. Something our found fathers never would have agreed to nor tolerated. Something too horrible to contemplate we are told the founding fathers gave us as a ‘right’ in the constitution. How absurd. No, I want to live in a legal system that has a sense of morality, that knows it’s wrong to murder, even to murder the innocent unborn.

Posted by: Stephen at December 11, 2006 2:38 PM
Comment #198709

michael,

i’m not sure exactly what others are reading into your article. i see it as yet another in your line of calls for a return to traditional republican values, and i applaud both your message and your consistency. i, for one, will not blame you for the numerous shortcomings of the republican party which you, yourself, condemn.

i disagree that we owe nothing to those who have made poor choices - as a fellow member of our society, we owe them another chance. there are better ways of helping them than either giving them a handout or dismissing them, outright.

…after all, it can be argued that those who make bad decisions have been raised poorly - is this their fault?

of course if a person cannot be held to account for their own decisions, then accountability, responsibility, accomplishment, and choice cease to hold any real, substantial meaning…

…so let’s remove blame from the equation. we need neither blame, nor excuse them. if a person makes bad choices, we should educate them as to how to make better choices in the future. we should not simply provide them the means to make more bad decisions (handouts).

…provide them with ongoing education and a chance at a better life - and thereby help them to help themselves. it will benefit us all immeasurably in the long run. short-term payout, long-term payoff.

good post.

Posted by: Diogenes at December 11, 2006 2:52 PM
Comment #198711

Have you seen the HBO miniseries, “ROME?”

Some things never change.

The reality of politics among us began to reveal itself to me when I started looking at what WASN’T real.

Such as issues like gay-marriage and immigration, for instance.

The only father Karl Rove ever knew and the one from whom KArl derives his last name, was a gay man. HE died literally days before Karl ignited the whole evangelical community behind the anti-gay marriage movement that was the major motivator behind evangelical support for Bush in ‘04. Karl Rove himself, is actually agnostic/atheist. Stunning isn’t it? the whole gay marriage debate is realy just a manipulative distraction in order to dupe people into supporting republicans. Thank God the american people are beginning to see through it.

Their are significantly large entities out there who build homes, employ cheap labor and who also support party politics who are quite literaly invested in the status quo. That is why Bush supports only half a fence and a guest worker program. It’s a farce. Worse yet, it doesn’t matter what party is in power! Entities like DR Horton Homes, Centex etc. are large enough to just shift their allegiances. Now that Democrats are the rising star, you can still bet that nothing will change significantly with regard to immigration. It’s a shell game. The American public is being manipulated and distracted from the reality.

Our politicians are interested in personnal gain and influence peddling, not effective solutions to anything!

Free market? HA! Nafta is nothing but an elaborate scheme to screw Mexico! We produce far more than we need in this country with respect to grain and various produce/grocery items. So, we pay money to our farmers to produce some things anyway and to not produce somethings as well. The surplus overproduction is then given or auctioned to investors who then can sell at waaaay below the market price in Mexico thus driving out any attemt at stable agri-business down there. It’s crap. It is not free-market. Any who think Nafta is helping Mexico at our expense, has not spent enough time in Mexico, clearly.

All this said, Mr Smith, quite a bit of what you say sounds reasonable and sounds like it makes sense…
However, it most certainly does NOT sound republican.

It does sound like you have latched on to ‘distraction’ issues and are now trying to run with them. By doing so, you are just playing into the hands of those who absolutely do NOT have your best intersts, or the best interests of this country, at heart.

Posted by: RGF at December 11, 2006 2:57 PM
Comment #198713

Stephen, ah well, you know what they say about consistency. I could take your position to extremes and justify much that is atrocious, and you could do the same with mine. Would it help if I say that I believe murder is wrong also, and I of course want laws against it? There is a very clear non-religious reason why society should not tolerate murder. I also believe there is a very good non-religious reason to try to stop wholesale abortion.

I think you may have misunderstood my comment that I think individuals should be permitted (indeed, how could you prevent?) to vote according to their sense of morality. In my opinion, you should not object to my behavior as long as it doesn’t directly affect you. If I play poker, that’s my business, not yours. But that statement is not the same as saying you should be prohibited from voting against gambling. Look, our Constitution is pretty spacious; I never claimed that prohibiting poker is un-Constitutional. But you should vote as you think is right, just as I should. And if I think your party seeks to control what I consider innocuous behavior, I don’t have to support it.

As a Christian, I assume you worship on the sabbath. I have no problem with that. I do have a problem if you coerce me to worship on the Sabbath.

In a nutshell, I think there should be a good civic reason for legislation.

Posted by: Trent at December 11, 2006 3:00 PM
Comment #198717
I believe our founding fathers felt that certain rights were given to use by our creator. That law had a basis in morality. To deny this is to remake America into something it was not intended to be.

Stephen,

Dude!, you have some warped conceptions about the thinking process of our founding fathers. A good read for you would be Notes on the State of Virginia, by Thomas Jefferson. The paper is mostly about Virginia itself, but also talks quite a bit about the Constitutional convention and the thinking of the founders. Religion’s role in the state gets quite the lashing.

Posted by: JayJay at December 11, 2006 3:26 PM
Comment #198725

Diogenes,

I see the beginning of a great thread. It sounds like we both agree that we can’t assign “deservedness” by determination of “fault” for a persons need. But, you also said “

we should educate them as to how to make better choices in the future. we should not simply provide them the means to make more bad decisions (handouts)”
Among others, a debate I see from this is:
What is a “bad choice”? This sounds like a sort of “nanny state” solution with behavior modification. (Surprising for a conservative). Sometimes things are just bad luck. Doesn’t this start a blame roundabout?

Maybe I’ll have more time to discuss this later, meeting time…

Posted by: Dave1-20-2009 at December 11, 2006 3:59 PM
Comment #198734

It is far more accurate to think of power as being stratified rather then some sort of vertical structure. The notion of “getting the government off of our backs” should be examined more closely. Many groups that fight regulation, restrictions on wilderness use, limits on monied influence on government are nominally composed of individuals but heavily backed by corporate money. The individuals in the group serve as fronts for the interests of the big money. If the government were really removed from power who would fill the void? The individual?
When you hear the phrase “let’s get the government off of our backs” just remember, they are not talking about YOUR back!!! Regards

Posted by: charles Ross at December 11, 2006 4:23 PM
Comment #198743
Does anyone here in their wildest state of denial pretend that the often and inconveniently (for the left) Christian founding fathers with their respect for life would have sanctioned a 45 million baby genocide!

Stephen,

I get so sick of hearing that the founders of this country where Christians. The reality is that most were deists. (Hence, the use of the phrases “your creator,” “nature’s creator”, “your God”) You are correct to say that our country has roots in Christianity and that Christianity did indeed have much influence on the law. That is until October 1776, when the founders changed all that.

This is a summary view of that religious slavery, under which a people have been willing to remain, who have lavished their lives and fortunes for the establishment of their civil freedom. The error seems not sufficiently eradicated, that the operations of the mind, as well as the acts of the body, are subject to the coercion of the laws. But our rulers can have authority over such natural rights only as we have submitted to them. The rights of conscience we never submitted, we could not submit. We are answerable for them to our God. But it does me no injury for my neighbour to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.

[snip]

Reason and free enquiry are the only effectual agents against error.

[snip]

Reason and experiment have been indulged, and error has fled before them. It is error alone which needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself. Subject opinion to coercion: whom will you make your inquisitors? Fallible men; men governed by bad passions, by private as well as public reasons. And why subject it to coercion? To produce uniformity. But is uniformity of opinion desireable? No more than of face and stature. Introduce the bed of Procrustes then, and as there is danger that the large men may beat the small, make us all of a size, by lopping the former and stretching the latter.

[snip]

What has been the effect of coercion? To make one half the world fools, and the other half hypocrites. To support roguery and error all over the earth.

[snip]

They are not more disturbed with religious dissensions. On the contrary, their harmony is unparalleled, and can be ascribed to nothing but their unbounded tolerance, because there is no other circumstance in which they differ from every nation on earth. They have made the happy discovery, that the way to silence religious disputes, is to take no notice of them. Let us too give this experiment fair play, and get rid, while we may, of those tyrannical laws.

Thomas Jefferson even correctly predicted what is happening today:

Besides, the spirit of the times may alter, will alter. Our rulers will become corrupt, our people careless. A single zealot may commence persecutor, and better men be his victims. It can never be too often repeated, that the time for fixing every essential right on a legal basis is while our rulers are honest, and ourselves united. From the conclusion of this war we shall be going down hill. It will not then be necessary to resort every moment to the people for support. They will be forgotten, therefore, and their rights disregarded. They will forget themselves, but in the sole faculty of making money, and will never think of uniting to effect a due respect for their rights. The shackles, therefore, which shall not be knocked off at the conclusion of this war, will remain on us long, will be made heavier and heavier, till our rights shall revive or expire in a convulsion.

Thomas Jefferson nullifies your argument that laws against murder, theft, etc. were based on a code of morality when he states that “the legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others.” They were based, rather, on a code of reciprocity.

Interesting that the same far left is about to run Hillary who also voted for the war in Iraq and has refused to renounce it!

Do you have supporting evidence that the far left supports Hillary? It was my understanding that the far left cannot stand her because of her two-faced positons. The far left generally believes in an infallible doctrine of beliefs, much the same way the far right and neocons do. The far left would never support someone who changed their views simply to become more mainstream, as Hillary has. When you use the label “far left,” I have a feeling that you are painting with too broad a brush.

As far as abortion goes we will never make one inch of progress towards saving the lives of these children until we stop wasting time throwing venom at each other. It makes no difference whether the practice is legal or illegal. The only way to effect change is to address the root cause. IMO, the root cause is social conservatism itself. When we are only willing to see sexual issues as one of conformity to a set way of behavior (or morality), and not as a natural and powerful human need, we are bound to failure. We can preach abstinance and use fear tactics all day long, but in the end it is the human need for sexual contact that will win out. Providing the tools to make that contact safe is the only way to save lives.

Posted by: JayJay at December 11, 2006 5:01 PM
Comment #198746

RGF

You are wrong on the queer marriage issue. That has been debated on here before.

Trent

If sodomy is ok, then when your child goes next door where they practice sodomy, and they want to educate your child on sodomy and its many benefits, you would be all for that since it is the neighbors house where we should not interfere. If that summation is wrong, when where does one draw the line where sodomy is right but wrong?

Posted by: tomh at December 11, 2006 5:13 PM
Comment #198747

Yes, Michael, I think that you’ve put it concisely. Your philosophy is a pat on your own back for being responsible for your own condition, and assuming that those less well off are responsible for theirs. One can maintain this position only in two ways: 1) insulate yourself from the reality faced by the less well off, by walling yourself into a homogeneously middle-class community and never reading anything besides National Review and looking at anything besides Fox News, or 2) live in a fantasy world. Your summary, that folks not doing well have necessarily made bad choices, flies in the face of every known study of poverty. Although people in poverty often make bad choices, it is usually because of their limited opportunities.

It is no accident that your philosophy provides the well-to-do selfish with a rationale to deny the needy help from their resources. How uncharitable and unChristian this attitude is! Yet it is cloaked in pseudo-ethics, in some cases the proponents declaiming that they are mostly concerned about the moral state of the would-be recipients of aid funded through their taxes. This is horribly hypocritical. At the bottom, folks with your philosophy mostly resent having their money taken by the government and redistributed where it will do some good. This good is for all of society; whether you are a Christian, Jew, Buddhist, Hindu, or Muslim, a Capitalist or a Communist, a society where no one is left to rot and where all children are safe, housed, fed, and educated will make us all wealthier and healthier.

But, you already know that. What your philosophy reduces to is an ardent child screaming “Don’t take my money!” It is a retrograde attitude that we, as a country, abandoned a long time ago. The latter half of the 20th century was a golden era precisely because we decided to distribute the wealth a little more evenly. As that process is being undone by the current regime, we are returning to the meanness of an earlier era. Please don’t support that return.

Posted by: Mental Wimp at December 11, 2006 5:19 PM
Comment #198748

Who in the history of this world determined that rape, murder, etc. were wrong? Just where did someone determine this? It was not our founding fathers. It was not the Romans or Greeks or Assyrians. It was no manner of man. Well, then who did? I will leave this open for further discussion.

Posted by: tomh at December 11, 2006 5:20 PM
Comment #198750

I love how the right loves buidling these “what if” strawmen, instead of discussing their differences point by point.

“what is a monkey lived next door and your child went over there and the monkeys taught your child the benefits of throwing feces”

I can understand not agreeing with a lifestyle or a hobby or habit but if it doesn’t directly affect you then why does it bother the right so much?

Posted by: tony CO at December 11, 2006 5:27 PM
Comment #198751
You are wrong on the queer marriage issue.

tomh,

You are really going out on a limb tonight using homophobic epithets. You should be truly ashamed of your hatred, yet I know you are not.

If sodomy is ok, then when your child goes next door where they practice sodomy, and they want to educate your child on sodomy and its many benefits, you would be all for that since it is the neighbors house where we should not interfere.

Now why in the hell would anyone do that? That is the most ignorant thing I have ever seen written on this blog. Would you be any less offended if your child went next door and was all educated up on the joys of straight sex by a straight couple?

If that summation is wrong, when where does one draw the line where sodomy is right but wrong?

That summation is absolutly wrong, and idiotic to boot. I would draw the line at any neighbor, whether gay or straight, discussing sexual practices with my children. The fact that you do not see that is truly disturbing.

Posted by: JayJay at December 11, 2006 5:35 PM
Comment #198752

tomh

Where’re you goin’ with this, buddy? You thinkin’ some supernatural being (or ghost, in plain language) wrote up some rules and handed them over? If so, why ain’t that ghost a tellin’ us anything quite that directly now? Lose his touch, or what?

Well, you did open it up to discussion, so here goes.

You do realize that the word “murder” hasn’t been interpreted the same way at different times and in different places, right? What we call murder others would justify as necessary killing, and vice versa. Many cultures have spelled out the wrong that one must do another to justify being killed by the victim or the victim’s family, reasons we would abhor. Likewise, we send our boys over to Iraq to invade that country and kill folks over there, many of them innocent, but just in the way. We don’t consider it murder, whereas I’m betting some of the Iraqis do. You can spin a similar tale about rape. Check out, oh, I don’t know, the Bible maybe to see how the treatment of women and sex varies over times and situations.

The point is that the idea of rape or murder is not some absolute that was handed down by some magical being. It took people forming societies and recognizing the mutual benefit of observing boundaries of behavior, and the eventual encoding of these recognitions into rules and, finally, laws. That some societies required fables about magical beings in order to get the less reflective to give it consideration (and these fables were often reinforced by fairly brutal sanctions; for example, see the Old Testament or the Inquisition) led to the development of religion. Nowadays, children are indoctrinated from the time they are able to understand spoken language, and some of them grow up still believing the magic. They tend to intone things with sort of a hushed sense of awe, hoping that such deference will prevent anyone from actually debating the issues. “It was no manner of man…” Oooh, that sounds pretty indisputable. The problem is that no evidence exists that it was anything but people who created our moral and legal systems. Unless of course you consider fables as evidence.

Posted by: Mental Wimp at December 11, 2006 5:35 PM
Comment #198754
Who in the history of this world determined that rape, murder, etc. were wrong? Just where did someone determine this? It was not our founding fathers. It was not the Romans or Greeks or Assyrians. It was no manner of man. Well, then who did?

tomh,

Well it sure as hell wasn’t your man Jehovah, if that is what your are trying to infer. He didn’t seem to have any problems with rape or murder, as long as it was committed in his name. He sure as hell had no problem with the mass genocide of children as we see from several passages.

Who determined that those acts were wrong was man. If it were legal for me to kill someone then it would also be legal for someone to kill me. Who wants to live in a society where you can be raped or killed at any moment for any reason? That is just common sense, dude.

Posted by: JayJay at December 11, 2006 5:43 PM
Comment #198755

It was JubJub, speaking through his prophet Wubba Wubba, who told man that rape and murder were wrong. Everyone knows that.

Posted by: Trent at December 11, 2006 5:49 PM
Comment #198756

Mental Wimp,

You stated that much better than I. Unfortunatly, I let people’s unwarrented hatred get the best of me.

Posted by: JayJay at December 11, 2006 5:55 PM
Comment #198757

Well, at least there is agreement that murder is wrong. But, why is it wrong? On what standard is it wrong?

Some of you mockingly made reference to magic or ghosts or something else. The simple question is why and by whom is murder wrong.

God of course determined that. But, there again if you do not believe in God our Creator, then someone made the reference that murder is wrong within your belief system. The questions are elemental.

Posted by: tomh at December 11, 2006 5:58 PM
Comment #198758

tomh — you should scroll back up and reread Mental Wimps post and you’ll get your answers.

Posted by: tony CO at December 11, 2006 6:03 PM
Comment #198759

tomh,

Which part of Mental Wimp’s answer didn’t you understand? Or is it that you simply will not accept any answer except the one you seek?

Posted by: JayJay at December 11, 2006 6:03 PM
Comment #198762

tomh

Did you read what was written? Your response sort of implies you didn’t. Or maybe you just chose to ignore JayJay and me. In any event, we gave an evolutionary and functional explanation of why within a society it is good to mutually agree not to attempt to kill or rape each other. Most people don’t really have a problem seeing that, since it is very logical. If someone believes that it isn’t obvious and you need a powerful ghost to tell you it’s bad, then the problem is with that person.

Also, note that the prohibition usually only extends to those within the same society. We’ve made strides in trying to extend it to all people, but as Iraq demonstrates, some countries or their leaders often feel it is okay to kill those in another country, even without provocation, if a powerful ghost tells them it’s the right thing to do.

I saw a bumper sticker the other day that said:

Humankind - be both.

Posted by: Mental Wimp at December 11, 2006 6:09 PM
Comment #198764

Mental-

“At the bottom, folks with your philosophy mostly resent having their money taken by the government and redistributed where it will do some good.”

In the hands of beaurocrats? Sorry, but that is utterly laughable. There are literally a million ways to do good for others in America today. That is one of the things that makes this nation great. We don’t need the K Street Lobbyists to make the decisions for us as to what is and what is not an important cause or an efficient or effective means of spending money. Only where there is a clear universal need not being addressed locally should government get involved.

And the heartless claims? Its heartless to shell out more money in taxes so that a small minority of people can be encouraged to contribute less than others. No one is saying to marginalize people. Only that it is a much more honest and effective system to say that government will only provide that which is universal in nature. And federal government should only serve the federal interests. Rather than paying off societal bullies so they stay away (welfare, buying people homes, etc.), we should be using government only to strengthen the systems already in place which are proven to benefit society as a whole.

For example, making charitable donations tax deductible. And when a sudden need develops, people can use their own money in a more targeted way, and when corruption pops up, people react to it faster than government (which usually fosters and then perpetuated it). Providing for a stable monetary and banking system, regulating securities to prevent fraud, building and maintaining infrastructure, etc…these are valuable roles for government. NOT making decisions so as to help shape the future of society. That is for people to decide based on their own ever evolving common morality, and is simply a product of billions of individual actions being reconciled individually with their results.

Tomh-

I’m starting to really believe you are just a caricature. Is there such thing as political tourette’s syndrome?

If I could just ask you to please stay off my side.

Posted by: Kevin23 at December 11, 2006 6:27 PM
Comment #198767

You guys are not thinking. Someone, somewhere in your belief system someone said “Killing is wrong”. Who was that person? These things do not evolve. They are absolute. Fables, Mythology, ghosts, etc are not an explanation. If you believe that they evolve, then where did that idea of not killing start; it had to start somewhere?

BTW—I read JayJay and Mental Whimp’s posting twice before you requested that I reread it again.

Posted by: tomh at December 11, 2006 6:34 PM
Comment #198770

dave1

“What is a ‘bad choice’? This sounds like a sort of ‘nanny state’ solution with behavior modification. (Surprising for a conservative). Sometimes things are just bad luck. Doesn’t this start a blame roundabout?”

surprising perhaps because you have misunderstood my proposal? a bad choice is one that lands a person in a box on the corner (or anywhere near that). we can argue all day long about whether this sad circumstance is entirely one of their own making, or conversely, somehow solely due to society (or more realistically, some mix of the two) - which is why i would dispatch blame altogether.

…ultimately, it does not matter whose fault it is - this is an unproductive, (likely) unhappy individual, yet also a fellow member of society whom we should endeavor to assist… for our own benefit as well as theirs.

by education, i did not mean to imply some form of re-education, rehabilitation program. i simply mean education… training programs to provide them with marketable skills… and then a job. after this is done, they will be employed - and we will have another productive, content citizen to help better our society. everyone wins.

even should some prove abject failures, every one we ‘convert’ should more than offset countless who fail to achieve any significant success. our goal is a tax payer instead of a tax liability, an employee rather than a potential criminal. far better to pay for education now than pay for prison later…

Posted by: Diogenes at December 11, 2006 6:42 PM
Comment #198773

tomh,

We’ve only have recorded (that is, written) history for a few thousand years. No one can answer your question as you ask it. No one can give you a name of the first guy who said killing was wrong.

I’m not an anthropologist, but I would imagine the notion that you don’t kill your children, your family, your clan, your tribe, etc. existed before language. With some exceptions, herd animals don’t kill each other. Yes, they fight over mates or to establish dominance, but generally not to the death. If I had to guess, I’d say the prohibition against murder started in some pre-literate way with instinctuals feelings toward family. These extend to larger families, then clans, etc., etc. It’s generally the other we seek to kill. Look at war propaganda — one technique is to make your enemy appear less human and thus make it easier to hate and kill them.

I know you are looking for some truth sayer or God to have laid down the first prohibition against murder. I don’t think it worked that way.

I didn’t read MW’s or JJ’s comments in their entirety, so I probably repeated things they said.

Posted by: Trent at December 11, 2006 6:50 PM
Comment #198775

Tomh-

Wild animals don’t kill members of their group either. Maybe it is just one of those obvious things. After all, it fits the evolutionary model literally perfectly. Those species which reach some higher level of consciousness regarding factors which directly affect the future success of their species (not killing each other is a seminole example) will flourish, while those who care only for their own individual safety will come to an innevitable dead end unless it can reproduce without a partner.

This is really not rocket science here. Why accuse people of “not thinking”?

Posted by: Kevin23 at December 11, 2006 6:56 PM
Comment #198779

Kevin23

I agree that this is not rocket science.

So you say a “higher level of consciousness” has brought us to a point that makes murder wrong. Then why is it that sodomy is no longer wrong? Is this also a “higher level of consciousness”?

You see, there has to be a moral authority. It was not, is not, nor ever to shall be man.

Posted by: tomh at December 11, 2006 7:09 PM
Comment #198782
You guys are not thinking. Someone, somewhere in your belief system someone said “Killing is wrong”. Who was that person? These things do not evolve. They are absolute. Fables, Mythology, ghosts, etc are not an explanation. If you believe that they evolve, then where did that idea of not killing start; it had to start somewhere?

tomh,

Ok, lets build off this. You seem to be saying that there is a universalism to the belief that murder, rape, etc. are wrong regardless of religiosity. That humans, for some unknown reason, could not simply have come to that conclusion using their own reason and logic. You seem to be claiming that this universal belief must have been instilled in people by some deity.

How did the deity come to the conclusion that murder, rape, etc, were wrong? What was the reasoning behind that conclusion, or does the deity not use reason? Does he simply make up rules arbitrarily? Does the deity simply know because he is divine or does the deity feel emotions like humans? The Bible describes the deity as having very human emotions including jealousy, compassion, anger, wrath, love, patients, impatients, etc., etc., etc. Why is it so illogical for you to believe that humans could have come to the same conclusion using the same emotions and the same reasoning that moved the deity? What about people in this world who believe that they will be rewarded by a deity if they do kill. Is it the same deity that instilled the opposite message in others? Or are there many deities? Or is it a fake deity? If you say it is a fake deity, then who are you to determine that? Who knows for sure? No one.

Don’t get me wrong, I do believe in a deity, although probably not the same deity you believe in. There is no way humanly possible for anyone here to give you a definative answer to your question without being a deity themselves. We can guess all night long, but we will not arrive at an answer that cannot be blown full of holes.

Posted by: JayJay at December 11, 2006 7:20 PM
Comment #198787

Once as a plant manager, I had a secretary who was very religious. She was quite surprised when, several years into our professional relationship, she found that I was an agnostic. To her, all law must be based on moral codes. She said (and I paraphrase here) - if you don’t believe in God, why then you could just kill and steal and rape and do whatever you want to anyone.

My response of course was that if that was how her mind worked, then I was certainly glad that she believed in God.

As hard as it may be for some to believe, our civic laws are based on a social contract of behavior. I vote for no killing and promise not to kill you, just as I hope that the contract will reduce the chances that you will kill me. This works. With or without a ‘moral’ basis.

A strong argument could be made that there is utterly no difference in Christians who want to base laws on moral code and the Taliban who also want to base laws on their moral code.

Posted by: LibRick at December 11, 2006 7:35 PM
Comment #198788
So you say a “higher level of consciousness” has brought us to a point that makes murder wrong. Then why is it that sodomy is no longer wrong? Is this also a “higher level of consciousness”?

You see, there has to be a moral authority. It was not, is not, nor ever to shall be man.

tomh,

Well there it is, the million dollar question, finally. If a deity brought us to universal belief in right and wrong, then why does that same universal belief not ring true with homosexuality? Why has that belief not been universal thoughout history? Why have some societies not only accepted homosexuality but also showed great respect towards homosexuals? Some tribes, including Native American tribes, elevated those called “two-spirits” to spiritual leadership roles within the tribe. Homosexuals were also high priests in some pagen religions, and there is evidence that some eunuchs in the bible were in fact homosexuals who were put in positions of trust and authority. Homosexuals also held positions of authority in the Roman empire. It was not until Christianity became accepted on a widespread bases that homosexuals were looked down upon.

So if what you are saying is true then homosexuality should have been seen as wrong throughout history, not just after the introduction of Christianity. If I am understanding what you are saying, it was the moral authority of man, not of a deity, that declared homosexuality as wrong. I agree.

Posted by: JayJay at December 11, 2006 7:38 PM
Comment #198790
My response of course was that if that was how her mind worked, then I was certainly glad that she believed in God.

LibRick,

lol, Great response!

Posted by: JayJay at December 11, 2006 7:43 PM
Comment #198791

Tomh-

huh? Did you miss the part about the “higher l;evel of consciousness” being a product of the evolutionary model? That was the whole point.

Posted by: Kevin23 at December 11, 2006 7:44 PM
Comment #198792

What does sodomy have to do with anything?

Talk about trying to confuse issues.

Posted by: Kevin23 at December 11, 2006 7:46 PM
Comment #198797

Kevin23,

I hate to break it to you, but that is tomh’s M.O. It is an old ploy that he uses on different threads. He makes a point about one issue he believes he knows something about and will be an easier issue for him to tackle, then ambushes you at the last minute using that same line of reasoning to feed his hatred of homosexuals. He has used the technique several times here b4.

Posted by: JayJay at December 11, 2006 8:01 PM
Comment #198803

diogenes said “i see it as yet another in your line of calls for a return to traditional republican values…”

But don’t see “traditional republican values” in this: “Social conservatives need to recognize that by banning internet gambling, regulating foul language on TV, or tapping phones without warrants, they are limiting the fertile ground of liberty, not enhancing it.”

Gambling has been regulated by the government for a long time. Most conservatives and liberals see the need to regulate gambling. Television also has been regulated for a long time and there are very good social (and moral) reasons for doing so. Both conservatives and liberals see the need for those regulations. The phones issue is much newer… and I believe it did not come from conservative values, in any case.

So, thanks for the straw-man. As a traditional conservative, I find that I disagree with most of what Mr Smith writes.

Posted by: Don at December 11, 2006 8:34 PM
Comment #198814

don,

“So, thanks for the straw-man. “

i haven’t a clue what you mean. to what straw man, exactly, do you refer?

so you wish to regulate gambling, television, phones… anything else? everything else? in the name of what? socially conservative values?

so you want to raise taxes to pay for the enlarged federal government required for such heavy regulation? cuz ‘borrow and spend’ doesn’t work…

should they monitor every aspect of our lives? or just the ones *you* deem necessary (read: sinful)…

i do not consider those values anywhere near traditional conservatism. you want to legislate your morality. traditionally, there was a separation of church and state… remember? i think you may be confused about what it means to be a traditional conservative.

i would describe you as a social conservative - that’s a different thing, and simply doesn’t mesh well with a fiscal conservative (that’s a traditional value). legislating morality costs money… lots of money.

smaller, more effective, less intrusive government. now, i believe some regulation is necessary… but it should be as minimal as possible, while preserving sufficient affect.

it should also center around local government - where i would support heavy regulations, if and when necessary; regulations which cater to the specific needs/desires of the community, and can be carefully administered by those within the community (not by a large, expensive, and ineffective bureaucracy in dc).

you want regulations? pursue them within your community, for your community… *that* is a traditionally conservative belief…

…and save the morality for church (i’ve got my own, thank you).

Posted by: Diogenes at December 11, 2006 9:58 PM
Comment #198821

JayJay

Get off that kick about me hating homosexuals. I have told you many times I do not hate homosexuals. This is the last time I will repeat it to you.

BTW—On Thanksgiving Day at our family gathering there was in attendance a homosexual. Our family gratefully and cheerfully asked him to participate with us for dinner.

You people refer to a deity. JayJay says his deity is not the same as mine. My moral authority is The Lord Jesus Christ who is above all men. Men in the past, as well as the present, have tried to allow sin to rule their lives. Man is basically an evil creature. That is why we need laws, rules, regulations. The purpose is to put boundaries on man and his behavior. Why do some people decide to obey the speed limit? They would go faster, except they choose to obey the law. These boundaries are found throughout history and throughout all countries. Who was the first murderer? Or course Cain, Able’s brother was.

One parting comment. JayJay, you should confess that you don’t have me figured out. I am of a stripe that few know.

Posted by: tomh at December 11, 2006 10:42 PM
Comment #198825

tomh, um, no — you sound utterly conventional to me. Sorry to bust your little mysterious bubble. Let me guess. You hate the sin but love the sinner, right?

Posted by: Trent at December 11, 2006 10:53 PM
Comment #198826

Adam Smith wrote of enlightened self-interest as the prime mover of behavior which seeks the best for oneself by treating others with the best, since behavior is largely reciprocal in chimps, apes and humans. It is how all their young are raised, through mimicry and copying.

Some cannibals drew a rule long before the first Rabbi or Jesuit priest visited them, eat the enemies of the clan, not members of the clan. Enlightened self interest! No doubt the thought of one’s ma and brother munching down on Pa’s remains did not seem fitting tribute or honor.

And before that early man had a rule about procreation amongst siblings within the family, based on long experience with horrid deformities in new borns brought forward in this manner which threatened the strength of the clan. Of course such taboos were expressed and conveyed in stories about gods and demons, but, the stories reflected experience and knowledge of the generations preceding who saw the benefit of marrying and procreating between members of differing clans - and many they were, not just genetic, but economic and diplomatic, as well.

Rape is still taught to aboriginal tribes observing none of the major religions as wrong and not to be condoned. You see, you can’t control incest without taboos against rape, which disciplines young men to make careful selection in the choice of the mother/s of their children. All manner of blood lines taboos and mythos predate modern religions depicting rape and incest as wrong by many tribal societies before their conversions.

Of course religions, many of them, also called for child and virgin sacrifices too, to appease the gods who controlled the events of the natural world around them. So, religion never was a guarantor of morality as morality is defined today by Christians and Jews.

Most Christians pick and choose their moral transgressions accepting and rationalizing that they are not perfect, couldn’t be if they tried, therefore, immoral acts are OK provided you couldn’t help yourself and you seek salvation afterward. So they lie to their children about Christmas, (Santa and where presents come from) and lie to their bosses when they don’t feel like going to work, and many cheat on income taxes though Christ said give unto Ceasar that which is Ceasar’s, etc. etc. etc.

Religion is no guarantor of morality anymore than laws are. But both laws and religious morals have the same rationality, do unto others as you would have them do unto you, and for the most part, society will be a better place for all. A rule which predates Judaism and Christianity by millenia. One need not be religious to choose an ethical life. One need not obey the government’s laws to live a moral life. But enlightened self interest are the reason for choosing either, as Adam Smith so eloquently points out in his book, Theory of Moral Sentiments.

BTW, This book of Smith’s is the precursor to Wealth of Nations, and Wealth of Nations is rampantly misunderstood by students of economics who are almost never required to read Theory of Moral Sentiments, which provides the underpinnings for society, and justification for government, taxes, laws, endorsed and complied with by an enlightened self interest.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 11, 2006 10:54 PM
Comment #198831
Get off that kick about me hating homosexuals. I have told you many times I do not hate homosexuals. This is the last time I will repeat it to you.

tomh,

All I will say about this is ye shall know them by their fruits:

You are wrong on the queer marriage issue.

Those are the fruits of hate my friend. God did not plant the seeds of hate in the hearts of man.

My moral authority is The Lord Jesus Christ who is above all men.

And what was Jesus’ moral teaching on homosexuality? He didn’t have one. His only teaching on the subject was that homosexuals are indeed born that way and those who can accept it, should accept it. (Matthew 19:10-12)

Man is basically an evil creature.

I disagree, man is inherently good, all carrying the same inner light, but born into a world influenced by evil. The whole world lies in the power of the evil one. (1 John 5:19)

One parting comment. JayJay, you should confess that you don’t have me figured out. I am of a stripe that few know.

Well, you have said little to make me believe that. I find nothing unique about your stripes, in fact they seem to be pretty cookie cutter to me.

Posted by: JayJay at December 11, 2006 11:39 PM
Comment #198836
BTW—On Thanksgiving Day at our family gathering there was in attendance a homosexual. Our family gratefully and cheerfully asked him to participate with us for dinner.

There was a homosexual in attendance at a family dinner?! Boy have I had you pegged all wrong. You’re a regular Archie Bunker!

BTW, there is a homosexual in attendance at all my family gatherings. It’s no big whoop.

Posted by: JayJay at December 12, 2006 12:08 AM
Comment #198839

JayJay

Matthew 19:10-12 talks about eunuchs. Eunuchs have no testicles or non-functioning testicles. That has absolutely nothing to do with homesexuals. You are stretching and bending to fit whatever you want it to mean.

I John was misquoted and out of context. The whole chapter is about obeying and understanding God and his commandments.

If man is basically good, then why does immorality happen? It is because man is basically evil and needs the rules and laws as I mentioned above. If man is basically good he does not need rules and laws to keep himself moral.

Your comprehension of man and his makeup should be re-examined. But, pride will keep you from that probably.

Posted by: tomh at December 12, 2006 12:49 AM
Comment #198843

diogenes -

“to what straw man, exactly, do you refer?”
I’m refering to the straw man that Smith builds to define conservative values (regulation of gambling & TV and warrantless phone taps). My point is that these things do NOT define conservative values, but they make a nice punching bag for conservative values.
—-

“so you wish to regulate gambling, television, phones… anything else?”
NOT!
I have no wish to regulate anything other than what most people (both conservative and liberal) already agree should be regulated. All I was saying was that gambling and television have already been regulated for good reasons (and should continue to be regulated). These are not conservative issues, these are family and cultural issues. You, as one whom, I think, believes more in state and local rights than in federal rights, may have trouble seeing the need for these regulations at a federal level. But they have benefited society! And in a time when about anything can be done by internet, defining rules and regulations for localities makes less and less sense. Patchwork regulations are not only impossible to police, but could be considered harmful. (The Soviet Union found out the hard way that they could not keep their people isolated.)
—-

“should they monitor every aspect of our lives? or just the ones *you* deem necessary (read: sinful)…”

I don’t know what you’re talking about! I didn’t say that the government should monitor every aspect, nor did I say that the government should monitor “sinful” activities. The items I was talking about should be monitored, not because they are “sinful”, but because they present social and societal problems. Others (such as alcohol and drug use) should be monitored and restricted due to health and safety issues. This has been recognized by both conservatives and liberals.
—-

“…and save the morality for church (i’ve got my own, thank you).”

First, true morality cannot be kept in church. That is an oxymoron. If that’s the only place *you* are moral, then *you* aren’t moral.
Second, the values to which I have referred are not religious in nature. There are a great many “moral” issues which benefit society tremendously. Regulating these things doesn’t cost as much as you seem to think, since they can help prevent disease, accidents, bankruptcy, delinquency, etc. They define for our society a set of values which are fairly universal in scope. For example, many non-religious people see the necessity of regulating gambling.

There is no way to deal with social and safety issues without appearing to regulate “sin.” In the same way, there is no way to de-regulate those issues without appearing to be anti-religious. But that doesn’t mean that these are religious values. As David Remer says (above) “One need not be religious to choose an ethical life.”

Posted by: Don at December 12, 2006 2:00 AM
Comment #198844
Matthew 19:10-12 talks about eunuchs. Eunuchs have no testicles or non-functioning testicles. That has absolutely nothing to do with homesexuals. You are stretching and bending to fit whatever you want it to mean.

tomh,

It may appear that way when you try to interpret the Bible using a modern context. The only way interpret the Bible is in the context of when it was written. Today, we recognize the word eunuch to mean a castrated male or as you say a male with non-functioning testicles. The problem is that up until the 4th century CE that was not what defined a eunuch. Eunuch was a general term to describe any male, that for whatever reason, lacked sexual desire for women.

In the Roman Digest of Laws, Roman jurist Ulpian says: “If a woman marries a eunuch, I think that a distinction must be drawn whether he has been castrated or not, because in the case of a castrated man, there is no dowry; if the person has not been castrated, then there can be a marriage, and so there is a dowry, and a claim on it.”

Therefore we know that not all eunuchs were castrated. Furthermore Ulpian states that “to me it appears the better view that a eunuch is not diseased or defective, but healthy, just like a man with one testicle who is also able to procreate.” Another Roman jurist Paulus states right afterward: “If someone is a eunuch in such a way that he lacks a necessary part of his body, even internally, then he is diseased.”

Therefore, some eunuchs were considered healthy, not lacking body parts and retained the ability to procreate. We also know that the man with one missing testicle was not considered a eunuch. So what made them eunuchs?

2nd century church father Clement of Alexandria tells us what made them eunuchs when he warned Christians against the evils of eunuch servants being placed in charge of women and states “the true eunuch is not unable, but merely unwilling to have sex.” He further relates his interpretation of Mathew 19:12 to the followers of Basilides, a Gnostic leader, “Some men, from their birth, have a nature to turn away from women; and those who are naturally constituted in this way do well not to marry. These, they say, are the eunuchs from birth.”

So, some eunuchs were healthy with all body parts intact, retained the ability to procreate and were only considered eunuchs because they were unwilling to have sex with women.

It is interesting to note that none of the 47 places that the Bible talks about eunuchs does it mention any type of physical defect or castration. But in the one place where the Bible does talk about castration (Deuteronomy 23:1) the word eunuch is never used.

Furthermore, Deuteronomy 23:1 clearly states that castrated males shall not enter the congregation of the Lord. Isaiah 56:4-5, on the other hand, states that eunuchs who keep the sabbath will be given a name better than sons and daughters and will be given an everlasting name that will not be cut off. If a eunuch was indeed a castrated male then these two passages seem to contradict each other.

The meaning of words change over time and a modern meaning of a word may not fit an ancient meaning of that same word. Such is the case with the word eunuch. Contrary to what your modern day Bible may say, the word Homosexual actually appears nowhere in the Bible. The word that is sometimes translated as Homosexual is actually a word that Paul made up and appears nowhere in Greek texts prior to it’s use by Paul, exactly what Paul meant by it’s use is unknown. What is known is that Homosexuals were included under the umbrella term eunuch.

I John was misquoted and out of context. The whole chapter is about obeying and understanding God and his commandments.

Ahh, the ol’ Christian standby- your taking it out of context! Yet it is ok for Christians to take a few passages out of context to condemn homosexuality. Funny how that works.

If man is basically good, then why does immorality happen? It is because man is basically evil and needs the rules and laws as I mentioned above. If man is basically good he does not need rules and laws to keep himself moral.

Why? Because a lot of people are brought up in Churches and households that tell children this shit. Of course people are going think of themselves as evil and in need of a savior when it is drilled into their head from an early age. It comes along with the ignorance inherent in this world.

Your comprehension of man and his makeup should be re-examined. But, pride will keep you from that probably.

No, not pride. My faith will keep me from it though. If you sleep better at night believing that man is inherently evil then that is all on you.

Posted by: JayJay at December 12, 2006 3:50 AM
Comment #198850
As I recall it, locus of control hinges on whether we see ourselves as controlled, or in control. Do we see ourselves as pawns of the universe, destined by fate, and primarily controlled by forces beyond our control? Or do we believe that we make our own luck, control our own fate by the choices we make, and able to exercise our free will to shape our place in the world? Do we have an external or internal locus of control?

False dichotomy. Such binary distinctions about life denies the gradient aspects of the universe, life in all of its manifestations and all of the components within those manifestations. Such distinctions might be fine for a novice to get their logical bearings when approaching an unfamiliar subject but trying to use it in crafting or advocating public policy is weak.

An American factory worker who is laid off and his job shipped off to Vietnam has no “internal locus of control” over this situation. Obviously his subsequent actions are a product of his own will, but these actions are no guarantee to recovery or future success. The liberal approach to this situation is to provide safeguards for such times as market forces put these persons’ well-being at risk. An expanded approach is to provide retraining and job placement services. The conservative approach is merely blind faith in capitalist markets and convenient indifference, i.e. “[…] the vast majority of “those less well off” are where they are through their choices in life. As such, I don’t think government owes them much.”

It’s obvious to anyone who has just a basic understanding of large systems, statistics, and basic economics that capitalist systems will produce unintended consequences that adversely affect significant portions of the populace despite their best efforts. An enlightened, liberal society does not stand indifferent in the face of this. Or try to blame those affected. Only those afflicted with lingering medieval thinking believe people get what they deserve, misinterpret Christian principles to mean, “god helps those who help themselves,” and believe that the wealthy have “blessings from god” for their hard work and perseverance. They have the lazy predilection to ignore the realities of a situation and instead spout platitudes about what should have been done, or could have been done.

This glorified “internal locus of control” argument is merely a means to cripple government’s role in providing for the welfare of the state and gives no real insight into either the human condition or public policy.

Posted by: Joseph Briggs at December 12, 2006 9:40 AM
Comment #198851
Who in the history of this world determined that rape, murder, etc. were wrong? Just where did someone determine this? It was not our founding fathers. It was not the Romans or Greeks or Assyrians.

What a simpleminded question. Do you know anything about the existence of homo sapiens? Do you realize that human history represents only about 6% of all of human existence? So typical of those blinded by faith: when the answers aren’t apparent, blame god! So unless you have video of this event where you believe some invisible alien superhero decreed that man should behave in very specific ways contrary to natural inclination then you have no argument, only an opinion based on blind faith. Meanwhile, it’s clear to everyone else that laws forbidding things such as rape or murder are merely practicalities intended to maintain social order. We don’t need some invisible alien to tell us not to murder or rape each other because it’s obvious to anyone who can put some thought into it.

Posted by: Joseph Briggs at December 12, 2006 10:09 AM
Comment #198852

JayJay

The gnostic approach is not a widely accepted approach. You are in a very small minority. You are entitled to your beliefs. I will leave it there. I stand by what I have stated above, absolutely.

BTW—words do change in meaning over a course of time. The word “gay” can no longer be used by people who once thought it to mean free and happy. Some people have hijacked the word to fit their lifestyle. That is sad.

Posted by: tomh at December 12, 2006 10:17 AM
Comment #198854


If man is basically evil, laws of conduct and rules of morality would be a waste of time.

God helps those who help themselves. Mother baked six cookies, one for each of her children to be eaten when they awaken from their nap. One child awoke early and diligently devoured 5 of the cookies. God praised the one child and glorified for his abilities to help himself and God promised the child that he would always be by his side to help and guide him through life. God chastised the other children for their laziness. The other children cried out to God saying, we understand your glorification of our brother. we were not diligent in the pursuit of our share. Am I the one that misunderstands the meaning of the words—God helps those who help themselves.

God helps those who help each other and God will know you by your good deeds.

Posted by: jlw at December 12, 2006 11:34 AM
Comment #198863
surprising perhaps because you have misunderstood my proposal?…Posted by: Diogenes at December 11, 2006 06:42 PM
Hi Diogenes, No, I believe I understood your position. As a social liberal, I agree with most of your statements (the last paragraph especially excluded). Also, as a social liberal, I think the derisive “wingnut” term of “Nanny State” plays on ignorance and, as I stated before, a need to jusitfy some sense of self righteousness by making it “their fault”.
If man is basically evil, laws of conduct and rules of morality would be a waste of time. Posted by jlw at December 12, 2006 11:34 AM
Wouldn’t the purpose then of rules of conduct and morality be to ensure an adequatly diverse gene pool? Posted by: Dave1-20-2009 at December 12, 2006 12:43 PM
Comment #198865

Joseph Briggs

You attribute a blind faith to believe the things I do.

Yours also would fall into the same rationale. What proof do you have for your statements above?

You people are not opening up to the very basic things of life and death. You speak of ghosts, gnosticism, myths, among other ideas.

There is basic understanding that eludes you. You have grown to adults knowing that it is against the law to rape, kill, steal, etc. The elementary question is who decided that these things are right or wrong. People today are trying to change whether moral laws are right or wrong. Babies are being killed. Sodomy is legalized. Marriage between one man and one woman is being challenged. These are all fundamental changes being made by radical and immoral people and or organizations. But, back to the elementary question, who first determined the rightness or wrongness of moral codes? None of you have answered this. Instead you make claims that it has always been that way, or it is just common sense. Well to some it is not that easy. So a few of you are on a quest to try to find that answer. God Bless and I hope you find the truth. This is my last statement on this posting.

Posted by: tomh at December 12, 2006 1:36 PM
Comment #198869

kevin23

Yes, your theory works great if everyone is healthy mentally and physically, has been brought up in a healthy home with involved parents and access to adequate resources and education, or is embedded in a community largely made up of such people who care for and support them. Unfortunately this idyllic situation has never, ever occurred. There were some times when the existence of people not in this situation wasn’t widely known, as mass communication was in its infancy and isolated communities and those bereft of visibility by existing communication media that focused only on the middle class interests were not part of the general concept of America. But we know now that they existed then and do so now. It is only with great effort or willful ignorance that one can assert that they don’t exist today. If you and your fellow travelers really felt the way you state, that is, that private giving should address the needs of such individuals, then the coffers of charities would be overflowing and would dwarf the power of taxation to accumulate funds for such relief. The fact that they don’t gives lie to your assertions that your approach would work. Again, the position you take is simply a way of organizing political thought around the central concept of “Don’t take my money.” It doesn’t demonstrate that you give a rip about those in need, but that you want to pretend that they all just deserve their plight and it’s someone else’s burden to address their need. Your response didn’t really say anything to counter this, it just repeated the same canard.

Posted by: mental wimp at December 12, 2006 1:56 PM
Comment #198874

Tomh:

For many of us it is just plain common sense, and as a species learning what works, perhaps even by trial and error.

Posted by: womanmarine at December 12, 2006 3:00 PM
Comment #198876
You attribute a blind faith to believe the things I do. Yours also would fall into the same rationale. What proof do you have for your statements above?

Anthropological and historical study does not equal blind faith. Certainly there won’t ever be any absolute proof either way since we have no record of events over 150,000 years ago, but what certainly cannot stand to reason is the claim that some invisible alien initiated moral codes when there is no evidence of this invisible alien. Meanwhile there is evidence of evolving legal systems circa 3000 BCE down to Hammurabi, circa 1750 BCE. It also makes for a sound theory that humans evolved systems of social control in order to maintain order in ever increasing populations. It does not make for sound theory to postulate that an invisible alien came down and told us stoopid humans how we shouldn’t rape and murder each other.

You admit that the question is elementary and despite evidence that humans can solve extremely complex problems (even so far as to organize into towns and cities, invent cheese, wine and beer, domesticate grains, create irrigation systems, develop systems of trade and bureaucracy, and build massive structures that we can barely replicate today) we are still somehow unable to figure out for ourselves that random and rampant murder or rape within the community is a bad thing. Amazing.

Posted by: Joseph Briggs at December 12, 2006 3:29 PM
Comment #198877

dave1 -

ha! i mean no offense… i just had a sneaking suspicion that the paragraph which you mention would not settle well with you. :)

i was attempting to explain why this approach is both necessary and desirable from any perspective (liberal or conservative), for anyone who values society and the obligations which being a member of a society entails.

that particular paragraph provides better justification for me than merely ‘help them because they require it,’ which naturally leads one to question *why* they require it… and then we’re right back at assessing blame.

it’s mutually beneficial, (as well as somewhat obligatory). we are helping them help themselves, and in the process, helping them help ourselves. i see nothing wrong with this - it is only fair that they should return the favor, by becoming a positive, productive part of society (as is their responsibility).

“I think the derisive ‘wingnut’ term of ‘Nanny State’ plays on ignorance and…a need to jusitfy some sense of self righteousness by making it ‘their fault’. “

perhaps. but it can also justly serve to remind us to be duly cautious… i do not believe anyone desires a true ‘nanny state,’ yourself included… and it was you who utilized the term.

let us not quibble about the reasoning behind such a pursuit, when we appear to otherwise agree - let’s just agree that it’s a good idea, and leave it at that.

Posted by: Diogenes at December 12, 2006 3:29 PM
Comment #198887

don,

you read into michael smith’s post what you wanted to see; as many here apparently did.

“They… look to government to provide control to those whose choices they find objectionable.

Rather than amendments embodying more freedom, they propose “protections” from offensive expression and committed relationships…

Social conservatives need to recognize that by banning internet gambling, regulating foul language on TV, or tapping phones without warrants, they are limiting the fertile ground of liberty, not enhancing it. Republican and conservatives need to embrace the internal locus of control and the traditional support for smaller, less intrusive government.”

i’m not sure it will help for you to read the post over, but perhaps you should focus some attention on the above. these *are* traditional conservative values, whether or not you agree with them. he is calling for a return to them…

i don’t know that michael smith would agree — but if you want regulations on these things, pursue them at the state or local level. i believe my previous post allowed for a degree of federal involvement, where absolutely necessary, but certainly as minimal as possible (which is not currently the case).

“First, true morality cannot be kept in church. That is an oxymoron. If that’s the only place *you* are moral, then *you* aren’t moral.”

sorry for the confusion… what i meant was, save your *thoughts* on morality for church… but since you claim your statements don’t stem solely from your morality, i guess it didn’t apply.

“You, as one whom, I think, believes more in state and local rights than in federal rights, may have trouble seeing the need for these regulations at a federal level. But they have benefited society!”

what’s that? benefited society? well why didn’t you say so?! who cares if there’s a better (constitutional) way! let’s just do-away with states, altogether! we can have a unitary government, with all power vested in one branch (executive)! it’s just a goddamn piece of paper, anyway, right?

seriously though — i hate to be the one to break it to you, but that is not a traditionally conservative view. you are pursuing a socially conservative agenda (not a traditional one), and are using a liberal line of reasoning (i’d call it neocon) — or at least one that is a far cry from that of a traditional conservative.

of course, we could just leave ‘traditional’ out of the conversaton, and say that the constitution does not allow for such an overarching, invasive federal government.

Posted by: Diogenes at December 12, 2006 4:44 PM
Comment #198892

Joseph,

Very well said.

Posted by: Trent at December 12, 2006 5:23 PM
Comment #198913

A nation truly sets up its fall when it destroys its morals. Read the Art of War. Take homosexuality for example: sooner or later, some judge will automatically declare it legal in all states instead of letting the people vote. When homosexuality is legalized, the madness will not stop there. Polygamy will be next. Then PETA will step in and say “Why can’t someone marry their dog?” That is why the homosexuality issue is bigger than people want you to believe.

Diogenes:

People don’t need to be religious to be for morals. Religion just endorses it. I’m a Christian Capitalist Traditionalist Conservative. Conservative means to “preserve the ways of old.” Morals are have been in the past. The movement to wipe morals out is roughly 50 yrs old. Conservatives try to conserve morals.

Read Bill O’Reilly’s Culture War. It has info on this topic.

Posted by: stubborn conservative at December 12, 2006 6:49 PM
Comment #198928

Mental Wimp-

Just because there are exceptions to a rule does not make the general point untrue. You are really stretching truth by saying I only believe in what I said because I am greedy or stingy with my money. You pretend to know much more than is possible. And it is condescending.

When a person knows they will be supported, they give less effort. Period. And generally speaking, in the real world if someone has no network of support, they have probably brought it on themselves. It is NOT for government to step in and try to replace societal or emotional bonds. Or to pretend to know what is “best” for a person, etc. It is crazy to me that government could even begin to substitute for genuine personal attachments. Government, through express action, does not change people’s behavoir. People bow to informal pressures, not formal ones. So, you see that I believe your means to your desired ends are counterproductive. Please stop accusing me or anyone else of caring less until you can show me a concrete evidence of government sponsered welfare actually working…and I need more than just an exception to the rule.

My experience (some first hand, some second, etc.) is almost all pointing in the direction that the best way to help someone is to keep government OUT of their life and just help them yourself, or find someone who specialized in the type of support you find satisfactory. Mandating a certain kind of aid, and one that is developed only by the most untrustworthy people in Washington, is just plain retarded.

Or you can just keep closing your ears and eyes to what I’m ACTUALLY posting, and call me greedy again. Either way, it doesn’t change the fact that my method promotes individualism while your method breeds corruption, innefficiency, lack of accountability over results, and good luck ever getting rid of it once it is created.

Posted by: Kevin23 at December 12, 2006 7:24 PM
Comment #198935

SC,

Polygamy has the sanction of antiquity and your religion’s sacred texts.

I fail to see how homosexuality threatens America. The gay marriage movement is a movement that celebrates rather traditional values, including stable family units. If there were good evidence that homosexual couples make poorer parents than heterosexual ones, then I might be opposed to the idea. But there isn’t. This is rather a personal topic for me. My ex-wife’s brother is homosexual, has been in a stable relationship for years. He is one of the finest people I know. Every year at his own expense (and he is not rich), he travels to various countries delivering Christmas presents to families that cannot afford them. He is engaged in more charitable organizations than I can remember. He is very religious. I could not without feeling a huge hypocrite take him to task for his “morals.”

Saying homosexuality will lead to beastility is just offensive. Claiming PETA will lead the charge for beastility is just stupid. One of the organization’s principles is that animals are not to be used for entertainment. Regardless, I don’t think you will find many secularists advocating beastility. They are mostly heterosexuals, like everyone else.

I see the greatest threat to our democracy the whittling away of Constitutional guarentees, the apathy of huge numbers of eligible voters, the disregard for ethical discourse, and our refusal to keep our financial house in order. I do not understand the argument that homosexuals or homosexual marriages threaten the institution of marriage. Most of us are heterosexual, and we are not suddenly going to become homosexual just because gays are not as stigmatized in this country as they have been in the past.

The preamble to the Declaration of Independence states that we are all entitled to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I see no reason to deny this principle to homosexuals.

Posted by: Trent at December 12, 2006 7:46 PM
Comment #198940

“Read Bill O’Reilly’s Culture War. It has info on this topic.”

Thanks for letting me consider the source. Makes a lot of sense now. Bill “facts be damned” O’Reilly strikes again via proxy.

Posted by: Kevin23 at December 12, 2006 7:54 PM
Comment #198975

stubburn,

“Take homosexuality for example: sooner or later, some judge will automatically declare it legal in all states instead of letting the people vote.”

i agree that the states should decide. the rest sounds like fear-mongering, or just ridiculousness.

“People don’t need to be religious to be for morals. Religion just endorses it. “

yes, i realize this, as well as agree. religion does not guarantee morals, however. (though, i believe it helps). my argument concerning religion was that to conflate religion and politics sullies them both. when you bring religion into politics, you will inevitably end up with politics contaminating your religion, as well… therefore…

“I’m a Christian Capitalist Traditionalist Conservative. Conservative means to “preserve the ways of old.” Morals are have been in the past. The movement to wipe morals out is roughly 50 yrs old. Conservatives try to conserve morals.”

preserve them, by all means. but do so outside of the realm of politics… and if you cannot avoid politics in preserving your morals, do so locally. do not push ‘your morals’ on the rest of us - we’ll only push back, and harder.

recall, that is why we didn’t like the liberals pushing their ‘morals’ on us? see what happened? learn the lesson that they refuse to.

“Read Bill O’Reilly’s Culture War. It has info on this topic.”

it hurts to hear you cite this pompous ass. he makes us look bad (like hillary for dems).

Posted by: Diogenes at December 12, 2006 9:54 PM
Comment #199034
Take homosexuality for example: sooner or later, some judge will automatically declare it legal in all states instead of letting the people vote.

Rights such as these are inalienable. They are not up to popular vote. Many basic human rights would not withstand a popular vote.

When homosexuality is legalized, the madness will not stop there. Polygamy will be next.

Huh. I thought all the gay bashing from the Right was supposed to be to protect the sacred tradition of marriage. I’m afraid polygamy is a part of that tradition. Or is it just to protect those parts of the tradition that you guys like?

Snark aside, the polygamy argument is a slippery slope fallacy. Marriage is a civil contract between two consenting adults that comes with specific benefits. Eliminating prejudicial language such as “a contract between a man and a woman” that restrict this contract to specific sex pairs does not entail allowing multiple partners entering into a similar contract.

As a nation that believes itself to represent equal rights for all people, we have a moral obligation to allow any subset of people to have the same opportunities as any other subset. The worst thing we could do is work into our constitution the kind of bigotry as expressed in a gay marriage ban.

Posted by: Joseph Briggs at December 13, 2006 8:39 AM
Comment #199035

And what Trent said.

Posted by: Joseph Briggs at December 13, 2006 8:40 AM
Comment #199069

there is no such right guaranteeing legal recognition of civil contracts in the constitution. thus, the states have the right to define these unions themselves.

the constitution does suggest that all citizens must be treated equally (and that’s your best argument), but i interpret that to mean within a given state (after all, capital punishment is not applied equally in all states, or even applied at all in some) - many others interpret that to mean that gay men have the same right to marry a woman, and v.v.

this would not be my interpretation, but the argument has some validity - it is an argument, and one which the constitution does not address, and so should be decided within a given state.

i think this pro-natal policy (legally recognized marriage or union) is obsolete or even counter-productive here in the states, and should be eliminated altogether… but that’s just my take. i would have the government stay out of personal relationships… and leave marriage to religion.

Posted by: Diogenes at December 13, 2006 1:33 PM
Comment #199104

On issues such as these…let the people vote.

Posted by: stubborn conservative at December 13, 2006 4:59 PM
Comment #199149
there is no such right guaranteeing legal recognition of civil contracts in the constitution.
it is an argument, and one which the constitution does not address,

You do realize that US law uses Common Law and precedence, right? Constitutional Law is not just reading the constitution. Try this and this.

The right to privacy (and privacy in marriage) is assumed (actually intuited) and it has been stated explicitly in court rulings (see the first link). Privacy basically means it’s none of our damn business. And since we have this civil contract of marriage (which bestows extra rights and privileges) that two people can enter into under sound mind and free will, it’s none of our business what the sex is of the two parties. The federal government has no power to abridge this right (without some radical constitutional amendment), the states would be remiss of the 14th if they tried, and if they tried, the federal government would be allowed to step in and strike such state law down under precedence derived from the 14th - because our national character is not about bigotry and exclusion, it’s about tolerance and inclusion.

Posted by: Joseph Briggs at December 13, 2006 9:21 PM
Comment #199151

“The right to privacy (and privacy in marriage) is assumed (actually intuited) and it has been stated explicitly in court rulings (see the first link). Privacy basically means it’s none of our damn business. “

this is my point. keep the government out of marriage. the government has no right to any position on the matter.

as per you assertion regarding precedent;
yes there is such a thing as precedence, but it can be overturned…

i would have the fed stay out of it altogether, and leave the decisions to the states. you would have it be a federal issue - hence the attempts at a constitutional amendment. you are your own enemy, in this instance.

issues which are not brought before the supreme court cannot be decided by the supreme court. should this matter be brought before them, you will have only yourself to blame if they rule against you.

i would have the states decide, because what occurs in other states, especially regarding this matter, will not affect me and mine.

you would risk it all on a wager that the courts will side with you. much law is derived from common law and precedence… but such is not nearly as solid a ground to craft law as the constitution.

more importantly, there is no common law nor precedent unequivally stating that gay men and women must be allowed to attain legal recognition of their union… so we are back where we started. you wish to create precedent and common law, not cite it as due cause… and it may backfire in your face.

Posted by: Diogenes at December 13, 2006 9:47 PM
Comment #199155

if you wish to have the fed prevent *any* regulation on marriage, bestow any privileges or rights, for anyone… then i would say you have a valid point. i would still have the states make their own decision, but i would be willing to recognize such a compromise as legit, practical, and constitutional.

Posted by: Diogenes at December 13, 2006 10:01 PM
Comment #199160
you would have it be a federal issue - hence the attempts at a constitutional amendment. you are your own enemy, in this instance.

I’m referring to the constitutional amendment proposed by the Right. I don’t support that and I find the idea radical.

issues which are not brought before the supreme court cannot be decided by the supreme court. should this matter be brought before them, you will have only yourself to blame if they rule against you.

They may but as you said, precedence can be overturned.

i would have the states decide, because what occurs in other states, especially regarding this matter, will not affect me and mine.

That’s your argument? Since it won’t affect you, let the states decide?

Here’s a basic hypothetical: say there is a gay couple married in Massachusetts. Now they move to Texas. Where do their rights go?

you would risk it all on a wager that the courts will side with you.

I don’t wager. I have no investment except for my sense of national integrity.

more importantly, there is no common law nor precedent unequivally stating that gay men and women must be allowed to attain legal recognition of their union…

Yes there is. I just mentioned one: privacy, which includes privacy in marriage. Just because it doesn’t state that this explicitly applies to homosexuals does not dismiss the interpretation.

Posted by: Joseph Briggs at December 13, 2006 10:16 PM
Comment #199164

“I’m referring to the constitutional amendment proposed by the Right. I don’t support that and I find the idea radical.”

amen. glad we can finally agree about *something*.

“They may but as you said, precedence can be overturned.”

and you’re banking on that? you’re really hedging your bets, huh.

“That’s your argument? Since it won’t affect you, let the states decide?”

absolutely not. since it won’t affect me *what* other states decide, let them decide. i am willing to risk allowing some states to decide for, and some against. should it prove so offensive to me what my state decides, i am always able to *move*.

“Here’s a basic hypothetical: say there is a gay couple married in Massachusetts. Now they move to Texas. Where do their rights go? “

when you make such a move, you agree to abide by the laws of the place which you move. as per my previous example, if they move from a state which disallows capital punishment, to texas, will they be able to make that argument in court - should the occasion arise?

“well, my state doesn’t allow a person to be put to death, so you can’t either.”

that is the price you pay when you move - do a little more research next time, before you sell your house, by a new one, and move halfway across the country.

“I don’t wager. I have no investment except for my sense of national integrity.”

then you should not have a problem if the country (or the judges) decides that they disagree with you. that will make it easier for you, i hope.

“privacy, which includes privacy in marriage. Just because it doesn’t state that this explicitly applies to homosexuals does not dismiss the interpretation.”

and just because it’s not stated that it *doesn’t* apply to homosexuals does not discount *that* interpretation. (a lot of negatives, i know)…but it could go either way, and either way it won’t be up to you. at least if you leave the decision up to the states, you’ll get a vote, right?

kinda like roulette. how well do you know the minds of the current supreme court justices? care to wager? …oh, you don’t.


Posted by: Diogenes at December 13, 2006 10:37 PM
Comment #199171
since it won’t affect me *what* other states decide, let them decide.
when you make such a move, you agree to abide by the laws of the place which you move.

No. It’s called Full Faith and Credit, Equal Protection, and Due Process. The federal government is already invested in this issue. And it needs to address the flaws in the existing law. Unfortunately, SCOTUS recently turned away a case that would do that.

then you should not have a problem if the country (or the judges) decides that they disagree with you.

Right, except I’ll be ashamed of my country.

but it could go either way, and either way it won’t be up to you.

It’s not up to you either. What does this have to do with anything?

at least if you leave the decision up to the states, you’ll get a vote, right?

I’ve already stated my case for privacy and that I am not an interested party.

Posted by: Joseph Briggs at December 13, 2006 11:11 PM
Comment #199177
should it prove so offensive to me what my state decides, i am always able to *move*.

Yes, because life and liberty entails being coerced into moving because pervasive bigotry has been enacted into local law. Rather than just confronting and striking down obviously flawed law. That’s quite an enlightened and courageous worldview you got there.

Posted by: Joseph Briggs at December 13, 2006 11:27 PM
Comment #199183

“Unfortunately, SCOTUS recently turned away a case that would do that. “

well now, that’s a sort of precedent isn’t it.

“Right, except I’ll be ashamed of my country.”

that’s sad. and too bad.

“It’s not up to you either. What does this have to do with anything? “

incorrect, as noted by your next quote, by my method, i *would* have a say.

“I’ve already stated my case for privacy and that I am not an interested party. “

and i’ve already refuted it. and you’re obviously and interested party, or you wouldn’t bother arguing.

“Yes, because life and liberty entails being coerced into moving because pervasive bigotry has been enacted into local law.”

no, common sense entails moving when you disagree with the laws and the customs of the land - the rest is your own personal opinion.

“Rather than just confronting and striking down obviously flawed law. That’s quite an enlightened and courageous worldview you got there. “

it’s the law that many (quite possibly the majority) want to live by… and thus, not flawed… perhaps misguided - but then you didn’t say that. i would wager that my view is far more enlightened than your own…

compromise is a virtue, and one which you would be well advised to consider - fighting the world for a cause in which you have no vested interest is martyrdom - or insanity.

Posted by: Diogenes at December 13, 2006 11:56 PM
Comment #199201
“Unfortunately, SCOTUS recently turned away a case that would do that. “

well now, that’s a sort of precedent isn’t it.

No.

“It’s not up to you either. What does this have to do with anything? “

incorrect, as noted by your next quote, by my method, i *would* have a say.

Having a say does not equal determining the outcome. The outcome is not up to you.

“I’ve already stated my case for privacy and that I am not an interested party. “

and i’ve already refuted it. and you’re obviously and interested party, or you wouldn’t bother arguing.

Where did you refute it? Here?

and just because it’s not stated that it *doesn’t* apply to homosexuals does not discount *that* interpretation.

Yeah, that’s not a refutation. My argument was more than just my statement you mimic here.

And not being an interested party does not equal being disinterested. It’s a very basic distinction that I thought safe to assume you could parse.

no, common sense entails moving when you disagree with the laws and the customs of the land

For those with a spine and a sense of justice, the course of common sense may still be arguable but it certainly isn’t so fraught with moral cowardice. If you want to play the whipped dog that’s fine.

it’s the law that many (quite possibly the majority) want to live by…

What does that have to do with anything? You want to trot out the rule of the majority when discussing obvious discrimination? Do you know anything of the founding principles of this country? Or the Civil Rights movement?

i would wager that my view is far more enlightened than your own…

What do you win?

compromise is a virtue, and one which you would be well advised to consider

Seriously, I have no need of your vapid sanctimony. You know nothing of me except what I have expressed here. I would appreciate it if you would address my arguments and stop trying to make this personal.

Posted by: Joseph Briggs at December 14, 2006 7:13 AM
Comment #199214


“I would appreciate it if you would address my arguments and stop trying to make this personal.”

firstly, allow me to say that i was not intending to make this about you…my apologies for any perceived insult.

“Yeah, that’s not a refutation. My argument was more than just my statement you mimic here.”

your argument was merely your own interpretation - i refuted it by pointing this out, and noting that there might another (likely many).

personally, i find it quite the stretch that you would use privacy as justification for demanding federal intrusion *into* private affairs… i think your case rather weak.

“And not being an interested party does not equal being disinterested. It’s a very basic distinction that I thought safe to assume you could parse.”

thanks for the benefit of the doubt - you’re too kind. however, your continual insistence on this point (not an interested party - which i find irrelevant) made me feel that perhaps you needed to recognize that you are an interested party whether or not you realize it (even if not in a legal sense)… not in the specific instance of gay marriage, but in the ongoing infringement of state rights which you apparently fully support (amicus curiae, of sorts). you want to pretend that you are objective - you are not.

it is exactly because you wish to make this a federal issue that the reps wish to beat you to the punch - and push a constitutional amendment. thanks for that, oh brave one.

i’ll not address your character attacks, but assume they were out of anger rather than reason.

however, “No.”? no precedent, huh?

“The Court denied review of, and thus left intact, a NInth Circuit Court ruling last May that found an Orange County, Calif., gay couple had no right to sue (no “standing”) to challenge the federal Defense of Marriage Act. The Circuit Court ruled that federal courts should not rule on the challenge to state marriage laws in California, leaving that in the first instance to state courts.”

sounds like they agree with me. this is a state issue. precedent set. thanks for the link.

Posted by: Diogenes at December 14, 2006 10:46 AM
Comment #199227

and another thing…

“What does that have to do with anything? You want to trot out the rule of the majority when discussing obvious discrimination? Do you know anything of the founding principles of this country?”

firstly, no one knows what the majority would do. not you. not i. i would prefer we do not leave it up to the majority… hence, federalism.

one of the founding principles of this country is federalism - which you seek to dismantle. do you know anything of founding principles?

federalism is one of the mechanisms by which it is ensured that we don’t have a tyranny of the majority (or of the minority). under federalism, one law does not encompass the entire nation - the unitary government which you seek to create would be the best tool for the majority to impose their will on the minority.

of course it could also work in reverse, should a minority wrest control away from the majority - that’d be a lot better… tyranny of the minority. you appear to be banking on this. chances are slim.

Posted by: Diogenes at December 14, 2006 12:06 PM
Comment #199228
your argument was merely your own interpretation

Your premise that these rights are not in the constitution is your interpretation and ignores established precedent. What’s your point?

personally, i find it quite the stretch that you would use privacy as justification for demanding federal intrusion *into* private affairs… i think your case rather weak.

That’s only because you have demonstrated nothing but a confused sense of what I’m talking about. The privacy argument is to justify the government having no stake in the sexes of the two partners seeking to get married, thus they would have to use this reasoning to strike down DOMA and when confronted in SCOTUS with a case disputing any state law that violates the 14th, they would rule against such law.

you want to pretend that you are objective - you are not.

I am not, I admit my bias toward equality and against discrimination. But that doesn’t make me either an interested party or an amicus curiae of any sort. I’m commenting on a political blog. Again, simple distinctions.

it is exactly because you wish to make this a federal issue that the reps wish to beat you to the punch - and push a constitutional amendment.

DOMA made it a federal issue. I didn’t push for this to be a federal issue before 1996. Unless you can find some quote from me to the contrary. Now that it is a federal matter, it’s a federal matter.

i’ll not address your character attacks, but assume they were out of anger rather than reason.

If you feel I’ve made attacks against your character, you’re reading too much into things. I can’t help it if your reading comprehension and analysis are so poor.

“No.”? no precedent, huh?

Yes, you should’ve kept reading:

The case thus was not a clear-cut test of the constitutionality of any law dealing with marriage.

Or were you just looking for any precedent to point at? Me, I was talking about precedent as it applies to the issue at hand, i.e. laws regarding gay marriage bans, not standing.

Posted by: Joseph Briggs at December 14, 2006 12:26 PM
Comment #199241

I’m only loosely following this conversation, but I’m curious to know how standing is not relevent?

I think it is the crutch of the debate…where and how does one sue to enforce application of a given statute? Is there a federal question that requires interpretation of a federal statute? If so, things innevitably become much more complicated and policies more difficult to change solely based upon expert advice.

This concern should be very carefully weighed against the percieved need to “protect” members of some minority group from an oppressive local government. After all, even local governments are democratic, so we cannot assume that change on that level will never occur. Sometimes all it takes is negative publicity or some other way of generating public interest. That is a much more effective way of solving any problem, and our system of government is designed to foster that approach whenever possible.

Posted by: Kevin23 at December 14, 2006 1:17 PM
Comment #199243

“Your premise that these rights are not in the constitution is your interpretation and ignores established precedent.”

the only established precedent regarding the right of a man to marry a man or woman to marry a woman is the one which you cited, and the precedent was against you. it is a state issue.

“Yes, you should’ve kept reading;”

i did. you should have read more closely;

“The Circuit Court ruled that federal courts should not rule on the challenge to state marriage laws in California, leaving that in the first instance to state courts.”

there is your precedent. precedent does not have to be set by the supreme cout… or didn’t you know that.

you admit you are biased, but you are incorrect regarding the how. you’re are an interested party, as per my description. to state that you are not otherwise an interested party serves only as distraction from the point - unless you were attempting merely to demonstrate your proficiency with legal jargon… but i am glad that you believe you have found a technicality on which you can finally believe yourself to be correct (though you very well know what i meant).

“That’s only because you have demonstrated nothing but a confused sense of what I’m talking about.”

if that is true, it is because you, sir, are yourself confused about that which you speak.

“If you feel I’ve made attacks against your character, you’re reading too much into things.”

cowardice, whipped dog, vapid sanctimony… whatever. it is obviously an annoyance, yet since it in no way detracts from my points, feel free to indulge in denial. i know already that you are unconcerned with being offensive.

“I didn’t push for this to be a federal issue before 1996.”

perhaps not you, personally, but plenty others. and that you push now is sufficient reason for them to continue.

“Or were you just looking for any precedent to point at?”

that would seem to be your motivation… you pointed out the case. i merely relayed what it actually meant to your argument.

“Your premise that these rights are not in the constitution is your interpretation and ignores established precedent.”

these rights are not explicitly stated in the constitution - this is not an interpretation - and thus, said ‘rights’ are both open to interpretation, as well as rightly deferred to the states to regulate.

that was my point - it was you who claimed otherwise - that precedent or common-law favored your argument, or some such nonsense… yet you utterly failed to demonstrate it. in fact, you gave proof to the contrary.

“Me, I was talking about precedent as it applies to the issue at hand, i.e. laws regarding gay marriage bans, not standing.”

of which you have found none, other than the one which found “federal courts should not rule on the challenge to state marriage laws.”

precedent is on my side. the constitution is on my side. common law has nothing to say regarding the matter. the powers not delegated to the fed by the constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively…

any other ‘aces’ up your sleeve? i think i’d leave them there - cuz your just making it worse.

Posted by: Diogenes at December 14, 2006 1:22 PM
Comment #199253

This is not an issue of states rights to regulate marriage. While marriage is a states rights issue, equality under the law is not. The gay marriage issue is a federal issue simple because it deals with the issue of equality that is guaranteed under the federal Constitution. States have the right to regulate marriage any way they want as long as it is applied equally amongst all citizens of that state.

If the majority of citizens in one state decided to end marriage for all it’s citizens then that should be their right to do so and should not fall under federal jurisdiction. However, when majority rules to pass a law that grants specific rights to one segment of the population at the exclusion of an equally legitimate segment of the population then that becomes a civil rights issue, thus falling under the federal Constitution.

Furthermore the federal government has an obligation under the Constitution to recognize the legitimate records of each state. The DOMA seeks to subvert that by claiming that the records of certain states that legalize gay marriage have no effect.

Article. IV,

Section. 1.

Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State. And the Congress may by general Laws prescribe the Manner in which such Acts, Records and Proceedings shall be proved, and the Effect thereof.

Section. 2

The Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the several States.

AMENDMENT XIV,

Section 1.
All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Posted by: JayJay at December 14, 2006 1:48 PM
Comment #199255

BTW, if a federal marriage amendment passes then it is no longer a state’s rights issue at all. Marriage would be automatically transfered to the federal level. What that means is that the federal government would be given broad power to regulate and intrude into your marriage. Many SCOTUS cases against federal intrusion into marriage, including a law that forbid the sale of birth control to married couples, were decided simply because there is nothing giving the feds power over marriage regulation. That would change with a federal marriage amendment, and that would effect more than just same-sex couples.

Posted by: JayJay at December 14, 2006 1:55 PM
Comment #199256
and the precedent was against you. it is a state issue.

Again, no. I don’t know why you refuse to read the links I provided.

i did. you should have read more closely;

I did. Like I said, I was concerned with an actual ruling on law, not standing.

you admit you are biased, but you are incorrect regarding the how.

No I’m not. But that’s wonderfult that you can presume with so much certainty.

you’re are an interested party, as per my description. to state that you are not otherwise an interested party serves only as distraction from the point - unless you were attempting merely to demonstrate your proficiency with legal jargon… but i am glad that you believe you have found a technicality on which you can finally believe yourself to be correct (though you very well know what i meant).

We make distinctions and have words to reflect those distinctions so that we may communicate clearly and effectively. Technically is all I’m concerned with. If you want to play fast and loose with words so they fit your argument and discount mine, great, but I’m not gonna fall for it.

if that is true, it is because you, sir, are yourself confused about that which you speak.

Back that up. What am I confused about. I’ve had to repeatedly make very simple clarifications to you.

cowardice, whipped dog, vapid sanctimony… whatever

You might want to read those lines over again as none of them referred to you personally. If you feel the statements implied something about you, you might want to examine why you feel that way.

these rights are not explicitly stated in the constitution - this is not an interpretation

Which is why I mentioned “and ignores established precedent” because you have. The fact that the constitution does not state anything about privacy doesn’t mean that, as far as the law is concerned, privacy isn’t a tenet of the constitution to be upheld. And the same can be said for every other issue I’ve mentioned (Full Faith and Credit, Equal Protection, Due Process).

it was you who claimed otherwise - that precedent or common-law favored your argument, or some such nonsense… yet you utterly failed to demonstrate it.

If you don’t read the links I’ve provided that’s your prerogative but don’t turn around and say I haven’t provided my evidence.

Also, I never said common law favored my argument, that’s just more of you arguing against some figment of your imagination, which you seem to do a lot.

of which you have found none, other than the one which found “federal courts should not rule on the challenge to state marriage laws.”

And now you’re just ignoring what I’m quoting in this very thread.

i think i’d leave them there - cuz your just making it worse.

More vapid sanctimony. Is that your best hand, flippant advice? You seem to be full of it.

Posted by: Joseph Briggs at December 14, 2006 2:03 PM
Comment #199260
I’m only loosely following this conversation, but I’m curious to know how standing is not relevent

Standing is relevant in general, but I brought up the SCOTUS case to point out that no precedent has been set by SCOTUS regarding any marriage law. Diogenes just ignored my point and went off on some other tangent because he felt he could score some points or some such.

Posted by: Joseph Briggs at December 14, 2006 2:06 PM
Comment #199263

jayjay.

finally, a well structured, factual counter!

still, i believe i have already addressed this.

“…applied equally amongst all citizens of that state.”

the counter, is of course, (and as i stated before), that any gay man has the same right as any straight man - to marry a woman… (and the same applies to gay women).

there is the plausible deniability, so to speak.

“If the majority of citizens in one state decided to end marriage for all it’s citizens then that should be their right to do so and should not fall under federal jurisdiction.”

i would certainly be in favor of this - not ending marriage (but i don’t think that’s what you meant)… keeping government out of it altogether. no extra rights/privileges for anyone. no need for legal recognition.

“…when majority rules to pass a law that grants specific rights to one segment of the population at the exclusion of an equally legitimate segment of the population then that becomes a civil rights issue, thus falling under the federal Constitution.”

this is debatable, for the above mentioned reason. the argument can still be brought to the federal level, as it has - which is my concern.

there is no need for federal regulation on this issue, and whichever direction that decision goes, large sections of the population will be rightly pissed that they are not given a say in the matter.

much of the rest of your post reiterates and expounds upon this point… that by your interpretation, they are not being given equal rights.

here is an interesting argument which underscores the flaws in your reasoning (namely, gay men don’t have the same rights).

single men. they do not receive any benefits or privileges or special recognition that married couples do. that is not equal treatment, by your definition. that - or they have the same right (to marry a woman) but choose not to exercise it (or are unable to do so). in either case, they face the same alleged discrimination as gay men.

and yet no outcry of discrimination? were we to permit them the same rights/privileges, as well as gay men, as well as the rest of the population - then there would not be any undue rights/privileges at all. that would be fair. that would be constitutional. i don’t see it happening.

thus we are left with two options - continue this needless bickering in perpetuity at the national level… or leave the decision to each state to make, for their own people.

Posted by: Diogenes at December 14, 2006 2:10 PM
Comment #199264

If you are looking for a precedent it happened a few years ago when the SCOTUS struck down sodomy laws. Up until that time same sex unions could not be considered legitimate under the law. When those laws were struck down and same-sex couples gained legitimacy for their relationships, this issue became about equality. That is your precedent.

Posted by: JayJay at December 14, 2006 2:13 PM
Comment #199267

“I did. Like I said, I was concerned with an actual ruling on law, not standing.”

so you were just looking for anything to support your case. yes, i know.

“We make distinctions and have words to reflect those distinctions so that we may communicate clearly and effectively. Technically is all I’m concerned with.”

thanks for clarifying. i didn’t know that. i see that all you are concerned with is technicalities - which is why it is pointless debating you.

“You might want to read those lines over again as none of them referred to you personally. If you feel the statements implied something about you, you might want to examine why you feel that way. “

bullshit. “I have no need of your vapid sanctimony.” “For those with a spine and a sense of justice” the implication being those other than myself.
” the course of common sense may still be arguable but it certainly isn’t so fraught with moral cowardice. If you want to play the whipped dog that’s fine. “

that’s a fine line to draw - but if you want to be a bitch about it, that’s fine too… see how that works?

“The fact that the constitution does not state anything about privacy doesn’t mean that, as far as the law is concerned, privacy isn’t a tenet of the constitution to be upheld.”

privacy does not automatically work to your advantage on this issue - that’s your asinine argument. good luck with it (it appears to be all you have).

“If you don’t read the links I’ve provided that’s your prerogative but don’t turn around and say I haven’t provided my evidence.”

i would suggest, yet again, that you read them - they work against you.

“You seem to be full of it.”

i think it’s fairly obvious exactly who is full of exactly what.

you are now saying nothing - just repeating the same tired arguments… that and being contemptuous.

find someone else to annoy.

Posted by: Diogenes at December 14, 2006 2:22 PM
Comment #199269

jayjay,

“If you are looking for a precedent it happened a few years ago when the SCOTUS struck down sodomy laws.”

a good point. but it does not address the argument i put forward (equal rights to single individuals). and, do you recall their reasoning for striking down those laws?

Posted by: Diogenes at December 14, 2006 2:25 PM
Comment #199271
the counter, is of course, (and as i stated before), that any gay man has the same right as any straight man - to marry a woman… (and the same applies to gay women).

Ahh, but that changed with the precedent I mentioned above with the striking down of sodomy laws. That decision made same-sex relationships just as legitimate as opposite-sex relationships under the law. If same-sex relationships are legitimate under the law, then the law must be applied equally to all groups equally. What you are saying is akin to interracial marriage bans. Black men had the same rights to marry a black woman as a white man had to marry a white woman. That does not equal equality if the interracial relationship is just as legitimate under the law as non-interracial relationships. The same applies here with same-sex relationships.

I have to run right now, but I will try to address your other questions later.

Posted by: JayJay at December 14, 2006 2:28 PM
Comment #199273

“What you are saying is akin to interracial marriage bans.”

very good point. i’m glad it didn’t work in that instance - but i think it still applies in this one;

celibacy has been long recognized as legitimate. under the current law, celibate individuals are penalized for their lifesteyle choice. it seems that you wish to make an oppressive law slightly less oppressive, rather than abolish it altogether.

i look forward to your response.

Posted by: Diogenes at December 14, 2006 2:38 PM
Comment #199274

err.. ” but i think it still applies in this one” strike that… i think this one still applies… anyway, i think you know what i mean.

Posted by: Diogenes at December 14, 2006 2:42 PM
Comment #199288
so you were just looking for anything to support your case. yes, i know.

Ha! You really do have a problem with comprehension, don’t you? Look:

The federal government is already invested in this issue [of gay marriage]. And it needs to address the flaws in the existing law [DOMA]. Unfortunately, SCOTUS recently turned away a case that would do that.

If you couldn’t see that I was referring to those items I just inserted, you could’ve simply asked for clarification. As you can should be able to see, I wasn’t talking about establishing standing. I was talking about SCOTUS establishing a precedent regarding the law as it applies to gay marriage bans. Because that’s what we were talking about.

i see that all you are concerned with is technicalities - which is why it is pointless debating you.

I’m going to hold to the actual meaning of words so that I can understand what’s being said rather than simply make a bunch of brash assumptions about what was said. I don’t see what you find so intractable about that.

that’s a fine line to draw - but if you want to be a bitch about it, that’s fine too… see how that works?

Yes, it is a fine line. Don’t like it?

privacy does not automatically work to your advantage on this issue - that’s your asinine argument. good luck with it (it appears to be all you have).

You keep telling yourself that. I linked to the 9th and the 14th almost from the beginning of this “debate” with you. I can’t help that you never realized.

i think it’s fairly obvious exactly who is full of exactly what.

And yet, you keep on betraying yourself.

find someone else to annoy.

You are more than free to stop reading and responding. I can’t believe I have to constantly point out these very basic things to you.

Posted by: Joseph Briggs at December 14, 2006 3:34 PM
Comment #199304

any editors out there?

i’m trying to play fair, but i’m losing my patience with this… guy.

on to those who matter…

jayjay,

upon a cursory read, it appears that the texas sodomy law was struck down based on the fact that it singled out homosexual couples…

heterosexual couples were not prohibited from engaging in sodomy, only homosexuals. that is, they were indeed being explicitly denied the same (not an equivalent) right. this is clearly discriminatory under the constitution.

(apparently, all other laws proscribing sodomy have been thereby declared unconstitutional as well, supporting your case… although they are still being enforced in some states…)

i know… the distinction i’m drawing seems quite arbitrary, but i’d suggest there is some definite wiggle-room on this one. assuming this case can be effectively extrapolated onto the issue of gay marriage, the amendment which has been proposed by the far-right defines who can be lawfully wed, not who may not.

thus, it does not explicitly state a preference towards heterosexuals… it seems that i’m nitpicking, i realize… but it can and will be argued… and it was for this reason that the texas law was struck down.

there is apparently a significant difference between a law or policy which gives benefits to one group at the exclusion of others (affirmative action?), and one that specifically identifies a group to which they will be denied (texas sodomy laws).

i will concede, however, that the precedent seems to support your argument far better than my own… but again, i only gave the case a perfunctory read.

Posted by: Diogenes at December 14, 2006 5:07 PM
Comment #199309

i would have the states decide it, as i’ve stated… but as this appears unlikely (and your argument sufficiently compelling as to effectively preclude it as a possibility in my mind, short of overturning a precedent i would not see overturned), i would have you focus the preponderance of your attention on argument two (equal rights for gays/heteros, but not for single/celibate.) if you cannot resolve this issue, i do not see you getting too incredibly far with the other.

again, i’m quite intrigued as to how you will approach it.

regards.

Posted by: Diogenes at December 14, 2006 5:20 PM
Comment #199327

Diogenes,

The single/ celibate issue is one that I have argued before. I am a gay single white male with no children who has been employed since I was 16 years old. I get NO special deductions, no benefits, no grants, no nothing from the government, nothing. Heck, I hardly get represented by the government at all. I do get punished because of my standing, and you will not hear me arguing against the idea that we should be treated as equal individuals, not as individuals vs. couples.

That said, I do understand the incentives for marriage. The SCOTUS has already ruled, decades ago, that the states have an interest in marriage. The institution of marriage is one to promote stable, nurturing family units that benefit society as a whole. It does not matter if that family unit is 2 or 20. So, the states do retain an interest in promoting marriage. But, do the states retain an interest in banning same-sex marriage?

It is important to note that same-sex couples are not sitting on the edge of their seats waiting to see what the outcome of this is going to be. They are starting families whether society is ready for them or not. My best friend recently had twins with her partner she married in Canada. One way or another these families are being formed all across the country. So, my question is what is the state’s interest in banning same-sex marriage? Simply disliking someone’s lifestyle is not enough of an interest. Nor is tradition. Traditions change and new ones start. Thomas Jefferson called the idea of religious freedom an experiment, and in fact this entire county was founded as an experiment, not on tradition.

Isn’t it actually in the states interest to offer the same stability and support for these families as they do to any other opposite-sex family? Shouldn’t we be focusing on the family for real, and not just sex?

When you think about it, that is what this is really about. It is not about strengthening families at all. If it were we would want to expand the stability of the family unit to as many families as we could, regardless of their make-up. It is really about people’s fears and prejudices. If certain groups lose this fight to ban same-sex marriage then the last vestige of their own feelings of superiority are gone.

Again, I go back to what Thomas Jefferson said:

“The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbour to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.”

What is the injury done to extend the benefits of marriage to same-sex households? Remember, these are not hypothetical households, these are households that are already being formed.

Posted by: JayJay at December 14, 2006 7:01 PM
Comment #199335

Diogenes,

BTW, I work with this beautiful woman whom I have promised to marry if she divorces her husband so that we can share the benefits of marriage. My only stipulation is that there will be no sex involved, she is on her own to find that, as am I.

As you pointed out there is nothing legally standing in our way from creating such an arrangement, but it does seem to make quite a mockery out of the institution. Don’t you think? Much more than same-sex couples who want marriage rights for legitimate reasons. It is kinda sad that some people would be ok with a phony marriage simply because we are opposite sex, but against real marriages, in every sense of the word, simply because they are the same-sex. Maybe I am biased, but it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me.

Posted by: JayJay at December 14, 2006 7:26 PM
Comment #199338

I have an idea. If a Constitutional ban on marriage equality ever passes, every gay man should marry a lesbian. That way, each can then start seprate families, but still get the financial benefits of marriage. I wonder how many health plans would go bankrupt?

Posted by: JayJay at December 14, 2006 7:47 PM
Comment #199340
i’m trying to play fair, but i’m losing my patience with this… guy.

Please. Considering your flippant attitude, your condescending “advice,” and your meager attempts at ridicule, I’m the one who has been “fair.”

Posted by: Joseph Briggs at December 14, 2006 8:00 PM
Comment #199341
finally, a well structured, factual counter!

And you accuse me of lying. Please point out any false statement I’ve made.

Posted by: Joseph Briggs at December 14, 2006 8:03 PM
Comment #199345

brilliant.

“It is not about strengthening families at all.”

these privileges given to heterosexual couples are collectively known as a pro-natal policy… and one for which we have no use. such policies are generally intended to grow the population - something we are having little trouble doing at any rate. it is indeed discriminatory to all who do not fit the mold.

this is bothersome to me… seeing as it is unconstiutional. it is made further so by the unconstitutional intrusion of the government into the personal affairs of individuals - i find the combined affect abhorrent.

there is absolutely no way to prevent those who wish to have children from doing so. furthermore, there is still an overabundance of unwanted children out there, who would more than likely benefit from any stable interpersonal relationship.

“BTW, I work with this beautiful woman whom I have promised to marry if she divorces her husband so that we can share the benefits of marriage. My only stipulation is that there will be no sex involved, she is on her own to find that, as am I.”

yes, this is a terrible idea; this would be destructive to the institution of marriage. but then so is a constitutional amendment defining it - forever sealing government’s right to interfere in such matters.

it would also likely be detrimental to children raised in such an environment - assuming, i think fairly, that there would be no love between two individuals in such a marriage of convenience.

still, given a constitutional ban on gay marriage (note, not necessarily a ban in a given state), i would actually encourage you to do so. of course (and again), the advantage of this course of action is that it is entirely legal. it matters little what i (or anyone) think.

“As you pointed out there is nothing legally standing in our way from creating such an arrangement, but it does seem to make quite a mockery out of the institution. Don’t you think?”

a resounding yes. had you read a previous post of mine? i do not recall saying as much in this thread.

“I have an idea. If a Constitutional ban on marriage equality ever passes, every gay man should marry a lesbian.”

there is actually an organization currently actively recruiting gays/lesbians for this very purpose. scary… but it shows what happens when the government meddles in citizens’ private affairs.

you did not make this response nearly as entertaining as i had hoped. i was hoping to have something to argue. perhaps you should return to the first argument.

Posted by: Diogenes at December 14, 2006 8:17 PM
Comment #199376

Since I doubt any response is forthcoming…

—-
The federal government has expressed and codified interest in marriage in a variety of ways. From the text of the constitution, the states have purview over this civil institution but from more modern precedence, SCOTUS has explicitly prescribed a level of necessary federal interest in this power. The more apparent arguments for such intrusion are the Full Faith and Credit Clause, the Equal Protection Clause, and due process.

The bulk of this precedence comes from Griswold v Connecticut, 1965, a landmark case that used the concept of penumbra rights to establish the right to privacy and specifically privacy in marriage. This applied in particular to a law prohibiting the use of contraceptives. SCOTUS invalidated the law on the grounds that it violated the right to marital privacy, which had precedence in common law.

“To hold that a right so basic and fundamental and so deep-rooted in our society as the right of privacy in marriage may be infringed because that right is not guaranteed in so many words by the first eight amendments to the Constitution is to ignore the Ninth Amendment and to give it no effect whatsoever.”
—Justice Goldberg, Griswold v Connecticut, 1965

“While, therefore, neither opinion sought to make of the Ninth Amendment a substantive source of constitutional guarantees, both did read it as indicating a function of the courts to interpose a veto with regard to legislative and executive efforts to abridge other fundamental rights.”
—FindLaw analysis of Griswold v Connecticut // http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/data/constitution/amendment09/

This concept of privacy was further extended to include all reproductive decisions in Eisenstadt v Baird, 1972, which applied to the sale of contraceptives to unmarried couples. Which, along with Griswold, informed Roe v Wade, 1973, which extended the right to privacy to include abortion. And finally Lawrence v Texas, 2003, which struck down a Texas sodomy law, and created a broadly defined right to private, consensual, intimate adult conduct.

The overarching concept here is expanding of the right of privacy (widening the penumbra). Equally as important to note, the first expansion of these rights regarded these types of affairs outside of marriage as equally entitled.

“If the right of privacy means anything, it is the right of the individual, married or single, to be free from unwarranted governmental intrusion into matters so fundamentally affecting a person as the decision whether to bear or beget a child.”
—Justice Brennan, Eisenstadt v Baird, 1972

So here we have all the necessary precedence to approach the issue of same sex marriage from the beginning: the right to privacy in consensual, intimate adult affairs, which includes privacy in marriage and same sex relationships. A state has no legitimate interest which justifies an intrusion upon the private life of an individual as it relates to these matters. The federal government has an established interest in invalidating state law that abridges these rights.

Since due process, equal protection and full faith and credit are much more common among same sex marriage debates, there isn’t much more to say except that they buttress the precedent of federal interest. Due process protections invalidate any state claim to intrusion on private affairs relating to the rights noted. Equal protection should be rather self-evident.

Full faith and credit can get a little tricky, especially considering the public policy exception, but it’s still rather fundamentally simple: given that any state law discriminating against same sex marriage would be in the interest of the federal government to invalidate, this would require an equal federal interest in establishing that all states are obliged to recognize same sex marriages from other states.


—-
Now, why would I bother to go about articulating this kind of an argument if the kind of response I’m gonna get is about whether or not I’m willing to wager on it? Or having it called asinine? Or to have insignificant details such as absolutely explicit language absent from any particular ruling? Or worst of all, to get ever more of “let the states decide?” As if that provides any insight at all into the issue. All that and a bunch of wrongheaded assumptions in lieu of simply asking for clarification and labyrinthine tangents of no real importance.

So after reading your initial responses, I didn’t think it worth posting. Why would I even waste my time? It was already a massive derail.

And this isn’t for you to respond to, Diogenes. I won’t answer. And hopefully I’ve given you enough cause to ignore everything I ever post again.

Posted by: Joseph Briggs at December 15, 2006 12:35 AM
Comment #199419

because joseph,

this is a well-articulated, substantive argument - and as such, will be far more difficult to desconstruct, if indeed at all possible.

at this point, i’m guessing you’re just baiting, but;
here you cite precedence, which can be overturned, but one would have to find fault in the reasoning for the precedence (and this is assuming that one would want to do that).

you previously cited the 9th and 14th - and yes, i have previously read them, and read them again in your links. obviously, these amendments do not conclusively prove your point, or we would not be debating the issue - it would already be settled, having been spelled out in the constitution.

rather than repeat that you cited them and they prove your argument, it would have been in your best interest (and mine) if you had attempted to argue *how* they support your argument. instead you restated that they do, and that you linked to them. you gave only the most minimal argument as to how, at best - and i disagree (which is my right, and should cause you no offense).

you state that you are not an interested party - and clearly, in a legal sense, neither am i. i still do not know what the point of this statement was. clearly, we both have an interest in the case - you think it’s a case of discrimination. correct me if i’m wrong (or don’t), but the doma merely defines marriage and leaves the rest to the states - it does not seek to proscribe civil unions (and thus, homosexual couples can still seek benefits).

to me, the true offense would be inserting an amendment into the constitution saying as much, forever cementing government’s role in private affairs. that is my main concern… thus, it would appear that we have a common purpose, regardless of reasoning. you disregard this fact, and rather than pursue debate, you seek to offend or discredit me. why? this will not address my argument, but at best demonstrate that i am not qualified to defend it… and the argument itself will stand.

i am here to debate, and hopefully teach and learn. if you do not care who you convince, what they might have to say, or how you might be offensive to them, i ask again, what is the point of posting? consider the instance of the creationists you find so offensive - they do not argue logic, they dismiss it. what’s the point?

if your sole intent was to have me ignore you, you have succeeded to the extent that is possible - but that does not mean i will ignore the arguments, or not point out every flaw in them that you make from here out. i will merely have no respect for your opinions. is that what you want?

i will try this again, if you can show a little respect…

jayjay (or whoever),

no follow up?

“The SCOTUS has already ruled, decades ago, that the states have an interest in marriage.”

to which case do you refer here?

as i see it, the only grounds for ruling doma unconstitutional and preventing a constitutional amendment to the same affect, would be that the state/fed has no place in such private affairs…

i don’t see how you can reconcile the conflict of these two views. you say you will not argue against the idea that we should be treated as equal individuals… but will you argue for it?

this is the only way i see of lawfully eliminating any difference between homosexual and heterosexual marriage, if that is indeed your goal.

all the precedence thus far cited point in one direction or the other - let the states decide what is considered marriage, or don’t. i do not see how you can justify forcing recognition of (and provide benefits for) homosexual marriage without likewise rendering such discrimination unconstitutional outright.

again, civil unions are recognized in many states - to force this issue any further, i think, is contrary to your purpose - unless you seek to remove government from the institution, altogether. am i missing something?

Posted by: Diogenes at December 15, 2006 1:49 PM
Comment #199462

from the silence, i guess not.

i’ll consider it settled then.

Posted by: Diogenes at December 15, 2006 8:28 PM
Comment #199523

Diogenes,

I don’t even understand your last post at all. You appear to be spinning in circles, marriage equality somehow equals discrimination; extending marriage benefits somehow nullifies benefits. I have made my argument and I do not believe that you have offered anything to invalidate that argument. I have nothing further to add. Ubuntu.

Posted by: JayJay at December 16, 2006 3:03 PM
Comment #199671

i don’t see where you are confused, jayjay. if it seems that i am arguing in circles, i would suggest that is because the logic itself is a bit circuitous.

extending benefits which are inherently discriminatory in nature (only those who marry qualify) to same-sex couples has the effect of reinforcing existing discrimination to any who do not fit your expanded qualifications for said benefits - unless you make the benefits universal.

yet, extending these benefits to all equally in order to eliminate the existing discrimination entirely, naturally does have as a consequence the negation of many of these benefits altogether. if everyone gets a tax break, in effect, no one does. if everyone is given visitation rights, we are simply elimininating the privilege currently reserved for spouses. etc.

you said you would not argue against us all being treated as individuals - i asked if you would go a step farther, and say that you would actually endorse it. it seems to me that in order to be logically consistent, you would have to endorse it. thus, you would essentially endorse (to some extent) revoking the current privileged status associated with marriage.

i don’t think i can be any more clear without a specific question. i would leave the federal government out of the decision of who receives what benefits regarding marriage - but i would not be opposed to keeping all government out of such personal affairs. if these rights should be given to same-sex couples, as you argue (and i see your reasoning), then why should they not be granted to all citizens?

Posted by: Diogenes at December 18, 2006 1:32 PM
Comment #199691

The more narrowly you define “marriage” the more interpretation will be needed to enforce it. If the government can’t even agree on how to define it because there are concerns it must be regulated in order to be effective, then maybe government shouldn’t be in the business of giving it any preferencial treatment whatsoever until they figure it out. Maybe Diogenes is right.

I personally think that personal bonds are the strength of our society. They should be promoted. I don’t see any reason why we can’t draw the line at a logical place and be done with it. How about any lifetime commitment of love between any two homo-sapians? I don’t foresee much caselaw being needed to figure that one out.

How on earth can this be bad policy for our society other than the particular homo-sapians taking advantage of this benefit MIGHT start to look slightly different from time to time? The arguments for getting more specific in the definition are based entirely on beliefs. The best one is the naturalist argument…that any union which does cannot, by definition, naturally produce children is unnatural and therefore should be condemned. The problem is that with medical technology, there are many woman who know they are baron, yet we don’t naturally ostrasize them and allow formal discrimination against their getting married. Why not? The answer is that the premise of the argument is flawed. We do not value natures design above emotional connections…the true glue of our society.

Posted by: Kevin23 at December 18, 2006 4:54 PM
Comment #199825

kevin23,

you are still drawing an arbitrary line when you limit the benefits only to couples. what about mormons who have multiple ‘wives’? would you deny one such ‘husband’ the right to visit one of his wives in the hospital? i don’t agree with the practice, itself, but that seems an unduly harsh punishment.

the point is, any line you draw which permits government to unnecessarily advantage some humans over others will be viewed as arbitrary and discriminatory from some vantage point.

“I personally think that personal bonds are the strength of our society.”

i’m not disagreeing. however, the government has proven entirely inept at providing or promoting such bonds. such benefits as are currently offered to married couples do little or nothing to strengthen and encourage these bonds. society is that which properly encourages and promotes them - not the government.

these benefits do, however, unnecessarily advantage some in society over others. moreover, they foster the belief that government has a legitimate function in interfering with and regulating such relationships.

perhaps i have still failed to adequately articulate my point. if the government is allowed to somewhat arbitrarily decide who should and who should not receive benefits - if this is constitutional and warranted - why should they not then be permitted to exclude homosexual couples? if exclusion of homosexual couples is not justifiable (because the government has no right to draw such distinctions), then why is the exclusion of anyone else otherwise permissible? again, societal welfare seems insufficiently compelling justification, as it does not address the constitutionality of the issue, and as these stimuli appear to be relatively ineffective at achieving their (alleged)intended goal.

Posted by: Diogenes at December 19, 2006 5:23 PM
Comment #199833

Diogenes-

Your taking me down an unnecessary slippery slope. My line is not arbitrary. We all agree in this society that promoting multiple partners is more wrong than right. So the line is not arbitrary. We DO want to promote coupling. Of course, the idea is to promote (NOT regulate…there is a big difference there) the kinds of relationships which we are certain will yield better future generations. This is where it gets sticky. Rather than make any further assumptions on society’s behalf and promoting something more specific, I advocate stopping here. Where does this naturally mean regulation? The “bright line” is not even written down…that is how easy it is to administer. Is that not a simple solution to a non-problem?

I don’t see how polygamy plays into the debate as an exception or loophole or anything else.

Posted by: Kevin23 at December 19, 2006 5:59 PM
Comment #200093

tomh,

I have found that some who do not believe as you do regarding the absolutes of morality and their relation to the absolute and unchanging ways of God will never listen to reason based upon religious belief. Religious belief to some is a fictitious hearing of voices within oneself that signifies craziness for all they know.
God has given each of us conscience, to which many refuse to listen. It would be unnecessary to have laws if only people listened to God. This spiritual deafness is the root cause of all mankind’s problems. Though it is your duty to spread your belief as eagerly and earnestly as you can, at some point it is noted that you can also “shake off the dust of your feet” when others refuse to listen. I find it surprising that so many are so void of understanding in even the basics of Christian religious morality, especially in America where it is so available. I believe that the bottom line is that there are many out there who are seeking wisdom and understanding in the wrong places where social relativism is ruled supreme. If the standards for morality are set by man alone, God help us all!!

JD

Posted by: JD at December 21, 2006 3:46 PM
Post a comment