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Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
Wednesday, February 16. 2011
Am Thinker: The Polygamists Make Their Move
London: Decline and Revival of Western Civilization - Amid despair, there is still hope that the West will find the anti-toxin to cure what ails us.
Charlie Sheen Says Sobriety 'Bores' Him, Crack Okay if You Can 'Manage It Socially'
Welfare for the NFL
Tough-talking Chris Christie plans D.C. rollout
Pajamas: Obama’s Unsustainable and Gutless Budget Proposals - The current level of federal spending can't continue. The administration says: "Yes it can. Try and stop us."
Cowen: State support of the arts:
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Polygamists make their move
This question has been posed: "How do proponents of gay marriage answer the charge that their arguments can be used in defense of polygamy as well as gay marriage?"
My take is that the proponents of gay marriage could not care less.
I think you're right.
Also, I think the Am Thinker guy is 10-20 years behind the times. Doesn't mean the message shouldn't be put out there, but it's far from "news."
I was also disappointed that he focused almost exclusively on moral/ethical issues re: sex. There are huge issues involving legal issues ranging from inheritance to benefits to inadvertant incest (by people where were unknowingly related).
All of those will command more interest and concern of your average citizen than sexual morality. Kinsey's legacy has put that topic too far out of reach.
Re: Cowen; I agree with Mr. Heinlein; the state-subsidized artist is an incompetent whore.
"When Kinsey started the fire, most resisted the idea that sex should be entertainment, until pop culture normalized it."
I beg to differ. Prostitution is known as "the oldest profession" for a reason. People have engaged in sex primarily as entertainment through most of our history, as far as I can tell from Pompeii's wall paintings to the stories of Baudelaire to the wide availability of porn on the web. People have always wanted to have sex with pleasure and not consequences. Kinsey may have helped it along.
As for polygamy and sexual anarchy: nope. Polygamous societies are often among the most restrictive for sexual activity outside of marriage. And polygamy itself is a practice seen throughout human history. That doesn't make me an advocate, I just want it evaluated on the facts.
Marriage for homosexuals should be a stabilizing influence for them, not a destabilizing influence for others. There may well be advocates of polygamy and gay marriage who hope that those practices will break down traditional marriage. I'm pretty sure they are wrong, though.
I think Cowen is wrong. State subsidized art is not at very low cost for very low benefit. It is for no benefit. Much of it is either political "statements" which usually makes for bad art (e.g. Piss Christ or whatever the "name" of the "art" that consisted of a toilet with an American flag being "flushed" down it and draped out onto the floor where people could step on it), or nonsense such as smearing your self with chocolate. There is the dangerous art where some budding artists suspended over the audience rags dripping with blood from AIDS patients.
Given the worthlessness of this sort of crap, any money spent for it is a huge waste.
The arguement is NOT that gay marriage is some kind of right or will result in a net good. The arguement IS that if limiting marriage to only between a man and woman is discriminatory and in order to fix it we must change the requirement to allow alternative marriages THEN it is discrimination to say "but ONLY gay marriage". Either marriage between only a man and a woman is discriminatory and wrong or it is just and right. Once you open it up based on that arguement then you MUST open it up to all alternatives or then you are indeed discriminating.
Think how foolish the gay community is to argue that THEIR alternative is good but another alternative is bad. Isn't that exactly what they are accusing the heterosexuals of doing? If you can marry your gay lover because "you want to" then I should be allowed to marry my girlfriend, my cousin and my dog and pony too.
I was going to skip your point, but okay.
Yes, I agree -- if states are to recognize the relationships of two men and two women, they ought to recognize any consensual contract among adults. Polygamy, polyandry, three-and-two-and-pick-them. What business of mine, as long as all the parties have made knowing choices?
In many polygamous societies, including some of the below-radar American practitioners, the practice does seem to involve a level of coercion on teen girls to choose to be junior wives and a corresponding casting-off of teen boys. I call that a problem, but it's based on the coercion issue rather than who wants to share a family with whom.
I haven't heard a cogent argument for marriage involving animals. I would say that animals simply don't have the social construct for contracts with humans. I will also acknowledge that sex with animals goes past my "ick"meter because I doubt the animal is a willing partner. It also exceeds my general "ick" meter but my "ick" meter is not a basis for legislation.
Perceived benefit to society is a valid basis for legislation or has been. Loitering is a pretty benign example. Marrying your sister would be another.
As for private contracts, I suspect that even many of those who are anti-gay marriage think there should be very wide latitude in this area.
I'm a libertarian as my first take on almost anything -- I know your name from the blog and I'm sure you knew that about me. I've become suspicious that some people who say they want to "defend marriage" are inclined to grant very little latitude to other relationships at the law. Of course I'd be wrong in some cases.
"Perceived benefit to society" is a very, very squishy basis for legislation, as the other thread on individual vs legislative golden rule points out. It might be of benefit to society if all kids learned to play the clarinet or some other instrument -- but I'll be darned if I'll let that be legislation. It might be of benefit if all kids learned to shoot firearms, too -- and how loud would that howl be?
The business of government is to maintain order and safety, and (to a degree) to promote commerce. THat makes law enforcement and firefighting legitimate, road building almost certainly, charity very fishy. Even public education, or subsidies for education, could be opened up for debate on principle. But I'd better be careful on that one: my entire education was subsidized by taxpayers.
I wouldn't argue that a benefit to society would be determinative, but A justification. You are obviously correct that it is squishy and can be dangerous (eg. Prohibition) and as such, I don't universally defend it, but I just note it.
I think it was Jeff Jacoby who listed all the things that weren't supposed to threaten marriage, but after each one, the institution of marriage was weaker. I think as a principle, the more things you call a marriage, the cheaper it becomes. I think this about more than just gay marriage. For example, it is so easy to get divorced that marriage for some isn't much more than going steady with a big party to kick it off.
At one time, it was decided that being gay was a harm to society and a lot of bad laws were passed and their enforcement was sometimes cruelly implemented. I think there is a lot of room for accommodation on both sides, but I don't think it should extend to marriage.
I'm so with you on subsidies. If there is to be an exception, I would make it for education - but I think the subsidy should go to the student and not the school (read school choice).
Regarding the coerced marriages or outright kidnapping I do believe it is against the law. We don't even have to call it polygamy in order to stop it. You could say this kind of thing gives polygamy a bad name
regarding sex with animals going past your "ick"meter. I do believe that was the same arguement was traditionally used against gay sex. If it was as simple as banning things that fail our "ick"meter then we wouldn't be having the discussion. Obviously what might "ick" you or me pleases someone else.
There is nothing new under the sun. When I was in my twenties and acting as part of a pit crew for a racing driver, I met a friend of his, a very charismatic guy, who traveled to races with six of his wives, [one current, the others exes] with whom he lived in apparent harmony. Got to say that he looked like the cat who ate the canary, while the wives were a little more wary.
He wasn't a Mormon either.