Sunday, December 7, 2008

On the Hilarity that is both Prop 8 and the ensuing “Outrage”

So Prop 8 passed in California of all places, that bastion of radical conservatism and religious nutjobs. To hear the uproar from the Left you’d think a Shiite Theocracy had implemented Sharia law on the land, though admittedly that would probably face less protest than say the reading of a Bible passage in a public school class, Islam being so multi-cultural and whatnot; anything but evil Christianity and everything old white men have created (Western Civilization and the modern industrial world come to mind). I couldn’t help but laugh at the ensuing hysteria, especially when the oh-so-awkward news emerged that apparently blacks had voted by a very clear supermajority in its favor. Seems like gay marriage is a change they DON’T believe in. The Messiah administration has not even taken power yet but already we see the special-interest/group politics tearing itself apart. To quote a certain infamous Kazakh international correspondent: Veaery Naaaaice.

Libertarians can learn quite a few things from the passage of Prop 8. For starters, here’s a ballot proposition that was opposed by virtually ALL the “mainstream” media and respectable opinion in California. The political and economic establishment, the media, Hollywood, etc. all closed ranks against it and to state you actually favored the bloody thing would rank you somewhere between Attila and Genghis Khan on the political scale. And yet despite a rabid campaign against it and its depiction as reversing all the progress of the last 1000 years and landing us somewhere in the middle of the Dark Ages Prop 8 passed by over half-a-million Nazi votes. Next time we libertarians are trying to pass some radically insane initiative for balanced budgets, term limits or Heaven forbid abolishing income taxes, we definitely should take note.

Granted, a certain formerly polygamous sect of Christianity based in Utah (hint: rhymes with Norman) helped fund the Yes vote, though the No’s still vastly outraised and outspent them. The gay community was quick to protest this unwelcome intrusion into “their” state and were equally quick to ridicule the church’s former official sexual practices, the irony of a sexual minority seeking “equal” rights ridiculing another formerly persecuted minority being apparently lost on them (where’s Alanis when you need her?).

But I digress. In all the circus surrounding this ridiculous waste of money well spent elsewhere (bottles at One Oak comes to mind) the actual consequences of the banning of same-sex marriage in California remains preposterously non-existent. It’s not like it’s open season on lynching queers in California or anything of the like; in point of fact the average gay American’s yearly income is substantially larger than the average straight American’s income. If anything the American government acts on the behalf of alternative lifestyles against bourgeois/mainstream/Christian morals through laws violating private property rights and the freedom of association. Just try firing someone because they’re gay or try denying someone access to your bar due to their sexual orientation and count the seconds before the ACLU slaps you with a lawsuit. Land of the free indeed.

What of “marriage?” Well, for starters let us take as an intellectual exercise that never-never land of an anarcho-capitalist society in which there is no government. If two people (or three or four) of either the same sex or different sexes find some religious (or secular, let us not be fundamentalists here) organization willing to “marry” them, all power to them. And if they want to walk around saying they’re “married”, quite frankly I don’t give a hoot, as I’m sure most Americans wouldn’t either. And if they want to sign a contract between the two (or three or four) splitting up their property in this way or that in case of “divorce”, or a will in case one dies, or whatever other circumstances I can’t currently fathom, WHAT THE F- DOES IT HAVE TO DO WITH ME? Quoth the raven, “absolutely nothing and why are you wasting my time with this nonsense?” Now naturally if the Catholic Church or the Mormon Church or the Spaghetti Monster’s Church chooses to not marry said individuals due to a conflict of morals that’s they’re problem, and the individuals in question can’t show up with guns and tanks and say “marry us or else!” It’s called freedom, look it up sometime. So the religious fundamentalists are basically happy and the people living in sin are happy and we can all pretty much agree to disagree on what we do behind closed-doors.

Enter that glorious institution: The State (cue John Williams’s “The Imperial March”). NOW we have a serious f- problem. The State, especially in a democracy, has this rather nagging tendency to start sticking its nose in every nook and cranny of society and basically annoying the heck out of everyone to the satisfaction of none. So for reasons that defy understanding the State decides that it gets to issue a “marriage” certificate to couples wanting to get married, with some tax and emergency-room consequences. Notice how sans these small consequences two gay men can still live their lives in peace, no problem. And the small tax/emergency-room consequences of marriage are by and large taken care of via civil unions/partnerships.

This is where we get to the crux of the matter: what homosexuals want in California has NOTHING to do with tax benefits or any material consequences of government-certified marriage. What they want is SOCIETAL APPROVAL OF THEIR WAY OF LIFE via the ballot box. And this, my friends, is where the problem lies. Because at the end of the day a free society means that you will have people disagreeing with your choices in life and even morally disapproving of you. And it seems rather obvious that the vast majority of Americans are ok with people being gay in their private lives but don’t want their traditional definitions of marriage being torn to pieces via government fiat. The fact that virtually every ballot initiative regarding same-sex marriage has turned out “against” it and that the gay community (much like abortion activists) have had to resort to the courts to enforce their pseudo-“rights” should be evidence of that.

Libertarians should always be in favor of liberty (which is to say property), but it is a far cry from that to say we ought to be moral-relativists. In fact, given that the vast majority of society has some pretty strong moral opinions on a whole host of topics, to present libertarianism as some sort of wishy-washy relativistic philosophy will forever mean the absolute denial of libertarian principles by the great majority of the people. The way forward for freedom is not to convince the American people that their morals/religion/culture is stupid, but rather to show them that within a libertarian framework they will be allowed to exercise those morals in a much freer fashion than under a government. The government is the ENEMY of their way of life, be it Christian, gay, nerd, jock, Night Elf or Orc.

As for the LGBT community, I would implore you to reconsider your approach to the issue. Recognize that the real enemy to your way of life is the State; insofar as you wish to fight the State I will gladly fight alongside of you, however much we might differ regarding personal morals. Any wide-scale assault on your person and property will necessarily come via government, so “that government is best which governs least,” to quote Paine. However, the second the gay community sacrifices the principles of liberty and attempts to use the powers of government to enforce mainstream acceptance of their way of life they open Pandora’s box. It is, beyond being immoral and unconstitutional, incredibly stupid: how long do you honestly believe it will be before the vast majority of people who disagree with you start to use the democratic process against you? To start cracking down on your person and property? Will you THEN realize the importance of principle and liberty? Will you only THEN decide that government is indeed the “One Ring” that would destroy those who would decide to use it?

My humble advice: stop freaking out about Prop 8 and start freaking out about a monstrously bloated, bureaucratic, powerful, hungry, murderous, taxing, warmongering, all-consuming, unbound Leviathan.

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