One of the ways Democrats and Republicans manage to retain power is through a never ending exchange of finger pointing. When an Obamacare repeal fails, Republicans blame Democrats. When Obamacare ultimately fails, Democrats will blame Republicans. When a sitting President has difficulty, he reflects on the failed policies of his predecessor as the cause. When a congressman is caught with his pants down, he descries media scrutiny. When a Presidential candidate is caught with an illegal private email server, she calls the hacker to account. When Congress is unable to balance a budget, they point to a lack of tax revenue rather than their own penchant for spending.
The typical voter doesn’t bat an eye when the latest scandal is swept away by apparatchiks and media pundits. Acceptance or dismissal of the latest excuse is nearly always agenda driven and serves to reinforce the current direction of each political persuasion. While people at the margin lose interest or faith in the system, the hardcore partisans carry the torch of their respective ideology back to the ballot box at regularly defined intervals, ensuring that the political machine continues to accumulate power. While it seems like a recurring nightmare, it remains the sad state of politics both in the U.S. and around the world.
Ask anyone currently in, or recently removed from, the U.S. public school system about logic and you will likely be disappointed by the response. It hardly seems worth mentioning the importance of logic yet, by the standards set in public schools, there appears little interest in, or understanding of, its value. Some might argue that this is by design. There is some reason to accept such an argument: people versed in logic are less easily controlled through propaganda and other types of state manipulation.
Instead of logic, we are awash in logical fallacies. Arguments often devolve into poorly reasoned attacks or false assertions built on faulty reasoning. One might expect a straw man to appear in nearly every contentious political exchange and few appear to possess the intellectual curiosity to challenge conventional wisdom. We have political leaders who tell us that we have to spend money in order to keep from going bankrupt, terrorists attack because they hate our freedoms rather than because out political leaders have been meddling in and bombing their countries, we’re going to build a wall to keep out immigrants that will be paid for by those same immigrants, and that unemployment checks create jobs, yet few Americans bother to apply logic to any of these obvious whoppers unless they disagree with the source politically, in which case logic is merely selectively applied. We are destined to maintain the status quo as long as this deficiency persists.
The casual reader and progressive will have already dismissed my position by this point. The headline is meant to illicit a reaction and that would be one of the more predictable responses. However, while I am opposed to the movement for gay marriage, it has nothing to do with the “gay” part. As I attempt to remain principled, I support any choice by individuals voluntarily engaged with one another. If two or more people choose to engage in voluntary interactions, what right would I or anyone else have to stop them? This includes sexual acts, contracts, conversations, exchanges, or any other activity entered voluntarily.
My opposition also doesn’t have anything to do with the “marriage” part. The same principle holds for people committing to one another regardless of the reason or method. Just as importantly, no such arrangement requires state sanction. If marriage did require state sanction, and states are populated and commanded by people, then some people would retain the power to decide who may or may not enter into such arrangements. In fact, state sanctioned marriage licenses originated in attempts to control, among other things, the racial composition of marriages.
This brings us back to the gay marriage movement. While ostensibly a call for equal treatment, the movement is really an attempt control others. The corollary to the right to be unfettered from voluntary association is choosing not to engage with others. Voluntary association and interaction requires consent of all engaged. If two people have chosen to join in marriage, gay or otherwise, they have a right to be free from the interference of others. However, while no one possesses the right to thwart such a union, others are just as free not to recognize or accept it. Proponents of gay marriage seek to force others to accept gay unions at the point of the gun otherwise known as the state.
Yes, it is unfortunate that some people do not accept the choices or proclivities of others. However, this does not somehow grant a subset of individuals the power to force acceptance, even if that were possible. People who prefer not to accept homosexuality as a lifestyle will not suddenly acquiesce when forced: compliance should never be confused with accession. Federally mandated gay marriage doesn’t magically paint a rainbow flag on everyone’s heart. While I support all voluntary contracts, including those between gay people, I oppose attempts to use state power to limit the rights of others.