Green Room

Right-Wing Folly, Another Reason Why I Am Not a Conservative

posted at 10:01 pm on July 28, 2011 by

Two epigrams bubble up in my cerebrum at the moment. The first is just a statement of principle that seems to encapsulate the essence of Americanism; too bad so few on the side of goodness affirm it:

  • For society’s sake, it’s best the consensus of the people sticks to the traditional values of monogamy, loyalty, decency, and faithfulness; but for liberty’s sake, it’s best that the people’s government sticks to encouraging, not enforcing, such tradition.

And the other is more flip but equally true in my opinion:

  • Extremism in defense of conservatism is — still extremism.

A momentous civil-liberties lawsuit in Utah pits two opposing forces against each other, forever locked in battle unto the end of time (like that old Star Trek episode). Both sides spin their arguments around the Supreme Court case Lawrence v. Texas, like planets orbiting the same sun. On its face, the Court simply struck down all federal and state laws against “sodomy,” however defined; it did not make any findings anent marriage.

But each side accepts the same central folly, spinning the consequences of of that supposition in opposite but equally extreme directions. Side A, which we generally call the Dark Side, abuses and twists that case pretzel-like in order to argue that laws banning polygamy are unconstitutional (as the same partisans also argue that laws banning same-sex marriage are unconstitutional); by extension, Side A argues that every state in the United States of America must immediately allow “plural” marriages.

The flip side — which conservatives ironically call Righteousness — uses the same argument used by polygamists: Some radical marital “reformers” make paralogical arguments, twisting the principle of simple liberty and “the right to be let alone” into a paeon to perversity; therefore, conservatives argue that liberty itself is suspect and must be curtailed. Side B ripostes that citizens must be legally prevented from doing icky things that might nauseate decent folk and frighten the horses.

But let’s get less airy-fairy and more specific:

The suer is Kody Brown, who stars in a TLC “reality” show called Sister Wives, which I’ve never seen; the dissenter is Power Line’s own Scott Johnson. And yes, on this subject, both are equally extreme and impervious to reason.

Brown argues from Lawrence that if a man has the right to cohabitate — to live with — more than one woman, then clearly he has the right to marry them all. That is a complete non-sequitur, of course; the principle of liberty means we can do as we please, so long as we’re not harming others. In Lawrence, the Supreme Court found (albeit via flawed reasoning from the noisome Griswold v. Connectucut) a principle of liberty that it nevertheless true; it ought to be considered “self evident”… that there is a fundamental right to a zone of independence around each individual, inside of which government cannot intervene save to protect another and non-consenting individual.

That us, under liberty, if two adult men want to have intimate relations with each other, privately and without coercion, then government cannot arrest them for it. Likewise if one man and three women want to have intimate relations, or two men and one woman, so long as all are consenting adults. Prior to Lawrence, trysts of this sort were lumped under the label “sodomy” and were criminal acts under the laws of a number of states. For that matter, the same statutes often criminalized certain types of sex between husband and wife — fellatio and cunnilingus, for example. It was an extraordinary, pre-modern burst of authoritarianism, now defended only by some movement-conservatives.

I assert that a government with the legal power to dictate what sexual positions a husband and wife, or any other group of consenting adults, can legally perform is a tyranny of the most grotesque and unAmerican sort, where citizens are owned by the State.

Yes, I know full well that the Founding Fathers, to a man, supported such laws against sodomy; they were wrong. They were misled by the emotional and religious baggage of their society and upbringing, which prevented them from seeing that the logic of their own arguments for liberty belied their emotional inconsistency, just as it belied acceptance of slavery and of state-established churches. Either one believes in freedom of conscience; or one believes that ultimately, the State can condemn you for dissent, thoughtcrime, or nonconformity. There really is no middle ground.

But granting the fundamental right to do something perverse does not obligate society to applaud the perversity: The same freedom of conscience that says I cannot stop Brown from living with three “sister wives” in addition to his legal spouse likewise prevents him from forcing me to sanctify such a relationship by calling it “marriage.” But that is exactly what Kody Brown demands:

Reality-TV star Kody Brown and his “sister wives” may not intend to be an example of the “slippery slope” in the gay-marriage debate, but their new lawsuit against Utah’s anti-polygamy laws bolsters the argument that legalizing marriage for same-sex couples could open the door to recognition of other kinds of marriages.

Mr. Brown; his legal wife, Meri Brown; and “sister wives” Janelle Brown, Christine Brown and Robyn Sullivan, who appear with their 16 children on “Sister Wives” on TLC, want Utah’s anti-polygamy laws declared unconstitutional and unenforceable on their “plural family.” [Emphasis added — DaH]

I readily admit there is a serious problem with the Utah statute, if it’s being accurately and honestly reported by the Washington Times (and I have no reason to believe otherwise): The law evidently bans not only polygamy itself, the marrying of more than one wife, but something more sinister:

In the Brown lawsuit, Mr. Turley and Mr. Alba said the Brown family, members of the Apostolic United Brethren faith, has committed no crime except to live together, “motivated by their sincere religious beliefs and love for one another.”

States cannot “criminalize consensual intimate relationships, including homosexual relationships, between unmarried adults,” the lawyers wrote, citing the 2003 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Lawrence v. Texas.

And yet Utah has a law that forbids a legally married person from “purport[ing] to marry another person or cohabit[ing] with another person,” the lawyers wrote. [Emphasis added — DaH.]

With this and other anti-polygamy laws, Utah “criminalizes not just polygamous marriages, but also an array of plural intimate relationships and associations of consenting adults,” Mr. Turley and Mr. Alba wrote.

In other words, the Utah law bans not only plural marriage, it appears also to ban plural living arrangements, even those not legally blessed as “marriage.” Only one of the women with whom Brown lives is his legal wife; to the eyes of the law, the rest are just honeys.

The Brown family’s “basic liberties and equal protection” are being violated, they added, asking the court to “preliminarily and permanently” block enforcement of Utah’s laws that ban and criminalize polygamy.

I absolutely agree that the “basic liberties” of Brown and the individual women are violated by the Utah anti-polygamy statute, but only to the extent that it criminalizes living together. But I reject the “equal protection” argument, the ground used in most cases that seek to overturn the traditional definition of marriage; and in any event, the solution to the unconstitutionality of one part of a law is not to toss the entire law out, but to make the smallest possible change consonant with the demands of liberty, as enunciated by the Court.

In this case, toss out the part that bans “cohabit[ation] with another person,” but keep the part that bans declaring such relationships legal “marriage.” That is, ban polygamy but not shacking up.

This is where the logic of the Left flies to flinders: Under liberty, you can do a great many bizarre, outre, unconventional, kooky, or perverse things; but one thing you cannot demand is that society embrace and ratify your perversities and eccentricities, a democratic State’s imprimatur and nihil obstat. You have the right to give yourself a high colonic with Liquid Draino, but it’s a stupid idea; and don’t expect me to shout “mazel tov” when you finish.

I would have thought it obvious: I am allowed to write what I please; but the State isn’t required to support my writing or even give me a prize. In the immortal words of Thomas Jefferson, “duh!” But it appears that Brown believes that anything he has a right to do, he also has a right to demand official praise for doing.

In a freakish twist of fate, contemporary conservatives appear to have locked themselves into supporting the same paralogia, albeit to prove the opposite conclusion.

It seems monstrous to me to argue that any government, even at the state or local level, can put you in prison for using an unapproved sexual position in the privacy of your own home. But when movement conservatives argue that Lawrence v. Texas should be overturned — as nearly all of them do — that is precisely the position they stake out: They’re all in favor of “individual liberty” — but not when that means engaging in sex that conservatives don’t like. Casual day has gone too far; there oughta be a law!

If it was simple prejudice, t’would a simple task to point out the hypocrisy; more than likely, a fair-minded person would admit being led astray by thinking with his heart, when the proper organ for such cogitation is further north. But our movement-conservatives (with whom I typically ally) buttress their glandular rejection of homosexuality and polyamory with specious, backwards reasoning: They argue that Lawrence must be wrong because it leads to overturning traditional marriage. Or as a pal of mine says, “It can’t be true, because it would be so dreadful if it were true!”

In other words, conservatives typically argue that the liberal argument is right: If you have a right to cohabitate with anybody, that necessarily implies a right to marry anybody.

Therefore, you have no right to cohabitate. (Supposed “reductio ad absurdum.”)

But the absurdity is not Lawrence v. Texas; the absurdity is inventing a nonexistent and inconsistent rule of inference, that allowing an action means approval of that action… the invalidity of which we surely have proven by now (ad nauseum).

But here is Scott Johnson making that exact argument in the Power Line post:

Now comes Professor Jonathan Turley to the defense of polygamy. Professot Turley represents one Kody Brown, a man, and his four wives and 16 children — who, he notes in a New York Times op-ed column, are the focus of a reality program on the cable channel TLC called “Sister Wives.” One of the marriages is legal and the others are what the family calls “spiritual.” Professor Turley is lead counsel in the recently filed lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Utah law criminalizing polygamy….

Professor Turley relies for his argument on the logic of the Supreme Court’s 2003 decision overturning state sodomy laws in Lawrence v. Texas. Professor Turley has a point — indeed, some of us criticized the Lawrence decision on precisely that ground — though Justice Kennedy’s opinion waltzed away from the question of polygamy. And it didn’t even mention laws against bestiality and incest. Perhaps Professor Turley will undertake the glorious cause of extending Lawrence to them in another case.

The link, supplied by Scott himself, points to a Power Line post of his from 2003, just after the Court decided Lawrence. Here is the smoking gun:

In one sense the Supreme Court’s opinion today in Lawrence v. Texas, asserting the existence of a constitutional right to homosexual sodomy, was utterly predictable. Thirty years ago the liberal constitutional scholar John Hart Ely wrote a classic law review article (“The Wages of Crying Wolf”) condemning the jurisprudence of Roe v. Wade, and Lawrence is in a sense only a few steps further down the jurisprudential arc that will end, as Justice Scalia notes in dissent, in the constitutional right to homosexual marriage, prostitution, bigamy, and adult incest.

There is a trivial sense in which Scalia could be right; lawless judges can seize upon and twist the language of Lawrence to argue something radically different from the actual findings. However, the true source of Scott’s position would seem not to be reason and logic but something more atavistic: a visceral loathing of certain icky kinds of sex (as opposed to other, more privileged positions and partners). He continues in lurid prose:

Among the founders, sodomy was universally condemned as a crime against nature. It was illegal in each of the thirteen states existing at the time the Constitution was ratified and the Bill of Rights was adopted. In Thomas Jefferson’s Virginia, it was a crime punishable by death. When Jefferson wrote an amendment to the criminal code lessening the penalty for sodomy, he nevertheless classed it as a crime with rape, polygamy, and incest.

Today the Supreme Court declares that homosexual sodomy constitutes “a form of liberty of the person in both its spatial and more transcendent dimensions.” Justice Kennedy, the author of this nauseating palaver, is obviously so in love with what he thinks is his own eloquent rhetoric that he fails to notice his laughable double entendre. What is not funny, however, is the destruction of the recognition of the laws of nature and nature’s God on which our true rights depend. The Supreme Court’s opinion today is an act of political destruction that should be recognized as such.

All that — for holding that private sex between consenting adults is none of the State’s damn business! It’s a marvel Scott didn’t toss in heresy, treason, crimes against humanity and the future, and the ritualistic summoning of the Elder Gods as further indictments. (I can only infer he was so hopping mad, he didn’t think of them.)

So what do we have? The same conservatives who are outraged that the government dares tell them what to wear, how much to eat, where to recreate, who to choose as their doctors, how to finance and invest, and whether companies can fly corporate jets, now welcome (with gusto!) government control of sexual relations.

What’s wrong with this picture?

The only distinction between the activities above is that the last is the most personal, the most intimate, and lies most thoroughly within the “zone of independence” of them all. Is the conservative argument that the more private and emotionally intimate the activity, the greater the authority of the State to control and regulate it?

Where else does that priority hold? What parents teach their children about right and wrong is surely more intimate and private than what they teach them about fashion and hairstyle; should the former therefore be subject to rigid governmental review and control, with only the latter trivia left to the discretion of individual parents? The argument is risible.

I wish I could call it a straw-man construction, but I can think of no other reason why conservatives argue that the State can tell us who to make love to — but for God’s sake, don’t monkey with our Happy Meals!

But lose not sight of the point: Scott Johnson embraces the cri de coeur from fellow movement-conservative, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, that the freedom to be intimate with whom you want (rather than with whom the government allows) is logically equivalent to license to legally marry persons of the same sex, close relatives, and persons already married, and license to commit the inhumane crime of bestiality and even the horrific, violent crime of forcible rape! Yes, I can certainly see that those acts are all of a feather.

And where is Scott’s argument why this should be so? It doesn’t seem facially obvious to me. Would he likewise argue that if government allows nude beaches, we’ll be constitutionally required to legalize public orgies in middle school? The route between point A and point B on the “slippery slope” seems no less preposterous than the connection between decriminalizing “sodomy” (in private, among consenting adults) and legalizing bigamy, same-sex marriage, consanguineous marriage, bestiality, and rape.

I don’t know about Scott himself, but I speculate that for most conservatives, they have no real syllogism; their “thoughts” on this issue are actually feelings, emotional responses that have no, and need no rational explanation.

Where does this leave us? It’s not the only issue on which conservatives can be as mulish and irrational as liberals. Immigration and drug policy are two others, but the worst is modern biological evolutionary theory. The last is the most similar example to conservative allergy to sexual liberty:

  1. Many dyed in the wool atheists — including Richard Dawkins, Chris Hitchens, Philip Pullman (of the wretched His Dark Materials books) — insist that accepting the idea of evolution by natural selection requires one to reject God and faith and embrace atheism.
  2. A large number of conservatives with inadequate scientific schooling — including Ann Coulter, Glenn Beck, Michael Medved, Ben Stein — completely swallow the liberal argument.
  3. Therefore, being unwilling to reject God, they instead reject modern evolutionary biology, casting overboard more than a century of brilliant and apolitical science.

In fact, there is no logical or rational connection between allowing sexual freedom and requiring the definition of marriage to include any old relationship somebody might want; just as there is no reasoned conflict at all between biological evolution and faith in a theistic God, as Francis S. Collins conclusively proves in the Language of God; but there you are: Conservatives reject both as unthinkingly and reflexively as liberals denounce the Koch brothers, and for eerily similar reasons.

So I say again: Extremism in defense of conservatism is certainly less annoying than the liberal strain… but it’s no less extremist — and no more rational.

Cross-posted on Big Lizards

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I’m sorry, what?

WitchDoctor on July 28, 2011 at 10:18 PM

…and the ritualistic summoning of the Elder Gods as further indictments.

Hello?

cthulhu on July 28, 2011 at 10:45 PM

There are extremists on both sides?

Wow, what a revelation. And in other news fire is hot, water is wet, and rocks are heavy.

Uncle Sams Nephew on July 28, 2011 at 10:53 PM

Utah is a very weird case. They were required to abandon polygamy and add that prohibition to their Constitution as a prerequisite for statehood. It has been a very touchy subject there ever since.

Dawnsblood on July 28, 2011 at 11:02 PM

Dawnsblood on July 28, 2011 at 11:02 PM

0_o Well, I just learned MY random semi-creepy history fact of the day.

Uncle Sams Nephew on July 28, 2011 at 11:36 PM

“Give to God what is his and give to Caesar what is Ceasar’s”

Opposite Day on July 28, 2011 at 11:50 PM

It seems monstrous to me to argue that any government, even at the state or local level, can put you in prison for using an unapproved sexual position in the privacy of your own home. But when movement conservatives argue that Lawrence v. Texas should be overturned — as nearly all of them do — that is precisely the position they stake out: They’re all in favor of “individual liberty” — but not when that means engaging in sex that conservatives don’t like. Casual day has gone too far; there oughta be a law!

It is not the privacy of their own home, bedroom or where ever the act happens. It is the publicizing of said act that gets you put in prison for sodomy laws. And that is a good thing in my opinion. If people have their dalliances behind closed doors and do not go around advertizing it, they cannot get into trouble, even if there are laws against it. It is only when they advertise their activities, particularly in ways that corrupt children (other than their own) that damage to the society and individuals occurs, and the strong arm of the law is a just action.

You seem to be stuck in the idea that sodomy laws gives the government powers it does not and would not have. It cannot go into anyone’s bedroom and spot check your sexual activity, or lack thereof. What it can do is use evidence that you leave all over the society through actively advertizing your private life to find that your activity is damaging to the society you are advertising to. No advertising, no risk. Stand up in front of an auditorium filled with kids and their parents and start talking about how you rammed your love rod deep into your boyfriends rectum, and yeah, I think there aught to be a law.

astonerii on July 29, 2011 at 12:22 AM

It’s ironic when atheists have a clearer understanding than some “Christians”.

The Bible is very clear on how quickly the Universe and everything in it was created.

To believe otherwise is to call God a liar.

BlameAmericaLast on July 29, 2011 at 2:38 AM

I’d rather start from a conservative position than a Liberal one. The Liberal position will end in oppression.

tomas on July 29, 2011 at 8:42 AM

The absurdity noted here, i.e. cohabitation within a marriage-like condition is actually a direct result of the Federal Government attack on the Mormon practice of plural marriage. The original Federal laws against plural marriage were worded along the lines of outlawing relationships that consisted of cohabitation “within a marriage relationship.” The wording was to allow cohabitation, i.e. having sexual affairs or keeping a mistress, while still attacking the Mormon practice of plural marriage.

When the Utah Constitution was written, an anti-Polygamy clause was written into the state Constitution (was practically a requirement to insure statehood) and the clause was worded especially to match the wording of the original Federal Law.

willardcsmith on July 29, 2011 at 9:53 AM

astonerii has it exactly right. How can the right to privacy apply when they have a reality show?

sleepyhead on July 29, 2011 at 10:43 AM

Hugh’s position seems to be Libertarian bordering on anarchy. He also doesn’t get Scott Johnson’s point at all. I can’t wait for the rebuttal, if Mr. Johnson has the time and inclination.

gitarfan on July 29, 2011 at 11:56 AM

Excellent essay. And there is absolutely no conflict between God and evolution. If He’s smart enough to create the universe and everything in it, He’s sure as hell smart enough to create the Big Bang, black holes, singularities and Darwinian evolution.

DocinPA on July 29, 2011 at 12:18 PM

I agree we shouldn’t regulate what people do in private, and that we also shouldn’t be forced to condone and bless what people do in private, or call their choices by words that have described something completely different FOREVER.

However, on the evolution thing: can you please provide me, because I’ve spent hours on search engines trying to find it myself, where in a lab or in the wild with even a simplest species they’ve ever seen it through asexual or sexual reproduction become a different species. Not an adaptation that would have difficulty mating with it’s parents because of physical differences, but a whole new species.

All the “proof” of evolution is based on assumptions that other things are true, though they can never be definitively proven: the age of the earth (carbon dating has no definitive references, conveniently, past the appearance of man), that evolution exists, and that adaptation sometimes creates new species. There is not one single thing in nature that moves towards more complexity without an outside force. What outside force caused ameobas to need eyes? What outside force caused a fish to grow legs? Was being an ape so difficult that it forced an ape to be born that walked upright and lived life differently and couldn’t mate with its parents to improve because of DNA differences??

Nature is entropic. It takes ages of pressure (outside influence) to turn coal to diamonds, heat (outside pressure) to make water turn to steam, yet if you look at evolution suddenly complexity happens on its own?

That’s why evolution is still the THEORY of evolution, and yes creation is no more provable except by the deduction that nature could not have increased organisms in complexity to get to humans.

Christians objections, as least the ones I know, to the teaching of evolution is that its taught as proven, reproducible, will happen again, fact. Both evolution and creation should be taught as THEORIES, not fact, about how we got here. Add in the fact that scientists of the time, not Darwin himself, grabbed onto Darwin’s work as “proof that we need to get God out of science and the public realm.” It’s been an adversarial “science” since the very beginning.

PastorJon on July 29, 2011 at 12:32 PM

start talking about how you rammed your love rod deep into your boyfriends rectum, and yeah, I think there aught to be a law.

astonerii on July 29, 2011 at 12:22 AM

There is never-ending irony in the fact that on this site, those who seem to be most offended by what other people do in their relationships(and purportedly won’t shut up about those activities) are, interestingly, the same people who most graphically describe said acts on a fairly public forum.

MadisonConservative on July 29, 2011 at 3:09 PM

PastorJon:

However, on the evolution thing: can you please provide me, because I’ve spent hours on search engines trying to find it myself, where in a lab or in the wild with even a simplest species they’ve ever seen it through asexual or sexual reproduction become a different species. Not an adaptation that would have difficulty mating with it’s parents because of physical differences, but a whole new species.

I’d be happy to discuss contemporary evolutionary theory with you, only… could you first give me the title of one book on evolutionary theory, written by a proponent of evolution by natural selection and written within the last century, that you have actually read?

I only ask because your comment doesn’t seem to indicate whether you have any understanding of the theory (as opposed to ID’s caricature of it), or of the entire body of science that accords with and buttresses it — or even the distinction between the word “theory” as used in politics and the law and “theory” as used in science. So if you could just give me one example of the pro-evolutionary books explaining evolution you must have read, we can continue from there.

I’ll keep checking back.

Dafydd

Dafydd ab Hugh on July 29, 2011 at 4:12 PM

Astonerii:

It is not the privacy of their own home, bedroom or where ever the act happens. It is the publicizing of said act that gets you put in prison for sodomy laws…. If people have their dalliances behind closed doors and do not go around advertizing it, they cannot get into trouble, even if there are laws against it.

Astonerii, have you actually read the facts of the case that struck down the sodomy laws, Lawrence v. Texas?

The petitioners, John Geddes Lawrence, a medical technologist, then age 55, and Tyron Garner (July 10, 1967 – September 11, 2006),[11] then 31, were alleged to have been engaging in consensual anal sex in Lawrence’s apartment in the outskirts of Houston between 10:30 and 11 p.m. on September 17, 1998 when Harris County sheriff’s deputy Joseph Quinn entered the unlocked apartment, with his weapon drawn, arresting the two.

The arrests had stemmed from a false report of a “weapons disturbance” in their home — that because of a domestic disturbance or robbery, there was a man with a gun “going crazy.” The person who filed the report, neighbor Robert Royce Eubanks, then 40,[12] had earlier been accused of harassing the plaintiffs. Despite the false report, probable cause to enter the home was not at issue in the case. Eubanks, with whom Garner was romantically involved at the time of the arrest,[13] later admitted that he was lying, pleaded no contest to charges of filing a false police report, and served 15 days in jail.

Lawrence and Garner were arrested, held overnight in jail, and charged with violating Texas’s anti-sodomy statute, the Texas “Homosexual Conduct” law. The law, Chapter 21, Sec. 21.06 of the Texas Penal Code, designated it as a Class C misdemeanor when someone “engages in deviant sexual intercourse with another individual of the same sex,” prohibiting anal and oral sex between members of the same sex.[14] They later posted $200 bail.

Honestly, I don’t see either Lawrence or Garner “publicizing” their “dalliances;” nor did they “stand up in front of an auditorium filled with kids and their parents and start talking about” their sexual practices.

Nor was this the only time people, both homosexual and heterosexual, were arrested under sodomy laws because of cops peeking through windows or bursting unannounced into private homes. When I first became interested in the subject (back in either 1988 or 1992, at one of those two Phoenix Westercons), I dug up scores of examples of such raids and covert surveillance operations by lawn forcement officers — including some of heterosexual husbands and wives arrested for, e.g., being found engaging oral sex in their own homes, with the drapes closed.

Finally, the majority opinion in Lawrence itself contradicts your claim, as the holding explicitly did not include the situation you imagine:

“The present case does not involve minors. It does not involve persons who might be injured or coerced or who are situated in relationships where consent might not easily be refused. It does not involve public conduct or prostitution. It does not involve whether the government must give formal recognition to any relationship that homosexual persons seek to enter.”

Antonin Scalia was quite open in his dissent that he believed society did have the legitimate authority to tell the people what type of sex was acceptable:

If moral disapprobation of homosexual conduct is “no legitimate state interest” for purposes of proscribing that conduct…what justification could there possibly be for denying the benefits of marriage to homosexual couples exercising “the liberty protected by the Constitution”? Surely not the encouragement of procreation, since the sterile and the elderly are allowed to marry.

Scalia did not dissemble; he straightforwardly held that there was no ultimate zone of independence around individuals that states were bound to respect, other than those explicitly ennumerated in the Constitution, including amendments. (Clarence Thomas agreed with Scalia.) Thus they simply exorcised the demon of the Ninth Amendment, casting it out in the holy name of Conservatism.

My argument with conservatives on this issue is absolutely foundational and axiomatic: I believe and assert, as part of my ultimate creed, that the State cannot own the soul of the individual; each individual owns his own soul. Call it a zone of independence, the right or privacy, or a person’s moral conscience… there is a level of intimacy within which government cannot decree.

We call that layer “liberty,” and without it we are less than human.

Dafydd

Dafydd ab Hugh on July 29, 2011 at 5:05 PM

And there is absolutely no conflict between God and evolution. If He’s smart enough to create the universe and everything in it, He’s sure as hell smart enough to create the Big Bang, black holes, singularities and Darwinian evolution.

DocinPA on July 29, 2011 at 12:18 PM

Maybe some other god, but if you are referring to the Judeo-Christian God, the Bible is quite clear on 6 days of creation.

BlameAmericaLast on July 29, 2011 at 5:22 PM

Maybe some other god, but if you are referring to the Judeo-Christian God, the Bible is quite clear on 6 days of creation.

BlameAmericaLast

And you arrogantly define one of God’s days to be the same length of time as human days.

Hard Right on July 29, 2011 at 7:50 PM

So much FAIL here I had to check and make sure I hadn’t clicked over to Kos on accident…

The Bible is very clear on how quickly the Universe and everything in it was created.

To believe otherwise is to call God a liar.

BlameAmericaLast on July 29, 2011 at 2:38 AM

…you mean you interpret the Bible that way. Maybe you’re correct, maybe not. Neither possibility justifies the implication that your particular brand of christianity are the Faithful Remnant of True Believers, all others burn.

I’d rather start from a conservative position than a Liberal one. The Liberal position will end in oppression.

tomas on July 29, 2011 at 8:42 AM

It’s not oppression when the government decides which moral decisions involving consenting adults are valid and which ones aren’t? Not sure what kind of track record the government has in your universe, Comrade, but in this one, it’s better to let the individual make moral choices for himself. Trust me.

astonerii has it exactly right. How can the right to privacy apply when they have a reality show?

sleepyhead on July 29, 2011 at 10:43 AM

First they came for those Reality show freakazoids…

Hugh’s position seems to be Libertarian bordering on anarchy. He also doesn’t get Scott Johnson’s point at all. I can’t wait for the rebuttal, if Mr. Johnson has the time and inclination.

gitarfan on July 29, 2011 at 11:56 AM

Yes, anything which involves less government interference than you prefer is anarchy. It’s in one of the stickies over at Democratic Underground.

There is never-ending irony in the fact that on this site, those who seem to be most offended by what other people do in their relationships(and purportedly won’t shut up about those activities) are, interestingly, the same people who most graphically describe said acts on a fairly public forum.

MadisonConservative on July 29, 2011 at 3:09 PM

ROFL, yup.

Maybe some other god, but if you are referring to the Judeo-Christian God, the Bible is quite clear on 6 days of creation.

BlameAmericaLast on July 29, 2011 at 5:22 PM

Again with the assumption that your interpretation of Scripture is the True and Only Way. Is it in any way possible, that any of the arguments for other interpretations just might hold some persuasiveness for some people who have studied in good faith and come to a different conclusion than you? You don’t hear these people going around proclaiming your death by hellfire for your beliefs…

As a Christian myself, I can never understand why Christians aren’t the first ones demanding the state get out of marriage business altogether. I don’t want the government to dictate who gets baptized, or who gets to take communion, or how often one must go to church and which churches qualify. Why the hell do we need government to tell us how marriage works? Get the state out altogether. Leave individual religious decisions to individual religious institutions. Novel, right?

ReformedAndDangerous on July 29, 2011 at 7:59 PM

And you arrogantly define one of God’s days to be the same length of time as human days.

Hard Right on July 29, 2011 at 7:50 PM

“Day” only has a different length in prophecy. Genesis is recounting oral history, with only some prophecy and Creation is history, not prophecy.

BlameAmericaLast on July 29, 2011 at 11:37 PM

Thank you, Dafydd. An excellent analysis on some hypocrisies in the parties, which frustrates me to no end when someone arguing for less government intrusion will suddenly advocate for more government intrusion. I take the often repeated idea that government should never have gotten involved in the religious institution of marriage, and that a congregation should choose how best to interpret God’s dictates while the government should keep secular. And certainly no one of any political persuasion should try to summon the Elder Gods.

kc-anathema on July 30, 2011 at 7:12 AM

2,949 words to make your point is extremism, isn’t it?

itsspideyman on July 30, 2011 at 1:52 PM

I hate to use a hoary cliche, but if these issues are your reason to reject conservatism, then you really are missing the forest for the trees.

The evolution thing particularly irritates me. Personally, I believe in evolution, and agree with your point that a belief in God and a belief in evolution are not mutually exclusive. But I have yet to have anybody explain to me how anyone’s belief in evolution (or lack thereof) is relevant to any other politcal, social, or economic issue of our day.

It is simply a badge issue, an issue that people use to identify themselves as belonging to one camp or another, but one that has no real relevance to anthing else going on in the world.

Dreadnought on July 30, 2011 at 11:12 PM

Itsspideyman:

2,949 words to make your point is extremism, isn’t it?

For me, it’s usually a foreword!

Dreadnought:

I hate to use a hoary cliche, but if these issues are your reason to reject conservatism, then you really are missing the forest for the trees.

I reject contemporary conservatism because I object to about a third of conservative tenets, mostly having to do with the legal implementation of traditional values.

(I have a huge, huge problem with about 67% of people who call themselves “libertarian,” too! But for different reasons… mostly their inability to break out of ideological mode long enough to observe how the physical world actually works, or fails to work.)

The evolution thing particularly irritates me. Personally, I believe in evolution, and agree with your point that a belief in God and a belief in evolution are not mutually exclusive. But I have yet to have anybody explain to me how anyone’s belief in evolution (or lack thereof) is relevant to any other politcal, social, or economic issue of our day.

It is simply a badge issue, an issue that people use to identify themselves as belonging to one camp or another, but one that has no real relevance to anthing else going on in the world.

Actually it’s a badge that indicates to me that the person has what Professor Kingsfield called “a skull full of mush.” That badge tells me my disputant is incapable of logical or rational argument on a great number of scientific topics — which are critical in the contemporary world.

Dafydd

Dafydd ab Hugh on July 31, 2011 at 11:37 PM