Huckabee Rips Daniels’ Call for GOP Unity

June 16th, 2010 at 12:10 pm | 83 Comments |

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The 2010 elections are still in the future, clinic and yet already thunderstorms over conservative unity are hitting the Right again. Just recently, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels suggested that conservatives should “call a truce” on social issues so as to focus on rolling back the economic excesses of the present regime, and like clockwork, the socially conservative elements of the Right have sprung into action to refute him. Whether you think Daniels’s truce would actually produce positive results is a live question – Mike Pence has expressed mild disagreement with the concept, and I have my doubts over its effectiveness on all social issues – but I would suggest that this question isn’t actually the point. What is currently going on with Daniels is a time-tested ritual within conservative discourse – someone suggests leaving social issues alone, social issues advocates respond angrily, the original speaker apologizes, and the next field of GOP candidates… leaves social issues alone in favor of economic issues. Ho hum. Let’s all go home.

But now Mike Huckabee is involved, and if anything is sure to prolong a conflict on the Right, it is the presence of Mike Huckabee. In response to Daniels’s call, Huckabee has blasted out an aggressive fundraising email/essay savaging Daniels’s idea:

Many of you saw the comments made by Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels last week when he said the next president ‘would have to call a truce on the so-called social issues’ so he or she could focus on the fiscal problems facing the country.

As I’ve made clear, I really like Governor Daniels, and I consider him a friend and colleague, but his comments mirror those of the GOP establishment who view values voters dismissively as ‘single-minded.’ The fact is that every value voter I know is truly committed to fiscal conservatism, but many fiscal conservatives and libertarians range from disinterest to contempt for social issues.

Now, to be fair, what Huckabee’s doing is employing time-tested and deservedly respectable rhetoric – the language of fusionism – to justify his attack. However, Huckabee himself is a distinctly unconvincing spokesperson for this sort of thing, especially when you consider that he has called for libertarians to be run out of the conservative movement as “faux-cons.” Huckabee is good at using the language of fusionism, but he uses it to practice the politics of division – for instance, within the aforementioned essay, you’ll notice how he singles out “fiscal conservatives and libertarians” as the evil dissenters who make it impossible for us all to get along. This is while writing in opposition to a “truce,” so if the English language means anything, we must conclude that Huckabee wants to see war on the apostates he mentions.

Moreover, Huckabee’s larger point in the essay – that social decay affects the economy – is classic misdirection insofar as it willfully refuses to notice the opposite point – that the economy impacts social decay. Most social conservatives realize this. Michele Bachmann, for instance, in one of her less-disciplined moments, called Planned Parenthood the Wal-mart of abortion (an insult to Wal-mart, by the way), which suggests that she understands the issue of abortion as primarily one of supply and demand where prices can reduce the number of abortions (hence the battle over public funding). However, this is a live issue for Huckabee, who has accused libertarians of harboring “heartless, callous and soulless” beliefs with respect to welfare, yet wants to play bad cop on the social issues such as family illegitimacy. How he proposes to do this without taking away the welfare benefits that incentivize family illegitimacy, or without gutting foreign aid so as to reduce dependency and dysfunctional economic practices overseas is anybody’s guess.

Without turning this into an extended attack, though, this gets to a much larger problem with Huckabee’s argument – and with his role on the Right generally: much as he argues that unity is justified because fiscal conservatives need social conservatives, his idea of unity seems to be a political protection racket. That is, he never explains why social conservatives need fiscal conservatives, except maybe for their money, and clearly thinks that fiscal conservatives should live in fear of having their kneecaps broken at the ballot box by the socially-oriented masses. In any case, he is in no position to attack Mitch Daniels for discouraging fusionism.

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83 Comments so far ↓

  • Francisbuckle

    “Folks at this site are alternatively pro-libertarian and anti-libertarian, but seem united in their loathing of social conservatives. The author of this piece is no exception.”

    Maybe this is just me, but I don’t read this piece as bashing social conservatives. I read it as bashing Huckabee, and he doesn’t speak for all social cons on all issues. Also, did no one else notice this line:
    “Whether you think Daniels’s truce would actually produce positive results is a live question – Mike Pence has expressed mild disagreement with the concept, and *I have my doubts over its effectiveness on all social issues* – but I would suggest that this question isn’t actually the point.” This doesn’t sound like social conservative bashing to me; it sounds like the author’s just as skeptical as Huckabee, but thinks he’s the wrong spokesperson to be making the point. I think he’s too hard on Huck, but there you have it.

  • Francisbuckle

    Also, I found this a while back through a blog. It’s by the same author. He sure as hell doesn’t sound socially liberal here: http://www.academia.org/elegy-for-wesleyan/

  • Rabiner

    Easton:

    I’ve always considered the concept of ‘marriage’ one with religious connotations. The issue is Civil Unions do not have the same legal weight as Marriages do legally for homosexual couples. Civil Unions should be the default ceremony anyways for homosexuals and heterosexuals and if they’re ceremony is in a church/temple/mosque/ect. then those people can call it a marriage. The issue for me is the legal inequalities for these people which prevents them the same benefits and protections that married people enjoy.

  • Rabiner

    Francisbuckle:

    A lot of the individuals who post on this site are anti-Social Conservatives because they’re concept of government is extremely intrusive in how individuals live their lives. If Republicans did not need to cater to such a segment of the population then you’d see a very different demographic shift within the Republican Party starting with young voters who tend to be socially liberal or socially libertarian.

  • Francisbuckle

    Look, I want to see young people come in as much as anyone, and I don’t doubt that *might* speed up if some issues got de-emphasized, but I’m skeptical of the “just go socially liberal and everyone will love you” line of argument because a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. We have a sizable voter base right now, and we have gay conservative organizations like GOProud and the Log Cabin Republicans who somehow fit in without requiring us to sacrifice key elements of our agenda. I’d be open to an argument for why gay “rights” (as it’s mistakenly called) fits into that.

  • franco 2

    Huckabee is a fraud.

  • Francisbuckle

    Also, something no one seems to remember: Being “Socially conservative” is about more than abortion and gay marriage. It’s also about being pro-Death Penalty, anti-affirmative action, anti-multicultural, etc, even if I don’t think that’s what Daniels is talking about. And I really don’t think the GOP can get along without those issues. Though you won’t have to do much work persuading me on the drugs question – National Review started out as pro-drug, and has stayed that way for ages.

  • Rabiner

    Francisbuckle:

    ‘pro-drug’?

    Sure ‘social conservatism’ means more than abortion and gay marriage but social conservatism is counter to fiscal conservatism and limited government. Social conservatism is activist in its policies by attempting to dictate how people should live based on a particular social standard that tends to be 20 years behind the times. Fiscal conservative and limited government seeks to reduce the role government has in the economy through reduced oversight and regulations and for government to be efficient and effective in its roles. By reducing the role of government you reduce the need for higher taxation levels and can maintain a balanced budget.

    Regarding the Death Penalty, mind telling me why you support the policy? I’ve come to the conclusion from reading reports that it is ineffective at acting as a deterrent for crime, is more expensive to administer than having a life without parole sentencing and has been shown in the past to of executed innocent people.

  • drdredel

    This post, if nothing else, brings to light the real problem we have in this nation. Namely, our inability to set up a party system that makes it possible for smaller parties that have their agendas and don’t need to mix them with other parties’ agendas, yet can still get elected.

    There should be room for social conservatives to have their own party, which can find its votes where ever it can, move a few people into government, and let those people fart about, affecting nothing. Meanwhile, the people who care about things that actually matter would (hopefully) get most of the votes, and maybe there would actually be some useful legislation passed!

    it’s not going to happen, of course… I’m just saying.

  • Francisbuckle

    That’s a very, VERY simplistic way of viewing the relationship between social conservatism and fiscal conservatism. Fiscal conservatism isn’t about the rejection of morality – it’s about recognizing areas where the government is inefficient to act. Saying “the government shouldn’t do this because it can’t administer the law” is different from saying “the government shouldn’t act on a moral code at all.” The latter argument is an argument for anarchy, because every law is based on a form of morality, and it generally reduces to a morality which is at least tacitly based on either Christian or Platonic/Aristotelian themes, given that the West is influenced so heavily by Christianity and Greek philosophy. Moreover, there is a moral basis for capitalism that needs to be maintained, and unfortunately, given that the culture is currently so hostile to that moral basis, a lot of people aren’t sure what to do outside of turning to the government. What is more, your ethos of leaving everything up to the individual actually undermines the free market because it tends to make people want to break down not just government regulations, but social norms too, and in order to do that, you have to criminalize discrimination, which in turn leads to more government, and so on.

    And I reject your framing of social conservatism as necessarily centralizing. Most socially conservative champions have been fighting to leave issues up to localities, rather than trying to centralize them – in fact, a lot of socially conservative fights have grown up around the Federal government centralizing the wrong things, such as abortion, gay marriage, etc. This causes a defensive reaction, and understandably so, frankly.

    As for the Death Penalty, the reason it costs so much is because of the appeals process, not because the procedure itself is expensive. That needs to be reformed. And the deterrent effect is a hotly debated issue that has not been satisfactorily resolved – what reports are you reading?

  • drdredel

    Francisbuckle,

    I’m not sure what debate you’re referring to… where have you seen someone arguing that executing someone isn’t a foolproof deterrent against that person committing more crime?!

    Seriously though… while there are people who still argue that the death penalty plays some role in affecting how a criminal behaves during the commission of a death penalty worthy crime, the most basic common sense (along with a great deal of evidence which I’m not even slightly inclined to go digging up for you… no offense) tells us that there isn’t a lot of rational thought that goes into murder. However the death penalty does provide a very powerful bargaining tool for DAs who can offer to take it off the table in exchange for concessions from defendants who have something valuable to offer.

    As for leaving issues up to the localities, I see your point, but consider that more often than not these “issues” are matters that don’t concern “localities”. They are private choices that don’t concern or affect anyone other than those who care to partake in them. Sodomy isn’t a “local” issue. There’s nothing anarchic about deciding that government need not involve itself in everything just because it upsets someone.

  • drdredel

    last item for Francis…

    “I’d be open to an argument for why gay “rights” (as it’s mistakenly called) fits into that.”

    I’m curious what your implication here is. If you accept the scientific reality that homosexuality is a common genetic abnormality that people are born with (again, not gonna go digging for journal articles but there’s a mountain of evidence if you’re interested), then denying these people basic access to the social constructs that those not in the group is discriminatory. I would agree that it would seem like an unnecessary term, in a rational world, much like women’s rights is pretty self evident (or do you take issue with that term too? and if so… then I really don’t understand what you mean) but we don’t live in a rational world, so, people have to cling to bizarre terms in order to argue and fight for things that they should not have to argue and fight for.

  • busboy33

    @Rabiner:

    For a long time I’ve thought that is the only possible “winning” solution. Take marriage out of the legal sphere as much as possible. Change the law to only be concerened with “Legal Union” or whatever they want to call it, and then just say that certain things qualify as acceptable “legal unions”: marriage, civil unions, certain common-law marriages, etc. All share the same legal benefits and obligations, and whether you call it a marriage, a civil union, or “I forgot to move out” is between you and God.

    The pro-marriage side would scream holy murder because this actually end up “endorsing” homosexual couples, but if they were really concerned with preserving the idea of “marriage” then they really don’t want to take this fight all the way to the Supremes. Just read the transcripts of the closing arguments from the Prop 8 case going on now — regardless of whether homosexuality is or is not a good/bad/indifferent thing, under the constitution defending the “no gay marriage” is not easy to justify. Emotionally, yes . . . but legally, no. I don’t think the pro-marriage camp understands that there is a really, really good chance that they may lose constitutionally. Better to salvage some sort of dimished standard rather than lose the idea completely.

  • busboy33

    @francisbuckle:

    “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush”

    True . . . but the problem is the birds in hand right now aren’t enough to win elections. Some, yes. Enough, no. The GOP has to get more votes or else it won’t have enough power in government to get things done, and that’s the whole point.

    Sure they can’t afford to lose votes, but 100% retention + no new votes = permanent minority. The problem is, the key to the Crazy-n-Angry voter retention is exactly what keeps the independent votes away. The Far Right SoCons are a powerful GOP weapon, but if giving that base up means gaining at least as many new votes, then it might be worth it. Right now holding on to those votes doesn’t seem to be working.

  • busboy33

    @francisbuckle (again):

    ” because every law is based on a form of morality, and it generally reduces to a morality which is at least tacitly based on either Christian or Platonic/Aristotelian themes, given that the West is influenced so heavily by Christianity and Greek philosophy.”

    I respectfully disagree. I think the underlying philosophical structure that motivates the law is a desire to move thru the day without having to kill someone else or get killed myself. The law isn’t concerned with being a good person — it’s concerned with being a good citizen.

    Now, “being a good citizen” is dependent on the opinions of a particular society, and yes ideas of “good” and “bad” in our legal tradition mirror ideas in Christian and Classical Greek philosophy (as well as Western Enlightment, etc.), but which caused which I think is a matter of some debate. Does the religious proscription “Thou Shall Not Kill” cause the definition of a good citizen to be “murder is bad”, or did the practical reality that “don’t kill people” is necessary to a functioning society lead to that societie’s religions to agree “killing is bad, don’t do it”?

    I think that’s why we shouldn’t concern ourselves with “which caused the other”, because like Red Sox vs Yankees there’s no real end to that argument. As long as everybody is getting along smoothly, then that’s all the law should be concerned with.

  • Francisbuckle

    Drdredel,
    I agree with you on the Death Penalty – I was trying to encourage our friendly neighborhood liberal Rabiner to look outside his comfort zone for research on the deterrent effect. However, you misunderstand me in re the “localities” point. Sodomy itself may not be an issue, but having the Federal Government say you can’t criminalize it in your locality IS an issue insofar as it affects that community’s right to set legal standards for what it permits as a matter of public morality. Criminalizing sodomy, of course, is unenforceable under present constitutional restirctions, but a less clear-cut example would be criminalizing public nudity. Even if it doesn’t “hurt anyone” in the sense of denying them their rights or damaging them physically, to say a locality can’t do it is still an imposition. There are competing autonomy claims here, and you haven’t addressed that.

    As for the gay issue, you make an utterly unsubstantiated assumption – namely, that all “discrimination” on the basis of immutable characteristics is wrong, and has to be corrected through legislation. I don’t think this is accurate in either case. Firstly, we discriminate on the basis of immutable characteristics that you’re “born with” (such as intelligence, height, physical attractiveness and strength) all the time. People are born pedophiles, yet we don’t allow them access to all social constructs. And before you pull the tired attack line, I’m not saying gays are equivalent to pedophiles. I’m pointing out that being born with a condition isn’t a mandate for others to accept you. There’s no necessity that people have to be permitted access to social constructs if the society that built those social constructs deems granting them said access to be malignant and corrosive.

    Moreover, your assumption that we should just legislate discrimination out of existence is itself a violation of peoples’ autonomy. People have the right to decide to exclude others from areas of their lives – that’s what property rights and free speech rights (actual rights under the Constitution, by the way) protect, at least on some level. And as to what I mean when I say “mistakenly called,” I mean that there is no “right” to get married in the Constitution. No one is advocating denying homosexuals free speech rights, or property rights, or rights to free exercise of religion; in short, no one is arguing against gay “rights” insofar as they actually ARE legal “rights” in this country. What we are arguing against is the extension of PRIVILEGES, which is quite different.

  • drdredel

    Francis,

    Ok I see what you’re saying, and you never have to worry that I would be upset by an ugly analogy, if it is an applicable one (which in your use of pedophiles it totally is) in that the condition is biological. Though I would obviously argue that the reason we don’t accommodate pedophiles (when outside the catholic church) is that they are actively hurting people, while gay people are absolutely not.

    Furthermore I agree with you that there are levels of “not affecting anyone else” that obviously have to be taken into consideration, but I think there’s a flaw in how you present your case when it comes to what we are referring to as “government”. You’re arguing government shouldn’t be precluded from exercising the will of the people… clearly this is true, but I’m arguing that the governmental impulse should be to do only what is absolutely necessary and err on the side of doing too little, not too much.

    You’re right that marriage is a privilege, but it’s an arbitrary one, and it was designed for one purpose and then altered again and again and again and in no way resembles ANYTHING it was originally formulated to accomplish. The impulse that I’m arguing for (based on the mandate of liberty that this nation was founded on) is to
    FIRST: Try to meddle as little as possible in people’s private affairs
    NEXT: When meddling is unavoidable (or in the case of marriage, where the contract is, in fact, between the couple and the state… cause clearly the contract between the two people IN the marriage is almost entirely irrelevant and can be augmented in whatever way the couple sees fit) try to afford whatever convenience to as many people as possible, so long as it’s feasible.
    LAST: When entirely unavoidable, step in to intervene.

    You’re right that legislating discrimination is generally pointless (there are exceptions), but this example of gay marriage is the opposite because there is no NEED for the government to do anything. In your example of public nudity, it can be reasonably be argued (though I obviously don’t agree) that in being forced to see naked people you (the non naked) are being put out in some discernible way. Again, the impulse of the government should be to try to stay out of it, and only step in when there is an overwhelming problem (meaning… don’t start writing laws the first time some schmuck runs across the street with his ass in the air; wait for it to actually become a persistent and frequently repeated issue). But in the case of gay people marrying there is simply no argument to be made for how it affects anyone at all. In that situation the governmental impulse should be to insist that SOME proof of harm be offered before it steps in.

    And as far as its relationship to gays is concerned, the government stands only to make money on their unions, so, it has no reason to object.

    Lastly..
    “There’s no necessity that people have to be permitted access to social constructs if the society that built those social constructs deems granting them said access to be malignant and corrosive.”
    Again, this is entirely true, but the point is that, to some extent, it might help us to consider this a global issue, rather than a local one. Marriage isn’t an American social construct. The vast majority of the western world (which it is worth noting the US launched!) has evolved past the silly notion that marriage is sacred only as defined by Americans (and an ever shrinking contingent of those, at that). The world doesn’t believe this arrangement to be malignant or corrosive and the evidence is overwhelming that it, is in fact, not. Quite the contrary.

    However, I will admit, that it MIGHT be malignant or corrosive to the strictures of the various religions originally born of Egyptian mythology, and I can’t help but cheer said corrosion on as I think it’s very easy to prove that there never has been, isn’t now, and never will be anything more harmful to human society (in fact, I would argue the greatest threat to us as a species, and I’m not a climate change denier) than organized religion.

    I am an optimist, however, and look forward to the day when we might follow in the footsteps of Europe on the jettisoning of our various superstitions and start writing laws based on statistical analysis and reason.

  • drdredel

    Busboy33,

    …”or did the practical reality that “don’t kill people” is necessary to a functioning society lead to that societie’s religions to agree “killing is bad, don’t do it”?

    I think that’s why we shouldn’t concern ourselves with “which caused the other”, because like Red Sox vs Yankees there’s no real end to that argument.”…

    I think there’s no reason to give credit where none is due. We only need to look to our next door genetic neighbors to see that there are deeply rooted, biological impediments to murder. And if you step further away, to other mammals, or even VERY far away, to, say, bees, we see the same thing.

    We were a society long before the inclusion of variations on various laws against killing from pre-modern cultures into our own, and unless you’re going to suggest that there’s a reasonable argument to be made that though we are an animal very similar to many others we were not gifted the biological selection for the simple ethic of non-murder (and a host of other empathetic characteristics) then you are denying everything we know about evolution (and we know a LOT about it).

    Meanwhile, as someone who doesn’t care at all about baseball (and knows almost nothing about it) but can look at a chart of numbers without too much difficulty (thanks Mom and Dad) I can tell you that empirically, the Yankees are a LOT better than the Red Sox :)

  • busboy33

    dr.dredel:

    Let’s hypothetically say I agree with you — it seems logical that societal religious beliefs would have developed from the foundation of proto-society.
    This guy standing next to me is 100% certain a glowing hand created the idea of society by reaching out of the starless void and decreeing it into being. Do I agree? No. But it’s not my concern. As long as we both agree “no shooting without at least shouting a warning”, then frankly you can’t expect anything more. He may be wrong imho, but what can I possibly gain by rubbing the issue in his face? It’s not going to end well. I’d rather not disagree with the “Morals come from Our Lord Christ” then get into an attack on their faith, unintended though it may be. Regardless of evidence to the contrary, some people will believe just about anything — as long as we’re both obeying the “how to get along” rules then we ought to leave it at that. He’s never going to stop being wrong, no matter what you say. Let them be a hamless kook.

    Take you for example. You seem like a reasoned and reasonable person. I’m sure you actually think saying the Yankees are better (forget “a LOT better”) than the Red Sox (btw, currently rescuing orphans from a church fire) is somehow justified. Sadly, it only demonstrates that on this one issue at least you are not just incorrect, but also a bad person deep in your dirty, polluted soul. Obviously, you think my reasoned acceptance of the Red Sox’s clear Manifest Destiny is some sign of dementiam but again that just shows how wrong you are, how you hate Baby Jesus, and you’re helping the terrorists win.
    Societally, its’s a better plan for me to let you go about your sad delusion with your other sadly deluded Yankees fans, living your ultimately hollow and unsatisfying lives than for me to start tying you all down and beating Boston’s Holy Truth into your heart. That’s just always a bad idea.

    . . . as an aside, if I did have to force the Truth of the Sox on your heathen ass, I hope you know I would only be doing it out of the deepest and most sincere sense of love and brotherhood. I don’t want you to go to hell, but if you die a Yankees fan I can’t guarantee what will happen to your soul.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RVC9b0K1Iis

    . . . the Yankees, gimme a break . . .

    Just better to keep the law out of it.

  • Rabiner

    Francisbuckle, drdredel:

    “I’m not sure what debate you’re referring to… where have you seen someone arguing that executing someone isn’t a foolproof deterrent against that person committing more crime?!”

    I didn’t say that the Death Penalty deters future crime by that particular person being executed. I said that it doesn’t deter crime committed by others when they know they could be given the death penalty for that offense. http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/deterrence-states-without-death-penalty-have-had-consistently-lower-murder-rates#stateswithvwithout shows that States without the death-penalty have consistently had lower murder rates than States with the Death Penalty. I’m sure I can find other links that would agree with my assumption that the Death Penalty does not deter crime. You also brought up reforming the appeals process to reduce costs but this reforming of the appeals process would just increase the risks associated with executing innocent people. The Death Penalty is an ineffective policy to pursue but is done because it makes people feel good. That’s the only social benefit that I’ve been able to figure out as to why the Death Penalty is even practiced in the United States, it makes people feel good to get revenge.

    With regards to laws having a moral background to them:

    I find this untrue. Laws have little to do with morality and more to do with preserving societal order. Some laws may also be moralistic but that doesn’t mean they were adopted because of morality. There is no law saying you must let an elderly person have your seat on the bus when it’s full. There are no laws saying you must give to charity if you’re wealthy. But there are laws stating that you cannot hit another person. There are laws pertaining to the rules of the road which have nothing to do with morality. Morality goes farther than laws by dictating how people should act, not how they shouldn’t act.

    Francisbuckle:

    Localities should NOT have the right to dictate civil rights based on local preference. We have a name for such an occurrence and its name was Jim Crow.

  • busboy33

    @francisbuckle:

    “People are born pedophiles, yet we don’t allow them access to all social constructs. And before you pull the tired attack line, I’m not saying gays are equivalent to pedophiles.”

    I’m not pulling a tired attack line, but if gay marriage isn’t equivalent to pedophelia, then how we deal with pedophiles shouldn’t have too much to do with the issue of gay marriange and homosexuality, should it? If they aren’t equivilant or comperable, why did you mention it?

    “The idea of gay marriage being a ‘right’ is silly. I mean, African Hummingbirds can fly backwards at 20 miles per hour. Now before you say it, I’m not saying African hummingbirds have any relevance to the discussion at all. So there you go.”

    Of course pedophiles aren’t allowed access to “all social constructs”, because there is a clear, demonstrable harm, and prohibiting unfettered access to “all social constructs” is the least intrusive method of preventing the harm.
    To keep the government from f##king with citizens, if you don’t have a realistic and demonstrable danger and a provable causal link between the harm and the prohibited subject, then you can’t prohibit it. The government shouldn’t prohibit infertile couple from marrying if they want to, because it isn’t any of the government’s god-damn buisness. Even if that’s what voters decide. How is this different . . . and you need evidence stronger than “gay is just creepy”. Cooper could only get one witness, and even that witness ended up admitting that gay couples are actually statistically better adoptive parents than natural biological parents, and that doesn’t sound too threatening.

    The closing arguments on the Prop 8 Trial make clear that the Court is zeroing in on the question of “what HARM does prohibiting gay marriage avoid?” and the attorney (Cooper) can’t really offer anything except “it’s just wrong”, “because”, and “all life as we know it will instantly cease to exist and every molecule of matter will explode”:

    ——————————————–
    “When court resumed after the lunch break, Charles Cooper, attorney for proponents of the measure, told [Judge] Walker that the “marital relationship is fundamental to the existence and survival of the race. Without the marital relationship, society would come to an end.”

    That relationship, he said, is between a man and a woman and its main focus is procreation and ‘channeling’ the sexual behavior of heterosexuals into ‘stable, marital unions.’

    Walker continually pressed the sometimes flustered Cooper on just what marriage means and why the state should care about it. Why does the state regulate marriage, he asked. Do people get married to benefit the community? Why doesn’t the state just consider it a private contract?

    Walker: ‘Why is it that marriage has such a large public role? What is the purpose?’

    Cooper: ‘This relationship is crucial to the public interest.… Procreative sexual relations both are an enormous benefit to society and represent a very real threat to society’s interest.’

    Walker: ‘Threat?’

    Cooper: ‘If children are born into the world without this stable, marital union … both of the parents that brought them into the world, then a host of very important, very negative social implications arise…. The purpose of marriage is to provide society’s approval to that sexual relationship and to the actual production of children.’

    Walker: ‘But the state doesn’t withhold marriage from people who cannot have children.’

    Cooper: ‘It does not.’

    Walker: ‘Are you saying the state should?’”
    http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2010/06/prop-8-trial-closing-arguments-end-as-judge-presses-both-sides-on-meaning-of-marriage.html
    ———————–

    You’re right pedophiles aren’t the same as homosexual marriage. One poses a threat to society, and apparently the other doesn’t. If you can’t (a) enunciate a clear threat and (2) justify why gay marriage will cause it, then there legally isn’t any reason for the government to do it.

    If gay marriage opponents can’t distinguish gay marriage from an infertile couple marrying, then the Constitution pretty clearly requires you treat them the same. Not saying that’s the right decision or the wrong decision — just that’s how the rules work.

  • medinnus

    easton, busboy33 — I agree with you that rendering marriage as a purely religious ceremony, and dividing it from a Civil Union (ie to have the same social approval AND legal rights you’d need to have both) should be the way it is; given the evolution of American law and culture that ideal view is, however, somewhat problematic.

    And on another issue, the pro-death-penalty crowd also being the “sanctity of life” folks has long since been an classic irony, as has the “Once they’re born, we don’t want to have anything more to do with them” reaction to low-income support systems (that’s “lazy no-good welfare queens and system scam artists” to some). But as may be – philosophically, I am personally pro-life except that I would not legislate to remove the personal choice from others. I think that the pro-Life crowd, if they want to prevent abortion, need to make a more compelling argument for the proto-mothers to keep the child, rather than make the choice illegal.

    Pragmatically, criminalizing it won’t stop the poor, and it’ll just inconvenience the rich, who will ship their pregnant daughters to countries where the procedure is legal for a quick ‘vacation’ – like it was done when it was illegal in the United States, when people died from botched illegal abortions, and the middle- and upper-class sent their unwed daughters to Cuba and Mexico for the procedures.

  • Rabiner

    Medinnus:

    “I am personally pro-life except that I would not legislate to remove the personal choice from others”

    We like to call that pro-choice in many circles. But you do practically make the case for preventing it from becoming illegal.

  • medinnus

    Rabiner:

    Although my wife and I used two forms of birth control, I was in my second year of unemployment when she became pregnant. We struggled; we’re still struggling. But we discussed the matter thoroughly, and decided not to abort.

    In my book, that makes our personal decision pro-Life. As with almost everything, YMMV however.

  • Rabiner

    Medinnus:

    YMMV?

  • medinnus

    Your Mileage May Vary *grins*

  • easton

    YMMV equals your mileage may vary.

    And no, pedophiles are not born that way. Sorry but that is totally ridiculous. It might be true some people are born sociopaths, but pedophiles are made not born. Many are sexually abused themselves while young etc. and while they don’t have a choice in that, they have a choice in their future actions, which would only continue the cycle on unnecessary abuse generation to generation. It simply has no equivalency that it should be discussed with homosexuality in any way, because there is no real analogy where the two apply. Gays, like Pedophiles, are born that way, is both a lie and is rubbish in its backhanded implication (though I understand that is not the intent)

    One other question, what is anti-multiculturalism? Abolish Columbus day? No more St. Patricks day?
    Close down the Chinese restaurants, only American food must be sold? I take it WASP is the default culture and if you aren’t WASP you aren’t American? Seriously, that can’t be what Social Conservatism is about (or shouldn’t be) I get the whole, no bi-lingual education (though I don’t agree, I think all children should be bi-lingual from Kindergarten on) but I do not get anti-multicultural.

  • JonF

    How about the following terms of truce: the gay issue goes on the back burner– it’s no longer a major vote getter anyway, and especially not among the young. But the abortion issue stays on the front burner. After all, abortion is about very basic questions of life and death and human personhood, and the public is no more pro-Choice now than it was 30 years ago, in fact there’s been some movement in the opposite direction, especially among the young.

  • busboy33

    @JonF:
    If abortion is not on the negotiating tabe for you, then it isn’t on the table.

    As a “pro-life” proponent, maybe you can answer some serious off-topic questions from an uncomfortably pro-choicer. I appreciate the ethical superiority of the pro-life camp (and honestly would like to take the flag up), but I can’t jump the fence without answering these questions, so if you’re willing I’m a Seeker willing to listen to some preachin’:

    *) When should the law consider “life” to have begun?
    — What objectively verifiable evidence is there for this answer?
    *)If the state has an interest in making sure babies come to term, do they have an interest in making sure women who have sex not undertake any activity that could lead to a miscarriage (ex: exercise)?
    — What is the difference between these two cases from ther perspective of the government?
    *) Societal Consequences. I can’t accept “too bad” in response to the back -alley abortions. Is there another answer?

    If I could find answers to these questions, I’d officially flip fro pro-choice to anti-abortion.

  • busboy33

    @easton:

    I’m not too concerned whether pedophelia is inherent or generated. As far as I’m concerned, the issue is a red herring. I’m not disputing what you say, and you certainly sound like you actually know something about this, or at least more than me (I’ve never thought about the topic, so I’m completely ignorant).

    The two relevant questions are sitll (a) is there are credible societal threat and (b) does restricting the class of person reasonably prevent the threat in the least restrictive way? Whether gay is inherent or chosen, whether pedophelia is inherent or learned, it has no bearing on the two questions. As an aside, I also personally think the topic itself (in the thread, not attacking you dealing with the question) is nothing more than a transparently cynical ploy to create a subconcious association between “Teh Gay” and something negative. It’s dirty pool, logically speaking. But that’s just a personal opinion.

    So you’re probably right. I assume you ARE right. Its certainly an interesting topic I’d love to discuss for a few hours over beers at the bar, but I hesitate to think too much about it in this thread at least because I’m enjoying the discussion of all this in a non-emotional, practical fashion and I don’t see how the topic can even be mentioned without reinforcing the subliminal connection.

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  • easton

    busboy, actually, I have zero interest in that topic which is why I protested it so strongly. That aspect is a total red herring. And it is just not this I don’t want to talk about. My wife is a nurse and while I understand her desire to share her day I simply don’t want to hear about the horrendous things that happen, like the child beaten by the alcoholic stepdad because he had the TV too loud. Don’t want to hear it.

    So like you said, let gay marriage stand on its own merits, lets leave inflammatory issues on the side.

  • rectonoverso

    Nice example why the one dimensional progressive-conservative (or left-right) political “spectrum” makes no sense.
    Even cartoon characters have more degrees of freedom than that.