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Politics. Economics. Morality. Religion. And Everything In Between.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Ron Paul Is a F***ing Genius Part I: Gay Marriage

Up until right before I started writing this blog, I thought that Ron Paul was a tinfoil hat-wearing libertarian wingnut. Now, as the moral and economic fabric of our society shows more and more signs of unraveling at the seams, I have gleefully embraced even Dr. Paul's most outrageous positions. Dear readers, I would like to announce here and now my endorsement of Ron Paul for the 2012 Republican Presidential Nomination and for the Presidency itself. I'd also like to give a big shout-out to Alte, editor of Traditional Catholicism, for making me aware of the video that inspired this whole post, which you can view by clicking the link below.

In my first installment of my "why Ron Paul is awesome" series, I will discuss his stance on gay marriage, of all things. Why? Because, quite simply, Dr. Paul got me out of a moral and intellectual bind that I had been in for a long time with an answer so sensible I that I feel like a complete nincompoop for not thinking of it myself.

As an orthodox Catholic, I believe that the Catholic Church should never sanction marriages between people of the same sex. To do so would fly in the face of everything the Church has carefully reasoned and discerned about human sexuality throughout its existence. However, when it comes to state-sanctioned gay marriage, I used to be at a loss. Sure, I found the idea of gays getting married morally distasteful, but I think the same way about drug use, and I'm all for legalizing marijuana, cocaine, and heroin. Does the government of the United States have the constitutional authority to deny gays the right to get married? Hell no! The Constitution says absolutely nothing about marriage at all. That's why opponents of gay marriage want ban it via constitutional amendment in the first place.

Since people were talking about amending the Constitution, I took a moment to think about what I thought the role of the state should be in marriage. I couldn't come up with a satisfactory position, because the line between politics and religion was too blurred. That's why I was enlightened and excited when I heard that Ron Paul doesn't think the state should mess around with marriage at all.

What has state-sanctioned marriage done for us? It has paved the way for no-fault divorce, one of the biggest culprits behind the destruction of the traditional family. It has allowed women to walk off with their husbands' children and half their money because they felt like it, making men more wary of marriage than ever. With so many unmarried couples cohabiting, sharing their finances, and even raising children together, the need for a marriage license to do virtually anything ordinarily associated with marriage is so nonexistent, it's laughable. Married couples, when was the last time someone who didn't work for the government asked to see your marriage license? Hell, when was the last time ANYONE asked to see it?

Guys and gals, wouldn't you like to just have your priest, pastor, rabbi, imam, guru, or whatever say the necessary magic words and leave the government alone to worry about paying off its massive debt? Heck, the women can still even change their names if they want. Ladies, in a world where Chad Johnson can change his last name to something that isn't even the Spanish word for "85" just because he feels like it, you can sure change yours to match your hubby's without a marriage license.

The only thing standing in the way of religious folk everywhere completely circumventing civil marriage is that many churches, pastors, etc. require marriage licenses in order to perform a religious ceremony (again, shout out to Alte for letting me know about this). We need to lobby our churches to let us start taking marriage underground St. Valentine style again. I bet some of them would even be enthusiastic about it. After all, until the biggest waves of the JPII generation of seminarians start showing up "at a parish near you," Catholics like me will be saying our vows mostly in front of baby boomer priests. I'm sure they wouldn't mind sticking it to the man. By voting for Ron Paul, though, we can get even the man on our side.

In a Presidential primary fight where Republicans have been senselessly tearing each other apart over this seemingly controversial issue, Ron Paul sidestepped their fracas by framing the matter in a way that doesn't make it seem controversial at all. For more instances of him making other politicians look small and childish, just search him on Youtube.

9 comments:

  1. I love you, Elliott (well, with the exception of you need to put f***ing in the title of your blog post) ... Why couldn't you have been this reasonable when you were in my class?

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  2. 1. This is blog is merely the heavily sanitized image I put forth for the public. I assure you, I am still as raucously irreverent as ever in person.

    2. "F***ing" gets me page views. If you're a bored 18-35 year old man surfing teh interwebz, what are you gonna click on, "Ron Paul is a Brilliant Statesman" or "Ron Paul is a F***ing Genius?"

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  3. At stake in the marriage debate is not so much marriage as a label but marriage as a tax benefit. Marriage is not just a ceremony; it is a legal contract with important financial repercussions. For Ron Paul to be consistent, he would have to support the eliminate of tax benefits to married straight couples, or he must grant these tax benefits to married gay couples. To do otherwise is quid pro quo discrimination.

    I'll add that the sanctioning of gay marriage by the state would help to change the attitude of less progressive members of the public. The legal victory of gay marriage would lend huge credence to the gay rights movement which seeks to eliminate the stigmas surrounding homosexuality.

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  4. I'm pretty sure that if the government ceases to perform and recognize marriages of any kind, then it won't be able to keep track of who's married and who's not for tax purposes. This would put an end to tax benefits for married straight couples.

    When it comes to what's "at stake in the marriage debate," I think it's the other way around. Gays want moral equality more than they want economic equality, but they talk about economic equality to win over those who might be squeamish about legalizing gay marriage.

    Even in the twenty-first century, people can't help but think there's something fishy about living with your boyfriend or girlfriend, no matter what your sexual orientation. Therefore, gays want the government to declare that their chosen life partners are their official til-death-do-us-part spouses in order to get the moral monkey off their back.

    This will probably work, as you suggest it would, because "government" is becoming increasingly synonymous with "society" these days, so if the government embraces gay marriage and, in doing so, implicitly acknowledges the moral equality of the gay and straight lifestyles, this means Society Has Spoken.

    I'm a little leery about the government issuing moral proclamations either for or against any lifestyle. What happens if, once Society Has Spoken, you voice a dissenting opinion? Is what you say hate speech? The lines between "bigotry," "political incorrectness," and "thought crime" are fuzzy ones. The government can and should protect people from others' actions, but I don't think it should try to influence their opinions.

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  5. While I am nowhere near settled on a single side of the fence on this whole debate, I don't think the government should completely remove itself from the marriage equation. Even for couples who have children, the only thing that keeps many of them together (or postpones their separation) is their marriage contract and the pain in the ass that is divorce. But if you remove this legal obstacle, a myriad of couples who are not married religiously, simply legally, will have much less incentive to remain together. And we all know what the studies say about the advantages of rearing children with both biological progenitors. I just don't think the government's involvement in marriage is 100% deleterious.

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  6. You don't need the government to maintain secular marriages. Two people who want to get married could have a lawyer draw up a marriage contract for them that would lay out ahead of time how they would merge and allocate their respective properties when they got married and how they would divide their property and children should they get divorced.

    Instead of just working things out as they go along financially (which leads to a lot of marital stress when they find out they disagree over property allocation a year or two in), the couple would already have laid down the rules for their marriage. Also, instead of throwing themselves on the mercy of the divorce courts, they would already have agreed upon how to manage the split.

    In writing the divorce clauses, the couple would be able to determine under what conditions one party could terminate the contract (infidelity, abuse, etc.) and what penalties the offender would face in terms of forfeiture of property and children. This way, everyone knows exactly what they are risking going in.

    As with many things, I don't believe getting the government out of the marriage contract business means we should abolish marriage contracts. I believe we should let people work these things out for themselves. Instead of being issued a one-size-fits-all document that they usually don't even understand, people will be able to lay down a complete blueprint for their marriage. If they can't agree on the terms of the contract, they shouldn't be marrying in the first place, and it's better that they found out before they did. I think a contract like this (basically a prenup) is a great idea for anyone getting married, secular or religious. If more married couples did this kind of planning in advance, far fewer of them would divorce.

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  7. But who wants to think about splitting up right when they're "getting married"? I know that's a nice idea in principle, but I think most couples would rather not deal with lawyers and drawing up detailed contracts when they're focused on other things. And who would ever want to think about these terms? "I love you, but if someday I don't, I want 65% of the estate."

    Plus, who knows the terms they'd want years in the future when they can't stand each other? I know you'll say that a contract can always be amended, but I think by the time one of the members wants a change, it'll probably be too late to agree on said amendments.

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  8. No one thinks about splitting up when they're getting married, and that's the problem. As everyone knows, half of all marriages end in divorce. Click through In Mala Fide, Hawaiian Libertarian, Delusion Damage, or any of the other blogs on my blogroll to read story after story about how some guy blithely ties the knot and expects his marriage to last forever, only to find himself sans wife, sans kids, and sans money ten years later when his wife gets bored with him. Perhaps he should have given some thought to what would happen in case of a divorce and tried to protect himself before he took the plunge. You don't buy health insurance when you're sick, you buy it when you're healthy, because otherwise, it's too late.

    No one WANTS to think in legal terms when entering a marriage, but they need to start or they'll keep ending up with broken families and broken spirits. If I'm a guy working out a marriage contract with my fiance and she says she wants 65% of the estate if we split even though she plans on staying home with the kids and not working, that's a HUGE RED FLAG that I need to know about before I yoke myself to this woman for life. Similarly, if a man balks when his fiance stipulates that she gets the kids if they divorce due to his infidelity, she knows to RUN LIKE HELL because she's got a player on her hands. Pre-planning like this can get messy, but if it does, it's better to messily dissolve an engagement than to messily divorce.

    Also, I don't think that such a contract should be amendable under the circumstances that you described. If things are falling apart and one of the members wants to change the contract that they both agreed upon back when they loved each other, it's probably because the person who wants a change is trying to screw his or her partner out of money and/or kids in the event of a divorce. The partners can either divorce under conditions they have both previously agreed upon in writing or not divorce at all.

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  9. I'm not saying your idea is bad in principle. I think planning for that sort of thing would be a good idea for many couples out there, and it could fix some of the injustice that occurs during divorce due to the "one-size-fits-all" marriage contracts. However, I still don't think it's realistic. If marriage is no longer sanctioned by the government, I'd bet that only a handful of people would bother to draft up such a document. Especially since its main purpose is to settle financial and custodial issues. I believe that average Americans wouldn't bother to go through with it, especially since it doesn't bestow upon them the government-endorsed title of married couple.

    Personally, I would never draft up such a document. I think that it cheapens matrimony to a financial alliance, and it introduces the concept of divorce into a relationship. Maybe, as you say, this is good for some people, as they do not give forethought to such painful matters and are screwed when they take place. I agree that divorce is truly unfair on occasion.

    I also think that such contracts would be more heavily used among the better educated and the wealthier because of the expenses and willingness to plan required. But I think that this kind of thing would be a rather touchy subject, and likely to end in separation. This may be some slippery-slope reasoning, but it's possible that among this demographic commitment-less relationships would proliferate, and among the rest you would continue to have bad problems, as the current marriage contracts at least provide some structural support to a relationship.

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