Mostly Marriage

  1. Who sez Posner’s smart?
  2. Those zany Christians and their backward notions!
  3. An eventuality of SSM
  4. Be afraid of subprime auto loan bubbles!

1

So much for the rumors that Richard Posner, the author of Thursday’s 7th Circuit opinion that Indiana must issue circle licenses to squares, is a bright guy.

He writes 40 pages on the contemnable marriage laws of Indiana and Wisconsin without so much as a gesture toward telling us what marriage is and how it is an ontological possibility between two men or two women. He does talk about some of the benefits of this ineffable institution – but not what it is. He is satisfied to say that it isn’t what Indiana and Wisconsin think it is, so throw open the doors!

He even refers favorably to those bastions of enlightenment – “Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Iran, Egypt, Sudan, Morocco, and Algeria” – where polygamy is legal.

It probably would be an exaggeration to say his opinion gives no refuge to those who would not allow polygamy. He starts off focusing on the immutability of homosexual desire, after all.

But as a guy, I think I can tell you that there’s something close to an immutable desire for men to bed multiple attractive women, and I’d expect science to back me up on that now that it’s useful to the Revolution.

UPDATE: I should have mentioned that despite his reputation of being a “conservative,” Posner’s opinion came as no surprise except for the intemperance of its expression. Nobody who read his book Sex & Reason twenty years ago could mistake him for anything other that a reductionist law and economics borg.

SECOND UPDATE: R.R. Reno thinks Posner’s delusional:

Judge Richard Posner, author of the opinion, wrote, “Homosexuals are among the most stigmatized, misunderstood, and discriminated against minorities.” This sort of claim is crucial for the Great Moral Cause. But it has no connection to reality.

I’m neutral on whether Posner’s right on that, for reasons I’ll not go into, but it has nothing to do with a homosexual’s right ability to marry a member of the same sex unless there’s a principle that any member of a persecuted group can “marry” any other member of a persecuted group because “marriage” is a status-booster.

2

From the beginning, what set apart the new and strange sect called Christians from the rest of their culture was their strange sexual ethic. They refused polygamy. They refused the sexual exploitation of slaves by their owners. They refused prostitution, premarital sex, divorce, abortion, the exposure of infants, contraception — and homosexual acts.

(Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry) Hmmm. Those icky Christians were wrong on buggery. I wonder which of the others we can bully them into winking at, as we’re trying to bully them on same-sex marriage?

The false premise goes something like this: Christianity, as a historical social phenomenon, basically adjusts its moral doctrines depending on the prevailing social conditions. Christianity, after all, gets its doctrines from “the Bible,” a self-contradictory grab bag of miscellany. When some readings from the Bible fall into social disfavor, Christianity adjusts them accordingly. There are verses in the Bible that condemn homosexuality, but there are also verses that condemn wearing clothes made of two threads, and verses that allow slavery. Christians today find ways to lawyer their way out of those. Therefore, the implicit argument seems to go, if you just bully Christianity enough, it will find a way to change its view of homosexuality, and all will be well.

(PEG again)

3

The collapse of moral values is now shifting into a mad inversion. It used to be considered evil to deprive a child of a mother or a father. It will now be considered evil to insist that a child should have a mother and a father. It used to be considered evil to walk naked in front of children. It will now be considered evil to demand that people stay clothed in front of children.

We will have to adapt to our inverted times that most powerful scene in the Gospels. “This woman,” say the crowds, “has been caught teaching her children that sex is for marriage! What shall we do with her?”

“Give her a dose of medicine,” says the Prince of this world, tossing a rock in one hand, and holding a hypodermic needle in the other.

(Anthony Esolen)

The devaluing of parental rights, it seems to me and to others, is an eventuality of recognizing same-sex marriage:

  1. Marriage is a creature of positive law; there is no such thing as “natural” marriage, a prepolitical reality, that the state is obliged to recognize and protect.
  2. Marriage, this creature of positive law, is what makes families.
  3. The mother who bore a child and the father who begat the child in her are only the child’s “parents” because of state recognition of that “family” and of their “parenthood.”
  4. You’d better get used to #3 because the state can withdraw recognition from “families” and “parents” by positive law just as it can confer it (and who wants a child raised by the kind of revanchist bigots who think that biology gives them an inalienable and natural right to parent a child?).

4

I fear economic bubbles, and think that our government has incentives to allow them to inflate. But rumors of a “subprime auto loan bubble” may be premature at best:

There were only a few problems with that editorial:

  1. It provided no evidence that there was a subprime auto bubble.
  2. The only data the Times did present (in an accompanying news story) showed that the volume of subprime auto loans was growing but still well below its peak prior to the financial crisis.
  3. There was no clear substantial consumer harm.
  4. Delinquencies and defaults on auto loans are near or at their all-time lows
  5. There is no plausible threat of systemic risk to banks even if there was a bubble.

Still, of course, “swift and aggressive” action must be taken!

(Todd Zywiki on a New York Times “shoot first, aim second” editorial)

* * * * *

“The remarks made in this essay do not represent scholarly research. They are intended as topical stimulations for conversation among intelligent and informed people.” (Gerhart Niemeyer)

Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.