Not Right

In "Scalia Was Right" in today's WSJ, James Taranto discusses how Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia predicted the 9th Circuit's overturning of California's Prop. 8. Taranto uses that model to predict that when the SC hears the appeal, it will be upheld by a 5-4 vote with Justice Kennedy writing the opinion.

He notes how in a 2003 dissenting opinion, Scalia described -- the bile flooding from his pen as fast as were his logical arguments -- how the ruling would lead inexorably to allowing same sex marriage, and his logic was certainly sound. Taranto seems to share Scalia's "the world is going to hell in a handbasket" view, writing:
In Perry [the current Prop 8 case], however, the defendants are unlikely to be able to counter the plaintiffs' claims by arguing that forcing states to recognize same-sex marriage violates anyone's individual rights. Their appeals are to tradition, morality and the collective right of the people to self-government--worthy arguments, we would say, but ones Justice Kennedy has already rejected in Romer and Lawrence.
Did you notice the problem there? Taranto laid it out for you on a platter. Let me state it clearly: individual rights don't matter to him. Instead, some bastardized crap called the "collective right of the people to self-government" should rule the day.

Taranto, I expected better of you. I don't know why, but I did. You're advocating the tyranny of the majority -- i.e. pure democracy -- and the wanton and willful violation of individual rights in the name of tradition and morality, or some non-existent bullshit idea of "collective rights".

Well, that will come back to bite you when it's the other guy's traditions and morality that are in the majority. In fact, I think you've been advocating against Obamacare. Didn't the democratic process lead to that rights-violating monstrosity? Would you be more comfy with it if it was put up for a direct vote by the people? 51% calls it? No?

This is the problem with Conservatism in a nutshell. It's the same crap the Lefties peddle but from the religious side, with a bit of free market pandering thrown in. It may be fun to watch guys like Taranto attacking Obama's insanities, but this man is no friend of individual rights.

Update 8/6/10: Removed "you fool" from second to last paragraph. Upon reflection, it was unfair and unnecessary.


James Taranto said...

That's a rather tendentious reading of what I wrote.

C. August said...

While I may have been a bit more inflammatory in my language than I normally am, I don't believe I made a tendentious reading of your piece. The essence of it is that you disagree with the outcome -- both of the current ruling and what you predict of the SC appeal -- because it conflicts with "tradition, morality and the collective right of ... self-government," correct? Or at the very least, you seem very sympathetic to that view. The implication is that the rulings take individual rights too much into consideration.

I, on the other hand, think individual rights are the most sacred, most important piece of this puzzle, and are the one thing our government must protect above all others. It is not possible to give them too much weight, especially in legal matters (and that is where they are, sadly, largely ignored today).

I was not going for the most provocative reading of your piece. I was focusing on the most important, most fundamental part, and made my judgments accordingly.

madmax said...

I have seen this argument coming from Conservatives repeatedly. Its corrupt through and through. The idea is that giving gays the right to enter into marriage contracts is an example of "too much individual rights" or "radical individualism." This type of language is extremely philosophically revealing. This is the mirror image of the Left in that it expresses the same view that Leftists express ubiquitously, namely that "too much" individual freedom leads to societal harm. Leftists make this claim largely in regard to the economic realm. Conservatives make this claim largely in the personal realm (with the strongest emphasis on sex and marriage).

Time and time again we see that the Conservatives are no friends of liberty. Their main agenda seems to be to localize tyranny.

Jim May said...

And yet, Taranto didn't actually address anything, he just drops his ten dollar word and leaves.

As with immigration, conservatives in the aftermath of Prop 8's downfall, prove themselves like the Left all the time, differing only in particulars, not principles.. With gay marriage, notice, suddenly they are asking "where in the Constitution is there a right to marriage", blatantly evading the Ninth Amendment -- and are whining about "voter rights", which is conservative-speak for unlimited majority rule.

The language aside, you hit your target.

mtnrunner2 said...

That argument riles me like few others. I'm sure my veins must pop out.

I heard pro-forcing-the-Bible-on-America guy Jim Campbell (http://tinyurl.com/2akyxav) on NPR laying it all out in a really calm voice, just like he was talking about the weather or something, when in fact he was advocating lynch mob rule. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=128988542


On the up side, his opposition Evan Wolfson was awesome. Search the web page for "Well, first of all" for the best part: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=129005341

C. August said...

Thanks Jim and madmax. After Taranto commented, I went back and re-read his article and came away with the same impression: that those two sentences contrasting individual vs. "collective" rights were the absolute crux of his argument and were incredibly revealing. I don't believe it's going too far to say that if one abandons individual rights for one issue when it's convenient, then one has zero credibility when defending individual rights in other areas. It's an all or nothing proposition.

@mtnrunner2, this conservative argument riles me up too, and it came out in my post. Of everything I wrote, I regret using the word "fool," as he certainly is not one. He's wrong, but not a fool.

madmax said...

Forgive the long post but I feel it is important.

If you want a sense of the true evil of Traditional Conservatism and its hateful view of homosexuality, let me expose you to Larry Auster who is the foremost Traditionalist Conservative on the web. His arguments against Homosexual liberation, indeed of female liberation, are the best example of Conservative ideology you will find. This guy makes Limbaugh and Beck look like Classical Liberal exemplars.






1] ...the institution of marriage is not merely private but public and normative...

2] As with so many other liberal phenomena such as political correctness, it turns out that the demand for gay marriage and the demonization of its opponents are not, as they initially appear to be, an irrational excess of liberalism; they are a logical and necessary outcome of liberalism. A consistent believer in equality must support gay marriage as a fundamental right. Which further suggests that in the long run gay marriage can only be effectively opposed by those who are prepared to challenge liberalism at the most basic level.

3] I realize that this position will probably seem unacceptably harsh to you, but the reality is that there is a zero sum game here. If society drops its basic disapproval of homosexual relationships, then there is no point where the demand for homosexual freedom will stop short of the current radical homosexual liberation and even the demand for homosexual marriage. If a traditional Western form of society is to survive or be restored, the disapproval of homosexual behavior must remain in place. At the same time, there could still be a private sphere where people are left alone.

madmax said...

Part 2

4] Similarly, a homosexual can behave as a decent person, obey the laws, support his government, defend his country in time of war. But because he is alienated or separated from heterosexuality and thus from marriage, which is the basis of human society, he is limited in his ability to explain and defend the principles on which society rests. Therefore he cannot be a good citizen in the fullest sense.

5] There are of course other kinds of human and moral imperfections that may prevent one from being a good citizen in the fullest sense. All of us fall short of virtue, wisdom, and completeness in various ways. But a society that normalizes and celebrates homosexuality, as modern Western society has done, is directly harming its ability to preserve its own existence.

And now read this last one to understand what conclusions about sex the Platonic/Christian influence on Conservatism must end up in:

6] From the foregoing, it seems that sex can have stable positive meaning only in the form of acts that express marital union. In other settings it can not successfully express a love that transcends pleasure and personal interest, because its meaning is too much a matter of interpretation. One cannot bootstrap into the transcendent through interpretation. Sex does aspire to transcendence, however, and in a setting that denies that aspiration it takes on an element of meretriciousness or willful fantasy -- it can't mean what it wants to mean and pretends to mean. It therefore becomes crippled, perverse or abusive. Hence the tendency, not just in the gay world but in modern sexual life generally, toward role-playing, instability, betrayal, disillusion, and the abusive side of sexuality. Participation in activities that point toward such things may be a temptation, but not a good.


This is our enemy. This is what we are up against. This is the Conservative M as opposed to the Leftist D and the Objectivist I. The Traditionalist and BioConservative arguments against homosexual and all types of sexual liberation at some point need to be tackled by Objectivism explicitly. Their part evolutionary, part historical, part cultural arguments are far more sophisticated than those put forth by mainstream Conservatives. Mainstream Conservatives are weak compared to the 'Trads' and the 'HBDers'.

C. August said...

So is the root of all this that homosexuality violates "God's Law" and therefore people like this construct elaborate arguments to support it? And of course claim that Western society's fundamental distinguishing characteristic is not the individual rights of the Enlightenment, but Judeo-Christian values and morality?

It's clear that if our country can survive the hit the Left is giving it now, it will be weakened greatly, and in serious danger from the Right as the pick up the pieces and re-form the country in their theocratic mold. (incidentally, this is one of the reasons I'm more concerned about them than the creeping Islamist threat)

At the end you mentioned "HBDers," but I'm not familiar with that. Care to enlighten?

Phoroneus said...

Human Bio Diversity. They use primarily demographic, cultural and evolutionary arguments to make their cases without any fundamental philosophic input or thorough explainatory methodology. It's in some ways I suppose the Attila to the traditionalists witchdoctor, but since it uses evolutionary psychology for explainations it will in some cases make sense. The quickest way to tell the difference between a "Trad" and "HBDer" is that HBDers advocate "game" and traditionalists dislike it. Quick set of links are,








Paying special attention to the Misandry Bubble post on the futurists blog. As things get worse in America expect the populance to come to them for answers.

C. August said...

Thanks. You said "they use primarily demographic, cultural and evolutionary arguments to make their cases," but you didn't actually say what case they're trying to make.

I briefly looked at "The Misandry Bubble" and see that it seems to blame all the problems of the world on "feminization." Is that really it? And I'd then guess that Traditionalists want the traditional patriarchal family and social structure, and that will make everything "work" again?

If that's really what it is, that's just incredibly stupid.

Phoroneus said...

There is no specific unform case they are making, they don't represent a philosophy so they don't have a set system of politics they endorse. It's a collection of heavily disenfranchised males and their observations, and some solutions (I only find game an "effective" solution sans cultural change). It as a "movement" if you will is in its beginning stages. What it evolves to however, as men being increasingly disenfranchised by poor economic climate, what they consider to be unethical female behavior and whatever other greivance pops up, will be a monster.