The grandstanding martyrdom of a government clerk 6

A Kentucky county clerk, Kim Davis, has been jailed for contempt of court. She refuses to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, even though ordered to do so by a US District Court Judge.

She is against same-sex marriage because, she says, her Christian faith teaches that homosexuality is wrong. Which it futilely does.

(But by saying that fobidding homosexuality is futile we do not mean to imply “same-sex marriage” makes sense. It doesn’t. It’s a farce. However many people of whatever sexual proclivities decide to form a union, there has to be at least one man and one woman among them for it to be marriage in the universal historical meaning of the word. It would be best to leave marriage to the religions, and for the state – or rather the states – to recognize Contracts of Union for all sorts of voluntary conjugal relationships.)

Kim Davis should issue the licenses whatever her thoughts and feelings about same-sex marriage, because it is her job to do so. The principle of “separation of Church and State” must apply to her case. She is as free as everybody else to express her opinion of same-sex marriage, homosexuality, Christian doctrine, and this horrible government with its ever more foolish laws and regulations that America is now groaning under; but not to refuse to do the job she is paid to do. 

What is wrong is that she has tenure. The proper reward for her refusal is dismissal.

Nobody should ever be unsackable. Most particularly, government employees should not be unsackable. Tens of thousands of them need to be sacked – urgently, The head of government, Barack Obama, needs to be sacked – urgently. Like Kim Davis, he doesn’t obey the law.

Government employees should not have trade unions: government negotiating terms of employment with itself is absurd.

Government employees should not have the vote (as some of our commenters have recently compellingly argued).

Bureaucrats all too easily get uppity and dictatorial. In Britain they are called “civil servants”. They may forget to be civil, but at least their job description defines their place as servants, not masters. Governments shoud be servants, not masters.

If Kim Davis cannot bring herself to do her job, she should leave it. She’s no doubt enjoying being a Christian martyr at present. Martyrdom is the non plus ultra of Christian virtue; best if it entails death, and best of all if it entails agonizing death. We hope Ms. Davis won’t go that far. We’re very much against it.

Posted under Christianity, Ethics, government, Law, United States by Jillian Becker on Friday, September 4, 2015

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Libertarianism the wave of the future? 9

The Left likes to believe – as Obama and Harry Reid often iterate – that it is “on the side of history”.

Is history then stuck with those stale and failed ideas of a Marxian stamp propagated by the likes of Kenneth Galbraith, John Maynard Keynes, or the bone-headed strategies of Richard Cloward and Frances Fox Priven?

Or tending back to the Dark Ages with a resurgence of Islam?

Surely not. A civilization that has put a man on the moon; has invented the computer, the internet, the driverless car; that watches the expansion of the universe; that can replace a faulty human heart with a new one; that has used liberty to become rich, knowledgable, and ever more inventive, is not going to go back to communism or the law of the seventh century desert?

Quo vadis then?

The maliciously lefty and deeply nasty New York Times notices a rise in libertarian opinion in America.

Libertarianism has been touted as the wave of America’s political future for many years, generally with more enthusiasm than evidence. But there are some tangible signs that Americans’ attitudes are in fact moving in that direction.

The NYT goes on to substantiate its claim with figures and a chart.

It defines a libertarian, fairly enough, as “someone who believes that the government is best when it governs least”.

There have been visible shifts in public opinion on a number of issues, ranging from increasing tolerance for same-sex marriage and marijuana legalization on the one hand, to the skepticism over stimulus packages and the health-care overhaul on the other hand, that can be interpreted as a move toward more libertarian views.

The Tea Party movement also has some lineage in libertarian thinking. Although polls suggest that many people who participate in the Tea Party movement have quite socially conservative views, the movement spends little time emphasizing those positions, as compared with economic issues.

The perception that the Tea Party – whose chief issue is the need for fiscal responsibility – has “some lineage in libertarian thinking” is remarkable for that newspaper. It seldom removes its red blindfold long enough to replace it for a short time with blinders. For it to see something that is actually there but not obvious is a lucky moment of illumination worth a cheer or two. The author of the article is Nate Silver. Perhaps he found some cunning way to let that uncongenial revelation slip past editorial oversight.

Or perhaps he and his editors think that libertarian thinking is bad anyway. If we didn’t know that to be the case already, there’s a hint of it in what comes later.

The libertarian opinions, revealed by a CNN poll and quoted in the article, are these:

Some 63 percent of respondents said government was doing too much — up from 61 percent in 2010 and 52 percent in 2008 — while 50 percent said government should not favor any particular set of values, up from 44 percent in 2010 and 41 percent in 2008.

The author, apparently not happy to accept what the poll reveals, comments:

Whether people are as libertarian-minded in practice as they might believe themselves to be when they answer survey questions is another matter. Still, there have been visible shifts in public opinion on a number of issues, ranging from increasing tolerance for same-sex marriage and marijuana legalization on the one hand …”

So a tolerance with which he has sympathy …

 … to the skepticism over stimulus packages and the health-care overhaul on the other hand …

So a skepticism he condemns  …

 … that can be interpreted as a move toward more libertarian views.

How confusing for Nate Silver! Libertarians like some of the things he likes. But they also dislike things that he holds dear.

Well, actually, that is the case with us too.

We welcome the spread of libertarian sentiment.

We too see no reason why marijuana should be illegal.

As for same-sex marriage, we think it is an hilarious farce, but would on no account oppose it. A 12-year old boy once defined marriage for us as “a legal union between two or more things”.  Why not  more than two? Why not things or beasts as well as humans?  If – as the argument goes – they love each other? (Well, we said it’s a farce.)

Where we are strongly with libertarians is on the issue of economic freedom. As our contributing commenter Don L often recommends: accept that the Austrian School is right and allow no government interference whatsoever in economic activity – and abolish the Fed. We also advocate keeping taxes (flat-rated) very low. So low that they cannot sustain a government that does much more than it absolutely has to do – protect the liberty of the people, from outside enemies, and domestic criminals. And enforce the law of contract.

But we too have some quarrels with libertarians.

There are those among them who outrageously condone the corruption of children, even the use of them for pornography “as long as they are willing and are paid for their services”!*

Quite a large number of libertarians are historical revisionists, and some who ridiculously and with evil intent deny that the Holocaust ever happened.**

And most libertarians want America to take no notice of what’s going on in the world beyond its borders, except for trade and vacations. As if ignorance is a protection from a world full of expansionist tyrannies and ideologies.

No. None of that.

But a libertarianism that holds individual freedom as the highest value, and knows that it is only possible under the rule of law; and at the same time is committed to preserving the best of everything America has achieved in the past, is a libertarianism that we can – and do – embrace.

 

NOTES:

* We cannot link to articles that discuss this. Access to them is “forbidden”.

**Although the article we link to here does endorse what we say that some libertarians deny  the Holocaust, it goes too far in criticizing Reason and its sponsors.

They shall be one flesh 0

In our post of  November 10, 2008, we quoted a 12 year-old’s joking definition of marriage:

Marriage is a union between two or more living things.

There are folk in Obama’s White House who wouldn’t find that funny.

Phyllis Schlafly writes at Townhall:

We thought our nation had settled the polygamy issue a century and a half ago, but this nomination makes it a 21st century controversy. Obama’s nominee for the EEOC, a lesbian law-achool professor named Chai R. Feldblum, signed a 2006 manifesto endorsing polygamous households (i.e., “in which there is more than one conjugal partner”).

This document, titled “Beyond Same-Sex Marriage: A New Strategic Vision for All Our Families & Relationships,” argues that traditional marriage “should not be legally and economically privileged above all others.” The American people obviously think otherwise, and current laws reflect our wishes.

Feldblum is not the only pro-polygamy Obama appointee. His regulatory czar, Cass Sunstein, wrote a book in 2008 called “Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth and Happiness,” in which he urged that “the word marriage would no longer appear in any laws, and marriage licenses would no longer be offered or recognized by any level of government.”

Sunstein argues that traditional marriage discriminates against single people by imposing “serious economic and material disadvantages.” He asks, “Why not leave people’s relationships to their own choices, subject to the judgments of private organizations, religious and otherwise?” …

The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was passed in 1996 by overwhelming majorities in Congress and signed by President Bill Clinton. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has identified more than 1,000 federal laws that are based on the traditional definition of marriage, including the tax laws that permit married couples the advantage of filing joint income tax returns and the Social Security benefits awarded to fulltime homemakers, both very popular federal laws.

The peculiar push to recognize polygamy as just another variety of marriage is a predictable and logical corollary of the political movement to recognize same-sex marriage. If our government cannot define marriage as the union of one man and one woman, it follows that there can be no law against the union of a man and several women.

Or, to be consistent, none against the union of a woman and several men, a woman and several women, a man and several men.

And why leave it there? Why narrow the field to the living? A person recently married a fairground ride: must such a marriage be monogamous? Why not a person and several fairground rides?

Of course, a limitation to one spouse can be forced by circumstance,  as in the case of the person who married the Eiffel Tower. There just aren’t any other Eiffel Towers. Nothing, however, should prevent the Eiffel Tower itself getting married to several persons.

And if marriage to things is now okay among some sections of public opinion, what about marriage to animals?

In welfare-state Britain  wives are entitled to ‘benefits’ from the state just for being wives, and while polygamy is illegal under the law of the land, the several wives of a Muslim can all get these hand-outs. In effect this is a displacement of British law by sharia. Some Muslim men, in addition to a plurality of wives, keep an animal or two on the side for the further satisfaction of erotic urges; a practice not forbidden by sharia law, as is acknowledged by the late Ayatollah Khomeini in his Little Green Book. Fortunately for the British tax-payer, sharia does not require a man to marry his four-legged ‘bits of fluff’.

Phyllis Schlafly goes on to say:

For years, polygamy, even though it is totally demeaning to women, has been embraced by the powerful American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). …

The ACLU’s feminist president, Nadine Strossen, stated in a speech at Yale University in June 2005 that the ACLU defends “the right of individuals to engage in polygamy.” On Oct. 15, 2006, in a high-profile debate against Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, Strossen stated that the ACLU supports the right to polygamy.

Speaking to the Federalist Society on Nov. 18, 2006, the ACLU’s executive director, Anthony Romero, confirmed his organization’s support of polygamy.

The massive immigration that the United States has accepted in recent years includes large numbers of immigrants from Third World countries that approve of polygamy as well as marriage to children and to close relatives. …

Attacks on the traditional legal definition of marriage come from the gay lobby seeking social recognition of their lifestyle, from the anti-marriage feminists and from some libertarians who believe marriage should be merely a private affair, none of the government’s business. These libertarians want to deny government the right to define marriage, set its standards or issue marriage licenses. …

We may have to depend on the Republican Party to maintain government’s proper role in defining and protecting traditional marriage. The very first platform adopted by the Republican Party, in 1856, condemned polygamy and slavery as the “twin relics of barbarism”. …