The Bad Good
Power is in tearing human minds to pieces and putting them together again in new shapes of your own choosing. Do you begin to see, then, what kind of world we are creating? ― George Orwell, 1984
Others have already pointed out the absurdity that gay marriage is becoming a right in places where plastic bags and large sodas are becoming against the law. This sort of next wave civil rights step is only an expansion of freedom if you aren’t paying attention.
All the arguments over the differences between civil unions and marriage are largely meaningless. Once gay marriage is recognized, then marriage becomes nothing more than a civil union. The real casualty is the destruction of the word “marriage”, but the left is adept as destroying language and replacing meaningful words with meaningless words.
There was no word in Newspeak for freedom. We can look forward to an English language in which there is no word for marriage. And what does freedom mean anyway in a country where most things are banned, but we are constantly throwing holidays to celebrate how free we are?
But if marriage is no longer refers to a natural social institution, but now means a civil union recognized by the state, then why stop at two? Gay rights advocates insist that there is some magic difference between polygamy and gay marriage. There isn’t any difference except the number. And if we’re not going to be bound by any antiquated notion that marriage is an organic institution between man and woman, then why should we be bound by mere number?
True marriage equality would completely open up the concept. But it’s not actually equality that we’re talking about. It’s someone’s idea of the social good. And the social good is served by gay marriage, but not by polygamy.
The question is whose social good is it?
Equality and justice are words that the left uses to cloud the question of who advocates the causes and who benefits from them. Who decides that the cause of justice and equality is served by limiting marriage to two gay men, rather than four gay men, three bisexual men, two women and a giraffe?
The rhetoric of equality asserts a just cause while overlooking the social good. Rights are demanded. The demand is absolute and the logic for it remains left behind in a desk drawer on the wrong side of the table. Instead there are calls for empathy. “If you only knew a gay couple.” Hysterical condemnations. “I’m pretty sure you’re the devil”, one recent email to me began. And a whole lot of vague promises about the good things that will follow once we’re all paying for it.
We aren’t truly moving toward anarchy or some libertarian order, but a calculated form of repression in which shrill demands substitute for legal guidelines and those who scream the loudest get the most rights.
The new freedoms are largely random and chaotic. Donate enough money to the right people while helping out the left and a special addition to the marriage split-level house will be carved out for you. Why? Because there will be a lot of yelling. Naturally. And if the polygamists yell loudly enough and donate enough money, they’ll get their own marriage expansion as well because that is how things work now.
There is no longer a fixed notion of rights. The trappings of equality and angry causes are hollow. The legal doctrine on which courts make their decisions are targets in search of arrows, emotions hunting around for precedents to wrap them in. These decisions are not rational, but rather rationalizations. Their only anchor is a new role for government in protecting any group that is officially marginalized.
The old Bill of Rights extended rights irrespective of group membership. The new one wipes out universal rights and replaces them with particular privileges. Entire amendments may sink beneath the waves, but a few groups get comfortable deck chairs on the Titanic.
Why is one group protected rather than another? Why do gay activists get a government-bonded right, complete with Federal enforcement, while polygamy is outlawed? The only answers are rationalizations. With morality sinking fast and few common values that the people in charge will accept, there is no longer a common value system to rely on.
Progressive morality is constantly being reshaped in tune to the whims of the left. It can’t be relied upon, because it isn’t there. The only thing fixed about it is the need to fight for the oppressed, which not coincidentally at all is also the shaky civil rights era legal doctrine on which the whole modern house of cards rests.
Since the nature of oppression and the identification of oppressed groups is open for debate, the legal doctrine means nothing. Every Democratic presidential candidate was against gay marriage in 2008 and for it now. What changed? Nothing, except the money changing hands and sitcoms about gay couples. And the latter is what it comes down to. Instead of church and state, we are stuck with sitcom and state where the existence of a television comedy is a reflection of national values.
And what happens when one of the burgeoning shows about polygamous marriages becomes a big hit? Then we’ll have no choice but to ratify polygamous marriage equality because that’s the new national values system and the television ratings prove that everyone is clearly down with it.
Once fixed rights made way for identity politics, we traded legal guarantees of freedom for government oversight of a confusing caste system in which some people have more rights than others based on the amount of rights they claim not to have, but everyone has fewer rights than they did before because rights are now arbitrary and the arbitrators work for the government.
Identity politics made rights competitive. The only way to win is to play. And the only way to play is to claim oppression. And if you don’t do a good job of it, good luck getting a good spot in the diversity quotas for college, business and government. But it has also made rights meaningless.
The new slogan is that gun control should be enacted because the former Congresswoman Giffords “deserves a vote”. Giffords already has a vote. So do millions of gun owners. That’s how it works. But votes are no longer weighed equally. The oppressed, even by a random shooting spree, get more votes than others, so long as their oppression is officially recognized and endorsed. The Giffords Vote is supposed to not only trump millions of actual votes, but also the Second Amendment.
And why not? Gay marriage lost in multiple referendums, but those results were set aside by Federal judges for being oppressive. The same thing happened with illegal aliens. Now everyone is evolving on those issues. After all, no one wants to be the bad mean oppressor. And so the actual votes are trumped by the vote of the oppressed and actual rights make way for special privileges.
The grants of new rights are oppressive because there are no longer any fixed boundaries of rights. Instead gay rights compels wedding photographers, cake shops and even churches to cater to gay weddings regardless of their own moral values. Religious freedom, which is in the Constitution, has to take a seat at the back of the bus to the new rights, which aren’t.
There is no system for keeping rights from colliding with or overrunning one another. The only governing legal mandate is preventing oppression and that means government arbitrators deciding who is screaming, “Help, help, I’m being repressed!” the loudest and with the most sincerity.
A system in which the authorities grant rights based on who can best make the case to them that their rights have been taken away is a bad idea. It’s an especially bad idea in a system like ours which is rapidly sliding in a direction in which the authorities are the sole arbiters of who should have any rights at all. If your oppressed status depends on your oppressors determining whether you are truly oppressed, then the only people who will have rights are those people whose rights the oppressors have not taken away by certifying them as oppressed.
It would be a dreadful simplification to call this lunatic state of affairs Orwellian or even Machiavellian. It makes even Kafka’s worlds seem positively stodgy by comparison. It is a trial where the only people to be found not guilty are those who already been convicted. It’s a system that favors the people who claim to be dispossessed by the system. It is an absurd self-negation that exists as a mathematical impossibility and a living satire.