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Moral Fashions
2004-01-21

Paul Graham latest piece is on What You Can't Say. In it, he talks about heresy and moral fashions. I haven't heard the term before, but it fits quite well with some thoughts I've been having recently. For instance, listening to NPR today talking about Pres. Bush's State of the Union speech. In it, Bush hits on a lot of the moral fashions of the Republican party, (abstinence, drugs) and even introduced some more (steroids?). And of course, the big one (it even got its own section on the CNN transcript): same-sex marriages.
Activist judges, however, have begun redefining marriage by court order, without regard for the will of the people and their elected representatives. On an issue of such great consequence, the people's voice must be heard. If judges insist on forcing their arbitrary will upon the people, the only alternative left to the people would be the constitutional process. Our nation must defend the sanctity of marriage.
Yeah. Look how easy it would be to re-word that paragraph with one supporting "separate but equal" or any other out of date moral fashion. Those damn judges, doing what they think is right, despite the majority being wrong. That is one of their appointed tasks in this democracy: prevent the majority from preying on the minority. And arbitrary? Come on, I doubt the Massachussets court decision was arbitrary.

Regardless of my opinion on the issue, I take a much harsher stand against amending the Constitution. Amending the Constitution every time there is another moral fashion is a very nasty business. It means when we finally grow up, we have to go back and repeal it. Note that the only amendment concerning a moral fashion that has passed (Prohibition) was repealed. Well, in theory women voting or reducing the voting age to 18 could be moral fashions, but they are broadening amendments, and not restricting amendments, which seems like a distinction worth using to place the restricting type in the moral fashion camp. So flag burning amendments, or "marriage is hetereosexual" certainly fall in the "restricting" camp of moral fashion.

BTW, since when did marriage become some great institution? It started out as practical slavery with women as chattel so cheap they had to throw in some cattle to make the deal (you know, dowry, what a father had to pay a man to take his daughter off his hands). Through the 1950s, it was hardly much better. Hell, that wonderful institution has a better than 50% failure rate, and I'm betting that if there wasn't such a huge "married for life" religious institution, there would be even more divorce. Granted, marriage is a sacrament, which means its at least as sanctified as death, but given that most religions with sacraments don't like homosexuals anyways, who cares?

Or, as John Stewart asked, what exactly are people afraid of? That allowing homosexual marriage is going to force the heterosexuals to take it up the ass? I somehow doubt that most people who seem to be against same-sex marriage are actually afraid that it will lead to other "different" marriages, such as polygamy or line marriages or any of the other bizarre things that were a mainstay of Robert A. Heinlein's novels. Though, Senator Santorum did try to equate sodomy with incest...

One last aside, at the bottom of Paul's essay is a link to Michael Crichton's essay on Aliens Cause Global Warming that I talked about earlier.


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