Friday, July 03, 2015

The Supreme Court Gaieties

Once upon a time gays wanted to be like Greta Garbo. Decades before YouTube, Netflix, and Amazon Video on Demand, they would flock to a revival house theater for a week-long Garbo retrospective. Perhaps any given audience would be almost evenly divided between gays and heterosexuals. But male heterosexuals, if they weren’t with members of the opposite sex, were regarded as “fresh meat” to be propositioned by gays. I speak from experience.

Today, they idolize the likes of Bruce Jenner, a fool who, because he “felt” he was a woman, and convinced himself that he was one, has undergone an expensive and elaborate physical make-over to the applause of a promiscuous MSM, but still isn’t a woman. And never will be. Now he’s just a dolled up eunuch, a papier-mâché pinup for gays and bisexuals everywhere.

I can just hear again the swoons of gays in the audience when John Gilbert, the Spanish ambassador in Queen Christina, discovers that the man he was planning to share a room with in a snow-bound Swedish inn is actually a woman. Or perhaps they were groans of disappointment that Gilbert was ecstatic that Garbo wasn’t a man.

Now, the Supreme Court has never been a Pantheon of reason and rationality. It has a checkered history of semi-rational decisions, outright and belabored judicial flummery, and being the compliant object of political legerdemain and manipulation. What it certainly isn’t is an exclusive philosophical debating club whose opinions and dissensions are based on individual rights. Preserving individual rights has, as a rule, been an incidental and parenthetical concern of the Court. Its decisions and contra-positions are based on the received wisdom of the time, which it either defends or turns on its head or marries to a glib argument for collectivism (see Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.).

It innovates only in oft-times skewed interpretations of the Constitution and the law. Very, very rarely has it ever upheld individual and property rights. Remember Kelo vs. City of New London, and John Roberts’ first rescue of ObamaCare because it was a tax, and then it wasn’t, and maybe it was? The thinking model for virtually any Supreme Court ruling on key issues is a pretzel embedded in unbaked sourdough.

This column would love to dive into the second pro-ObamaCare decision now under the Court’s belt, decided on by a couple of male morons; a superannuated, senile-looking statist (Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who once said that the perfect model for a new U.S. Constitution was South Africa’s); a “wise Latina lady” (Sonia Sotomayor, an Hispanic activist and a La Raza associate from way back); and Elena Kagan, a sexless butch dyke who has always advocated “gay rights.” To parse the Obamacare decision is to get lost in a maze of rationalizations about state insurance exchanges vs. federal insurance exchanges and interpreting the letters of the immoral law, or the Affordable Care Act. But the main issue here is gay “marriage.”

However, it was “conservative” Chief Justice John Roberts who saved Obamacare the first time in 2012; it was “conservative” associate justice Anthony Kennedy who saved it the second time. Conservatives cannot be relied on to uphold any freedom. Their premises and conclusions are such a mare’s nest of fallacies and illogic that their decisions resemble faulty power steering in a car or perilous gear shifts in an automatic transmission. They are more likely to drive one into a wall or over a cliff than straight ahead.

This is the problem one should recognize with most conservatives who express outrage over either the second Obamacare rescue or the gay marriage issue. More often than not, conservatives excoriate socialized medicine or gay marriage for completely irrelevant reasons: it’s a departure from or attack on “traditional” American values; it’s a defiant action against “God’s plan” or some other Biblical reason; it won’t work for a variety of economic or social reasons, ergo, it isn’t “practical.” Can’t we reach a pragmatic rapprochement?

It matters not which conservative blog site one reads: Brietbart, The Blaze, Clash, and so on: they’re all religion-based or religion-biased, and religionists are not strong supporters of individual rights. A man doesn’t own his own life; God does. See this Breitbart article on an Oregon couple being served a gag order to not criticize gay marriage (for its pro-Christian tone), and virtually any other conservative website. One can only agree with these sites on an ad hoc basis. Then there is that $135,000 fine for refusing to serve a lesbian couple.

That being said, the left/liberal New York Times practically whooped with joy when the Court found for gay marriage. Adam Liptak broke the news in his Times article of June 26th, “Supreme Court Ruling Makes Same-Sex Marriage a Right Nationwide.”

Even the headline is misleading. The Supreme Court can’t “make” rights out of thin air. “Nationwide”? This is a redundant term even if one conceded that the Court possessed the powers of wand-waving Harry Potter.

In a long-sought victory for the gay rights movement, the Supreme Court ruled by a 5-to-4 vote on Friday that the Constitution guarantees a right to same-sex marriage.

“No longer may this liberty be denied,” Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote for the majority in the historic decision. “No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were.”

“Something greater than they once were”? Which is…what?  More on the guaranteeing of rights later, but the “liberty” to be “married” has never been denied. Frowned upon at times, but never denied. Tens of thousands of gay and lesbian couples have been living in a state of non-matrimonial cohabitation in this country for a very long time. As well as heterosexual couples.

The key term here is marry. In my June 24th Rule of Reason review of Ron Pisaturo’s ground-breaking of study of the nature of the sexes and the meaning of marriage, Masculine Power, Feminine Beauty, I devote some space to the definition of that term.

My own take on the definition of marriage is this: From an etymological standpoint, to “marry” two or more entities presumes that the entities are unlike but “marriageable” to form a new entity. Thus marriage means the union of a man and woman; it does not mean the “marriage” of a man and a man or of a woman and a woman, or the “marriage of likes. If the entities weren’t unlike, there would be no purpose in trying to “marry” them and the term would not be applicable. Other terms suggested by the OED [Oxford English Dictionary] for a “civil union” of gays or lesbians come to mind: union, alliance, fusion, amalgamation, combination, affiliation, association, connection, coupling, merger, unification, all listed by the OED as synonyms.

One can “marry” Dvořák’s “From the New World” symphony to a ballet; one can “marry” zinc and copper to produce our worthless pennies; one can install a Chevy V-8 engine in a Volkswagen Beetle and call it a hot rod. But the other OED terms just aren’t sexy enough. What the LGBT brigade wants is to appropriate or steal the meaning of marriage for their own collectivist and nefarious ends.

The New York Times article continues:

Marriage is a “keystone of our social order,” Justice Kennedy said, adding that the plaintiffs in the case were seeking “equal dignity in the eyes of the law.”

The decision, which was the culmination of decades of litigation and activism, set off jubilation and tearful embraces across the country, the first same-sex marriages in several states, and resistance — or at least stalling — in others. It came against the backdrop of fast-moving changes in public opinion, with polls indicating that most Americans now approve of the unions.

I don’t recall the Founders adding to the Bill of Rights a guarantee of anyone’s “dignity,” equal or not. How would it have read? “Congress shall make no law that disparages, diminishes, or injures the dignity or feelings of persons because of their sexual orientation or lifestyle.”

Liptak also insinuates that American public opinion now approves of gay marriage. Show me the money, Adam. Or are you just engaging in Progressive psych-war? (“See, you dumb clucks, everyone else is for gay marriage, so you’d better get on board or be left behind.”) In any event, it is not the mandate of the Court to promote any kind of “social order,” but to uphold individual rights. The concept of a “social order” that must be preserved or advanced is one shared by conservatives and the Left alike, and for the same collectivist reasons.

Even were it true that American “public opinion” has swung to approval of gay marriage, are polls the proper gauge of the Court’s cogitations? As Ayn Rand once noted, “Fifty million Frenchmen can be as wrong as right.” Head-counting does not determine reality or the truth of anything. But, that’s the Marxist “social construction” fallacy and apparently the term “fallacy” is now a “white privilege” term or a bourgeoisie tool of oppression.

The Court can uphold certain moral principles, but can't "originate" them as SCOTUS has done across the board in this decision. Among its other follies, SCOTUS has arrogantly acted as an amateur lexicographer when it has no business fiddling with definitions.

Someday, someday…dream the Islamic “civil rights” organizations in this country….the U.S. Supreme Court will sanction Sharia Law in the name of “religious freedom.” That’s how philosophically and morally rudderless these fools are. We can get away with it.

So, someone might ask, what’s wrong with commanding a change in the definition of marriage? As I noted to one correspondent on the issue of definitions:

Changing and broadening definitions are the history of the English language. But if there are going to be any changes or broadenings, they should not be ordered, mandated, censored, or overseen by the government (SCOTUS), the EPA, the SEC, etc., or by destruction-for-the- sake-of destruction nihilists, which is what we're witnessing today. The only government I know of that has put the government in charge of preserving the language is the French. All other nations have let their languages "evolve" or grow without the expedient of a decree or  exercising fiat power. The English language has grown from Samuel Johnson's pioneering dictionary to the OED to the various American dictionaries.

I’ve read more intelligent and incisive commentary on the whole gay marriage issue, and also on the nature of homosexuality, than I have in the MSM or any conservative blog site. And as another correspondent noted:

1.  It is not the right decision for the Court to redefine the plain, straightforward meanings of English words. Nor is it the right decision for the Courts to order a state legislature to draft its statutes using a language/dialect that the majority of its citizens do not speak.

2. Language does evolve – but court orders enforced by the guns of federal marshals do not constitute an "evolution" of language.

3. There were real rights violations for same-sex couples. These rights violations were wholly remedied by civil unions. The law is about correcting rights violations, not making people feel good.

Or inventing them out of whole cloth for fear of the LGBT crowd throwing rotten tomatoes, bags of fecal matter, or rocks at the Court in an organized campaign of hate similar to the tactics of #BlackLivesMatter. It could have its own hash tag, #QueerLivesMatter.

Another correspondent noted:

I think they [homosexuals] have a love that is not friendship, and they want it to be sexual. To the extent two of the same sex can be sexual, it is.

You've brought up an interesting point I have to chew a little. Yes, it's essentially the differences between sexes that set up the chemistry, the sparks that fly, when one falls in love. And no, homosexuals can't have that. Not really.

I’ve noticed that they often imitate heterosexuality, with one partner more masculine or more feminine. It’s often seemed like an arrested development in sexuality. There is a disinclination to move beyond a fixation [infatuation?]on the ideal in one’s own sex, that often occurs in adolescence or a little before.

A much calmer and objective discussion of the Court’s Obamacare decision can be found on The Motley Fool site, “The Supreme Court Saves Obamacare a Third Time, But Big Challenges Remain.” For a less biased and less enthusiastic report on the Court’s gay marriage decision, see The International Business Times article, “Read Scalia Gay Marriage Dissent; Supreme Court Justice Slams ‘Constitutional Revision’.”

Understanding that the end game is power, not any civil rights or freedom of association or even “gay rights,” many of my correspondents agree with Daniel Greenfield when he wrote in his June 30th column, “No Truce With the Left”:

The left does not care about gay rights. If you doubt that, consider how many of the left's favorite Muslim countries have gay rights. The left has recently divided its campaign passions between gay marriage and defending Iran. Iran denies the existence of gays and hangs them where it finds them….

The left fights all sorts of social and political battles not because it believes in them, but to radicalize, disrupt and take power….

The left does not care about social justice. It cares about power. That is why no truce is possible with the left. Not on social issues. Not on any issues….

The left will destroy the things you care about, because you care about them. It will destroy them because that gives them power over you. It will destroy them because these things stand in the way of its power. It will destroy them because a good deal of its militant activists need things to destroy and if they can't attack you, they'll turn on the left in a frenzy of ideologically incestuous purges….

 The left exists to destroy you. It does not seek to co-exist with you. Its existence would lose all meaning. Any common ground will be used to temporarily achieve a goal before the useful idiots are kicked to the curb and denounced as bigots who are holding back progress….

It's not about gay marriage. It's not about cakes. It's about power.
More fundamentally it's about the difference in human nature between the people who want to be left alone and those who want power over others.

No, it’s not about wedding cakes and anti-gay photographers or even about gays having a float in the St. Patrick’s Day parade. Utter a single word critical of gays or gay marriage, and you’re declared a non-person and shown the door with a kick in the pants.

And one of the most important human achievements the Left wishes to take over is language. Thus the battle over the term marriage.  The battle was instigated by the Left in the mid-1990s and now the battle had been concluded on the Left’s terms.  And thus the whole politically correct speech movement.  My correspondents noted:

Heterosexual romantic love, AS AN IDEAL, must be destroyed. This is the end game. Never mind that most marriages today are NOT quite as happy or idyllic as one would like.

What they are after is the IDEAL, the idea that one could achieve that type of happiness with one other person, a MAN or a WOMAN, who, per the Left, is the enemy. Or should be the enemy.

Woman are so GOOD (and so trampled upon as victims) and men are so intrinsically BAD (destroyers of nature and builders of capitalism – envy, envy, envy). This union of both simply can no longer be seen as worthwhile or special. We – the Left/Communists – must destroy this special area of individual happiness.

Destroy the values, destroy the idols, take away from men and women what they need to believe in, to strive for, to be rewarded with….Break their spirit, the better to rule over them.

One positive response to the SCOTUS decision that was astonishing in the nature of its agreement is that of Dr. Harry Binswanger, a philosopher of the Objectivist movement, in his July 1st  On the Subject of Marital Freedom, Justice Scalia is a Collectivist” on Real Clear Markets.

Individuals have the inalienable right to make any kind of living arrangements and personal commitments they choose.

Individuals have the inalienable right to use whatever word they wish in describing it, including "marriage," whether or not that term is epistemologically correct or "offensive." By the same token, third parties have the inalienable right to use whatever word they wish to in describing it, including "non-marriage," whether or not that term is epistemologically correct or "offensive." This is a direct application of the right to free speech.

I've read Binswanger's piece twice – nay, three times – trying to understand what about it bothered me the first time around and sent up storm flags. I finally nailed it: His article is what you'd find in a libertarian magazine, something like Reason, that eschews the whole philosophical issue. The metaphysics of sex? -- irrelevant. Epistemology? -- whatever you wish can be whatever you want. Words? – whatever meaning you wish to attach to them. Definitions? – you can chuck your dictionaries, they're irrelevant.

Dr. Binswanger then takes a shovel to the straw men of existing government relationships with marriage, court precedents, etc.  Justice Antonin Scalia? (I'm not a fan of any Supreme Court justice, particularly not conservative ones) – a  collectivist idiot who wouldn't mind establishing a Christian theocracy as opposed to an Islamic one. And what else is new? The SCOTUS decision was flawed in its reasoning but correct in its conclusion, he says. We have six of one and half a dozen of another instances of irrationality in the majority and dissenting opinions, he avers. True. But his take on the whole issue of gay marriage is most un-philosophical and a disappointment. 

Binswanger wrote, "The government may not legislate morality."  True. But he has little or nothing to say about the new LGBT power bloc infringing on other’s rights, by targeting individual, businesses, and even churches  for punishment for being or appearing to be anti-gay. Will the Court come to their rescue? Doubtful, but it would have been nice to have him speculate on the answer to that question, because that bloc is wasting no time throwing its weight around. Many companies are now pandering to the gay crowd in their commercials to forestall LGBT lawsuits, boycotts, and other nasty business.  These include the makers of Tylenol, Hallmark Cards, and other well-known products.

At times, when one turns to the “authorities” for answers, they fall down on the job. They fail to see the larger picture, or perhaps even reject the idea there is a larger picture to see.

I won’t bore readers with citing some of Barack Obama’s banal remarks on the Supreme Court decision on gay marriage. You can read them here.

And my favorite line from Queen Christina is: “One can feel nostalgia for places one has never seen.”


Andy Texan said...

I think the Objectivist philosophy of Ayn Rand particularly it's anti-religion tenets have failed to hold up under scrutiny. Too bad that these aspects have made objectivism at odds of regular G-d centered conservative thought (ie Robert Godwin or Dennis Prager for examples) which I find much more persuasive. Anti-left thought leaders need to work in concert to combat the hydra-headed monster. Many aspects of "Libertarianism" are really the flip-side of the licentious left-wing coin. Note particularly how the libertarian arguments for "gay marriage", open immigration and drug legalization channel left-wing narratives. This cannot be correct.

As another matter, I had the great good fortune to pay respects to Ayn Rand at her wake in 1982. Since I don't live in NYC is was pure good luck.

Edward Cline said...

Andy Texan: I attended Rand's wake and funeral in 1982, as well. Yes, libertarianism is, as you put it, the flip side of the left. Objectivism seems now to have contracted a virulent strain of post-modernism, as witness the number of Objectivists who agree with the Supreme Court's decision on gay marriage (it was the right decision for the wrong reasons, they're saying). And of course the Court itself has been out to lunch for about half a century.

madmax said...

I too see much of libertarianism as in agreement with essential Leftist premises. Many right wingers have noted that libertarianism as a movement has moved to the left. It was my hope that Objectivism would have been immune to this but it does not look like the case. Binswanger's pro gay "marriage" piece is an example. He, like most Objectivists, doesn't get the all out assault that Leftism represents. They don't see how today's Left is becoming so despotic that they will in time make the villains in AS seem like boy scouts.

But, on the other hand, if you are going to be an advocate of a principled approach to individual rights, same sex marriage, drug legalization and immigration are very tough issues. Marriage was a codification of the long term sexual selection strategy that made advanced civilization possible; what biologists call K-selection. Undermining it could be destabilizing for society as a whole. Coming soon will be polygamy. That could be destabilizing for society because if 5 or 10 % of males, rich men, have multiple wives, then what of the men who don't get wives? Do libertarians have an answer for that? Will legalized prostitution be enough to sedate those men?

The problem with libertarianism and Objectivism is that it sees nationhood as only a matter of philosophic principles. It ignores biology. So, a nation can no longer be based on racial or ethnic kinship; ie Yaron Brook's hysterical rant against "racism". Which he of course doesn't apply to Israel. So now we have what many right wingers call "the proposition nation"; a nation with some fuzzy allegiance to "American founding principles"; ignoring the fact that America was founded as an Anglo-Germanic nation whose intention was to create a country for free white males. This was basically codified in the first immigration act of 1790.

madmax said...

Can America survive as a non-European nation or a nation where Europeans are the minority group? I don't know. The Randian answer as always is to just have "individual rights" as if they were some type of magic talisman. But all I know is that in my life time I have seen the racial demographics change dramatically. Some towns I grew up in I literally can not find a white person. That demoralizes me deeply. Especially since I know that has been official Leftist policy. The Putnam studies (Harvard professor) show that ethnic diversity lowers community trust. In our welfare state context, racial diversity is a negative which is reducing the quality of life for lower and middle class whites. Again, even if you abolished the welfare state, I'm not sure if you could eliminate the bad effects of diversity. But who can know.

And drug legalization could only occur in a society where there was no welfare, no public education, and where self-responsibility was internalized. That is not now. Can you imagine if drugs were legalized in this climate. I don't even know if you could legalize drugs in a society where significant sections of the citizenry have sub-90 IQs.

I spent close to 20 years as an Objectivist. I still have significant sympathies for Rand. But I see the current Objectivist movement as ossified and largely worthless. Binswanger is case in point. What I wish existed was a serious number crunching free market libertarian think tank that showed with data how economic interventions are destructive. The model here would be what Stephan Mollyneaux is doing. He has some awesome videos of data rich material showing how there is no "male patriarchy" or "war on women", etc. He shows with data that the Leftist narratives on gender and race are bogus. His videos make it easier to buy into libertarianism. The Objectivist movement does not do this. They just rely on pure philosophizing which does not motivate or educate. The problem is Mollyneaux is an anarchist. But he still has a better intellectual product than anything the Objectivist movement puts out.

Its sad in a way. Rand was a bright light for me when I was young. She was the "red pill" to get out of both the Leftist and religion matrices. But I don't think her philosophy is enough. And the movement that bears her name is largely garbage now. And most of the alt-right movement, despite the fact that they get the evil of the Left better than anyone, are legitimately racist, irrational, Jew hating and anti-philosophical. In essence, there is no quality anti-Left movement out there which advances free market liberty in a non suicidal way. Sad times.

Edward Cline said...

Posted for Hilda, who for some technical reason can't leave a comment here:

Ed, unlike most other columns on the issue your is packed with logical arguments based on facts. It's such a pleasure to read. I can't resist qu

Hilda N.
Hilda N.

Key points from this article:
1. It is not the right decision for the Court to redefine the plain, straightforward meanings of English words. Nor is it the right decision for the Courts to order a state legislature to draft its statutes using a language/dialect that the majority of its citizens do not speak.

2. Language does evolve – but court orders enforced by the guns of federal marshals do not constitute an "evolution" of language.

3. There were real rights violations for same-sex couples. These rights violations were wholly remedied by civil unions. The law is about correcting rights violations, not making people feel good.