Saturday, August 21, 2010

Proposition 8 and Democracy

The gay marriage debate is playing out in California. There, the majority of people have spoken. They don't believe that gay people should be allowed to be married. They think that marriage should be defined as one man and one woman. They think that the state should not be allowed to sanction any other kind of union. I think this is a great example of why our founding fathers had such disdain for democracy. This is a great example of how the democratic process can lead to tyranny or mob rule. This is a great example of the difference between a republic and a democracy, why our founders decided to make this nation a republic, and why even republics fail miserably when it comes to representing the masses.

Let me say for the record that I couldn't care less whether two males, two females, or groups of people either mixed or not want to marry. It's none of my business, just like who I want to marry or whether or not anyone even ever wants to marry me is none of anyone else's business. Better than that, it is not the state's business. What does the state care who I am living with? I don't need permission from the state to fall in love with someone, or to make vows to them in front of our families, friends and/or the god of our choice. But the state has managed to force itself into the most intimate aspects of our lives and most of us simply allow it to take control. They whimper and cry one way or another, either that they are "unable" to marry and obtain all the goodies the state grants those unions, or that their sensibilities have been offended. This is nothing more than a collectivist scheme, in my opinion. It is yet another brilliant way to pit one group against another.

The answer, of course, is to get the state completely out of the marriage business. Let the churches decide who they will marry. Let the marketplace determine how marriages will be conducted. Let individuals decide for themselves how they want to go about making vows of love and entering into life partnerships with others. There is no reason for a coercive institution to steal money from all and then exercise prejudice against one group in favor of another. There is no reason to get people all riled up because government is always going to be unfair to one group or another.

But that's not what we have in this nation of ours. We don't have free and independent people simply running their lives as they see fit. We have a bunch of serfs running around asking their master's permission to do the simplest of tasks. We have a bunch of "citizens" who have become so dependent on government mandates that they can't make any decisions for themselves without first checking to see if they would be violating some code or statute. If I was a gay man in love with another man, I certainly wouldn't care what the state had to say about it. If I wanted to marry, I'd draw up a contract, find someone or some church who could do the ceremony, and then move on with my life. What should I care who else would recognize the marriage? As long as it was recognized between myself and my partner, that should be all that matters.

Yet people seem to want the majority to go along with them. They seem to want everyone to think and act as they do. Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but we are all in the minority at some time or another. We all have ideas and thoughts and little quirks that others would think are strange or abnormal. There is a reason we should realize that if we want to live free, we need to let others live free. When you give someone the power to criminalize the activities of others that cause no harm to anyone else, eventually they are going to criminalize a victimless activity that you want to engage in. That's why the rights of the smallest minority, the individual, need to be honored.

There is a morality issue here. Some may think I'm talking about the act of having sexual relations with a member of the same sex. Some have claimed that homosexuality is immoral because it's an affront to God. They claim that on the authority of some old tome written thousands of years ago by fallible men. That is not what I'm talking about. If sexual activity between consenting adults of the same sex is an affront to God, then let God take care of it. He is, after all, the supreme, all powerful being. He has no need for your interdiction. He and those involved with the activity can sort things out at the appropriate time. If you want to intercede in the lives of those people and force them to stop having sex with each other and to act like a "normal" heterosexual, then likely it is because their activities are an affront to you personally and have nothing to do with God. I won't even go into the psychological implications of such desires.

In the end, whatever decision is made, Whether the courts or the people prevail, there are going to be people who feel they are losers. In a society where the state is left out of marriage, there would be no goodies, no privileges, for those who were married. There would simply be the respect for individual rights. No one would be looking into the personal lives of others where it didn't affect them personally. No one would care what others did in their personal lives as long as no harm was being done to others. In a world where the state is not involved in marriage, everyone wins. The contracts would be drawn up between two (or more) people and those people would be expected to honor their contract with each other. It would be the business of those people, and no one else. This is what a free society would teach us all. This is not the lesson we have learned from the failed experiment in democracy known as proposition 8.

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