Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Same-sex marriage and freedom of association

One reason often given for opposing marriage equality is that government should not force caterers, florists, tour-bus operators, and the like to provide services in situations that would violate those service providers' religious or moral beliefs. While I believe in equal rights for same-sex couples, I agree that the service providers should not be forced to violate their beliefs. People do not forfeit their freedom of association by disagreeing with me. Also, competitive pressure provides an obvious remedy; if one bakery refuses to take my money, it thereby hands a competitive advantage to another bakery that will. Finally, I do not see the point of forcing people to take my money if they do not want to do so.  In short, since freedom is not a zero-sum game, we can accommodate both equal protection of the laws for same-sex couples and others' freedom of conscience.

On the other hand, I am still waiting to hear a cogent reason why freedom of association applies only to those who oppose same-sex marriage and not, say, to those who have an equally sincere opposition to remarriage after divorce in the absence of an annulment, or in other words why opponents of same-sex marriage deserve a special privilege.  Cherry-picking fidelity to principle is not fidelity to principle at all.

I like to raise that issue with those Catholics who oppose marriage equality on the ground of freedom of association, especially those who believe in their church's teachings against some forms of marriage that secular law allows. They either throw out a red herring or play the persecution card.

I know your inner life better than you do.

People often try to make their point by making assertions about a complete stranger's inner life. If they gneuinely believe that they have the power to discern such things and aren't simply bullshitting, why don't they put that power to any of the obvious good uses to which it could be put, instead of using it only for op-ed columns and Internet arguments?

Friday, April 26, 2013

Today's "More Honest than We Intended to Be" award goes to....

Concerning the sequester, that trim in the rate of growth of vast hacking back of government spending, Brian Beutler writes in Talking Points Memo:
The point of sequestration is supposedly to create just enough chaos that regular people — people with political clout, such as, say, business travelers — demand that Congress fix it. Or as the Democrats conceived it, to create the public pressure they need to knock Republicans off their absolutist position on taxes.
The mask slips, but Beutler hurriedly pushes it back into position in the next paragraph:
They allowed Republicans to inaccurately characterize the FAA furloughs as a political stunt. [emphasis added]

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Why can't they disagree peacefully, like sophisticated Europeans?

A little of that Gallic sang froid about which we keep hearing might have helped here:
French MPs come to blows as gay marriage debate ends

Punches were reportedly thrown in the French parliament on Thursday night as MPs wrapped up the long debate on the government’s gay marriage bill.

* * *

Enraged by what they believed was an insulting sneer by one of Justice Minister Christiane Taubira’s advisers while one of their number was speaking, about 20 right-wing MPs rushed onto the floor of parliament shouting “Out! Out!”.

“Punches were thrown,” according to Socialist MP Bernard Roman, while other sources said that one hit a parliamentary official called in to keep order.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Sheeple are easily bound and slaughtered, or: Happy April 15, everyone.

Whenever income-tax rates come up in conversation, it's a safe bet that someone will respond, "I get money back." Yes, most of us already knew about tax refunds, but their existence doesn't address the point. The fact that people keep repeating the argument shows that many people either are that easily duped or want that badly to be duped.