August 20, 2011

"I’m sorry, your sexual choice is not a God-given right."

"You’re talking about a choice and you’re talking about elevating a choice to an inalienable right, which is impossible, you can’t, not under the definition of American documents.”

Said David Barton, as if choice and rights are unrelated concepts. The document in question is the Declaration of Independence:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
How can you understand liberty and the pursuit of happiness without seeing choice as a necessary part of the right? You are free to do — what? — only one thing? It is true that, in recent years, gay rights proponents have fixated on the idea that gay people have no choice in their sexual orientation, but their demand for rights has to do with letting people make their own choices about what to do with their preferences and desires. Those who oppose gay rights know that perfectly well: They predictably respond to the argument that sexual orientation is inborn and unchangeable by saying that sexual behavior is a choice.

If you don't believe sexual freedom is a fundamental right, think of some rights that you are fond of — freedom of religion, the right to bear arms, freedom of speech — and try to explain them devoid of choice. To focus particularly on religion: Do you think that the Founders saw religion as something apart from choice? Here's a famous American document, James Madison's Memorial and Remonstrance against Religious Assessment:
If "all men are by nature equally free and independent," [Virginia Declaration of Rights, art. 1] all men are to be considered as entering into Society on equal conditions; as relinquishing no more, and therefore retaining no less, one than another, of their natural rights. Above all are they to be considered as retaining an "equal title to the free exercise of Religion according to the dictates of Conscience." [Virginia Declaration of Rights, art. 16] Whilst we assert for ourselves a freedom to embrace, to profess and to observe the Religion which we believe to be of divine origin, we cannot deny an equal freedom to those whose minds have not yet yielded to the evidence which has convinced us. If this freedom be abused, it is an offence against God, not against man: To God, therefore, not to man, must an account of it be rendered.
That's all about choice, my friend.

ADDED: Barton presents himself as a Christian, so it's especially interesting that Madison relied, in part, on principles he found in the Christian religion itself:
[T]he Christian Religion itself... disavows a dependence on the powers of this world: it is a contradiction to fact; for it is known that this Religion both existed and flourished, not only without the support of human laws, but in spite of every opposition from them....

353 comments:

1 – 200 of 353   Newer›   Newest»
Shouting Thomas said...
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Shouting Thomas said...
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EDH said...

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of A Penis.

Michael Haz said...

That 'endowed' thing often lacks equality among men.

Saint Croix said...

I think the "my friend" set some people off!

"My friend" is the last refuge of the McCain.

madAsHell said...

Sexual Freedom? - You mean I will no longer be distracted by every skirt that walks by?

Yeah....I wish I had that choice.

Pogo said...

So for abortion and gay marriage, we must have choice, but for economic matters, like health care and private property (Kelo), what I eat (salt, trans fats), and what I smoke (tobacco), it's just fine to deny choice.

Rights and choices are malleable and even transient things, once you decide the State confers them.

Ann Althouse said...

Reread the post and understand the fundamental point here about choice and rights. I don't even specifically mean to focus on gay rights. I'm saying Barton is wrong in not seeing choice as integral to rights. If you won't take the trouble to get your mind around that, this thread is lost. And I'm looking at you, Shouting Thomas. I won't delete you, but I will say that was a complete hijack of the tread.

Actually, I will delete you, for the reason stated. Get it together and deal with my point here or face deletion.

Henry said...

Given Barton's concept of "God" he's certainly correct. But he's only correct within the confines of his own definitions (he's playing a game with the word "choice" as well).

Barton's God appears to be odds with the abundance and variety of his own creation. I'm not sure that defining God by how limited God is is theologically possible.

Like God, LIBERTY is a big idea. It's pathetic to watch a man try to marry it to CANT.

DADvocate said...

How can you understand liberty and the pursuit of happiness without seeing choice as a necessary part of the right? You are free to do — what? — only one thing?

We all know there are limits on what we can choose to do. All the rights you cited, religion, bear arms, speech, have recognized limits. Strictly speaking, gays have all the rights I have. I can't marry another man either, even though I'm heterosexual. Your argument is on the level of a prepubescent adolescent.

Personally, I don't care what sexual activities consenting adults perform. The Declaration of Independence has no weight as law as does the Constitution. Based on my experience with marriage, I think gays are fools for desiring it.

Ann Althouse said...

"So for abortion and gay marriage, we must have choice, but for economic matters, like health care and private property (Kelo), what I eat (salt, trans fats), and what I smoke (tobacco), it's just fine to deny choice. Rights and choices are malleable and even transient things, once you decide the State confers them."

I'm making a point about choice and rights that transcends the question of how well these rights are currently being protected. Economic rights have been seen as fundamental at times in the past. There is always the problem of who says what the rights are and what they say at any given time. I'm addressing Barton's big point.

Maguro said...

Who the fuck is David Barton?

Conserve Liberty said...

One certainly has the right to choose one's sexual practices.

One has no right to expect equal treatment in all ways with other people who make other choices.

Mores and religion (the other two legs of the social order, along with law) do not accord homosexual behavior the same acceptance as they do heterosexual.

As with all choices, one has the obligation to accept the consequences of the choice.

Henry said...

@Pogo -- As an economic liberal, why not consistently demand liberty? Others may offer malleable and transient definitions of liberty but that doesn't prevent you or I from adhering to principle.

Dad29 said...

For crying out loud, Perfessor....

Liberty is the freedom to do what is RIGHT.

That doesn't exclude doing what is wrong, of course. But "liberty" does not have to condone such, and in a well-ordered State may actually punish the wrong choice.

Ann Althouse said...

"Who the fuck is David Barton?"

Google Rick Perry and David Barton. They appear together sometimes, so you might want to know.

Jeff in Oklahoma said...

As with all choices, one has the obligation to accept the consequences of the choice.

Brilliant! A concept that I "preach" to my children repeatedly.

Ann Althouse said...

"For crying out loud, Perfessor.... Liberty is the freedom to do what is RIGHT. That doesn't exclude doing what is wrong, of course. But "liberty" does not have to condone such, and in a well-ordered State may actually punish the wrong choice."

So... Christians think it's the wrong choice to not be Christian. They could punish nonChristians in their well-ordered state? (You'd better not be one of these people who bellyache about "Shariah law.")

Andy R. said...

It's interesting that you think you can engage in a rational discussion with anti-gay bigots.

pm317 said...

@Althouse I'm saying Barton is wrong in not seeing choice as integral to rights.

Yeah, I got that instantly and Barton is a fool to argue otherwise.

Titus said...

I am well endowed. I don't believe it was from the creator though.

My dad and mom come from a long line of ancestors with big hogs.

Can Genetics play a role in hog size? I believe so.

JHapp said...

So we should have the freedom to profess to other peoples children that having sex outside of marriage is a good thing?

Jeff in Oklahoma said...

So... Christians think it's the wrong choice to not be Christian.

Yes, as do the muslims.

But it is a choice. I'm no biblical scholar, but I "believe" the Bible predicates that christianity itself is the product of free choice.

Maguro said...

Google Rick Perry and David Barton. They appear together sometimes, so you might want to know.

OK, so this post is really about Rick Perry and whether he might persecute homosexuals if he gets elected. Thanks for clarifying.

Jeff in Oklahoma said...

Hmmm, free choice, how libertarian is the concept. Strums of RUSH beating through my head, nice.

Pogo said...

"I'm making a point about choice and rights that transcends the question of how well these rights are currently being protected."

Unprotected, they become meaningless abstractions.

And librty is not license without limits. Currently, gay marriage's fist is hitting religion -and tradition- in the nose.

More, the issues of polygamy and pederasty are obvious corollaries to choice as here described.

chickenlittle said...

Althouse wrote: I don't even specifically mean to focus on gay rights.

then:

AndyR wrote:
It's interesting that you think you can engage in a rational discussion with anti-gay bigots.

If that latter comment stands unchallenged by her then the Professor's lesson is agenda-driven after all.

Ann Althouse said...

What Barton said about "sexual choice" is not limited to (or even mainly about) the state recognizing marriages. Presumably, he would allow the majority to criminalize private, adult, consensual behavior and he's making that argument based on a high-level abstract idea that choice doesn't fit with the idea of an inalienable right: "you’re talking about elevating a choice to an inalienable right, which is impossible." Whatever you think about the particular right, Barton is abysmally wrong about that abstract idea.

bagoh20 said...

I'm sorry, your sexual choice is not a god given right to my acceptance and subsidy. I won't subsidize your relationship and you don't have to subsidize mine. Forcing either of us is taking away rights not expanding them.

For me, this has never been about the right to marry, it's only about right to force the entire nation to formally endorse and subsidize people's choice of sex partner. It's not my business.

chrisnavin said...

Andrew Sullivan once made a very good defense of those rights so often defined negatively:, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. He's since done his cause no favors.

Clearly, one of the end goals here is to make homosexual behavior socially tolerable, and perhaps to be made normal as most gays would see it (some individuals are the exception).

This suits many people on board the equality train quite well, and lines the pockets of politicians who seek to ride the next wave.

That "choice" requirement comes with a lot of baggage, including its use, with equality, as a cudgel to bang opponents over the head. The idea is that society must very different than it is now, and ought to be different.

Many people are foolish enough to mistake the freedom of choice with some absolute concept of freedom (without responsibility, duty and moral obligation and consequences...)

Henry said...

AndyR wrote:
It's interesting that you think you can engage in a rational discussion with anti-gay bigots.

chickenlittle wrote:
If that latter comment stands unchallenged by her then the Professor's lesson is agenda-driven after all.


I think AndyR meant his question as sarcasm, but as a non-rhetorical question, it actually has an answer.

Althouse does think she can engage in a rational discussion with people who disagree with her. She does it all the time. AndyR's comment is challenged by this forum.

Ann Althouse said...

"If that latter comment stands unchallenged by her then the Professor's lesson is agenda-driven after all."

Oh bullshit. I'm challenging your idea that I have to challenge ever comment I disagree with. I can't do that. It's a ridiculous inference.

Jeff in Oklahoma said...

I'll go with the Professor here. Our Country is predicated on freedom = choice.

And by definition the freedom to choose has accompanying consequences (recall Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, ending sequence: "he chose poorly.").

I think the question being debated in 2012 revolves, at least partly, on this very issue.

Pogo said...

My own view is that these issues are red herrings to forestall Perry or other conservatives being elected.

The great dangers before us are financial calamity, class violence and Islamic terrorism.

This is letting the Democrats change the discussion to one they have more comfort with, having nothing useful to say about these more pressing matters.

Gay marriage is a very minor issue, except insofar as it serves to dissuade discussion about Obama's Great Depression.

Hagar said...

You may not have a choice about your sexual orientation; whether decreed by the Creator, or the vagaries of foetal development processes.

You do have a choice about whether to make a public spectacle and a social nuisance of yourself, or not.

Pogo said...
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William said...

People frequently make wrong choices. With choice, it is easier to pursue happiness, but it is by no means certain that more choice leads to more happiness. It just as likely leads to more confusion and wistful regrets about what was behind door A, or no, Door B, that was the one true path to joy and happiness, dammit. The pursuit of happiness and the purchase of ketchup are much easier if there are fewer choices......I have read about ancient Greece and Rome where there were apparently few inhibitions regarding dilletante homosexuality or most other forms of sexuality. I have also read about Victorian times where most middle class people chose to deny or, at least, narrowly channel their sexuality. I cannot pass judgement on who was happier, but it is clear from the record that the Victorians got a lot more done.....The free expression of our sexuality will lead to more orgasms, but it is problematic to say that it will lead to more happiness. Just ask a kid whose parents are getting divorced.

bagoh20 said...

"he's making that argument based on a high-level abstract idea that choice doesn't fit with the idea of an inalienable right:"

Maybe it's just too "high level" to make sense to us rubes.

If one of your students suggested this, would you consider it high level or just silly mental masturbation?

Henry said...

@bagoH20 -- I'd hazard a guess that Barton doesn't believe in masturbation.

DADvocate said...

...the fundamental point here about choice and rights. I don't even specifically mean to focus on gay rights.

Even though the headline refers to "sexual choice" and all the examples are about gay rights?

Google Rick Perry and David Barton. They appear together sometimes, so you might want to know.

Is the real point of the post David Barton's position on gay rights and Barton's relationship with Perry?

Maguro said...

Presumably, he would allow the majority to criminalize private, adult, consensual behavior and he's making that argument based on a high-level abstract idea that choice doesn't fit with the idea of an inalienable right: "you’re talking about elevating a choice to an inalienable right, which is impossible." Whatever you think about the particular right, Barton is abysmally wrong about that abstract idea.

Is Barton wrong, though? The state can certainly criminalize, say, drug use or operating a business in a residential zone, so why wouldn't they be able to criminalize certain types of sexual behavior? I don't see
anything in the constitution that prioritizes sexual freedom over other types of freedom.

bagoh20 said...

Google Barack Obama and Jeremiah_Wright. They appear together sometimes, so you might want to know.

Saint Croix said...

If you read the Bible, there is almost zero talk of rights. It's duty, duty, duty, and moral obligation to your fellow man.

bagoh20 said...

"I'd hazard a guess that Barton doesn't believe in masturbation."

Everyone believes in masturbation. It's something of which everyone's knowledge is first hand.

William said...

I was just reading Perjury, the book about the Chambers-Hiss case. In his youth, Chambers was a closeted homosexual who had a number of furtive, hidden affairs. Later, after he outed himself as a Communist, he became a Christian and ceased to have these affairs. Apparently, it is possible to pray the gay away. At any rate, he was apparently a good father and husband in his later life......Perhaps some people are drawn to homosexuality the way they are drawn to, say, Communism, i.e. because it is furtive and scandalous. By making it socially acceptable you are depriving these poor people of their chance to have full expression of their shameful and closeted sexuality.

Saint Croix said...

Christians think it's the wrong choice to not be Christian.

Yes. That's why they're Christians. Duh.

In more shocking news, liberals think it's the wrong choice to not be liberals.

They could punish nonChristians in their well-ordered state?

Boy are you in a mood today. Who said that?

Henry said...

bagoH20 wrote: For me, this has never been about the right to marry, it's only about right to force the entire nation to formally endorse and subsidize people's choice of sex partner. It's not my business.

That's a weird point. Married people are less likely to be subsidized by society. Gay married people are often interested in adoption, which helps society even more.

This objection to being forced to "endorse" homosexuality sounds somewhat like W. E. B. DuBois' "On Being Crazy" :

"I do not want my sister to marry a nigger."

I had not even seen his sister, so I merely murmured, let her say no.

"By God, you shan't marry her, even if she said yes."

But--but I don't want to marry her, I answered, a little perturbed at the personal turn.

"Why not!" he yelled, angrier than ever.


No one is asking anyone to personally endorse anything. Just make the law neutral and be done with it.

Apfelkuchen said...
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Paddy O said...

Choice is a God-given right. We have the ability to make choices, even wrong choices.

But, our society has long determined that not every choice is equal.

Should we choose to have health insurance? The government says no, we do not have that choice.

How much money should people give to the government? That's a major economic choice, with those on the Left arguing that it is everyone's responsibility to give more so that the government can help those in need.

Economic choices then become stifled based on the imposition of other's morality.

Depending on where you live the choices we make might are quite limited in all sorts of ways, for all sorts of reasons.

So, the question goes beyond the 'unalienable Rights', which has long been tossed out as a driving factor in how the US actually determines its laws. Not least by those on the Left, who only trot out such rights of choice on their pet issues of abortion or sexuality.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Is Barton wrong, though?

Yes. Remember, his premise is that anything that's a choice can't also be a fundamental right. It only takes one example of a choice-that's-also-a-right to refute that, and no number of examples of choices-that-are-not-rights can change that.

That doesn't mean his conclusion can't still be correct. It just can't be correct for the reason he gave.

DADvocate said...

What about the choice to enter into a polygamous marriage between consenting adults? Many of our liberal friends seem quite happy persecuting polygamists.

Shouting Thomas said...

No, it was not a hijack of the tread, Althouse.

Let's enumerate rights by comparing your son's rights to mine.

Employment. Your son is in the diversity quota system. He has preference in hiring over me.

Academia. Your son is in the diversity quota system. If he ridicules heteros, he'll be made out to be a hero. If I do that, I'm likely to be expelled.

The arts. Your son has a leg up in terms of his works acceptance because he declares himself gay. If he wants to be a gay comedian, he can ridicule straights at will. If I do ridicule gays, I'm likely to be dragged into court.

Gay pride parades. You son can walk naked down the streets of Manhattan and flaunt his sexuality. I'll be thrown in jail if I do that.

Althouse, you're lying. You're just plain lying. You're a doting mommy who wants her son to have everything he dreams of.

The feminist thing worked for you when you were young, even though you came from a background of privilege and wealth. It got you stuff, pretending that you were oppressed. You are using the same tactics with your son.

Every parent wants that for their children. That fantasy of yours is not a political issue, Althouse.

Stop the lying, Althouse. You can do what you want with your fucking blog. But, on this issue, you are just a damned liar.

Apfelkuchen said...
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Jason (the commenter) said...

chickenlittle: If that latter comment stands unchallenged by her then the Professor's lesson is agenda-driven after all.

To be fair, Althouse often picks articles for illustrative purposes that seem "off". It's because she wants to talk about specific issues, but can only deal with them using stories which are current. It's a weakness, yes, but if you're clever you can use it to your advantage.

Shouting Thomas said...

Let me say this again, Althouse, because you are a blockhead on these gay issues.

You don't have a point.

Your assertion that there is a rights issue for gays is a fabrication.

As I said, you are a complete fabricating crank when it comes to gay.

I'm not one of your fucking students Althouse.

Paddy O said...

"ignore any possibility of choice if it does not fall into line with their extreme world view. They twist the meaning of the Constitution, just as they do the Bible."

Exactly what those on the Left do as well. The issues are different. That's precisely why on issues of taxation, unions, health-care, the arguments have become so much about moral assumptions rather than political differences.

Helping poor people shouldn't be a choice, according to those on the Left. The full weight of the government should be imposed on people to give more so that their money can be redistributed.

Both sides are making the exact same arguments, with the exact same assumptions, only on different and often countering topics.

phx said...

It's interesting that you think you can engage in a rational discussion with anti-gay bigots.

We have to find ways to engage in rational discussions not just with anti-gay bigots, but with a whole slew of people with ideas we don't necessarily like.

It's a great task to find ways to do that.

Apfelkuchen said...
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Brian O'Connell said...

What'd I win?

Uh, anything in this general area right in here. Anything below the stereo and on this side of the bicentennial glasses. Anything between the ashtrays and the thimble. Anything in this three inches right in here in this area. That includes the Chiclets, but not the erasers.

Paddy O said...

"Frank Schaeffer"

Frankie? Or was it Franky?

Kids with daddy issues don't make the best critics. Francis Schaeffer, who may indeed have been a remote father as so many of his generation were, was actually a pretty rational participant.

His son was often including and promoted but wasn't near the same caliber of thinker, and sort of languished in obscurity until he found a new path to fame by supposedly exposing all the faults of his father, which he waited to do, of course, until after his father died.

Bringing him up is like arguing against atheism by saying, "have you heard of William Murray!?"

Maguro said...

Yes. Remember, his premise is that anything that's a choice can't also be a fundamental right. It only takes one example of a choice-that's-also-a-right to refute that, and no number of examples of choices-that-are-not-rights can change that.

That doesn't mean his conclusion can't still be correct. It just can't be correct for the reason he gave.


Thanks, I get it now.

Apfelkuchen said...
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Shouting Thomas said...

Here we go with the fabricated "oppression of the gays" bullshit!

Folks, you are just fucking liars.

Let me say that again.

You are fucking liars.

Shouting Thomas said...

Yes, Apfelkuchen, I hate fucking liars.

You are a fucking liar.

Tim said...

Of course Barton is wrong.

But so too are most of us when it comes to whatever public matter sticks in our craw.

I'm pretty sure Ann won't defend the right of a private business to choose not serve Blacks, or a homeowners association to choose to exclude Blacks, even though under a strict interpretation of libertarian freedom under the Constitution, they most certainly should be allowed to do so.

Which is why, in the end, libertarianism is best thought of as an ethic, rather than a political party with a thorough, principled agenda. Libertarians themselves, like Napolean the pig, were they ever to become cohesive enough to garner power, would eventually use the law themselves to exclude others' choices. The urge to power is too powerful to lay aside.

The truth is, we can't handle complete freedom of choice, for all kinds of reasons, some of them good. Barton is just trying to dress up his inability to handle homosexual sex as not being an inalienable right. In so doing, he joins a long parade of people before and after him who disclaim constitutional protections for others' choices.

In this regard, his statement is utterly mundane.

phx said...

Some people seem to think laying out a theoretical basis for understanding our human rights is a bullshit waste of time, intellectual headspinning, etc.

They apparently prefer the use of "common sense" or religious doctrine to be the foundation for those rights.

Quayle said...

Let's agree that the maximum possible freedom of choice should be forcefully and consistently protected.

We agree that we do draw lines in a society, when it comes to choices by one person that affects the rights or property of others.

We agree that to restrict choice (and thereby rights) is nothing new.

We agree that the issue, then, is what choices harm others.

And here I would take up the context and just make the point that claims of benign gay marriage are wholly and completely unsubstantiated in fact or experience.

The fact is that nobody knows what the effects of gay marriage on society will be.

It must be admitted that currently gay marriage is a huge experiment, the outcome of which may not be known for 50 - 100 years.

I say this because of the longitudinal nature of family and parenting influence, and the latent but lasting (and near permanent) effects on an individual of a family environment.

We're talking generations, not a mere 20 years experimental time-frame.

The detrimental effects (or lack thereof) of a basic structural alteration of the family will very likely not show up for a number of generations, but when they do show up may be nearly impossible to remedy.

I believe we can use the structural change of what was supposed to be benign divorce as an instructive corollary.

No-fault divorce was supposed to remove the ranker and make divorce more benign and better for the children. It was presented as a choice of consenting adults, as was out of wedlock birth and sexual freedom.

Yet now the evidence is overwhelming that fatherless homes are the single most determinative factor in poverty, poor educational performance, criminal behavior, and a host of other social problems, the burden of which we all bare as a society.

(I fully recognize, but leave for another time, that this implicates the issue of whether the state should inspect proposed marriage to be sure that they won't turn out criminals.)

So when we look to what actions by individuals do or could harm society, let's make sure we look at all the evidence, let's not lie to ourselves as we often do, and let's make sure we proceed very cautiously where there is no evidence, which proponents of gay marriage have not done.

Paddy O said...

"Christian Fundamentalism"

Christian Fundamentalism? Is that the label you attach to people you disagree with on issues? Who are these supposedly militarized Fundamentalists who are equivalent to Muslim extremists?

Where are the beheaded bodies?

All you have is political disagreement being shaped in the public forum and you equate this with violent extremism.

What will destroy this country is attitudes like yours which justifies extreme rhetoric based on absurd hyperbolic characterization of the scary "other". It's this kind of attitude that takes over government buildings, justifying violence, all while saying 'this is our building.'

You are the voice of those who are extremists, but you're so rational in your own estimation that you justify hate of others.

It's very sad. You are what you hate most about others, you are a fundamentalist, with your own creed and your own services and your own assumptions, all which seem so self-evident that you can't even imagine the opposition is rational. They must be dismissed as wicked, prevented from national discourse.

DADvocate said...

Christian Fundamentalism will destroy this country as Islamic Fundamentalism destroyed Iran. Can we take our heads out of our nether regions long enough to see this is happening ?

Yeah, right. The real threat is from the left, but you'd rather worry about a handful of people who say you'll go to Hell if you have extra-marital sex.

Henry said...

@Paddy O -- You're right about the interest group politics. But that doesn't prevent any of us as individuals from acting on principle.

It can be quite annoying to support a political position on principle and find oneself aligned with wackos (as a non-gay-rights example I've always enjoyed the comicality of Physicist Murray Gell Mann mingling with gaia-worshipping environmentalists; Gell Mann seemed to be able to stay amused by it himself).

It can also be quite annoying to defend a political position from people who lump the position into a broad prejudicial category of people they hate (such as defending small government ideas against people who hate Sarah Palin).

But so be it. I'd rather figure out my politics on principle than on who it pleases or pisses off.

caplight said...

Unless you are Calvinist the embrace of faith in Christ is a choice.

Remembering that the Declaration is a political tract and not a means of governance I agree that choice is inherent in the exercise of rights.

Out of the struggle to secure the ability to obtain abortions the rubric of choice was introduced and became a very effective tool in not only in changing the legal landscape but the political and moral landscapes as well. It has now become the frame of argument for any sexual or reproductive behaviors. So freedom as rights means I have the ability to exercise choice. It is a trump card that Scalia was getting at in Lawrence v. Georgia.

Jason (the commenter) said...

DADvocate: What about the choice to enter into a polygamous marriage between consenting adults?

What do people have against polygamy anyway? Why is the mention of that choice supposed to scare people?

Chef Mojo said...

Shouting, your bigotry is tedious. You are simply put, a vile bigot. You have no place in this discussion. Go away.

DADvocate said...

What do people have against polygamy anyway? Why is the mention of that choice supposed to scare people?

I find the thought of having more than one wife quite scary. (Heck, one is scary enough.) ;)

Apfelkuchen said...
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Shouting Thomas said...

Shouting, your bigotry is tedious. You are simply put, a vile bigot. You have no place in this discussion. Go away.

Go fuck yourself and your biggoty-biggot agenda, asshole.

Bigotry has nothing to do with this. The oppression of gays is a fabrication

The problem here is that you are a fucking liar. A seriously stupid fucking liar.

Stop lying, asshole.

edutcher said...

This is really about states going back to all those laws that were in force before the hippie dippy crowd took over politics. Y'know, the stuff that existed from the time of the Constitution or before.

"Presumably, he would allow the majority to criminalize private, adult, consensual behavior and he's making that argument based on a high-level abstract idea that choice doesn't fit with the idea of an inalienable right"

So we're talking about rolling back moral and social convention to an earlier time.

Yeah, I can see where a lot of people like Andy R would freak out about that. It's one of the cornerstones of the Welfare State.

Shouting Thomas said...

This gay agenda is an arena in which Althouse collapses into a fucking idiot crank.

Althouse, the fact that your son is gay doesn't mean that we all have to kiss his ass and give him whatever he wants.

Paddy O said...

Henry, I totally agree. I think that's the ideal and how I want to approach both issues of politics and faith.

It's how I do approach politics and faith, in fact, which is probably why I'm continually struck by how people on the Left and the Right are following the exact same template.

I'm pushing back against that being only understood as a tactic on the Right, which is what I think this post is assuming.

Barton is the same as Obama. Those taking over the Wisconsin Capitol are the same as the Christian conservatives in the South. Those on one side of the homosexual marriage issue are much the same as another. They're all assuming this great moral superiority then dismissing others for being obviously evil.

Meanwhile, those of us who try to take issues more independently get hit by both sides.

As a Christian I have my opinions about moral issues that are part of the national dialogue. As an American I have the unalienable right to vote on these issues. So I'm resistant against categorizations that seem to mitigate my right to vote or influence society.

phx said...

This gay agenda is an arena in which Althouse collapses into a fucking idiot crank.

Without the least sense of irony.

Quayle said...

And I would point out that the current American political parties are both utter failures as holding to consistent party views on freedom and restriction.

The lefty radical environmentalist advocate a strong restrictions on companies and people related to pollution of the physical environment, so that others can enjoy a pristine nature.

But when a conservative Christian tries to implement the same restriction on acts that pollute the spiritual or emotional environment, the lefty opposed them as fascists.

And I can find just as many examples the other way.

So the issue can't be to restrict or not restrict. If we agree to restrict at all, then the issue is what to restrict and why.

caplight said...

I rarely find things "offensive" as PC police teach people to be offended. However, I fail to see why every discussion of homosexuality has to have the Professor's son dragged into it. And it is done in such a way that it is offensive to a conservative Evangelical pastor who does not support gay marriage. That I now know her son personally only makes it more so. So Shouting, shut up.

Henry said...

@Quayle -- If I accept the slippery slope argument that gay marriage logically entails polygamy than we do have a longitudinal study: American Mormonism 1843 to 1890.

How did that work out? I refer you to the last scene of Raising Arizona.

p.s. Back in the day when Steve Young was quarterback for Brigham Young University, his center was an italian-american. You had the descendant of a pope hiking to a descendant of Brigham Young.

Shouting Thomas said...

Without the least sense of irony.

Listen, asshole, I'm tired of fucking liars trying to pin the gay oppression shit on hereto men.

When assholes like you and Althouse try to pin that crap on hetero men, you've got a fight on your hands.

Fuck you.

Henry said...

@Paddy O -- Thanks for your thoughtful reply. I completely agree.

phx said...

If you had something to fight with other than your emotions.

Paddy O said...

"If you cannot see the danger of this in front of your nose"

I can. That's why I'm calling you out.

You're using rhetoric to restrict the opposition, labeling and using hyperbolic examples.

"I was raised a Fundamentalist Evangelical Christian."

Fundamentalist or Evangelical? Which is it? They're not the same, you know. Evangelicalism was developed in the US as an intentional response against Fundamentalism's anti-intellectualism and other faults. So, maybe if you can't see the difference everyone who sounds vaguely Evangelical must have the same sort of Fundamentalist assumptions as those you grew up with (and no doubt rightly rejected)

And while you may have left the movement you grew up with, you're still a Fundamentalist. You sound exactly like the actual Fundamentalists I know, only you have different topics.

Even if the apple falls, it doesn't fall far from the tree.

edutcher said...

Question, not challenge - Ann, do you see Barton as Perry's Rev Wright?

Peter Hoh said...

The debate over gay rights has long been tied to the debate over the degree to which same-sex attraction was innate.

Was this a mistake? I don't know. Go back a generation, and I'm not certain that the public at large was ready to accept the idea that homosexual activity was an acceptable choice. In that context, insisting that it was not a choice might have been the only way to move the debate forward.

The alternative is to argue that is doesn't matter if same-sex attraction is a choice, but that people should be free to make that choice.

That reframes the debate, but it gets close to making an argument that anything goes. I think that there's something in the American psyche that resists arguments that get near "anything goes" -- at least when it comes to sexual matters.

Are people free to make choices regarding the gender of the person with whom they wish to have a sexual relationship?

That would be a different debate than whether or not same-sex attraction is innate.

Of course, the idea that same-sex attraction is innate has been offered as the rationale for dropping the prosecution of such relationships, and dropping the stigma that society used to attach to such relationships.

Are we ready for a debate on homosexuality and same-sex marriage that's based on liberty?

Quayle said...

So the issue can't be to restrict or not restrict. If we agree to restrict at all, then the issue is what to restrict and why.

Let me rephrase that crap I just wrote.

If the agenda is to maximize freedom, then the EPA and the Department of Labor must be abolished just as gay marriage laws or restrictions on abortions.

But if the issue is what harms society, we need to be much more rigorous in that analysis, because we're allowing all sorts of crap that hurts us all.

I cite our kid-glove treatment of drunk drivers as an example where we are not serious about preventing harm to society. In Germany, a drunk driver loses his or her license for a long, long time - many tens of years - and can lose the right to drive for the rest of their lives.

And nobody drives drunk in Germany. Period.

Apfelkuchen said...
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Carol_Herman said...

I've never understood the leap for marriage!

The French got it so RIGHT! They went for UNION. And, it's available to ALL couples! So, more heterosexual couples pick this than anything else!

A union is a partnership. Without church blessings.

Seems odd to me if you're grownup, already. And, you know your sexuality hasn't been approved by religions in 4000 years ... You's stand your ground with Science. And, Secular Unions.

Women wear rings.

And, in France there's no trouble, either, when couples go together to the hospital, for the woman to give birth.

Heck, in Europe they handle longer names than we do here, too. The hyphenated stuff regularly appears. Even stuff Americans can't wrap their tongues around. In Europe are handled easily, enough.

One reason it's unions over marriage in France ... is that you don't have to pay off the Vatican when you want a divorce.

How much did Rose Kennedy supply to the Vatican so that Teddy got such a swell funeral?

So, it's not just the weddings ... but also that other part. People seem less inclined to "bless the bones." I'm not making this up.

The ground shifted under sexuality, anyway.

Jealousy, however, is still quite the card!

Shouting Thomas said...

However, I fail to see why every discussion of homosexuality has to have the Professor's son dragged into it.

Because the professor's son is the issue.

Althouse is confusing her doting mommy emotions here.

And she's reverting to a tactic that worked for her when she was young.

Althouse she was born to wealth and privilege, Althouse seized on feminism as a battering ram to get what she wanted.

It worked for her. It got her stuff.

It is no surprise that she is employing the same thing to get stuff for her son.

It worked for her the first time around.

Synova said...

The logic that choice must be a Right because pursuing happiness is a Right (according to the Constitution) doesn't last very long once a person tries to apply it elsewhere. In the end choice or the pursuit of happiness doesn't prove anything.

What criminal is there that isn't choosing to pursue his or her own happiness?

So the question is still whether or not a sexual choice impacts the people around you enough that they're going to object. I don't think that homosexuality hurts anyone, but I do think that destroying sexual mores, glorifying consequence free transitory relationships and viewing sexual desire as more important than self-control or fidelity, does very bad things.

Shouting Thomas said...

So, in this case, I'm simply dismissing Althouse's contention that her involvement in this gay rights biz is some sort of high level intellectual and academic endeavor.

I call bullshit.

Quayle said...

Of course, the idea that same-sex attraction is innate has been offered as the rationale for dropping the prosecution of such relationships, and dropping the stigma that society used to attach to such relationships.

And I would point out, Peter, that this argument of innateness has recently been greatly complicated by two areas of genetic studies:

first, studies that are showing that genes can be modified and altered by behavior, and

second, studies that show that homicidal maniacs show unique genetic variants.

The implications of these studies being, obviously, that if genes can be altered the concept of innateness changes in meaning, and that we clearly are not prepared as a society to allow a person to do anything that they can show is genetic.

It is appearing more and more as if we are multi-cycle feedback systems where our and other's choices are encoded in our physical bodies, which then push back on our choices, making some easier and some harder.

Apfelkuchen said...
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Michael Haz said...

I wish you'd get this passionate about Obama (the man for whom you cast your only vote) utterly tanking the economy, not having any clue about how to fix it, and living the life of a potentate while his policies and rules have stripped the "right" of millions of your fellow Americans to earn a decent living.

Gay marriage? Let's just obsess over that one more time, while ignoring unemployment among urban workers, rural workers, office workers, construction workers, factory workers, seasonal workers, etc.

phx said...

Gay marriage? Let's just obsess over that one more time, while ignoring unemployment among urban workers, rural workers, office workers, construction workers, factory workers, seasonal workers, etc.

In your view is it Americans or just Republicans who can't walk and chew gum at the same time?

Moose said...

So, all I can say is that bigotry is defined in its base form, as the intolerance to *other people's opinons*. So one can say that both sides in this sort of a debate are "bigoted" if they display a profound disagreement with the other side. Of course, this is nearly meaningless as pointed out earlier Dad29, that: "Liberty is the freedom to do what is RIGHT". Ann goes on to argue against that saying that statement in itself allows for the repression of opposing viewpoints. The issue here is, I think, outside of either Barton's or Ann's point. The freedom in the Constitution and amending docments are described and not limited by the state. The state chooses to control just about every single one of the Bill of Rights for example, for one reason or another. So to argue that freedom on choice is absolute is really pretty silly. Can God make a stone so heavy he can't move it? Thats what these sorts of debates wind up arguing.

Trapper Townshend said...

Thanks for this post. Barton is not a very good spokesperson for those who are against gay marriage, and others make much better points against it, but I daresay he is quite representative of the thought process of many who do oppose it.

Apfelkuchen said...
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Apfelkuchen said...
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Shouting Thomas said...

The right wants BIG government when it comes to suppressing the rights of some segments of society based on their relying, yet forget all about said religious principles when it comes down to economics.

Once again, you are just a fucking liar.

No such thing is happening, asshole.

Stop lying.

bagoh20 said...

@Henry "No one is asking anyone to personally endorse anything. Just make the law neutral and be done with it."

Bullshit, you just mean in the narrow sense of gays. You are fine with it discriminating against singles, polygamists, sibling and anybody else. This is a slippery slope, and we are just at the top.

The only way marriage will ever be neutral as it relates to government is if it does not relate to government. The state has no business deciding which adults can couple up and call each other married. And it definitely should not be deciding who gets tax breaks based on who they sleep with.

Shouting Thomas said...

Apfelkuchen, do you have anything to say that is not just a bald faced, deliberate lie?

Saint Croix said...

"you’re talking about elevating a choice to an inalienable right, which is impossible." Whatever you think about the particular right, Barton is abysmally wrong about that abstract idea.

What Barton might be saying is that "choice" and "inalienable rights" are in opposition.

An inalienable right is a right that cannot be taken away. You cannot vote it away, and you're not allowed to disagree with it. A God-given natural right is dictated to us, in the name of God. (Or, for the more secular among us, in the name of the Constitution).

You see the problem. What if the natural right is evil or wrong? People do evil in God's name--or the Constitution's name--all the time. Just because you say a right is inalienable does not make it so.

For instance, suppose the 7th Amendment was the right to own slaves. Evil, yes? Now wouldn't it be a hell of a thing if it was "inalienable."

What does that mean? You can't change it? You can't correct it? Utopia is here?

Imagine if Obamacare was inalienable. Imagine if we were in a society that was not allowed to vote it away. That would be a society without a choice.

Jefferson spoke at a high level of abstraction. He identified the inalienable rights as "Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." He did not speak in specifics, precisely because if he did, our liberty would be narrowed.

Imagine prosecuting a defendant for a robbery and he stands up in Court and says, "But Judge, I was just pursuing my happiness!"

We are free to outlaw robbery, or sodomy, or anything else we deem evil, if our society feels that is the path to happiness. And if future societies deem us crazy, they are free to fix our errors.

An inalienable right means you have no freedom to do away with it. So you have a few very basic "inalienable" rights (the freedom to choose), but no specific ones.

When you name specific inalienable rights, you are saying, "I am right, and nobody can change what I say." You are dictating your sense of right to future generations. It is indeed the opposite of choice.

Our society have to be free to determine, as best we can, what is right and what is wrong. And future societies have to be free to fix our errors.

Peter Hoh said...

Synova, I don't think that an argument based on liberty elevates any choice into a right.

You offer this test for sexual liberty: So the question is still whether or not a sexual choice impacts the people around you enough that they're going to object. I don't think that homosexuality hurts anyone, but I do think that destroying sexual mores, glorifying consequence free transitory relationships and viewing sexual desire as more important than self-control or fidelity, does very bad things.

But straight people aren't bound by this test. I could divorce my wife and marry my girlfriend, and the state won't ask if that choice hurts anyone. The state will insist that I pay child support, but that's the extent of it.

bagoh20 said...
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Peter Hoh said...

Michael Haz, by what means would you enforce the right of Americans to earn a decent living?

Apfelkuchen said...
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SunnyJ said...

He is not saying choice isn't "integral" to rights...he is saying the end product of the choice itself is not a right.

Choosing murder, doesn't make it a right.

I think you missed his point completely...looking to hard at the forest and missed the tree.

Apfelkuchen said...
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Peter Hoh said...

Carol, the French way -- civil unions for all, marriage only for straight couples -- is likely to destroy the institution of marriage.

somefeller said...

Shouting Thomas says:

As I said, you are a complete fabricating crank when it comes to gay.

Projection, much? You're the one who goes into a hissy fit every time the issue of homosexuality comes up. And oftentimes, you're the one who brings it up.

I'm not one of your fucking students Althouse.

Of course you aren't. The University of Wisconsin's law school is a very good school. You wouldn't have made the grade to get in and become one of her students.

phx said...

the French way -- civil unions for all, marriage only for straight couples -- is likely to destroy the institution of marriage.

Could the churches, synagogs, etc. keep up the institution of marriage if the state went to civil unions?

Shouting Thomas said...

Apfelkuchen, I'm tired of the fucking lies you have to peddle.

Somebody does take the hit for this fabricated war of oppression against gays.

White hetero men take the hit.

You want a fight, asshole, you've got it.

Shouting Thomas said...

Of course you aren't. The University of Wisconsin's law school is a very good school. You wouldn't have made the grade to get in and become one of her students.

You're full of shit there.

My academic record would get me in just about any law school.

phx said...

Shouting Thomas looks in his arsenal for battle.

Finds tears and namecalling.

Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) said...

Let me see if perhaps I can hit the Trifecta here.

Choice is a God-given right. An understanding of "free will" is essential to Christianity, because without it our love for God is utterly meaningless. We must be able to choose not to love God.

Consequences are an integral part of choice. I can choose to swing an iron bar, but if in so doing I harm another's person or property I will face consequences. Consequences do not eliminate choice. Absorb that in terms of abortion, please.

Happiness meant something very different two centuries ago than it means today. The word was derived from the Greek makarios meaning blessed, or happy. In the 18th century it essentially meant "in right relationship with God." Absorb that in terms of "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of [a right relationship with God]."

The choice of homosexual behavior is indeed a God-given right, but one most decidedly carrying certain consequences. Barton has thus made a very unfortunate extrapolation and fundamentally misses the essence of God's granting of free will to humans.

Paddy O said...

Apfel, of course I don't consider myself a Fundamentalist. In fact, I am credentialed as being not a Fundamentalist.

Do want me to list why? It's very historically and theologically based.

I know you probably don't allow people to pigeonhole you. But, if you read my response to Henry, you'll realize that I'm much more agreeable than you are.

You may not categorize yourself in a certain way, but your responses here are very much in keeping with Fundamentalist attitudes, which I'm very familiar with. So, I see you as still a Fundamentalist, only with different fundamentals than those you grew up with.

I know you hate that box, which is why I'm calling you out so that you see yourself from an outside perspective.

Paddy O said...

Bart Hall, yes! That's it. Very clearly and succinctly put.

Bender said...

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
How can you understand liberty and the pursuit of happiness without seeing choice as a necessary part of the right?
_______________

The most essential part of freedom, liberty and pursuit of happiness, is TRUTH. "We hold these truths to be self-evident . . ."

Indeed, truth is the sine qua non of liberty and freedom. It is not just a pithy saying of Jesus that "the truth will set you free." Without truth, one is necessarily in error, one is a slave to that error. Without truth, there can be no freedom.

Since freedom is dependent upon truth, and not the other way around, truth necessarily exists prior to freedom. The truth is what it is before anyone makes any choices. One is NOT free to make his or her own truth. To say that what is objectively false is true does not make one free, it only enslaves him to confusion and error. When one puts himself before truth, then truth is always behind him.

To insist that you, as a matter of liberty and free choice and the right to pursue happiness, can decree that whatever path you choose will get you to the destination, ignoring all of the road-signs and maps and GPS systems, will only result in you ending up a thousand miles off-target. You can choose to say that the world is flat, but that is not freedom, that is slavery to error because the world is not, in truth, flat, it is round.

Browndog said...

Another provocative and stimulating thread from Althouse.

Interesting discussion...

First of all, I think we are dealing with several levels of nuance here, so it appears many are right and wrong simultaniously (except for the Professor, naturally).

My take-

Is "choice" an unalienable right?

How can it not be?

As to teh gays-

Sex is a behavior, is it not?

To say we all have an unalienable right to choose to act and behave any way we want?

ABSOLUTLEY.

However, there are consequences.

Some behaviors are punished by law.

Laws of God, or Laws of Men?

Both?

Neither?

nuance...

gutless said...

A discussion that could have been serious has degenerated into a steaming pile. How gay.

DADvocate said...

This reminds me of Hitler and the Nazis....


Just had to say it. Suppose I had a choice, but my compulsion overwhelmed me.

Bender said...

Given that there can be no freedom or liberty or right to pursue happiness without truth or contrary to truth -- What is the truth of human sexuality?

"Man" is male and female. The truth of the human person, as revealed in our very bodies, is that man and woman are made for each other, equal and complementary. Among other ways, this complementariness is particularly demonstrated in their respective "body parts," one made for use with the other, including the exchange of biological procreative material. We have sex with these very reproductive body parts -- we do NOT have sex with non-procreative parts, like elbows or ears, but specifically with reproductive organs.

Now, if we absolutely must get graphic, the elongated shape of the male genitalia is specifically designed to reach deep inside a woman's genitalia, where his type of genetic procreative material can reach her different type of procreative material.

One male shooting that material deep inside another male's digestive-waste tract serves no rational purpose whatsoever. Mixing together one's sperm with another guy's sperm will never in a zillion years result in one act of reproduction. As such, you don't need to be a radical evolutionist to realize that if homosexuality were genetic that gays would have died out millions of years ago.

Our bodies, and the nature of sex itself, are proof-positive that we are made for male-female, penile-vaginal sex.

Even when those who called themselves gay have "sex," they necessarily must mimic male-female sex -- they must lie to themselves -- when they resort to using a pseudo-vagina to get off on, whether it is an anus, mouth, or hand. They may think in their heads that they are attracted to the same sex, but the penis is attracted only to something that resembles the vagina in shape and function.

Homosexual "sex" is, by its very nature, a lie, a falsehood, contrary to the truth of human sexuality. Authentic freedom and liberty and rights to happiness cannot be grounded in contravention to such truth.

As for love -- real love, authentic love, true love is a gift of self consistent with the truth of the relationship. I love plenty of men, such as my father. That doesn't mean that I want to have sex with him. That's not love. That's just sex.

Peter Hoh said...

phx: Could the churches, synagogs, etc. keep up the institution of marriage if the state went to civil unions?

The institution of marriage depends on broad participation throughout a society.

A large percentage of straight couples in France are choosing civil unions, which many regard as marriage-light (i.e. marriage without the sense of commitment) that I suspect that the idea of getting married will be eroded in two or three generations, just as it is eroding in the Scandinavian countries.

phx said...

Happiness meant something very different two centuries ago than it means today. The word was derived from the Greek makarios meaning blessed, or happy. In the 18th century it essentially meant "in right relationship with God." Absorb that in terms of "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of [a right relationship with God]."

That sounds like something they might teach you at The Way International but not something you'll find in the OED for example.

Apfelkuchen said...
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Michael Haz said...
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phx said...

Peter Hoh - do you think that has to do with the religious institutions also being eroded?

traditionalguy said...

You nailed it Professor.

You must teach Law and Religion.

We are free to chose and if someone tricks us it is not a crime but between the tricked and the trickier.

Ergo release Bernie Madoff today.

But if a society's law makers can make acts illegal to protect people from confidence men, then why cannot the law makers make sexual choices illegal as well?

That question forced the SCOTUS to enact a new law called Privacy rights kept in a lawless state called Penumbra Land.

David said...

Althouse deletes Shouting Thomas. She made a choice, and he is an echo.

The Althouse argument is powerful, and the product of a scholar in the field. She makes the point as well as I've ever seen.

I do wonder how James Madison would respond. He might have a better counter argument than any of us here. Maybe he would look at the issue (I doubt he ever considered the particular issue of gay marriage and sexual freedom) and agree with Althouse. Maybe not.

Clearly none of us are in James Madison's league.

somefeller said...

I'm not a fan of Barton (who is a fairly influential guy - he used to have senior positions in the Texas GOP and he is called on to be an adviser to socially conservative politicians), but I'm actually going to hazard a limited defense of his position, or at least a response to Althouse's criticism.

The choices that Althouse mentioned (religion, speech) are listed as specifically protected in the Constitution. Unless one thinks that sexual freedom choices / rights are part of the unenumerated rights covered in the 9th Amendment (Randy Barnett - please call your office), while such rights may be good to protect for public policy reasons, the Constitution doesn't require their protection and thus such rights aren't at the same level as the Constitutionally protected rights to freedom of speech or religion. At least that's a sort of originalist position on such issues.

Barton may not be thinking in those terms and is probably just trying to impose his personal religious and social (I hesitate to say moral) views on society. But one could take the position that yes, it is acknowledged that many rights to come from choices rather than any innate characteristic. But some choices get more protection than others under our Constitutional system, so the argument from choice alone isn't enough to end the conversation.

Damn, my Federalist Society days are coming back to haunt me.

David said...

Pogo said...
My own view is that these issues are red herrings to forestall Perry or other conservatives being elected.

But Perry is the one pushing the issue, Pogo.

somefeller said...

Shouting Thomas says: You're full of shit there. My academic record would get me in just about any law school.

Yes, and no doubt you'd just astound the faculty and your fellow students with your erudition, wit and analytic rigor. Ha. Just one ha.

Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) said...

phx et al -- "civil unions" are a very good way out of the "marriage" dilemma, but only if they become available beyond the entire question of sexual orientation and choice.

An effective civil union should be available for any two people who share a connection deeper than that of housemates.

It should be available to a couple of bachelor Norwegian farmer brothers in North Dakota if they want.

Or to a single child and her aged mother living together. Or to a couple of homosexuals.

What somebody does at home with somebody else is none of the government's business. Civil unions address many of the contractual issues inherent in marriage but appropriate for other living arrangements.

We're two queers, or we're two bachelor brothers, should generate equal access to the legal structures and benefits lumped under the rubric of "civil union."

Titus said...

I have not had one same sex attraction while being in Madison.

You can cure the homo. Send him to a place where no hotties live. No hotties, no same sex attraction. Homos are cured.

caplight said...

Makarios

I don't see justification for brining a New Testament meaning to happiness. I believe in Lockean
terms it meant to choose ones destiny.

The use of the word "happiness" to translate makarios is really an attempt in the latter 20th c to find a word to replace "blessed". Makarios means to have found favor with the gods and was used by the. Early church to describe the life that God favors.

Alex said...

The gay thing is not so much about gays, but about breaking the power of the Evangelical right wing. They must be stopped. They can't be allowed to exert influence over us any more. I'm talking about gays, abortion, drugs, everything. Stop the theocracy.

purplepenquin said...

A lot of bisexuals are under the illusion that sexual-preference is a "choice" for other people to make, and it is totally understandable why they would think as such. Since they, personally, can get aroused by either males or females they get confused when other people say they are turned on by only one of the genders.

That aside, I'm ok with choices for those who want 'em. I'm pro-choice on abortion, guns, drugs.

And pizza also. While I personally don't like thick-crust 'za, others who do enjoy it should be allowed to have that if they wish. Same with pretty much anything else an adult wishes to do..either alone or with another consenting adult. I don't understand how anyone who beleives in the spirit of the Declaration of Independence could think otherwise.

Alex said...

Bender - one man shooting his sperm down the throat of a woman also serves no rational purpose yet millions engage in that perversion. Are you going to ban all heterosexual sex that isn't strictly in the missionary position?

Alex said...

White hetero men take the hit.

You want a fight, asshole, you've got it.


The sheer irony in this.

Paddy O said...

"I am going to engage in introspection today and see if I truly am a fundamentalist or not."

If you're being sincere rather than sarcastic then you're probably not a fundamentalist.

Which I guess means if you're being sarcastic then you're illustrating my point, but I can't imagine that would be the case, so happy introspecting!

Apfelkuchen said...
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Titus said...

What about guys that eat out pussy?

Is that an aversion?

What if hetero sex isn't just the standard missionary position in order to pop out a kid?

What if a straighty likes eating out a women's ass.

I love straight porn and they do it all the time.

Is that what straight guys do or think about doing in bed? Eating a women's ass and her pussy? Or is it just something the pornos dreamed up? Someone must like it, otherwise it would be in all the straight porn I watch.

Levi Starks said...

To get to the base of this issue we need to understand why there are rules regarding sexual behavior in our society, (even in very primitive societies). We hold these truths to be self evident "all men are created equal". Yet no one would disagree that no two people are in fact equal. The law treats us as equals. In any relationship between any two people, or groups of people inequities exist. This can be physical, intellectual, emotional. This takes me to point number 2) When we speak of questionable sexual behavior we always say "between consenting adults" We recognize the obvious disparity between adults, and children. and between "normal" adults, and those that we would describe as mentally challenged. The fact of the mater is that even between consenting adults a wide disparity may exist.
So we make rules/laws concerning sexual behavior, not because we want to control people, but because we recognize the substantial risk of harm to citizens when unfettered sexual freedom is allowed to reign. In a story on NPR yesterday they were discussing the incidence of AIDS in America, and bemoaning the fact that young gay black men are "forced" to "bear a disproportionate burden". So I ask you in this era of sexual freedom, exactly who is forcing them to bear this burden?

Peter Hoh said...

phx, I'm not sure. I suspect that a secular society could have a strong marriage culture, but I doubt that a strongly religious society could have a weak marriage culture.

Apfelkuchen said...
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Paddy O said...

Apfel, we don't know that yet. You can't just take my word for it. That would be pigeonholing you in a different direction.

You have some introspecting to do first!

Peter Hoh said...

Bender's 11:39 doesn't seem to take into account the existence of women who are sexually attracted to women.

madawaskan said...

Google Rick Perry and David Barton. They appear together sometimes, so you might want to know.

Were you as concerned when Obama hung out with Reverend Wright?

What was Reverend Wright's views on this subject matter?

Or-I dunno Bill Ayers?

Remember how you bitch slapped us all with the "guilt by association" value you had?


Actually, I will delete you, for the reason stated. Get it together and deal with my point here or face deletion.

Yesss!!!!!

Now can we have you bitch slap Cedarford for every 100th comment?

No censure, no deletion -just a-

"That's bullsh*t Cedarford...!"


OK how about every 300th anti-semitic comment by Cedarford?

I mean what does he have to do -dress up his avatar like a little girl and defend feminism?

********

I'm off to go research what you mean by Perry and Barton "appear" together.

Brian O'Connell said...

Ooh, we got a mechanics of gay sex post. Haven't seen that in a while.

But Bender is also making a category error when he equates the truths of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness with the truth of a particular choice arrived at. Confusing ends and means, basically. And the right is to pursuit of happiness, not happiness itself. So the argument that gays can never reach happiness is neither here nor there.

Also: "[Heterosexuals] do NOT have sex with non-procreative parts, like elbows or ears, but specifically with reproductive organs."

That so?

Paddy O said...

I think somefeller and Bart Hall are making the most substantive arguments here (sorry if there are other substantive arguments I'm missing).

I'm distracted with my own issues on this topic which comes out of being frustrated with both sides. So sorry for adding to the thread wander.

SteveR said...

I've been to several events, 15-20 years ago where Barton spoke. I am a Christian and polticallly conservative and really did not care for his simplistic approach to issues.

So he's very up on The Bible and the history of the founding of the USA, but just because he has all that knowledge and is well spoken doesn't mean he's right.

madawaskan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
phx said...

Also: "[Heterosexuals] do NOT have sex with non-procreative parts, like elbows or ears, but specifically with reproductive organs."

That so?


That's what happens when your sample group is too small.

Trooper York said...

I am late to this discussion but I am concerned that Shouting Thomas had some of his posts deleted. I don't know what they were but I doubt they were worse than some of the stuff that Jeremy or Cedarford or even Titus have posted.

In a free speech zone I would think you should be able to have free speech.

Once again I don't know what they were so I can't comment on them.

I guess they cut against the grain of what is politically correct here. That's a shame.

Trooper York said...

Don't get me wrong. I would not delete Jeremy or Cedarford or Titus or anyone who has an outlier opinion.

I thought that was the policy here.

What could be so bad that he had to be deleted.

Shouting Thomas can be cranky but he is a frequent and valued commenter here. Or at least I thought he was.

phx said...

But Trooper, who declared this a free speech zone? Or are you just saying IYO it should be a FSZ?

(Not that I have any opinion at all on whether Hysterically Shouting Thomas' posts should be deleted or not.)

madawaskan said...

Oh what the hell-

If Bill Ayers had tried to massacre homosexual teenagers at their prom-would you have felt differently about Obama's appearances with Bill Ayers?

I'm pretty sure the media would have ...had a melt down if a white Republican Presidential candidate had appeared with a Bill Ayers that felt it was his unapologetic duty to wipe out homosexuals.

And you would have followed.

Trooper York said...

Apfelkuchen said...
Paddy O, I was being sincere. Thank God I'm not a Fundamentalist, whew

Dude seriously! You are a liberal Fundamentalist.

I bet you have Barack Obama footie pajamas.

Trooper York said...

phx said...
But Trooper, who declared this a free speech zone? Or are you just saying IYO it should be a FSZ?

Well the evil blogger lady has declared it to be one and has often stated that she does not delete because of someones opinion no matter how vile. She has stated several times that she only deletes personal attacks against her family and the use of the n word as there are certain protected classes on this blog.

That is why when Ezra Klein said we were a bunch of anti-semites because of some of Cedarford posts she jumped ugly and had thread after thread about it.

I guess old Shouting touched a nerve or something.

What could be so bad?

Apfelkuchen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Levi Starks said...

Trooper York,
you're missing "Red River" on TCM. it's much better than this discussion.

Trooper York said...

Oh sorry then. I don't know you that well so if I mispoke I am sorry.

caplight said...

Trooper

Given that Ann posted at 9:06 and Shouting posted at 9:08 it was first obvious he had made no attempt to read the article. If he, like Nevada earlier this week, simply led with screed the level he has demonstrated today it may have something to do with it.

Trooper York said...

I have Red Rive on my DVR for later tonight. I am stuck working so I am goofing off in between customers.

madawaskan said...

Trooper

It's not even that-in the hundreds of Cedarford's anti-semitic comments Althouse hasn't even birch slapped him once.

And I'm sorry but she does have her fan boys here (they would follow) and she hasn't even shown any leadership in that area-manned the battle station so to speak against Cedarford.

Let's say you wanted to compile a book of a Constitutional law professor's stand against hatred and you wanted to distribute Cedarford's comments and Althouse's learned rebuttals...

well.

And on top of that Althouse and Meade are concerned with the hate speech or whatever on posters in Madison how about -

"Meade-iating" the hate that goes on in their threads that is right under their nose?

Just once every 100?

caplight said...

Trooper

I think Ann's first comment is your answer.

phx said...

Trooper York:

I don't know what he said to get deleted but he was a perfect girl with his all his crying and shouting at everyone who he disagreed with. Some of us thought he was having an apoplectic fit.

But if he wants to come back and get a hug I don't mind.

Trooper York said...

I don't know caplight but I take your word for it.

On my own blog I don't censor but I have no where near the following and the commenters that post here. But I would ask a question. Should you delete a comment because you want the discussion to go a certain way? Do you want to control the discussion that much? Do you need to be that anal?

I give you an example. When I have a post discussing Barbara Eden's breasts I don't delete someone because they want to talk about how cute her ass was in the I Dream of Jeanie outfit. I mean that is a valid point and if the discussion veeres off that way maybe it was meant to be. Just sayn'

Trooper York said...

Caplight thanks for pointing out that response.

I get it now. It is a control issue.

"You have to talk about what I want you to talk about and not treadjack."

"Because I am the Mommy and I said so!"

Got it. Thanks.

Saint Croix said...

I clicked on "the paradox of choice" tag and got this.

As Barry Schwartz, author of The Paradox of Choice, explains, "When the choice set is larger, people tend to make worse choices.

That's interesting. Maybe in our pursuit of happiness we have decided that a libertarian state is not, in fact, the right choice?

Maybe people should be--to use the Cass Sunstein word--"nudged" into a traditional marriage. Maybe men and women should be encouraged to marry, and breed.

Do children increase our happiness? And are children most happy when they have a father and a mother?

Or not? I dunno.

How come liberals are the only ones who get to do the nudging?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I think that there is a great difference between having the 'right' to make personal 'choices' versus determining that there is a 'right' to force society to accept your 'choices'.

You can personally chose to lop off your ears and insert weird body modifications to make you look like a devil. That is your right to chose. It is right of society to reject your choice.

Similarly. You have the right to act out your homosexuality if you choose. Perhaps the state of being homosexual is something that you don't choose.....it was endowed upon you. So you might choose to not act out your sexuality. That is a choice that many hetero and homo people have chosen over the centuries.

However, your rights to chose do not negate my rights not to accept your choice or to ignore your choice and to ignore you entirely.

Personal rights and choices. Societal rights and choices.

madawaskan said...

caplight

First of all I don't think you've seen the sh*t that we have seen.

Secondly Ezra Klein specifically asked Ann Althouse to address Cedarford and her stand was that she has an absolute value and/or belief in free speech.

Something to that effect.

I think a long valued commenter here left because...well I've never got the full story on that-but if it was because their children were attacked I'm going to be sick.

Third-Ann has shown extra-ordinary tolerance its her strongest suit...or whatever and she has lead people to accept commenters here like Carol and Cedarford....

Thing is Cedarford is a particularly insidious poison and I wish she would just once choose to show some leadership in that area.

On a blog called Althouse.

Fourth Althouse called Ron Paul a racist because he was named as an editor on a publication that had a racist piece published in it.

So...she's human I get that but damn it.

Alex said...

I have to believe that ST is motivated by anti-gay bigotry. He just sees gay men and feels revulsion, hate, fear. He's a pure homophobe. Maybe he should attend a gay pride parade!

sunsong said...

I always liked the idea"

The government that governs least, governs best.

I also like:

live and let live

I find the left and the right deeply offensive in their desire to make decisions and choices for me. I can handle the freedom just fine - thank you very much.

I find the extremes - the left and the right to be mirror images of each - shadow dancers. They each arrogantly think they know what is best and are more than willing to ram their *values* down our throats when they get in power.

They are the problem - not the answer - imo. Anyone who honestly believes he knows how another person *ought* to live their life is a fool and anyone who believes they know what is best for society takes that foolishness to an exponential level. If you are not free to make a bad choice, you are not free to make a good one. If you are not free to fail, you are not free to succeed.

Free will and personal responsiblity will take you farther than any other approach. Freedom and self-determination, with responsibility, are at the heart of liberty.

caplight said...

Trooper

Anybody ever tell you the Yankees suck?

madawaskan said...

commenters that aren't accepted anywhere else. I think you could add Titus to that list.

When Titus first appeared here not only was he vicious to Ann he was particularly vicious to the female commenters.

We've all have had to learn to tolerate that.

Then there is the "N" word-I think Althouse might have learned something from Crack about that-I'm not sure.

And I would absolutely adore Crack if he didn't hate chicks and the French so much.

I've got too much self respect for that.

Alex said...

sunsong - the refrain from the statists(left or right) is "but but we need community enforced standards, otherwise it's anarchy or something". Basically we can't allow freedom or everyone will become a child molester or destroy the environment.

phx said...

If you are not free to make a bad choice, you are not free to make a good one. If you are not free to fail, you are not free to succeed.

It seems to me that because it's an abstract principal with all sorts of apparently unspoken or implicit caveats, the above, and most of the text around it, is just that. An abstract principle.

Chip S. said...

There are lots of really good comments in this thread, but having read most of them, plus Althouse's post, and having read the article she linked to, I'm still not clear on what exactly the issue is.

For one thing, I'm confused by this term "gay (or LGBT) rights." As far as I'm aware, no states impose a heterosexuality requirement for voting, for buying property, for attending public schools, for obtaining a driver's license, or any other similar actions. The only legal distinction based on sexual preference I'm aware of involves marriage, which was posited as a fundamental right by any constitutional scholar I'm aware of for the first 180 or so years since the Bill of Rights was ratified. So is this just another fucking gay-marriage post & thread? Or is Barton actually advocating the creation of a new hetero/homo apartheid regime?

As for Barton's assertion that homosexuality is not a protected freedom, my gut response to complaining lefties is "tough shit." Libertarians and conservatives get the "false consciousness" argument thrown at us all the time in arguments over the economic role of the state. Stuff like, "You're not truly free if you choose to work in a crappy, nonunion job. You fail to perceive your true class affinity." Well, Barton is saying that you're not truly free if you choose to have the wrong kind of sex; you're deluded. So now you know how fucking stupid that line of argument sounds when it addresses an issue near and dear to you.

Trooper York said...

Madawasken has it right. There are plenty of posts that would require a real push back but the evil blogger lady leaves it to the commenter’s and disclaims responsibility.

But there are protected classes and topics that can not be touched.

Spaceman said...

God created man as free and with an ability to choose as an essential part of human existence. So there is a choice to be made as to whether to follow God's way or not. Unfortunately, people are also predispositioned to stray from the path, which leads to pain and suffering for themselves and those around them. So choice comes first.

Chip S. said...

Um, make that "...which was not posited as a fundamental right..."

Dust Bunny Queen said...

But Trooper, who declared this a free speech zone?

@ PHX

Althouse did. However, it seems to be arbitrary albeit infrequent for deletions.

phx said...

DBQ: Got it. Trooper already said, thanks.

Saint Croix said...

She has stated several times that she only deletes personal attacks against her family

It was a borderline attack. It was out of left field, for one thing. I think it was a combination of thread hijack + attack on family member + cranky mood = yank the wank.

I read the post. You didn't miss anything.

phx said...

I hadn't heard of the Marxist "false consciousness argument" before, that's new to me.

Roger J. said...

not particularly a discussion I want to wade in on, but I think Doestoevsky in the grand insquistor on the nature of man covered it very nicely

I have no problem with homosexual unions--as long as two people care about each other, what not to care about? They should be entitled yes entitled to the same "rights" enjoyed by the straight community

Well anyway--my .02

As to the biology of homosexuality, I honestly doubt that choice has anything to with it--the human genome it seems to me is a powerful thing-gays are entitled, IMO, to the same rights that anyone else is.

Oh well--

phx said...

Maybe Althouse is amending the free speech zone law.

I know someone said something about a FEE speech zone, but I think it was just a kook.

Trooper York said...

I think the this blog is far and away the best I have seen in allowing divergent and unpopular viewpoints. That is why when a deletion occurs it is so jarring and strange.

But of course the blogmistress is entitled to do as she pleases. She is allowed to be cranky.

It is a "choice" as it were.

Roger J. said...

My position on the professors editorial policy is this: its her blog and she can do what she damn well wants to--dont like her blog? go somewhere else--she doesnt have to be consistent, caring, or fair--her blog, she is the dude with the fuzzy balls.

Maguro said...

I hadn't heard of the Marxist "false consciousness argument" before, that's new to me.

You've probably heard it before, just dressed up in slightly different language. What's the Matter With Kansas by Thomas Franks is one example. Obama's "bitter clinger" speech would be another.

Roger J. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Trooper York said...

I agree with you Roger of course. It was just a little strange.

If the blogger lady wasn't so old I would think that she was just having her period or something.

Trooper York said...

Wait a minute! Was that a personal attack!

Delete that.

Sorry.

Roger J. said...

Bad trooper :)

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