I went to see Atlas Shrugged Part III the night it opened. The evening led me to reflect on what had attracted me to Ayn Rand as a twenty-something graduate student in economics.
And let it be said: I was very attracted to her ideas. I appreciated how she dramatized the evils of a centrally planned economy. I was persuaded by her depiction of the fast descent of economic control into a totalitarian state.
Most of all, I loved how she said it was ok to be selfish. There it is. The naked truth about the appeal of Ayn Rand. Selfishness and an irrational individualism continues to be a glaring weakness of much of the Right today.
But why exactly, was selfishness so appealing to my twenty-something self? Read more…
I have always tried to argue that there is a very serious civil outcome to redefining marriage, and it has nothing to do with religious liberty or the idea of “sacramental marriage.”
Since marriage is society’s primary way of acknowledging and understanding parenthood, redefining marriage redefines parenthood. Here in California, the affects of “SSM” and redefining parenthood are rapidly making their way through the legislature. Last year, Gov. Brown signed a bill allowing three or more legal parents for children, which was inspired by a “SSM” custody dispute.
Now we have this: AB 1951. This bill will change birth certificates to allow for a gender neutral option for parents. Gay couples will be able to list both of themselves on the child’s birth certificate. California recently did away with the terms “husband” and “wife,” because of “SSM,” and the lead legislator for that measure said that those terms were outdated and biased. I suppose we can infer the same thing for “mother” and “father.” Read more…
One man plus one woman = two legally recognized parents for children.
I believe that the divide between conservatives on the marriage issue runs deeper than marriage. Over on Ricochet, on Peter Robinson’s marriage thread, several times I asked a question that went something like this:
Does society have a duty to place a nature-based limitation on the number of legally recognized parents for children?
There is a specific reason I asked this question. When it comes to legally recognized parents for children, there is a divide between the socially conservative view and the libertarian view. In fact, I don’t believe there is a principled difference between the libertarian view and the extreme Left on this particular point. By “extreme Left” I am referring specifically to Melissa Harris Perry’s remarks that she made in about March or April of 2013: Read more…
Around March of 2013 I came across the words of a prominent LGBT activist named Masha Gessen:
I have three kids who have five parents, more or less, and I don’t see why they shouldn’t have five parents legally… I would like to live in a legal system that is capable of reflecting that reality, and I don’t think that’s compatible with the institution of marriage.
Imagine having five parents! Here’s what it means: it means going back and forth between all those households on a regular basis, never having a single place to call home during your most tender and vulnerable years. It means having divided Christmases, other holidays, and birthdays–you spend one with one parent, and another with the other parent, never spending a single holiday or birthday with both parents. Imagine having each of your parents completely ignore the other half of you, the other half of your family, as if it did not even exist. Meanwhile, imagine each parent pouring their energy into their new families and creating a unified home for their new children. These experiences give you the definite impression of being something leftover, something not quite part of them. You live like that on a daily basis for 18+ years.
As a child, would you choose a family structure advocated by Masha Gessen? Does this look fun?
I don’t have to imagine, because I had five parents. I had five parents because my mom and dad divorced when I was about three; my mom remarried once and my dad remarried twice. So I had a mom and two step-moms, and a dad and one step-dad. In this day and age children can already have five parents. That’s how badly marriage has deteriorated already. The main difference between what Gessen advocates and my experience is that my step parents were not legal parents; she advocates for all of the adults in her situation to be legal parents.
Fault Line between SoCons and Libertarians
I’m a regular participant over at Ricochet, and the subject of the “fault line” between social conservatives and libertarians arises from time to time. It’s a subject that is very interesting to me. Here’s how I see it.
The libertarian’s worldview begins with the fully developed and fully capable adult, which they refer to as the “individual.”
I will refer to him as the “individual as an infant” since this is how he enters the world. Libertarians do not account for how the “individual as an adult” came to be. If his legitimate needs and entitlements were violated while he was the “individual as an infant,” from a structural or policy standpoint they turn a blind eye, as they shun the very idea of entitlements and policy restrictions/encouragements for adults generally. The pain this causes the “individual as an infant” is personally meaningful to libertarians, but it is not meaningful to them on a structural/policy level. In other words, they are unwilling to use structural means to avoid that suffering because these structural means impinge on the liberties of the current “individuals as adults” in the short term.
Without providing for the structural means to reduce the risk factors for the suffering of the “individual as an infant,” Read more…
In my last post, I asked, “Where are the libertarians when we need them?” (Metaphorically, by asking about Libertarian icon, Murray Rothbard.) I was looking at the truly appalling Reproductive Health Bill, foisted on the people of the Republic of the Philippines, by the United Nations Population Fund, aided and abetted by the United States government.
When the government is taking such a heavy-handed approach to “reproductive health” as to insist on a “Certificate of Compliance” before couples can get married, or to mandate “age-appropriate” sex education, one naturally wonders: what is the problem this legislation is designed to solve? Is there an over-population crisis in the Philippines?
The Philippine Archipelago
What are the facts?
In the Philippines, the Total Fertility Rate is (are you sitting down? Are you ready for this shocking over-breeding? Drum roll…..) Read more…
Quick: what are the legitimate activities of government, according to libertarians?
Usually, libertarians will mention a short like including things like national defense, criminal justice, protection of property rights. Some, such as Murray Rothbard, are anarcho-capitalists and believe even these traditional functions of government could and should be handled by the private sector.
Murray Rothbard, self-described “Enemy of the State.”
Where are you when we need you, Murray?
Where, then were the libertarians when the United States supported efforts to impose the “Reproductive Health Bill” on the Republic of the Philippines?
This bill mandates that all school children receive Age- and Development-Appropriate Reproductive Health Education. – Read more…
Have you ever seen a dog race up to the boundary of a yard, and abruptly stop? It looks very odd, until you realize that the dog is wearing a fancy collar. You surmise that there is an invisible electric “fence” embedded in the yard. The dog has been shocked so often that it stops itself before it actually touches the invisible fence line.
This image flashed in my mind as I was reading “Home Economics: The Consequences of Changing Family Structure,” by Nick Schulz. Mr. Schulz does a fine job laying out the harmful effects of the deconstruction of the family, both to individuals and to the larger project of the free society. This nice little book lays out the economic consequences of family breakdown. But he studiously avoids anything that might have even the remotest chance of getting him tagged with the label of “moralizing.” Or perhaps I should say, anything that would “zap” him with such a label.
He throw out the obligatory protective covering right at the beginning of this small paperback by promising to refrain from “passing judgment about divorce or out-of-wedlock births.” I think this is rather an odd position to take while describing such socially destructive trends. But that is where we are as a culture, due to the systematic strategy of the Life Style Left of zapping anyone who dares to challenge their Orthodoxy. You know the Orthodoxy, don’t you?
- The kids will be fine as long as their parents are happy. Read more…
Recently I had an exchange on Facebook about redefining marriage to include gay couples. I mentioned something about conservative gays against gay marriage, and a friend replied to me, saying:
“I for one have never heard of a conservative gay … so that’s a new one on me.”
I wasn’t surprised when he said it, because I didn’t know that conservative gays existed either until the past couple years. Like him, I thought all gays were liberals.
But conservative gays do exist. There are gays who do not agree with the gay marriage issue.
I keep wondering why liberal gays get all the media attention. Why are liberal gays the only gays you see on TV with signs and banners? Why are they the ones who get interviews and publicity, and not the others? Isn’t the marriage issue a gay issue? Read more…
I’ve got a secret to tell you. It’s about Proposition 8 – the ballot initiative that defined marriage as only between a man and a woman in California, November 2008. I call it “my little prop 8 secret” because I have only told three people, until now.
My secret is this: I did’t vote on that measure. I voted that day; I voted on all the other issues and candidates. But for Prop 8 I did not cast a vote one way or the other.
I knew that I didn’t have enough information to vote in either direction. The “equality” arguments were starting to be persuasive, yet in many ways I am and always have been rather traditional. I knew what the Bible had to say about marriage, but I was starting to wonder what the harm would really be if gays could marry. I was sincerely worried about voting wrongly then regretting it later. And by “wrongly” I mean voting for something harmful regardless of whether it won or not. I take voting that seriously and I worry that someday I will have to give an accounting of the votes I have cast. Intuiting that this was a critical issue and that I lacked information, I refrained. Read more…