Don’t Even Think Of Marrying Your Dog or Robot In North Carolina

I just can’t understand why over one thousand people would go out to a rally for the purpose of promoting discrimination against a group of people and supporting restriction upon their rights. The News and Observer reports:

More than 1,000 people, many from Baptist churches across the state, stood on the ice-covered lawn outside the Legislative Building on Tuesday to demand that state legislators give them a chance to vote on a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.

The rally was a follow-up to a news conference last week during which Republican legislators reintroduced a bill that would allow North Carolina to hold a referendum on defining marriage as a union between one man and one woman. North Carolina law prohibits same-sex marriage, but advocates of the constitutional amendment say they want extra protections should a judge decide the current law is unconstitutional.

Ok, we  now know who, what ,when, but I’m still puzzled about why.

Two well-known conservative Christian commentators who spoke at the rally described a breakdown of society should gay couples be allowed to marry — including a rise in single-parent households and in the number of dependents wanting Social Security and health insurance benefits.

David Gibbs III, a lawyer who in 2005 fought to keep brain-damaged Terri Schiavo on life support, told rally participants gay marriage would “open the door to unusual marriage in North Carolina.

“Why not polygamy, or three or four spouses?” Gibbs asked. “Maybe people will want to marry their pets or robots.”

Ok, got it. They’re nuts.

Naked People


This is the most unusual link I have received so far today. Was the internet invented to facilitate the viewing of naked people? Click on the pictures of people at this site and watch their clothes disappear.

Why You Must Go Beyond The Headline

The headline: from Rasmussen: Just 11% of Republicans Say Limbaugh Is Their Party’s Leader.

This certainly sounds like it might be of significance in light of the Democratic efforts (with Republican cooperation) to tie the GOP to Rush Limbaugh. One’s interpretation of this headline should change considerably after reading a few paragraphs down:

For this topic, respondents were asked if they agreed or disagreed with the statement, “Rush Limbaugh is the leader of the Republican Party. He says jump, and they say how high.”

Phrased this way, I’m surprised that even 11% agreed. A poll regarding Republican views of different potential leaders without such leading language would be far more interesting. I bet far more than 11% would say they like Rush.

Lumping Liberals and Libertarians

Will Wilkinson remains on the right track in looking for similarities between (some) liberals and (some) libertarians, while continuing to face objections. He debunks one common objection:

The Lump of Liberalism Fallacy

That’s what I’m going to call the error I sense lurking beneath a lot of resistance to moderate libertarianism. The fallacy is based on an implicit denial of the fluidity of ideology and political identity. The bounds of “right” and “left” have shifted immensely over the past two generations. Yet political conversation at any time tends to proceed as if the ideological inclinations and cultural assumptions of the “left” and “right” are natural, essential, and fixed. So, just to pick an example out of the air, the argument that the considerable intellectual, cultural, and psychological overlap between moderate classical liberals and market-friendly modern liberals ought to be given more coherence as a political philosophy and political identity is invariably met with the claim that this is compltely pointless because these groups have traditionally been part of different partisan coalitions, and these coalitions are essentially this or that way. So in order to make something liberaltarianism a going concern, you’ve basically got to find enough libertarians and natural Democrats both willing to sell out everything they believe in and good luck with that. It’s basically the same reasoning that says it is impossible to introduce to market a successful new brand of cereal because all the preexisting cereals brands already have 100 percent of the market share. But there’s something pretty obviously wrong with that way of thinking. I’m a big fan of Kashi U.

I’ve noted many times that there has been a major change in the definitions of left versus right in this country, especially when trying to apply a simplistic single definition for each group. These trends have been going on for a while and greatly accelerated during the Bush years.

Conservative increasingly came to be defined in terms of social conservatism and support for the neoconservative foreign policy (along with its associated restrictions on civil liberties). Those identified as liberals have increasingly been those of us who oppose the war, oppose the restrictions on civil liberties, and oppose the social policies of the religious right. All of these are areas in common with many libertarians.

Economic views, especially before the recent economic crash, have had far less significance in dividing liberals from conservatives. Considering the Republican support for corporate welfare and collusion between big business and government when Republicans were in power, liberals often were stronger supporters of free market principles than Republicans. In light of these trends, it makes perfect sense for Wilkinson to see a greater affinity between libertarians and liberals as opposed to conservatives.

Of course this gets more complicated when looking at the reality of vastly different groups often falling under these same  labels. Besides the social conservatives, there are still some conservatives who are more concerned with limiting government and preserving civil liberties. Unfortunately they now have minimal influence in the Republican Party, making the party a poor ally for libertarians. (A totally separate argument is whether libertarians should work to try to make the Republican Party more libertarian).

Liberals vary in terms of terms of their concentration more on civil liberties/social issues versus more traditional economic liberals, as I discussed here. Wilkinson is correct in his separation of liberals based upon whether they are more or less market-friendly.

There is also a wide variety of people who fall under the libertarian label. Ron Paul has some views in common with liberals, such as his opposition to the war, but ultimately he holds a number of conservative views which are contrary to promoting freedom. There are many libertarians who fit the stereotype of merely being “Republicans who have smoked marijuana.” The most extreme Libertarian Republicans even back the war along with massive restrictions upon civil liberties in support of the “war on terror.” These are clearly not the libertarians Wilkinson has in mind in forming any sort of common ground with market-friendly liberals.

We often have groups of people adopt common opinions which do not necessarily have to go together. This often occurs due to who they wind up associating with as opposed to any inherent need for these positions to be lumped together. There is no inherent reason for social conservatives to also adopt fiscal conservative policies. We are even seeing some breakdown in this, with conservatives such as Mike Huckabee often frustrating fiscal conservatives as much as Democrats do.

Similarly there is no reason that those who are liberals based upon opposition to the war, restrictions on civil liberties, and the social polices of the religious right must hold any specific economic views. This provides a logical opening for libertarians such as Wilkinson to seek communication with liberals who are not hostile to free market ideas.

The reverse might also be true. While hard core believers in pure laissez-faire capitalism may be unwavering in their view, generally based more on a quasi-religious ideology than actual evidence, I wonder how many other libertarians have adopted this view based upon a more general support of freedom and lack of seeing other alternatives. To some libertarians Republican views on social issues, civil liberties, and foreign policy make them an unacceptable choice.

Traditional Democratic views on economic policy excluded them for many libertarians, especially as propagandists on the right has often been successful in making Democratic policies appear even more anti-market than they actually are. Some libertarians are more concerned with economic policy, with many gravitating towards the Republicans, even if based more on rhetoric than actual policy. Many of them have winding up becoming overly tolerant of other Republican views after associating with them.

Libertarians whose fundamental concerns were over civil liberties and social issues may have adopted the more extreme economic views of libertarians from associating with them. Some might have been more accepting of a liberalism which concentrated on civil liberties and social issues and is generally market-friendly, even if not supporting total lack of government activity in the economy.

Wilkinson is essentially correct in his post. If we look at the old stereotypes of liberals and libertarians as fixed lumps the two will have a hard time coexisting. If we look at the wide variety of views held by individuals falling under these labels then there are some libertarians and some liberals who do have a lot more in common.

Related Posts:

Libertarians and the Republican Party
A Libertarian Joins The War of Words Against the Republican Party
Moving In A More Liberal and Libertarian Direction
Liberaltarians: Liberals and Libertarians Uniting

Will Wilkinson on Liberaltarianism