Archive | March 3, 2011

The Logic of Marriage

I’ve heard that my letter below was published in today’s Opelika-Auburn News; I haven’t seen a copy yet so I don’t know whether they cut anything.

To the Editor:

The arguments one hears nowadays against treating gays like human beings all seem to be recycled from the arguments 150 years ago against treating women like human beings.

In the 19th century, a married woman had no legal right to control her own property, to have access to her own children, or to resist being raped by her husband. Those who fought against this legalized oppression of women were accused of seeking the abolition of marriage.

defend marriage and the flag!

The male supremacists’ argument was that the subordination of the wife to the husband had so long characterized marriage that it should be considered part of the very definition of marriage, so that no relationship between legal equals could count as a marriage.

If we were to apply that standard nowadays, we would have to say that there are no married couples in the United States today. If we’re not willing to say that, then we must admit that marriage’s history does not define its boundaries.

Just as the 19th-century male supremacists rejected same-rights marriage as contradictory, so today’s hetero-supremacists reject same-sex marriage as “impossible,” as Bruce Murray does in his letter [Sunday]. But if we reject the former argument, we must reject the latter for the same reason.

The anti-marriage-equality act (calling it the defense-of-marriage act is the equivalent of calling the old prohibition on women’s and blacks’ right to vote the defense-of-voting act) is trivially unconstitutional; there’s no way that granting special rights to heterosexuals and denying them to homosexuals can be considered “equal protection of the laws.”

More importantly (since justice is always more important than legality), the anti-marriage-equality act is a sin against human equality, and an oath to enforce it would be just as illegitimate as an oath to commit any other crime.

Roderick T. Long

For previous posts on the definition of marriage, see “Who Defends Marriage?” and “The Form of Sound Words.”

Atlas Shrunk, Part 5: Or, More Reasons For Pessimism

Atlas’s description of Halley’s Fourth Concerto:

It rose in tortured triumph, speaking its denial of pain, its hymn to a distant vision. … The Concerto was a great cry of rebellion. It was a ‘no’ flung at some vast process of torture, a denial of suffering, a denial that held the agony of the struggle to break free. … The sounds of torture became defiance, the statement of agony became a hymn to a distant vision for whose sake anything was worth enduring, even this. It was the song of rebellion – and of a desperate quest.

Atlas’s description of Halley’s Fifth Concerto:

It was a symphony of triumph. The notes flowed up, they spoke of rising and they were the rising itself, they were the essence and the form of upward motion, they seemed to embody every human act and thought that had ascent as its motive. It was a sunburst of sound, breaking out of hiding and spreading open. It had the freedom of release and the tension of purpose. It swept space clean, and left nothing but the joy of an unobstructed effort. Only a faint echo within the sounds spoke of that from which the music had escaped, but spoke in laughing astonishment at the discovery that there was no ugliness or pain, and there never had had to be. It was the song of an immense deliverance.

What the movie is giving us as the “John Galt Theme”:

Parturiunt montes nascetur ridiculus mus.

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