09 January 2012

An Adult Discussion On Gay Marriage

What is their superior logical realisation that makes gay marriage proponents, one of the smallest minorities of all time, right and polygamy proponents, the largest majority of all time, wrong?

There are some things you dare not say. Like what? Oh, I dare not say it.

ANY response to legalising gay marriage other than "yes, immediately" is one of those things that dare not be spoken, and presidential hopeful Rick Santorum (the one from Iowa who appeared out of nowhere and very very nearly beat Mitt Romney) found that out a few days ago.

I could have just as easily opened with "you know someone has lost the argument when they refuse to listen to anyone else's point of view," or "you know someone has no logical reason for their belief when they refuse to listen to anyone else's point of view."

Now, I've debated people on just about everything, and I can tell you that part of a debate involves listening to what the other person has to say. You can completely disagree but you at least have to listen and provide a reasoned response otherwise you're an asshole and you don't want to convince anyone that you're right, you just want to bully them into shutting up and stepping in line. That's the same with EVERYONE that I have ever heard* who has ever voiced the opinion that gay marriage should be legal. Watch this two minute segment below:

What is the first thing you noticed wrong with the questioner's argument? I'll give you a hint: it appears at 6 seconds in. She says "all men are created equal" (no argument there) and "have a right to happiness." If you look at the founding documents, none say that we have a right to happiness. The Declaration of Independence says we have a right to "life, liberty, and the persuit of happiness," and the Constitution say that the government cannot deny us our rights to "life, liberty, or property without due process," but neither says we have the right to happiness. Persuing happiness is way different from happiness just like persuing the Loch Ness Monster is way different to finding the Loch Ness Monster. You don't ever have to be happy, but you have to at least be able to try to be happy, even if you fail. That's the difference.

Saying everyone has the right to happiness is something that is impossible to legislate because then we would have to first define what happiness is is a way that everyone would agree to (which is probably impossible, as most people can't even define happiness for themselves), then find some way to regulate thought so everyone could have this single definition of happiness. One scenario, in which you have the right to persue happiness, gives you maximum freedom, and the other, where you have the right to happiness, makes you a thought slave to some necessarily omniscient government body.

Let's give this off-camera person the benefit of the doubt and say she misspoke. She meant to say "persuit" but just forgot. Okay. I forget things all the time.

Santorum then goes on with a Socratean approach, asking questions to find out the limits of his interlocutor's argument and see if any problems arise. He first asks "are we saying that everyone should have the right to marry?" The audience cheers so we can assume they agree. He then asks "so anyone can marry anyone else?" and the audience agrees again.

Right here we can see a problem in the audience's position. "Anyone can marry anyone else." So a 60 year old can marry an 8 year old? Under the condition "anyone can marry anyone else" the answer is "yes." If the audience disagrees then the followup of "why?" should be asked, because if they disagree then they don't believe that "anyone can marry anyone else," or else they are defining marriage to mean something that excludes certain classes of people, such as 8 year olds. This is how the Socratic method works, but you won't get the audience to follow any of their beliefs through to their conclusions because this is not about reason.

Santorum could have gone the route that I just went but he presented another completely valid followup question "so anyone can marry several people?" And it's not just me saying it is a perfectly valid question, one Ron Paul supporter tryptala (and you know my stance on Ron Paul supporters) posted the following:

His point about polygamy is perfectly valid. Why is my desire to have multiple wives different from a man wanting to marry a man? They are both non-normal forms of marriage in our particular culture. One does not have more justification than the other. The problem is, as Ron Paul knows, the state does not belong in the marriage business. It is a religious institution and the state should get out of the authority to define marriage of any kind. It's just federal overextension of power.

My position tends to migrate slightly. While I often say that it is not the business of the state to deal with marriage at all, it is self-evident that legislating marriage in such a way as to maximise the birthing and raising of children is in the state's best interest, as has Sweden and the Roman Empire realised.

Valid a point though it may be the audience will have none of it. They shoot him down. Remember, they are not looking for a logical, adult discussion, they are looking to bully. The off-camera personality shouts back "that's not what I'm asking," as if she doesn't know how a logical, adult debate works. She will stick to this line throughout the rest of the video because she has no answer to Santorum's question. She has no way to justify her belief so she doesn't try to justify it. That's not to say that there is no way to justify her belief, just that she personally has not thought out a way to do so. Not only that, she never corrects him on her belief that everyone has a right to be happy, meaning that it was either not a misstatement, as I ventured above, and she really is stupid, or she's so ignorant of how to debate someone she becomes frozen in a flash of emotion and can't be thawed until her emotion is reciprocated or her interlocutor shuts up and cowers away.

Which brings us to the question "why is it alright for two people to marry but not three?" The Quran says a man can take up to four wives. Right there you have the holy book of one billion people, one seventh of the world's population, stating that a valid marriage can include up to five people. Are one billion people wrong, and if so why? Can fifty million Elvis fans be wrong? Yes. Are they wrong? In Nepal it is common for one woman to marry several brothers, five or six, at a time. Historically polygamy has been the norm for the overwhelming majority of humanity. The norm, meaning it has been accepted, not that it has been practically engaged by the majority of humanity, but that it has been accepted. Why is the overwhelming majority of everyone who has ever lived wrong about marriage and yet the smallest of all minorities right? What is their superior logical realisation that makes gay marriage proponents, one of the smallest minorities of all time, right and polygamy proponents, the largest majority of all time, wrong? Answer me this and you've solved the conundrum that has plagued political discourse for the past couple of decades. Answer me this and you will have for the first time presented me with a logical, adult discussion on gay marriage and not an emotion driven bully exercise.

*There may be gay marriage proponents who take part in adult discussions, but every single person that I have personally encountered just wants to bully. This makes them more intollerant than the 9/11 truthers, Islamists, anti-Israel people, and anti-religion secular humanists, all whom I have actually been able to get adult discussions out of despite vehemently disagreeing with.