Friday, March 15, 2013

The Love of a Free Man

Every child has a right to Mother and Father.

Every child has a right to good food, clothing, and medical care.

Every child has a right to opportunities for improving itself (i.e. education).

People are fond of making statements like these, statements that sound nice but carry some very poisonous implications (in my opinion).  The problem with all these rights arises when other people see how I am failing to provide them to my children. 

What happens when my family lacks mother- and father-figures that meet with somebody else's approval? 

What happens when my idea of what constitutes good food, clothing, and medical care conflicts with somebody else's?

What happens when my idea of what constitutes a good education for my child isn't yours?

In the modern world, this is more or less what happens.  A bunch of busybodies see my family and are terribly offended by it (seeing its existence as an attack on theirs).  Responding to the threat posed by my existing with relationships that don't look enough like theirs, these busybodies get together and organize protests.  They make flyers.  They create memes on Facebook.  They make all kinds of holy noises about things like "grassroots politics," "the moral majority," "family values," "progressive values," and whatnot.  They form PACs.  They gather donations.  They write angry letters to their clueless representatives in some august body of government bureaucrats pretending to be responsible lawmakers.  The bureaucrats get ants in their pants and do what they always do--form a committee.  This committee sits down and determines to establish once and for all (1) what a good family looks like (what constitutes an acceptable Mother and Father for all Americans?), (2) what good healthcare looks like (what constitutes an acceptable diet for all Americans?), and (3) what a good education looks like (what constitutes an acceptable education for all Americans?).  The committee is very precise and deliberate.  It must be practical.  It cannot make room for all kinds of silly exceptions to general rules.   It has to lay down the law--for everyone, for all time.

And so what happens when my little family isn't up to snuff?  What happens when the committee isn't impressed by my fathering skills, or my wife's mothering?  What happens when it notes that I don't feed my kids a USDA-approved diet--of poisonous denatured crap marketed by profiteering companies whose deep pockets make them much more interesting and persuasive to bureaucrats than I will ever be?  What happens when the committee doesn't like the education I have chosen to give my kids?  Nobody knows.  But one thing is certain: I will be under scrutiny, and I might lose the right to even have a family, if the committee decides that I am not worthy of such an honor (or deserving of such a responsibility, if you prefer).

Who limits the committee's jurisdiction?  Nobody really.  The bureaucrats answer to their loudest constituents--a bunch of punks who want to micromanage my life to make it look like theirs--and to other bureaucrats, some elected and some not, who tend to think that the answer to all society's problems is letting more of them get a lick in.  ("Just let us handle this one, kid.  We'll take care of your problems!")  Inviting these clowns into your life is easy: getting them out is really hard (no matter what political party they belong to or where they worship on Sundays).  Combine the bureaucrats' inherent love of absolute authority with their busybody constituents' insistent demand that all human relationships be micro-managed to meet their finicky tastes, and the result is a perfect recipe for enslaving me.

I don't give a damn about gay marriage, one way or the other.  If you want one, go for it with my blessing.  If you don't, I would never force it on you.  I am not an angry guy.  But there are ways of making me mad.  I get mad when punks want to bring bureaucrats into my home (into my bedroom, for God's sake) as some kind of absolute authority pronouncing judgement on the worthiness of my personal relationships--"defending" my marriage (or my diet or my education) by forcing me to make it according to the arbitrary determinations of some stupid committee.  I resent this "defense."  I see it as a direct attack on my religious freedom, not the legitimate defense of anyone else's.  (You want religious freedom?  Get the heck out of my house, out of my bedroom, out of my larder, out of my career, and out of my life.  Go and live your own.  You don't have to solemnize my gay marriage, or say only nice things about it.  You don't have to eat steak.  You don't have to go to school where I do.  You don't have to bail my business out when it fails.  You don't have to buy healthcare for me.  Your religious freedom doesn't include the right to make me live the way you do.  I have religious freedom too, punk, so go eat the poison you like and leave me to the ones I prefer.)  

Just so we're clear: I will marry whom I damn well please, of whatever gender or age I please, for whatever reason I want.  I will eat what I damn well please, in whatever quantities I please, for whatever reason I want.  I will send my kids to school where I damn well please, for whatever reason I want.  I don't care if I am not the best qualified person to marry or make dietary choices or educate kids.  I will not sign my marriage, my diet, or my kids over to some committee (not even if the chair of that committee affects the titles or trappings of deity: the real God sends rain upon the just and the unjust alike and doesn't give a damn about making results fair--in this life or any other that we know anything definite about).

The committee and the busybodies it represents can cite me statistics all day long, proving (1) how my marriage would be better if I were a rich, white heterosexual with a partner of the opposite gender (so we'll just seize the kids of poor single parents, or force them to marry someone of the appropriate gender and socio-economic class right away if they want to keep their children?); (2) how my diet would be better if I followed USDA guidelines (get your heart-healthy whole grains while they're hot, suckers!); and (3) how my kids would be better off if society took them away from me and gave them to Mitt Romney or Barack Obama (think of all the rights and opportunities my children don't have because I'm not a millionaire!).  I don't care.  Maybe the committee should sterilize me while they're at it.  Heck, they could cut all the fuss and bother and just send me straight to the gas chamber.  (Yes, Godwin, I embrace thee.  This is the Internet, after all.)  What a load of crap.  Not only does it make no sense as an idea (religious freedom means that I have the right to make you my bitch! this is precisely what the founders of our republic wanted, as anyone who reads the Federalist and/or Anti-Federalist papers will agree), it would be a practical disaster (creating far more confusion and suffering than it could ever hope to alleviate).

Love is not a human right. It is a human opportunity (that can never be granted by committee). You should leave people as free as possible to find and express it in whatever circumstances life gives them. Sometimes, those circumstances will make somebody's love look poor and mean and worthless to other people, but that is no reason to take it away, to deny its expression, to replace it with the love of others who are more fortunate, or more aesthetically pleasing to some committee of busybodies too busy interfering with others' lives to manage their own.  (Don't you people have something else to do?  A budget to keep?  Drones to send against Pakistani women and children while you agonize over some American woman's decision to remove a few cells from her uterus?  A beam to remove from your own eye, maybe, before you go poking around for the motes in mine?  Scribes, Pharisees, hypocrites.  If you are reading old Judaeo-Christian scripture, this is what you are.  If you don't read scripture, then pick up any book you like on Hitler's Germany, Franco's Spain, Mao's China, or Lenin's Russia: these are your heroes, the shining beacons of moral purity that you want me to follow to a better future.  Even if you are right, I don't want to come to that future.  I would rather go to the gas chamber.)

In conclusion, if I ever sit on a committee charged to consider the institution of marriage as it exists throughout humanity (in my country or any other), this will be my contribution: "This committee has nothing useful to say when it comes to prescribing the nature of people's personal relationships. As long as they are not killing each other or inflicting criminal damage, people can have whatever personal relationships they want. They can register those relationships legally using any language they please, and they can participate in society however they find opportunity."  See?  I actually believe in religious freedom, unlike the punks (conservative and liberal) who want to make everyone live as they do.  (What would Jesus do?  He would make you live like me, obviously.  What would Abe Lincoln or Martin Luther King do?  The same thing!  Everyone must be good the same way!  We're all going to march in lock-step to heaven on earth!  Not with me you're not.  I am never going to board that ship, not matter who or what stands at the helm.)      

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