Wednesday, 4 November 2009

'Guardian' Meltdown in 5...4...3...

Voters in the US state of Maine have rejected a law allowing same-sex couples to marry.
How long before the anguished CiF columns, I wonder?

And isn't Maine usually one of the more liberal states?

17 comments:

indigomyth said...

I would have thought you would have supported greater freedom for individuals and communities to celebrate whatever unions they wished? It seems rather like a case of the majority interfering in how minority groups define "marriage", which seems contrary to libertarian ideology. If some religious groups wish to celebrate same-sex marriage, then is not their right, in a free society?

Are you a conservative authoritarian perhaps, AP?

Bill Quango MP said...

I'm all in favour of allowing any union that people want. The children of those unions may face problems, but that's life.
Still, anything that causes a Mocha to drop in Richmond is to be enjoyed.

Mark Wadsworth said...

I was pleased to see that the BBC gave Obamarama a big pat on the back for passing a law against racist or homophobic attacks.

Er, I'm no expert in US criminal law, but wasn't attacking somebody already a crime, irrespective of the reason?

@ Indigo, what makes you think that AP is a "conservative authoritarian"? I often visit this 'blog and have never had that impression (although I might be wrong).

JuliaM said...

"I would have thought you would have supported greater freedom for individuals and communities to celebrate whatever unions they wished?"

And so, I celebrate the state of Maine holding a vote at which a majority of its voters said 'No thanks, not here'...

It only applies in the state of Maine; that's localism for you.

Also, like Bill Quango, anything that causes a problem for the Guardianista set, who are usually only too happy when people vote their way, and not so keen on the other.

"Er, I'm no expert in US criminal law, but wasn't attacking somebody already a crime, irrespective of the reason?"

You'd think so, wouldn't you?

"I often visit this 'blog and have never had that impression (although I might be wrong)."

You're not wrong. Frankly, far too lazy to be a true authoritarian. The hours you have to put it..! ;)

To clarify my position on same sex marriage: I support same-sex civil partnerships (I've attended two!). I support them being on a similar legal footing to marriages.

But they aren't marriages. They are something else.

ranter said...

It is important to differentiate between marriages and civil partnerships. I have no problem with same sex civil partnerships, in fact I'd like to see their scope widened to allow more people to take advantage of the benefits they can bring - they shouldn't be based on sexual relationships alone. Marriage is clearly defined and same sex 'sexual' relationships are nothing like marriages - the difference is clear and must be maintained.

adamcollyer said...

I can't really see what the difference is between a "civil partnership" and marriage. I personally would have voted "yes" in that referendum. Anything that encourages settled relationships and social stability ought to be supported. Not sure whether that makes me a liberal/libertarian or a conservative.

Witterings From Witney said...

I'm all for localism and if that is what the people of Maine want - good luck to them. Those that strongly object will move out - choice again.

If only we had that localism 'choice thing' over here on matters like law & order, health, education, taxation etc - still one can dream, can one not?

indigomyth said...

//And so, I celebrate the state of Maine holding a vote at which a majority of its voters said 'No thanks, not here'...//

Perhaps, but even a local referendum involves the majority interfering in the affairs of separate entities / organisations. As a libertarian, I thought the libertarian position was one of absolute individuality. This referendum is denial of that individuality, isn't it? Indeed, isn't it profoundly illiberal to believe that any degree of the majority have the right to say what the minority can or cannot do, as long as it does not directly limit the freedom of other people. Therefore, I cannot see how the victory of the "Yes" vote was an outcome a libertarian can celebrate, since, as I said, it is the involvement of the state in private affairs, the perpetuation of state coercion, and the undermining of individual (either person, or organisation) autonomy and liberty?

//Not sure whether that makes me a liberal/libertarian or a conservative.//

It is my position that that makes you a conservative.

//Indigo, what makes you think that AP is a "conservative authoritarian"? I often visit this 'blog and have never had that impression (although I might be wrong).//

I have visited here often as well (I have bookmarked it, because I enjoy reading it, and agree with many of the things AP writes), however the tone of this post cast doubt in my mind, because most other libertarian blog sites and websites (Cato Institute etc) as broadly in favour of permitting same-sex marriage, because they recognise the primacy of individuality, and the ability of private institutions to act according to their own ethos, without coercion from the state.

Andy said...

Julia
As Maine goes, so goes the nation was a common phrase in US elections once. They are more conservative than you'd think for a north eastern state.

I agree with some of the commenters that as a libertarian, there should never be a vote about this - its a private matter and how people lead their live provided it does not affect others should never be a matter for government

indigomyth said...

To expand on my previous point re. the will of the majority, vs the liberty of the individual.

Freedom of speech is one of the foundations of liberty. Even in if 99.9% of people want someone to stop saying something, their entire collective will is worth precisely nil, when it comes to denying that person free speech. What I am saying is that no number of people, however large, can deny the right of another number of people, however small, to free speech. That means not threatening them with violence, either directly, via personal attacks, or indirectly, through the state. To do that is always wrong.

I would suggest that Freedom of Association, and Freedom of Belief are likewise immutable rights of people. So, no number of people, however large, may deny the right of another group of people, however small from practising their religious/ethical beliefs, or associating from who they wish. And it is from these two Freedoms that the right to same-sex marriage extends.

I hope that clarifies my "reasoning".

Andy said...

Ignomyth
Agree entirely with one proviso; that in exercising freedom of speech and free expression, you are not encouraging others to brea the law. In simplistic terms saying "He's a facist" is fine, saying "hes's a facist - kill him" isn't

adamcollyer said...

And here's the Grauniad outrage http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2009/nov/04/gay-marriage-maine-ballot-initiative

Ken S said...

indigmoyth: and the difference between your version of libertarianism and anarchy is....?

JuliaM said...

"And here's the Grauniad outrage http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2009/nov/04/gay-marriage-maine-ballot-initiative"

Ah! Right on cue...

indigomyth said...

//indigmoyth: and the difference between your version of libertarianism and anarchy is....?//

Well firstly, I would ask what other "versions" of Libertarianism there are. All libertarians favour reduction of state interference, through taxes, laws, regulations. It is like saying that it is only one version of Libertarianism that favours decriminalisation of drugs. No, decriminalisation of drugs is one of the tests for being a libertarian. If you don't want to decriminalise drugs, then you are not a libertarian, you are a conservative authoritarian.

In the same way, Majoritarianism, as happened in Maine, is unacceptable to Libertarians. It is the state interference in private affairs and relations. therefore it is not Libertarian.

The difference between Libertarians and Anarchists is that Anarchists favour no state, whereas Libertarians believe that the state should exist, but its ONLY role is to protect the Fundamental Freedoms of people from coercion or threat from others.

//Liberty is not a means to a higher political end. It is itself the highest political end.//

- Lord Acton, from The History of Freedom in Antiquity

If you need any further information on Libertarianism, then there are plenty of sites on the web to help.

Ken S said...

//If you need any further information on Libertarianism, then there are plenty of sites on the web to help.//

I take it you don't include Wikipedia as a helpful site, (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libertarism) as it says "Libertarians embrace viewpoints across that spectrum, ranging from pro-property to anti-property, from minarchist to openly anarchist."

indigomyth said...

//I take it you don't include Wikipedia as a helpful site//

Lol, Wikipedia is hardly helpful on most topics!

And notice, none of the items on the list of positions that you list are actually related to social positions etc. They are economic positions. Now, there is some debate about abortion, however, it is still true that most Libertarians, pro-life and pro-choice, favour reduction of state interference.

But I would argue that anarchists are not Libertarians. Yes, I know that means I am contradicting Wikipedia, but by Jove I think I might just do that.

Libertarians favour an increase in individual liberty - what happened in Maine was the reduction of liberty. Therefore, it cannot be regarded as a Libertarian victory.

Indeed, a lot of the Libertarians I have read of favour the reduction of state coercion for all social arrangements, marriage included.