Statesboro, GA, USA
You make challenge sound like a bad thing, Stephen? Worse, you make it sound like something to be feared.
Ron, I'm not making challenge (in any universal or general sense) out to be a bad thing, or a good thing. There are good and valid challenges, as well as invalid ones. And much of what I'm saying is to question the criteria and assumptions used in such challenges.
If you, on the other hand, want to make "challenge" seem to be unconditionally good, you end up a revolutionary and nothing more. Of course, from your own reply, I don't think that's what you're really intending to do. You did, after all, mention that you would argue each point "on it's own merit". I'm quite certain we disagree on what constitutes “merit”. Your narrow definition is embodied in your question "Who does it hurt"? But I have questions about your criteria. What does "hurt" mean?
I had a discussion with someone I work with (last night actually) who told me that he agreed that certain things aren't in any way good for individuals or society as a whole. But his Libertarian ideology piped in, "But unless it causes immediate bodily harm, there should be no laws of regulation." So he conceded that harm is more than just possible, but out of pre-commitment to libertarianism, he limited laws to only a certain kind of harm. I told him that's being arbitrary. Of course it was put forth as if it were so self evident that the only kind of harm worth considering is that which is immediate and bodily.
I get the feeling the same kind of thing is going on when I talk to you. There's no use for you to keep firing the question "Who does it hurt" at me, if we can't agree as to what is valid harm ... if you've already got a precommitment as to what would constitute valid harm, in the outworking of public policies.
There's a danger in your approach, I think, that all prediction, or long-term considerations, may be nullified by the too strict criteria that we must be able to predict the future with 100% accuracy. That doesn't mean a whole lot, if anyone has ever been right about their apprehensions, concerning the trends that they see. It rules out all warnings of a social nature, based on nothing more than the insistence on immediate demonstration.
Also, you use the "fear" label, as a sort of ad hominem. Everyone assumes (why, I don't exactly know) that ALL fear is somehow unhealthy and imbalanced. But those accused of undue fear, if their concerns are realized, are later considered prudent and as having foresight. But as with the challenge issue, fear is neither intrinsically good or bad. It is contingent upon context. Sometimes it is right, and sometimes it is wrong. Sometimes it is personal fear, sometimes it is vicarious. Sometimes it is for yourself, sometimes it is for the community. Sometimes it is mistaken. Sometimes it is valid.
Even if harm were not certain in an immediate sense, I reject too the idea that if it “doesn’t hurt anyone”, we should therefore do it. I think with an institution as grounded and culturally rooted as exclusively heterosexual marriage, it would be foolish to change it on the whim of some. Not only does it fly in the face of our democratic process, but in the face of cautious prudence as well.
I heard the same kind of argument used for legalized prostitution ... “Who does it hurt”? And even though it is a different issue, here’s an article which shows that negative effects can come in quite unforseen ways, when traditional morality is thrust (by mere ideology and nothing more) out of the legal sphere of what constitutes public policy ...
The point of this example was that a person has power over their own body, not that a fetus is an organ. I'm sure the distinction is clear, but just to be sure: left to its own devices, a kidney has a zero percent chance of developing into a human being.
Yes, the distinction is very clear. The fetus is a distinct and separate human organism, though it is inside a woman's uterus. Therefore your example of “the person having control over their own body” (their kidney), does not apply. Maturity and basic biological identity are two different things.
But back to the Peterson trial ... If the judges are going say a fetus is presently non-human (with only potential to become a person) as in Roe v. Wade, they shouldn't charge someone else with homocide, which means to kill another actual human individual.
Like me, you believe that the Peterson ruling was correct. Where I differ from you is in this, that I recongnize a subsequent ruling can be so self evidently true and right, that it only brings out the error of a previous ruling that contradicts it. Sometimes a puzzle piece reveals that previous ones were put in the wrong place. That's what I believe has happened here.
Another case might suggest that manslaughter for the fetus was justified, but the nature of the crime in this case made it "feel" more like murder.
Notice how, without conceding the actual humanity of the unborn, you end up defending a homicide charge, because it felt like murder. So a crime that is severly punishable can be charged according to subjective emotions? Why, by those standards, even when a woman voluntarily aborts, it may "feel" like murder to her husband, her parents, her friends, or anyone else. Likewise, some people are so emotionally attached to their pets, that their dog may “feel” as if it were a daughter or son. If such a beloved dog were poisoned (as despicable as that crime would be), are you suggesting that we charge the perpetrator with the premeditated murder of a human being, because of the subjective feelings of the pet owner?
But you can't really be charged with homicide for hurting someone else's feelings. (Thankfully!) The charge of homicide must be against the individual human being killed. If there is no individual killed, there is no homicide. The Peterson judgement resonates in our minds as so very right, precisely because an actual human being was killed in an early stage of development.
For what purpose?" I suspect if you asked a traditional couple the same question you'd not get the same answer twice. Should it matter to the state whether two people are getting married for the tax benefits, for insurance or inheritance purposes, or because they are undyingly committed to each other? It doesn't, and it shouldn't. Two consenting adults don't need to declare a purpose in order to make a marriage valid, and this applies no less to a homosexual couple than to a heterosexual one.
I suspect that if you asked 1000 traditional couples, though there may be some superficial differences, you’d get very much the same kind of answer with all of them. Whether or not it matters to the state if people marry for secondary reasons, that is no argument to suggest that the State should rush to change the recognized primary ones. What you are arguing, by the support of such a radical change, is that the State has never recognized the primary foundational reasons, and that they are unessential to what marriage is and accomplishes. Exceptions don’t negate the rule. And they certainly don’t make it wise or beneficial to eradicate it.
"Why adults?" Because they're the only parties capable of entering into a binding legal contract.
"Why two?" I'll leave the polygamy argument to someone else, but again, I'll say jurisdiction and damage control with regard to child and spousal support.
The first example of tradition you use current law to defend. But we are talking about the tendency to question those very defining laws with doubtful criteria. That law could be subject to change as much as any other, depending upon social pressure, and political clout. My point, being, using current law is no argument ... else I’ve already won the homosexual marriage debate. The 11 states which voted on the issue all have voted for State constitutional ammendments rejecting the legalization of this travesty of marriage.
With your second example, you have to understand when “rights” are at stake (if it is culturally percieved as that) damage control becomes very subjective. The damage itself can always be said to be from secondary causes. Direct correllation is rare and rarely proven. And also, all the proposed “damage” will be speculative and in the future. Perhaps also, those who support conservative views regarding polygamy will be slurred as being “afraid”, for their projected concerns, as valid as they might be. See my point? Your standards are as questionable as mine, if we accept the criteria mostly used by homosexual marriage advocates.
Yes, Stephen, but times have changed. We don't hang adulterers or burn witches anymore, not that I'd suggest that sort of thing was what the Founding Fathers intended. The framers of our constitution were genius in that they realized that their personal religious convictions should not have the power to make laws
I’m not for hanging adulterers or burning witches. For you to even bring it up is to identify me with an extremist fringe?
The founding fathers also realized that the very foundation of law were principles extracted from the Judeo-Christian worldview. “Inalienable rights endowed by our Creator” is an explicitly religious statement, not a nebulous or general one. So I think your total separation of religious ethics and state policy represents a contemporary exaggeration and interpretation of what the Founding Fathers intended.
On the contrary, how is guaranteeing equal protection and privilege under the law to a legally recognized minority NOT a vested interest?
I’ve maintained that recognizing homosexual marriage, amounts to granting special rights over and above. Neither do I presently have the legal right to marry a man. What would be the vested interest in changing such a biologically and gender based social institution, apart from the questionable assumption that someone’s rights have indeed been violated, not merely here and now, but whenever and whereever marriage has had boundaries of definition?
And the answer to that question is that it doesn't matter. You don't have to declare your reasons for getting married; whether or not your marriage will involve sex is your own business so long as you violate no other laws.
It DOES matter to what the definition and function of marriage will be in a society. If marriage means any two adults regardless of relation, then marriage will be meaningless... nothing but an extension of welfare society. Yeah my brother and uncle got married, for fincancial perks. You see, if you insist that sex doesn’t matter in the question of marriage, just because you can point out exceptions to a very necessary rule, then you lose the ability to protest, on that basis, any form of union that is politically pushed to claim the financial umbrella of “marriage”.
Again, the State has no interest in limiting the lawful practices of consenting adults, married or otherwise; however, it does have an interest in limiting any practice, sexual or otherwise, that may be injurious to someone outside the circle of willing participants.
Yeah, but you’ve just lost the ability to even say that such a union might encourage something like incest. When the government doesn’t have the right to intrude, or even consider, even statistics lose their voice. There’s no longer the freedom to ask “Will this be good for community as a whole? Will it be destructive or beneficial?” Each case of incest, pedophelia, or sexual abuse of a harem, will have to be treated as individual cases limited to the confines of individual free will alone. Treated rather than avoided. Because all grounds of avoidance are surrendered to the false criteria of present law and immediate demonstration of harm. Incest, just for example, is often willing. Do you really think publically sanctioned marriage between siblings wouldn’t contribute to a marked increase in it?
No, I really don't see what you mean. What barriers have I surrendered that I ever recognized in the first place?
I don’t know. Perhaps you didn’t have any. In which case my argument is that marriage should not be a meaningless financial contract between anyone, any number, for any reason. Yet earlier you did seem to suggest that certain traditional aspects of marriage were self evident and likely to hold out against the common left standards of judgment.
Right, but why is your definition of "a man and a woman" better than mine of "two consenting adults?" Because it's been around longer? Because it's "tradition?" Because God says so? Are we hanging adulterers and burning witches again?
Time tested things should be examined as to their overall effectiveness ... as well as the underlying assumptions that has made their longevity possible. So that’s certainly a place to start. Certainly it’s a reason to pause, and ask whether or not it’s in place for a good reason.
Tradition? Same answer.
Because God said so? Yes, that IS actually a good reason. I have no problem with taking some things on authority, especially when it has so much cultural, biological, and antropological support. Though I’m not arguing this totally from the authority angle, it always gets back to that at some point.
Are we hanging and burning witches again? No we’re not.
This repetition is getting tiring. If you can't demonstrate that children can fulfill this first requirement of marriage or any contract, please drop it already.
Why would I want to demonstrate this? I am not for child marriage. My whole point is that according to your own standards you may have to rigorously demonstrate that they CAN’T. The burden of proof, seems to be according to you, on the side of tradition. And that proof will be rigorously, if not impossibly mathematical, statistical, and genetic. Intuition, gut feelings, common-sense, is not accepted. And heck, you might not even have time to get the research done.