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Gay Marriage.. answering the wrong question

Another US state has legalised gay marriage. Am I supportive? Well I am happy the state is not prohibiting people from marrying whomsoever they wish but… no, I am not delighted because it just compounds an existing error by extending state sanctioning of marriage to even more people.

My problem is not that homosexual people can now get married but rather that another golden opportunity to get the state out of the marriage business completely has been missed. If two people get married, it is the businesses of those two people and NO ONE ELSE. For all I care people can ‘marry’ anyone who can reasonably bind themselves to a contractual relationship and say “I do” .

The only win-win solution is that people stop accepting the state has any right whatsoever to ‘sanction’ marriage between two consenting people. That means people can regard themselves as married if they both agree and to hell with what anyone else thinks… and if others choose not to accept that those two (or three or four) people are married, due to whatever prejudices they subscribe to, well that is purely their business too.

73 comments to Gay Marriage.. answering the wrong question

  • Alex

    Every time the so-called ‘issue’ of gay marriage is raised I have the same thought that you have put so well in your post. Well said!

  • Mr Ed

    The main difficulties and injustices (perceived) that arose from the lack of what in the UK are called Civil Partnerships arose from the State, and in particular inheritance tax, where capital transferred between spouses is tax-exempt. The rational response is to abolish the tax, not redefine words and concepts by statute.

    In the UK marriage does great violence to property rights, all assets can be up for grabs, the marriage contract should be the one drawn up between the two parties, voidable for misrepresentation, fraud, fundamental breach etc like any other contract, with damages for breaches as per contract law. The limited use of pre-nuptial agreements should become the norm.

  • Alastair James

    Perry, you are of course completely right that there is no need for the state to have a role in marriage. Nevertheless given that we live in a world where there are states and they do go around making laws I do think it is helpful for us to have opinions as to whether or not the laws they do pass are more or less conducive to liberty. And it seems to me that passing a law which removes a prior legal restriction on the basis of sexual orientation is more conducive to liberty than the previous state of affairs. Such a law would be even better if it also legalised polyamory (as you touch on in your last sentence) and, as you rightly point out even better still if it said “Actually we’re repealing all laws on marriage – make whatever contracts you like as free individuals”.

    And yet during the debate on gay marriage legislation in the UK I have detected some sublimnal support amongst people I thought were sound for the conservative anti gay marriage case – for example agreeing with the line that with the economy in such a mess this is a waste of House of Commons time. I don’t believe that most conservatives who oppose the changes proposed in the UK do so because they want all marriage laws to be repealed. They are against it because they think “marriage is between a man and a woman” and sometimes for the somewhat ludicrous reason that it is in their eyes changing the definition of the word, and sometimes because they seem to think that word is somehow “owned” by their church. I don’t understand why libertarians would want to risk people associating libertarianism with these ideas. My line is straightforward: I don’t think the state should have any role in marriage. But as long as it insists on doing so then I would prefer that it be as non-discriminatory as possible. Hence since the only thing MPs are going to vote on in the UK any time soon is whether or not to legalise gay marriage, from a libertarian perspective they should vote “yes”.
    It is another issue as to whether celebrants should be required to officiate marriages they don’t wish to officiate for personal reasons. Of course they shouldn’t be required so to do.

  • M. Thompson

    Yeah, at the same time, the bastards are wanting to increase the tax on beer.

    And that is a shame.

  • rfichoke

    It is another issue as to whether celebrants should be required to officiate marriages they don’t wish to officiate for personal reasons. Of course they shouldn’t be required so to do.

    But they will. The true goal of the activist Left is to tear down existing social institutions and replace them with alternatives that promote the power of the state. Many on the right recognize the problems with probate, hospital visits, and the like. The gay marriage proponents were offered civil union proposals and turned them down. Legal equality is not what they’re after.

    As far as the state being involved in marriage at all, Jesus agrees with you: “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” The decision of who is and is not married belongs to God alone, and not to the state–or even to the church, for that matter.

  • Alastair James

    Errr. Well as a libertarian I want to tear down the rather large existing social institution that is the state. And I would say that the decision as to whether or not people are married belongs to them as individuals and to them alone. It seems to me that the God you describe is no different to the state. I have no intention of surrendering my liberty to him any more than to the Government.

  • My line is straightforward: I don’t think the state should have any role in marriage. But as long as it insists on doing so then I would prefer that it be as non-discriminatory as possible.

    But the trouble with that ostensibly reasonable point of view is that is does indeed concede the argument over the state having any role at all. I refuse to have that argument as it is fighting the battle on ground of the other side’s choosing. I much prefer the argument that the only ‘inclusive’ way to solve the issue is to leave to the individuals involved.

  • rfichoke

    Errr. Well as a libertarian I want to tear down the rather large existing social institution that is the state.

    I would argue against calling the state a social institution. But the point is that the activist Left doesn’t care about liberty or equality at all. It’s a front for their real goal, which is totalitarianism.

    And I would say that the decision as to whether or not people are married belongs to them as individuals and to them alone.

    You can certainly approach it from that perspective. However, my point is that Christians have every reason to oppose the involvement of the state in defining marriage as a usurpation of God’s role, just as they opposed the King dictating the Book of Common Prayer and the vestments.

    It seems to me that the God you describe is no different to the state.
    I have no intention of surrendering my liberty to him any more than to the Government.

    I didn’t say you had to. God is a libertarian too, you know. He gave men free will despite the consequences of rebellion, and he refuses to be worshipped without a willing heart. You are free to chart your own course and take whatever consequences accompany it.

  • The Sanity Inspector

    Much of the inchoate misgivings are due to apprehension of the unknown. Life-long, opposite-sex monogamous marriage was a solution to a problem that we no longer remember, as all traditions are. Will the problem come back if marriage is expanded in this way?

  • Dom

    The state is needed to prevent polygamy, child-brides, incest, etc. All of these are social evils, and it is proper to bring the state in.

    My problem with SSM is the statement, “You can marry whoever you want.” No, you can’t. The state should be clear on that. None of this, “That’s what they used to say about gay men. Now they say it about me and my three 8-year old daughters.”

  • The state is needed to prevent polygamy, child-brides, incest, etc. All of these are social evils, and it is proper to bring the state in.

    No, in no way whatsoever are any of those things not amenable to either normal contract law or criminal laws regarding assault. Child-brides are only an issue if they are too young to meaningfully enter into a binding contract… and incest has nothing whatsoever to do with marriage, the issues being meaningful consent and (potentially) assault/rape.

    And polygamy is a “social’ evil? It seems to work just fine in many cultures. I have two question:

    One – what is a ‘social’ evil? Is it more than “something people don’t like”?
    Two – what business is it of yours if several people decide to shack up and call themselves ‘married’?

  • Dom

    Polygamy does not work in any society. It leaves a large surplus of unmarried young men which increases the crime rate. The jihadis you see in muslim countries are generally unmarried men.

    I used the term social evil to describe events that are harmful to society even though no one engages in a crime. Cousin marriages, for example, are also a social evil since they spread genetic handicaps.

    You have a nice consistent philosophy going that allows all the right marriages, and disallows the others. But you have it all wrong. What will happen once the word “paedophilophobia” takes hold, and people in media align themselves on this side, and people whose salaries can’t be justified (actors, politicians) are in danger of losing their jobs if they take the wrong side on this issue?

  • Laird

    @ Perry: “But the trouble with that ostensibly reasonable point of view is that is does indeed concede the argument over the state having any role at all.”

    I don’t see it that way, or rather, I see this as two entirely separate issues. I certainly agree that the state should have no role in defining or sanctioning “marriage”, and that’s a fine debate to have. But given that the state presently does do those things, discussing the means by which it does so and the scope of its reach is also meaningful. You see a state’s legalization of gay marriage as an expansion of its role “by extending state sanctioning of marriage to even more people”; I see it as a diminution of the state’s power over individual choices and conduct by its acknowledgment that it will no longer penalize certain of those choices. True, it is not a step toward getting government out of the marriage business, but it is a step in the direction of personal freedom. Even small steps are welcome these days.

    Marriage means more than mere cohabitation. It has numerous legal ramifications which cannot be ignored or wished away. It affects not only estate taxes, but inheritance itself (dower interests, community property rules, bastardy and the determination of who is properly an “heir”, etc.) which long predate state licensing of marriage. That’s why the concept of “common-law marriage” arose in the first place. And in the modern world it spreads to other areas such as medical consents, survivorship benefits, even the privilege of not testifying against a spouse in a criminal proceeding. Much of that can be replicated via contract, but perhaps not all. In any event, getting the state out of marriage is no trivial matter; it is certainly more complicated than merely passing a law eliminating government-issued marriage licenses, even if everyone were to agree that it is a good idea. We should be having that debate, but until we can work out all the problems taking a few baby steps is enough.

  • Steven

    So let me get this right, we don’t want there to be any laws on what defines a marriage (possibly excluding child brides), but when those plural/GLBT/group/whatever marriages end we want to expand contract law and the role of the courts to cover all those messy situations like wills, probate, property, child support, taxes, medical power of attorney, and so on? We want to get the state out of the affairs of starting a marriage and to do that we’ll expand the role of the state in the affairs of ending a marriage?

  • Alastair James

    “But the trouble with that ostensibly reasonable point of view is that is does indeed concede the argument over the state having any role at all.”

    I understand that purist perspective. My problem with it is that whilst I don’t concede that the state should have a role in these matters I do concede that in my lifetime the chances of a libertarian utopia arising anywhere in the world is non existent. Whilst I enjoy hanging around with like minded people I also want to see actual progress towards more individual freedom as best as can be achieved under the system in which we actually live. In response to Steve’s comments no one is being forced to enter into a gay marriage. Gay people are asking, much as we may not understand why, to be allowed to enter into these state backed contracts on the same basis as straight people. On what basis do we wish to deny them that option?

  • Steven

    Gay people are asking, much as we may not understand why, to be allowed to enter into these state backed contracts on the same basis as straight people. On what basis do we wish to deny them that option?

    Let’s reframe that question. Does a society have the right to determine for itself what is and is not a legitimate institution or cultural norm? I might want to duel To The Pain with my neighbor over his lawn, but the society I live in says that is unacceptable behavior, even if we both agree to the duel, and uses the law to drive that point home. Every society in history has used whatever form of government and law that existed to enforce their own particular cultural standards. Why shouldn’t a society be able to say this is a marriage and that isn’t and back up the practices legally?

  • Alastair James

    By the way are you against a law to legalise cannabis on the grounds it concedes the state’s right to regulate heroin? Do you oppose a law to reduce all taxes to a flat 20% rate as it concedes the state’s right to levy taxes?

  • Paul Marks

    There is no ban on private ceremonies – or on one man calling another man his wife (or husband) and their friends treating them as a married coupl).

    The whole “legalise Gay marriage” thing is, therefore, a misuse of language.

    The wording should be “establish STATE homosexual marriage.

    Like Perry I am not a fan of (for example) the 1836 Act – I do not think that marraige should be a state matter.

    As for “Gay Marriage” is partly a lawyers scam (part of the “anti discrimination” scam “let us go to some guest house owned by some old Christian couple and s…. them for every cent they have got”) and it is partly a standard Frankfurt School (“critical theory”)”let us undermine capitalist society” cultural Marxism dance.

    It is depressing that so many libertarians (including the owner of Amazon) fall for this stuff so hard that they actually FUND it.

    By they way – to the people who are thinking “bigot”.

    In private the activists mock the whole notion of “marriage” and boast how “Gay marriage” is just a way of undermining the “reactionary” cultural insitution of marriage.

    Of course homosecxuals actually exist (the Frankfurt School did not just make them up), and if they want to conduct X, Y, Z ceremonies it is none of my business. But like so many other groups of people they are being USED.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Alistair: There you’ve expressed exactly one of my reasons for insisting that we should be arguing for decriminalisation of marijuana, not for its “legalization.” The former implies that the “State” properly has no say in the matter of marijuana use; the latter, that it explicitly does.

    (Not that I think heroin use is properly the business of the “State” either.)

  • Julie near Chicago

    Alastair: Apologies for the typo. :>(

  • bloke in spain

    “If two people get married, it is the businesses of those two people and NO ONE ELSE.”
    Well that statement has to hold the record for unmitigated crap, even for Samizdata high standards. Try touching base in the real world once in a while.
    Marriage is the union of two families. You know. That whole mother-in-law, father-in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law business. It’s purpose being to unite the two families in support of the issue of the marriage. Why marriage is still annulled by non-consumation. Unless they’ve messed with that since they started on this nonsense.
    There’s no requirement for the couple to marry. They perfectly capable of doing all the shagging they want without. And dropping rugrats. They marry because they wish the approval & support of the families in doing so. There’s obligations being placed here. It’s just as much the affair of those the obligations fall on.
    Old fashioned view? No. Because that’s what most marriages are. Bit of helpful nepotism from the Uncle Tom when there’s a job needed. Don’t forget to invite Aunt Flo to the Christening or you’ll start a row last a generation. And it works back up the other way. Why Aunt Nell has some nieces to rely on to get her shopping in her old age. Just because this doesn’t sit well with the chattering classes ( who practice it more assiduously than anyone else) is irrelevant.
    Gay marriage? What’s the point for the families? If there’s a genetically related sprog turns up, which husband’s family claims it? By definition, It’s not going to be the concern of the other, is it? Why should it be? The family of the woman who’s carried it? The couple & their friends may be as “right thinking” as a Guardian editorial. What about Uncle Alf? Hint. Despite a few decades propaganda there’s still quite a lot of people find buggery amongst consenting males is something they’d rather not have to think about over breakfast. And that’s all generations, Not just the unreconstructed pipe smokers in tweeds. Get used to it. It won’t go away. It hasn’t worked. There’s enough problems in families now, the general feeling “She married a wrongun’ in him” Why do you want to add to them?
    Marriage is totally separate from the laws politicians pass. You don’t need marriage to define legal responsibilities. Don’t now. Why the civil partnership thing was brought in, wasn’t it? It’s about human relationships, not legal wittering.
    Really thought a bunch of supposed libertarians would have got this. That you can’t ram obligations down people’s throats without their consent. That’s what the marriage ceremony is. Remember that “Does anyone here know….” line in church. Why the hell do you think they ask it?
    But you’re right on one thing. State should never have got involved in the first place. The civil thing should never have been mislabeled marriage.

  • bloke in spain

    That’s what happens with 8kb/sec bandwidth. Spain!!! Can’t tell if you’ve posted or not it takes so long.

    And the above is not intended to be a homophobic rant. As far as I’m concerned, people are entitled to their own preferences. But that does mean all of them, not just mine.

  • rfichoke

    Paul Marks’ bit about the Frankfurt School is where I was going with the comment about social institutions and activists. They have an interest in the destruction of civil society and use the language of rights and equality as a cover. They hijacked the civil rights movement of the 60s for the same purpose: to empower the state at the expense of the family and individual with a divide and conquer strategy.

    Why Aunt Nell has some nieces to rely on to get her shopping in her old age.

    This is an important point. One of the reasons the Left attacks family and religious belief is because they compete against the state for being the provider in old age. If you have no family or church members to help you in old age, you have no alternative but social welfare programs.

    This is not a reason to ask for state recognition of the family, or tax breaks, or anything. But these social institutions (i.e., private relationships that arise without the help of government) are the building blocks of civil society and should be left alone.

  • Why shouldn’t a society be able to say this is a marriage and that isn’t and back up the practices legally?

    And by that logic, is there anything that ‘society’ should not regulate by law?

    I am with Maggie on this… there is no such thing as ‘society’. Or more accurately, I take the view that ‘society’ is an emergent property, not a thing that enacts laws to enforce this that or the other. What you are talking about is not ‘society’ but rather ‘the politically active’, which is something rather different.

  • Well that statement has to hold the record for unmitigated crap, even for Samizdata high standards.

    Well fuck you too.

    Or maybe not, as actually the block-of-text rant you wrote reinforces my points, thanks very much. If the parties give a flying fuck about their families, they can marry… or not marry… to please their families. But it has nothing to do with the state. Which was my point.

    Marriage is totally separate from the laws politicians pass.

    Quite.

  • Alastair James

    Golly, where to start? In response to Paul Marks and others who see a Marxist underpinning to all this I would say that most gays and most of those straight people who support gay marriage on the grounds of tolerance are not Marxists. They wouldn’t know their Frankfurt School from their Hogwarts School. So do we want to leave the field to the Marxists allowing them to continue to spread the meme that “the Right don’t want you to marry; they are bigots who want to oppress you; they are also supporters of capitalism which also opresses you; join our coalition against oppression!”. I would rather reach out and say “of course we support your desire to express your individuality; if you want to marry why shouldn’t you; going even further though why does the state need to be involved at all; indeed look at all the other ways the state limits personal choice and discriminates between different groups it favours; join our coalition for individual freedom!”
    In response to Spain my son is 12. I don’t yet know if he is gay or straight. If he turns out to be gay I will still want him to be happy and if he falls in love and wants to make a public and legal commitment and to call it marriage because of the social implications of that word then I and the rest of my family will want to be there to witness that commitment and to express our commitment to support that union. If he and his husband decide they want to adopt a child to give it a better chance in life than it would have under whatever circumstances have led to it being put up for adoption then we would love and nurture that child as a human individual even though it is not genetically related. Recognising the value of a female influence in its development my wife would spend time with it as a loving grandmother. I am really struggling to see where in all the above lies the terrible evil in the idea of gay marriage as understood by ordinary people not by political ideologues.

  • Jamess

    The fact that government has decided to change the meaning of a word – ‘marriage’ and impose its own meaning on the rest of us is no good thing. It was (all but) universally seen to mean the sexual union of a man and women for life (of the hope that it would mean life). Government has forced us to remove the man and woman bit but included (arbitrarily) the implied two people bit. It could just as arbitrarily remove the two people bit, and indeed the people bit (I remember reading that some woman claimed she married the Eiffel Tower – why not marry pets?). Does love need to be contained in the definition of marriage? Is sex required? Does the other person need to agree that we’re married for me to claim we’re married?

    The moment government claims the right to be able to change the meaning of words we’ve taken a very large step forward to 1984.

  • rfichoke

    I am really struggling to see where in all the above lies the terrible evil in the idea of gay marriage as understood by ordinary people not by political ideologues.

    Because the political ideologues run the show. They always have and they always will. And yes, the marjority of the public SSM advocates are activists. People who quite reasonably think homosexuals should have the same access to contract law as anyone else are not only a minority, they are actually hated by the advocates because their solution doesn’t lead to the destruction of The Enemy.

  • Alastair James

    rfichoke, of course the public advocates are activists – that’s almost a tautology. But they aren’t necesailly all marxists. And even if the majority of SSM activists are marxists I don’t believe that the majority of gays, or of those straight people who support gay marriage, are marxists. However, they are subliminally influenced by marxist thinking partly becase the “left” seems to be on their side and the conservative “right” against them. As a libertarian, not a conservative, I want to reach out to the majority of gays and their supporters, not to the marxist activists, and help them understand that we are on their side too. Issues of gender identity and discrimination are important to them because of the prejudice and bigotry they deal with every day. So going straight in with an anarchist line doesn’t resonate with what the are (for the most part) immediately concerned about. Being supportive of their aspirations for equality under the law (given that there is a state law and it’s not going away anytime soon) is a way to attract their attention and open their eyes to the idea that the “right” is not homogeneous and indeed, eventually, that libertarians and conservatives are very different creatures. If libertarians side with conservatives on this matter, for reasons which are obscure and rather technical to people who know nothing about libertarian thinking, all we do is make it easier for the left to link libertarianism to conservative prejudice. How does that help us advance individual liberty?
    Turning to Jamess’ point about government re-defining the word ‘marriage’. This is an example of such an abtruse technical argument and frankly is alarmist hyperbole. In every day language words evolve their meaning all the time. That’s why we no longer speak Latin. As readers of this thread have no doubt spotted the word ‘gay’ no longer means what it meant 50 years ago. In legal language important words mean what they are defined to mean in the recitals. And that will of course by as true in the private contracts Perry rightly recommended as the ultimate solution to this debate in his opening post, as it is in the state sponsored contract which gay mariage laws will create. It is of course helpful if legal language and every day language have a commonality. It makes it easier to read the contract. It also helps when speaking to use language in a way which is likely to be understood by the listener; following the Cheshire Cat’s example rarely leads to easy communication. But thanks to the years of debate on the subject if two slightly camp men come up to me at a party holding hands and tell me they are married, and if gay marriage is legal in the place they live, I am unlikely to think they mean separately to two women. Now it appears that some of the people who have been writing on this thread, whilst they would understand what the two gentlemen meant, would also be angered by their use of the word. I can’t see a single convincing libertarian reason that has been put forward in this thread for that anger, only conservative prejudiced ones. As to such a change heralding the arrivalof the world of 1984 – there are lots of reasons to fear Governments becoming more totalitarian at the moment. I’m not persuaded that allowing the word ‘marriage’ to be used in a state sponsored contract between two people of the same sex is the straw that will break the camel’s back. I can however see how alienating gays impedes the very difficult challenge of getting the mass of people to be more open to libertarian ideas. I can’t see why if we love individual freedom we wouldn’t support gays’ desire not to be discriminated against. At the moment, since the repeal of all marriage laws is not on the table, a way to show that support is to back broadening marriage laws to include people of the same sex. Once they are listening we can start to explain how the whole nature of the state discriminates against individual freedoms of all sorts. But we need to get them to see we are on their side first.

  • If libertarians side with conservatives on this matter, for reasons which are obscure and rather technical to people who know nothing about libertarian thinking, all we do is make it easier for the left to link libertarianism to conservative prejudice. How does that help us advance individual liberty?

    By arguing that they would never have been in the situation of being unable to marry (or even ‘marry’ depending on your point of view) if the state was simply uninvolved and it was therefore removed from the political sphere and returned entirely to the social sphere where it belongs. This has the added advantage that people who object on grounds of prejudice or religious conviction are not forced by law to accept something they do not accept. It is the only win-win and it is a very ‘inclusive’ argument to make.

  • Megan MRVT

    Marriage is the union of two families. You know. That whole mother-in-law, father-in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law business. It’s purpose being to unite the two families in support of the issue of the marriage.

    Bullshit. 15 years ago my parents didn’t want me to marry my husband and his didn’t want him to marry me. We said “screw you” and did it any way and moved as far away from them as geographically possible (other side of the planet). The only family that matters is the one we created, the rest was just an obstacle to be overcome.

  • Alastair: as someone who comes into this from a (libertarian) conservative angle – especially on the semantic front – I find your comment quite convincing. Still, my main issue is with the political angle in all of this, namely:

    And even if the majority of SSM activists are marxists I don’t believe that the majority of gays, or of those straight people who support gay marriage, are marxists.

    Neither were the majority of blacks, women and laborers – but now it seems they are. Why? Because it just so happened that the non-Left ceded/lost the civil-rights battle field to the Left. It would be a shame if it also happens with gays. Although it probably already happened anyway, and this SCOTUS case is the last nail in that coffin.

  • George

    How do you have contracts without a state?

  • How do you have contracts without a state?

    That is a bit like saying “How do you have underpants without a state”.

    When I have lunch in a restaurant, there is an implicit contract the restaurant will serve me food fit for human consumption. If not, I have the ability to sue in a state court, but I do not need the state involved pre-approving the arraignment when I walk in the door. When I buy something from a seller in Australia via Amazon, I do not need the state involved either. And if there is a problem, I complain to Amazon. We live in a world awash with contractual relationships that are not licensed by the state.

    Just treat marriage like any other contract between the consenting parties.

  • George

    But ultimately you are reliant on state supplied violence to enforce contracts.

    As long as this remains the case the state will decide what can and can not be contracted.

  • Andrew

    But ultimately you are reliant on state supplied violence to enforce contracts.

    No, people who are going to rip you off are going to do so regardless of who’s “enforcing” contracts.

    But the vast majority won’t rip you off, and it’s got nothing to do with the state and everything to do with wanting to stay in business. Reputation matters: look at the Hong Kong and Chinese eBay dealers selling cheap imports, on their ads most say something like “If there’s a problem please contact us, so we can fix it, instead of leaving negative feedback”.

  • Alex Delarge

    But ultimately you are reliant on state supplied violence to enforce contracts. As long as this remains the case the state will decide what can and can not be contracted.

    I’ll have to remember that next time I’m restocking my cannabis stockpile or paying my builder in cash.

  • Dom

    “When I have lunch in a restaurant, there is an implicit contract the restaurant will serve me food fit for human consumption. If not, I have the ability to sue in a state court …”

    There is no implicit contract. What you rely on are state laws concerning the quality of food sold to the public. No, George is right. Contracts imply a state. So do licenses.

    The state should disappear where that is possible, but not otherwise. We need a state for licensing (driving, marriages, etc). It is a necessary evil.

  • Andrew

    What you rely on are state laws concerning the quality of food sold to the public.

    So you’re saying that without the state, restaurants would serve food that wasn’t fit for human consumption (or at least would be lower quality than it is now)?

    The only way they could do that was if people were forced to use them. Market forces such as competition and reputation provide the only regulation needed.

    The closer an industry is to the state, the worse it is. Not the other way round.

    And there is nothing necessary about the state, every single thing it does can be done better by the free market.

  • Steven

    Market forces such as competition and reputation provide the only regulation needed.

    History says otherwise. All those regulations and alphabet agencies like OSHA and MSHA and the EPA had to be put in place because the free market wasn’t policing its own and something had to be done. The idea that the free market will always do the right thing because everyone in it is a moral and upright citizen is great and all, but falls to pieces when the people involved are bastards or put profits over lives.

  • Dom

    So you’re saying that without the state, restaurants would serve food that wasn’t fit for human consumption

    No, but you certainly couldn’t sue without the state, which is what PdH claimed he could. I’m well aware of the fact that the quality of food is raised mainly by competition.

  • Andrew

    History says otherwise. All those regulations and alphabet agencies like OSHA and MSHA and the EPA had to be put in place because the free market wasn’t policing its own and something had to be done.

    History shows poor working conditions being phased out as productivity increased. Once the vast majority of workplaces were fine, the state introduced laws to take credit for that improvement.

    The idea that the free market will always do the right thing because everyone in it is a moral and upright citizen is great and all, but falls to pieces when the people involved are bastards or put profits over lives.

    No one is making the claim that a free market always means a perfect outcome. But it means a better outcome than is possible with the state.

    As I said in my previous post, the closer an industry is to the state, the worse it is. With the absolute worst being those provided directly by the state. But then with a monopoly and close to zero accountability it couldn’t be any other way.

    Profit, the bogeyman of the brain-dead, is what improves our lives, not a gang of parasitic thugs.

    No, but you certainly couldn’t sue without the state, which is what PdH claimed he could.

    If the state didn’t exist, of course you could. And even now they are already dispute resolution and arbitration organisations outside of the state because people recognise what a bad job it does.

  • George

    How would this stateless dispute resolution work if you had contracted with someone who was intentionally criminal?

  • Dom

    And even now they are already dispute resolution and arbitration organisations outside of the state because people recognise what a bad job it does.

    How do these work? I assume

  • George

    How would the claims to ownership that are necessary for a functioning market be enforced without the violence of the state?

  • Dom

    And even now they are already dispute resolution and arbitration organisations outside of the state because people recognise what a bad job it does.

    How do these work? I assume both parties sign a contract binding them to the findings of the organization. This contract is certainly recognized by the state, otherwise the losing party would just walk away.

    I’m a small-l libertarian. This attempt to expunge the state from all sectors is wrongheaded.

  • No, but you certainly couldn’t sue without the state, which is what PdH claimed he could

    I did? What I said was that there are many ways to get redress without the state (I have had several disputes settled quite effectively by Amazon and eBay for example). I did not say I was against having a state legal system, just that it does not (and indeed MUST NOT) be some all encompassing system that seeks to preempt all others.

  • Mr Ed

    @ Dom 5.09 English Common Law has an ‘officious bystander test’ to uncover implied terms of a contract. If it were not expressly stated that food in a restaurant was ordered on the basis that it was to be edible and palatable, the judge asks ‘if a Bystander were to ask, just before the contract was made, of the restauranteur if it was understood that the food was ordered on the basis that it be edible and palatable, and the diner if he expected the same, would the response be that it was so?’.

    If so, there is an implied term at Common Law to that effect. Frankly, any other proposition is beyond reasonable argument, which is lawyerspeak for ‘tosh’.

  • Andrew

    To save me answering question after question on free market dispute resolution/security/laws, watch “Market for Security” by Robert Murphy (it’s on Youtube, also worth checking out are the “Law without Government” series).

    This attempt to expunge the state from all sectors is wrongheaded.

    Why?

    In moral terms, using violence to get what you want is wrong. And in practical terms, it produces poorer results than voluntary trade.

    And you can’t ignore the atrocities committed in the name of the state. Or those in the name of religion. Two sides of the same scam – give us money, do as you’re told, and we’ll protect you from the bad guys/save your soul.

    Both are primitive, superstitious nonsense that are holding humanity back.

  • Steven

    History shows poor working conditions being phased out as productivity increased. Once the vast majority of workplaces were fine, the state introduced laws to take credit for that improvement.

    Please look into the history of coal mining in the US(the steel industry wasn’t better). Those safety measures didn’t come into being until after the federal government stepped in and forced the measures to be installed. Companies still paid in script until the federal government stepped in and required companies both pay in cash and stop requiring the miners to engage in the company store syndrome. Companies still under-weighed the coal loads until the federal government stepped in and required fair weighing. Companies still hired thugs to beat and kill striking miners until the federal government stepped in and said collective bargaining was allowed. None of those things were covered until the feds under FDR forced the coal companies to stop. The private market didn’t institute those changes until they had no choice.

    Now someone will come along and remind us that the miners could have just quit. That’s true except that it ignores a few realities of the situation. The mines were in the middle of nowhere, miners had no money to buy transportation out (thanks to being paid in company script that the railroads would not take), the miners could not use the roads on mine owned land to get to public roads and when they did use the public roads they were jailed for being vagrants, not to mention that any children they had in school were immediately dis-enrolled because once the miner quit or went on strike (or was killed in the mine) they were evicted from the mandated company-owned housing due to being homeless. But how did the mines stay open given the conditions for the workers someone will ask? Simply put, the mines lied to prospective miners and once they found out the truth of the situation the miners were stuck. The mines hired the poorest of the poor who needed any job and once the locals quit being hired (or went on strike), the mines went outside of the area to hire, and once those people stopped being hired (or went on strike), the mines just hired people right off the boats who could not speak English and did not know what they were agreeing to. We haven’t even gotten into the environmental impacts that were ignored by the mines.

    I’m sure the mine operators were just pacing themselves before stopping these practices and eventually might have possibly got around to doing things differently, but they certainly weren’t do so on their own. It took those bullies in DC to say enough and force the changes. I’m not saying government intervention is necessary or even helpful in every situation, but sometimes, just sometimes, the private sector won’t clean up after itself which forces government into the role.

    For more on the history of mining, check out Thunder in the Mountains: The West Virginia Mine War, 1920-1921 by Lon Savage and The West Virginia Mine Wars: An Anthology by David Corbin and Bloodletting in Appalachia: The Story of West Virginia’s Four Major Mine Wars and Other Thrilling Incidents of Its Coal Fields by Howard B. Lee.

    And you can’t ignore the atrocities committed in the name of the state. Or those in the name of religion. Two sides of the same scam – give us money, do as you’re told, and we’ll protect you from the bad guys/save your soul.

    While we’re on the subject can we also look at the atrocities committed for the sake of the stockholders? The private sector is no better when it comes to nefarious deeds and having blood on its hands and it certainly has the same message of “give us your money, do what you’re told, and we’ll provide you with a better life.”

  • Midwesterner

    The development of the Western world is often thought to have been based on impartial state institutions, and many perceive the lack of contract discipline in developing regions such as Africa as impeding the growth of enterprises.1 However, even in the West, much contracting is informal; that is, it takes place outside state legal rules and procedures. For example, Macaulay (1963) found that social norms of fair dealing constrained the behavior of Wisconsin business firms as much as (in some cases, more than) the state-created law did. Also, Bernstein (1992) showed that the diamond industry has systematically rejected state-created law and created its own internal rules.

    In general, information asymmetries, opportunism, and transaction costs limit the effectiveness of state institutions. Particularly in developing countries, state institutions share the overarching weaknesses of the public sector, and often do not provide for predictable contract enforcement. The new institutional economics argues that if state institutions are ineffective, non-state–that is, informal- -institutions arise to govern the exchange. Non-state institutions of contract include social norms, customary law, alternative dispute resolution fora, and ad hoc mechanisms of reciprocity and collective punishment. Other social sciences also emphasize the role of non-state mechanisms in facilitating exchange. Economic sociology even dismisses the relevance of anonymous discourse and stresses the importance of personal trust in sustaining exchange.

    [...]

    This paper shows that in developed as well as in developing countries contracts are governed by a multitude of both state and non-state institutions. Different societies are likely to have different institutions depending on their history, culture, and political system. Contrary to conventional wisdom, exchange governed by the state is not necessarily more efficient than exchange governed by non-state mechanisms. The relative efficiency of different contract enforcement mechanisms depends on the characteristics of the good to be exchanged, the cost of the use of the mechanism, and the predictability of the outcome.

    [...]

    The choice of the contracting and enforcement mechanism depends also on the cost of using
    it. The focus is not only on the costs (say, a court fee) that is incurred to get a contract enforced, but on transaction costs (for example, time spent in court, bribes, social detriment in escalating disputes)of getting a service. If transaction costs in the state system are high, individuals and firms will tend to rely on non-state enforcement, or on vertical integration where appropriate. Similarly, if individuals and firms find non-state enforcement costly due to their social distance or lack of track 15 record with partner firms, they resort to the use of state mechanisms or simply do not undertake some transactions.

    Finally, the fairness and predictability of the outcome the contract enforcement mechanism offers also affects the choice. Courts may be unpredictable because contracts and/or laws are poorly written, because decisions are based on non-legal and uncertain criteria or because judges are incompetent or poorly informed. Under these circumstances, non-state dispute resolution mechanisms may be preferred because they may be speedy and arbitrators may be better prepared interpret the issue in dispute.

    From a thought provoking and informative paper (PDF). I encourage readers especially to note the two philosophies of law described beginning at the top of page 19, but the entire paper is interesting.

    Sadly, in its random crap-shoot unpredictability, our legal system is drawing much closer to a “developing world” paradigm.

  • Andrew

    Please look into the history of coal mining in the US(the steel industry wasn’t better).

    I was asked to look into the railroads – I found huge state subsidy and “robber barons” who spent more time on politics than business, with legislation introduced to curb behavior only possible because of previous political favours and subsidies.

    I was asked to look into the “wars of incorporation”, supposedly violent, bloody feuds between landowners in the wild west – what did I find? Again, the state’s favouring certain parties over others, but this time their support extended to using law enforcement to burn down houses and the military to murder the competition.

    So you’ll have to forgive me but I’ve got no intention whatsoever of researching the mines (and probably finding similar patterns). Though I’ll take what you wrote as the truth, for now.

    It doesn’t change my point, the free market isn’t perfect, but it’s better than the state.

    While we’re on the subject can we also look at the atrocities committed for the sake of the stockholders? The private sector is no better when it comes to nefarious deeds and having blood on its hands and it certainly has the same message of “give us your money, do what you’re told, and we’ll provide you with a better life.”

    First, I’d like to make it clear that I am not condoning private violence while condemning that done by the state. I am against the initiation of violence regardless of who starts it.

    “While we’re on the subject can we also look at the atrocities committed for the sake of the stockholders?” Of course, we need to look at these to see how the free market could prevent them from happening again. But we also need to keep in mind that they’re dwarfed by what the state has done.

    “The private sector is no better…” Complete nonsense, Apple didn’t force me to buy the computer I’m using, Pepsi aren’t forcing me to drink their drink, etc.

  • There is no implicit contract.

    There most certainly is.

    What you rely on are state laws concerning the quality of food sold to the public.

    Nope, you are quite incorrect. And indeed I have eaten thousands of meals in various places where there are no enforced state laws concerning the quality of food sold to the public and lived to tell the tale.

    No, George is right. Contracts imply a state.

    No, George is wrong, it does nothing of the sort. It is *EASY* to find examples of people finding redress in contractual disputes without using state law courts.

    So do licenses.

    Yes, licences do and they are quite unrelated to contracts.

    The state should disappear where that is possible, but not otherwise.

    I agree completely.

    We need a state for licensing (driving, marriages, etc). It is a necessary evil.

    Nope. You have not in any way proven the need for states licensing marriage. Indeed the very notion is a modern concept and for most of human history this was not the case.

  • Andymo

    The big question now is: the institutions of polygamy and polyandry.

    From a moral and logical point of view why should there be laws pertaining as to whether a women (or man) could have more than one husband (or wives for that matter).

    The arguments against are pretty unconvincing and tend to focus on male-female power relations or young un-marriageable males wreaking havoc on society (basically the same arguments you could make against lesbianism). Polyandry would be a great way to solve China’s male skewed population statistic.

    The Mormons are on a big push trying to get this into debate.

    The response from the gay community has been overwhelmingly negative, the general sentiment is “F$$$ you, I got mine”.

  • Valerie, that is one of the most idiotic articles I have read in quite some time. Sweeping generalisations and a casual wish to impose religious assumptions via the state.

  • [...] including some travel expenses. As it is a simple commercial transaction you may (or may not, as it is supposed to be) get married this way as a homosexual couple as well. Most will refuse to take more than one job [...]

  • Ozymandias

    Marriage is not a contract. Anyone who is married and thinks their relationship is a contract has a profoundly stultified sense of reality and is likely to find his worldview startlingly upset in the near future.

    *Marriage is treated as a contract under law.* But the law has always known that was simply a legal fiction. The Supreme Court of Indiana wrote “Some confusion has arisen from confounding the contract to marry with the marriage relation itself. And still more is engendered by regarding husband and wife as strictly parties to a subsisting contract. At common law, marriage as a status had few elements of contract about it. For instance, no other contract merged the legal existence of the parties into one. Other distinctive elements will readily suggest themselves which rob it of most of its characteristics as a contract and leave it simply as a status or institution. As such, it is not so much the result of private agreement as of public ordination. In every enlightened government it is preeminently the basis of civil institutions, and thus an object of the deepest public concern. In this light, marriage is more than a contract. It is not a mere matter of pecuniary consideration. It is a great public institution, giving character to our whole civil polity.”

    By redefining marriage, the government is intervening into a pre-existing (and more important) social institution than itself, and changing the terms under which a large portion of the population live their lives. If government can redefine marriage this way, then it is the master of marriage, and can redefine it any way it sees fit. It can redefine the terms of your life and how you live it.

    That is slavery. That is what gay marriage proponents are pushing for. Yet another aspect of human life subordinated to the whims of a legislature.

  • Marriage is not a contract. Anyone who is married and thinks their relationship is a contract has a profoundly stultified sense of reality and is likely to find his worldview startlingly upset in the near future.

    LOL. Try getting divorced and then say “oh sorry honey, marriage is not a contract, you get nothing”.

  • Paul Marks

    Alisa – when “civil rights” was a matter of opposing state restrictions (Jim Crow) the Republican party led the struggle for it.

    Even in 1964 (and the 1964 Act contained a lot of bad stuff as well as good stuff) more Republicans supporte the Act than Democrats did.

    But in the 1960s (and, to some extent, before the 1960s) “civil rights” changed into a struggle for “non discrimination” (i.e. FORCEING private people and organisations to do XYZ) and government benefits.

    There is no way that conservatives (let alone libertarians) can support this new definition of “civil rights”.

    And actually it is the same for homosexuals.

    Mrs Thatcher voted IN FAVOUR of the legalisation of homosexual acts – and employed many homosexuals herself.

    But “civil rights” for homosexuals came to mean demands for “anti discrimination” regulations (unaccatable) and for government money.

    “Clause 28″ (which is used to attack the late Lady Thatcher) was simply saying “no” to taxpayer money being spent on homosexual causes.

    This is always the story with “rights”.

    They go from “negative rights” – the demand for an end to this or that govenrment nastyness (fine), to “positive rights”.

    The demand for special powers for unions (the Acts of 1875 and 1906), the demand for “anti discrimiunation” doctrine (i.e. Jim Crow in reverse), the demand for government subsidies (and on and on).

    If civil rights are “positive” rights then nonleftists have only two choices.

    Oppose “civil rights” or become leftists.

    And why should people vote for half hearted (“RINO” or “wet”) leftists – when they can vote for hard core leftists?

    “Well this Republican offered me a billion Dollar welfare scheme – but the Democrat offered me a ten billion Dollar welfare scheme, she really respects my rights!”

    Or.

    “Well the Republican offered me that any shop keeper who discriminates against me will be fined – but the Democrat said he would put the shopkeeers in prison and let me loot the shops, the Democrat really respects my rights!”.

    Once the philosophical discussion is conducted in these terms it just becomes a “bidding war”.

    And the left will always offer a higher bid.

    It is the same for homosexuals.

    There is no way to “win” this sort of group voting bidding war.

    All a libertarian can offer is this……

    “Your private ceremony is legal – now be off with you”.

    If people want more than that – there is nothing we can offer them.

  • Paul Marks

    Brian Tierney in “The Idea of Natural Rights” states that “positive rights” (“compulsory charity” and so on) have always been part of the rights tradition.

    I hope that is not true (but as I can not read Latin I can not argue with Tierney) – for if it is true the rights tradition is indeed closed to us (the leftists are correct).

    But if the rights tradition does include these “positive rights” (“compulsory charity” and so on) then it is against the laws of reason, and is doomed to both economic and social bankruptcy.

  • I am not as dismissive of Ozymandias’ point as Perry seems to be. I do agree with Perry that marriage is a contract, but I also very much agree that it is much more than a “mere” contract. Thing is, there is no contradiction, and there’s no escaping the fact that even the greatest and the oldest social institutions are based in voluntary contractual relationship between individuals.

  • Alastair James

    Alisa, agreed. I also don’t understand how Ozy thinks that making a state sponsored contract for marriage available to same sex couples changes the non – contractual, relationship aspects of straight people’s marriages and hence is tantamount to slavery. This seems a tad hyperbolic.

  • Maureen O'Brien

    Contrary to the fantasy world expressed above, polyandry in history boils down to a couple of different situations: one older high-status rich woman bosses around several low-status men, or several men use one low-status woman as their sex slave. In China, the latter is generally what is happening. (Though I suppose you could count the Chinese conwomen taking rural men for brideprice money and then running off with the dough as a case of the former.)

    Historically, the most common scenario was for poor Chinese parents to sell their daughters into service as lower-status concubines in polygamous marriage, to sell them outright as supplemental sex slaves, or to sell them outright to brothels. There’s less selling today; but there seems to be a fair amount of kidnapping of female children and girls, and a fair amount of Chinese men going to other countries to either buy sex slaves or wives, or to hire servants and employees who find out, once in China, that they’re really there to be sex slaves or unconsenting wives.

    So yeah, quit fantasizing while women suffer.

  • James Waterton

    Absolutely agree with Perry on this issue. Government should have no business in arrangements between consenting adults. A few thoughts

    1) I definitely agree with the line (think it was in Spiked?) that the pro and anti gay marriage campaigners are as bad as each other

    2) This is a trivial issue which is given a disproportionately large amount of airtime when we consider the other deformities of humanity that can be seen today

    HOWEVER

    3) it could be a useful issue to wedge the left – if we stop fighting it on their terms. Abandon the conservative position against SSM and embrace it. Slippery slope arguments are foolish; homosexuality in society will not increase due to SSM (and even if it did, I don’t much care, but it won’t). Furthermore, the idea that SSM will somehow enormously undermine the institution of marriage is laughable. It will always only be germane to a small minority of the population, particularly if the issue is depoliticised. The no-fault divorce, on the other hand, has done massive damage to the concept of marriage, and has been in place for decades. Therefore, agree to SSM whilst pivoting to contract law and start applying it to the Marriage Act. Why is a marriage contract the only kind of contract in society that can be broken with no negative ramifications for the party that wishes to withdraw? This is NOT the discussion the left wants to have. Let’s start getting some moonbat soundbites of them sacrificing sanity for consistency.

  • Ozymandias
    Marriage is not a contract. Anyone who is married and thinks their relationship is a contract has a profoundly stultified sense of reality and is likely to find his worldview startlingly upset in the near future.

    LOL. Try getting divorced and then say “oh sorry honey, marriage is not a contract, you get nothing”.

    If you read my post clearly, you would see how wrong you are.

  • Ozymandias

    that making a state sponsored contract for marriage available to same sex couples changes the non – contractual, relationship aspects of straight people’s marriages and hence is tantamount to slavery.

    What parts of your personal life do you want to make subservient to legislative action?

    Under Anglo-American Common Law, (and yes, Canadians, too), marriage has been understood for centuries as being far more than a contract. However, the law could only reach those aspects that were analogous to a contract, (i.e., marital debts, etc.).

    In addition to those things mentioned in the court decision I cited, other decisions realized that marriage was not a contract because the terms of the contract were not decided upon by the parties. A man and a woman don’t decide all the terms of their marriage when they begin, they accept that many terms come to them just based on custom and tradition, and from law, and from their religious backgrounds. These kinds of things make marriage not at all like any contract.

    Perhaps if Perry de Havilland realized that the world of marriage was much more than a contact, then he wouldn’t be spending so much time in divorce court.

    The point though is, that millions of people are currently married. The parameters under which they are conducting their lives is being changed by government intervention. If accepting the government’s authority to make such changes isn’t subservience and servitude, then what is?

  • James Waterton

    Ozy: you decry the government changing the definition of marriage, yet you don’t seem to have any issue with the fact that the government tasked itself to define marriage through regulation in the first place. This doesn’t make sense. The government should be able to define and regulate marriage, or it shouldn’t be able to. If you accept the former, then you may find that a legislative body redefines marriage contrary to your beliefs. If the latter, you will find that individuals go about their private business contrary to your beliefs.

  • James Waterton

    Perhaps if Perry de Havilland realized that the world of marriage was much more than a contact, then he wouldn’t be spending so much time in divorce court.

    Incidentally, this is quite nastily personal and undermines any substantive points you may be making. I should add that I say this from the perspective of being married myself, and not because I have any particular knowledge of PdH’s current or previous relationships – of which I know nothing more than what I’ve seen him disclose on these pages. Which is to say, very little.

  • Under Anglo-American Common Law, (and yes, Canadians, too), marriage has been understood for centuries as being far more than a contract. However, the law could only reach those aspects that were analogous to a contract, (i.e., marital debts, etc.).

    And marital debts etc is the only place the state has any legitimate role and that is clearly just a well understood contractual obligations kind of thing… likewise obligations to any offsping. As to the rest, it should have no role at all.

  • Laird

    James Waterton makes some interesting points in his comment @ May 17, 2013 at 4:56 PM, especially in item #3.

  • Paul Marks

    Marriage is an odd contract (if it is a contract) – as it does not include any contract-like obligatgions on the part of the parties.

    Kant argued that marriage was a contract to use sexual organs – but if this were so there could be no rape in marriage (which was indeed the position of many English legal writers – such as Seldon).

    However, I do believe that there can be rape in marriage – to me there is no right to use the sexual organs of someone else.

  • Julie near Chicago

    One is of course generally grateful to posters and commenters for their thoughtful remarks; but I feel the need to thank Paul especially for his language in the comment of May 17 at 7:41 a.m. (The thoughts expressed, too, of course.)

    It is very important to use words accurately and according to established usage. Yes, languages do evolve and word-meanings change, yet there are in most cases very important reasons to resist the changes, in the hope at least of slowing them down. But it is a common strategy to hijack completely unrelated words in order to airbrush out certain facts about the facts, or certain connotations that generally accompany the correct word.

    “He who controls the language controls the discourse”; “he who controls the language controls the past.”

    I believe that Mr. Orwell (among others) inveighed strongly against this practice of substitution in order to detoxify a concept or fact and render it attractive.

    We all know the theory that one who is defending a position must not concede the distortion of language to his opponent, and we constantly criticize “conservatives” for arguing their positions in their opponents’ language.

    “Concede what it is safe to concede,” Paul quotes Bagehot as saying. Well, conceding that “gay” is the new word for “homosexual” is NOT “safe.”

    For it literally robs us of the ability to express a certain old and useful concept expressed in the word “gay”: the concept of an attitude or affect of a person when he is feeling especially happy, cheerful, and carefree.

    I once saw a televised performance by the aged Vladimir Horowitz, in which he looked so happy and delighted and, well, gay–it was heart-warming. I mentioned it to a fellow lover of classical piano music, and I said, “He seemed so gay.”

    This girl was probably thirty years younger than I at the time (in her twenties) and her face fell. She said, “Oh, I never knew that.” So I had to explain to her the real meaning of the word “gay.”

    Not to keep flogging the horse, but quite a few pundits large and small have by now observed that one tactic of the hard left is to take over words so as specifically to make it impossible to think, let alone express, certain thoughts….

    Somewhere I read that the guy who came up with the substitution really did so for PR reasons: Homosexuality will be more publically acceptable if we use a different, positive-sounding word for it. (Sometimes the stories say that the guy was a leftist or Frankfurter Marxist; sometimes not.)

    Couldn’t we please stop adopting ridiculous language aimed at obscuring the facts? As Paul has done in his comment above? Please!!!! –And this applies just as much to homosexuals as anybody else. It’s not really to the advantage of homosexuals to allow themselves to join with those who wish to subvert the culture by subverting the language.

    . . .

    And one other example of something we should all be honest and forthright about is this business of so-called “honor killing.” It is NOT honorable and hence it is not merely “killing”; it is MURDER.

    In general, it would better be called HONOR MURDER, or, in the case where the perp thinks he’s serving the dictates of Mohammedanism, it’s SHARIAH MURDER.

    It would help enormously in the fight against the encroachment of Shariah if we started using the correct term.

    And the horror of murder done in the cause of anybody’s alleged “honor” should never be downplayed.