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Lex longa regnum breve

There was a time when the cry of liberals everywhere was that the State should keep out of the bedroom – no longer.

Andrew Brown of the Guardian has written an article entitled Why the Cornish hotel ruling should worry conservative Christians.

I think it should worry any person who in any aspect of his or her life is a minority or who might one day be part of a minority.

A law you like is passed; it coerces those you dislike. You rejoice, you “liberals”. But the wheel turns. You do not have to die old in order to live long enough to see what was once persecuted tolerated and what was once tolerated persecuted.

83 comments to Lex longa regnum breve

  • Yet another non-problem that the state has an interest in solving: after all, all the real problems are already solved, aren’t they?


  • 'Nuke' Gray

    ‘Private’ property is, more and more, just a quaint expression from the past. Even here in Australia we have ‘Heritage’ acts which stop people renovating, and no doubt there are similar laws to this cornish situation. And all governments have resumption powers, so they can ‘buy’ your property at their own price. I recently read, I forget where, that Botswana has a thriving economy, AND a still-working prohibition against interfering in private property! Maybe Botswana is the place for Libertarians to go!

  • Robert Speirs

    I have to laugh at the mention of a “loving relationship” between two sodomites. How is a judge to determine whether a relationship is love or not? Does not the choice of buggery over procreation clearly demonstrate a convenient and cowardly basis for such a relationship hardly equivalent to married love? Has the legal establishment lost the ability to reason?

  • RAB

    Excuse me if I go off on one here, but I used to work for the Bristol County and Crown Courts, fortunately not with this fuckwit of a Judge though, who seems to have qualified in Law much later than me, and Gawd knows what they have done to the precepts of English common Law in the meantime…

    “In his ruling, Judge Rutherford said that, in the last 50 years, social attitudes in Britain had changed.

    “We live today in a parliamentary democracy. Our laws are made by the Queen in Parliament,” the judge said.

    [No Case Law and Judge made Law then squire?]

    “It is inevitable that such laws will from time to time cut across deeply held beliefs of individuals and sections of society for they reflect the social attitudes and morals prevailing at the time that they are made.

    “In the last 50 years there have been many such instances – the abolition of capital punishment; the abolition of corporal punishment in schools; the decriminalisation of homosexuality and of suicide; and on a more mundane level the ban on hunting and on smoking in public places.

    [Um, what the flying fuck does any of the above have to do with the case in hand, unless you are Grandstanding, Your Honour?]

    “All of these – and they are only examples – have offended sections of the population and in some cases cut across traditional religious beliefs.

    “These laws have come into being because of changes in social attitudes. The standards and principles governing our behaviour which were unquestioningly accepted in one generation may not be so accepted in the next.”

    He goes on to cite EU Human Rights laws da yadda da yadda.

    Well you can fuck right off, your Honour sir! The Law as I was taught it had a little thing in it called “Invitation to Treat”. This meant that a retailer of goods and services had the right to refuse the custom of whomever he/she chose, for whatever reason. It is their business after all, and if they wish to lose money in their tills then it was entirely up to them. That premise I believe should still be upheld.

    These small business folk were set up. I fervently believe that. I have no time for their particular views, but I have time for their right to hold them.

    This is a 7 bedroom hotel in Cornwall folks, who’s owners are well known for their particular views. So well known in fact that a month before, they were sent a letter by Stonewall a gay activist group informing them of changes in the Law and, well giving them a nudge.

    The next thing they know is a phone call from a Mrs…. booking a room, but instead of Adam and Eve, they get Adam and Steve so to speak. Yet the good and fair judge doesn’t think they were set up, despite both persons being Stonewall members!

    Yes well! slight aside here. Do you know how to become a Judge? Be a really really crap Barrister. The English legal system is the oldest closed shop trade Union in the World. They will look after their own whatever happens, short of committing murder on camera.

    So yes, this is a fuckin travesty. Do any of you seriously believe that these two poor innocent gays turned up at an obscure little hotel in Cornwall without malice aforethought only to be turned away in the middle of the night?

    The square brackets are my comments of course.

    I still believe in Invitation to Treat, and loathe homophobes, but let the owners lose money as they will, but not from fuckin judicial rulings!

  • RAB

    Do you have any idea how pissed off I get at Smite control, especially at this time of night?

    Sort it, soon!

    [Editor: it is a ‘bot, mate… You just see the end result (the filtered comments), not the back end. There is nothing to sort. I wish smitebot was not needed but it is… it is a pain in the arse I know but I already spend too much time manually killing the spam that leaks through the defences… without smitebot comments would be untenable as there would be three spam posts for each legitimate one. Not joking.]

  • RAB

    Sigh, yes Ed sorry and all that, but it is bloody frustrating to be smited only for it it turn up a day later, long after your comment has been superseded and overlooked by the rest of commentators.

    So in Gene Wilder style, I am down to a gentle seethe. Still wet but only slightly hysterical 😉

    If you could email me the do’s and don’t’s of getting past the bloody machine… I can write my stuff in iambic pentameters if I have to…

    Because I have never had a comment deleted in my entire years of writing here, to my recollection.It’s just the frustration of coming back and finding your post still not up days later.

    But enough of me. This thread is an important point of English Common Law. Pile in the rest of you!

  • RAB

    Um… I just don’t believe it! 😉

  • 'Nuke' Gray

    RAB, you should think of being smitten the way I do- someone, somewhere, will have to actually read what you wrote! You are guaranteed an audience! Maybe only one, but if you only reach one other person, it hasn’t been a total waste! (Though I wouldn’t give up your day job…)

  • Laird

    Along the lines of RAB’s (substantive) post, what’s lost among all this solomonic “balancing” of the hotel proprietors’ free exercise of their religious beliefs against a putative right of their customers to be free of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, is the owners’ right to use their private property as they see fit, as well as their right to freedom of association. Both are long-established common law principles which have been trampled in the rush to create whole new species of new-age “rights.” By my count the hotel owners have had three of their traditional rights eviscerated in favor of only one modern “right” of their erstwhile patrons. That’s hardly “balancing”; clearly, that new “right” has pride of place, and trumps all (or nearly all) others. It’s hardly surprising that such a brute force insertion of a new right into the traditional scheme is causing some consternation.

  • Regional

    The day it’s frowned upon to chase seaguls on a beach only wearing a helicopter hat is going to far.

  • Well, this is indeed a gross violation of the couples’ rights, and probably a deliberate stitch-up by organised poovery. But, I pointed out at the LA blog, and at the Tele too, this is to some extent a kind of poetic justice.

    The Bulls are devout christians. As I like to point out, the wave of social engineering began in the nineteenth century with evangelicals fighting to have the state impose moral judgements by force. For instance, why are brothels illegal in Britain? They weren’t for most of history. They were one of our great national institutions. Then the state said, if you let people shag in the rooms of your boarding house, it is a disorderly house and you will go to jail.

    So now we have a “boot on the other foot”. The precedent that the State could decide what you do commercially with your property, in moral terms, was set by Christian activists. The world has turned a few times since, and the activists disconnected from their Christian roots and secularised. But they are still running on the same moralist fervour. You aren’t allowed to disriminate against gays because it is immoral. You aren’t allowed to run a bawdy house because that is immoral. It’s precisely the same morally fervent interventionist ideology in operation. In that sense, this is something of a “hoist by their own petard” thing.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    What Laird said.

    I wrote about this issue back last year and my point about the right of bigots to be bigots with their own property still stands.

    For some people, the assumption seems to be that if I, as the owner of private property wish to start charging people for its use (as in a hotel), then suddenly the transaction is no longer a freely consenting one between any would-be client and myself, but instead becomes a public forum in which the State is entitled to set the rules. You often come across this in debates about smoking in pubs, for instance. As we say, if you don’t like smoking in a pub, then don’t work in one or drink there: go somewhere else.

    Of course, it is indeed very ugly to see pubs or whatever with signs saying: “No blacks, Irish, Jews, gays, unmarried couples…”, and of course in the Deep South of the US and elsewhere, this sort of mindset did cause considerable offence. And in a way, in the former slave states of the South, there is a sort of “poetic justice”, as IanB might put it, in such property rights being overturned. But the trouble with such “poetic justice” is that it replaces on set of nasty social conventions with a bureaucratic mindset that is equally hostile to liberty.

    In the end, it boils down to the rights of the property owner and the principle of free association. The law is more or less now saying that believers in traditional marriage cannot be allowed to run businesses if they do not wish to interact with folk whom they disapprove of.

    (Of course, IanB will remember a now-banned commenter who would, at this point, rant on about how we had no business to complain due to our appalling “social liberalism”, love of decadent lifestyles, rock music, sex, non-attendance at the local Anglican church, etc).

  • alecm

    I see this as an interesting conflict of private property rights versus moral equivocation.

    You can say that the hoteliers are permitted to put whatever restrictions they wish upon how they transact.

    The hoteliers have stated very clearly that they offer double bedded rooms to married couples.

    The guests have a civil partnership, which in law is recognised as equivalent to a marriage in all but name.

    But apparently the hoteliers don’t see it that way; hence I see this as evidence for the inequality of civil partnerships and thus for “full” gay marriage to be recognised by the state.

  • Well I dunno. Call me an old fuddy duddy, but I cannot escape from the fundamental idea that “marriage” is an inherently heterosexual institution. I have nothing against people forming contracts of any kind with any type of person, or indeed with their pets or imaginary friends[1], but “marriage” it seems to me is an inherently heterosexual word.

    If we look at historical precedent for instance we find that every culture has featured it in some form, and in every culture it has been entirely heterosexual, even in societies with institutionalised homosexual behaviour, such as the more pervy Greek city states.

    So from my perspective, if you say there is such a thing as a gay “marriage”, what you’re really saying is that the word “marriage” doesn’t mean anything any more. It would make more sense if you want to do that to reduce all marriages to “civil partnerships”. Like I said, this probably marks me out as some kind of crusty conservative, but I don’t see how two men can in any meaningful sense “marry” each other, any more than a mad old lady can “marry” her cat, however much she may desire to.

    [1] that is, imaginary personalities like “companies” and “schools” and other such institutions.

  • alecm

    @IanB: “institution” – that’s something you have to be crazy to get into, right? 🙂

    Words are allowed to evolve. If not, “publishing” would still require paper and a printing press.

    From my perspective, shorn of religion-related promises, marriage is about two people making a public commitment to stay together, and support each other, and petition the regrettable state to not excessively impoverish one when the other dies.

    Why should gender come into that?

  • Something about this particular case sparked a thought in my mind.

    With marriage, it has long been true that this is not legitimate or legally available for those in a too-close familial relationship (ie incest); in the UK this is those more closely related than being first cousins. The reason for this is, IMHO, primarily the higher risk of congenital birth defects.

    However, if we now view gay relationships and marriage as strictly equivalent, there is a bit of a problem. The procreation benefit drops from the first rank of purpose, leaving the sharing of sexual pleasures and mutual support (perhaps love too).

    What now justifies prohibition of siblings of different sexes (etc) wishing to marry, provided that they commit to and ensure no realistic possibility of birth of their mutual offspring?

    Or do we have lawful constraint on the familial closeness of those wishing to enter gay partnerships?

    Best regards

  • Well, this is the problem with words. They’re plastic. But sometimes they get gradually so bent out of shape that they become meaningless. You can do that easily by saying, “my definition is…”. Think of “liberal” for instance. What does that mean these days?

    So for me, if I look historically, “marriage” seems to be a social institution, and very little about how you have chosen to define it. It is part of a hegemonic social system, and has always been primarily a precursor or enabler of having children. You come of age, you get married, you have your children. That’s what it’s for.

    Gays can’t have children. They simply aren’t on that “life path”. Their particular preferences should not be a justification for persecution, but if they are happy with it they really in my view do need to accept that they’re living a different type of life to other people, and weigh up the pros and cons of that. You can’t decide to be different, then complain that you’re not the same.

    This isn’t the same as saying “ah ha, what about infertile people, they can’t marry either then?” because they’re still on the normal heterosexual life path, and thus its institutions which evolved for it are appropriate to them. They can still for instance provide a normal home to adopted children, which is not something that homosexuals can do either.

    It’s really about living different lifestyles and the limitations associated with those different choices. If you’re gay, you get to do things that straights can’t do. But you’re not on the “marriage” life path. You’re doing something else. “Marriage” just isn’t part of the gay lifestyle package. That’s my way of looking at it, anyway.

  • ^^I should have specified that my last comment was in reply to alecm. I meant it to come right under him, but Nigel got between us.

  • That’s all very interesting, Ian (really is), but if you take the state out of the marriage equation, the whole thing becomes moot. One church may call it ‘marriage’, another may not – big deal.

    RAB, sorry, but the fact that it was a setup is irrelevant (albeit rather odious in this case): Rosa Parks sitting in the front of the bus was also a setup (not odious at all) – so what.

  • Alisa, marriage predates the State. In England, for instance, marriage was until a few centuries ago a private declaration between individuals. No license. You didn’t even need a church. It became customary after christianisation to go to church for a “blessing”, but it’s only relatively recently that the Church and State got their monopoly on it.

    I don’t think taking church and state out of the equation makes it “moot” at all. I think heterosexual pair bonding is pretty much a human universal.

  • alecm

    @Nigel: Ah, the slippery slope argument.

    In short, incest yielding genetically condensed children does not go away because gay marriage does/doesn’t exist, and fortunately people – like most animals – are generally pre-programmed to avoid incest.

    I take your point, though, and note that there are cases of brothers and sisters living under one roof, in love of some form, and they do suffer from the state stealing from them more when one or other dies.

    Come to that, I know man/woman couples in apparently non-sexual relationships where the selfsame risk applies; they just “get along” under one roof and it’ll be fine until one or the other suffers a medical incident.

    In some senses I am deeply against the state – or church – involving itself in “in peoples bedrooms”; but the truth is that how people live life is way more complex that even _this_ black and white distinction, AND the truth is that the state for whatever reason _does_ involve itself, and thus my preference is that the potential for marital benefits (ie: inheritance without death duties being applied) should be available as widely as possible.


    So your argument comes down to “marriage is a word and the way [you] define it excludes gay people, because [you] don’t think it’s normal”?

    So for you, marriage is somehow “bigger” than the benefits it endows upon the couple? And those benefits should be only endowed by the state if the couple matches the 1-man-1-woman rule?

    What if 2 gay men and 2 lesbians got cross-married and lived under one roof, living as two married couples but sleeping together as per their preference, to reduce risk of being made homeless upon death of 1 partner.

    Would that be OK?

  • alecm

    ps: add pension rights and pre-death hospital visitation rights, turning off life support, executive decision making and a bunch of other stuff to the benefits of marriage…

  • Alecm, my argument doesn’t come down to your caricature at all. I’m saying that words have certain meanings, and this word defines a particular social institution, and if you keep bending it to mean other things it eventually stops meaning anything.

    It also depends what you mean by the word “normal”. Homosexuality clearly isn’t normal. That doesn’t mean it requires the perjorative association which “abnormal” often has. For instance, I’m a Hawkwind fan. Very few other people are. Therefore, I am not normal, in that particular way. Homosexuality is abnormal in the same kind of way, because it, er, isn’t the usual thing.

    But I think that we need to throw off the mantle of PC and recognise that it’s also “abnormal” in a stronger sense, in that the human procreative system has a quite clear evolutionary purpose to it, and this is inherent to our nature as a species. A man who doesn’t like girls actually does have something wrong with him. We might decide that deserves sympathy, or compassion, or is nobody else’s business, and so on. But no amount of argument about discrimination can actually elevate homophilia to “normality”. You can’t do it.

    It’s the same as, about myself again; I am deaf in one ear. This is not normal. It’s a malfunction. I hope nobody will discriminate against me because of it or persecute me, but it excludes me from certain activities (I wanted to be a sound engineer, tough luck) and I can’t demand to be treated equallly with stereophonic people because I am not equal to them in that regard.

    So the point is, marriage is a thing that people with normally functional psychosexual systems do. Homosexuals just aren’t normally functional. That’s no reason for persecution. But it simply excludes them from those normal institutional arrangements which require normality. Nothing is going to change that. You can give two men a piece of paper saying “You are married” on it, but they still won’t be married. Because they aren’t in the relationship which the word “married” describes.

  • Just to waffle on a bit more, think of it in these terms-

    It seems probable that within the next few decades, parents will have the ability to genetically design their children. The genome will be fully understood, and you will be able to decide what child you want. This is going to place an enormous moral burden on parents to make the right choices.

    Now let’s suppose that homoseuxality is genetic (I personally take the view that it isn’t, but let’s presume it is). Now, you’re sitting there in the gynaecologist’s office, choosing the genes of your child. And you get to the one that decides whether they will be straight or gay. What choice will you make?

    Is there any moral justification for choosing the “gay” option? Or, to put it better, is there any moral justification for not choosing the “straight” allele?

    In those terms, how do we see homosexuality? Is it simply a trait, or is it a disorder?

  • Damn you, smitebot!

    *shakes fist at sky*

  • MarkE

    This having become a debate about “marriage” it may be worth adding the most important benefit of modern marriage; at death, transfers between spouses are usually tax free. I always assumed this was the main driver behind the campaign for gay couples to be allowed to enter civil partnerships. There are few (if any) other benefits to married couples that are denied to unmarried couples.

    Mrs MarkE and I are not married, but we’re dirt poor so that doesn’t actually matter. Given a sudden windfall we would probably be off to the registry office PDQ but I can see no other reason to do so.

  • lmda

    Are you allowed to refuse someone accommodation if, when they turn up, you just don’t like them, or do anti-racism laws already prevent this, even when the reason for the refusal cannot possibly be racist?

  • Ian, all true – but what’s your point as it pertains to the original post?

  • This having become a debate about “marriage”

    I wonder how that happened.

  • Paul Marks

    Yes “private property” is becomming meaningless – we are moving (and have been for a long time) to what Mises called the “German system of socialism” by which property remains nominally “private” but its use (or nonuse) is deterimined by the state.

    This first became obvious well before the National Socialist period – for example there was a vast difference in the First World War between how economic life operated in France and Germany. In France government (of course) vastly expanded with the war – and there were indeed lots of new regulations, but in Germany there was something else – a difference in the TYPE of society (see above). The Germans were quite open about what this new system was – they called it “War Socialism” And it put into practice the dreams of German thinkers going back centuries – the Cameralists and others.

    This would appeat to be our future in Britain, the United States and so on – but there is hope (of a grim sort). IT DOES NOT WORK – the governement direction of nominally private enterprise fails. This was seen even in the First World War (in spite of its vastly greater heavy industry before the war, Germany produced fewer shells, AND SO ON, than France did during the First World War). And in peacetime and over the longer period the failure of such a system (Cameron style “public-private partnerships” and so on) will be obvious.

    For example, in this specific case – the guest house will close, or it will stagger on for a while (no longer serving its function – for it was a Christian guest house, that was the service it was offering) and then close.

  • Paul Marks

    Further on this specific case:

    Notice how weak the couple owning the guest house was – and how their weakness gained them NOTHING.

    As the Guardian newspaper article gloatingly points out, the couple did not make a stand against homosexual acts.

    Christianity (like Judaism) has opposed homosexual acts for thousands of years – contrary to the absurd lies of “Gay Christians” (dry drops of rain?) and so on. I am NOT saying that Christianity (and Judaism and Islam) are correct in their opposition to homosexual acts – but to deny that they oppose such acts is absurd.

    Yet this couple who owned the guest house repeatedly said they did not want to “discriminate” against homosexuls, indeed they did not want to “offend” anybody (if Christians had never gone out of their way to “offend” people the Roman Empire would have had no problem with them) they might as well have crawled on their hands and knees and kissed the judge’s boot.

    And what did it gain them? NOTHING.

    All the talk about how they were just against nonmarried couples sharing a double bed……..

    Waffle, waffle, waffle – they got kicked in the teeth anyway. With the standard B.S. line about how the modern state has to “balance rights”.

    Of course the basic DEFINTION of a right is violated by “anti discrimination” regulations.

    Once a “right” is no longer a limitation on government power, but has become the abilty of the state to give nice goods and services to people (or make private people hand over jobs, or places in a guest house or….) then it is GAME OVER.

    But the guest house owners did not contest this.


    On the contrary, they begged and they pleaded and they played with definitions (on marriage and so on).

    And it gained them NOTHING – and actually I am partly glad it gained them nothing.

    Either one is against “anti discrimination law” on principle or one is not.

    One should not play silly games like “I am in favour of anti discrimination law – but an exception should be made for Christians or other religous people” (former Archbishop Carey).

    Or “I am not discriminating against homosexuals – I am just against nonmarried people sharing a double bed” (to which the homosexuals will just reply “well we will get married then”).

    The couple who owned the guest house have indeed been aggressed against, their “private property” made meaningless – with the normal B.S. talk about “balancing rights”. But let us not forget that this couple did not really make a stand – they tried to evade the issue, to continue to be Christians and obey the regulations of modern Britain.

    Sorry but one can not have it both ways. Britain (like the rest of the modern Western world) is a radically anti Christian place (dominated by legal and philophical doctrines filled with fanatical hatred for the basic teachings of Christianity) – and so a Christain (if they choose to live their faith) is on a collision course with this sort of state (a road to conflict that may well lead to prison or other punishment).

    By the way I trust the two homosexuals will now go and stay in an ISLAMIC guest house and insist on a double bed.

    Why not? Surely the “law” (and the Guardian newspaper) will defend their right to do so.

    By the way it is NOT just “anti discrimination” that makes these European and International declarations of human rights nonsense.

    For example, there is a “right to social security” in the international declaration of human rights.

    Social Security is a PONZI SCHEME (a chain letter) it must collapse eventually (it is utterly illogical). Yet there is a “right” to it.

    This is why “practical” people are utterly wrong about these modern “declarations” and “treaties” – the “practical” view is that “these are just nice sounding but fairly meaningless documents – we should sign to show we are nice people who believe in human rights”.

    On the contrary, once you sign up for these documents you are in for a world of hurt – because when the details start to be enforced (either by international courts or domestic ones) it is found that they are DEMENTED.

    They were meant to be demented – after all two of the principle writers of the international declaration on human rights were Harold Laski and E.H. Carr.

    I wonder what wonderful people wrote the European one. Most likely a committee – some Catholics (not very clear thinking ones), some socialists and so on . And the result is (MUST BE) a mess.

  • I agree generally Paul, but I don’t know if Britain is so much “radically anti-christian” as “radically anti-everyone who is not a member of a protected group”.

    The characteristic to me of Proggie society is its based very much on a sheep and goats system. Everyone who isn’t specifically defined as a sheep is a goat, and woe betide you if you’re a goat.

    I must admit in the 80s I bought into Political Correctness. It was sold at the time as basically being about not picking on people, and that seemed fair enough. It was only later that I realised it was actually “you may not criticise the specific groups on this list, everyone else is fair game”.

    Anyhoo, you’re quite correct that any attempt at appeasement is a waste of time. Nothing will deflect the savagery of a “progressive”.

  • dunderheid

    I am not a lawyer and have not read the judgement so I have a funny feeling the following will be shot down in flames..but here goes.

    My understanding is that no contract or invitation to contract can be contrary to the laws of the land. Given that discrimination against homosexuals is illegal (if not in explicit UK law then implicit by our signing of th ECHR) any putative contract that enshrines this is itself illegal.

  • PaulH

    @Ian B – I thought I’d have a go at correcting a couple of your misconceptions. First, homosexuality is entirely normal, even if it is relatively uncommon. Similarly your love of Hawkwind is entirely normal, even if you’re in a minority. Clearly there isn’t a universally accepted standards board for normal, but its definition includes anything that we might reasonably expect. So I can reasonably expect that an individual would like listening to Hawkwind, though most won’t. I wouldn’t reasonably expect that an individual would like listening to cats having their tails run over, though I’m sure there are some that do.

    Similarly most people aren’t gay. But enough people are, and have been for thousands of years, that I could reasonably expect that a random person on the street could be, though chances are 90-99% that they won’t be. The point is that average isn’t normal; the average person doesn’t like any specific band, but that doesn’t make liking a band “not normal”.

    Your second misconception is that “human procreative system has a quite clear evolutionary purpose”. Nothing has an evolutionary purpose, because purpose implies external agency, of which there is none. Procreation provides enormous evolutionary *advantage*, for sure; in fact that advantage is absolute for us, as without it you and I wouldn’t be having this conversation. But advantage is not purpose.

    Why does this matter? Homosexuality doesn’t obviously serve the purpose of reproduction, so it’s easy to see it as not normal. Remove that purpose, however, and it’s just another option when deciding what to do with ones genitals. It may not be the most common choice, but the fact that after millions of years of evolution it is still so prevalent means that it may have an evolutionary advantage, or at least a tolerable cost. Either way, it’s entirely normal.

    For the record I’m not comfortable with this ruling; I care nothing for the religion of the defendents, but their property is their own. On the other hand the laws I admire most are those that hold us to a higher standard than we might ourselves, and I can think of few goals more admirable than the end of discrimination (as unlikely as that is to be reached). So I guess I’m not comfortable with the alternatives either.

  • PaulH

    @Ian B – I thought I’d have a go at correcting a couple of your misconceptions. First, homosexuality is entirely normal, even if it is relatively uncommon. Similarly your love of Hawkwind is entirely normal, even if you’re in a minority. Clearly there isn’t a universally accepted standards board for normal, but its definition includes anything that we might reasonably expect. So I can reasonably expect that an individual would like listening to Hawkwind, though most won’t. I wouldn’t reasonably expect that an individual would like listening to cats having their tails run over, though I’m sure there are some that do.

    Similarly most people aren’t gay. But enough people are, and have been for thousands of years, that I could reasonably expect that a random person on the street could be, though chances are 90-99% that they won’t be. The point is that average isn’t normal; the average person doesn’t like any specific band, but that doesn’t make liking a band “not normal”.

    Your second misconception is that “human procreative system has a quite clear evolutionary purpose”. Nothing has an evolutionary purpose, because purpose implies external agency, of which there is none. Procreation provides enormous evolutionary *advantage*, for sure; in fact that advantage is absolute for us, as without it you and I wouldn’t be having this conversation. But advantage is not purpose.

    Why does this matter? Homosexuality doesn’t obviously serve the purpose of reproduction, so it’s easy to see it as not normal. Remove that purpose, however, and it’s just another option when deciding what to do with ones genitals. It may not be the most common choice, but the fact that after millions of years of evolution it is still so prevalent means that it may have an evolutionary advantage, or at least a tolerable cost. Either way, it’s entirely normal.

    For the record I’m not comfortable with this ruling; I care nothing for the religion of the defendents, but their property is their own. On the other hand the laws I admire most are those that hold us to a higher standard than we might ourselves, and I can think of few goals more admirable than the end of discrimination (as unlikely as that is to be reached). So I guess I’m not comfortable with the alternatives either.

  • Paul Marks

    “The law should hold us to a higher standard” (or some such) PaulH?

    Bullshit – total bullshit. The law is not about making us better people (whatever Aristotle said).

    In fact that is the sort of Christianity that people like Ian B. hate (I am not in favour of it either).

    Whether someone is a nice person full of the milk of human kindness is BUGGER ALL TO DO WITH THE LAW.

    You can not “save souls by coecing bodies” as every voluntarist knows. But that did not stop centuries of (wildly misguided) people (both Christian and nonChristian) trying to “stamp out sin” by passing “laws” against not being fluffy.

    Did someone aggress against someone else – did they steal their goods or attack their bodies?


    The law is putting into the specific circumstances of times and place the principle of justice (not “social justice” or whatever), which is to each his own.

    If the couple want to put up a sign on their guesthouse saying “SODOMITES ARE NOT WELCOME HERE – GO AND BURN IN HELL” they would not be very nice people, but (I repeat) that is bugger all to do with the law. Even if there is a line after this saying “By the way, we are not Christians – we just do not like you”.

    Ditto for Jews (or half Jews like me) or members of any other group (chosen or accident of birth).

    Any law that claims it can tell people who they should have as their guests (and so on) does understand the basic point of what “law” is.

    In fact it has accepted the “legal positivist” definition of “law” (of Thomas Hobbes and so on) that law is not about defending property rights (in ones body and goods) but is simply the “will of the state”.

    That is what the modern definition of “rights” leads to – if everything is a “right” (for example a room at a guest house) then nothing is a right . The state (or rather the “liberal” elite) just has ARBITRARY POWER under the mask of the enforcement of “rights”.

    By the way do you know where this “public rights” (to a room in a guest house, to service at a shop, and so on) doctrine comes from?

    It is from the Roman Empire.

    Under the Republic such things were considered private – but gradually (under the Empire) they came fo be considered a public matter, right for control by the state.

    That is where these supposed Common Lawyers get these notions from – they get it from Roman Law.

    And not even the “judge made” (i.e. private property dispute) made law of the Republic.

    No – the arbitrary whims of the Emperors.

    That is the real source of this view of “law”.

    The increasingly tyannical Roman Empire – a civilization in decline.

    That is what modern “liberalism” will lead to again. And the old liberals (even though they were mostly NOT libertarians) at least understood that – people like Adam Smith and Dugald Stewart (and so on) were not libertarians (they were limited state people – not minimal state people) – but they would not have even crossed the road to spit on modern “liberals” (even if said “liberals” were on fire at the time).

    By the way Ian B. is right.

    It is not just Christians – it is ANYONE who does not fit the desires of the state.

    It is just that (certain sorts) of Christian are perfect targets – they are very meek, they do not fight back, the state can urinate all over them,with no fear of any backlash at all.

    So it does.

  • Well I noticed even if no one else did: Alisa said “Rosa Parks”.

    Is that analogy too hot to handle?

    I’d guess it’s a standard challenge on US talk shows, CNN and the like.

  • RAB

    Sorry Alisa but the Rosa Parks analogy doesn’t work for me, quite the opposite in fact.

    Before Rosa sat on that bus it was illegal for blacks to be seated at the front of a bus. A law designed to humiliate and segregate free citizens of the same country, and obviously bad law.

    But this case has been deliberately manufactured to force a test case in a grey area. It is not as if ALL hotels in the country refuse to let gays share a bed, if that were the case I would be all for going to law over it. But that is not the situation is it? These two chaps could have driven probably a few hundred yards down the road and been welcomed elswhere with open arms.

    No, this hotel was targeted by gay activists, who used false pretences to make their booking over the phone. That is Malicious litergacy in my book. They knew full well the reaction they would get and went out of their way to provoke it.

    Look at the way this trial stacked up, the Hoteliers supported by Christian fundamentalist groups and the Gays by Stonewall and the Trevor Phillips Massive.

    Yet the dear Progressive Judge cannot somehow see this.

    Also note his times they are a changin… speech. He mentioned the Hunting ban and the smoking ban in such a way that he obviously thinks these are good things (whether we, the silly public, like it or not) And there’s the rub, for the smoking ban in particular was never asked for by weight of public opinion, but was forced on us by progressive prodnosed banstorbators.
    No compromise was allowed. Ban total. It’s for your own good you stupid little people can’t you see that!

    Well ask any publican if they were for the ban, and they will tell you absolutely not. Pubs have been closing in droves since it’s introduction, and the ressession has made the situation even worse.

    But the proggies don’t give a damn do they? Do as we think is best for you, or else.

  • RAB

    I just handled it Endivio, but got smited again. That’s three in a row on the same thread. A personal best for me I believe. 😉

  • tehag

    It is the purpose of government to choose between competing moralities and to enforce one. There can be no exemptions or exceptions or diversity. There is no place for private conscience or private property: every citizen’s conscience must follow the morals of the state; every citizen’s property must be dedicated to the highest good of the state. Enforcement and obedience must be total.

    I want no more talk of Amish home schooling (their children must be schooled with everyone else’s children); Quaker pacifism (if you’re drafted and you refuse, you’re a traitor, not a conscientious objector; special holidays or diets your bizarre cult (Islam, Judaism, vegetarianism); and there most certainly there must never be any separation of church and state. The churches and all of their followers must obey the government’s morality, not God’s.

    And if you don’t like it: rebel or submit.

  • Endivio, I get the feeling that you may have missed my point, but I could be wrong.

    RAB, you unlucky dog;-)

  • RAB


    But enough of the insider jokes, I hope I didn’t miss your point dear lady, but we will see what we shall see when the snotty botty lets the comment through.

    tehag, please god, you are joking arn’t you?

  • RAB

    Bleedin hell! that’s four now!

    I give up.

  • JadedLibertarian

    The state often plays a little game. They call it “being fair”. Being fair means stating that all beliefs are equal, and therefore no one can act according to their conscience under any circumstances lest they offend anothers equally valuable beleifs. Of course, being unable to act on your own values is a value-laden position in and of itself, and what is more certain beliefs are more equal than others in that they are allowed to be expressed in public with criminal charges being brough so their claim to moral neutrality is, to use the technical term, a load of shite.

    I think the time will come with the gay-lobby will regret their belligerent, vexatious stance.

    They could have adopted a live and let live strategy. They could have simply said “I think you’re wrong”, maybe added a few choice words, and left it at that.

    But no, they used their currently favoured status to bring the iron boot of the state to bear, and reshaped the world to fit their desire.

    Problem is, they may find themselves reaping as they have sown. One day the government may no longer favour homosexuals, but instead another group. One day laws may end up being passed which curtails not only their freedom of action but seeks to make their very opinions illegal.

    And when they cry “can’t we hold different opinions and live and let live?” no one will listen.

    Militant homosexuals in particular have been far too keen to use the state to impose themselves on others. Had they shown some understanding of a distinction between their opinions, and what they have a right to force on others, then perhaps I would be more inclined to respect them.

  • Laird

    At the heart of this (and similar) issues is the fallacious notion of competing rights. True “rights” can never be in competition with each other. Never. What can be in competition are competing claims. In this particular instance, what is at issue is the claim of the homosexual couple to specific (double bed) accommodations at a privately owned hostelry, versus the right of the hotel owners to use their property as they see fit. Properly expressed, the issue resolves itself. Merely passing a law doesn’t convert a “claim” into a “right”, just as (in Lincoln’s famous epigram*) calling a dog’s tail a leg doesn’t make it one.

    Since no one has yet responded to Dunderheid’s question, I’ll just point out that a contract in violation of positive law can indeed be considered void as against public policy. But that merely speaks to using the state’s mechanisms to enforce it. In this instance the hotel owners weren’t asking the state to do anything; they merely refused to accept customers whom they found offensive. There was no contract, and not even any invitation to contract; in fact, it was the express declination to contract which the state found offensive. That’s a far different matter.

    * “How many legs does a dog have if you call his tail a leg? Answer: 4.”

  • That was very well put Laird. I do have one quibble though: as someone who rejects the notion of “natural rights”, I see a right as a privilege granted by the powers that be. Viewed in this light, your point could be rephrased to say that this is an issue of claims to rights: the hotel owners (and the rest of us) were once, granted the right to do with our property as we see fit. Now that right has been revoked, and certain groups (such as homosexuals, Muslims, what have you) have been granted some rights towards that same property, under certain conditions (such as payment).

  • Now that right has been revoked

    ‘Curtailed’ may be a better term.

  • Paul Marks

    One need not have any notion of “natural rights” one can simply say “that is not law”.

    Nether Proculians or Sabinians would have seen it as law – of course that is why Hadrian had not time for either school of thought.

    You can not have the idea of principles of law (something the Praetors put into practice but do NOT create) if you want your own WILL as law (although you intend to dress up your will as a code).

    “Too up in the clouds Paul – what about Rosa Parks”.


    The State legislature had no business declaring that a bus company could not carry black people next to white people.

    Indeed the very idea of a “legislature” makes no sense as it implies (indeed more than implies) that “law” is just something government creates in much the same way that a baked bean manufacturer creates tins of baked beans.

    If that is so the question “why should I obey the law” is easy to reply to. “You should not – as it just the whims of a load of politicians and other such”. If however, “the law” is an honest effort (however imperfect)to apply the principle of justice (to each his own) in the circumstances of time and space, then one can (and should) have some respect for it.

    “But Rosa Parks, Rosa Parks, Rosa Parks….”

    Certainly if there was a bus company (let us call it “Bigot Line”) that wished to throw away the chance to have the money of black people – and thus forbid them getting on its busses (even at the back or on the roof). Then THAT IS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE LAW.

    “Here at Bigot Line we do not want your money – fuck off niggers”.


    Clear enough now for everyone?

    Although it is equally clear that such a company should not be subsidized by the government or given some monopoly (or whatever) on something called a “bus route” (something that government should not be involved it).

    But this equally true for “Saint Line” – a bus company that loves black people and gives all of its profits to helping little children with cancer.

  • Oh my, you say ‘Rosa Parks’, and off tangent we go…I wish people (myself included) would read others’ comments more carefully. The only reason that she came to my mind is that RAB took offense at the fact that the gay couple acted provocatively. My point was that although their motives for that provocation were objectionable, the provocation part in and of itself was not.

  • RAB, I now read your unsmited comment, and I agree with you of course. My point was a bit different and more narrow – see immediately above.

  • RAB

    Fair enough Alisa, understood and agreed. You have to fight evil even if it is against some arbitary and imposed law.

  • Laird

    Sorry, Alisa, but your definition of “rights” doesn’t work for me. If the word is to have any meaning at all it must be something which exists prior to, or outside of (and certainly in spite of) the State. Any “right” which can be revoked (or curtailed) by the State isn’t really a “right” at all, but merely a privilege. That way lies only tyranny, as has been demonstrated countless times throughout human history. I guess Stalin merely “curtailed” the right of about 50 million people to life, right?

  • OK Laird, so how do you define a ‘right’ then?

  • Laird

    I think I just did. It’s a fundamental principle which transcends the State, and supersedes any political interference. Sort of an unamendable über-constitution.

    Also, I refer you back to IanB’s discussions on or about December 19, 2010, concerning Hume’s Law and the ethical foundation of the libertarian non-coercion principle.

  • Sort of an unamendable über-constitution.

    Right, but where is its origin?

    I haven’t read Hume, but I distinctly recall Ian’s objection to the idea of “natural rights”, so that reference doesn’t seem to support your point.

  • Laird, I now recall that you had a similar argument with Mid, so maybe there is no point yet in renewing it yet – unless you gained any additional insights since then?

  • 'Nuke' Gray

    When we use the term ‘right’, we usually end up talking about ‘fair’, and talking about ‘justice’, and ‘equality before the law’, and stuff like that. So I propose that ‘natural rights’ be taken to mean that people are only judged by what they do to other people- do they treat others as equals?

  • Laird

    Nope, no additional insights. I’ll let it go.

  • pete

    If you’ve no objection to my joining the conversation I’d like to go back to PaulH 19/11

    “I thought I’d have a go at correcting a couple of your misconceptions. First, homosexuality is entirely normal, even if it is relatively uncommon.”

    But it isn’t normal is it? Sexual attraction between two members of the same sex is perfectly normal. It’s probable that we all feel it to some degree in our lives although most do not act it out physically.
    What is abnormal is not feeling attracted to the opposite sex.

  • dunderheid

    Laird..firstly the fact the owners had a big sign saying B&B to me is a fairly clear invitation to treat and what our gay friends demonstrated is that in fact the contract being offered was in fact illegal

    We will provide accommodation and overcooked sauages in the morning for money….so long as you are not gay

  • alecm

    @IanB – I was going to write a final comment yesterday, but PaulH largely beat me to it.

    The opposite of normal is ‘abnormal’; the opposite of common is ‘uncommon’; the last comment you made in response to me appears to confuse the two.

    A flock of pheasants landing in Trafalgar Square – abnormal.

    A rain of fish in Chicago – abnormal.

    10,000+ years of homosexuality and a standing percentage of the population of 5 to 10% – normal, and there are historical references to back up its normality. The population is _uncommon_ but not terribly.

    Your partial deafness is an abnormality for you, but in the grand scheme of things is not uncommon – my father suffered similarly, as do a couple of my friends.

    And people drinking beer and singing “Needle-Needle, Needle-Needle-Gun” are likewise uncommon, but they’re not abnormal, especially considered as part of the larger genre.

    I’m sorry that you feel so isolated. Would you like to talk to someone about your Hawkwind fetish? I know some people who would understand…

  • Paul Marks

    Alisa I was NOT really replying to you – I was replying to anyone who raised the race issue.


    “no such thing as natural rights” and no such thing as natural law? Let us leave aside the “values of society” (and other such) as “society” is the voluntary (civil) interactions of human beings.

    “Society” is NOT an enity and it can not have “values” in fact the opposite is the case, for civil society depends on the PRIOR EXISTANCE of law (calling law “values” is silly, it confuses the distinction between CRIME and being fluffy – a person can be unnice without committing any violation of the law).

    For civil society to exist (by definition) people must be civil – they must obey the nonaggression principle. Otherwise there can not be civil (voluntary) interaction and civil society can not exist.

    The law comes FIRST, the “products of society” come AFTERWARDS. Otherwise there is no civil society – because civil interaction can not take place.

    One can oppose the existance of natural rights and still believe that “law” is something other than the arbitrary whims of the state. Otherwise “law” is simply a “command” of a ruler – something to be despised (not something to be respected).

    Of course if one (as you seem to) takes the Legal Positivist (Hobbesian) view of what “law” is (i.e. that it is just the will of the state) then selling you for dog food is perfecty “legal” if the “legislature” and the judges say it is.

    This is not “lawful” in any non stupid sense (a stupid sense being, for example, “look at this statute, it clearly says I can murder and eat you” or “read this judgement – Justice Scumbag clearly says the same”).

    Theft remains theft whatever the men in funny robes say, as does murder (such as catching you and selling you for dog food), rape and so on.

    I would advice you to read “The Law” by Bastiat.

    Or (if you insist on a practicing lawyer) the writings and speeches of “the slaves lawyer”, Salmon P. Chase, on what property is and what it is not.

    Clue – if the owners of the guesthouse had abducted the two homosexuals and sold them as slaves then they would have violated them (broken the law), they would NOT have made them property (because property can not come from crime – and abduction is crime).

    However, if the two blue eyed people go to a guesthouse and say “you rent out rooms to brown eyed people, so you must rent out rooms to blue eyed people” the owners of the guesthouse are NOT violating the law – and IF the two blue eyed people use (or threaten to use) force (for example the state – or some private gang of criminals) then THEY ARE VIOLATING THE LAW.

    Politicians and judges are only of use if they are helping the law – not if they are seeking to undermine the law (as the statutes, AND THE COURT JUDGEMENTS, of the Slave States did ove a long period of time).

    It is the function of government (including judges) to try and enforce the law – if they think that the law has no existance other than their own wills, then they have become part of the problem (not part of the solution).

    “This ruling does not violate the property rights of the owners of the guest house”.

    Yes it does, your statement is a lie (a blatent one) and, therefore, you are a liar.

    I note with interest how quickly a defender of legal positivism (i.e. that “law” is just the will of the elite) falls into lies – blatent lies.

    It indicates that David Hume was a perhaps mistaken – with his an is can not make an ought.

    The “is” is obvious – this ruling was a violation of property (to deny that is like denying that 1+1=2 or that A is A – the act of denying it is absurd), but is what of interest here is the “ought”.

    Instead of saying “good, their property was violated” you tried to pretend that it was not violated.

    That indicates that even you (deep down) accept that the “is” that their property (their home – which is also their place of business) was violated, is directly linked to the “ought” that it should not be.

    Upset by your own knowledge that it was wrong to violate these people’s property, you resorted to the lie that the property had not been violated.

    Rather than saying “their property has been violated – wonderful, long live evil, hail Satan……” (and on and and on).

    This strengthens my opinion that the other side (leftists like yourself) know what you do is evil – and do it anyway.

    You do not have “another justice” you know what you do is unjust (i.e. a violation of to each their own) and CHOOSE to be what you are.

  • Paul Marks

    I have a Hawkeshead fetish alecm.

    Although I have only visited the place once in my life (and that was years ago) I find it comming up in my mind quite a lot – and that sounds like a “fetish” (although admittedly of a nonsexual kind). Perhaps it is because of the map on my wall – Hawkeshead is in a really nice position in the Lake District in that one can walk to various things close by.

    I think I will “indulge my fetish” and visit the place this summer (if I can).

    By the way (whilst I am waiting for long comment to appear) I will ask a question:

    If “law” is simply the “values of society” (as if law could be called “values” and as if civil society, i.e. the civil interaction of human beings, could be considered an entity, a being that had “values”), this it is clear that in much of the world people who engage inhomosexual acts should be executed.

    After all “society” for a billion (plus) people is Islamic (if we are defining “society” as “values” – rather than as civil, nonviolent, interaction). And Islam clearly teaches that people who engage in homosexual acts should be executed.

    The only debate in Islamic law is over the method of execution.

    With the expanding Muslim population of Europe I look forward to “relativists” and “legal positivists” (people who believe that “law” simply means the will of the powerful – which they then, dishonestly, call “the values of society”) calling for the execution of people who commit homosexual acts.

    After all it would be “cultural imperialism” to oppose the execution of people who engage in homosexual acts – and “society evolves” does it not?

    “But this would be unjust”.

    But law (according to the relativists and legal positivists) is NOT an effort to apply the principle of justice (the nonaggression principle of to each their own) to the circumstances of time and place.

    Law (according to these folk) is just the will of the rulers (“the values of society” or some such misuse of language).

    Therefore I wait with interest for dunderheid to support the execution of his “gay friends”, after all (by dunderheid’s own arguments) he has no ground to stand on in opposing their execution.

    There being no such thing as objective legal principle – no objective principle of justice.

    By the way I fully accept that many Christians have also supported the execution of people who have engaged in homosecual acts – even though there is no justification for this in the New Testiment (of couse we must not be “textual perverts” – a text can mean whatever people want it to mean, that is the “Progressive” position is it not?).

    Edmund Burke tried to explain something of the difference between morality and crime (sorry “values” and crime) on the issue of homosexual acts back in the 1700’s.

    However, he was just smeared as a homosexual himself (he was not – some of the people smearing him were), by people who wanted an excuse to pretend not to understand the difference between morality and law.

    I repeat – law can not make people nice, that is not its function (not what it is – is and ought linked).

    Law can not get rid of sin – that is not its function. Law is about justice (to each their own) – not about niceness.

    Not being hospitable – not opening your place of business to people you do not like, is NOTHING TO DO WITH THE LAW.

    Whatever various Roman Emperors (or modern judges – and statutes and conventions) may say.

  • @Paul Marks – it’s interesting that you call my argument bullshit (as is your right), but then immediately back up my point.

    To be clear, I said nothing about the law making us better people, I said it holds us to a higher standard than we might hold ourselves. That is indisputably what laws do; there are very few laws that hold all people to a standard lower than they already hold themselves, because such laws are entirely redundant.

    Now there’s a world of debate waiting in the single word ‘higher’, of course. One factor could certainly be your idea of aggressing against someone. That’s a higher standard that we might hold ourselves to, though one that most people would consider important to protect them from the aggression of others rather than to rein themselves in. But that is a higher standard we invent, not something we are given, so it is in itself no better than any other standard; its value comes from the value we place on it.

    @Pete – your argument feels rather confused. As alecm reiterated just after your comment, not being attracted to the opposite sex is relatively unusual, but it’s not abnormal. And given your argument that most people feel attracted to members of the same sex, why do you assume that gay people don’t feel attracted to the opposite sex? If the ‘purpose’ of such attraction is to carry something of yourself through to later generations, and a great many gay couples take steps to do that in some way, then surely they’re acting on the deepest root of that attraction. A little unconventionally, perhaps, but not abnormally.

    (apologies to all for the earlier double post, btw)

  • llamas

    Always a day late and a dollar short . . .

    I like Hawkshead, too, although I have used the example of overheard conversations while sitting under the ‘Gurt Clog’ to illustrate the endemic and ingrained anti-Americanism that is the last acceptable racism in the UK.

    I also find it mildly amusing, in a tiring sort of way, to observe the frightening diligence and faux-outrage with which this rather dotty old pair of hoteliers have been hounded through the courts, all in the name of ‘fairness’ and ‘equality’ – and yet nobody has a word to say about the Islamic preachers all over the UK who preach every day that their faith requires teh gays to be stoned to death – and that this sentence is regularly carried out in those lands where their faith holds sway.

    As another has suggested, I would just love to see these two poor injured innocents turn their attentions to a hotel which is run upon Sharia principles – I’m sure that Saudi Arabia is full of them – and see how far they get. But I’m not holding my breath.

    There’s worse problems in the world than being turned away from a place that you knew would not accommodate you in the first place. It certainly should be absolutely no business for the criminal law to address. And I’m still not sure what damages, tangible or otherwise, these two cupcakes can colourably argue that they suffered that were not entirely of their own making, so where’s the tort? I don’t believe for a moment the story that they went to this hotel in blithe ignornace of the policy. I was born at night, but is wasn’t last night.

    De minimis, lex non curat. Or it shouldn’t, anyway.



  • RAB

    Well I think everyone knows where I stand on this one by now, but let me ramble a bit further.

    When I went to Nottingham to do Law, as an incredibly idealistic 18 year old, I believed that the Law was about Justice. I was swiftly disabused of this naive notion of course, finding that it was mainly about protecting vested interests and unearned privilege.

    I also believed that the Law should be a shield and not a weapon. And in this case the Law has been used to persecute this hapless couple of B&B owners for daring to hold beliefs that are considered redundant and repugnant by our Masters.

    So for those relativists and “The law is the Law!” merchants still lurking, let me give a quick example I have just thought of.

    Say I was the owner of a general stores in a small village. Suddenly the weather gets bad and there are floods. The village is completely cut off and nothing can get in or out. The local rich bastard comes in and says…

    I am going to buy everything in here. And I say, but what about the rest of the villagers? Who knows when this crisis will end? If you buy everything they may very well starve. And the rich bastard says, I don’t give a fuck about the rest of the village, here’s the money now wrap it up and stick it in my truck. The law is the law!

    Well if I told him to take a hike (as I most certainly would) he could come back at me and say, right you jumped up little shopkeeper, when this is over I am going to take you to Court and sue you for every penny you have. The Law is on my side. Rules are rules and must be obeyed.

    The rich bastard is correct of course. The law is on his side, I am obliged to sell him whatever he asks for. The reason I might give in mitigation for kicking him out of my shop may well be accepted, but by then the costs of defending myself may very well have Bankrupted me, while he can well afford to be as evil and malicious as he pleases because he has the money to do so.

    This is exactly what happened here. The case was brought out of malice and spite. The poor old Christian couple were set up, and with the hope that it would ruin their business and their lives (what little is left of them).

    I saw the two “Gentlemen” being interviewed on Points West, our local news the other evening, and the question of it being a set up came up, and of course they were all wide eyed and innocent. Who us? never, complete coincidence that we booked this particular hotel! but with an air of smug smirkery about them that I found hard to stomach. They after all had their costs covered for them by Stonewall and the Racial and Equality Posse, but if the Christian charities hadn’t come in to help the hoteliers they may well be destitute by now.

    But if these two damaged souls have been boasting in gay bars down Old Market Street, as to their “victory”and sticking it to some horrid Christian bigots, you can be sure I will get to hear about it. I have contacts in all walks of society and sexuality. And will be offering myself as a witness for the defence, should there be an Appeal.

    This is using the Law as a weapon not a shield folks, and is against every principle of Justice and fair play I hold dear.

    Oh and yes, let the dynamic duo try it on in a Muslim establishent, as been mentioned by others, and see what happens!

  • llamas

    (to the tune of ‘Folsom Prison Blues”)

    I hear that smite a comin’
    It’s comin’ ’round the bend,
    I’ve been at Samizdata,
    Since, oh, I don’t know when, but
    I’m stuck here in Smite Limbo,
    And time keeps draggin’ on,
    But Samizdata keeps rollin’,
    On down to San Antone.

    When first I started bloggin’,
    My Mama told me, “Son,
    Always be a good boy,
    Or they’ll surely Smite you down,”
    But I blogged a man in London,
    Just to watch him die,
    and when I see that old blue Smite screen,
    I hang my head and cry.

    I bet there’s rich folks bloggin’,
    In a fancy dining car,
    They’re probably runnin’ Linux,
    With great big avatars,
    But I know I had it comin’,
    I know I can’t be free,
    But those people keep a-bloggin’,
    And that’s what tortures me.

    Well, if they freed me from this prison,
    If that URL was mine,
    I bet I’d move out a little,
    Farther down the line,
    Far away from this Smite Limbo,
    That’s where I want to stay,
    And I’d let this lonesome keyboard,
    Blow that Blue Screen away.



  • RAB

    Oh ace Llamas! That’s award enough for me. I love Johnny Cash too.

  • Paul Marks

    My apologies Paul H. – I falsely assumes you meant that the purpose of law is to make people better (more fluffy), I now accept that you do not.

    However, we “invent” the principles of law – no we do NOT (no more than we invent “1+1=2” or “I am myself”).

    The principle of justice/law (to each his own) is the basis of civil society BY DEFINITION, there can be no civil society without it (because “civil soceity” MEANS the civil, nonaggression principle respecting, interactions of human beings).

    Of course there is a possible counter argument “I am against civil society – LONG LIVE EVIL, HAIL SATAN…..” (and so on).

    But people, in public anyway, are not normally very up front with this argument.

  • PaulH

    Paul M – I’m struggling to understand your argument. Are you saying that people have to be made to be civil to each other? Or is it that a society (whether civil or not) only has meaning to the extent it has laws?

  • Llamas,
    Genius. My co-blogger RAB is considering learning the chords. Would you mind awfully if he Youtubed it and we got a post out of it?

  • llamas

    Dum-de-de-dum-de-de-dum-de-de-dum-de-de-dum . . .

    It’s not that hard . . . .

    I renounce all rights. Do what you like wth it, just make sure and post a link here.



  • llamas

    Dum-de-de-dum-de-de-dum-de-de-dum-de-de-dum . . .

    It’s not that hard . . . .

    I renounce all rights. Do what you like wth it, just make sure and post a link here.



  • RAB

    Thanks llamas.

    I’m mainly a lead guitarist, and the change from E7 to A7 is a bugger, I’m getting blisters and cramp, but I’ll crack it.;-)

  • Paul Marks


    If people are attacking each other they can not be engaged in civil (voluntary – non violent) interaction.

    Remember when I say “civil society” I mean the term in its traditional sense – voluntary interaction, rather than people attacking each other.

    I do NOT mean “being polite” or whatever.

    The “products of society” in an economic sense come AFTER the basic point not to loot and murder each other. The principle of justice (of to each his own).

    This was the Edmund Burke reminder to (some) of the Scottish Englightenment who sometimes wrote as if the law (the principle of law) was the product of civil society (like turnips or whatever).

    NO – the law must come FIRST, otherwise BY DEFINITION there is no civil society to produce turnips (or whatever).

    Of course the princple of law (justice – to each his own) may not mean “state” (there may or may not be a government) – but it must be there, and it must be there FIRST. It is the precondition of civil society (by definition) not a product of it.

    To give you a practical example.

    Let us say I am selling/bartering turnips (might as well keep to the same example) and someone comes along and says he wants them, I must always have the right to say NO.

    To say NO for whatever little silly reason I have a mind to – for example that he has blue eyes, not brown.

    If the other man can use VIOLENCE (or the threat of it) to make me do as he wants, then BY DEFINITION civil society is in decline.


    Of course – it was inevitable.

    The reply (of the statist) is “well it is only a silly Christian couple” they do not understand that when the principle of justice (to each his own) is discarded and “law” just become “the will of the rulers” then EVERYONE is under threat.

  • Paul, I’m still not sure what you mean by ‘law’. If it predates society, what is its origin? Also, to me the word ‘law’ means something that needs to be enforced (otherwise I’d just call it ‘mutual agreement’). If so, by whom?

  • Paul Marks

    It is astonishing how far legal positivism has come.

    Perhaps “we are all Hobbesians now”.

    Still I do not believe that – so I will state matters again. After all the basic are not complex (applying the principle of justice in the circumstances of time and place may indeed be VERY complex – but stating the principle of law i.e. that it is the effort to apply the principle of justice, to each their own, in the circumstances of time and place is NOT complex).

    I will try in a different way.

    If I see a theft or a murder it is NOT crime if I fail to hunt down the criminal – but it is a failure of moral duty.

    The virtue of justice has two sides – the “negative” one of not commiting crimes (not violating the principle of justice – to each their own). However there is also a “positive”side. A person of honour seeks to prevent crime and (if prevention fails) to punish the criminal. Obviously refusing to trade with someone is not a crime, not a violation of the nonaggression principle, – a moment’s reflection shows this (it is as absurd as saying “I am you” or “1+1=3”).

    It would be absurd to say “I will hunt you down to the ends of the Earth for the property you did NOT steal, or for the body you did NOT violate”.

    If someone said that I would think more than “I do not know what you mean by that”, I would have to assume a degree of lack of reason.


    For example, if an innocent person was murdered in my sight it would be an act of virtue to hunt down and punish the murderer – although it would NOT be a crime if I failed to do so.

    Of course with a formal “state” things change.

    The State official states – “no, if you catch the murderer do not punish them – hand them over to the courts for trial, and if found guilty, punishment”.

    That may (or may not) be a better way of doing things. However, it can be understood.

    What can not be understood (in terms of law) is a state that says “we decide what a crime is – it can be any action (or inaction) we feel like” that is not “law” that is arbitrary will.

    When a “legislature” passes “laws” which have no connection (not even a vague connection) to law then I am “not sure what they mean” when they say I should “respect the law”. Certainly they are no longer the “High Court of the Queen in Parliament” anymore – because they are not claiming to “FIND LAW” (i.e. apply the principle of justice, to each their own, in the circumstances of time and place) they are claiming to “make law” and in such a way that has NO CONNECTION WHATEVER to the principle of law. What is there to “respect” (i.e. admire, revere) in this?

    On the contrary such a thing is contemptable – to be despised.

    Do they mean I should “fear their superior firepower” – but that is not “respect” in any reasonable sense of the word. There is no honour in this.

    I must stress that I am very flexible (even cowardly) person. I will put up with wild incompitance and gross error in the officials (judges and so on) entrusted with the maintainence of law.

    However, even I have limits (for all my cowardice), and if they openly tell me that there is no such thing as law (that they do not even understand the concept) that “law” is simply their will on certain bits of paper which they call the “feelings of society” (or whatever – even though by “society” they do not mean most human beings) then they have passed even my (rather cowardly) limits of toleration.

    Remember “Don” Corleone in the little popular work of fiction called “The Godfather”. Mr Corleone does NOT say “I make the law – it is simply my will” or “the principle of justice does not exist – I do not know what you mean – OBEY”. On the contrary Mr Corleone is always careful to let the person he is talking to keep their self respect.

    He may have no real respect for the law, but he does not claim it does not exist (or that it is the bits of paper in the State Capital building in Albany), again on the contrary he always makes a “reasonable” offer to the person he is talking to. It may be insincere (in that there is a threat behind it), but it is repectfully worded with due regard for the principle of justice.

    The modern (Hobbesian?) state seems to be moving away from this. It is more like Mr Corleone’s son “Sonny” – a man who openly talks with disrespect about the law (even confusing it with the State statutes and court judgement that he has paid for – via degenerate politicians and judges who no longer hold the law in their hearts).

    Such a person does not even pretend to be reasonable, he does not accept (even in speech) the law. Remember “hypocricy is the tribute that vice pays to virture” but Mr “Sonny” Corleone will not even pay the tribute that vice must pay.

    It is not possible to live with such a man – even for a coward he is simply too irritating. The humilation of submitting to him too great.

    “What is the origin of the law”.

    What is the “origin” of 1+1=2 – contrary to some philosophers it is NOT a convention, 1+1=2 even if there were no beings in the universe. Just as a tree still makes a noise if it falls – even if there is no one there to hear it.

    To violate the nonaggression principle is a crime – a violation of justice. Because it is. One might as well ask why is A A – or “why am I myself”.

    Brining God into matters actually changes NOTHING – for, as Suarez (and many others) noted, the principle of law may indeed be “God’s law” but if God did not exist the principle of law would be EXACTLY THE SAME.

    One can reject the principle of law certainly – one can reject civil society and embrace evil. [by the way one can equally ask what is the origin of good and evil – but it is a theorectical question with no consequences in terms of conduct].

    But “I did not know what I was doing was wrong” – no I hardly ever believe that defence, even if the person was waving a statute (or court judgement) saying his rape, murder or robbery was “lawful”. He knows perfectly wel that it was not lawful – and is simply adding insolence to his crime.

    “Guilty of murder – and cheek, to be hanged for the muder, plus six months for the cheek”.

    By the way near the end of “The Three Musketeers” the characters wave such a “makes crime lawful” document – the “the bearer of this has done what he has done for the good of France” signed by a high exectutive and judicial official (indeed the highest official – the Cardinal and Chief Minister himself).

    It is dark humour – as if one took the document seriously (as “law”) then whoever was carrying it could murder (or rape, or rob) anyone they liked (of course the document in question was not actually written for the characters in the first place, but this does not matter).

    It would be absurd to state that such crimes are made noncrimes by the document (call it a statute or a court judgment if you wish) just as it would be abusd to state that a crime only become a crime because some “legislature” or court says it is.

    Indeed such a position is more than absurd – it is insane.

    What a court (or a statesman) tries to do is to apply the principle of justice, to each their own, in the circumstances of time and place.

    No doubt we all make horrible mistakes – but we try to do our best (at least we are supposed to).

    However, if someone denies the above and holds to the position that there is no principle of justice and law is simply their whims – allowing them to murder, rape, rob (etc) as they please…..

    Then such a person is either a liar (which is what I suspect) or they are actually insane (the insanity defence) – a mad animal who does not know right from wrong and aggresses (to the death) against anyone they can.

    One has no “respect” (in a moral sense) for such a mad animal.

    It would be unfortunate if that is what the state has become.

  • Paul;

    by the way one can equally ask what is the origin of good and evil – but it is a theoretical question with no consequences in terms of conduct

    This, for me, is the crux of the matter: it is not a theoretical question, it is a matter of finding the truth, even if it may have no immediate practical consequences (and to me, like you, it does not). I want to know where is the origin of the law, as well as the origin of 1+1=2, and why the Earth orbits the sun. Saying “that’s just the way it is” or “it doesn’t matter” is the most irrational thing one can say about a matter of such importance as the law. Sorry, but it it’s either irrational, or lazy, or cowardly – take your pick, Paul.

  • Paul Marks

    Not irrational, not lazy, and not cowardly.

    Take the example of children’s game game “Dungeons and Dragons” (at least before “liberals” took over the game).

    A “Paladin” has the “allignment” – “lawful good”.

    “Good” is easy enough – the Paladin goes around tryng to be nice to people.

    But what is “lawful” – does it mean that the Paladin goes about with a big law book telling him what the law is?

    And with a telepathic connection to some “legislature” who “make law” (so that on Tuesday robbery is a crime and on Wednesday it is not a crime, and on Thursday it is a crime again)?

    Of course not.

    It means that the Paladin does not violate from to each his own (the principle of justice – for “law” is the effort to apply the principle of justice to the circumstances of time and place).

    For example – a Paladin wants to feed the starving, he wants to be GOOD.

    But he will not do this by stealing food – for that would be UNLAWFUL.

    The Paladin does not need a book of law (by the way the laws of theft and so on were not from books of law in England – not till modern times, even in the Roman world the Praetors decided law NOT on the “twelve tables” but on the basis of FINDING LAW in terms of actual disputes).

    Nor does the Paladin need a “legislature” to “make” law.

    But no young child ever needed much council on how their character would act if they were a lawful good Paladin.

    Many things are like this.

    I AM myself – I just AM.

    1+1 = 2 it just does.

    A is A – it just is.

    Basic things are often like this – they do not have “foundations” because THEY ARE THE FOUNDATIONS.

    By the way this does NOT always mean that being lawful is the correc thing to be.

    The virtue of Justice is just one of the virtues – there are other virtues such as charity (benevolence).

    Sometimes (in extreme circumstances) such virtues can “trump” strict justice.

    But that is not a matter of law – for one has stepped OUTSIDE the law.


    For example – the man who steals to feed the starving child.

    Very well – you did what you believed you had to do.


    If not – then the person (who steals – and then tries to AVOID PUNISHMENT) is the “coward”.

    One thing I must add.

    “Tort” civil law.

    As every schoolchild used to know – a tort is violation of person or property (it is just often unintentional).

    For example, I drive a motor care at you and hurt you – I have committed a crime.

    But if I lose control I did NOT want to murder you – but you have a civil case against me (a tort).

    In the case of the two homosexuals:

    They would have a tort YES – if the owners of the guesthouse had taken their money and then kicked them out.

    The two homosexuals would have been able to sue for the return of the money – AND any added cost that being put out in the fields had caused them. “We had to pay X extra at the guest house down the road”.

    But this was NOT the case here – the owners of the guesthouse did NOT keep the money.

    There is no tort.

    It is all CRAP.

    It is that clear enough for everyone now?

  • Paul Marks

    Of course someone could come back to me with a contract and say “this clearly says that they wanted a double bed, and here it the agreement of the owners of the guest house” if this be the case I will have to eat humble pie, facts being stubborn things.

    Then it would be breach of contract – a violation, a tort.

    On Alisa’s point about science.

    I missed the bit about the Earth going round the Sun – a DIFFERENT SORT OF QUESTION.

    A is A or “I am myself” is not a matter of physical science – the Earth going round the Sun is.

    However, the Artistotelian tradition does treat moral (and legal) questions as a matter of science (in a sense) and so does the Stoic tradition.

    It you wish I could give a reply in these terms (full of stuff about “human flurishing” and so on – after all they come to the same CONCLUSIONS).

    But it would be a bit of a fraud – as (really) I am a Common Sense intrinsic person, much in the tradition from Ralph Cudworth, then up north of the border to the Common Sense men (Thomas Reid and co), then down back south of the border to Harold Prichard and Sir William David Ross.

    Of course in LAW the tradition is vastly older.

    Indeed every Common Law person (till the modern age) believed they were finding law – not creating it.

    They were applying the principle of justice (to each his own….) to the circumstances of time and place.

    Roman law lawyers (for all the supposed war between Common and Roman law) believed they were doing much the same.

    At least that is one element within the Civilians (the Roman lawyers) – the element that goes back to the individual cases before the Praetors and to the jurisconsults (of the Schools of Procs and Socs) that advised them.

    The other tradition is the whims of Emperors – put (eventually) into codes.

    Such as the idea that inn is a “public accomodation” (even if the state does NOT own it) which must rent a room to anyone who turns up (not “discriminate”).

    Otherwise the Emperor will send his soldiers to duff you up. I am NOT being too crude – remember “putting the question” under the Republic only a slave could be tortured, by the late Empire virtually anyone could be – and the evidence was considered valid (because a lawyer who said it was not would be executed).

    Not an ancient thing either – the Roman lawyers only stopped playing this game in the 1700s (different dates in different places). They could NOT justify it in terms of the princples of law (they admitted that), but it had become established practice so…..

    Civil society collapsing into despotism (just one of many signs of it). [although even the Republic had some of this – for example slavery was accepted to be AGAINST the principle of law, Cicero would have had no argument with Salmon P. Chase on that one – HOWEVER “as everyone does it” as it is “accepted by all nations” we are just going to ignore the principles of law in this matter – PASS THE SICK BAG ALICE].

    Still back to the growth of depotism (the degeneration during the Empire and the similar development in the modern world)

    I believe this to be a “bad thing” – moderns (it seems) do not agree.

  • Paul Marks

    By the way accepting confessions extracted under torture – is very simple legal matter (it need NOT involve morality).

    Someone under torture wants the pain to stop – so he says what the torturer wants him to say. So the confession is WORTHLESS as evidence.

    Unless of course it is stuff like “I buried the body in such and such a place” (and then one goes and finds the body with the dagger in the back just as the confession describes), but it is the body (and so on) that is the evidence – not the screams and cries of the person one is torturing (accept that the Emperor said….).

    Roman lawyers understood the above perfectly well (they were not idiots) – BUT the Emperors had commanded…..

    And this farce (and it was known to be a farce) carries forth (on occasion) till the 1700s.