Friday, May 1, 2015

Will Marriage Get an Honest Funeral?

By Roger F. Gay

It appears as though a bizarre decades long conspiracy between those who openly support the end of marriage and a group of fake social conservatives will reach its goal. According to news reports, the dry parochial comedy that took place in the nation's highest court was like a section of cliff notes for the lengthy propaganda campaign. Marriage as we knew it, they say, is merely the invention of sick white male heterosexuals aimed at domination and privilege and enshrined in religious tradition. Ruth Bader Ginsburg spoke of the struggle of women against the institution while advocates compared equal rights for homosexuals to the civil rights of people of color. Those pretending to defend marriage played stereotypical straight men. (I see the pun here.)

This article will explain why it doesn't matter which side claims victory. At the heart of the matter is that marriage has already been redefined. The current case is a show trial – a scam. Let me put it in context.

You can peruse an optimistic view from a “traditional marriage” supporter here. The author takes comfort in “conservative” arguments on the long-standing recognition of marriage as a union between a man and a woman with a religious freedom argument tacked on. If you've been paying attention, you should already see a problem. This is yet another repeat of the DOMA effort that has failed in every instance. How many times must courts reject these arguments before common sense prevails? If the USSC declares marriage to be a state issue, allowing conservatives to imagine victory for a day, these arguments will lose again in state courts. Checkmate.

More to the point of this article; Why is it that those arguments cannot win?

The feminist spin on the history of marriage cited by Ginsburg was actually more telling; although it simultaneously derails the truth with a bold-faced lie. “Marriage today is not what it was under the common law tradition, under the civil law tradition,” she said. Quite right. Marriage has been redefined. From a legal perspective in the US, now, it is not treated under common law or civil law “tradition” (her word). In so saying, she's pointed out that marriage has already been removed from the previously established context of Western civilization. The redefinition was not trivial. It was fundamental and profound. There are no civil or individual rights related to the current definition of marriage. That's exactly what it means to remove common law.

The argument then throws in some Nancy Pelosi style misdirection. “Marriage was a relationship of a dominant male to a subordinate female. That ended as a result of this court’s decision in 1982 when Louisiana’s Head and Master Rule was struck down.” In this familiar view, all men are evil and Western Civilization was just a conspiracy by some old dead white men and deserves to die. The end of common law “tradition” (civil rights) is a good thing. But no matter how you feel about the prattle, marriage has already been redefined and it's current definition is not legally touchable with traditional civil rights or even rational arguments. Marriage is no longer a private institution. As a matter of law, it is an arbitrary politically controlled state entitlement.

How did that happen, you may well ask? At least two major transforming events have taken place during the last half century.

The first was the introduction and national acceptance of so-called “no-fault” divorce. First introduced by Ronald Reagan in California in 1970, it meant the end of the view of marriage as a civil private contract. Following on the heals of 1960s social and political upheaval, it brought an end to personal responsibility in binding relationships, followed soon after by the decision in Roe v. Wade. Philosophically, it can be argued, the end of personal responsibility fundamentally undermined the value or credibility of the individual and devalued interpersonal relationships. What replaced it was the power of the state to dictate terms, “saving individuals from themselves,” it has been phrased, by making a person's word or promise relatively meaningless in the eyes of the law. It should cause one to think down the road to Strelnikov's chilling comment to Dr. Zhivago. “The personal life is dead in Russia. History has killed it.” Since then, it has become extremely common for women to abandon their husbands (or fathers of their children) and send them the bills, which are not avoidable even in death. “No-fault” was a marketing term for arbitrarily assignable obligations. It was the opposite of the established rules of traditional marriage, a private “institution” in which court ordered obligations were derived from circumstances, necessities, and promises, and individuals were given protection from arbitrary state interference.

The second event struck a death blow that needn't be the subject of philosophical dialog. Ronald Reagan (again) introduced a more direct redefinition of marriage as part of a perfectly meaningless and politically profitable effort labeled as “welfare reform.” If you watched television news (especially CBS), or talk shows on TV or radio, or read a newspaper or magazine, or were exposed to any form of mass media in the mid-1990s, and actually thought about what you heard, the words of Hamlet might have come to mind. “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.” The subject was “deadbeat dads” in one of the most dramatically overplayed propaganda campaigns in history. It was really in fact only a copy-paste effort, directly comparable to The Russian Effort to Abolish Marriage described in a 1926 article in The Atlantic. That in itself should shed some light on the character of the people who promoted it. Ironically, despite all his patriotic talk; the red, white, and blue Big Government defense industry friendly former union president turned “conservative” icon issued a death warrant for traditional marriage, traditional American values, Constitutional rule, and most likely Western Civilization on the whole.

The only meaningful effect of late 20th century welfare reform was the federal takeover of marriage and family law which included its formal movement from civil law in the states to welfare policy. The transition from civil law to social policy meant that marriage was politically redefined from a naturally rooted necessity of civilization as we know it to an arbitrarily defined state entitlement. (accepted by federal court P.O.P.S. v. GARDNER, 998 F.2d 764 (9th Cir. 1993); USSC refused to hear appeal) As such, the only Constitutional consideration possible is equal treatment. Is the conspiracy clear yet? Fake social conservatives (Reagan Democrats) pushed heavily for these reforms and have since continued to play the losing DOMA game. DOMA has never survived an equal treatment review and that's the only game in town. Absent any argument for returning marriage to state jurisdiction and restoring its place in civil law, the ultimate conclusion is already clear. There is no real defense of traditional marriage, or any support of civil rights without it, and neither side has shown even the slightest interest.

While both parties fought for credit during the early Clinton years, mass media sources had still not let on that everything they'd told the public about the reforms was a lie. The cost of the welfare program increased with rampant cronyism and missing funds. New benefits were added and billions of dollars each year still go to “child support enforcement” without any public benefit; not at all surprising when you stop to consider the argument – all men are wealthy and poor single mothers only exist because men don't care about their children. Reagan himself topped it all off with the most poignant oxymoron of the era – politicians were finally defining and legislating enforcement of personal responsibility.

It took Newt Gingrich to end the relationship between marriage and family propaganda and classic literature and bring us into the era of Darth Vader. His “Contract With America” (1994), included the continuing battle between Republicans and Democrats to gain acceptance of an imaginary pseudo-personal relationship between the people and government, defined by a pseudo- voluntary contract rather than fundamental rules restricting government intrusion. It is clear that this relationship would have one dominant partner capable of redefining the terms of the contract at will.



Monday, August 18, 2014

Global Warming 'Theory' is a Failed Hypothesis

By Roger F. Gay

Regardless of the continuous political and commercial efforts to promote the idea of catastrophic man-made global warming, no actual scientific evidence has ever been produced in support of the notion. It would seem helpful at this point, for the general public to understand that there is no such thing as Global Warming “Theory”. That word, “theory” suggests that the idea has passed many scientific hurtles that it hasn't even come close to reaching.

In everyday use, certainly “theory” can mean merely a guess or a conjecture, an idea about something. But formal science doesn't allow such carelessness. A theory involves a detailed understanding of a set of relationships that tell us something about how the real world works, that has held up to observation, experiment, and criticism. Wikipedia's explanation isn't bad. “A scientific theory is a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world that can incorporate facts, laws, inferences, and tested hypotheses.”

A good example of theory is Newtonian mechanics. What we observe in our daily experience, people, cars, planes, etc., move in accordance with Newton's mathematical descriptions of motion. Newton's “Theory of Mechanics” held true again and again with observation and experiment until Einstein's theories were tested. Even then, Einstein's models of time and motion are consistent with Newton's for things that we normally observe, but are better when very large differences in speed and gravity are involved.

We can also build on existing theory to increase our knowledge and understanding. Einstein would never have achieved his contributions to physics if Newton's theories had not already existed. Einstein's work is useful in trying to grasp a better understanding of gravity which will undoubtedly lead to a better understanding of Einstein's and Newton's theories.

Wikipedia goes on to say that “A scientific theory is differentiated from a hypothesis in that a theory must explain actual observations.” “A Hypothesis (plural hypotheses) is a proposed explanation for a phenomenon. For a hypothesis to be a scientific hypothesis, the scientific method requires that one can test it.”

What has been called Global Warming “Theory” consists of computer models that predict rapidly increasing average temperatures on Earth as CO2 increases. These models represent hypotheses, “a proposed explanation for a phenomenon”, in this case, increased average temperatures starting at the coldest part of the past century up until about the year 2000. The models do not match with actual observations over greater lengths of time – including both before and after this period of coincidental warming. Attributing the warming to natural causes holds much better. The conclusion being drawn by scientists who are not political activists and have no financial or other stake in the game is that the catastrophic man-made global warming hypothesis has been tested, and it has failed.

Help the children. A demonstration of the claims by global warming activists has been promoted for use in schools. It involves setting up bottles or plastic containers that are either tightly sealed (like a car with the windows rolled up) or loosely sealed or open at some point (like a car with the windows down). With light bulbs playing the Sun, it's meant to show the effect of increased CO2 (like closing the windows) on the temperature of Earth's atmosphere. I want to mention this because I've heard from a number of children who believe this demonstration proves Global Warming “Theory.” It does not.

Anyone who lives in an area that is cold in the winter shouldn't need the demonstration at all. Go into your house and it's warmer inside than it is outside. There is nothing at all new about heat trapped in closed places. Pretty much everybody knows that cars get hot in the summer too, especially with the windows rolled up. But the Earth and its atmosphere has been around for a long time, and so far it hasn't behaved like air trapped in a tightly closed bottle. Air heats up, and we should be glad that it does. If it didn't, we would not survive (or would never have existed). The demonstration merely illustrates what global warming activists want people to think, but does nothing to reverse the failure of their hypotheses.

Monday, June 23, 2014

The Tea Party and The Illusion of Fiscal Conservatism

(Republished from 2010)

The question is raised: Is there a place for social conservatism in a conservative political movement? While it seems that many (informal personal polling) take the question seriously, and most often say yes – the more the merrier – there's influence in numbers – a few shrug it off as part of a vast left-wing media conspiracy to split the coalescing conservative movement. Ignoring the question won't answer it and could easily weaken conservative influence before 2012.

The fiscal conservatives of the T.E.A. Party tend to insist that neither political conservatism nor social issues matter. T.E.A. is an acronym for “Taxed Enough Already,” and despite a very strong focus on Constitutional issues and over-reaching federal power expressed among its mass of participants, founders and organizers press to limit their scope to purely fiscal concerns. This they assert, is the big enchilada, large tent conservatism that is needed. Money is the root of all political evil and keeping taxation and spending under control is the final solution.

The political conservatives in the bunch (the old-fashioned Constitution thumping classic political liberals – or in ObamaSpeak: “domestic terrorists”) can very well ask; Haven't we been down this road before? Isn't “liberal tax and spend” verses the “conservative” lesser of two evils a bit too reminiscent of “business as usual”; the usual business that got us into the great mess we're in today? This is a crowd worth considering. Their independent-mindedness stems from a love of country that far outweighs party loyalty. Many of them would gladly support a third party or not vote in protest in a continuing effort to break the old business as usual cycle. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me a dozen or more times and I might have to vote differently!

Real tension has been building around the divisions of varying conservative identities for decades. The great emergencies for Democrats today are nationalized medicine and global warming. Back in the 1980s and 1990s, one of the great emergencies for both parties was that lazy, irresponsible people were weighing down the welfare system. Poor people simply didn't have the right moral character and needed the federal government to step in to “enforce personal responsibility.” (Fathers through the mid- 1990s followed by mothers in the late 1990s.)

To meet the challenge, socially conservative rhetoric was employed to expand the role, power, intrusiveness, size and cost of the welfare establishment and expand welfare entitlements. (That'll teach 'em!) A new era of bipartisanship emerged as both parties focused their zeal on “doing something” at the federal level; completely abandoning any thought of states' rights, privacy, and Constitutional limits to government. To be fair, it wasn't just poor people who needed forceful moral guidance from the new army of bureaucrat crusaders. For the first time in American history, the reach of the “welfare state” was expanded beyond its traditional boundaries (those in need) and into the general population. Fundamental changes in the relationship between government and the people went unnoticed by the mass media and through the 1990s, great battles ensued between the parties over repackaging and taking credit for reforms.

Social conservatism had become the perfect compliment to social liberalism in American politics and fiscally conservative rhetoric the perfect wood from which to build the bridge. Every expansion of government, along with its fancy price-tag was justified because in “theory” it would save tax-payers money. Poverty was a result of poor moral foundation and Bigger Government could fix that. Of course, it didn't work out according to the theory – something many “skeptics” concretely predicted on the basis of observable facts and figures. The media beating those skeptics received make the global warming debate seem quite civilized in comparison. Critics were considered enemies by both partisan camps, and what a filthy beneath human scum type you were to oppose Big Brother this time – right down there with the immoral, low-life deadbeats moral reformers aimed at reforming.

When the facts supporting the morally fiscal “theory” were proven false by their own history, it didn't matter. It's the principle that counts. But like the fiscally conservative theory that yielded unnecessarily higher costs, the adjoining socially conservative “family values” theory yielded an opposite as well – the legal destruction of marriage.

Pushing social issues onto the federal agenda is always a bad idea. The Constitution does not include social issues in federal jurisdiction. Government is structured for the exercise of different types of power and particular treatments by courts for issues at federal, state, and personal levels. Allowing federal take-overs of state (and private) issues is a formula for destruction. Everything becomes arbitrarily politically defined and manipulated. In the case of marriage, this is exactly what the unmitigated social / fiscal conservative perspective delivered.

Marriage was, legally, a sacred, protected private institution. Under the cover of welfare reform, it was legally destroyed through successive unconstitutional intrusions into marriage and family law. The institution of marriage was transformed (legally) into a politically defined element of a federal welfare program; and generally redefined as a public rather than a private issue. Once this was accomplished, its protected status disappeared and courts began ruling on it as they would any other aspect of government programs.

Republicans blamed the destruction of marriage on "activist judges," but the real problem with judicial activism was that judges had not been active enough in fulfilling their oaths to protect the Constitution by protecting the American people against the intrusion. Applying "equal protection," courts extended the new social policy entitlement of marriage to same-sex couples. This was not an extension of a civil right to traditional marriage. In a legal sense, traditional marriage no longer existed. The overall effect was to deny the legal status of traditional marriage to everyone.

You can call me a skeptic when it comes to solutions formulated by the same minds that created the problem, or in this case a similar coalition of self-defined social and fiscal conservatives. It was clear that the movement to restrict marriage to “a man and a woman” was nothing more than a funeral procession for traditional marriage; because government entitlements are subject to equal protection. This guaranteed that forcing courts to decide, without first reversing the federal intrusion, would produce rulings that bans against same-sex marriage are unconstitutional. Watching the spectacle, it was obvious that resurrecting "traditional marriage"; that is restoring the civil rights associated with family and protection against arbitrary government intrusion, was not the goal of the movement. Nothing was done to address the underlying legal issues. In fact, it can be said that the real political, legal, and moral issues were carefully avoided.

We have experienced one of the most significant transformations in the relationship between the people and the government in our history. And now, without a moment of national reflection on the specifics, we've moved on to other emergencies – the de facto plan apparently being that we'll all just get used to living with another big mess. If the same minds get together to tackle Cap-n-Trade, health care reform, and government take-over of the economy, the mess will definitely get bigger.

A serious conservative revolution cannot be designed from a formula for a return to business as usual. Merely using different rhetoric to expand government and increase its arbitrary use of power is not sufficient to define a philosophical difference from the political left. The genuine grass-roots conservative movement is defined by the mass of participants who have a very strong focus on Constitutional issues and over-reaching federal power. Without that translating to the expulsion of Big Brother from American soil, there is little reason to suspect that conservative unity will be maintained for long; nor would the movement have any appreciable effect if it did. We really need a return to Constitutional rule to limit the destructive power of government; and that requires (by definition really) a conservative movement that meets in a politically conservative tent.

Related articles:

Are Americans Paying Taxes to Organized Crime Syndicates?

How America was Destroyed – The Rise of Big Lie Politics

Tea Party March Hijacked at the Podium

McCain Palin Losing the Gender Gap War

American Politics: We are on a Dangerous Precipice

Why John McCain is Losing

GOP Platform 2008 on Preservation of Marriage

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Introduction

This blog is reserved for more serious commentaries on a variety of topics.