Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Editorials: Where I rant to the wall about politics. And sometimes the wall rants back.

Principle is not an automatic gainsaying of any statement the other side makes

Jerry Stratton, May 28, 2009

In Hey, Ed: You’re wrong, Robert Stacy McCain writes that conservatives should oppose getting the government out of the business of marriage because it is the government’s business to legislate marriage, but also because he first heard about it from a liberal.

Mindlessly opposing what “the other side” says is not principle. This is the same thing that got the Democrats to support a centralized police state czar and to support federal removal of governors. Bush didn’t want to do it, so they did.

Republicans need to start following principles. If the other side espouses something that follows your principles, that’s a victory for you. Limited government? Check. Part of the conservative appeal of limited government is the understanding that anything government can legislate, it will screw up. That includes marriage.

Requiring not only that marriage meet your definition but that the government enforce that definition is the kind of government-enforced morality that conservatives are rightly derided for. It means that the government will, not might, eventually legislate marriage in a way that you find immoral.

I wrote in Republican principles back in December, and still stand by it, that anti-gay marriage is a long-term losing issue.

Within twelve years anyone still campaigning as anti-gay marriage will be treated like someone campaigning against miscegenation today. Republicans who want to oppose gay marriage would be better served by trying to get the government out of the business of deciding who can and can’t be married.

Marriage privatization wasn’t a new idea when I wrote that several months before Kmiec did. Just because you hear it from the “other side” first doesn’t mean that they thought it up. It might mean that someone on “your side” is effective at making converts. If you have principles, you’ll welcome when the “other side” recognizes the value of those principles.

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