Marriage Equality and Government

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This week, the Supreme Court will hear two cases that could lead to decisions changing the traditional definition of marriage. Conservatives argue that the traditional definition of marriage has stood the test of thousands of years, and just makes biological sense. Male parts + female parts = continuation of the species. They argue that marriage licenses exist as government recognition of the unique procreative potential of heterosexual relationships. Because the traditional family system has been scientifically and biologically proven to be the most beneficial for creating and raising children, and thus strengthening society, conservatives believe that the government should safeguard this institution by offering legal and tax incentives that encourage it’s proliferation.

Liberals argue that marriage should be non-discriminatory, and anyone should be able to gain the rights and legal privileges that marriage affords. They argue that granting special rights and legal privileges to one group, and not another is unfair, and discriminatory. Anyone who loves another person, and wants their relationship to be recognized by the government as a marriage should be allowed to do so. Anyone who argues against that is a bigot.

Several states have “legalized” gay marriage already. So-called liberals are happy about this, and so-called conservatives are not. This is a very polarizing issue that gets people to line up on one side or the other. The two sides are bitter enemies and lob all kinds of accusations and insults at the other.

Conservatives accuse liberals who support gay marriage of tearing apart a sacred and important institution in society; one that provides a scientifically proven ideal situation for raising children, and continuing our species.

Liberals argue that there shouldn’t be special privileges for one group of people that discriminates against other groups of people based on personal beliefs. If a man and a woman can get legal benefits by calling themselves “married”, then any couple should be able to gain those privileges, regardless of gender. Discriminating against gender is, as liberals claim, extremely bigoted, and akin to discriminating on the basis of skin color. They equate “marriage inequality” to racism, and letting white people ride at the front of the bus, but not black people.

The question no one seems to be asking is; why is the Government in the business of handing out special privileges to different groups of people, and defining who fits into those groups?  Why are we, as a society, splitting ourselves up into superficial groups, and fighting for collective rights, instead of joining together as individual human beings and fighting for the same freedom for everyone?

Politicians and bureaucrats are playing us off on each other for their own political gain, and we don’t even see it. Like all political issues people argue about, this is a smokescreen issue, a distraction. Bureaucrats shouldn’t be defining marriage, or handing out special privileges to people who fit their definition of marriage in the first place. Isn’t real equality letting anyone enter into whatever relationship they want, call it whatever they want, and get bureaucrats and politicians out of our romantic lives?

Whenever government screws something up, all people argue about is how the government should take our money, and use it to fix the problem. Everyone picks a side and gets all fired up, and loses focus on the fact that the one question that is never talked about is; why is government involved in this in the first place? What makes us think that the government can efficiently solve this issue when they fail so miserably at solving every other issue they take on?

When the government gets involved in delicate social issues, it acts similar to a bull in a china shop. There are all kinds of societal issues that require complex, sophisticated solutions that cannot be applied equally across the board to every community. Demographics and socioeconomic conditions vary greatly from one area of the country to the other; many times, they differ wildly even within a single city. The government is excellent at ignoring all of this, and applying a battering ram of legislation to fix the problem that is usually very costly, and either makes no progress toward solving the issue, or more commonly, makes everything worse. Public education is a perfect example of this.

So, I want to pose the question; why are we begging for marriage permission slips from the government, and why are we giving politicians any say whatsoever in our romantic lives and decisions? Why does the government need to know who I enter into a relationship with?

If you are a conservative, you’re distrusting of the government anyways, and if you’re a liberal, you’re all about personal choice and freedom, right? So, why don’t we just let people who enter into a voluntary agreement do that, and sign a legal contract if they wish, and let them call it whatever they want to? Who in their right mind would insist that we need bureaucrats and politicians to have any say in these relationships whatsoever? If there is a legal contract, and one person breaks that contract, it would be enforced like any other binding agreement that two consenting adults enter into.

Traditional marriage, defined as a permanent, exclusive, monogamous relationship between a man and a woman, originated without a government permission slip. Marriage, as an idea, exists apart form government. The argument could be made that the traditional definition of marriage originated as a religious institution. For conservative Christians, God has authority over defining what a marriage is, and the churches enforce and bolster these relationships. Why get bureaucrats and politicians involved, then? If the government got completely out of the marriage business, it would still persist. We do not need the government’s permission to make choices about our romantic lives.

So, now we need to talk about the real issue here; tax and legal privileges granted to government-recognized marriages. This is where all the fuming passion is ignited, and where liberals claim there is gross bigotry and discrimination occurring against those who do not fit the definition of a traditional marriage.

Taxes are the issue I always come back to. Taxation is theft, period. The theory that taxation with representation is justified is absurd. Not only is it completely impossible for one person represent all the differing opinions of his constituency for the very reason that they all differ, but saying that this “representative” is going to work for your good does, in no way, justify that person stealing your income from you.

If you believe that taxation is morally justified, then let me ask you this question; if taking 100% of someone’s income (their private property) is theft, then what percentage makes it not theft? I go to jail if I take $1 from you, but the government gets away scott-free if they just take $0.30 of that dollar bill from you. What gives any organization the moral justification to take any percentage of your money from you? Why is there an exception for the organization that calls itself ‘government’? Be careful, my friend. Thinking too hard on this question will have tremendous implications for everything you currently believe to be true and good.

We can debate endlessly about social contract theory, and all the justifications for the government forcibly taking the private property of individuals, but at the end of the day, taxation is a moral exception granted only to the government. We tell children not to steal or use force to accomplish their goals, yet then tell them there is a giant exception to this rule called “government”, where sociopaths and insecure control freaks can run your life better than you with your own money. If you refuse to hand over your money to them, they send men with guns in magic blue suits to kidnap you and throw you in a cage until you pay them. Think about it.

So, how does this apply to marriage?

Here’s a simple analogy:

Say you are a small kid in school, and the big, bad bully comes up to you and demands 30% of your lunch money. He’s not taking all of it, just 30%, so it’s not really theft, right? On top of that, he promises to use some of the money he takes from you to give to charities that help people, and he’ll also protect you from other bullies if you keep paying him. Starting to sound familiar?

You can resist, but that will mean great inconvenience, and bodily harm to you. This is called coercion. You are put in a position where you can technically refuse to hand over your money to the big, bad bully, but it will not end well for you.

That is how the government works. The government is essentially a mafia that has control over an area of land, and they use force and coercion to get protection money out of the people living within that area of control. They make themselves look all pretty, and they smile and wave on the television, and lie to you about how they’re going to use your money for the children and the “greater good”, right? But, what do they really do with the money they take from you? If you applied the same critical eye to the government you do to every other criminal organization, you would quickly realize that they do a lot of really bad things with that money they take from you. Even the good things they try to do, and the problems they try to solve end up failing miserably. It’s a problem of incentive; when you have a monopoly on a service, and steal money to fund your organization, you have no competition, and therefore no incentive to give good services. You’re going to get paid whether you provide a good service or not, and nobody can complain because the only place they can go to appeal and obtain recourse is… you, the government.

The government has a monopoly on protection services (including police, courts, etc.), and they fund these services by taking your money from you. If monopolies are bad, why does anybody think this is a good idea? The Supreme Court even ruled that police have no constitutional duty to provide these protective services, and if a cop fails to stop someone from committing a crime against you, you have no recourse. Even if the court issues a protective order against a violent husband, making an arrest mandatory, the cops aren’t obligated to do anything if he violates it.

Essentially, they’re saying, “Yes, we steal your money to protect you, but if we fail to protect you, tough noodles”.

Tough noodles.

When it comes to marriage, what the government is essentially saying is, we’re going to use force and coercion to take your lunch money, but if you meet the definition of what we call a “marriage”, you don’t have to pay us… as much. And we’ll give you some extra privileges to make you feel better about the fact that we’re stealing from you.

Instead of fighting over how the bully should define “marriage”, why don’t we just stop the bully from using force and coercion against us in the first place, and create a society free of violence and coercion, built on mutually consensual, voluntary relationships between human beings, without moral exceptions for “governments”?

If taxation without consent is not robbery, then any band of robbers have only to declare themselves a government, and all their robberies are legalized. – Lysander Spooner

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Marriage Equality and Government