As counterpoint to this post, an invented dialogue which explains why I am not a liberal according to the modern definition:
(DISCLAIMER: many of the statements below are for the sake of argument. They employ sarcasm and irony, and should not necessarily be taken to indicate my real views. I am an advocate of total liberty – of action, expression and association.)
Just as I should be able to marry anyone I please, I should be able to do what I please with the money I earn.
Those are completely different. Marriage bans are about imposing one group’s idea of morality on everyone. Taxes and welfare aren’t legislating morality.
Oh no? So we have no moral obligation to feed and clothe the less-fortunate?
I didn’t say that. Anyway, it’s just money. Marriage is a lot more important than money!
It’s just a piece of paper.
Marriage is a lot more than that! It affects inheritances, job benefits, tax status, the division of property in case of separation, patient visiting rights…
A lot of those things sound like they have to do with money.
Okay, but take all that stuff away and it’s still different. Forbidding me to marry someone denies me basic respect as a moral being with the ability to make good decisions on my own. It forces someone else’s idea of what’s best for the community on me.
Well, you seemed to agree earlier that charity is a moral issue. Forcing me to give my money to the causes that someone else deems best denies me basic respect as a moral being with the ability to make good choices about where that money is best spent. It forces someone else’s idea of what’s best for the community on me.
Yeah, but that money does some good. What good does banning gay marriage do?
So the only test of whether a law is legitimate is if someone thinks it’s doing some good? I can find you some people who think that keeping marriage between a single man and a single woman is a public good. The majority of America seems to think so, in fact.
Quite possibly. I suppose their support of wealth redistribution is also stupid, then?
You’re just selfish.
My, that sounded like a moral judgement. Isn’t that exactly the sort of thing you’re fighting?
OK, I’m sorry. I know you’re a nice guy; if you got to keep that money I’m sure you’d put it to good use. But you KNOW that the majority of people would just keep it for themselves. Without taxes the poor would starve. There’d be no social services to speak of! Taxes are the only way to insure that money gets to where it’s needed.
Ah, so they are only necessary because otherwise all those poor slobs wouldn’t do the right thing on their own. You know, you sound a little elitist. Kind of like some fundamentalists I’ve heard. Very sure that they know what’s best for everyone else.
Talk about elitist. You sound like you’re sticking up for the rich elites who pay the most taxes. They’re only, like, 5% of the population. And they’ve got plenty of money to spare. Why should you care about them?
Gays are, what, 4% of the population? And they can still have relationships even if they can’t get married. Why should you care about them?
It’s a matter of principle! It’s about freedom in this supposedly free country, and about respect for human beings!