The Long View 2004-02-25: The Marriage Amendment; Inflation; O'Rourke

As it turns out, Obergefell v. Hodges was decided on equal protection grounds. Again, while the Left decisively won the Culture War, I think the Right will continue to resist for a long time. Roe v. Wade was 43 years ago now, and the Right has very much not given up. That intransigence has paid off: public opinion is arguably trending against abortion [slowly].

Although that bi-modal distribution is a doozy. That data makes it look like there is a centrist position, and a very permissive extremist one that is also very committed to holding the line. I think the bar graph through time might be interesting.

GSS Trends on Legalized Abortion

GSS Trends on Legalized Abortion

The Marriage Amendment; Inflation; O'Rourke

The nice thing about having a blog is that it saves me the futility of shouting at the television, especially when Lawrence Tribe is onscreen. Here is all you need to keep in mind about the proposed amendment to constitutionalize the traditional definition of marriage:

There are no equal-protection issues. Straight and gay people have exactly the same marriage rights. Many gay people do in fact marry persons of the opposite sex, often with happy results. The gay-marriage proponents are asking that behavior other than marriage be treated as marriage. This is like insisting that everyone have equal access to Veterans Administrations Hospitals by arguing that to do otherwise would discriminate against non-veterans.

There are no states-rights issues. It might be better if the states could decide this sort of thing for themselves, but that is no longer an option: the assault on marriage through the federal courts will rely on the string of privacy-liberty decisions by the Supreme Court that runs from Griswald to Roe to Casey to Lawrence. This area of law has long since been nationalized. The objections to the marriage amendment on states-rights grounds are based on the calculation that it would be much harder to pass an amendment to overturn a Supreme Court decision constitutionalizing gay marriage than it would be to pass an amendment to preempt such a decision.

The Amendment would not change the Constitution. The Amendment preserves the law as it has always been assumed to be. The campaign to create gay marriage by judicial fiat has already changed the constitutions of several states. The Amendment would simply defeat that campaign.

Some Good Stuff to Know: The federal Constitution has been repeatedly amended to restrict privileges under federal law. The 11th Amendment restricted the right of citizens to sue the several states in federal court. The 22nd Amendment eliminated the right of citizens to serve more than two terms as president. In an unhappy experiment, the Constitution was amended to ban the sale of alcohol, and then amended again to return the matter to the states. The assertion that the Constitution has changed only to create more rights and privileges is historically false.

Saruman's Dilemma: Readers of The Lord of the Rings will recall that Saruman's power was finally broken only when Gandalf put him in a position where he had to play both the tyrant and the friend before the same audience. The Marriage Amendment would have been dismissed in normal times as unnecessary tinkering with the Constitution, or even as a conservative offensive in the culture war. However, the coordinated assault on marriage through the state courts in recent months make clear who the aggressor is. Moreover, these assaults are happening during a presidential election, thus ensuring that the contradiction will be publicized. It will no longer be possible to argue that opposition to the Amendment means neutrality on the gay-marriage issue.

What were these people thinking of?

* * *

Meanwhile, as the US political system struggles over the question of whether pi is three, the predicate of the Bush Administration's fiscal policy has ended:

The consumer price index in China rose at an annual pace of 3.2 percent in January for a second consecutive month, a sign that, at the very least, the deflation China suffered until late last year seems to have ended. Goldman, Sachs has begun describing China as an exporter of inflation rather than an exporter of deflation.

The two pillars of the world economy in recent years have been the growth of Chinese manufacturing and the willingness of the US federal government to create fiat money fast enough to keep the system aloft. This policy assumed, however, that Chinese growth will be deflationary. If it isn't, then deficit spending will again have the kind of inflationary effect the textbooks say it should. Get ready.

* * *

As P. J. O'Rourke recently remarked:

History backs away, keeping both hands visible, avoiding sudden movements, and trying not to show fear.

Copyright © 2004 by John J. Reilly

Why post old articles?

Who was John J. Reilly?

All of John's posts here

An archive of John's site