Month: June 2015

16759528530_1946461191_k

D.C. cyclists are the worst

The 800th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta has got me thinking a lot about our society’s interconnectedness. There is a great scene in Jerome K. Jerome’s comedy tale Three Men in a Boat where the weary boating men come across the riverbank where King John, surrounded by indignant bishops and barons, was forced to grant Englishmen their God-given liberties. That one moment can be traced to today, and all the arguments we Americans have over keeping our country intact.

Here in Washington D.C., the ancient lineage upon which our country was founded is practically forgotten. The typical American no longer sees himself as a part of unfolding history. Instead, thanks to liberalism, he is a hyper-autonomous individual who works for himself and no one else.

This point is best illustrated by a recent article in Washington City Paper. The topic is bicycling, a favorite activity among the yuppy, progressive D.C. denizens. With total obliviousness, author Will Sommer asks, “Riding a Bike on the Sidewalk Makes Sense. Why the Hate?” Sommer is dismayed at the anti-bicycle attitude so prevalent in the city. He’s also perturbed that a police officer once stopped him for the crime of riding his bike on a sidewalk. To him, non-cyclists don’t get it. Even though it’s illegal to bike down the sidewalk in some parts of the city, Sommer is undeterred. “I still bike on the sidewalk…because riding on the sidewalk has its place everywhere in the city,” he asserts.

(more…)

sergius and bacchus

A question of equal protection

No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were.

The above quote is from the majority opinion of the Supreme Court in Obergefell v. Hodges, which just made gay marriage a right to everyone in the USA. This was done with a broad interpretation of the 14th Amendment; you can’t just prevent people who love each other from marrying, after all.

Well, not exactly. Notice the emphasis I placed on the quote. Two people in love have protections under the law that three or more people do not. If:

A. Marriage is just a weird thing people do when they love each other, and

B. It’s wrong to not let people participate in this ritual because of their non-traditional instantiation of the institution

How the fuck is that fair? Why don’t polygamous people deserve equal protection?

Chief Justice Roberts asked this very question:

I do not mean to equate marriage between same-sex couples with plural marriages in all respects. There may well be relevant differences that compel different legal analysis. But if there are, petitioners have not pointed to any. When asked about a plural marital union at oral argument, petitioners asserted that a State “doesn’t have such an institution.” But that is exactly the point: the States at issue here do not have an institution of same-sex marriage, either.

Obviously, the Supreme Court only rules on cases in front of them. It’s just as obvious that if an otherwise identical case about plural marriage reached the SCOTUS, it wouldn’t benefit from the same broad interpretation of the 14th Amendment that just made same-sex marriage legal. They wouldn’t use the logic of “but equal protection. But LOVE!” to protect plural marriage.

This is because fashionable people in urban areas think that same-sex marriage is cool. Fashionable people in urban areas do not think that that polygamy is cool. In fact, it’s downright icky to baby boomers. This preference that the intelligentsia have for gay marriage is obviously the reason that the court made the ruling that it did, and that’s the problem here.

The Supreme Court is only supposed to rule on questions of law, not questions of politics. Theoretically, judges aren’t supposed to have different rulings on otherwise identical issues because all the beautiful people agree that gay marriage is good but plural marriage is still kinda, you know, weird. Even if polygamists people are weirdos, they still fucking get equal protection.

This is the most worrying thing about a very broad interpretation of the law. We already have a legislature and an executive that exist to reflect the current fashions and tastes of the populace. We don’t need a judiciary to reflect the illogical dichotomies of public opinion with illogical interpretations of the law.

*****

(more…)

1229306_e2fda8c922_o

Admit It: an 18-year-old shouldn’t be allowed to vote

Reprinted from the Press and Journal

Mark my words: Come January 20th, 2017, Hillary Clinton will be sworn in as the first female president of the United States of America. The media will swoon, the nation will rejoice (at least the half that voted for her), and Chris Matthews will get that old thrill of up leg.

Hillary is, of course, the wife of former President Bill Clinton. She was Secretary of State under President Obama. And she served as a senator during the Bush administration, supporting most of his key initiatives, including the ill-fated Iraq War. With that kind of experience, Hillary will continue many of the same policies, domestic and foreign, that have defined Washington for the past 20 years.

There is something new, however. During her recent campaign kickoff on Roosevelt Island in New York City, Hillary announced that if America sends her back to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, she will implement “universal, automatic” voter registration for any citizen who turns 18-years-old. The crowd went wild over the idea.

At first blush, automatic voter registration doesn’t sound sexy. We live in a democratic republic, so it makes sense that citizens should be able to vote. But why the push for registering all 18-year-old citizens automatically?

(more…)

18230787243_19d9bf9f41_z

Rachel Dolezal is a victim, but not a black one

The tragic murder of nine black Americans in a church in Charleston, South Carolina has taken the wind out of the controversy surrounding the borrowed identity of Rachel Dolezal. The fire isn’t out completely. But national attention is slowly being diverted away from Dolezal, and back to matters of importance.

This is good because the less attention given to Dolezal, the better. Rather than slink away after being exposed as a fraud, the woman who spent decades pretending to be black has gone on national television to defend her charade. She refuses to believe that just because she was born to a white family in Montana, she can’t just up and switch races. Her intransigence speaks to the larger issue of what we mean when we say “race” and what it means to be black in America.

Conservatives have a point in all this hubbub: if race is a pure social construct with no biological foundation, Dolezal should unquestionably be able to claim the mantle of blackness. Anyone who challengers her is a bigot, ignorant of basic social science. Thus, Dolezal might have been born to a white family and grew up white, but can still identify as black without the fear of being unaccepted. That’s the logical conclusion of the “race is not biology” meme.

(more…)