Charlie Gard: A Lesson in Conservative Cluelessness About the Culture Wars

In recent weeks, the right-wing commentariat has made quite the fuss about a European court that ordered the removal of life support for Charlie Gard, the infant son of Chris Gard and Cathy Yates who was afflicted with a rare genetic mitochondrial disease. And rightfully so – death panels, the rationing of care, and other grotesqueries are the result of a government-run healthcare system. The Gard family just provides a face for it.

However, many of these critical voices from the right are supporters of same-sex “marriage” or offered milquetoast resistance against it. Take, for example, three prominent right-wing talking-heads, Jonah Goldberg, Ben Shapiro, and Andrew Klavan, who have all attacked the court’s Charlie Gard decision. Yet, in regard to same-sex “marriage,” Goldberg wanted a compromise of civil unions and also wrote, “it’s progress that gay activists and left-wingers are celebrating the institution of marriage as essential.” During his numerous campus visits and speaking engagements, Shapiro often has said he believes the state should get out of marriage in the first place even though he is opposed to same-sex “marriage” personally. Klavan recently told Dave Rubin of the Rubin Report of a conversation he had with the late Andrew Breitbart in which he said — and I’m paraphrasing — the right shouldn’t be on the wrong side of the “gay rights” issue, meaning at least that conservatives should drop their opposition to same-sex “marriage.”

Now, I like Klavan, and I used to be pretty high on Shapiro too (Goldberg, not so much). But I confess: I don’t know how they, ostensibly men of the right, hold both these positions. If one is conservative, how can one justifiably support liberty — in this case, the freedom to care for one’s children as one sees fit without interference from the “expert” bureaucrats — and believe it’s fine, even welcome, or at least not an egregiously big deal that the state recognizes same-sex couples as married like opposite-sex couples?

At first glance, there doesn’t appear to be an incompatibility lurking between the two positions:

  1. A la Goldberg: “Societies depend on the principle that parents are their children’s best guardians. It’s appalling for the state — particularly one that runs the health-care system — to claim that it, not the loving parents, has the final say”;
  2. Resistance to same-sex “marriage” is either one or any sum of the following three predicates: i) wrong ii) politically ineffective iii) not worth upholding.

The problem with this judgment, however, becomes evident when considering what the recognition of same-sex “marriages” entails. If same-sex relationships and opposite-sex relationships are qualitatively and thereby normatively equal, and both are apt for marriage as “marriage equality” advocates enjoin, then the natural fecundity of opposite-sex relationships — a capacity same-sex relationships don’t have out of metaphysical necessity — is irrelevant to the institution. If sex’s end, procreation, is irrelevant to marriage, then so are procreation’s natural manifestation, children, and its institutional sequel, the family.

Instead, as procreation and the resulting children don’t inhere in these institutions, what’s left to define marriage and family is intense emotional attachment; they both become essentially functions of subjective will. Conceivably, couples of any sexuality qualify as married ultimately insofar as they will it to be so. Likewise, whether brought together via adoption, coitus, third-party insemination or impregnation, family fundamentally is not a house of blood but volition. The means to family might differ, but they’re equal byproducts of the personal will to create a personalized domestic artifact, a social construct called the family that is as fluid and varied as gender.

This conclusion should bother any conservative, including Goldberg, Shapiro, and Klavan, for several reasons, but I’ll describe two, with the rest of post emphasizing the gravity of the second:

1) If opposite-sex relationships and same-sex relationships are normatively equal, then so are the families they start and the differing experimental means by which to start them. In other words, given the assumptions of “marriage equality,” it’s hard to see why, in principle, there is any moral difference between, for example, a) making kids via sexual intercourse b) making kids via in-vitro fertilization c) making kids via renting out a poor woman’s womb in India for nine months as a surrogate before coming to collect. Bear in mind, with same-sex couples, b) and c) always involve the deliberate deprivation of at least a biological mother or father from the resulting child. Therefore, it’s hard to see, in principle, any moral difference between a family with a child living with his two biological parents and a family with a child living with two out of his five parents, who, by design, are not his biological ones in this Brave, Post-Obergefell New World.

2) Conservatives favor the “mediating institutions” of Alexis de Tocqueville and the “little platoons” of Edmund Burke of which the family is a prime example. Mediating institutions, e.g. the family, church, local community, and other associations, orient otherwise isolated individuals toward each other and the good. Thusly arranged, people live, learn, and rely on one another, remaining free from a large centralized bureaucracy stepping in to attempt to remedy their tribulations and disputes. Hence, these associations provide firm boundaries between the local and the federal, the private and the public, the individual and the state. Robust mediating institutions create a norm that promotes personal, local, and federal recognition of their primacy, tempering the reach of the far-away state and preventing the widespread social crises that invite the call to increase that reach. Thusly, a panel of technocrats, operating under the conceit they know best, are less likely to be empowered to decide, for example, how much wheat a rural farmer can grow and sell in a year, or, returning to the titular case, be granted the authority to order loving, desperate parents to let their son, Charlie, expire.

But in the post-Obergefell world, an era the likes of conservatives such as Goldberg, Shapiro, and Klavan did little to stop, the mediating institution of the family is a product of subjective will, a social construct with no root in objective blood ties to be respected. It can no longer mediate because it now is just a willed extension of the self instead of a separate entity comprised of interdependent individuals that shields these individuals from bureaucratic paternalism. Thus, the distinctions between the local and the federal, the private and the public, the individual and the state are greatly diminished. Family is solely now an expression of choice enacted by will, which, like many other choices in Leviathan-run society, is subject to centralized approval, regulation, and correction.

Even more disconcerting, Goldberg, Shapiro, and others foresaw leftist activists weaponizing the Supreme Court’s Obergefell decision and yoking the cultural tide behind it to force into compliance dissenters and conscientious objectors, e.g. bakers, florists, and private religious colleges, et al. But for whatever reason, their countermeasure is to decry the left’s illiberalism in these matters as if they’re negotiating with wayward liberals that can be shown the error of their ways and be brought back to the fold. But “You cannot reason with a tiger when your head is in its mouth!” especially when you’re the ones who did next to nothing to prevent it from being there.

Rather than acknowledge the dire nature of the same-sex marriage debate and the implications of defeat in this front of the culture wars — that the line had to be held here — conservative intelligentsia and punditry (of which Goldberg, Shapiro, and Klavan are mere examples), as a whole, shrugged. Though they detected the left’s insatiability in regard to its agents’ intent to harness government to infringe on some mediating institutions, they didn’t see or didn’t care to confront the looming threat to the most important mediating institution undergirding the civil order. Many didn’t even make a concerted try to dignify marriage by defending it as essentially a heterosexual institution in a last-ditch effort to preempt or at least blunt the left’s push to target social conservatives in small businesses, religious organizations, and other institutions. Their current liberalized, ex post facto chiding of the anti-liberals perpetuating this tyranny is too little, too late and again ineffective. Frankly, they fiddled while the family and other mediating institutions were about to be set ablaze – now they are on fire. And that social bulwark against creeping totalitarianism that has been under siege for years has been severely, perhaps irrevocably, breached.

The lord of the Rings - The two towers (the blowing up the wall)

make action GIFs like this at MakeaGif

Of course, these guardians of conservative thought are right about the evil circumstances of Charlie Gard’s death. But on what objective grounds could the Gards have stood on in a political and legal system that only views them as voluntary stewards of their own child? Their parental legs were cut out from underneath them. Family is just a social construct gutted of objective essence and meaning, thanks in large part to conservative capitulation to same-sex “marriage,” the law of the land in many Western nations, including Britain. Take as another example the indoctrination of children with radical transgender ideology in public schools. Their decent parents don’t care for it? Well, too bad! After Obergefell, there is nothing objective or natural — in the sense of classical natural law theory — about their relationship to their children for education officials to recognize, especially when it impedes the progressive agenda these apparatchiks deem to be the common good. After all, according to Ian Kennedy, who wrote in The Guardian about the Charlie Gard tragedy:

children do not belong to their parents… We need to remind ourselves that parents do not have rights regarding their children, they only have duties, the principal duty being to act in their children’s best interests… any rights that parents have exist only to protect their children’s rights.

This is the reality the scions of conservatism effectively are helping to usher in with their unwillingness and inability to mount an impassioned defense of social conservative principles. It raises the question: What good are conservatives who, due to lack of desire and or competence, fail to actually conserve our most pivotal institutions?

So, yes, mourn and be angry about Charlie Gard. Even more so, remember fiercely the indecisiveness, meekness, stupidity, and futility of the right that has enabled the totalitarianism responsible for his unceremonious end and the West’s increasing decline.

Jan Sobieski IV

For Jan Sobieski IV, the West is on the precipice of ruin again. With interests in journalism and philosophy, he’s a millennial convinced we’re living in another Vienna, 1683. Sobieski IV aspires to help lead the pivotal charge for Western civilization against those seeking to overrun or open her gates—these days, they’re one and the same, deserving nothing but the fury of the winged hussar reborn.

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6 Comments

  1. I forgot where we stood the last time we went at this, but my question restated: Just how marginalized are gay people supposed to be when it comes to marriage, civil unions, or any compromises in that direction. Just want to be sure that our civilization and culture won’t collapse if gays get to have legally recognized unions of any kind. (And not just gays here, but those half-misdirected folks, the bisexuals, who can have legal recognition for union with one loved partner but perhaps not another. They should only remain half-marginalized in this area, right?) (Also we’d better get our conceptual gerrymandering just right to avoid looking ridiculous in addition to upholding the one right and true gerrymander. Marriage is for the raising of children essentially and not accidentally, but it has to be natural procreation, and if a gay couple wants to obtain all the legal documents equivalent to a civil union, we’d better be sure to make that document-obtaining process cumbersome and time-consuming enough not to signal societal approval of their union, etc. Oh, those gays. Good fucking thing we don’t actually apply Leviticus law to them in this day and age, surely? Anyway, back to the question: just how much are gay people to be marginalized lest we contribute to the decline of our way of life? Specifics are nice.)

    • Ultimate Philosopher,

      There is next to nothing in your comment that is relevant to what I actually argued in the post.

      Marginalization? Where do I suggest, let alone propose the marginalization of gays? Probably right next to where I claim we should ostracize polygamists, polyandrists, those who engage in child marriage, and zoophiles. Yet your outrage only extends to homosexuals in regard to marriage — why? Just how much are the members of these groups to be marginalized lest we contribute to the decline of our way of life? Specifics are nice.

      As glib as it might seem, a person who is gay is free to engage in a relationship that is apt for marriage. Gay persons choose not to exercise their freedom in that manner. To argue that relationship type x ought be recognized is not tantamount to arguing for marginalization of those who practice relationship type y. Nor is the formal recognition of x a sufficient condition to show that those who practice y are being marginalized. Unless you have some other premises to show otherwise, but they need to be argued instead of you just taking umbrage.

      Furthermore, your comment assumes the state is obligated to offer at least some recognition of same-sex relationships. But why? What interest does it have in affirming and regulating homosexual couplings? There are reasons why it has interest in recognizing heterosexual unions, namely the procreation of the next generation, the stable upbringing and socialization of the state’s future citizens. These two consideration are only applicable to homosexual couples in ad hoc ways, and those in them of themselves do not justify the overturning of an institution that up until 20 years ago was universally believed to be procreative, and thereby heterosexual, in nature. Unless that is you have an argument to the contrary here.

      “Marriage is for the raising of children essentially and not accidentally, but it has to be natural procreation.”

      That’s not what I argued either. In 1), I claim, given the assumptions of Obergefell v. Hodges, it’s hard to tell in principle a moral difference between having kids the old-fashioned way and growing them out of a petri dish to be sold to those who can afford it. There are rational bioethical and human rights concerns with the latter case. But given the presuppositions of marriage equality now enshrined by Obergefell, “reproductive equality,” signaling the normalization of these experimental, dubious methods of making kids, is entailed, and as a matter of politics, a relatively soon to be fought new front in the culture wars. This does not imply an outright prohibition against against IVF or surrogacy. You’re misunderstanding what “natural” means here — “natural” in this sense means given a thing’s nature, there are particular ends that constitute that thing’s flourishing being the sort of thing that it is.

      So I urge you, for the first and the last time, to offer an argument in good faith that addresses something actually in the post instead of preferring what seems like the histrionics of a triggered social justice warrior.

  2. JS, since you (for legitimate reasons, yes) hide fully behind a pseudonym and thereby don’t put your name to your opinions, I have much less reluctance to take off the gloves here.

    Your statements on gay rights and related issues involve one cowardly evasion after another. You bring up gay-rights issues in this posting of all places, and I responded accordingly. Why did you bring it up in the first place? Your posting and comment history provides a clue: you are really interested in the gay-marriage issue as it relates to cultural goodness in the USA. And so I call you out on it. You have been evasive over and over as to what legal coupling rights, if any, gay people ought to have. This is why I ask you over and over just how marginalized you think gays ought to be, and you don’t give a straight answer. Instead, you peddle the following kind of horseshit that should have never been introduced by anti-gay-marriage folks into the debate in the first place, since it is so outrageously disingenuous:

    “As glib as it might seem, a person who is gay is free to engage in a relationship that is apt for marriage. Gay persons choose not to exercise their freedom in that manner.”

    No, this is much more than “glib.” It is dishonest. We all are well aware of how gay people speak of their attractions and loves and how important those are to them. You basically don’t give a shit; you delegitimize their sexual identities at every possibility. So let’s not beat around the bush: you have a certain kind of distaste and distate for “the homosexual lifestyle” that you refuse to admit might cloud your judgment on the same-sex-marriage debate. Your rebuttals to the likes of Ted Olson are half-assed and piss-poor at addressing a fundamental issue that serves as a trump to the issues your side raises. The issue is fundamental since about the year 2003: 14th amendment equal protection combined with greater societal understanding of gay people. If you had your way, the policies of this country in this area would never have advanced beyond those of the 1950s (where gays had to be closeted lest their lives be destroyed), and we all goddamn well know this.

    You reveal the ugly underside of “cultural conservatism” (although at this point your views are becoming radical enough that implementing them would involve too much of a lurch in the previous direction for reasonable and decent folks to find acceptable in terms of conservatism) even as much as you purport to defend it via philosophical arguments. And I find it hard to carry on a genuinely good-faith philosophical argument when you remain so evasive and unresponsive to the most pointed challenges.

    You would be on stronger grounds if you said that, in terms of constitutional jurisprudence, this isn’t a matter for the federal government, equal protection concerns notwithstanding. Justice Kennedy’s reasoning here sounds like so much bullshitted-up jurisprudence we’ve come to expect from “progressive” left jurists. A main problem here is that the red states more or less forced him and similar judges into it with their unreasonably hostile approaches to same-sex marriage. In North Carolina, a majority of people were bigoted enough to even deny *civil union* rights to gay couples, and you “rightly considered” folks stand by silently or approve of this bigotry.

    You’d have been on stronger grounds condemning the ’60s-“liberal” culture of sexual excess and irresponsibility, without bringing in The Gays for particular targeting (given the genuine progress in this area over the last few decades). But it’s like you cultural cons can’t help yourselves. You have a thousands-year old Scripture telling you that gay sex is an abomination, and you construct bullshit arguments accordingly.

    You’d have had more credibility with me if you ever gave me a straight fucking answer to my question. You clearly don’t want gays to have the same legal coupling rights as straight couples but you won’t specify just how far you will go in that. I ask about civil unions and you refuse to answer in a credible way. You ask about how you are marginalizing them, and yet you show your hand with your crap that you yourself characterized as glib-sounding. There needn’t be further evidence beyond this point that you don’t really give a shit about the rights of gay people to legally couple like other people.

    “Furthermore, your comment assumes the state is obligated to offer at least some recognition of same-sex relationships. But why? What interest does it have in affirming and regulating homosexual couplings?”

    How, as a philosopher, can you be so fucking obtuse? You don’t know of the arguments made by Ted Olson and others?

    And you also show a pretty shaky ideological hand: why should “the interests of the state” be an overriding consideration in a country founded on individual rights first and foremost?

    ” There are reasons why it has interest in recognizing heterosexual unions, namely the procreation of the next generation, the stable upbringing and socialization of the state’s future citizens. ”

    Socialization for what? Hopefully not for perpetuation of the state as an end in itself. Socialization for being reasonable and decent toward one another, e.g., recognizing a legal coupling between people who love one another, and which neither breaks my leg nor devalues my property?

    You don’t have a single damn good argument for how such legal recognitions would hinder procreation, stable upbringing and soicalization. Olson went through all this in the courts, facing and refuting the same shitty arguments that you’ve been bringing up.

    “That’s not what I argued either. In 1), I claim, given the assumptions of Obergefell v. Hodges, it’s hard to tell in principle a moral difference between having kids the old-fashioned way and growing them out of a petri dish to be sold to those who can afford it.”

    Good god man, do you *listen* to how dumb you sound when this sort of thing pours off your keyboard? *Selling* petri-dish-raised kids is relevant to the real arguments here? It’s now quite evident that your thinking on this isn’t clear.

    “You’re misunderstanding what “natural” means here — “natural” in this sense means given a thing’s nature, there are particular ends that constitute that thing’s flourishing being the sort of thing that it is.”

    I used the term “natural” above in (sarcastically) characterizing the anti-gay-couplings arguments. Only procreation via missionary-position penile-vaginal sex is acceptable as a basis for marriage or other coupling rights for people, which automatically rules out gay people getting married (to one another, of course). So let’s say that instead of some monetary transaction going on (I mean, you *really* brought monetary transactions into this discussion as somehow relevant? what the fuck for?), you have an in-vitro fertilization process, or perhaps *gasp* even a traditional adoption procedure, something other than missionary-position penile-vaginal sex, something whereby a child is created and then raised by a gay couple. (This is all assuming, again, that marriage as of the 21st century has something not-incidentally to do with the procreation and raising of children, and pretty much only with that.) You’ll find some way of objecting to that, it’s what you do.

    “So I urge you, for the first and the last time, to offer an argument in good faith that addresses something actually in the post instead of preferring what seems like the histrionics of a triggered social justice warrior.”

    I ask you just how marginalized gays, the “gay lifestyle” and other things gay should be here in 21st century America. We already know from RC blog postings like this one that there is a tendency among “conservatives” to think of gays as habitually promiscuous (and that this has something to do with being gay rather than being male) and *this alone* is enough to constitute a prudential argument against homosexual behavior. It is one more example of not-clear thinking that passes for philosophical argument on this subject from the Cultural Right.

    From a more sober perspective, we can say that legal gay couplings won’t and can’t in and of themselves cause social-cultural deterioration. (There is no plausible causal relationship to be had here.) The claims that they do, are so much histrionics from triggered rightists. What’s more, when it comes to *these kinds of issues*, cultural rightists seem all of a sudden to have a diminished concern with individual rights. (I’m not sure that cultural rightists – those who have politicized their views about culture – are even all that much into individual rights to begin with. To get real emphasis on them you’d have to go to libertarians, and there are cultural-right libertarians who don’t feel some irresistible compulsion to politicize their cultural views. If you hadn’t noticed, the state by its very nature as a coercive entity doesn’t do things peacefully – hence how, in a fully cultural-rightist polity (we see some of those in the Middle East, so we have some idea), gay behaviors would be punished by law inflexibly and indefinitely into the future (given how all of what appears in Scripture is supposedly timeless). So combine politicized-cultural-rightism with a mostly irrational aversion to things gay, and you will inevitably get some amount of ugliness trying to pass itself off as reasonable. I don’t hold triggered histrionic SJWs in high regard but I can’t say much better for some of their opposition.

    UP / CRC

  3. “Whatever. Between the irrelevant character assassination/speculation about my motives and the rampant mischaracterization/quoting out of context, I’m done trying to reason with you on this topic.”

    No examples of mischaracterization or quoting out of context, to buffer your case?

    ” If you think I’m such a shitty philosopher and an even shittier person,”

    I said that I thought that something you said was more than merely glib but also dishonest. It is a shitty, dishonest thing to say. You might be a peach otherwise, i.e., better than you are in that instance. I’m nearly appalled that someone calling themselves a philosopher would use such a discreditable way of arguing with its *implication* that a gay person under red-state laws are “just as free to marry someone they don’t love and aren’t attracted to as anyone else.” Or did I mischaracterize or quote out of context?

    ” you might as try to read my betters on the subject. It’s clear you don’t understand the “disingenuous,” “dishonest,” “evasive” “non-clear thinking” of the “pray away the gay,” “put homos back in the closet,” “Bible-thumping” bigots.” ”

    Well if you are indeed talking about those folks, I don’t understand them qua philosopher although I might attempt to understand them qua psychologist. Qua philosopher, I think their arguments are shitty, their thinking unclear, not objectively comprehensible, etc. I would hope that you would be above that level as a philosopher. It would be nice if the politicians in the GOP had greater integrity than to pander to and practice such ignorant bigotry. (Same goes for the Democrat politicians who pander to any number of forms of economic illiteracy among other intellectual vices.) As for the “best” arguments made against same-sex marriage, put up against and rebutted by legal minds such as Ted Olson, there would be more credibility behind them if they offered some solution that didn’t marginalize gay people unjustly. Civil unions for instance. But that would be to “normalize” a lifestyle that the GOP politicians and their enablers are very much on record opposing as being unnatural and so on (I don’t need to speculate about motives for opposition to civil unions when they’re so much on record and negatively so about “the homosexual lifestyle,” do I?). I already conceded that perhaps Justice Kennedy’s reasoning is so much lousy “progressive” jurisprudence. The likes of Scalia and Thomas are on record for being opposed to anti-gay laws they consider stupid (perhaps being the result of widespread but in-principle-correctable ignorant bigotry, would they concede that?), which would suggest that red states need(ed) to get their acts together at least when it came to the unjust and wicked anti-sodomy laws, right? (However wicked you think sodomy is, it’s more wicked to use the powers of the state to punish people for it, and “conservatives” cheered on that very notion for decades or longer. No, I wouldn’t expect people in those hardcore anti-gay red states to move in 12 years from wanting to outlaw sodomy to accepting same-sex marriage. But that’s part of the context we must acknowledge and bring to this discussion: for all we can tell, they’d never have gone along willingly with repeal of anti-sodomy laws. Something something trumps individual freedom, that’s enough to indict hardcore red-state “reasoning” on these matters.)

    Blue States have been doing better, it would seem rather surprisingly, when it comes to cannabis legalization than the Red States have been. Nothing bad has resulted from legalization in the Blue States, which only further indicates that an irrational fear of the unknown is driving the Red State mentality on this. The best explanation I can think of for why it is the Blue States (so far) that have legalized is that inasmuch as libertarian sentiment exists in the country, it is strongest out west. That’s hardly a credit to mainstream Democrat thinking about the role of the state vs. the individual. (Note that it was the “liberal” justices on SCOTUS that invoked the Wickard interpretation of the Commerce Clause to uphold a prohibition on growing weed in one’s backyard. It’s almost bizarre, that the Lawrence v Texas and Raich v Gonzalez decisions could have emerged from the same court in the same year, with such opposite implications for individual rights.) Have you considered embracing the libertarian alternative? There’s a massive intellectual arsenal there that blows away those of “liberals” and “conservatives.” You needn’t even abandon cultural conservatism to do so; you need only abandon the pathological tendency to look to the State as a social-problem-solver (like in making now-acknowledged-to-be-arbitrary discriminations as to who gets to get married to whom, for example).

    There, I knocked down your out-of-context mischaracterizations, not merely proclaimed that you mischaracterized me followed by storming off.

    And I’ll have a look at the links you provided. I am intrigued by Robert George given his institutional affiliation (and same question there as I asked you without getting a straight answer: is he willing to have gay people marginalized beyond recognition of civil unions or something comparable?), and as I already suggested I could trust “progressive” jurisprudence no further than I could throw a “progressive” jurist.

    • Re the Girgis/George/Anderson paper there is an abstract and limited time on my hands for reading the entire paper. But I have this research habit, you see, of asking “what objections/rebuttals are there out there to position X”? (Like in, for instance: What objections/rebuttals are there out there from socialists to Mises’ book ‘Socialism’? Turns out the rebuttals are scant, and where there were rebuttals, having to do with the calculation problem, Mises and Hayek appear to have been vindicated. So anyway, what the hell is wrong with the socialists if they can’t provide a decent and lasting rebuttal to Mises yet advocate for socialism regardless? The situation is at least as bad when it comes to any rebuttals to or criticisms of a piece of writing like “This is John Galt Speaking”: there haven’t been remotely serious rebuttals in 6 decades now. I research for facts like these – facts that are “meta-level” so to speak to the contents of the arguments themselves – because I think they say something about the nature of the position in question or the people arguing for/against it. So, like, Nozick presents 50 pages of rebuttal to Rawls’ theory of justice, but Rawls didn’t have a comparable response to Nozick. What might that say or reveal about the strengths of their respective positions? And so on….)

      So I just had to know: are there rebuttals out there to the Girgis/George/Anderson (GGA) paper that should be acknowledged along with the paper itself? Well, here’s an example that popped right up, upon googling “girgis george anderson what is marriage criticism rebuttal”, just so that we know there’s at least a debate going on and not those three authors going unchallenged the way Mises, Hayek, Rand and Nozick have gone relatively unchallenged:

      http://www.philosophyetc.net/2011/05/whats-wrong-with-what-is-marriage.html

      that’s just the first result; there may be more. (The “rebuttals” I saw to Ted Olson’s defense of gay marriage tended to be pretty poor, or all too brief to have seriously covered the argument. Perhaps the GGA paper was one of the rebuttals I had missed, as I had been searching for arguments available right on the web at the time. So, anyway: what about civil unions? The Red States seemed to be pretty stubborn about accepting those as well. Why?)

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