Sunday, June 23, 2013
Try and Stop Us!
Soon the U.S. Supreme Court will publicize its ruling on the case involving California's Proposition 8 ban on same-sex marriages. Most people think this is just another battle between the homosexual agenda and its opponents.
Tosoc.org sees it instead as another "no matter what the ruling, the central government wins, everyone else loses" event. It is another step in the increasing conversion of law into regulation in the United States. (See our post The Law is No Excuse.) The most important aspect of the Proposition 8 case is about centralization of power. That is, we see it as giving those in power (the rich) a reason to take the vote away from the people.
One of us from tosoc.org discussed Proposition 8 with a young country lawyer back in 2008. His view was that the courts can and should arbitrarily change longstanding legal precedents if they want. It is up to legislators and the people to correct them if they do not like it. This can be termed the "What 'cha gonna do about it?" attitude, or the "Try and stop us!" approach.
(These are not the kinds of attitudes that we at tosoc.org like to see in our public officials, by the way. Or in the rich. They have enough power without arrogating more.)
Of course "correcting" the courts was exactly what the people of California tried to do. When their courts ruled that same-sex marriage was suddenly OK when it had never been before, the people passed Proposition 8. The majority ruled.
But did the vote matter? To the minority, the majority voted the wrong way. Now a few hundred people (including the U.S. Supreme Court) are on the verge of overturning the votes of millions of Californians. So much for our young country lawyer's comforting claim essentially that the people are sovereign through their votes.
True, it may be that the U.S. Supreme Court will vote in favor of Proposition 8, and confirm the votes of millions of Californians. The trouble is that even if they do, the collateral damage is still serious. Just by agreeing to rule on the case, they have already established a precedent that marriage is a matter concerning the U.S. Constitution. They have established a precedent that they should review state votes about marriage to make sure that the people voted the right way.
Of course, the U.S. Constitution says nothing about marriage at all. It does talk about freedom and democracy, including voting. But all that freedom and voting only means something if the votes count. To say that they only count after review by the Supreme Court is to say that all decisions are effectively made by the whim of the Supreme Court. Except, of course, that the Court does not have time to decide everything. Until the Court gets a chance to review a decision, the illusion of the power of the vote is a subordinate substitute that will keep the people quiet in the interim.
A few years ago President Obama famously told Republicans that elections have consequences and reminded them that he won. The question now is whether votes make any real difference. The lesson of Proposition 8 is that votes do not decide anything. That may be the source of some of the Obama administration's difficulties.
The main reason that tosoc.org sees the Proposition 8 struggle as a covert struggle between democracy and anti-democracy is that it did not have to be handled this way. There was no real reason to bring the U.S. Supreme Court into it. We have no doubt that at some time in the near future, if not almost immediately, the people of California could be brought to reverse Proposition 8 in another election.
That would not have been good enough for the centralizers, however. Allowing Californians to settle their dispute without federal intervention would do no good for the central government. In effect, the centralizers on both sides worked together to force the issue onto the federal level.
Some of them may not even realize that they are centralizers; they may just believe that nothing is ever really settled until the U.S. Supreme Court rules on it. That is the problem. Perhaps we have come to the point where most people see the federal government as the supreme power in their lives. That of course would be one of the goals of those who are consciously centralizers – to change the story of U.S. society so that the people cease to believe that they are sovereign.
What we need instead of centralization is decentralization – of markets and currencies. We need an end to the use of economic fear against the people. In the case of homosexuals, note that the economic goals of same-sex marriage are to make sure that those who live alternative lifestyles gain the federal benefits that current married couples have. That is, it is not so much the people but the federal government that economically discriminates against homosexuals and others, carrying out denial-of-resources attacks against them.
With multiple exclusive currencies and markets, this would not even be an issue. No one would be denied basic resources even in the poorest markets. Earning more than the basics would be up to the individual, and would not be dependent on any personal preferences. The federal government would not discriminate against anyone.
Thus The Other Side of the same-sex marriage issue is that the issue has been co-opted to gain power for the centralizers no matter which side "wins" the dispute, even though the root is in economic discrimination. Better to bypass the whole issue and maintain the sovereignty of the people by removing the economic discrimination faced by those who live alternative lifestyles. The best way to do that, of course, is with multiple exclusive currencies and markets.
The way capitalism should be.
Socialism for the socialists and capitalism for the capitalists.
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