LLR Pages

Monday, December 12, 2011

My Response to Walter Block's Hit Piece Against Wendy McElroy

For the record, here's my official Facebook status post on my wall serving as a response to Walter Block's hit piece aimed solely at libertarian/anarchist Wendy McElroy. The following is taken from my FB account in its unabridged entirety:

As much as I like Ron Paul tactically and not politically (I'm not an official financial supporter, although I did contact the Paul campaign and offer to volunteer my time and services to help him tactically), I think blogger and writer Walter Block's attack on libertarian/anarchist feminist Wendy McElroy is completely unfounded and uncalled for.

Wendy is right about Paul politically, but she's not the only person to have called Paul out on his anti-libertarian stands on a few issues such as abortion, immigration, religion, and antiwar if not authorized by the Constitution, and constitutional fetishism all on account of his status as a politician. (URL: I have called Ron out even though I have praised him during the debate (except for his "secure the border" rhetoric). I know Thomas L. Knapp has called him out in the past and still does to a certain extent. (URL: I know Stefan Molyneux has been critical of Paul in the past. I know Sheldon Richman criticized Paul over the old racist newsletter controversy that plagued the Paul campaign in 2007 and 2008, and he was completely spot-on regarding Paul allegedly being unaware of the letters (a claim which Richman didn't even buy at all). Even Jim Davidson has good reasons to oppose Paul's candidacy, simply because Paul supported a two-time bailout, prowar candidate named Lamar Smith over a libertarian Republican candidate who was more principled than Smith. Simply put I can't blame him for it.

With that in mind, because Block measures a libertarian's credentials simply by whether he supports his favored political candidate (who happens to be Ron Paul) and not by his ideology, will he attack me? Tom? Stefan? Sheldon? Anyone who dares to have a brain against him and the renewed deification of Paul (which seems to be happening already)?

I am so disappointed in Block that I truly question whether he is a libertarian nowadays or whether he's just a front for the GOP establishment, considering he no longer measures an individual's belief system solely on his ideology but rather whether he supports a candidate like Ron Paul. I totally resent and object to that game entirely.

Now that Block is trying to stir up bullshit in the movement with his claims against Wendy (who hasn't written about Paul in over four years now) and with anyone who doesn't agree with Paul (even if they're not neocons or progressives), he's merely doing more damage to the cause of Liberty and not helping it. That's my objection right there. Who the hell does he think he is just by doing this? Wendy has been an ardent defender of liberty for years and has never wavered since. For Block to stoop to that level the same way neoconservative Republican Eric Dondero has done is shameful, putrid, and disgusting. I'm embarrassed to have any association with him. I'll be more embarrassed to be in the same room with him. It's one thing to attack progressives and neocons who want Ron's head on the issues that he's right on. It's wrong to attack fellow libertarians who criticize and call out Ron on the issues that he's wrong on. Not only does that say more about Block, but it makes him politically and ideologically fair game, IMHO.

Not that I'm a fan of Kevin Carson or just his biggest fan, but he was right about the term "vulgar libertarian." Block fits that mold pretty damn well, and it shames me to say that.

What on earth was he thinking when he wrote that? Is he trying to push anyone out of the movement for not supporting Ron Paul for legitimate reasons? Is he off his rocker or what? Can someone please explain that rationale to me? I merely ask, because I don't get it.

Whether you agree or disagree with critics of Ron Paul is not the point and even neither here nor there. The point is that Block is not only off-base for making this libelous and accusatory charge against her, but he's also wrong to begin with. I will follow this up with this post and any updates to this commentary as well as my previous commentary on the subject.

Ron Paul Acolyte Walter Block Attacks Wendy McElroy

I was disheartened to see columnist and Loyola University Professor Walter Block's newly-launched tirade against renowned libertarian/anarchist individual feminist Wendy McElroy in his LRC piece today entitled "Is Wendy McElroy Still A Libertarian?: No; She Opposes the Ron Paul Candidacy." (It's a shame that Lew Rockwell himself has even allowed this putrid, disgusting, preposterous, and outrageous filth to be housed and archived on his popular website, let alone its own server.)

I encountered this putrid, disgusting, and outlandish drivel when fellow left-libertarian/agorist/voluntaryist Edgardo Peregrino posted this on his Facebook wall a few hours ago.

Edgardo posted the following with Block's article on his wall, which caught my eye instantly:

I hate to disappoint Dr. Block, but not everyone who opposes Ron Paul is a bloodthirsty neocon or progressive.

Since then his wall has been hit with a few comments which have been largely negative about Walter's hit piece:

Caleb McGinn As brilliant as Walter Block is he sure writes some stupid shit sometimes. Lew Rockwell probably wrote it for him.
2 hours ago · Like · 1
Edgardo Peregrino I'm a big fan of Dr. Block but sometimes I wonder what's going through his head when he writes shit like this.
2 hours ago · Like
Bryan Tint What about Patrick Buchanan?
2 hours ago · Like
Steve Lolyouwish Maybe not but they're certainly not helping.
2 hours ago · Like

Wendy has responded to her old friend Block's knee-jerk hit piece on her website with the following post:

Apparently the litmus test for being a libertarian is whether you support a particular political candidate or not. At least, that's the message of Walter Block's article today on Is Wendy McElroy Still a Libertarian? No; She Opposes the Ron Paul Candidacy. The attack is odd...for a few reasons. Just one of them is that I have not written of Ron Paul for over four years now. Indeed, I am ignoring almost everyone's political campaigning from now 'til November for the sake of my digestion. Ah well. Clearly, and especially from the last paragraph, Walter is trying to bait me into some sort of exchange. Alas, Walter, old friend, I am not a puppet and I do not jump to the jerk of a string.

UPDATE: My indefatigable husband just sent me a link from the past, a link to the 2007 blog post in which I responded to a similar article Walter wrote in a similar view years and years ago. I don't have anything to add. It is well-trodden territory.

(The article that Wendy wrote in response to Walter in a similar fashion some years ago over her August 1997 commentary titled "Ron Paul or" can be found here. Her commentary on the same piece before Block responded at that point can also be traced to here.)

I have responded to the entire affair on my Facebook wall in defense of McElroy, which I will post in a separate blog posting of my own. In another separate blog posting, I will be commenting on the entire matter, which will enable me to put my thoughts in correct order before I begin.

UPDATE (12-12-2011): A Facebook user identified as "Eric Lau" wrote a scathing attack on Wendy McElroy on Edgardo's post in which Block attacks her for opposing his campaign (while apologizing for and defending Ron Paul) in a pathetic, snarky attempt to discredit her:

Erik Lau What Wendy McElroy is writing about Ron Paul is ridiculous rant or outright lies. How can any libertarian accuse Ron Paul of not being a libertarian, but an enemy to freedom. She might really dislike most political action and especially from GOP but her factual opinion of Paul is savagely wrong - and that is very damaging.
about an hour ago · Like

Saturday, December 3, 2011

The Derailment of the Herman Cain Train

It's official: the Herman Cain Train has been derailed on the heels of a 13-year-old love affair with a woman (which he continues to deny completely). This also is in part due to a number of his supporters and donors dropping him over that ruckus and the sexual harassment allegations leveled against him (which he also continues to deny). This political train wreck can't be salvaged. Once it went off the railroad tracks, it couldn't be put back together again.

It's over for him politically. However, I don't think he will be riding off into the sunset entirely. Now he's peddling his new online political organization, which he will most likely employ to shore up his leftover base and bring it over to his cause and serve as a financial and political platform to establish a steady stream of cash flow for him and his opportunistic disciples.

This however does create some good news and some bad news for us on the freedom side:

Good News: Ron Paul will gain more of the attention and spotlight with Cain out of the race. With Cain's supporters now looking at both Newt Gingrich (who will probably get the bulk of the Cain support vote) and Ron Paul, a Paul backing would be stronger, more consistent, and more energized than Gingrich, considering that Newt is an ideological and political elephant in the presidential room.

Bad News: Gingrich gets Cain's votes at the present moment, but that could and may well likely change in the weeks and months to come, perhaps prior to the Iowa caucus primaries. He may be the flavor of the month for now, but what about the long term? Chances are his campaign will fizzle out, and that will most likely happen, largely in part because of his past history of infidelity and peccadillos, and all that makes him gravely fair game. At least Ron Paul doesn't have such skeletons in his closet, but Gingrich certainly has them.

Whatever happens, this may well be Ron Paul's light to shine in the days and weeks to come. At least Ron is ideologically principled and consistent, whereas Gingrich isn't. In the short term, Gingrich may be the top contender, but that will only heighten his political downfall - that is, if and ONLY if Ron Paul capitalizes on Cain's loss, brings Cain's supporters into his fold, and heads into 2012 with a strong shot at nabbing the GOP nomination crown.

The Republican Presidential Sideshow Freaks and Government Security

Last week's nauseating, nonsensical, and pathetic GOP presidential debate hosted by CNN and the neoconservative think tank The Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C. is both an epitome and a disturbing reminder of the lunacy of the Republican sideshow freaks (except for Ron Paul as usual) who have consistently demonstrated their naivete to the American public at large. These reprobates - from Mitt Romney to Herman Cain - will never learn and acknowledge that an offensive, aggressive, and warlike foreign policy will proceed to put American lives in jeopardy until they trace the history of this interventionism from Jefferson's attack on the Barbary Pirates (rather than to pay bribes to them) to the present day evils committed in the Middle East. (Take the United States government's present incursions here for instance.)

However, it goes without saying that the stentorian choruses of defending, protecting, worshiping, idolizing, and insulating the status quo are certainly over-the-top but not surprising. Ranging from preserving American foreign aid to Israel to "American exceptionalism" and "America leading the free world," they are nothing but contrivances to prop up pseudo images of the State's "benevolence," the self-deceit and vanities of the governmental players involved, and the State's self-appeasing, self-serving, and self-aggrandizing way of fashioning its own hubris under the guise of self-reassurance.

All of these things are said to shroud "national security" (which is government security) from the American people. The Democrats are just as horrendous on this issue, because they see it as a part of the government's need to engage in humanitarianism abroad with the backing of the U.N., unlike the GOP that prefers to have Americans and the Pentagon declaring war against a foreign regime for "defending national security first" and then "humanitarianism second." (Even Rick Santorum shares the Democratic trait on that thinking alone, despite his tough talk on terrorists and terrorism.)

Despite their minute differences on those issues, both major parties favor barbarism and welfare-warfare equality. With Republicans and Democrats like these (who are the heart of the tyrannical two-party system that expands, operates, and fuels the federal government), who needs enemies at all?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Food For Thought

Are we all better off or worse off that we now know about the increasingly mounting yet substance-lacking (although scathing) reports about the sexual harassment charges pending against GOP presidential contender Herman Cain? Not that I'm defending Cain on any grounds due to his waffling and conflicting answers in response to the allegations and his incredible statements about his version of the accounts of the story (which is still in progress), but why is this any more or less significant than the politically-charged sex scandals of the past? (Anyone remember then-President Bill Clinton's affair with Ginnifer Flowers and Paula Jones' infamous sexual harassment suit against him?)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Conservative (and Libertarian) Love Affair with Maximum "Limited" Statism, Corporatism, and Constitutional Fetishism

Whenever I hear (some) "limited government" conservatives and (minarchist) libertarians utter phrases like "We must keep the U.S. federal government to its Constitutional size" and "Only Congress has the legal and just power to [do this] or [do that]" or "These new laws and regulations are an affront to and assault on free market capitalism" or "President [Insert name here] has signed into law a bill that clearly violates the Constitution," I feel a sudden chill rushing down my spine. And it's not a good feeling. None indeed whatsoever.

The problem with this school of thought is that the individual who stands to defend this rhetoric bar none injects an enormous amount of political and ideological faith in a few areas under a blind guise of praxeological arguments. Not surprisingly, these aforementioned arguments are of the following:

  • That the United States of America as a quasi-governmental corporation must be governed by a blanket set of rules called a constitution and that these rules see the State as a pet to be tamed and put on a leash;

  • That, unless the Constitution "authorizes" the State to partake in legal functions (such as granting Congress the power to "coin Money" and to "declare War" against a foreign power) as "America's Founders had originally intended and envisioned them," the President, the Senate, and the Congress "has no constitutional authority" to engage in these said functions if said rules expressly forbid them to do so;

  • That the 10th Amendment to the Constitution, which states in part, "The powers not expressly delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people," is the law of the land and that Constitution "is only granted enumerated powers at the State level that the Constitution does not clearly spell out and define." Oh, and don't forget that they also say that Washington, D.C. "has no right to tell people and their States what they can and cannot do" because these issues (like taxes, economic regulations, immigration) pertain to "state sovereignty" and "states' rights."

    (Some of these so-called limited statist conservatives reach an impasse with their ideological and political paradigms because they cannot reconcile their love affair for the Constitution and their alleged pro-liberty ideologies with their corporate socialist and privileged philosophies, given that they express deference to the State while appearing to favor laissez-faire "free market" capitalism);

  • That the U.S. Supreme Court was never meant to be an instrument of judicial activism (that is, the Court having legislative power from the bench on the whims of the judges on account of their personal and political views and interests) but rather a provider of a strict, restrictive interpretative federal power on interstate commerce and limited judicial power (as mandated by the 11th Amendment);

  • That the State was meant to be "limited" in nature, and that it must be confined to the chains of the Constitution, as "America's Founders intended it to be";

  • That the State is meant to be in place to have "federal powers few and defined," and that some functions of society (such as roads, the police, prisons, and the courts) must be socialized and not left in the hands of a free market;

  • And so on and so on;

What's equally troublesome is their easily-debunkable claim that free markets exist now (despite regulations by the State) and their corporatist/privileged safety net protection rackets are protected and carried out by state decree. Even Objectivists fall under this perturbing rubric all too well.

If those phrases are meant to be taken seriously, then I must ask those who employ them in political and ideological discourses this very paramount question: Why? Why must we care about "limited government" when the State is not some kind of a canine that can be put on a leash and trained to behave at his owner's command? Is it worth spewing those words, knowing how impossible it is to have a limited "minimized state" government because of its temptation to grow? This political opiate has taken on a life of its own. Even the Founders of whom some conservatives and minarchist libertarians have grown so fond had individually different ideas of what the role of government should be in civil society on its own merits. It's no secret that the "Founding Fathers" of the United States couldn't bring themselves to see eye-to-eye on how "small" the State should be. (The Articles of Confederation merely accomplished this [despite some of the problems that it had], but that document was thrown aside in favor of the current constitution.)

If we are an astute judge of constitutional history, then it is obvious that the great constitutional experiment that the Founders established has not created a government "limited" within power and scope but a plutocratic-autocratic hybrid apparatus. In other words, the State has become both an instrument of unlimited power and a collusive partner with Big Business and Fortune 100 and 500 corporations that enjoy privileged advantages at the expense of the underclasses. This is where the "free market capitalism" angle comes in: a politico-economic system that is state capitalistic in nature but disguised as a pseudo "free market capitalistic" system exploiting the underclass and protecting privileged elitism by according the ruling class with tangible perks that are not available to the poor a.k.a. the ruled.

And it doesn't help that a minor subset of libertarians, whether they fall under the minarchistic or, to a lesser degree, the anarchistic categories, have embraced this "vulgar libertarian" mindset, while forgetting that they condemn corporatism if it does not benefit them but, once it starts to work for them, they immediately embrace it. And some of their conservative allies who embrace the constitutional fetishism that the State is their enemy and that Wall Street and corporate America are enemies of true liberalism, a free market, and a peaceful civil society.

Conservatives (even the Ron Paul ones) have done the same, albeit a much lesser degree than the others. If nothing, they are their own worst enemies, and yet they don't recognize that.

The conservative and libertarian love affair with maximum "limited" statism, corporatism, and constitutional fetishism is enough for me to deliberately question the absolute integrity of these groups.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Ron Paul Wins The Fox News Debate Poll

According to Fox News' "Who Won The Debate?" poll, Ron Paul has won it, garnering 37.75% of the vote.

This is what the following poll shows:

Who Won the Debate?

By You Decide
Published September 22, 2011

Fox News and Google's Republican debate Thursday night in Orlando featured eight presidential candidates: Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, Newt Gingrich, Gary Johnson, Ron Paul, Rick Santorum, Jon Huntsman, Herman Cain and Michele Bachmann. Who won the debate?

Share your thoughts, answer our question then click "Leave a Comment."

Thank you for voting!

Mitt Romney 23.37% (9,021 votes)

Rick Perry 12.73% (4,914 votes)

Newt Gingrich 7.23% (2,792 votes)

Ron Paul 37.75% (14,573 votes)

Rick Santorum 1.47% (566 votes)

Gary Johnson 2.05% (790 votes)

Herman Cain 11.67% (4,507 votes)

Michele Bachmann 2.11% (816 votes)

Jon Huntsman 1.62% (627 votes)

Total Votes: 38,605

At least this is a sigh of relief, given that tonight's debate was the most pathetic and most predictable one of all.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Bill Maher Takes A Potshot At Ron Paul

Real Time talking head Bill Maher, with a panel of guests such as publisher/founder and columnist, Republican strategist, and former Vice President Dan Quayle and Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich press secretary Rich Galen, The Eisenhower Institute's Jennifer Donahue, and Current TV host "Countdown with Keith Olbermann" (which used to be on MSNBC) Keith Olbermann (himself), took shots at Ron Paul, due to his answer to Wolf Blitzer (of "The Situation Room") over the health care issue at the CNN/Tea Party GOP presidential debate last week.

The exchange that transpired and erupted into a national media ruckus went like this:

MR. BLITZER: Before I get to Michele Bachmann, I want to just -- you're a physician, Ron Paul. So, you're a doctor; you know something about this subject. Let me ask you this hypothetical question: A healthy, 30-year-old young man has a good job, makes a good living, but decides: You know what? I'm not going to spend 200 (dollars) or $300 a month for health insurance, because I'm healthy; I don't need it. But you know, something terrible happens; all of a sudden, he needs it. Who's going to pay for it, if he goes into a coma, for example? Who pays for that?

REP. PAUL: Well, in a society -- in a society that you accept welfarism and socialism, he expects the government to take care of him.

MR. BLITZER: Well, what do you want?

REP. PAUL: But what he should do is whatever he wants to do, and assume responsibility for himself. My advice to him would have a major medical policy, but not before --

MR. BLITZER: But he doesn't have that. He doesn't have it and he's -- and he needs -- he needs intensive care for six months. Who pays?

REP. PAUL: That's what freedom is all about: taking your own risks. (Cheers, applause.) This whole idea that you have to prepare and take care of everybody -- (applause) --

MR. BLITZER: But Congressman, are you saying that society should just let him die?


REP. PAUL: No --


AUDIENCE MEMBER: Yes! (Applause.)

REP. PAUL: I practiced medicine before we had Medicaid, in the early 1960s when I got out of medical school. I practiced at Santa

Rosa Hospital in San Antonio. And the churches took care of them. We never turned anybody away from the hospitals. (Applause.)

And we've given up on this whole concept that we might take care of ourselves and assume responsibility for ourselves, our neighbors, our friends; our churches would do it. This whole idea -- that's the reason the cost is so high. The cost is so high because we dump it on the government. It becomes a bureaucracy. It becomes special interests. It kowtows to the insurance companies, then the drug companies. Then on top of that, you have the inflation. The inflation devalues the dollar. We have lack of competition. There's no competition in medicine. Everybody's protected by licensing. We should actually legalize alternative health care, allow people to have -- practice what they want. (Cheers, applause.)

Incidentally, Maher neglected to mention the last set of statements that Paul made at the debate, which explained his position on the matter, and yet Maher tried to sandbag Paul by launching into a "Ron-Paul-wants-that-30-year-old-man-in-a-coma-to-die" tirade that was unbelievably laughable all the way.

Maher's nonsense can be found here:

(Maher's potshot actually takes place at time index 5:03 in the YouTube clip, just to showcase how obtuse and myopic this douchebag really is.)

Maher and his panel, in a pathetically snarky yet par-for-the-course statist Leftist fashion, begin their attack by quoting Blitzer and Paul's statements during that moment in the debate. When Maher paraphrases, albeit in a twisted way, Ron's answer, Maher condescendingly screams out, "He's in a coma! How the fuck can he know what he wants to do?" Then Galen snarkily nods, "It narrows his choices!" Maher agrees, "It narrows his choices!"

Oh please! Blitzer's hypothetical was ridiculous to say the least. One day a healthy 30-year-old man who chooses not to buy health insurance is somehow on life support the next day, and the hypothetical doesn't even allow wiggle room for what might have caused him to collapse in the first place? And Ron Paul's answer was outrageous, because he favors separating health care and State, whereas Maher and his cronies don't? Who's kidding whom here?

It certainly tells me that Maher and his companions need to have their heads checked if they think they can respond with emotion without logic and critical thinking standing in the way of their collective judgment.

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Three Economies of America

There are undeniably and distinctly three separate yet existing economies in America. We have the State-regulated and not-very-productive economy which is run by Big Business as part of Corporate America and is in collusion with the State. We have a State-run non-productive political economy which is run by the U.S. federal government, the Congress, the Military Industrial Complex, and its political fat cats (lobbyists). And then there's the underground, highly-productive, highly-efficient productive REAL private (Agorist) economy which is run by individuals providing products and services to people. I choose the latter.

Obama's Precious Jobs Program

President Obama came off seriously resolute when he told members of Congress to pass his jobs bill immediately. (A transcript of his political speech is provided here.) The move was a ploy to buy votes and shore up political support for his re-election campaign, which has already swung into full gear. But then nothing what he says ought to shock anyone. It doesn't for me, at least.

Here are the videos of his speech before the entire body:

Part 1

Part 2

and Part 3

And what is so special about his precious jobs program that he wants imposed upon the populace by federal edict? Nothing...that is, if you haven't drunk the statist Kool-Aid and bought into his pie-in-the-sky rhetoric that it will "create" jobs and "boost" the economy.

Here's the warped logic of his plan: he claims that his purported $447 billion package will "grow the economy" if Congress acts to pass it "right away." (Notice that he echoed those words 18 times in a row.) But that's not all of it.

According to him, the bill is laden with payroll "tax cuts" that will bring us out of the recession and boost the economy. (I put the pluralized term tax cuts in quotation marks because of the dubious, suspicious, and fallacious claim of his statements.) When one views cuts in payroll taxes, one sees that the cuts gut the Medicare and Social Security taxes that make up the FICA tax. However, one must recognize that those taxes fund both Medicare and Social Security. Both programs are running colossal deficits and creating cost overruns that threaten their very existence. That simply means that they are generating less revenue than they require to issue their payouts to retirees (who are supposed to be the intended recipients of those funds). That also means that more of the funds that haven't been touched yet and are withheld in the Treasury will have to be cashed in at some point.

The news gets worse than that. I should note that the Treasury is already plagued with a $1 trillion-plus deficit. That means more money will be extracted from the already-weakened, highly-regulated productive private sector to reimburse the Social Security and Medicare monies. That will be so unless the President chooses to radically alter the tax code to make up the lost difference. But it will not be so. The money will be coercively taken out of private capital markets in the economy and shifted right back into those sectors in the appearance of higher taxes under the guise of a payroll tax cut. In Obama's Bizarro World, that's expected to boost the economy.

The plan unsurprisingly subsidizes small firms in the form of a doled-out $4,000 tax credit as a condition to hire more employees who have been out of work for six months or more than it would otherwise. This is giving employers an incentive not to hire workers because of the additional costs that this requirement would impose on businesses, considering this is not done in real demand but on political gimmicks and musical chairs. It sounds great to hire employees with this tax credit, but with other regulatory, tax, and other expenisve burdens imposed on businesses, this is, as I have stated before, just merely window dressing to shore up political votes for his re-election.

This is the liberaltard logic to which we are all subjected. My head won't stop spinning right now.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Rep. Allen West (R-Florida): Right on Obama's Jobs Plan, Wrong on 9/11

Florida Republican Congressman Allen West appeared on Judge Andrew Napolitano's Freedom Watch show on Fox Business this past Friday night to discuss the economic and financial impact on President Obama's jobs plan which he attempted to peddle to Congress on Thursday night. Of course, West condemns Obama's jobs plan (which he deserves good talking points for stating the obvious about the jobs bill on which the President wants Congress to vote), but then Napolitano shifts attention away from that topic and veers into the 9/11 remembrance issue (which is today, in fact).

West responds with his comments (which starts exactly at 4:13 in the following YouTube video.

West states, "9/11 is a historic event that we must never forget." A "historic event?" Who is he kidding? One assumes in a single breath that West is likening the 10-year-old attacks to a NASA space shuttle launch. What happened was a horrendous and atrocious tragedy that transpired ten years ago. Of course Americans are never going to "forget" what happened. That shouldn't be foolishly construed to signify that we must let it rule our lives or shape our way of life for eternity. Americans don't make a habit of recalling the brutal events that led up to and after the events of that fateful day on a daily basis. It's more or less a political talking point to fuel the War on Terror than to draw paramount lessons from a tragedy that was born out of the U.S. government's incessant interventionistic foreign and domestic policies that guided America on its imperial path for decades and after 9/11. Claims by the establishment that the federal takeover of the airports and every facet of American life has made the nation safer are apocryphal and dubious, given the unconstitutional and tyrannical abuses of the State's TSA and Homeland Security Department agents and officials. It's all a matter of public record. What will take for West and his cronies to see it?

West then continues, "You know, in this year we're gonna celebrate the tenth anniversary of 9/11." Why would any American in his or her right mind would want to "celebrate" such an awful atrocity that claimed the lives of 3,000 Americans who were killed in the crossfire because the terrorists responded to the repeated interventions of the U.S. federal government that have been the heart and soul of modern U.S. foreign policy for decades?

If we really want to pay homage to the fallen men and women in the World Trade Center towers and the planes that went down in those areas, then there's only one thing to do: end our foreign policy of intervention and replace it with one of non-intervention, bring our troops home from Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Pakistan, and Libya, and spread the message of liberty and peace to those regions. End the sectarian violence, the coercion, and the corruption that have engulfed the people and their respective lands.

It's too bad the GOP and its stalwarts including West can't see that.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The U.S. Postal Service Needs to Go

According to Monday's edition as well as Tuesday's edition of the New York Times, the U.S. Postal Service is attempting to avoid a default in its monthly $5.5 billion payment to the U.S. Treasury. The long and short of it is this: the quasi-government agency is faced with some looming (yet very likely) possibilities resting squarely on its shoulders:

  • Yanking Saturday delivery for its residential and business recipients;
  • Closing down 3,700 offices nationwide;

  • Consolidating other post offices;

  • Laying off 270,000 of its 574,000 employees;
  • and
  • Altering retirement and health care benefits and programs that its dwindling employee base enjoys;

According to the Times on Monday, the costs and reasons for the declining use of the Postal Service are simply the following:

'Our situation is extremely serious,' the postmaster general, Patrick R. Donahoe, said in an interview. 'If Congress doesn’t act, we will default.'In recent weeks, Mr. Donahoe has been pushing a series of painful cost-cutting measures to erase the agency’s deficit, which will reach $9.2 billion this fiscal year. They include eliminating Saturday mail delivery, closing up to 3,700 postal locations and laying off 120,000 workers — nearly one-fifth of the agency’s work force — despite a no-layoffs clause in the unions’ contracts.The post office’s problems stem from one hard reality: it is being squeezed on both revenue and costs.As any computer user knows, the Internet revolution has led to people and businesses sending far less conventional mail.

The Obama administration unsurprisingly responded on Tuesday with the following:

The Obama administration said on Tuesday that it would seek to save the deficit-plagued Postal Service from an embarrassing default by proposing to give it an extra three months to make a $5.5 billion payment due on Sept. 30 to finance retirees’ future health coverage.

Patrick Donahoe, the postmaster general, speaking before the Senate. His office has proposed alleviating its fiscal problems by taking back an estimated $50 billion in pension overpayments.Speaking at a Senate hearing, John Berry, director of the federal Office of Personnel Management, also said the administration would soon put forward a plan to stabilize the postal service, which faces a deficit of nearly $10 billion this fiscal year and had warned that it could run out of money entirely this winter.

'We must act quickly to prevent a Postal Service collapse,' said Senator Joseph Lieberman, independent of Connecticut, who is chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, which held the Tuesday hearing on the Postal Service’s financial crisis.

Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe testified that even with a three-month reprieve on the $5.5 billion payment, the post office was likely to run out of cash and face a shutdown next July or August unless Congress passed legislation that provided a long-term solution for the ailing agency.

To help erase the postal service’s deficit, Mr. Donahoe has proposed several painful and controversial steps, among them, eliminating Saturday delivery, closing up to 3,700 postal locations and laying off 120,000 workers — despite union contracts with strict limits on layoffs.'

The Postal Service is on the brink of default,' Mr. Donahoe testified. 'The Postal Service requires radical change to its business model if is to remain viable in the future.'

Mr. Berry said the Obama administration would push for legislation to allow a three-month delay in the $5.5 billion payment. But he stopped short of endorsing a far-reaching proposal, backed by the postal service, to allow the agency to claw back more than $50 billion that two independent actuaries have said the post office has overpaid into a major federal pension plan. Postal Service officials say such a move would go far to alleviate the agency’s financial problems.

Mr. Berry said the administration was studying the proposal, but not endorsing or opposing it at this point.

For the longest time the agency has engulfed itself in an economic, financial, and political quagmire. Although it is in some ways configured like a private business, it is not functioning like one, and it certainly is not one. The prices of its stamps, envelopes, packages, and other services proceed to spike on an annual basis with no end in sight. New Jersey-based Rutger University's very own The Daily Targum scribed in an op-ed that the agency's labor costs "make up 80 percent of the USPS's operating costs" and that its own mail inventory "is so small these days the USPS cannot keep paying as many employees as much money as it currently does." (Bear in mind that the paper is crying havoc over the complete shut-down of the agency, saying that "it is still something we don't want to see." Why? Because, according to the Targum, "The USPS is a valuable federal service.")

The Targum also opposes "privatization" of the institution for the following reason:

[T]he increased privatization of traditionally government-provided services is a frightening thought for too many reasons to list here, and, therefore, we'd rather not have to rely on private companies for all of our mail needs.

This refrain is all too common from the minds of "privatization" (preferably, marketization) opponents. They believe that a federal post office must be maintained, and that Congress must rescue the agency and save its workforce from the impending forces of layoffs as forced upon by real, natural market forces working against the federal establishment, their concession that the agency is unable to remunerate its employee base as much as it used to due to the excessively low demand for its services notwithstanding. What the paper fails to figure into account is the health care and pension costs that are drying up the funds for the agency, which are mandated by the labor unions in their existing contracts. The unions as well as Congress have made it virtually (almost) impossible for the agency to craft its health care and retirement benefits plans, simply due to the political and protectionistic nature of these parties. Oh, and let's not forget that the USPS is protected by congressional edict from free market competition with any company that wants to jump into the game and offers consumers a better value and service that the USPS has failed to accomplished at its given, ongoing rate. This means that the organization is a legally-protected, government-approved, and government-imposed monopoly on the delivery of first-class mail and standard mail (once known simply as third-class mail). No other firm can legally challenge the USPS and provide more efficient products and services to customers because of the government cementing the Offices as the only legitimate provider of delivered U.S. and international first-class and standard mail; thus, Congress merely restricts access to mailboxes by the USPS. Other private mail firms are legally prohibited by law allowed to drop off deliveries to mailboxes.

The reason for this is that the prices charged by the USPS are universally uniform across the board throughout the States, irrespective of where its customers live. And the old congressional law that sustains the enterprise's monopoly on these services ensures that package deliveries are set at a uniform price based on the weight and volume of the contents within them, especially when it is cheaper than Fed-Ex or United Parcel Service (UPS).

The Constitution's own Article 1, Section 8 stipulates that Congress is accorded with the power "to establish Post Offices and post Roads." But just because the Constitution allows the government to get involved doesn't mean that the State should get involved, and that it should be granted an exclusive monopoly over mail service.

But how did the Postal Service become powerful? Throughout the 19th century, just shortly before the passage of the Postal Act of 1863, mail was dispersed from city to city where a post office would pick up the volumes, or an independent contractor handled the delivery. Then came the Postal Code of 1872, which put into place a local monopoly on mail delivery by outlawing private carriers. At one point these carriers numbered to 147 and pioneered some innovative services. For instance, they introduced postage stamps just before the Postal Service got into that business.

Before 1971, postal service was provided by the U.S. Post Office Department, which centrally planned the agency by fixing prices of its products and services and determined which managers would be charge. The agency was the biggest recipient of globs of congressional subsidies and an annual appropriations budget as set by the governing body. By the time the Postal Reorganization Act of 1970 was passed and signed into law, the Department was shut down and reallocated into what has become the USPS today, thus making it a quasi-public independent agency separated from the Executive Branch and structured to be a self-financing agency whose own existence and its operations depend upon the sales of its postage, mail products, and other services. According to federal law, it must cover its costs, and request the U.S. Treasury to lend funds to it (which is supposed to be limited to approximately $3 billion annually in bailout subsidies to its coffers and allow for a total debt ceiling of $15 billion).

What makes this firm so different from real private firms is that it carries privileges that other companies are not allowed to possess. For instance, it is not subjected to vehicle licensing requirements, and it pays no sales and property taxes. As Tad DeHaven of the CATO Institute noted a year ago:

It doesn’t have to pay parking tickets, and it has eminent domain powers. It pays to itself the income taxes that it would owe if it were a private business.

Understand this point for once: the USPS is more or less a wing of the U.S. federal government. The Postmaster General and a Board of Governors, along with some federal control and oversight by the Postal Regulatory Commission are unaccountable to the taxpayers and the American public at-large. The federal mail delivery organization in itself neither has any incentive to innovate, nor reduce its internal and external fixed and varied costs, nor enhance customer service and other areas in the name of efficiency, nor establish other ways to keep it financially and economically solvent.

And this claim that private companies are not capable of providing our needs is nonsense. A private mail service enterprise could provide physical delivery of mail at a much faster and cheaper rate than the USPS does and provide postage, packaging, and a variety of options and services for clientele that would be far superior in terms of innovation and quality than the USPS does. However, in the grandest scheme of things, the Internet and smart phone technologies have provided innovative means of electronic communications for customers by ISP and mobile phone carriers at a fraction of the costs that rival the high, exploding costs of the USPS, thus making physical mail delivery a relic of American history.

While DeHaven and other similar critics urge for the privatization (or marketization) of the organization, I dispute that notion. I call for the abolition of the firm and allow an unfettered free market to prop up and flourish, providing more quality and more pioneering products and services to consumers globally at the lowest price. This signifies an end of the U.S. Post Office, an idea whose time has ultimately come.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Conservatives' Opposition to Obama's Rejection of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)

The Republican support for the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) reached an all-time low this past week when conservative Republican favorite Congressman Ron Paul (in many circles of the Liberty movement), Newt Gingrich, and many others stated their outright objections to President Obama's ardent abandonment of the law by viewing it as "unconstitutional." (Ironically, it was former Georgia Republican Congressman Bob Barr who later ran for President on the Libertarian Party ticket originally drafted, supported, and lobbied for the passage of the law in 1996, which was a clear-cut bipartisan compromise between the duopoly parties and would be signed into law by then-President Clinton. He now claims to oppose the Federal Marriage Amendment and endorses a bill oddly dubbed as the Respect for Marriage Act which, if passed and signed into law, would repeal DOMA, but for now I'll cautiously take his word for it.)

It makes one in the left-libertarian camp cringe to say that Barr, if he is indeed sincere about his opposition to the law that he himself created and pushed in the mid-1990s, is more libertarian than Paul on this issue, and one would not be required to make that statement lightly. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder issued a public declaration, stating:

Much of the legal landscape has changed in the 15 years since Congress passed DOMA. The Supreme Court has ruled that laws criminalizing homosexual conduct are unconstitutional. Congress has repealed the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy. Several lower courts have ruled DOMA itself to be unconstitutional.

Holder continues:

But while both the wisdom and the legality of DOMA will continue to be the subject of extensive litigation and public debate, this administration will no longer assert its constitutionality in court.

Obama's White House Press Secretary Jay Carney vouched for Holder and came to his defense by going on public record, noting:

The Administration will not defend the Defense of Marriage Act in the 2nd Circuit. [T]he President directed the attorney general not to defend because of the decision that it is not constitutional.

Ron Paul, in a par-for-the-course yet still disappointing fashion, aimed his missiles primarily at Holder and even at Obama with this press release:

The Defense of Marriage Act was enacted in 1996 to stop Big Government in Washington from re-defining marriage and forcing its definition on the States. Like the majority of Iowans, I believe that marriage is between one man and one woman and must be protected.

I supported the Defense of Marriage Act, which used Congress’ constitutional authority to define what other states have to recognize under the Full Faith and Credit Clause, to ensure that no state would be forced to recognize a same sex marriage license issued in another state. I have also cosponsored the Marriage Protection Act, which would remove challenges to the Defense of Marriage Act from the jurisdiction of the federal courts.

The people of Iowa overwhelmingly supported, both houses of the Legislature passed, and the Governor signed into law the Iowa Defense Of Marriage Act in 1998. Iowans then valiantly recalled three activist Judges who spurned the will of the people by over-turning the state’s law.

Today’s announcement that the Obama Administration will abandon its obligation to enforce DOMA is truly disappointing and shows a profound lack of respect for the Constitution and the Rule of Law. President Obama has just unconstitutionally said that Iowa should have to allow San Francisco and New York City decide its marriage laws. That position is unacceptable.

The Administration’s dereliction throws the door wide open for special interests to abuse Federal power and attempt to force Iowa to recognize non-traditional marriage. Upcoming battles are looming just over the horizon.

I will stand with the people of Iowa, against Unconstitutional federal power grabs, and will fight to protect each state’s right not to be forced to recognize a same sex marriage against the will of its people. If I were a member of the Iowa legislature, I would do all I could to oppose any attempt by rogue judges to impose a new definition of marriage on the people of my state.

Former House Speaker and frequent Fox News guest, and conservative author and commentator Newt Gingrich* leveled his attacks on the Obama administration with this following smear:

The president is replacing the rule of law with the rule of Obama. The president swore an oath on the Bible to ensure that the laws be faithfully executed, not to decide which laws are and which are not constitutional

(*Note: It is entirely unsurprising, typical, and pathetic to hear this from a conservative hypocrite whose staunch defense for "traditional marriage" and "traditional family values" is undermined by his wreck of a marital life. How? It's much simpler than you think. He divorced his first wife for a woman whom he married and later divorced as well after he was caught having an affair with a congressional staffer at the height of his involvement in the Republican witch hunt against Bill Clinton during the Monica Lewinsky scandal. He even didn't want to be viewed as a hypocrite then, but he doesn't get a free pass on that deal. He didn't then, and he still doesn't now.)

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Congressman Lamar Smith, whom Ron Paul ubiquitously supported in early 2010 which proved that he sold out the Liberty movement for doing so, shared similar sentiments with his rank-and-file Republicans via this nasty comment:

[T]he politicization of the Justice Department -- when the personal views of the president override the government's duty to defend the law of the land

All of these right-wing talking points made by the above-mentioned usual suspects are indicative of the politically-charged, homophobic-laced statist Republican agenda
that serves to kowtow to the special interests of the loopy conservative (religious and secular) establishment and its cohorts. These clods who monopolize on the cultural and public moralities upon which the Right and its voter and member bases
depend possess this aberrational, detestable notion that any state-approved sanction of, support for, and codification of same-sex marriage at the federal and/or state level is tantamount to domestic federal intervention in the private affairs

The Social Conservatives' Culture War Employed to Undermine Same-sex Marriage

At the forefront of the scrutiny of Obama's decision to jettison DOMA is the social conservatives who have waged a long-standing culture war with the Left because in response to the rise, popularity, and dominance of the counterculture of the 1960s. Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, who appeared on Judge Andrew Napolitano's FreedomWatch on Fox Business on February 25 and has been a very staunch populist social conservative on items like "traditional marriage" and "traditional family values," took great steps to fight the culture war to undermine Obama's rejection of DOMA when he took potshots at Obama's legal decision by declaring it "legally wrong, but more importantly, he was politically wrong, and [Obama] was morally wrong." Then he added, "He was wrong on every front."

Interestingly enough, Huckabee stressed:

[I]nterestingly, Chapter one of my book talks about why issues like marriage and family matter. Uh, the very first chapter is that the very most basic form of government is the family. This is where we first experience government at its most local level. It's not the city, the state, the federal government. It's mother and father raising children; that is government.

Then, when asked whether families can be non-traditional and what business the government has in the institution of marriage, the former government rejoins:

Well, here's the question: what is marriage? Marriage is a man and a woman. That's what it is historically. That's what it is legally. If we change the definition to accommodate a man and a man or a woman and a woman, then why can't we accommodate a man and two women or a woman and three men?

When Napolitano points out that marriage is a legal contract between two individuals and that the State has no business to interfere with it, Huckabee then claims:

The business of government is to ensure that we have a stable society, because we have a $300 billion a year dad deficit in this country. That's in Chapter one. I talk about the fact that this is an economic issue. As a libertarian, Judge, you've got to love the fact that we're spending a lot of money to pick up the pieces 'cause fathers don't do their duty.

This exchange between him and Napolitano is endemic of the social conservative paradigm that has infested the Republican Party and its core base. It is ample evidence showing that the culture war between the social conservatives and the pro-same sex marriage legalization camp is running primarily based on populist politics and antiquated religious dogma cloaked in theocratic rhetoric, and the rush to defend the definition of marriage is greater than the public at large believes. This is also evidenced by the strawman argument levied against pro-gay marriage advocates that opposite-sex marriages are a product of the conservatives' Christian God and "6,000 years of recorded human history," as Huckabee ludicrously suggests.

Has Huckabee studied human history at all? Is he aware of the fact that King Henry VIII and other kings (even emperors) have been in opposite-sex marriages, all the while choosing and retaining mistresses for their strict sexual, political, and royal pleasures? Is he also aware that the Vatican (a.k.a. the Holy See) has often in its recorded history condoned the actions of despotic rulers for engaging and indulging in fornication with, lust for, and lustful control of women who were nothing but second-class sexual property in their eyes? For over 6,000 years, "traditional" marriage has never existed at all, given that, within the last 60 years, it has been nothing but a religiously-charged political, cultural, and social contrivance propagated by the conservative wing of the Republican Party.

While it is true that many men throughout the modern ages have married women for the sacrosanct need to produce and rear children and create families, patriarchs and even Biblical prophets in ancient times (such as Saul, Solomon, David, and Abraham according to the Old Testament of the Holy Bible) had practiced polygamy, which is the practice of men marrying multiple wives simulanteously. (Polyandry on the other hand, which was practiced more exclusively in parts of China, northern parts of India, and by various nomadic Tibetans in Nepali, is the practice of women marrying multiple husbands simultaneously.) Even today's social conservative establishment would view these practices outside the norm, despite the fact that polygamy was extremely common in earlier Christian times. How can Huckabee reconcile "traditional marriage" and "traditional family values" in the conservative tradition with his religion that evolved from an earlier form of Christianity that permitted these customary practices? Has he failed to see that his Bible has referenced polygamy that was once considered to be an element of Christianity in Biblical times, or does he disavow that fact? Either way, his ignorance of an old custom that was part of his faith is evidence of his ilk's passive misguided ideal, and the fact that his lack of knowledge on the subject is solid cannot be challenged, even if it is addressed. The notion that "traditional marriage" has been part of humanity from time immemorial is ludicrous, as historical evidence indicates the opposite.

The religious propaganda coupled with political zealotry of this camp knows no bounds. The culture war that has been issued to undermine -- and perhaps demolish -- same-sex marriage has been unleashed.

Joanne Pedersen, Edith Windsor, and Gerald V. Passaro II: The People Behind The Obama Justice Department's Decision

At the heart of the Obama Justice Department decision involved two gay individuals who filed lawsuits in New York and Connecticut. This comes after the Obama DOJ review two cases - Pedersen v. OPM and Windsor v. United States.

Joanne Pedersen, the chief plaintiff in the Pedersen v. OPM case according to the New York Times, objects to the DOMA law being applied against her when she applied for medical benefits for her married partner Ann Meitzen via the Office of Personnel and Management agency. She was denied again, which is not unusual in her case. She and Meitzen have filed a lawsuit against the federal government for discriminating against her on the grounds of her marriage (which is legal under Connecticut law) being not legal at the federal level thanks to DOMA. According to the Times:

To Ms. Pedersen, the question is one of justice. She and Ms. Meitzen, who married in 2008, have been together in Connecticut for 12 years. Ms. Meitzen, a social worker, has had health problems, and Ms. Pedersen, a civilian retiree from the Department of Naval Intelligence, tried to enroll her spouse in the federal employee health benefits program — a move that would save them hundreds of dollars a month.

Both women had been married before, to men, and have grown children. The fact that the law values one of their marriages over another is a source of consternation, Ms. Pedersen said.

'If we were heterosexual, we wouldn’t be talking today, because we would have the benefits,' Ms. Pedersen said. 'I would just like the federal government to recognize our marriage as just as real as everybody else’s.'

Maggie Gallagher, the Chairwoman of the National Organization for Marriage (a social conservative special interest group which opposes same-sex marriage), told the Times that legal challenges to DOMA in the courts are indicative of gay rights advocates who "continue to push a primarily court-based strategy of, in our view, inventing rights that neither the founders nor the majority of Americans can recognize in our Constitution."

Edith Windsor, another plaintiff and a widow of her lesbian spouse Thea C. Spyer, filed her suit with the legal firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton, & Garrison in league with the American Civil Liberties Union on the grounds that, if the law allowing opposite-sex married couples to file for exemption on their estate tax had been equally applied to her as a same-sex married woman, her filing of her spouse's estate taxes estimated to be about $350,000 would be zero. Asserting "disparate treatment," she's challenging the constitutionality of DOMA, as it defines "marriage" as "a legal union between one man and one woman" and "spouse" as "a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife." Imagine the social conservative reaction to those suits.

The Obama DOJ issued a Washington Post op-ed in November 2010 which was reprinted in its editorial board, a statement on these two cases, which states the entire following:

Edith Windsor and Thea Spyer were together for 44 years and legally married since 2007. They lived in New York, which recognizes same-sex marriage. But none of that mattered when Spyer died at 77 in 2009 after a decades-long struggle with multiple sclerosis.

Windsor, now 81, was treated like a stranger to Spyer because of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which recognizes only marriages between one man and one woman. She was forced to pay $350,000 in federal inheritance taxes.

Gerald V. Passaro II and Thomas M. Buckholz had been a couple for 13 years when they were married in 2008 in Connecticut, which legally blesses such relationships. Buckholz had worked for 20 years for Bayer Corp., which extends certain benefits to domestic partners; he was also vested in the company's pension plan. But when he died in 2009, Passaro was denied benefits for surviving spouses. Because federal law governs the pension plan, DOMA applies.

This month, Windsor filed a lawsuit in New York challenging the constitutionality of DOMA. Passaro is one of the plaintiffs in a separate lawsuit in Connecticut. Their experiences demonstrate the injustice of this law. DOMA was created for the purposes of 'defending and nurturing the institution of traditional heterosexual marriage,' 'defending traditional notions of morality' and "protecting state sovereignty and democratic self-governance" -- dubious goals, at best.

How does the denigration of committed same-sex relationships strengthen opposite-sex unions? How could it be moral to pile hardship upon grief by forcing surviving spouses to deal with financial strains others are shielded from? How is federalism bolstered when states are prevented from applying policy and legal preferences in defining marriage, long considered the states' domain?

This year, a Massachusetts judge ruled that DOMA violated the equal-protection rights of same-sex married couples. Windsor and Passaro offer convincing arguments for why the jurists overseeing their respective cases should reach the same result.

Plaintiffs nationwide will probably try to chip away at DOMA's indefensible foundations. And the Supreme Court may yet have a chance to weigh in. But justice would best and most gratifyingly be served if Congress simply repealed the law, once and for all.

Why The Social Conservatives in the GOP Are Wrong

The social conservatives in the GOP are wrong to relegate gay couples who want to legally marry to second-class citizenry for all sorts of reasons, political and otherwise. One reason is that this is a human liberty issue all the way. Human liberty is neither some pie-in-the-sky concept nor abstraction; it's about how one chooses to live one's own life, and what relationships in which one wishes to engage. As long as one harms no one else, that's all that matters. As oversimplified as that idea may be, it is nothing but the correct one. We are talking about gay and lesbian couples who are routinely denied legal, normal, and mutual benefits of marriage that are afforded to married heterosexual couples - benefits entailing hospital visitation, custody of children, medical-making decisions for incapacitated partners (such as power-of-attorney choices and so on), next of kin matters, and more. Social rightists can be as glib, callous, and condescending as they want to be on the subject, but this is certainly a pressing concern. If one gay couple's liberty isn't protected, then all couples -- even the common law married ones -- will find that their liberties are subject to the whims of the vile State. That's not freedom; that's slavery nonetheless.

Another reason is that the State should not be involved in the sphere of the institution. No argument there. However, in the interim, until that goal is successfully achieved, the State in its current set-up should be evenhanded in its decisions regarding the issuance of marital licenses to couples who seek to unite in wedded bliss. Social rightists say that state-protected heterosexual marriages must be protected, because they are the foundation of a stable and functioning society. How foolish they are! The State has seriously undermined freedom of association, the family, and marriage by involving itself in those three key matters. (How conservatives believe that the State's meddling in the institution of matrimony is the savior of the modern family is perplexing, but that's Rightist "logic" for you.) Interracial marriages were once outlawed at the state level once until the Supreme Court intervened by ruling in 1967 that such laws violate the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection clause in Section 1, which reads:

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Whether conservatives like it or not, the Fourteenth Amendment exists. By refusing to accord the same rights to homosexual couples the legal right to unite in wedlock, they are violating the tenet and spirit of that amendment. No ifs, buts, or whats about it! (If they want to throw a conniption over it, they can check out the old Loving v. Virginia case and come to their own conclusions about it. Otherwise, they need to get over it once and for all.)

Another reason they are wrong on this matter is that marriage is set up for reasons other than procreation. Yes, social conservatives do believe that marriage is only for procreation, and they have nothing to back up this claim whatsoever. If there were a kernel of truth in that talking point, then infertile and childless couples would be barred from entering in these contractual agreements in the first place. Couples marry for all sorts of reasons not relating to child rearing: economic security, emotional support and love, and so on. (Stephen Horwitz, The Freeman's contributing editor, wrote an outstanding column which chronicles this point.)

Moreover, the welfare state plays a role in the problem as well. Huckabee is right to say that there is a "dad deficit" in the heterosexual family unit today, but he is echoing words that many conservatives in the past have expressed. (Even former Vice President Dan Quayle said in public regarding the title character of the old hit CBS TV show Murphy Brown having a child out of wedlock in 1992.)

However, the reason the "dad deficit" exists because of the welfare state, not because of purported looming threat of gay marriage. Huckabee may be against single parenthood (like Quayle was), but he is merely politicking for his own amusement. That said, other divorced conservatives and single conservative parents are unlikely to support Huckabee, given that the GOP would be making a huge mistake in this endeavor. (Perhaps such a view on that would alienate their constituency that are made up of broken-up, dysfunctional divorced families, as CATO's own David Boaz once suggested, but that's a lame cop-out if there ever is one.)

Finally, DOMA supercedes the states' authority to decide what laws can and will be enacted in their own jurisdictions. Conservatives, who claim to be "strict constructionists" (meaning that the federal courts, including the Supreme Court, must be constrained to what they perceive to be their ideal interpretation of the Constitution), believe that the federal law must be protected because it grants states the power to legislate bills favoring heterosexual marriages. But the law merely undermines states from deciding what the definition of marriage should and/or should not be. (Not that the states should decide what that definition is, because such definitions provide excessive amounts of wiggle room.) Besides, in the absence of the law, it is not as if the states can't write their own bills and decide what that definition is. State constitutions have been amended by voter referendum in nearly every state to reflect the definition as "one man and one woman" anyway. Have social conservatives totally forgotten about that, or are they just plainly lazy?

Considering gay marriage as a legal option is a much more appealing alternative to failing heterosexual unions, it cannot be overstated that one out of two heterosexual marriages are ending in divorce, and the rates are climbing. Part of that is due to the reality that heterosexuals are widely perceived to be the reason for the decline of straight marriage, Stephen H. Miller argues. The Pew Research Center's new study even validates this further, stating that one out of four Americans believe that heterosexual marriage is becoming an extinct species of its own.

Obama has done the right thing: rejecting DOMA and pave the way for individuals (primarily gays and lesbians) to legally marry. Conservatives, if they really care about the modern-day American family as they purport, should sit this out and let things play out the way they have been. Otherwise, they'd be committing political suicide, and that alone could cost them re-elections for 2012.

Not only that, it's the only right thing to do. Nothing more and nothing less.