[extropy-chat] gay marriage

Brent Neal brentn at freeshell.org
Wed Feb 18 18:35:42 UTC 2004

 (2/18/04 11:37) Technotranscendence <neptune at superlink.net> wrote:

>Let's say Mike is right in his speculation and homosexual relationships
>are about dominance.  As long as individuals freely enter into them, why
>bother with them?  Or would anyone here also prevent people from, say,
>being into S&M or any activity where one person dominates another and
>both parties consent to it?

No one -here- would - I think that is the point. :)

>Also, the correct libertarian approach to this, IMHO, is to get the
>government out of the marriage business all together.  

Exactly the point I made a while back. There is no reason why the current benefits of marriage under the legal code could not be implemented with more appropriate constructs in contract law.

>And, for the record, some libertarians do believe that for humans
>liberty is natural.  They would argue that initiating force violates the
>natural order.  This does not mean they believe humans must follow what
>other animals do, but that humans just do whatever they do as long as
>they don't initiate force.  I believe Hoppe and Rothbard might fit into
>this category.  In fact, the former often uses "natural order" as a
>synonym for a free market based social order.  (I'm not saying I agree
>with this usage.  After all, anything that happens is, in the
>metaphysical sense, part of nature or natural or part of the natural
>order.  Perhaps the distinction is meant to describe things that are
>healthy, stable, or not self-destructive...)

Here, I think the issue is the semantic differences in how people define "natural order," not any disagreement on libertarian philosophy. Liberty is clearly not the "natural order," as I define the term, since we have to fight to preserve it so much. :)

Coming at the problem in a less tongue-in-cheek fashion, I have a hard time defining any intellectual construct or philosophy as "natural." It is created, just like any building or any mathematical proof.  There is this weird phenomenon where people tend to equate the word "natural" with "good," in a sort of crazy appeal to (vague) authority. I think this is somewhat silly.

Civil liberties and rights, as we understand them today, were mostly laid out in the 17th and 18th centuries on the basis of the prevailing thought of the time about social theory*. The myriad of philosophers who did so made many arguments about the "natural-ness" of their ideas.  However, I don't think continued acceptance of the "natural" argument is necessary to view civil rights and liberties as a good unto themselves.  I'm perfectly satisfied with saying "In my experience, liberty is better than tyranny." I'm also satisfied with saying, "History and economics amply show that liberty is better than tyranny."  I therefore do not need to say "Liberty is natural."


* Of course, its more complicated than that really, and the "prevailing thought of the time" included lots of sources going back to the Magna Carta and earlier. But, essentially, this is where the modern constructions got their start.
Brent Neal
Geek of all Trades

"Specialization is for insects" -- Robert A. Heinlein

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