Still Pissed Off About the Hawley-Smoot Tariff

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Keep on Digging, Alan Keyes

It's pretty much a foregone conclusion that Alan Keyes will lose the Illinois Senate race to Barak Obama. The only question, it seems, is how badly he will be crushed, and this story suggests that the answer is "extremely badly." As in, the kind of "crushed" that only Oliver Willis' couch can describe.

The above is a statement on political viability. There are certian things that you simply shouldn't say if you want to win a political office, whether or not what you say has merit. Now I'll move on to the merits.

"Keyes said: 'The essence of ... family life remains procreation. If we embrace homosexuality as a proper basis for marriage, we are saying that it's possible to have a marriage state that in principal excludes procreation and is based simply on the premise of selfish hedonism.'"

Therefore, Keyes concludes, Dick Cheney's lesbian daughter is a selfish hedonist. This, however, does not follow, because it is based on some highly specious if not outright false assumptions.

The first assumption is that marriage is exclusively about sex. This assumption posits that when I got married, I did it for sex and procreation purposes, and all the other incidents of marriage are either meaningless or just happy accidents. Because I reject the assumption that marriage is exclusively about procreation, I must reject Keyes' conclusion. On that basis, all childless couples would be "selfish hedonists," including those who want kids, can't have them, but keep having sex anyway. In purely legal terms, marriage is a contract between spouses, and it is not less of a marriage because there are no children tied to that contract from the inception.

The second assumption is that gay homosexuals are selfish hedonists, not because of the sex itself, but because of the desire to engage in sex while married. Again, this does not follow. As a matter of course, because homosexual marriage is illegal almost everywhere, and yet homosexuals are nevertheless having sex, the pleasurable aspect of the relationship (and hedonism is the philosophy that pleasure is the ultimate determinant of what is good) has nothing whatsoever to do with marriage. Marriage is wholly irrelevant to the issue of the pleasure aspect of the relationship.

Therefore we have a group of people who are engaged in pleasurable activity (and if there is anything of hedonism in homosexuality, assuredly it must be in that pleasurable activity), and who, in addition, want to get married. The latter desire has nothing whatsoever to do with hedonistic pleasure.

Therefore I think Alan Keyes' statement, in addition to being politically moronic, is also manifestly false.

I do not support gay marriage. I'm just saying that there are good reasons to oppose it and bad reasons to oppose it, and Keyes has just articulated a very bad reason.