Saturday, December 08, 2012

Rebooting the Ramblings

OK, I'm coming out of the closet.

Last February I announced that I was shutting down this blog.  Ten months later it's still here, and a lot has happened.  In particular, the Supreme Court announced that it would hear two gay marriage cases, an issue which has been near and dear to my heart for many years now (despite -- or perhaps because of? -- the fact that I'm straight).  This would be good news except for the very real possibility that this could easily be another Dred Scott decision.  We narrowly dodged a bullet on Obamacare, an outcome I predicted two years earlier (to much derision, I might add).

So maybe I'm Cassandra instead of Elijah, but either way I feel driven to prophecise: The Supreme Court will affirm Proposition 8 and DOMA.  Never in my life have I wished so much to be wrong.

Here's why I'm worried: there are three hard-core ideologues on the court: Thomas, Alito, and the ideologue-in-chief, Scalia, will surely vote to affirm DOMA and Prop 8.  Breyer, Ginsburg, Sotomayor and Kagan are not as reliable votes to overturn as the Three Ideologues are to affirm, but the odds are pretty good.  That leaves Kennedy and Roberts as the usual wild cards.  But there is a deeper concern than just the numbers, and that is that we cannot rely on the Supreme Court to act rationally, or even within the confines of the law.

That DOMA violates the Equal Protection Clause is absolutely clear.  There is no principled argument to be made against gay marriage.  None.  Zero.  The closest the right has been able to come is to mumble vague platitudes about children.  But "doing it for the children" requires that you bury your head in the sand about the reality that producing a baby and raising one are largely separable activities, that many heterosexual couples are childless by choice (myself and my wife among them), and that there are probably millions of gay couples raising healthy well-adjusted children throughout the globe, particularly in ten countries and nine states where gay marriage is currently legal.

But the ideologues don't care because, well, they're ideologues.  Ideologues don't reason forward from the evidence, they reason backwards from the conclusion that homosexuality is sinful, though normally they omit the bit about it warranting the death penalty (except in Uganda where they are doing their best to follow God's Word).  Scalia in particular is not at all shy about putting his ideology on display: in 2003 he dissented against Lawrence v Texas not on merits but because it would lead to gay marriage!  In other words, Scalia reasoned: if you can't regulate what consenting adults do in the privacy of their own bedrooms, then there is no principled argument to prevent them from getting married.  He's right about that.  But his conclusion is perverse: therefore is must be Constitutionally permissible to regulate what people do in their bedrooms, and the Ninth Amendment be damned.

Well, it feels good to get that off my chest.  When the history of this civil rights struggle (because that's what this is) is written I don't want anyone to be able to say that I stood idly by and did nothing.


On an administrative note, Rondam Ramblings is going to be sticking around for a while.  I was always planning to start blogging again, but I was hoping to extricate myself from the Blogger platform because it is becoming more and more important to me to maintain control of the content that I produce (I actually have a lot to say about that, but that will have to wait).  But then I discovered that Blogger allows you to change the canonical URL under which your blog appears.  You may notice that the URL you are seeing is no longer "".  Since links matter more than the actual hosting (though hosting matters too) and bringing up a blogging platform turns out to be a lot more work than I had hoped, I've decided to stick with Blogger for now.

There's another reason to start writing again now, and that is that there is more to the story of why I stopped back in February than I told at the time.  Back then I wrote, "it is unwise to leave unedited thoughts publicly available on the internet."  There's a long and complicated story behind that remark, one that will take more than one entry to tell.  So that will have to wait.


Anonymous said...

Welcome back. Glad to have you with us again.

Ron said...

Thanks, whoever you are :-)

Anonymous said...

I'm also glad to see that the blog is not only not gone but actually alive again. I'm looking forward to the back-story of the February shutdown.

Ron said...

That will be a very long story.