Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Scalia jumps the shark

At an appearance at Princeton University, Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia was asked by a gay student about his support for bans on sodomy.  He answered:

It’s a form of argument that I thought you would have known, which is called the 'reduction to the absurd'.  If we cannot have moral feelings against homosexuality, can we have it against murder? Can we have it against other things?  I’m surprised you aren’t persuaded.  [Emphasis added]

It was that last bit that left me slack-jawed despite the fact that I've gotten accustomed to the ridiculous drivel that passes for logic in Scalia's twisted worldview.  No, I am not persuaded, Justice Scalia, because your "argument" (if one can even call it that) is a straw man (something which, if you'll forgive me, I thought you would have known).  Of course you can have moral feelings about homosexuality.  But what is it that justifies reifying your moral feelings into law besides the fact that you happen to be a Supreme Court Justice?  Do you have any basis for outlawing sodomy other than "because I feel like it" (and "because I can")?  No, you don't, because there isn't any (which is probably why you have nothing to resort to but indignation when someone calls you out).

Amanda Marcotte puts it better than I could ever hope to:

We can probably come up with a better system than randomly picking a bunch of acts—same-sex relations, murder, giving coffee drinks funny names—and declaring these things immoral on the grounds that something has to be immoral.  There's got to be a more rigorous way of wading through legal questions than just throwing darts against a wall, and when the darts hit the words "murder" and "sodomy," figuring hey, let's ban both.
For instance, we have this crazy theory in the modern era that people have rights that shouldn't be infringed on without good reason. So, because you rogering your boyfriend in peace in your home doesn't actually hurt anyone, we should leave you alone to go ahead and do that. However, shooting someone in the head for cutting you off in traffic does infringe on others without good reason: In addition to the ensuing traffic jam and the taxpayer money necessary to clean your victim's guts off the road, someone unwillingly dies.
Seriously, how does someone so oblivious to his own biases ever get to be a judge?

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