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Protectionism and the Gay Marriage Movement

Protectionism usually refers to the economic policy of protecting domestic companies from foreign competition, because it is feared that on their own they will ultimately fail.  But protectionism can be more broadly defined as a policy of protecting anything that when left to its own strength would naturally fail without some kind of fabricated protection.  The term “fabricated” is used because the natural course of events must be disrupted to prevent the failure.  Sometimes economic protectionism makes sense.  An example of this is when the protection of an industry would promote necessary self-reliance in a nation.  For example, although the free market would dictate that efficiency is enhanced by importing steel from Russia, yet the U.S.A might not want to be entirely dependent on Russian for its steel, because Russia may at some point turn against the U.S.A.  Assuming that conflict between Russia and the U.S.A. is a real possibility, it is more rational, and arguably more practically efficient, to protect self-reliance rather than to import cheaper steel.  Sometimes, however, protectionism is much less rational.  If protectionism is engaged in just to make an extra buck today, at the expense of tomorrow, it becomes an irrational pursuit of temporary wealth for the greedy and selfish who stand to gain now at the expense of future economic prosperity.  In such a case the disruption of natural events is in fact done with an object to protect the immediate rewards of today at the expense of the more worthy and exponentially larger rewards tomorrow.  These “irrational protectionists” cannot win the logical, rational debate for the enforcement of their protectionist measures.  Instead, in order to win public support for their measures, they must resort almost entirely to other less worthy methods, such as emotional appeal to persuade fence-sitters, and derogatory blanket-labels to deride their opponents.  For example, when a non-essential domestic company is going out of business because it is being out-competed by foreign producers, the appeal of the irrational protectionist will not be for the welfare of the nation or the economy, but in sympathy for the workers and a kind of fear-mongering that good Americans will be out of work.  No mention is made of the natural market forces at work or of the fact that our entire economic theory depends on the reality of this evolutionary process. And if anyone should suggest that we should just have faith in the system, and that other jobs will become available, a protectionist will immediately avoid the subject and attack his opponent as being inconsiderate, selfish and un-American.  They do not dare to challenge the market theory directly, because they know they would lose, so instead they appeal to emotion, and, unfortunately, this strategy works all too well, because Americans have increasingly come to rely on emotion more than reason in their persuasions.

The gay marriage movement has successfully employed all of the methods of the irrational protectionist.  For example, proponents of gay marriage rely almost entirely on the emotional plight of the offended homosexual to persuade fence sitters.  Proponents do not take the rational approach and invite fence-sitters to compare the two marriages side-by-side, for fear that they will see that there are clear differences that warrant the conclusion that traditional marriage offers more advantages to society than gay marriage.  In fact, most Americans have already concluded (at the ballot box) that traditional marriage is better for society, and therefore worthy of its historical predominant status.  In essence, the natural process has already selected the better option.  Most recognize that traditional marriage is responsible for bringing about the entire human race, and is uniquely adapted to continue into perpetuity without compulsory or fabricated means.  It is also beyond dispute that gay marriage cannot so claim.  So the gay rights movement, if it is to win this debate, must avoid the rational, side-by-side comparison at all costs.  Instead the gay rights movement must employ the age old protectionist ploy of deriding anyone a bigot who would even suggest that traditional marriage is better.  They must pretend that all justifications for upholding traditional marriage’s preeminent status in society is motivated by hate and homophobia.  They must appeal purely to the emotional side of humanity.  Ultimately, the gay marriage movement does not care about what reasoning anyone might have for concluding that traditional marriage as preeminently significant to society; it only cares that nobody ever comes to that conclusion, no matter what.  Their opinion must win no matter what, despite what is rationally justified or not.  This is protectionism at its worst.

We know your manner of fight, when the quiver of your arguments, which is ever thin and weakly stored, after the first brunt is quite empty, your course is to betake ye to your other quiver of slander, wherein lies your best archery.  He whom you could not move by sophistical arguing, he you think to confute by scandalous misnaming; thereby inciting the blinder sort of people to mislike and deride sound [reasoning] under two or three vile and hateful terms.

–John Milton

Unfortunately, the gay marriage movement has been very successful in erecting barriers to prevent the open and rational comparison of the two institutions, and it has done this through making it politically incorrect and socially taboo to even raise the question.  Again, it has done this by suggesting that no other motivation can exist for even raising the question, than hateful bigotry.  Thus, it leverages the passion and emotion of society to dissuade from a rational treatment of the question and thereby ensures its success.  But as Aristotle reminds us, “Law is reason, not passion.”  If this is still the case in our society, then the gay rights movement must show that the two institutions are in fact equal in all rational aspects before they can accuse anybody of bigotry and be justified in taking offense to those who draw the distinctions between the two.  If in fact there are socially important distinctions between the two institutions, then the gay marriage movement is not justified in taking personal offense, because there is a rational basis to the distinction besides hateful bigotry, and their behavior is clearly rank protectionism.

So what about the courts?   So far the lower federal courts are also avoiding the comparison.  Instead the courts are redefining traditional marriage from the very beginning to include only those few attributes which are shared in common between the two institutions.  This is not honest side-by-side comparison.  The courts begin with this redefinition because it presents the appearance of side-by-side comparison, which is necessary for their opinions to appear like the rational, objective analyses that they are supposed to be.  But in reality the courts are clearly persuaded a priori by the emotional, social and political dynamics at play before they even begin their analysis. In other words, the courts are effectively presuming their own conclusion from the beginning and engaging in a false circuitous reasoning rather than performing the truly objective analysis.  The courts are ignoring the rational conclusion drawn by most Americans that traditional marriage is more beneficial and deserving of a higher status in society and are rather paying attention to the sensitive emotional state of the homosexual who does not care if there is a rational basis or not, and who play the victim (accusing others of hate) when society draws meaningful distinctions. This behavior of the courts is a betrayal of the fundamental role of the courts to employ objective analysis and defer to the state and federal legislatures on any law that has a “rational basis.’