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The wacky academic right

Says Mark Schmitt at The Decembrist:

"On reading this, my first reaction was that if the academic left can be a little wacky and irresponsible, the academic right is wacky and despicable."

I ask, why "despicable?" Oh, yeah -- Jean Bethke Elshtain and Leon Kass think we should withhold the rights and privileges of marriage from gay people, but they can't come up with any good arguments for their position. So they use bad arguments instead.

I laughed especially hard when I read this in Section I of their "Princeton Principles":

The health of marriage is particularly important in a free society such as our own, which depends upon citizens to govern their private lives and rear their children responsibly, so as to limit the scope, size, and power of the state.

Reconciling a social conservatism with an avowed preference for limited government can get kind of tricky sometimes. If you want to rely on the state to use its coercive power against unwelcome cultural developments, then you're not asking to limit the scope, size, and power of the state. You're just hijacking state power for your own cultural and religious ends.

Elsewhere in their "Princeton Principles," these leading right-wing academics say this:

Marriage is under attack conceptually, in university communities and other intellectual centers of influence. To defend marriage will require confronting these attacks, assessing their arguments, and correcting them where necessary. We are persuaded that the case for marriage can be made and won at the level of reason.

By which you apparently mean, not at the level of religious faith and preaching. Well, reason tells me that you still don't understand that there's a difference between "attacking marriage" and defending gay marriage. Marriage between men and women is harmed by infidelity, lack of commitment, dishonesty, and all the other things we already know about and, sadly, already succumb to. Fight against those things, if you want. You only distract the public from these very real evils by trying and failing to build a case that gay marriage somehow harms marriage in the way that dishonesty and infidelity do.

Nothing you say in your "Principles" is sufficient to justify the gender distinctions you're so eager to make. You could be honest at this point and just admit that you simply believe, based on religious or on some other faith-based grounds, that man/woman marriage is the only way to go. But "reason"? Call me a skeptic. If this argument was based on reason, I have faith that you could have come up with some more persuasive arguments by now.

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