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« Hitchens' Mess | Main | Stereotypes? »

April 03, 2009

Comments

I am. I'm praying so hard that everyone will come to their senses and stop using folklore and myth as justification to persecute homosexuals.

Adam, while it is true that there are some that oppose same sex marriage for purely religious reasons, the majority of people opposed to it do so for non religious reasons.

Why do you think that the government would even care about a "personal" issue? I would be interested in your response.

Amen Adam, Amen. If you read the opinion given by the court it sums up all of the major arguments I have ever heard against SSM and shows how they have no legal merit. It makes for some very interesting reading. It also shows that there are no secular arguments against SSM and they also point out that it is not in the courts nor the governments interest to rule on issues of theology. Yea for Iowa

Topher,

When we were debating this issue in Canada, McGill University ethicist Margaret Sommerville put forth a completely secular argument against SSM.

Here is the link from the APA newsletter that dug it up from our Canadian archives for use in the contemporary debate in the states. There is a link to her argument as well.

http://www.apaonline.org/publications/newsletters/v08n1_LGBT_09.aspx

She is an advocated of gay rights and to my knowledge not a religious person, yet she puts forth solid reasons against SSM.

To my knowledge, no one of Sommerville's academic stature has stood up to raise a counter argument. Maybe they felt like they didn't need to--if so, they were right. We legalized it anyway despite the calls for caution.

I think single people should have the right to get married but still be single.

Thanks MijkV, I read the link to the Sommerville brief and from what I saw she is arguing that it is in the State’s interest to prohibit SSM in order to protect marriage which is, according to her, needed “…to establish cultural meaning, symbolism and moral values…”

Yet, the Iowa court in the decision points out the flaws in this argument and shows that, to the judges, it has no merit. I will not try to sum up their argument but if you go to a pdf of the decision here... http://www.politico.com/staticPPM104_090403_iowacourt.html

and go to page 52 you will find their reasoning against the idea that the state has an interest in maintaining the ‘tradition’ of current marriage practice.

COOL!

Now I can marry:

My sister
My cousin
Two wives
Four husbands
My dog
Your wife
Your husband
My 13 year old daughter
My pet rock
My Obama poster
You, without your permission
My dead grandma
Your dead grandma
My imaginary friends (Adam & Steve)
Michelle Obama
Andrew Sullivan
A baby
An aborted baby

We are registered at Bed, Bath and Beyond, FYI.

Again, I repeat, why does the government care about a "personal" issue like who I marry?

Why is it important for a same sex couple to be recognized as "married" in the government's eyes?

BTW, the link to the case did not work.

>>>...stop using folklore and myth as justification to persecute homosexuals.>>>

Please stop saying that. As an opponent of same-sex "marriage", I DO NOT wish to "persecute", endanger, harm, or hate homosexuals. This is blatant misrepresentation. When you say "folklore" and "myth", what exactly are you referring to? Please argue rationally instead of slinging ad hominems.

>>It also shows that there are no secular arguments against SSM and they also point out that it is not in the courts nor the governments interest to rule on issues of theology.>>

Marriage is not just a theological issue. If it were, no government would even ok same-sex "marriage". If it's only a "religious" issue, that argument works AGAINST SSM as well. There are also many arguments (secular, natural, scientific, and yes even theological) against SSM, if you'd only address them rather than simply resorting to name-calling when someone disagrees with you.

Not everyone who is against SSM is a hater, a bigot, a homophobe, etc. Some have very good arguments against it.

It is only a religious issue in the sense that opponents to SSM are motivated by religious beliefs. The court in Iowa ruled that the secular arguments presented by the state against SSM were unconvincing, and does not justify the prevention of SSM.

In my experience I have yet to meet an opponent of SSM who is secular/athiest etc...I am sure there are a few, but it seems that whatever the argument a specific religious motivation is behind the anti-SSM movement.

Besides Mass. has had SSM for some time now, and the sky hasn't fallen yet...

"Yet, the Iowa court in the decision points out the flaws in this argument and shows that, to the judges, it has no merit."

If you think that high court judges even bother using reason before coming up with their conclusions anymore, I'd advise you to investigate the things that law professors teach their students in law school these days.

Today, it generally works like this on controversial matters: a high court judge (meaning an appellate or supreme court judge of some type) decides what he or she wants the outcome to be, and then comes up with "reasons" to justify the decision.

It wasn't always this way, but it's how it works now. The fact that a few judges found some arguments to "have no merit" means very little these days. In some other state, the judges will find the Iowa judges' decision to "have no merit"; would that mean that you would abandon your position? If not, then why would you expect anyone who disagrees with you to put any weight into the fact that a couple judges reached a different conclusion?

Topher: ask and ye shall receive. http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/la-oe-blankenhorn19-2008sep19,0,2093869.story

How do you know when a judge is not using reason in his or her decision?

He or she rules against you.

Surely, this could only happen if the judge's decision is without merit. It couldn't be that you were wrong.

Why is it important for a same sex couple to be recognized as "married" in the government's eyes?

Ask someone who's been denied access to a dying partner because he/she is gay. Obviously, there are numerous other legal benefits as well. Oddly enough, I think that many gays take marriage more seriously than many staight couples.

Topher is right. The sky hasn't fallen in Massachusetts or in any other location where SSM has been legalized. My wife and I lived next to a same-sex couple for years and the impact on our marriage was...zero. You want to protect "traditional marriage"? Ban divorce.

So marriage is reduced to only producing children? as he says in the article "Every child being raised by gay or lesbian couples will be denied his birthright to both parents who made him"

So should adoption be made illegal? because it would be denying the child the right of his birthright?
Same with divorce.

So marriage is primarily a license to have children.

As it happens, my wife and I are childless and plan to remain that way. I guess my marriage is a sham and I'll be getting a divorce now.

Joe,
you're "dying partner" example can be resolved by a civil union scenario.

It is not "obvious" to me the other legal benefits that are found exclusively in marriage that couldnt be had through other legal routes.

Because "straight" couples get divorced doesnt mean that the doors should be opened for same sex people.

Please try again.


Joe,

and for the record, I do agree with banning divorce in a certain sense.

Your comment about children.... Again, you are using the exception rather than the rule. The majority of the time, the output of marriage is children....

Joe, you seem smart, can you answer why the government gets involved in marriage in the first place?

I've got some judges for you:
"Courts simply do not have the authority to create new rights, especially when doing so involves changing the definition of so fundamental an institution as marriage. 'The role of the judiciary is not to rewrite legislation to satisfy the court’s, rather than the Legislature’s, sense of balance and order. Judges are not "'knight[s]-errant, roaming at will in pursuit of [their] own ideal of beauty or of goodness.' " [Citation.]' (People v. Carter (1997) 58 Cal.App.4th 128, 134.) In other words, judges are not free to rewrite statutes to say what they would like, or what they believe to be better social policy."

Wow, those are some smart judges! http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/opinions/revpub/A110449.PDF
Incidentally, that opinion that I quoted above was reversed by the California Supreme Court, which promptly did that which it's not supposed to do--make up social policy.

Topher:
Divorce should be made illegal except in circumstances that warrant a lawsuit (in other words, no-fault divorce was a bad idea and our society is still paying for it in astronomical ways). Adoption is generally the result of a tragedy--death of parents, abandoned children, etc. Nobody celebrates that situation; adoption is making the best of a bad situation. SSM would *celebrate* the bad situation, the tragedy for the child of not knowing his/her birth mother *and* birth father. Every child deserves both.

DW,

Civil unions are fine by me, although I understand why gays would want to be able to use the term "marriage". As I said, many seem to take marriage more seriously than most straights. But the reality is that opposition to "civil union" is almost as strong as oppostion to SSM and the opposition is composed of the essentially the same groups of people and same arguments. Almost all of the recent state constitutional changes aimed at SSM have also essentially denied gays the right to civil unions, too. So, it's easy enough to say that the problems can be solved by "civil unions", but conservative Christian voters have eliminated this option in a very large number of states. It's a solution that is out of reach in most of the U.S.

My point about "ban divorce" is simple. If you are concerned about the state of marriage in today's culture, fighting SSM is a complete and total waste of time. Legalizing SSM has no impact on staight marriages. Put your energies into something more constructive.

Joe: I'd get rid of no-fault divorce and SSM in a heartbeat. The fact that we are plagued with the former is no reason to further harm society with the latter. (I recognize we disagree on whether SSM harms society, but that disagreement is tangential to your "divorce argument").

DW,

So what if the majority of marriages produce children? Why is this relevant? My marrige didn't produce children. So, my marriage is as much a sham and a threat to tradition as SSM. No kids, no point to marriage. I'm calling a lawyer and ending it tomorrow.

I think I already explained why governments get involved in marriage. Is there a point that you are trying to make?

NL,

Courts shouldn't make social policy? Darn, we're going to have to reserve the Brown v. Board of Education decision.

NL,

Ok, put your energies into ending no-fault divorce, and stop sweating the small stuff.

"Courts shouldn't make social policy? Darn, we're going to have to [reverse] the Brown v. Board of Education decision."

What a red herring. That's like telling a pacifist, "don't like war? Darn, guess we're going to have to re-enslave black people because there was no civil war." It is at best anecdotal evidence with little relevance to the question at hand.

BTW, I had a black professor in law school that argued that Brown v. Board was a terrible decision for the black community because it isolated them into ghettos when the predictable "white flight" occurred. Had we stuck with "separate but equal", he argued, at least there would be a legal case to be made that the black schools were not "equal" and they could demand that they be so (whereas today, schools in poverty-stricken black communities continue to suffer).

Anyway, even if we did reverse Brown v. Board (and the subsequent forced-bussing cases), you don't know what would have happened had it not occurred. And if Brown v. Board was an unprincipled decision, it does not matter that there were happy outcomes. There have been similarly unprincipled decisions that turned out to have very bad results.

"Ok, put your energies into ending no-fault divorce, and stop sweating the small stuff."

The disintegration of the concept of marriage is not "small stuff", and I intend to put my energies where they are most needed. Ending no-fault divorce is a more long-term project (we'll see if we can make covenant marriages more popular). But I'll be working on that one too, don't you worry...

DW,

I must have missed how you explained why government gets involved in marriage and I read your reply's twice.

Can you explain this one to me:

"Civil unions are fine by me, although I understand why gays would want to be able to use the term "marriage"."

DW,

Sorry, still don't get it.

NL,

You don't like courts making social policy, right? That was your point? I believe that if you'd checked with southern whites after the Brown decision, they'd have been more than happy to explain how and why the courts were making social policy. So, then to be consistent, you'd have opposed the Brown decision, yes? Why is it irrelevant to try to apply your principle to other cases?

Problem is, courts make social policy all of the time, whether they intend to or not. If we're going to reject court decsions on the grounds that the court is making social policy, then we're going to end up rejecting a very large number of court decisions.

And citing a conversation with a single black law professor is the very epitome of "anecdotal evidence".

I'm sorry, but I don't see how expanding the definition of marriage to include SSM leads to "disintegration". Gays want to marry because they care deeply about the concept of marriage. I understand the fear, but the reality is that SSM does not, will not, is not going to contribute to the "disintegration of the concept of marriage. Marriage has not disintegrated in the states and countries where SSM is legal. We've run the experiment, and SSM isn't the cause of the problem with straight marriage, and it's done nothing to contribute to the problems with straight marriages.

But if you'd rather waste your time on something that will do nothing to preserve marriages, go ahead. However, in fighting the wrong fight, it might be worth noticing that you'll alienate a lot of people who might otherwise be your allies in the fights that really do matter.

Adam -

There is no persecution of homosexuals going on. (Unless you consider people disagreeing with it persecution.)

Even if there was persecution going on, what folklore and mythology is being used to justify it?

What you want is acceptance for your lifestyle. You will not get it - either from God or from people (religious or non) who choose not accept it.

Please stop forcing your morality on us. Thank you.

Adam,

No persecution of gays? No persecution by whom, exactly?

Sorry, last one should be addressed to Mo. The question is for Mo.

Topher, I haven't read the decision yet--by what constitutional principle do they bring in SSM but rule out other kinds of marriages? If they gave a constitutional principle, I'm interested in hearing it, but I'm guessing they didn't--at least, not one that they're applying to the whole population of their state.

If they made the decision merely because they don't see a problem with SSM but do see a problem with other kinds of marriage like polygamy, then that seems like a question for voters and/or legislators to decide, not the courts because it's only a question of which limits are best. Limiting the definition of marriage in itself can't be a constitutional problem or the judges would have struck down all limitations. They did not do this. For some reason, they kept their own preferred limitations in place (e.g., against polygamy), showing that they don't really think this is a constitutional issue (no matter how they posture with their words) and are just forcing their own opinions about which limitations should be in place (not whether or not their should be limitations) on the voters.

>>The court in Iowa ruled that the secular arguments presented by the state against SSM were unconvincing, and does not justify the prevention of SSM.

I just don't see why that is part of their job. They're supposed to find it constitutional or unconstitutional. They're not supposed to decide whether or not they personally like it or find it "convincing." If limitations are not unconstitutional (and clearly they're not because they still exist), then the judges have nothing left to say.

>>In my experience I have yet to meet an opponent of SSM who is secular/athiest etc...I am sure there are a few, but it seems that whatever the argument a specific religious motivation is behind the anti-SSM movement.

I actually think it has more to do with whether or not a person thinks that men and women--mothers and fathers--are different emotionally, psychologically, physically, and in parenting styles, bringing different things to the family. It happens to be that secular people deny this reality (and I have a theory as to why), and from that, SSM easily follows. Hence, the divide.

Joe:

I am familiar with what courts do.

"you'd have opposed the Brown decision, yes? Why is it irrelevant to try to apply your principle to other cases?"

Ok, lets play that game. First, there were three Brown v. Board decisions, not one. I am ok with a court that applies the (actual) meaning of the constitution to some state or federal law and stating whether or not the state or federal law squares with the constitution. I oppose judicial over-reaching, which would be when a court goes beyond stating what the constitutional law is and states what he/she thinks it should be. There have been originalist arguments in favor of the Brown decisions, and I'm not well-versed enough in the history of the framers of the 14th amendment to tell you whether the language therein was intended to apply to situations like school desegregation. Thus, I can't give you a definitive answer without more information.

But lets take an easier example: Roe v. Wade. Of course I oppose Roe v. Wade, and not just because it forced abortion on every state without any hint of democratic process. It was an illegitimate decision because there is nothing in the 14th amendment (or in a constitutional "penumbra") conferring a right to an abortion. No court should be allowed to usurp the legislative process and just make up rights out of thin air by judicial fiat. If you think they should be able to do that, then remember that when it comes back to bite you (or haven't you learned your lesson yet from the Bush v. Gore case?).

"If we're going to reject court decsions on the grounds that the court is making social policy, then we're going to end up rejecting a very large number of court decisions."

And then we'd--GASP--have to have an election on the issues the court decided for us, or at least let our democratically elected representatives make some decisions. Wow, democracy would be amazing...

"And citing a conversation with a single black law professor is the very epitome of "anecdotal evidence"."

Except that the *fact* that the professor made the argument is indicative of nothing (and therefore was not offered as anecdotal evidence of anything). I was throwing out the argument (and noting its source), even though I do not necessarily agree with the argument, just as a way of stating that your legal view of the world isn't universally shared by your liberal legal scholar friends.

"We've run the experiment, and SSM isn't the cause of the problem with straight marriage"

This statement demonstrates that you have completely missed the point. I haven't heard anyone, religious or not, claim "you have to ban SSM or else my marriage will suffer!" The problem is a long-term one, and SSM will prove especially harmful to children subjected to such "marriages", and those harmful effects will only be realized over time (kind of like the effects of no-fault divorce, which has caused the younger generation to largely dismiss the importance of marriage; SSM is another step toward that end).

"But if you'd rather waste your time on something that will do nothing to preserve marriages, go ahead. However, in fighting the wrong fight, it might be worth noticing that you'll alienate a lot of people who might otherwise be your allies in the fights that really do matter."

This is just speculative complaining. I would imagine that I have more allies in fighting SSM than I do in fighting no-fault divorce, at least at this point in history. Further, I manage pretty well when discussing these things with people in person (I get a little more blunt on the internet for some reason; lawyers like arguing in writing).

"The problem is a long-term one, and SSM will prove especially harmful to children subjected to such "marriages", and those harmful effects will only be realized over time."

As you say...

"This is just speculative complaining."

"Wow, democracy would be amazing..."

Wow, with democracy, we could go back to American apartheid, just the southerns voted for for almost a hundred years! Wow!

Joe--

Heh. Creative. I suppose I could say the same about efforts to impose same sex marriage on society, since you are the one who wants to change the way things are currently (no SSM, as it has been for millenia). The burden of proof is on you to come up with more than speculation; you don't win by default.

Moreover, the fact that it's a tragedy for a child to grow up without a mother and a father is not speculative. Further, the effects of growing up without a father are well-documented (much higher crime, poverty, etc.).

"Wow, with democracy, we could go back to American apartheid, just the southerns voted for for almost a hundred years! Wow!"

You know, you're right. Lets scrap the whole democratic ideal and just admit it: we're afraid of racism, so much so that we've opted for kings and queens instead of democracy. We have nine of them, and we like the job they're doing, so we'll just keep obeying them no matter how incoherent and unjustifiable their decisions are.

Democracy has indeed resulted in bad actions before. But so have strong central governments and unchecked judiciaries. So take your pick: do you want a government of the people, or oligarchy?

I'm not saying oligarchy isn't a wise choice; it's just dishonest to call yourself a democracy (or a republic) and then refuse to have it.

And since you brought up the evils of racism in a discussion of judicial power: what did you think of this little decision?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dred_Scott_v._Sandford
What a great thing judicial activism is, eh?

No speculation. I've been to Vermont to visit in-laws. It's still there. So's Massachusetts, a state with one of the lowest divorce rates in the country.

Saying the burden of proof is on me is absurd. If you don't allow change, I will never be able to demonstrate anything. By that argument, no human institution could ever be changed. Slavery existed for millenia, too. Was the burden of proof on the abolitionists to prove that emancipation would work before any change would be allowed? How about the centuries-old "judicial practices" of the Middle Ages, you know, the ones that included torture and trial by fire? At the time, it was "just speculation" that it was possible to change the legal system without the disintegration of society. And don't get me started on the dangers of challenging the divine right of kings. Who knows where that will lead?

I don't get the "growing up without a father" bit.

Joe,

Without the smoke and mirrors, please explain why the government is even concerned with same sex marriage. It, to me appears to be a pretty straightforward question.

If your answer is because homosexuals like the name "marriage" and want marriage to change to incorporate what they want, then you have explained what their intent is, but you still haven't explained why the government gets involved in marriage.

"Besides Mass. has had SSM for some time now, and the sky hasn't fallen yet..."

All the difference a comma would make here (before yet)!

From what I understand, the sky has fallen in Scandinavia where they have a decade head start on same sex marriage.

The government is concerned with same-sex marriage because two people who love each other and have a commitment to each other want to have the advantages and rights given by the government to married couples. This includes hospital visits, medical choices for an incapacitated partner, tax benifits, child care benifits, inheritance benifits, etc... the government already has laws in place for heterosexual couples in place. Now same-sex couples who already live together, or want to live together, that are marriges in all but name want these same benifits.

The tyranny of the majority can be bad, unchecked judiciaries can be bad. Fair enough? Of course, whether or not a judge is a "king" or is someone who is just projecting the rights of the minority may not be so easy to figure out, yes? But then, IANAL.


DW,

Well, I thought I answered this, but ok, I'll try again. Some reasons why the government gets involved would be to protect the rights of the participants, to see to it that legal and financial benefits are recieved by all involved, to determine how assests are to be distributed in the event of divorce. As my divorced ninth-grade history teacher used to say, "never forget, boys and girls, you're signing a legal contract when you marry". And government gets involved because, yes, marriage has a stabilizing influence on society. But of course, there's no evidence that this stabilizing influence would be diminished in the slightest if SSM is legal, and every reason to believe that it could bring a little stability to the gay community as well.

Given time, I could probably come up with a few more, but let's start with those.

Personally, I don't really care if you call this marriage or civil union. Had all of the state and/or federal governments simply created the exact same legal structure for gays as I enjoy as a straight man, I doubt if this would be much of an issue today, no matter what you called that structure. Sure, some gays would continue to protest, but they'd have much less support and would be much less likely to be able to win court cases (as in Iowa), because it would just be a matter of names. If gay civil unions were legally indentical to straight marriages, then how do you win in court? But as I said, in the rush to "defend marriage", most state have put civil union out of the reach of gays, so that has created an opportunity to claim discrimination.


"Saying the burden of proof is on me is absurd. If you don't allow change, I will never be able to demonstrate anything."

Burden of proof does not mean impossible burden. A plaintiff has the burden of proof in a lawsuit; it does not follow that plaintiffs never win lawsuits. It just means you have to back up your case, and if you don't, you lose.

"By that argument, no human institution could ever be changed. Slavery existed for millenia, too."

See last statement.

"Was the burden of proof on the abolitionists to prove that emancipation would work before any change would be allowed?"

Yes, the burden of proof was on abolitionists. They met their burden. The burden of proof was also on prohibitionists. They did not.

Prohibitionists (at the beginning of the movement) didn't get to say, "if you don't prove me wrong, then we must have prohibition." It's the other way around; he who wants change must present solid arguments in favor of it.

"How about the centuries-old "judicial practices" of the Middle Ages, you know, the ones that included torture and trial by fire? At the time, it was "just speculation" that it was possible to change the legal system without the disintegration of society."

No, it wasn't "just" speculation; there had been many governments before the middle ages, and there was access to historical accounts of events in other times and places. But those who wanted to change things still had to build a case using evidence and reason, rather than blind emotion and epithets.

"And don't get me started on the dangers of challenging the divine right of kings. Who knows where that will lead?"

Actually, divine right of kings is not a very religious principle. It is a way of getting the king "above the law" to do whatever he wants and automatically have God's seal of approval on it, regardless of whether it is truly right. In this case, it's easy to rebut the status quo by arguing that no man is above the law, and God would in any event always be consistent with Himself, so the king cannot be (hence no divine right to do whatever he wants). The problem with divine right of kings isn't an inability to persuade (or burden of proof), it's that the power of the king is difficult to oppose.

If sky has really fallen in Scandinavia (the Scandinavians might disagree), do you really think that this is due to gay marriage? What percentage of all marriages in Scandinavia are SSM? What are the trends, in terms of divorce, etc., in European nations where SSM is still banned? Correlation without causation?

Is it a solid argument to say that we should unto others as we would have them do onto us? Does that meet the "burden of proof?

Argghh, typos!

Is it a solid argument to say that we should unto others as we would have them do unto us? Does that meet the "burden of proof?

Joe: without having any evidence to cite for you (and thus I don't expect you to accept this on my word), I believe the birth rate in Scandinavia has been in a nose-dive since SSM was instituted, leading to an unsustainable social security system and now an influx of immigrants (who don't share the SSM mores) who are needed to keep things afloat. I don't know if it's correlation without causation; I'd have to see the statistics for myself.

...And while there may have been a precedent for abolition by the 19th century and precedents for the other "innovations" mentioned at the times I described, at some point in human history, some society had to be the first, yes? At some point in human history, the changes I've mentioned had to have been groundbreaking and in violation of long standing traditions. I understand that some changes turn out to be good and some turn out to be bad, but simply citing "tradition" as a reason to continue doing something doesn't seem very convincing in the absence of evidence that the change will cause great harm.

"Is it a solid argument to say that we should unto others as we would have them do unto us? Does that meet the 'burden of proof?'"

No, that doesn't meet your burden of proof, even though it's a true statement. The truth is, if I were a homosexual and deceived into that sinful lifestyle, I would want to be rescued from it, not confirmed in it. The Golden Rule doesn't have anything obvious to say about homosexual marriage as such because the application of the Golden Rule depends on whether homosexual marriage is a good or a bad thing. The Golden Rule never affirms wrong behavior.

Ah, yes, I remember reading all of those qualifiers for the golden rule. So much for the golden rule. I love biblical absolutes; they're so...flexible.

You're blaming declining birth rates on SSM? Do you think that half of Scandinavia is gay?

"At some point in human history, the changes I've mentioned had to have been groundbreaking and in violation of long standing traditions."

Yes, hopefully because they met their burden of proof.

"I understand that some changes turn out to be good and some turn out to be bad, but simply citing "tradition" as a reason to continue doing something doesn't seem very convincing in the absence of evidence that the change will cause great harm"

And neither does citing "change" provide a good reason to start doing something new. You have to have reason and arguments. That's not to say I haven't heard any. But I haven't seen anyone here argue "we can't have SSM because of...because...tradition!"

My burden of proof assertion is simply that you've got to provide reasons that override the reasons for maintaining the status quo; the default isn't to change, it's to keep things the way they are. If I want to have Americans drive on the left side of the road, it does no good to say "we should change" without citing a reason why. If the opposition says "it'll be expensive", I've got to have some argument that will override that expense factor. If I don't have any, I shouldn't expect people to change their views because they should abandon "tradition" and driving on the right side of the road is mere tradition.

Folks, this has been fun, but I must move on. These exchanges are more addictive than crack, and I really must break this habit. Perhaps Topher will continue in my absence.

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