It Should Have Been Televised
[update: July 10]
Jacob Sullum over at Reason Magazine’s blog has had enough defending “the constitutional principles that social conservatives use to restrict liberty, because they so rarely return the favor by supporting those same principles when the effect is to expand liberty.” Sullum seems a bit late to the party on this, it’s long been obvious to me that more often than not, self-described “strict constructionists,” “federalists,” and even “small government conservatives” are just interested in advancing their right-wing agendas not upholding constitutional or small government principles. The Founding Father idolatry of the Tea Partyers is especially egregious in this respect.
This is partly the reason I have trouble identifying with political labels, even my preferred “classical liberal.” In my more openly libertarian phase, this was even more so the case. When it comes down to it I don’t want to lock myself into any specific ideological response to every circumstance. I tend to favor more liberty over less and even less government over more; that guides me but ultimately I’m a consequentialist more than anything else. If my underlying principles lead to more suffering, I’ll abandon them for those circumstances – consistency be damned! I hope to expand on this in the future. Anyway, here’s more Sullum:
Is this a constitutional rationalization for my pre-existing policy preferences? Yes, but I think it’s a pretty good one. I would much prefer that the government get out of the business of certifying marriage altogether. But as long as more than 1,000 provisions of federal law hinge on marital status, the government will have to decide which couples qualify, and basic fairness demands that sexual preference play no role in that determination. What legitimate government interest can possibly justify preventing the longtime spouse of a veteran from being buried alongside him, simply because both of them are men? This sort of thing really is shameful.