Thursday, September 29, 2005

Stay Off the Toboggan! Glen Whitman, guest posting at Balko's place, has this post on gay marriage. Relevant bit:
The reason we should care -- and the reason gay-marriage advocates do care -- about gay marriage is that we support freedom of association, freedom of contract, and self-ownership. But if these claims provide the basis for gay marriage, they provide a strong argument for polygamy as well-- so long as it is practiced voluntarily by all parties involved. Outlawing polygamy means interfering with people's ability to intimately associate with whomever they wish on terms they find mutually agreeable. So the right-wing slippery slope argument makes a good deal of sense. But it's a slippery slope toward freedom, the kind we should jump on with a toboggan.
Yikes! First things first: I support gay marriage, for the rather pragmatic reason that the government gives benefits to married couples that gay couples generally cannot have. My preferred solution, as we've been over, is no bennies for anybody. Second best, gay couples get bennies too. Now, that said, I'm strictly opposed to polygamy until and unless enforceable law or policy is established that sombody's 28 spouses won't be hijacking my wallet by way of those benefits. Imagine, for instance, a near future in which John Q. Swinger passes away, and all the Mrs. Swingers (and a couple of Mr. Swingers with impeccable fashion sense) insist that they are entitled to a fair settlement from Social Security. Now imagine your Social Security "contribution" rates on a Saturn V trajectory.

I've argued this before, and others have said, "Of course the government wouldn't let that happen." Why the hell not? This is just the kind of thing that the federal government f*cks up, in many small ways, day after day. Look at the kinds of people who have sued to sneak under the ADA umbrella since that bill became law, for example.

The only freedom at the end of this slippery slope is the freedom to live off my tax dollars. Homosexual marriage, multiple marriage, vegisexual marriage, whatever the hell you want. Screw your cocker spaniel for all I care, as long as I don't pay for the Alpo and the 2-in-1 collar.

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