See, I figure the debate about reparations -- note carefully I express no opinion on the issue myself -- could, if nothing else, allow for a calm, reasoned discussion.
Discussion of what?
Oh, history, economics, the contemporary state of race relations, the legacy of colonialism not just in Africa but across the planet, underdevelopment, that sort of thing.
Anyone claiming the debate itself is divisive is sort of missing the point entirely. Like paying more attention to the photos coming out of Abu Ghraib (note to self: check spelling on that) than to the torture itself.
Oddly, since I do try to follow the debate, I'd never encountered the term "race tax" before.
"Millions of white Americans who have no reason to dislike blacks may find one the moment they're forced to pay a race tax," [Steve Dasbach, executive director of the Libertarian Party] said. "The only people who will benefit will be the pandering politicians who get to dole out the money - as race relations get worse.
Still expressing no opinion on the reparations issue myself, I gotta say, threats of backlash? Been there, done that. Most recently regarding gay marriage, but going back to every god damn step we've ever taken towards equality. I'll resist the urge to check and see if anyone argued against emancipation in the first fucking place because of a possible backlash against free people of color.
Because finding such, as I'm fairly confident I would, might ruin my good mood.
As will some idjit telling me that the PartyofLincoln was responsible for emancipation. Yes, I remember that being mentioned one or two million times. Thank you, it might have slipped my mind.
But back to the previous
talking ranting point, Gay Marriage - A Libertarian Perspective:
What gay people are asking for is not equality or freedom, but rather a big public ceremony that endorses their deviant activities. Gay people are saying “we are victims, we are a minority, therefore we deserve special privileges.” It’s just typical liberal politics at its worst. The libertarian does not believe in this sort of group identity politics. Gays should be free to practice their unusual activities so long as they don’t harm others, but they are not entitled to have the government attempt to legislate how straight people feel about them. (Gays, of course, are free to take their case to Hollywood, and they are certainly doing a darn fine job of promoting themselves in this manner.)
Unfortunately, some who call themselves libertarian have come to the opposite conclusion with regards to gay marriage. Some libertarians support gay marriage. Maybe they haven’t thought out the issues as thoroughly as I have. Maybe they aren’t real libertarians. But that’s why the title of the essay is “gay marriage – a libertarian perspective” and not “gay marriage – the libertarian perspective.”
That's Michael Kantor, writing his take on the issue, at The Calico Cat. And I may have something in common with John Ashcroft, after reading that.
Ignoring the cognitive dissonance of trying to find the Official Libertarian Party Line on anydamnthing at the Libertarian Party Home Page, there's. . . well, use the search function. Other than opposition to the Defense of Marriage Act, the best I can come up with is Libertarians oppose government involvement in marriage:
Marriage is a religious institution and, as such, should not be regulated by bureaucrats and politicians, Libertarians in Sarasota County, Fla., agreed recently. They joined other groups across the nation -- including the state Libertarian Party organizations in Oregon and California -- in calling for our government to get out of the marriage business.
"I believe that religious ceremonies -- whether marriage, bar mitzvah, confirmation, baptism, or canonization -- should not be subject to permission, licensing, or regulation by government but by the institution or deity under which these covenants are pledged," said Jim Theriault, chair of the Sarasota County LP.
You need a license for a bar mitzvah? Ok, I can see how that could be an effective source of revenue in Florida, but. . . did I just cross the line again?
I'll just step back over here.
And have a quick read of the Tech Central Station piece, Libertarians and Gay Marriage:
Libertarians love to duck fights, but on gay marriage they must take a stand.
[. . .] Some have suggested that we should sidestep the issue of gay marriage by having the government privatize marriage. I explained here in TCS why this is a horrible idea. To summarize my argument, I pointed out that marriage is a valuable brand name that has strength only because it stands for something very important to many people. Consequently, if anyone could set the conditions under which they got married, the marriage brand name would have no value and consequently marriage would be essentially abolished, not privatized. True, abolishing marriage would prevent the state from having to take a stand on gay marriage, but this position seems a little extreme even for a radical libertarian.
I'll just keep stepping backwards now. Are you supposed to avoid or maintain steady eye contact in these sorts of situations? I can never remember.
Bugger, I'm meant to be distinguishing between big-L Libertarian and small-l libertarian with this stuff, right? Ok. Other than hitting the shift key on the keyboard, could someone explain the difference?
And I can't bring myself to read Andrew Sullivan. I just can't.
I will point out that, by suggesting the elimination of marriage completely, those wacky libertarians or Libertarians are, in fact, helping fuel the backlash against gay marriage.
Kind'a like how, in using the phrase "race tax," they're helping fuel hostility towards black folks, regardless of how we feel about reparations.
Good job, kids. Between you and the Republicans, all I have to say is John Kerry is a douchebag but I'm voting for him anyway.