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Old 08-05-2010, 03:05 AM
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Default Social Policy And The State

Earlier today a US district judge overturned California's ban on gay marriage (Prop 8), and it got me thinking about what role the government should play in social policy (the euthanasia thread, too). One thing I find quite intriguing is that in the never-ending struggle between the left and right in this country, it is usually the left that is accused of being "big gummint liberals," while those on the right are usually the ones that promote small government. However, this ends with fiscal issues. On the issue of social policy, the ideologies flip. Then, conservatives become the "big gummint" types, while liberals become the small government types. Prohibition, censorship, same-sex marriage bans, and other examples of "big gummint" social policies all have, at their core, conservative origins.

Interestingly, this difference between libertarians (fiscally conservative/socially liberal) and traditional conservatives is a large source of friction within the TEA Party. Many libertarians believe the movement should remain solely an economic one, while many conservatives believe it should become a morality movement as well.

So what do you guys think? What role should the state play in social policy? Should decisions on marriage, censorship, substances, sex, etc. be left up to the individual, or should the government impose public morality?

I personally am socially liberal. Individuals are perfectly capable of making their own decisions when it comes to who they marry, what media they watch, what they consume, who they screw, etc. Government imposed legislation for such social issues leads to unnecessary resctrictions on people's personal freedoms. As long as people aren't physically harming others with their actions, I see no reason for the government to step in.

One argument I particularly don't understand is how same-sex marriage somehow "hurts" traditional marriage. It's just two people with the same wedding tackle get married, no more, no less. The love is still there, and that's the most important thing in a marriage. How does that harm other people's marriages personally? It doesn't. It's xenophobia at it's finest.
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Last edited by Tsyal Makto; 08-05-2010 at 03:07 AM.
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Old 08-05-2010, 05:29 AM
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I think another issue that arises is the federal v. state authority over a particular legal issue. The tenth amendment in the Constitution states what powers the federal government shall have (such powers being expressed throughout the Constitution). Some social policies, such as the Civil Rights movement, are almost not defined as an issue the federal government would have authority over. The counter argument was that such an issue was a state issue to be decided by each state individually. The only reason that the federal government was able to obtain authority in the Civil Rights case was because the federal government successfully argued that the issues of concern in the Civil Rights movement (ie - segregation) affected interstate commerce, which the federal government has authority to regulate due to the Commerce Clause in Article I, Section 8, Clause 3 of the Constitution.


Other than that, I have not come across many good arguments against same sex marriage. I think marriage should be considered a legal contract between two people of any sex while institutions, such as religious institutions, that are not public should have the right to decide to acknowledge a marriage according to their own traditions. In other words, a marriage between any combination of sexes should be recognized in regard to legal matters but is optional in regard to matters of tradition.
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Old 08-05-2010, 09:31 AM
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People should for the most part be captains of their own destiny, I only ask that their actions shouldn't impact upon other people in a negative way.

There needs to be empiracle government social policies to keep things "within reason" although a nanny state must be avoided. Self regulation is key.

It's a really simple argument, make sure not to overcomplicate it.
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Old 08-05-2010, 10:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ba'al View Post
People should for the most part be captains of their own destiny, I only ask that their actions shouldn't impact upon other people in a negative way.

There needs to be empiracle government social policies to keep things "within reason" although a nanny state must be avoided. Self regulation is key.

It's a really simple argument, make sure not to overcomplicate it.
Exactly.

And yeah, I know it's a simple argument, and I would like to keep it that way, but people on the other side of the table (reconstructionists/family value/"Revolt in 2100" types) like to complicate it.
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Mike Malloy, a voice of reason in a world gone mad.

"You mustn't be afraid to dream a little bigger, darling." - Inception

"Man, I see in fight club the strongest and smartest men who've ever lived. I see all this potential, and I see squandering. God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables; slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy **** we don't need. We're the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War's a spiritual war... our Great Depression is our lives. We've all been raised on television to believe that one day we'd all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won't. And we're slowly learning that fact. And we're very, very pissed off." - Tyler Durden

Last edited by Tsyal Makto; 08-05-2010 at 10:22 AM.
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Old 08-05-2010, 10:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tsyal Makto View Post
Exactly.

And yeah, I know it's a simple argument, and I would like to keep it that way, but people on the other side of the table (reconstructionists/family value/"Revolt in 2100" types) like to complicate it.
Yeah, I mean it's a shame that these people exist but they will likely always be there. They may believe what they're doing is right but do they really have a tennable plan? I don't think so.
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Old 08-05-2010, 01:52 PM
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Everyone has their own code of morals and everyone thinks theirs is right and everyone else's is wrong. So give them the chance to be in the government, and they'll impose their ethics through law.

Happened since forever.

Now, I believe that the government should leave as much freedom to act as possible, yet limiting it in the common aspects of the ruled society. Also, it must leave their feelings and codes apart and focus the aim of such laws in the common utility. That comes from the first article of the Declaration of Rights of Man and Citizen.

Quote:
Article 1 - Men are born and remain free and equal in rights. Social distinctions can be founded only on the common utility.
So the ban of gay marriage for example is not common utility, yet people willing to marry someone of the same sex should exercise their freedom to do it.
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Last edited by ZenitYerkes; 08-05-2010 at 02:11 PM.
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Old 08-05-2010, 09:02 PM
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What role should the state play in social policy? Only enough to prevent certain individuals from truly hurting other individuals (i.e. through murder, rape, etc.), as has been said. Gays and lesbians IMHO should be allowed to marry and if supporters of Prop 8 really do want to protect the "sanctity of marriage"...well, I think there's plenty of heterosexual married couples who abuse that. Mutual respect, honesty, empathy...to me, these are more important to a marriage's sanctity than the sexual orientation of the couple.

A friend of mine who's a bit of an anarchist once said that the state shouldn't even have anything to do with marriage at all, and that marriages should only be an element of religious institutions, or something like that. (I may have to ask him about this again.)
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Old 08-05-2010, 10:30 PM
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Governments have no business in people's lives. They're there to perform important functions SPECIFICALLY so that people can live.
Enforcing laws (but not on victimless crimes or against things which some people may dislike but is a personal decision), maintaining foreign relations, defence, delegating powers as required to local authorities. There really isn't much else that they really should do.
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