Monday Highlights

Good morning.

  1. “Most gracious Sovereign Lady” … at first reading I thought that meant the Theotokos … but it’s not. The caps I think are what threw me.
  2. It was this lady in question, who at times is certainly one to be reckoned with.
  3. Sounds of battle in the information age.
  4. Giving the state more power, rarely a good idea.
  5. Talking economics, the gist of which is, I think, that economists are at long last recalling that these really low interest rates is not a good thing.
  6. Yikes. Oh, and from the same source … this is a really really [repeat for a ¬†while] good idea.
  7. Queue the evil laughter.
  8. The same argument holds it seems.
  9. (Rich — or expense account equipped) Boys with toys.
  10. More toys here.
  11. Synthetics and the drug war.
  12. Speaking of which, the “medical¬†marijuana” industry/movement just died. It just doesn’t know it yet.
  13. The first part of social charity, shut up and sit still.
  14. You can just feel the excitement … or not.

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  1. Boonton says:

    5.Talking economics, the gist of which is, I think, that economists are at long last recalling that these really low interest rates is not a good thing.

    Sure not a good thing in the sense that to be on antibiotics is not a good thing….but if you have a bacterial infections being put on antibiotics is the ‘good policy’ and stopping it while you’re still sick is not a good policy at all.

    Interest rates are the cost of making investment. If your view is that interest rates are ‘too low’ then you’re also saying investment is too cheap and should be more costly. This does not cohere with the view that the recession is due to ‘structural problems’ rather than a shortfall in demand. A ‘structural problem’ like too many workers in construction, not enough in healthcare, would have to be resolved by essentially investment spending so increasing interest rates would only serve to make that more expensive, not less.

  2. Boonton says:

    I think the reason SSM doesn’t imply poly-m is much more simple. Modern legal marriage does not have gender roles embedded in its structure. Therefore prohibitions based on gender are arbitrary, just as prohibitions based on race. The duel nature of marriage, though, is embedded in its structure.

    This can be seen by asking some very simple questions….given current law how would, say, divorce work with SSM? Same way it does now. How about with poly? Harder to say. If one person divorces out of a four person marriage, are the other three still married or does it end the whole thing? Do the others have to vote? What about when you have a three person marriage where one person wants to bring another person in but the other members don’t? Who decides and how?

    As it is currently structured in law, these questions cannot come up in marriage because it is structured around a two person union with mutual consent. Before you ‘allow’ anything beyond that you have to end up answering a lot of questions and your answers will mean you’ll end up with one type of ‘poly marriage’ which may or may not be the same as other types of poly marriage.

  3. Mark says:

    So this argument against is basically why you don’t support Obamacare? That is, the legal complexity is so daunting so you’re against it?

    Oh, wait.

  4. Boonton says:

    The complexity is hardly daunting. I can, given a half hour or so, sketch out to you a system of legal polymarriage. No doubt with a bit of research you can show me other legal systems of polymarriage from the real world.

    The question is whether SSM should count as a real change to the current system of legal marriage or simply the removal of an arbitrary rule. For example, say I tell you some state has the age of 18 as the min. age which one could get married. I tell you this state used to make it 16, then it made it 19, then it made it 18….these would all be simply changing an arbitrary rule without altering the structure of marriage itself.

    Now suppose I use one of the silly alternatives offered in the blog you cited, that this state once made it legal to marry your toaster. This would not be simply about an arbitrary rule change as the structure of marriage is based on the informed consent of two adults. Exactly how would we know if a toaster consented to marriage? You may offer a way of doing this, say if you can prove you own the toaster then you may marry it….but that would be a structural change in marriage away from consent of both parties to ownership of one party by another.

    Being that marriage is not legally defined by gender roles anymore than racial ones, bans on SSM and interracial marriage are simply arbitrary. Marriage is,however, structured on a two person relationship making trying to shift it to a three or more person relationship a structural change.

    What’s interesting is that when marriage was defined legally as gender roles, it was relatively easy to have polymarriage. The classic polygamy of the original Mormons, for example, simply entailed one man entering the role of husband with multiple women who entered the role of wife (the wives had no formal relationship to each other, although I suppose you can say ‘sister-wife’ is an informal one).

    If your system of legal marriage is set up with gender roles, SSM would require a structural change as you’d have to clarrify how you’d sort out the roles of husband and wife if both parties have the same gender. But at least some types of ‘polymarriage’ would simply be arbitrary. If your system of legal marriage is set up without gender roles, then number becomes much more of a structural issue while SSM is an arbitrary one.

    Don’t confuse the word arbitrary here with ‘meaningless’ or ‘trivial’. Clearly most people in the US today would be highly uncomfortable allowing 13 yr olds to marry, even though that wasn’t all that dramatic in the age of Romeo and Juliet. Age laws regarding marraige aren’t trivial but they are arbitrary in that shifting the age from 18 to 13 or to 21 doesn’t actually alter the structure of marriage itself.

    This makes arguing for polymarriage out of arguments for SSM more daunting. SSM today is just an argument for or against a change to an arbitrary setting. Poly-marriage would be an argument for a new structural set up.