Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Response to PG

PG asked: CC, as a Virginian you should know better than to think it's totally wild that a prominent politician would meet with white supremacists. That said, I agree that the NYTimes made a huge mistake here, and one that they made only because Paul is a fairly marginal candidate -- this sort of thing would not happen with any of the top 8 or so candidates.

Meet with white Supremacists once or twice? Sure. It's stupid given that White Supremacists at this point pretty much have negative political influence*, but people do it.

That said, there's a difference between meeting once or twice and "Both Congressman Paul and his aides regularly meet with members of the Stormfront set, American Renaissance, the Institute for Historic Review, and others at the Tara Thai restaurant in Arlington, Virginia, usually on Wednesdays"

Meeting a few times is believeable. What I don't get is why people reading the story about him meeting REGULARLY with white supremacists while RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT don't find it fishy.

You really don't think the press would catch on to that? Really?

Also, I don't get why people keep talking about the evolution debate and abstinance-only sex ed, in both cases assuming that Paul plans to impose his views on both when he's been pretty straightforward in saying that the Federal Government has no business doing so.

If these are examples of the reality-based critical thinking I keep hearing about, color me unimpressed.

But don't worry, even though Paul is beating Giuliani and tied with Fred Thompson in Iowa. Fox News isn't going to let him debate the other Republican candidates in their New Hampshire debate.

So the liberals are lying about him and the conservatives are keeping him out of the debate.

If this man is so awful, why is everyone so afraid to hear him talk?

CC
who is, again, a Richardson supporter.


*When addressing my concerns about the fact that the New York Times had corrected the story before she was even spreading it, the lady who wrote the blog post I was sent said:

Of course I'll admit Bill White was probably lying through his teeth. In fact, I admitted it right there in the piece. Remember that bit about how "Bill White is hardly the most reliable reporter on any subject"? That's a nice way of saying he's probably lying.

Which, as others have pointed out, is beside the point anyway. The point, of course, was that the white nationalist crowd recognizes Paul as one of their own -- and, as I've noted here quite recently, there are times when we do well to take right-wingers at their word on stuff like this.


So, yeah, the sheer fact that the Nazi likes him discounts him completely.

18 comments:

Steve Caldwell said...

CC wrote:
-snip-
"Also, I don't get why people keep talking about the evolution debate and abstinance-only sex ed, in both cases assuming that Paul plans to impose his views on both when he's been pretty straightforward in saying that the Federal Government has no business doing so."

CC,

I'm not mentiong these issues because of concerns over a future President Ron Paul enacting polies that promote abstinence-only sexuality education or intelligent design education in our schools.

I'm mentioning them because they give us insight into the candidate. Is he ideologically driven to an extent where he makes decisions based on ideology alone? Or does he make decisions based on reason and evidence?

I understand that some politicians don't like reality (Stephen Colbert said a few years ago that "reality has a well-known liberal bias").

These issues are reasonable topics to ask a presidential candidate about.

Bill Baar said...

Cindy Sheehan is mellow on Paul. She's no white supremicists yet although David Duke is fond of her.

I think a lot of Liberals are slamming Paul because he takes their positions and then mirrors them back in a way that's a little troubling to them.

Liberals should be troubled because a lot of the isolationism they're pushing these days is pretty troubling stuff.

kim said...

Yeah, because, traditionally, it's the Republicans who are the isolationists and the Democrats who fight the wars. It's only with the rise of this current crop that that has reversed.

Comrade Kevin said...

Paul to me is objectionable but not because of his supposed links with white supremacists.

He thinks the US should withdraw from the UN. I do not. He favors overturning Roe vs. Wade. I do not. He has favored legislation that would take same-sex marriage out of the jurisdiction of federal courts. I strongly oppose this. Neither do I think that every state should have supreme right of self-determination--I think the tenth amendment goes only so far.

Isolationism in and of itself I do not believe is an awful thing. It would be foolish to believe that we should take a hands-off approach to the world but I advocate only involving ourselves when absolutely necessary.

Bill Baar said...

He has favored legislation that would take same-sex marriage out of the jurisdiction of federal courts.

Why should the Gov, Judges or Legislatures, be involved defining marriage at all? I thought Paul made a very good point on that.

I think you really need to ask yourselve why any branch of government should allow some kinds of marriages and not others.

I can argue why Gov should, but hand it to Paul for getting to the bottom line; while we UU's stuck in a fog of Marriage Equality which is about vapid a notion as one can find...

... we UUs dodge the ethic and hide behind a slogan.

PG said...

"I think you really need to ask yourselves why any branch of government should allow some kinds of marriages and not others."

What does that mean? If you want to put three women in your house and say you're religious married to all of them, go ahead. So long as your state doesn't enforce a law against fornication (sex among unmarried people), you're fine.

What same-sex couples want is for their associations to be not only protected from arrest (thanks, Lawrence v. Texas!), but also *recognized* for a multitude of purposes: employment and government benefits, the ability to adopt as a couple, etc. Because we have a significant federal structure that allots benefits (e.g. Social Security, plus the federal government's employment of millions of people including the military*), as well as states that decide family law and inheritance matters, and private entities that make all kinds of rules, it's important to same sex couples that their association be recognized by all of these.

Incidentally, despite Paul's being so enlightened, he has said "I don't have any problem with Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

Bill Baar said...
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Bill Baar said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bill Baar said...

What does that mean?

I mean why should government license marriage?

You don't say why you believe Government should.

It's not something Government's always done.

If government stopped licensing marriages, there would be no need for any kinds of amendements defining marriage. It would simply not be an area the government gets involved in.

It makes some sense to me. I think it may be time for government to get out of the marriage licensing business.

Paul gets closer to that than any other candidate.

Bill Baar said...

Because we have a significant federal structure that allots benefits....

If this is the only reason Government should license marriage...too discriminate on who gets the largess, and who doesn't, well, I'd say that's a bad rason.

Time to change to a system that treats each citizen as an equal.

Bill Baar said...

...sorry for typos this am.. no coffee yet.

PG said...

Most people don't consider their employee health insurance or military pensions or Social Security and Medicare benefits to be "largesse." They think they work (or have worked) for those benefits and to be able to share them with their families, and that they should be able to decide within the law who is part of that family. Allowing people to call *anyone* family, without going through a legal procedure that creates lasting duties, would rapidly bankrupt employers of 20-somethings, who would deem a changing crowd of their uninsured friends to be "family" eligible for benefits. (I have a good friend currently without insurance and with a degenerative disease that is enormously expensive -- if it were legal, I'd add him to my insurance in a heartbeat.)

If Paul agrees with you that these are all in fact "largesse," I will be entertained to see him proclaim that position on the campaign trail. Usually when people call SS/Medicare the third rail of politics, they mean politicians are afraid just to touch it, not that they're afraid to pick it up and whack people upside the head with it.

Before a secular state licensed marriage, family law was governed by the Church dominant in the nation. The law backed up the Church's determinations in these matters, so that if fornication was a crime, the Church's decision on whether the two partners were married to one another (in which case there was no crime) or weren't (crime) was determinative of whether someone would face legal sanctions. I honestly don't know at what point in Anglo-American legal history Paul is talking about when he is nostalgic for the good ol' days when the state didn't notice whether you were married or not. Does he mean tribal society before there was an organized state?

I don't know how you and Paul feel about this, but I'm quite happy that after the Reformation, marriage was a civil institution instead of a sacramental one, which also led to its becoming more equitable for women. In some countries like India, your religion actually determines which family law the state applies to you, but this is controversial. I'm going into what India would deem an interfaith marriage (realistically we're both agnostics, but his family is nominally Christian and mine is Hindu), and I'm not a fan of either the Christian or the Hindu systems of family law.

Bill Baar said...

Before a secular state licensed marriage, family law was governed by the Church dominant in the nation.

Pre civil war America most marriages were common law, without benefit of license, or Church solemnization, or record keeping.

It's only recent times that people have any firm knowledge of how old there. No one had birth certificates either. It was all memory. (Work in Social Security as I did in the early 70s with claimants from the south and you have a real good feel for how this lingered well into the 20th century).

******

Marriage in Illinois is not civil.

Counties license it (and their rules vary) but in every instance an approved Minister or Judge needs to solemnize the marriage.

Our Minister has given sermons on licensing marriage and Illinois's odd rules e.g. the minister has to post mark the cert back to the state from the county which issued the license. She has to drive over to Dupage County to mail in the license if issued in Dupage because she will solemnize the marriage at our church in Kane County.

If the only reason to license marriage is to allocate benefits (and this all started with Civil War Vet pensions), then there are far better ways to allocate benefits than making people marry.

We on the far left back in the 60s, didn't argue marriage as a form of slavery of women for nothing...

There is plenty of contract law in American that can manage such allocations... better than dragging churches into it.

Steve Caldwell said...

Bill Baar wrote:
-snip-
"Marriage in Illinois is not civil.

Counties license it (and their rules vary) but in every instance an approved Minister or Judge needs to solemnize the marriage."


Bill ... when a judge (a non-religious official in our system of government) officiates at a wedding, the wedding is a civil wedding.

For example, the wikipedia definition of "civil marriage" is the following:

the legal concept of marriage as a governmental institution

In the US, one can be married in a civil ceremony with a secular official presiding and no mention of religion and the wedding is just as legally binding as a high-church wedding with all the bells and smells.

PG said...

Bill,

1) In most of the country, marriage officiants have to be registered with the government, and the government can say which are valid and which aren't
(though this of course can be subject to First Amendment challenge on religious grounds). In most states, it is a violation of law punishable by fine to marry people without having gotten the state's permission to do so. I had to go through every marriage statute in America for a paper I wrote last year, and your claim that marriage in IL is not civil is nonsensical. I'm currently trying to get an officiant for my wedding, and my fiance's suggestion that his brother become a minister in the Universal Life church got nixed because the NY courts have said that any church in which all the members are ministers is not a "real" church.

2) "Pre civil war America most marriages were common law, without benefit of license, or Church solemnization, or record keeping."

What is your basis for this historical claim? A "common law" marriage is one in which the couple never marry but live together and hold themselves out as married (e.g. referring to each other as husband/wife, etc.). Many states, including the original colonies making up present-day Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, North Carolina, Vermont, Virginia and West Virginia, never permitted common law marriage, so I find it statistically unlikely that "most" marriages could have been common law. Moreover, if common-law marriage was the norm rather than exception, it would be odd for it to be described as becoming "increasingly tolerated," as in this history:

"Disagreement over the basis of marriage in the African American community should also be considered in the conext of a larger nineteenth century debate in the United States about the legitimacy of common-law marriage. Common-law marriages existed among poor whites as well as poor blacks during this period, and among white Americans there was an increasingly tolerant climate toward marital informality in the early nineteenth century. As Michael Grossberg has shown, judges in the early 1800s created the concept of common-law marriage to bring informal unions within the law, so as not to deny informally married women inheritance and other widows' rights rights, as well as to free Americans from the tight regulation of marriage found under the British system." -- Southern Families at War: Loyalty and Conflict in the Civil War South.

It indicates also that this was a conscious break from the prior Anglo-American tradition. The very existence of common law marriage, therefore, was an American judicial creation for equitable purposes, to ensure that the existing statute did not create an unfair result. This is not a state that is uninvolved in marriage, merely because the judges came up with it instead of the legislature. (Indeed, Republicans generally find something to be more legitimate when done legislatively, not judicially.)

Again, if the state did not "recognize" marriages, how could there be crimes of fornication or adultery? How could children be deemed legitimate heirs or bastards? I am not advocating for these labels; I am pointing out that your claim that the state was not involved in saying who was and wasn't married runs counter to everything I know about law, especially as it existed before the Civil War.

The *federal* government became interested in who was married once it gave pensions etc. on that basis, but the several states always have regulated marriage. And indeed marriages are recognized by the federal government (with the exception of DOMA's refusal to recognize any same-sex quasi-marital relation) based on whether the state recognizes them. If Rhode Island lets an Orthodox Jewish uncle marry his niece, the federal government has to recognize that marriage too. This is part of why the feds were so determined to make Utah outlaw polygamy before becoming a state in the Union.

PG said...

Speaking of marriage and the 2008 election, Noah Feldman has a nice piece on Mormonism in the NYTimes magazine:

"Unhindered by Smith’s death, the Mormons, now under the leadership of Brigham Young, went out to Utah to establish their own kingdom. In what felt like the relative safety of the intermountain West, Mormons began to practice plural marriage in the open — and ended up paying dearly for this lapse in secrecy. In 1856 the Republican Party made the defeat of polygamy a key plank in its first national platform, characterizing it alongside slavery as one of the 'twin relics of barbarism.' The federal government soon criminalized the practice and then in effect outlawed membership in the Mormon Church until it would agree to give up polygamy. The Mormons appealed this persecution to the Supreme Court, which turned them down flat, holding that religious belief was protected by the First Amendment but that religious conduct was not. After the Civil War, federal prosecutors in the Utah territory and in neighboring areas convicted and jailed thousands of Mormons in the most coordinated campaign of religious repression in U.S. history.

"The reaction of the Mormon Church to this new wave of persecution was, initially, to take refuge in secrecy once again. In 1890, the president of the church, Wilford Woodruff, issued a manifesto in which he gave his 'advice' to members of the Mormon Church not to enter into any marital relationships that would violate the laws of the land. Publicly this declaration had its desired effect of placating the federal government; in 1896, Utah was allowed to become a state. But like Jewish rituals under the Spanish Inquisition, plural marriage continued, secretly in Utah and also among refugees (like several of Mitt Romney’s ancestors), who fled to Mexico or other places the law could not reach."

Bill Baar said...

Read Marriage, A History: From Obedience To Intimacy Or How Love Conquered Marriage By Stephanie Coontz for a good history on marriage and licensing it.

George and Martha Washington never had one.

Southern states started licensing marriage to enforce misegenation laws.

It's time has past. Paul has this one right.

PG said...

bill,

You claimed in an earlier comment: "Pre civil war America most marriages were common law, without benefit of license, or Church solemnization, or record keeping."

In colonial America, you had to post public notice of the marriage several days before the ceremony. This followed the Catholic and Church of England tradition of publishing banns, i.e. declaring in church for three Sundays prior to the marriage that it was to occur. This is utterly different from common law marriage. Parson David Mossom of St. Peter's Episcopal Church officiated and recorded the marriage of George Washington and Martha Custis.

As I already said, "Before a secular state licensed marriage, family law was governed by the Church dominant in the nation." There was never a time in America when the state did not distinguish between the married and unmarried. There was a point when the official record-keeping shifted from the church to the state, such that historians search church registries in order to find marriage records, but the law still designated some people as married and some as unmarried. You have made no attempt whatsoever to explain how we could have legal categories of fornication, adultery, bastardy etc. -- ones that were far more meaningful in colonial American than they are today -- without having a legal definition of marriage.