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It is a basic principle of socionomics that economic boom times are strongly correlated with social liberalism, while economic contractions tend to be accompanied by social conservatism. This has been observed over thousands of years; the Lex Oppia of 215 B.C. was the most famous of the sumptuary laws that were passed by the Roman republic in response to the recession that took place during the second Punic war. Twenty years later, with Carthage defeated and the launch of a huge investment boom based on conquest and colonization, the Lex Oppia was repealed after the women of Rome rioted for days over the right to display their wealth in the same manner as non-Roman women.
The judicial activist who managed to discover a penumbra emanating from the U.S. Constitution that somehow grants a “right to marriage” constructed his legal case on the assumption that social mores progress in a linear fashion. Thus, he declared it is a fact that society has evolved beyond traditional morals so the conventional definition of marriage as being an institution involving both men and women is “an artifact of a time when the genders were seen as having distinct roles in society and marriage.” But in addition to being a provably false assertion, this idea is dependent upon a false premise of inexorable progress. It is no different than the assertion of the equity touts that stock-market prices always rise.
In reality, neither societies nor stock markets progress in a linear fashion. Every great society in history has emerged, risen, declined and fallen. Neither open homosexuality nor homogamy is anything new; Juvenal mocked the decadent sodomy of the imperial Romans in his satires while at least two Roman emperors, Nero and Elagabalus, married men in public ceremonies. Only if President Soebarkah were to divorce his wife and marry in quick succession Lebron James, Emma Watson, Joe Maher and Reggie Love would American society have progressed to the point that Roman society reached 1,790 years ago.
America presently stands just past the peak of one of the greatest economic booms in modern history, having indulged in a series of financial bubbles that will likely one day rival Dutch tulipmania and the English South Seas bubble in terms of historical infamy. Like Rome following the conquest of Gaul, Britain and Egypt, post–World War II America enjoyed the benefit of military dominance over a vast range of territory as well as the wealth brought in by its conquests. So it should come as no surprise that American society has followed the same pattern of weakening social mores leading to public decadence that Roman society did, even if the American cultural foundation in Christianity has proven slightly more resistant to moral depravity than was Rome’s pagan culture.
What linear thinkers like Judge Walker fail to realize is that the pendulum always swings back, and the farther it swings in one direction, the faster and more furious it will swing in the other. Instead of being a milestone in the continued expansion of civil rights, it is much more likely that the reversal of California’s Proposition 8 marks the high-water mark in the gay-rights movement that began with the Stonewall riots in 1969. I could be wrong, of course, but skeptics may wish to note that I recognized a similar high-water mark for Republicans back in 2003, right around the time that Karl Rove was articulating his fantastic vision of a permanent Republican majority.
This judicial override of a democratic referendum on homogamy is not going to end the debate, but rather spark an even more intense political battle over the issue than the nation has seen to date. It is now clear that neither state nor federal laws are safe from gay judicial activists. If the Supreme Court does not act quickly to overturn Judge Walker’s decision and reinstate Proposition 8, the only secure path to defending conventional marriage will be a Defense of Marriage Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The foolish machinations of orientationally challenged activists and the irresponsible shenanigans of judges will force social conservatives to pull out the big artillery and stamp out the decadence in a manner that cannot be gamed through antidemocratic judicial or legislative maneuvers. The gay-rights movement has misplayed its hand by methodically removing all cover under which the politicians, usually more moderate than the electorate, could cower.
Being a libertarian who doesn’t vote Republican or believe that government should be in the marriage business in the first place, I’m not terribly concerned how this particular issue plays out in the end. But as an observer of the political process, it should be interesting to see the way in which the dismissal of Proposition 8 is likely to inspire the rise of a social-conservative movement that will rival, and perhaps even surpass, the growth of the tea party. The advice Joseph Farah has given to the tea party to broaden its focus in such a manner as to include potent social issues such as homogamy and immigration is correct, because it is very clear that is where the serious electoral advantage presently lies.
And if the Republican strategists are even halfway competent, Republican congressional and senatorial candidates should be able to ride the twin horses of the Soebarkah administration’s economic incompetence and the Defense of Marriage Amendment to a landslide victory in the fall. But then, as John McCain demonstrated so ineptly in 2008 when he rushed back to Washington to support TARP and sink his presidential campaign, one should never assume that the Republicans will play to win.