Slant by Noah

Slant by Noah
"Hmm… I don't see any slant."

Saturday, March 7, 2009

'Equal Rights' (Translation: Unfair Advantage)

The California Supreme Court heard arguments Thursday in a case that questions the constitutional muster of the state’s newest ban on gay marriage. The Associated Press mentions one constitutionally conniving (or conceivably confused) counselor:
"Minutes into Thursday's proceedings, the justices peppered a lawyer representing unwed same-sex couples with tough questions on why Proposition 8 represents a denial of fundamental rights when same-sex couples still have the legal benefits of marriage through domestic partnerships.
"'Is it your argument in this proceeding that the passage of Proposition 8 also took away, in addition to the label of marriage, the core of substantive rights of marriage this court outlined in its decision last year?' [Associate Justices Joyce] Kennard asked.
"'One of the core constitutional rights is to be treated with equality, dignity and respect,' replied Shannon Minter, legal director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights."
Rubbish. Minter’s evasive reply is either to be revered for its concentration of misdirection and manipulation or it must be scorned for its bald ignorance. Given his distinguished career as an attorney and author, it’s difficult to believe the latter. Either way, his statement seems a purely emotional argument.
It’s a well founded truism that respect must be earned. Dignity derives from the Latin dignitās — worthiness. I grant you that the very humanity of a person, his position as a child of God, endows him with a certain amount of dignity and with the responsibility to treat others in a spirit of brotherhood. The UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights affirms that “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.” But from there, does no accomplishment garner additional dignity? Is there no transgression which diminishes a man’s worthiness?
All men are created equal. But no man has a natural right to any persistent, lifelong equalization without regard to his choices and actions. I submit to you that this is the central, most common misunderstanding today regarding “equality, dignity and respect”. Advocacy groups arguing for special privileges or protection have long framed their demands within the term equality.
I’ll wager that Mr. Minter has never read Dr. Seuss’ King Looie Katz. For a common sense sociology lesson on equality and fairness, I highly recommend it. It’s a story of a fancy cat named Looie, who was the King of Katzen-stein. A proud cat, King Looie ordered his subject, Fooie Katz, to follow him everywhere, holding the royal tail to prevent it from dragging. It wasn’t long before Fooie determined that because of his high station, he too deserved that someone else should carry his tail; enter Kooie Katz. When Kooie’s pride was hurt, he got Chooie Katz to carry his tail.
"And so it went in Katzen-stein.Chooie Katz, Kooie Katz
Next, Chooie Katz got Hooie.
And Hooie Katz got Blooie Katz.
And Blooie Katz got Prooie…
"… Till all the cats in Katzen-stein
Were hiking round and round,
All keeping one another’s tails
From dragging on the ground.
"All proud!
Except for one small cat…
… The last cat in the line."
When the last cat, Zooie, could find no one to hold his tail, he revolted and the rest of Katzen-stein followed suit. After that, the King and all the citizens were “more grown-up”, “more demo-catic”.
The moral of King Looie Katz is a lesson in stratification; that demanding one’s fair share in the name of equality will inevitably result in the exploitation of another. And herein lies the hypocrisy of most cries for equality: what is wanted is not equal treatment, but an unfair advantage.
Here’s a rule of thumb that will help you sort out such concocted rights as equality: Whatever so-called right that impinges upon the freedom of another person is not a right at all. In English, we usually call it a privilege. But the noble struggle for equality has always won more support than demands for privilege.