Daily Wisdom

August 09, 2010

Olson's Fallacy

If you watched Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace yesterday, then you probably saw the segment with Ted Olson. Ted Olson is a conservative who has argued (55) cases before the Supreme Court and spoken out against judicial activism. Therefore, it was quite a shock to learn that it was he who successfully argued the case in California to overturn Prop 8's ban on same-sex marriage. A move which most conservatives would consider to be judicial activism or legislating from the bench.

It was a very interesting interview, and Olson made a compelling case. He stated that marriage is a constitutional right as determined by 14 Supreme Court rulings. He contends that if marriage is a right, then it should be applied equally under the law, which also makes sense. According to Olson, same-sex partners deserve the same "happiness" as everyone else.

Apparently it is Olson's opinion that overturning the Prop 8 ban was not an act of judicial activism, because voting on an issue does not automatically make it correct. He then cited cases where people voted to ban inter-racial marriages, and said that the Supreme Court was clearly correct in overturning such laws.

I must admit that Olson was very persuasive, and even found myself questioning whether or not I should reconsider my position on the matter. Apparently Chris Wallace was impressed as well. At the end of the segment, Wallace said that after Olson's appearance there, he couldn't understand how Olson lost any cases before the Supreme Court. If you didn't see it, you can watch the exchange here...


But after further reflection on the subject, it suddenly occurred to me that there is one glaring fallacy in Olson's line of reasoning, that is, that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is equivalent to discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity or gender. Obviously, that is not true.

Characteristics such as race, ethnicity and gender are traits acquired at birth, and over which a person has absolutely no choice. A person has no say about what gender or ethnicity he or she will become. They can only learn about it after they are born. Therefore, discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity or gender is patently unfair, because the person being discriminated against had absolutely no choice in the matter of their birth. They are being discriminated against for something which is no fault of their own.

Not so for sexual orientation. Sexual orientation is ALL about choice. Sexual orientation is a conscious decision on the part of an individual to participate in one form of sexual behavior in favor of another. No one "forces" gays and lesbians to participate in that type of sexual behavior. Even if they are psychologically "predisposed" to it for some reason, they can still "choose" to refrain from doing so if they wish.

And for those who would suggest that homosexuality is rooted in genetics, that is a completely unsubstantiated claim. No scientist has yet found the "homosexual" gene, and I don't think they ever will. Sexual orientation is a "preference", and as such, it does not qualify for protected status on the same grounds as race, ethnicity or gender. [Trust me, very few African-Americans would consider the gay rights movement to be right up there with the civil rights movement.]

Allow me to go even further with some analogies. The mere existence of thieves who "prefer" to participate in the "behavior" of stealing, and who may derive much "happiness" from it, does not provide a sound legal argument for the legalizing of robbery. The mere existence of sadists who "prefer" to participate in the "behavior" of inflicting pain on others, and who may derive much "happiness" from it, does not provide a sound legal argument for the legalizing of torture. Likewise, the mere existence of gays and lesbians who "prefer" to participate in the "behavior" of homosexuality, and who may derive much "happiness" from it, does not provide a sound legal argument for the legalizing of same-sex marriage.


At 8/09/2010 12:57 PM , Anonymous Conserve-a-tips said...

I saw the interview and was screaming at the television...and it was Sunday. I'm sorry.

I did not find Olson's argument to be persuasive at all. And I was furious with Wallace for accepting his premise and questioning along the lines that Olson set. Let me explain:

Nobody argues that either marriage is a right or, additionally, an institution that was created by God. It isn't in the Constitution, but it can be argued, using the Declaration of Independence, that our Founding Fathers implied it by listing the inalienable right of "pursuit of happiness". So we will accept as a given that we have a right to marry. Unfortunately, Wallace stopped there without any critical thinking.

As with all rights, there are boundaries and definitions of those rights. This argument is NOT about the right to marry. It is an argument about "what is the definition of marriage to which we have a right"? Olson has stupidly, albeit thinking that he is some intellectual genius, blundered into a whole new can of worms. According to his argument, then Fathers who wish to marry daughters, farmers who wish to marry their goat, Mormons who wish to marry three or four women and "with it" women who want to have a haram of men of their own, all have the right to do so. Olson has stated that the definition of marriage is simply, "that which you have the right to do".

To offer an analogy, I have the right to eat. We all have the right to eat. In this country, noone has the right to starve me to death (well, except in Terry's case and that was an abomination). Since I have the right to eat, I say that there are no boundaries on what I eat and so, I can go to the funeral home and chow down on my choice of bodies. What? That's crossing the line of the definition of food? Who says? Get the picture? :-)
Mary Beth

At 8/09/2010 2:54 PM , Blogger Hawkeye® said...

Yep. I got the picture. I wasn't thinking along those lines, but you are absolutely correct. Oh, and by the way, I scream at the TV more often than I'd care to discuss.

(:D) Best regards...

At 8/09/2010 3:16 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ditto, Mary Beth! Great point about the right to eat. I wanted to reach into my TV and shake them and all the rest of the blonds on Fox! Marriage is not the joining of two people it's the joining of husband and wife! What does the word "husband" describe? What does "wife" mean? These words have had meaning since the beginning of creation! What an insult to compare a person's race to their gender. How dare Ted Olsen link the irrational law about interracial marriage with same sex unions.
At church yesterday our pastor was talking about Mark 6 and the beheading of John the baptist. And I thought of the comparison with the ruling on same sex marriage. Why was John in jail? He pointed out to Herod that he was living in adultery by marrying his brother's wife and John proclaimed that his marriage was against God's law. Herod was offended by the truth and to silence him he confined him, but he couldn't silence the truth. He knew John was right, that is why his wife could not be satisfied while John was still alive. The very thought of her life style being exposed as being immoral had to be completely extinguished. So she tricked her husband into making a foolish vow.

I see the same thing happening now, immoral people trying to justify themselves by silencing the truth by redefinition. DebB

At 8/09/2010 3:47 PM , Blogger Hawkeye® said...

Hi! Thanks for stopping by. I'm glad you liked C-A-T's comment. I should have had her do a guest posting in place of mine.

(:D) Best regards...

At 8/09/2010 7:57 PM , Anonymous Hankmeister said...

Olson is certainly persuasive if you follow his rabbit down the hole. Actually he's pretty clever with the smoke-and-mirrors.

First. As I've continue to maintain, if those who argue for changing the definition of marriage to include homosexuals, then on the power of that argument why haven't these activists also agitated for the bi-sexual menage a trois and heterosexual polygamous right to marriage? If marriage is such a "right" to be so universally applied to any human sexual arrangement, wouldn't it be profoundly immoral to merely take half-way measures unless, of course, it demonstrates the destructive slipperly slope to which such sloppy counter-cultural thinking eventually leads.

Second. Homosexual activists and their apologists recklessly "argue": "Why not homosexual marriage? How do two homosexuals getting married impact your heterosexual marriage. Nobody is being harmed blah, blah, blah." My response ... At first blush this is not an argument, it's merely a provocative statement with no compelling answer on either side of the cultural divide. I could just as easily counter with the proposition that a farmer marrying his goat wouldn't impact my marriage but one is compelled to ask would such an arrangement be a desirable thing in a civil society? Of course the homosexual marriage proponents would cry foul and whine, "Let's keep this between two human beings." Okay, let's do that. Should civil society now allow a divorced or widowed father to marry his daughter (or he could still be married for that matter - see polygamous marriage above. And oh, please no liberal MORALIZING about how wrong or ill advised incestuous marriages would be since liberals themselves have demonstrated an incredible capacity to change morality and laws to accomodate any kind of hedonism on their part. So let's be consistent here, dear liberals, if we can change the laws and social morality for homosexuals then we should be able to change the laws regarding pedorasts and post-pubescent teens or even children, between parents and offspring, between a sister and a brother, etc just so long both parties are consenting, right?) An even more compelling counter-argument is: "If in the interest of pure egalitarianism and compassion, should society no allow a son to engage in a platonic 'marriage' to his mother so that she can benefit from being on his insurance policy (or insert whatever other economic arrangement one can think of)?" It would be the "compassionate" thing to do, right? See where the radical liberal agenda eventually leads an unsuspecting society of dupes?

Third. In a true civil society marriage IS the legal joining of one live adult male with one live adult female who have the genetic potential to create an extended family by having offspring. The time-tested formula is marriage is hetereosexual by nature and monogamous ... period. Any other definition would not be marriage since it would either be fornication, prostitution, homosexuality, pedophilia, adultery, bestiality, necrophilia ,etc. The whole human experience, at least that which is worth perserving for the benefit of human posterity, has distilled the tradition and act of marriage down to this unadorned definition I originally posited above. Societies may expand such an understanding only at their own peril, but no citizenry is legally or morally obligated to be forced by government to enter the bedroom of those merely practicing a sexual hedonism under the guise of "familial love" and applaud.

At 8/09/2010 7:58 PM , Anonymous Hankmeister said...


Fourth. There is an argument of utilitarianism. Though homosexual advocates have sneered, "Well what of those heterosexuals who are sterile, shouldn't that get a divorce since they can't produce children blah, blah, blah." Such sophomoric reasonings are often the high water mark of liberal "thinking." Of course the answer is no, a childless couple need not become "un-married". A marriage between one male and one female always carries with it a POTENTIAL to have children, that is, a male and female always have the genetic potential to create a posterity though specific parts of the plumbing might not be working. Homosexual marriages and unions are by definition sterile, there is no potential for expanding the human species other than those children that were brought into such arrangements from previous heterosexual unions! That act alone testifies against, and not fortifies, the homosexual position advocating marriage. The superiority of heterosexual sexuality is demonstrated in the argument that if all people were heterosexual, future generations would never take note of the lack of homosexual aberrations. Conversely, if all humankind were homosexual, humanity would become extinct within one generation. The human condition itself recognizes the superiority of fertility as opposed to sterility - that is if liberals were really honest with their own views of "diversity". Though much has been made of the "creativity" of homosexuality, in the biological and physical realm the reality is homosexuality is sterile, lacks diversity, and is non-productive with respect to human posterity.

Please note: I'm not arguing against a utilitarian legal arrangement called "civil unions" for homosexuals. And it is strictly to that end any argument about "equal treatment under the law" could be applied since the fact remains those who have chosen the homosexual lifestyle already have just as much right as any other man or woman to marry one member of the opposite sex. No government, no human court, no radical activist group have either the power or moral authority to redefine an institution which predates the institution of human government itself.

Last, homosexuals aren't being denied any right that any other normal citizen might have. In fact, homosexual marriage apologists are actually arguing for special, extra-constitutional rights that the American founders would have emphatically opposed on any number of social, political, and moral levels.

There's a lot more that can be thrown on the homosexual activist woodpile, but I have to go.


At 8/09/2010 8:06 PM , Blogger Hawkeye® said...

I agree wholeheartedly. Thanks for sharing!

(:D) Best regards...

At 8/09/2010 8:29 PM , Anonymous nicky j. said...

Good thing I didn't watch or the picture would have been smashed with a 20 LB sledge hammer.
angus the scot

At 8/09/2010 8:46 PM , Blogger Hawkeye® said...

Yikes! Control yourself.

(:D) Best regards...

At 8/09/2010 10:38 PM , Blogger Barb said...

You guys are just excellent .These arguments need to be where everyone can see them,and hopefully read them.
If that average American can't see the dangers of letting someone like Rosie O'Donnel,hire someone to have a child for her,maybe we are worse than I thought.
This issue is not about the "poor,downtrodden Gay people", it is about destroying the American way of life.If every child has 4 "Mothers" and 3 "Fathers" who becomes responsible for them? Why, the State of course.

At 8/10/2010 12:56 AM , Anonymous Conserve-a-tip said...

Hawkeye, I wasn't stealing your thunder! Really! I just watched that yesterday and was steaming. That man calls himself a conservative!! Sure. He operates on emotion, not on right vs wrong. That's the liberal way of doing things. Our feelings aren't facts and they get us into trouble everytime. But try and tell that to the liberals out there!!!
Mary Beth

At 8/10/2010 1:46 AM , Blogger camojack said...

I agree about the alleged homosexuality gene. Anyway, my thoughts on this topic are heavily influenced by what it says in the Bible; lots of people point at Leviticus 18:22 and say that there are a lot of things in the Old Testament that no longer apply...but there are also verses in the New Testament on the subject:
Romans 1:18-32
1 Corinthians 6:9-10

At 8/10/2010 7:55 AM , Blogger Hawkeye® said...

I'm sure I speak for all of us when I say: Thanks for your kind words.

(:D) God bless...

At 8/10/2010 7:56 AM , Blogger Hawkeye® said...

I know. Just kidding.

(:D) Best regards...

At 8/10/2010 8:10 AM , Blogger Hawkeye® said...

Amen brother. I believe in the scriptures too (as you probably know). But when watching Olson, I was thinking strictly from a legal perspective. I was almost persuaded by Olson's legal argument before I realized its deficiency. If necessary, I can give unto "Caesar" respect, but "God" always comes first.

(:D) Best regards...

At 8/10/2010 9:01 AM , Blogger Just call me Shelly said...

Well, I think all that could be said has been said. Nice arguments Beth and Hankmeister

My thoughts go back to the angry voters whose rights were pulled out from underneath them (again). All to often our Jewish/Christian ideals are ripped to shreds by the courts.

So what happens? When Judeac/Christian laws no longer exist. Hmm, corrupt Sherea style laws (yes, I know I am butchering the spelling) creeps in.

I think the laws we could see in the near future would only back up the wrong direction for gays and liberals, well all of us as far as that goes.

But if that day ever comes, the corrupt government knows right where to go to bring them to the prisons.

I'm not a conspiracy nut sitting here but just watching history repeating itself.

Yes, we are letting it all hang out as far as morals go. Hmm, pre-war Germany anyone.

Thanks for letting me ramble. Got a lot of temp meds in my head. Plus the summer heat is killing me.

Not a good year for MS. To bad we are not all siting in a cool campground in Pennsylvania again. It would be great to do it one more time before my body says nix.

At 8/10/2010 9:15 AM , Blogger Hawkeye® said...

You're right. The country is definitely going in the wrong direction. But there is some solace in the fact that Obama's poll numbers are in the crapper. In pre-war Germany, Hitler's ratings would have been at least 70% I think.

Sorry you're having a bad summer. I will keep you in my prayers.

Best regards...

At 8/14/2010 4:27 PM , Anonymous R.A.M. said...

I had the thought, (after hearing Olsen's wrong headed and sinful arguements), that Olsen helping to destroy God's HOLY Institution of Marraige between a
MAN and a WOMAN ONLY, may be why God, (knowing EVERYTHING, including the future), took Olsen's wife, Barbara from him on 9/11?

GOD will NOT be mocked!

Especially by "so called" Christians!

At 8/14/2010 4:54 PM , Blogger Hawkeye® said...

Maybe, but I don't want to go there. First, that presumes that God repays sin with evil. I'm not sure about that. I wouldn't rule anything out, but I think it is more likely that Satan causes evil and not God.

Second, it presumes that God might repay sin with evil, before the sin is even committed! And that seems patently unfair to me. I'm not God, and I don't want to speak for Him, but like I said... I would rather not go there.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home