How to make trouble over marriage

Christina Annesley writes powerfully on the topic of marriage, gay marriage in particular, and I think she has hit on something important. First she skewers the idea that this is a simple matter and dismisses the usual libertarian line that religious groups e.g. the Church of England should be free to discriminate against homosexuals by pointing out that the Church of England is the church of England. We kinda own it, or at least the state does, so this is not a case of normal people being told what to do, it is an argument between departments of Government. Also, were the CofE not the CofE but the C of… something else… it would still be using a state run system:

Much to my chagrin, marriage is currently a state licence, and it monopolises the right to grant that licence. Whilst I sincerely hope that this changes (and preferably before I can afford my own wedding), these are the facts as they stand. So the question as to whether libertarians should support the right of religion to opt-out of same-sex marriage can be rephrased as; do voluntary institutions have the right to use a state licence? It’s an interesting and complicated question, and brings up the question of – who does the state belong to?

Although the state is funded unequally by the people, it coerces against them equally; based on this argument, we could rightfully deduct that it does indeed belong to ‘us’. Equally. With no special allowances made for any system of beliefs – religion, for example. And as I have already pointed out, marriage is currently a state institution. What right, then, does a discriminating institution have to use a state licence to discriminate against other people that have an equal entitlement to that licence? Surely none at all, and the state is therefore completely entitled to revoke that licence on the basis of discrimination – on the same grounds as it could, for example, if an LGBT organisation that happened to be a provider of state marriages denied a marriage to someone based on their religion.

Of course, this is hardly an ideal situation for anyone.

Well, no. And we saw that coming didn’t we. We were talking for years about why the privitisation of marriage is the only good option. We were, unfortunately, crowded out by statist “liberals” who wanted to permit the state system to be used by gay people and they got their way, they got a compromse. The result is, predictably, (and Paul Marks for example did predict it) a conflict between those who see themselves as having a right to marry religiously, and those of a religious institution that dissapproves. Binding people together, as in so many bad movies, inevitably leads to friction.

It is worth remembering though, that while the sensible quiet and lightly enumerated voice of libertarians was ignored and easily defeated, we have been vindicated. We have another shot at articulating this argument now as the Drewitt-Barlows fight to have a ceremony in a church against the will of it’s owners. Let’s see if we can make a more audible contribution this time.

#OllyGate fails the Nigel Farage Test

Dear Nigel,

It is well known that you have two tests for a person’s quality…

1. Would I employ them?

2. Would I have a drink with them?

You use it quite effectively to berate and point out how useless, out of touch and incompetent our political class are. So it saddens me that I have to inform you that there is someone, or possibly a group of people, within UKIP who fail these tests.

And I think you know why I’m telling you this. But just to be clear it is to do with the sacking of Olly Neville as YI Chairman.

You see some idiot or ‘coalition’ of idiots at UKIP have taken a complete non issue, AKA Olly’s opinion on gay marriage, wrapped it in c4 and detonated it in the middle of a public space.

Because if we’re being honest outside of UKIP and its congregation of interested followers no-one would have given a damn or even known what Olly’s opinion on the subject was. It certainly wasn’t an election winning issue.

But now Olly’s opinion has been plastered all across the internet, and press, and made UKIP look even more like the curmudgeon, bigoted, little Englanders that many believe they are. And this is a shame because I know how hard you, Olly, Harry Aldridge, Alexandra Swann and many others have worked to try and dispel this idea.

So Nigel, and I know this will be hard, you need to impose your rules on the UKIP hierarchy. Because it’s quite clear someone has dropped the ball and it’s currently rolling around your feet. And while I accept you do have a bad back after that incident with the plane you need to pick that ball back up, find the responsible person or persons, read them the riot act and sack them. As they are clearly not worth employing nor having a drink with. In fact describing them as “politically inept” would be a little too fair.

Anyway, you know what you need to do, so I will leave this issue in your capable hands. And for my part next time I see Olly I will buy him a pint, because he certainly deserves one.

Your Faithful Admirer,


Steven Horwitz: Capitalism facilitated Gay Marriage

This event seems most interesting. If Steven Horwitz is right, it will really annoy the kind of leftist who loves to engage in identity politics.

From the IEA’s promotional text:

enhanced freedom with respect to family choices that has characterised the modern family and is celebrated by those on the political left, is largely a product of the economic system, market capitalism, which they often reject. At the same time, those on the right who are troubled by these changes in the family, including the demand for same-sex marriage, need to realise that such cultural changes are an inevitable by-product of the economic freedom they claim to celebrate.
Steven will argue it is capitalism that is the main driver of the evolution of the western family and the wider array of family structures, which characterises the 21st century, representing an increased cultural freedom brought on by the freedom to engage in capitalist acts between consenting adults and the wealth it brings in its wake.

Gay marriage, single parenthood, granny living separately are all things that require money to make happen. A traditional family home in under-developed India, for example, contains two generations including upto four bread winners, but the potential for extreme pressure to fall upon the shoulders of the oldest son, who shoulders the burden of being a financial safety net for both generations. This is changing and the blame for that is placed on the westernisation of their culture, but maybe India’s new found prosperity plays a stronger role?

Steven’s talk takes on 4 September 2012 on 6.30pm at the IEA (2 Lord North Street, London, SW1). LEt them know you are coming on by emailing or calling the IEA on 020 7799 8900