Answering a philosopher of law.

The following is a post I just made in response to the natural law arguments used against Same Sex Marriage:

I’m reminded of a long time ago, in a college ethics class, and my professor used the phrase, “Rule of law, not of men.” And I immediately asked, “Who makes the law?” “Uh, well, Men.” “So the Rule of Law really still is the rule of Men, isn’t it?” The conversation became interesting after that.

And so to this argument, there is, of course, another approach, that law is nothing more than the organized force of the state and is, in fact, infinitely malleable according to the whim of the lawmakers. In that definition, law, and all that it covers, including marriage, are simply what we say it is.

Now if that is the pragmatic case, then all the arguments about transcendence and purpose are irrelevant and can simply be ignored. It is not necessary to debate them, or to argue them. One merely does what one is able to do and ignores the arguments. In the final case, the ultimate answer as to why a law is stated a certain way is simply, “Because we can.”

We can’t repeal the Law of Gravity, or change the number of Pi. But we can change the definition of marriage and do that with little difficulty. It is simply a matter of words on paper. We are not answerable to the past or to its usages. The dead cannot rise from the ground and stop us. Their words may have relevance to those who value them, but they have no force that can bind. They may carry authority, but they have no power. And power is what matters, not authority Authority may be used to influence power, but if power really disagrees, authority will lose.

We live in an age of Force, not of reason. One may make the most compelling arguments as to why something should not be done and the other side can simply say, “We just did it.”


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