Dispatches from the Creation Wars

There’s been an amusing little fight going at the National Review Online ever since New York passed a law allowing same-sex marriages on Friday night. It began with Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York making a terrible analogy over the issue, saying:

“Last time I consulted an atlas, it is clear we are living in New York, in the United States of America — not in China or North Korea.”

Mike Potemra then made a passing reference to that statement, writing:

But here, tonight, I see neither the face of anarchy, nor that of a nascent “North Korea.” I see smiles on young people — and also, on some quiet senior citizens who are actually old enough to remember Stonewall 1969.

That led to Kathryn Jean Lopez, who really does seem to be utterly incapable of making a logical argument, to make this absolutely bizarre statement:

Do not be so quick to dismiss the North Korea comparison, Mike. We are witnessing tyranny today that is fostered by a false sense of freedom, a tyranny that faux tolerance ferments.

Ah yes, the standard right wing lie that giving others the freedom to do something we don’t want them to do is tyrannical. That led Jason Lee Steorts, also writing at NRO, to take his own boss to task:

So it is your view, Kathryn, that the action of democratically elected representatives, who are accountable to the citizens of the State of New York, is tyrannical in a way that justifies comparison to North Korea, a state in which an absolute ruler has burned people alive in a stadium. Okay. But now I want a new word for what “tyranny” used to mean.

I would like to see the reaction of a North Korean refugee to your claim.

It would also be nice if you troubled yourself to make an argument.

But since she isn’t capable of making an argument, only an assertion, she instead follows up by quoting with approval an equally ridiculous argument by one of her readers:

When the Athenians voted to execute Socrates, was he or was he not the victim of tyranny? Can tyranny take any form other than dictatorship? Are the fears of our founding fathers mere fantasy, or is care for legal protection against the tyranny of the majority an actual real-world concern? Is the vote of a democratically elected body necessarily not tyranny? To dismiss the N. Korea analogy as beyond the pale is to deny the rational of the founding fathers, to deny any appeals to right and wrong that extend beyond positive law. Tyranny is capricious law, based upon the will of one, few, or many in a way that gravely contradicts the common good and the traditional laws for securing that good. Too much Team America and not enough Aristotle in these dismissals of the N. Korea analogy.

Now, I certainly agree that a democratically passed law can be every bit as tyrannical as a law imposed by a king or a dictator, as I’ve argued here many times. But the notion that the passage of same-sex marriage is an example of the tyranny of the majority would need several promotions to get to be merely stupid. Gays are nowhere near the majority in this country. And allowing them to get married in now way imposes anything on anyone else.

If gays are allowed to get married, this gives them a right they did not previously have. But having that right does not deprive anyone else of their rights, unless they are irrational enough to believe that they have a right to control what other people can and can’t do, as opposed to controlling what they can and can’t do themselves. That is the difference between a right and an authority.

Conservatives really do seem to have this absolutely bizarre notion that preventing them from violating the rights of others is a violation of their rights. And this argument about tyranny of the majority, North Korea and same sex marriage is absolutely incoherent nonsense.