I know I’ve said before that this or that column is Mark Steyn’s best column ever, but this time, I think he’s really done it — the best column ever. Why? Because he’s perfectly managed to reveal the faulty reasoning behind a couple of liberal arguments. What he does is point out that liberals engage in faulty reasoning when they play everything off the backdrop of America’s Jim Crow laws — laws that were aberrant and out-of-step with the entirety of human history:
If the Right’s case has been disfigured by delusion, the Left’s has been marked by a pitiful parochialism. At the Supreme Court this week, Ted Olson, the former solicitor general, was one of many to invoke comparisons with Loving v. Virginia, the 1967 case that struck down laws prohibiting interracial marriage. But such laws were never more than a localized American perversion of marriage. In almost all other common-law jurisdictions, from the British West Indies to Australia, there was no such prohibition. Indeed, under the Raj, it’s estimated that one in three British men in the Indian subcontinent took a local wife. “Miscegenation” is a 19th-century American neologism. When the Supreme Court struck down laws on interracial marriage, it was not embarking on a wild unprecedented experiment but merely restoring the United States to the community of civilized nations within its own legal tradition.
Yet, beyond the Court, liberal appeals to “fairness” are always the easiest to make. Because, for too much of its history, this country was disfigured by halfwit rules about who can sit where on public transportation and at lunch counters, the default position of most Americans today is that everyone should have the right to sit anywhere: If a man self-identifies as a woman and wants to sit on the ladies’ toilet, where’s the harm? If a woman wants to be a soldier and sit in a foxhole in the Hindu Kush, sure, let her. If a mediocre high-school student wants to sit in a college class, that’s only fair. American “rights” have taken on the same vapid character as grade-school sports: Everyone must be allowed to participate, and everyone is entitled to the same participation ribbon.
In just two pithy paragraphs, Steyn has clearly revealed the fallacies underlying the relentless Progressive demand that we have a “fair” society. These demands are at odds with tried-and-true, universal principles such as “equal protection under the law,” justice, and biological reality.
Again, I’ll say that this does not mean that the various states, in order to further socioeconomic goals, should not extend to two-party gay partnerships the same benefits and burdens it confers on two-party straight partnerships. Those are legitimate state goals. What is not legitimate is to pervert human history and to deny reality.