Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Reductio ad Absurdum

As a gay man finally able to be legally married, the next 6 months will be nerve-racking.  While waiting for my right to legally and publicly solemnize and celebrate my love for another man, there is nothing I can do but wait and speculate.  There is no lobbying the Supreme Court.  The Justices's positions are for life and their decisions cannot be appealed.  There are no more powerful people in the United States.

Today I heard that Justice Antonin Scalia had been questioned about his dissenting opinion in Lawrence v. Texas and comments afterwards.  Lawrence declared that 'sodomy laws' violated the constitution.  Here is a snip from his dissent:
The Texas statute undeniably seeks to further the belief of its citizens that certain forms of sexual behavior are “immoral and unacceptable,” Bowers,supra, at 196–the same interest furthered by criminal laws against fornication, bigamy, adultery, adult incest, bestiality, and obscenity.

When questioned by an openly gay freshman law student on his comments Scalia refers to a legal argument technique called reductio ad absurdum, or reduction to the absurd.   From the great majority of sources, Saclia is quoted, "If we cannot have moral feelings against homosexuality, can we have it against murder? Can we have it against other things?"

In an article "Gay Student asks Justice Scalia to defend his 'bestiality' comment,"  NBC news reports about Scalia's appearance at Princeton.  

At Slate.com a more dramatic spin on his response is posted.  Their post is Scalia Defends Comparing Sodomy to Murder. Most notably a part of the quote missing in the NBC report is here.  The reference to murder. 

Fox News had this headline: Confronted by NJ Princeton student, Scalia defends arguments that strike some as anti-gay

Reduction to the absurd is where we are headed as a nation.  We may have arrived. Most Americans get their news from one source.  Going no further than a headline, which is essentially what most TV news does, look at how dramatic or benign a news story may seem.

While writing this I was also following "right to work" legislation in Michigan.

NBC:  Michigan passes anti-union 'right to work' measure over protests of thousands.

Fox News: Michigan House approves right-to-work bill, as teachers ditch school to protest

Reductio ad Absurdum indeed.

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