Friday, March 17, 2006

Althouse: Distinguishing gay marriage and polygamy.

Ann centers the argument over state-recognized same-sex marriage around the employee fringe benefits issue. It's not fair, she argues that a "gay person with a pension and a health insurance plan is incapable of extending those benefits to his (or her) partner. He (or she) can't file a joint tax return."

On the other hand, a "polygamous marriage, however, puts a group of persons in a position to claim more economic benefits than the traditional heterosexual couple. That doesn't appeal to our sense of fairness." I note that there is no tax benefit to polygamy, so she must being focusing here on fringe benefits.

Fairness? What's fair about singles not being able to get the same benefits as employees with families?

Evidently the presumption is that firms are mandated to extend benefits to all kinds of families. I thought the law was more interested in efficiency than fairness. To inquire into efficiency we have to inquire into why firms offer family benefits, and whether they would be reluctant to extend them to same sex couples, or polygomous marriages. And what would happen if the law said firms had to treat all families alike. Then maybe some firms would not offer extend benefits to families at all.

Or, look at modern societies where polygny is practiced: the law does not require the employer to provide benefits for more than one of the marriages. Think outside the box and you will see there are answers outside the box.

The Undercover Economist's observation seems timely: people who object to polygamy have trouble adding up.

UPDATE: Some say look at the evidence. Polygamy is on the rise. Via The EclectEcon by email.

TAGS: , ,

Monday, March 13, 2006

Isaac Hayes Quits 'South Park' - Yahoo! News

Double your standards, double your pleasure

Stone told The AP he and co-creator Trey Parker "never heard a peep out of Isaac in any way until we did Scientology. He wants a different standard for religions other than his own, and to me, that is where intolerance and bigotry begin."
. . .
"There is a place in this world for satire, but there is a time when satire ends and intolerance and bigotry towards religious beliefs of others begins," the 63-year-old soul singer and outspoken Scientologist said.

"Religious beliefs are sacred to people, and at all times should be respected and honored," he continued. "As a civil rights activist of the past 40 years, I cannot support a show that disrespects those beliefs and practices."

"South Park" co-creator Matt Stone responded sharply in an interview with The Associated Press Monday, saying, "This is 100 percent having to do with his faith of Scientology... He has no problem — and he's cashed plenty of checks — with our show making fun of Christians."

Via Roger Simon.

Isaac, stick to music where you are awesome. Persuasion is not your forte.


Thursday, March 09, 2006

Marginal Revolution: Stay tuned for Opposite Day

Over at Marginal Revolution the economists are preparing for Opposite Day. They are inspired by a Jewish atheist's suggestion that for one day each year, atheists try their best to argue for belief. And for believers to give an honest effort to put themselves in the shoes of an atheist. Here at New Virginia Church Man we're all about mutual understanding, so we support this initiative.

In the economist's variant of Opposite Day, the economist will give an honest effort to support promote the pillars of belief in the anti-market camp - basic principles such as "trade is bad" (pillar 3, if I remember correctly).

The late great George Stigler provided us with the clearest statement that we economists are a bit zealous when it comes to our faith in markets. That statement: The Economist as Preacher and Other Essays. As Barry Goldwater might have said, extremism in the pursuit of (economic) liberties is no vice.

Monday, March 06, 2006

The Left

There's a saying in the Arab world, "you don't want to be a leftist." It really makes you wonder why so many Arab countries dabbled with communism during the 20th century.

The source of the saying is Islamic:

Then the people of the right hand--how happy the people of the right hand!
And the people of the left hand--how wretched the people of the left hand!

In the West there is the very same concept which is well illustrated by this image from the Catedral Viejo in Salamanca. (Notice the perspective from which left and right is defined.)

At the end of the day I am a Christian. But I'm afraid there are some Christians who think I will be Left Behind. Left Behind for a number of reasons including: I am willing to live with the contradiction that there are people who confess other faiths who I believe I will see when I get to heaven. I'm staking my life on it.

Crossposted at The Emirates Economist.

JustOneMinute: God Lied, People Died?

A few good men: Tony and George. God bless them.

The distortions of what they represent and what they stand for continue unabated. Ditto the kind of relationship they have with God.

TAGS: Tony Blair