Dear John Stossel: Marriage is Not Complicated

You’ve got to love those libertarians. They have everything figured out. Except that, no, they don’t. I like John Stossel but he should really stick to economics. In case you missed it, big shock, John writes in a post titled “Marriage: It’s Complicated,” that government should get out of the marriage business.

Republicans in Oklahoma may have stumbled onto a better idea regarding government’s role in marriage. They were angry after a judge ruled their state must recognize gay marriages — so they proposed that the state stop recognizing any marriages.

They may have been throwing a tantrum, but getting government out of the mix would put an end to many stupid fights.

If private individuals are free to make whatever marriage contracts and observe whatever marriage customs they like, that leaves everyone else free to ignore those couples if they don’t approve. Arrangements that work best will tend to endure.

And despite the data showing that children do better if their parents are married, we shouldn’t assume we know what works best.

What would John Stossel say in answer to this sentence: “Despite the data showing that limited government and low taxation produce more economic growth and rising standards of living, we shouldn’t assume we know what works best”?

And then to show just how much John understands about natural marriage or why government is in the marriage business, he includes a paragraph reminding us that interracial marriage was once illegal. Get it? Sure you do. Those who defend man/woman marriage are like the bigots of old.

When I was 11, it was illegal in many states for an interracial couple to marry. One couple, appropriately named “Loving,” was sentenced to jail for violating Virginia’s Racial Integrity Act. The Lovings — he was white and she was black — fought the sentence until the Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional. Since then, marriage between people from different races has steadily increased — it’s up 28 percent since the last census. There are even dating websites that specialize in “mixed” relationships.

There is so much material available with a point and a click explaining things like, for example, why the past prohibitions against interracial marriages has absolutely nothing to do with the current drive to open marriage up to every possible combination. Asking libertarians to do a little homework doesn’t seem like an unfair request — especially when the homework is so easy to accomplish.

The whole privatizing marriage argument has also been addressed at length. Stossel gives no hint that he’s read anything on it. Like liberals, libertarians seem to trust their ideological emotions a great deal. After all, “we shouldn’t assume we know what works best.”

While I could easily spend a few days accumulating even more recommended reading than I already have, instead I’ll only link to this series of articles by self-proclaimed libertarian Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse:

Privatizing Marriage Is Impossible

Privatizing Marriage Will Expand the Role of the State

Privatizing Marriage Is Unjust to Children