Monday, November 08, 2010

Gay marriage, euthanasia and the free market

If you support the idea of the free market, you should also support the euthanasia and gay marriage.

This statement popped into my head when watching tonight's episode of QANDA. This might be a non-obvious combination at first, but hear me out. It's actually a pretty straightforward argument.

Generally speaking, those on the right / conservative side of politics, claim to be against big government, pro individual freedom, pro free market. Yet, generally speaking, they are against euthanasia and gay marriage.

When I put these two views together, one sentence after the other, it should be pretty clear these are contradictory positions. Or if not directly contradictory, it shows a fundamental philosophical inconsistency.

Being for small government, I would have thought, would mean you believe governments should stay out of people's private lives unless they can give a good reason to interfere. E.g., we agree to pay taxes to the government so we can have roads and live in relative safety. What's the argument against gay marriage, from a secular government's point of view besides, 'I don't like it.'

Nevertheless, this position is typical of the hypocritical, self contradictory right on such issues (the left has their own different self contradictory positions). My imaginary conversation with a civilized tea partier goes something like:
"I'm all for the small government, for the free market where individuals can choose for themselves!"
So what about euthanasia and gay marriage, can people chose for themselves here?
"Oh no, that's where the government should tell people how to behave. The free market works for iPods and Prada, but not for any 'moral' position different to mine."
If you're for small government, for the government staying out of people's lives as much as possible, then consider applying this principle consistently, not just to the free market. Try these two premises on for size.