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What’s next?

June 26, 2015

Anthony Kennedy, in Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992), made this bold claim: “At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.”

This claim is preposterous except as is it taken to mean that no one really knows about these things, so we have some kind of right to imagine what we will. But we don’t need the Court’s imprimatur to believe things. Regardless of what the law says, I can imagine whatever I want. Imagination cannot be legislated.

But if Kennedy meant that there really is a truth about these matters about which we have different opinions, then, even though we can imagine what we will, our imaginings don’t create these truths. They are what they are, and we need to find out what they are. Not all beliefs can be true; the law of non-contradiction stands opposed to that.

More importantly for Kennedy’s purposes and for our lived experience is whose beliefs will determine the law of the land. My belief about the “mystery of human life,” held by many other people, does not include same-sex marriage and families. Someone might respond that I can live out my beliefs in my own home and not bother others with them. But what’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. People’s same-sex marriages should also be confined to their own homes, right?

But we know it doesn’t work that way. We aren’t islands; our lives affect others. So-called “progressive” opinions are taught in schools and in the media and in public forums. So Kennedy’s prima facie magnanimous claim, while sounding philosophically sophisticated, is really just a flimsy foundation upon which to build the “progressive” dream. Planned Parenthood v. Casey upheld the Court’s previous decision about abortion. Today’s decision created the right of same-sex marriage throughout the country. What will “progressives” want next? Polyamorous marriage?

From → Culture

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