Friday, March 15, 2013

Marco Rubio's negative sum game

Marco Rubio spoke at CPAC about 'traditional' marriage. MSNBC quotes him as saying:

“Just because I believe that states should have the right to define marriage in a traditional way does not make me a bigot,” the Florida Republican senator said during a speech at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Md. on Thursday.

And he is right. Believing that states have the right to define marriage away from a group of people doesn't make him a bigot per se, but it does make him wrong on the most basic of levels that requires much closer scrutiny. His statements about whether states should be able to legislate marriage away from people shows that he hasn't considered the very people those laws would discriminate against. And laws that would legislate marriage away from a group do indeed discriminate against people. So perhaps he isn't a bigot; perhaps he just isn't well versed in critical thought.

Legislation isn't a spectator sport where there are no real consequences. People aren't divided neatly into teams so that they can be cheered by their respective sides.

Legislation isn't necessarily a zero sum game. There can be winners, losers, or any combination of the two. Trying to pass legislation that provides no benefit yet costs a group of people their rights is a negative sum game. It helps no one, but hurts the targets of the legislation.

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