Social Issues Are Best Dealt With Outside The Realm Of Government


Roger Simon writes that those who truly value limited government should stop seeking government solutions to social problems.

It’s interesting how some of those who most vociferously object to government interference in our economic affairs are most desirous of government interference in our personal ones.

I’m referring of course to social conservatives, who want to legislate our morals and values according to their views. …

The social issues, whatever your position, are best dealt with outside the governmental realm.

I realize this is an unattainable goal and that government will always intrude in our private lives to some degree, but we must fight against it as much as possible for several reasons.

To begin with, social conservatives will be vastly more successful at having their views accepted if they make their case extrinsic of government.

Simon goes on to apply this thinking to the gay marriage and abortion debates. I actually disagree with Simon a bit on the abortion issue – if you believe life begins at conception then shouldn’t that life have the protection of the law? – but in a larger sense, shouldn’t we admit that when government tries to solve social problems the outcomes are usually worse than the original problem?

Take gay marriage, for instance. Had government bans on gay marriage not been instituted, if the government didn’t license marriages to begin with, the issue would have remained a societal one. One to be solved in our families and churches and other private social organizations. But since we’ve instituted government bans we’re now in the realm of creating more victim classes under the law, and criminalizing certain types of speech critical of homosexuality.

Is that where we wanted that debate to go?

And it’s not just things like abortion or gay marriage. Look, too, at things such as smoking bans which have less to do with sound public policy and a lot more to do with the fact that smokers just annoy a lot of people. Is that now the standard for passing laws? We’re just going to outlaw things that annoy us?

Conservatives would do better to embrace the idea that individuals are allowed to make decisions, even if the decisions made are ones we necessarily like.

Rob Port is the editor of In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters.

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  • HG


    Conservatives believe that while government should not be in the business of saving souls, it does have an interest in moral framework that sustains a healthy and robust society. The family is arguably the cornerstone of society. But setting aside the moral arguments for the moment, why can’t there be an open an honest discussion on marriage? For instance, the equality issue. There should be a honest debate on this topic. In my opinion, this issue could likely all but settled the debate.

    • Rob

      it does have an interest in moral framework that sustains a healthy and robust society

      The problem, of course, is that “morals” is a subjective thing.

      My morals, after all, are not your morals.

      • HG

        Well that’s a debate to be had. I think your morals are much more aligned with mine than you might think. But again, lets set the moral arguments aside for the moment. It is not moral issues that are currently being debated regarding marriage. It is probably equality that gets most of the attention.

        • Rob

          I think banning gay marriage is immoral.

          • sbark

            ……and you are tolerant of govt action to enforce that opinion?

          • HG

            On what moral premise?

          • fedupny

            Just to get a handle on your perspective Rob, how do feel about gay marriage itself?

            Is it moral, immoral or are you indifferent about it? Or is it just your position that nothing should be banned because someone else might want it?

          • Neiman

            For morality to exist, there must be an objective standard not subject to the emotional whims of man or it is all relative, situational and cannot ever be relied upon to remain secure.

            So, What objective standard outside of man do you apply?

          • MG

            Your comment identifies the nut of the argument. The state can recognize same-sex unions if it chooses that it is in the best interest of society to do so. What you are seeking is for those who hold strong religious views to bend to your will and validate the creation of a gay marriage status. We cannot redefine our morals so easily.

      • Neiman

        No morality is not subjective or relative. Certain core moral values have remained constant in all time, geographic and social settings. Among then has always and only been marriage between opposite gender.

        • HG

          Well, practically speaking, Rob is partly correct. Everyone has moral values, some more or less than others. However, morality exists and we all draw upon it when establishing one’s moral values. In America, where our Creator is the source our liberty and the author of morality, we have looked to religion, nature, and our conscience to determine what is acceptable social behavior and what is not.

          • Neiman

            No he is not correct at all. Relative, situational or evolving moral values are not really moral values at all IMO, they are subject to the whims and emotions of frail men. While one may, free will and all, reject the source and Guarantor of our values, nonetheless, those core moral values that over time, in every society and geographical setting have been established, let us say against murder, are by their universal acceptance by the human race set moral values.

        • Flyby_Knight

          That’s actually not true. Marriage between one man and one woman has not been constant “in all time, geographic, and social settings.” Wishing doesn’t make it so.

          • Neiman

            I knew some liberal would make that asinine remark. Nothing in life is 100%, but with rare exceptions of multiple marriages, as in the Bible with a few outside God’s Word or with Muslims, it has been so constant and clearly one man to one woman that these exceptions are so small as to not be statistically significant. But, even if those exceptions reached statistical interest, gay marriages have never been allowed, which is the point of this post.

          • Flyby_Knight

            The asinine remark was the one that claimed “Certain core moral values have remained constant in all time, geographic and social settings. Among then has always and only been marriage between opposite gender.” That’s empirically false, and you know it. In fact, you admit it in your comment.

          • Neiman

            Okay, document those societies before the modern era that have approved and permitted Gay Marriage. If I am wrong, I’ll admit it, so just document those societies that had gay marriage from the dawn of man to the early part of the last century.

            Come on now, put up or shut up!

            I only admitted that there have been multiple marriages in the past, but were statistically insignificant as compared to the whole, I never admitted before the early part of the past century that gay marriage was ever allowed. Now what Sparkie?

          • Flyby_Knight

            Sparkie is someone else.

          • Neiman

            It is an old term for people, not a name of a person.

          • Flyby_Knight

            My point is that there is a commenter here who uses “Sparkie” as a handle. I’m not that person.

          • Neiman

            I really do not care, this is one person that uses traditional definitions and not one’s forced on them by liberal yahoos: A common slang it meant one crazy person, not very bright. It was sarcastic! You don’t like it, too bad, get glad.

          • Neiman

            Come on fly by night, I am waiting for all those societies in history that approved gay marriage. Don’t be shy, I am looking forward to seeing the data and examining it so I can stand corrected.

          • Flyby_Knight

            This article should answer many of your questions.


            You can learn a lot from a simple google search, if you cared to.

          • Neiman

            Well after reading this article and others, I still do not find therein any documentation of gay marriage therein, only speculation, only unproven declarative statements of fact; while recognizing that a few people may have pretended to such a state, like a perverted Roman Emperor, it was not, as best I can determine, a formal recognition of gay marriage by any society and certainly not commonly accepted by the people as being marriage.

            I do grant you, especially by the dirty Greek people and ancient Romans – pederasty was common, as it is today, as grown gay men are by nature sexual predators and need fresh prey on which to force their sick sexual lusts. But, raping or molesting children of the same gender is not marriage, it should always be a crime, except among modern godless liberals.

            Marriage: the social institution under which a man and woman establish their decision to live as husband and wife by legal commitments, religious ceremonies.

            Okay, while there were no details providing any historical proofs of gay marriage, you are free to keep digging to try and make it so and I will consider your evidence. Until then, my statement stands: Historically in all times, societies and geographic settings marriage as defined above was only between people of the opposite gender, never between two people of the same gender.

          • Flyby_Knight

            Read for comprehension. From the article I posted:

            “Roman statesman Cicero also documented legal rights of an individual within a same-sex marriage.”

            “Hindu tradition provides for some freedom for praiseworthy and devoted same-sex unions within communities, where the elders officially decide what constitutes an acceptable marriage.”

            “The originally derogatory term berdache described transgendered “two-spirit” people prevalent in most of the tribes. Individuals, both male and female, assumed characteristics and roles of the opposite gender and lived out those roles within their tribes. These relationships are easily perceived as “homosexual” by outside observers, but it is clear that the Western delineations of heterosexuality and homosexuality would not have been understood within these societies. Nevertheless, these same-sex marriages had equal cultural and legal recognition within their communities and offered special advantages for the couples, particularly for women berdaches (Rupp, Eskridge).” (emphasis is mine)

            “Similar berdaches and same-sex-style marriages were found among cultures in Africa, and also included an arrangement known as “female husbands.” Often barren, these women assumed the cultural roles of men, including having the same rights as men—which included seeking damages if her wife should have relations outside of their union without her consent. The berdache tradition of same-sex marriage, in various forms, is also well documented throughout Asia, from eunuchs in China to hijras in India (Eskridge).”

            I’m sorry, but you’re wrong.

          • Neiman

            I stand by by earlier statements. Unfortunately, it will take some time as I work for a living, to document your errors, I have noted on Google, almost every article on gay marriage is by liberal, pro gay groups with an agenda.

            In every article, including yours they make many assumptions based on incomplete information and take a handful of cases wherein during times of general sexual debauchery of the two great civilizations, Greece and Rome, just prior to their fall, where engaged in every sort of sexual deviation. While there are references to marriage and in the case of two Roman Emperors, they acted out a marriage farce to force the populations to accept their deviancy, it never prevailed to any great degree in society in general. Outside of these sick empires, throughout all history, it was not accepted by society generally and there is scant documentation to support the claims of your sources of any general acceptance or legal marriage, as marriage is defined.

            The exceptions do not prove a rule, gay marriage has been rejected by every society, in every time and every geographical setting. Period.

          • Flyby_Knight

            So Rome was an isolated case. So was ancient and modern India, ancient China, central American tribes, and Africa.

            In other words, every case that proves your statement false is unworthy of consideration, simply because it proves you wrong.

            Or, in short, your argument comes down to “la la la, I can’t hear you.” Well done.

          • Neiman

            As you are not my highest priority, I said “it will take some time as I work for a living, to document your errors,. . .” so everything you said about my comments were lies, based on your liberal hate of Christ and the Church and your homosexual lifestyle. I kept your link so I could follow-up, but now forget it, I don’t have time for children.

          • Flyby_Knight

            Or how about Maryland, Washington, and Minnesota on November 6, 2012? Are those geographical areas that rejected gay marriage at that time?

          • Neiman

            No, I never said there was not widespread acceptance in the West for gay marriage, nor have I any doubts that Gay Marriage will be nationally recognized in the next few years, sooner if SCOTUS takes up the California Law against gay marriage and as I expect, find it unconstitutional.

            Just as in ancient Rome and Greece, one of the late symptoms of their moral decline and fall as great empires was their sexual deviance and acceptance of homosexuality among the upper classes, we too are falling in to the same pit and are slowly imploding.

          • The Revealer

            “….by the dirty Greek people and ancient Romans……”

            Funny thing God chose the language of the “dirty Greek people”, instead of the language of the clean AngloSaxons, to spread his word.
            Funny thing the Roman Empire was chosen by God to facilitate the spread of Christianity.
            I wonder why that is, hater.

            “I told you that through intermarriage which GOD HATES, there was pollution of the gene pool,….”
            Neiman on 11/27/2012 posted on the Thanksgiving Holiday Open Thread.

          • Neiman

            By that closing quote, out of context, making it into a lie, we know you are a sock puppet of Ellinas.

            It was the Greeks that were well known for pederasty, wasn’t it? You know forcible sexual relations with young boys? It is said the Greeks have a word for it, because of their exhaustive vocabulary wherein they had very specific words for every nuance of meaning and yes, through Luke and a few other Greeks, knowing the Greek language was so well known in trading routes, the Holy Spirit anointed a few people to translate His Words in the New Testament. It does not imply approval of the sexually debased Greek Culture as a whole does it?

            Rome was the center of the world @ the time of Christ and through evangelization there, Christian communities grew and the Gospel spread. If you are implying the Roman Catholic Church, God did not choose that man-made organization and the Gospel they spread was a false Gospel.

            You cannot prove any hate on my part, that is a typical antichristian liberal charge used to silence debate.

          • ellinas1

            “You know forcible sexual relations with young boys?”

            No, I do not know forcible sexual relations with young boys, and they were not well known for pederasty.
            If you do enlighten me.

            “Rome was the center of the world @ the time of Christ..”
            Rome was the center of the western world.
            What about China? India? Parthia and Persia? What happened to the eastern world?

          • Flyby_Knight

            By the way, that addresses your question about gay marriage. Your claim that “Certain core moral values have remained constant in all time, geographic and social settings. Among then has always and only been marriage between opposite gender” is demonstrably false in numerous other ways. For example, several societies have approved of one many marrying many women, or one woman marrying many men.

            It’s not true. Stop digging.

      • MG

        Morals are subjective, if you resist surrendering your will to a Higher Power. When man attempts to define moral behavior on his own it tends to lead to chain reaction of poor decisions. It is a very self-centered view to think that my actions do not have an impact on those around me.

  • RCND

    If government is to stay out of social issues then they need to stay out all the way. That means for example if Abortion is to remain legal, no government money or mandates can go to supporting it either. It needs to work both ways

    • HG

      There are social issues that the gov’t just can’t stay out of, not without the fabric of society greatly deteriorating. This is a debate between libertarian and conservative views. It seems to me that like all liberal theory, it sounds okay but when it’s practiced, it fails. Even Rob admits it in this post:

      “But since we’ve instituted government bans we’re now in the realm of creating more victim classes under the law, and criminalizing certain types of speech critical of homosexuality.”

      It is actually the gay rights nonsense that is responsible for the criminalizing of speech critical of homosexuality. But it goes further. Where laws have been passed allowing same-sex marriage, businesses with moral objections to it can be fined and penalized for refusing participation in it. Once you legalize same-sex marriage, you criminalize discrimination against it. It cuts both ways.

      • RCND

        That may be in the case of gay marriage, and I won’t argue with you on that, but my point was to abortion. I despise it personally, as do many. Even when done in the case of incest or rape, a defenseless human life is ended… yet the vast vast majority of abortions are done out of convenience vs because of those two heinous crimes.

        Those two crimes are used to keep it legal for the most part though. So, if the government will not forbid it by law because it is a personal/ social matter and we also want to be able to justify ending human life in the case of a crime, they must also not fund it nor mandate that it be funded by others. As you say, it cuts both ways

    • Flyby_Knight

      That’s a good point.

  • MG

    One man, one woman in a committed relationship before God for the purpose of raising children has been recognized as the building block of a civilized society for thousands of years. Those who seek to destroy it should not be suprised when the formation and discipline previously provided by parents now must be supplied by the State.

    • realitybasedbob

      MGee, the Bible is a long list of mutli-wived men.
      It’s a best selling book, have you heard of it?

      Men of the Bible with Multiple Wives

      Deuteronomy 21:15-17

      Exodus 21:1-11

      King Dave

      It was good to be King Solomon

      • Neiman

        The problem is miss non-christian, God never approved and never the perversion of gay marriage.

      • HG

        Rbb, what are you suggesting? What does the fact that men have married more than one wife in the OT have to do with same-sex marriage?

    • MG

      Hi Bob, I’m not a sola scriptura person but I agree, the Bible contains many examples of bad behavior. Keep reading it, you will like the ending! It’s not a best-seller by accident.

      • realitybasedbob

        Not sola scriptura? Well then you’re an evil God hating apostate then.
        Don’t think so? Just ask Neiman.

        • Neiman

          You are a liar

  • $34543430

    If you don’t like gay marriage, don’t get one.

    • two_amber_lamps

      And in no way shape or form use my tax dollars to support or recognize them.

      • $34543430

        People have to pay to get marriage licenses, so I don’ think that would be much of a problem.

        • two_amber_lamps

          No, my point is no benefits/tax shelters from the government based on their “civil union” or whatever you want to call it. No joint filing, no social security death benefit accommodation, nothing.

          I don’t care if you want to have Sodom and Gomorrah in your house, don’t expect me to recognize it and I’ll be damned if I’ll agree to squander tax dollars to support this nonsense.

          • Flyby_Knight

            I don’t know why the state is in the business of marriage at all. Let’s get rid of all of that for straight people, too, since most of us will just wind up getting divorced, anyway.

          • two_amber_lamps

            “since most of us will just wind up getting divorced, anyway.”

            I wish I could dispute that fact…..