Matt C. Abbott
The libertarian candidate
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By Matt C. Abbott
October 5, 2010

If you're a social conservative who lives in Illinois — like, say, yours truly — for whom do you vote when you have a pro-abortion, special-rights-for-homosexuals-supporting Democrat and an equally pro-abortion, special-rights-for-homosexuals-supporting Republican running for U.S. Senate?

Answer: You vote for a third-party candidate, even if, sad to say, that candidate has no realistic chance of winning.

Both Republican Mark Kirk and Democrat Alexi Giannoulias are equally pro-abortion, and both support special rights for homosexuals (although Kirk is supposedly opposed to homosexual "marriage"). Speaking realistically, the winner will be either Giannoulias or Kirk.

But in this column, I'm focusing on Mike Labno, the Libertarian Party's U.S. Senate candidate and a Catholic. Labno is solidly pro-life, which is why I'm very inclined to vote for him. My one hesitation is his position on homosexual "marriage" — a position I've come to expect from libertarians. It's worth exploring.

I contacted Labno's campaign office and asked for his position on homosexual "marriage." Here's Labno's response (slightly edited):

    'As a person running for office on the basis of upholding the Constitution and our principles of Independence, and with the goal of removing an over-intrusive government from our daily lives, this query calls for more than a surface answer to a complicated question. The fact of the matter is that I have no position on the topic of same-sex marriage. It is as if I am asked my opinion of walking on the ceiling in lieu of the floor.

    'Confused yet? I hope so, because that is how we get to the crux of the problem — by peeling away the supposed simplicity of the situation.

    'The question that people should ask is whether or not the government has the authority to interfere in marriage. The simple answer to that is a resounding 'NO.' Marriage is, and ought to remain, a social, religious function devoid of government intervention and does not require an act of Congress to certify that status. If left to religious organizations, marriages would be taken more seriously and the threat of homosexual-marriages would not exist. But by giving government authority over this most precious institution, we are slowly eroding our own civil liberties and enslaving ourselves to an agenda-filled institution.

    'I am warned by many in religious communities about the waning destruction of society if heterosexual marriage is not upheld by the federal government. Well, considering how the government messes up everything it touches, the last place I want them involved in is our personal relationships. Already, government tell us that marriage is an important foundation in society — yet they hypocritically allow for the dissolution of marriage on the flimsiest of pretenses — this alone has hurt so many children that it fills me with the urge to vomit.

    'Many people tell me it will mess up the 'tax codes' if you cannot declare marital status. Well guess what, our income tax system is pure theft and should be abolished — every person is equal and each individual's burden for the legitimate limited functions of government should also be equal.

    'I am told that Catholic adoption agencies will have to recognize same-sex marriages if it is legalized. Short of the aforementioned governmental abuse of power over marriage, what people fail to see is the usurpation of property rights with which these adoption agencies endure. No one has the right to legislate how you conduct your business: This is the real crime and this is what we ought to be fighting. Property, rightly earned, is our most basic right next to life and liberty and no one shall have domain over anything that is not their own. By fighting the wrong fight, same-sex marriage laws, and instead ignoring our loss of property rights, we inch ever closer to communism and the complete loss of sovereignty.

    'It has been proposed that if two [North American Man-Boy Love Association] members were given the right to adopt, they would do so only for the pleasure of sexually abusing a child. While this is disgusting in every aspect of thought, it is not the underlying circumstances that are the problem, it the violation of rights that need to be addressed. This is to say that while this hypothetical situation is something to consider, the fact of the matter remains that sexual abuse is prevalent in many heterosexual marriages, yet no one calls for government to ban traditional marriage.

    'Potentially harmful situations are various and no central authority can predict enough of them with certainty — especially since similar situations will breed many different results. What we need to make sure of is that the punishment for pedophilia is so severe and revolting that the mere thought of acting in such a manner makes one quiver with fear when the consequences of getting caught crosses their mind. In short, by returning authority to the adoption agencies, we can be more certain that most potentially harmful situations will be avoided.

    'In this response, I am including another person that is concerned about my position on DOMA, and so I will address her concern as well:

      Recently in the San Francisco area, parents sued their school district for the right to opt their elementary school children out of anti-bullying programs that affirm both homosexuality and transgenderism. A superior court judge denied their request. The judge determined that 'any opt out right' is 'outweighed by the policies against discrimination and harassment of students from LGBT [Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender] families.' So, opting your first-grader out of pro-homosexual presentations now constitutes discrimination and harassment of LGBT students.

    ''We The People' have allowed this to happen to ourselves. By spending so much time and energy asking our government to do things for us, we have given them the power to assume control over our lives completely. Instead of judges being elected or appointed because they stick to constitutional principles, we now have activists. And these activists gain power because the voters don't know who is running, they know little about the candidates, with the power to appoint, they elect, and mostly, they know very little about what constitutionality actually means. We have let politics escape our lives and given up our liberties for some temporary security. In certain fashion, temporary security has backfired and we have finally hit the crossroads that will determine our viability as a leading nation.

    'Our public school system is a joke, and yet we demand governments fix it instead of letting free markets and individual choice provide the best education system possible. Because of the situation above, and many other reasons, my own child attends a private school, yet I am left, like others, with no compensation for the public education funds I provide yet will never use. But sure as the day is long, we will continue to elect officials that will ignore our pleas only because they are the lesser of two evils; few have the intestinal fortitude to just send a message — and we still always end up with evil.

    'What we need are people, like myself, that will turn this system right-side up to restore the individual sovereignty endowed upon all of mankind. What we need is a return to our founding principle that the individual has domain over their life, not anyone else. What we need is to educate others and show what they have lost by expecting from others. What we need is to win over the hearts and minds of our neighbors, not to be distracted with squabbling while government steals our treasure for their corporatist friends. What we need is a tax revolt: Don't tread on me! What this country needs is a revolution at the ballot boxes — political courage, not compromise. And what we really need to understand is that once we have completely sunken into the tarpits of economic depression, nothing else will really matter except for basic survival.

    'I hope you understand my view and realize that I am looking at the big picture. We only alienate the public-at-large by using public policy to enforce our own agendas. My intention is to strengthen our citizens, our communities and our religious institutions by restoring rights and eliminating as much centralized government as possible.'

Laurie Higgins, director of the Division of School Advocacy for the Illinois Family Institute, had the following observations regarding Labno's stated position on homosexual "marriage" (slightly edited):

    'You [Labno] have lumped social and religious functions together when I believe they should be separated. The government is involved and has long been involved with marriage because it is not solely or even centrally a private institution concerned primarily with the sexual attraction and emotional feelings of individuals. The government is involved with marriage because marriage is a public institution centrally concerned with linking children to the biological parents who produce them. The 'government,' that is to say, the people's representatives, are concerned with that which promotes the public good. And societies have long understood that the health and future of any society depends on the next generation, and the proper functioning of the next generation depends on stable nuclear families. Traditional marriage is the foundational institution upon which any society stands.

    'You made a huge claim that I think would be nigh unto impossible to support: You said: 'If left to religious organizations, marriages would be taken more seriously and the threat of homosexual-marriages would not exist.' I completely disagree. What you don't seem to understand is that marriage is something objective; it has an ontology that pre-dates the state. Governments recognize marriage; they don't create it. I believe the wholesale abandonment of marriage by the government would send the message that marriage has no objective ontological status; is whatever individuals want it to be; and that this objective institution is surplusage relative to society.

    'Furthermore, not only would the essential institution of marriage be threatened by homosexual marriages, but by polygamy and incestuous marriages. Stanley Kurtz has studied Scandinavian countries and found that those that have same-sex marriage also have a decline in heterosexual investment in the critical institution of marriage.

    'You are absolutely right, the government and society have done a grave disservice to children by making divorce easy, but that's no justification for throwing out the institution completely. Having the government sanction marriages does not require the government to be involved in our personal relationships other than in legally recognizing it. In contrast, the government requires me to have a driver's license to drive, and is deeply involved in my driving activities with all sorts of rules of the road. The government has virtually nothing to do with my personal marital relationship.

    'You're tilting at windmills if you're seriously trying to get the government out of licensing marriages — which would be disastrous if you were successful. Second, your effort to get government out of the business of licensing marriage is not an effort to reduce the encroachment of a ravenous and expansive government. It is true that government is too big and involved in much it shouldn't be. But marriage is not one of those things. And government's involvement in licensing marriage is not a new endeavor.

    'Government has been involved in marriage in this country virtually since its inception because men far wiser than us understood that marriage — that is, the preexistent, objective institution that unites biological parents to the children their union produces — is essential to the continuance and health of any country. What you are proposing constitutes a radical change.'

Conservative commentator George Kocan added (slightly edited):

    'As a former libertarian, I offer some comments. The Constitution and the political philosophy it implies is not a libertarian document. It is a Catholic document, even though, ironically, Protestants put it to paper. This assumes certain truths about the human condition. It assumes the active existence of original sin, a Catholic doctrine. It assumes that man was created in the image and likeness of God, a condition requiring respect from other men. It assumes the relevance of the moral law, which means the moral law exists and cannot be ignored by any government. (For example, the libertarian assumption that all economic activity is morally based on free exchange rather than fraud or violence is part of the moral law.)

    'One of the implications of the moral law is that homosexuality is immoral and that institutionalizing it in a legal union is absurd. That is to say, the government has no right to re-define marriage as it has no right to re-define a dog as an elephant. It means also that society, acting through the government, has an obligation to suppress blatant immorality, especially when it takes on the dimensions of a mass political movement.'



Related link:

"Gay Marriage"

© Matt C. Abbott

 

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Matt C. Abbott

Matt C. Abbott is a Catholic commentator with a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication, media and theatre from Northeastern Illinois University. He's been interviewed on MSNBC, NPR, WLS-TV (ABC) in Chicago, WMTV (NBC) in Madison, Wis., and has been quoted in The New York Times and the Chicago Tribune. He can be reached at mattcabbott@gmail.com.


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