07 July 2006

Now, when and how do ideas become "outdated"?

As is by now well known, the New York Court of Appeals has ruled that the state’s constitution does not guarantee the right to marriage for same-sex couples.  Howard Dean has criticized the decision as relying on “outdated and bigoted notions about families.”

I find it interesting to note that Dean does not fault the Court of Appeals for failing to follow the law of all things!  He does not say that the decision is not based on the state’s constitution.  I wonder: Does he have any idea what an appellate court is supposed to do?

It is also interesting to note that Dean responds in a typical leftist fashion.  Rather than demonstrate the falsity of the proposition, the left—as I have pointed out time out of mind—prefer to make statements about either the propositions or the people who assert them.  Here, Dean characterizes the decision—a set of propositions—as being based on “outdated and bigoted notions about families.”

I frequently asserted that leftists are Marxist.  Dean’s criticism is an example of why I do so.  Ask yourself just how an idea, or notion, can become “outdated”.  Now, in logic it is customary when referring to concepts, ideas, or notions as being either applicable or inapplicable.  With respect to concepts, the terms applicable or inapplicable are used in much the same way as truth and falsity are with respect to propositions.  A notion can only be applicable or inapplicable.  Only on a Marxist (technically, a Hegelian) worldview could a once-applicable notion possibly become (note the verb) inapplicable.

But even assuming a concept can make the move from being applicable to inapplicable, I am hard pressed to how a concept undergoes this transformation. It would be great to hear the good doctor offer an explanation of just how the passage of time affects the applicability of a concept or notion.  He needn’t bother.  Let’s suppose that the concept of family refers to a group of people who are related to each other by birth, marriage or adoption.  Let’s say further that the concept of marriage refers to the union of a male and a female.  I am willing to bet that if we asked him, Dean would tell us that he rejects utterly that particular notion of marriage.  This notion is not “outdated’; it never, in his mind, made the move from applicable to inapplicable.  As far as he’s concerned that notion has never been  applicable.  In the end all he has said is that the decision relies on “notions about families” that he just happens to disagree with.

Dean’s criticism is also interesting in view of the fact that while the Court of Appeals ruled that the state’s constitution does not guarantee the right to marriage for same-sex couples it also declared that  the state legislature could provide for same-sex marriage.  Of course that’s the problem.  When it comes to policies they don’t like, the left prefer to use the courts, not the democratic process.


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James Frank Solís
Former soldier (USA). Graduate-level educated. Married 26 years. Texas ex-patriate. Ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America.
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