Squaring the Culture

"...and I will make justice the plumb line, and righteousness the level;
then hail will sweep away the refuge of lies,
and the waters will overflow the secret place."
Isaiah 28:17

04/04/2010 (7:34 pm)

The Birch Tree Challenge

I’m issuing a challenge to progressives, to see which of them can answer cogently. I’m giving away the secret up front: this is about the semantic contortion that leads them to call long-term cohabiting between gays “marriage,” and insist on marital rights and appurtenances that apply thereto.

I want you to form an argument that (1) explains why you oppose what I’m about to propose, but (2) cannot immediately be offered back as an argument against gay “marriage” rights.

Any answer that contains an insult will be deleted out of hand, and I will not let the author know. I reserve the right to determine what constitutes an insult. This is my site.

Here’s the challenge:

birch-this one

I want to marry the birch tree in my front yard. I love it dearly, it has faithfully provided me shade for decades. I want to marry it legally, and I want all the financial and social advantages that appertain to marriage. The Fourteenth Amendment to the US Constitution guarantees equal protection under the laws; the law of my state does not permit me to marry the birch tree the way others marry their spouse of choice, so my Fourteenth Amendment rights have been violated.

Why should I not be granted the right under the law to marry my birch tree?

I’m going to answer two objections before they’re offered, the first because progressives love moral preening, and the second because progressives tend toward unthinking glibness when challenged intellectually, and I don’t want to waste my time on unserious answers.

So if your answer is:

You don’t know the difference between a birch tree and a human being!


You think gays are not human!

…or some version of that, my answer is “I readily acknowledge that the birch tree is not human, and that gays are. But that’s beside the point. Make your argument explicit: why should I not be permitted to marry the birch tree under the 14th Amendment? Why is ‘human’ a necessary qualification for marriage?”

And if your argument is:

Go ahead. I think you should have the right.

…or some form thereof, my reply is as follows:

When then-Senator Rick Santorum argued that the arguments supporting gay marriage would eventually be used to allow people to marry children, dogs, trees, cars, or whatever, progressives all around the country screeched like worn brake pads, declaring that Santorum was just a bigot expressing his hatred of gays by lying. They’ve said the same about anybody raising the same point ever since. If your answer to my birch tree proposal is “Go ahead,” you demostrate that it was the progressives that were lying, not Santorum. So it now falls to you to give me a reason why I, or any intelligent and well-meaning individual, should ever believe a progressive on any issue, ever again, since it is clear that you’ll engage in vicious character assassination when you know perfectly well that your opponent is arguing sensibly.

The challenge is on. Post your replies below. If you don’t see the “Comments” block, click on the word “Discuss” below.

Disclaimer: this is a hypothetical problem. The birch tree pictured above was selected more or less arbitrarily from a Bing! search on the terms “birch tree photo.” This is not really my front yard, sadly. Moreover, I’m already married to someone other than the birch tree. Clever arrow and text by Shelly. Ain’t she a beaut?

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