Beware ‘The Next Big Thing’
I’m so old that I remember when the Establishment set the rules and rebels tried to break them. Now, we seem to be embarked on a great experiment in which the former rebels are in charge and determined to get rid of all the rules.
Sometimes, I think the experiment is to see how outrageous the elimination of norms can get before the public stops going along and says, “Enough!”
It makes me wonder what the next big push will be for. A few come to mind:
Plural marriage. This is the easiest one to predict because we’re already so close. Loving vs. Virginia merely extended the traditional right of marriage to mixed-race couples. Obergefell vs. Hodges nullified the traditional definition of one man, one woman by extending the right to same-sex couples. Since that limitation was removed, there is nothing to prevent marriage from being expanded to cover almost any living arrangement. Using the logic and language of Obergefell, try to argue against, for example, the right of a bisexual to enter into a marriage with both a man and a woman. It can’t be done.
The right to die. To avoid the perception that this is an attempt to clear the decks of aging baby boomers with their costly medical needs, we will be instructed not to use the terms euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide since they have acquired such negative connotations. Instead, we will be treated to essays on such topics as personal autonomy and the right to say goodbye with dignity.
So long to the First Amendment. This part of the Bill of Rights is clearly too problematic in a modern, pluralistic and diverse society. The so-called right to free speech fosters hateful and hurtful commentary, and the free exercise of religion clause is too often used to justify actions obviously designed to thwart the majority’s needs.
The end of federalism. Speaking of the majority, the limitations placed on the will of the people by the Constitution’s misguided efforts to limit power have to be eliminated. Federalism must be replaced by a pure democracy in which a vote of 51 percent always carries the day. Also needed will be the removal of confusing edicts coming from different levels of government. One set of rules from the central authority will suffice.
Redefinition of crime. The reason this country has so many lawbreakers is that it has too may laws. First, we must scrap all victimless crimes, such as prostitution and the use of all drugs (not just marijuana). Then, any so-called property crimes must be examined for the root causes that might lead the victimized to strike back at the privileged. This movement might well be accompanied by a call for the:
Elimination of prisons. Incarceration is clearly an archaic practice that does not work – just check out the recidivism rates. Once we have reduced the number of “criminals” to a manageable few, it should be possible to place them in halfway houses scattered throughout various suburban enclaves. The neighborhoods used for these rehabilitation units will be chosen by lottery.
The citizenship façade. It is finally time to examine this barrier to full participation in all that America has to offer. It is not enough to erase the artificial borders that surround America and lobby for giving voting rights to anyone residing in the country. A human being is a human being, and each one should have the same universal rights as any other. Once we set the example, the rest of the world will surely follow.
What is child “abuse”? The only reason children are traumatized by loving relationships with adults is that we treat it as something shameful instead of a learning experience on the way to adulthood. We should follow the wisdom of the ancient Greeks, whose open approach to this dynamic was so much more civilized than modern society’s attempts to vilify it.
This is by no means an exhaustive list. In fact, the Next Big Thing might be something we’ve never even dreamed of. The only certainty is that, once it appears, it will almost overnight become the most important topic on the agenda and to oppose it would be to risk being shunned as a reactionary enemy of all that is good and decent.
And if you think this whole exercise is preposterous, overly cynical or a misguided attempt to be humorous, you have not been paying attention.
Leo Morris, columnist for The Indiana Policy Review, is winner of the Hoosier Press Association’s award for Best Editorial Writer. Morris, as opinion editor of the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel, was named a finalist in editorial writing by the Pulitzer Prize committee. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.