I wrote a piece the other day here, that Blazing Cat Fur picked up on, and on his site various of us commented on further. The piece was about tiny Morehouse College making a policy about clothing for its all male students, like no dresses, do rags or pants at your knees. I also wrote about Keith Bardwell the JP in Louisiana who chose not to perform the marriage of a mixed race couple, because of his concern for the children of the marriage and for the marriage itself. The couple were able to be married by another JP, but the wife particularly is furious with Bardwell that he would deny her her rights, and blah, blah, blah. In other words it was all about her, and how dare he.
I still stand on what I said, but Xanthippa particularly raised interesting questions in what became a bit of a debate. Here is much of the thread that followed in the comments:
Xanthippa started the debate part of the show, after the usual fun and frivolity that accompanies some of BCF's postings:
OK - I may not be expressing a popular opinion here - but I do so knowing it will not be banned or dismissed out of hand: and that's a compliment.
Because, I do think this is something we DO need to have a clear and open debate on...
When people - individuals - are acting on behalf of the state, they cannot put their personal opinions or beliefs above the rules of that state.
Because a state can only act THROUGH its agents. And, when acting on behalf of the state, these agents, in a very real sense, ARE the state.
And while it is nobody's business but their own what they do in their private capacity, what principles they choose to uphold and which rules they choose to live by, while they EMBODY the state, they must not represent any positions which are contrary to the state's.
Of course, if the state's rules are contrary to the individual agent's personal principles or beliefs, that person must not be forced to continue to be an agent of the state. They MUST have the freedom to quit!
In this way, if a State has passed laws/established rules which are abhorrent to its populace, it will find that no person is willing to act as its agent - and the State will collapse. THAT is the 'counterweight', the BALANCE, in this process.
If people who are acting as agents of the state were able to arbitrarily choose which laws they agree with - and will therefore enforce - and which they will not...and these people do not (or, cannot) loose their jobs, then there is no consistency in how the law is applied, when it is not...
The result is worse than anarchy!
Well, as it was my original piece that was linked to BCF's blog, I responded: