The Perpetual Three-Dot Column
The Perpetual Three-Dot Column
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by Jesse Walker

Thursday, April 12, 2007
I AM AN UNGRATEFUL WRETCH: My Reason
article on Disney's embrace of gay marriage was reprinted in the Chicago Sun-Times today. I ought to be grateful for that, and I was, until I read this paragraph that now appears below my byline:
This is why I don't buy into what has been called the Hayekian argument against gay marriage, after F.A. Hayek, the economist and philosopher who warned of unintended and perhaps grave consequences if we decide to re-engineer the core elements of marriage.
As far as I'm aware, Hayek never wrote a word about gay marriage. The editors of the Sun-Times were compressing a paragraph in the Reason piece that said something somewhat different:
This is why I don't buy what has been called the Hayekian argument against gay marriage, after F.A. Hayek, the economist and philosopher who celebrated social orders that emerge from below rather than being imposed from above. Jonathan Rauch -- who doesn't buy the argument either -- summed it up in a 2004 article for Reason. The position, he wrote, "warns of unintended and perhaps grave social consequences if, thinking we're smarter than our customs, we decide to rearrange the core elements of marriage. The current rules for marriage may not be the best ones, and they may even be unfair. But they are all we have, and you cannot re-engineer the formula without causing unforeseen results, possibly including the implosion of the institution itself."
The only reason I mentioned Hayek at all was because I then turned around and explained why Hayek's arguments actually support the legalization of gay marriage, not its prohibition. Unfortunately, all the subsequent references to Hayek were removed from the Sun-Times piece, so he only appears as an anti-gay punching bag.

Now, I realize that space is limited and that there are good reasons why an editor would choose that paragraph to cut. Indeed, the entire Rauch quote is missing in the shorter version of the article that will appear in an upcoming print edition of Reason. Miraculously, we managed to extract it in a way that did not falsely ascribe a disagreeable position to one of the greatest thinkers of the last century.


posted by Jesse 12:00 PM
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