Mike Johnson: Loyalty vs. Freedom

Monday, October 30, 2023

It is a shame that the Republican Party -- never exactly a consistent or reliable advocate for freedom to begin with -- remains under the spell of Donald Trump and his personality cult.

The latest manifestation of the rot is the election of the inexperienced and relatively unknown Mike Johnson of Louisiana as Speaker of the House.

A Mild-Mannered Opponent of Personal Liberty (Image by United States Congress, via Wikimedia Commons, public domain.)
I dare say that this is not a choice that a party that is even remotely in touch with normal Americans and wants to win a general, national-level election would make. (To be clear: The Democrats haven't been guilty of that lately, either.)

The following, from a news report, just about sums up the brain-dead selection process. Not to put too fine a point on it, but said process resembles a failure to flush a malfunctioning toilet enough times much more than it does the deliberation of a major political faction of the world's most powerful country.

Here's a quick look at what rose to the top:
Johnson's rise comes after a tumultuous month, capped by a head-spinning Tuesday that within a span of a few hours saw one candidate, Rep. Tom Emmer, the GOP Whip, nominated and then quickly withdraw when it became clear he would be the third candidate unable to secure enough support from GOP colleagues after Trump bashed his nomination.

"He wasn't MAGA," said Trump, referring to his Make America Great Again campaign slogan. [bold added]
This whole circling-the-drain fiasco started because Kevin McCarthy wasn't a Trump puppet, and so was set up to fail from the start by other Trump loyalists.

So he's "MAGA." Aside from loyal to Trump, what might that mean?

Nothing this independent voter wants, anyway.

If we look at Johnson's public record, it is clear that it quite likely means being anti-liberty while paying lip-service to the same.

A quick look at the issue of marriage is instructive. According to Wikipedia, Johnson worked to have something called "covenant marriage" -- which is much harder to end in divorce -- recognized by law in Louisiana.

It is interesting to note a couple of things: (1) A couple wishing such an arrangement for itself already has recourse to prenuptial agreements, so this law is superfluous at best; and (2) Fewer than one percent of couples in the three states that have such laws on the books avail themselves of them.

Absent a reason that makes sense, let's consider the below:
According to proponents of covenant marriage, the movement sets out to promote and strengthen marriages, reduce the rate of divorce, decrease the number of children born out of wedlock, discourage cohabitation, and frame marriage as an honorable and desirable institution.
Notice that every single item above is an altruistic, busy-body excuse to make it harder for a couple to get divorced.

The whole thing reeks of the idea of people not owning their own lives, and reads as if getting married permanently vetoes the rights of the spouses.

What about marriage supersedes, say, one or both spouses recognizing having made a mistake; growing apart and leaving as friends; or discovering that, however much they might love each other, the best thing they can do for themselves and each other is to set themselves free? To an individualist, the answer is nothing.

It is astounding how inimical people who regard marriage as intrinsically good can be to the welfare of the two individuals in a marriage. Or, for that matter, the purpose of a marriage, which would be to promote that welfare through a freely-entered legal agreement tailored as necessary or desired to that couple's needs.

And while we're still wondering why Johnson is busying himself writing laws that make it harder for couples to correct their past mistakes, we are confronted with the fact that he opposes gay marriage:
... Johnson called homosexuality "inherently unnatural" and a "dangerous lifestyle"; he argued that if same-sex marriage was allowed, "then we will have to do it for every deviant group. Polygamists, polyamorists, pedophiles, and others will be next in line to claim equal protection", including people who want to marry their pets. Johnson further concluded that allowing same-sex marriage would put the country's "entire democratic system in jeopardy". In another article, he wrote that unnamed experts "project that homosexual marriage is the dark harbinger of chaos and sexual anarchy that could doom even the strongest republic". [footnotes omitted, bold added]
To whom is homosexuality dangerous, so long as it is between consenting adults? In what way is it dangerous? And speaking of the need for consent as a prerequisite for needing legal protection, said need obviates the whole idea of someone marrying a pet, however frightening to religious nuts like Johnson that prospect is.

Ditto for pedophilia, which would remain illegal if only lawmakers -- among whom, alas, Johnson can count himself -- remembered the proper purpose of government, which is the protection of individual rights. Since children can't give meaningful consent, sexual activities with them would and should be illegal.

All this "culture wars" caterwauling occurs, by the way, against the backdrop of the GOP's bovine failure to question the meaning (much less propriety) of "equal protection," which is often the violation of the free speech and property rights of business owners.

But to permit bigots to be bigots -- the bug Johnson wants based on some of his past activist legal work -- would require consistency, such as also getting the government to butt out of the institution of marriage altogether except to enforce freely crafted (and entered) marriage contracts of all kinds -- the feature he apparently fears.

What a treasure the GOP has ... surfaced ... with its rigorous and well-thought out criterion of Must Be MAGA...

If they -- led by Johnson, of course -- end up wondering why Trump's 2024 coattails are so short or why he lost (again) --

Oh, never mind. The kind of mentality that places loyalty to a mere person above a commitment to the truth and to liberty can't be bothered with a way back.

-- CAV

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