Normally Combat! blog does not stoop to publishing on federal holidays, and today our great nation honors its longest-armed and woodiest-toothed presidents. But this weekend was so exciting that one must remark. On Saturday, the Republican candidates tore into one another like a sack of weasels, raising the question of which one of these men, exactly, could lead his party through its most fractious historical moment since the Grant administration. Will Trump unite monied interests, neoconservative hawks and alienated tea party voters with his platform of turning red and calling people losers? Maybe the GOP will rally behind Ted Cruz, the most hated man in the Senate. Your fallback option to heal the party is Marco Rubio, who would like to dispense once and for all with this idea that Obama SYNTAX ERR 403 REBOOT? Y/N. Meanwhile, Jeb is betting on the overwhelming popularity of his brother. The question of who might win this contest of undesirables seemed academic until Saturday, when Antonin Scalia was found dead at a west Texas resort.
The verdicts are in, and once again half of the country absolutely cannot compass the reasoned values of the other half. You would think that, in the socially liberal America of 2013, gay marriage would be a simple issue. It’s not as if gay people wanted to marry straight people. This question of what liberties the US government will afford is the rare controversy in which the rights of one side overlap not at all on the rights of the other. They don’t even have to eat at the same lunch counter. Yet bigots across the country are scandalized that the Supreme Court has denied them the right to curtail the rights of others. Today is Friday, and some people cannot leave well enough alone. Won’t you condemn them smugly with me?
Monday in Princeton, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia defended his comparison of anti-sodomy laws to prohibitions against bestiality and murder. Speaking to gay freshman Duncan Hosie—who questioned whether it was appropriate to imply a connection between blowing a dude and shooting the Lone Ranger in order to penetrate his horse—Scalia said that “I don’t think it’s necessary, but I think it’s effective.” See, Justice Scalia only made that argument because it works. “It’s a form of argument that I thought you would have known, which is called the ‘reduction to the absurd,'” he added. “If we cannot have moral feelings against homosexuality, can we have it against murder? Can we have it against other things?” Obviously, the answer is no; if we permit gay marriage, we have to immediately overturn state and federal laws against murder. Differences between that reductio ad absurdum and Scalia’s after the jump.
The Supreme Court is hearing arguments on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, so it’s time for another edition of Kombat! Kourt for Kids. In today’s meeting of the KK—dammit! Okay, Kombat! Kourt for Kids is now called Kombat? Judiciary for Kids, and today’s meeting of K?JK is about Antonin Scalia. He is still waiting for someone to bring him Solo and the Wookie. He also did not realize that being a Supreme Court justice would require so much reading. In an exchange with Deputy Solicitor Edwin Kneedler last week, Scalia expressed his incredulity that people might expect him to read the entire Affordable Care Act before ruling on it. “Is this not totally unrealistic?” Scalia said. “That we’re going to go through this enormous bill item by item and decide each one?”
We at Combat! blog spend a lot of time considering the problem of others. Partly that’s because I work from home, where I live with several terrariums. When you live alone, have no coworkers and socialize with an insular peer group, it’s easy to start thinking that other people are basically the same as you. They are not. The human experience is characterized first by its stunning variety, and what one person considers the givens of existence are, to another, mere trifles. Take lying, for example. When I lie, I have to take care that what I’m saying sounds like the truth. Otherwise, people will start to think less of me, and because I see the same people over and over again—the colloquial term for this phenomenon is “friends”—my life will get worse. For other people, lying is a sort of formality, the way Japanese people say ittadakimasu before eating. They just have to make the gesture of a declarative statement, and even though nobody believes them, that gesture is enough. It’s probably because they have no friends and the truth means to them what Rembrandt’s Christ With Arms Folded means to a labrador, but who knows? This week’s link roundup is chock full of absurd behavior undertaken by weirdos, and it serves to remind us that other people are startlingly different. Won’t you shudder in disrecognition with me?