There’s a great opportunity in the latest buzz over same-sex marriage. It’s an opportunity to advance the idea that government is a necessary evil, but should be very limited.
First, the conversation must be altered. People are being forced to pick their side. It’s generally been a binary choice: either you are FOR or you are AGAINST. Like so many things we argue about, it doesn’t have to be that way.
It is entirely reasonable, and I’d argue correct, to personally have either belief but remain indifferent to whether others are legally obliged to follow what you believe.
This is the ultimate limited-government view. Individuals should be free to do what they want as long as it doesn’t affect the rights of other individuals. In general, that means as long as you aren’t committing violence against someone, affecting their property, committing fraud, or failing to uphold your end of a contract, you should be free from government coercion. It’s a very clear, consistent, and simple way to restrain the government.
Opening people’s minds to this idea in regards to this issue is an avenue towards applying it to other issues, as well. This addresses the problem of inconsistency. Many people claim to be small-government warriors but in reality they pick and choose where they want small government and where they want big government. It would do all of us good to think about what consistent, across-the-board small government would look like. Overwhelmingly, it has the potential to once again become a popular idea.
There is likely hesitation when each individual thinks about what would change if the government removed itself from certain things that are perceived as beneficial. But when you look at the big picture, I’d bet that each person would find many more positives than sacrifices.