Monday, 19 March 2012

Gay Marriage

I am still trying to follow the Archbishop of Westminster's argument that allowing gays to marry is a terrible violation of human rights, oops, Human Rights. Hmmm... nope, can't quite see it. Is there a missing negative there? Have all the newspapers reported it wrongly? Let's try that then: not allowing gays to marry is a terrible violation of human rights... Yes! Now it makes sense! That must be what he means.

All attempts at humour aside, the Archbishop's argument essentially seems to be that the venerable institution of marriage will be cheapened by letting in the riff-raff. Luckily, I have a proposal for him that I rather think may brighten his mood considerably!

First off, I'm afraid that the State is as intrusive now as it ever was. Marriages aren't legal unless they are processed by the state — a fact that the Catholic Church, as opposed to the Church of England, has had to accept for a long time now, since when Catholics have a church wedding, they also have to have a separate civil wedding, usually just before or just after the religious one and done on the quiet somewhere private on the church's premises. Othewise, though the couple may be married in the eyes of the Church, they aren't married in the eyes of the State, and that would be just too confusing for everybody. Now the State just isn't going to abandon its privileges in this area, I'm afraid that's not on. But the Catholic Church has a way of reconciling itself to such behaviour based on a maxim coined by its founder: "Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's" (quite snappy really).

So we're going to have to say goodbye to the word "marriage", sorry about that old chap, no way round it. But what we can do is invent another term — like the way we did with "Civil Partnership" — that can mean everything we used to mean by "Marriage", except with added specialness from not having to share it with anybody that doesn't deserve like want to use it (i.e., riff-raff).

Obviously the archbish is going to have his own favourite candidates for this role, but here are a few that I think might fit the biscuit. What about "Mystical Union"? That sounds super and soaraway, and quite religious doesn't it? Or, since I hear that one of the arguments was that marriage should be reserved for people who can be progenitors (except, of course that there would still have to be room for heterosexuals who can't, obviously), what about "Progenital Partnership"? No? Let's see... "Mariantur"? "Maritari Possunt"?

Actually, I would have though that the Archbishop would be cock-a-hoop about the proposal. Because it's the civil version of marriage that will be, in his view, spoiled: that is to say, the marriage that you get in a Registry Office or a Church of England church. Aha! The Church of England doesn't have a marriage that's separate from the civil one, they are the same thing, but the Catholic Church (as discussed above), already does. If that isn't enough evidence of Divine Dispensation for him, I don't know what is.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Terrifying paragraph

From Cause, Effect & the Fallacy of a Return to Normalcy, my emphasis:
Besides not actually reducing their debts, the disposable personal income figure provided by the government drones at the BEA includes government transfer payments for Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, unemployment compensation, food stamps, veterans benefits, and the all- encompassing “other”. Disposable personal income in the 2nd quarter of 2008 reached $11.2 trillion. It has risen by $500 billion, to $11.7 trillion by the end of 2011. Coincidentally, government social transfers have risen by $400 billion over this same time frame, a 20% increase. Excluding government transfers, disposable personal income has risen by a dreadful 1.1%. For the benefit of the slow witted in the mainstream media, every penny of the social welfare transfers has been borrowed. Only a government bureaucrat could believe that borrowing money from the Chinese, handing it out to unemployed Americans and calling it personal income is proof of deleveraging and austerity.

Friday, 9 March 2012

The big winners from the Greek CAC event

By allowing EU institutions to convert their existing holdings of Greek bonds for senior debt instruments, not subject to haircut, the Europeans have mightily pissed off American and other bondholders. The amount of venom directed at the ECB in the blogs and on the boards for this kind of trickery — which, let's face it, would have startled us with its barefaced cheek if it had happened in China — is quite frightening. The more perceptive commentators are talking of a "political premium" that will have to be paid by any and all Euro Zone governments for access to the international bond markets. I wonder if the big winners here might not end up being London-based law firms, as I guess there is going to be a big increase in the work of drawing up "English Law" bonds (and a corresponding decline in Portuguese-, Irish- and Italian-law bonds), and there will no doubt be an increase in London-based litigation on the basis of those bonds further down the road.