Don Benton’s Divorce Bill -A Clever Libertarian Ruse?

Posted: February 18, 2013 in Uncategorized

Recently, Don Benton put forth a bill, Senate Bill 5614 , the ‘Family Second Chance Act’ that would require a waiting period of a year before finalizing a divorce in an effort to compel those who are about to put a financial burden on the State to think it over more carefully. It would also require the contemplative couple to read a state-issued handbook on ‘the benefits of reconciliation’. No word on if there would be an exam on the material, and what, if any, sanctions would be imposed in the case of a grade of ‘D’ or lower.

My initial reaction when I read the article in the Columbian was anger that I had helped by voting and asking others to vote to elect a big statist who would presume to use the government to tell adults how long they should remain married, thereby taking the ‘nanny state’ idea to a new level, that of a kind of secular parish priest. In the course of throwing up my hands in frustration and despair however, I came to the conclusion that actually, this bill is a stroke of pure genius.

The thought came to me as I was pondering how any Republican could be disingenuous enough to call himself a proponent of ‘small government’ while putting forward legislation that would make Kim Jong Un blush. I suddenly realized that what that wily old Senator intended by introducing such ridiculous legislation was to expose the lunacy of the government being involved in marriage at all. For years, conservative legislators have been saying that they “would prefer it if marriage were not the province of the state at all, but since it is…(insert socially-conservative statist legislation here). Senator Benton, seeing this disturbing pattern, decided to call their collective bluff by putting forward a bill so heavy-handed and infringing on individual civil liberties that it would force them to look in the mirror and see the hypocrisy they had been participating in and repent. He also clearly intended for an anti-Republican backlash to occur that would lead to major reforms in the way the Party approaches issues involving civil liberties. One need only read the comments after the Columbian article to see that his plan is working perfectly!

There really is no other conclusion for a rational person to draw. Don Benton is brilliant! This bill will advance the cause of Liberty more than pikers like Ron Paul ever dreamed of doing. Let me just say to Senator Benton, if he is reading, that I am sorry for ever doubting you.

  1. normallysane says:

    When a couple enters into a contract, (before G_d, and recognized by the state) to produce, rear and educate children the state gives certain incentives to that couple in the form of tax breaks etc, etc, etc in order to give every advantage to those children and that family as possible, it is certainly within the realm of good faith to try to keep that contract in force whenever it is to the advantage of the children, (i.e., the parents do not pose a threat to the life and liberty and safety of the children. Whose interest is best served by enforcing the contract once consummated? Buyer beware? Hardly.

    Your inconvenience and your hurt feelings are no excuse to abandon your responsibilities as a parent.

  2. It never ceases to amaze me how perfectly good conservatives can accept statism as long as it favors their position (as you do here), but loudly decry it in idealist fashion when it goes against them, as you do in the other thread regarding ‘Gun Free Zones’. The point here is not that parents ought to be free to abdicate their responsibilities. It is that they are better judges than the state about their situation and its capacity for redemption, or lack thereof. The state is in absolutely no position to make a credible judgement on this, and frankly, it’s none of their darn business. If a couple chooses voluntarily to put themselves under the authority of a Pastor, Priest, Rabbi, etc. then great. I would always counsel people away from divorce, particularly where children are involved. Using legal force to keep people together is another matter.

  3. normallysane says:

    I is not meddling, but insuring that indeed the rights of the children are not caused to suffer because a parent is selfish and has determined he or she no longer wishes to be a part of the contract. The action of the court on behalf of the children is no less valuable than the action of the court in ensuring that children seeking abortions without telling their parents have not been raped or otherwise abused. That is not statism, that is defending children from abuse or neglect or worse. No I do not believe the parents are necessarily capable of credible judgment on such an emotionally charged issue and yes I would give the option of voluntary counsel.
    Sorry, there are too many great kids screwed up by parents splitting sheets to believe it is in their best interest, and not make every attempt to keep the family whole.

  4. Normally, I would say that you are entitled to your opinion, but when you attempt to turn your opinion into more government control – in this case of overseeing people’s marriages – then you have become an enemy of liberty. If God Himself grants the liberty for people to make that choice (even though He hates divorce) then government has zero right to take it away again. This country is founded on the idea that people can make their own determination on life’s choices. These choices are not ceded to the state in a free country. I would have all people come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, but I am certainly not interested in attempting to use government to force something that God made a function of free will.

    When statism is allowed, it will eventually be used against everyone.

  5. Ron says:

    “A clever Libertarian Ruse” ahhh I see… brilliant! Sooo THAT’S what Ann Coulter was up to – winning the hearts of young freedom loving libertarians by PRETENDING the right is no less totalirarian than the left – (she also wants to make divorce more difficult – did you see her on John Stossels show?)

  6. I’m not even sure I buy the right-left dichotomy anymore. I think the real separation is between those who are for more government control, and those who are for more freedom. The challenge in the political sphere is not to convert people to Republicans, but to make them understand what liberty means. Ann Coulter is still stuck in this ‘score points on Democrats’ mentality that I grew tired of years ago.

    Nice to hear from you, Ron.

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