A playground loser may save his ego with the following: I didn’t want to win anyway. Here’s Yale Professor David Brooks’ latest version.
But last week saw a setback for the forces of maximum freedom. A representative of millions of gays and lesbians went to the Supreme Court and asked the court to help put limits on their own freedom of choice. They asked for marriage.
Marriage is one of those institutions — along with religion and military service — that restricts freedom. Marriage is about making a commitment that binds you for decades to come. It narrows your options on how you will spend your time, money and attention.
Whether they understood it or not, the gays and lesbians represented at the court committed themselves to a certain agenda. They committed themselves to an institution that involves surrendering autonomy. They committed themselves to the idea that these self-restrictions should be reinforced by the state. They committed themselves to the idea that lifestyle choices are not just private affairs but work better when they are embedded in law.
This is correct only in the most restrictive sense–the sense in which every choice to do some activity x involves doing x (and maybe for a time not y). But in every other meaningful sense it’s appalling dumb: having the right to marry recognized involves adding choices to one’s life.