Liberals Don’t Really Believe in a “Right to Privacy”
One of the great lies of the latter half of the twentieth century is that there is a Constitutional right to privacy. The right to privacy was established by the Supreme Court in Griswold v. Connecticut (1965), in which the Court ruled that the state could not restrict the use of contraceptives. That law hadn’t been enforced in nearly a hundred years when it was challenged, but that didn’t stop liberals from trying to strike it down.A genuine libertarian, of course, would no more want to use government to impose on the citizens the idea that homosexuality is perfectly moral and acceptable than he would want to use government to impose on the citizens the idea that homosexuality is immoral and unacceptable.
Why? They wanted to make a point, and make it they did: according to the Court, the Constitution guaranteed a “right to privacy.” Where did this right to privacy come from? “[S]pecific guarantees in the Bill of Rights have penumbras, formed by emanations from those guarantees that help give them life and substance,” wrote Justice William O. Douglas, in one of the silliest and least substantive lines of reasoning in legal history.
Later, the “right to privacy” would be extended to unmarried sexual activity in Eisenstadt v. Baird (1972); abortion in Roe v. Wade (1973); and homosexual activity in Lawrence v. Texas (2003). Justice Kennedy ’s opinion in Lawrence is one of the most insulting opinions ever, stating that just because a state legislature finds something immoral doesn’t mean it can ban it and that the Constitution requires that Americans “respect” the private lives of homosexuals. “The State cannot demean their existence or control their destiny by making their private sexual conduct a crime,” Kennedy wrote — announcing a bizarre standard if the Constitution is designed to prevent federal overreach.
Let’s leave aside Kennedy’s logic here — the state constantly demeans the existence of consensual bigamists, prostitutes, incestuous families, bestiality practitioners, and adulterers, and in most of those cases, controls the destinies of those involved in these activities. Let’s focus instead on the basic point, which seems intuitively right to so many Americans: what we do in the bedroom should be our business alone.
I agree with that. You agree with that. We all agree with that. Libertarianism’s impact has been felt by us all — we know that we don’t want cops knocking on our door based on what we do with our sexual partners.
There’s only one problem: the left isn’t truly interested in the right to privacy. What starts in the bedroom doesn’t stay in the bedroom for the left. It ends with government pushing their bedroom agenda-of-the-day.
Now, it’s not enough that a woman has a right to choose to abort her baby – we have to publicly fund it. Now, it’s not enough that people have the right to have unmarried sex – we have to pay taxes to fund their child-rearing.
In California the courts have recently ruled that the right to privacy now requires that the state make no distinction between heterosexual relationships and homosexual relationships. Marriage is not a privacy issue — it is an issue of people’s relationship with the state. But the radical gay movement has not restricted itself to worrying about non-interference in the bedroom. It wants societal acceptance and legitimacy. By the same token, homosexual adoption isn’t a privacy issue — it impacts a child. But the left has sought to extend the right to privacy to cover the right to raise children without a mother or father.
As if that weren’t enough, California, spurred by the powerful gay lobby, has passed legislation changing the Education Code to require that children be instructed “on the contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people.” This is privacy turned on its head. What particular figures do in the bedroom has nothing to do with their contribution to American society. What does Leonardo di Vinci’s preference for boys have to with his historical import? The answer: nothing. But that’s not what the left cares about. They care about exposing children to homosexuality as early as possible in order to legitimate their anti-traditional values morality.
So what happened to the “right to privacy”? It expanded to include public approval of private sexual activity – which returns us closer to the anti-libertarian mold than the libertarian mold. After all, what if society shifts and decides to change its relationship with certain sexual activity again? Libertarianism provides a bright-line: government shouldn’t be involved with sexual activity. By getting the two intertwined again, liberal sexual activists actually bring themselves closer to the brink. Government-sponsored libertarianism is no libertarianism at all.
But a lot of “libertarians” are not really libertarians. They are merely secular social liberals who happen to be economic conservatives. Human liberty, to them, does not include the right to opt out of the gay agenda.