Family Issues

Reason Writers Around Town: Shikha Dalmia on Michelle Bachmann's Marriage Pledge


In her latest column at The Daily, Reason Foundation Senior Analyst Shikha Dalmia writes:

Every few years, the stars misalign and some social conservative comes out and does the political equivalent of baying at the moon. In the wake of 9/11, Dinesh D'Souza penned a whole book explaining that Osama bin Laden attacked the United States because Hollywood makes movies depicting America as a decadent, promiscuous country instead of a modest, God-fearing one.

And last week, an Iowa-based religious outfit, FAMiLY LEADER, asked presidential candidates to sign a pledge to defend traditional marriage and fight Islamic law, or Sharia. The trouble is that the steps that the four-page document lists to defend traditional marriage are tantamount to imposing Sharia.

Read all about it here.


NEXT: Author Nancy Rommelmann on Her New Novel 'The Bad Mother' and the Myth of Hollywood

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  1. Michelle Bachmann is no less “libertarian” than Jeff Flake. Much more so than past Reason faves Butch Otter and Bill Richardson.

    1. The fact that she signed this pledge demonstrates handily that she is wants nothing to with libertarians.

      Either that or, like Glenn Beck, she’s using words that she doesn’t understand.

      1. classic beck – “union-muslim caliphate”

      2. Other than the defense of DOMA what in that pledge is within the powers of a US President?

      3. What part of economically and socially conservative do you not understand?

      4. I was watching Glenn Beck one day when he had her as a guest, and as she gave a non-answer to a fairly direct question he mouths to the camera “Did you see that?” or something to that effect.

        It was pretty funny that a conservative shill pretending to be a libertarian host pointed out that the conservative shill pretending to be a libertarian guest was a conservative shill pretending to be a libertarian.

        1. Since when have Glenn Beck or Bachmann “pretended” to be libertarians? I don’t remember either calling themselves libertarian. Some libertarians may feel the need to call them libertarians in order to rationalize their support for them based on some points of agreement, but Beck and Bachmann call themselves conservatives, not libertarians.

          Saying they are “pretending” implies dishonesty on their parts. Your use of the word “pretending” implies dishonesty on your part.

          1. I don’t recall either of them using that word to describe themselves either.
            There is this thing called “implication”.
            Look it up.
            It’s when one says and does things to give the impression (look that word up) that they are something without actually coming out and explicitly (there’s another word you should look up) saying it.

            1. They are both fiscal libertarians. That’s good enough for me compared to Prez O’Dumbo.

    2. Damn, you beat me here. I was going to make a snarky “Paging SIV” comment as soon as I saw the headline.

      However I agree with you 100% on the relative “libertarian street cred” of Bachmann v. Flake, and find it strange that others don’t see that as well.

    3. Well, SIV, you know I live in Georgia with our open primary and I assure you I will vote for Michele (unless RP or GJ are close to Romney – 1% chance tops)

      1. I took a shit in Atlanta once.

        1. who’s shit was it?

          1. My! What tiny balls you have!

      2. I know you will. Question is, who is less homophobic, Michelle B or Barack O? Of course, Barry has his own Michelle whispering sweet anti-gay nothings in his ear. Funny thing, Dick Chaney is pro gay rights. What in the world?

        1. Obama is less homophobic, since he does not, like Michelle Bachmann, make money selling a cure for homosexuality. Glad we settled that.

          1. …lied about it to get elected to the most powerful political position in the world.

            1. So you agree with me.

    4. Like the headline I misspelled Congresswoman Bachmann’s first name with two “l”s

    5. Seriously, SIV, stop trying to defend Ms. Bachmann. You’re not making her look better, you’re making yourself look worse.

  2. Exactly.

    Christian Sharia is still Sharia – to paraphrase the Bard.

    1. Dalmia. That’s a moos-lim name, isn’t it?

      1. kenyan

        1. So like Kenya’s Obama, Dalmia is muslim too.

  3. “robust childbearing and reproduction”

    You know who else wanted women to fucus on reproduction?

    1. David Koresh?

      1. Actually, according to one Michael Donovan who filed actions in the superior court for plymouth county (MASS) and in federal district court against an array of elected state and federal officials including the late Edward Moore Kenedy, the FBI, the CIA, Interpol, the Mossad and his landlord and moi, Koresh’s real name was Walter Vernon.

    2. wild bill clinton babieee!

  4. BACHMANN: In New York state, they have passed the law at the state legislative level and, under the 10th amendment, the states have the right to set the laws that they want to set.

    WALLACE: So even though you oppose it, then its ok from ? your point of view ? for New York to say that same-sex marriage is legal.

    BACHMANN: That is up to the people of New York. I think that it’s best to allow the people to decide on this issue. I think it’s best if there is an amendment that goes on the ballot, where people can weigh in. […]

    WALLACE: But you would agree, if its passed by the state legislature and signed by the governor then that’s the state’s position.

    BACHMANN: It’s state law. And the 10th amendmet reserves to the states that right.

    1. excapt during the debate bachman directly contradicted herself when she said the above then turned-around and said she also supported a fed marrage amendment as one man/woman. goldwater was correct; evangelical/socons are NOT true conservatives

      1. They are not?

        Damn, every “true conservative” I hear says you must be anti-choice, anti-ESCR, etc.

        I like Senator Scott Brown a lot. Is he a conservative?

        1. This word conservative, it does not mean what you think it means.

          Whether or not you like someone is not a litmus test as to what that person’s political beliefs are.

          Besides, “liking” someone and being willing to vote for that person are two different things. I respect Dennis Kusinich, I would never vote for him, but I respect him. Unlike most lefty politicians I think he is sincere.

          1. Conservative means lots of different things in different contexts.

        2. Her reply there makes it clear that she is less homophobic than Obama.

      2. Today Goldwater would probably identify more with the libertarian party.

      3. excapt during the debate bachman directly contradicted herself when she said the above then turned-around and said she also supported a fed marrage amendment as one man/woman

        There is no contradiction. Bachmann is being consistent in her respect for the Constitution and legitimate political process. A liberal in her position, i.e. wanting to overturn state law, would simply try to get the SCOTUS to nullify the state law based on an emanation or penumbra.

  5. “tantamount to imposing Sharia”?

    Please. Rhetorical overeach much?

    1. Shreek is worse than Tony when it comes to his obsession with christfags.

      1. Why do you conservatives support Sharia?

        1. Why do you conservatives support Sharia?

          Sharia runs Somalia better then the Somalia government ran Somalia…so there is that.

  6. …to hell with niceties like state’s rights.

    I know it’s common usage. However, is it too much to ask writers for an ostensibly libertarian magazine to understand states don’t have rights, but powers?

    1. I decided I can only rant once per thread…did mine below. So the usual Bandit “Only individuals have rights” rant will have be done elsewhere.

      1. It’s good to tag team. That way, all the rant points get hit.

    2. p.s. I use the word Authority to describe what groups have. Whan I was a Scout they always taught that you can delegate authority but it is impossible to delgeate responsibility.

  7. “Every few years, the stars misalign and some social conservative comes out and does the political equivalent of baying at the moon.”

    Is it absolutely necessary to treat their howling at the moon like it’s anything more than the showmanship it is?

    We don’t have to jump and perform every time the social conservatives tell us to.

    Just because the social conservatives tell us to react to their howling–doesn’t mean we have to obey.

      1. How high, sir?

  8. “Two candidates, Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum, actually signed it, and Tim Pawlenty reportedly is mulling it over.”

    IOW, Pawlenty gave his finger a blow job and is still trying to figure out which way the wind is blowing.

    How the hell was this guy ever considered a contender.

    1. Tim Pawlenty is the only serious republican contender!

      Or have we passed that meme now that R.O.M.N.I.A.C. is in the race?

    2. Can a few more creepy-creeps crawl out?

    1. A spokesperson for the campaign says that the congressman has problems with the vow’s language.

      Although Paul is on record as supporting much of what is in the pledge. Bachmann shouldn’t have signed it for the same reason as Paul. I am not suggesting anyone support or vote for Bachmann (My support is for Ron Paul).I am saying she is significantly ideologically better than all of the Republican field so far, excluding Paul and Johnson.

  9. The trouble is that the steps that the four-page document lists to defend traditional marriage are tantamount to imposing Sharia.

    I love hyperbole as much as the next guy….

    So I guess carry on good soldier.

    1. See my post at 3:02.

      1. Yeah I saw that after I posted.

        Beat me to it.

    2. Apparently we’ve been living under Sharia since the mid 90’s. Who knew?

    3. Take a look at their website. There isn’t much specific there yet, but the list of resources leans heavily in the “Jesus should run the government” direction. There’s a rich history of persecution of Christians by Christian governments. Google “inquisition.”

      1. FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, February 15, 2011

        Looks like Ron Paul spoke to them…did he sign the friggin thing?

        My guess is he didn’t. Wagel would have been all over that…and it would have been impossible for it to get by our cosmo overlords.

  10. I like Ms. Dalmia and her writings very much but this seemingly small point is actually a problem with our current debates on Constitutional issues:

    The U.S. Constitution, after all, seeks to protect the life, liberty and happiness of the individual ? not the fecundity of the nuclear family. It says that all men ? meaning individuals and not families ? are endowed with rights.

    The Constitution says no such thing as Life, Liberty, and Happiness. The word Happiness does not appear anywhere within the document. It is in the Declaration and was put there because B. Franklin liked flowery words. The word in the Constitution is PROPERTY. In all its beautiful forms. It appears both in the 5th and the 14th Amendments. Happiness was “supposed” to refer to porperty in the Declaration too but sounded better. Sorry…rant is over.

    1. The Constitution says no such thing as Life, Liberty, and Happiness.

      Also a pet peeve of mine. Disappointing to see Dalmia making the same mistake.

      You constantly see people confuse the Dec of I. with the constitution. You see it all the time with the religious folks trying to use the “they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights” line to justify the constitutional connection between church and state. Then you tell them that the Decl of I. isn’t the constitution and they always say “well, it’s the same thing!”

      Bugs the shit of out of me.

      1. Yeah, by that argument the death penalty and jail would be verboten, as would restrictions on alcohol and drugs. I mean, if we truly believe the right to life is inalienable, the staet shouldn’t have the power to take it away from you, right?

        1. Just because the government chooses not to recognize my rights does not mean they don’t exist.

          1. Precisely. I don’t like to get into the legalities of the con. v. DofI, because it implies that if the con. was amended to allow mass murder, or to impose mass buggery, it would suddenly be OK, because hey, now it’s constitutional.

            I’ve never liked the legalist view because of that potential for abuse (even without amendments, shitty laws can be passed and twisted in the courts to be “constitutional”). I believe the natural rights perspective takes care of that problem; no matter what the constitution says, it doesn’t matter…I still have these rights.

            Which is also why I’m not a federalist. I don’t believe the states have the authority to repress people any more than the feds do, whereas many of our newfound 10th Amendment friends over the last few years would be perfectly OK with state-level oppression.

          2. The 1st Amendment does not say “We grant unto the people the right to free speech”, it refers to that right as if it already exists (because it does).

            The 2nd does not say “The people are granted the right to bear arms”, it recognizes the right as if it already exists (because it does).

            I’m afraid to have a Constitutional Convention because I would see the Communists Democrats “giving” people “rights” like “health care” and a “living wage”.

            1. For a fun example, read the post-apartheid South African Constitution. You have to wonder what a court could even do with that.

          3. Also, and more importantly, the Constitution is not just a list of what your rights are per se, but more specifically what limits the government has to restrict these rights.

            1. Completely agree. I read a few of Robert Bork’s books, and dispise his judicial philosophy for just this reason. He believes majorities get to make whatever rules they want simply because they’re the majority.

              As someone else in a Reason article stated a few days ago, he sees rights as islands surrounded by a sea of gov’t power. I see a sea of freedom with islands of specifically limited gov’t intrusion (as originally envisioned; obviously we jumped that shark a long time ago).

              1. This is what is so frustrating about the current political discourse. The fact that our entire government system was primarily designed as a way in which to prevent the government from taking away the rights of individuals -not to GIVE rights to people that don’t naturally exist. Health insurance is not a natural “right”. And even more annoying is that people today consider libertarians as a fringe group when the reality is that our constitution is pretty much a libertarian manifesto.

                Instead you are either a slaver or a christfag if you disagree with either of them, according to current political discourse.

                I need a drink.

              2. He believes majorities get to make whatever rules they want simply because they’re the majority.

                You mean they don’t?

      2. Tman: picky, picky picky…. such trivial nuances! You know that words mean only what the speakers wants them to mean.

  11. I don’t agree with it, but it sounds like run of the mill social con stuff. Marriage amendment, DOMA, ban on women in combat, and admonitions (but not laws) against porn and infidelity.

    1. Hardly tantamount to sharia.

      Dalmia’s hyperbole undermines her credibility unless one wants to believe that she was just trying to be cute.

      1. Hyperbole is the language of libertarianism.

        1. Unpossible. We’ve never used hyperbole under any circumstance.

        2. It’s more of the language about libertarianism.

          If the libertarians had their way…[insert hyperbole].

          We do tend to point out the extremes other people go to–and that makes them mad. Pointing out that it’s absurd to throw millions of people in prison over the course of decades–because of their intoxicant of choice? That isn’t hyperbole in my book.

          The idea that if people won’t stop smoking marijuana, then we’re just gonna have to keep throwing millions of them in prison until they do…?

          That’s more like hyperbole in my book.

          1. Agree. When someone points out some “flaw” in libertarianism, I can usually point out their complaint exists today under “their” system. Recent real world example, me brother asking how poor kids will get and education if schools are privatized. Uh, brudder, poor kids get a crap education under your system.

            1. All cops are pigs…
              All politicians are corrupt…
              Government is theft…
              Exaggeration, sarcasm, hyperbole…it’s all a substitute for a coherent, consistent philosophy. That’s libertarianism’s open secret.

              1. Please don’t feed the troll, guys.

            2. Point out that the graduation rate for hispanics is around 50%, and ask if his support for public schools is grounded in racism. Could be interesting. 🙂

              1. He kept refering to “little Carlos” for the disadvantaged…so that would really make it interesting.

                1. btw he forgot my wife is Hispanic…clueless racism is the bestest !

                  1. I’ll bet her name isn’t Carlos, though! Ah-HA!

          2. But if you legalize drugs then everyone will become a junky!

            If the government doesn’t pay for health care then they will be stacking up dead old people and poor people behind the hospital like cord wood!

            If you don’t have government schools then nobody will have an education!

            Libertarians want to put your children to work in sweat shops for twenty hours a day!


            1. Just look at the Minnesota shutdown. Apparently a man can’t even get a drink without the government there to assist.

              1. Nor a CPA or nursing certificate as someone pointed out in Morning Links (too lazy to look).

    2. And it’s in the primaries!

      Candidates pimping themselves to social conservatives in the primaries–what’ll we discover next?

      Water in the ocean?!

      One candidate came out against imposing Sharia law in the primaries–the incumbent president all but nationalized healthcare. Is there really any contest between the two?

      1. I see your problem.

        The hated Romney vs. batshit crazy Michele.

        Better practice defending her now!

        1. I have no love for either of them–and I don’t plan on voting for either one…

          I–might–vote against Obama. In which case, I plan to vocally oppose whoever beats Obama even before he or she takes office.

          I don’t think I’d vote against Obama and for Romeny. He’s too much like Obama.

          Show me somebody that wants to undo what Obama has done to our financial industry and our healthcare system among other things–and I might vote for him or her to vote against Obama.


          In the meantime, there’s no sense in taking seriously what somebody said in the primaries to pander to social conservatives. …not when I can compare that to what Obama has actually done while in office.

          One pile’s as big as a bug. The other’s as high as mountain. It’s all about keeping thing in proportion…


          I abandoned Ron Paul over pandering to anti-semites, but this isn’t anything like that.

          1. He’s too much like Obama.

            No, Obama’s a little too much like Romney. Obama is just a president. We’ve had much worse. Recently. What Obama is doing to our blah blah blah is not nearly enough for the circumstances, thanks to people keeping the good corporatist fight alive. There really is no call for hysteria and hatred, except at the circumstances and the psychopathic idiots keeping us in them. Keep your own shit in proportion why don’t you.

            1. “There really is no call for hysteria and hatred, except at the circumstances and the psychopathic idiots keeping us in them.”

              You know “hysteria” really is inappropriate in this context–are you trying to insinuate that her problems would be solved with a hysterectomy?

              Incredibly sexist Tony. If you didn’t already know better than to use that word to criticize a woman?

              You should have known.

              1610s, from L. hystericus “of the womb,” from Gk. hysterikos “of the womb, suffering in the womb,” from hystera “womb” (see uterus). Originally defined as a neurotic condition peculiar to women and thought to be caused by a dysfunction of the uterus. Meaning “very funny” (by 1939) is from the notion of uncontrollable fits of laughter.”


              1. You’re a woman?

                1. No, but Michelle Bachmann is.

                  …and referring to her (or any other woman) as “hysterical” is uncalled for.

  12. Oh, how do you solve a problem like Sharia?

  13. that looks like it might just actually work.

    1. I stepped in TekDoo once.

      1. Sandi took a tekdoo in atlanta once.

  14. As I understand it, Bachmann is Missouri Synod Lutheran. Well I was raised MSL, and I really resent anyone who suggests that sharia law is more rigid or dogmatic than an MSL Lutheran. Unless she’s Wisconsin Synod, in which case that goes double.

    1. apparently Lutheran humor is too esoteric for this group

      1. Dude, we are the People’s Liberation Front…we don’t get esoteric.

      2. She’s Wisconsin

        1. What? Then she loses my LCMS vote. I’d rather vote for an atheist than one of those WELS heretics.

  15. It denies that “non-heterosexual inclinations” are genetically determined

    Bachmann “denies” anthropogenic global warming and Keynesian economics too

    1. Don’t forget evolution.

      1. “I oppose Michele Bachmann’s campaign for chairman of the Biology Department”.

        1. Nah she only has to be president.

  16. Remember, you’re not an Actual Libertarian unless you also oppose Gay Marriage and Immigration**… and believe Friedman and Hayek were hacks, or something…

    …**for reasons I am unable to explain, because I am apparently not nearly Actual enough to understand the stupid fucking reasons for making this – on the face of it – completely illogical case.

    That guy Al Wayswright makes me long for LoneWacko. Although LoneWacko probably blamed Catholics for fucking up america as well, he wasn’t quite as smug about it.

    Can we add Actual to drinkable moments, please?

    1. I read that whole exchange yesterday, it was pretty funny. He’s got a new post over in the fair tax thread complaining about the use of “regressive/progressive” when referring to taxes.

      I prefer to take the view earlier in the thread by OM and others: ALL taxes are regressive.

      1. I wouldn’t get into a tizzy over that issue as it’s just a semantic thing regarding a technical detail…

        The problem with the guy is that he’s a pedantic douche… And one of those who insists that no one else is a “real” libertarian unless they meet his arbitrary criteria. He’s pretty much the
        poster child/stereotype of everything conservatives and liberals think is repulsive about libertoids

  17. That’s some incredibly tasty prose, Shikha Dalmia. You totally eviscerate the pledge while staying calm and reasonable.

  18. Pledges can be useful devices to pin down politicians congenitally wired to evade and equivocate. They commit candidates to firm positions on specific issues ? “no tax increases,” “no voting against a woman’s right to choose” ? making it harder for them to sell out once in office.

  19. “It denies that “non-heterosexual inclinations” are genetically determined, which implies they are a matter of choice and therefore a sin.”

    There’s no evidence that homosexuality is “genetically determined.” Whoever is implying that that means it’s a choice is wrong.

    1. ^this. One cannot choose one’s upbringing anymore than one can choose one’s genes – yet.

      1. “one’s upbringing”

        I don’t think one’s upbringing has much if anything to do with male homosexuality. (Female homosexuality is an altogether different phenomenon.) The most likely cause is something in the womb — hormones, infections, chimerism, etc.

        1. So it’s a birth defect.

    2. In that case, what does it matter if it’s genetically determined? The point is whether it’s a choice or not. Why even mention it? Just say you can’t choose your sexuality and for that reason alone gay people deserve equal rights in their own country.

      1. “Why even mention it?”

        Because it’s wrong.

        1. How do you know?

          1. If it were “genetically determined,” MZ twin concordance would be close to 100%. The actual concordance for male MZ and DZ twins (50% and 20% IIRC) make a much stronger case for prenatal causes along with maybe genetic susceptibility. IOW, “biologically determined” is the correct phrase.

            1. Biologically determined is fine. Still the only relevant thing is choice or no choice. And it’s not really even relevant. Why deny equal rights to people who ask for them when there’s no good reason not to?

              1. “Why deny equal rights to people who ask for them when there’s no good reason not to?”

                You’re preaching to the choir. I just like accurate language also.

  20. I don’t even know why anybody’s worried about a crackpot like Bachmann anyway. If God wanted a woman to be President he’d make them all libertarians.

    1. ….she will implode from her own bat-shitty-ness in the next few months. She doesn’t even provide much of a show compared to her D-counterpart Nancy “Wild-Eyes” Pelosi.

  21. The pledge triggered an uproar because its preamble included a statement ? now withdrawn ? implying that black kids were better off under slavery

    Lie. Why read anything else that SD has written?

    1. You know we’re not Republicans, right?

      P.S. I read a comment written by someone with your pathetic handle–apparently I’ll read anything!

  22. It is a manifesto to turn back the clock to medieval times

    What a complete load of crap. At worst, it could be said that the pledge advocates values from about 60 yrs. ago – hardly “medieval”.

  23. it demands that candidates push for a constitutional amendment protecting the traditional definition of marriage. In short, it launches an all-out jihad against gay rights, and to hell with niceties like state’s rights.

    The fact that the pledge advocates a constitutional amendment says that the authors *do* respect state’s rights. Try to be logical while expressing your disapproval, Shikha. I swear, I don’t know how someone like Shikha keeps her job.

  24. But a faithful constitutionalist who doesn’t uphold the rights of individuals would be an oxymoron

    Nothing in the pledge advocates violating an individual’s constitutional rights.

  25. Must everything reference Lady Gaga. Also, the “CONSTiTUTION” line at the end was good, but you called them FAMiLY FIRST, when they are FAMiLY LEADER. Just nitpicking though.

  26. just as the Taliban seek to remake Muslim societies around Koranic scriptures.

    Just think how the Christians would feel if they ever found this out by employing thought.

  27. Depending on what is being discussed, writer’s insist that homosexuality is not a choice and that sexuality is a continuum (everyone has some heterosexual and homosexual desires to some extent). The problem being that these assertions are incompatible. If sexuality is a continuum then, then which feelings you choose to act on is a choice.

    It is interesting now that Dalmia equates being against same-sex marriage as being against gays in all aspects. Many people who oppose same-sex marriage are against it as a category error. The word “marriage” can only be sensibly applied to opposite sex couples, if “marriage” can be defined to mean any relationship, it means nothing.

  28. All I learned from this is that the quoted author doesn’t know what sharia law is.

    I think we need a new version of Godwin’s law for comparisons of mainstream, American Christianity to totalitarian Islam. There’s a world of difference between “gays can’t file their taxes as a married couple” and “I slit my daughter’s throat because she dishonored me.”

  29. Social Conservative make me s#!t blood. Not want to s#!t blood, but actually (metaphorically) s#!t blood.

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