The Judiciary and Same-Sex Marriage Contagion
The other day as I sat down to eat lunch, I turned on a cable news channel and simultaneously checked my email.
I was immediately engulfed in a media barrage: A Kentucky judge had rejected the state's same-sex marriage ban.
U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II wrote:
"The court could think of no... conceivable legitimate reason for Kentucky’s laws excluding same-sex couples from marriage.
That's funny -- I could think of several.
But the gay marriage story out of Kentucky was just one of many on my news feed. Algorithms designed by Yahoo wiz kids make sure that at least twenty-five percent of the headlines I see are positive stories about same-sex marriage.
Reading just Yahoo, it seemed even the Cherubim and Seraphim were proclaiming heaven's joy at Kentucky's 'come to Jesus' moment.
Interestingly, I had read the previous weekend about the revelation of a clandestine experiment that Facebook conducted on its subscribers.
An official report concluded that the social media site's users were subject to emotional contagion.
That got me wondering: aren't judges people too? Aren't they subject to emotional contagion as easily as the rest of us mortals?
Looking back at what has happened in our courts since the Supreme Court's Windsor ruling last year I wondered, "Maybe what we're looking at here is a different type of contagion, a new strain: Judicial Contagion?"
Gay marriage bans have fallen one after another in unbroken succession since the Supreme Court's ruling last year. Is this because judges are suddenly seeing the light -- quite incredibly (as in "not credible") in near unison -- or is it because they're subject to social contagion?
It's easy enough to answer that question simply by looking at recent news items:
Facebook Discovers It's Easy to Manipulate Its Subscribers Emotions and Behaviors
The Christian Science Monitor reported:
Facebook came under fire this past weekend for allowing researchers to manipulate users' news feeds to determine whether emotions on social networks are "contagious." The study found that they can be.
Here are the facts of the experiment:
For one week in January 2012, a Facebook data scientist and two university researchers manipulated the news feeds of 689,003 random Facebook users. The goal was to find out if exposure to positive content triggered positive or negative reactions in the recipients, and vice versa for exposure to negative content. As such, certain users' feeds deliberately received a disproportionate amount of positive or negative content. When people saw more positive content they tended to respond less negatively. Conversely, when they saw more negative content, they reacted less positively... The study's findings were recently published June 17 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. (Christian Science Monitor).
So here's the thing: every time someone turns on the radio or TV, reads the newspaper, or perhaps more importantly in this day and age, goes to their preferred social media, newsfeed or news aggregator, they are bombarded with exceedingly positive news and commentary about same-sex marriage, and ridiculing and accusatory negative coverage about opposition to it.
This is not happenstance. It doesn't even have a foothold in reality. It is the result of a carefully designed strategy meant to cultivate an impression of overwhelming consent and inevitability.
How the News Media Working in Conjunction with Progressive Organizations Creates the Impression of a Groundswell of Interest or Support
Also in the news recently was an interview with former CBS investigative reporter Sharyl Attkinson.
In a piece titled: "Liberals Loved Me before They Hated Me" Attkinson said:
[Media Matters] work[s] in partnership with others, like Talking Points Memo. They generate their own sense -- fake sense -- of news and controversy by copying each other and publishing and self publishing and republishing until it grows to this idea . . . and Twitter and get their supporters to twitter until it looks like something, but it's not. It looks like a controversy but it's not . . .
Without using technical terms such as "emotional contagion," "the manufacture of consent," or "informational or opinion cascades," Attkinson essentially described how dominant narratives are fabricated through the interaction of various organizations and persons in DC media. (Check out her interview, beginning at around 4 minutes, 30 seconds).
When It Comes to Same-Sex Marriage, the Country's Most Powerful Attorneys are Paralyzed with Fear
Last month, Reuters published a piece titled, "U.S. law firms flock to gay-marriage proponents, shun other side." Reuters found that, "Not a single member of the Am Law 200, a commonly used ranking of the largest U.S. firms by revenue, is defending gay marriage prohibitions."
The article continued:
...Several lawyers opposed to same-sex marriage rights said they believed big firms would not litigate for that side even if attorneys asked to do so. They pointed to the example of Mozilla's Eich as an example of the pressures being faced.
...One attorney interviewed for the piece said, "I personally know many good lawyers in large firms who... are terrified of speaking out even within their own firms."
So not only are powerful attorneys -- and let's presume judges as well, because they are cut from the same cloth -- subject to societal cascades, they are subject to paralyzing fear in their decision making.
In the case of same-sex marriage, informational and emotional cascades have fostered Judicial Cascades. i.e., the carefully manufactured, relentless media narrative of approval overwhelms judges who then easily buy into the "Don't find yourself on the wrong side of history" tidal wave.
Because of the internet and our media top-heavy lives, none of us can escape the cascades of the mostly left-leaning media. It's just a fact of life. And not only do otherwise thinking, reasoning people become subject to these cascades, the progressive base becomes more emboldened, more self-justified as they falsely sense the entire world, other than knuckle-dragging Neanderthal deniers, bowing to their peculiar orthodoxy.
But this is precisely why the current same sex-marriage push is so urgent. Proponents only hope is to change society quickly with sophistry and emotion through judicial fiat while the window of opportunity is still propped open. They know it won't stay open forever.
Certainly they have witnessed how the Global Warming narrative is unraveling, and how the ongoing informational and emotional cascades now produce diminishing returns, serving only to keep their most staunch supporters from straying from global warming orthodoxy. New recruits are nearly impossible to come by.
Soon, the same will be true with same-sex marriage. As more and more legitimate social science studies are conducted, and personal stories from maturing children who have been medically engineered for same-sex marriages emerge, the progressive's very positive narrative will become more and more difficult to control and sustain. It won't be pretty.
We may well find that what was once touted as progressive was actually regressive concerning children's rights, and that the reducing of the state's interest in marriage to "Love" was an enormous mistake.
Here's the thing: If just a few judges could find the fortitude and intellectual honesty within themselves to stand against the tide by putting aside emotion and fear, we might see this same-sex marriage tidal wave dissipate overnight.
In the meantime, we're discovering the troubling truth that even manufactured tidal waves are capable of inducing longstanding human suffering, with young children deprived of either a mom or a dad left behind as collateral damage.
That's a "conceivable legitimate reason" Judge Heyburn II could have used to uphold Kentucky's ban on same-sex marriage.
One closing thought for judges: the thing about tidal waves, whether of the H2O variety or otherwise, is that they don't last forever. They always end, they always recede, but they always leave a trail of destruction and human devastation in their wake.