Edited by Chris McGinty (According To Whim .com)
Rebuttal to a Rebuttal
By Miguel Cruz
[Hmm. I bet you might want to know what he’s rebutting. For that we have to go al the way back to March 25, 2010, when my oldest son turned 18, and April 10, 2010, when probably nothing that important happened. My apologies if something important did happen, and I just don’t realize it. But this does tell you about how long this draft has been sitting there.]
“The problem with opinions is that people will argue that they are subjective; and therefore, they can’t be wrong or right. When an opinion interferes with fact it easily becomes wrong. I could say, ‘In my opinion murder is not illegal.’ That is wrong unless we change the definition of either ‘murder’ ‘illegal’ or ‘not.’ If you believe your opinion can’t be right or wrong then try it, and see what happens.”
[Yeah, I’m brilliant. Let’s see what Miguel had to say about this.]
There’s almost a whole ‘nother subject of debate here: the difference between fact and opinion. An opinion is the way you personally feel about something — approval, disapproval, or no reaction whatsoever. There could be several reasons why you feel that way. There could be some biological component that determines your feeling about something. (The fact that humans generally don’t crave grass or wood just might be related to the fact that they can’t digest either.) There could be a cultural component. (We here in the West weren’t raised listening to Indian music, so it might be why you don’t find too many teenagers blasting Anu Malik’s scores from their Rockford Fosgates.) And there could be some basic experiential component that determines your feeling. (Dick Hunter, a DFW radio talk host, says he has a hard time watching “The Empire Strikes Back” because he saw it the day his parents announced they were getting a divorce.)
[A couple of thoughts real quick, and then we’ll continue on with Miguel’s thoughts. I’ve heard it said that facts are provable or disprovable, where opinions are not either. In my example above, it is only an opinion because proving whether the person believes it is impossible, but murder being illegal is a fact, and that was my point. This radio host guy needs to kind of move on. There becomes a point in life where you, by stating something determinately, continue to believe something that might not be the case otherwise. There was music that I had a tough time listening to at various stages of my second divorce, but I kept listening anyway. Now it’s not tough to listen to. I told myself for a long time that I would probably never feel ok again, but one day I woke up and realized I wasn’t hurting as much. I told myself that I was basically over it, so I might as well just say I was, and after that the healing accelerated. This guy just needs to watch the movie a few times when life is good, and he’ll eventually have more good memories around it than bad. We may not be able to control outside influence, but we have more power than we sometimes realize over our attitude toward outside influence. I’m not sure Miguel would agree though.]
Regardless of what causes the feeling, you simply feel that way. No amount of arguing, or insisting that a joke where the doctor tells his patient he has 100 years to live is funny when no one seems to laugh, is going to change that. You might keep your opinions to yourself, or even pretend that you share the prevailing popular opinion, but inside you feel a certain way. And that’s that.
[And that’s that. I want everybody to read that phrase, and then ask yourself the definition of closed minded. No reason.]
A fact refers to a state of being, causation, what happened, when it happened, etc. A fact simply is, regardless of whether anyone actually knows about it or not. “We are alone in the universe,” or, “We are not alone in the universe,” are facts. One of those is true; that we don’t know which is true doesn’t change the essential truth of it.
Chris’s hypothetical person says, “In my opinion murder is not illegal.” This points to a way people generally use the word opinion to mean belief or speculation. For instance, you might hear someone say, “In my opinion, Tiger Woods slept with easily three times as many women as have come forward.” Whether Tiger Woods slept with way more women than we know about is a possible fact. It could be true, or it might not be true. The commentator’s gut feeling that leads to his belief has no effect on which one is true.
[All you have to do is say, “I wouldn’t be surprised if…” and suddenly you aren’t setting yourself up to be outright wrong if what you said was factually inaccurate.]
An opinion can be a fact to the extent that it can be proven that a person feels a particular way. For example, if I asserted that Rush Limbaugh really loved Bill Clinton, Limbaugh’s opinion becomes a demonstrable fact. Nathan could then toss 20 years worth of writings and radio show transcripts at me that show definitively otherwise. I could then counter with Limbaugh’s personal correspondences expressing remorse over his chosen persona. “Mom, I’m at odds with what I’m expected to talk about on a daily basis. I really love the Clintons. I think the policies they want to implement are sound, but my audience doesn’t want to hear that. I’d love to come clean, but then I wouldn’t be able to pay for this mansion and all this Oxycontin.”
In that same vein, whether something is legal or illegal is also a fact. It is a fact that someone felt a particular way about a particular issue. It is a fact that they were able to persuade the legislators to draft a law regarding that particular issue. It is a fact that the code of your particular jurisdiction has writing that says you can’t do X, Y, and Z. It is a fact that the government is stressing enforcement of said law.
Chris’s hypothetical person’s opinion is not subjective. If he had said, “In my opinion, murder is not wrong,” well, that’s the way he feels. He doesn’t have an adverse emotional reaction to the idea of one person taking another person’s life. Maybe he even likes it. But since he says, “In my opinion, murder is not illegal,” it’s a whole other issue. His “opinion” isn’t an opinion in the personal feeling sense. It’s an opinion in the personal belief sense of what is true or false. In this case, this person is incorrect. Regardless of his personal feelings on the subject, the prohibition of murder is a well worn legal principle.
[When I first read through this, I was like, “Wasn’t that my point?”]
“Take the recent issues with NBC and Conan O’Brien. Conan O’Brien was in a contract with NBC. Marriage is a contract between two spouses. Conan O’Brien was not NBC’s property. A spouse is not the other spouse’s property. NBC had exclusive rights to some of Conan O’Brien’s services, as was agreed. A spouse has rights (sometimes exclusive) to some of their spouse’s services (love, honor, obey, cherish, have and to hold, fidelity) as was agreed. If Conan O’Brien, not being property, breaks this agreement it’s actionable. If the other spouse, not being property, breaks the agreement it’s actionable in the form of divorce. If another network coerced Conan O’Brien into breaking contract then NBC can go after the offending party, and likely win. As was shown in the $9 million suit, it is so in marriage sometimes too.”
[Again, I am brilliant. Let’s see if Miguel states my opinion again.]
A marriage is not a contract in the sense that it is legally enforceable as such, generally speaking. The key difference between a marriage and a services agreement such that O’Brien and NBC had is one of time limitation. When Conan the Barbarian signed his deal with NBC, there very likely wasn’t a ‘Til-Death-Do-You-Part clause in there. A contract where someone is obligated to do something forever is just not going to be enforceable, as it is unreasonable. This is why most service contracts have a time limit written into them, and when the parties have forgotten to put one in, the courts will imply that there is one.
[“‘Til death do you part,” is the religious ceremony. I’m sure Miguel realizes that, so I won’t dwell on it too long. What I will dwell on is the part where he says something about being obligated to do something forever. The courts do imply that there is one, which is why you can divorce. If you feel like fucking somebody else you have at least two options: negotiate the fidelity agreement with your spouse or divorce. The point about “cheating” is that you break the agreement against the rules. That’s what cheating is, breaking the rules. I would be more on board with what Miguel is trying to say, except that the courts recognize oral contracts and implied meanings. Speaking of oral contracts…]
The second issue is that a contract is not enforceable where the underlying terms are either illegal or against public policy. Back in 1996, I paid Chris $5 for a blowjob. Had he reneged on our agreement, I couldn’t have sued him. If we are premising the idea that a marriage is a contract on the basis of a sexual exclusivity agreement, we run into this question of whether such an agreement is compatible with our other laws as well as the dictates of sound reasoning. In order to enforce a sexual exclusivity agreement, a court would have to recognize that there is some dollar amount that can be attached to such a thing.
[Prenuptial agreements. 50/50 split of assets and liabilities. Alimony. Child support. Please explain the part about attaching a dollar amount to me. And while were at it, there seems to be an awful lot of law floating around something that you are telling me isn’t legal in nature.]
Can a court compel someone to love, honor, and cherish someone? Not really any more than a court could compel anyone to find the higher the Führer joke laugh out loud funny. Why can’t Obama simply issue an executive order requiring Glenn Beck and Nathan Stout to like him? I’m not talking about a law ordering them to only say nice things about him, but to actually have positive emotions about him.
[The problem as I see it, aside from Miguel not finishing this post, is that Miguel is socially liberal, as I am as well, and social liberals don’t like the idea of legislating morality. But marriage is heavily legislated. I explained in my post that adultery was once actionable. The issue is where do we legislate morality (don’t murder) and where don’t we legislate morality (you’re an atheist? how’s that working for you?). For my own purposes, I have found that it’s best to go with things that maliciously cause others harm for legislation, in most cases, followed by unintentional harm where negligence can be proved. Yes, there are exceptions, so don’t start listing them, idiot. That’s why a person’s moral belief system shouldn’t be legislated, but actions they take in the name of those beliefs that harm others might need a looking at. This issue, the “theft” of someone’s spouse, is a tough one, because it’s hard to prove Malicious Intent (that was the name of a “Sniffles (sniff)” episode). The reason there are states that still have laws regarding it is probably because it is a way you can maliciously hurt somebody that is largely not actionable. If somebody runs over your dog because they want to hurt you, you can have them arrested or sue them. If somebody convinces your spouse to leave you, you can… well, what can you do? Run over their dog? Nope. Illegal. Threaten to kill them? Nope. Illegal. Oh! Kill them… no, not that either. Break their legs? No. Tell everybody how bad of a person they are for taking your spouse? Nope. Most people wouldn’t care. This all has to do with the idea ownership over a human being. Social liberals don’t like that either. But no matter how socially liberal you are, if I convince your children that living with me as their guardian would be more fun, then I’d better have a court backing me up, and very likely lots of proof that their parents are crack whores.]
[What this all comes down to is precedence, which is often used in courts in making decisions. What has been ruled before? The “theft” of spouse isn’t clear, because it’s actionable in some states, but not in other. There is precedence both ways. So you have to start looking at similar rulings in areas that aren’t the same thing, but have similarities. If you can obligate someone to exclusivity in business, then maybe you can in marriage if the agreement is spoken. If you can have an implied ownership over your flesh and blood children, then maybe you can have an implied ownership over your spouse, not in any demeaning, degrading way, but in the way that is implied in the marriage agreement. You are my spouse, Miguel. You are not Nathan’s spouse, Miguel. I am your spouse, Miguel. I am not Nathan’s spouse, Miguel. There is an implication that we “belong” to each other under our marriage agreement, and neither of us belongs to Nathan, though we can both claim Nathan as our friend. It doesn’t make our love a dirty, compromised thing because we belong to each other, Miguel. Just saying.]