So Rep. Paul is a swashbuckling individualist when it comes to civilization's most crucial building block for raising children, but willing to be a run-of-the-mill government statist when it comes to the Ponzi-scheme entitlements bankrupting the country. He's like a vegetarian who says, "I'm not a fanatic -- I still eat meat."
Some of those legal incidents of marriage can be obtained by private contract -- such as the right to inherit and make medical decisions. Gays don't need gay marriage to leave their electric spice racks to loved ones.
But there are more obtuse Americans than there are gay Americans, so courts are going to be bulging with legal disputes among the unalert, who neglected to plan in advance and make private contracts resolving the many legal issues that are normally determined by a marriage contract.
Under Rep. Paul's plan, your legal rights pertaining to marriage will be decided on a case-by-case basis by judges forced to evaluate the legitimacy of your marriage consecrated by a Wiccan priest -- or your tennis coach. (And I think I speak for all Americans when I say we're looking for ways to get more pointless litigation into our lives.)
If one spouse decides he doesn't want to be married anymore, couldn't he just say there never was a marriage because the Wiccan wasn't official or the tennis coach wasn't a pro?
Under Paul's plan, siblings could marry one another, perhaps intentionally, but also perhaps unaware that they were fraternal twins separated and sent to different adoptive families at birth -- as actually happened in Britain a few years ago after taking the government-mandated blood test for marriage.
There are reasons we have laws governing important institutions, such as marriage. As in landscaping, you don't remove a wall until you know why it was put there.
Marriage is a legal construct with legal consequences, particularly regarding rights and duties to children. Libertarians would be better off spearheading a movement to get rid of stop signs than to get rid of officially sanctioned marriage. A world without government stop signs would be safer than a world without government marriage.
It's true that eventually -– theoretically -- there could be private institutions to handle many of these matters. But for anyone calling himself a libertarian to put eliminating official marriage above eliminating Social Security and Medicare is certifiable.
It's exactly like drug legalization: Sure, all good libertarians want to legalize drugs, but the question is whether that is more important than legalizing the ability to locate your widget factory where you want to put it. Even purists can have priorities.
Most libertarians are cowering frauds too afraid to upset anyone to take a stand on some of the most important cultural issues of our time. So they dodge the tough questions when it suits their purposes by pretending to be Randian purists, but are perfectly comfortable issuing politically expedient answers when it comes to the taxpayers' obligations under Medicare and Social Security.
If they could only resist sucking up to Rolling Stone-reading, status-obsessed losers, they'd probably be interesting to talk to.
In my book "Demonic: How the Liberal Mob is Endangering America," I make the case that liberals, and never conservatives, appeal to irrational mobs to attain power. There is, I now recall, one group of people who look like conservatives, but also appeal to the mob. They're called "libertarians."