DeMint’s vision of ‘limited government’

DeMint's vision of 'limited government'
DeMint's vision of 'limited government'
Associated Press

The Heritage Foundation’s Jim DeMint published a daily essay this morning on marriage equality, which struck me as … what’s the word I’m looking for … hilarious.

The crux of the piece is that opponents of equal rights for all Americans “deserve to be treated with dignity” – the classic “be tolerant of my intolerance” sort of schtick. Consider this gem:

[The Supreme Court’s ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act] denies dignity to the millions of Americans and their elected officials who have voted to pass laws that tell the truth about marriage.

I’ve read that sentence several times, trying to make sense of it, but I’m at a bit of a loss. In fact, I’m not sure if DeMint even knows what “dignity” means, exactly. The former senator seems to be arguing that the nation has a choice: we can extend basic human decency to all Americans and eliminate the need for second-class citizenship or we can make proponents of discrimination feel good about themselves. We’re apparently supposed to endorse the latter.

DeMint went on to argue, “The marriage debate will continue, and all Americans need to be civil and respectful.” (He perhaps forgot to read his own 2007 book on social conservatism.)

But I was even more amused by DeMint twice referencing “limited government.”

The Heritage Foundation will be joining with millions of Americans to ensure that support for marriage continues to grow and that marriage proponents can express their views in this debate. Go to today to download your free copy of our e-book on marriage. And continue to speak out boldly about why marriage – that union of one man and one woman – is important for children, civil society, and limited government.

Right, because a “limited” government is one that stops people from getting married, codifies discrimination in law, and denies some Americans equal treatment under the law for entirely arbitrary reasons.

Look, I don’t expect DeMint to change his mind on civil rights anytime soon, but it’d be easier to take him seriously if he acknowledged reality: he wants big government to impose rules that advances his social worldview. His vision, for good or ill, requires an imposition of discriminatory values, based on a narrow religious view, while asking millions of law-abiding Americans to be less free.

DeMint can try to spin this as “limited” government, but that doesn’t make it any less laughable.