I think it's more that people are now down to their core principles and there aren't really any new arguments left.
I dunno, I felt like I spent more of this thread defining what my core principles are not as opposed to what they are. It seemed that if I wasn't a libertarian I was a collectivist, and my views are a lot more nuanced than that. That was my reason for asking what I just did because I at least want to get a chance to say what I really am at least. Not expecting an agreement but that would help future discussions. If nothing else it will at least cut down on the amount of time of establishing what my core views are to begin with.
One comment I'd like to make, and this isn't a criticism but rather something I want to point out, Rooster... You've cited a lot of court cases when defending your arguments, and that's really great in a legal type debate... But in this, what's being discussed is a much more primal form of right and wrong. We can already see what's considered legal by looking at court cases until we drown in them, but what guys like Sstavix and I are saying is that legal doesn't necessarily mean right. You can cite legal precedent all day long of courts finding that businesses have to be treated like public assets or judges who threw out religious exception arguments but what all of that boils down to is laws and legal precedents that may, or may NOT, reflect the values in the Constitution or morality as defined by a Christian.
So in that sense, yes, we are all here sort of talking past each other in the sense that your'e making legal arguments, but we don't care about legal arguments... The laws, as they stand, are broken.
I see your point.
In fairness though the issue has usually come up when we start discussing rights. We keep jumping back and forth between the moral and legal side of things. When it becomes clear on that we will either agree or wind up at an impasse on the moral side it switches over to the legal and vice versa. Each time we either come to an agreement or impasse it switches back to the other. The fact is that the issue of rights is part of both realms simultaneously and there's no way of avoiding this.
The fact that legal does not always imply right is not in question here. I have argued from the moral aspect as well as legal aspect, as has everyone else here. I don't think any of us have solely argued from only one aspect exclusively and sometimes we aren't clear as to which one we are addressing at a given moment. The thing is the two are inseparable. That may be the root cause of the problem you're observing.
So I'll give some help so that you understand where I draw the line between the two...
For me it is simple, if someone argues that something is a right is allowed under the Constitution, then that falls under the legal, not moral domain. It can also be a moral one but invoking a legal document such as the Constitution requires that the issue be addressed from a legal standpoint. It is then that I usually bring out sections of the Constitution as well as relevant court cases and policies. To me one cannot use the Constitution as a foundation for their argument while not arguing the legal aspect, it's impossible. It does not mean the moral aspect cannot be discussed, but it must be done in conjunction with the legal aspect. In the case of whether something is a Constitutional right I hate to say it but the legal aspect takes precedence. The moral aspect takes a backseat to the question of whether it is a legal right in this country according to the letter and spirit of the Constitution. If we don't want to focus the legal aspect the to be honest it is best not focus on the Constitutionality of a given right in the first place.
Now, if we transition to whether it SHOULD be a legal right to begin with, THAT is a primarily moral argument as it goes beyond the Constitutionality of the matter. The legal part still cannot be separated from it, but in that case the moral aspect takes precedence. Whether something is God given or something that we as a society should be endorsing is a whole different matter and no amount of legalities will change this. No government is infallible and it is a good thing to challenge laws or even aspects of the Constitution on moral grounds.
I think we can do a much better job at stating this more clearly though in the middle of the conversation. To me it is quite simple, if we are going to talk about legal or Constitutional rights as a US Citizen, then the focus needs to be on the legal aspect. If we are going to focus on the moral aspect, it is best to not focus on the legal and Constitutional aspects of it then.
If we want to just stick with the moral aspect I'm ok with that, but I'm not ok with throwing laws and Constitutionality back into the mix afterwards, which has happened in the past on all sides. It blurs the line between the moral and legal when we need it to remain explicit and clear.
“If the history of the 20th Century proved anything, it proved that however bad things were, human ingenuity could usually find a way to make them worse.” - Theodore Dalrymple