June 28, 2012 · By Bob Ellis · 0 Comments
The Rapid City Journal reports two people from Rapid City, Bar Braver and Ravaye Meltzer, have pleaded guilt to counterfeiting products and face penalties of up to 10 years in prison and $2 million in fines.
It seems the counterfeiters have attempted to pass off goods as authentic products of Monster Energy, Angry Birds, Hollister, The North Face and Ed Hardy…when the products weren’t actually products of these companies.
It would seem our government takes the authenticity of certain things very seriously.
So why do some people–including some in government–believe government should endorse and reward counterfeiting? Oh, they don’t necessarily support the counterfeiting of currency or goods like those produced by Monster, Hollister and others. But they do support the counterfeiting of a product far more valuable and important to society than any of these products–including our currency: marriage.
You see, words have meaning. When the clear meaning of language is undermined or perverted, the opportunity for fraud and harm is immense. This much is obvious from the story mentioned above (as if it were not already). Monster isn’t happy about having a product that isn’t a Monster product being marketed as a Monster product. The North Face isn’t okay with a product not meeting the criteria of a North Face product being marketed as a North Face product.
Why not? What’s the big deal? Perhaps Braver and Meltzer sincerely felt their products were just as good as those manufactured by Monster, Angry Birds, et al. Who are we to say they are not? And even if Braver’s and Meltzer’s products don’t meet the criteria of products created by these organizations, why do we need to be so mean and deny Braver and Meltzer the same benefits that Monster, North Face, et al. are receiving? Isn’t it unfair and cruel of us to insist that Monster Energy drinks must be created by Monster Energy in order to be presented to the public as a Monster Energy drink?
If it isn’t unfair and cruel for us to insist that these products live up to their criteria of authenticity, then why is it unfair and cruel for us to insist that marriage–the most important relationship and institution in any society–live up to its criteria?
After all, far more depends on maintaining the integrity of the meaning of marriage than has ever depended on a drink or piece of clothing:
If you hired a construction and plumbing contractor to build a bathroom for you, and he built it using all male or all female plumbing parts, the end product might bear some superficial resemblance to a real, functional bathroom, but I guarantee you would not hand over a check for the job with satisfaction and joy. Why not? It would be missing a fundamental and critically important element necessary to put together a real bathroom: the missing male or female plumbing parts. Without them, you don’t have anything useful–which is what you have when you try to put two men or two women together and pass it off as “marriage.”
Counterfeited objects, while bearing some resemblance to the genuine article, lack certain qualities inherent in the genuine article. To attempt to pass off something as something it is not is fraud, robs the receiver of the value they are due, and provides unearned gain to those who have perpetuated the fraud. Further, counterfeit goods-especially currency–devalues the genuine article when it proliferates the market.
Seeing how monumentally important and valuable the institution of marriage is to society, why on earth do some tolerate or even encourage the counterfeiting of it?
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