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Saturday, May 12, 2012

Gay Marriage and the Left

Timothy Birdnow

Roger Scruton discusses marriage, gay marriage, and the strongarm tactic of accusations of homophobia in a good piece at the American Spectator.

From the article:

"But here is the difficulty. Although the facts about homosexuality are well enough known, you cannot safely allude to them. You cannot discuss the radical difference between male and female homosexuality—the first tending toward promiscuity and sensual pleasure, the second toward emotional dependence and home building—without attracting irate accusations of “homophobia.” You cannot point to the effect on the emotional development of children, of a culture in which homosexuality is treated as a legitimate way of life, nor can you allude to the correlation between male homosexuality and pedophilia. Some writers have gone public on these issues—Jeffrey Satinover, for example, in Homosexuality and the Politics of Truth (1996)—and paid a predictable price for it. Others have simply turned a blind eye and hoped that it will all go away or decided that in any case, in our promiscuous world, it hardly matters who does what with whom.

But it does matter, and it matters most of all not to you and me, who are grown up enough to deal with it, but to our children. This is where the real issue has been fudged in the European debates and is being increasingly fudged in America. Marriage is not about endorsing a sexual attachment between adults. It is about creating the conditions in which children can come into the world fully protected and with a fair chance of being loved. Marriage does not exist for the benefit of the present generation but for the benefit of the next. It is a rite of passage in which two people set out on a path whose meaning lies not in their present emotions but in their future family. As in all rites of passage, the meaning of marriage is not individual but social, and any attempt to rewrite marriage as a deal between the living is a negation of its real meaning, as a bond between the living and the unborn—a bond in which the dead too have an interest. If David Cameron really were as conservative as he claims, that would be the language he would use in giving voice to his views about marriage—the language of Edmund Burke.

As for the relations between the living, it is not as if these are in any way hampered by the existing legal order. In most European countries there are already ways in which homosexual men and women can ratify their relations in the form of “civil partnerships,” which confer the legal benefits and burdens of marriage without implying the radical change of status that marriage has traditionally signified. The activists are not content with this arrangement, not because it does not provide the security that true love requires, but because it still implies that there is a difference between heterosexual and homosexual relations. So offended are they by this implication that they are prepared to level the charge of homophobia against anyone who gives voice to it. In the current climate of opinion in Europe, no politician, no journalist, and no churchman can risk inviting this charge.

Like other “thought crimes,” homophobia lacks a definition and has no identity in law; you don’t know how to avoid committing this crime, since all lines of inquiry might suddenly turn a corner and land you in the midst of it. The only safe option is to keep your mouth shut, or else to join the crowd and shout “homophobia” in your turn at whichever victim has been currently singled out for persecution. We are already seeing this among the Church of England bishops, many of whom seem more anxious to avoid the charge of homophobia than to speak out on behalf of the biblical idea of marriage. I cannot help thinking that the decision of the Archbishop of Canterbury to step down is not unconnected to the inevitable martyrdom that his office would impose on him, were he to defend the Christian conception of sexual love. On the other hand, archbishops are made for martyrdom and ought not to avoid it."

End excerpt.

Scruton is exactly right here; marriage is not about love or legal benefits but about future generations. It is about family. It is about something that transcends space and time, stretching into eternity. It is a spiritual institution, not a man-made thing. Couples who marry frequently find themselves drawn together by something they cannot point to, some higher power. There is a spiritual dimension that cannot be overlooked here. And marriage has existed as long as Man can remember.

Marriage is the enemy of the Left. Karl Marx had this to say about marriage in the Communist Manifesto, Chapter 2:

"Abolition [Aufhebung] of the family! Even the most radical flare up at this infamous proposal of the Communists.

On what foundation is the present family, the bourgeois family, based? On capital, on private gain. In its completely developed form, this family exists only among the bourgeoisie. But this state of things finds its complement in the practical absence of the family among the proletarians, and in public prostitution.

The bourgeois family will vanish as a matter of course when its complement vanishes, and both will vanish with the vanishing of capital.

Do you charge us with wanting to stop the exploitation of children by their parents? To this crime we plead guilty.

But, you say, we destroy the most hallowed of relations, when we replace home education by social."

End excerpt.

To the Left the family is but a social construct, like the Rotary Club, or Optimists, a purely artificial thing that stands in the way of their re-educating an ignorant public. Destroy marriage and empower government and you can change the way people think, to the point where they will accept the obvious superiority of communal life and leadership by the self-chosen elites. To the Left the family is the principle enemy, the place where bad thinking and worse habits are formed, and it must be destroyed.

But the family is the first social unit, and always has been. It is seen not just as a social entity but as a spiritual one. It must be de-sacrilized, de-legitimized, broken down. How to do that? The sexual revolution was a tool in the destruction of the marriage, where sex and reproduction were separated and debased. Sex lost it's function as the means to create life, and became an amusement park-like affair. Go out, eat, drink, and then take a gal for a spin!  As a result the sex act lost it's larger context, it's deeper emotional and spiritual appeal, and became the equivalent of playing a round of golf. It was the sacred nature of the act, the extreme closeness of two people deeply in love and committed to each-other sealing their relationship into eternity, that made marital love work. The sexual revolution has torn that to shreds, unhinged the primary anchor of marriage.

Gay marriage and alternate lifestyles tear that even more by making marriage a simple contract, a state anyone can enter into any time they choose with anyone they please. There are many on the Left who understand the destructive nature of gay marriage to the marriage covenant in general and look on this with approval.

The ultimate aim is to make children a mere biproduct of sexual congress, and hopefully medical science can remove even that. The ultimate goal is to make the State the parents and let the physical parents play as if they were but older children. Those children will be the intellectual and moral wards of a State that is ruled by the intelligentsia.

It's all about breaking the family.

Now I know there are many gay people who want marriage and they have no desire to break up the family, and it is not to be simply dismissed. But the desire for gay marriage stems as much from a sense that what they are doing is ultimately inappropriate, and they hope to make their relationships legitimate by coating them with the veneer of marriage. This is understandable, but I would argue it has little to do with societal approval or disapproval and everything to do with a sense that Natural Law is being violated.

This is not so hard to understand. When I was 20 years old I went with some friends to Florida, and we stopped at a restaurant on our last day. The restaurant didn't appear too fancy from the outside, but once we were in we realized how poorly dressed we were for the ambience of the establishment. The waiter thoughtfully seated us as far away from the patrons as possible, as we were dressed in cutoff shorts or swim trunks and tee shirts. It was embarassing, but instead of quietly eating and leaving, or just leaving, we actually sought to draw attention to ourselves. It was as if we were trying to force our manner of dress on the place, because deep down we knew we were inappropriately dressed. (I will say we had a great time, but I still look back on the incident a bit shame-facedly, because we were insufferable.) 

What's the point? The point is, we demanded to be treated in a way that we did not deserve. Were we any less as human beings than the other patrons? No. Were we not deserving to be there? In this instance, dressed as we were, yes.

Gay marriage is rather like that, too; a demand for redefinition of the norm because of a personal issue. Gay marriage advocates want the entire institution redefined simply because they feel deep down that their relationships are somehow not right, and they seek reinforcement in their own minds by forcing society to bend to them. It is a way to assuage guilt.

The thinking is that once society fully accept them, all will be right. But that isn't the case and it won't be. Human beings are not designed that way, and we cannot simply believe whatever we choose (unless we are sociopaths.)  Marriage is a particular thing, and a union of two men or two women simply isn't marriage and never will be. Deep down gay people understand that.

But this desire plays into the hands of the hard Left, who see a tool of destruction of the old order in gay marriage. Oh Brave New World!

In the end, gay marriage is a bird of ill omen, a sign that the West has become so decadent that it is willing to redefine anything to get what some in the society want. Rome was like that, and Rome fell in an astonishing way. Are we next?

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