The Future of Our Society Depends on the Health of Traditional Marriage

Over at Ricochet Ryan Anderson has put up a great series of posts about why we must continue to fight for and strengthen our society's commitment to traditional marriage. Since this topic in the form of SSM has been discussed so much here, I thought I'd draw your attention to it. This, along with our education system, is IMO the most crucial issue for our society to get right. Everything else conservatives believe in and care about rest on the foundation of families and the proper nurturing and education of our children. Do yourself a favor and read these posts.






Here is an excerpt of the last post which is basically a wrap up of the preceding posts:

The most interesting—and revealing—comments on this week’s posts have been those that said marriage is simply whatever sort of interpersonal relationship consenting adults—be they two or 10 in number—want it to be; sexual or platonic, sexually exclusive or open, temporary or permanent.

That idea sounds like the abolition of marriage. Marriage is left with no essential features, no fixed core as a social reality—it is simply whatever consenting adults want it to be.

If so, how can redefining marriage for public purposes to include same-sex relationships be a demand of justice? A matter of basic fairness and equality? From the wide variety of interpersonal consensual relationships that adults can form, why should the state pick out same-sex ones?

Indeed, some of those who posted comments saw this logic, and thinking that marriage has no form and serves no social purpose, they concluded that the government should get out of the marriage business.

If so, how will society protect the needs of children—the prime victim of our non-marital sexual culture—without government growing more intrusive and more expensive?

Marriage benefits everyone, because separating the bearing and rearing of children from marriage burdens innocent bystanders: not just children, but the whole community. It’s the community that often must step in to provide (more or less directly) for their wellbeing and upbringing. A child born and raised outside marriage is six times more likely to experience poverty than a child in an intact family—and therefore welfare expenditures grow. So by encouraging the norms of marriage—monogamy, sexual exclusivity and permanence—the state strengthens civil society and reduces its own role.

But marital norms make no sense—as matters of principle—if marriage is redefined. There is no reason of principle why emotional union should be permanent. Or limited to two persons, rather than larger ensembles. Or sexual, much less sexually exclusive. Or inherently oriented to family life and shaped by its demands.

If marriage isn’t founded on a comprehensive union made possible by the sexual complementarity of a man and a woman, then why can’t it occur among more than two people? If marital union isn’t founded on such sexual acts, then why ought it be sexually exclusive? If marriage isn’t a comprehensive union and has no intrinsic connection to children, then why ought it be permanent?

This isn’t to say that couples couldn’t decide to live out these norms where temperament or taste so motivated them; but that there is no reason of principle to demand it of them. So legally enshrining this alternate view of marriage would undermine the norms whose link to the common good justifies state action in the first place.

This highlights the central questions in this debate: what marriage is and why the state recognizes it. It’s not that the state shouldn’t achieve its basic purpose while obscuring what marriage is. Rather, itcan’t. Only when policy gets the nature of marriage right do we reap the civil society benefits of recognizing marriage.

The future of our country, then, relies upon the future of marriage. The future of marriage depends on citizens’ understanding of what it is and why it matters—and demanding that government policies support, not undermine, true marriage.

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Comments

  • Just giving this a bump to see if it actually appears on the main page.
  • "...The future of marriage depends on citizens’ understanding of what it is and why it matters..."

     

    That succinctly states the current public policy problem.

  • I really agree and it pains me that even my own beloved church doesn't have the moral backbone to do what's right.
  • Meh.

    I only read that bit at the end of the quoted material, what marriage is and why the state recognizes it

    I didn't bother to look up and read what he said about why the state recognizes it, but having a few marriages under my belt, I'm pretty sanguine that I already know that by this point.

    Frankly, I think that it's ill-considered, sophomoric drivel.  I damn sure would not want that guy being an advocate for any cause in which I was even moderately interested.

    But that's just my take.  I'm in my 4th marriage and have never had any kids.
  • Unka Bart said:

    Meh.


    I only read that bit at the end of the quoted material, what marriage is and why the state recognizes it

    I didn't bother to look up and read what he said about why the state recognizes it, but having a few marriages under my belt, I'm pretty sanguine that I already know that by this point.

    Frankly, I think that the piece is ill-considered, sophomoric drivel.  I damn sure would not want that guy being an advocate for any cause in which I was even moderately interested.

    But that's just my take.  I'm in my 4th marriage and have never had any kids.

  • Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?
  • Are you talking to yourself, Bart?


    (not that there's anything wrong with that) /Seinfeld
  • 4th times the charm?

    General comment - I'm a huge believer in the benefits of a Biblical marriage but I believe marriage is a symptom of one's heart condition, not generally a cause for it.  Society is going to continue to devalue the status quo, there is no stopping it, we will decline as a nation and if Jesus doesn't come back before the nation dissolves it will be replaced by a stronger willed people group.

  • We have a terribly broken society
  • edited December 2012
    *%&$#@&#...  Not to mention, F u u u u u u u  u  u u  u  u  u u u u...

    I've typed a long response to you good folks, not once, not twice, but three (3) fucking times.  Goddamn Mac OS and my Mac laptop's fucking trackpad.  Accidentally swiping (brushing the surface) somehow increases the size of everything while simultaneously and gratuitously deleting every fucking thing I've written.

    Probably all for the best, but still... 

    Oh wait, this isn't the Goddamn Rant Thread is it?  

    Shit!

    Never rmind...
  • If I have something long I'll do it in notepad or something and copy/paste. Or, I'll copy all occasionally to save all text as I type.
  • Go listen to some of the music I just linked, it'll lower your blood pressure and soothe your soul.
  • edited December 2012

    If I have something long I'll do it in notepad or something and copy/paste. Or, I'll copy all occasionally to save all text as I type.

    If I had any functional neural synapses, I'd do the same thing.

    Still, I do enjoy a good tantrum, every now and again...

    Zed, (not that I want my soul to be soother than it is, but) where are the links?

    (ooops, never mind, scratch that.)
  • So Bart, your response to the argument that marriage should involve two and only two people, should be permanent and exclusive, and should be promoted by the government because it's main purpose is the protection of kids is that you've never had kids and have gotten married four times so it's working out just great for you?

    Good point. You completely decimated Andersons reasoning.

  • Good point. You completely decimated Andersons reasoning.


    Wouldn't it be Anderson's responsibility to prove the validity of his hypothesis, not Bart's to disprove it?
  • Matt, I know that your reasoning ability and capacity for rational thought are better than that.

  • edited December 2012
    Anderson made a thoughtful and compelling argument. People are free to disagree and say so. But if you'd like to be taken seriously in your disagreement you might want to employ the same thoughtfulness and careful reasoning laid out by the side you disagree with. We're talking about social dynamics, not geometry. There are no proofs to be made. There are beliefs based on observation and metaphysics. If one is too lazy to engage the metaphysics, there's not much point to weighing in at all AFAIC.
  • Anderson made a thoughtful and compelling argument.

    A thoughtful and compelling argument does not prove a thesis.
  • MC Escher said:

    Anderson made a thoughtful and compelling argument.

    A thoughtful and compelling argument does not prove a thesis.
    And alleging that someone hasn't "proven" a thesis isn't a critique of the thesis.

    Matt/Bill, I think the routine response to the ideas in your OP illustrate the accuracy of the sentence from it I quoted.  The people at Richocet who respond to the article aren't stupid.  Indeed, Eric and Bart aren't stupid, and Axe wasn't stupid when we discussed the purpose of legal marriage with him for pages on end.

    However, where people regard legal marriage as merely a goody-bag of rights, they will be inexorably driven to question why everyone can't have the goody-bag.

    Bart, you may consider a statement of the purpose of legal marriage to be sophomoric drivel, even without having read it, but the idea that one must first correctly grasp man's nature before he can best draft the laws to govern us is a key point in natural law.  You might not like Aquinas or Aristotle, but there isn't anything sophomoric about using it as an analytical framework.

    In addition to the goody-bag of rights, many of the arguments against the Anderson rationale involve expressions of love, access to medical information and tax status, none of which are related to the historic purpose of marriage.  People seem to have lost the theme at some point.
  • zukiphile said:

    MC Escher said:

    Anderson made a thoughtful and compelling argument.

    A thoughtful and compelling argument does not prove a thesis.
    And alleging that someone hasn't "proven" a thesis isn't a critique of the thesis.

    Except that if the author wishes to move the thesis into the realm of public policy, prudence dictates that the argument should be more than merely "thoughtful and compelling" because you are talking about backing that thesis with the full might of the government's authority and monopoly on force.

    After all, we have both heard thoughtful and compelling arguments on both sides of such issues Creation vs Evolution and Global Warming / Climate Change.

    Yet, at their most fundamental levels, the two sides cannot BOTH be correct.
  • MC Escher said:

    zukiphile said:
    Except that if the author wishes to move the thesis into the realm of public policy, prudence dictates that the argument should be more than merely "thoughtful and compelling" because you are talking about backing that thesis with the full might of the government's authority and monopoly on force.


    Yet, at their most fundamental levels, the two sides cannot BOTH be correct.
    True.  I would say that you are incorrect in your conclusion about the better state of family law.

    The idea that the argument for law should be "more than merely "thoughtful and compelling"" is curiously high.  Since you've not proven or even demonstrated that this is the optimal standard for acceptance of a law, is it "merely thoughtful and compelling"?

    Whatever the state of family law, it will have an underlying rationale.  Thoughtful and compelling seems a good start.
  • zukiphile said:

    MC Escher said:

    I would say that you are incorrect in your conclusion about the better state of family law.

    What conclusion?
  • edited December 2012
    During the long tradition of state recognized marriage, I don't think anyone has been forced at the point of a cop's gun to propose to the person they were shtupping, or had a SWAT team barge into their home for forgetting an anniversary or even for cheating on their spouse. So I think the ominous rhetoric about fearing the monopoly on force of the state as it pertains to marriage law seems a bit melodramatic. Marriage is a voluntary institution, and people who don't want to be part of it are free to form different types if sexually based relationships and arrange whatever contractual obligations based on those relationships they'd like. There is nothing coercive about how states administer marriage law, except possibly divorce settlements and spousal support payments. People worried about that, though, have the option of prenuptial agreements or not opting into marriage in the first place. 

    What people who fear government and its expanding role in our lives should really worry about is the fact that when the biological parents of children don't commit to the other parent of their children and shape their relationship in the form traditional marriage defines, kids are much more likely to suffer. That inevitably leads to more government in the form of welfare programs, a bigger role for child protective services, and more law enforcement activity dealing with the sociopathic activities of feral boys that grow into unruly, dangerous men. 

    If you want less government, you'd better hope there is a healthy traditional marriage culture in your society .
  • MC Escher said:

    zukiphile said:

    MC Escher said:

    I would say that you are incorrect in your conclusion about the better state of family law.

    What conclusion?
    The conclusion you've stated in a number of posts in conversations we've had about this over the years that marriage laws that include a restriction to two people of the opposition sex represent an unconstitutional deprivation of a right to marry.
  • zukiphile said:

    MC Escher said:









    Anderson made a thoughtful and compelling argument. 

    A thoughtful and compelling argument does not prove a thesis.

    And alleging that someone hasn't "proven" a thesis isn't a critique of the thesis.


    Matt/Bill, I think the routine response to the ideas in your OP illustrate the accuracy of the sentence from it I quoted.  The people at Richocet who respond to the article aren't stupid.  Indeed, Eric and Bart aren't stupid, and Axe wasn't stupid when we discussed the purpose of legal marriage with him for pages on end.


    However, where people regard legal marriage as merely a goody-bag of rights, they will be inexorably driven to question why everyone can't have the goody-bag.


    [b]Bart, you may consider a statement of the purpose of legal marriage to be sophomoric drivel, even without having read it, but the idea that one must first correctly grasp man's nature before he can best draft the laws to govern us is a key point in natural law.  You might not like Aquinas or Aristotle, but there isn't anything sophomoric about using it as an analytical framework.[/b]


    In addition to the goody-bag of rights, many of the arguments against the Anderson rationale involve expressions of love, access to medical information and tax status, none of which are related to the historic purpose of marriage.  People seem to have lost the theme at some point.


    Hi Zuk, what I said was:


    I only read that bit at the end of the quoted material, what marriage is and why the state recognizes it


    I didn't say anything derogatory about the purpose of marriage, other than that I was pretty sure I that I already knew why the state recognizes it.


    My point was that the first thing I read, "What Marriage is," was so poorly reasoned that I see no need to read his other arguments.


    I didn't bother to look up and read what he said about why the state recognizes it, but having a few marriages under my belt, I'm pretty sanguine that I already know that by this point.


    Frankly, I think that the piece is ill-considered, sophomoric drivel.  I damn sure would not want that guy being an advocate for any cause in which I was even moderately interested.


    Neither did I say anything derogatory about Thomas Aquinas, nor Aristotle for that matter, so it would be pretty difficult to infer what my feelings are respecting these gentlemen.  Where did that come from?


    I actually refrained from picking (the bit that I did read) Ryan apart because I was short of time and interest.  Do I need to?

  • zukiphile said:

    MC Escher said:

    zukiphile said:

    MC Escher said:

    I would say that you are incorrect in your conclusion about the better state of family law.

    What conclusion?
    The conclusion you've stated in a number of posts in conversations we've had about this over the years that marriage laws that include a restriction to two people of the opposition sex represent an unconstitutional deprivation of a right to marry.
    We're having THIS conversation. Today.

    If I wanted to rehash every other conversation I've ever had on a subject whenever it comes up, I'd get married.
  • Bart, my point was that the article uses a framework also used by Aquinas and Aristotle and central to natural law, nit that you had an axe to grind against one of them.  I mean you are old, but they are even older.
    MC Escher said:



    If I wanted to rehash every other conversation I've ever had on a subject whenever it comes up, I'd get married.

    Arguing with me about SSM for, what, 12 years now may be as close as you get to marriage.


  • If you want less government, you'd better hope there is a healthy tradional marriage culture in your society .

    Indeed.
  • zukiphile said:

    MC Escher said:


    If I wanted to rehash every other conversation I've ever had on a subject whenever it comes up, I'd get married.


    Arguing with me about SSM for, what, 12 years now may be as close as you get to marriage.
    It seems longer...
  • I love you too.  Now get me a sandwich.  My program is coming on.
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