BIG THOUGHTS HERE
[...] Go to the Source: Postmodern Conservative [...]
“For one, I’ve been predicting for a decade that EVANGELICALS might combine with LIBERTARIANS to reach this conclusion. It’s the way believers won’t have to fight to their death or at least their ostracism resisting a public definition of marriage that’s contrary to what they really, really believe.”
This prediction will probably prove true, but the reasoning among my fellow Evangelicals which you describe will ultimately prove profoundly naive.
There really is no way to view Fund’s “Get Government out of the Marriage Business” argument except as advocating for a tactical retreat from the culture war. Which means, as soon as the retreat happens, the other side will do what every army does when they have the advantage: advance.
So what begins with inclusion of gays in the institution of marriage progresses to ostracizing those whose views differ from the inclusive orthodoxy (irony intended), and ultimately leads to a body of law that effectively makes activing upon any such view (say bringing up your children in such views) as legally verboten.
Meanwhile the institution of marriage, having now been taken hostage by identity politics,
will become increasingly irrelevant apart from its use in a larger political cause, and society will have to deal with the cultural wreckage of more and more children born out of wedlock.
My fellow evangelicals are fooling themselves if they think giving on this specific issue will relinquish them from the burden of the conflict. The other side will just follow them into their family room for the next phase of the battle.
Would this effectively legalize polygamy?
Pseudo, Well said. Patrick, It would de-illegalize it.
This idea is so stupid only someone at NRO could have thought of it.
Marriage (and myriad other societal norms) predates the state by millenia. The state, mostly interested in propagating itself and funding its growth through taxation, recognized marriage as a legal entity in order to define certain limitations on its own confiscatory powers. For example, an individual’s possessions transfer naturally to his or her spouse upon his death, and the state may not infringe on that transfer. And all sorts of other similar matters.
Other bequests are not so privileged, and so may be taxed. But the rights of marriage are not simply favors that the state does. These are inalienable rights that predate the state, and if the state tramples on these rights it loses any and all legitimacy it possesses.
This “get the state out of marriage!” idiocy is nothing but the latest step in the surrender of complete power over everything from civil society, natural law, etc., to the state. Such abomination can be called many things, but conservative is not on the list. To hell with anyone who proposes such an outrage.
As for the “polygamy” crack, if we’re thinking along the “get the state out of marriage!” nonsense, we acknowledge that the state gets to pick any definition of “marriage” it likes. So we could argue that the state gets to arbitrarily pick two people only, and the reason is shut up we said so. But the answer is that the choice is arbitrary, and polygamists will tear it down soon enough.
Even if one rejects the natural law type argument for marriage as everyone everywhere has always understood it, the fact is that this “arbitrary” definition at least can say it has several thousand years of tradition behind it. Any other random definition “we the people” (actually, they the black robed) pick of course can’t say anything of the sort.
So the idea that marriage is prior to the state in order and dignity is both Lockean and Christian. But that privileging of marriage over other autonomous relationships has been pretty much deconstructed by our Court. The emptying out of marriage means that we all stand before the state as free individuals and as parents but as nothing more. Thanks for Brian for starting with brains and spirit our discussion. I would only add that Fund is less crazy than thinking through the logic (well, deracinated logic can be really crazy) of our unprecedented situation.
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