14 February 2012

Three Lessons Conservatives Need to Learn

From gay marriage:

Gov. Christine Gregoire signed legislation on Monday to make Washington the seventh state to legalize same-sex marriage, but opponents said they would try to seek its repeal through a ballot measure. Ms. Gregoire, a Democrat and a Roman Catholic, said, “I’m proud of who and what we are as a state.” Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont recognize same-sex marriage, as does Washington, D.C. The measure will take effect 90 days after the legislative session ends.

First, conservatives need to learn that the government cannot be trusted to uphold traditional values.  The reason why conservatives, particularly social conservatives need to stop making social matters a political issue is because, in the long run, they always lose.  The government is evil, supports evil, loves evil, and traffics in evil.  Evil is the currency of government, which is why no one should ever look to it to uphold traditional morality. Everything about politics and government works in the opposite direction of traditional morality.  Getting the government to uphold traditional values is always short-lived, with the government eventually going in the opposite direction.  Thus, trusting the government to uphold traditional values is like trusting a fox to guard a henhouse:  only a fool would do it.

Second, conservatives need to learn that this sort of immorality does not happen overnight.  Gay marriage is not the first, nor the worst assault on the institution of marriage.  Feminism and the sexual revolution were earlier and did more damage.  Feminism worked against marriage by making it easier for women to divorce their boring husbands, and get paid (i.e. receive alimony) for doing so, and all without having to lose the kids.  Then the sexual revolution came and completely eliminated the need for marriage since women were no longer shamed for riding the carousel.  As such, women had no reason to marry except to lock into guaranteed income, which would exist even after a divorce.  These two elements, then, have completely destroyed marriage; there’s not much left for the gays to do to it.

Third, conservatives need to learn when and how to quit.  At this point, the legal war has been lost. The gays will pretty much all be able to get a piece of paper from the government saying that they’re married.  This will be inevitable.  But the culture war hasn’t been lost—and needn’t be—as long conservatives play their cards right.  The first step is to stop going to the government for marriage.  Don’t get marriage certificates or licenses; instead, get married by religious officials in churches and simply take your vow before God and a handful of witnesses.  The second step, in conjunction with the first, is to make sure that churches who marry people enforce the marriages, which means no divorces except for the cause of adultery, and no alimony (I’d make an exception for child support, to be paid by the adulterous spouse).  Once this is in place, conservatives can then feel free to mock government-issued marriage licenses as worthless pieces of paper, and refuse to recognize immoral marriages.  For what it’s worth, I seriously doubt that conservatives would undertake this, mostly because conservatives aren’t actually as concerned about marriage as they claim.


  1. Well you were on a tear last night.

    This would create a divide in loyalties between church and state, how dare you suggest such a thing...

    I have heard similar ideas proposed elsewhere and I like them. Let the church certify and enforce your marriage; the state will merely recognize your union for tax purposes, and the contract stipulates you just walk away from each other if things don't work out.

    The issue of marriage has caused me to question, not for the first time, whether church and state can really be separated. Surely secularists and areligious groups existed before the founding of America, but our Constitution codified the government's role in religious matters, except for the issue of marriage, enforced by the state because...the state, which went hand-in-hand with religion for so many centuries, had always enforced it. Just as it enforced laws about stealing and murder, deception, usury, and heresy when applicable.

    A gay person getting "married" won't degrade my marriage one bit. I find it far more troubling that the true marriage destroyers you mention - easy divorce and abundant sexual liberty - are being viewed without comment or criticism in the gay marriage debate.

    This is smart on the part of whomever drives this debate. Homosexuals can make the issue about their civil rights and feminists can frame it as one of equality, all with plausible deniability as to their involvement in the degradation of marriage overall. Conservatives can point to homosexual degeneracy to appeal to their followers and not point out the hypocrisy of the Newt Gingriches and reformed, unhappy, unmarried sluts (if only men would man up already!) among their ranks. Win-win!

  2. @Cranberry- I've not only suggested dividing loyalties between church and state, I've proposed a method of doing so (see: "The End of Marriage" in right sidebar). I say get the state out of marriage entirely and forget tax breaks. This matter is too important to be handled by a corrupt institution.

    I doubt that church and state can be separated for long. The state loves the subtle power of religious authority and the church (leaders) love the overt power of military might, so the two will find their union to be a politically profitable one. But only because we allow it.

    And yes, it is both impressive and disgusting to see how liberals and conservatives have played this issue while ignoring the root problem. Isn't democracy great?

  3. I'll never fathom how the most libertarian, drown-the-govt-in-the-tub types, nevertheless put so much weight on that marriage license. The pressure that fathers put on sons to get one (say, when their sons are cohabitating with a longterm girlfriend). It absolutely boggles the mind.

  4. @GFM- Could you point out those libertarians that place so much emphasis on marriage licenses? The only people I've ever heard or seen discussing the matter tend to be social conservatives and progressives. The few libertarians I've known never seemed to care.

    It is astounding, though, that anyone cares about a piece of paper that can be easily rendered void, especially when actions count for a lot more. It is, as you say, mind-boggling.

  5. Well, it seems like there is a large overlap between libertarians and social conservatives, and there's no arguing the latter make a very big deal over marriage licenses. Taking their reasoning to the extreme, it is morally better to live separately from your significant other, maybe even date other people, so long as you have that official document; than to live together and raise a wholesome family and so on, while NOT having that document.

  6. @GFM- there is quite a bit of overlap between conservatives and libertarians on fiscal matters; there's nowhere near as much on social matters. Conservatives do generally make a big deal over marriage licenses, and I have no idea why. And once you take their reasoning to the extreme, it's easy to see just how devoid of common sense it is. In my view, one can make a vow before God and live an honorable life with a committed woman without ever having to get a piece of paper from the government legitimizing their actions.

  7. @SG - The reason conservatives make a big deal about a marriage license is that they are into big government. Not big government how liberals want it run, but big government how they want it run.

    And that includes making sure a myriad of private matters are made legal by a government issued piece of paper.

  8. @Carnivore- That's why I've often asserted that there is no philosophical difference between liberals and conservatives. They're two sides of the same coin.