Maintaining a Light Hand Now to Avoid a Heavy Hand Later

Before the paragraph devolves into raving, commenter Greg asks a valid question worthy of an answer:

How can we be for a small, non-intrusive government when we tell people that we won’t acknowledge their relationships because they don’t insert Tab A into Slot B like the rest of us do? And what does it matter to the fabric of society? Except creating a new excluded class. What’s the matter? We didn’t learn from the lessons of the Civil Rights movement? We aren’t tired enough of being tarred as ‘racist’ now we have to be ‘anti-gay’, too? Hell, let’s just take back the right to vote from the women while we’re at it!

A supra-issue strategic principle for conservatives is that it is more effective, more moral, and more in line with individual liberty to offload as many of the cultural controls that are necessary for a healthy society to other mechanisms and institutions than government. Just so, the culture of marriage has been leveraged to ensure that those children born of men and women’s natural interactions are raised in the healthiest possible environment and that families develop into organic chains of support. Undermining the link between parenthood and marriage — whereby couples planning to have children get married and couples having sex understand that pregnancy comes with a unified set of responsibilities within a marital household — will increase the intimacy with which the public is compelled to become involved in individual lives. Think of the development of nannyism in the schools, from detailed sex-ed and lifestyle exploration to in-school counseling and self-esteem peddling. Think of court-determined custody and visitation rights and the financial scrutiny involved in child support. Think of the whole collection of social programs needed, in part, to compensate for the worse than average delinquencies of the bastard class. (It’s relevant to note a reference that I heard on NPR yesterday morning to the “marriage gap” between wealthier families that build stable households and poorer families that are more prone to out-of-wedlock births and divorces.)
Some readers are likely thinking, in accord with arguments made in the past, that, whatever the history of marriage, it is no longer a fundamentally procreative institution, making it unfair to exclude homosexuals. Apart from the simple consideration that, in practice, marriage certainly is still a fundamentally procreative institution, the fact of a cultural drift into detrimental habits does not suggest that we should cut off the possibility of recovery. To write the opposite-sex nature of marriage — and therefore its procreative essence — out of the law would likely push us further from a usable non-governmental shaper of culture and would certainly hinder us in reconstituting a social order in which the government needn’t be an absent, but never silent, member of every family.

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mrh
mrh
13 years ago

Some readers are likely thinking, in accord with arguments made in the past, that, whatever the history of marriage, it is no longer a fundamentally procreative institution, making it unfair to exclude homosexuals. Apart from the simple consideration that, in practice, marriage certainly is still a fundamentally procreative institution, the fact of a cultural drift into detrimental habits does not suggest that we should cut off the possibility of recovery.
Begging the question! Begging the question!

Greg
Greg
13 years ago

I object to the use of the word “raving” when it is more accurate to state that I was “ranting”.
🙂

mrh
mrh
13 years ago

I should say, though, that your second paragraph is very well put, even though I don’t agree with it.

Greg
Greg
13 years ago

I question whether the ‘healthiest possible environment’ for a child is a two-parent family made up of two same-sex partners bound under law by marriage with all the rights and protections, or that same two-parent family WITHOUT those rights and protections where, for just one example, the death of the ‘primary parent’ could lead to a lengthy and contentious court battle for custody of the child.

Justin Katz
13 years ago

That’s not begging the question; it’s an assertion (and one that I’ve backed up in the past with statistics, if you care to look it up… or if I manage to get around to doing so before you). Begging the question is when you assume your conclusion as evidence:

  • The Incredible Hulk must be green because he became radioactive.
  • I know that radioactivity turns superheroes green because the Hulk is green.

If you’re going to presume to school me in logical fallacies, at least find one in which I’ve actually indulged. I’m sure there are plenty around the site.

mrh
mrh
13 years ago
  • If marriage is no longer fundamentally procreative, it is unfair to exclude homosexuals.
  • It is fair to exclude homosexuals, therefore marriage is fundamentally procreative.

May not be the best example ever of question-begging, but it had that flavor to me.
I’m not sure how statistics could back up the assertion that marriage is “fundamentally procreative”.

Justin Katz
13 years ago

But MRH, that wasn’t my logic; you’ve twisted what I actually said in order to make it a fallacy.

Justin Katz
13 years ago

Regarding the statistics, see here.

mrh
mrh
13 years ago

Justin,
The statistics don’t enter into it. Even accepting the claim (which I don’t doubt) that many or even most married couples have children isn’t an argument that marriage must be procreative. It’s just an argument that it generally is. I accept the descriptive claim that marriages tend to involve procreation. I reject the normative claim that marriage is fundamentally procreative.
But I should really get out of this comment box and post on my own darn blog, shouldn’t I?

Bobby Oliveira
Bobby Oliveira
13 years ago

Dear Justin,
Thank you for invalidating my father’s second marriage. I guess marriage must have two new components:
1.) a fertility test
2.) an age limit
Justin, on the civil side, marriage is about property. Always has been, always will be.

smmtheory
smmtheory
13 years ago

Elaborate Bobby. What specifically about property is marriage on the civil side designed for?
MRH, Why do you reject the claim that marriage is fundamentally procreative?

Susan
Susan
13 years ago

The article cited by NPR was from that radical journal, The Economist. Quite informative. Focuses on “families” from various backgrounds and levels of commitment. http://www.economist.com/world/na/displaystory.cfm?story_id=9218127

Susan
Susan
13 years ago

The article cited by NPR was from that radical journal, The Economist. Quite informative. Focuses on “families” from various backgrounds and levels of commitment. http://www.economist.com/world/na/displaystory.cfm?story_id=9218127

mrh
mrh
13 years ago

SMMtheory,
That’s a question that deserves a longer answer than this comment box can contain. Check my blog in the next few days.
(While you’re waiting, you might think about why you think marriage is fundamentally procreative.)

smmtheory
smmtheory
13 years ago

I already know why I think marriage is fundamentally procreative MRH. I just don’t think you can reconcile your opinion with reality.

mrh
mrh
13 years ago

You might know why you think it, but I don’t know why you think it.
As for opinion and reality, see my comment above regarding descriptivity vs normativity.

Bobby Oliveira
Bobby Oliveira
13 years ago

Dear Smmtheory,
Think about every law put into place in the sphere of marriage. They are concerned with only 3 things:
1.) Racism. Certain races and social classes cannot inter-marry.
2.) Health. Go get a blood test, don’t marry your sister.
3.) Property. Who gets it, how it passes on, what happens if the marriage ends.
If it were anything else, why did we go through centuries of “arranged” marriage?

Justin Katz
13 years ago

See, Bobby, this is why I find arguing with you so fruitless. On one hand, I believe that you’re arguing in good faith. On the other hand, I marvel at the ideological blinders that must guard your opinions that you would offer such arguments as the above to prove your point, because they prove, if anything, the opposite. Just to limit my argument to a direct response, for illustration purposes:
1) Races cannot mix. Miscegenation is most commonly seen to have been a reaction to a mixing of the races, themselves, not their property. Bloodlines and all that. Procreation.
2) Health. Whose health is most central in those blood tests? Even more so, whose health is critical in the ban of sibling marriages? The children whom they might beget. Procreation.
3) Handling of property. How wealth passes on generally involves the distribution to children (grown children, God willing). Procreation.
4. Arranged marriages. And as far as this angle is concerned, arranged marriages have historically had less to do with direct transfers of wealth as the improvement of families’ standing over time. The parents presumed to pick spouses not (for the most part, although sometimes) for an immediate gain, but with a longer view across generations. Procreation.
Here’s hoping you manage to respond to this in a way that will inspire further conversation…

smmtheory
smmtheory
13 years ago

MRH,
Seeing as Justin responded with pretty much the same as I would have, I see no reason at present to add anything further.

Greg
Greg
13 years ago

It’s all very nice and all but it really comes down to you guys don’t like gay people. Don’t think they’re ‘normal’ and don’t want their kids playing with your kids at the neighborhood playground for fear that your kids will catch ‘gay’.

smmtheory
smmtheory
13 years ago

Your canard is showing.

Greg
Greg
13 years ago

Your prejudice is showing.

mrh
mrh
13 years ago

On the contrary, Justin is falling right into my trap! Muahahahah!
Now, if only work would lighten up so I could post my full response.

smmtheory
smmtheory
13 years ago

Okay Greg, prove that I don’t like people who identify themselves as Gay.

Bobby Oliveira
Bobby Oliveira
13 years ago

Dear Justin,
Did you just pop a hamstring engaging in that??
By that logic, we have driving due to procreation.
By the way, I understand what you’re doing because I do it every day in sales. All sales can be boiled down to sex and death if you really try hard enough.
However, going back to the original point, if marriage is about kids, where’s the fertility test?

Justin Katz
13 years ago

Fertility point’s been made and responded to at least a dozen times on my two blogs. If you really want to know what I would say, look it up.

smmtheory
smmtheory
13 years ago

Bobby, I don’t think I would ever buy anything you might be selling if I had to deal with a salesman philosophically aligned such as you appear to be… sales pitches predicated on sex and death, how crass.
Now we know why you believe marriage can be boiled down to just sex. Thanks for the insight into your lack of objectivity.

Greg
Greg
13 years ago

smm,
You wish to deny other American citizens the same rights you enjoy simply because they’re biologically wired different. Color it any way you like but that’s prejudice.
As for Bobby’s point about all sales being about sex or death just watch any commercial. Then ask ‘did they just tell me to buy that product because the opposite sex will like me better or because living without it would be dangerous to life and/or limb?’.
Examples: Beer, cars, mp3 players, cell phones, computers, etc…..

Bobby Oliveira
Bobby Oliveira
13 years ago

Dear Justin,
Neither of your blogs explains it very well. The fact is you just don;t like gay people because a person who will never have sex told you not to like gay people. Not a great way to make law.
Smmtheory,
All sales theory and practice is based on this model. An important lesson to remember: you cannot procreate without sex. Therefore, Justin seems to be telling us that marriage is just about sex as well. (I’m sure some of the women reading this are just thrilled by Justin’s conclusion.)
Heck, you guys wanna go this far, let’s take the next step: let’s regulate what kind of sex you can have inside a marriage.

smmtheory
smmtheory
13 years ago

You wish to deny other American citizens the same rights you enjoy simply because they’re biologically wired different.

They already have the same exact rights that I do, and they are not biologically wired differently. Your assertion is not proof that I don’t like people who identify themselves as Gay.

As for Bobby’s point about all sales being about sex or death just watch any commercial.

I pretty much quit watching television specifically because of such crassness. As I stated, any sales person who believes that sex or death motivates my purchases doesn’t get my business.

An important lesson to remember: you cannot procreate without sex.

While sex is necessary for procreation, procreation is not about sex. It says a lot about your cynicism too that you boil procreation down to sex. Was it you that said something in another thread about you and your wife’s choice not to procreate, or as you put it, not have children?

Heck, you guys wanna go this far, let’s take the next step: let’s regulate what kind of sex you can have inside a marriage.

Now look who’s getting all discriminatory! You leave comments all over this blog (and for all I know others as well) accusing people of being discriminatory, and now you’re advocating discrimination yourself!

Bobby Oliveira
Bobby Oliveira
13 years ago

Dear Smmtheory,
They do not have the same rights you do since they can’t get married. Let’s not forget that marriage carries with it financial incentives that these folks do not have access to.
You happen to be also incorrect on the science. Homosexuality does indeed have a biological component making it no different than any other biological component.
Anyone who has gotten your business and used sex and death to do it. In your case, they toned the terms down a little.
How do you procreate without having sex? Unless you’re a doctor with some test tubes and a turkey baster at the ready, procreation is sex. The sad part is some religous conservatives believe the inverse.
I love sex. Enjoy it as often as possible. Every time I do, I take every step possible to make sure I don’t proceate. Can’t remember the last time I looked at a woman and said “Let’s stay in and procreate.”
Where was I disciminatory? You want inside a woman’s ovaries, inside of a gay person’s bedroom, deciding who can have kids or marry and who cannot. These are all places you need not be.
Thank God for Griswold v. Connecticut to keep people of your thought process at bay.

smmtheory
smmtheory
13 years ago

They do not have the same rights you do since they can’t get married. Let’s not forget that marriage carries with it financial incentives that these folks do not have access to.
You happen to be also incorrect on the science. Homosexuality does indeed have a biological component making it no different than any other biological component.

Not only do you lack objectivity, you lack credibility as a biological authority. A man with homosexual proclivities is free to marry any woman he wants to just as is the man with heterosexual proclivities. A woman with homosexual proclivities is free to marry any man she wants to just as is the woman with heterosexual proclivities. Instead you want the law to be that the man with homosexual proclivities can marry any man or woman he chooses, but the man with heterosexual proclivities can only marry a woman; or the woman with homosexual proclivities can marry any woman or man she chooses, but the woman with heterosexual proclivities can only marry a man. Now THAT is discrimination based on sexual preference.

Bobby Oliveira
Bobby Oliveira
13 years ago

Dear Smmtheory,
Nothing I said indicates that a straight male or female cannot marry a gay male or female if they choose.
Again, stop trying to undermine the science. Science always wins.

smmtheory
smmtheory
13 years ago

Nothing I said indicates that a straight male or female cannot marry a gay male or female if they choose.

Now you are contradicting yourself Bobby. First you say people who identify themselves as Gay can’t get married, and now you’re saying that they can. Try being consistent for crying out loud!

Again, stop trying to undermine the science. Science always wins.

I know you think you are being smarter than me here, but questioning your credibility as a biological authority is not undermining science. If anything, I’m trying to preserve science.

Bobby Oliveira
Bobby Oliveira
13 years ago

Dear Smmtheory,
I have been totally consistent. Let me state it again so it’s clear:
Any human, regardless of gender or sexual preference, can marry any other human regardless of gender or sexual preference.
I have never stated that anyone can’t get married.

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