The State of Thought on the Left
Reading Pat Crowley unpacking a three-sentence summary from my recent post on same-sex marriage is like watching a bad magician pull rags out of his sleeve and pretend that they came out of a nearby jewelry box:
I guess the whole idea about “equal protection”, that silly little constitutional issue, isn’t relevant on the question of sex. But that is not my point. As a big fan of sex, I am pretty confident that its only purpose isn’t child birth. Now I could be wrong about that since I didn’t realize that the only purpose of marriage is to legitimize the sexual act. Now of course, that begs the question: which sexual act? I know of at least a few then when executed are guaranteed not to produce a fertilized egg. So in the AR world, I guess the only legitimate sex is the sexual act the does produce a fertilized egg. So what about sex, even THE act, that doesn’t produce that fertilized egg? Does that not count? Or does that de-legitimize the marriage? What about the childless marriage, is that no longer legitimate or is the sex involved in the childless marriage some how illegitimate? What about the person who had a first marriage with children and then gets married a second time and doesn’t have children? Is the second marriage valid? Would it be advisable for a married couple to keep having sex as frequently as possible in order to procreate? If the answer is yes then obviously AR folks don’t have a lot of experience with marriage…
I’m reminded of a scene in Kung Fu Panda in which the clumsy bear bungles his first attempt at a training exercise to hilarious degree, and the master tells him, when the oaf drags himself across the floor, beaten and burnt, “There is now a level zero.”
It should go without saying that Crowley’s entire exercise is a ploy to avoid addressing my argument providing the reason that maintaining the opposite-sex definition of marriage — that is to say the definition of marriage — is not contrary to equal protection. Unfortunately, the reader base at RI Future was unable to produce a single comment suggesting that Crowley might be indulging in some intellectual dishonesty. Such a crowd is not likely to allow itself even to comprehend a contrary argument, no matter how succinctly put and no matter how free of discriminatory motivation. In them, we see the real anti-intellectualism in modern America.
But to provide something of a remedy, I’ll offer the protest that at no point did I make claims about the “only purpose” of marriage or sex. Neither did I offer a declaration of legitimization for various behaviors; that would be a separate discussion.
The point is how marriage functions in society — what it is about marriage that makes it a matter of public interest at all — and that is to maximize the number of children born into households founded on the stable relationships of their mothers and fathers. It’s an imperfect world, of course, and exceptions must be made, without belittling others, but it is the key understanding that men and women, together, even quite carelessly, can produce new human life that gives marriage its cultural force.
If marriage is only about their love for each other and their commitment to care for each other, then why is sexual intimacy implied at all? Why not let any two people who wish to help each other through life — mother, daughter, brother, brother — access the rights and privileges thereof?
Sex is well and good, but the burden is on those proposing a radical redefinition of marriage to explain why the public ought to care about the private matters of consenting adults, and why it has any business whatsoever in judging matters of “love.”