Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Too little; too late

Marriage means little to nothing to modern people. Cube it, dice it, chop it up and re-define it, it makes little difference to those millions of us raised in the hell of the Divorce Tsunami that hit when I was in junior high school. Having been raised on Canada's Left Coast, for much of the western world cultural Ground Zero, I knew very few kids in school whose parents were not divorced or going that way. And now that the Sexual Revolution has re-written an entire civilisation's mating rules, people look upon marriage as some kind of obscure cultural ritual indulged in for aesthetic reasons by those with a taste for romantic antiquarianisms, like Morris Dancing.

To the average modern, culturally deracinated and socially atomised urban 25 year-old, it seems there is little economic incentive and next to no social advantage to being married. He has had no role model for being a husband, she sees nothing but what her feminist university professors have described as a form of indentured domestic servitude. Men and women have been taught to look upon each other, at best, as commodities in an endless commercial contest to see who can get the most from the other for the least investment. At worst, as mortal enemies in a war of the sexes.

Our society, our laws, our courts, our schools, have long since drained the meaning out of marriage as a social institution. So, honestly, I'm inclined to think that it will make little difference if we "extend the franchise" to include homosexuals or polyamorists, or even zoophiles or people attracted to coffee tables.

I'm less than perfectly impressed with the clamouring of the Christian leadership now over "gay marriage". I see in it much the same thing I saw with the older generation of anti-abortion activists. They are choosing this topic, very late in the day, and trying to isolate it from all the rest, saying, "Just don't go this far. Keep all the rest of the Great Experiment, but draw the line here." This is the thinking that brought us "civil partnerships" and continues to argue that it is a sensible "compromise" to have a social institution for same-sex partners that is identical in every legal way to marriage except the name.

But why draw the line here? In fact, why have any line at all? The Experiment requires that there be no lines at all, no restrictions or boundaries on human sexual proclivities. Could it be because they, like the "Overturn Roe" pro-lifers really want the entire Big Picture to stay the same? They like the Newfangled World just fine, thanks, but just can't stomach the "ick factor" of seeing two men kissing on the balcony. Like the previous generation of dilletante pro-lifer, they are fine with the "gains" of the Revolution, women working, kids raised by the state...

What that kind of "pro-family activist" wants is for the Sexual Revolution to remain in all its basic premises, but for some of the external forms to remain acceptable to neo-Victorian Christmas card makers. It's not only that they are too squeamish to talk about homosexuality, it's that there is some dark recess of their brains where logic is still functioning subconsciously and they know that were they ever to start talking about the issue in terms of human nature and sex, what it is, what it is for, how it must be controlled to allow us to form stable societies, their whole universe would come crashing down. (This is the essential difference, btw, between "neocon" Catholics and Trads. Our universe already came crashing down long ago, and we have already been forced to face the fact that there is simply nothing in the strange land of Newfanglia for us.)

Bishops don't talk about the real reason to be opposed to "gay marriage" for precisely and exactly the same reason they didn't talk about abortion, contraception and divorce (in reverse historical order) before it.

And you can be sure they won't. Ever.

The kind of bishop and clergyman running the joint now is wedded to this new kind of Church, one that on the whole embraces the new kind of world we created over the last couple of centuries. These are people who like the modern world just fine thanks, but just want a little room, a little "social space" to be created for those with more delicate aesthetic sensibilities to go through what remains of their lives in peace. In reality, they would far prefer not to talk about it at all, and you can be sure they will cease doing so as soon as it is politically expedient.



Anonymous said...

At least here in America, people are still getting married before they have children - white and Asian college-educated, upwardly mobile people. People who have advantages in life will generally make lots of good choices; other people need to be told, pushed, and prodded into making good choices. The economic advantages of marriage are now accruing those parents and children least in need of them, and gay marriage will only exacerbate this trend.

Is marriage about rich people maintaining their advantages and passing those advantages along to their children, while the poor suffer more than they should? Or is it about procreation and creating the best home for children, for which it becomes profoundly important for all people, not just the privileged, to wed?

Back when I was in grammar school, divorce was so rare that one of my friends thought that I was visiting my mother in the hospital. (I said that I couldn't play that weekend, I had to see my mother, and she spent an entire year thinking that my mother had some horrible disease.) Now it is quite common, to the great detriment of young people.


Zach said...

It's the thought that there's not enough left to be worth saving that is most depressing me right now.

That, and realizing that the Tolerance Thugs probably are a threat to my livelihood by now.

Teresa B. said...

We seem to think that we have pro-life and pro-family priests and bishops but do we hear Church teaching spelled out from the pulpit on a regular basis? NO!
Even when it comes to "Marriage Sunday" or "Respect Life" Sunday - the reality is that it is watered down so not to offend people.
We may talk to the priest at the end of mass and say "great to hear that it is Marriage Sunday or whatever but we are the choir - we know the deal.
It is the congregation in its entirety that needs to get the message not just on one day - but incorporate this message at various times of the year and even at weekday masses.
I have NEVER heard a priest from the pulpit talk on contraception. Haven't heard Church teaching on people living together before marriage, divorce, let alone same-sex marriage or unions. Signing a petition at the back of the church doesn't cut it.
We have popes who have spoken out against these things but how many regular Joes know what they say if our local pastor won't quote from them or quote from Humanae Vitae etc...
Then we see and hear about bishops who don't want to rock the boat and disregard Canon law when it comes to pro-abortion politicians receiving communnion.

Anonymous said...

Is marriage about rich people maintaining their advantages and passing those advantages along to their children, while the poor suffer more than they should?

winner winner chicken dinner

- Karen

John said...

Beautifully put as always, Hilary.

Traditional marriage - the bumper sticker to the contrary notwithstanding - cannot be preserved in poor old California. It needs to be re-introduced first. Traditional marriage hasn't been legally available here since the Spanish left.



Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Here's a goldmine of info

At least it's clear to what level of corruption the cultural elite are willing to commit themselves to. At least we can give form to the competing religion - self worship - CS Lewis called it, after all, the major rival to Christianity.

At least we know what will be unleashed as the so-called cultural elite refuse the effort of organisation based on the freedom of moral virtue and self government, substituting for it the loosing sexual chaos of the instinctual mass and absolving themselves.

At least we know what disiciplines they have in mind in their self assertion as an elite - sugary drink prohibition, hamster wheel gym work outs, hygienic abortions for most women of the underclass, trash heap euthanasia for the elderly, and prescribed sterile sex for all but the chosen people.

$ and elite credential/expertise will be the organising principles of global technocracy, bureaucratically administered freedom will be the satanic mockery next generation will have instead of the direct experience of free institutions ordered to the expression of the royal dignity of the human freedom of the adopted children of God.

If this isn't a green light for diocese to cut Caesar's apron strings and resume a life of the evangelical counsels I don't know what is.