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Gay Marriage One more Piece of the Progressive’s Social Engineered Rube Goldberg Machine

Do you know what a Rube Goldberg machine is?  Here are some pictures if you don’t.  It’s an elaborate machine composed of unnecessary parts that requires an extraordinary amount of tinkering to get working correctly.

Rube Goldberg machines are really fun to play with, but only on the principle that “It’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt.”

Progressives are a group of people who accept the premise that it is society’s right, nay, duty, to tinker-tinker-tinker with things in pursuit of the ‘common good.’  If someone gets hurt in the meantime, they’re ‘ok’ with that.  I hear this a lot when Democrats are asked about problems that surface as thousand page bills become laws, “Well, there will be bumps in the road” or “While there are kinks to be worked out, …”  You’ve got to break some eggs to make some omelets.

The result of such thinking is that in trying to fix one perceived problem, the ‘solutions’ erected invariably create new problems, and the solutions to these problems create yet new problems, and so on and so forth-literally, forever.  Back in 2010 I warned the soon to be victorious Tea Party to be careful about accepting the premise that we have the right and duty to tinker forever with the ‘machine’:

These people believe that leaving things be leads to social inequalities and only the machinations of the government can balance it all out.  Of course, when you tinker with part of the machine you will inevitably disturb a different part of the machine.  When your machine has a million parts which all are interconnected, if you perceive that your job is to personally make sure the machine runs with efficiency- as you perceive efficiency- then no doubt, a high level of intelligence is required, and not just by the president, but by the hundreds of other agencies established to monitor all the different parts of the machine.

I was thinking about this today when I read Juan William’s piece in the WSJ on race and guns.  I typically sigh and groan my way through whatever Juan is saying, but there was something in this one that caught my eye:

Almost 50 years ago, when the 1964 Civil Rights Act was passed, the national out-of-wedlock birthrate was 7%. Today it is over 40%. According to the CDC, the out-of-wedlock birthrate for white children was just 2% in the 1960s. Today it is 30%. Among black children, the out-of-wedlock birthrate has skyrocketed from 20% in the 1960s to a heartbreaking 72% today. The Hispanic out-of-wedlock rate, which has been measured for a much shorter period, was below 40% in 1990 and stands at more than 50% as of the 2010 census.

This is pretty interesting, don’t you think?  Interestingly, while Juan mentions this and highlights the importance, he doesn’t speak to what may be the cause of this significant shift.  And please note that while it has disproportionately affected blacks, Juan also points out that the national figures have also increased significantly, more than 4 times so (from 7% to 40%).  No-fault divorce is certainly one specific thing we can point to, but before there was no-fault divorce, there was this idea that we can tinker-tinker-tinker with society.

On the progressive point of view, moving to no-fault divorce was no big deal, because marriage is no more than a social construct, anyway.  There is just one teensy-weensy problem:  marriage is not just a social construct.

There are specific, non-arbitrary reasons why there is something we refer to as the institution of marriage.  When you disregard these non-arbitrary reasons, they don’t go away.  You know why?  Because they are not arbitrary.  Get it?

Consider this example:  if you put your hand into the blade of a running lawn mower, your hand is going to be ground into a bloody pulp.  Does this fact displease you?  Does it strike you as unfair?  Should you like to say, “Oh, but people should be allowed to stick their hands into the running blades of lawn mowers without their hands being reduced to pulp!  Let us correct this injustice with a law!”

Such a law would be pointless and worthless, because it doesn’t really matter what you think.  When you put your hand into the moving blade, it is going to be pulpified.  But the social engineer of the progressive sort is not to be deterred:  “We shall require that lawn mowers be so constructed so that…”  And the construction of the Rube Goldberg machine has begun.  The ‘experts’ will get to work trying to balance the ability of a blade to cut grass against people’s ‘right’ to stick their hands underneath the carriage without them being obliterated.  You can very well expect, on this view, that there will be a few ‘bumps in the road’ and ‘kinks to work out.’

Now, of course there is presently no movement for such a law, because people don’t need to be told that if you make a lawn mower such that it won’t blend your hand into a puree, it won’t effectively cut grass any more, and, well, blended hands are bad.  There is a de facto, default equilibrium that emerges–without anyone feeling a need to pass any kind of law at all, one way or the other–as people come to terms with objective reality.

Marriage is like that.  It is a word we use to reflect an objective reality that exists whether anyone likes it or not.  And, as in most cases where people defy objective reality, the consequences of messing with the ‘equilibrium’ results in getting people hurt.  No-fault divorce has hurt people on a broad scale;  I am one of the persons who has been hurt by it, so I can speak from personal experience.  Moreover, I have seen the consequences on adults and children all around me.  No-fault divorce was an attempt to circumvent the way that people really are, the way they are ‘built’, the way new people are made, and the best conditions for the way these new people grow up to be adults themselves.

The result of this tinkering has of course led to all sorts of government programs to try to counteract the consequences of this government ‘program.’  All of this tinkering assumes that ‘marriage’ was a mere social construct and wasn’t the way it was for a particular reason, but, in fact, that assumption is just not valid.  The components of ‘marriage’ surfaced ‘naturally’ because of certain, non-arbitrary realities that will not change, even if we change the definition.

Now, there will be someone who says, “This is just your religious viewpoint, and you should not impose your views on others!”

To this person I must say, “You sir, are an idiot.”

The following propositions are not ‘religious’ in the slightest:

  • Men have penises.
  • Women have vaginas.
  • Men have sperm.
  • Women have eggs.
  • Children are the direct result of sperm ‘interacting’ with eggs.
  • Children are not made any other way (yet).
  • Until recently, the way that sperm cells make their acquaintance with eggs is that that the men, who have penises, put their penises inside the woman’s vagina, and from there an ejaculation event takes place, sending the sperm into the vagina.
  • A vagina can only hold one penis at a time.
  • A penis can only be in one vagina at a time.
  • The word for this event/activity we call ‘sex.’
  • A newly generated child is always the result of just one man and just one woman participating in the sexual act.

I feel some embarrassment at having to be so direct about this, but despite the tremendous amounts of money given by the government to Planned Parenthood and our schools in pursuit of ‘sex education,’ there seems to be some ignorance about the above propositions.  Much to Planned Parenthood’s glee, our young people continue to engage in this activity, and they continue (to everyone’s great surprise!) to have children ‘out of wedlock.’  I say ‘glee,’ because of course Planned Parenthood would go out of business if this no longer happened.  But at any rate, we live in a society where men and women are having sex willy-nilly and remain shocked, positively shocked, when babies result.  (Granted, they are only babies if they are wanted… until then, they are only ‘fetuses’ and can be disposed of, like tumors.)

Now, from the above realities, other realities are derived.  When I mention these, some people will say that some of them are only my ‘religious’ viewpoint.

To these people, I must, regretfully, say:  “You are idiots.”

Please note, that I am not calling them ‘idiots’ because they disagree with my assertions, but rather that they wish to deride them as ‘religious’ and bigoted.

These realities are objective facts that emerge from people who ‘encounter’ the previous list of objective facts:

  • Sex, while being physical pleasure, also reflects and creates an emotional intimacy between the people who engage in it.  (No doubt, this is true even in ‘gay’ ‘sex’, too).
  • This intimacy has historically, and typically, distills into a desire to remain in a relationship with each other, exclusively, often for life;  this, we loosely call ‘marriage.’
  • The child that emerges from this process will thrive in an arrangement where the two partners in the sexual act continue to stay together, for life.
  • Where those two partners do not remain together, children experience various forms of pain–emotional, of course, but often materially, such as when a child is raised by a single parent.
  • While adoptive parents can be, and usually are, well regarded by their adopted children, adopted people tend to be very interested in their birth parents, and feel a connection to them regardless of how healthy and balanced their present situation is.
  • That is to say, people draw meaning and significance from where they came from, and the circumstances in which they were born.

Now, in defense of the people I have just named as ‘idiots,’ I admit that these propositions are not nearly as apparent, obvious, and self-evident as what happens if you stick your hand into a lawn mower.  (I can’t say as apparent, obvious, and self-evident as my first list of propositions, because, as I said, despite them being such, our society appears to have only some murky understanding of them).  Part of the problem, of course, has to do with the fact that people experience these dynamics differently, and they are difficult to quantify.  Another part of the problem is that they involve people, not things, and agents, not merely processes.  You can introduce a sperm to an egg in a test tube and measure the ‘results’, but it is not nearly so easy to raise children in numerous different kinds of family structures and then measure and monitor them to see how it goes.

Which leads to another important aspect of the problem, which is that the scope of time involved makes ‘self-evident’ assessments a little harder to make… the results of the ‘social experiment’ of no-fault divorce and other aspects of the ‘sexual revolution’ have taken decades to unfold, and the impacts have yet to be fully realized.  Not even one generation of results is enough to provide us with the ‘data’ we need to ‘properly tinker,’ because of course it is not only the children of the ‘no-fault generation’ we must look at, but the children that their children have.  Quite possibly, we will need to see many generations before the full impacts are apparent.

In the 1960s, when no-fault divorce was advocated and implemented, they (we may believe) sincerely thought that ‘marriage’ would actually improve, that the lives of children would be better, that society would ultimately benefit from the ‘openness’ and flexibility brought to bear on sexuality and relationships.  50 years later, I believe there is already evidence enough to see that this was WAAAAAAAY off base.

On the other hand, the argument that I am making in this post could have been made, and was made, in the 1960s.  Nothing has fundamentally changed about people, about sex, and about children, because these are not things that can be ‘tinkered’ with without predictable consequences.  It is just a fact that one man-one woman, life long monogamous relationships in which children are generated and allowed to grow to maturity is the ideal ‘construct’ for facilitating happiness for all involved–the man, the woman, and the children.  (I have no problem granting that this ideal is not easy to maintain, and often thwarted–but the ‘thwarting’ often is proof of the point, not a detraction).

Now, we may ask why the government should be involved in this process at all, if, generally speaking, it would naturally emerge anyway–as, historically it does and has.

There is only one rationale for ‘wider societal’ interjection into this process, and that centers around the children.

We do not have laws regulating friendship.  We do not have laws regulating affection.  This is because it is self-evidently the case that adults can make friends with whomever they please, and our affection for each other is thoroughly nobody else’s business, period.  If government ‘intrusion’ into ‘marriage’ is to be justified on this basis, then it cannot be justified at all.

When people cease to be ‘best friends forever’, the government doesn’t get involved, because it is generally accepted (still) that adults can fend for themselves on this score.  Children, however, are at the mercy of the adults’ decisions, and entirely vulnerable to their actions.  It is only insofar as these innocent agents can sometimes sorely use an advocate besides their own parents that the rest of us are concerned at all.

Now, gay marriage is another grand, social engineering experiment.  Like every other experiment of this sort, the impact and the consequences will take decades to unfold before there is sufficient ‘data’ to allow further progressive ‘tinkering.’  The ones at the center of this experiment will be the children, and it is only the children we have a societal obligation to.

If ‘gay marriage’ is widely adopted, it will be because society has moved to accept the view that the core element of ‘marriage’ is recognizing the ‘affection’ and ‘intimacy’ that two consenting adults have, ascribing legal status to it, and providing privileges to that ‘arrangement.’  If that is the prevailing determinant of what constitutes ‘marriage’, then the proper thing to do is to simply jettison ‘marriage’ as an issue for government to be involved in at all.

If the rationale for government involvement remains the protection of those that cannot protect themselves, then I highly doubt that we can justify constant and continued ‘tinkering’ with human relationships such as what we’ve seen for the last hundred years (beginning with the Bolsheviks), because it is precisely that kind of ‘tinkering’ that has inflicted various degrees and kinds of harm on this generation, now coping with previous tinkering.

But we seem to be beyond and past this.  We seem on track to continue adding ‘corrections’ to our social Rube Goldberg machine at the points where it ‘unexpectedly’ ends up hurting someone or many, many someones.  If ‘gay marriage’ is widely adopted, it will require more changes to the ‘machine.’

If ‘gay marriage’ is widely adopted, the government should simply completely disentangle itself from ‘marriage’ altogether, as it would cease to have a justified rationale for being involved, having discarded it in order to adopt ‘gay marriage’ (and no-fault divorce) in the first place.  Better to let the pieces fall where they may, and then, a hundred years from now, pick up the pieces again.

Personally, I wonder if at that point we’ll ever trust ‘society’ or the ‘government’ to tinker with human society in this manner again.  At any rate, whatever my views on homosexuality are, I have no interest–zero, zilch–in speaking to the physical pleasure and affection these folks wish to have, or passing any legislation about it one way or the other.  But I find it immoral to make children an object of experimentation; if these are not to be our rationale for ‘intruding’ in the affairs of others, then it would be better, on my view, for the government to walk away from the issue of ‘marriage’ altogether.

Then time will tell.




Skip to comment form

    • Anthony on March 27, 2013 at 1:52 pm

    lol and with my post in mind, there is this:


    • Dannyboy on March 30, 2013 at 8:37 am

    How would you feel about the loss of federal benefits (military, inheritance, disability, etc) for legal spouses which would result from the total removal of government from marriage? Do you agree that by applying these benefits, in an area which you don’t really think it should be involved in at all, exclusively to heterosexual couples the government is actively discriminating against homosexuals?

    The whole DOMA issue seems to be a bit of a challenge to the ideological consistency of small-government social conservatives, since they find themselves defending federal over-ruling of individual states’ decisions about how to define and legislate marriage. The fall-back libertarian position of saying that government should have no role in legislating marriage at all suffers from the disadvantage that it would potentially remove many benefits that heterosexual spouses currently enjoy, and making an exception for the protection of children, as you want to, privileges some marriages above others on the basis of whether or not breeding has occurred! 🙂

    And in response to your “STDs Lol” addendum, I would riposte with “abstinence-only, lolol”. Touché?

    • Anthony on March 30, 2013 at 9:17 am

    First of all, I am opposed to DOMA on basically the basis that you state. However, to my knowledge, DOMA applies only to how the Federal government will view the matter and I think they have some discretion in determining how to proceed–provided that it fits within explicitly stated constitutional areas. But, bear in mind that I strongly suspect that if the Feds backed out of the other ten million things they’re involved in in defiance of the constitution, there would be little or no need for something like DOMA.

    The key thing your question fails to take into account is that historically (especially here in America), the whole POINT of the ‘benefits that hetereosexual spouses currently enjoy’ is derived FROM the ‘state interest’ of ‘protecting children.’ Seeing as the primary caretaker was a woman, but the income came from the man, it was natural to speak to the ‘spouse.’ In this sense it was always an ‘exception,’ but it was not an arbitrary or capricious exception, the way that gay marriage proponents suggest. Bluntly, it wasn’t an exception, it was the point.

    Hence, if that sort of basis is no longer our organizing principle, then absolutely, just get rid of it.

    Bear in mind, too, that I doubt very much that people would need all these ‘benefits’ if the government wasn’t spending like a drunken sailor. I appear to be among the few who recognize how ridiculously asinine it is to have the government take 40-60% of my income and then expect us to gush at their benevolence when they return 5-10% as a ‘benefit.’

    Eliminate these ‘benefits’, and while you’re at it remove all the other worthless programs the government is involved in, and there will be diminished need for benefits.

    “I would riposte with “abstinence-only, lolol”. Touché?”

    LOL, how can it be touche? For fifty years they’ve been saying have sex whenever you want and it will be alright as long as you wear a condom or are on the pill? Abstinence isn’t being taught and it isn’t a social norm, so how could you possibly blame anything on ‘abstinence-only’? Was the American population creating tens of millions of new STDs and seeing the abortion of 1-2 million ‘unwanted’ babies in the 1890s? Was their a 50% divorce rate prior to 1920? 1950? 1965? Or have all these things happened EXACTLY WHEN the social expectation that sexual activity belongs between a single man and woman committed to each other for life?

    Laugh at this if you want, but its a simple fact: my wife and I have no concerns at all about STDs. I wonder why that is… its a mystery! They should commission a study so they can re-discover the self-evident! 😉

    • Dannyboy on March 30, 2013 at 2:22 pm


    “The whole POINT of the ‘benefits that hetereosexual spouses currently enjoy’ is derived FROM the ‘state interest’ of ‘protecting children.’”

    I could not fail to disagree with you less.  🙂  If the “whole point” of the benefits we are discussing is protecting children then doesn’t it seem a little odd that actually having children has never been a requirement to obtain them?  Since there ARE other benefits which can only be obtained when you have children, this could clearly have been done for the various inheritance and health-related benefits which currently privilege childless straight married couples over gay couples who actually do have kids, which makes a nonsense of your rationalisation of them.

    Still, I accept that you think they ought to all be got rid of anyway and that government ought to get out of the business of authorising people’s marriages at all, which would certainly put things on more of a level footing.  But aren’t you a little worried about opening the door to polygamy?  Heheh

    “For fifty years they’ve been saying have sex whenever you want and it will be alright as long as you wear a condom or are on the pill? Abstinence isn’t being taught and it isn’t a social norm, so how could you possibly blame anything on ‘abstinence-only’?”

    I’ll tell you exactly how.  Massive social changes have occurred in the last 50-60 years in relation to women’s “place” and status in society, and looking at the comparison between domestic violence rates then and now, the changing acceptability of marital rape, the rightful recognition of women’s intellectual and leadership capabilities which allows young girls to aspire to be CEOs, astronauts or presidents, I would defy anyone to say that those changes have not had some very positive consequences.  That they may also have had some negative ones – as any major social upheaval is liable to – does not imply that they were at all a bad idea.

    The Suffragette movement in the early Twentieth Century was criticised in much the same way by conservative and reactionary forces of the time for the consequences of their efforts to allow women the basic right of voting, including the break-up of families, the promiscuity and moral laxity of the “Roaring Twenties” and even in some cases the suicide of women within the movement.  I mention this only to make it clear by analogy that in saying I do not consider negative social consequences to necessarily invalidate the worthiness of a cause, I am not simply doing what you accuse liberals of and being callous about the human cost of those consequences, since while I join you in regretting the break-up of families I presume that you are also united with me in feeling that the struggle for women’s right to vote was a noble and worthwhile one.

    I hope that this is the case anyway, because there are some conservatives who still think that it was a bad idea:

    Where “abstinence only” education comes into this is in the ahistorical puritan pig-headedness which wants to pretend that the heavily sexualised culture we live in today (which may indeed be partly a result of the women’s liberation movement) either does not exist or at the very least that teenagers can be persuaded, by the careful application of religious fear, guilt and/or misinformation, to ignore it and not participate in it.  This has been shown over and over again NOT to work, either in successfully making young people safer or in keeping them “pure”, which despite all the rhetoric are in fact separable and distinct objectives.

    So, to slightly quarrel with your assessment of the situation, abstinence is indeed not the current social norm, but it IS being taught in some places, and is increasing the problems of STDs and teenage pregnancy in those places by not dealing honestly with the reality of the situation.  I actually share your wish that we lived in a less sexualised society, and am 100% in favour of more education about healthy relationships and the potential dangers of promiscuity, but simply folding your arms and pretending that a half-century of on-balance positive social change has not in fact occurred does not help anyone.

    “Laugh at this if you want, but its a simple fact: my wife and I have no concerns at all about STDs.”

    Good for you.  Abstinence is the best way of avoiding such things, but it isn’t the only way.  Just as driving perfectly safely at all times is the best way to avoid being injured in a road traffic accident, but neither of us would support a program which tried to encourage young drivers to do so by removing seat belts, airbags and crumple zones from their vehicles (even though they never used to have those features in the “good old days”).  Right?

    • Anthony on March 30, 2013 at 3:54 pm

    “If the “whole point” of the benefits we are discussing is protecting children then doesn’t it seem a little odd that actually having children has never been a requirement to obtain them?”

    My statement has to do with the historical nature of the question, not the present day manifestation of the issue. My point is not therefore a matter of agreement or disagreement. Either the nature of the state’s interest in the question was as I have described or it wasn’t. You may have your own opinions, but you cannot have your own facts. 😉

    I am happy to concede that there were other elements, even within the historical record, but I am arguing for a primary and central factor, which you cannot dispute except by providing evidence to the contrary.

    I don’t particularly care about where things are at present, except to say as I’ve already said, that if it has ceased to be about protecting the interests of children, we can, and ought, dispense with it completely.

    Every other element that we may speak of can now be easily be addressed simply via contracts, which is what Dorothy Sayers is referring to in my post right after this one.

    “But aren’t you a little worried about opening the door to polygamy?”

    On my own, personal view, there is already wide-spread rampant polygamy, so not much would be different. You should remember this: http://sntjohnny.com/front/why-christianity-is-opposed-to-homosexuality/1986.html

    “I would defy anyone to say that those changes have not had some very positive consequences. That they may also have had some negative ones – as any major social upheaval is liable to – does not imply that they were at all a bad idea.”


    “Progressives are a group of people who accept the premise that it is society’s right, nay, duty, to tinker-tinker-tinker with things in pursuit of the ‘common good.’ If someone gets hurt in the meantime, they’re ‘ok’ with that.”

    So, you didn’t see the widespread rise in STDs, the sky-rocketing abortion rates, the continued occurrence of ‘unplanned pregnancies’ despite all efforts (read: tinkering) to get rid of them, the mushrooming number of out-of-wedlock children, the collapse of a significant number of marriages with the innumerable shattered lives that this entails… but that’s ok, because, well, we’ve made progress.

    Evidently, ‘progress’ is in the eye of the beholder. 😉

    “I am not simply doing what you accuse liberals of and being callous about the human cost of those consequences,”

    It seems to me that this is exactly what you are doing.

    “since while I join you in regretting the break-up of families”


    “I presume that you are also united with me in feeling that the struggle for women’s right to vote was a noble and worthwhile one.”

    A fair presumption, but it would not be correct. However, it is far too complicated and we are too far apart for me to be able to explain why I can’t accept this as it stands. To prime you for a discussion on this over a beer (if it comes to it), consider another example:

    “I presume that you are also united with me in feeling that the struggle for emancipation was a noble and worthwhile one, totally justifying a civil war in which a half a million people were killed.”

    Or, another example, if that doesn’t get you thinking in the right direction:

    “I presume that you are also united with me in feeling that the struggle against abortion on demand was a noble and worthwhile one, totally justifying assassinating abortion providers.”

    You see the weak underbelly in your statement, then. Each of my statements provides additional context which your mindset compels you to ignore. Made analogous, it would be:

    “I presume that you are also united with me in feeling that the struggle for women’s suffrage was a noble and worthwhile one, totally justifying any subsequent major social upheaval that amounted to exponentially increasing STDs, exponentially increasing breakdowns of families, exponentially increasing abortions, exponentially increasing children out of wedlock, and an increasing amount of women who often suffer disproportionately from all of this and more.”

    Now, you were the one that linked suffrage to abstinence, not me. But my point is that unlike you, I don’t believe it is moral to knowingly (or even unknowingly when one OUGHT to know) ‘break eggs’ because you want an omelet.

    tinker-tinker-tinker… its all fun and games until someone gets hurt. But can a progressive envision a way to correct injustices and errors and mistakes without hurting anyone? History says “No.”

    So, you will forgive me if I’d prefer we take the machine out of your hands altogether. Despite your good intentions, you can’t be trusted at the controls.

    “it IS being taught in some places,”

    Where? Are we talking about the United States? Whatever ‘teaching’ is happening here is vastly outweighed by the counter-teaching that sex with whomever (and whatever) you want is alright so long as everyone (and thing) consents, and you take the necessary precautions.

    One part abstinence and a thousand parts “Do it like they do it on Discovery Channel.” Who are you kidding? Only yourself.

    “Good for you. Abstinence is the best way of avoiding such things, but it isn’t the only way.”

    See previous link:

    Your approach is going just swimmingly! 😉

    • Dannyboy on March 31, 2013 at 5:08 pm

    Oh yeah, we’re DEFINITELY coming back to this over that beer (doesn’t matter which one) in June. Just a couple of comments for now:

    “My statement has to do with the historical nature of the question, not the present day manifestation of the issue.”

    I did use the past tense, so before we settle the issue of who it is that is trying to have his own facts, let me repeat my question – if the “whole point” of the benefits we are discussing is (or has historically been) that of protecting children then why is it that actually having children has NEVER been a requirement to obtain them?

    And on the subject of social change, I think this would be better face-to-face, I just wonder how much you have reflected upon the continued oppression – perhaps to this very day – of historically disenfranchised groups which your aversion to “tinkering” would have allowed to go on had the “machine” been firmly in the hands of you and your co-thinkers during the last hundred years. We’ll get on to the issue of how many of the negative social consequences of emancipating oppressed groups can be laid at the door of the original oppression over the sandwiches.


    • Anthony on March 31, 2013 at 5:56 pm

    “why is it that actually having children has NEVER been a requirement to obtain them?”

    Sounds like a mystery you need to resolve, not me. I’m just reporting history–granted in a very simplified form. Here is an excerpt from Blackstone–one of your Englishmen who had great influence even at the founding of the US closely linking marriage with child rearing, in one of his sections on the ‘great relations of private life’:

    2. That of husband and wife, which is founded in nature, but modified by civil society: the one directing man to continue and multiply his species, the other prescribing the manner m which that natural impulse must be confined and regulated. That of parent and child, which is consequential to that of marriage, being its principal end and design: and it is by virtue of this relation that infants are protected, maintained, and educated, But, since the parents, on whom this care is primarily incumbent, may be snatched away by death before they have completed their duty, the law has therefore provided a fourth relation; 4. That of guardian and ward, which is a kind of artificial parentage, in order to supply the deficiency, whenever it happens, of the natural.

    This is from what, the mid 1700s? It is clear from this that the well-being of the child is prominently in view, and that moreover society’s interest is in the part where the ‘species is multiplied’ (ie, children), which of course follows from nature (I note you do not dispute my statements about how babies are made). Note his comment that the relation between ‘parent and child’ is the PRINCIPAL END AND DESIGN, note the concern about the protection of infants, and concerns about orphans.

    This material is at the head of Blackstone’s entire analysis and synthesis of English law regarding marriage. So, you may interrogate Blackstone (and countless others) if you desire as to why he nonetheless contemplates marriage law where children do not emerge. Ask him, don’t ask me. All I’m doing is relaying facts. It would require quite a bit more substantiation to really prove it, but as this Blackstone quote makes clear, I’m not just pulling things out of my rear.

    Now, what else did you have…

    Oh, yes. Your comments remind me of an essay by Oscar Wilde:

    “It is through disobedience that progress has been made, through disobedience and through rebellion.”


    “Socialism annihilates family life, for instance. With the abolition of private property, marriage in its present form must disappear. This is part of the programme.”


    “But their remedies do not cure the disease: they merely prolong it. Indeed, their remedies are part of the disease. They try to solve the problem of poverty, for instance, by keeping the poor alive.”


    “Progress is the realisation of Utopias.”

    and I thought this was very interesting:

    “But the modern world [proposes] to do away with poverty and the suffering that it entails. It desires to get rid of pain, and the suffering that pain entails. It trusts to Socialism and to Science as its methods.”

    And that made me think of:


    I dunno, DB. For all your good intentions and genuine sympathy for injustices and oppressions–much of which we’d agree on–I just don’t think your worldview is going to cut it. Written in 1891, Wilde is wildly optimistic. His principles were implemented in history… and I can’t say the ‘rebellion’ we actually saw in history was what he had in mind. History should not only be judged by intentions; results surely matter, too.

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