Wednesday, June 5, 2013
Water Cooler Wednesday: Marriage and Government
Brian: Hey Andy, how is everything going?
Andy: Oh, you know, plugging along with these reports.
*both sip water*
Andy: Hey, did you read where Rand Paul talked about government getting out of marriage? What are your thoughts on government getting out of the marriage business? You're all for "small government" so you probably think it's a good move I bet.
Brian: The government "getting out of" the marriage business is a very libertarian viewpoint. There are, I suppose, some attractive things about that, but "getting the government out of" what are euphemistically called "social issues" is usually where libertarians and I part company. John Stossel, for example, has long been one of my favorite commentators, but he's too liberal on the social issues for me. I really feel like it's important for us as a society to say "This is OK, and this is not." Sadly, our society seems to think homosexual marriage is OK, when it is clearly unnatural. I know it's been said before, but it is a slippery slope. When you accept homosexual marriage, there is a clear path to acceptance of polygamy, beastiality, and even necrophilia. The other side will try to dismiss that as extreme, but think how extreme homosexual marriage seemed as little as a decade ago. It's coming; hide and watch.
Andy: Well, what do you think of marriage licenses and the like not coming around until the 1920s? I understand that marriage wasn't a government thing until that time.
Brian: I've never looked into it, but I'm sure that's true. Problem is, prior to the 1920s (and for a good while afterward), nobody considered homosexual "marriage" legitimate. Same with polygamy, which was actively condemned from the time of the Mormons. If we went back to that lax standard today, you could get five wacko witnesses to say they saw you marry a ham sandwich, and that would have to be legal. The cat is out of the bag, now. Unfortunately, I think Rush Limbaugh is right. This is a lost issue. It's just a matter of how long it takes. Once that happens, we begin the descent toward recognizing other deviant relationships as "marriage". Eventually, we end up where the Roman Empire did, with flagrant, open promiscuity of all kinds displayed everywhere.
Andy: I guess I'm on the fence with this issue. I see and understand both sides. On the one hand, I want the State out of the marriage business because, quite frankly, I don't like being married to my wife and the state right? The state has a part in my private life and my future children, etc. I don't like that. Since that didn't come around until the 1920's why do it today? Especially since men I admire, from what I've read about them anyway, didn't have marriage licenses! (Abe Lincoln and George Washington). I guess the character of our citizens was quite different back then. People focused more on their actions and such when "no one was looking" instead of, remarkably, around the 1920's and 30's people focused more on their public image and their public character, caring less about their private character. What you did when no one was looking or just when a few people were looking no longer mattered. So, the moral climate changed a lot. I see that as a decent blow to the "get the state out of the marriage business" position.
I also see the good points of the state being in the marriage business. This positions says society can't survive without the family unit. The state wants the society to survive and prosper so it can survive and prosper. They say the family unit is the blood of the country and without it, America will fall. So, the state has an interest in making strong families by rewarding strong, monogamous, traditional families that will raise children to raise children to raise children and keep America strong. I understand this position also says that since no-fault divorce came along, the state really had to promote the traditional family. Is it too much intervention on the personal lives of Americans? Well, it doesn't help. If more intervention was done away with, then this intervention would be minimal I guess. I think the state can still promote and reward strong traditional families without such intervention like child services and family court.
Brian: Yes, I too am a bit on the fence about just how much state intervention there should be. There are lots of whack jobs out there who abuse spouses and children, and without legal (i.e. the state's) authority, there's very little intervention that can happen short of vigilante justice, which is a bad thing. Problem is, the state too often makes bad decisions or is ineffective in enforcing the laws aimed at protecting the vulnerable. Unfortunately, that's usually the case any time the state gets involved - they have a noble idea, but they are horribly ineffective in their execution. Hence, libertarianism. I get that, even when I don't agree with it.
The promotion of a strong family unit should be the goal of the state, but clearly it isn't. Welfare benefits that promote single-parent households, free distribution of condoms and sex education classes (both of which promote promiscuity "without consequences"), recognition of homosexual marriage and homosexual adoption, relaxation of indecency standards to allow relentless promotion of deviant and dangerous sexual behavior in the media, no-fault divorce, legalization of abortion on demand... all of these things - and no doubt many more - actively work against the formation of strong families. So government has not only made ineffective use of the mechanisms at its disposal to promote strong families; more and more, it has actively abused those mechanisms to weaken the family.
Andy: *looks at wall clock* Well, break is over.
Brian: Yep. Time to get back at it.
*both sip water then throw cups away*