When one is deprived of one’s liberty, one is right in blaming not so much the man who puts the fetters on as the one who had the power to prevent him, but did not use it.
– A Corinthian delegate to the Spartans, prior to the Peloponnesian War
This website is intended to discuss libertarian philosophy. But sometimes I feel inclined to go on a rant for the sake of alleviating pent-up thoughts I cannot express in other venues.
The entire gay marriage/marriage equality is one of them. Specifically, how modern conservatives and Trad Cons (traditional conservatives) who complain about the destruction of marriage need to get a reality check: Whatever sanctity marriage had, it was ruined long before the Supreme Court decided to stick their nose in it, too.
The recent revelation that Bristol Palin is yet again pregnant – out of wedlock and with another man (whom she just broke off her engagement with) – is a perfect example of what I mean by this.
I want to pretext this by saying if she were a mere private individual, it would be cruel for me to bring her up as an example.
But she’s not. Following her first pregnancy, Palin got paid by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy and became an ambassador for the Candie’s Foundation to talk about – you guessed it- teen pregnancy prevention.
And what was Candie’s Foundation response to her latest pregnancy? Rationalization that somehow getting pregnant out of wedlock in your twenties is entirely different than when you’re 19. Somehow, that year makes all the difference!
In 2011, when she was just 19, Bristol Palin was enormously helpful to The Candie’s Foundation in our mission to educate teenagers about the devastating consequences of teen pregnancy,” the organization said in a statement. “Her courage, while still a teen herself, to admit her mistakes so publicly in an effort to help others was remarkably brave. Today, at 24, we can only offer our support to Bristol and her family and respect her request for privacy.”
One conservative outlet suggested she might be the most “courageous millennial in America” for not aborting the child. While it’s appreciated she is choosing to keep it, their focus on that specific aspect of the story ignores the fact that bringing a child into this world without a stable family or a father figure, things inherent within marriage, is cruel to the child, sets them up for unnecessary hardships in life from the start, and undermines marriage as an institution, the same institution they claim is under attack by same-sex couples getting married.
If this surprises you, note that other organizations which one might consider to be right-wing extremists are also calling woman who bring children into this world without a stable household “heroic.”
Remember, we are talking about conservatives here. Palin’s personal politics is irrelevant; it’s about how behavior like hers is rationalized and legitimized by conservatives, the same ones who claim to care about the “sanctity of marriage.”
Fifty years ago, such women would be thoroughly shamed. They would have also had a shotgun wedding so that the child wouldn’t be born and raised without a stable household. Today, however, they can claim they have no need for a “lecture,” despite literally lecturing teens not to do the same thing, then be praised as “courageous.”
Consider that roughly 40 percent of children today in this country are being born out of wedlock. Single motherhood is quickly becoming the norm. If you think this doesn’t have a negative impact on marriage, I have some land in Florida to sell you.
So what are the “solutions” from the Trad Cons?
- Tell young men who’ve had the decency to keep their DNA to themselves that it’s their fault these women had illegitimate children because they weren’t attractive enough as marriage material; therefore, they need to “man up” and take on the responsibilities of another man’s offspring while making a lifetime commitment to the mother, who in states like mine can actually divorce him and then force him to pay child support for another man’s child.
- Project their involvement in the destruction of marriage onto homosexuals, warning that if they marry the end of the world is nigh.
Some might point out that their qualms over same-sex marriage have to do with freedom of association and fear of lawsuits. I have no argument there. My issue is that they act as though marriage was all fine and dandy until those darn gays decided they want to get their relationship officially approved by our wise overlords, when in fact it’s been decaying for decades and all that time they’ve been out going along with it.
Even when they’ve tried to address it, they’ve misdiagnosed the underlying causes. Rather than defend all the things that make marriage worthwhile – both spouses honoring vows, discouraging divorce, maintaining actual incentives for people to marry and have children within wedlock – they’ve gone all Vichy.
Though they pretend to be a resistance fighter, they’re really just playing the quisling. You see this when they decry anyone who actually proposes legitimate solutions.
Again, I speak from experience when I say that the same Trad Cons who rail against same-sex marriage would scream at me in the face if I criticized the poor choices Palin and other women like her have made. It’s amazing how quickly they will turn full-out feminist and accuse you of “double-standards” or “being old-fashioned” for saying women shouldn’t be having bastard children (I use the term technically, not as an insult) who are almost guaranteed to grow up in a dysfunctional household; at the least, they will be raised by parents who have proven themselves to be both foolish and irresponsible.
If you doubt me, consider this statement by Glenn Stanton of Focus on the Family about single mothers (emphasis added).
They are largely single moms, I mean very few kids are being raised in dad only homes. It’s typically mom doing that heroic work of raising the kids by herself.
…single moms know that, they know that “my kids are facing a tougher time”, that they themselves are facing a tougher time as a single parent because for some reason dad is not around.
Gee, Stanton, maybe dad isn’t around because mommy slept with a guy who just wanted sex and had no intention of sticking around after conception (which is what marriage is for, so that when the kids come the commitment to raising them together has already been made) – of course, that’s fine with mommy, because daddy government will take care of her much better. Maybe daddy got kicked out of the home when mommy didn’t feel haaaaaaappppy and decided to divorce – in which case groups like Focus on the Family are more than happy to help her get everything she can out of him.
Maybe single mothers have to take care of the kids on her own because daddy has to work a 70 hour workweek to pay for his bills, child support, and alimony (and pay taxes for all of them); he also can only see his kids every other weekend, and that’s if mommy feels like letting him.
Here’s another quote of Staton’s from his book on parenting (emphasis mine):
If women can’t find good men to marry, they will instead compromise themselves by merely living with a make-do man or getting babies from him without marriage. Unfortunately, this describes exactly the new shape of family growth in Western nations by exploding margins…
Women want to marry and have daddies for their babies. But if they can’t find good men to commit themselves to, well… Our most pressing social problem today is a man deficit.
It’s amazing how Trad Cons carry on as though women become single mothers for reasons beyond their control, like an autoimmune disease; that women one day just wake up in a hospital with a doctor looking at her somberly as he declares “I’m terribly sorry but you’ve been diagnosed with pregnancy and you’ve going to have single motherhood. There’s nothing we could do.”
You might be wondering why this topic gets me so upset.
Because what I just described above are one of the many key elements destroying marriage in Western culture. It’s not just single motherhood. It’s the entire system that promotes a bastardized version of marriage entirely controlled by the state, and the Trad Con crowd will be the first to rationalize it, then whine about how a tiny minority is ruining marriage for all of us.
I’ve witnessed this personally. I’ve seen the same people who complain about gay marriage defend no-fault divorce as though it were a sacred right, or come up with incredulous excuses for our ridiculous divorce rate. I listened to people speak of marriage as though it were a form of slavery for young women before proceeding a few minutes later to comment on how men didn’t want to get married because they are “afraid of commitment.” I listened to them complain about how Democrats and the Left were destroying marriage while they didn’t have the self-introspection to think of how well their marriage was going.
In recent years I’ve managed to deprogram myself from all the nonsensical drivel that constitutes the idea of marriage in the Trad Con culture which, for those of you who might think otherwise, is completely removed from anything the Bible has to say on the institution. Their vision of it is contradictory and designed for the borderline personality disordered.
It goes back to the question I asked a while ago. What is marriage?
Trad Cons cannot give a straight answer, because the definition depends on who’s asking. Their concept of marriage is also dependent on how old you are and whether you’re a man or woman.
What you see is a perfect example of what I’m getting at. It’s this kind of behavior that’s destroying the institution of marriage by creating a huge population of single mothers and illegitimate children, supplanting the role of the father with either the state or the “corporate boyfriends” (their career). The children are then without a good father figure in their lives or the stability of married parents in the same home.
All of this would not be possible, by the way, without state intervention in the first place.
Yet Trad Cons not only are participating in this trend, but they’re vehemently rationalizing and excusing it while lamenting at how same-sex marriage is ruining the “sanctity” of the institution.
The question remains to be asked, though, where were they while this transformation was happening? Where were they when no-fault divorce laws were enacted and suddenly unhaaaaaaaaaaapy spouses began using the state violence to destroy families and chain fathers to a life of financial slavery via imputed income as imposed by the family courts – and risk jail if they can’t pay? Where were they when men were kicked out of their homes through the abusive use of restraining orders, half their possessions stolen, their savings and retirement drained and everything they had worked to achieve ripped away from them on the whim of their spouse’s feelings? Where were they when their sons were brainwashed in the state-run education system to believe that they posed a threat to girls by the very nature of being male and that their desires for marriage were evil? Where were they when their daughters were taught that men were the enemy, that marriage was designed to enslave women, and that they were to avoid it for as long as possible, and that raising children was to be despised?
The answer is right behind the vanguards of this movement, because rather than a tower, their values are just an anchor dragged behind the cultural Marxists’ ship.
Then again, the Trad Cons have been using the state to preserve the modern version of marriage for far too long. It’s why they are just as eager as the Left to keep the state involved.
They could have helped break the fetters. They could have even stood aside and done nothing. They ultimately chose to restrain us while others put the fetters on. Now, they scream at us for trying to take them off.
Before Trad Cons complain about gays “ruining” marriage, perhaps they should get their own house in order first and figure out just what “traditional values” they’re conserving. As long as they are going to defend the status quo when it comes to single motherhood and the government welfare subsidizing them, the illegitimacy rate, no-fault divorce, the divorce court, the family court, alimony and all the rest, they have no business pointing fingers at anyone except the person in the mirror.