That truth should be
silent I had almost forgot.
Antony and Cleopatra, Act 1, Scene 2
December 27, 2013
Your god is too small!
By RONALD N. NEFF
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It is typical of leftist movements that they will give a name to a movement or goal that is not exactly honest.
The Right is often equally dishonest, but rightists seem to lack the facility of coming up with enticing terms to describe their goals.
"Marriage equality," of course, is a battle cry calling for something like "equal rights for homosexuals." In this case, the "equal right" is supposed to refer to marriage.
It's an example of how social engineers will change the patter for their goals as circumstances may require. Back when the so-called sexual revolution was getting started, older teens and liberal clergy needed to justify overturning the sexual standards set by natural law, religious teaching, and social convention so that the social agenda could be advanced in the back seat of an automobile. And one of their most tried and true tactics was to minimize the status of marriage itself. It was just a piece of paper. Why did a couple, if they were really in love, need a piece of paper before expressing their love? Huh? Huh?
I've been wondering lately why there weren't very many voices heard that could answer that one. It's as though an entire generation of educated Westerners just started scratching their heads with a Gomer Pyle bewilderment on their faces and said, "Well, gosh, I don't know. You young-uns just go on and have yourselves a good time.
"You know, as long as you really love one another."
Today, it seems, the remakers of social structure have changed their tune: that piece of paper is not only important, but it's so important that if you think the state should not issue one to homosexual couples your bakery and catering business has to be destroyed, and you must not run for public office in Wyoming.
I pause here to reflect on another aspect of leftist dishonesty. It is not enough that the businesses of bakers and photographers and florists be damaged or vandalized or moved from commercial areas to the boondocks because of the owners' beliefs. No, they must stand before judges and be ordered to do business that violates their consciences because of "the hurt caused to persons who are denied service simply because of who they are." Am I the only person who heard this story and was suddenly thinking of Midas Mulligan?
Of course, the only people who are really hurt here are the ones whose businesses are being vandalized or destroyed and whose consciences are being assailed. The homosexuals who want flowers and cakes and photographs are not hurt in the least. Are we really expected to believe that they were psychologically scarred and cried themselves to sleep or something?
Meanwhile, back in the world of political theater, in 2009 Cynthia Neff (no relation) ran for delegate in the Virginia House of Delegates. In an open forum, she expressed her views in favor of designating same-sex relationships as "marriage." One writer said that he was excited "because Cynthia is a bold, courageous progressive who isn't afraid to speak her mind on tough issues." Imagine that. She didn't even flinch. I wonder whether as she spoke she was even a little bit worried that she would have to defend her views before a judge in open court. Did it even cross her mind that she would face a judicial penalty for declaring her beliefs? Of course not. She was safe as houses expressing her beliefs. The worst that could have happened to this former IBM Vice President for Human Resources (where else?) was that she would lose the election which she did and not get the $17,000 per year salary it offered. That's the leftist re-definition of courage, folks.
But back to that piece of paper.
Of course, it is not necessary for expressing your love. Oh, no. But it is important for, um, for ... well, I'm not quite sure, but it's got to be available to everybody. Right?
And that's where the dishonesty comes in. So what is dishonest about "marriage equality"?
Only this: There has never been a civilization anywhere, anytime that has prohibited homosexuals from getting that piece of paper, from getting married.
Homosexuals have always had the same rights heterosexuals have had to marry. Exactly the same rights.
Just as they have had the same rights as heterosexuals to write songs or to operate heavy equipment.
There have certainly been times when homosexuals have suffered unjust treatment, but not being permitted to get married has never been one such treatment.
What homosexualists want (and what others want for them when they echo their desires) is not equality at all. What they want is the power to redefine words, to treat marriage as though it is merely a social convention, and not as though it has anything to do with natural law. And (let's not mince words here) to require the rest of us to accept their novel and eccentric usages in our own conversation and writing. And thinking. Let's not forget thinking.
Whereas the word "marriage" has always referred to a certain kind of relationship between a man and a woman (a relationship into which every homosexual was free to enter), the agitators want it to refer now to a similar relationship between persons of the same sex. Why anyone who wants to make this change should regard it as having something to do with equality or rights, I do not know. Do heterosexuals have the right to change the meaning of the word? Or is this a right that can be invoked only by someone who wants to overturn millennia of behavior patterns?
Do only those who are on board with the homosexualist agenda have the right to make an issue of it to people who don't want to use the word in the new way? to bring the state into the discussion?
Well, let's give the homosexuals what they want. But let's demand a similar "right" and "equality." And then let's exercise the devil out of it.
We can start by attacking the word "a" in the phrase "certain kind of relationship between a man and a woman." I would hardly be the first to suggest that once we have allowed homosexuals to marry (i.e., once we apply the word "marriage" to Neronian, same-sex arrangements, or rather, once we have decided to let the state apply the word "marriage" to same-sex arrangements and make the rest of us knuckle under to its dictates) there is really no basis on which we could object to allowing polygamy, which, after all, has a firmer place in history than same-sex arrangements. But what kind of polygamy?
There's the ordinary, run-of-the-mill kind of polygamy where a guy such as Solomon has lots of wives. Or a woman has more than one husband (as in "Paint Your Wagon"). But why stop there? Why not let a "bisexual" man have both men and women as his spouses? But even that borders on the too-conventional when we consider the "line marriage" created by Robert Heinlein in The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress.
But when you get down to it, Heinlein was a conventional old fuddy-duddy. His line marriages were extended by alternating sexual unions. Why not have line marriages that are full of homosexual and heterosexual unions?
Why not throw a few polygamous unions into the line marriage too?
The true libertarian who imagines that in calling for "marriage equality" he is calling for an arrangement that has something to do with rights will have no objection to any of these arrangements.
But it occurs to me that when we are looking at marriage and only marriage, we are thinking with blinders on.
After all, if the terms of a marriage are merely conventional, what objection at least as far as rights are concerned can there be to other more imaginative, exciting, and perhaps even more life-promoting family arrangements?
Maybe there are other family arrangements that we can tinker with, cutting the antiquated and paralyzing ropes that bind our social structures.
Let's look at "brother" and "sister." When she is old enough, why shouldn't a female sibling simply declare that she no longer wishes to be a sister? Perhaps she would prefer to be her siblings' brother. If the role of sex can be consigned to the realm of the conventional, why cannot she be the sex she desires? Bradley Manning now wishes to be called "Chelsea" and to be referred to with female pronouns, and there are writers falling over themselves in a rush to accommodate him. He has not changed his DNA one bit. He has not had any operations. Those pesky Y chromosomes are still floating around inside him. If his sex can be changed merely by his request, surely others have the same "right."
So the girl who has been my sister can suddenly turn up as my brother, and my children can start referring to her as "Uncle Valerie." (Or maybe she'll want to change her name to "Bradley.")
"Uncle"? Why "uncle"? Maybe she likes being an aunt. Why shouldn't she have the right to be an aunt? Who are the rest of us to say that my brother can't be an aunt if she wants to be? If sex is not part of the natural law in defining a family unit, on what basis shall we object to her requests which, of course, will not be requests at all, but demands?
I think, however, that we are still being too conventional. Maybe she doesn't want to be my children's aunt or uncle. Maybe when she becomes my brother she will want to be their niece.
Why not? Are we not told by everyone from Kantian philosophers to amateur quantum physicists and science popularizers that time is some kind of illusion? that it has no objective reality?
OK. So historical sequence is conventional, too. Let my new brother be my children's niece.
And if my children don't like it, well, they don't have to be her aunts or uncles if they don't want to. Let's respect their wishes (i.e., demands) in this matter, too.
So it gets a little complicated. So what? We're talking about rights here. And equality. And now that we all have more computer power than the Apollo 13 in a telephone we carry around, we'll be able to manage it.
But I believe we're still letting the conventional control our thinking.
We've recognized that the sexual component of marriage is merely a matter of convention. And we've recognized that it is likewise a matter of convention as a component of the family. And that time and historical sequence have no natural-law existence and should not stand in the way of people's desires (i.e., demands) to occupy the place in a family that they prefer.
But surely we are overlooking yet another component one whose elimination should instigate no objections, since it has already been removed in other settings.
I refer, of course, to blood.
It may be replied that already adoption into families has shown us that blood is no real component. That just as race is a social construct, so are all family relations, since the adoption of a person not genetically related to the rest of a family immediately entitles that person to all the rights and courtesies attendant to the new position.
Yes, yes, but I'm not talking about ordinary, run-of-the-mill adoption of children. I'm talking about the adoption of adults into the family. Right now, adoption becomes legally impossible (i.e., forbidden by the state) when the youngster to be adopted reaches a certain age. (I think it is 18.)
But that is clearly an arbitrary cut-off point. Indeed, why should there be any cut-off points? The Romans certainly saw no reason that age should be an impediment to adoption. Anyone who has seen "Ben-Hur" knows that. Of course, the Romans, ingenious as they were, were also bound, I am afraid, by an awful lot of social conventions.
Why can't I adopt the elderly lady down the street who has no one to look after her? She can become my daughter, even though she is older than I am. Or maybe she would prefer to be my son. Again, why should she not be whatever she wants to be? Because I did not beget her? But that is introducing cause and effect into a matter that we have agreed is to be governed by the free-spiritedness of the persons involved, not by the accidents and irrelevancies of historical sequence, time, or sex. Family relations are no less a matter of social convention than, oh, race.
Think of the international problems this would solve. No longer would there be thousands of Ukrainian girls on websites trying to be married to some Westerner. They could all become wards of a major general, like the girls in that Gilbert and Sullivan pirate story.
And then some of them could become his uncles and others his line wives or husbands or something.
The Chinese could no longer impose a one-child law. When a Chinese child was able, he could redefine himself as the cousin of the people who were his progenitors, freeing them up to have another child.
And there would be no need for incest laws, since lovers could simply redefine themselves as relatives distant enough that they could get married. Or have sexual relations. And beget cousins to themselves.
No doubt the reader is beginning to think there is something a little odd about all this. Maybe if the intellectual process that calls for "marriage equality" leads to so much genealogical confusion and to such raucous and bewildering family reunions, there is something to all that old-fashioned, fuddy-duddy natural-law stuff after all.
But if that's your suspicion, please do not write me about it. For I have discovered that everyone seems to be enjoying a right that I do not have, and I aim to correct that immediately. Everyone around me is someone other than I, that is, they are not I; they are someone else. I hereby invoke my right to be someone else, too. Ω
December 27, 2013
Published in 2013 by WTM Enterprises.
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