Friday, July 27, 2012


The legal and political establishment of this country inexorably & systematically subverts marriage as traditionally understood -by every viable historic community still persisting- under the pretext of legal impartiality. I’m not charging the government with issuing arbitrary “dictatorial fiats” but of embodying an insidious totalizing process. Cthulhu* swims in only one direction.

(*Don't know what it is? Look it up on Wikipedia.)

It’s true; I assume an ideal of marriage to exist. American jurisprudence increasingly doesn’t. To state the reasoning as concisely as possible, constitutional law declines to openly acknowledge an ideal because such would presumably entail endorsement of one conception among a number of competing conceptions. This would in effect be the establishment of religion, in the view of too many.

However, no attempt has been made to compare existing marriage traditions in order to discover a fundamental marriage ideal for guiding law. It’s simply presumed that no natural ideal exists, so therefore it’s impossible to discover a single ideal in which all true marriages share. This presumption itself entails the setting of a denatured concept of marriage over all actual marriages to function as a default ideal.

It is thought that different definitions of marriage can coexist in American society—the first “open society” as its called. In areas of overlap, “balance” is sought between the legal definition of marriage and the various forms of customary marriages in practice.

The problem is that the legal definition is an artificial invention of the state not anchored to a real ideal of marriage. It is a new kind of marriage, more and more emptied of content, superimposed over preexisting communities of real families.

Furthermore, while all customary marriages are organic developments of traditional conceptions, legal “marriage” can claim no such pedigree. It’s a concept that adapts toward greater generality in order to embrace within its scope whatever ad hoc group finds it convenient to self-identify as a household.

I find this state of affairs to be undesirable, because it spells the doom of traditional marriage practice and family life as traditionally lived. In any compromise between truth and lies, the authentic will always suffer and the false will always benefit. Marriages in practice will progressively conform to the shape of the ideal that exercises (legal & political) controlling influence over them.

The new legal marriage of American jurisprudence now exerts considerable influence on how marriage is practiced within every community not completely isolated from the broader culture. Marriage is treated more and more as a disposable contract, even by those who profess to hold to its sanctity.

Readers may be tempted to blame this trend on the poor choices of individuals and attempt to leave it at that. However, a practically universal phenomenon cannot be attributed to millions of isolated decisions alone: some broader cause must be at work.

These choices are in fact encouraged and enabled by the state when individuals find themselves most vulnerable, at the times when disharmony arises in their marital relations.

The state decides how family life is lived by recognizing, incentivizing, and dissolving the unions it wants. This most visibly occurs during divorce (which the state itself establishes the conditions for) when the state determines how child custody and family assets are distributed. But the overwhelming effect of the type of state involvement in familial life we are seeing is to undermine familial integrity and stability.

In what ways does the denatured legal concept of marriage undermine the stability of the nation’s families? To answer this, I consider—in turn—the various ways the denatured legal concept distorts marriage:

1. Marriage is not an institution ordained by God, therefore the state is free to ordain the institution and determine its composition. To allow the state to act as author and determiner of so fundamental an institution as marriage is to grant it powers formerly ascribed only to divinity. This is a revolutionary, indeed satanic, development.

2. Marriage is not ordered to the fulfillment of a natural purpose assigned to humanity, therefore, the state sets an artificial human purpose when it replaces natural marriage with civil “marriage.” What could this new purpose be? See below.

3. Marriage is not the union of a man and a woman in “one flesh,” a corporate entity possessing a responsible head; it is a contractual relationship between two (or more) interchangeable units with no clear designation of roles and duties. Concomitant with this, the inherent natural qualities differentiating male and female are suppressed.

4. Marriage unions are not granted political representation qua households, therefore the interests of families are not consistently represented in politics or law.

5. Decision making authority over the household is divided in half between the two spouses, effectively making the state the true head of the household. This divide-and-conquer strategy pretends to give individuals (especially women) more “equality,” but its real effect is to abolish familial sovereignty.

6. Public announcements (banns) of marriage are not required to allow persons with knowledge of grave impediments to the marriage to make objection. Lacking a forum for communal objections, ineligible and unfit persons often marry and burden the system with their problems. Few social checks are in place to prevent bad marriages from being initiated in the first place.

7. Consequently, the consent of the community of families is unnecessary to ratify new unions. The community of families has no say over who can be admitted to their numbers and therefore has no control over the health of its composite parts.

8. Marriage vows, being ceremonial adornments expressing merely the aspiration of the participants, are enforceable by no civil sanctions. Irresponsible behavior is enabled as persons are not held to their most solemn commitments.

9. Adultery is legal. In no-fault divorce states the marriage bed (intimate union) is not considered sacred, and adultery entails no civil penalty. Far from it! Adulterers are often rewarded with alimony payments. Society lacks disincentives sufficient to dissuade persons in the grip of sexual passion from engaging in acts destructive to the fabric of society.

10. Conception is not identified with intimate union and offspring may be exterminated in the womb. Bonds of filial affection are weakened.

11. Marriage is not ordered to procreation, with the result that children are not regarded as the visible sign (public evidence) of intimate parental love. Again, bonds of filial affection are weakened.

12. Mothers may exterminate their children without the husband’s consent, and thus abortion may be used as a weapon to destroy the bonds of marital affection.

13. Bastards increasingly acquire the same rights to paternal support as children legitimately born. Therefore, single men have less incentive to commit to marriage since they’re going to have to pay anyway. At least they can have their wages garnished or mail a check every month and still enjoy some benefits of the single life. Single mothers are also less inclined to seek the protection and provision a husband would provide, since the state ensures that she and her child will be subsidized. The state then functions as surrogate husband of the single mother and guardian of the fatherless child. Illegitimacy will only increase under these conditions.

14. The right of primogeniture is not recognized by law. Firstborn sons bear no practical significance in society and familial legacies are rare except among the extremely wealthy. Both of these factors contribute to the weakening of filial affection and piety.

15. The state arrogates authority to itself to define what constitutes marriage and therefore which unions will be publicly acknowledged and supported. The state may also effectively dismantle any marriage it wants by issuing divorces, legal separations, and restraining orders—regardless of fault. Over time, the statutory recognition of marriage has been transmuted into sovereignty over marriage and by extension over the life of every family in the state’s domain.

Many more points can be added. And notice, I’ve said nothing about gay “marriage” which is secondary to the fundamental issues.

In conclusion, since the goal of every state is to consolidate its power in order to assure its continuation, when the state contrives to become the head of every family within its domain it will consistently act in ways that undermine the independent integrity of individual families. The end goal of this process is the emergence of a monstrous entity whose tentacles intrude into every household, bursting the structure of each nuclear unit and allowing re-structuring of personal relationships through alternative sexual associations. In this way, the state achieves control over the wealth of every household beneath its “oversight.”

A state with this kind of power has little motivation to encourage sexual fidelity and numerous incentives to promote unchastity. Far from being the friend of families and family values, the Liberal state represents the most insidious threat to human flourishing ever devised. The real goal of the amoral-inclusivist liberal order is a Leviathan of disordered sexual relationships constructed out of the dismembered parts of its victim: the human family.


A Joyful Noise said...

It is amazing when the entire State of California voted to ban Gay marriage, and ONE judge voided the new law with one sweep of his eraser. We must take a stand regardless of what Government says. Peter said, I cannot help but preach the gospel even when you tell me not to do so. He was brave and spoke out.

Alice Linsley said...

My research is often used by polygamists to justify multiples wives, which goes to show that they can't read. Only rulers in Genesis had more than one wife. It was the pattern of Abraham's Horite ruler caste.

Nick said...

This was an amazing post. I would take it one step further though. Protestantism got this ball rolling, and is in many ways at the root of this problem. The reason is because Protestantism has always allowed divorce, and in fact they never considered Marriage to be a sacrament but rather something governed strictly by the state. And as time when on, the Sola-Scriptura mindset further and futher undermined morals to the point that "conservative" Christians engage in divorce, contraception, casual dating, etc, etc, so as to be almost as bad as society at large. In fact, a big name conservative named Ronald Reagan actually was the first person to pass no-fault divorce legislation.

A. M. said...

Nick, what--in your view--is the root error within Protestantism that lead to the countenancing of divorce? The denial of Holy Matrimony as a sacrament? The denial of ex opere operato? Voluntarism? Something else?

Nick said...

Hello A.M.

I have not researched that specific question in depth, but I would say the denial that Marriage is a Sacrament played the biggest role, since this was the very basis for it's indissolubility. Since the Sacrament mirrors Christ's marriage to the Church, then divorce is not only impossible but an abomination.

This denial likely had significant 'support' from those Pretend Reformers who had major stake in needing to break vows to get married (e.g. Luther and Henry VIII). The idea that they could divorce themselves from the Church naturally fit with divorcing a woman they were no longer happy to be with.

It is interesting that you mention Voluntarism, because that plays a role as well, including the modern day caving-in by Protestants to gay marriage. I highly suggest you read this short post at Called to Communion. What your post said about the 'new' role of the State dominating all aspects of life was effectively what the Protestants conceded in their view of how the Church relates to the world. The earliest Protestants realized that since Marriage is not a Sacrament then it's more or less completely under the umbrella of the State (to wed and divorce). HERE is another very important Called To Communion article on Divorce as it relates to this subject that I hope you read (it's kind of long but great).