In modern America at the risk of being branded a bigoted intolerant hater, I seek here to explain the radical hypocrisy of the left-liberal when it comes to the popular issue de jure, redefining marriage. As we are told ad nauseum, marriage is about, all about, beginning, middle and end, the romantic relationship of two adults (why not more, well, I can only point out so much inconsistency in one blog post). Children, well not so much.
I’ve had my fair share of internet “conversations” with the “redefiners” of marriage who in self-righteous censoriousness ask me how letting two homosexuals “marry” harms my marriage, harms in any way the institution of heterosexual marriage (as if there were realistically any other kind); as if having the temerity to question the supposedly innocuous affirmation that marriage itself is open to definition is simply not allowed.
Modern liberals often tell us it’s all about the children. As Hillary Clinton famously put in on a book she wrote that it takes a village to raise a child. Recently we’ve been lectured to by an MSNBC host that children are too important to be left to be raised solely by their family. We often hear about the childhood poverty rate, or that if we cut school lunch programs children will starve. Or now President Obama tells us we need to have four year olds in public schools, that universal preschool is critical for the development of America’s children. Liberals love the children. Of course, as good progressives this desire for the well being of children is completely theoretical. In real life where children actually have the best chance of growing up into healthy, well adjusted productive adults, i.e. in homes with a married father and mother, well it’s all about romance and adult happiness (let’s not talk here about children who haven’t made it through the birth canal).
Not long ago in one of these internet “debates” I used the phrase “Dan Quayle was right,” and was promptly told that the former vice president was not a good argument for my defense. I’ll forgive the ignorance of my internet interlocutor, because he probably was not aware that this phrase did not originate with me. In fact it was the title of an article in The Atlantic Magazine back in April 1993. I remember seeing the magazine cover at the time, and I was shocked. How could such a mainstream magazine allow a statement on its cover that was so obviously politically incorrect? To our cultural betters, Dan Quayle could never be right about anything. But alas, social science, no less, has proved with regard to marriage, family and children he was right indeed.
The author of the Atlantic piece was Barbara Dafoe Whitehead, who is no right-wing radical homophobic bigot. I think she is just a social scientist, and Democrat, who cares more about the truth than a preconceived agenda. Simply put, the truth is that children by every measure do better when raised by their biological married parents. Even many modern liberals have to admit this, because the facts are indisputable. Read Whitehead’s Divorce Culture, which was written 15 years ago; the problem has only gotten worse now that 40% of all children are born out of wedlock. We used to have words for such children, but we’re much too polite nowadays to stigmatize, unless you’re a smoker or a Christian.
No fault divorce, a progressive modern liberal dream of adult liberation has decimated the American family. When it was first pushed during the height of the sexual revolution it was promoted as an unqualified good, and primarily because the family, the old fashioned kind, was and still is seen as a bastion of regressive patriarchal oppression. Most progressives of course love their families and only hate the family in a theoretically abstract way, and in ways that undermine the cultural foundation for healthy families.
Marriage, once conceived as a lifelong commitment, except in extreme circumstance, since the 1960s has become a vehicle for personal fulfillment, a stupid reason to think you can spend the rest of your life with someone every bit as imperfect as you are. So defined, romance is a thin reed upon which to hang a lifelong commitment for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part.
Thus we come to today. Robert Samuelson, no rabid right-winger, writes of family meltdown in America:
It’s hard to overstate the breakdown of marriage and the rise of single-parent families. Consider out-of-wedlock births. In 1980, about 18 percent of births were to unmarried women; by 2009, the proportion was 41 percent. Among whites, the increase was from 11 percent to 36 percent; among African-Americans, from 56 percent to 72 percent; among Hispanics, from 37 percent (1990) to 53 percent. Or look at the share of children living with two parents. Since 1970, that’s dropped from 82 percent to 63 percent. Among whites, the decline is from 87 percent to 73 percent; among African-Americans, from 57 percent to 31 percent; among Hispanics, from 78 percent to 57 percent.
He says what has caused these changes is controversial, but that is only because left-liberals don’t like the implication of their values and worldview. Charles Murray in his most recent book, Coming Apart, argues that the breakdown in marriage comes primarily along class (not racial) lines, and that those on the lower rungs of the economic ladder are suffering the worst.
So amid all these indisputable facts, that children growing up without a married mother and father do worse on every metric of social well being, we are told gender is irrelevant to marriage, and that children are an irrelevant by product of two people’s romantic interest. That’s what the redefiners are saying, are they not? Marriage is all about adults, children be damned! Of course they won’t say that, because nobody wants to damn children to a life of misery, unless their happiness is at stake.
Those who need to be on the defensive are the redefiners. They need to tell us why further eroding the traditional nature of marriage will not further mess kids up, how making gender irrelevant to marriage will help children grow up with better odds of being well adjusted adults. Isn’t it obvious little Bobby doesn’t need a dad, because two mommies are enough, right? Common sense, which is amazingly uncommon in this debate, says it is most definitely not!