Most Americans who have an opinion about the current obsession to redefine marriage tend to think the only people standing athwart history yelling “STOP!” are conservative religious folk. They would be wrong.
Certainly a large majority of people who embrace traditional morality based on revealed religion do not accept the notion that marriage is a malleable social construct that can be willy-nilly defined any which way we choose. But redefining marriage is such a bad idea, and as importantly is being done in such a tyrannical way, that some nonreligious people are beginning to sound the alarm.
One such voice comes from Britain and the editor of an online magazine called Spiked, Brendan O’Neill. His piece and subtitle are as follows: “Gay marriage: a case study in conformism: Anyone who values diversity of thought and tolerance of dissent should find the sweeping consensus on gay marriage terrifying.” And he comes from, as he says, a “liberal, secular perspective.”
This is a unique position for a modern liberal to take: He actually is a liberal! How refreshing. Most modern liberals are a stultifyingly conservative lot whose worldview borders on the totalitarian (and I’m being nice). Dissent from the party line is not only frowned upon, but is simply not tolerated. What true liberal wouldn’t be horrified by such a state of affairs? Unfortunately, modern liberals are anything but.
It’s definitely worth reading the entire piece, but a couple paragraphs will give you a good sense of Mr. O’Neill’s perspicacity:
How do we account for this extraordinary consensus, for what is tellingly referred to as the ‘surrender’ to gay marriage by just about everyone in public life? And is it a good thing, evidence that we had a heated debate on a new civil right and the civil rightsy side won? I don’t think so. I don’t think we can even call this a ‘consensus’, since that would imply the voluntaristic coming together of different elements in concord. It’s better described as conformism, the slow but sure sacrifice of critical thinking and dissenting opinion under pressure to accept that which has been defined as a good by the upper echelons of society: gay marriage. Indeed, the gay-marriage campaign provides a case study in conformism, a searing insight into how soft authoritarianism and peer pressure are applied in the modern age to sideline and eventually do away with any view considered overly judgmental, outdated, discriminatory, ‘phobic’, or otherwise beyond the pale. . . .
[T]he extraordinary rise of gay marriage speaks, not to a new spirit of liberty or equality on a par with the civil-rights movements of the 1960s, but rather to the political and moral conformism of our age; to the weirdly judgmental non-judgmentalism of our PC times; to the way in which, in an uncritical era such as ours, ideas can become dogma with alarming ease and speed; to the difficulty of speaking one’s mind or sticking with one’s beliefs at a time when doubt and disagreement are pathologised. Gay marriage brilliantly shows how political narratives are forged these days, and how people are made to accept them. This is a campaign that is elitist in nature, in the sense that, in direct contrast to those civil-rights agitators of old, it came from the top of society down; and it is a campaign which is extremely unforgiving of dissent or disagreement, implicitly, softly demanding acquiescence to its agenda.