In the USA, few remember that the left once was on the forefront of insisting that men be paid a living wage, which was defined as enough to support a household.

Instead, I have seen the left evolve to a libertarian agenda, where it has decided to “reform” many laws in order to free people from the “patriarchal family”–yet these changes, from “no fault” divorce to abortion on demand, seem to have backfired in ways unforseen by those who proposed them.

You see, those “restrictive laws” that were being changed weren’t made up by one man on a whim, but are ancient and widespread among different cultures. Indeed, common laws, customs, and religious strictures are society’s way of encoding the lessons of thousands of years of human experience on what works, and what doesn’t work, to make society strong.

In contrast, the philosophy behind the new laws was a libertarian view that makes “individual rights” the highest goal of law. Get rid of the chains of law and custom, and man will again be free.

Harvard Law professor Mary Ann Glendon, in her book “Rights Talk” traces the philosophy of supreme individualism to the “Noble Savage” of Rousseau which saw primitive man as free, and theprogressive idea was that the old fashioned restrictive laws of church and state needed to be broken so man could be free again.

Yet, Glendon wryly points out, these philosophers never bothered to ask how the “primitive women and children” existed in such societies.

And those of us who have worked in “primitive” societies very well know how “the primitive man” lived: in societies with strict customs that enabled women and children to live in safety, knowing that pregnant women and women with small children were not able to support themselves.

All societies devised a lot of laws about marriage, based on a biological reality, that men need sex, and that most men prefer one mate.

However, since many men need both societal pressures to keep them faithful, most societies also recognize that sometimes there is a need for sexual outlets outside of monogamy. Yet since all of these outlets have negative consequences to the woman and weaken family ties, whether it be polygamy or divorce or bisexuality, most societies discourage these alternatives.

In the Christian West, this is monogamy with divorce only in extreme circumstances. In Africa, it might mean polygamy, but even there a good man recognizes that family difficulties will result if he marries a second wife unwisely. That is why monogamy is still the rule even where polygamy is sanctioned by custom or religion.

Ordinary people know this, even if they are unable to articulate it. What is wrong with Kansas, the elites wonder, while they press their agenda into the schools to indoctrinate the young, and into law via the courts? Don’t they know we will make them free, with a compassionate government to pay for day care for their children and nursing homes for their elderly, unemployment and free schools and…everything you need, given to you free by our nanny state.

Maybe the reason Kansas feels unhappy with the progressive agenda is because in Kansas they still have the custom that people are supposed to care for each other, and that family, not a nanny state, does these things…and the cultural aspect of the progressive agenda, with it’s sexual freedom,unisex laws, and easy divorce, is destroying the family.

Which brings us to gay marriage.

Camille Paglia puts her finger to the problem when she asked bluntly if gay marriage was to be “Presbyterian marriage”. Would it last for life, be faithful to the partner through sickness and bad times, and would the marriage be integrated into society? Or would it just be an open marriage with tax breaks?

Most of my lesbian friends fit that criteria; my gay male friends don’t.

That is the reason that ancient Greece and Rome, and Confucian China, and most other classical cultures that tolerated gay activity did not and still do not have gay marriage: because the promiscuous approach to sexual expression of gay men spreads to society at large, and psychologically few people can develop deep emotional ties in open marriages.

In traditional cultures, marriage includes words like self control and hard work and responsibility and duty. Words that are rarely taught in schools that prefer words like tolerance and self esteem and freedom to do one’s own thing.

People know this, but are often too timid to say such a cruel thing to their gay friends.

The ones who will continue to say this are the churches. And this is the other “side effect” of the California gay marriage decision that is not being discussed:  that it will lead to the marginalizaton of churches that refuse to agree with the law.

We already see how Reuters phrases this story:”Pope restates gay marriage ban after California vote”, as if monogamous heterosexual marriage didn’t exist before the Pope said so.

It’s not hard to see the lawsuits and ridicule that are in the wings waiting to be fired at those stupid Catholics….and Orthodox Jews…and Muslims…who refuse to change.

And all because of the vote of one judge majority…

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Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the Philippines. Her website is Makaipa Blog.

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