An amalgam of Liberalism and soft-socialism are seeking to overthrow the Family in Ireland by means of a referendum on May 22nd. Understanding the motives of Liberals and soft-socialists entails an understanding of the basis on which these two schools seek changes in society. Structural changes sought by Liberals and soft-socialists are wholly inadequate to address problems besetting the Family, as these problems all have their source in human failings and not in the failings of the familial institution itself. A reform of marriage means nothing less than a reform of the humans who enter into marriages. Irish society must reform its members, not functioning institutions.
To the traditionalist th[e] alliance of liberal humanitarianism with the forces of destruction appears so insane that he is tempted to see in it the influence of political corruption or the sinister action of some hidden hand. It must, however, be recognized that it is no new phenomenon ; in fact, it has formed part of the liberal tradition from the beginning. The movement which created the ideals of liberal humanitarianism was also the starting point of the modern revolutionary propaganda which is equally directed against social order and traditional morality. – Christopher Dawson, 1931
On May 22nd, Ireland is voting on whether to allow those in same-sex relationships the same legal status as healthy, normal, married, couples. This is justified on the basis of equality: the current situation whereby a man and woman are afforded superior legal status is considered inegalitarian in a republic by the powers-that-be (this is absurd, BTW, but highlighting this absurdity is not the purpose of this post). Change is being prosecuted through the instrument of a referendum because the Constitution of Ireland specifically protects the Family via the agency of the State, the State being composed of administrative, security, governmental, legislative, judicial, and mass-propagation organs with the State claiming sovereign hegemony over most of the island of Ireland.
Undoubtedly support for such a vote is being whipped up by a liberal-left-wing strain of thought that is fashionable in intellectual circles in Ireland. It is a marriage of Liberalism and ‘soft-socialism.’ What is at the heart of the Liberal and Socialist critique of marriage, however?
All political ideologies or movements assume that ‘things are wrong.’ This is perfectly logical. No one would claim that we live in a world where humans do not need to pursue excellence so as to improve themselves. Humans and societies who do not make an attempt to improve themselves often fall down, unfortunately. Events and internal sociological changes catch up with them.
Where various political ideologies and movements differ is in identifying where ‘things are wrong.’ Liberals tend to assume that political and legislative changes are necessary to improve things. Socialists often target traditional structures such as family.
There are also ontological theories concerning man at the heart of these ideologies: put simply, Liberals believe that men are good but need the correct political and legal structures to bring out their goodness, whereas Socialists believe that a change in economic and social structures are key. Socialism tends to be more paternalistic than Liberalism, it must be said.
So there is a proposal to allow people to ‘do what they want’ in their relationships … this is a Liberal goal. Family, the marital union between a man and woman that often begets progeny, will be re-defined and the traditional family will be effectively smashed because the uniqueness of traditional family life will be smashed … this is a Socialist goal. This is a logical conclusion to draw. Any suggestion that this is about affording a very small segment of the population recognition for particular relationships they have entered into would only be credible if one switched off their rational and intellectual faculties and allowed themselves to be at the mercy of their emotions. Extra-marital affairs or long-term client relationships with ladies of the night are probably more common than those between members of the opposite sex.
As for myself, I hold that marriage, that union of a woman and man, is perfect and not in need of tinkering. Am I mad? Don’t I notice all these broken marriages, drunk husbands, cheating spouses, or merely two good people who can’t get on? How about the children from broken homes? Yes, I must be a few hashtagged posts short of a trending topic.
Of course, the problem lies not in the stars, but in ourselves (at least that’s what my wise Mammy used to tell me growing up). It is sensible to assume that there is a right way to do something, but that a failure on that right path is not because the path leads the wrong way. Failures happen because those who tread the path make mistakes.
With respect to married couples, the path of marriage is a gilded one. It promises to a male-female couple that their relationship is not just a meaningless exchange of body heat and fluid, or even empty proclamations of love that are not backed up by concrete values such as fidelity. It has a specific meaning. It upholds the uniqueness of men and women, while enabling them to interact intimately and lovingly. Furthermore, unlike a relationship between those of the same-sex, only a male and female can consummate a relationship (this is incredibly important legally).
Traditionally, the marriage has been sanctified and blessed. The couple raise walls and tend to a nest. They explore their natural, physical, and emotional yearnings in a secure environment, often raising children. Children encounter a father and mother figure instead of two ‘carers.’ When those children set up their own nest, then the couple still remain with one another.
This is often not how every marriage works nowadays, but it used to be common even when I was growing up in the 80s. Most importantly, as regards the place of the family in the Irish Constitution, such a model has given stability to many societies, despite superficial differences existing between marital arrangements trans-nationally. This is evidenced by looking at a map of the world with nations corresponding to those aggregates of humans who inter-married and formed an identity with one another via close ties. To retort with something like ‘a realizing of this ideal is impossible’ is therefore futile.
Of course, no voluminous work, not to mind a throw-away blog post, could encompass the completeness of the marital tie in terms of its union of opposites within the human family. The beauty of the family cannot be adequately described any more than the beauty of the sunshine can be described. That does not render support for the family irrational anymore than an enjoyment of sunshine is irrational.
Now, it is true that marriage is in crisis globally as critics will often say. The wrong solution that Ireland is adopting is to legislatively change marriage (the liberal part) and then destroy the traditional marriage by raising all relationships (even non-sexual ones seemingly) up to the level of the marital tie (the socialist part). This is being egged on by, amongst others, Twitter Inc., who merely want government to stay out of everyone’s life and for the globe to operate as one big market, down to the manufacture of children. Even big-capitalism sees one of its cherished goals potentially realized in this fiasco.
There is an alternative. Let’s admit that humans do not come out of the womb knowing everything or that they do not need any guidance as they go through life.
However awful this sounds, let’s look at society as an ‘open prison’ and not confine the process of reforming to institutes of correction.
People, us, need to be constantly reformed and made straight. We need guidance. We need to be told that we live in a society with an ancient heritage whose care we are responsible for. The garden of society must be tended to tree-by-tree, i.e. by the family trees.
Men, in particular, need to be told that they have not proven themselves to be a man by merely sharing a bed with someone of the opposite sex. They only prove it by taking care of a woman’s needs, including her maternal needs to have children, within a marriage. Men, I feel, to a greater degree than woman have to either take responsibility in this regard or be compelled to do so.
And, supposing marriage is hateful (why would anyone voluntarily and legally commit themselves to someone for life?), it remains an obligation that members of a society must undertake and that the powers-to-be must protect.
Again, as un-modern (i.e. un-Liberal or un-soft socialistic or even un-PC) as this sounds, a laissez-faire approach cannot be adopted towards marriage amongst responsible members of any political community. To adopt such an approach is communal suicide.
Since there can be no choice but to protect marriage and since it cannot be an abstract marital tie that is failing, that makes us turn our attention to the only other possible source of failure, i.e. the human. And the signs of failure on the part of humans are etched all over the news and felt by every conscientious person. There is more drug abuse, violence, instability, and sub-cultural bizarreness than there has ever been. Even though a country like Ireland is still relatively peaceful and stable, it is encountering social phenomena, such as heroin use, unimaginable in the 1960s. Warning signs are there.
Ask yourself: is the hybrid Socialist-Liberal model a true critique? Do institutions or bits of paper administer themselves or do humans? Is the Socialist critique of traditional structures a true reflection of how societies really evolved (as opposed to a pseudo-Marxist dialectic where Man and Woman take the place of the bourgeoisie and the proletariat)?
So, yes we as a nation have fallen down. Not because marriage is a broken institution – history shows this not to be the case. It’s because we have blamed the stars and not pointed the finger at ourselves. We need to reform ourselves and protect those social institutions, like marriage, which offer us a way to make it from one generation to the next in a sustainable manner. The fashionable group-think is only a manifestation of denial and an abdication of responsibility. There is a more human-centred alternative that must be seized upon. Otherwise, the Irish nation will merely sweep itself into history’s footnotes.