Friday, February 11, 2011

The Most Important Question in the Gay Marriage Debate

A lot of people, even a growing number of Christians, have trouble understanding opposition to legalized gay marriage.  After all, if the whole "marriage is one man plus one woman" thing is based on religious values, why force views those on other people? And what's the deal about destroying the sanctity of marriage?  How is a  heterosexual couple's marriage damaged in any way by gay marriage? For me, a single question helped clear up all of this...

“What is marriage?”




I. The Traditional View of Marriage, and Why Society Should Protect It

A. What Traditional Marriage Is

It seems to me that there are basically two views of what marriage is.  The first is the traditional view.  A good working definition comes from the Code of Canon Law, which says that marriage is that institution “by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life and which is ordered by its nature to the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring” (Can. 1055 §1).

This view of marriage isn't unique to Catholicism, or Christianity, or even religion.  Cultures across the world (with all sorts of religious views, or none at all) have understood marriage to be something very near this for as long as marriage has existed.  What's fascinating about this is that even with the diversity of marriage customs and norms, much remains the same.  Even cultures which permitted or encouraged polygamy recognized that the polygamy was heterosexual, and tied to procreation.  A man might have two wives, but he's just committing himself to caring for two families as a result.  And even cultures which encouraged homosexual and pedophilic sex (like Ancient Greece) never thought of those sexual and even romantic relationships as marriage-potential.

Perhaps more striking, the thing that gets overlooked is: all of these cultures have marriage. Many of the cultures punished premarital or extramarital sex; others simply declared that premarital sex acted as a marital covenant. If marriage is simply a social construct, it's certainly striking that all of these cultures across the globe, in both the New World and the Old, independently enshrined this construct at the heart of their cultures.


B. The Importance of Family

The reason for this universally-accepted tradition of marriage is obvious: family.  Parents are the primary educators of children, and they pass on the culture's values. Children raised in this environment are statistically better citizens: more law-abiding, less violent, and so on.  We're born with our own desires. It's largely through education, much of it at the feet of our parents, where we learn how we're supposed to act.

Even animals understand this instinctively.  You don't see birds just leaving their chicks to raise themselves, or be raised by some other bird, or by “the village.”  A great many species mate for life, and even amongst those which are effectively polygamous, there's a real sense of family tied to the biological parents of the animal youth. Obviously, this isn't true of all animals, but it's remarkable that it's true of any.  Now-Secretary Hillary Clinton wrote a book, It Takes a Village. Former-Senator Rick Santorum's response came with a more accurate title: It Takes a Family. Both sociologically and even biologically, he's right.

So “family” is critical to society.  And traditional marriage is critical to family.  The logic of it is obvious.  Our sexual desires are often fleeting, but when we act on them, and a child is conceived, that's a lifelong consequence.  In the absence of marriage, women in particular are vulnerable, since they're ones (biologically) who are left to raise the child, if the man splits.  By tying heterosexual, potentially-reproductive sex to marriage, society insures that a family is formed.

Given this, it makes absolute sense for society to enshrine traditional marriage into its laws and norms.  We want (and even need) a society in which there aren't a lot of children conceived out of wedlock, and that those children conceived out of wedlock are still raised in a family (thus the popularity of "shotgun weddings" and the like).  Enforcing this as the norm by law through legal recognition of the institution of marriage, and the thousands of incentives tied to marriage is absolutely sensible.  It's a principle that virtually everyone in history has understood (including those who freely engaged in non-reproductive sex outside of marriage).


II. The View of Marriage Behind Gay Marriage

A. The “Romantic” View of Marriage

Almost without exception, those in favor of gay marriage approach the question through the same lens.  You can discover this quickly, by asking, "Why should gays be able to marry other gays?"  The answer will nearly without exception be that  “these two people love each other.”  And for about two hundred years in the West, we've really harped on this notion that marriage is the result of romantic love.

Let's be clear a couple of things.  First of all, romantic love is ideal: I wish every married couple was romantic towards each other. The biological and spiritual purpose behind eros and romance is to help get through the rough patches in marriage, to make marriage joyful, and to remind us of the incredible love God has for us.  But let's be clear about something else: romantic love isn't necessary for marriage.  The canon law view calls it a "partnership," and in selecting the word, carefully avoided anything suggesting that romance was necessary for marriage.

Plenty of married couples find the spark dimmed or dead, and marriage can be rough-going sometimes.  When you swear your allegiance to another human being "for better or for worse" for the rest of your life, you're knowingly pledging that even though marriage might seem awful, you'll stick to it.  If marriage wasn't hard sometimes, so bad you wanted to quit, you wouldn't need to promise you wouldn't quit.  No one has to pledge to keep doing something they're obviously going to do, and enjoy doing, like eating or relaxing.  They'll just do those things without provocation.

So the problem with gay marriage is actually something distinct from the problem with homosexuality.  Homosexuality is wrong because it perverts sex from something reproductive into something non-reproductive.  But homosexual marriage goes a step further, and turns the bedrock of society, marriage and family, into something fleeting and pointless.

Here's what I mean.  If romance is the critical factor in marriage, just consider that married couples often don't feel romantic towards each other, even if they did at the outset.  It's easy to love the other person on your wedding day. It's harder when they've let themselves go physically, there's a screaming baby, and the house is a mess. Meanwhile, there may be someone else - a co-worker, a friend, whoever - who you do feel that "spark" with. The New York Times caused a minor controversy in December when it ran in its marriage section "Vows," a blurb spotlighting a couple who met while married to other people.  The story was told as if it was romantic to do the forbidden, and abandon your families for a new fling.  But this is absolutely consistent with this view of marriage.  So is the sky-high divorce rate in America, and the massive amount of infidelity, homosexuality, and premarital sex.  We're a culture taught to follow our hearts and our hormones, and those are fickle things.

B. Peering Over the Precipice

So here's my point.  Because the heart is fickle, don't condition marriage on romance.  If you're serious about being open to having children with this person, and working with them to raise children, and staying together until death, whether things are great or awful, great. If not, wait to marry until you get to that point with someone.  Marriage is one of the single most important decisions most people will make in their lives, and it rarely gets the serious treatment it deserves.

More importantly, even if individuals want to stupidly declare, in a fit of romantic passion, that they'll be together for better or worse (while closing their eyes tightly to what "worse" might mean), as a society, we need not indulge that madness.   Society has a huge vested interest in family, and by extension, traditional marriage. Society has no interest whatsoever in just-romantic marriage without a connection to family.

Interestingly, even many gay marriage advocates recognize this.  Alan Dershowitz at Harvard argued that the solution to the gay marriage debate is to end governmental recognition of marriage altogether.  Time Magazine agreed, arguing that marriage is just a religious or spiritual practice. This is the sort of end-point of the campaign to redefine marriage: leave "marriage" something so vague and meaningless, an idea whose meaning is unique to the person declaring him- or herself "married," that it ceases to be a protectable institution at all.  Of course, the consequence of trying to become the first society without marriage are ones that we can't even fathom.

The point is clear.  Society, including the state, has a clear interest in protecting marriage, if marriage means what it always has meant.  But if "marriage" becomes an amorphous and individualistic romantic concept, what role could society possibly have in regulating or promoting that?  So the end point of the gay marriage debate is necessary the implosion and unraveling of the institution of marriage, even if individuals still declare themselves "married" in non-recognized ceremonies.


III. Conclusion

Understanding this clash of visions explains nearly everything.  When opponents of gay marriage say that it destroys the sanctity of marriage, what they mean is that gay marriage is incapable of being marriage, as that term has been traditionally understood for thousands of years.  So a government that embraces gay "marriage" is a government that discards marriage (as traditionally understood) in favor of something much more volatile and dangerous. Likewise, if the government started to declare business merges "marriages," the term marriage would be deprived of its meaning until it meant something vague and sort of meaningless.

To imagine that a culture that drains "marriage" of its meaning, or tries to substitute (in its place, or in addition) something foreign as a new form of legally-sanctioned "marriage" can do so without it having far-ranging unintended consequence is naivety to an astonishing degree.

My point is that gay marriage is a sort of "point of no return" in a much broader fight that most Americans have somewhat disconnected from.  Rather than viewing this as a battle over "gay rights" or anything else, this needs to be understood as a battle of the definition of what "marriage" actually means, and whether marriage is a thing that society and government can and should fight for.

19 comments:

  1. I’m not sure I followed your argument against the Dershowitz position. I can see that it would be a problem for the government to recognize non-heterosexual marriage arrangements. And I can see that it might be a nice thing for the government to enforce the Catholic view of marriage. But, given that the government already doesn’t enforce a Catholic view of marriage, I’m not sure why we should be fond of governmental marriage. So it seems to me that the Dershowitz position (i.e. no governmental marriages at all) might constitute an agreeable compromise positition for Catholics to take.

    Where did I go wrong

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  2. Dershowitz views marriage as a private agreement between two parties. That view of marriage (true marriage, that is) is totally wrong. By treating historic marriage as the same thing as "marriage," a union formed based upon the whims of the parties, we're no longer talking about marriage.

    It's true that the government shouldn't get its hands on gay "marriage," etc. If people to call something marriage which the government doesn't and shouldn't recognize as such, they're free to do so. The government already does this with polygamy, for nearly the exact same public policy reasons which make this the clear choice on gay "marriage."

    The confusion here is that the "Catholic view of marriage," which is really the historic view of marriage of nearly everyone for nearly all of recorded history, is being treated interchangably with things like gay "marriage," etc. Calling them both marriage is objectively wrong if marriage has the meaning that it's always had.

    But taking fake-marriage and actual marriage, and grouping them together is obviously problematic.

    All of that said, Dershowitz's destruction of marriage as a social institution may be the lesser of two evils than government enforcement of non-marriage as marriage. Still, both do the same thing: destroy the institution of marriage qua institution.

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  3. Ok. I think I made myself sound more disagreeable than I intended to, especially since I don’t really disagree with anything you've said. Apologies for that.

    Anyway, that last sentence of yours here makes it sounds as if you see government involvement as essential to the institution of marriage. To me, it seems that if the government stopped declaring any arrangement “marriage”, then, even if some indivduals called fake-marraiges “marraiges”, the institution would survive with those that carry on the historical institution.

    And this—as you seem to agree—would be better than the government officially sanctioning fake-marraiges as “marraiges” (as, I think, it already does to some extent by allowing marraiges w/o traditional vows (but I am uncertain of my facts on that point)).

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  4. Bert,

    Don't worry, I didn't read you as being hostile or anything. I have enough of a sense of your own views to know that. Besides, it's a fair question, and so I apologize if I seemed defensive or something in my response.

    That said, it's true that marriage will survive in societies that don't acknowledge legal marriage and in societies which treat things which aren't marriage as if they are. Nevertheless, it's fundamentally unhealthy for a society to go down that road.

    Some degree of governmental recognition is virtually required for everything from tax forms to next-of-kin intestacy issues. Otherwise, you might end up treating a second-cousin as closer to a decadent than her husband.

    Still, distinction should be made between marriage recognized by the government and marriage recognized by society. The latter is more important, for sure -- early Jewish marriage was pretty informal, but still culturally recognized. Here, the situation is no less troubling. The campaign to make "gay marriage" seem like marriage has succeeded, largely because as a society, we've got no idea why we marry (for this reason, marriage rates are plummeting).

    The government can and should play a role in helping up rediscover why family matters to a healthy society, and why a healthy marriage
    is the appropriate place for a family to grow. In other words, reminding people why we marry. A government that says "None of my business!" is hurting things instead of helping (since if we understood why marriage was important to society, we'd see why the government should promote it).

    But that "none of my business" is still less bad than a government which actively destroys marriage by trying to redefine it to mean something new. Both possibilities are disturbing, is my point. No need to opt for the lesser of two evils.

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  5. I totally agree with that.

    And I’ll save my rant here, since I’m sure you're familiar with it, except to say that: The problem with Dersh is that he, along with most of the rest of the American "academy", is beholden to something rougly equivalent Rawlsian liberalism. And that philosophy depends on a neutral point to judge policies that is somehow prior to one’s view of the good. But, of course, there’s no coherent way to evaluate things absent a view of the good. And so what happens instead is that academics like Dersh smuggle their views of the good in and call that “neutral”.

    So his conclusion depends on some view of the good that he does not state (because he does not think it exists). And that view, insofar as it differs from the Catholic view, is false. So, you’re absolutely right that there is a better option out there. But I’m worried that that better option is becoming increasingly politically infeasible as society loses its sense of the true definition of marriage. Hopefully, I’m wrong and there is no need to opt for the lesser of two evils, but I fear there is.

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  6. Hi Joe

    Actually, while I believe in traditional marriage, I really cannot find a good secular reason why fake gay 'marriages' shouldn't exist.

    I understand that you feel that if a govt discards the traditional view of marriage and bases it on the volatile and frivolous 'romantic only' view, marriage becomes meaningless and the family model itself is challenged. The problem is - I see the erosion of the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman as more a cause for concern. If we want to save marriage, we should turn our guns to solidifying actual marriages rather than opposing gay marriages.

    Adultery, porn, and the way people take vows so nonchalantly seem to be harming marriages more than whether gays wanna call their union a 'marriage'.

    Let's put it this way - divorce rates and broken marriages are gonna go up whether gays get married or not.I really see it as comparing apples to oranges.

    The co-relation just seems too remote and the making it 'about marriage' makes us look intolerant and bigoted, because the argument is just so weak.

    I will never support gay marriages; only because it's morally and objectively wrong. It's the same way I reject artificial contraceptives, they're morally and objectively wrong ... but one seems to have to be Catholic first before one can believe that, even then maybe not.

    So while I won't use contraceptives, I won't give grief to Joe Protestant who swears by them.

    Wadda you think?

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  7. @Jarrod, Good morning, and God bless you.

    You should give grief to Joe Protestant who swears by them. These issues we are discussing are not matters of Catholic precept (i.e. rules to govern the faithful). All of them are matters of the natural moral law which is binding on all of the human population regardless of religious affiliation. Because certain people do not understand the law does not mean they are not bound by it, it just mitigates guilt which defintely still exists. All of these issues are issues of gravity, meaning damning to hell for anyone if done perfectly (Catholic or not; perfect = three rules for mortal sin).

    As far as the regulation of marriage, it is the most fundamental, and I hate to sound 'unromantic', contract that any human society has ever had, cf Joe's entire discourse. As a contract, it is a matter of state to regulate this contract, i.e. the entire point of having a government at all. Because marriage includes procreation (naturally) the state does not have the authority to divorce procreation from the contractual arrangement between the spouses. This is also the same reason the state should ban contraception, sodomy, pornography, etc. All of them contribute not just to sins against the natural law, but sins contrary to the natural use of procreative act itself. Because procreation is involved, as much as we want to consider sexual relations 'private' they are not strictly speaking private affairs. Bastard children, orphans, etc. are proof of this reality. Obviously we don't want an actual government agent in the room checking a list every time a couple engages in the sexual act, but a general list of nono's is required from the state.

    St. Thomas:

    http://www.newadvent.org/summa/5041.htm

    The first article of question 41 deals with the natural law issue. I hope that helps. Of course if homosexual activity is disbelieved to be unnaturally evil, then none of this would matter, but that is a metaphysical question, not a practical one. Note that a pagan (the Philosopher) is cited by St. Thomas to prove the natural inclination of man to matrimonial union. Scholastically that used to be good enough to end any argument but alas...

    @ Bert, God bless you, too.

    Have no fear. We need not choose practical solutions to this problem. To choose the lesser of two evils still seems somehow evil to me. The Holy Spirit will guide and keep us, even if we cannot govern ourselves. Only cooperate with/obey your government to the degree it doesn't ask you to do something intrinsically evil [If I'm wrong on this one, please correct me Joe or a priest or someone, but read these articles first (the last two by St. Thomas)]

    http://www.newadvent.org/summa/3104.htm#article5

    To the extent I've failed to restrain my zeal, forgive me, no offense was meant to either of you.

    Love,
    Ryan

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  8. PS: When the Church establishes these moral requirements touching human sexuality, Her theologians don't use revelation, strictly speaking, to develop these teachings. The reason Catholics (and everyone else) are forbidden sexual misconduct is not (again strictly speaking) because God has revealed it thus to the Church, but because nature itself has divulged these rules. "It just feels so darn good," is not a reason to justify it or to say it couldn't be evil. Drugs feel good, too, but their abuse is still evil.

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  9. PPS: I mentioned that last part because, "It just feels so darn good," and "Come on man, everyone is doing it," are the only reasons I've ever heard anyone contradict Aristotle on this point, which when used in a proof mean you failed to carry your point.

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  10. Hi ryan

    God bless you too!

    "As a contract, it is a matter of state to regulate this contract, i.e. the entire point of having a government at all. Because marriage includes procreation (naturally) the state does not have the authority to divorce procreation from the contractual arrangement between the spouses."

    Yes, like any other contract, the govt can regulate this too, but while it facilitates the unions, there is no real obligation to procreate. People can get married and decide NOT to have kids and still have a validly govt sanctions marriage. So while it's good to have kids, it's not mandatory, so if you're gonna allow childless couples to be legally married, why not allow gays to get married? What's the difference? The potential?

    "This is also the same reason the state should ban contraception, sodomy, pornography, etc. All of them contribute not just to sins against the natural law, but sins contrary to the natural use of procreative act itself."

    The 'natural use of the procreative act'? If we allow one sterile couple to get married, why not all sterile couples ... and while we're at it why not gays too? What's the difference? Procreation is out of the question either way ...


    "Because procreation is involved, as much as we want to consider sexual relations 'private' they are not strictly speaking private affairs. Bastard children, orphans, etc. are proof of this reality. Obviously we don't want an actual government agent in the room checking a list every time a couple engages in the sexual act, but a general list of nono's is required from the state."

    What's the list for if it's going to be just good to have?

    Jarrod

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  11. Several of your recent posts have touched on politics. I have a question that, I fear, will make me sound like a pest, but which I ask only because I sincerely would like to know your opinion.

    Namely, what do you feel the proper role for government is? Should they employ the power of the state to punish all sorts of sin (adultery? lies? drug use?)? Or should the state only punish as a last resort towards a attaining a good society (e.g., by punishing contraception because of the effects Jen outlined in yesterdays post)? Or should it, as Milton Friedman, etc. would have it, only protect us, enforce contracts, and otherwise solve "market failures"?

    I know that government has some role, but I really don't know its limits.

    Thanks

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  12. Sam,

    The Milton Friedman minimalistic view is incompatible with Catholicism. "There are needs and common goods that cannot be satisfied by the market system. It is the task of the state and of all society to defend them. An idolatry of the market alone cannot do all that should be done." Centesimus Annus 40.  Friedman's right on many things, but this isn't one of them.

    Instead, the govenrment also has an obligation to protect human rights.  As JPII explains:

    "Among the most important of these rights, mention must be made of the right to life, an integral part of which is the right of the child to develop in the mother's womb from the moment of conception; the right to live in a united family and in a moral environment conducive to the growth of the child's personality; the right to develop one's intelligence and freedom in seeking and knowing the truth; the right to share in the work which makes wise use of the earth's material resources, and to derive from that work the means to support oneself and one's dependents; and the right freely to establish a family, to have and to rear children through the responsible exercise of one's sexuality. In a certain sense, the source and synthesis of these rights is religious freedom, understood as the right to live in the truth of one's faith and in conformity with one's transcendent dignity as a person." Centesimus Annus 47.

    Beyond that, I'm not sure I'm qualified to say too much one way or the other.  I know that Abp. Chaput has some good insights in Render Unto Caesar, but I still haven't read it yet.

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  13. Thanks a lot, Joe. That was very, very helpful.

    Given those ends, I wonder what system of government we should use to reach them. CS Lewis in his "Meditation on the Third Commandment" recognized the tension 70 years ago, hypothesizing three positions on this question:

    "Philarchus, a devout Christian, is convinced that temporal welfare can flow only from a Christian life, and that a Christian life can be promoted in the community only by an authoritarian State which has swept away the last vestiges of the hated `Liberal' infection. He thinks Fascism not so much an evil as a good thing perverted, regards democracy as a monster whose victory would be a defeat for Christianity, and is tempted to accept even Fascist assistance, hoping that he and his friends will prove the leaven in a lump of British Fascists. Stativus is equally devout and equally Christian. Deeply conscious of the Fall and therefore convinced that no human creature can be trusted with more than the minimum power over his fellows, and anxious to preserve the claims of God from any infringement by those of Caesar, he still sees in democracy the only hope of Christian freedom. He is tempted to accept aid from champions of the status quo whose commercial or imperial motives bear hardly even a veneer of theism. Finally, we have Sparticus, also a Christian and also sincere, full of the prophetic and Dominical denunciations of riches, and certain that the `historical Jesus', long betrayed by the Apostles, the Fathers, and the Churches, demands of us a Left revolution. And he also is tempted to accept help from unbelievers who profess themselves quite openly to be the enemies of God."

    Maybe we're starting to see that the American system is not very good at reaching the ends the Church has identified. As such, I'm not sure which one of Lewis's fictive politicians I agree with.

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  14. "Beyond that, I'm not sure I'm qualified to say too much one way or the other"? Excessive modesty, I say. Not only is he qualified, he has written nicely on that in an earlier, related post on civil unions:

    "Civil unions privilege relationships which shouldn't be privileged: that is, they provide legal benefits to relationships which are fundamentally and intrinsically immoral. A Christian saying, "I'm personally against homosexual marriage, but will provide legal benefits to anyone who attempts it" is just as much a hypocrite as the one who says, "I'm personally against abortion, but I'll subsidize it at taxpayer expense," or "I'm personally against shooting Congresspeople, but I'll make sure you can write off the bullets." It's one thing to say that immoral behavior be permitted (that is, it's not intrinsically immoral to decriminalize sodomy, for example). It's quite another to say that the behavior should be promoted through legal benefits. Marriage, by definition, is a societal promotion: it's a bond recognized by the state and showered with various benefits. Civil unions, to the extent that they carry these benefits, are another form of promotion."

    I do agree with you, Sam, that we should look, contra Rawls and co., not just to whether governmental process is fair, but also--in at least the types of fundamental issues noted above--to whether the outcome is substantially just. And if it isn't, we should make changes. Beyond that, I'm not sure I'm qualified to say too much.

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  15. There's a nice new article on the relationship of the Austrian (aka Milton Friedman) school of economics and Christianity over at the Distributist Review: http://distributistreview.com/mag/2011/05/can-mises-be-baptized/

    It notes that the founder, as it were, of that school, Ludwig von Mises, himself claimed:

    “A living Christianity . . . cannot exist side by side with, and within, Capitalism."

    And often sounded very Randian saying things like "Neither love nor charity nor any other sympathetic sentiment but rightly understood selfishness is what originally impelled man to adjust himself to the requirements of society…and to substitute peaceful collaboration to enmity and conflict."

    I don't think the real, underlying issue is that well brought here, because I think the real underlying issue is the Austrian school's commitment to Rawlsian liberalism's impartiality principle (as Edward Feser attests to in this nice critique of that position http://www.edwardfeser.com/unpublishedpapers/libertarianimpartiality.html)

    But, nevertheless, we can see that Joe was right in asserting that "The Milton Friedman minimalistic view is incompatible with Catholicism" since those holding that view explicitly claim that position themselves (except, of course, when they need Christians to vote for those views).

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  16. Robert,

    I liked the article you linked to quite a bit. Hard-hitting but well-grounded in evidence. And all the more important with things like the Ayn Rand movie coming out. People see the hollowness of left Liberalism, and are searching for something with more truth. The GOP is largely offering Austrian economics, served cold. The Church (and by this I mean all of us) should make a more forceful case for the Catholic view of economics. I know there's a spectrum of opinion on this point, but the foundational beliefs about the dignity and rights of the worker, the importance of private property, the need to spend your wealth in a way pleasing to God, etc., creates a "third way" between the two extremes.

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  17. Yes, I think you're right. I'm no expert in what government is best suited towards creating a good society. But my thought is that the question has a less absolute answer then people normally imply. The reason is that the problem grows out of the sinfulness of the people.

    I mean, if people were perfect the government could do anything it wanted with regard to, say, income redistribution and the end result would be the same. If it did nothing, people would "redistribute" their own income to those who needed it out of charity. And if it did all that needed to be done, people would still work just as hard to avoid sloth. That is, in overly broad strokes, I think that "if men were angels" it wouldn't matter whether the government was socialistic or capitalistic.

    In reality, of course, a lack of governmental redistribution does not lead to enough non-governmental redistribution. And the presence of governmental redistribution leads to laziness because the work is not being as monetarily rewarding. So the ideal government must, in some respect be a response to the sinfulness of the people. And the sinfulness of the people is unpredicatable, which is why, I suppose, the Church has never laid down the absolutely "correct" style of government. It just doesn't exist. But as your Centesimus Annus quote shows, there are some things that should always be done, and several of these are starkly inconsistent with the Austrian School's view, which makes it quite sad that Catholics must almost always be allied politically with the Austrian School people these days.

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  18. Hey Joe, in light of the developments in New York on gay marriage, I was wondering if you had read this article on "What is marriage?" by Girgis, George and Anderson http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1722155 (click on "one click download")

    A lot of what they say seems to accord with what you say above, and I was wondering what you think about the article as a whole.

    God bless!

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  19. I find somewhat frustrating that Christians in scientifically advanced countries object to same-sex marriage mainly or entirely on political grounds. Same-sex marriage implies homosexual ‘coitus’. Like normal heterosexual coitus, homosexual ‘coitus’ is first and primarily a microbiological-epigenetic-social issue (with particular emphasis on the microbiological-epigenetic). But, homosexual ‘coitus’ is extremely unusual, to say the least, from a healthy normal heterosexual point of view.

    Same-sex marriage advocates in the USA are destined to win the political hegemony: They make claims in favor of same-sex marriage in terms of civil rights, while their opponents seem captive to replying like so many stooges brought to court on charges of having not stopped beating their wives. ‘Have you, or have you not, stopped beating your wives?’ presses the judge. The stooges don’t have wives, and have never beaten any woman in the first place. Yet, these stooges are stumped as to how to truly answer the judge’s pressing question.

    I don’t think the reason God commanded His own nation that homosexual ‘coitus’ be punished by death was for the adverse political consequences of such ‘coitus’. At least, I don’t think that was the main reason.

    Sexual attraction for one’s own gender, rather than for the opposite gender, is the absence of the initial key factor for reproduction, and thus the absence of a key cohesive force of progenitive society. Short of external regulators informing the need for heterosexual mating behavior, a population consisting entirely of individuals who lack opposite-sex attraction would, at best, simply die off. In other words, imagine a functionally isolated population made up entirely of purely same-sex attracted persons, and imagine that none of those persons has any hint of the fact that humans have the power to procreate: such a population would, at best, simply die off if none of those persons ever was informed of that power nor of the means by which that power is exercised. 'Mamma, where do babies come from?' 'I have no idea, child.'

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