Even a sensible conservative is still a conservative

Among the many remarks Daniel Larison had post-hibernation was this:

Whether or not “gay marriage” harms the institution of marriage, it certainly does not strengthen it. It is therefore undesirable because it is unnecessary to the preservation of the relevant institution, and so the appropriate conservative view is to leave well enough alone.

If allowing that change means, as Andrew puts it, “accepting gay love and commitment as indistinguishable in moral worth and social status as straight love,” it is not going to happen for a very long time, if it ever will, because I think it is fair to say that opponents of “gay marriage” do not accept the two as indistinguishable and see no reason why they should. If that is what “gay marriage” requires, I see even less reason why conservatives should accept it. Indeed, that statement helps explain the reason why “gay marriage” is so strenuously opposed while there is no movement trying to overturn Lawrence: there is a vast difference between permitting something and being compelled to accept it as indistinguishable from the norm.

As I’ve stated previously, both here and in comments elsewhere, the true question in the gay marriage debate isn’t “why gays?”, but “why is the State defining marriage at all?”.  Despite this dealing with adding gays to the current statist definition of “marriage”, IMO there’s still standing for the following:

  • What does preserve marriage then?
  • Where does the idea that marriage can be preserved as an “institution”, vs private individuals preserving their particular marriage and others leaving them alone to do so, come from?
  • If, according to Larison, marriage is something that politics has a role in maintaining, what does it NOT have a role in & why?
  • Culturally speaking, isn’t preservation a matter of sheer numbers in the end (which would mean more people adhering to something is enough, and vice versa limiting who can adopt it hastens its disappearance)?

Niceties out of the way, in short here’s my feeling on this — as well as most other issues of cultural norm friction:

A true “norm”, by definition, emerges on its own & can take care of itself.  Thus, if “the norm” requires force then, well, fuck “the norm”.

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About b-psycho

Left-libertarian blogger & occasional musician.
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One Response to Even a sensible conservative is still a conservative

  1. vache folle says:

    Thank you. Encoding norms into law freezes them in a state that will eventually cease to be the norm and will give rise to social problems which legislators will be called upon to solve legislatively.

    The state’s interest in the “institution” of marriage is perplexing except in view of the play it gets politically in certain constituencies.

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