Mahwidge. Mahwidge is what bwings us togevah today. Marriage is in the news a ton these days which means I have to suffer through several feeds of disinformation, misinformation and random garbage about the institution, definition, and governance of marriage. So before we dive in to the meat of this post, let’s spend a little time investigating why marriage exists,
Marriage is not about love. With any luck love will at least enter into the equation at some point, but love is not a compelling reason to wed. You should love substantially more people during your lifetime than you marry.
Marriage is not about sex. Marriage isn’t even about not having sex with anyone else. Again, with any luck sex will at least enter into the equation at some point, but sex is not a compelling reason to wed.
Marriage isn’t about commitment. By now you’re probably starting to get irritated. You’ve almost certainly realized that whatever you like about marriage, whatever you consider the foundation for your marriage, will eventually be challenged by me. You, like millions of other people, think that marriage is about the couple getting married. You simply couldn’t be more wrong.
There are 1,138 rights and provisions for married folks in the federal law. There are substantially more when you get down to the state and local level. Almost every religion has something to say about marriage and often even offers different services to its married members. Marriage is a social contract, plain and simple.
And this makes sense. The most cost-effective way of growing your value system, community, family, or nation is to have members of the group make more members. As a citizen of this country, I’m willing to pay for 1,138 rights and provisions so that other folks might at least be willing to put themselves into a situation where more Americans have a decent chance of spawning.
Because, let’s face it, marriage is a pretty crappy deal. There’s just no way around it. It’s hard work to spend that much time around someone. It’s tough to trust someone, to put someone else’s needs above your own. And when children start cropping up, that just means more work.
Traditionally men are expected to marry to propagate their culture, whether for blood, geography or belief. Traditionally women are expected to marry because they’re of age. The marriage contract has almost universally been viewed as a civil union between a stronger and weaker party. And the government will have to get involved, as with any contract that is broken, if the union dissolves. This means laws are an inevitable part of marriage.
Traditionally, the government says the children stay with the woman, and the man has to provide for them as long as the children aren’t children and/or the woman isn’t married. Things are changing in this respect, admittedly, as the 15% of fathers with sole custody is a huge improvement in the statistic over 10-20 years ago. If the union dissolves, the social stereotype is that the man is generally screwed financially and the woman is generally burdened socially. Traditionally society also has some pretty negative views on the children in these situations.
So government, religion, community, and family have, through the years, developed many perks to getting and staying married to combat the social and financial burden imposed by the end of a civil union and the risk to the future of the group should the frequency of those civil unions decline.
I’d like to point out here that it doesn’t matter whether you agree with these perspectives or not. I certainly don’t view women as the weaker sex. I don’t think that women should automatically get the kids and the men should automatically have to provide for them. For that matter, I’d love to believe that if I ever do get married it would be all about those things I said earlier marriage isn’t about. But my personal views on the matter are largely irrelevant; there are societal forces at work here that have been present for as long as we have recorded human history.
Alright, we’ve established a baseline for the discussion. Marriage is a poorly worded social contract which almost every organized group of people has deemed worthy of encouraging and subsidizing for the sake of increasing the probability of growing the group. Marriage is expensive both because it is subsidized and because its dissolution is perceived to burden and potentially actively work against the growth of group.
So, how do I feel about gay marriage? I’m being asked to subsidize a union which has zero chance of providing any tangible communal benefit in the form of new children. And I’m being asked to subsidize a massive influx of these unions presumably all at one go. And I’m being asked to do this after one of the most prolonged economically poor periods in American history. And I’m being asked to do all of this for the sake of love, or equality, or some other such nonsense which has nothing to do with why I’m willing to subsidize the union in the first place.
Look, I don’t care who says they’re married to whom. If you want to say you’re married to your job, I’m not going to get upset, but I don’t want to subsidize your marriage. If you want to say you’re married to your car, I’ll think you’re a little silly, and I still don’t want to subsidize your marriage. If you want to say you’re married to your grandmother, I’ll think you’re a bit sick, and I definitely don’t want to subsidize your marriage. If you want to say you’re married to the entire Swedish Bikini Team, I’ll probably envy you, and you can subsidize your own damn marriage, you bastard.
We have to draw the line around what we’re willing to subsidize somewhere, and I think as a society we’re fairly safe drawing the line around the smallest, simplest union capable of giving something back to society. By “something” I specifically mean young, impressionable minds we can trick into believing whatever silly nonsense we’re currently spouting as a nation, religion, community or family.
“But what about adoption? It’s hard for a gay couple to adopt.” It’s hard for everyone to adopt. Suck it up. If this is just about adoption, work to change those laws. I’m 100% behind any law that puts orphans into loving homes. I’m 100% against any law, practice or procedure that keeps orphans in worse conditions simply out of prejudice.
Now, to be fair, I think that a huge chunk of those 1,138 rights and responsibilities have nothing to do with encouraging and protecting the children or the socially-percieved-weaker-spouse. Because we’ve turned marriage into a socially and financially beneficial arrangement between two people, I think we’re left with little choice at the federal level but to open the doors to any two people who don’t have a substantially high a priori risk of producing children we don’t want, namely two close relatives.
It is my opinion that if we allow gay couples marriage status based on anything other than the premise that we as a culture have screwed up the definition of marriage for a long time now, then we will be doing a very dangerous thing. It would be hard to deny polyamorists, siblings, or minors the same privileges. As an aside, I’m personally of the opinion that if we’re making up an alternate definition for marriage anyway, including the poly’s is probably a good idea as at least they’re potentially contributing to the population.
As a final thought there seems to be a general trend towards doing everything that we as a society can do to prevent our civilization from growing. We advocate abortion, throwing people in jail for silly crimes, limiting immigration, making critical health care less affordable and available, and reducing education to test form bubbling training seminars. I feel like there is even a social push among married couples to have fewer children if any, and for singles to stay single.
I for one am thrilled to see society breaking itself down at its core. As a lifelong hermit, loner, passive activist, and progressive anarchist, I gladly welcome all of you to the club, as long as you swear that you won’t make it get any bigger.
For the curious, a “passive activist” is someone who supports any cause they can support without offering any actual support and a “progressive anarchist” is someone who doesn’t see any point in overthrowing a government hellbent on overthrowing itself.
Posted with : Bare with Me