Conservatives and the Marriage Debate
The same-sex “marriage” vote in Ireland marks the largest victory for the LGBT movement thus far. It’s quite a feather in the gay boa – an apparent success in yanking one of the most heterosexual cultures on Earth out of the closet.
In truth, the vote was very likely a rebuke to the Catholic Church, which in Ireland, as everywhere else in the industrialized West, hired a lot of gays to act as priests, who exploited numberless teenage boys for sexual purposes, and then did nothing about it. The Irish Church tried to coast through the crisis, and this is its reward – a fitting one.
We can add the fact the Irish Church did nothing to defend marriage from the current assault. I know that without even researching it, because the American Church is effectively an extension of the Irish Church, and the American Church has done nothing to protect marriage during the current debate. A serious, well-organized, and well-funded response to the gay campaign among Catholics simply has not occurred in any meaningful sense.
This is also true of the rest of this country’s institutions, conservatism prominent among them.
We’re told that when the matter came up, establishment conservatives effectively laughed the whole thing off with the line, “Does this mean I can marry my cat?” Conservatives did not take the matter seriously, and they are now caught with little to say. Some did worse, such as the odious Robert Gates, whose speech to the Boy Scouts reveals his historical role to be a kind of Jack Ketch who handles the dirty work that liberals don’t want to touch.
The institutions wouldn’t fight, and we are now paying the price.
The first point to be made is that marriage was worth fighting for. We’re now hearing that gay marriage was “inevitable,” the “wave of history,” that “nothing could have been done.” This is nonsense. If marriage could not be fought for, nothing can be. Gay marriage has absolutely nothing to do with “affection,” “love,” “equal rights,” or any of the other slogans. It has to do with destroying the established institutions of Western society: marriage, the family, the status of males, religion, what have you. These are the actual targets of the “gay marriage” movement, as has become quite clear in the nationwide attacks against Christian-owned small businesses that refuse to play along with historical inevitability. These are not accidents or examples of overzealous activism. They are the point, the core of the movement, and always have been. The entire idea is to punish Christians, and beyond them the despised straight world. (We should add here that not a single one of these victims has received meaningful support from their church establishments, whether Catholic or Protestant.)
This seems to be an easy point to make. But the argument has never been made. Many of you will be seeing it here for the first time. Nobody in the conservative establishment ever got around to pointing out that gays had an agenda, one that they did very little to hide. Instead, they fell all over themselves to assure people that they weren’t bigots, that they had nothing against love, marriage, or pastel unicorns. Anything at all to appear inoffensive and not to make themselves a target. Whatever arguments they had soon drifted off into a Twilight Zone of abstraction. In doing this, they allowed the terms of debate to be set by the howling gay wild men of the Dan Savage type. They effectively guaranteed their own defeat.
A major part of the problem lies in philosophy. Establishment conservatism has constructed an intricate worldview, based on a concept formulated by Albert Jay Nock, a libertarian writer of the early 20th century, called the “Isaiahan remnant.” Rather than fight losing battles, conservatives instead should preserve the virtues and achievements of the West, until a better day arrives when the masses will come begging for enlightenment. Establishment conservatives (by which I mean the northeastern branch) will then evidently act as benevolent philosopher-kings, doling out the intellectual treasures of Western thought to an appreciative populace.
What this translates into in real terms is the contention that the conservative role doesn’t begin until the game is over. After civilization collapses, the “remnant,” we’re given to understand, will then emerge from its monasteries (the think-tanks) in its chinos and blue blazers, and commence to rebuild civilization.
Note that this thesis not only excuses inaction, but encourages it, to assure that the “remnant” remains pure and untouched.
I’m a bit skeptical. (So were many conservatives, including William F. Buckley, who rejected the thesis in favor of direct and tireless engagement. Unfortunately, many of his heirs have bought the remnant thesis – a self-image as a member of a hidden elite is difficult to resist.) Throw in the lifestyle of the WASP ascendancy – the basis of conservative culture – which holds that gentlemen should not engage in conflict and that excess enthusiasm about anything is degrading, and that explains the modern conservative establishment in a nutshell – their refusal to engage, their tendency to drift off to discuss what Tocqueville and Madison would think of things, and why they’re never around in a street fight.
It also explains why they were utterly useless in the marriage debate. They don’t promise to be any better as involves immigration, abortion, biotech, health care, or anything else.
I’m not worried about the churches – Christianity is always at its best when under fire from the Romans, the Cathars, the Nazis, the communists, or whomever. But conservatism is not a church. It needs people who will fight. The current culture of American conservatism does not encourage this quality – it tends to excuse, and even reward, the Robert Gates types.
We need to recruit fighters, encourage them, and cultivate them. The establishment has no interest in this. The Tea Party movement had promise, before losing its way in support of oddballs with weird agendas. I assume they’ll be back – the problems that brought the movement into existence certainly haven’t gone anywhere.
When we look at 2016 from this viewpoint, we see exactly two candidates worthy of support: Scott Walker and Ted Cruz. All the rest – including such favorites as Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, and, God knows, Jeb Bush, are compromisers and trimmers at best. (Walker has proven that he can fight and win. Ted Cruz has not quite demonstrated that yet.)
The marriage debate will not be over even when it’s over. Marriage is an aspect of human nature as it exists, and it won’t be changed simply because some demand it. We saw this with abortion and radical feminism. Abortion is a crime against nature and can’t be made to be anything else. Despite virtually the entire culture bending itself into pretzels to deny that fact, it still remains the central truth about abortion – a truth that, properly exploited by people who were willing to fight, has cut the abortion rate to its lowest level since 1973.
Feminism denies any reality to sex roles. Despite support from the general culture, radical feminism has repeatedly wrecked itself on reefs of its own making. Today we see feminists (such as Sheryl Sandberg with her “Lean In” program) making the same exact arguments that were made forty years ago, with the same level of hysteria and self-delusion. They will achieve the same result.
The marriage argument will develop in similar fashion. The facts stand for themselves and will not be changed. As time passes and the actual anti-family, anti-religious, and anti-straight agenda of the gays is revealed, it will no longer be taken as a greeting-card issue. Then the real debate will begin.
All that we need are fighters. The rest can go marry their cats.