Cultural Marxist, the author of Eros and Civilization, Herbert Marcuse coined the phrase during the Vietnam War: Make love not war. I used to quip, get married and do both. Like most of my clever lines, somewhere may be found a residual truth. I have seen the horrid movie: Who is Afraid of Virginia Wolf, by gay playwright Edward Albee. It is the pathetic story of two couples who spend an inebriated evening mocking and humiliating each other. I will never forget, the movie, The War of the Roses, starring Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner. Oliver and Barbara Rose let their heated arguments go so far as to result in their mutual deaths. Marriage can be contentious and many couples argue, yell and even some assault each other but this shows that it can sometimes get way out of hand. Think Johnny Depp and Amber Heard. I am also reminded of a radio and TV show, starring Don Ameche and Frances Langford called the Bickersons.
I have highlighted many times that it was Antonio Gramsci, who recognized in the 1920s that the best way to undermine the West, was to start a long march through its culture. He also recognized that Italian women were exceptionally tied to their families, homes, children and their Catholic faith. It fell to the survivors of the Frankfurt School, a number of expatriate Jewish scholars, such as Marcuse, Theodor Adorno, Max Horkheimer who had escaped to the United States and taught in several of this country’s universities, especially New York City’s Columbia University, to put Gramsci’s ideas into practice.
Marcuse’s protégé was Betty Friedan whose book The Feminine Mystique did more harm to marriage and the American family than could be imagined. I compare her book to Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin in its cultural significance. While President Abraham Lincoln has been quoted as saying when he met Mrs. Stowe…Oh, you are the little lady who started the Civil War, which was essentially our country’s first culture war. Friedan’s book did help ignite the culture war, by portraying suburban housewives as aimless and seriously bored by the mundane tasks of their lives. Perhaps Friedan can be regarded as the little lady who started the marriage wars! Instead of Bull Run, Gettysburg or Shiloh, marriage was her battleground.
The Roe v. Wade decision and the Feminist Movement, which followed her book, have greatly hurt traditional marriage. Much of the blame for this decline in tradition marriage belongs to the ubiquitous Rainbow Movement of homosexuals who march under the banner of marriage equality. The marriage of a man and a woman has been nearly eliminated from the sociology of modern America. The general acceptance and promotion of gay marriage and the virtual neutering of the words husband, wife, father and mother are largely responsibly for these dramatic changes in our culture.
Mothers have been reduced to birthing parents and pregnant people. This is to accommodate the extreme possibility that a transgendered man, such as actor Ethan Page might still have her female reproductive organs. But if she/he still does have her female organs, how can they/she call themselves a man? No wonder a Supreme Court Justice cannot define what a woman is. It is all as a friend used to say, way beyond beyond the pale of reality. All this has come as no surprise to me. They have made it a matter of individual autonomy and equality of choice. Their basic arguments are fresh out of the playbook of the radical feminists.
I once argued with a young friend several years ago about this subject. He was all in favor of same-sex marriage. I asked him what if one of the spouses was 13 or 14? Oh no he said. That would be wrong. Why would it be wrong, I countered. It just is, he said. By whose standards? Because one would be too young, he said! But what if they both loved each other and had consented to this sexual union? Unsurprisingly, he had no answer. This intelligent young man could not accept the fact that by letting the nose of moral relativism into his tent, his logic had inadvertently deserted him.
This is why liberals lose most arguments on facts and logic and have to resort to ad hominem attacks and emotional pleas. In ancient Greece and Rome, the Left usually dispatched reasonable and logical people because they threatened their aggressive agendas. Personally, I think the age of consent is the main reason that this is an issue. I believe there are many in the homosexual community that don’t want any age limitations on their sexual activity. They argue that age is a relative number, subject to the community standards. In Austria, Germany, Serbia, Italy and Portugal the age of consent is 14. Then there is San Fransisco’s notorious Castro section, where according to a headline in one of their newspapers many years ago, lamented if no sex by eight, it is too late.
If they get their way on this aspect of marriage, I’ll wager there are a few former priests in prison who would be muttering…if I had only waited! If one can change the original and essential terms of the definition then everything is possible, as Russian writer Dostoevsky noted in the 19th century. A man then can marry several women. Or a woman several men. I am certain there are pockets of this going on in Utah and other places. Who can forget the series about Mormon polygamy on HBO, called Big Love, which aired from 2006-2011?
We should also not forget about the rise in incest among some families. A vast majority of voters approve of abortion for victims of rape and incest. Since this would add strength to this argument, I am not surprised that many more movies have broached this subject over the last 15 years. I have also noticed some people seem to have what may be delicately described as an intense relationship with their pets. Many people leave their wealth to them, such was their affection for their animals. So why not a bestial union with one’s loving companion? I will bet PETA, which hates the word pet, would jump on that bandwagon because they argue for equality of animal companions with their humans.
The marriage wars have also caused a deeper rift within the Republican party. The first noticeable fissures came at the turn of the century and crystalized during Barack Obama’s presidency from 2009-2017. Many of the Republican Party’s so-called stalwarts have already abandoned ship. Many of the moderates, who date back to the Republican Roosevelt, sense that this will be a losing issue that it is also wiser to choose political expediency over moral principles. Think Karl Rove and his spineless moderate approach to winning elections.
It has also been interesting to read the many different opinions over the years on how gay marriage is natural. There was one bit of cotton candy for the soul that appeared in the New York Times, years ago, which pointed out a handful of different animal and insect species which on occasion had crossed the line of sexual difference. Canadian conservative David Frum, though probably not the best one to defend the sanctity of marriage or any other conservative principle for that matter, gave the most obvious argument that same-sex marriage severed the institution’s connection to the two inter-related realities of gender difference and procreation.
Now that this is a reality, for the observant the harm done to our civilization should be quite apparent. Gay marriage, with its child adoption and surrogate pregnancies, has muddied the waters of the marital union. They have replaced the traditional building blocks of society that was more family oriented with a broader, thinner and more adult-centric view, which would ultimately be less likely to bind parents to their children or husbands to wives. No wonder more than half of marriages end up in divorce court. Andrew Sullivan, a long-time homosexual activist, countered that heterosexuals had already severed marriage from procreation with birth control, just parroting the Catholic argument in the late sixties.
It is true millions of couples have sought to limit the number of children in their families through a combination of natural or artificial birth control, as well as abstinence, the vast majority still bring anywhere from one to three or four children into their families.
There has never been a complete severance. He also gave what has become the party line in his circle, of trying to prove that homosexual unions would bring a new stability to marriage. Gay marriage was actually more caring and loving. This would send a firm message about matrimonial responsibility and mutual caring to gays and straights alike. This idea would be risible if he had not been so serious.
The forces in the media and entertainment are trying to advance the capstone notion, held by the gnostic liberals of our day that marriage is not about families any more. They now see marriage as a beacon of adult achievement. The real losers in this revision is our children who have been reduced in value to the level of just so many chattel. I think this micro-management of traditional marriage is just another example of Biden’s Obama III idea of the new normal. President Obama said he was going to change things. He sure has and America will probably never be the same. I know marriage will not be.