Edmund Burke would not have been impressed with Jerry Sanders’ teary-eyed explanation for signing a City Council amicus brief in support of gay marriage. Individual feelings and clever slogans, the philosophical MP would have emphasized, do not constitute a compelling case for overturning enduring institutions whose wisdom often become apparent after they’ve been rashly abandoned.
The French Revolution was Burke’s premier case-in-point. Rationalists who were contemptuous of tradition and convinced of their ability to remake society in their own image engaged in an orgy of “reform” that ended, eventually, in a Reign of Terror followed by Napoleon’s autocracy. The opening pages of Stephen Mansfield’s book, “Ten Tortured Words,” captures the arrogant spirit of those times—a spirit quite alien to the conservative colonial rebellion in America.
As Burke notes, revolutionary “reason” is usually a surrogate for self-interest—providing glib arguments for ideas that partisans are predisposed to accept and vilifying voices that fail to echo their du jour versions of “liberty, equality, and fraternity.” Burke also observes that the job of rationally defending inherited institutions is a daunting task since causes and effects are often subtly interconnected and hard to see--especially if individuals are inclined to place their personal feelings ahead of traditions that have served well for centuries, or even for millennia.
In the case of marriage, folks who aren’t impressed with a child’s need to have both a male and a female parent, aren’t likely to be swayed by a few studies that imply what common sense would suggest—that the sexual activity of parents affects their children. Nor will ideologues who equate male-female marriage laws with racial segregation be persuaded by evidence showing that gay marriage has accompanied the near death of marriage in Scandinavian countries.
One can point out that gay sexual relationships are fundamentally different from male-female relationships because they have absolutely no procreative and familial significance. But for folks whose thoughts extend no further than their feelings, that fact makes no difference.
Only decades later will it be seen that gay marriage further undermines the crucial links between marriage, sexual responsibility, and child raising. Only after the fact will the psychological and social chaos wrought by presenting second graders with books entitled “King and King,” under the guidance of PC mentors, become obvious. (In this illustrated fairy tale, two princes marry, kiss, and live happily ever after—apparently to the satisfaction of the Democrat candidates for president who commented favorably on this pedagogical “reform.”)
Only after the interconnected threads of tradition have been severed will it become obvious to eyes-closed-tight ideologues that sexuality extends beyond the reaches of biology—a point that’s perfectly obvious to anyone familiar with man-boy relationships in ancient Greece.
What one will not hear from these individuals whose feelings and ideology blind them to the damage they’re doing, are teary-eyed apologies directed toward the millions of victims who’ll flail about haplessly in fatherless homes and sexual confusion thanks to the narcissism and moral indifference of their progenitors.