AMERICAN FREEDOM (PART TWO)
We used to have something similar to American freedom of speech in Australia, but have surrendered it to threats and bullying tactics, described in Part 1 of this series.
The focus of the recent bullying campaign in Australia is by the “Yes” proponents in a plebiscite looming on same-sex marriage — which is also a looming issue in parts of the USA. Don’t worry, I am not about to regurgitate the same old arguments for or against, but instead try to present a much bigger picture. I want gay couples to have the legal protections and official recognition enjoyed by married heterosexual couples, only not to call their relationships a “legal marriage”, and more than a few gays agree with me. Furthermore, I do believe that if we ignore the lessons of the past we pay a huge price in the future. Here are 3 things nobody appears to be talking about seriously, but which are far more important than the result of any plebiscite, in my “big picture” opinion.
Firstly, the issue is more fundamental than people are acknowledging. I grew up in Africa and studied a little about the numerous different tribes with whom I rubbed shoulders. All of them practiced marriage in some form or other long before Europeans arrived, but always between a man and a woman who were expected to provide a nurturing future and role models for their children. In a few cultures, same-sex relationships were recognized, but never given the title of something they could never be — a marriage. This had nothing to do with religion or stereotyping, it was infinitely more fundamental, more primeval, than the present debate recognises. In adult life, I have earned a living on 3 different continents, travelled and read widely, and marriage has always been between a man and a woman with the intention of providing a good family background and role models for children. This appears to be the tried and tested formula worldwide, perhaps since the dawn of humanity, and it is great when it works. Of course, our divorce rate and many other factors shows marriage fails more often than it works, but that is no reason to abandon our ideals for marriage, our children, and our communities.
My second “big picture” point lost in the debate is that we cannot build an ideal society in the future without high ideals to target. Social engineering is now at its most pervasive during history, and we need to perceive more clearly than ever the best ideals to aim for. Honesty in society is one such high ideal to strive for, although not one of us has been perfectly honest, it is none-the-less worth its place as a pillar of an ideal society, alongside other practices. Marriage between a man and a woman and a secure family environment for children to grow up in is another such ideal, another pillar, and must remain upheld as such. It has been a cornerstone of successful civilisations in the past. Do we have examples of what has happened to civilisations who have degraded this ideal? We do, unfortunately. Each one has deteriorated and ultimately collapsed: it is too simplistic to say that abandoning their ideals was the main reasons these empires collapsed, but it was a contributing factor in most. You see, ideals leading to a utopia are unlikely to succeed in the long run, as illustrated by communism with its fine ideals in our modern age, but high ideals nevertheless can be worth striving for. In communism, one fatal error was hatred of marriage and the nuclear family. I was shocked recently in my readings at the extent they went to in order to achieve this, because they believed loyalty should be to the state and not to the family unit. They never succeeded, thankfully, and nuclear families persist everywhere they tried to destroy them.
A third powerful but erroneous argument is variations of the “all you need is love” reasons for same-sex marriage, an approach that failed for the Beatles and still fails in most relationships, and is hopeless when applied to marriage for same-sex couples. Love is a good start for marriage, but a huge amount more has to be brought to the table if a marriage is to succeed. More importantly, where will this immature “all you need is love” stop if it is erroneously considered an argument for same-sex marriage? What if three of us “love” one another, should we legalise “polyamory”? And I love my kids, so should we legalise incestual marriage and all its genetic dangers and emotional traumas? And I love some of the boys in the sports team I coach, so should we legalise paedaphilia? And I love my pets, so should we legalise marriage to them and bestiality? And, long term, what would our “ideal” society look like for our descendants if incest, paedophilia, bestiality and other perversions were acceptable? How could we protect children against the sexual predators and deviants already active in our midst? Instead, let’s keep our focus on tried and tested high ideals for marriage and focus on supporting and nurturing marriages between a man and a woman as our ideal for society.
A friend told me the Supreme Court in America has decided recently in favour of same sex marriage. I googled Supreme Court decisions, and found a web page describing 13 of the most awful, ignorant and incorrect Supreme Court decisions in the past. I have not one second’s doubt that their decision regarding gay marriage will in the course of time join those other 13 hopelessly wrong decisions.
But this brings us to “what difference does legalizing same-sex marriage really make in our society?” This is a combustible question, but nevertheless one that I will tackle in my final Part 3 of this series. One consequence is coming to a school near you, if it is not there already!