“Clump” theory Kant buy an abortion


Perhaps you’ve heard this feminist folly about a human embryo shrilly pronounced in defense of abortion: “It’s just a clump of cells!”

Well, I mean, so are you, dear feminist. If we assume a strictly materialistic and naturalistic account of human beings, each woman, whether pregnant or not, is also “just a clump of cells,” only bigger. Hence, why does a woman, as a clump of cells, have the right to terminate an embryo or a fetus, whom too are clumps of cells? Mere difference in size between “clumps” seems to be an arbitrary reason. For the naturalist and materialist advocate of abortion, the issue is not just how one gets the immaterial goodies of rights and value solely from the material cellular composition of bodies but also why only women-as-clumps (WAC) have them and the unborn-as-clumps (UAC) don’t, much to their lethal expense.

I will now consider some possible responses to these problems implicated by this “clump” theory:

A. WACs are rational beings; UACs are not.
Immanuel Kant famously held within one of his formulations of the categorical imperative that we ought never to treat rational beings only as means but as ends in themselves. So, in a Kantian deontological framework, the hurdle of human dignity and personhood must be overcome to justify abortion. Bifurcating between WAC as rational agents and UAC as non-rational agents accomplishes this as it allows the latter to be used solely as a means — in this sense, subjects to abortion — in service of the will of the former. Under this interpretation of Kant, UAC are not persons and thusly don’t possess rights, such as the universalizable right to life.

I see some troubles with this move:

  1.  It fails to take into account the potential for rationality that inheres within a freshly formed, normal human zygote, that, as being a member of the sort of natural kind that it is, if left unabated in the womb would likely further develop, be born and actualize that potential for rationality over time. This actualization of latent rationality has been, as a matter of common experience, if not scientific observation, readily justified a posteriori. Following from this, it’s arguable (as Bill Vallicella does here) that this inherent potentiality for rationality, “confers a right to life”and thereby Kantian personhood. Thus, treading on this right, as abortion certainly does, given this case, is a moral evil and violates Kant’s categorical imperative.Moreover, Vallicella also notes another issue to which I find myself concurring: The “post-natal,” the newly born, can’t be considered as rational agents. They are utterly helpless and dependent on adults to make judgments on their behalf. Several years must pass before they become apt for rationality and develop the cognitive faculties for reasoning, moral decision-making and the like to the extent they incur the mantle of rational agent. Yet, they are ascribed as persons and possessors of the right to life before all this occurs. This fact seems problematic for the proponent of abortion, especially given any time during pregnancy, say even in midst of labor, the pre-natal baby is still a “clump of cells” with no rights — as per the official platform of the Democrats — but somehow a second after birth becomes a person, fully fledged in inviolable dignity. Both the uterine wall and vaginal canal seem to be very thin membranes constituting the special threshold between personhood and non-personhood. But how and why? Why does the act of being born result in a sudden transformation in ontological status for the fetus-clump?
  2. Secondly, it errs in that Kant is neither a naturalist nor a materialist. Hence, it’s not at all obvious as to how his ethics are compatible with “clump” theory. This all goes back to the first part of the issue — how naturalists and materialists get the immaterial out of the purely material. They would have to provide a compelling materialist basis for rationality as well as value and goodness. These are challenging metaphysical and metaethical quagmires that go far beyond the scope here, and in my opinion, typical attempts at solving them are rife with difficulties. But once again, addressing those attempted solutions is not within the purview of this post.

B. UACs are inside of WACs, violating the latter’s bodily freedom to control their own inner physiological processes, thereby threatening their greater autonomy.
I believe there’s two ideas here: (A) There’s a right to control one’s bodily processes, and prohibiting abortion limits said right; (B) Given the nine months of physical and psychological demands of pregnancy and the years of responsibility caring for a new human person, unwanted fetuses hamper women from actualizing their aspirations, goals, desires and otherwise curtail their abilities to achieve economic and cultural parity with men. In other words, their autonomy — which literally means self-legislation — is diminished…

  1. …Or so the narrative goes. Implicit within A, there’s the assumption that the UAC don’t have the right to life, which is the matter of contention, and begs the question against the Pro-Life movement. It’s undoubtedly uncontroversial that people, regardless of sex, have the right to do with their individual bodies as they please. It’s also true that most everybody accepts there are legal and moral limits with what one can do with one’s meat suit. For instance, murder often involves using your body, whether it’s enacted with hands bare or wielding weapons, but both morally and legally, murder is an impermissible use of one’s body. Furthermore, it’s evident that abortion terminates life, i.e kills. So, once again why does the UAC’s size and location inside women’s wombs make abortion permissible and not murderous? A woman’s rights trump a fetus’ (that is if it’s even recognized as a person)? But that changes nothing, as both are clumps with only relative location and size differentiating the unborn from the woman. Isn’t it arbitrary to favor the woman, especially in lieu of  we often consider the innocent and defenseless — both of which the fetus instantiates — especially warranting special recognition and protection? Well, the fetus isn’t a person with rights. Yet, once more this begs the question against Pro-Lifers and takes us back to the post’s original dilemma about clumps.
  2. As for B, I don’t see how pregnancy impairs or — to borrow a currently infamous term — causes an “undue burden” on feminine autonomy. Women are CEOs, high-ranking government officials, academics, entertainers and all manner of active and successful contributors to society outside of the home. Taking away abortion as a last resort likely wouldn’t “relegate” the fairer sex to domestic servitude in the kitchens. With the mass accessibility of varieties of birth control, including abstinence, pregnancy can be forestalled, parenthood planned. Admittedly, everything doesn’t often occur as planned, but whose fault is that? If you play fast and loose and or gamble with the action that creates life, why should it be unjust that responsibility actually comes a’knocking to collect on that semen deposit with interest? Alas, this is the sort of moral dereliction and accompanying depravity that manifests when you sever freedom from personal responsibility.
  3. Lastly, how does A and B not violate Kant’s principle of universalizability? Is it not the case that aborting a fetus disrupts permanently its control of its bodily processes that grows more independent daily? Moreover, abortion doesn’t just ruin the UAC’s days. It rather definitively puts the kibosh on the greater future autonomy that belongs to the fetuses, many of whom are female. Thusly, A and B seem to be self-vitiating. There’s always the response UAC have no rights, but I hope it’s obvious now there’s a theme of begging the question and continual not moving past Go in such a such a retort.

See, abortion supporters who happen to be materialists and naturalists want morality and rights without invoking God, the supernatural or the transcendental. They love their Kantian dignity, autonomy and equality; that’s why I brought up der Alles-Zermalmer. Pity their precious social justice also faces pulverization but not from Kant. Their mores just are not very compliant to their preferred metaphysics. Atheism, let alone New Atheism, struggles to alchemize blood from this stone.

Clumps get in the way,

Modus Pownens

Can you feel the Censorship tonight?


Please reblog from Ask the Bigot (aka Katy Faust) if you believe same-sex marriage is not the rosy picture as whitewashed by media, think industrial surrogacy takes us into a “Brave New World” of chattel slavery, find political correctness in the service of censorship abhorrent and just know in your bones that the truth sets us free, helps us flourish and sustains Western civilization as we know and love it.

“I aim to misbehave.” ~ Malcolm Reynolds.

askthe"Bigot"

On Monday my friend Paddy Manning, a gay man in Ireland, published “The Airbrushed Portrait of the Perfect Marriage” at Mercatornet. The article critiqued the narrative that Elton John and David Furnish have “one of the most blissfully happy marriages” in show-business. Paddy points out that such a picture of the couple is only possible because, in the name of protecting their children, there is a legal injunction saddling the British press/internet which forbids publishing details of their extra-marital escapades. 

rectangleSo, in other words, the nature of these two men’s behavior and it’s inevitable impact on the children is not a problem.  But reporting it is. The solution is not to stop the escapades, but to censor the reporting of them.

Because Mercatornet isn’t based in the UK, they published Paddy’s article. However, Mercatornet then informed Paddy that Elton John’s lawyers “issued an injunction of some sort to the hosting company…

View original post 1,168 more words

Of vaginas, penises, urethras and where to put them


And I mean that all figuratively and literally when it comes to the culture wars. Figuratively, as in up until yesterday in human history, the vagina denoted femininity while the penis signified masculinity except apparently in these tumultuous times. In the literal sense, I’m not referencing some grotesque sexual fetish. Sorry perverts, my aim today is toward the mundane excretory chore of expelling urinary and fecal matter from the body strictly for detoxification and the public facilities inside of which we — a sexually dimorphic species in which the fact that male urethras are located in the male sex organ seemingly correspond with the existence and design of urinals — answer nature’s undignified call. This post is all business, not pleasure, especially in lieu of the sick and twisted.

Speaking of the sick and twisted, I would be remiss to not mention how deranged it is to craft bathroom policy such as the Obama administration’s edict unilaterally rewriting Title IX. Now, the unambiguous, objective meaning of sex includes the entirely arbitrary notion of gender identity. Worse yet, it makes it easier for anyone with a “John Thomas” to expose the offending appendage to the fairer sex, who typically only welcomes JT’s saluting in the bedroom. Voyeurism, rape and sexual molestation have only been around since the first human orgasm, so yeah, what could go wrong?

But, but, but what about the transgendered, bigot?” Well, for starters, they’re deluded; riddle me this, social justice warrior: Is society obligated to indulge this delusion and punish and treat the vast majority who don’t want to endorse it as tantamount to racists? Yeah, I’m sure you have a well-rehearsed narrative about restroom violence perpetrated against the transgendered individuals whose appearances don’t conform to traditional gender norms. Can you substantiate it? Is there really an epidemic of this alleged manifestation of animus? Do you have any statistics? On the contrary, here’s 25 recent cases of bathroom malfeasance against women and children with a host of more examples likely ready to be found thanks to a minimal amount of search engine diligence.

And even if rape and sexual assault are exceedingly rare, say as uncommon as getting zapped by lightning or attacked by a shark, it’s still prudent to take precautions and not invite disaster. The very grave nature of an incident like suffering a lighting strike, the maw of Jaws or sexual assault renders unjustifiable the willful dereliction of commonsense serving the prevention of such death and injury. We put up nets at beaches and strongly advise against, if not prohibit, golfing during storms. Likewise, public policy should and ought not be made overlooking how evildoers could take advantage of it in their pursuit of villainy regardless if many of them actually do so. This issue is not a matter of likelihood as much as principle.

Moreover, how does the privacy and safety concerns of .07 percent of the population — which are worth consideration but I don’t grant as terribly pressing — overrule the privacy and safety concerns of the rest of 99.03 percent? They don’t. The “right” to use a preferred bathroom becomes to look a lot less like an expansion of liberty as its increasing implementation imposes the wills and values of a tiny, tiny minority and its influential cadre of supporters upon everyone else. Not to mention such policies promote discrimination against the “cisgendered,” as I might too prefer to enter into the ladies room insofar as heterosexuality inheres within and thereby “matches” my chosen gender identity. Again, boys will be boys; perverts will be perverts. Girls just have to get past their discomfort.

Still, let’s for the moment disregard the constitutional qualms about the separation of powers and preserving our governmental republic or valid practical safety concerns. It’s been made abundantly clear in the last 50 years that the sexual revolutionaries don’t give a damn about them. Whether it’s defending free speech on campus or upholding due process in rape allegations, they view those type of acts as shams hiding prejudice if not also outright deferrals toward rotten institutions and traditions deserving of incineration with the rest of the world. Our conflict is no longer one of honest disagreement between differing visions of constitutional liberalism but a fight to the death about competing values. Progressives, even unconsciously, behave as privy to this fact; conservatives in general still seemingly project their own goodwill onto their rabid opposition, whose latent totalitarianism becomes more evident each year.

So, I’m going to plant my ideological flag here, stop appealing to reasons that are ineffectual on the Leftist demagogue and pretending there’s any philosophical common ground to be shared. I reject gender as merely a “social construct” with nothing to do with sex. Hell, I believe there’s real differences between the sexes and therefore also genders. Thus, men ought to act as men and women ought to act as women, as in accordance to their respective naturally-set masculine and feminine ends. As a result, I maintain the ludicrous idea of society at large ought to reflect this good within its norms and institutions instead of continually trying to deny and destroy the metaphysical and moral realism embedded within them, the latter of which is achieved in the passing of nondiscrimination statutes defending gender identity sought after by the LGBTSTFU brigade.

As just exemplified, I’m too prone toward polemic to be a philosopher, but I’m versed enough in “the ways of the Force” to remember Plato observed that “philosophers are spectators of all time and all existence.” With this hindsight and foresight, it’s hard not to see what’s really at stake. That, the ever steepening trajectory the Left is piloting civilization on will lead to ruin. As a matter of necessity, lines must be drawn, resolute stands taken.

Does this all mean I’m obstinately against any accommodation or tolerance, properly understood, for those experiencing “gender dysphoria” and or choose to frustrate their Aristotelian natural end in favor of disordered behavior? Of course not. It does mean, however, I’m staunchly opposed to legitimizing penises in public places where they have no non-nefarious reason of residing. Whether the intent is sexual predation or social engineering, it’s all still molestation. Therefore, conservative resistance in the bathroom front of the “culture wars,” as witnessed in North Carolina’s HB2 and other states’ religious liberty bills, isn’t the new “Jim Crow” or any form of insidious discrimination. Anyone who declares otherwise is a slanderous bigot (ahem, LORETTA LYNCH!).

My stance: No transgender penile colonies; no transgender penal colonies,

Modus Pownens

I hate “people of color”


The phrase, folks! The phrase “people of color” is the subject of my ire not black, brown, red, yellow, purple and plaid people. Title came out a little wrong, admittedly, but c’mon guys—don’t be obtuse! There is something called the use-mention distinction, so why don’t you educate yourselves before you goin’ trippin’ on yous own legs and gettin’ ’em egg yolks on y’all faces ‘gin, you putzes.

Anywho, “people of color” (or “people of colour” if you’re British and thereby a git) is one of those politically correct terms that suddenly materialized out of the academic ethnic studies ether, and well, now everyone uses it: politicians, professors, journalists, college students, celebrities. You know, all our moral betters who selflessly serve as our benevolent overlords who are “in-the-know” about these kind of things. Their effete use of “people of color” proves it.

So one reason for my internet rage, all beet-faced with spittle, is the groupthink behind the recent mass adoption of this phrase into people’s lexicons. All the who’s who, people of influence, talk the same way is upsetting in a I-just-woke-up-in-a-George-Orwell-novel sort of way.

Then there’s the pretentiousness of it all. “Colored people” nowadays is considered dated and insensitive, but “people of color” has a ring to it, a nobility to behold. It bespeaks a mannered, enlightened, Tolkienesque syntax that is wielded by a cultured, progressive mind. So then ostensibly being “of color” confers a type of fantastical, legendary moral stature like “the Riders of Rohan,” “the White Tree of Gondor,” or “of House Lannister.” Ugh. The self-importance of it all induces the gag reflex.

And did I mention that all that who’s anyone repeats the insipid phrase, especially journalists. As I have a background in journalism, needless to say but I’ll do it anyway, this vexes me. This topic deserves a post in its own right, but basically when the fourth estate quickly digests politically correct jargon and uses it as the standard for appropriate style in praxis, ruh roh! And as everyone knows, the free press is naughty…

…so too then are we screwed,

Modus Pownens

Update on the University of Misery (Missouri)


Alas, my alma mater continues to be an embarrassing eyesore. My former thesis committee member has become an unjustified yet unsurprisingly divisive figure in Mizzou’s campus uprising. Perhaps you’ve heard of her — Melissa Click. She was caught assaulting and calling for “muscle” to expel student Mark Schierbecker (around 07:10) for violating the protesters’ “safe space” by filming their revolt on the south end of the Francis Quadrangle, i.e. public property. Well, despite such illicit behavior, she survived and retains — for the moment — a salary funded on the tax-payer dime, no less. Now, new footage from a Columbia police officer’s body cam reveals further conduct unbecoming of a university professor.

Behold:

She’s been suspended and banned from campus, and there have been calls for due process for her. Fair enough. Unfortunately, in the same story, there’s too many apologists who say Click’s been unfairly hung in the court of public opinion, thusly tainting said due process, and others who insist she’s done nothing wrong that merits investigation.

At least former dean of the journalism school, Brian Brooks, has his head on straight:

…I would expect a professor of communication to understand the First Amendment, which, after all, is the bedrock principle upon which all public communication in the United States is based. That brings us to Dr. Click, an assistant professor of communication. She has agreed with the prosecutor that her actions constituted assault against one of those students and agreed to perform 20 hours of community service as punishment.

In my view, she got off light. She could have been charged with battery for grabbing the student’s camera lens and trying to force it away. Her actions also constituted a violation of the students’ civil rights because they had every right to be filming in a public place. That is a well-established right in U.S. case law, which uses the U.S. Constitution as its basis.

It also should be noted that the law provides no special protection for the press. These rights are accorded to all citizens, and when someone interferes with a civil right, that is an affront to all citizens, not just the press.

 

So, Dr. Click is fortunate she has not yet been charged with a federal violation of the Civil Rights Act. There is clearly a basis to do so.

 

That…is why the School of Journalism faculty acted with alarm in the aftermath of Nov. 9. Journalists understand the First Amendment, which you apparently do not. So the “huge outcry” of the journalism faculty that you describe was fully warranted and justified.

Dr. Click’s actions in interfering with police officers doing their jobs, and the language she used while doing so, were deplorable. She easily could have been charged with interfering with police officers acting in the line of duty. Dr. Click seems to have a tendency in high-stress situations to react by committing crimes.

 

Is that the type of individual we want teaching students at the University of Missouri? I think not, and I am appalled that so many faculty members, most of them in the College of Arts and Science, appear to be supporting Dr. Click after her deplorable behavior on two separate occasions.

Dr. Click has made the University of Missouri the laughingstock of the entire country. She also has severely hurt the cause of the students she sought to support. By acting in a shrill and inappropriate manner, she caused many outsiders to cast a critical eye at the very protesters she was “protecting.”

For the record, it’s not that Brooks doesn’t believe in second chances. When he was dean, I’ve met the man to explain why I failed to turn in an electronic assignment that prevented me from passing a prerequisite class. His understanding, lenience and executive autograph permitted me to continue my journalism education. I remain grateful.

Digression aside, it’s paramount to note the progressive double standard here too. Tim Wolfe was chased out of town for being too “privileged” and therefore racially insensitive to the feelings of minority students. The only substantiation of his culpability in this regard was just the mere assertions from ideologue activists. On the other hand, we have two incidents of criminality and gross professional wrongdoing in fact clearly captured on camera that have been immortalized online. Yet, it’s Click who has defenders and allies. Where were the rationalizations and faculty intercession for due process on Wolfe’s behalf during last semester? There wasn’t even crickets but a mob intent on taking his head.

Anyway, the Mizzou circus goes on.

So must I,

Modus Pownens

Talking Sirius Bizinus: The “intimate relations” of slippery slopes, redefining marriage and the Left


I accidentally published an incomplete draft of this post earlier this month — WordPress is screwy sometimes. While published, that article had already attracted some attention, so I apologize for the mix-up and confusion.


Over at Amusing Nonsense, Sirius Bizinus is periodically providing his analysis of Hodges v. Obergefell, which is in front the Supreme Court. He has allowed me to comment on his posts here. So, when time permits, I’ll try to critique his arguments. My first rejoinder concerns procreation and marriage. In this case, it pertains to slippery slope arguments and redefining marriage.

To be honest, if I had one word to describe my reaction to Sirius’ response here to Justice Alito’s questions about why not recognize other types of relationships such as polyamorous or incestuous ones if same-sex marriage is ratified, it would be naive. Two words: hopelessly naive. And if I was allowed three or more, hopelessly naive and ignorant. This isn’t to claim that Sirius is unintelligent because clearly the opposite is true, as he has earned a graduate degree in law from some university in the Deep South — I can never remember which. But when matters extend beyond his legal pedigree or require more than a lawyer’s take on it, he stumbles. The more I read his blog, the more I become convinced he is oblivious to political and social theory, especially the ones that underlie today’s conservatism and “liberalism,” and how it has influenced past events and movements. I know I’m being a tad harsh, but I can’t help but find his post hastily uncritical and indicative of a self-imposed blind spot. Hence, it beckons for stark exposure, ripped limb from limb, so to speak, as it’s put me in a dismembering sort of mood, but all in good time, dear reader. All in good time.

First, let’s talk about slippery slopes, which are injected regularly into many discussions of same-sex marriage and gay rights. According to definition, a slippery slope argument is reasoning that “asserts that some event must inevitably follow from another without any rational argument or demonstrable mechanism for the inevitability of the event in question. A slippery slope argument states that a relatively small first step leads to a chain of related events culminating in some significant effect”. For instance, I’m sure you’ve seen these infuriatingly fallacious commercials:

Critically, these style of arguments are always invalid, but this does not mean what you probably think it does. Validity refers to argument structure in logic and philosophy; more specifically, for an argument to be valid, if the premisses are true, so must be the conclusion. Validity does not guarantee soundness, however, as the premisses could be false. To better illustrate my point, behold these rudimentary syllogisms:

  1. Socrates is a man
  2. All men are mortal
    Conclusion: Socrates is mortal

or

  1. Socrates is a woman
  2. All women are mortal
    Conclusion: Socrates is mortal

The first argument is sound: It’s valid because the conclusion must follow if the premisses are true, which they are. Moreover, the conclusion is also true. On the contrary, the second argument is unsound: It’s also valid because the conclusion must follow if the premisses are true, but premiss 1 is false; Socrates is not a woman. It’s pivotal to note that the argument still fails even thought the conclusion is true. Furthermore, it’s significant to identify these examples as deductive arguments, which strive to be valid with their conclusions being inexorable as mandated by logical certitude. They’re what’s known as proofs.

Yet, we actually prove very little — colloquially asking for it way too liberally for my tastes. Most of the reasoning people do is inductive in nature, with the submitted conclusions intended as probably true. Of course, these arguments are invalid, but that does not make them poor. Rather, they live or die on how well the conclusion is warranted as likely. As a fallacy, slippery slopes  are either presented as valid or the premisses don’t adequately support the conclusion as plausible.

Now, returning to the question of redefining marriage to include same-sex couples, claiming that if we recognize genderless marriage, then we’ll also legally acknowledge bestiality, polygamy, pederasty, necrophilia, etc. is indeed guilty of “slippery” thinking and overall an incredibly feeble argument. But at the very least, proponents of same-sex marriage are not being charitable if not outright dismissing based on mere caricature the challenge to “marriage equality,” as betrayed by this same slogan. For Justice Alito was not claiming that this “parade of horrors” would occur but on what objective basis would prevent it: Not would but why, as in theoretically or “by what principle,” as Robert P. George seems to like to phrase it.

As such, this is no longer an invalid slippery slope argument. There is no direct attempt at establishing a metaphysical causal chain between states of affairs, as in A will unavoidably lead to G. Rather, in this case, this claim belies deductive, valid reasoning. It’s reductio ad absurdum, which is pretentious Latin for basically taking your interlocutor’s logic to its idiotic conclusion and then thrusting it back against your opponent.

See, although “marriage equality” advocates find it irrelevant that there is a categorical difference between opposite-sex and same-sex couples — the former are innately procreative, while the latter are innately infertile — it means a commonality between the two must be given for them both to be marriage material. Remember, “equality” is what they’re all about. On this account, intense romantic feelings are proffered, but this is as vague as believing in “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”. Love, after all, is as amorphous in meaning as in the multitude of shapes it comes in. Limiting the institution to two people surely seems as arbitrary as maintaining it as husband and wife.

Therefore, all those sophistic platitudes for same-sex marriage now can be sallied against the post-gay marriage, two-person status quo of the institution as unfairly discriminatory: Who’s to say single-partnered love is superior to multiple-partner love? Isn’t it “as good as you”? What about the romantic sentiment shared between siblings? Isn’t denying them “marriage equality” not just institutionalized incestophobia? What about the amorous desire a secluded rancher has for his stallion? If inmates can marry, surely a hardworking society-contributing person like he should have the right to marry the object of his affections. Can you say that these the listed hypothetical individuals in these cases are not “born this way”? If we now have multitudes of genders, and Facebook has 56 options, why don’t we have more than two or three sexual orientations? Isn’t it entirely possible that “familials,” “beasties” or some other Orwellian obscurities can be coined and applied to each group as they are shepherded under the LGBT alphabet soup umbrella for political capital, while a concentrated public image campaign via TV, cinema and news is conducted to normalize what was considered abnormal and abhorrent as “just another thing”? I mean, It worked for homosexuality and now transgenderism. Or what about the phenomenon known as singlism? They’re tax-paying individuals whom the state discriminates against by recognizing marriage at all. Truly, the equitable thing would be to abolish the institution. Summarily, there’s just a lot of holes in theory within “marriage equality” that makes it a highly spurious for public policy making.

In short, if marriage has no basis in rigid objective reality, say human sexual complementarity, as it had been grounded in for millennia, then it and its natural fulfillment, family, is purely an expression of subjective whim and preference that’s subject to anyone’s inner proclivities. If you loosen the bonds that define marriage in the spirit of “tolerance,” you must recognize everything and distinguish nothing. If there is one thing both sides agree on, it’s that marriage is distinguished. Why else are we fighting about it? Digression aside, this is just simple deduction and logical entailment. It’s also the sturdiest of justifications for a premiss in an argument becoming less slippery but more sure-handed in its descent to the “parade of horrors” and marriage’s eventual resting place six feet underground. Hence, Sirius cannot be more mistaken, utterly inconsistent and self-contradictory to his greater cause when he asserts, “The bottom line here is that recognizing same-sex unions does not by itself require recognizing other unions, just as recognizing heterosexual unions did not require recognizing all other unions.”

To his merit, though, he does seem to anticipate the strength of the above reasoning after breaking the dam, so to speak, and tries to pragmatically posit an objective bulwark to suppress it until the rush of social consensus, of course, becomes irresistible. He writes:

One could point to trends of excessive force, unequal social status, and other points of reference to show why polygamy should not be recognized (at least as of right now). Furthermore, one can point to all sorts of psychological damage should siblings and other family get married.

One also could point to trends of excessive force (here, here, here), unequal social status — as in an estimated 700,000 same-sex households out of 115,227,000 American households ( ~ 0.6%) that apparently justifies gutting humanity’s first institution as essentially nonprocreative and blood ties between child and parent as optional in the view of the state — and other points of reference (here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here) to show why same-sex relationships should not be recognized (at least as of never). Furthermore, one can point to all sorts of psychological damage children suffer with surrogacy and divorce among other related and correlated factors involved in nontraditional households (here, here, here, here, here).

Ah, but this all is rank bigotry on the level of notorious Bull Connor because, well, HRC, GLAAD and all those well-dressed, good-looking, likeable, eloquent demagogues on the news and in TV and movies and such shout it really, really loudly — so, it must be true! I feel like those who are taken with this rhetoric have an arbitrary double standard here. After all, Sirius’ listed reasons not to acknowledge polygamy and incest would and are outright condemned as prejudicial by his side — including himself, I bet — if nearly exactly applied to same-sex relationships as done above.

I also “feel like I’m taking crazy pills here!” because Sirius and other well-intentioned LGBT allies are also seemingly unaware what other advocates for “marriage equality” pretty candidly admit about this embroiled front in the culture wars, among other related trends. For instance, Jillian Keenan writing for Slate shamelessly transposes the above “bigoted” reasoning as the next step in “marriage equality”:

The definition of marriage is plastic. Just like heterosexual marriage is no better or worse than homosexual marriage, marriage between two consenting adults is not inherently more or less “correct” than marriage among three (or four, or six) consenting adults. Though polygamists are a minority—a tiny minority, in fact—freedom has no value unless it extends to even the smallest and most marginalized groups among us. So let’s fight for marriage equality until it extends to every same-sex couple in the United States—and then let’s keep fighting. We’re not done yet.

Or as George, Ryan T. Anderson and Sherif Girgis cite and observe in their defense of marriage, the Orwellian re-education has already begun with terms like “throuple,” “wedleases” and “monogamish” starting to make their rounds, thereby impugning the conventions of monogamy, exclusivity and permanence within marriage. Dan Savage is a big proponent of “monogamish”ness and resorting to profanity such as “suck my cock!” to those who disagree with him. Yet, for some reason, CNN features him to debate for the LGBT side of things as if he is a knowledgeable, qualified source and is conducive to civil discourse, though his regular polemics show him instead as a detriment to it. New York Magazine has run this Q & A with a man in a monogamous relationship with a mare. Wikipedia actually has an article documenting the cases of “human-animal marriage.”

Note also the sources for these stories come from well-known organizations and not just some lilliputian rag. New York Magazine and the New York Post also frame their subjects sympathetically or at least with a hint of curious optimism. The fact others consider it at all newsworthy, publishable and worthwhile to inject into the marketplace of ideas for the readership to consider, especially coming from allegedly reputable news sources like The Washington Post and CNN, suggest what we conservative conspiracy theorists have always been harping on about: The press at large are heavily predisposed for the Left, and as such, are corrupt and irresponsible when feigning objectivity and moderacy — whether they realize it or not. Likewise, this litany of examples also points that the alleged regression into depravity won’t occur ex post facto of same-sex marriage recognition but that we are well on our way sliding.

Some would contend that this moral decline has been going on for decades, centuries even. Perhaps Nietzsche or more accurately Dostoevsky was right: “If there is no God, everything is permitted.” Assuredly though, if the mainstream press are flirting with these notions that not only sex and gender are irrelevant for marriage or for general courtship but also norms pertaining to exclusivity, permanence, monogamy and keeping it in the species can be discarded, then these ideas must certainly not be too far removed from the public consciousness either. So, it would appear the “bigots” are not merely fear-mongering but are actually being reasonably observant.

The even more observant also notice the disparity between what image media perpetuates about gay rights and what lesser publicized voices and queer theory have to say. They take it straight from the gay activist’s mouth. For starters, the 1989 manifesto After the Ball lays out an extensive game plan to persuade America “to conquer its fear and hatred of gays” via “propaganda” — authors Marshall Kirk and Hunter Madsen’s word, not mine. Apart from opining that marriage is a patriarchal, sexist institution that ought not exist but suits their designs, here are some highlights:

You can forget about trying right up front to persuade folks that homosexuality is a good thing.  But if you can get them to think it is just another thing–meriting no more than a shrug of the shoulders–then your battle for legal and social rights is virtually won (p. 161).

[…]

Constant talk builds the impression that public opinion is at least divided on the subject and that a sizable bloc — the most modern up-to-date citizens — accept or even practice homosexuality. …. The main thing is to talk about gayness until the issue becomes thoroughly tiresome (pp. 177-178).

[…]

[G]ays can undermine the moral authority of homohating churches over less fervent adherents by portraying such institutions as antiquated backwaters badly out of step with the times and with the latest findings of psychology… [This] has already worked well in America against churches on such topics as divorce and abortion.  With enough open talk about the prevalence and acceptability of homosexuality, that alliance can work for gays. Where we talk is critical . . . In the average American household the TV screen radiates it’s embracing bluish glow for more than 50 hours every week…. These hours are a gateway into the private world of straights, through which a Trojan horse might be passed (p. 179).

[…]

In any campaign to win over the public gays must be portrayed as victims in need of protection so that straights will be inclined by reflex to adopt the role of protector…First the public should be persuaded the gays are victims of circumstance, that they no more chose their sexual orientation than they did say their height, skin color, talents or limitations.  (We argue that, for all practical purposes, gays should be considered to have been born gay– even though sexual orientation, for most humans, seems to be the product of a complex interaction between innate predispositions and environmental factors during childhood and early adolescence.) . . . And since no choice is involved, gayness can be no more blameworthy than straightness.
In order to make a Gay Victim sympathetic to straights, you have to portray him as Everyman.  But an additional theme of the campaign will be more aggressive and upbeat.  To confound bigoted stereotypes and hasten the conversion of straights, strongly favorable images of gays must be set before the public.  The campaign should paint gay men and lesbians as superior — veritable pillars of society (p. 183).
Our primary objective regarding diehard homohaters is to cow and silence them as far as possible (p. 179).

Moreover, listen to Marsha Gassen in 2012:

Anderson further provides several examples here, but I’ll give you some of my favorites:

Anti-equality right-wingers have long insisted that allowing gays to marry will destroy the sanctity of “traditional marriage,” and, of course, the logical, liberal party-line response has long been “No, it won’t.” But what if—for once—the sanctimonious crazies are right? Could the gay male tradition of open relationships actually alter marriage as we know it? And would that be such a bad thing?

We often protest when homophobes insist that same sex marriage will change marriage for straight people too. But in some ways, they’re right (The Advocate).

Michael Signorile strongly advises gay couples to “demand the right to marry not as a way of adhering to society’s moral codes but rather to debunk a myth and radically alter an archaic institution.” They should “fight for same-sex marriage and its benefits and then, once granted, redefine the institution of marriage completely, because the most subversive action lesbians and gay men can undertake…is to transform the notion of ‘family’ entirely.” According to Professor Ellen Willis, “conferring the legitimacy of marriage on homosexual relations will introduce an implicit revolt against the institution into its very heart.” Surely, all this casts doubt on and contradicts the highly publicized and seemingly innocuous meme of “how will allowing gay couples to marry affect you or your marriage?”. They also strongly indicate that HRC, GLAAD and others, whose campaign and tactics uncannily resemble those prescribed in After the Ball, have been far less than truthful to the American people surrounding this issue.

And then again for the Left, truth and civility — those pesky things that help keep a free society free — are not virtues, and altering and doing away with marriage and the family has traditionally been one of its long-held ambitions. Let’s just say, same-sex marriage aligns with or is and has been very much in bed with Marx. According to Paul Kengor, the cranky German mused frequently about “abolishing the family” and how his workers’ revolution would be “the most radical rupture with traditional ideas.” Likewise, Marx’s successors were the academic pioneers to scrutinize and radically challenge Judeo-Christian ideals on sexuality, gender and identity at large. They never conceived of same-sex marriage, but its legal and social affirmation would see them overjoyed. And this all makes sense. After all, under communism, your first loyalty is to the state, the community. The church and the traditional family are competition in this regard and overall impediments to utopia. Why else would the Soviet Union praised Pavlik Morozov as a state hero for betraying his family to the secret police and thus rendered as exemplary for all adolescents? Out with everything that upheld the old order, for the new world, a future free of inequality, awaits.

Additionally, if you look at other well-known authoritarian regimes, you’ll see they have a tendency to blur this distinction between the domestic and the state. We’ve already met Pavlik. Hitler had his infamous youth program. To this day, China’s government limits the number of children couples are permitted to have. In all these cases, the state does not recognize the family as a separate entity, and as such, has and uses the authority to extend its control where we don’t want it: our private home life. Same-sex marriage necessitates that the boundary between family and state is a function of malleable subjective preference and personal whim instead of something fashioned from the timbre of objective reality like biology. In other words, why should government heed me at all when I object to sexual education that explains BDSM to my ninth grader if my relationship to my child is ultimately just another social construct devoid of actual meaning and clear demarcation when there’s “the common good,” as defined by faceless bureaucrats? Why would I endorse public policy that undermines my claim to my kids and their inherent rights to me?

I’ll let you chew on that one for awhile, so let’s once again return to Marx. He also put a lot of stock and faith in change qua change as both a unequivocal and unilateral force for good: “The philosophers have variously interpreted the world; the point, however, is to change it.” And so did Lenin: “What is to be done?”; and so did Trotsky; and so did every good Bolshevik, Stalinist, Maoist, etc., possess unflinching confidence in the future they were deceiving and or murdering to build. The ends justify the means.

So, it’s much to my chagrin when Sirius expresses the following:

What we are looking at is the residual process of trying to normalize marriage across the nation. As people clamor for marriage equality, the uniformity is upset. We must either be okay with having different marriages in different states, or we must come to a new consensus.

That new consensus does not necessarily include people who want to limit marriage to man and wife. Young people overwhelmingly support marriage equality. Even when balancing things out with other voters, in the U.S. support for marriage equality has reached an all time high. As older people give way to newer sensibilities, the consensus will go against people who oppose marriage equality.

At the least, then, both sides need to be careful for what they ask for.
With any social change, there are always going to be arguments that claim the change will go too far. That in and of itself is no surprise, especially in this case. But really nobody is advocating for drastic changes to marriage law. Instead, they’re asking for states to recognize marriages granted in other states. While it raises concerns, the U.S. hasn’t imploded any other time it enacted social change.

Now, of course, he isn’t a communist as in like “Comrade Sirius,” but he does naively echo the Marxist fatalistic and blind adherence for change with little concern for the costs. He’s so self-assured in the righteousness and inevitability of “marriage equality” as a cause that he tends to overlook the harm to American civil health its supporters are doing in service to it. The defamation and slander the gay rights movement have repeatedly used to get to this point is seemingly fine. Sirius also alludes to federalism and an inexorable “new consensus” but is not only ok with unelected judicial fiat overturning the current official and recent consensuses, as established in state constitutional amendments, he seems to welcome it coming sooner rather than arriving later by its alleged natural course. As this sets precedent in judicial activism, it weakens those “laboratories of democracy” of the states in favor of further centralization of power.

In addition, Sirius expresses no qualms over but approval for the zealotry to put First Amendment-inspired negative freedoms of religion, association, speech and conscience in a collision with public accommodation law. I’m referring to Christian wedding bakers, florists and the like. Never mind civil rights and civil liberties are in tension with one another, and each needs to limit the other to some degree to ensure balance. According to Sirius, “Freedom of religion does not trump basic human rights,” which broadly is right. But by “basic human rights,” he means nondiscrimination rights to equal treatment based in statutory law, and that these measures take precedent, in principle, over freedoms of religion, conscience, association and such, as enshrined in the Constitution. This view seems radically backwards, as constitutional rights are more fundamental than ones found in the nondiscrimination statutes for employment and service as enacted by legislatures. What he’s espousing sees the scale tipped heavily against the Bill of Rights. It’s no longer the supreme law of the land but a vassal to progressives’ “tolerant” convictions and “more enlightened” modern anti-discrimination laws. This is hegemony, not equality. Moreover, he’s running contrary here to the driving spirit of many of the first Europeans who immigrated to these shores. Groups like the pilgrims fled the Old World so they could have the liberty to live by their principles in the new one without reproach from the state. Summarily, what good is having my mind if I can’t speak it or act upon its precepts?

Additionally, I feel obligated to point out his faith in the steady march of progress and social change is gravely misplaced. I bet Lenin and the Bolsheviks were equally assured of their impending “new consensus” and the paradise they were forging, except it resulted in miseries for 70 years like gulags, abject poverty and Lubyanka killings. Western Europe faced centuries of disunity and stagnation after Rome was sacked by Alaric and the Goths, and it did not perhaps completely recover until the Carolingians. The French Revolution was done for “liberty, equality, fraternity” but led to Robespierre, the guillotine and eventually Napoleon. The Nazis gave rise to Hitler, the Holocaust and World War II. China’s Cultural Revolution slaughtered an estimated 30 million over a course of a decade. Sure, “the U.S. hasn’t imploded any other time it enacted social change.” It was just torn asunder by the bloodiest conflict in our history due to the growing influence of the abolitionist movement against slavery and the election of Abraham Lincoln. It also wasn’t too long ago that the intelligentsia were fawning about abortion as a foregone conclusion. Roe v. Wade was supposed to be the formal resolution to the issue, period. Yet, now some would contend it’s Sirius and his pro-choice leanings that are on “the wrong side of history.” History, she’s hard to pin down.

Anyway, the frightening thing is that sharp individuals like Sirius fight for “social justice,” a euphemism to mask Leftist objectives, and believe such ends to be somehow latent within or mandated by the Constitution. In fact, what they are advancing is born of an ideology that rejects the classical liberalism of the Founding Fathers. They’re all about equality — cultural, material, social or otherwise — but have little to no appreciation of liberty in any form. You know contemporary American “liberalism” is way askew when they start to have more in common with Marx than Thomas Jefferson, the progenitor of the Democrat party. His belief in freedom of conscience, like not coercing someone to participate in something they deem as sinful, would be and is considered cover for homophobia nowadays. We conservatives, on the other hand, are comfortable with good ole TJ.

We also like our Alexis de Tocqueville and his exultation of American mediating institutions, those lesser forms of human association that act as a barrier “between the individual in his private life and the large institutions of public life.” These include the family, as emboldened by marriage, churches and Christian schools and charities, among many other nonreligious “associations.” “Marriage equality” crusaders and their reliance on the courts to seek government to redefine and exert greater control over the sort of things that are supposed to keep it at bay. They instinctually presuppose the state ought to and is in the business to define and regulate mediating institutions. This is evidenced disconcertingly by fact social justice warriors clamor for its interference or edicts and shout “hallelujah!” at Ireland’s same-sex marriage referendum because it more than anything bestowed social affirmation and dignity. Apparently, validation is not to be had in who we voluntarily associate with, and integrity isn’t implicit within our natures; both are found in Big Brotherly benevolence and or if something gets carved into legal stone. That’s what is really of import. The licit gains, although nice, were ostensibly a smokescreen. Contrarily, the first Americans escaped Europe to be rid of the overbearing hand of big government; a multitude of contemporary ones now search for its embrace and then its fist to punish those who don’t want to be held so tightly. Truly, Thomas Sowell is right, as we don’t see eye to eye. There is a “conflict of visions.”

Enough analysis, though. Let’s finally get a grip on this slippery slope situation. Given that in theory, redefining marriage means making it a union grounded in the vagueness of intense emotional attachment, this entails that other forms of “love” ought to be recognized, lest we keep affairs unequal. Many people on the Left, including plenty of gay activists, not only realize where the logic leads and recognize gay marriage as a revolutionary overhauling of family, they openly crave it. Therefore, I don’t know how it isn’t unadulterated inanity for Sirius to assert, “But really nobody is advocating for drastic changes to marriage law.” Same-sex marriage is a challenging to our very understanding of family and parenthood as they are conceptualized and forged into current law. The legal framework involving divorce, adoption and alternative reproductive technologies will all demand to be amended to accommodate such upheaval.

Moreover, acknowledging same-sex couples as marriage plays a perfect complement to other Leftist goals. There are feminists scholars who argue marriage is an oppressive patriarchal institution that needs to be diminished if not utterly vitiated for women to truly achieve cultural, legal and material parity with men. Or then there is this professor’s ideas about how parents reading bedtime stories and put them into private school is unfair and contributes to inequality. Speaking of family, all these modern ideologies draw much from their Marxist and neo-Marxist parent philosophies, whose innovators again wanted to subvert the natal bonds between mother-father and child, among other traditional values, according to their writings. They’re all monsters descended from the same Marxist Echidna, and all of them are intent on devouring the individual by isolating him or her from the familial associations he or she is naturally born with. After same-sex marriage, destigmatizing polygamy and company can be conceivably applied to further this end. As severe strains of egalitarianism, these worldviews are innately totalitarian, not liberal. It’s not in their progressive nature to desist and be content.

So, yes, there is plenty of theoretical concern for “the parade of horrors,” but beyond pontificating in the abstract, the actual behavior of nonacademic agents suggest that these fears have basis in the real world too. Journalists and other people in mainstream media are beginning again to popularize and normalize what was considered unthinkable for polite society in the same manner they elevated the once taboo notions of homosexuality and transgenderism. Moreover, the mainstream gay rights movement, at large, has shown itself to spew lies that both deny and disguise its readily apparent insatiability, especially of late — “If you like your morality and civil liberties, you can keep your morality and civil liberties.” Right Christian bakers, florists and photographers? And then there’s the body politic of the movement, the social justice warriors, who are more Marxist and therefore totalitarian in their tendencies and views on equality, liberty and the state than liberal in any robust sense. Domesticity and human worth is grounded in the state are a couple telling examples of their mindset. Moreover, they are the lifeblood of this cause, and they really believe it to be their own and the next front in the inexhaustible war for civil rights. They won’t stop and will swarm the enemy (the social conservative) like killer bees, the good drones that they are, cued by collaborative media for whatever becomes the next stop for the social justice parade.

Consequentially, there is ample evidence and warning that this saga is far from over. It is not at all unreasonable to predict a coming lapse into that ugly (polygamy, incest, etc.) and horrible (further marginalization from those with traditional values from polite public society) parade, though it’s nigh impossible to know how long it will take. The hive is just too frenzied and preoccupied to notice, believe or care about what’s been briskly detailed above. When it comes to “marriage equality,” most of its members only smell blood and pheromones.

Blood and pheromones,

Modus Pownens

Talking Sirius Bizinus: Procreation and marriage


Over at Amusing Nonsense, Sirius Bizinus is periodically providing his analysis of Hodges v. Obergefell, which is in front the Supreme Court. He has graciously allowed me to comment on his posts here. So, when time permits, I’ll try to critique his arguments. In this case, it pertains to procreation and marriage.

First of all, Sirius does an ok job summarizing the “bigots” position in regard to procreation and nuptials:

The idea is that marriage has been defined as between men and women for centuries is because this basic pairing is how children are created. Because it was the only way of creating a family in antiquity, governments decided to enshrine the relationship with marriage. Government has an interest in promoting procreation and stable environments for children because that’s the only way our society can be perpetuated.

I would clarify that society, not government, has enshrined the relationship due to its unique potential of producing children. Not every civilization has had a sophisticated legal bureaucracy to formally acknowledge marriage, yet the institution, as fundamentally a heterosexual union, has been practically a universal idea up until about 15 years ago. It’s this life-giving, species-perpetuating power, the sustaining of the state via its future citizens, that justifies government’s involvement here, as it is clear that we do not want government to regulate every form of human association.

Where I believe Sirius’ bias starts to show is in phrases such as “only way of creating a family in antiquity” and “that’s the only way our society can be perpetuated.” Here, it’s implied that this line of thinking made sense in the remote past when there wasn’t large-scale adoption and artificial reproductive processes like surrogacy or in vitro fertilization. This rendering is incorrect. It’s not that we hold there is one way to promulgate society; rather, what’s known as the “traditional family” is the best way. If government is to have any sort role in the creation and socialization of its future citizens, it ought to promote the ideal. We are aware there are other familial arrangements and there are conceivably other ways for society to sustain itself: The world state in Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World comes to mind. Yet, Huxley’s brilliance was to realize the abandonment of procreative sex and blood ties was pivotal in a society that didn’t have individual autonomy and prosperity. In brief, conservatives believe the biological family, as a mediating institution against the reach of the state, furthers the causes of freedom, wealth and well-being. While diminishing it — e.g. abortion, feminism’s belittling of motherhood and advocacy to normalize feminine promiscuity, the trivialization of sex and the formal relegation of mothers and fathers as optional via a SCOTUS decision in Obergefell v. Hodges — works to undermine “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

Forgive my pedantry here, but for Sirius to reasonably declare that the procreation argument against same-sex marriage is “untenable,” he must at first understand it and the supporting position. Although he is far from the only person to mischaracterize in this regard, as comments from federal judges illustrate, the remainder of his post is predicated on strawmen.

For instance, he writes,

This idea takes the emotional relationship aspects of marriage and throws them out the window, along with justifications for some of the other ancillary benefits of marriage (like tax breaks). We’re looking at marriage solely for the purpose of creating and maintaining a family here.

But understanding marriage to be essentially defined as a procreative union does not exclude love and emotion from the equation. This simply does not follow. It is entirely possible and happens often for marriage to be both about love and procreation without leaving out the “ancillary benefits of marriage.” How so?

Enter the wonderful world of metaphysics and being philosophers in it by making distinctions. Sirius confuses essential properties with accidental properties as well as natural function/purpose with artificial or user-imposed function/purpose.
Essential property: A property an object, person or thing must have to be what it is.
Accidental property: A property an object, person or thing can have without ceasing to be what it is.
For example, a bachelor must have the property of unmarriedness, for lack of a readily apparent term, to be a bachelor. However, a bachelor can also have the property of being Swedish, French or Cambodian and still be a bachelor.
Natural function/purpose: The goal or directed end an object or thing has by virtue of being what it is. E.g., a squirrel is naturally predisposed to gathering nuts and acorns and burying them to survive the winter because of the fact it is a squirrel. It’s important to note, natural here does not refer to the zoological animal kingdom, as in appearing or existing in habitats found within the likes of African savannah, Australia’s Outback or Himalayan steppe. Rather, it pertains to a thing’s nature and how function or purpose is imbued within that nature.
User-imposed/function or purpose: The goal or directed end an object or thing has by the imposition of some sort of artificer. E.g., the function or end of the twig that’s positioned into the anthill is that of the chimpanzee wielding it for the purpose of procuring ants to eat, but such a purpose is not immanent in the twig itself.

Now, let’s return to the issue at hand, marriage. Sirius seems to think our claims about marriage and procreation entail a user-imposed function. That, as a social construct, the institution is man-made and therefore has a man-made, instrumental end of procreation. But not every marriage produces children, whether by infertility, age, choice or plain dumb luck, yet these couples are still allowed to and are considered married. Likewise, people marry each other because they are in love and not solely to have kids. Therefore, this is a silly excuse to prevent gay couples from saying “I do”.

That’s pretty sound reasoning except that those who raise the procreation objection to same-sex marriage don’t subscribe to the above description. Marriage is not a mere instrumental means to the end of procreation as extrinsically imposed by society. Rather, marriage is essentially related to procreation as intrinsically mandated by its natural foundation in human sexual complementarity, which is what society recognizes in matrimony. Marriage is procreative by its own nature not social fiat. According to us, being procreative, which means being predisposed toward the biological end of procreation and reproduction, is an essential property of marriage in order for it to be marriage. It’s fundamental to what it is, imbued in its essence and thereby essential. It’s not an accidental property like being in love or having the legal benefits that are recent Western additions to the institution. There are, unfortunately, many loveless marriages out there today, as well as the proverbial arranged marriage that were common in the past and still exist today in many parts of the world. Yet, these cases don’t cease being marriages because the individuals involved are not in the emotional throes of love. In other words, the legal standing and amorous feelings are both historically and metaphysically accidental properties of marriage.

What about those old couples that are infertile by nature? They’re still married. As Sirius puts it: “Currently there are no requirements that parties to a marriage must be able to procreate in order to get married” and “What this means, though, is that infertile couples couldn’t get married. Additionally, if there is some tragedy where one person has to become sterile, that could be grounds for dissolving the union.” Summarily, this is no reason to exclude gay couples who are also infertile by nature.

However, once again, Sirius is mistaken and conflates legal requirements with metaphysical ones. The infertility of an old heterosexual couple is not the same sort of infertility of a homosexual couple. Marriage, as a union of persons, is not essentially grounded in singular characteristics of one of the persons involved in it. Otherwise, it’s a fallacy known as pars pro toto, a composition error in reasoning that erroneously infers the parts for the whole. The union is what’s important and not whether one of the people taking part in it is a good person or infertile. This is relevant in that the the old nonprocreative heterosexual couples, whose unions are recognized, are infertile in the likely sense that the singular females members have undergone menopause, while homosexual couples often involve two potent males and two fertile females. So, the opposite-sex couple that can’t procreate is most likely because one of parties involved is infertile, but the same-sex couple that can’t procreate is always because the nature of the relationship makes procreation a default nonstarter.

Why does this distinction matter? It’s not only that marriage refers to a union of person and is not defined by one of the singular members within it. Rather, bear in mind that we are comparing two categories of comprehensive unions. The issue surrounding same-sex marriage ultimately comes down to whether same-sex couples are meaningfully no different than opposite-sex couples. Those for “marriage equality” assert yea — they are the same — while the “traditional marriage” side says nay — they are different. Here though, we have a disparity that philosophically one can drive a mack truck through. In other words, same-sex relationships are essentially and categorically infertile; opposite-sex relationships are essentially fertile even if procreation, gestation, pregnancy and birth doesn’t occur and children don’t always obtain. The relationship is still apt for procreation and is naturally fulfilled when it happens. The elderly pair is just the exception to a very fecund rule; Adam and Steve and Lilith and Eve, though not exceptions, are nevertheless irrevocably bound to it.

Hardly arbitrary, it’s not the law that excludes same-sex couples from marriage, but instead its the constituent individuals’ freely-enacted choice in partner and the essence of such companionship that precludes them from the institution. That’s no more unfair than a nonprofit charity receiving tax breaks instead of a for-profit corporation. Though similar, as they are organizations of people, they are inherently separate types of entities. Likewise, although a same-sex relationship approximates an opposite-sex relationship in some respects, they too are inherently distinct in the same manner a triangle, which although comes close to having four sides, just simply in no possible world can be a square.

Moreover, we proponents of this conjugal view of marriage view the institution comprehensively, and as such, realize the coital act, although critical to marriage, is not everything that marriage is. So, yes, love is still very much in play and helps make sense of and enhances our understanding of marriage instead of diminishing it. To show this is not just subject to me and a bunch of uneducated bigots, I’ll let esteemed Princeton legal scholar Robert P. George describe our position. Writing for The Public Discourse, he summarizes:

Historically, and, in my view, rightly, marriage has been understood as the distinctive and distinctively valuable form of human association that is oriented to procreation and would naturally be fulfilled by the spouses’ having and rearing children together. It is a comprehensive (and thus conjugal) bond inasmuch as it unites persons not merely at the level of hearts and minds, but in the bodily dimension of their being as well. In this way, it differs from ordinary friendships and other non-marital forms of companionship. And it requires commitments of exclusivity (“forsaking all others”) and permanence (“till death do us part”).

Bodily (“one-flesh”) union is possible in virtue of the sexual-reproductive complementarity of male and female. It does not consist, and has never been regarded as consisting, merely in the juxtaposition of flesh. It consists, rather, in the capacity to combine to form a reproductive unit. Thus, marriages are consummated (i.e., completed) by coitus; and marriage is inherently, and not merely incidentally, a sexual bond (and not just an emotional one). Sexual-reproductive union, as an integral aspect of the conjugal relationship, is—like the relationship itself in its totality—intrinsically and not merely instrumentally valuable. Although the marital bond is inherently oriented to procreation, it is not the case that procreation is an extrinsic end to which marriage or the marital embrace is valuable merely as a means. Rather, marriage is indeed a “one-flesh union.” And this explains why, in virtually all cultures throughout history, (a) marriage has been understood as a child-centered institution, yet (b) infertility has not been regarded as an impediment to marrying or a nullifier of existing marriages.

To be honest, George articulates a much stronger version of how comprehensive marriage is than I do above. I make a point to identify and separate procreation and love — one as essential and other as accidental in how they relate to marriage — while George better synthesizes them together. George completely follows through on the natural law basis of marriage, inserting value while I just describe what is the case. These differences, however, are more rhetorical than ideological. Furthermore, George being George and I being a nobody influenced by him means his iteration is superior. In addition to his eloquent prose, it is more palatable to the average American, who strongly equates love with marriage, and also more extensive because he and his colleagues go on to show that this conjugal account also demonstrates why we have marital norms like monogamy and permanence that the “revisionist” view — marriage is merely a social contract centered around intense emotional attachment — simply cannot provide.

Finally, I suppose one could read all these abstract distinctions, chalk it up as mere semantic word games and object as to what does philosophy and metaphysics have to do with the legal case for and against same-sex marriage. Well, in a word, everything. Metaphysics, broadly speaking, is the study of what is the case. The social justice crusaders who wield the slogan of “marriage equality” are making a claim that presupposes certain metaphysical assumptions for legal application. Namely, same-sex and opposite sex couples are virtually the same and should be treated accordingly via 14th Amendment-inspired “equality under the law” considerations. Therefore, it’s only rational to examine these underlying assumptions and our understanding of what is a marriage. After all, law operates with certain presumptions about what is the case, and notions of fairness and justice can only be meted out from a basis found in real states of affairs.

In my view and experience, advocates for same-sex marriage utterly avoid the nitty-gritty here. Whether this is just a mere act of hasty misunderstanding and overlooking one’s biases, agenda-driven subterfuge or a combination of both, as I suspect, pausing to expose its position’s supposedly sound metaphysical assumptions to greater public scrutiny is something Human Rights Campaign, GLAAD and the horde of courted social justice fodder seemingly don’t have enough interest in to halt their inexorable romp through our judicial system. Instead, they advance convoluted legal arguments that sneak in controversial theses like a same-sex relationship is applicable to marriage, and it’s people like George who question these implicit assertions.

The argument from procreation is fundamentally a metaphysical argument not a legal one. Therefore, when those like Sirius, who has a background in law, responds to it from a purely legal framework that just reasserts the same contentious claims that are being contested, as he does throughout his commentary, it amounts to just talking past, or more accurately, over what is being argued, as questions of law and issues of legality are ultimately rooted in the primacy of philosophy and its metaphysical considerations. For instance and more specifically, “Remember, the whole point of this idea is to show that the state has an interest in how new citizens come about to the exclusion of other marriages” is a prime example. If you start from the premiss that a same-sex relationship is already a marriage and marriage is just an emotional union, as Sirius implies here, his reasoning is insurmountable, but this is heavily begging the question in his favor. It is whether or not that it is a marriage that the procreation argument, in large part, challenges.

George and company (Ryan T. Anderson and Sherif Girgis) actually do more than merely argue from a procreative definition, as people do have varying conceptions of marriage. As noted earlier, they compare and contrast their conjugal view with the “revisionist” one that belies the push for same-sex marriage. They basically conclude that the former can account for other marital norms like monogamy and permanence. The latter, on the contrary, is not only insufficient in this regard but undermines these norms and ultimately entails and engenders the abandonment of the institution. The social repercussions of such a collapse are very much among the state’s concerns if SCOTUS carves in stone a right to same-sex marriage: rising out-of-wedlock births rates, an increase in poverty and greater numbers of children growing up without one or more of their biological parents. All these consequences are foreseeable and plausible if the court formally recognizes marriage as merely an emotional, adult-centric union. Moreover, making it far less probable that these three are outliers who boast an “untenable” argument motivated by animus against same-sex couples, more than 100 academics from a variety of disciplines agree with them.

For whatever it’s worth, so do I,

Modus Pownens