2004-02-15 Homosexual Marriage and Civilization/05

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Marriage Is Everybody's Business

And it isn't just the damage that divorce and out-of-wedlock births do to the children in those broken families: Your divorce hurts my kids, too.

All American children grow up today in a society where they are keenly aware that marriages don't last. At the first sign of a quarrel even in a stable marriage that is in no danger, the children fear divorce. Is this how it begins? Will I now be like my friends at school, shunted from half-family to half-family?

This is not trivial damage. Kids thrive best in an environment that teaches them how to be adults. They need the confidence and role models that come from a stable home with father and mother in their proper places.

So long before the Massachusetts Supreme Court decided to play Humpty Dumpty, the American people had plunged into a terrible experiment on ourselves, guided only by the slogan of immaturity and barbarism: "If it feels good, do it!"

Civilization depends on people deliberately choosing not to do many things that feel good at the time, in order to accomplish more important, larger purposes. Having an affair; breaking up a marriage; oh, those can feel completely justified and the reasons very important at the time.

But society has a vital stake in child-rearing; and children have a vital stake in society.

Monogamous marriage is by far the most effective foundation for a civilization. It provides most males an opportunity to mate (polygamous systems always result in surplus males that have no reproductive stake in society); it provides most females an opportunity to have a mate who is exclusively devoted to her. Those who are successful in mating are the ones who will have the strongest loyalty to the social order; so the system that provides reproductive success to the largest number is the system that will be most likely to keep a civilization alive.

Monogamy depends on the vast majority of society both openly and privately obeying the rules. Since the natural reproductive strategy for males is to mate with every likely female at every opportunity, males who are not restrained by social pressure and expectations will soon devolve into a sort of Clintonesque chaos, where every man takes what he can get.


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