sábado, 12 de diciembre de 2015

Human nature is a complex mixture of freedom and necessity, virtues and vices, and chaotic passions that can be ordered toward a good life

Toward Plural Marriage: Understanding and Countering the Liberal Wringer

by Scott Yenor

Anyone interested in defending marriage and family life must first expose the built-in biases and hidden moral teaching within the contemporary liberal perspective.

According to the modern idea, marriage is merely a consenting relationship between adults, for whatever purposes those adults define. This idea has given us same-sex marriage. As many have pointed out, plural marriage is the next logical step. Why should a marriage so understood be limited to two people? Many same-sex marriage advocates characterized this “slippery slope” argument as fear-mongering while the debate over same-sex marriage was waged in the courts. Now that the debate is over, “stategery” no longer demands such reticence. The endorsement of plural marriage is baked into the cake of the endorsement of same-sex marriage—and that endorsement points quite a bit beyond plural marriage as well.

Contemporary liberals seem to begin with the idea that the state must remain officially neutral, as contemporary liberals understand that term, among the diverse ways of life lived in a democratic society. Public neutrality supports the individual’s right to choose. When the public takes sides on a controversial topic and favors one vision in law, it effectively limits the right to choose one’s life plan and humiliates those whose life choices the public does not embrace. Only when the state has a “compelling state interest” and narrowly tailors legislation to secure that interest can it be just to take sides and limit rights.

During the same-sex marriage debate, this mode of analysis prevailed. The public is divided on what marriage is, went the argument, so the state must remain neutral. This neutrality allows homosexuals the same ability to exercise their “right to marry” as heterosexuals. Traditionalists have sought to argue that marriage serves an important public purpose related to procreation and education of children that would justify limiting the recognition of marriage to those capable of reproducing and best suited to raising children. But, according to contemporary liberals, these traditionalist arguments are either speculative, incomplete, excessively controversial, or insufficiently rigorous.

In arguing for plural marriage, liberals trot out a familiar set of arguments. To counter them, conservatives must expose the biases and moral assumptions implicit in these supposedly neutral positions, demonstrating how and why they fall short.


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