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On Marriage and on a Decent Soci

On Marriage and on a Decent Society
By Curtiss Wikstrom

     Essential to our freedom, human dignity, and happiness, are the mental images and impressions that we live with.  The tragedy of rape to a woman is not so much in the pain, as in the fact that a she cannot escape the impressions that remain of the physical abuse, the violation of her person and freedom of choice, and the many other unsavory consequences.  Failure to enforce a moral structure in our society will deprive us of our liberty.  It will leave us all violated.

     Very dangerous to our freedom is the notion that morality is only a matter of personal choice.  The notion that “we cannot legislate morality” is much worse than foolish. The only legitimate purpose of government is to legislate morality.  We do not have a right to use force in our society simply to take money away from others for our own use, or to distribute it to others. That is an immoral use of force.  But we do have a legitimate right to use force to protect ourselves from murder, robbery, stealing, lying, cheating, physical and mental assault, rape, bullying, trespass on our privacy, and so forth.  That is morality.  And we need to enforce it to be free.

     We have a right to keep the public square and public airwaves free of those mental images and impressions that would prevent us from living a life of virtue, dignity, and happiness.  Unless we enforce a moral order, others will impose their lifestyles upon us, and deprive us of our human dignity.

     Another very dangerous notion is that sexual activity should be exempt from the moral rules that are enforced.  The mental images and impressions that make up our lives are affected more by sexual conduct and expression than almost any other activity.  And few things would be so disturbing as the sexual activity and impressions that would be imposed upon us if we did not enforce rules of sexual conduct and expression.

     The drive to reproduce is affected by instinct, romance, and our desire for companionship.  But it is also a mechanical process, a process that can be stimulated by other than natural, or by deviant, means.  Many of those un-natural means are physically, mentally, and spiritually unhealthy, or perverse.  When we permit the deviant to generate into the perverse, we not only are uncaring to those who engage in these practices, but we jeopardize the freedom and dignity of many others in our society, and the moral foundation required to maintain a free society.  Someone whose person can be violated easily within our society is not a free person.  They are arguably much less free than someone who lives in a socialist society, but whose person, and whose experiences, and lifelong mental images and impressions from sexual activity are not violated.

     Many, if not most, parents would like to see their children have some degree of happiness in their lives, a life of mental images, impressions, and attitudes that are build from a foundation of personal and civic virtues, and instructed by faith and love.  We cannot do that, however, if they are forced to associate and be instructed by those who would impose mental images, impressions, and attitudes upon them that are based upon a hedonistic lifestyle, lacking in virtues, and instructed by self gratification.  We must resist those who would impose these lifestyles on them, and we have the right to use the force of law to do so.   If we do not use the force of law to maintain a decent and civil society, others will use force to acquire what they want and achieve their own ends.  A power vacuum will be filled by the worst people, for the worst reasons.

    We do have a right to protect people from themselves, to be our brother’s keeper, not only for their good, but for the good of all of us.  Those who engage in deviant and perverse acts not only need help as individuals, but they can infect and harm others with their perversity, and one form of perversity has a way of spreading into other perverse attitudes and activity.  The evidence of that harm is pervasive throughout our society.   Deviant sexual practices are being taught in our public schools and are broadcast on our public airwaves, the right of the Boy Scouts of America to teach boys to be physically strong, mentally awake, and morally pure is under a frontal assault, and courts are forcing us to recognize deviant sexual behavior as equivalent to natural relations between a man and a woman.  Unrestrained pornography, promiscuous,  and deviant behavior is leading to a further loss of freedom to associate freely and to seek happiness in our lives and the lives of our children.

     Hedonists attack our freedom of expression.  The words decent, deviant, and perverse are attacked as “hate language”.  The goal is to force decent people out of the public debate by either marginalizing, intimidating, or destroying them.  These assaults illustrate the insidious affect that this behavior has on all of us.  The truth is that promoting virtue is intended to help those who are in need of it, while the assaults on those who promote virtue are intended to destroy.  If we don’t accept and agree with these deviant practices, we are accused of “discriminating against” those who engage in them.  With the same logic, a daughter is being “discriminated against” because she can’t marry her father.  12 year olds are “discriminated against” because they can’t marry, or engage in deviant behavior, or vote, or whatever.  Being “discriminated against” turns morality on its head, making bigots out of the moral, and victims out of the immoral. The term “discriminated against” is a corruption of the language, intended to poison the debate by replacing words that are more appropriate for the context of the discussion.  Instead of making choices as to whom we want to associate, we are “discriminating against” someone.  Instead of making moral distinctions, we are “judgmental”.  We have every right to make choices in our lives and make moral distinctions, and should not be bullied by the hedonists.

     Marriage has for thousands of years been a lifelong contract between a man and a woman.  That contract has been registered with, and enforced by the state, just as deeds to land are registered and protected by the state. Beneficiaries of the marriage contract have been women, who traditionally have had great difficulty surviving without being attached to a home and family.  In modern free countries like America, with private property and freedom of enterprise, it has become much easier for women to survive on their own.  However, the life of a single woman with children is still very difficult, and most of them live in a life of poverty.  Children are also beneficiaries of the marriage contract, which usually provides a loving family that passes on the moral traditions necessary to maintain a free and prosperous society.  A breakdown in the moral structure of a society, results in broken or dysfunctional families, which in turn leads to numerous social and political problems for the nation as a whole.  Some politicians say that there is no reason to save the institution of marriage because there are problems with many marriages.  That is unreasonable.  Similar logic would say we should close all the schools because some children don’t learn well.  It is important to preserve an orderly freedom, by enforcing the moral order and respecting the institution of marriage.  To the extent we fail to do that we will have social problems, including broken marriages.

     We should not be  tricked into thinking that marriage is some sort of entitlement that anyone should have who engages in any sort of mechanical sexual practice, and that they have a “civil right” to this entitlement, as they would to free money from the government.  The hedonists’ question is “how are we hurt” if they register as married couples, going far beyond the question “how are we hurt” by their engaging in deviant practices.  If we are not “hurt”, somehow there is no reason to stop them.  Their logic is also perverse.  Here is a list of questions of similar logic.  “How are you hurt if I murder someone you don’t even know?”  “How are you hurt if I engage in sexual acts with children so long as they are not yours?”  “Who cares whether I engage in sexual acts with children so long as they don’t mind?”  [While the next step in the agenda of many of those who engage in deviant practices is to lower the age of consent so they can legally have relations with children (as has happened in one European country), let us leave that for another discussion.] 

     “Why should you care if I sell a drug to a teen-ager that destroys their ability to think straight for the rest of their lives.  Why shouldn’t they be able to decide that for themselves?”  We should care.  And we have a right to prevent harm to people who don’t appreciate the consequences of what they are getting into.  That is also true of sexual activity.  Young people do not appreciate the consequences of illicit sexual activity, or abnormal sexual activity.  We have a right both as parents and as citizens to keep them away from such activity, and to enforce rules of behavior that protects them from those consequences.  We have just as much right to preserve their sanity, physical and emotional health as we do to keep them from getting kidnapped or assaulted.  

     The privileges or immunities afforded to marriage are not entitlements.  However, many terms attributed by law to the marriage contract can be obtained by others with a regular contract. For example, the power to life or death decisions about one’s spouse or children is recognized by various institutions.  However, that power can be granted to others with regular contracts, powers of attorney, living wills, and so forth.

     Another term attributed by law to the marriage contract is a share of real or personal property accumulated during the marriage.  Again, these same terms can be put in regular contracts, partnership agreements, or real estate documents by any two or more people.  There does not have to be any new “domestic partnership” law to do this. (There may need to be some reform in medical powers of attorney in some states.)

      Many politicians are trying to appease everyone by creating new legal entities called “domestic partnerships”, equal to marriage in many respects, but with a different name.  The affect of “domestic partnerships” is to promote this physically, mentally, and emotionally unhealthy activity, and to force all of us to recognize and deal with it as acceptable behavior, and to expose our children to these problems.  We should do nothing to favor those who engage in aberrant behavior over those who do not.  If two men live in one apartment, and two men live in a second apartment, why should the men in the second apartment be given special privileges and recognition in society because they engage in abnormal activity?

     But the hedonists will ask, “why should men and women be given special privileges in society simply because they engage in normal activity, especially if they don’t have children”?  Again there is twisted logic in the question. Normal activity is not physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually unhealthy.  There is similar logic in the question, “why should people who do not take mind altering drugs be given special privileges in our society?”  Our purpose as a community is to protect families that reproduce and raise the next generation, and provide the guidance and example for the next generation to do the same, not to reward sexual activity.  The fact that some married men and women do not have children is not an excuse to alter the institution.  We should not alter, or compromise the institution of marriage to accommodate those who want to use it as a means to gain entitlements from the government, or force us to recognize and accept their behavior. 

     There is in the law what is known as a “common law marriage”.  In other words when a man and woman raise a family without having obtained a marriage license, the courts will recognize the union as a marriage anyway, forcing marital responsibilities, which are many, on the couple.  Are we now going to have “common law domestic partnerships”, where single people who do not raise children are forced into relationships that they didn’t expect simply because they lived under the same roof?  Are they going to have to prove they didn’t engage in unhealthy activity to get out of these responsibilities?   The pitfalls of the “domestic partnerships” are going to be far greater than we realize today, and they are going to demean our society.  At the forefront of our public discussion will be unseemly acts that should be kept in private, and not exposed to our children to begin with.  The hedonists have already won a great deal by forcing these private vices out into constant view by the public, making it impossible to escape.  Our right to be free from this constant exposure to vice has been violated, and we should not tolerate that.

     The hedonists want to destroy even the terminology of morality, referring to it as “hate speech”.   They claim that they have an “orientation” to practice what they do, and that we are insensitive because we won’t accept excuses for their behavior.  The fact of the matter is that the human mind can very easily degenerate into depravity.  Every one of us must maneuver through a minefield of temptation.  Vices are as common and as prolific as we allow them to become within our lives. We must insulate ourselves from the urge to self-gratification and depravity.  We must avoid these activities, keeping them out of our minds and out of the public view.  We establish and enforce a moral code in order to maintain our decency, our dignity, and consequently, our freedom.    To abandon our moral code and accept the notion that we are “oriented” toward all of this behavior is to forfeit the lives of our children and grandchildren to abuse, debauchery and intimidation.

     This is a political question.  And there are grave differences in the political parties on these issues.  Those of us who want decency to remain in the American vocabulary must defend our moral order by voting for those who share our values, and defeating those who do not, even if they run on the party ticket that we normally like best.



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