Just exactly how is gay marriage supposed to threaten non-gay marriage?
They don't say it -- they may not even be conscious of it -- but there really is a way.
Things that are equal to the same thing are equal to each other. If man+man=man+woman, then man=woman. Same-sex marriage undermines the patriarchy, it makes the equality of men & woman blatant.
So, if your heterosexual marriage is actually traditional -- that is, the man is dominant just because he's male, the woman is submissive just because she's female, God said, you believe it, that settles it -- then the visible presence of same-sex marriages definitely is a threat. The *real* threat is those of use who are in egalitarian heterosexual marriages, but same-sex spouses are a clear indicator that we are out there, undermining patriarchial prerogatives in our sneaky fashion.
The spiel you usually hear from "defenders" of patriarchal marriage is that marriage is THE foundation of society. Without marriage, the theory goes, civilization or any kind of structured society would be impossible.
If you probe deep enough, the underlying reasoning seems to be that your family, growing up, is how you learn How Things Should Be: children subordinate to parents who exercise authority for the children's own good, wives subordinate to husbands who are tough and do what needs to be done. Without this key experience of being a subordinate and knowing who's boss and how to relate to them, people would be unable to function in any situation where people have to work together to accomplish something. There must always be bosses and subordinates or society would fall apart. (Egalitarians are all just denying this obvious truth and _pretending_ to be equal.)
(Needless to say, I disagree.)
I like your parallel. I was trying to explain that to a friend of mine last week, but I couldn't find the right words and took three times as long to explain it.
But I do think psychologically we expect the world to be like our family (which is different from insisting that the world be like that) and are surprised when it isn't. My mom was pretty much the boss in my family (and a CPA), and I was in the fifth grade before I had male teacher (outside of PE), so on the one hand, I get along pretty well with women I work with, but I never really got the hang of being a member of the sexually assertive gender.
I read an argument that someone (man or woman) should only get married if they are a good employee, because the emotions of a spouse should be that of an employee. The writer's ideas about marriage were all about mutual self-sacrifice. Sounds like a good idea, unless you marry someone who knows how to take advantage of it.
I still disagree. Just because burglars are out there (and they are) does not force people who aren't burglars to burgle. Just because egalitarian marriages are out there does not force those who believe in a patriarcal arrangement to change it.
That may be why they're telling themselves it's so awful...but I don't think that's a mechanism; I think it's an excuse.
Burglary is not the same as the patriarchy.*g* A closer analogy is paying taxes. If there are more than a certain number of visible tax-dodgers, it *does* make it harder for the law-abiding to pay taxes. Unless almost everyone pays taxes, no-one will voluntarily pay taxes.
One of the real, significant props for traditional patriarchal marriage is the idea that it is *inevitable*, that you *have* to do it. It's too unfair and restrictive to keep going on its own merits, it has to be supported by the surrounding culture or it collapses.
This, I think, is part of what Orson Scott Card is trying to get at in his embarrassing flails against SSM. He pretty much comes out and says that if he had had a free choice, he would have married a man -- so having been forced into a choice that is difficult for him, he needs society to help him stay there. His unfreedom is only tolerable if it is inevitable and shared.
Which pretty much sums up why the Right must be getting so frustrated. The model that worked (for them) isn't any more. Businesses are investing their profits abroad, creating jobs in Asia. Ironically, it is the fiscal conservatives who are undermining the religious conservatives by doing so. This deterioration has been occuring for years, but we papered over it with credit cards and other debt. Our prosperity has been an illusion for decades.
And sometimes not even then. I know a closet homosexual who is also an alcoholic, he only talks about it he's had a lot to drink. His wife is as unhappy as he is, as you can imagine.
Do you have a link to the Card semi-confessional? I don't want to mention it to others without seeing it for myself.
So...because he suffers, everyone else in the same boat should suffer?
I don't think so.
He was raised in a culture that valued patriarchal control; his books reveal a (to me unhealthy) interest in pain, force, and control.
The thing is, there are those who believe in the patriarchal arrangement that want it forced down everyone else's throat, as well, and they're not content to be left alone and leave others alone. I think that is where the real problem lies -- between the ears of those who would force their beliefs on everyone else, given the opportunity. (And there are those that will take the opportunity without permission, given any way to do so.)
And, if their faith in the patriarchy is brittle enough, the existence of anything else is a threat to that.
Too bad for them that Fiscal Conservativism isn't Social Conservativism, since Fiscal Conservatives don't care about family values unless it sells products, and they jack up housing prices so both partners have to work to keep a roof over their heads.
I also think it's interesting that the more creativity is required for a job, the more socially liberal the employers are. It doesn't surprise me at all that IBM, Microsoft, and Disney covered gay partners in company insurance programs: they need talent and don't want it heading for other companies.
Thank you for encouraging all of us to ask these questions.
Political ideology largely depends on not questioning some stances too deeply, and our current zeitgeist also discourages questions. Instead, it prefers polarization, choosing a label and defending it simply because it is your label.
I agree with most everything you've been posting so far, and I look forward to reading any more question posts you write. I've had to ask myself a number of these questions over the years. I'm from a polarized family near Flint, MI. I was a child in the 80s, when my friends' parents were being laid off by GM. In that atmosphere, I grew up to be strongly pro-labor. Half of my family thinks like I do. The other half falls into the model you've mentioned in this post--they're evangelical, socially conservative, fiscally conservative, and believe in "business friendly government." As I child, I puzzled over the contradictions between their faith and their politics. Over time, I learned that people can indeed hold such contradictory views.
As I've grown older (I'm 34, so I think I qualify as an adult, now), I've interrogated my own political beliefs, asking many of these same questions. I don't always have answers to them, but I keep looking just the same.
I honestly believe that this goes on wholesale.
I have never heard of people doing this, so I doubt it. I wouldn't be surprised if there were local, "retail" operations -- especially in association with certain churches -- but I've never heard of it being done on a wide scale. What's your evidence?
Two Anonymous comments have been deleted (if I'd seen 'em sooner, they'd have been deleted sooner. I don't like Anonymous comments and should, of course, have hit the button to screen such.)
To be blunt, if you're going to argue with me, have the courage to put your name on your argument.
I have my LJ set to screen non-Friend & non-LJ comments by default.
Then again I don't get as many comments as you do, so deleting the spam isn't such an issue.
Here for this series of essays by way of stephen_dedman, and enjoying them immensely.