Thursday, December 29, 2011

The End of Egalitarianism

Ross Douthat faces off with Dan Savage in a Bloggingheads debate on the role of monogamy in marriage and, parenthetically, the effect of widespread gay marriage on sexual exclusivity.

Before I comment on the specifics, let me recommend the entire debate as well worth the watch.  I would add the caveat that even if we take Dan’s protestations of concern for marital stability as being made in good faith, I should note that not all advocates of gay marriage share that concern.  Dan’s may be the public face that the gay community likes to show to mainstream audiences, but other homosexuals are more forthcoming about the hope that extending marriage to gays will undermine the social “privilege” of marriage in general.

That said, I was particularly struck with this exchange:

Dan is a fag, but he makes a point not unfamiliar to this corner of the blogosphere:  the history of marital dissolution is mostly the story of female emancipation.  Ross, as a mainstream so-con, really doesn’t want to go there for regrettable if understandable reasons.  But he makes the forceful rebuttal that Dan’s proposed alternative – that standards of monogamy be subject to ongoing negotiation – inevitably benefits the stronger half of the relationship at the expense of the weaker half.  Prior to 40 years ago, the stronger half was almost always the husband;  thus, our culture yet carries around in its collective memory the image of the philandering Don Draper.  Our society’s ongoing effort to elevate the status of women at the expense of men makes this image increasingly anachronistic.

Given the differences between the preferences of men for polygamy and women for hypergamy, Dan is naïve in believing that greater egalitarianism strengthens marriage, and it is cold comfort to a man getting screwed over in family court to know that somewhere, a woman is also getting screwed over.


Anonymous said...

I don't know if I can watch this, to be honest. I'll preface this by saying that while my opposition to homosexuality is no secret, some of my best friends really are gay - okay, they're not, but I really do have gay acquaintances that I like.

I say that to say that based on what I know of him, I find Dan Savage to be almost indescribably creepy and quite possibly demon-haunted, a lot like a guy I knew in medical school who was the most pro-homosexual, pro-abortion person I've ever met. I don't know that I can even stand to watch Savage speak - I'm sure it will send too many shivers down my spine.

You make it sound like a good exchange, though. Is it really fair and non-acrimonious?

Anonymous said...

Widespread Homosexual mariage? Are you kidding? Even if it become legal in every state we are still talking about only a few thousand couples in the whole country.

Justin said...

Private marriage contracts used to be opposed by so-cons, and lauded by the homos, because they were seen as allowing homos to set marriage terms.

Since the homos have essentially won the battle, riding on the coat tails of the feminists, giving us Marriage 2.1, I think it is time we revisited the idea of private marriage contracts. Why should we be forcibly dragged along their grand experiment in meaningless, legally-non-binding relationships?

Private marriage contracts would allow traditionalists to have the traditionalist marriages they desire, while the deviants can have all the play-marriages they want. Since we stopped enforcing laws against the homosexual act itself, there is really no logical end to their demand for "full" equality.

Dr. Φ said...

Samson: I, too, have a gay friend, one that was quite close when we lived in the same city. But still . . .

The debate was exceptionally fair and non-acrimonious, even by bloggingheads standards, which are themselves pretty high compared to say, MSNBC or Fox.

Prof Hale: They were speaking prospectively.

Justin: Is not a pre-nup already like a private marriage contract? But traditionalists must overcome their reflexive distaste for pre-nups: if it is "planning for divorce", then so is legal marriage itself.

Justin said...

Yeah, pre-nups are the only recognized pre-marriage contract, but their effect is strictly limited to pre-marital asset division/protection. It would take statutory law to force courts to recognize contracts relating to the other aspects of marriage, like grounds for dissolution, eligibility for spousal support, child custody, or child support.