Losing the Marriage Debate
By Selwyn Duke
It’s no secret that liberals hold in contempt what they regard as the provincial nature of conservatives. And I certainly would love to buy liberals for what I think they’re worth and sell them for what they think they’re worth, to paraphrase the old retort. That said, a part of me is so frustrated with my traditionalist brethren that I could almost be persuaded that the left is, in some minute measure, correct. For the sagacity reflected in our ends is matched by the stupidity of our means. And the left is quite the opposite.
I have often mentioned the manipulation of language and cautioned that the side that defines the vocabulary of a debate wins the debate. And this principle is on full display in the marriage controversy.
The truth is that most of us, although well-intentioned, are complicit in paving the way for the victory of the anti-marriage hordes. Oh, how seamlessly the left has managed to weave its terminology into our lexicon. How thoughtlessly the same passes our lips.
I ask you: why do we utter the term “gay marriage” as if such an institution actually exists (the word “gay” itself is a euphemism in this context, and the reason should be obvious)? The word “marriage” came into usage in English late in the thirteenth century, and it has always pertained to the matrimonial union of a man and woman. So, homosexual marriage? It’s an oxymoron.
If it’s homosexual, it ain’t marriage.
This is why I referred to this attack upon marriage as “faux marriage” in a previous piece and why I will brand it simply “anti-marriage” here. To speak of “gay marriage,” whether positively or negatively, is to tacitly acknowledge its existence. This gives aid and comfort to the enemy.
But the language engineers’ influence cuts wide and deep. Why, I even heard a very prominent curmudgeon of a conservative commentator refer to marriage as “heterosexual marriage” on his nightly news and commentary program. Ah, what is the road to Hell paved with? If we have to specify heterosexual marriage, it implies that it is merely one side of a coin.
And if one side of a coin exists, so does the other.
I hasten to add that the anti-marriage set has no more moral authority to define the terms of the debate than they have to re-define marriage. And it matters not a whit whether you view marriage as an institution of God or of man. If the former, then it’s quite obvious that anything that lies beyond God’s definition of “marriage” is nothing of the sort. Of course, if marriage is merely a human invention, its definition is quite arbitrary. But then who shall define it? The majority, silent or not, or a minority, vocal and shrill or not? The truth is that the vast majority of Americans don’t subscribe to anti-marriage doctrine, and we’re under no obligation to sing its tune any more than its praises.
It’s really just a matter of who will be arguing from a position of strength. If we quite correctly and steadfastly deny the existence of anti-marriage, those who would disgorge it are left to argue why such an institution should exist. Once we accept the fiction that it does exist, however, we are left to argue why some “marriages” should be denied the legal status of others. Instead of forcing the anti-marriage crowd to explain why an age-old institution should now encompass a fashionable perversion, we now bear the burden of explaining why the rights bestowed by that institution should be offered to some who embrace it but not others. Of course, compelling arguments to this effect can still be presented, but we’ve lost half the battle before it has even begun. It’s the difference between denying your adversary a foothold in your territory and waiting to fight him at the gates of your capitol.
Most profound, though, is the effect on those weaned on this example of the newest of Newspeak. My childhood was spent from the mid-sixties to late seventies, and I was exposed to the lexicon of the left of the day. And it wasn’t until I grew older and acquired a cognizance of the importance of language that I awoke from the linguistic Matrix. Why did I accept words such as “underprivileged” or “disadvantaged” when my forebears would have conserved the syllables and simply said “poor”? Alas, though, most never take the red pill.
The term “gay marriage” and the concept associated with it is being burned into the psyches of the younger generations, causing them to accept anti-marriage as a reality. And if it exists, why shouldn’t it be recognized? If it’s a marriage, how can it be treated as something other?
The short answer, before we expound upon the social effects of such an idea or extol the virtues of the traditional family, is that it is not a marriage. And history vindicates us. While there have been many societies that have been quite accepting of homosexuality – from ancient Sparta to Rome to tribes in Papua New Guinea – there isn’t one I’m aware of that ever saw fit to conjure up a demon such as anti-marriage. Why accept the unprecedented as a presupposition?
The side that defines the vocabulary of a debate does win the debate. Referenda denying legal status to anti-marriage are positive legal measures, but they do little to alter this inexorable wave of social devolvement. The truth is that all our efforts and arguments will be for naught if we allow social engineers – in the guise of college professors, media talking heads and Hollywood Hell fodder – to guide our tongues. If you don’t want “gay marriage” to be recognized legally, don’t recognize it verbally.
So, if you want to restore marriage, start by restoring your vocabulary. “Gay Marriage” doesn’t exist. It never has and it never will. But a fiction can become an illusion when a big lie is repeated often enough.