Brooks’s “conservative” case for homosexual marriage

Here is the monstrous op-ed by the New York Times’ house “conservative,” David Brooks, supporting homosexual marriage—and all for “conservative” reasons:

The Power Of Marriage
Published: November 22, 2003

Anybody who has several sexual partners in a year is committing spiritual suicide. He or she is ripping the veil from all that is private and delicate in oneself, and pulverizing it in an assembly line of selfish sensations.

But marriage is the opposite. Marriage joins two people in a sacred bond. It demands that they make an exclusive commitment to each other and thereby takes two discrete individuals and turns them into kin.

Few of us work as hard at the vocation of marriage as we should. But marriage makes us better than we deserve to be. Even in the chores of daily life, married couples find themselves, over the years, coming closer together, fusing into one flesh. Married people who remain committed to each other find that they reorganize and deepen each other’s lives. They may eventually come to the point when they can say to each other: ”Love you? I am you.”

Today marriage is in crisis. Nearly half of all marriages end in divorce. Worse, in some circles, marriage is not even expected. Men and women shack up for a while, produce children and then float off to shack up with someone else.

Marriage is in crisis because marriage, which relies on a culture of fidelity, is now asked to survive in a culture of contingency. Today, individual choice is held up as the highest value: choice of lifestyles, choice of identities, choice of cellphone rate plans. Freedom is a wonderful thing, but the culture of contingency means that the marriage bond, which is supposed to be a sacred vow till death do us part, is now more likely to be seen as an easily canceled contract.

Men are more likely to want to trade up, when a younger trophy wife comes along. Men and women are quicker to opt out of marriages, even marriages that are not fatally flawed, when their ”needs” don’t seem to be met at that moment.

Still, even in this time of crisis, every human being in the United States has the chance to move from the path of contingency to the path of marital fidelity—except homosexuals. Gays and lesbians are banned from marriage and forbidden to enter into this powerful and ennobling institution. A gay or lesbian couple may love each other as deeply as any two people, but when you meet a member of such a couple at a party, he or she then introduces you to a ”partner,” a word that reeks of contingency. [LA replies: And when a man introduces to his “husband,” or a woman introduces you to her “wife,” that will not reek of contingency? In any case, as I’ve discussed elsewhere, homosexual marriage will force the elimination of the words “husband” and “wife,” as and their replacement by “partner.”]

You would think that faced with this marriage crisis, we conservatives would do everything in our power to move as many people as possible from the path of contingency to the path of fidelity. But instead, many argue that gays must be banished from matrimony because gay marriage would weaken all marriage. A marriage is between a man and a woman, they say. It is women who domesticate men and make marriage work.

Well, if women really domesticated men, heterosexual marriage wouldn’t be in crisis. In truth, it’s moral commitment, renewed every day through faithfulness, that ”domesticates” all people.

Some conservatives may have latched onto biological determinism (men are savages who need women to tame them) as a convenient way to oppose gay marriage. But in fact we are not animals whose lives are bounded by our flesh and by our gender. We’re moral creatures with souls, endowed with the ability to make covenants, such as the one Ruth made with Naomi: ”Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried.”

The conservative course is not to banish gay people from making such commitments. It is to expect that they make such commitments. We shouldn’t just allow gay marriage. We should insist on gay marriage. We should regard it as scandalous that two people could claim to love each other and not want to sanctify their love with marriage and fidelity.

When liberals argue for gay marriage, they make it sound like a really good employee benefits plan. Or they frame it as a civil rights issue, like extending the right to vote.

Marriage is not voting. It’s going to be up to conservatives to make the important, moral case for marriage, including gay marriage. Not making it means drifting further into the culture of contingency, which, when it comes to intimate and sacred relations, is an abomination.


Posted by Lawrence Auster at November 22, 2003 03:15 PM | Send

The key point of Brooks’ argument seems to be the idea that the biological natures of men and women are unimportant to the institution of marriage. Furthermore, homosexuals will simply act like heterosexuals as soon as the government tells them to.

To me, this is purely representative of the armchair reasoning that characterizes the liberal worldview. Brooks starts with the principle that all human beings are blank slates, and proceeds to craft his utopia from there. He does not allow himself to be informed by any inconvenient facts – facts like the obviously divergent sexual patterns we see between the male and female homosexual communities. If you are going to chuck tradition, at least try to stay scientifically informed about the whole matter.

Posted by: Thrasymachus on November 22, 2003 3:37 PM

Thrasymachus is right on this. Brooks starts out sounding like a conservative when he criticises the culture of (unimpeded) individual choice. But when you read further it turns out that at a much deeper level he radically supports such a culture. Like any liberal, he speaks of gender as an unwelcome limitation on the freely choosing (covenant making) indivual. What we are as men and women, and how this shapes human relationships, isn’t allowed to count.

I expect that this also helps to explain Brooks’ acceptance of homosexuality itself. If gender doesn’t count then I suppose it matters less if a boy grows up with a confused sexual identity (and subsequently a confused sexual orientation).

Posted by: Mark Richardson on November 22, 2003 6:25 PM

What can one expect from the NY Times? After all, this is a crowd still eager to sweep the crimes of Stalin under the rug. Cursed is the day the NY Times was founded.

Posted by: Carl on November 22, 2003 11:24 PM

Brooks was doing just fine through his sixth paragraph. Of course, if he had stopped there The New York Times would never have published this comment.

Brooks complains that homosexuals who are momentarily monogamous in their sodomy (if indeed they are) must content themselves with introducing their flatmates to others as “partners,” which “reeks of the contingent.” If we must dignify homosexuals’ liaisons with a specific name, maybe partner is not bad, and for that very reason. My impression (not based on much study) is that homosexual pairings are in general very contingent.

The fact that marriage is far more contingent in America today than it should be is no reason to expand the definition in way that can only undermine true marriage further. Brooks, good liberal that he has become, ponders a problem and unerringly comes up with the worst possible solution. Nothing liberals propose or do ever works. HRS

Posted by: Howard Sutherland on November 23, 2003 8:40 AM

Some odds and ends unrelated to each other:

— Recently I was talking to a heterosexual woman who was in the army eight years during the aftermath of WW II extending through and a little beyond the Korean War period. She was stationed most of those eight years in Germany. She told me that there was a disproportionate number of lesbians in the army during her service, and lesbian “marriages” were well-known at that time among female army personnel: an unofficial “wedding ceremony” would be arranged surreptitiously for the two “lovers” by their friends, out of sight of the higher-ups but for the most part plainly evident to the lower-downs among the personnel. No one minded, as this bothered no one and was in no way official. There was this deep desire among these couples to “get married.” For me, the take-home point of this anecdote was that here was one more of these left-wing ideological things, like the denial that distinct races or male-female differences exist (both, it turns out, being scientifically-unfounded Marxist-associated articles of blind faith going back at least to the thirties and forties and very possibly earlier), the women’s lib theory of the “oppressive patriarchy” (idem), and others. Part of what is emerging into the open today has old roots.

— For obvious reasons, homosexual married couples have to say “partner” (as in “marriage partner,” I suppose) or spouse instead of husband or wife. The weird thing is that the words “husband” and “wife” are starting to be replaced by “partner” even among married couples, in liberal circles. This is in order not to discriminate among heterosexual and homosexual spouses (we have the latter in Vermont now — mostly lesbians, they’ve come from all over the country to get “married,” and often stay), or between married and unmarried couples whether hetero or homo — sort of the way the same crowd, both married and unmarried, considers “Ms.” a way not to discriminate between married and unmarried women. My wife has recently become acquainted with a woman who lives in a very liberal suburb, who always speaks of “my partner” rather than “my husband.” From this my wife assumed she and her “partner,” a man she’s been with almost twenty years, never married. When my wife learned they’ve been married during all that time, she asked why this woman calls him her “partner” instead of her husband. The woman replied that that had become the practice among the married couples in their social circle.

— Mr. Sutherland refers to “Brooks, good liberal that he has become … .” I agree that David Brooks has become much more liberal since the mid-1980s when I first encountered his stuff in the old “National Review.” I suppose he’s “grown,” as they say. In addition to being unconservative, that op-ed was superficial — superficial in exactly the way one would expect from Jonah Goldberg. Brooks used to be in a different class from a high-school-level writer like Jonah. What must’ve happened to him is anybody’s guess. That op-ed’s shallowness and disguised liberalness left the reader feeling more empty and despairing than before he started reading it. Good writing, whether liberal or conservative, is supposed to do the opposite.

Posted by: Unadorned on November 23, 2003 1:52 PM

A key point by Unadorned. Clearly, if homosexual marriage is accepted, then the words “husband” and “wife” will soon be prohibited, as making a discrimination between a heterosexual married couple and a homosexual married couple. Why should heterosexual couples be privileged by the time-honored titles of “husband” and “wife” when homosexual couples, through no fault of their own, are deprived them?

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on November 23, 2003 1:59 PM

The last part of the first of my “odds and ends” above got garbled. It should have read something like, “For me, the take-home point of this anecdote was that here was one more of these left-wing ideological things [examples given, etc.] that strike us as new, but are old.” (The point being that some of our adversary’s programs for society have deeper roots than we may imagine.)

Posted by: Unadorned on November 23, 2003 2:07 PM

To follow up a little on Mr. Auster’s comment — I just asked my wife to explain again why this woman and her social milieu have dropped “husband” and “wife” in favor of “partner,” even for married people. My wife replied,

“Elle a dit qu’elle et son mari et leurs amis ne voulaient pas choquer leurs connaissances qui sont comme ça — ils ont des amis homosexuels, plein, car il y en a beaucoup à [this particular suburb]. Ils ne veulent pas les rendre inconfortables, alors ils évitent de dire «mari» et «femme», pas seulement devant eux, mais aussi entre eux-mêmes et devant tout le monde d’autre.”

(“She said she and her husband and their friends didn’t want to shock their [homosexual] acquaintances — they have homosexual friends, lots, because there are many in [this particular suburb]. They don’t want to make them uncomfortable, so they avoid saying ‘husband’ and ‘wife,’ not only in front of them but also between themselves and in front of everyone else.”)

I think not only is Mr. Auster right, but without exaggeration whatsoever one can predict that the day will come when “husband” and “wife” will be considered hate-words, and not only that, but — assuming homosexual marriage becomes officially accepted — it will one day be against the law to say “husband” and “wife” (there will have been some “hate-crimes” statute concocted by then, criminalizing any choice of words that makes members of the politically protected category of homosexual “marriage partners” feel uncomfortable). The day will come when people will be threatened with jail time for saying or writing “husband” or “wife.” This is the liberal paradise we all have to look forward to.

Posted by: Unadorned on November 23, 2003 3:10 PM

At “The Corner” at NRO, they’re celebrating Brooks’ column. See especially Potemra’s comment made today.


Posted by: Wm. Wleklinski on November 23, 2003 3:54 PM

Unadorned sheds some light on one of the ways Leftism has infiltrated the armed forces to the point that people can argue in favor of riflewomen, fighter pilotesses and homosexual anything in the services without being laughed out of the room. The American Left, often performing a handy surrogate function for the Soviets in the good old days and the Communist Chinese today, has long sought to emasculate the U.S. armed forces, to neuter them as fighting forces. Cakewalks such as last spring’s march to Baghdad disguise how much softer today’s armed forces are than the forces that fought the Gulf War, which were themselves far softer, believe it or not, than the professional Army and Marine Corps maneuver units that deployed to Vietnam in 1965 and 1966; Robert McNamara had not yet done his worst.

The infiltration that has made all the rest possible was allowing women into the armed forces in the first place, something that has never been necessary at any time in American history - including the Revolutionary War and the War between the States, when one would have thought the situation most desperate. What would have been thought positively unnatural at any time before happened under President Wilson (surprise, surprise…) in the Great War: significant numbers of women donned specially tailored uniforms. I don’t believe the United States had ever put women in uniform before 1917, and I wonder if any other Great War belligerents did. It is just the sort of stupid social experiment that only an American Progressive could have dreamed up at the time. Women were a fairly token presence in all three services, but even the Marine Corps had a few. They were much celebrated, in a sort of pre-PC way. In World War II, under Wilson’s pupil F. Roosevelt many more signed up - again unnecessarily. Even the real need for nurses could have been met by civilians. Clara Barton did not need an Army uniform to be pretty helpful to the U.S. Army in the 1860s. In the Pacific theater, the Navy Nurse Corps developed something of a reputation for Sapphic dalliances on lonely islands. When I was in the Marine Corps in the early 1980s, that reputation still remained. (The Navy’s doctors, dentists and chaplains looked after us. We had our own lawyers, though. Go figure.)

Needless to say, nothing was done about it even though male homosexuality, thank God, was not accepted. The double standard is something that has been present since women first joined, and it operates to the detriment of everyone and of combat readiness. That is just how the Left likes it. The training ratchet (a military form of the Hegelian mambo) works in only one direction, that of lowering standards to accommodate women. Once a point is reached where enough women can handle the lowered standard, liberals declare victory, saying “see, they are just as strong/smart/tough as men and to pretend otherwise is sexist bigotry.” Once again rigged results drive policy.

All the above may be linked only loosely to homosexual “marriage,” but it has much to do with how homosexuality has come to be accepted to a surprising degree in what should be one of society’s most conservative institutions. Cherchez la femme! In addition to Unadorned’s comment, I got thinking about this sad history when I pondered Brock’s specious rationale that because we have let the standards of marriage among normal people slip, we should throw the institution open to homosexuals. I think there is a (tenuous, perhaps) analogy to constantly debasing training standards and then throwing the ranks open to women; some probably are on a par with the polyethnic milquetoasts recruiters are using to fill their quotas. It “works” because basic training is coed (except in the Marine Corps!). HRS

Posted by: Howard Sutherland on November 23, 2003 3:57 PM

I have tried to argue that women don’t belong in combat, to say nothing of the military itself. I have found people (men, by the way) who will hear nothing of it. “I’ve seen women athletes who could whip a lot of men,” they say. They think my arguments are laughable, and I’m way behind the times. When they declare that women can be in combat, they laugh while they say it.

I remember reading in one of Brian Mitchell’s books on the feminized military, that there were relatively few women in the military during the height of the Vietnam War. The feminists were in the forefront of the antiwar movement, and encouraged men to dodge the draft. I don’t recall young women clamoring to be in the army (much less combat) around 1965-69. Once the Vietnam War had wound down, the feminists started demanding the feminization of the US Armed Forces. They wanted it emasculated while the Cold War was very much on as Mr. Sutherland says.

Posted by: David on November 23, 2003 4:56 PM

Here’s the piece of bottomless idiocy that Mike Potemra at The Corner wrote about the David Brooks column:


David Brooks is one of the most valuable conservative thinkers around, and in yesterday’s New York Times he addresses the issue of gay marriage. He does not address the process question—i.e., who decides? the people or the courts?—but he attempts to make a traditional moral case on the underlying substantive issue. Readers of The Corner will have their own opinions on what he has to say, but there’s one passage that I personally found very moving: “Some conservatives may have latched onto biological determinism (men are savages who need women to tame them) as a convenient way to oppose gay marriage. But in fact we are not animals whose lives are bounded by our flesh and by our gender. We’re moral creatures with souls, endowed with the ability to make covenants, such as the one Ruth made with Naomi: ‘Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried.’” In this, Brooks is on to a truth that goes far beyond our current controversy over gay marriage; and the principle he expresses there is one of which we need constantly to remind ourselves.
Posted at 03:40 PM


Thus Potemra sees one of the stupidest, most ridiculous arguments in Brooks’s column, as deeply profound. And Andrew Stuttaford at The Corner wrote something almost as stupid as Potemra. How does one begin to reply to such idiocy? Is there anyone left in the NR universe who can correct these morons?

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on November 23, 2003 9:18 PM

This “most valuable conservative thinker” seems a lot less conservative the more you read him. Consider the New York Observer profile on him, for example. There are many things in the article worth reading but I found this Brooks quote particularly notable:

Could Mr. Brooks ever become a leftist again?

“Sometimes I do think that,” he said. “If I was with the Nation left, I’d be depressed. If I was with the centrist–Joe Lieberman left, I’d be happy.”

Brooks: Bubeleh in Paradise

by George Gurley

Posted by: Bob Vandervoort on November 23, 2003 9:58 PM

You said:
..Openly to oppose either of these things, in mainstream circles, makes you “intolerant,” i.e., a bad, mean, hate-filled, anti-humanity human being, more objectionable than a murderer.

I don’t think that you are “made” intolerant or any of those other things, though you may be “called” all of those things. (Accurately, I think.) Your right to speak has not been curtailed. Your desire to support a politician who supports your point of view remains your option. Your intolerance, however, is a clear fact as evidenced by your post. It’s not illegal to be intolerant and the moral question is open to debate. You are most definitely intolerant. If you don’t want to be called intolerant, then don’t be intolerant. It’s a little like speeding tickets. If you don’t want a speeding ticket, don’t drive over the speed limit. 100% effective.

Posted by: SixFootPole on November 23, 2003 10:52 PM

We are not “bounded by our flesh or our gender” says a supposedly intelligent person say some people. If we can will ourselves to be anything we want, why not will ouselves to be God? Is this the sort of question Mr. Auster would use to critcize the article quoted?

Posted by: P Murgos on November 23, 2003 11:23 PM

A real, satanic evil is taking over America, and it’s being helped by leading “conservatives,” and we need some place where we can talk about this catastrophe freely, without, on top of everything else, having to deal with little PC lectures from an offensive character named “SixFootPole” telling us how “intolerant” we are being. I’m getting to the point where anyone who clearly manifests himself as a freak or a nuisance is going to be shut out of this site, without my waiting for some specific offense before I decide to do so. There are too many things to talk about to waste energy dealing with pests.

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on November 24, 2003 12:46 AM

FourInchPole would do well to consider that tolerance cuts both ways. Where is his tolerance for those of us who enjoy good moral health? Most Americans regard homosexuals as a subservise minority. While persecution is wrong, the notion that homosexual “marriage” is on par with legitimate heterosexual union is tantamount to absurdity.

Posted by: Lord Fluff on November 24, 2003 12:48 AM

Here are some welcome dissenting opinions at The Corner, from Peter Robinson and Tim Graham:



The first, for Andrew Stuttaford, who cites David Brooks’s column in the New York Times yesterday as a “conservative argument” for gay marriage.

There is not a word—not one—in David’s column that so much as attempts to draw distinctions among heterosexual marriage, homosexual marriage, polygamous marriage, or, for that matter, incestuous marriage. If a man wished to marry his sister, what of it? “[W]e are not animals,” David’s column would reply, “whose lives are bounded by our flesh and by our gender. We’re moral creatures with souls, endowed with the ability to make covenants….” David blithely heaves thousands of years of moral understanding over the side, in other words, yet never even begins the difficult work of social and moral analysis that would enable us to grasp why certain unions are ennobling while others remain unacceptable. He asserts high sentiment, but sentiment alone. This is neither “conservative” nor “argument.”

The second, for Mike Potemra, who singles out for praise one passage in David’s column (again, see yesterday’s postings). The passage read in part, “Some conservatives may have latched onto biological determinism (men are savages who need women to tame them) as a convenient way to oppose gay marriage….”

The view that men and women are profoundly different—distinct from one another in the very depths of their beings—is implicit in Genesis, finds support among the most profound minds the world has produced, including Augustine and Aquinas, and was so interwoven into the mores and habits of cultures around the world that until no more than a few decades ago it was everywhere taken for granted, a given aspect of reality. To dismiss this understanding of the sexes as mere “biological determinism” betrays ignorance of one of the great themes of history. And to assert that conservatives have “latched onto” it simply because it now proves “convenient” is—well, my friend David Brooks ought to know better …
Posted at 06:23 AM

RE BROOKS [Tim Graham]

David Brooks also made his case for insisting on what proponents call “gay marriage” on PBS’s “NewsHour” on Friday night, which no doubt caused Jim Lehrer to go “Whuh?” Those of us on the religious right thought perhaps we were hearing the tinny echo of David Gergen from the corners of the PBS set. It’s sort of same teeth-gnashing you probably get from the libertine left when Mark Shields plays a few pro-life notes.

You can make a “conservative” case for encouraging gay monogamy. But it’s problematic to begin by suggesting that only extramarital sex is committing “spiritual suicide.” All the orthodox religions see even monogamous homosexuality as soul-endangering. Homosexual “domestication,” as Brooks puts it, could spur a social-science debate on its benefits or demerits, but many Americans will never buy the argument that it scores points with God.

PS: I’m not an Old Testament scholar, but I’m confused as to why Brooks would use the story of Ruth and her mother-in-law Naomi in a way that the Bible-challenged might construe to suggest a lesbian love thing. The Book of Ruth ends happily with Ruth marrying Boaz and giving Naomi a grandson, which is more “Leave It to Beaver” than “Queer as Folk.”
Posted at 11:29 PM


I dropped the following note to Peter Robinson:

Thank you for showing that not everyone at NRO is an absymal moron. But the fact that NRO hosts such idiots as Potemra and Stuttaford is nevertheless damning.

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on November 24, 2003 10:53 AM

I got an e-mail from “SixFootPole”:

“Thank you for proving my point (once again!) about intolerance. I see that you have barred me from making further comments - even comments in my own defense after the name-calling and abuse.

Is it your policy to bar anyone who disagrees with you?

“Thanks again.
“‘Six Foot Pole’
“(it only sounds dirty)”

Here’s my reply to him:

Nope. If people can make reasonable, civil arguments they’re welcome. We have all kinds of disagreements at VFR.

Your name does sound dirty and was part of what made your presence offensive. That had been said to you earlier by more than one person, but you did nothing to amend it. Clearly you didn’t care about the pornographic aspect of your name. People who are dealing with other people in good faith do not behave like that.

However, the immediate reason I closed you out was just what I said in my post. I and other people feel besieged. All over the place, so called conservatives are going over to the gay marriage side and telling the rest of us we should shut up and give up. (Just today, one of America’s best known “conservatives,” David Horowitz, published an article saying that the only remaining bulwark against homosexual marriage, a constitutional amendment, is a threat to the Republic and should be immediately abandoned.) We’re trying to have discussions on this issue and the immigration issue and other issues. And you were telling me that I’m being intolerant just for having the views I have, i.e., being against gay marriage and against continued mass third-world immigration. Why, then, are you complaining about being closed out of the discussion? You yourself don’t feel the positions at this web site are discussible, since they are just an expression of intolerance.

As for my being intolerant, VFR has no pretension of being a universal blank slate equally open to all views. This is a traditionalist web site, aimed at articulating a certain point of view, a purpose which does not exclude the expression of other views, so long as they are advanced reasonably. For there to be a useful and profitable and civil discussion, there must be a minimum common ground between people. People who post using pornographic names and accusing the website of intolerance for its most basic principles are showing that they do not have enough common ground with this website to participate here.

I’ve already given you more attention than you deserve, or, I’m sure, than you expected.


Posted by: Lawrence Auster on November 24, 2003 4:33 PM

Behold the Electric Rabbi.

Posted by: Only in America on November 24, 2003 5:52 PM

I am in overwhelming agreement with Howard Sutherland’s comments on women in combat, and anyone thinking about the issue must wonder if allowing women in the military at all was the start of the slippery slope. However, there was a genuine manpower problem in WWII, while women were envisaged as “releasing able-bodied men to fight.” They were, in a word auxiliaries. (To be sure, the success of WACS at accomplishing this was vastly exaggerated, because not all that many women would volunteer.) I would say that in the 1940s, putting women in combat was practically unthinkable in the United States, unthinkable on moral grounds, not just physical unsuitability. We have slid a long way since then. As for the infiltration of lesbians, the latter would inevitably be disproportionately attracted to such services, at least in peacetime. I am not sure that the “tolerance” afforded to their behavior in the 1940s and 1950s is all that continuous with present-day ideologies on the matter. It seems to be a fact that lesbian behavior has always been more leniently treated than that of male homosexuals, no matter how hostile a society is to homosexual behavior in general. I have seen explanations for this, but none that seem satisfactory.

Posted by: Alan Levine on November 24, 2003 6:14 PM

In the current debate over marriage, the proponents of gay marriage offer a very reductionistic, stripped down version of marriage. Actually, whether they admit it, proponents offer a new insitution of marriage. Noticed all that is lost in this new model of marriage- children, indissolvability and even fidelity. Brooks and the Massachusetts judges both praise homosexual couples for seeking an “exclusive” commitment. Oh well, at least it’s not group sex.

Over all, Brooks engages in a lot of sloppy, silly sentimentalism and deceit. Consider this quote:

“Even in the chores of daily life, married couples find themselves, over the years, coming closer together, fusing into one flesh.”

Excuse me Mr. Brooks, heterosexual couples literally are fused in one flesh, that we even name.

Mr. Brooks also misses the point of conservative arguments against gay marriage.

“Some conservatives may have latched onto biological determinism (men are savages who need women to tame them) as a convenient way to oppose gay marriage.”

This is slightly excusable since he may only read his Stanley Kurtz. I agree. This is a silly argument. Men don’t “need” marriage. However, children need fathers. Mothers need a secure relationship with the father. Of course, Mr. Brooks may also see the needs of procreative sex as another convenient way to oppose gay marriage.

Posted by: TCB on November 25, 2003 1:00 AM

I cannot argue against “gay” “marriage” because argument requires abstractions, and nattering, sophomoric Socratics like Andrew Sullivan will always win an argument about abstractions. But that is the point. Marriage is not an abstraction. It has existed perhaps for tens of thousands of years. Now, hey presto! in a single historical moment, because a few thousand sexual deviants feel their lives are insufficiently celebrated, we are expected to throw the immemorial tradition upon the dung heap, turn society upside down so they can feel even better about themselves. Sometimes I feel that all the elegant arguments adduced by the Stanley Kurtzes and Maggie Gallaghers are just doing Sullivan’s work for him, by keeping the matter at the level of abstraction. But if you can just get away from the abstract and look at the human reality you see in a flash that it is utter madness. Therefore the only way homosexual “marriage” can be successfully opposed is by continually putting it into its true context, which all the desperate gibbering of the Sullivans of the world is intended to obscure.

Posted by: Shrewsbury on November 25, 2003 1:30 PM

I think what Shrewsbury is trying to get at is that homosexual conduct is wrong, period, and therefore homosexual marriage is an abomination. Such an argument never occurs to the social liberals/conservatives like Kurtz and Gallagher, who look at marriage as a social instrumentality, and so make instrumental arguments about the social effects of homosexual marriage. They fail to oppose it on the most basic level of God, nature, and the very structure of human society. But that is true of all mainstream conservatives in their encounter with the cultural left.

Some of the Christian groups are better on this issue, though far from perfect.

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on November 25, 2003 4:29 PM

One tangential note - I think we see why Pinch Sulzburger and his minions have allowed David Brooks onto the reputedly august op-ed page of the Times. He is to serve as a conservative-lite firebreak against actual non-liberal thought. Can’t you see, if Brooks is the Times’s house conservative and you reject *his* ideas as pulingly liberal, why then you must really be some kind of antic zany, light years out in the deep purple of the ideological spectrum.

Posted by: Shrewsbury on November 25, 2003 5:16 PM

Y’know, actually it seems to me that homosexual acts are far less pernicious than the legalization of homosexual “marriage.” Hawthorne writes somewhere that far worse than sin is the attempt to justify sin. Luther wrote, I think, “Sin boldly, but have faith in Christ.” In other words, us humans gotta do what we gotta do, but one thing we don’t gotta do and ought never to do is attempt to enshrine our trangressions, sins, deficiencies, defects, perversities, whatever you want to call them, as a higher and most admirable Good. To me, that’s what’s chiefly disgusting about the homosexual lobby - not the sexual deviance or obsession, icky as it is, but the lies, the endless lies, and the hatred of truth. But then, that seems to be characteristic of every “liberal” organization.

Posted by: Shrewsbury on November 25, 2003 5:30 PM

Yes, what gripes me is their *celebration* of homosexuality, their hatred and mockery of the normal, the decent, the upright.

Posted by: Shrewsbury on November 25, 2003 5:43 PM

Yes, the homosexualization of our once great nation will only empower these degenerates. Soon straight, sane men will suffer “catcalls” and the like from this foul and immoral minority. If a man were to stand up for decency and encourage these homosexuals to return to the black devil from whence they were spawned he might face ostracization or even imprisonment. This thanks to now ubiquitous “hate crime” laws which forbid “harassment” based on sex, race, religion and the like. But, alack one must be a protected “minority” to benefit from these hateful and ill-concieved “laws”. Straight and decent men (women as well I imagine) who are part of the “oppressive majority” will find no such protection from the law when harassed be these degenerates. I submit we are living in troubled times.

Posted by: Doyle Wolfgang Von Frankenstein II on November 25, 2003 6:17 PM

Mr. von Frankenstein’s e-mail address is at English First, the lobbying organization, which is odd enough.

Note also the strange, mocking tone so many homosexualists adopt, as well as the pen names, as we’ve seen here from “von Frankenstein,” “Lord Fluff,” and “SixFootPole.” You get the impression that these are not generally people who believe that something is true and good, and are prepared to to argue for it. Instead, they give the impression of attending a masked ball, dressed in drag, speaking in fake voices.

And how much is the same true of the left generally. It seems so powerful, and it is certainly destructive. But in its essence it is unreal, there’s no there there. Which is also the nature of sin and evil. There is no substance there; there is only the absence and rejection of the good.

And yet this absence of the good, this mere unreality, if it is not stopped has the ability to destroy a civilization.

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on November 25, 2003 6:55 PM

Doyle, I liked the quality better at first. You really can’t compare those “Misfits” guys with the Sex Pistols.

Anyway, here is a great Commentary piece against gay marriage that I ran across recently:

Some might be disappointed not to find gay bashing or “because God said so” inside. Making a case against will require real arguments instead of mocking.

Posted by: Thrasymachus on November 25, 2003 7:11 PM

An acute observation! Nihilism is indeed rampant. You can hear it in people’s voices. Much of this is due to “diversification” and the downfall of religion etc. No more family, no more God. What to do? The Right hopes to backpedal and the Left would fall drunk and transgendered into the abyss.

Posted by: Doyle Wolfgang Von Frankenstein II on November 25, 2003 7:26 PM

My post was in response to Mr. Auster’s comment.

Posted by: Doyle on November 25, 2003 7:28 PM

David Howe, aka “SixFootPole,” persists in trying to post here, though he has been closed out. I told him that if he wanted to participate in a civil discussion on the issues instead of calling the basic principles of this website “intolerant,” I would let him back aboard. He informed me that I am indeed intolerant, and he will continue to try to inform VFR readers of that fact.

I initially had doubts that maybe I had excluded “SixFootPole” a little prematurely, before he had shown himself to be unregenerately hostile. But I turned out to be right. From running a site like this, you start to get a feeling about people, that, for example, a person is not here to participate in good faith a discussion or debate. This is a very small, one-person website, pursuing the issues that are of interest to me. There’s no room or time here for dealing with people who have no respect for what VFR is about, and whose main purpose in posting is to “expose” me as a bad guy.

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on November 25, 2003 7:30 PM

As for Doyle Frankenstein, we’ll let him make a fool of himself with his childish sarcasm—for a while.

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on November 25, 2003 7:32 PM

Much obliged.

Posted by: Doyle Wolfgang Von Frankenstein II on November 25, 2003 7:40 PM

I encourage Mr. Auster to be more quick to ban posters and remove obnoxious posts. No one is owed the right to post here, or even the presumption of innocence.

I agree with the points made by Shrewsbury. The morality of homosexuality isn’t necessarily to the point. Rather, the simple fact that an ancient institution can be thrown away for the whims of a few by a method utterly devoid of popular consent or reasoned debate is what is so frightening. The foot isn’t much better than the meter, nor is July much preferable to Thermidor, but the society in which such settled benchmarks are subject to constant flux is one in which all of our liberties are in danger.

Posted by: Agricola on November 25, 2003 8:27 PM

At root, I oppose homosexuality because the Bible condemns it. But I also expect that this is for a tangible reason as opposed to some arbitrary and meaningless whim.

Certainly the fact that God forbids something ought to be a good enough reason for the created. But it is essential to consider the whys and wherefores, which should, by themselves and apart from Divine revelation, be sufficient to affirm that revelation. So in that sense I agree with Thrasy. The points made by Agricola above are especially cogent.

Posted by: Joel LeFevre on November 25, 2003 9:09 PM

Thanks to Agricola for the encouragement. It’s a difficult line to negotiate. On one hand, I don’t want to seem like some repressive authoritatian figure; on the other hand, as he said, obnoxious behavior simply doesn’t belong here.

Think of this web site as a hall that we had rented for the evening to have a speech (i.e. the opening article in each thread) followed by discussion from the floor. Rules of reasonable politeness, perhaps even parliamentary rules of debate, are maintained. In such a setting, someone who came in with some ridiculously hostile or frivolous comment would obviously be out of place and would be asked to leave.

So I agree with Agricola: If anything, I’ve been too lenient out of a desire not to seem intolerant of opposing views. But the problem is, if the opposing views keep showing up in such hostile and juvenile form as we keep seeing here, it’s hard to extend any respect to them.

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on November 25, 2003 9:20 PM

Expanding on my comment from November 25 at 4:29 PM, the problem is that the neocons don’t believe that homosexual conduct is wrong in itself. They can only evaluate homosexuality in terms of its secondary effects, as part of some social equation. But once you give up the primary conviction of the wrongness of homosexual acts (which is ultimately based on belief in God and what God wants for us), you’ve lost the war.

Once you withdraw disapproval of homosexuality, disapproval is replaced by indifference, which is then replaced by tolerance, which is then followed by acceptance, then recognition, then validation, then affirmation, then celebration.

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on November 26, 2003 11:25 AM

“… then validation, then affirmation, then celebration.”

… and then restrictions placed on the liberty of those holdouts who continue to disagree, which then leads to overt persecution by the state, as we’ve seen already in Canada and elsewhere.

Posted by: Joel LeFevre on November 26, 2003 1:09 PM

Steve Sailer asks (today’s web-log entries, third entry down):

“I suppose I’ve read a gazillion words about gay marriage, but I’ve never seen an answer to this basic question that I think a lot of people have: What do you CALL two guys in a gay marriage? I mean, if two men get married, what is the preacher supposed to say at the end of the ceremony: ‘By the powers vested in me by the State of Massachusetts, I hereby declare you man and husband?’ Or does he say ‘…man and man?’ ‘… husband and husband?’ ‘… husband and wife?’ ‘… wife and wife?’ What?”

Here is my response to Steve:

Dear Steve, as is discussed in this same VFR thread, above, the words bride, groom, husband, and wife are on the way out. Already they are in the process of being replaced in some liberal circles by “partner,” even for married hetero male-female couples referring to themselves, who do not wish to give offense to homosexual “marriage partner” acquaintances by calling themselves terms which the homos can’t call THEMselves. Ultimately the words husband, wife, bride, and groom will be made illegal, as amounting to hate speech, exactly the way it is now illegal hate speech in Canada for a clergyman to denounce or criticize homosexuality from the pulpit, let alone for any private individual to denounce it in the street where he might be overheard by someone, and as an Anglican priest in England was recently subjected to formal police interrogation for saying to his flock that homosexuality was potentially changable by psychotherapy, which qualifies as hate speech over there and is fully actionnable under the law. (In that particular instance it was decided not to prosecute, the police determining through their interrogation of him that he was not an immediate threat to society — but one can guess the stern warning he got, to the effect that next time they wouldn’t be so lenient.) Note also Lawrence Auster’s succinct analysis: ” … [I]f homosexual marriage is accepted, then the words ‘husband’ and ‘wife’ will soon be prohibited, as making a discrimination between a heterosexual married couple and a homosexual married couple. Why should heterosexual couples be privileged by the time-honored titles of ‘husband’ and ‘wife’ when homosexual couples, through no fault of their own, are deprived them?”

Posted by: Unadorned on November 29, 2003 12:36 AM
Post a comment

Email Address:



Remember info?

Email entry

Email this entry to:

Your email address:

Message (optional):