Marriage In the Age of Usury

After a few hours reflection, I have stronger opinions about domestic partnerships (DP), tempered by the fact that I don’t know the legal specifics.

DP seems to be nothing more or less than enacting in law what marriage is in effect, that is divorced from its integral components.

Marriage is neither unitive nor procreative. It is dissolvable for almost any reason. Contraception has rendered it all but sterile. While married people do have children there is nothing essential about marriage and children.

This is all DPs are. They have nothing to do with children since they are intentionally for essentially infertile groupings of people. They are not unitive because they are neither conjugal nor permanent.

DPs then are in essence a perversion of marriage in its most essential aspects. They are like zombies, that is men ripped of soul and intelligence with an appearance of humanity and life but nonetheless empty husks.

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In Light of the Lawless

I was quite surprised by the unusually poorly argued post by Edward Peters at his blog on canon law. Typically his posts are well thought and thoroughly researched, particularly when it comes to issues specific to canon law. However, the article on domestic partnerships was oddly poorly argued. Let me walk through some of the notable divergences from reason:

To be sure, Catholics can, of course, disagree with my views here (that domestic partnership legislation could be considered), chiefly by arguing that recognition of even domestic partnerships between persons of the same sex has the effect of indirectly encouraging objectively immoral behavior. And they are right. It does.

My question is, so?

A thousand, no, make that a million, things allowed under law have the effect of encouraging immoral behavior. This is so obvious that I don’t think it needs demonstration. (emphasis mine)

I have no strong opinion about domestic partnership as such at the moment, though I’ll get to the prudential aspect later. Here I would note that Peters fails to distinguish between what the law tolerates and what the law enforces. Currently, the law tolerates but does not enforce or protect any number of people shacking up and engaging in whatever private affairs they please. In this sense is how I take Peter’s comment.

Domestic partnerships are not of this sort. They are contracts with particular rights and authority enforced and protected by the state, with a particular emphasis on being a similitude of the authority in marriage without the name. In such, it could be argued the state does not simply allow or tolerate immoral behavior but empowers it and participates in scandal, for starters.

The answer to the “so?” then is, the state may not be “allowing,” but enforcing and protecting or empowering something which is arguably intrinsically disordered and evil, which by its nature would be contrary to the common good.

The real question is, whether the activity allowed under law is itself (a) objectively [read: intrinsically] immoral (which would be a deal-breaker) … The first question here, then, is one of morality and I hold that domestic partnerships are not per se immoral. I need only demonstrate the goodness of one domestic partnership to carry that point and I can think of a dozen. (emphasis mine)

This comment is deeply problematic. The question is whether domestic partnerships are immoral per se and this goes to the nature of domestic partnerships. The fact that Peters knows of domestic partnerships that are “good” in some vague sense proves nothing. The goodness of bombing Nagasaki can be demonstrated. The goodness of abortion can be demonstrate. The goodness of robbery, adultery, sodomy and any intrinsically evil act can be demonstrated in some sense. However, this referenced good is always accidental. We are talking about the goodness of the thing itself, that is per se, intrinsically, by its very nature. No number of good-ish examples can suffice to prove that something is not in itself evil.

Without quoting the several paragraphs regarding St. Thomas More, the situation is manifestly different. By affirming King Henry’s heirs, St. Thomas is not empowering Henry’s adultery nor encouraging it. He is recognizing the authoritative act to name the heirs of the king by an authority to which he is subject.

Finally, a few thoughts further. I suspect domestic partnerships are intrinsically immoral and thus not open to debate. They are by their very nature ordered to the intimacy and authority of marriage and family life, while being explicitly being open to dissolution, independent if they are for some grouping of men, women or a mix. They appear to be by their very nature a perversion and profanation of marriage.

As a matter of prudence, I think that given the historical facts and progressive agenda of liberalism, it is absurd and evil to approve of domestic partnerships. Historically, they were a stepping stone toward “gay marriage” Domestic partnerships were the “What could it hurt?” stage, after which the “Separate but Equal!” brigade came out in full force, insisting exactly as intended that they were the same except in name and only the Low Man cared about the difference in name since everyone already accepted the essence of the program.

 

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Suffer or Die

There is nothing lacking in the crucifixion of Christ considered in itself for his sacrifice was lacking in nothing and contained no defect being an infinite incomparable offering to God the Father.

Therefore, when Paul teaches that he makes up for what is lack in the Cross of Christ, he speaks in some qualified sense. Christ’s Cross is absolutely sufficient in every manner, but it is presented to men not as dominating the will but as demanding submission. The suffering that Paul embraces is nothing other than submission to the Cross of Christ, making present in his flesh that perfect sacrifice through submission to Divine Providence.

Suffering not only brings the will into submission of the reason through ridding itself of disordered affections, but in a greater way makes present through and by the Cross of Christ his sufferings and the salvation that he has won for us.

The rule of the eschaton is to suffer like Christ and so imitate his perfect submission and love of the Father or die eternally.

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Price vs. Value

Here:

But another reason [gold’s price has risen] is that people simply believe in gold. In the end, the price of an asset is what people believe it’s worth.

Per the Philosopher, price (i.e. the measure of something in money) is a measure of human desire or need. In that sense, price, prescinding from other considerations, is a subjective measure. Now human desire is typically grounded at least in some objective facts about the thing desired producing the actual desire. The objective properties of a thing give rise to its value to men either intrinsically or extrinsically.

What the author above asserts is that the price of gold is really unfounded in anything objective. Its price is really driven by the collective belief that gold really is valuable or rather that it has a high price because men agree that it should have a high price.

That this does not in any way give the author pause or worry is worth noting.

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Liberalism Succinctly

A very succinct explanation of the incoherence of liberalism from Zippy:

Everyone with political views at all is an authoritarian, that is, tough on the things that they consider to be substantively heinous and despicable. But liberalisms are sociopathically authoritarian, authoritarianism operating under the delusion of being anti-authoritarian. “Authentic” freedom means putting the right sort of people in prison, expelling the right sort of people from polite society, and destroying the livelihoods of the right sort of people.

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Fundamentalism: A Definition

Fundamentalism: that religious looking thing over there that I dislike and wish to discredit without trying too hard

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Flaccid Authority – Update

Here, the author defends government ordering Society as a civil authority. His talking about the Pre-Fall State seems at first a matter of rhetoric but by the end makes clear he really believes in government as impotent or evil.

Nonetheless this frame for government obscures the fact that civil authority is not necessarily tied to coercive power. Even in postlapsarian society much of what government does is untied to its coercive power, and simply structures how individuals of good will interact in economics, politics, and society. While I would concede that “government coercion is a necessary evil” in a fallen world, the stress is on the coercion. Government itself is a necessary good, whether in a fallen or unfallen world. (emphasis mine)

My comments:

I think Rogers unfortunately undermines himself in the final paragraph stating: “While I would concede that “government coercion is a necessary evil” in a fallen world, the stress is on the coercion.” If the government’s effecting the proper ordering of society in a fallen world is grounded in evil, then government’s authority is either flaccid (without coercion) or evil (with coercion). It would have been better to stay the course in acknowledging that the abuse of coercion is evil.

Let me put it into my own abstract terms. Coercion denotes a certain sort of violence. Violence is a motion against the natural motion of an object. So, moving an object up is an act of violence since heavy objects tend to natural go towards the center of the earth. In the case of coercion, we are talking about violence against the will of a person, that is the natural tending of a person to a certain end or goal. For example, a father coercing his son to brush his teeth or eat his broccoli is an act of violence against the will of the child which is ordered to avoiding those ends. Though this is contrary to the end the child wills, the coercive act is not evil in itself since the will of the child is disordered and the act of violence brings the child into proper order of the health of his body.

While we want to avoid the caricature of government as an overbearing paternal figure, there is an analogy between a father authoritatively determining the right ordering of a family and the government authoritatively determining and enforcing the right ordering of a society. The act of coercive force by the government when it is ordered to the proper ordering of society is in fact a good act and abuse of that authority arises, similarly with a father, when that act is not ordered as such, e.g. in the case of cronyism.

If the purpose of the state is to establish some order in Society this necessarily implies coercion even in a prelapsarian state for state must actually be able to effect that order even if it is never challenged. The authority to make use of coercive acts is intrinsically linked to and necessitated by the authority to establish some order in society.

The example of the will does not disprove this. In writing a will, one is seeking legal sanction and protection of a certain distribution of goods, which is ensured by the state’s authority and coercive acts of violated. That it is uneffected is a further defended by coercive acts of the state if that distribution is attempted contrary to the one actually effected. Contract and property law do order some out interactions but there is always the implicit use of force to ensure valid contracts are followed and property authority is not violated.

Authority to coerce isn’t a necessary evil but an implicit part of the authority to properly order society. If we accept the authority to order society as a good, which it is given human nature qua Social animal, then the authority to coerce is good as well, even if it’s abuse is possible or even likely.

Update:

Violence is always an evil in itself so coercion is an evil considered absolutely. However, it is good with respect to a disordered will as violence against a body is evil in itself or absolutely but good in some respect, for example removing a tumor or a C-section.

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