Wednesday 28 May 2014

All we demand is your silent, obedient consent

A few years ago, the idea of gay marriage was a bit strange to most people. Unorthodox. Now, not only is it legal in many places in the western world, but has become something of a new orthodoxy. Far too quickly, as Brendan O'Neill puts it very well.

Meet Doll, Kitten and Brynn Young, three women from Massachusetts who have recently married each other as a threesome. God help them - one wife was more than enough for me.  But I'm a cynical bastard.

I notice that their outfits are traditional, at least...

Never mind that polygamous marriages have been forbidden the rest of us for centuries (barring certain communities and cultures). That's not what concerns me here. Neither am I particularly worried about gay marriage either. I do not care who wishes to marry whom. People can have relationships with whoever they choose as far as I'm concerned - as long as all are consenting adults, it's all gravy. The mystery to me is why gay people have wanted government approval for their choice of partner, but each to their own.  And I am certainly not going to pretend that this tripartite tying of the knot (what if one of them wants out - how will the divorce work then?  A Gordian knot is what it'll be) is the herald of a wave of such marriages, because I very much doubt that it is.

What does interest - and concern - me is the reaction to this, and what it portends. Not the false moral panic that the tabloids pedal, but rather the new moral orthodoxy by which any question or hint of criticism of a three-way lesbian marriage will be met with a barrage of fury, accusation or mockery.

You see, ten years ago, gay marriage was the pipe-dream of a very small minority.  The idea of two men or two women marrying each other was...well, slightly preposterous.  Now, of course - in the last year or so - any hint of criticism of the idea is met with the kind of reaction hitherto reserved for the holocaust denier.  And in the YouTube video linked to, we see TJ, 'the Amazing Atheist', rip into those who have a hard time getting to grips with a gay marriage involving not two, but three women.  As though such unions were commonplace and long-established.

And it is this that I take issue with.

You see, changes in societal attitudes happen gradually, over extended periods.  What was unthinkable becomes shocking, then forbidden, then merely outré, then uncommon, then relatively common, get the picture.  This takes time, understandably.  People have to get used to an idea, and have to be able to question it, pull it about a bit, examine it from all sides so that they can decide where to put it, how to fit it into their worldview.  If you are asking people to accept and live with something, you really ought to let them figure out how.  Be patient.  It'll come.

We are, however, seeing an increasing tendency towards social engineering.  The forcing-through of societal 'reform' in a manner that is decidedly out of tune with the usual organic mode of change; the refusal to allow people to question and idea, or offer criticism, or even think about it.  No, unquestioning acceptance is required, immediately.  And if the majority of the population don't like it - well, tough.  You are all bigots and evil; see how we select some of you for public shaming - now get in line, prole scum.

You see, essential to any society is a shared set of values and a commonly acknowledged set of institutions.  If there are no shared values, no agreed institutions, then there is no society.  At all.  There is just a lot of individuals living in physical propinquity to one another, but with nothing else in common.  If the existing values and institutions are destroyed - or at least, changed radically to the point that they no longer resemble their former selves, and so quickly that the populace cannot keep pace with the change (which would effectively their destruction and replacement with something else) - then the society that once upheld those values and institutions no longer exists.

Immigration presented similar challenges to many people; a steady but measured stream of immigrants is something that a people can deal with.  They get to know new people who have arrive from far-flung shores, and understand them.  Acceptance follows understanding - we have seen this with those immigrants who arrived here on the Windrush and in the years that followed.  Acceptance was slow in coming, but it did come.  And once the British population had accepted those immigrants, so it became easier for them to accept other people arriving from India, Pakistan, and many other countries.

However, the progressive left mistook this for, at best an enthusiasm for immigrant communities or, at worst an indifference, which would allow for very large numbers of new people to enter the country in a very short time.  When Labour actively encouraged more then three million people to join the population during their last tenure, they utterly failed to keep in mind that people need to be able to adjust to new circumstances.

Here lies the rub.  We find ourselves in a situation wherein a lot has changed, and very quickly.  Gender (and, if the example set by the three women above does become more common, number of spouses) is no longer relevant in marriage; the demography of the country has changed drastically and rapidly and the arrivals have brought with them their own values and institutions.  Many people have found the communities that they have lived in their entire lives altered almost beyond recognition; political correctness has curtailed drastically how they can express themselves. They are not even allowed to ask questions.

You see, a society is supported by its institutions.  Institutions like marriage, like community values, like language and culture - all of those things.  The institutions might change over time, or be replaced, but it is an organic process that, given time, can happen quite naturally.  The trouble comes when you knock those institutions away, rapidly, forcibly and without offering anything in their stead; when you try to switch common culture for multiculturalism in a very short space of time.  The pillars supporting the society have been knocked away, and the whole thing starts to crumble.  Predictable, isn't it?

Don't get me wrong; I have no wish to sound like some Colonel Blimp bemoaning the loss of Victorian values.  But I do not wish to see the society I live in become morally and intellectually bankrupt.  And that seems to be the way we are going.  And God help anyone who tries to point it out.

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