Why Ireland Got It Right
By a convincing margin, Ireland has voted by popular referendum to legalize same-sex marriage. Catholic Ireland, renown for being one of the most socially conservative countries in Europe. I realize I may be a minority on the reactionary Old Right for expressing this opinion, but all I can say to them is “Bravo!”. This is truly an excellent day.
Firstly, I can say it is absolutely refreshing to see an issue like this resolved in the right way, via a vote by the people. Too often issues such as this have been fobbed off to the courts, which I have serious disagreements with. I happen to hold that in a democracy laws come from the people, not a collection of appointed legal academics. If we’re going to let the power to make laws rest in the arbitrary will of a few individuals, then we might as well ditch this whole democracy experiment and hand power back to the king and aristocracy (not saying that would necessarily be a bad thing, just saying….*nudge* *nudge* *wink* *wink*). Ireland at least had the spine to take the question directly to the people and let them decide it. It is resolve that I wish we would see more often these days on such questions of social matters and morality.
But more importantly, and I say this as a reactionary traditionalist of the finest quality, I argue that the outcome itself is a positive step for society, not just the way by which it was reached. Far from somehow being a threat to the institution of marriage, as is often argued by some of my fellows on the right, extending it to the gay community can only strengthen it.
Homosexuality is something I have evolved on over the years. As a teenager I was a bit homophobic, not in a Westborough Baptist sense, but in the way a lot of small town, teenage boys are. No one was openly “out” at my high school. A popular expression for something stupid or lame was “that’s so gay”. If you wanted to take a dig at another bloke, you’d imply that he might enjoy the time he spent in the locker-room a little too much. To be fair to myself, it wasn’t so much that I disliked gays (I didn’t know any gays for one) as I disliked this abstract, artificial idea of what gay people were like that I gleaned from television and pop culture: the idea that a gay person was automatically effeminate and hedonistic, slept around a lot and probably did tons of party drugs.
It was an idea that I learned had no actually place in reality as I grew older. I went to university and for the first time in my life I encountered people from the gay community. I met effeminate gays and manly gays, flamboyant gays and reserved gays, gays who tried to sleep with everything that moved and gays that were in committed relationships. It sounds like a pretty obvious revelation when I write it down, the realisation that gay people were all just individuals like me and came in all types, but it’s remarkable how many bleeding obvious revelations happen to a person as they grow older and wiser. I realized that what I disliked about gays had nothing to do with homosexuality at all, but rather what I disliked was rather a hedonistic, eat-drink-and-be-merry-for-tomorrow-we-die mentality that prized soulless self-gratification over morality, commitment and self-worth. A mentality, I’ll add, I found equally repugnant among straight people.
Which is why gay marriage, rather than being something we on the Old Right should fight, is something we should advocate. Rather than getting hung up on the appearance of marriage, we should remind ourselves of its essence. At its core, marriage is good for society. It creates families, which in turn creates order, stability and structure. Family is ultimately civilization in miniature, based on authority, hierarchy, as well as mutual support for one another and a sense of community. Marriage also creates obligations which are the death of pointless agitation. Married people with three kids in university and a joint RRSP don’t go out and riot in the streets when the G7 comes to town, they’re too busy with adult responsibilities. To be single, on the other hand, is to be in a state of extended adolescence, and all rebellions are inherently adolescent in nature.
So rather than seeking to deny this to a whole segment of society, we who call ourselves conservatives should encourage it. Nothing would make me happier if every gay and lesbian in this country got married, adopted a few children and took out a mortgage, for marriage should be encouraged for all. Elevating family and parenthood as the ultimate achievement to all people, gay or straight, does not weaken society but rather strengthens it, and undermines the moral nihilism that is the centerpiece of progressive modernity.
So as a Catholic, conservative reactionary wing-bat, I celebrate the news coming out of Ireland today. It is a victory, not for our fine plebs of progressive relativism, but for family and monogamy. Traditions can and must be changed, and this is not a bad thing so long as the foundation of what those traditions are is preserved. The foundation of marriage is mutual love, mutual commitment and mutual respect between two people who wish to share their lives together and create a family together, and allowing people of the same gender to enter into such a union does absolutely nothing to threaten that.