C. C. Pecknold is an associate professor of theological, social, and political thought at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. The points he makes in the above titled article are above the head of most liberals, and probably also beyond the grasp of most Republicans who, like junior high kids, choose to be moved by the winds of pop culture and the liberal media.
Regarding the arguments against same-sex “marriage,” Pecknold writes:
One crucial argument, however, has been curiously absent. It takes a step back from the question of sexuality and the right to certain benefits under law. One reason why marriage is not mentioned in the Constitution is that the Founders recognized that the institution of marriage was a common good of the society and prior to politics. Put differently: Constitutional silence on marriage indicates a commitment to limited government that has so far eluded our debates about marriage in this country.
Let me explain.
The fundamental distinction on which a commitment to limited government rests is developed in conversation with ancient classical thought. Augustine was probably the first great theorist of “society” as something that is “pre-political” and that finds its most basic unit in the family. But as Thomas Aquinas notes, Aristotle also recognized this. The Philosopher says in the Nichomachean Ethics that man is more inclined to conjugal union than political union. Human beings are “social animals” before they are “political animals.” This provides the West with an anthropology for understanding that future citizens come into the world through the union of a man and a woman and that therefore the state has a stake in recognizing and protecting the institution of marriage. The family belongs to our social nature, and it is how a civil society continues to flourish and self-govern. The political union is subsequent to this prior reality. A properly ordered state will recognize and protect conjugal marriage precisely to the extent that it believes in pre-political limits to the exercise of its power.
This is actually good news for politics. When the state recognizes the nature of marriage as something prior to itself, it secures its own limits. When we acknowledge and recognize that by nature we are both social and political, we suddenly change the nature of politics. Our government no longer is tempted to define the whole of reality.
We urgently need to advance a debate about marriage and the limits of government. Our current judicial regime seeks not to recognize marriage but to redefine it on a political basis. In doing so, our government is claiming for itself a power that our Founders explicitly sought to limit. That’s the debate we are not having. And not having that debate will eventually mean a loss of freedom for everyone.
Read more: National Review
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