In his column today, First Things editor R.R. Reno discusses the concepts of freedom and discipline. And why same-sex marriage is intimately tied to both.
...it’s very palpable here in New York and entirely accepted and affirmed by the well-educated twenty-somethings who flock here—it’s not surprising that we see people cherishing compensatory freedoms. The hard-working twenty-somethings have tattoos, dye their hair weird colors, and want to organize their intimate lives without rigid limits and invasive rules.
Redefining marriage becomes an obvious imperative, but not because of abstract claims about equality. It’s a powerful institution that disciplines us, not only sexually, but in many other intimate ways as well. Today many, perhaps most, want this power to serve our freedom. Thus our new cultural ideal, which is by no means limited to gays and lesbians: marriage is the creation of the love of individuals, not an institution with rigid roles and rules.
Same-sex marriage, gay adoption, sexual freedom? We’re under tremendous pressure to affirm these goals because the top level of society is turning in on itself. As is always the case when society isn’t facing external threats or internal chaos, the powerful seek greater freedom, because they’re the ones in the best position to take advantage of it.
True, the Left wants a finely woven safety net for those who use their freedoms unwisely, while the Right tends to go the other direction, arguing that people need to suffer the consequences of their choices so that they’ll make better choices in the future. But the political and policy differences operate mostly on the surface. At a deeper level our leadership class is consolidating around a generally libertarian outlook that accepts and affirms ways in which the authority of the marketplace and its ministering disciplines have superseded the older authorities.
Same sex marriage is the issue today because our culture is now dominated by people for whom freedom is (conveniently for them) the solution to most problems. People don’t have jobs? Answer: more freedom. Terrorists want to kill us? Answer: more freedom. People are unhappy in their intimate lives? Answer: more freedom.
Read the full article over at First Things.