Scott Yenor on "The Family: What Is to Be Done?"


Over at Public Discourse, "Scott Yenor presents the conclusion of his argument on the family, on recovering the language of self-giving":

Marital love implies dependence on another instead of autonomy, and it shows that certain goods (sex and procreation, love and marriage, marriage and parenthood) are connected. We must recover the language of self-giving. The second in a two-part series.

We have seen how the logic of contract and the movement to conquer nature have resulted in a triumph of autonomy and the demise of family. The family thus stands in need of a defense. Defense of the family means defense of an institution, and that defense requires some defense of the nature that these institutions react to and reflect. This is where contemporary advocates have focused their attention. Both the modern principles--the principle of contract and the move to conquer nature--are partial truths, and it is best to understand how they each fit into a proper understanding of married life.

We can see the partial truth of these principles by seeing how today's defenders of marriage and family life appeal to anatomy, on the one hand, and love, on the other hand. The defense of marriage and family life in the name of love must ultimately supplement the defense in the name of anatomy.