Wednesday, April 30, 2003

NRO on Santorum

The story had died down a bit in blogdom, and then Stanley Kurtz revives the issue on National Review Online, taking on libertarian objections to Santorum's commentary head-on. As The Volokh Conspiracy's Jacob Levy points out, the Kurtz posting is lucidly argued ... but wrong. And then there's this, from Kurtz:

The libertarian asks, Just because two married gay men live next door, is that going to make me leave my wife? In a way, the answer is "Yes." For one thing, as a new generation grows up exposed to gay couples who openly define their marriages in non-monogamous terms, the concept of marriage itself will gradually change. No doubt, movies and television in a post-gay-marriage world will be filled with stories of the "cutting edge" understandings of open marriage being pioneered by the new gay couples, even if the actual number of such married gay couples is relatively small.

That's a pretty lame defense of the strength or resiliency of traditional marriage as an institution. "Will and Grace" reruns trumping thousands of years of human social interactions and experience? The subtext here is that Kurtz must believe it's necessary to have the government wielding a shotgun, as it were, to keep the institution of marriage vital. Lacking such coercion, the practice would wither and die. Anyone who buys Kurtz's argument and claims to have a healthy respect for Hayek (or even Burke, to a lesser degree) has some 'splainin' to do.

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