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Definitions of Marriage

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  • #16
    Originally posted by Outis View Post
    We need to dissect this paragraph first.

    You just invalidated as "marriage" any union of two adults that are known in advance to not be fertile, who have decided to have no children for whatever reason, including health concerns or simply a desire to be child-free. To borrow your analogy used later, these are "copper" marriages, regardless of the genders of the participants.

    You also just invalidated several marriages that you probably consider historical: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, and Solomon.

    More to the point, you're begging the question on one particular issue: teleologically, polyandry and polygyny are identical to the scenario you posted above, with the exception of the "one man and one woman." You have NOT excluded these, nor do you give any rationale as to why a monogamous marriage should be included in your proposed teleology, yet polyandry and polygyny should not.
    If I know my anthropology (which, as a student of political science and theology, I may not), polyandry is most common in societies where women hold greater socioeconomic power, and polygyny is more common in patriarchal societies. I am not aware of societies in which both forms of polygamy existed contemporaneously. I would suggest that, in a sexually egalitarian society (that is, one in which men and women hold more or less equal power, or at least equal dignity), monogamy should be the norm.
    Don't call it a comeback. It's a riposte.

    Comment


    • #17
      Originally posted by Outis View Post
      That's a question I have. Where does the assumption come from that marriage only serves a very particular purpose? To the best of my understanding, marriage can serve all, or some, of several specific purposes. Why the restriction to one purpose?

      And if that's not your intent, a clarification here would be welcome.
      Permanence and sexual complementarity, on their own, can lead to various kinds of personal or social benefits, but when taken as a package deal, as in marriage, the whole is a bit more than the sum of its parts.
      Don't call it a comeback. It's a riposte.

      Comment


      • #18
        Originally posted by Spartacus View Post
        If I know my anthropology (which, as a student of political science and theology, I may not), polyandry is most common in societies where women hold greater socioeconomic power
        That's one option. The other options where it occurs are where resources (usually land) are scarce, and polyandry is used to to allow inheritance without land fragmentation.

        and polygyny is more common in patriarchal societies. I am not aware of societies in which both forms of polygamy existed contemporaneously.
        There are a few areas in northern India where you have polygynandry, but to the best of my understanding this is mainly to reduce land fragmentation, is done selectively, and is planned so as to never result in a multi-husband multi-wife family. I don't have detailed knowledge of the practice, nor do I know if it is still practiced.

        I would suggest that, in a sexually egalitarian society (that is, one in which men and women hold more or less equal power, or at least equal dignity), monogamy should be the norm.
        I would certainly agree that, even if SCOTUS rules in the direction I hope, heterosexual monogamy (technically, a form of serial monogamy due to the prevalence of divorce and remarriage) will still be the norm. It will simply not be the sole option.

        But proceed, as time permits.

        Comment


        • #19
          Originally posted by Spartacus View Post
          I think I lean toward the latter in my personal inclinations: as you can probably tell from my posts, I have no argument against acknowledging the value of other relationships, but I think there is an argument to be made that a very particular kind of relationship has a very particular value. Saying that marriage as I have defined it has a particular value is not to say that other relationships have none.

          If there is a zero-sum debate to be had, it is to be found in what I outlined as the first question for debate in the previous thread: is my definition internally coherent and rational? If, as you and Lao suggested in the previous thread, my argument cannot stand without religion as a crutch, then all policy discussion is moot. If you'd be more comfortable in a zero-sum debate, I'd suggest honing in on that question.
          I would actually be more comfortable in a plus-sum discussion, with the understanding that _if your position is religiously founded_, I do not consider it to be "incoherent" or "irrational." (Personally, I would be perfectly comfortable discarding the term "irrational" from the discussion.)

          Comment


          • #20
            i am interested in this tread.

            Comment


            • #21
              Marriage is the most universally and intuitively understood unit of social organization in the world, and the most reliable way for men and women to both gain knowledge and maturity in life and raise children (though husbands and wives in mere companionate marriages tend to be much less mature than those with children, as the experience of raising them is a test of every one of your social skills and personal leadership. The social gap between a couple who raised children for 20 years and a couple who remained childless for the period is wide indeed.)

              Broadly speaking, maternal instinct is most important for the first ten years or so of a child's life, while the paternal instinct grows and takes over importance from the tweens to twenties, as kids have to learn basic skills and social organization. Most divorces are generally initiated by the wife after the second kid is had but before the first is growed(the mentality being "I am the mostest importantest person in this kid's life ever and deserve better,) most child pregnancies/crime/deviancy/rebellion happens in single mother households after the kids reach their teen years, for lack of any paternal investment or even example.

              99% of all 'alternative' marriages forget this, and take only the childless marriages as rough models. This is why they don't really seem to understand marriage as such, as they're ignoring the parts of marriage that survived the tests of time precisely because they could get men and women to give up their own selfish desires for the sake of their future, and the future of their household. Nobody builds a town, church, or other serious organization on childless couples, much less on dead-eyed gay hedonism, ugly lesbian cattiness, or the other 'alternative' options that almost always tend to parody but never quite implement the standard model, because both parties are lying to themselves, each other, and society about what they really want.

              Discussions about the redefinition of marriage have the distinctive smell of social breakdown in ages of luxury, and are almost invariably an upper-class concern, whereas the lower classes are generally more interested in how to actually make their marriages work.

              Comment


              • #22
                Originally posted by Spartacus View Post
                You're right that this is too strong a dichotomy, and I think I addressed this in subsequent posts in the other thread. Marriage, as a sub-set of committed relationships between adults, serves a very particular purpose, and one of the questions that this discussion ultimately needs to answer is whether man-woman marriage is sufficiently distinct from other variations on the theme to warrant particular legal recognition and protection.
                OK; one of the preliminary questions, then, is going to be whether marriage serves "a very particular" purpose, as you write above or whether marriage serves a number of distinct purposes. If the latter, we have to determine whether or not those distinct purposes are sufficient conditions to warrant the term "marriage" or whether we need a compilation of two or more purposes to obtain sufficiency.

                Originally posted by Spartacus View Post
                And that is not to say that other adult relationships do not warrant other kinds of protections: our society faces what I would consider unprecedented centralization of power in both government and corporations, and it is in society's interests to draw individuals together against the ever-increasing power of the government-corporate complex: human flourishing consists of so much more than protection from criminals and access to material goods, and the federal government and corporations are pretty powerless to provide these human goods. If nothing else, it behooves us to strengthen the social safety net at the grassroots level, and there is so much more to building a strong society than just having strong marriages. How exactly we can best promote various types of socially valuable relationships is, in my mind, an open question.
                Sure — and at this point, I think we'd be getting into semantics. We're going to be looking to conserve the family and marital structures that have added social cohesion over time while allowing for the kind of progressive changes to those structures that have made them stronger, more equitable, secure, etc. I think, at that point, we're talking about marriage, regardless of the terms used.


                Originally posted by Spartacus View Post
                The building in question is not a particular family, but society in general, which needs voluntary and gratuitous relationships between adults in any case, but which also relies on a very particular sub-set of these relationships to fulfill a certain set of functions. I have nothing against same-sex couples raising children who are in need of a loving home, but a relationship between a man and a woman is capable not only of raising children, but of creating them, as well.
                For clarity, I'm going to drop the analogy at this point. If our main concern is societal well-being, I think we have sufficient evidence to show that same-sex marriages don't deteriorate society in any sense that would affect our pluralistic societal policy. It can, of course, be claimed that civil legitimization of same-sex marriage makes for a deterioration of society among certain religious mindsets . . . but without showing material or demonstrable social harm that's probably a dead-end street.

                If we're primarily concerned about the continued fertility rate, I can't imagine that society at large is in significant danger of same-sex marriage being a significant contributing force. At this point, people who identify as LGBT are probably less likely to enter into "token" marriages anyhow . . . but I think the effect on fertility rates would be minimal, no matter what. And we certainly promote children through various deductions, credits, and laws that exist as a supplement to what we might call "mere marriage."


                Originally posted by Spartacus View Post
                Thank you for your input. Am I correct in assuming that you are the artist formerly known as Angsar_Seraph?
                Yeup. And like the artist formerly known as Prince, I'm pretty sure my input will be greatly reduced from past peaks. Good to talk with you again, though!

                —Sam
                "I wonder about the trees. / Why do we wish to bear / Forever the noise of these / More than another noise / So close to our dwelling place?" — Robert Frost, "The Sound of Trees"

                Comment


                • #23
                  Originally posted by Epoetker View Post
                  Marriage is the most universally and intuitively understood unit of social organization in the world, and the most reliable way for men and women to both gain knowledge and maturity in life and raise children (though husbands and wives in mere companionate marriages tend to be much less mature than those with children, as the experience of raising them is a test of every one of your social skills and personal leadership. The social gap between a couple who raised children for 20 years and a couple who remained childless for the period is wide indeed.)

                  Broadly speaking, maternal instinct is most important for the first ten years or so of a child's life, while the paternal instinct grows and takes over importance from the tweens to twenties, as kids have to learn basic skills and social organization. Most divorces are generally initiated by the wife after the second kid is had but before the first is growed(the mentality being "I am the mostest importantest person in this kid's life ever and deserve better,) most child pregnancies/crime/deviancy/rebellion happens in single mother households after the kids reach their teen years, for lack of any paternal investment or even example.

                  99% of all 'alternative' marriages forget this, and take only the childless marriages as rough models. This is why they don't really seem to understand marriage as such, as they're ignoring the parts of marriage that survived the tests of time precisely because they could get men and women to give up their own selfish desires for the sake of their future, and the future of their household. Nobody builds a town, church, or other serious organization on childless couples, much less on dead-eyed gay hedonism, ugly lesbian cattiness, or the other 'alternative' options that almost always tend to parody but never quite implement the standard model, because both parties are lying to themselves, each other, and society about what they really want.

                  Discussions about the redefinition of marriage have the distinctive smell of social breakdown in ages of luxury, and are almost invariably an upper-class concern, whereas the lower classes are generally more interested in how to actually make their marriages work.
                  For once I am in near absolute agreement with Epo, though I would have worded it slightly differently.

                  This is the type of argument that can and can only take place in a dying culture.
                  The State. Ideas so good they have to be mandatory.

                  sigpic

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Originally posted by Spartacus View Post
                    I was asked to re-post my definition, so I did

                    That said, having the chance to hammer out the difficulties in the argument in a more formal setting is a good thing. With that in mind, I'm probably going to be more deliberate about responding in this thread from this point on. My schedule and temperament may not always permit careful posts, but I hope it will be fairly obvious when I've put careful thought into a post and when I've just spouted off some useless witticism.
                    Great. Start by adjusting your definition in such a way that it does not invalidate childless marriages, intentional or otherwise. As it stands, your internal consistency is lacking.
                    I'm not here anymore.

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      Originally posted by Outis View Post
                      We need to dissect this paragraph first.

                      You just invalidated as "marriage" any union of two adults that are known in advance to not be fertile, who have decided to have no children for whatever reason, including health concerns or simply a desire to be child-free.
                      But discovering those decisions would necessitate an invasion of privacy, whether medical or psychological, and the SCOTUS has already declared that such invasions of privacy are not warranted, and are also insufficient grounds to either invalidate heterosexual marriage or validate homosexual marriage (see Zablocki and Griswold decisions)
                      Last edited by Bill the Cat; 02-17-2014, 09:41 AM.
                      That's what
                      - She

                      Without a clear-cut definition of sin, morality becomes a mere argument over the best way to train animals
                      - Manya the Holy Szin (The Quintara Marathon)

                      I may not be as old as dirt, but me and dirt are starting to have an awful lot in common
                      - Stephen R. Donaldson

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Originally posted by Bill the Cat View Post
                        But discovering those decisions would necessitate an invasion of privacy, whether medical or psychological, and the SCOTUS has already declared that such invasions of privacy are not warranted, and are also insufficient grounds to either invalidate heterosexual marriage or validate homosexual marriage (see Zablocki and Griswold decisions)
                        Privacy is not the sole reason for refusing to discriminate against childless couples, Bill.

                        I just realized I had never gone back to your analysis of the cases I mentioned in the other thread. I need to do that, provided I have the concentration to do so.

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          Originally posted by Outis View Post
                          Privacy is not the sole reason for refusing to discriminate against childless couples, Bill.
                          As I said, it is the reason given by the SCOTUS in Zablocki and Griswold for not including the medically incapable or the personally unwilling as separate categories to invalidate the heterosexual marriage/procreation comingling in law.

                          I just realized I had never gone back to your analysis of the cases I mentioned in the other thread. I need to do that, provided I have the concentration to do so.
                          Take your time. In the next few days, I will probably be MIA anyway.
                          That's what
                          - She

                          Without a clear-cut definition of sin, morality becomes a mere argument over the best way to train animals
                          - Manya the Holy Szin (The Quintara Marathon)

                          I may not be as old as dirt, but me and dirt are starting to have an awful lot in common
                          - Stephen R. Donaldson

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            Originally posted by Bill the Cat View Post
                            As I said, it is the reason given by the SCOTUS in Zablocki and Griswold for not including the medically incapable or the personally unwilling as separate categories to invalidate the heterosexual marriage/procreation comingling in law.
                            I confess to finding this line of thinking incomprehensible. It's desired to say that marriage focuses on children, but for other reasons we're not going to actually ask if you're going to have children. That's a mechanism that seems doomed to fail.
                            I'm not here anymore.

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              Originally posted by Bill the Cat View Post
                              As I said, it is the reason given by the SCOTUS in Zablocki and Griswold for not including the medically incapable or the personally unwilling as separate categories to invalidate the heterosexual marriage/procreation comingling in law.
                              It is the only reason explicitly stated. Does that mean it's the only reason that exists?

                              Take your time. In the next few days, I will probably be MIA anyway.
                              Have fun, and I'll look for you on your return. :)

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                Originally posted by Dee Dee Warren View Post
                                For once I am in near absolute agreement with Epo, though I would have worded it slightly differently.

                                This is the type of argument that can and can only take place in a dying culture.
                                Technically, it was more 'too many words to describe why marriage was and is considered sacramental rather than contractural.'

                                Comment

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