Wednesday, March 27, 2013

One of the stupidest things ever written about gay marriage, by Megan McArdle

By Michael J.W. Stickings

There's a lot to read about the Prop 8 oral argument before the Supreme Court, and this includes a lot of the usual bigotry from the right, but I have a candidate for the stupidest article yet to appear on the matter and it comes from the remarkably stupid Megan McArdle.

In "Why Gay Marriage Will Win, and Sexual Freedom Will Lose" -- yes, that's the real title -- McArdle argues, or whatever the verb is for insane verbal diahrrea, that what we're seeing in the inevitable legal triumph of same-sex marriage is the end of the sexual revolution and libertinism generally and a return to the bourgeois repression of the Victorian era:

That's right, I said it: this is a landmark victory for the forces of staid, bourgeois sexual morality. Once gays can marry, they'll be expected to marry. And to buy sensible, boring cars that are good for car seats. I believe we're witnessing the high water mark for "People should be able to do whatever they want, and it's none of my business." You thought the fifties were conformist? Wait until all those fabulous "confirmed bachelors" and maiden schoolteachers are expected to ditch their cute little one-bedrooms and join the rest of America in whining about crab grass, HOA restrictions, and the outrageous fees that schools want to charge for overnight soccer trips. 

And that's not all:

The neo-Victorian morality will protect who you want to marry -- male or female, or maybe even something in between. But the wider open marriage is, the less necessary it becomes to defend the right to carefree sex -- or children -- outside of marriage. One can imagine a Republican politician fifty years hence ruining his career when he throws over his husband and children for a younger man.

Um, sure, maybe. But what of it? Would that really be a problem?

Actually, McArdle doesn't seem to know what she wants. On the one hand, she longs for "the old marital norms" because she's apparently worried about the children of all those single mothers out there (who, of course, shouldn't get any government help, conservatives and right-wing libertarians like McArdle say), but on the other she seems to think marriage rights should be limited, or just that there shouldn't be so much marriage, so that there can be more "carefree sex," sex for the sake of pleasure, a lot more sleeping around, by which I assume she also means gays fucking each other in bath houses instead of making love in their marital beds in some suburban dystopia, lights off, the dishes put a way, the kids finally in bed, maybe getting off before Colbert is over, maybe not.

I told you it was stupid.

The fight for marriage equality isn't a fight for mandatory marriage, or a fight for repression, it's a fight for liberty, for opportunity, for choice, for happiness. Heterosexuals can get married, but that hardly means there isn't any "carefree sex." And I suspect that a lot of gays will continue to have gay sex even if some of their fellow gays are getting married.

Other than that, though, what's so wrong with the conformism McArdle worries about? There can be a lot of diversity beneath what is really just a facade of conformism, and those who have traded in the libertine lifestyle, or the opportunity for it, for the "bourgeois" lifestyle and its "sensible, boring cars" haven't necessarily given everything up to neo-Victorianism.

I've done the libertine thing, quite a bit of it actually, but you get older, you're more tired, you've had enough of it, so you move on, or broaden out, and that too can be immensely rewarding, as I'm sure McArdle would agree. I now have a sensible job, live in a sensible house, and drive a sensible car. But this is hardly repression. I'm still sexually free even if I've made choices limiting my opportunities for libertinism. And I live and work in Toronto, in a country with marriage equality, and I can tell you that there's a whole lot of "carefree sex" going on, both heterosexual and homosexual, all around me. Yes, you can choose to get married, but you can also choose not to, that's the point. And if it's some NSA fucking you want, well, go for it. It's 2013, and Queen Victoria's been dead for a long time. 

Again, I told you it was stupid. Fucking stupid.

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