There will always be conscience-easing arguments available on such venues as Huffington Post and Salon, and we will continue to find and hold rationalizations that soothe our failures. Arguments in favor of what is easy and simple abound. It’s been noted that modernity dissolves everything. That dissolution often begins with arguments that are relatively simple, relying on logic rather than history.
It’s a familiar pattern. I just finished Levin’s new book on the debate between Burke and Payne about the French Revolution. What struck me most vividly was the relative simplicity of Payne’s arguments–abstract reasoning from initial assumptions. By contrast, Burke was establishing complex balances, arguing for prudence and modesty, given the complexity of human societies. Payne was much easier to understand. He was popular with young people and people who were unhappy and wanted to blame society for their problems.
But it was Burke, of course, whose conclusions proved prophetic–while Payne’s proved to be dramatically wrong. What we got was not a liberal utopia, but a reign of terror. The trouble was that Payne’s simple assumptions about human nature were simply inadequate to the reality, so his logical conclusions drawn from those assumptions differed dramatically from what happened in actual history.
The revolution against traditional marriage will follow a similar course, I expect. The arguments for “marriage equality” are easy to peddle, especially when they are backed by a huge propaganda effort using popular media. The social science–particularly on the effects on children–is already failing to confirm the rosy predictions.
Modernity has dissolved a great many traditional orders, and because of that we are accumulating a vast scientific basis for seeing more clearly the wisdom of many of those orders. Eventually, we will get back on track, with a better understanding. Science and revelation do arrive at the same point, in time.
Unfortunately, the cost of learning by making mistakes is very high.