Sunday, 28 March 2010

Worldly Goods

The marital union of one man and one woman is a public good uniquely and in itself, and the taxation system, among so very many other instruments of public policy, should recognise that fact.

It should recognise marriage as a unique public good, to which civil partnerships are not comparable. And it should recognise marriage as a public good in itself, whether or not there are children, a related but different public good of which other forms of recognition rightly exist.

But will any Party Leader say this, as once they would all have done? What do you think?


  1. No, given the popularity of cohabitation, the annual number of marriages at an historic low and households with a sole member constituting about a third of the total.

  2. Entirely beside the point.

    And, it matters, I write as a single man.

  3. Not at all. Why would all those not married, an increasing number, vote for tax policies which don't favour them? Arguments favouring equality, which appeal to a minority of the affluent, do not apply here.

    It is not rational for politicians to appeal to the obviously declining proportion of the electorate who venerate marriage.

  4. Oh, it's about unprincipled electioneering, is it? Well, you have no shortage of parties or candidates like that.

    In any case, favouring a public good favours society as a whole. But you probably think that there is no such thing. Again, you are far from disenfranchised.

  5. Not quite what the "blessed Margaret" said.

    You don't disagree with anything in the following, but guess who is being quoted:
    "[A civil partnership is] part of the left’s war against marriage and the family. I find it hard to grasp people who are essential conservative with a small c who can’t get the point that most of what’s been done to our society been deliberately done by a hard core Marxist left who have infiltrated their ideas into all aspects of our society."

    This really is "unprincipled electioneering", and from a source which is "unhelpful" to real conservatives, in Peter Hitchens' view. Doubtless because it is his claim too.

  6. I'd have nothing against civil partenerships, if they were not arbitrarily restricted to unrelated same-sex couples. But they are not marriages. They simply aren't.

  7. Do any mainstream political parties recognize such things as public goods anymore? Also, I'm not really sure all of the blame here can be pinned on Marxists, although perhaps much of it can be.

    When all social relations are reduced to business transactions and the utilitarian logic that underpins those transactions, can we be surprised when people treat what would normally be called marital relationships like business arrangements? Just listen to many young adults these days talk about their "love life" and it sounds more like a business plan rather than anything sacred.

    But really, the Marxists and the free-market fundamentalists share a common belief in the rationalization of all of life along economic lines, so the opposition of these philosophies to the institution of marriage is not surprising.

    And yes, I realize that in the past many, many marriages were based on economic factors, but I am not one for always wanting to mimic the past either. As Mr. Lindsay notes, the State has reasons for supporting marriage that go beyond mere economics.

  8. And that is what the other side (as you rightly say, from Left to Right) cannot grasp: that the reasons for the State to do anything might ever go beyond mere economics.