William F. Buckley interviews Hayek on gay marriage. Well maybe not, directly … but I saw this video a short time after reading National Review’s managing editor Jason Lee Steorts’ allegedly conservative case for gay marriage, “An Equal Chance At Love.”
There are many things about this essay that demonstrate what is wrong with the way we think about marriage in America today, but none jumped out at me more than this, what Steorts considered an innocuous statement: “Instead we created an institution that of necessity was overbroad for its purpose — and so we ought now to make it fairly overbroad.”
Viewing marriage as something created by the legislature for the purpose of … licensing the human desire for warmth and intimacy and commitment in erotic relationships is something only a decadent marriage culture could do. It is a prime reason that growing support for gay marriage goes hand in hand with generalized sexual liberalism: growing support for sex and babies outside of marriage, for divorce, for same-sex relations, and even for polygamy. (Only adultery and abortion so far resist the moral un-clumping).
A social institution powerful enough to channel Eros would not be viewed as the plaything of legislatures enacted to express our aspirations for something none of us will ever have in the natural world, and no legislature can grant: “an equal chance at love.”
W.F.B., Jr.: “You wrote a very famous essay on the intellectuals and socialism … to show why socialism is so nubile for the intellectuals. What is that thesis of yours and do you still defend it?”
Hayek: “Certainly, yes. It is a very interesting story, intellectually. One of the dominant ideas which governs thinking since the 18th century is the idea that we can make everything to our pleasure; that we can design social institutions in their working. Now, that is basically mistaken. Social institutions have never been designed and do much more than we know. They have grown up by selection of the successful, without people frequently knowing why it is successful. . . .”
Maggie Gallagher is a senior fellow at American Principles in Action.