Things have come to a pretty pass when we look across the Channel and think to yourself, “Mm, those Frenchies are so much better at this.” Yet yesterday afternoon whilst watching our elected representatives in Parliament debate homosexual marriage it had to be admitted that the Frogs are so much better.
Opposition in Parliament and elsewhere is based on the defence of marriage. This fails to acknowledge that we began to sell the pass on marriage fifty years ago back in the sixties. Slice by slice we have reduced its significance until today we have reached the stage where marriage is a minority choice and a conservative Prime Minister refuses to bolster marriage in the tax system.
Totalitarian progressives get their way in part by the use of mawkish sentimentality. Every time they wish to make a dent in society they bring forward an emotional case. Reason plays little part in their advance. Divorce, abortion, homosexual rights, multiculturalism, these have all been advanced on the back of appeals to sentiment. Yesterday Parliament set in train vast social change on the back of sentimental sob stories and spurious appeals to equality and fairness.
The French in their opposition to homosexual marriage have actually thought things through. It is no coincidence that it was a Frenchman, the philosopher, mathematician and first wearer of a wrist watch Blaise Pascal, who said Travaillons donc à bien penser. Voilà le principè de la morale. “Let us labour, therefore, to think well. That is the principle of morality.”
French opposition to the homosexual restructuring of social norms, unlike the British, ranges over the whole of society from ultra Catholics to avant garde socialist head-bangers, Jews and Muslims, dedicated immoralists and Reformed pietists. This is because they have not just reacted emotionally or sentimentally but have thought about the matter and united around the concept that human nature exits and follows laws in its constitution.
What our government is intent on doing is creating a new law of nature. That this has gone unremarked is due to the makeshift nature of the education system in the UK where systematic thought is not encouraged. In today’s UK philosophers are academics who by and large are apologists for progressive power enlargement. Recourse to systematic thought is rare in an intellectually impoverished UK where pandering to homototalitarianism has stifled honest investigation.
Attempting to redefine a triangle as a plane curve everywhere equidistant from a given fixed point, the centre, demonstrates an abysmal ignorance of geometry. To attempt to redefine marriage as the union of two people of the same sex demonstrates abysmal ignorance of moralphilosophy.
The French grounded their protest against homosexual marriage and adoption philosophically, in the constitution and nature of the human person—something even some France’s weirdest leftists publicly acknowledged by participating in the recent mass protest.
In an article in Le Monde in November a group of prominent intellectuals subscribed to a joint statement rejecting homosexual marriage and adoption. Top of the list was Chantal Delsol a member of the Academy of Moral and Political Sciences of the Institut de France. She is also an outspoken advocate of a federal Europe, hardly a knee-jerk right wing position.
In Unlearned Lessons back in 2000 she wrote:
The norms of a given time and place build upon the essential determinative traits of the human condition: by nature man is a sexed being; by culture, he institutes the matriarchal or patriarchal family. Late modernity rejects these various natural and cultural determinations, either because it still clings to the utopian idea that humanity has no inherent shape, or because it rejects previous cultural models because they are all relative.
More recently writing of the domination of emotionalism in politically correct thinking she said:
[O]ur era overflows with treacly sentiment. It is almost as if the feelings that were once associated with a certain type of piety have contaminated the whole population …. Seeking the good while remaining indifferent to the truth gives rise to a morality of sentimentality. Reactive judgment, deprived of thoughtful reflection, engenders fanatical emotion and an absolute priority of feeling over thought. In fact, it is not actually a question of sentiment, since sentiment supposes a historical and rationally consistent background. We are dealing here less with a reaction of the heart than a gut reaction.
Clearly the spirit of Pascal lives on, at least in France. Another prominent philosopher signing the article was Sylviane Agacinski, wife of former socialist Prime Minister Lionel Jospin.
In her latest book she caused a stir by describing “queer theory” as a “false discipline” because it taught that the differences between men and women were merely a form of social construction. For this reason she rejected homosexual marriage and adoption.
Through such argumentation, philosophers from all parts of the political spectrum provided the France-wide protest its conceptual foundation which was accepted by people of every religious and political perspective. Meanwhile in the UK we have mawkish appeals by those who are for homosexual marriage, and fighting on a long lost battleground for those against it.