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Our Selfies, Our Selves

Updated: Sep 22, 2023

Married folks account for ever smaller numbers of the American demographic, now at 50.3 percent, contrasting with a high of 72.2 percent in 1960. So, according to the most recent Census Bureau figures, singles are on the cusp of being a majority demographic in America. There are a lot of reasons for this, including fallout from the sexual revolution and the breakdown of family.

Of course most single folks are living their lives as best they can, and a large majority of them tell pollsters they want to get married someday. But accompanying the trend is some rhetoric that is hostile to marriage and seems determined to pit singles as a class against marrieds. There is a burgeoning movement, apparently organized by self-appointed social engineers, who claim that any social or tax benefits for marriage are discriminatory against singles. In the end, it all leads to a push to abolish civil marriage. You can read about it in my latest Federalist piece here: “Welcome to Selfie Nation.”

The language of same sex marriage has actually laid the groundwork for abolishing civil marriage. If such a move gained traction, it would be a disaster for family autonomy and privacy and a victory for state power. That would have repercussions for all private relationships because civil marriage allows us to legally bind ourselves to family, whereas abolition of marriage would put us in a state of legal isolation from all others. That would have negative repercussions for all other private relationships. Anyway, I think we should think such things through before the deceptive sloganeering hits us.

Here’s an excerpt:

Abolishing civil marriage would change not only family relationships, but all other relationships across society. This is a far cry from getting the state “out of the marriage business.” It’s more like the state getting you  out of the marriage business. Sure, you and someone else could still get married, at least in your own minds. But you would be completely separate entities as far as the state is concerned. With the death of marriage inevitably comes the death of family. Hence, the most important mediating institution  or buffer zone between encroaching state power and the vulnerable individual—every  individual—would be gone.

This means the state would no longer respect:

  1. your natural right to refuse testimony against your spouse. How could it? You don’t have a “spouse;”

  2. the natural rights of your children to know you, or your right to raise them. After all, there’s really no “legal” family involved without prior state approval; and

  3. any inheritance rights. Why should it? None of you are legally “related.”

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