My thoughtful and intelligent cousin Geoff took me to task for calling the Church of Rome the world’s most ancient institution. He said that marriage is older; and he is right.
Here is my reply to him. I’ll make it blue – additional remarks will be in red.
[BTW, when I use the phrase, “May his sins be forgiven,” I usually do so with respect to fellow Christians, who understand it to be merely benevolence, not criticism. Geoff isn’t. But, I sincerely hope his sins are forgiven, as much as I hope he receives credit for his charity work and for being a top person.]
Geoff, Perhaps I should have said "organisation". Yes, marriage is very venerable; but it exists in many forms, including polygamy and polyandry.
I am, you will not be surprised to hear, very disquieted by proposals to extend the definition of the word "marriage" to same-sex unions. I fear we are in for a period of semantic confusion. My first instinct has been to revive the term "matrimony" - not presumably applicable to a union between two men. Gabriel and Carrie would be entitled to it. Christians could say, "What we used to call 'marriage' we will now call 'holy matrimony'".
The terms "husband" and "wife" will be similarly confusing. Will both the men in a same-sex "marriage" be husbands? One classic example of "contradiction in terms (oxymoron)" has been "married bachelor". Are we going to have "male wife"? The more I think about the subject the more disquieted I get.
[BTW, did you know that among some American Indians a chap could have a wife and be a "wife" to another chap?]
Perhaps my tactic for dealing with your comment should have been to wait a couple of years and say, "No, coz, "marriage" is a very new-fangled thing."
The worst word I can think of to describe the modernisers’ proposal is “impertinence”. That must sting! Leave my language alone! Trembling, they must be.
The famous AK 47 has a recent successor, the AK 12. Got to get me one of those.
George Orwell wrote a seminal essay: Politics & the English Language. It’s not particularly germane to this topic; but, you need to read it. F**ing with the language is a tactic of the bad buys. F**ing with the institutions is another. Antonio Gramsci was a very bad guy, and very smart. Saul Alinsky is another very bad guy with similarly brilliant tactics.
Gramsci, Alinsky and I live in the same world. It is baffling that their solutions could be so diametrically opposed to mine – really baffling. This is not an argument – but how can it be? Is it the shape of our brains which makes take such opposite positions? My (probably inadequate) explanation is that they are not grown-up. They started with the infantile position: wouldn’t it be nice if..? Yeah, but that’s not the way the world works. If only Marx had grown up. He was pretty bright: interesting but stupid! What was that programme that gave us Goldie Hawn? Alhamdulillah!
Geoff thinks I should address this issue in the light of Milliband’s admission that the Labour party got it wrong. All our political parties have been getting it wrong about immigration for generations. To question mass immigration has been verboten by the political class. To do so was tantamount to racism. All that the mainstream parties succeeded in doing was to let the BNP drive the conversation – brilliant! Yer average Brit of my age asks a question: Has virtually unrestricted immigration been a net good or a net bad? shall we weigh Chicken Tikka Massala against 7/7? It’s a fair question.
We have benefitted hugely from immigration – we may, indeed depend on immigrants and their descendents to pay for the pensions of the likes of me.
What seems to me to be indisputable is that Gordon Brown was cynical in the extreme in encouraging immigration. He may well have lost the election by sneering at a characteristic Labour voter. He was wicked and corrupt in expanding the state sector. Both phenomena increased his power base. His father was a Presbyterian minister, so is mine.
What did Geoff mean by “immigration”? I love the immigration of hard working and creative people from whatever quarter. Some of them are helping to keep me alive? They may be pink, blue or striped, for all I care. When they live off the British state and work for the imposition of Shariah law, I got my doubts.