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Sunday, April 22, 2018

My Last Will and Testament: Family and Friends

During the entire course of I and my Ex Spouse's lives together before this hated Divorce you may have had affection for me as a certain type of man, but upon closer examination of what I have said and done you formulated a hypothesis that I was something quite different. It was that or else I had changed in some unacceptable and offensive way and you now hold the theory that is what I am at my core. What you saw growing into a stalwart tree on a hill when struck by lightning was revealed to be rotten in its middle. Maybe your assessment is the correct one. Rottenness was not something that "happened to me" but was the consequences clearly stated that like wise King Solomon I have collected from all around 300 wives and 700 concubines of all religions and faiths and now in my later years their individual and collective tears have eroded my heart of stone to acquiesce to their pressured and manipulative need to corrupt the true God's place of worship with their pillars and poles, pagan idols and revolting practices. Maybe I considered it "open minded interfaith:" A form of enlightened ecumenicism. There is, of course, no such thing. It is corruption; rottenness to the bones.

You accept the premise if I gave you a cold clear glass of fresh water to drink but warned of it being poisoned by one drop of a lethal substance you would certainly not drink it although by far most of it is pure. And rightfully you would question my intent in serving you with such a deadly substance.

Does the fact I warned you of the poisonous content first change my motive? Yes, because trusting in our friendship or familial relationship you would never dream I would serve such a beverage to you. The trust was well founded because, unlike an intentional manslayer, I in fact did warn you of death.

The question remains open to answer why such contradictory gestures were performed: First, offering a clear cold and apparently pure glass of refreshing water and, second, informing you it would kill you without fail. What if there were no such poison in the glass? Your trust in me is yet challenged.

This convoluted thread of reasoning has the intent of illustrating what I have published here of my own originality or Copied and Pasted from other diverse sources is poisoned from Day One with a breaking and broken heart. Since the action of breaking my heart is complete or perfected I would be willing to Delete it ALL right now and consign my volumes of Journals to be consumed in a book burning because my purpose in recording my words, thoughts, feelings and actions is completed. I fully realize to Delete it is an illusion. It is simply placed out of sight but never out of mind. That is Mankind created computers, the Internet and all its associated connections on the Web with the great capacity to remember, index and access by Boolean Search ALL it was digitally fed. Yes, there really is a backdoor to everything because the Government and Commerce freely let themselves in all the time, and if by chance their is no backdoor they make one, subsequently walking in uninvited, yes, an unexpected pleasure indeed. The Department of Justice. You don't say. Well, don't just stand there. Come on in, I'll put a pot of coffee on, but I regret your Agents surrounding the place are numerous and my humble abode is small and my resources austere. I cannot even offer a place to sit down.

Accused and Slandered by vile charges I will not soil your mind with now, not one of these charges stands, and those of a minor nature I openly confess have been dealt with properly, in a timely manner and rebuked and sanctioned to the appropriate degree. In the secular Judicial Courts I remain a Person of Interest until such time Evidence materializes justifying closer examination, but in the Ecclesiastical Courts and Court of Public Opinion I am more, or less, depending upon where you sit or stand, Guilty until proven otherwise. Still, it all remains hidden in plain sight. Dial in my Address and offer Feedback of any kind whether good, bad or ugly. I have thin skinned sensitivity but I would rather endure a pummeling by family and friends, warranted or not, than this smouldering eternal fire burning the eyes and throat. I will not defend the indefensible. If I have sinned grievously your righteous indignation against it is completely understandable. If it is Slander stirred up by a formerly intimate acquaintance and you hold it to be as stated and share in her wish that I snuff it, you take a stand with a sworn enemy of my own house. If I ever again have such a house. These are women and being thoroughly acquainted with women, by their own admission, they will never be satisfied and move on regardless of the evidence. They will forever, until death us do part, believe what they wish. Opinion changed against her will, she is of the same opinion still.

I am the white male.

The School of Life; The Book of Life - How to lengthen your Life

Chapter 4: self: Mood

How to lengthen your Life

The normal way we set about trying to extend our lives is by striving to add more years to them – usually by eating more couscous and broccoli, going to bed early and running in the rain. But this approach may turn out to be quixotic, not only because Death can’t reliably be warded off with kale, but at a deeper level, because the best way to lengthen a life is not by attempting to stick more years on to its tail.

One of the most basic facts about time is that, even though we insist on measuring it as if it were an objective unit, it doesn’t, in all conditions, feel as if it were moving at the same pace. Five minutes can feel like an hour; ten hours can feel like five minutes. A decade may pass like two years; two years may acquire the weight of half a century. And so on.

Image result for nicholas nixon brown sisters
In other words, our subjective experience of time bears precious little relation to the way we like to measure it on a clock. Time moves more or less slowly according to the vagaries of the human mind: It may fly or it may drag. It may evaporate into airy nothing or achieve enduring density.
If the goal is to have a longer life, whatever the dieticians may urge, it seems like the priority should not be to add raw increments of time but to ensure that whatever years remain feel appropriately substantial. The aim should be to densify time rather than to try to extract one or two more years from the fickle grip of Death.
Why then does time have such different speeds, moving at certain points bewilderingly fast, at others with intricate moderation? The clue is to be found in childhood. The first ten years almost invariably feel longer than any other decade we have on earth. The teens are a little faster but still crawl. Yet by our 40s, time will have started to trot; and by our 60s, it will be unfolding at a bewildering gallop.
The Brown Sisters, 1975, gelatin-silver contact print
The difference in pace is not mysterious: it has to do with novelty. The more our days are filled with new, unpredictable and challenging experiences, the longer they will feel. And, conversely, the more one day is exactly like another, the faster it will pass by in an evanescent blur. Childhood ends up feeling so long because it is the cauldron of novelty; because its most ordinary days are packed with extraordinary discoveries and sensations: These can be as apparently minor yet as significant as the first time we explore the zip on a cardigan or hold our nose under water, the first time we look at the sun through the cotton of a beach towel or dig our fingers into the putty holding a window in its frame. Dense as it is with stimuli, the first decade might as well be a thousand years long.
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By middle age, things can be counted upon to have grown a lot more familiar. We may have flown around the world a few times. We no longer get excited by the idea of eating a pineapple, owning a car or flipping a light switch. We know about relationships, earning money and telling others what do. And as a result, time runs away from us without mercy.
One solution often suggested at this point is that we should put all our efforts into discovering fresh sources of novelty. We can’t just continue to live our small predictable and therefore ‘swift’ lives in a single narrow domain; we need to become explorers and adventurers. We must go to Machu Picchu or Angkor Wat, Astana or Montevideo, we need to find a way to swim with dolphins or order a thirteen course meal at a world-famous restaurant in downtown Lima. That will finally slow down the cruel gallop of time.
But this is to labour under an unfair, expensive and ultimately impractical notion of novelty. We may by middle age certainly have seen a great many things in our neighborhoods, but we are – fortunately for us – unlikely to have properly noticed most of them. We have probably taken a few cursory glances at the miracles of existence that lie at hand and assumed, quite unjustly, that we know all there is to know about them. We’ve imagined we understand the city we live in, the people we interact with and, more or less, the point of it all.
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But of course we have barely scratched the surface. We have grown bored of a world we haven’t begun to study properly. And that, among other things, is why time is racing by.
The pioneers at making life feel longer in the way that counts are not dieticians, but artists. At its best, art is a tool that reminds us of how little we have fathomed and noticed. It re-introduces us to ordinary things and reopens our eyes to a latent beauty and interest in precisely those areas we had ceased to bother with. It helps us to recover some of the manic sensitivity we had as newborns. Here is Cezanne, looking closely at apples, as if he had never seen one before and nudging us to do likewise:
Image result for Cezanne apples
Here is Van Gogh, mesmerised by some oranges:
Image result for van gogh oranges
Here is Albrecht Durer, looking – as only children usually do – very closely at a clod of earth:
Image result for durer clod of earth
We don’t need to make art in order to learn the most valuable lesson of artists, which is about noticing properly, living with our eyes open – and thereby, along the way, savouring time. Without any intention to create something that could be put in a gallery, we could – as part of a goal of living more deliberately – take a walk in an unfamiliar part of town, ask an old friend about a side of their life we’d never dared to probe at, lie on our back in the garden and look up at the stars or hold our partner in a way we never tried before. It takes a rabid lack of imagination to think we have to go to Machu Picchu to find something new.
In Fyodor Dostoevsky’s novel The Idiot, a prisoner has suddenly been condemned to death and been told he has only a few minutes left to live. ‘What if I were not to die!,’ he exclaims. ‘What if life were given back to me – what infinity!… I’d turn a whole minute into an age…’ Faced with losing his life, the poor wretch recognises that every minute could be turned into aeons of time, with sufficient imagination and appreciation.
It is sensible enough to try to live longer lives. But we are working with a false notion of what long really means. We might live to be a thousand years old and still complain that it had all rushed by too fast. We should be aiming to lead lives that feel long because we have managed to imbue them with the right sort of open-hearted appreciation and unsnobbish receptivity, the kind that five year old's know naturally how to bring to bear. We need to pause and look at each other's faces, study the evening sky, wonder at the eddies and colours of the river and dare to ask the kind of questions that open our souls. We don’t need to add years; we need to densify the time we have left by ensuring that every day is lived consciously – and we can do this via a manoeuvre as simple as it is momentous: by starting to notice all that we have as yet only seen.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Camille Paglia and Christina Hoff Sommers

"Now What Do We Do?" ~ Anonymous

Camille Paglia and Christina Hoff Sommers Discuss 3rd Wave Feminism

Something discovered by Mitch Santell
Make yourself a fresh cup of coffee or herb tea! This dialogue between Camille Paglia and Christina Hoff Sommers is profound and thought-provoking! OMG, is America now the new Rome?
Check out this clip, I have deep respect for both of these feminists as I was raised by a 1st wave feminist, my Mom!
Can we admit the truth? In the grand scheme of things, sexual relations between men and women has never been worse.  
Guess who is now in the closet? Heterosexual men and God forbid any of us straight guys to have the nerve to flirt with a woman!

Although 97% of the population is not gay, there is relatively little cultural support for heterosexual institutions (family, motherhood, fatherhood); roles (masculinity and femininity); and life events (courtship, marriage, birth and child rearing.)
Although building a strong family is probably the purpose of life and key to happiness for most, this knowledge is kept under wraps. Millions of dollars are spent to make women find careers but not a dime to become mothers. On the contrary, women who devote their lives to family are criticized.
If you search “heterosexual” in Google, you will get 16 million citations. Search “homosexual” and you get more than 20 million citations, pretty good for 3% of the population. (“Lesbian” got 10 million.)
Per capita “homosexual” received 100 times the citations “heterosexual” got. “Homosexuality” (10.7 million citations) got roughly 11 times the citations of “heterosexuality” (990,000.) Per capita, homosexuality got 3500 times more citations than “heterosexuality.”
The fact that the word “heterosexuality” is in rare use is a shocking illustration of the cultural vacuum the non-gay majority inhabits. Our majority “default” status doesn’t explain it. In terms of cultural support, non-gays are being starved or as I will suggest later, poisoned.
Another example. There are 21 times as many used books listed with the Advanced Booksellers Exchange under the keyword “homosexuality” as “heterosexuality” (24233 to 1154). Per cap this means there are 6750 references to homosexuality for every one to heterosexuality .
More here:
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Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Aeon - Against Marriage: An Egalitarian Defence of the Marriage-Free State (Published in Association with Oxford University Press)

Against marriage

Marriage is what happens when the state gets involved in endorsing and regulating personal relationships. It's a bad idea

Civic bliss: a marriage ceremony in a French town hall. Photo by Godong/Getty
Clare Chambers
is a senior lecturer of philosophy and fellow of Jesus College at the University of Cambridge. Her latest book is2017). Against Marriage: An Egalitarian Defence of the Marriage-Free State (

Published in association with Oxford University Press
an Aeon Partner
3,300 words
Edited by Nigel Warburton

What distinguishes marriage from other relationships? It is not set apart by its durability: unmarried partnerships can be more permanent than married ones. Children are not the sole preserve of marital relationships: in most liberal democratic states, it is just as common for children to be born to unmarried parents as to married ones. Unmarried partners cohabit and are financially dependent. They celebrate anniversaries and exchange tokens of love. Unmarried partners make commitments. 
So marriage is not singled out by commitment, or permanence, or children, or love. It is also not distinguished by religion: some marriages are religious; but many aren’t. The real distinction between marriage and unmarried partnership is the role of the state. Marriage is a form of relationship recognised and regulated by the state.
When the state recognises marriage, it does three things: it defines, it endorses, and it regulates.
First, state-recognised marriage means that the state defines marriage and controls access to it. In a marriage regime, the state dictates who may marry. It determines whether marriage must be between a man and a woman, or whether same-sex marriage is allowed. It determines how many people can be married to each other. It determines whether and when divorce and remarriage are available. In a marriage regime, the state may also place religious or racial restrictions on marriage.
In making these regulations, the state determines the meaning of marriage. Is it an institution for loving couples or an instrument of religious and cultural kinship? Does it institutionalise traditional religious values, or can it encompass diversity? State recognition of marriage directly and inevitably engages the state in making complex and controversial statements about value and meaning, statements that promote some ways of life and family forms, and demote others.
Second, when the state recognises marriage, it provides public and official endorsement of the state of being married. A marriage regime includes a state-sanctioned marriage ceremony, with officials and celebrants. Obtaining a state-recognised marriage is not like obtaining a driving licence or completing a tax return: it involves a solemnified and lauded ritual in which the state is intimately involved. And so, when the state recognises marriage, it declares that marriages are special.
The third aspect of state-recognised marriage is regulation: the state provides a married couple with legal rights and duties. Unmarried people have legal rights and duties too. But state-recognised marriage involves giving married people a bundle of rights and duties concerning many areas of life. These may include financial support, parental responsibility, inheritance, taxation, migration and next-of-kinship: crucial areas of life that affect everyone, married or not.
Many of the most important rights and duties given to married people pertain to separation. Perhaps the strongest justification of state-recognised marriage is that it gives legal protection to the more vulnerable member of a divorcing couple, usually a woman. Marriage enables wives to focus on caring and domestic work at the expense of their careers, while retaining a legal entitlement to the income and assets of the family. In a marriage regime, this legal protection is often not granted to equally vulnerable members of unmarried couples. For example, in England and Wales, most people believe that there is such a thing as common-law marriage, giving unmarried cohabitants the protections of marriage. But they are wrong: common-law marriage has no legal status in England or Wales. Unmarried women who devote themselves to childcare and housework have no automatic financial rights over any family income or assets that are in their partner’s name, no matter how long-standing and marriage-like their relationship is, and this puts them in a position of serious vulnerability.
In a marriage regime, the legal rights and duties that are given to married people are given to them just because they are married, and not because they are engaging in relationship practices that create vulnerability or are unique to marriage.
Historically, marriage has been a deeply unequal institution. Each of the three aspects of state recognition have been used in ways that instigate and perpetuate a variety of hierarchies, most consistently based on gender but also on race, religion, sexuality and class.
Access to marriage has generally been limited to couples consisting of one man and one woman. Some countries have restricted access to marriage to people from certain racial or religious groups. For example, many US states had anti-miscegenation laws preventing interracial marriage, until such laws were found to be unconstitutional in the 1967 Supreme Court case Loving v Virginia.
Access controls reflect sexist, heterosexist, racist and generally inegalitarian interpretations of the meaning of marriage, with the result that the honorific aspect of marriage is also applied unequally. Only some people are granted state sanctification for their relationship, and this unequal approval has been used to devastating effect, with unmarried couples and their children subject to stigma and discrimination.
The legal rights and duties of marriage have also been profoundly gender-unequal in many countries. English law recognised the possibility of marital rape only in 1991; before then, husbands coercing their wives into sex had committed no crime. Married women in various times and places have had no legal rights to their own children, no rights to own property independently of their husbands, no rights to resist marital violence, no rights to divorce.
J S Mill described marriage as ‘the primitive state of slavery lasting on’
Parents may be permitted to authorise their children’s marriage, which typically means forcing young girls to marry older men and thus to submit to sexual abuse and rape. Child marriage of this sort happens not only in parts of the world where arranged marriage is common, such as India, Africa and the Middle East, but also in countries where the dominant form of marriage is romantic. For example, children as young as 10 have been married in the United States in recent years, under laws that allow children to be married if they have parental consent, or a judge’s approval, or are pregnant – even if they are under the age of sexual consent and therefore are pregnant as the result of statutory rape.
It is no surprise, then, that feminists have been objecting to marriage for centuries. In 1869, John Stuart Mill in The Subjection of Women described the legal institution of marriage as ‘the primitive state of slavery lasting on’. For the anarchist Emma Goldman writing in 1910, marriage was an insurance policy that a woman ‘pays for with her name, her privacy, her self-respect, her very life’, one that ‘condemns her to life-long dependency, to parasitism, to complete uselessness, individual as well as social’. In The Feminine Mystique (1963), Betty Friedan wrote about marriage as the cause of ‘the problem that has no name’ – the stultifying dependence of the white middle-class American housewife. Shulamith Firestone declared in The Dialectic of Sex (1970) that ‘love, perhaps even more than childbearing, is the pivot of women’s oppression today’. In Sexual Politics (1972), Kate Millett concluded: ‘Patriarchy’s chief institution is the family.’
These feminist critiques have particular force in times and places where women are legally subordinated in marriage. But many states (though by no means all) have reformed their marriage laws so that they are gender-equal. It is possible to have an egalitarian marriage regime, one in which wives are not legally inferior to husbands. So feminist critiques of marriage might seem anachronistic.
Yet removing misogyny from law is not the same as removing it from culture. For example, in England and Wales the marriage certificate asks for the names of the marrying couple’s fathers but not their mothers. This sexist hangover is particularly galling on Prince Charles’s marriage certificate, which lists his father’s name and rank (His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh) and not his mother’s (Her Majesty The Queen)! It is still the man who is expected to propose and present the ring, the woman who is expected to slim and present the dress; the man who is expected to earn the money, the woman who is expected to care for children; the man who is expected to enjoy his bachelorhood, the woman who is expected to dread her spinsterdom. In 1998, the fictional heroine Bridget Jones noted that unmarried women in their 30s are ‘accustomed to disappointing their parents and being treated as freaks by society’. Sociological research shows continuing associations between marriage and gender inequality: married women do more housework than both married men and unmarried women; married women are unhappier than married men; marriage renders women more vulnerable to some sorts of domestic violence. Marriage remains a powerful pull towards patriarchy.
In recent years, the tide has turned away from the feminist critique of marriage. In progressive circles, marriage has become fashionable again as the movement to recognise same-sex marriage has gained popular and legal support in a great many countries including the UK, the US, the Netherlands, Belgium, the Nordic countries, Spain, France, Ireland, Canada and Australia. Recognition of same-sex marriage is often referred to as ‘marriage equality’. And so same-sex marriage repeats the question of whether marriage can be equal, and how.
Rectifying the heterosexism of traditional marriage via the recognition of same-sex marriage has been a vital political advance. It both indicates and promotes increasing acceptance of lesbians and gays in the heterosexual mainstream. And granting same-sex couples the legal rights and duties of marriage goes some way towards rectifying the injustices that those couples have suffered, such as being denied recognition and protection when facing end-of-life decisions, or being unable to secure access to their children, or being refused permission to immigrate to remain together. If the state recognises different-sex marriage, then it is indeed an act of equality to include same-sex couples.
However, ‘marriage equality’ is not the same thing as ‘equality’. All state-recognised marriage, however reformed or constructed, is unequal – including reforms such as civil partnerships. Civil partnership is a significant improvement on marriage, because it signifies a decisive symbolic break from the sexist and heterosexist history of marriage. But even civil partnership, along with all state-recognised marriage, elevates marital or partnered relationships above other forms of relationships, family forms or ways of life; and all state-recognised marriage or partnership grants legal rights and duties to married or civil-partnered people that it denies to similarly situated people whose relationship lacks the relevant legal status.
It is no longer apt to regulate relationships on the assumption of marriage
State-recognised marriage means treating married couples differently from unmarried couples in stable, permanent, monogamous sexual relationships. It means treating people in sexual relationships differently from those in non-sexual or caring relationships. It means treating those in couples differently from those who are single or polyamorous. It expresses the official view that sexual partnership is both the ultimate goal and the assumed norm. It expresses the assumption that central relationship practices – parenting, cohabitation, financial dependence, migration, care, next-of-kinship, inheritance, sex – are bundled together into one dominant relationship. And so it denies people rights that they need in relation to one practice unless they also engage in all the others and sanctify that arrangement via the state.
State recognition of marriage is thus discriminatory against the unmarried. It is also anachronistic. While some people do bundle together their relationship practices into one marital relationship, most people (including married people) live more diversified lives. We typically juggle blended families, care for elderly relatives, face family separation by migration, and manage multiple financial dependencies. It is no longer apt to regulate relationships on the assumption of marriage.
State-recognised marriage thus cannot be justified on the grounds of ease or simplicity. Basing regulation on the marital norm leaves many vulnerable people and relationships unprotected. And so the state recognition of marriage can be justified only by claiming that marriage is uniquely valuable; but this, too, fails to treat unmarried people equally. Elevating marriage as the relationship form of unique value denies respect and recognition to the unmarried, whether single or partnered, and contributes towards the stigmatisation of unmarried people (particularly women) and their children.
We critics of state-recognised marriage face the task of identifying what should replace it. One popular alternative is based on contract.
From the 1980s onwards, various feminist theorists such as Marjorie Maguire Shultz, Lenore Weitzman and Martha Fineman advocated the use of relationship contracts to replace marriage. The idea is that contracts enable each couple to come to an agreement that matches their own unique circumstances and preferences. Contracts allow for equality since any people (and not just two) can contract together, regardless of sex, race or religion, and since partners can draw up contracts that reflect egalitarian commitments. Relationship contracts thus circumvent inegalitarian access to marriage and inegalitarian law within marriage.
Contracts also seem to promote liberty. Bespoke relationship contracts need not follow social norms or precedent. The parties to the relationship can enshrine any rules they like in their contract. They can contract for sexual fidelity or polyamory, for a traditional gendered division of labour or full equality, for permanence or a finite commitment. Relationship contracts can be drawn up to determine where the parties will live, whose career will take precedence when, who will perform which household tasks. Relationship contracts escape the one-size-fits-all model of marriage and allow for true freedom and diversity.
However, the apparent appeal of relationship contracts is undermined once we remember, yet again, the role of the state. When relationship contracts are proposed as alternatives to marriage, and not just as tools for open discussion within a couple about their hopes and plans, they must function legally. In other words, if relationship contracts are to replace marriage as the method for legally regulating personal relationships, they must be enforceable. And the enforcement of relationship contracts is normatively problematic.
The first problem is that, while relationship contracts can be drawn up in an egalitarian way, they can also reflect inequality and dominance. Unequal bargaining power, accompanied with cultural, religious and gendered norms about marital behaviour, can result in couples coming to profoundly unequal ‘agreements’. It would be deeply unjust if the state were to step in and enforce a contract that stipulated, for example, that the woman should perform all the housework and childcare as well as working outside the home, or one that stipulated that the husband should control all the money however earned and deny his wife adequate resources or financial independence. Such arrangements might be common in many existing marriages, but under a marriage regime they are (no longer) legally enforceable. But if such arrangements were contractual, the state would have to play a direct role in enforcing inequality.
The state uses the married couple as the default and leaves the unmarried as an afterthought
Second, the more esoteric aspects of relationship contracts are rarely suitable for state enforcement. Advocates of contracts imagine a variety of potential clauses: those ensuring fidelity, or instructing partners to take turns to move house to further each other’s career. How could such clauses be enforced? Under a liberal marriage regime, if the terms of a marriage are violated, then the only legal remedy offered is divorce. If the same were true of relationship contracts, they become largely meaningless as contracts: they simply state aspirations that may be broken without penalty. On the other hand, if a relationship contract is enforceable, then nightmarish scenarios arise. Imagine a world in which the state could force you to uproot your life, leave your job, leave your house, abandon relatives and friends and community and schools, and move cross-country to further your partner’s career. Or imagine a situation in which a stay-at-home housewife and mother has an affair after years of unhappiness, and is then required by the courts to pay a large sum of money to her wealthier partner as punishment for her sexual misdemeanour.
Contracts were advocated because they allow for bespoke and intimate agreements, but once we consider the reality of state enforcement of those clauses we move away from liberal utopia and towards totalitarian nightmare.
It is not part of my argument that the state should keep out of personal relationships altogether. There are various aspects of relationships that need regulation. The state needs to determine who owns what, who is responsible for children, and who is someone’s next of kin. And it needs measures to protect people made vulnerable by relationship practices such as financial dependence and care work, by relationship pathologies such as domestic violence, rape and abuse, and by life events such as migration and illness. In a marriage regime, the state must deal with such matters for everyone, not just those who are married. In some areas, marriage makes no legal difference, but in others the state uses the married couple as the default and leaves the unmarried as an afterthought. For example, in England and Wales, only married couples have protections from financial vulnerability on separation, exemptions from inheritance tax, and preferential treatment when migrating.
Rather than regulating via marriage, the state should regulate relationship practices. Relationship practices need regulation when they require legal determinacy or cause vulnerability. In these cases, the state should design maximally just regulation and then apply it to everyone who engages in that relationship practice. In other words, people engaging in relationship practices would not opt in to a special relationship status giving them rights and duties; they would have those rights and duties automatically, by virtue of their practices.
There are many different ways of regulating relationships, some more just than others. It is not part of my argument to settle the question of the content of relationship regulation. Even in a marriage regime, there is significant disagreement as to the rights and duties that should accompany practices such as cohabitation, migration and parenthood. My argument is simply that the state should design its regulations on the basis of relationship practices rather than status, and that it should then apply that regulation to everyone engaged in the relevant status.
To see the form of regulation I am proposing, without being distracted with dilemmas about the content of public policy, consider the following thought experiment:
What do you think is the ideal, just way of regulating unmarried people now, in a marriage regime? What laws should apply to unmarried parents, or unmarried cohabitants, or unmarried migrants, or unmarried property-owners?
However you answer these questions, it should follow that in your ideal version of the marriage-free state, the laws that you think should apply to the unmarried in a marriage regime would be applied to everyone. If you think justice requires wages for housework, then everyone who does housework should get wages. If you think justice requires exemptions from inheritance tax for those who share their primary residence, then everyone who shares their primary residence should have that exemption.
If you think that justice requires treating married people differently from unmarried people, ask yourself what it is about marriage, specifically, that justifies that difference? What relationship practice is being protected or respected? In every case, that relationship practice will be found in unmarried relationships, too. In a diverse, liberal society, one that respects the autonomy and equality of its citizens, there are no grounds for the state to recognise one specific family form above others.
The marriage-free state does not rule out weddings, or celebrations, or commitment, or stability, or family. It does not rule out love. But it does rule out the idea that these values are the preserve of one particular relationship format, and it does rule out the state elevating that relationship format above others. If the state recognises marriage, it discriminates against those who do not participate in it, and contributes towards inequality. The marriage-free state treats people and families equally.
Against Marriage: An Egalitarian Defence of the Marriage-Free State by Clare Chambers is out now through Oxford University Press.