Hardly a day goes by that someone does not email or telephone me with the news that some allegedly conservative writer has finally endorsed "Gay Marriage." I'd rather not name names, but the most amusing so far has been an online screed declaring Andrew Sullivan the "most important political writer of his generation." All I can say is, "What a generation!"
In my admittedly limited reading of Mr. Sullivan, I have not once come across anything worthy of note. He simply plays the David Brooks game from the other side of the street: Instead of being a nominal conservative who backs the Left, Sullivan is an opportunistic leftist who invokes conservative values. Perhaps there is a word for this type of operator, forever looking for some spot at the center not yet occupied by another mercenary dullard, but when I do I shall be sure to share it.
I only wish that Sullivan or his admirers could find one adequate or even relevant argument in favor of Gay Marriage, but they have not because they cannot. It is a contradiction in terms, and those who seek to defend such an anomaly are, in effect, repudiating 2500 years of rational thought.
In advocating same-sex marriage, the Andrew Sullivan conservatives are also stripping away the last pretense of being conservatives of any kind. They are not even libertarians or libertines. In fact, they are stooges for big government.
Look,even if we set aside all those messy questions of religion, morality, and tradition, the case is clear. The party of the revolution wants to give government the power to say men are women, black is white, up is down, and political liberty is moldy cheese. Real things like mushrooms and marriage are what they are. Names may be merely conventional, but even those names are not imposed by the political hacks we send to Congress or the Supreme Court. We say, by convention and tradition, that the sky is blue, because the colors of the sky fall within a certain range on the spectrum. Yes, some people are color blind or even completely blind, but their visual incapacity does not change the reality of the spectrum any more than a strong anaesthetic can alter the reality of water's boiling point or the damage to human flesh that will occur if you plunge your hand into a pot of boiling water.
It was bad enough when leftists gave government the power to take our money to pay the non-deserving poor, worse when government declared worthless pieces of paper to be legal tender, and far more tyrannical is the wholesale redefinition of human life that is going on in Andrew Sullivan's generation. Unborn babies no longer possess human life, little boys are encouraged to insist they are little girls, and marriage--an institution for the procreation and rearing of grandchildren for the parents of the bride and groom--is now a tax dodge for hedonists.
When I read these people, I think of some lines written by someone who is undoubtedly a hero to the Andrew Sullivan conservative movement.
Skip a life completely
stuff it in a cup
They said, Money is like us in time
it lies, but can't stand up
Down for you is up.
I have never entirely understood what Lou Reed meant by these lines, which he sometimes sang as "You and me are like money in time," but down--and by down I mean lowdown--is definitely up.
Thomas Fleming is the former editor of Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture. He is the author of The Politics of Human Nature, Montenegro: The Divided Land, and The Morality of Everyday Life, named Editors' Choice in philosophy by Booklist in 2005. He is the coauthor of The Conservative Movement and the editor of Immigration and the American Identity. He holds a Ph.D. in classics from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Before joining the Rockford Institute, he taught classics at the University of Miami of Ohio, served as an advisor to the U.S. Department of Education, and was headmaster at the Archibald Rutledge Academy. He has been published in, among others, The Spectator (London), Independent on Sunday (London), Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, USA Today, Chicago Sun-Times, National Review, Classical Journal, Telos, and Modern Age. He and his wife, Gail, have four children and four grandchildren.