07 November 2012

Saffron and Zebediah on the Nature of Marriage

[N.B. Saffron and Zebediah are both wholly fictional personages, who had this conversation in a non-real gchat setting.]


Zebediah: ok
 Saffron: back to the original topic
 Zebediah: yep
  ok so here we go
  let's say we've got these two people
10:54 PM and they're like "oh gee whiz let's make babies"
  well if they do that, then out of justice to (1) the woman and (2) the child, they need to make a pact that they're going to stick around and help and support one another
10:55 PM but if they make the pact with the condition thrown in "if I get sick of you I'm out of here", then it's not really any good as a pact
  because "getting sick of you" could happen any day
  so it's really got to be for life for it to work out right
10:56 PM no-fault divorce is an injustice, chiefly to women and children
  because it creates a norm in which people aren't making that kind of pact that's going to keep safe and do justice to their partners and kids
  this is how marriage comes to be
  it's indissoluble
  because it needs to be
10:57 PM it's oriented toward procreation
  because that's why it came into being in the first place
  marriage is just that thing
10:58 PM make sense?
 Saffron: i have 19 minutes of battery life, so can i tackle a side route and come back to this tomorrow?
 Zebediah: yep
 Saffron: ok, so what about state benefits of marriage?
  things like health care and hospital visitation rights etc.
10:59 PM surely part of marriage is care not only for children but for each other, and mutual care is not something we want to inhibit even if we don't want to sanctify it
 Zebediah: absolutely
  so, lets say you have two old widows who live together and care for an orphan
  one of them gets sick and is put in the hospital
11:00 PM should her friend the other widow be able to visit?
  yes
  obviously
  are they in a friendship that's deep and very close?
  yes absolutely, maybe closer than many spouses
  do they care for the child?
  yep
  but they care for the child not out of teh demands of justice but out of charity
11:01 PM it was someone else's responsiblity to raise that child
  but these women are kind and giving and they have poured themselves freely into the task
  ok
  now state benefits
  why should the state give benefits to married people?
11:02 PM first, as an incentive for citizens to marry, because children are good for society
  second, as a recognition of the labor and service and difficulties the parents encounter while rearing children
11:03 PM should the state not give benefits to our old widows? I don't see why. The state funds orphanages and foster homes. Inasmuch as they're doing a good service to that young man it should be condoned and encouraged
  but should it give them benefits as two old ladies living together who love each other deeply and take care of each other?
  I don't see why.
11:04 PM why not give benefits to every pair of friends or chance lovers
  you see? it doesn't really have the same kick to it
  give them what's proper as regards their state, but don't pretend that they're married and gneerating kids for the commnity
11:05 PM because they're not
  it would be silly to pretend tha they are
 Saffron: wait so you are pro or anti them having the state benefits of marriage (visitation rights, they can be on each others health insurance, etc)?
11:06 PM Zebediah: I'm pro visitation rights
  and pro whatever's actually fair and necessary for their state of life
  but I don't think beyond what's fair and necessary they should be given extra incentives the way married people are
11:07 PM Saffron: what are other incentives for marriage?
 Zebediah: tax breaks, presumably
  but see
 Saffron: that's only for children. even married couples w/out kids don't get those
 Zebediah: oh ok
 Saffron: and unmarried couples with kids do
 Zebediah: see another thing
  the state can incentivize whatever it wants
  if it wants to give a billion dollars to people who eat 20 dumdums a month, that's grea
  t
11:08 PM I don't care
  but if it said "people who eat 20 dumdums a month are going to now qualify for all our anti-poverty support and food stamps and be officially designated "impoverished"" I would say
  that's totally ridiculous
11:09 PM Saffron: i guess i just don't see why it's ok for the state to go about certifying marriages that aren't really marriages and that it could have no way of knowing whether they are marriages or not, and then at the same time saying that it can't certify other marriages just because they're a different kind of invalid
11:10 PM Zebediah: I agree with you all the way
11:11 PM but if someone you know makes one mistake, should you say "oh, well I guess you already made a mistake so you should just complete give up on the matter and say whatever"
11:12 PM Saffron: i mean, why not have it just be civil unions then? in that case there's no confusion about whether or not a government marriage is really a marriage? there's no intention, no religion, no God involved, just a contractual relationship.between two people that bring benefits so long as the relationship endures
 Zebediah: If someone mistakes a fox for a kind of dog, is it okay for them to start calling elephants dogs too?
 Saffron: *brings
 me: sure civil unions all the way
11:13 PM as far as this issue goes
  but once we clear up the marriage thing
  we move into another thing, which is to what extent sodomy is something the state should be condoning
11:14 PM Saffron: ahhhhh so this is the real problem for you?
 Zebediah: no
  it's a totally distinct problem, actually
 Saffron: but it is A real problem for you
 me: yes
  but with marriage you cna just argue from what marriage obviously is
  with this one you're really arguing about the proper exercise of sexual faculties
11:15 PM which is obviously a much broader question
  and this one is less about justice and more about temperance