Blog author: eschansberg
by on Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A staggering piece by Stephen Baskerville in Touchstone…

I’ve written at length that marriage has been damaged much moreso by divorce than by calls for (or movements toward) “same-sex” marriage. Baskerville expands on that and discusses the initial “grand experiment” on marriage– the policies behind the move toward easier divorce.

G. K. Chesterton once observed that the family serves as the principal check on government power, and he suggested that someday the family and the state would confront one another. That day has arrived.

Chesterton was writing about divorce, and despite extensive public attention to almost every other threat to the family, divorce remains the most direct and serious. Michael McManus of Marriage Savers writes that “divorce is a far more grievous blow to marriage than today’s challenge by gays.”

Most Americans would be deeply shocked if they knew what goes on today under the name of divorce. Indeed, many are devastated to discover that they can be forced into divorce by procedures entirely beyond their control. Divorce licenses unprecedented government intrusion into family life, including the power to sunder families, seize children, loot family wealth, and incarcerate parents without trial. Comprised of family courts and vast, federally funded social services bureaucracies that wield what amount to police powers, the divorce machinery has become the most predatory and repressive sector of government ever created in the United States and is today’s greatest threat to constitutional freedom.

Some four decades ago, while few were paying attention, the Western world embarked on the boldest social experiment in its history. With no public discussion of the possible consequences, laws were enacted in virtually every jurisdiction that effectively ended marriage as a legal contract. Today it is not possible to form a binding agreement to create a family. The government can now, at the request of one spouse, simply dissolve a marriage over the objection of the other….

This startling fact has been ignored by politicians, journalists, academics, and even family advocates. “Opposing gay marriage or gays in the military is for Republicans an easy, juicy, risk-free issue,” wrote Gallagher. “The message [is] that at all costs we should keep divorce off the political agenda.” No American politician of national stature has ever challenged involuntary divorce….

For more on this post, click here.


  • http://www.freedompolitics.com/ thinkfree

    Compelling piece at first, but this paragraph is ludicrous:

    *The “deadbeat dad” is another figure largely manufactured by the divorce machinery. He is far less likely to have deliberately abandoned offspring he callously sired than to be an involuntarily divorced father who has been, as attorney Jed Abraham writes in From Courtship to Courtroom, “forced to finance the filching of his own children.”*

    Hey, I’ll grant that the current system of child support is terrible (surprise, it’s a government system), but calling deadbeat dad’s a fiction of the state? Wha?

    My father in law has spent his life working in this system, engaged on a daily basis with just the kinds of deadbeat dads that Baskerville seems to believe exist only in statist imaginations. Clearly, they do exist, and they are just as real and significant to this discussion as the terrible response by government to this problem.

    Passages like this make me unwilling to assume the validity of the rest of Baskerville’s piece.

  • Anthony

    Is there another definition of libertarian I’m unaware of? No libertarians I’m aware of are behind this push for a massive draconian state divorce apparatus. Even those who don’t believe in the sanctity of marriage certainly believe in the sanctity of private contracts!