There is a libertarian fantasy that we should get the government out of marriage. Sure, you could get government out of marriage, but the State gets enormously larger as you do. You don’t end up with a small government utopia. You end up with the nanny state on steroids. That is because of what marriage is designed to do, what marriage must do.
Marriage attaches a father to his children and his child’s mother. The “stateless marriage” doesn’t assume that parents are responsible. It assumes the state is there to become responsible for children. If marriage doesn’t provide for and protect children and mothers, then the state steps in to take over. Many libertarians thought otherwise.
Sorry, sister, but marriage isn’t about you and the big “I’m queen for a day” party. The white dress is only costuming. If you don’t attach fathers to children and their mother, then children suffer. Societies that fail their children go away. You don’t have to crack open a dusty text book to figure that out.
We have countries like Japan and Russia going away before our eyes because their people don’t want to get married and raise a family. Instead of going onto the trash heap of history, the state steps in to raise the next generation of illegitimate citizens. In the US, we introduced unilateral divorce and the divorce rates soared. The state becomes the missing parent with its usual bureaucratic efficiency and compassion. Rather than withering away, the government expands into every aspect of life. Somehow the glossy libertarian brochure on stateless marriage left out that little detail.
The nanny state is not the single mom fantasy of having free sex, a baby too, and someone else to pay for it. Reality is far from that. In reality the state becomes involved with every place you live, every place you sleep, and every job you take. It is called subsidized housing, child support, and income offsets. A bureaucrat monitors how you raise your child, everything you eat, everything you do and every dollar you spend. That brings child protective services into your life along with food stamps, welfare caseworkers and EBT cards. It takes a lot of laws and bureaucrats to run other people’s lives. That isn’t the libertarian utopia we were sold.
We have seen children raised without the protection, support and guidance of a married mom and dad. Our inner city housing projects are full of them. The results aren’t pretty. Children born outside marriage suffer in every way. Children from broken homes do worse in school, on the job and in their love lives. They have less self-control so they often violate the rights of others. They are more likely to have a criminal record. They never lived with committed lifelong love between their mom and dad. That makes it harder for them to fulfill a marriage commitment later. They don’t know how even if they wanted to. That is the dystopia of a society without marriage.
When you say you want the state out of marriage, you’re probably saying you want to have sex with whomever you want and ignore the consequences. You probably have some embarrassing relationships in your past and are trying to redefine your actions. I’m fine with that as long as you’re sterile, sleeping with consenting adults, and don’t pass around STD. Have at it. Go do the unattached consenting adult thing. I underlined adults because I’ve seen child trafficking and don’t like it. Yes, I’m judgmental. I don’t care who and how many adults you sleep with and when you leave one adult relationship for the next. Please don’t call it marriage because it isn’t. You’re simply sleeping around and rebranding it as the new and improved stateless marriage.
If you want the government out of the business of raising children then you want married parents in that business. That is what marriage is for. That is what marriage does. Most of us want committed lifelong love. You can build lifelong love inside marriage. You can raise children who become self-governing adults inside marriage. I’ve yet to see it work another way. Stories to the contrary are again like the mythical utopia that happened somewhere else long ago. I don’t see the evidence.
Marriage is here to stay. It isn’t that modern marriage is broken. It is that we are broken. At best, some marriages will fail. Despite that, marriage is here to stay because it works so well at what it does. The substitutes are far worse.