Gay Marriage: Plato Would Not Have Approved. Nor does Robert P. George.

by Doughlas Remy

Robert P. George

Robert P. George

A trio of highly credentialed gay-marriage opponents, including Princeton professor Robert P. George (co-founder of the National Organization for Marriage and author of the Manhattan Declaration) have recently published what many social conservatives now regard as the definitive summa of reasoned argumentation against gay-marriage—a pure distillation of incontrovertible truths on the subject. What is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense is in fact so skillfully crafted and so disarmingly civil that many sympathetic readers, haunted by accusations of homophobic and bigotry, will at long last feel vindicated. It’s not about homosexuals, the Trio tells us, and it’s not about rights. It’s not even about religion.

It’s about marriage!

So you can breathe a sigh of relief. If you were under the mistaken impression that opposition to gay marriage was driven by animus, fear of change, or religious prejudice, the Trio are here to set you straight. Representing the finest and clearest thinking in the field, they have finally made a case so impeccably objective, so dispassionate, even secular (!), that the Supreme Court justices deliberating on DOMA and Proposition 8 this Spring cannot fail to be impressed, even inspired by it.

It comes down to this: If you are in a same-sex relationship, the Trio wish you well, but, basically, you see, their hands are tied. It’s nothing personal, you understand. The simple fact of the matter is that you cannot “marry” each other because such a marriage is Conceptually Impossible. Conceptually. Impossible.

Now, the Trio doesn’t exactly go into this, but to understand why same-sex marriage is Conceptually Impossible, you have to read Plato and Aristotle. It’s all explained there.

Zebra-horse hybrid (not photoshopped)

Zebra-horse hybrid (not photoshopped)

You see (to start with Plato), everything in our everyday experience is but a pale reflection of an eternal idea, or essence. An actual tree is only a particular instance of “tree-ness;” its inherent nature is bound to that concept, which resides in the Transcendent Realm of Ideas. A tree is never a bush. It is always and only a tree. Anything with big and bushy leaves and branches must either be a tree or a bush. When you look at it, you will know whether it is a tree or a bush. There’s a difference, and anyone possessed of ordinary common sense will recognize it immediately as either one or the other.

Furthermore, each concept is eternal and changeless. If a new tree on the block expects to be accepted as a tree, it must conform to the concept, even if the tree regards the concept as hopelessly outdated and over-ripe for revision. Bowls today must look like bowls yesterday. They cannot have handles, like cups. They cannot be tall like vases, or shallow like plates. No cross-overs are allowed into the Transcendent Realm. Nor are ambiguities of any kind. A thing is what it is, and nothing else. A sports car is a sports car, and a truck is a truck. SUVs are Conceptually Impossible. In Plato’s time (and therefore in ours), a play is either a tragedy or a comedy. New and hybrid genres such as tragi-comedies, dramas, and dramedies are nothing more than charades, impostures! Like same-sex marriage, they are Conceptually Impossible.

With Aristotle, the idea of “purpose” is attached to these pure essences. An eye is for seeing, an ear for hearing, a mouth for… uh… eating. A knife is for cutting, not for using as a paperweight. A charger is for serving food on, not for carrying the head of John the Baptist. Never use your toothbrush for cleaning your ears, and never pee in the punchbowl. So, essentially, all things have purposes that limit the uses to which they can be put and, just to cut to the chase here, the penis and vagina were intended for one purpose only.

What purpose might that be, you may ask? Well, the Trio are here to enlighten us.

Our sexual organs are intended for procreation within the framework of conjugal union. If you were thinking that they might serve for pleasuring yourselves, you were just wrong.

How do we know any of this? Easy. It’s right there in Plato. And Aristotle.

And it should be obvious, anyway. You can tell the difference between a tree and a bush, can’t you? And you know the purpose of each? So common sense just confirms what the ancient writers said. A thing is just what it is and always has been. It can’t be something else. Point, c’est tout.

But (you may object) no serious philosopher any longer accepts Plato’s theory of Ideas or Aristotle’s teleological arguments. And you would be right, because there was a major shift in philosophical thinking in the 19th century, when the first phenomenologists began challenging the notions of fixed essences and immutable purposes. The modern world has almost entirely left these notions behind, but there is one institution that still clings to them, and that institution is grounded in medieval scholastic readings of Plato and Aristotle.

Uh-oh. Houston, I think we’ve got a problem here.



2 Responses to “Gay Marriage: Plato Would Not Have Approved. Nor does Robert P. George.”

  1. Dean Hansen Says:

    MacGyver would be very disappointed with Platonic Philosophy. At least we know in what ground the “Manhattan Declaration” and NOM is rooted in…

  2. site de rencontre coquin Says:

    Hi there! This post couldn’t be written any better! Reading this post reminds me of my good old room mate!
    He always kept chatting about this. I will forward this page to him.
    Pretty sure he will have a good read. Thanks for sharing!

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