Marriage is one of history’s most resilient institutions, outliving struggles between political ideologies and the occasional despotic tyrant. But now, marriage is faced with its strongest challenge yet. Freedom and individual choice, coupled with the insatiable drive to grow national economies, have become today’s preeminent values. “What can marriage and family still be good for in our day and age? Cohesion? When each person suffices unto him or herself, and self-realization means realization of the self on its own, the need for social cohesion evaporates.”
What’s the Big Idea?
If marriage as an institution dissolves, the role of the family in rearing children will be taken over by state and private organizations and parents will be regarded as dilettantes. “Children will be schooled one way or another by ‘experts’ all through childhood. Time for non-didactic activity, all the space for childhood adventure and discovery, will be squeezed out of their existence even during holidays when learning camps—supervised by ‘pros,’ of course—take over. Families are where kids spend the night. … So marriage has become a temporary link-up of working people who choose to spend some free time together.”