Conservatives have long decried the decline of standards, and rightly so. Nowhere is this decline more evident than in the political sphere, where there have never been more minimal standards for qualifying as a reactionary than there are today. What was once a rather exclusive club occupied by Edmund Burke and his dog (who loyally adopted his master’s political program), is today flooded with all kinds of comers.
In the age of political revolution, one had to have a strong preference for the interests of the rich to be considered a revanchist in good standing. After the passions of upheaval had gone under the surface, one had to sniff out right-wingers by their fond attachment to Brahms and insistence on opening doors for ladies. Today, though, anyone who merely believes that marriage is between one man and one woman is a right-winger, a reactionary, even a bigot. Nearly all of history’s radicals would fall under this definition today.
People who are in no other sense ‘conservative’ are right to feel some discomfort at their new status. What’s worth remembering, though, is that gay marriage is a system pushed by activists who are, despite the presence of some real discrimination, educational and economic elites. Increasingly, marriage will be defended by the poor, who stand to suffer the most in a society where marriage is whatever I damn well please.