Bonus addendum to this post: Ten Arguments Against NoGayMarriage.com‘s “Ten Arguments Against Gay Marriage.”
Today, we will look at Aleister Crowley’s perspectives on marriage and family. This is the third part of the AC2012 series on same-sex marriage.
We’ll admit that the title of this post may have been a little on the provocative side. It is not really same-sex marriage, but family overall that Crowley called “Public Enemy #1.” Crowley simply had few good things to say about marriage or family in the common senses of these terms. As he explains in his poem, The Poet, he brought forth the wisdom of “worship, liberty, and love” therefore disparaging “religion, law, and marriage.” Nevertheless, a poet is not a politician, and it seems Crowley knew this. In his more practical writings, he does advocate allowing marriage in the sense of a simple contract of convenience:
“Marriage would lead to very little trouble if men would get rid of the idea that it is anything more than a financial and social partnership. People should marry for convenience and agree to go their separate ways without jealousy.”
Above we find perhaps the best thing Crowley ever said about marriage in the conventional sense. If marriage were treated as nothing more than a partnership agreement over social and financial concerns, Crowley tells us in that case, it would lead to very little trouble. How romantic! But no, it’s not romantic at all, nor is it meant to be.
No form of love, romantic or otherwise, can be stitched together with a contractual agreement or religious ceremony. Love cannot really be bound by these things. Neither can such agreements and ceremonies create or preserve love between people, nor can they prevent anyone from loving another.
Perhaps the strongest objection Crowley would have to marriage in general is the same reason that so many people want it: marriage creates bonds of kinship which form the basis of the formation of families. The idea of family is not something we are accustomed to questioning much in our culture, but Crowley is intensely critical of the concept. His letter entitled “Family: Public Enemy #1″ is very much worth reading in Magick Without Tears, where he explains at length that “… wherever the family has been strong, it has always been an engine of tyranny.”
“The word of Sin is Restriction. O man! refuse not thy wife, if she will! O lover, if thou wilt, depart! There is no bond that can unite the divided but love: all else is a curse. Accurséd! Accurséd be it to the aeons! Hell.”
Aleister Crowley mentions this verse with respect to marriage:
“[Marriage] is not actually mentioned [in The Book of the Law]; but that it is contemplated is shown by the use of the word ‘wife’ [see above]. The text confirms my own thesis ‘There shall be no property in human flesh.’ So long as this is observed I see no reason why two or more people should not find it convenient to make a contract according to the laws or customs of their community.”
Furthermore, in his “Considerations of an Open Letter to Labour,” he stated very plainly that “the restricts on marriage must be abolished.”
On the other hand, Crowley was no fan of marriage at all. Although Liber AL vel Legis declares a holiday on the anniversary of “The First Night of the Prophet and His Bride,” Crowley suggests this was an exceptional case, not quite a defense of marriage as an institution:
Now that we’ve picked around the edges and discussed the decision in Maine and the idea of Marriage as a Eucharist of Life, and today we have looked at the problems of family in general, we have seen that Crowley was at best tolerant of marriage, but now it’s time to get to the core of the problem Crowley had with marriage as it is commonly understood.
“There shall be no property in human flesh!”
“The sex-instinct is one of the most deeply-seated expressions of the will; and it must not be restricted, either negatively by preventing its free function, or positively by insisting on its false function.”
Marriage as we have come to know it is often treated like an exchange of property. Vows typically consist of making idealistic promises designed to restrict and control love. This is not to say that everyone does it this way, but the exceptions are truly rare even in today’s much more sexually liberated culture. The extremely popular romantic ideals of undying love, of servitude, of the need for approval from family, friends, “God,” “Goddess,” “the Universe,” whatever: all these are accursed bonds of slavery, not of love. If Procrustes didn’t have a honeymoon suite in his hostel, he should have; the whole world would make reservations.
“Seek not to control the will of any other in the matter of Love, setting Limits either to the Will to Love or the Will to seek elsewhere the Goal of Will. For Love itself is the sole bond; all others set up strains against the Nature of Things: whereby cometh at last the ruin of all.”
The modern institution of marriage still owes much of its tradition to its origins in the Roman Catholic Church, which reformed the earlier Pagan rites but did not cease in treating the woman as property. Even some Fathers of the Roman Catholic Church advocated virginity over marriage, because of the “governance of a husband and the chains of children” (the possibility of free and sexually active women never apparently entering their imaginations).
Crowley also criticized divorce in a place and time when women were still largely treated as property with nothing to fall back on:
This of course underscores the need for women to have the ability to make their way in the world without a dependence on men. Much has been done to effect this change in the world in the last hundred years or so, but much more needs to be done.
The Rights of Man
What does marriage really mean today? Ask the people who claim the label. It’s different for every family.
Individual people make marriage contracts with each other. The purpose of the agreement might be toward the end of raising children, or of domestic economics, or romantic love, or religious sacrament, or meeting naturalization requirements, or hospital visitation rights, or formalizing the bonds of kinship, or many other things, or some combination of these, or none of them. The state oversees and enforces these contracts, but it has no business dictating how these contracts should be written, defined, or what classes of people may engage in them, except to prevent enslavement. There shall be no property in human flesh.
At the same time, while marriage should only be a matter between those who are married, this means that other organizations would not be required to observe or respect the terms of your marriage. Other communities of people, churches, and so on, would be equally free to have their own traditions respecting marriage; to live by their own law. Your right to live by your own law extends also to those who would not recognize your marriage in living by theirs. The Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica may recognize and celebrate same-sex marriages, but the Roman Catholic Church would not be required to confer benefits to the same-sex spouses of its employees. In his “Considerations of an Open Letter to Labour,” he explains further that religious freedom shall also be absolute so long as they do not unduly influence people:
“Religious propaganda, social movements, political agitations, shall be only permitted on proof that their principles are not repugnant to individual liberty as provided by the Law of Thelema.
“The practice of all religions shall be permitted, but the use of supernatural threats or promises to influence the will of another person unduly shall be held fraud and duress in the one, punishable with imprisonment, and in the other self-disrespect, demanding a course of treatment in a State Asylum for training the Will and developing the sense of self-hood.”
The redefinition of marriage will naturally raise a lot of questions about benefits. All this must be reevaluated in the light of the sovereignty of the individual. No longer would marriage confer tax benefits designed to encourage procreation. The overhaul of existing laws would have to be extensive, far beyond the scope of this one blog post, as Crowley indicates in various places throughout his “Considerations of an Open Letter to Labour.” For a couple of examples:
“Repeal all laws which assume that mankind is a herd of cattle. State insurance, pauper laws, registrations, conscription.”
“All laws which assist men to obtain undue influence upon others must be repealed, e.g. the bankruptcy laws, the libel laws, and the divorce laws.”
Now that we have raised all kinds of huge questions about Aleister Crowley’s political vision for the future of our country and our children, we will change the subject to something funnier.
Ten Arguments Against NoGayMarriage.com‘s “Ten Arguments Against Gay Marriage”
We’d like to first offer a bit of a disclaimer about our arguments against their arguments:
- In many of these cases, we actually agree with their arguments, and for one reason or another do not care about the supposedly horrible consequences.
- In other cases, we agree and are actually very happy about the supposedly horrible consequences.
- In one case, we didn’t really say much about the argument but made a different, only vaguely related point.
So much for arguments.
Our decision to use this particular list of arguments was simple and quite scientific: this is what showed up first on Google, and we were immediately inspired to respond after reading it.
Keep in mind, we are taking short summary statements from longer explanations. These summaries are not always a complete representation of their points, but our responses apply to the whole argument which you can find on their site, linked above.
“The implications for children in a world of decaying families are profound.”
Decay of the family means decay of the most insidious form of tyrannical fascism known to us: slave morality propagated through the nuclear family.
Aleister Crowley would not permit children to be forced to fend for themselves on the street, as the article warns. We are all responsible for the children, and the state would enforce and facilitate the care of children, with the aim of allowing the child to develop to its full potential so that it may be best able to accomplish its will. In his “Considerations of an Open Letter to Labour,” Crowley writes: “… women must be made economically independent of men. The state must guarantee at least six months entire repose to all pregnant woman. It must establish colonies in country districts for the free support of any children whose mothers are willing to let them go there.” Indeed, the implications for children are profound.
“The introduction of legalized gay marriages will lead inexorably to polygamy and other alternatives to one-man, one-woman unions.”
As we asked in our first post in this series, so what? Mind your own business. Unfortunately, many who support same-sex marriage are not quite ready to mind their own business either. Proponents of same-sex marriage will often, for example rush to denigrate polygamy and denounce it as a perversion of the idea of marriage. This is hypocrisy in our view. Mind your own business, everyone.
“An even greater objective of the homosexual movement is to end the state’s compelling interest in marital relationships altogether.”
This is something Aleister Crowley would have in common with the so-called “homosexual movement.” The state shouldn’t have any compelling interest other than what it would have in any contract of convenience.
“With the legalization of homosexual marriage, every public school in the nation will be required to teach that this perversion is the moral equivalent of traditional marriage between a man and a woman.”
Perversion! Moral equivocation! Compulsory corruption of our youth! Oh noes! Don’t worry, schools in a Thelemic state will not teach any moral values at all (nor will children be required to go to school). Instead, in an optional Thelemic school, children will “face facts, unadulterated by explanations.” All your traditional morality goes straight out the window on the first day of school.
“… courts will not be able to favor a traditional family involving one man and one woman over a homosexual couple in matters of adoption.”
Yes, well, we are going to need all the parents we can get, now, aren’t we? With all those single parents, and the risk you mentioned earlier of children living on the streets!
We frankly think that there are a lot of other criteria that could be looked at by a court to determine whether a person or persons should be allowed to adopt a child. In fact, a recent study suggests that your kid would be better off with lesbian parents.
“Foster-care parents will be required to undergo “sensitivity training” to rid themselves of bias in favor of traditional marriage, and will have to affirm homosexuality in children and teens.”
We think it is important that children not be taught to hate others because of their sexual orientation. Having biases toward particular forms of human relationship brings about hatred and tyranny. As Crowley wrote, “The submergence of the individual in his class means the end of all true human relations between men.” Beyond this, though, imposing any moral teaching on a child deprives it of the ability to “develop its own Individuality, and Will, disregarding alien Ideals.” In a Thelemic state, the government will be most concerned with the rights of the child, rather than upholding the ability of parents or religious groups to indoctrinate the child into moral slavery. In “Considerations of an Open Letter to Labour,” Crowley makes this perfectly clear:
“The police shall interfere with civil liberty in two cases only: firstly, when any individual demands redress against aggression of any sort – including the bullying of boys and girls by fanatical parents. Secondly, when the peace is menaced by bands of persons associated for the purpose of imposing their ideas by force upon their neighbours.”
“How about the impact on Social Security if there are millions of new dependents that will be entitled to survivor benefits? … And how about the cost to American businesses? … Are state and municipal governments to be required to raise taxes substantially to provide health insurance and other benefits to millions of new ‘spouses and other dependents’?”
Oh you’re right, let’s just toss the idea of individual liberty out the window because it will create a headache for some bureaucrats.
Look, we understand that the consequences of gutting the institutions of marriage and the nuclear family will be deep and wide. We agree that matters such as these would need to be carefully considered, and some programs would have to undergo significant overhaul. We welcome experts in all fields to deliberate over how the principles of individual liberty can be applied to solve these problems.
“Marriage among homosexuals will spread throughout the world, just as pornography did after the Nixon Commission declared obscene material “beneficial” to mankind.”
Again, it’s really not the business of government to regulate whether these contracts spread among any particular groups. We are frankly thrilled to pieces about that porn, by the way. Nixon, huh? Who knew?
“… the spread of the Gospel of Jesus Christ will be severely curtailed.”
Jesus, who said, “anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, causes her to become an adulteress, and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery.” So we guess that the people at NoGayMarriage.com would also be fully supportive of the 2010 California Marriage Protection Act, which promises to safeguard marriage from the evils of divorce!
Anyway, the argument that gay marriage will make it more difficult to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ… Did we mention before that the nuclear family is the most insidious form of tyrannical fascism known to us? Yes, yes we did. Thanks for really driving that point home for us.
“This is the climactic moment in the battle to preserve the family, and future generations hang in the balance.”
In the fight for freedom, there is only one choice in 2012: write in Aleister Crowley for President!