Sherif Gergis in National Review on "Real Marriage"


Sherif Gergis is the co-author of the flagship article "What is Marriage?" (which has become one of the most-read articles of all-time on SSRN).

In the most recent print issue of National Review, Gergis responds to Jason Steort's claims (in his article "Two Views of Marriage"):

[Steort's] counterargument is false in almost every dimension. Steorts builds a faulty theory of marital love on a confused account of the human person. He construes marriage as “maximal experiential union” — a goal that, to the extent that it is intelligible at all, would put undue strain on spouses, obscure the value of norms specific to marriage (like permanence and exclusivity), and bulldoze the topography of non-marital relationships. It would thus tend to undermine the marriage culture, and with it the welfare of spouses and children. But it would also affect the unmarried, by obscuring the special value and social prestige of other forms of intimacy. Steorts’s view, imbued with sentimentalism, is in fact less humane than the view it would displace.

Steorts wrote his argument with enough acuity to flag certain common philosophical errors, but not enough care to avoid them — with the remarkable result that its early sections contain, in plain language, rebuttals to the rest. But it is worth rehearsing its problems here and showing how the conjugal view of marriage avoids them. The reason is simple: For all its problems, Steorts’s argument captures and condenses the nebulous ideas behind today’s movement to redefine civil marriage, yesterday’s push for no-fault divorce, and other corrosive trends. Answering it convincingly will hasten the day when the invitation to join Riddell and Partilla’s jump into emotivism is seen for what it is — a call to cultural suicide. [Continue Reading]