The Good. The Bad. The Asinine.

Same old, same old

Behold, the words of Mr S. Smith, Member for Flint, as he addresses the British House of Commons:

I cannot comprehend the mental attitude of those who say we should only look at the first step we take, and shut our eyes to its inevitable consequences; as well might a man drive a coach down a steep incline with a precipice at the bottom, and say that he had no business to consider the precipice.

‘The husband is the head of the wife, as Christ is the Head of the Church’ is the uniform language of Scripture, repeated in one form or another hundreds of times. Could a greater calamity befall the human race than to undermine this sacred institution? I [don’t] much doubt that … should X be successful, a time of social chaos would ensue.

Out of this movement for X may develop at a later date another movement to replace the marriage law of Christianity … and I much fear that experiments may be tried which will not tend to the welfare of mankind … It may be granted that the great majority of those who are moving in this matter have not at present the slightest wish for such changes, but my argument is that they are feeding a movement which contains them in its bosom, and out of which they will ultimately grow.

I wish to lay before the right hon. Gentleman the circumstance that universal history is opposed to X; no free country in the world has ever tried the experiment … They take a tremendous responsibility who deride the universal experience of mankind.

[If X was allowed], everything would be thrown afresh into the melting pot, and no human being could predict what would emerge from the cauldron. But my main objection to this and all similar Bills is my dread of its effects on the home life of the nation. I hope the House will weigh well the pregnant words of the right hon. Member for Midlothian — ‘I am not without the fear lest, beginning with the State, we should eventually be found to have intruded into what is yet more fundamental and more sacred, the precinct of the family, and should dislocate or injuriously modify the relations of domestic life.’ I believe those words are perfectly true, and they weigh more with me than all other objections combined.

I ask the House to pause before taking this terrible leap in the dark. It is the most revolutionary proposal of our time. If it prove a mistake it will be irretrievable; once given it cannot be reversed. In my judgment, it will be the commencement of national decline. In any case, it is a desperate experiment. We have too much at stake to make rash experiments. We are trustees for the greatest Empire the world ever saw, and we cannot afford to sap its foundations by reckless innovations.

Can you guess what ‘X’ is? Sounds like he was talking about marriage equality, doesn’t it?

He wasn’t.

He was speaking in 1892, about giving women the vote.


Category: Bad, Marriage equality, Politics


One Response

  1. chris says:

    Yes, I remember reading that speech. The argument about unpredictable circumstances, however, would imply that air travel should never have been undertaken as it has become the primary vector for pandemics. It’s a standard conservative saw that is never valid – the only valid objections to future consequences are those that can specify them. QED and all that…

Leave a Reply