Our children witness perversions of all kinds, and no one cares, because we have become a pornographic people, even if we do not all gaze at the pictures. That is because we accept the principle undergirding the pornography, which is that the pursuit of sexual gratification is a good thing, maybe the greatest good of all, and trumps all other considerations, such as the health of marriages generally, the welfare and innocence of children, the promotion of virtue, and the common good.
— Anthony Esolen, from Defending Marriage, kindle location 204
What the State essentially does, when it requires us to be parties to the lie that a man can marry a man, is to deny the anterior reality of marriage itself. It says, “Marriage is what we say it shall be,” and that implies, “Families are what we say they are,” and that implies, “There are no zones of natural authority outside the supervision and regulation and management of the State.”
— Anthony Esolen, from Defending Marriage, kindle location 2244
It is not the State that defines what marriage is; nature has done that. It is not the State that determines the good of the family; nature has done that, too. It is not even the State that creates the village or the parish. Households have done that.
— Anthony Esolen, from Defending Marriage, kindle location 2225
Mass madness, if it’s going to last more than a week or two, requires mass media or mass government or the synergistic efforts of both.
— Anthony Esolen, from Defending Marriage, kindle location 2174
Divorce became as common as breathing. Whole networks of human relations were torn asunder; husband from wife, parents from children, aunts and uncles from their nephews and nieces, grandparents from grandchildren, cousins from one another; all of that web of meaning and belonging, extending far into the past and future, untimely ripped, battered, or severed forever, to satisfy the “needs” (often lust-driven, and nearly always selfish) of the divorcing adults.
— Anthony Esolen, from Defending Marriage, kindle location 194
I am insisting upon this, because the sexual revolution has scorched us all, and has made it nearly impossible to understand the goodness of purity, in both its masculine and feminine embodiments. We can hardly believe that the virtue exists at all. Nor do we see the inner harmony between that virtue and others that we do still say we believe in, such as kindness, generosity, and loyalty.
— Anthony Esolen, from Defending Marriage, kindle location 144
I have seen too much loneliness and unhappiness, too much chaos without and deadness of heart within, to pretend that the moral law that all people accepted until a few years ago, even if they sometimes fell afoul of it, does not still hold true, and does not still offer men and women their best chance for happiness in this life. We may obey it or not; but the penalty for disobedience isn’t ours to determine, no more than if we leapt from a cliff, intending to fly by flapping our arms. Nature is not obliged to confirm our self-deceit.
— Anthony Esolen, from Defending Marriage, kindle location 102