A Barbarous Relic
Gladden Pappin returns to the 1990s to explore the dystopian traditional family
The following are my remarks at today’s CPAC Hungary. I would like to thank the organizers—Miklós Szántho and the Center for Fundamental Rights (@alapjogokert)—for putting together a splendid event celebrating Hungarian and European conservatism.
The title of this panel, we must admit, is extremely controversial: the father is a man, and the mother is a woman. In modern times, we have escaped this doctrine—we have liberated ourselves from the shackles of such an archaic morality. To learn about that old morality, we must go deep into history—into a very dark time, far in the human past—an age when inquisitors roamed the land, when the sounds of a strange music rose from black boxes. We must go all the way back, deep into a forgotten human history—to the 1990s.
But put aside your fear. Don’t shiver at the memories of bad television shows, of sugary drinks that got larger by the year, of screeching modems that disrupted traditional communications. Take a deep breath, and let us consider its darkest day—September 21, 1996, what seems not like 25 but 125 years ago. On that date, after carrying majorities of 80 percent in the United States House and United States Senate, the Defense of Marriage Act became the law of the land. Succumbing to an irrational fear of progress, the United States permitted the perpetuation of an institution that itself strikes fear in the heart of every child—the family, constituted by mother and father.
Around the world, capitals went silent. Newsrooms could barely report the news. How could a modern country like the United States engage in such democratic backsliding?
It was a dark decade. Although the Soviet Union had fallen, much of the world still operated under the darkness of an assumption of a dangerous normalcy. Throughout the United States, people continued to make a fatal mistake—that happiness was to be found in this fundamentally restricting, restraining institution—marriage. By its very existence, this traditional institution was preventing the true expression of human sexuality in countless ways.