By Melanie Phillips, Mailonline
[...] The real reason the Tories won't properly address this is not just the inane social nihilism of Nick Clegg. It is surely because the Tory leadership itself has such a shallow and reductive view of marriage – including among its supposed cheerleaders.
Look at the reasons they give for supporting marriage – that it promotes stability, unselfishness and self-sacrifice. That was the substance of Michael Gove's paean of praise for the institution yesterday, as he made the case for extending it to gays.
Similarly, Mr Cameron says marriage is all about commitment and that it's better for children to be brought up in strong and stable relationships.
All very true. But it misses the point. Tellingly, neither of them identifies what makes marriage a unique institution.
This is that it is the safest way of generating human identity, which is necessarily produced by the conjunction of male and female.
That is why children's psychological health – despite the heroic efforts of so many lone parents – generally depends on their being brought up by both a mother and father.
That is why marriage is unique, and why it has a unique place in society. And that is why it is socially so destructive to promote the expansion of any sexual relationships outside marriage.
But the Tory leadership never says this. It presents marriage not as the inimitable union of the two components of human identity, but instead merely as a utilitarian contract. Thus for all its weasel words it has made marriage intensely vulnerable.
To ensure the success of its social engineering project, the Left also hijacked the language. 'Equality' was twisted into identical outcomes; 'compassion' became a fig-leaf for irresponsibility; and 'liberal' became a synonym for bullying.
Failing utterly to grasp what was happening, the Cameroons decided to 'detoxify the Tory brand' by themselves adopting these corrupted terms and ideas.
Accordingly, they turned themselves into collaborators with those cultural revolutionaries whose aim was to unpick the intricate tapestry of laws, customs and attitudes that had made Britain civilised.
Instead of realising that the supreme task for today's conservatives is to fight this culture war, they even incorporated the most subversive part of its agenda – the undermining of the traditional family – into their own programme.
It is this betrayal of conservatism which lies at the heart of the Tories' discontents – and for which they will never be forgiven.
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