“The breaking of a sword”

The large number of divorces in America is a matter of grave distress to the most public-spirited Americans, but not to Professor George Elliott Howard, as quoted in Munsey’s Magazine. It is an “incident,” according to Professor George Elliott Howard, “an incident in the mighty process of spiritual liberation, which is rapidly changing the relative positions of men and women in society and the family.”

I do not suggest that the Professor would say in so many words that the less husbands and wives could put up with each other the better; or that the happiest society would be a perpetual succession of unhappy families. But there is an unconscious sentiment of that sort behind all this way of talking about the spiritual liberation of sex.

All the talk about freedom in this connection is utterly out of place: because marriage itself is an act of freedom and responsibility; and the desertion of it is the desertion of one’s self; and is always at least humiliating. Even if divorce is not a sin, it is most certainly a disgrace. It is not like the breaking of a chain, which has been forcibly imposed upon a slave. It is like the breaking of a sword, that has been deliberately taken up and deliberately dishonoured by a traitor.

— The Illustrated London News, 25 January 1913.

Published in: on February 5, 2014 at 12:54 pm  Comments (1)  

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Excellent.

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