The Abolishment of the Nuclear Family: Marriage (Part 1)

By Julea Pehl


Karl Marx originated the communist call for the abolishment of marriage and more generally the family. In The Communist Manifesto, Marx states, "Bourgeois marriage is, in reality, a system of wives in common and thus, at the most, what the Communists might possibly be reproached with is that they desire to introduce, in substitution for a hypocritically concealed, an openly legalized community of women. For the rest, it is self-evident that the abolition of the present system of production must bring with it the abolition of the community of women springing from that system, i.e., of prostitution both public and private." 

He defines marriage as an institution of either private or public prostitution, that is, an institution of owning private property. To fully abolish private property in a communist society, it is necessary to abolish marriage and, therefore, the family as well, in Marx's view. Engels built upon this idea, “It [communist society] will transform the relations between the sexes into a purely private matter which concerns only the persons involved and into which society has no occasion to intervene. It can do this since it does away with private property and educates children on a communal basis, and in this way removes the two bases of traditional marriage, the dependence, rooted in private property, of the woman on the man and of the children on the parents.” 1

In the pursuit of abolishing private property, Marx and Engels wanted to revolutionize the meaning of personal relationships by eradicating marriage and the family. Communists regard the women and children in a family as property, without taking into consideration the reality and possibility of women genuinely desiring to be wives and mothers and parents who consider their children as gifts rather than as baggage or property. They understand that a communist regime would face resistance if people live in a private family and home. Their oppressed citizens would come to understand the appropriate line between the private and public sectors, as the family is the best example of an institution in the private sector in which people care the most for it because they belong to the family. The new communist relationship would devalue the unity between two individuals. We have seen these more casual, “freeing” relationships replace the opportunities for marriages to the point where it has become the new (might I add, dangerous) normal. Now, Americans are trying to either alter the original meaning of marriage or even add more definitions to the list to accommodate more people, despite the fact that there can only be one truth, not multiple truths. 

In Conscience and Its Enemies, Robert George explains the impossibility of compromising on a definition of marriage. It is pertinent to understand the two sides of the issue, the true definition, the consequences of redefining it, and how to proactively revolutionize the meaning of marriage to its traditional, fundamental origin. There are two views of the human person. The liberal view is that the person's essence is prevalent, while the body is just the "messenger" of the person. The traditional view is that the person is the "dynamic unity of body, mind, and spirit." The former view prioritizes emotional unity between or among people. The latter view holds the unity in marriage between two people to be the "unity of body, sense, emotion, reason, and will." Marriage has been held to be the absolute unity between peoples and the necessary foundation for a nuclear family. Although the unity between or among people per the liberal view of the human person is constitutionally sound in its own right, it is not the same as the unity between two people required for marriage. Therefore, the liberal view of the human person and unity needs to be separate from marriage. The alteration of the definition of marriage does and will have a cultural effect on American society. Robert George noted, "In short, marriage is the kind of good that can be chosen and meaningfully participated in only by people who have at least an elementary understanding of it and who choose it with that understanding in mind. Yet people's ability to understand it, at least implicitly, and thus choose it, depends crucially on institutions and cultural understandings that transcend individual choice and are constituted by a vast number of individual choices." 

The communist force to eliminate traditional marriage has been active in America ever since the Sexual Revolution. As a result, the national marriage rate has decreased, never to return to its all time high in the 1950s. 2 The U.S. Government played a part in this particular communist goal when the judicial branch allowed for a new meaning of marriage to be written into federal law. In 2015, the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in the case of Obergefell v. Hodges. 3 Justice Scalia called the majority's decision a "threat to American democracy," because it violated the original constitutional right for self-government. Justice Thomas rightly stated, "They [the petitioners] ask nine judges on this Court to enshrine their definition of marriage in the Federal Constitution and thus put it beyond the reach of the normal democratic process for the entire Nation." Justice Thomas expands on the subject of the majority's decision being a violation of liberty for the everyday American citizen to appease the petitioners, who only wanted recognition and benefits from the government as can be shown by the fact that individuals in same-sex relationships already possessed the liberty to live together and get married in particular states. He specified, "In the American legal tradition, liberty has long been understood as individual freedom from governmental action, not as a right to a particular governmental entitlement." The people should have decided whether or not the meaning of marriage should be altered, not the majority of five Supreme Court Justices. Clarence Thomas stated, "Had the majority allowed the definition of marriage to be left to the political process—as the Constitution requires—the People could have considered the religious liberty implications of deviating from the traditional definition as part of their deliberative process." When did it become the government's right to redefine marriage because of the "changing times?" This particular Supreme Court ruling is not the only instance where the drive to destroy marriage exists. The Black Lives Matter Movement is an existing example of the thriving communist force to abolish marriage, as the movement declares to seek the dismantling of the nuclear family. 4

The attack on marriage is an attack on American liberty. As Robert George worded, "In the name of 'marriage equality' and 'nondiscrimination,' liberty-especially religious liberty and the liberty of conscience- and genuine equality are undermined." How can we actively protect and treasure the family now? George presented three steps to do so. First, for religious people, pray. Secondly, elect people who are staunch defenders of our freedom of religion, marriage, and the family. Lastly, make sure that at least one of the two political parties share and implement these values in their policies. There will never be a compromise on a definition of marriage. A step to diminish marriage and the family is a step closer to America becoming a communist society. 


Marx, K. and Engels, F. (1848). The Communist Manifesto. International Publishers Co. p. 25

George, R. (2016). Conscience and Its Enemies. Intercollegiate Studies Institute. pp. 136, 139, 146, 149

About Julea

Instagram: @Julea_Pehl

Julea Pehl is a junior at the University of Dallas and is majoring in politics and classics. She aspires to help educate the young, American generation to appreciate and cultivate their wonderful country. Julea was born, raised, and is still living in Texas. She loves to read Jane Austen’s novels, translate Latin texts, and send hand-written letters to her friends and family.

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