Needed: St. Valentine’s Second Coming
Emperor Claudius was afraid of marriage. He wanted young people to indulge in sex freely, but without getting married. That, he knew, was the simplest way to breed slaves. Children who grow up without parents have little option but to become slaves. Sex was fine, it was marriage that Claudius did not like. For he found it much easier to manipulate unmarried young men to give their lives for his empire.
The emperor feared wives because they make it harder for men to be fooled by the state or by religion. They have this terrible tendency to encourage husbands to put children and grandchildren first. The family, like an independent Church, prevents the state from completely controlling individuals. These autonomous institutions such as family and church, that derive their authority directly from the Creator, stand between the individual and the state. They prevent the state from becoming totalitarian – having complete control over individuals.
Emperors want subjects to put Empire First. Wives, on the other hand, encourage husbands to put family first. That calls for character and freedom. That is why the Family was designed to be a school of character. Wives want husbands to invent, innovate and create wealth. People are motivated to create wealth if they are assured that they and their children will be able to enjoy the wealth they create. Emperors want their subjects to loot rival nations’ wealth. The Prince, as Machiavelli learnt, prefer terror over character. Following St. Valentine’s source of wisdom — the Bible — Europe’s reformers realized that character grounded in godly virtue is the key to freedom and family.
St. Valentine respectfully disagreed with the emperor because he knew that not war but sex-in-marriage makes man the ruler over creation. When the Creator brought a naked Eve to a naked Adam, He did want the two of them to enjoy each other. But he knew what true and fulfilling love was. Therefore, He asked the two of them to become one flesh in a permanent and exclusive relationship. God blessed them, ‘Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth and establish your dominion over everything . . . don’t be slaves, but as my children rule over my creation.’
Pagans don’t like “Popular Sovereignty.” Their rulers want to be Sovereign over slaves. Therefore, they are, once again, encouraging young people to indulge in sex without getting married. But this time there is a difference . . . young people are not afraid as much of the emperors; as they fear each other. They know that they cannot trust the individuals the sleep with. Lovers without character do not make sacrifices for their spouses and children. They don’t have patience because they lack faith.
Given the fact that every lover has to marry a sinner . . . they know that marriage and commitment bring both pleasure as well as suffering. St. Paul said that God uses suffering to produce endurance. Endurance, a result of faith, produces character. Those who seek pleasure don’t care for character . . . because our cultures no longer have St. Valentines who would encourage lovers to get married and enable couples to remain faithful in marriage even when it means enduring suffering patiently. Since a strong character is an important secret of building free and prosperous society, every society needs St. Valentines.
Lovers cannot marry and have children unless they can trust each other. A culture of trust and marriage is a fruit of a society that puts Truth and Virtue first. The Post-Truth culture that makes Truth and Virtue flexible undermines marriage. That is why Postmodern culture needs St. Valentine to return.
Prof Vishal Mangalwadi directs the Centre for Human Resource Development in a Unversity in North India. He has authored 20 books and lectured in 40 countries. His exposition of Indian philosophy and Western thought and culture In books such as “The World of Gurus”, and “The Book That Made Your World: How the Bible Created the Soul of Western Civilization” are studied at university level.