Untimely Observations

Rubber Souls

The ideology of sexual liberation continues to be the abiding obsession of high-profile opinion shapers in the post-modern Western world. Indeed, in the mindset of today's ruling class, the drive to undermine traditional notions of libidinal restraint trumps all other agendas, including such familiar standards as the avid celebration of "diversity" and the fierce fomentation of white self-hatred. If, as the saying goes, the Puritan's greatest abiding fear was that somebody, somewhere was having a good time, our contemporary societal elite's most visceral apprehension stems from the notion that somebody, somewhere may be learning to be-- horror of horrors--sexually repressed.

Thus, for example, we commonly see this group express furious, feral hatred against the idea of abstinence-only education in schools. Children must learn about condoms and birth control pills, these "experts" who wish to usurp our parental authority sternly inform us; after all, they say, teenagers are going to have sex anyway, so it's best they do it "safely," and avoid getting pregnant or catching a nasty disease. Yet this entire line of pseudo-reasoning is profoundly disengenuous. We certainly never hear it said: "Kids, we think it's best for you not to use racist, sexist, or homophobic language, but if you do choose to talk that way, at least wear protective equipment to prevent injury to yourselves should anyone get offended and try to hurt you... And by the way, though we'd rather you refrain from smoking cigarettes, or bullying your classmates, or polluting the environment, or doing other types of things that we abhor... hey, it's your life; we know you're all strong-willed adolescents, so at least don't be TOTALLY irresponsible when you decide to do these terrible things we know we can't possibly stop you from doing..."

Assuredly, on these and other matters, the contemporary cultural opinion shaper is undaunted by the realization that his efforts to reform young people's behavior won't always succeed, that in fact there will remain many teenagers who continue to use racist, sexist, and homophobic slurs; who go on smoking cigarettes, bullying nerds, polluting Mother Earth, and committing all sorts of other unspeakable atrocities, no matter how often the opinion shaper and his cohorts exhort them to do otherwise. Yet knowing that his impassioned crusades against these behaviors won't be entirely effective doesn't stop the crusader of this stripe from trying to bring about such changes in today's youth; in fact, the unlikelihood of creating a significantly better world fires him with pride at the noble heights of his own ideals. In fact, he luxuriates in his status as an enlightened person, a member of what Thomas Sowell called the "annointed" crowd.

"You might say I'm a dreamer," he may tell you with a smug, wan smile, quoting his favorite song, "but I'm not the only one..."


Yet this same lot of ardent crusaders becomes suddenly and unaccountably pragmatic when it comes to the notion of trying to stop teens from having sex. Abstinence and chastity are dismissed as "unrealistic" concepts; kids are going to do what they want, no matter what anybody tells them, etc. What most of those who raise this objection will not admit is that their seeming pragmatism on this matter is a ruse;  they don't oppose abstinence-only education for reasons of expediency, but on principle. That is to say, they are opposed to chastity and supportive of permissiveness.

They don't want a return to the mores of "the 1950s" or "the Victorian age" (these two distinct time periods have grown to be the main epocal scapegoats flogged by the permissive-ists for some reason, although traditional sexual morality in fact held sway in many other eras of the past as well). They want the Sexual Revolution of the 1960s and '70s to rage on, and not be arrested or reversed.

And mostly, they have gotten their way. While the more lurid manifestations of the new permissiveness that cropped up in the early days of the sexual revolution have vanished ("key parties" like the one depcited in Ang Lee's horrifying movie "The Ice Age," group orgies, "swinger" couples, and the like), they have been replaced by less grotesque but far more significant behaviors. Hardly anyone waits until marriage to have sexual intercourse anymore; serial fornication and "hook-ups" are common events among young people, causing little discernable guilt or pangs of conscience; moreover, the practice of cohabitation is barely even looked at askance these days. Yet for all that, and much more, the permissive-ists still seem to live in constant fear of a coming sanctimonious crackdown, ushered in by all those mean and scheming Religious Right-types. And among this feared and hated group, none is more loathed than the Roman Catholic Church, with its celibate all-male priesthood, its inflexible moral laws, and its still-widespread power and relevance in an increasingly secularized West.

Thus, when Pope Benedict recently remarked to a Vatican reporter, in an offhand way, that in certain particularly egregious cases of debauched sexual behavior, use of a condom may make a grievous sin slightly less deplorable, it was bound to be misconstrued. News outlets across the Western world represented Benedict's extreme hypothetical scenario as representing a "stunning reversal" on the Church's teaching on contraceptives.

In fact, as anyone with a brain and powers of discernment can comprehend, it was no such thing: neither a "reversal" of any doctrine, nor particularly "stunning." But one's tendency towards hyperbole shifts into overdrive when one confronts an enemy one doesn't understand, an enemy that one clearly perceives as formidable. And the fact that so many promoters of permissiveness are so anxious to find a chink in the Holy Father's armor ought to give one pause.

Flawed as the contemporary post-Vatican II church may be, its leader still makes our cultural Marxist rulers sweat, quake in their birkenstocks, and foam at the mouth like rabid poodles. That's no mean feat. All of us who wish to prevent the "suicide of the West" should say a prayer, or at least think good thoughts, on behalf of this two thousand year old institution which still holds certain "outmoded" standards unashamedly against a depraved, ruthless Zeitgeist whose corrosive influence threatens us all.