Monday, July 23, 2012

The lady doth protest too much, methinks.

This Shakespeare quote could be applied to all the hysteria generated by anyone questioning the fundamental tenets of the sexual revolution.  One is the hysteria surrounding the study by Prof Mark Regnerus on the effects of family structure and child well-being and also any challenge to the fundamental tenets of the sexual revolution like anything goes and the universal good of contraceptives.

Here's an interesting interview with Mary Eberstadt, author of "Adam and Eve after the Pill".

She talks about the hysterial reaction of any challenge to the sexual revolution.
Nothing brings out the gibbering hysteria quite like countercultural talk about sex. So let’s put some of it into historical and intellectual perspective.

Pitirim Sorokin, founder of Harvard’s department of sociology and a towering figure in his time, wrote a book almost 60 years ago, intended for a general audience, called The American Sex Revolution. He argued back then that the revolution would have negative effects across society via an increase in broken homes and general dissolution. He went so far as to argue that the sexual revolution would be the most consequential modern revolution for all humanity, excepting only the totalitarian political experiments.

Just imagine any Harvard sociologist publishing a book like that today — or any sociologist, period. It would be academic suicide. The few hardy souls who do venture into Sorokin’s territory constantly risk becoming pariahs. Witness the unhinged ferocity of some of the attacks on recent work by social scientist Mark Regnerus.

There’s more censorship and self-censorship about the legacy of the sexual revolution than about any other current issue out there. The fact is that people today are less free to talk candidly about this legacy than people were half a century ago. That tells us a lot. A mind can be a terrible thing to change.
Then she comments on whether this aggressively push back signals the sexual revolution advocates are winning and whether there might be some parallels to the ascendency of communism and it's sudden collapse.  She says yes.
For decades now, sociologists and other experts have built up a library’s worth of evidence about the toll of this human experiment. Yet a great many sophisticated people deny that this record exists and excoriate anyone who so much as points his thumb at it. This is uncannily reminiscent of what happened during the Cold War, when an impressive number of sophisticated people across the West reacted to Communism . . . by attacking anti-Communists rather than Communists.

Of course in retrospect, everyone can see that Communism was exactly what the anti-Communists said it was: an experiment with enormous costs. Nobody disputes that anymore, not even all those anti-anti-Communists who spent their days defending or rationalizing the thing. The point is that as it turned out, a lot of sophisticated people were wrong all along about a pretty important issue that turned out in retrospect to be a no-brainer.
That’s where the comparison to denial about the legacy of the sexual revolution comes in. Right now, those who might be called the “anti-anti-liberationists” are running the show. In retrospect, though, they’ll be the losers in this debate, just like the anti-anti-Communists were yesterday, and for the same reason: because the facts aren’t on their side.

I think that evolution is happening already, in fact. Just look at the recent article in the New York Times, all about how being married or unmarried is a decisive factor not only in income inequality — married people are financially better off — but also, the author dares to suggest, in children’s overall well-being.

That kind of thinking in the paper of record represents a real turnaround. It means that the evidence assembled by Charles Murray and W. Bradford Wilcox and other tenacious social scientists about the “marriage gap” has finally started to sink in. And I’m betting there’s more of that to come as the adverse economic consequences of non-traditional family arrangements get more attention. The connections between the decline of the traditional family and the economic woes of Western welfare states are only beginning to be understood, but they’re obviously there — and again, you don’t need to be a flack for Rome to see them. Just reading a little secular social science will do.
Marriage as an important, in fact indispensable societal institution is back even among the liberals.  The New York Times ran a front page, Sunday article, the fold.

Ultimately, reality can't be denied however much we protest to the contrary.  The same is true with the fact that kids do best with their biological mom and dad.   

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