This column discusses the confusion of the 60s and then today. It discusses the apparent "acceptance" of adult - student sexual behavior in the 60s. Now we come down on it hard. Yet today, teen sexual behavior is elevated to a seemingly unfettered, constitutional right.
Was the widespread sexual contact between students and teachers at Horace Mann in the 1960s and ’70s a crime, or just a sign of the times?
The latter, says Gary Alan Fine, a 1968 Mann graduate. Of the allegations that have recently rocked the prep school, he told The New Yorker: “This was the late ’60s, and what we now think of as rape or sexual assault didn’t quite mean the same thing in that age of sexual awakening.”Today we're throwing kids to the wolves by saying whatever you do sexually it's fine.
What some teachers did “was wrong, absolutely,” Fine allowed, “but there are degrees of wrongness, and what was wrong in 1966 is today much more wrong. I can’t imagine that in the late 1960s anyone would have been terribly surprised had they learned that some faculty were having sexual relations with students.
As Kay S. Hymowitz, a Manhattan Institute senior fellow, explains, “The sexual revolution was fought and won, if that’s the right word, by young people, many of them barely past adolescence. They were fighting for freedom from traditional limits on sexual behavior.”Whether in the 60s or today our kids are the prey of the sexual revolution. It just takes different forms.
But this, she says, also led to the idea that “kids, or at least adolescents, were full individuals and sexual beings. Part of their growing up was ‘exploring their sexuality.’ What was once defined as an adult pleasure became not just available to teenagers, but important for their fulfillment . . . The boundaries between kids and adults was blurred.”
Not a good idea, says Hymowitz, author of “Ready or Not: Why Treating Children as Small Adults Endangers Them.”...
Theodore Dalrymple, British psychiatrist and author of “Our Culture, What's Left of It,” notes that some of Savile’s groping of teen girls was visible on TV.
It seems hard to believe that in our current era — where a creepy glance by an older man at a girl can get him reported to the authorities — such behavior could have gone on in full view of a national audience.
On the other hand, the show “Britain’s Got Talent” last month featured an 11-year-old singing about a one-night stand, with the lyrics, “You’ve got one night only, that’s all you have to spare, let’s not pretend to care, come on, big baby, come on, we only have ’til dawn.”
Dalrymple notes, “We live in very peculiar times when on the one hand we are extremely puritanical [about these incidents from decades ago] and on the other we live in sort of Gomorrah. It’s a very odd situation.”
Indeed, our elites fully believe that teens are capable of making decisions about sex to the extent that the Food and Drug Admistration has just made the Plan B “morning-after pill” available without prescription or parental notification to 15-year-olds — again sending the message that teenage girls are adults when it comes to sex.
As Hymowitz notes, “We’re really in a state of profound confusion about teens: Are they children or are they almost-adults? When it comes to sex, we assume that kids are engaging in a natural form of self-expression. But that can’t be entirely squared with the fact that we also know that kids are still unshaped, overly influenced by peers and impulsive.”The source of the problem? Moral relativism and the removal of God from society.
Maybe 30 years from now, some parents will wonder why we encouraged teens to perform sexually explicit songs on stage or why we gave them unfettered access to “emergency contraception.”