Posted on | January 24, 2014 | 108 Comments
“Nobody cares about ‘social issues’ anymore, we have been told. Democrats have become the Pervert Party . . . and Republicans are now the Party That Dare Not Disagree. Morality is no longer a matter of the divine ‘thou shalt not’ that Jehovah declared to the Israelites at Mount Sinai. Nowadays, moral authority is determined by Hollywood, Harvard University and the New York Times. In post-Christian America, we have reverted to a sort of neo-heathenism, depending on guidance from secular wizards and a priestly caste of experts who gaze at poll numbers the way ancient astrologers looked for omens in the stars.”
— Robert Stacy McCain, “The New Abnormal,” The American Spectator, July 31, 2013
Mike Huckabee gave a speech yesterday at the Republican National Committee’s winter meeting that has been treated as scandalously controversial. Chris Moody of Yahoo News provided the full context of Huckabee’s remarks:
“I think it’s time for Republicans to no longer accept listening to Democrats talk about a war on women. Because the fact is, the Republicans don’t have a war on women. They have a war for women. For them to be empowered; to be something other than victims of their gender.
“Women I know are outraged that Democrats think that women are nothing more than helpless and hopeless creatures whose only goal in life is to have a government provide for them birth control medication.
“Women I know are smart, educated, intelligent, capable of doing anything anyone else can do. Our party stands for the recognition of the equality of women and the capacity of women. That’s not a war on women, it’s a war for them. And if the Democrats want to insult the women of America by making them believe that they are helpless without Uncle Sugar coming in and providing for them a prescription each month for birth control because they cannot control their libido or their reproductive system without the help of government, then so be it — let’s take that discussion all across America, because women are far more than Democrats have made them to be. And women across America have to stand up and say, enough of that nonsense.”
Huckabee’s use of the word “libido” — a quaintly Freudian term for “sex drive” — was the specific button-pusher here, but let’s face reality: No one can say anything about women that deviates from Official Feminist Dogma without committing Thought Crime and, because Democrats control the terms of what is accepted as Official Feminist Dogma, the Thought Police are always more vigilant in scrutinizing Republicans for deviations from the script. Allahpundit:
Does it really matter what he said? The liberal thought process on this works this way, I think: “Known social conservative + something about women + something about sex and birth control = outrage.” Right? It’s basically Pavlovian.
Allah links Ace’s rant against social conservatives:
The elevation of strictly personal decisions . . . into a major political issue is childish and tribalist.
Yes we all have a preferred mode of living. News at 11. The law is not about preferred modes of living, and neither should we make “political issues” about it.
The problem, of course, is that it was feminists and their Democrat allies who decided that “the personal is political,” so that radical messages about How We Should Live are the constant theme of propaganda from the news media, Hollywood and academia.
Children are being indoctrinated in public schools, at taxpayer expense, about How We Should Live. If you are a parent who doesn’t want your daughters living the Disney Starlet Lifestyle — or if you don’t want your sons performing in “bareback orgy” videos — who is on your side?
Well, certainly not the Republican Party, I guess, because if any Republican so much as mentions the Culture War nowadays, he or she will be denounced not only by the Left, but also by conservative pundits who insist that the GOP must cede the field to Democrats on social issues and never say a word about how The Pervert Party benefits from America’s descent into decadence.
This position of pre-emptive surrender in the Culture War seems to have begun in 1992, when the GOP ran for cover rather than to defend Dan Quayle’s critique of “Murphy Brown.” It seems to have escaped the notice of most Republicans when, a year after that controversy, Dr. Barbara Dafoe Whitehead declared in the pages of The Atlantic Monthly, “Dan Quayle Was Right.”
Whitehead developed that article into a fascinating book, The Divorce Culture, but apparently I’m the only conservative blogger who read that book, because I never see Ace or Allah or anyone else acknowledge Whitehead’s critique of the “Love Family” ideology which “liberates sexual, compassionate, and parental love from its institutional and cultural moorings in marriage.” For that matter, have you ever seen any conservative blogger mention Carolyn Graglia’s Domestic Tranquility: A Brief Against Feminism or Dana Mack’s The Assault on Parenthood?
My point is that social conservatism is more intellectually respectable than most people imagine, but for 20 years, those who are serious about fighting the Culture War have been shunted aside and told to be quiet, lest they cause Republicans to lose elections.
Oddly, however, the GOP’s active suppression of social conservatism has not translated to Republican electoral dominance. The nomination of John McCain — whose profound contempt for social conservatives is no secret — did not produce a GOP triumph, nor was the Massachusetts moderate Mitt Romney able to dodge the remarkably counterfactual Democrat propaganda that painted him as an extremist Trojan Horse, an agent of the Republican Taliban.
The fundamental problem here is probably too large to be reduced to a blog post, and I’m not in a mood to tackle the whole problem today, but let’s say this: Systemic incentives encourage conservative writers to devote themselves to the day-to-day political headlines, and to identify as “important” only those issues which directly and immediately affect the Republican Party.
Meanwhile, liberals — who comprise 80%-90% of journalists and academics — are writing about Everything Else, including sexuality, marriage and parenthood. So it is that, outside of whatever issues bear directly on the daily R-vs.-D political battle, nearly everything you read is written by liberals. This explains how the cultural “mainstream” is dragged steadily leftward, and most people don’t even notice the shift until Phil Robertson creates a firestorm by quoting the Bible, or one day you click an Internet link and find people arguing that high-school boys getting bareback butt-humped in porn videos is no cause for concern.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that, says Glenn Beck.
Almost unnoticed, a posture of enlightened non-judgmentalism has become compulsory, because liberal dominance of the intelligentsia means that nearly every articulate person has been indoctrinated in the Egalitarian Orthodoxy, and no critic of the Left’s social agenda has access to a vocabulary of rational dissent.
One afternoon last August, I found myself amid a crowd of feminists marching down the street and chanting about rape, and I was denounced as a misogynist for noticing that several of the marchers were displaying their bare breasts during this political parade.
“Nice tits” is now hate speech, even if the aforesaid tits are brandished naked in broad daylight in downtown D.C. By the same token, a Republican may not suggest a connection between “libido” and the demand for taxpayer-funded contraception.
What we are witnessing is the abolition of common sense and its replacement by a political ideology. Common sense tells us that it is unusual — indeed, the word abnormal is appropriate — for women to parade bare-breasted through the streets. Common sense likewise tells us that the Contraceptive Culture is directly related to the prevalence of licentiousness and promiscuity in society.
Has it been only 10 years since Lawrence v. Texas? Has it been only 15 years since Nina Burleigh said she would cheerfully give Bill Clinton a blow job to thank him for keeping abortion legal?
Am I the only one who has noticed how rapidly the “Emerging Awareness” doctrine has gained a death-grip on our culture?
Huckabee’s use of the word “libido” caught my attention for reasons entirely different than the reasons that made him the object of a leftist Two-Minute Hate. Huckabee is 58 years old. He graduated from Ouchita State University in the mid-1970s, and is therefore old enough to remember when Freudian ideas about “libido” were entirely respectable. Nowadays, Freud’s categories are mocked as obsolete, and neurobiology is made to explain what was once attributed to “Oedipal complexes,” repressed impulses and so forth. Whatever way you are, we’re now told, you were Born That Way, and never mind if this biological determinism is vaguely redolent of Nazi race doctrine.
This is Science with a capital “s,” and Progress with a capital “p,” and no enlightened person is ever supposed to question whether today’s ideas of Scientific Progress are really any more valid than the discarded ideas of yesterday’s Scientific Progress.
Lost somewhere in all this is the old-fashioned understanding that humans are creatures of habit, and that if one gets into the habit of indulging certain unruly appetites, those habits may become the shackles of lifelong slavery, impairing the individual’s capacity for happiness, and inflicting various forms of misery on society at large.
Where did Kathryn Camille Murray get the idea that having sex with a 15-year-old boy was a pleasant and harmless amusement?
Perhaps the answer is to be found somewhere among the penumbras and emanations where Justice Douglas found a “right to privacy” in Griswold v. Connecticut, a few decades before Justice Kennedy invoked the hitherto unknown doctrine of “emerging awareness” in striking down the Texas sodomy statute. And who knows whither the emerging awareness shall henceforth emerge?