The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Echidne of the Snakes Really Hates Christianity and Marriage Doesn’t She?

Posted on | March 8, 2011 | 24 Comments

Jaana Goodrich (“Echdne of the Snakes“) participates in an economics panel
with Paul Krugman and Duncan “Atrios” Black, at EschaCon ’08 Conference,
Philadelphia, March 29, 2008 (Photo by A Spork in the Drawer)

Yesterday, there was a Memeorandum thread about Ross Douthat’s latest column. I glanced at the column, and considered blogging about it, but then Charlie Sheen got axed from Two and a Half Men, so I never got around to writing about the Harvard prodigy’s opus. (Ross dialed toll-free on the SAT, as they say, which means never having to worry about hustling up blog traffic.)

So this morning, I awoke to discover another Memeorandum thread, this one devoted to Echidne of the Snakes blogger Jaana Goodrich attacking Douthat. Evidently, Harvard Boy struck a nerve here:

Their research, which looks at sexual behavior among contemporary young adults, finds a significant correlation between sexual restraint and emotional well-being, between monogamy and happiness — and between promiscuity and depression.
This correlation is much stronger for women than for men. Female emotional well-being seems to be tightly bound to sexual stability — which may help explain why overall female happiness has actually drifted downward since the sexual revolution.
Among the young people Regnerus and Uecker studied, the happiest women were those with a current sexual partner and only one or two partners in their lifetime. Virgins were almost as happy, though not quite, and then a young woman’s likelihood of depression rose steadily as her number of partners climbed and the present stability of her sex life diminished.

The research cited is from a book, Premarital Sex in America: How Young Americans Meet, Mate, and Think about Marrying, by sociologists Mark Regnerus and Jeremy Uecker. And it turns out that Regnerus is to Echidne of the Snakes what windmills were to Don Quixote: She’s damned near obsessed with him, because he is a “Christian who advocates early marriage” — oh, noes!1!1!!

Echidne’s first reaction to publication of the Regnerus/Uecker book was a post titled, “The Price of Uppity Sluttiness (Is a Lonely Old Age),” in which she made much of discovering that Regnerus had written this in the August 2009 issue of Christianity Today:

[A]fter years of studying the sexual behavior and family decision-making of young Americans, I’ve come to the conclusion that Christians have made much ado about sex but are becoming slow and lax about marriage — that more significant, enduring witness to Christ’s sacrificial love for his bride.

So Regnerus has a Genesis 2/Mark 10 understanding of marriage as a divine covenant, a sacramental institution, in which sex is more than random impulse — and this causes head-exploding anxiety reactions for Echidne of the Snakes, who summarizes Douthat’s column thus:

1. Tell that more young people are choosing abstinence. This must mean that they are wingnuts.
2. Quote only studies which support the view that the wimminz are unhappy with premarital sex. Or that the wimminz are just unhappy with all their freedoms. Don’t mention the usual corollary of wingnuttery which argues that the menz are outrageously happy with all the booty they can trawl.
3. Then remind us that Planned Parenthood is a Very Bad Thing. Its existence encourages wild sex among teenagers. Guess why? Because they aren’t getting properly punished for its consequences. The gurlz, he means.

Set aside, for a moment, Echidne’s imputation that Regnerus and Uecker have produced pseudo-science that Harvard Boy is naively (or perhaps, cynically) regurgitating for his readers.

Instead, ask yourself this: What if Regnerus and Uecker are right?

What would be the consequences of having scientific proof that pre-marital chastity and marital fidelity — “One Life, One Wife”  — confer socio-economic advantages not only on individuals who uphold such values, but also produce advantages for the larger society?

The implications for public policy, I’ll leave to the wonks. Rather, I suggest the likelihood that this scientific insight could lead people to consider the possibility that the Bible is actually true.

No wonder Echidne’s head is exploding. Ideas have consequences.

UPDATE: Oh, this is unfortunate and lamentable: Some of the commenters on Echidne’s blog post have decided to make personal attacks on Douthat and his wife:

CWalz: Speaking as one of those “sluts” I found virginity highly over rated. Ross is just afraid that some of us “experienced” women will find folks like him woefully inadequate in the sack if we have someone to compare him to. That would be my supposition which I think could be as equally provable as all of Ross’ suppositions on the subject.

Sukabi: I think Douchehat’s wife is a very unsatisfied woman, and when she complains about his random poking in the sack, he calls her a slut and proceeds to write one of these columns…

DrDick: I am still not convinced that Ross is not still a virgin. I have seldom encountered someone as anti-sex and pleasure in my life.

Of course, scientific truth is independent of the sexual adequacy of Harvard graduates, just as truth is independent of the attractiveness of feminist bloggers. And thank God for that.


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