The View From 1776
Thursday, January 06, 2005
Hurrah for Sexual Promiscuity!
Volokh decodes liberal-socialist spin.
In Half the Story: Slate ‘s new “Human Nature” column (on “Science, culture, and politics”), the Volokh Conspiracy shows what liberal spinmeisters neglected to mention.
In the study cited in “Slate,” morning-after pills neither reduced the rate of pregnancy nor the rate of unprotected sexual activity. If the practical effect is negligible for the touted purposes, why do liberals demand easier access to morning-after pills?
For liberals, the point in ready availability of birth-control pills and distribution of condoms to young students in public schools is not safety. It’s encouragement of immoral behavior.
Liberals will respond indignantly that they do this because there is no way to prevent sexual promiscuity. But, if that’s true, how did it happens that such was never a problem before the student activism and the socialist Great Society in the late 1960s?
Why is encouragement of immoral behavior important for liberals? Simply because the individualistic and religious ethos of the founding generations stands in the way of the secular religion of socialism. Without sexual promiscuity, there would be no popular movies or TV shows like “Sex and the City” to glamorize immoral life styles.
How better to undercut the foundation of spiritual religion and personal morality that Thomas Jefferson called the common understanding throughout the colonies in 1776, when he penned the Declaration of Independence? This is why liberals have defended the surge of single-parent families produced by sexual promiscuity and marital infidelity (and, incidentally, why they saw nothing wrong with President Clinton’s perjury before a Federal grand jury and a Federal District Court: it was only about sex, they said).
This pattern emerged at the very beginning of socialism in the French Revolution. Socialists in Europe and the United States in the 19th and early 20th centuries advocated what was then called “free love.” If the family unit can be broken down, it becomes easier to collectivize society under the regimen of socialist intellectual councils.
Emma Goldman, the best known orator for liberal causes in the early decades of the 20th century, stated it quite bluntly in her 1913 essay entitled “Victims of Morality.”
?It is the narrow puritanic spirit, as represented in the sterile minds of the Young-Men-and-Old-Maid?s Christian Union, Temperance Union, Sabbath Union, Purity League, etc. A spirit which is absolutely blind to the simplest manifestations of life; hence stands for stagnation and decay. As in ante-bellum days, these old fossils lament the immorality of our time. Science, art, literature, the drama, are at the mercy of bigoted censorship and legal procedure, with the result that America, with all her boastful claims to progress and liberty is still steeped in the densest provincialism.??Unfortunately the Lie of Morality still stalks about in fine feathers, since no one dares to come within hailing distance of that holy of holies. Yet it is safe to say that no other superstition is so detrimental to growth, so enervating and paralyzing to the minds and hearts of the people, as the superstition of Morality.??The Property Morality declares that that institution is sacred. Woe to anyone that dares to question the sanctity of Property, or sins against it! Yet everyone knows that Property is robbery; that it represents the accumulated efforts of millions, who themselves are propertyless.??However, it is with the effects of Morality upon women that I am mostly concerned. So disastrous, so paralyzing has this effect been, that some even of the most advanced among my sisters never thoroughly outgrow it. It is Morality which condemns women to the position of a celibate, a prostitute, or a reckless, incessant breeder of hapless children.?
Emma Goldman, it should be noted, was the person who inspired Roger Baldwin to devote himself to political radicalism. Mr. Baldwin, three years after the appearance of this essay by Miss Goldman, joined Crystal Eastman to organize the ACLU, an organization steadfastly dedicated to undermining the Constitution and the traditions upon which it was based.
For a more extensive discussion of this background, see: