Friday, September 9, 2016

The Pill and Sexual Anarchy

It is now hard to remember the huge controversy that surrounded the invention and introduction of the birth control pill.  Never before had it been possible for young women to become sexually promiscuous without fear of pregnancy.  This was the early 1960s, and the co-called “baby boom” generation (children of the W.W.II generation, born in the 1940s) was just reaching sexual maturity.  The mentors of that pivotal generation, the so-called “beatniks,” were young adults in the 1950s who had turned their backs on the social norms that had always prevailed before them.  Part of it had to do with the newly ubiquitous automobile, which gave young people unprecedented freedom to roam from home.  A youth culture, distinct from the adult world, emerged for the first time.  Rebellion became a virtue, and a “generation gap” became widely obvious.  It will perhaps be impossible to convince New Civers that there has never been a “generation gap” prior to the 20th century, but it’s nevertheless a fact that young people had always been regarded as “miniature adults.”  Marriage came early, and adult responsibilities were taken on in the teen years. What the baby boom generation learned from the beatnik generation was that youthful immaturity can be prolonged well into adulthood.  And an immature adult has one plaything children don’t: sex.  Hugh Hefner saw this coming in the beatnik world of the 50s, and with the active encouragement of Alfred Kinsey, triggered a cultural nuclear weapon that he called the “Playboy philosophy,” the idea that men could and should refuse the tyranny of marriage; serial sexual encounters and the swinging bachelor lifestyle were elevated beyond the ultimate dream to the ultimate virtue.  The fact that the birth control pill was now available, in essence removed any practical limits on the male conscience in this regard.  And because existentialism had already penetrated our civilizational Mind, it had already started to seem “right” that nothing is real but existence itself; the only point of life, it could be argued, is what the beer commercial eventually told us: “gusto.”

What this means, two or three generations later, is that newspapers now simply assume that teenage girls engage in sexual behavior, and that naturally, young women are expected to have a “usual birth control method.”  It’s been a long, long time since everyone knew that “good girls don’t.”  And since good girls in the New Civ[iliation] do (that is, if we actually share in common with our ancestors the idea of what kind of person is this “good girl” who “doesn’t”), pregnancy is often not prevented.  Since boys are no longer expected to do “the right thing,” what’s a girl to do?  (Now, don’t say she shouldn’t have done what it takes to get pregnant in the first place, you prude.)

All the rest follows predictably: abortion, fatherless children, irresponsible, predatory boyfriends, children raising themselves because mom is at work all the time.

And children who raise themselves, quickly discover that the pleasures of adulthood can be had by them, too.  Drink, drugs, sex.  Children having children.  Drug addicted children.  Gangster children.  Violent thug children, with absolutely no respect for any authority.  Vast numbers filtering in and out of prisons, places one movie cop called “gladiator academics.”  A prison culture that spills out across society, and bleeds into the popular music, computer games, television, movies.  And all of this starts to look attractive and natural; kids look forward to participating in things the Western Mind would have regarded as repulsive.

Patrick Michael Murphy, “How the West Was Lost,” p.190-191

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