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Fools or Liars?

Senior Editor’s Note: TCT’s Editor-in-Chief, Robert Royal, will appear today on the nationally syndicated NPR program To the Point with Warren Olney. Dr. Royal and Mr. Olney will discuss religion and the environment. Check your local listings. (UPDATE: The interview will air beginning  at 2:15 EDT and may be heard online.) -ABM

The latest apologists for the Sexual Revolution – that great swamp of sewage backup, human misery, family breakdown, squalid entertainment, and lawyers – have been saying that the most radical anthropological breach ever known to man, the detachment of marriage from childbirth and the plain facts of nature, will have no effect (none at all, not to worry) on marriage and childbirth and family and community life.

To which I reply, “Haven’t you said that before?” About what exactly have the sexual revolutionaries been right? Which of their non-predictions has been confirmed?

They told us that liberalization of the divorce laws – the no-fault divorce that libertarians so heedlessly pushed – would have no effect, none at all, not to worry, upon the frequency of divorce. The new laws would only make divorce less painful to the couple, and consequently less painful to the children. For there are such things as “good” divorces.

By a miracle of sympathy and maturity beyond their years, children would be happy to find their parents happy. In fact, they could never be happy otherwise. No one troubled to ask how their parents could possibly be happy in the teeth of their children’s sorrow. Well, the revolutionaries were wrong about that. Or they were lying; one or the other.

They told us that “everybody was doing it,” with “it” growing gradually more immoral and unnatural, basing their assertions upon research conducted by that pedophile and fraud, Alfred Kinsey. Therefore, they said, to smile upon fornication was not to change anything, except to relieve everybody from reproach, and allow them to do open and honestly what they had been doing dishonestly and in secret.

In one generation the relations between the sexes were utterly transformed, so that girls (and boys too) who wanted to practice the ordinary virtue of prudence, and even the more difficult virtue of chastity, were “immiserated,” left out, lonely. In the old days, a boy’s heart might leap if the girl gave him a kiss. Now he can hardly feign a bit of affection unless she brings him to climax. Well, the revolutionaries were wrong about that too. Or they were lying.

They told us that pornography was an innocent pastime for a minority of people interested in it. It had nothing to do with violence. It would not coarsen the culture. You would be able to keep children away from it. No effect, none at all, not to worry. Need I comment on this one? They were wrong, or they were lying.

The Sexual Revolution: inappropriate, nightmarish, and nasty.

They told us that the Pill would result in fewer children being conceived out of wedlock, and that liberalizing the abortion laws would have no effect, none at all, not to worry, upon the number of women seeking them. Pope Paul in Humanae vitae predicted otherwise. Now forty percent of children in America are born out of wedlock, most of them to grow up without a stable home. And by the testimony of the Supreme Court itself, abortion has become so intimate a part of a woman’s life, as the failsafe against the misfortune of making a child when you do the child-making thing, that it cannot possibly be scaled back now. Again, the revolutionaries were wrong, or they were lying.

I should say they were lying again, because the evidence they brought before the courts had always been a mass of fabrications.

They told us that little children introduced to sex by sweet and gentle older people would suffer no great harm by it, unless parents overreacted. They had for a while to forget that they ever said it, but now that the Catholic Church has cleaned house, they are forgetting that they forgot it, and are starting to sing the same old tune: no harm, none at all, not to worry. They were and are wrong, or they were and are lying.

They told us that the ERA, which was never ratified but which has been litigated into law anyway, would not result in such absurdities as women being sent into combat, the end of single-sex public colleges, unisex bathrooms, and the normalization of homosexuality. No effect, none at all, not to worry. They were wrong about that, or they were lying.

What have they gotten right? Have the relations between men and women ever been more suspicious, more fraught with anger and shame? According to their own testimony, our colleges are swarming jungles of assault and rape. That was not so before the revolutionaries did their work.

They said that abortion would not lead to euthanasia. Now they are glad that it has led to euthanasia, and they say that euthanasia, doctor-assisted snuffing, will not lead to killing elderly people without their consent. Actually, it has led to killing elderly people without their consent. Elderly people are subjected to slow and purportedly painless suffocation every day, in every hospital in the country. No effect, none at all, not to worry.

We were told that extending the notion (not the reality, which is impossible, but the pretense) of marriage to same-sex couples will have no effect, none at all, on anything else in the land. It will have no effect on what children are taught in school. It will have no effect on the number of young people experimenting in the unnatural. It will have no effect on religious liberty. It will have no effect on freedom of speech.

It could not possibly have any effect on such things, because, we were told, the behavior in question was perfectly natural, engaged in by perfectly healthy people. It was not an unnatural moral and psychological disorder, impossible to render natural, which could only be shored up by coercion. No effect, none at all, not to worry. And by the way, agree or be destroyed.

When have they ever been right in their predictions? Why should we trust them now?

Anthony Esolen

Anthony Esolen

Anthony Esolen is a lecturer, translator, and writer. His latest books are Reflections on the Christian Life: How Our Story Is God’s Story and Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child. He teaches at Providence College.