F.R. Duplantier reporting Behind The Headlines
Week of:
September 3, 2000
The Fruits of the Sexual Revolution

F.R. Duplantier

by: F.R. Duplantier

"If there is one thing of which modern man is utterly convinced, it is that he has reached a state of sexual enlightenment."

"Thanks to the sexual revolution, current confusions are manifold," observes British physician Theodore Dalrymple. "In a society that forms sexual liaisons with scarcely a thought, a passing suggestive remark can result in a lawsuit," he comments; "the use of explicit sexual language is de rigueur in literary circles, but medical journals fear to print the word 'prostitute' and use the delicate euphemism 'sex worker' instead." Dalrymple points out that "anxiety about the sexual abuse of children subsists with an utter indifference to the age of consent; compulsory sex education and free contraception," he adds, "have proved not incompatible with [rampant abortion] and with unprecedented numbers of teenage pregnancies." Dalrymple also notes that "the effective elimination of the legal distinction between marriage and cohabitation is contemporary with the demand that homosexual couples be permitted to marry," and, he continues, "while it has become ever more difficult for married but childless parents to adopt, homosexual couples now have the right to do so. The right of lesbians to artificially aided conception . . . has likewise been conceded on the principle of non-discrimination, and 60-year-old women naturally enough claim the same rights to in vitro fertilization."

In the current issue of the Manhattan Institute's City Journal, Dalrymple examines the self-serving and simplistic attitudes of the libertines who led the sexual revolution and sowed such confusion. "Revolutions are seldom the spontaneous mass upheaval of the downtrodden," he asserts, "and the sexual revolution was certainly no exception. . . . The revolution had its intellectual progenitors -- as shallow, personally twisted, and dishonest a parade of people as one could ever wish to encounter. They were all utopians," Dalrymple emphasizes, "lacking understanding of the realities of human nature; they all thought that sexual relations could be brought to the pitch of perfection either by divesting them of moral significance altogether or by reversing the moral judgment that traditionally attached to them. . . ."

Dalrymple marvels at the success of their insane struggle. "The sexual revolutionaries' ideas about the relations between men and women -- entailing ever greater sexual liberty, ever less mastery of the appetite -- were so absurd and utopian," he remarks, "that it is hard to understand how anyone could have taken them seriously. But mere absurdity," Dalrymple laments, "has never prevented the triumph of bad ideas." He concludes that "a golden age of contentment has not dawned. Relations between the sexes are as fraught as they ever were. The sexual revolution has not yielded peace of mind but confusion, contradiction, and conflict."

Dalrymple emphasizes that ours is "the first time in history there has been mass denial that sexual relations are a proper subject of moral reflection or need to be governed by moral restrictions. The result of this denial, not surprisingly, has been soaring divorce rates and mass illegitimacy, among other phenomena. The sexual revolution," he says, "has been above all a change in moral sensibility, in the direction of a thorough coarsening of feeling, thought, and behavior."

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