Sex is a beautiful cathedral that liberals want to demolish. Who knew?

Jonah Goldberg’s new piece on women voters actually includes a good insight (as pointed out at the link, which is not direct): “In a relatively short period of time, legal and cultural equality has expanded — albeit not uniformly or perfectly — to blacks, women, and gays. We are a more heterodox society in almost every way. As a result, many of our customs, norms, and terms no longer line up neatly with lived-reality. Remember customs emerge as intangible tools to solve real needs. When the real needs change, the customs must either adapt or die … You can call it ‘political correctness’ that Americans stopped calling black people ‘negroes.’ But that wouldn’t make the change wrong or even objectionable.”
That’s an encouraging acknowledgment, even though it’s stuffed into a mess of a column that runs as follows:
•Liberals are liars. Everything they say is just a cover for the real agenda, whereas conservatives are completely upfront and straightforward. For example, liberals quote a lot of science because that’s the new voice of authority, not because they believe in science (so presumably conservatives who believe birth control is abortion even if it’s not scientific are on some higher plane).
•Because society has changed, liberalism and feminism now look like they make sense: “Democrats recognize this, which is why they’ve cynically exploited changes in family structure, female labor participation, and reproductive technology and declared that Republicans have declared war on women. It’s not remotely true, but it is effective.”
•As part of this scheme, the left rejects traditional male-female relationships, even though they have nothing better to offer: “Progressives are steadily dismantling the beautiful cathedrals of traditional manners and customs, arguing that they’re too Baroque, too antiquated. They use the sledgehammer of liberation rhetoric to destroy the old edifices, but their fidelity to liberty is purely rhetorical. In place of the old cathedrals they build supposedly functional, modern, and utilitarian codes of conduct. But these Brutalist codes are not only unlovely, they are often more prudish than traditional approaches.”
•The solution for right-wingers is to preserve the cathedrals but “why not argue for some long overdue updating and retrofitting? I guarantee you more women prefer a modified version of the traditional process of wooing, courting, and dating before sex than the “modern” schizophrenic system of getting drunk enough for a same-day hook up but not so inebriated to forget to get a signature on the consent form. Traditional notions of romance and respect are far better tools than the mumbo-jumbo campus feminists have to offer. The problem is that the mumbo-jumbo feminists are fighting largely uncontested.”
As pointed out at the link, it’s hard to see how this plays into actual politics as Goldberg is so vague and metaphorical. I’m inclined to take the subtext as a suggestion that Repubs should stop dumping on the “Beyonce voters” and demonizing single women for having sex—but that’s actually a controversial position so I can see why Goldberg wouldn’t come out and say it. If he is saying it.
Then again, maybe he’s trying to sound like he’s open minded while recyling usual right-wing cliches about there being no war on women, drunken hookups (the George Will view of campus sex) and that feminists are just screaming mumbo-jumbo. His point about those stately cathedrals sounds a lot like the mutterings of Suzanne Venker and other antifeminists about how feminism has made us all miserable by rejecting chivalry (or about how Downton Abbey was a better era for women). And how suggesting that people actually get consent before doing the nasty is a Bad Idea.
And then there’s the point about the duplicitous liberals and how they’re catering to women out of self-interest (another staple). To which I say, so what? If Democrats are willing to protect women’s rights to win votes while Republicans vote against them out of high-minded principle, then Democrats are still the better bet for people who support women’s rights.
The issue isn’t whether right-wing Repubs are sincere or not. The issue is, they support bad policies either way.

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Filed under Politics, Undead sexist cliches

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