Saturday, September 19, 2009

Andrew Sullivan in the Grip of the Culture of Death

Andrew Sullivan thinks he has a knock down argument against social conservatives. So what is this terrible and horrifying thing of which social conservatives are guilty? He argues that statistics show that more fundamentalist teens give birth. Horrors! Don't those mothers have the decency to take their daughters to the abortionist and then get them on the pill like upper middle class liberal mothers do?

Continuing his pathological Sarah Palin obsession (I think he is secretly in love with her!), he says "Sarah Palin's pattern is not anomalous." Never mind that Sarah Palin did not have a teen birth; her daughter did. Oh well, it must be her fault; everything else is.

Sullivan does not seem even to be capable of grasping the fact that there are worse things in the world than giving birth - many, many, worse things, in fact. I know, I know . . . giving birth as a teen mom is difficult. But all things considered, if only that were the worst evil our society was perpetrating.

Andrew Sullivan is so caught up in glorious raptures over the culture of death that he thinks that promiscuous, sterile sex and abortion are preferable to the struggle of parenting. And his charge against us social conservatives is that we presume to disagree with him. This is pathetic, to put it mildly. I'm afraid he will have to come up with something a lot worse than giving birth to a new, unique, human being made in the image of God to hurl as an accusation against social conservatives to prove how evil we are. If that is our worst fault, we are not doing too badly, all things considered, especially considering the alternatives.

Life is not the problem; sterility, shallowness, loneliness, individualism, hedonism, boredom and death are the real problems facing Western culture. The logical implication of Sullivan's outrage is that we should put every girl on the pill at puberty and then say to teens: "Go to it." The result of that could only be an exacerbation of these problems. Social conservatives are the last group of people in the West saying no to the full realization of the brave new world of the sexual revolution and, while we are imperfect, inconsistent and open to all sorts of swipes from our opponents, at least we still have the right idea: that sex and babies naturally go together, as inconvenient and messy as that might be.

HT - Dan at City of God


Andrew said...

Dan and I have been having a little discussion about Sullivan in the comments of his post:

Boonton said...

This is amusing. Back when Bush Sr. ran for office his VP made headlines by attacking a fictional TV character for, yes 'giving birth'. I don't even recall a token acknowledgment that Murphy Brown could have had an abortion but didn't. She was a villain for 'denying a child a father' but no credit was given for giving a child life!

Then during the Clinton administration Bill Bennett invented the set of 'leading cultural indicators' that featured, yes, out of wedlock births. The idea was supposedly to show how horrible Clinton was making all of us, but the metrics started to get less play among conservatives as they annoying kept moving in positive directions despite the lack of a conservative President to provide teens sexual guidance.

Now that the kettle has been caught, once again, calling the pot black, we hear that we should think its positive that a cultural movement has managed to boost the number of teen girls having babies out of wedlock. Wow good work.

Of course some of this is just partisanship. If Chelsea Clinton had gotten pregnant as a teen or if Obama had a teen daughter who got pregnant out of wedlock the right would gleefully announce this was an example of how 'liberal parenting' fails kids. When Palinites put their woman up as mother of the year and their hero proceeds to produce one teen daughter getting knocked up and then proceeds to get into a public 'tit for tat' with her pseudo-son-in-law that's just a hair more dignified than the typical Jerry Springer episode we hear that we are being unfair because at least they didn't have a bunch of abortions (and if they did would they tell us about it?)

Sullivan, though, has noted a real cultural shift. The social right these days pays lip service to abstinence but has for the most part ditched it as a norm. The real 'old school' thinking saw unwed motherhood as a scandal and a failure of not only the individual woman but the entire family of all involved with it (recall the movie Dirty Dancing where the pre-med student was terrified that he would loose his recommendation for med school because he got a girl 'in trouble').

Needless to say the author hasn't bothered to read a word Sullivan has actually written on abortion so in that regard he is just the usual type of blogger who substitutes stereotypes in place of actual reading.

Craig Carter said...

If Sullivan thinks the social right has shifted to adopt the views of the cultural left on sex, he is just engaging is a form of self-justifying wishful thinking.

If you don't think it is possible to say both that having children outside of marriage is bad and that abortion is even worse, then it seems to me you have limited moral imagination and fuming about "consistency" just won't cut it.

Boonton said...


Do you actually bother to read Sullivan?

First there is a clear cultural shift by the right on sex. As I pointed out Murphey Brown was attacked without even a thought to abortion. The rise in out-of-wedlock births among African Americans was decried without reference to reluctance to have abortion. Now we are told it is out of line to ask if Palin and social conservatives are failing their children due to the increase in teen births because 'at least' they aren't having abortions? Are you saying twenty years ago the low out of wedlock birth rates among social conservatives was due to ample use of abortion clinics? If not then the same rules and concerns still apply.

"If you don't think it is possible to say both that having children outside of marriage is bad and that abortion is even worse"

I'm not seeing where you are getting that. Sullivan concludes his brief post with:

"One should remember that the very people who attack gay people for forming relationships and building families are the ones most responsible for teen births. Sarah Palin's pattern is not anomalous. "

Where do you see an argument from Sullivan that social conservatives would be more moral and build better families if they had more abortions? If a study concluded that not only do they have more out of wedlock kids but also have more abortions I don't think Sullivan would treat that as a vindication for the Palin-class, but instead more confirmation that focusing on gay bashing as morality was even more misguided.

Craig Carter said...

It sounds like you are just unable to make sense of the Sarah Palin incident; you are not along - many liberals were left scratching their heads. It seems to you (and Sullivan) that an explanation is required for the fact that the social conservatives did not rise up and reject Sarah Palin just because her daughter made a mistake. Many liberals were so sure that we are smug, self-righteous, hypocrites that they were shocked when we appeared understanding and loving to a particular person in a tragic situation.

But we don't see any contradiction whatsoever between being against Murphey Brown being a role model influencing young girls to think single motherhood is a "valid lifestyle choice," when we know it is very hard and not the best for all concerned, on the one hand, and making every effort to support single mothers who are in a difficult spot, on the other.

My wife and I support our local Pregnancy Help Center and have for over 20 years. I used to be Board Chair and she is now Treasurer. If you were to hang out with Evangelical Christians you would soon learn that there is nothing incompatible about the two things: being against single motherhood as a good thing and being there to support any girl who gets into that situation.

Your views are just out of date. Jerry Falwell was starting homes for unwed mothers in the '80s and he wasn't exactly "soft" on sex outside of marriage. This is old news.