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Saturday, March 13, 2004
WHERE DID IT COME FROM?...WHERE WILL IT END?

I am giving a talk next week in DC on Ang Lee's film The Ice Storm, in connection with a day-long conference on "Healing the Sexual Revolution."

I admit, I don't get it, myself. What is it that led the entire culture - arts, academia, medical and legal professions, the Church - to gradually reject every vestige of the Natural Law? To listen to cultural pundits, it sounds like the Natural Law was invented by the Christian Right somewhere during the 1980 Reagan campaign. Sorry. We're not even talking religion here. Just classical human virtue, baby.

What is it that happened somewhere between 1960 and 1968 that allowed our people to- borrowing from C.S. Lewis' Abolition of Man - see us all outside the Tao? Why didn't somebody say, "Sexual Revolution"? Who is the enemy here? Our own bodies? Our own nature? This is a losing battle.....

And what is it that will lead us back to the classical virtues? The human family WILL get back. It always does. Eventually, every human society looks back on the ones that came before and shivers with disgust.

At a certain point, people who love virtue in a dying society are ultimately reduced to crying out as a voice of warning for future societies. My sense of Cicero is that he was like that. His Rome was pretty much as far gone as ours - except of course for the commercialized harvesting of little humans at embryo farms, that one is a first in the annals of depravity. Anyway, Cicero knew Rome was too far gone to save. But still, he kept fighting for justice, piety, fortitude, prudence, moderation - throwing his voice up and out, hoping that some people far in the future would hear his warnings, and maybe avoid the same mistakes that had sickened the idealism and promise of Rome. Maybe that is what we are supposed to do....Honestly, it would give our current sufferings some meaning if we could pass on to whatever society is coming next, "And make sure you have term limits for Senators and Supreme Court Justices!!!!!"

So, the barbarians/terrorists are crashing in at the gates of what's left of our civilization. An interesting question is, how will technology change the requisite demolition of a society, upon whose errors, the next human experiment finds its justification in reclaiming the 'very old things' (thanks, Chersterton).

So, why "Sexual Revolution"? (And all of you baby boomers, please don't say the assassination of John Kennedy...Must fight the impulse...must fight it...) Where will it end? What's next?