Most important historical development of 2013

I would say that the most important historical development of 2013, the one that will prove most pivotal and culturally significant , is the Supreme Court decision casting out the Defense of Marriage law, which, along with various other court decisions and state laws, threw the door completely open for same-sex marriage.  Never in all of human history and never in the wide diversity of human cultures, including those that have been most open to homosexuality, have men married men or women married women.  Just as a matter of history and anthropology, the new legal and social acceptance of gay marriage is revolutionary and unprecedented.

What else happened in 2013 that you think historians of the next century will study?  (That will not necessarily be the same as the “top news stories,” since historians are more interested in the big picture.)


You are not allowed to disapprove of gay sex

Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson was not accused of mistreating gay people, nor of interfering with their freedom to have sex as they please, nor did he say anything against gay marriage.  He said that the physiology of gay sex is “illogical” and quoted 1 Corinthians.  For that he lost his job.

Those who disapprove of gay sex need to realize that if they say anything about it, any aspirations they may have to public office are probably doomed and they may even lose their livelihoods.

This has to be one of the biggest moral and cultural turnarounds in history.  Just a few years ago,  homosexuals were closeted, lest they risk their jobs and reputation.  Now, evidently, Christians and others who hold traditional moral beliefs are going to have to hide them in the closet.

Some will say, turn around is fair play.  But just switching who is mistreated does not further the cause of tolerance and freedom. [Read more...]

Post-Christian vs. non-Christian

“Post-Christian” does not mean the same as “non-Christian,” observes John O’Sullivan.  A “post-Christian” society is one that seeks to maintain the cultural legacy of Christianity–such as human rights, benevolence, the institution of the family–after the religious beliefs that created and supported this legacy have been abandoned.  In their place, post-Christian societies try to substitute laws, regulations, bureaucracies, and secular ideologies, all of which fall short.

The British journalist develops these ideas in an address to the Transatlantic Christian Council in Brussels, excerpted and linked after the jump. [Read more...]

Baby Boomers agonistes

It’s almost too easy to make fun of us Baby Boomers.  But satirist P. J. O’Rourke, who is one,  has a book coming out in January entitled   The Baby Boom: How It Got That Way (And It Wasn’t My Fault) (And I’ll Never Do It Again).  An excerpt printed in the Wall Street Journal had me grudgingly laughing:

We are the generation that changed everything. Of all the eras and epochs of Americans, ours is the one that made the biggest impression—on ourselves. That’s an important accomplishment, because we’re the generation that created the self, made the firmament of the self, divided the light of the self from the darkness of the self, and said, “Let there be self.” If you were born between 1946 and 1964, you may have noticed this yourself. [Read more...]

What’s the matter with kids these days?

My former student Brett Harris shows that he was paying attention when our literature class studied irony.  But notice his overall point:

Young people have absolutely NOTHING to offer. The sooner they realize this and stop trying to do grownup stuff the better for everyone.

For example, this 13-year-old girl got so overwhelmed visiting a neonatal unit in Kenya that she ran outside and passed out!

LET’S FACE IT: Young people are too incompetent and irresponsible to make a difference in the world. They should focus on staying entertained and out of the way.

Unfortunately, this girl didn’t learn her lesson the first time. [Read more...]

A society controlled by inflicting pleasure

Aldous Huxley, who died on this date 50 years ago along with C. S. Lewis and John F. Kennedy, was the author of Brave New World.  The other great dystopian novel 1984 by George Orwell offers many lessons about totalitarianism and state tyranny.  But the year 1984 came and went, and though we worry about “Big Brother” and rewriting history, most of Orwell’s predictions did not come to pass, at least not yet, and at least not in America.

But back in 1931, Huxley predicted the severance of sex and procreation.  Children are conceived and engineered in laboratories and brought up in state-run nurseries, eliminating the family.   The population doesn’t worry about its all-controlling government because everyone is blissed out with drugs (“soma”) and constantly entertained with “feelies,” which offer total immersion into what we would call virtual realities, including those of a pornographic nature.  Though romance is forbidden, casual sex is encouraged.  And at the age of 60, everyone is cheerfully euthanized.  Any of that sound familiar?

Huxley himself seems to have missed the message of his own novel, becoming an early adopter of LSD and other soma-like drugs and embracing the ideology of the brave new world that was the ’60s.  But his book was more prescient than he was.  After the jump, a comment from the late media critic Neil Postman about Huxley’s novel that will leave you reeling. [Read more...]