Diana West

Come to think of it, maybe such rigid adherence to euphemism is a bona fide show of restraint. But in this case, "restraint" is not mature. Restraining the libido (which Foley did not amid a culture that does not) comes down to a matter of mind (or morality) over matter -- a display of forbearance which is by definition mature. Intellectual restraint -- self-censorship -- in matters of war and peace belies a lack of will or confidence that defines the unformed uncertainty of immature man.

Then again, maybe war-talk "inhibitions" simply show how "repressed" we are as when we observe the "social taboo" of denying the Islamic nature of our foe.

I'm playing around with these 1960s clichs to try to illustrate a key aspect of our social condition: Sexually untrammeled, we have become intellectually moribund. We continue, tiresomely, to highlight sexuality in the culture, even as we continue, perilously, to stifle debate that touches on non-Western topics such as Islam. Are the two related? You bet, because they both carry the stamp of approval from the school of political correctness that was established amid the sexual revolution and the rise of multiculturalism. What we might regard as sexual liberationism and multiculturally-rigged reason are on track to roll back the Enlightenment that produced Western civilization as we know it today.

This symbiosis may in the end help explain why, in the midst of a global war to determine the fate of Western civilization (as in whether Western civilization will continue to have a fate), American voters and politicians alike appear poised to turn all-important midterm elections into a meaningless referendum on a sexual predator already ostracized, while still failing to debate, examine, or even recognize urgent facts before us.

For a culture with few taboos, we sure have a lot of hang-ups.


Diana West

Diana West is the author of American Betrayal: The Secret Assault on Our Nation's Character (St. Martin's Press, 2013), and The Death of the Grown-Up: How America's Arrested Development Is Bringing Down Western Civilization (St. Martin's Press, 2007).