Why the Left Hates Sex

Jennifer Roback Morse

11/28/2005 12:05:00 AM - Jennifer Roback Morse

Dennis Prager recently argued that the Left values equality more than it hates evil. He is absolutely right. But I can go Dennis Prager one better: the Left hates sex. Not sexual activity, mind you. No, the Left is hyper-active sexually. I mean something much deeper: the Left is war with the fact that we are sexual beings.

Let me explain. The Left can not accept that we are born as either male or female. You might expect me to say that the Left hates gender. But to say that is to accept their terms for the debate. Gender is for nouns. We come in two sexes: male and female.

The Left hates sex because men and women are so different that they can never be made equal in the way that the Left demands. Radical egalitarians regard sex as a cosmic injustice.  The Left demands that we wipe out all sex differences from our social and legal lives.  If we trace this imperative through the different policies advocated by the Left, we will see how truly destructive this mentality has been for relationships between men and women, for the protection of marriage, and for the protection of the family.

This assault on sex first emerged with the subject of income equality. This mind-set has never been at peace with the fact that child-bearing places distinct demands on both women and men. Men tend to work more steadily in the paid labor force throughout their lives, while women tend to cut back on their labor force participation during their child-bearing years. As long as men and women can cooperate throughout their lives in marriage, both men and women can be made better off by combining these different economic strategies. Men may have a larger amount written on their paychecks, but their wives get the benefit of their earning power.

“Gender Equality” has worked well as an issue for the Left. They were unsuccessful at building a mass political movement for income equality, even at the height of the Great Depression. Eliminating wage differences between men and women gave them the political entree into regulating wages and working conditions that they never could have achieved any other way.

But the Left’s war on sex differences transcends the merely political, and pops up in the most personal ways.  For instance, most first-time parents slide into “stereo-typical gender roles.”  Studies show that people who embrace gender equality are likely to be upset by the arrival of their first child.  Because of their deep commitment to equality, they often become angry at their partners and ultimately at themselves. Unless they can surrender their rigid Leftist gender ideology, their marriage is headed for divorce and they are headed for misery.

The Left wants sex to be an irrelevant category. Now, if the question is who can be an astronaut or accountant, you might be able to make the case that sex is irrelevant. Most people can go along with the idea that we should not be overly rigid about gender roles. But the Left wants much more than that.  They want sex to be irrelevant, period.

I was once debating same sex marriage, at a large state university. I was the only person on the panel who supported the definition of marriage as being between a man and a woman. I asked one of my opponents whether she thought gender were a relevant category for parenting. I expected that she would be too embarrassed to say no. But in that Leftist-dominated environment, she came right out and admitted that she thought men and women were completely interchangeable as parents.
 
The widespread support for opposite-sex marriage is founded on precisely on this point. Most Americans intuitively understand that mothers and fathers are different, and that kids need both.  Claiming that same sex couples can be married is claiming that sex is irrelevant to parenting. No one outside of a university really believes that.

But an intuitive understanding is not good enough to sustain us through the arguments that are coming our way in the Culture Wars.  We have to articulate what we believe and why. We have to understand that the very concept of gender and sex is under attack.

The Left believes that sex is irrelevant to parenting, to child-rearing and child-bearing, to marriage and even to sex itself. Judging by the rhetoric on college campuses, their goal is for each and every person to be indifferent as to whether they have sex with an opposite sex partner or with a same sex partner.

Since this kind of gender equality can never be achieved, the Left can position itself for unlimited regulation of virtually every kind of behavior. If you accept the premise that all differences between men and women are socially constructed and that we are morally obligated to deconstruct all these differences, you give the Left carte blanche for endless intervention into the most intimate details of people’s lives.

Our challenge is to reconnect with the timeless values that have allowed men and women to cooperate with each other through the ages. We can acknowledge that men and women are different, without succumbing to the urge to dominate or bully each other. Men and women can complement each other, rather than compete with each other. But we will never manage this feat, unless we first realize what we are up against. The Left’s demand for equality must be exposed for the power grab that it is.