Enforced sameness for the sake of equality breeds all sorts of unnatural outcomes. Strong-arm edicts issued under Title IX to make sports participation exactly equal for men and women on campuses, has produced a striking result: colleges are dropping traditionally male sports as fast as they can.
“The total number of athletes, the gender ratio of the athletes in your athletic department must mirror the gender ratio of your undergraduate student population,” said Eric Pearson, chairman of the American Sports Council, which works to reform Title IX. Since female students now comprise 57 percent of undergraduates but only 43 percent of student athletes, sports like wrestling are getting the boot.
Like children, many progressives live in the present, fixated with “equality,” and oblivious or resistant to historic norms. Even the idea of “norms” is offensive to some.
The very existence of norms challenges the paramount importance that liberal culture places on self-fulfillment. Plus, it was once the norm in parts of America to own slaves and later to put Jim Crow laws on the books, not to mention denying women the right to vote or own property. All points taken. But the civil rights movement, created to right profound wrongs, has been hijacked by people engaged primarily in expanding government and creating dependency in the name of equality.
Along with the obsession with equality, progressives tend to embrace change, any change, that is, unless it's toward traditional or conservative ends.
In his new book Return to Order (on which I consulted on an early draft), author John Horvat II coins a phrase to summarize our culture’s dizzying, fast-paced, and increasingly unstable core: “frenetic intemperance.”
The term describes a spirit of lawlessness combined with a frantic drive to satiate desires. The result is an inability to distinguish the important from the trivial, and to surrender to “a bland secularism that admits few heroic, sublime or sacred elements to fill our lives with meaning.”
Mr. Horvat, who heads the Tradition, Family Property Commission for American Studies, says that, “We do not think it is caused by our vibrant system of private property and free enterprise as so many socialists are wont to claim…. Far from promoting a free market, frenetic intemperance undermines and throws it out of balance and even prepares the way for socialism.”
One manifestation of our culture’s becoming unhinged from its heritage is the recent creation of same-sex “marriage.” People contemptuous of the past and who yearn to evolve to some imagined ideal actually argue with a straight face (pun intended) that marriage was invented to exclude homosexuals. That was the basic finding of U.S. District Judge Vaughn R. Walker, who struck down California’s voter-approved marriage amendment.
Judge Walker, who has his reasons, wants the option of marrying a man instead of a woman, so he dismissed 6,000 years of history, the state constitutional amendment process, and the idea of self-government. He declared that “animus” toward same-sex relationships was the reason that men have been marrying women since time began.
If you’re living solely in the present and are obsessed with faux equality, it’s necessary to deconstruct marriage, plucking it from the rich soil of kinship and making it strictly about individuals’ feelings.
However, living only in the present has some odd advantages. You can spend trillions of dollars that we don’t have and not worry about the next couple of generations who will have to pay for it all. We’re busy creating equality!
You can turn over the world’s finest health care system to the government and hope that it won’t evolve into a giant Division of Motor Vehicles with band-aids.
As for future generations, well, pass some clams, will you? That’s still okay for now in Ipswich.