At Princeton: Sexual counterrevolution?

Posted: Apr 19, 2005 12:00 AM

Golly durn! I read it in the New York Times. It must be true!

 Here's the story, anyway: Princeton University -- Princeton, jot that down -- has a brand-new 80-member group, the Anscombe Society -- and it's not a Southern Baptist group either -- that promotes discussion of chastity and abstinence from premarital sex. Discussion of if not indeed adherence to.

 Wow! Princeton! Ivy League! Cutting edge!


 There's some disconnect there -- a disconnect entirely wondrous and wonderful to behold.

 We have heard in latter years of religious groups (ex. True Love Waits) collecting pledges of abstention from premarital sex. The Princeton group is, to speak a little brutally, of a different order. The reason is that disconnect of which I speak. When you read, in the Times, of Ivy Leaguers demanding room at the table for serious discussion of a recently non-discussable subject, you start to sniff something in the wind. I catch occasional odors at other times, in other places. Yum.

 What I smell is -- please, Lord, oh, please! -- the end some day of the 1960s, the darkest, grungiest decade in our history; the decade from hell; the decade that just won't go away -- but is set to expire in hospices one of these days. I plan to be there when it happens, even if it means cutting down on the 6 p.m. shiraz.

 The theme of the 1960s was To H--- With Restraint and Decency, Hooray for Liberation, especially the kinds and varieties performed in prone positions. Yes, sexual liberation was in the end what the generation of the '60s craved most because once it got its country out of Vietnam, there had to be some fun left in life.

 For the success of its revolution, the generation of the '60s wasn't totally responsible. Its moral/political/philosophical victory required not only plenty of bad behavior, but also a lot of craven yielding on the older, supposedly wiser generation's part. The long and the short of it was, American society flattened just about every sexual guideline there ever had been. The flap over something identified spuriously as "gay marriage" is the tiniest tip of a large iceberg.

 For the flap to occur, it was necessary first for: 1) the U. S. Supreme Court to render abortion a constitutional right, 2) ecclesiastics like John Spong, the fraudulent Episcopal bishop-prophet, to whoop it up for self-expression of every non-Republican kind, 3) moral leaders to demote the old moral and religious norms, such as abstinence from premarital sex, 4) parents to countenance the practice once known as "shacking up," and 5) prestigious universities such as Princeton to start boarding male with female students, as if it were Auschwitz or something.

 Predictably, relationships between men and women have never been crazier or more prone to disaster. Nor is it that codes have vanished. What might be called the codeless code rules us: the code of anything goes, no holds barred.

 The aim of Princeton's Anscombe Society is to challenge the idea of codelessness. Says one of the founders: "[W]e want to enrich the discussion of sexual issues and family. So we also present sociological data and medical research. We want to bring all of those issues in." That's to counter an environment wherein (to quote another Anscombeist) "in my [freshman dorm], we went to our residential adviser for our study break, and there with the soda pop and the chips was a bowl with flavored condoms."  What did that tell the freshmen if not that Princeton's expectations for them were not on the high side?

 Forty years ago, the Ivy League led a dazed and goggle-eyed America into a new Babylonian captivity of total freedom to do whatever. Is it barely possible the Ivy League itself is ripe for subversion by people who don't think the sexual revolution, etc. successfully upstaged 2,000 years of Western wisdom on the ways of the heart? Gee, I don't know, but I think thinking about it calls for another shiraz.