by Reid Fitzsimons
A bit of historical stipulation first. The post WWll era left the US in an incomparable global position in terms of economics and power, having become an industrial and technological titan out of necessity and unscathed by direct destruction by geography. Enormous wealth and its associated leisure were the natural consequences. The generation labeled “Baby Boomers” enjoyed, if you will, this leisure at an unprecedented level, resulting in the first truly widespread separation of survival requirements from life- no more milking the cows by 5 am before heading off to the one-room school house. Perhaps surprisingly, or perhaps not, this opportunity did not always lead to greatness but often to self-indulgence, as exemplified by 1960’s catch phrases, masquerading as deep philosophy, such as “Do your own thing,” “Don’t lay a guilt trip on me man,” and the like.
While as a rule conservatives are disinclined to a worldview based on racial and gender identities we need to be honest and admit that by “Baby Boomer” we’re really talking about privileged white people. People whom, decades later, are clapping their arthritic hands in attempted rhythm with the ancient Doo-Wop stars on PBS fundraisers and thinking Bernie Sanders is "with it." White people in million dollar homes in the Boston suburbs with Black Lives Matter signs conspicuously posted on their well-coiffed lawns maintained by Mexicans who arrive every week or so in the back of pick-up trucks.
Freed from the demands of subsistence, the luxury to obtain degrees in PolySci or Sociology, or simply groove, versus actually having to do anything, was upon us, or at least a lot of us (“If you’re going to San Francisco, be sure to bring your daddy’s credit card”). Actually I don’t mean to impugn great swathes of people, and there were real and serious issues (war, the draft, racial oppression to name a few) as the Baby Boomers were coming of age, but somehow yearning and later nostalgia for the Woodstock Nation just never took hold of me. I lack wistfulness for the 60s, “Let it all hang out,” “Flower Power,” etc. This is especially true with years of hindsight and the realization that Bill and Hillary Clinton are the evolutionary apex of modern progressivism.
A remarkable confluence of events and developments transpired: never before known wealth spread over a burgeoning middle and upper economic class, the directly related postponement of adult responsibility, unheard of mobility, and a bunch of elite, horny, young white guys with little to do. The traditional encumbrances on libido, going back throughout history, were being discarded. Protestant Christianity divided into the mainline liberal churches, which suddenly discovered in Scripture that the primary Commandment from God was “If it feels good, do it,” and the conservative churches (continuing to this day) became obsessed with “Your personal Salvation is all that matters through Grace alone- you don’t actually have to do anything!” The relevance of religion was lost. And, of course, the advent of oral contraception, “The Pill.”
Nevertheless some ghosts of restraint remained in terms of promiscuous bagging of chicks: the idea of displeasing parents, some anachronistic sense of chivalry, or a residual respect for women. The solution eventually became obvious- instead of repressing one’s sexual desires and fantasies or trying to find the nerve to hit on babes- instead of changing one’s self, why not change society? Forget about the ostensibly noble sentiment of JFK’s “Ask not” line in his inaugural speech, the correct question was, “What can the country do for me?” Especially when pertaining to meeting one’s particular, and perhaps peculiar, carnal desires. The seminal concept of modern progressivism was born.
Our Baby Boomers finished their degrees, law school, etc and eventually found their way into the media, entertainment, government jobs, and think tanks. Ladders were climbed, seniority or tenure was established, politicians were elected and eventually the oversexed elite white guys, diligent readers (and believers in the veracity of) The Penthouse Forum, were the guys in charge. They could now not just influence society but actually mould policy and law to make it easy to bag chicks or otherwise make sexual fantasy reality. One can easily envision a no longer young but not quite middle-aged Bill Clinton, during his political ascendancy, hitting on a girl (probably not an uncommon event). “Hey Baby, you sure are foxy looking. The ‘Boys’ and me have been a little lonely and are thinking you might relieve us of our loneliness, if you know what I mean. Of course I respect you; you’d be throwing off the shackles of oppression and standing up for yourself as a liberated being and striking a blow against the Man. After all, love is love, and we could make something special happen. You haven’t gotten Pills at Planned Parenthood? No problem, I always carry ‘protection,’ just in case. Don’t worry- if something goes wrong, Baby, I’ll help pay to get rid of the ‘problem.’ By the way, what’s your sign?”
Contrary to the usual narrative, conservative males prefer women to be accomplished, capable, willing to stand up for themselves, and independent in thought; none of which is inconsistent with contentment, generosity, and amiability. Progressive feminists, who for the most part take their philosophical marching orders from progressive elite (and libidinous) white guys, find these traits antithetical, preferring their girls to be of one predetermined mindset, resentful, incapable, and all in all dependent: it’s simply that the dependency is no longer on the despised traditional patriarchy (husbands, brothers, fathers, etc) but on an omniscient and omnipotent government. The reason for this is obvious: a confident, self-assured woman is less susceptible to manipulation, be it personal, political, or sexual.
Progressive feminism is perplexing, seeming to covet masculinism (is there such as word?) instead of femininity. In the late 70’s I was the sole male in a practical nursing class of 20 or so. 40 years later males still account for less than 10% of nurses. In engineering fields females account for around 20%, despite fairly aggressive campaigns, often government sponsored, to encourage increased numbers. No one cares about the former stat but there is pandemic outrage at the latter. A conservative believes a woman should be encouraged to pursue whatever academic or professional interest they desire, regardless if it’s a STEM area (a hip acronym- Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) or a field with traditionally higher proportion of females. A progressive finds all manner of conspiracies behind statistical differences where males predominate, fiendish plots designed to keep women down. Entire careers are destroyed if the possibility that innate differences between males and females may exist is even mentioned.
Progressives face an irresolvable conundrum based upon two opposing perspectives of gender. The total equality view is that there are no innate differences between male and female, that any apparent differences are due to “social constructs.” Hence females must, for example, have totally the same aptitude and interest in regards to STEM as males. Years ago an angry and morose but perfectly nice young feminist told me that equality will be realized only under the following condition: if men are perpetually aroused sexist pigs driven to have sex indiscriminately and without social stigma then it is only fitting that women (or girls) should be similarly driven. In other words, equality based upon the lowest denominator.
The other view, of course, is that females are weak perpetual victims and must be protected against any and all manner of insult and injustice, that they must have a shining progressive knight to stand up for them because they can’t stand up for themselves. This view seems to be ascendant at the moment, especially among the young and elite academic set, where they are too delicate to even read or hear words or ideas that might be upsetting. The progressive knight is the university president or dean of diversity who, yielding a shield and sword of appeasement, declares certain thoughts and ideas are prohibited because they are inconsistent with a diverse and welcoming environment. Females are so feckless that they don’t even know they want to be physicists and mechanical engineers and elite progressive white guys need to guide them toward their true desires and destinies.
We saw both of these perspectives play out in the 2016 Presidential election and the aftermath. Before the election Hillary Clinton was omnipotent, strong, and massively intelligent, a veritable sage. Subsequent to her defeat we learned she was a hapless victim of innumerable and malevolent forces she was powerless to control. Misogyny!
Actually misogyny does exist and can be found in the stacks of magazines populating waiting rooms from doctor’s offices to the muffler shop, progressive feminist magazines such as Glamour, Vogue, and Cosmo. All are replete with features and ads exhibiting photos of alluring girls in various stages of undress. Assuming the publications aren't directed at a male demographic (though certainly they are visually enjoyed by plenty of males) the message they send, that a female must not only be beautiful but constantly exude sex, must be brutal on the psyche and emotional development of girl. If a female celebrity of marginal talent needs to return to the Trending Now category on the internet she merely needs to exhibit a bit of areola, kiss a fellow girl celebrity, or perform any other action as long as it contains sexual innuendo. This, of course, works out perfectly for the progressive elite white guys who call the cultural shots: they yearn for titillation but instead of having to be some reprobate looking for cheap thrills in dingy strip clubs they’ve altered the culture so that hot babes are delivered to them, and they nobly call it liberation.
Conservatives truly feel for the poor girls for whom refusing to put out is no longer an act of virtue (soooo 1950’s repressed Amerika!) but instead makes them pariahs. While I’m sure sexually insatiable males and females who crave purely physical gratification really do exist, much more commonly the need to bag chicks (males) or be bagged (females) is indicative of either a lust for power and control (especially males, think Bill Clinton) or a need for affirmation for people who simply have poor self-esteems (males and females, think Bill Clinton). I know I’m not socially up to date, but if the “hook-up” culture really does exist it’s depressing to envision the 19 year-old college girl who would rather be in her room reading but feels pressure to get wasted and receive in her mouth the ejaculate from that drunk guy who was in her Philosophy 101 class last semester. It’s almost understandable that three months down the road she reports she was coerced into it, which is actually true, but it wasn’t the guy who used and violated her, it was progressive culture.
It’s fascinating to see the 60 plus-year result of what began as a bunch of self-absorbed elite white guys, Baby Boomers, who wanted to have responsibility-free nookie and stick it to their moralistic parents. We’ve gone from looking askance at promiscuity to an utter fear of being accused of “slut shamming.” We’ve gone from cherishing and protecting innocent life to aborting children because the ultrasound revealed a girl, and the parents really want a little boy. Anything sexual now goes immediately to the cultural front of the line. The traitorous self-involved Bradley Manning is turned into a hero and cause celebre solely because he feels like a woman (well, also because he is a traitor, and progressives really admire traitors).
Many people have warned of the so-called slippery slope of cultural change, just as many others have mocked the idea. What we’ve seen recently is more appropriately analogous to a cliff, and I suspect even a few Baby Boomer progressives are having some second thoughts. Regardless of what you think of the Obergefell Supreme Court decision (homosexual marriage), since the basic legal rationale behind it was essentially “love is love,” there is no way future cases involving polygamy or incestuous relationships, for example, can be decided as anything but “For-” the precedent that “love” trumps all has been set. If a seven year-old girl can infer she’s really a boy (the dream of truly progressive parents) and society demands it be accepted as reality, there is nothing really that can prevent a young child from exploring and experiencing sexuality. Consider this excerpt from a Nov. 1, 2017 article in Slate, a mainstream progressive magazine (regarding and defending actor Kevin Spacey and sexual assault allegations):
“To be clear, under no clinical diagnostic I know of does a drunken, aggressive, and deeply stupid pass at a teenager qualify as pedophilia. Indeed, one working definition of pedophilia is ‘ongoing sexual attraction to prepubertal children … who are generally age 13 years or younger.’ From the perspective of helping children and pedophilic men both, pedophilia is best understood as a mental and public health problem requiring treatment and supervision rather than as a crime.”
As we happily begin our descent off the cliff in pursuit of our newest cause we redefine words. Hence soon, just as a beginning, pedophilia will apply to only kids 13 or younger (undoubtedly the word pedophilephobe will enter our lexicon), and in any case it’s a public health problem, not a crime. We are already well past the point where a 47 year-old creepy guy can proclaim he identifies as a girl and have the full force of progressive ideology and even law supporting his proclivities. If it involves sex, sexuality, or gender it is essentially a done deal. What a curious monster we’ve created, and it all began with wealthy horny white guys looking for some easy and guilt-free booty.