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The Great Bourgeois Sexual Revolution

In an article in National Review (June 25) titled “A Farewell to Culture Wars,” Brink Lindsey makes the bold statement: “The culture wars are over, and capitalism won.”

Lindsey says: “The feminist campaign for equal rights in the workplace…was all but inevitable. Meanwhile, the age-old injunction against premarital sex was bound to weaken…[through] avoiding the risks of disease and pregnancy…by antibiotics and convenient, effective birth control…. The coming of mass prosperity created…. an openness to extreme experience stoked by the new drug culture, the Dionysian energy of rock music, the coming of age of the first generation in human history raised in mass affluence…. Divorces skyrocketed from 480,000 in 1965 to over a million a decade later.”

However, Lindsey says: “Capitalism, the ultimate source of all the upheavals [the sexual revolution, etc.], had been preserved…. Ironically, though, conser¬≠vatism’s success ended up making the world safe for the secular, hedonistic values of Aquarius. Traditional attitudes about…sex, the role of women in society, the permissible scope of artistic expression [obscene language], and the nature of American cultural identity have all taken a beating. And what’s more, many if not most conservatives today wouldn’t undo the broad thrust of these changes even if they could…. [They are] deeply ashamed of the Right’s past associations with…sexism and prudery….

“Capitalism seems to tend toward an exuberantly pluralistic pursuit of personal fulfillment…. [and] unprecedented freedom of action…. The recent right-wing panics over gay marriage…will look every bit as hidebound as the old fulminations against ‘satanic’ rock ‘n’ roll…. The great American heritage of limited government, individual liberty, and free markets seems the only visible answer…. [in] the defense of person and property….”

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