Friday, March 06, 2009

Then there's the moral recession

The General Social Survey has put up its 2008 data. When it provides new stuff, I like to look at the latest trends among young people in order to give us a glimpse of the future. Looking at the graphs above for 18-29 year olds, you can see that everything is moving in the wrong direction (at least if you think like I do). Sample sizes are between 6,300 and 11,300.

The first half of the decade made me think things were getting better (you can see that in the graphs) but trends reversed, and 2008 data are supporting the view that more young Americans approve of homosexual sex, abortion-on-demand, and never go to church. Throwing in Congress and Obama, the Left is kicking our asses at the moment.


  1. The question concerns behavior, not people. What I dislike about the trend is that it shows a growing rejection of religion. As long as the two are at odds, I side with the religious.

  2. Thank you for posting this. Confirms the anecdotal stuff I am seeing. Very sad.

  3. This shows that we are becoming a less Christian nation, which I think is inevitable because Christianity just doesn't "ring true" for a lot of people. But that doesn't mean we have to ditch our sense of morality.

    Speaking of which, as a pro-life, non-religious homosexual, I must object to your choice of indicators here... How is me having sex with a man that I love - or, more often than not, find physically attractive - and not going to church in any way on par with a woman taking the life of a fetus?

    FWIW, I'm grateful to Christians for keeping the pro-life movement alive for as long as they have. But for the movement to succeed, it will have to transcend Christianity. Recognition of the humanity of the fetus is key and will lead to more people adopting a pro-life attitude - just as recognition of the humanity of gays has led to more people sympathizing with the gay rights movement.

  4. "How is me having sex with a man that I love - or, more often than not, find physically attractive - and not going to church in any way on par with a woman taking the life of a fetus?"

    In my mind, they are very far apart. Really, one important reason I worry about a decline in religiosity (or the embrace of homosexual behavior) is that it's tied up with more acceptance of abortion. There seems to be a psychological bundle of Sexual Revolution/Secularism/Mass Abortion.

    Looking hard at myself, I think that much of my cultural conservatism is driven by a hatred of a million abortions a year (and many more worldwide).

    By the way, if we ever reach a time when homosexual embryos can be identified, aborting them should be criminalized (like any other kind of abortion).

  5. The thing I always find amazing about the religious services attendance numbers is the large percentage who attend but not very frequently. If you're religious enough to attend services, I don't see why you wouldn't do so on a regular basis.

  6. As a secular homosexual, Mark is an 'outlier' in his firm pro-life position. Ron, you're spot on in assuming, as most readers probably do, that secularism, tolerance of abortion, and support for the loosening of sexual mores tend to travel together.

  7. Audacious and Ron,

    I'm aware that I'm an outlier, but that doesn't change my stance that it cheapens the pro-life stance to reduce it to a religious dogma like opposition to homosexuality.

    There's no fundamental link between acceptance of abortion and homosexuality, in that one does not inevitably lead to another. The reason they cluster together is complicated, but one can easily imagine a society where the human rights of the unborn are respected and gay people are not seen as a threat to the natural order.

  8. Mark and others --

    What happens when societies become "post-christian" as in Europe, is that either a hard alternative religion like Islam fills the void, or the overtly religious aspects of the Green movement (really a religion) makes policy according to religion.

    Green really is a religion. It has high priests, sacraments, dogma, and it's own inquisition. Nothin in it however functions as Christianity does to level and restrain the worst impulses of society.

    Lets be clear to all Gays out there: Gays are a small minority. They have power and space only so much as straight men allow them. What you get with a post-Christian society is unmediated and regulated competition among men for women.

    What this ends up is either a West African, American Black Ghetto, or White British underclass thuggery, brutality, and violence as men race to the bottom for competition for women, and invest nothing in society and women and children, as it's a spread your seed reproductive environment, not a invest in one woman and family environment.

    It produces very high levels of violence that are directed mostly at those who cannot fight back. Among them women, children, and yes Gays who form a marginal sub-population.

    The other alternative is of course the "hard' polygamy of Saudi Arabia, with a few men with a lot of women and most with none. This has even more, deadly brutal violence as the young lions band together and try to overthrow the old lion. Homosexual sex as a coping mechanism IS widespread, and accounts for gay support for polygamy, as they get a lot more forced sex partners. However, straight men though indulging in it find it disgusting, and wreak terrible violence on gays periodically, as in the Taliban's Afghanistan or Iran.

    Gays get the best "deal" as do women and children in Christian West, with strict limits on male and female sexuality, and thus male competition for women.

    Sadly, gays, women, and a few socially dominant men have used the opportunity that cheap and reliable contraception, anonymous urban living, and vastly improved incomes and status for women have provided to move forward the dissolution of Christianity. In favor "green" junk that does nothing to limit how men compete over women.

    My best guess, is that we are rapidly moving towards first a West African race to thuggery, and then when that becomes too much, an embrace of "hard" polygamy in Islam and all that entails.

    It's not what I would suggest, since those societies tend to be poor, violent, and uncooperative (male cooperation is the source of wealth, and that depends on limiting competition for women).

  9. Anonymous10:02 PM

    "I hope the (hyper)secularist left will figure out that the biggest threat to women and gays does not come from The Christian Right."

    Too late.

    As Fernand Braudel made clear in his Civilization and Capitalism series: demographics is destiny.

  10. Anonymous8:16 AM

    "What happens when societies become "post-christian" as in Europe, is that either a hard alternative religion like Islam fills the void, or the overtly religious aspects of the Green movement (really a religion) makes policy according to religion."

    This is a bit of a simplification, don't you think? There are plenty of non-Christian societies out there that are neither Islamic nor full of crazy environmentalists.

    I agree that when a society's traditional religion wanes in influence, other ideologies will ultimately fill the void. But how can you predict it will be Islam or environmentalism with confidence? Faith in Islam is as vulnerable as faith in Christianity to the secularizing effects of modernity. As for environmentalism, I doubt it will ever inspire people to the degree necessary to become a unifying religion like Christianity was.

    I am worried about the decline into thuggery, but I don't see how 1) that relates to gays and 2) Christianity is necessary to defend monogamy. Monogamy is the norm in other countries that have no history of Christianity. And there are branches of Christianity - namely, fundamentalist Mormonism - that practice polygamy.

    Yes, Christianity is the traditional defender of such practices here in the West. But the problem with hanging all your hopes on Christianity is that a lot of people just don't believe in it. I'm sorry, but I don't believe that 2,000 years ago, someone who was divine or semi-divine rose from the dead. It seems far more likely to me that this was a fable than a historical event. Arguments against, say, the legalization of polygamy are going to ring more true for an increasing number of people if couched in terms of a general social good.

  11. "Look, conservatives are always a dying breed, 'standing athwart history, yelling stop.'"


    You say it like it's a bad thing.

    Liberals are also Johnny-Come-Latelies, a generation behind the radicals. The difference is that conservatives are cautious by nature and worry about the unintended consequences of social change. Liberals follow fashion, just last year's fashion.

  12. Anonymous11:58 AM

    "Next generation, conservatives will be all about gay marriage but opposed to some other thing that they'll lose on."

    Yeah, all those black and hispanic "conservatives" voted against it in CA. Clueless as usual...

  13. Anonymous6:45 PM

    Where are you find the GSS results? I can't find them anywhere on the internet, including GSS' own website.

  14. Anonymous11:20 PM

    Odds of JA replying to RG ...

    1 in 50.

  15. Yeah, all those black and hispanic "conservatives" voted against it in CA. Clueless as usual...

    They ARE conservatives, socially/religously. They vote Democratic because they are economically liberal and because they know you guys hate them.

  16. This comment has been removed by the author.

  17. Anonymous10:02 AM

    Hi Mark,

    You've some thoughtful comments here. I want to address the issue of tolerance of gays being linked to pro-abortion views. There's no necessary link, as you say, but I'd say that in the West both positions emerged from the same from the hedonism of the Sexual Revolution.

    There are several ways of arguing for tolerance of gays, but the dominant argument since the 1960s has been that homosexual sex and regular sex are effectively the same; any attempt to draw moral distinctions between same-sex and opposite-sex sex acts are simply bigotry. That's a view that came out of the Sexual Revolution; it assumes a hedonistic view of sex: the main point of sex is pleasure; there is no necessary connection to marriage, family, children, or even fidelity. All those ideas were current among liberated heterosexuals in the late 60s, even while they continued to regard homosexuality as deviant. (If you don't believe me, look up a copy of the once-famous 1969 sex manual "Everything you every wanted to know about sex but were afraid to ask".)

    Like most revolutionary ideas, this heterosexual hedonism had consequences most its proponents didn't foresee. One was free access to abortion. In popular history, the Pill launched the Sexual Revolution, but in fact, the Pill alone won't do it. People are naturally careless, so a young woman in the 1970s leading the typical 1970s sex life ran a substantial chance of getting pregnant without having a husband or even a boyfriend. Under a kinder, gentler hedonism, we might accept it as normal that 20 percent of female undergraduates drop out for a couple of years to have their babies, but in the real world, abortion is the backstop. Attitudes about abortion remain conflicted, of course; that's why even hard-core feminists get so frickin' irrational about it. But on the whole desire drives behaviour drives values, and thus we get unlimited abortion rights.

    Sixties sexual hedonism also implied tolerance for gays. If sex is predominantly about pleasure, there can be no argument in principle against any type of consensual sexual activity. Oral sex, for example, strictly taboo before the sixties, was practically celebrated in the early 1970s. Well, why not between two men or two women? (Acceptance of heterosexual anal sex came somewhat later, and was less general.)

    I was drafted and deleted a couple more paragraphs, 'cos I was heading into abstraction, but I'll make one more point. The weirdest thing about sixties sexual hedonism is that sees individuals as essential unisex, not gendered. That implies acceptance of homosexuality, of course, and it implies that women's weird biology (i.e., certain sexual acts leading to babies) becomes awkward, something to be straightened out through technology. Weirdest of all, a strikes me as a very *unsexual* view, divorced from actual human bodies.

    Finally, don't assume I'm harshly critical of gays - I'm bisexual myself. But I do think that current views of sexuality are constrained by a very narrow - and false - ideology.

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