There’s been a lot of talk about how a conservatives will have to abandon their sexual witch hunts now that marriage equality is both the law of the land and something that enjoys broad support among the electorate. I think this is correct for conservatives who are Republican politicians, since politics is predicated on getting people to vote for you, and to some extent (though not as great an extent as most believe), people tend to vote for candidates who agree with them on the issues.
But there’s no way in the world this signals the end of social conservatives haranguing people about sex. Poking around in other people’s sex lives is just too much fun.
The defining face of social conservatism could be this: Those are the people who go into underprivileged areas and form organizations to help nurture stable families. Those are the people who build community institutions in places where they are sparse. Those are the people who can help us think about how economic joblessness and spiritual poverty reinforce each other. Those are the people who converse with us about the transcendent in everyday life.
This culture war is more Albert Schweitzer and Dorothy Day than Jerry Falwell and Franklin Graham; more Salvation Army than Moral Majority.
He wants Robbie George and the guys from First Things to stop yelling at gay people and go work with poor people? Fat chance.
Steve M. says conservatives just like scolding people, and while it’s certainly true that many are fueled creatively by their massive hatred of hippies, one shouldn’t overlook the sexual angle on this. Hatred is fun but combining hatred with sex is even more fun.
That’s why I think it’s not just that scolding will continue until morale improves, but that the scolding will be about something to do with sex. Chunky Bobo and Chunky Bobo’s emoprog doppleganger are both excited about legalized polygamy. Maybe Fox can find a few people in Humboldt County who are agitating to have their commune formally recognized as a group marriage or some excommunicated Mormons in northern Arizona with five wives. I think a more likely punching bag may be whatever despicable dating practices Tom Wolfe invents for young people in his next book.
Anyway, they’ll find something.