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Sexually Fluid America

Increasingly, the new American normal (Burlingham/Shutterstock)

A new study shows that Americans are four times more accepting of gay sex than they were 25 years ago, and twice as likely to have it themselves. Unsurprisingly, the Millennials are driving this. And what’s driving the Millennials? Excerpt:

But all of these factors — the increased acceptance, the increased behavior  and the trend toward sexual fluidity — make Twenge think she knows the real driving force behind this cultural shift: We care more about ourselves. She believes this comes from an increased sense of individualism.

“Some thinkers have made the case that individualism has been increasing in Western culture since the Renaissance, but that this change accelerated beginning around 1965 or 1970,” she explained. As societies become more comfortable in terms of resource availability, one doesn’t need to worry as much about fitting in to the rules and expectations of the larger group.

“Think about what an enormous group effort it used to be to make a meal. Now you just need two bucks and a microwave,” Twenge said. This security means less motivation to follow cultural “rules” that don’t suit an individual’s personal desires.

And that individualism could make us more tolerant, too.

“Individualism says basically that you do what you want to do and let other people do what they want to do,” she said. “People are more willing to accept behaviors they have no wish to engage in. There’s more of a sense of, you know, I need to do what’s right for me.”

Read the whole thing.  It really is Anthony Kennedy’s world:

At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.

Justice Kennedy, in those 1992 words, stated something that is at the core of the modern American sensibility. It is past time for conservatives to get over our tic of blaming every social change we don’t like on the judiciary. I agree entirely that the Supreme Court has been, on balance, a malevolent force for destructive social change. But we can now see that Justice Kennedy was more in touch with America than we were, and are.

This story is yet another milestone in the moral disintegration and cultural collapse of America. But you knew I would say that. I would just point out that Harvard sociologist Carle C. Zimmerman, in his 1947 sociological history Family And Civilization, said this was one of the marks of a declining civilization (it was observed in Greece and Rome near the end of their lives). When expressive individualism becomes the guiding principle of a people’s understanding of sex and sexuality, it becomes far more difficult to form stable families. The State will grow ever more powerful as it is called on to do the work that families used to do.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll keep saying it: Christians who allow this rotten culture to catechize them and their children are going to lose their faith. There is no choice but to withdraw into our own institutions and communities, where we can form the next generations. I was e-mailing earlier today with a well-known public intellectual who is a committed Christian. I often wonder how he manages to find the strength to take on the battles he fights in the public square. I found out from him today that he has a long history of youth formation within thick Christian communities. Of course he does. He works in the heat of battle in the public square. He would have been wiped out long ago if not for his formation in the faith.

The same is true for us and our children. You have been warned.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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