Thursday, June 30, 2022

that old-time conservatism

We've gotten used to thinking of current conservatism as a bastion of free speech—a defender of the verbally vulgar and the politically incorrect. It would be wrong to assume, though, that this translates into any sort of sexual liberalism. With the casting down of Roe v. Wade, that old-time conservatism has been out in force, preaching abstinence (not necessarily a bad thing in an era where people lack all self-control and can barely imagine reining in their baser urges), defending the unborn, and deploring perceived sexual deviancy. I see this conservatism in full flower in the comment threads on Instapundit, where gay marriage is always in scare quotes (gay "marriage") and trans people are icky. I'm not totally on board with this. I've mentioned before that I'm tolerant of different sexual norms because we live in an age of increasing sexual polymorphism. Just don't foist your norms on me, and we'll be okay. Is that too much to ask? I've also repeatedly said I'm very sympathetic to the trans cause, and that I don't think trans people are mentally ill. But again, don't think you can govern my speech by forcing me to use certain goofy, made-up pronouns, and don't force me to believe that men can get pregnant, or that I'm a bigot if I find trans people sexually unattractive (I've argued that it's less a moral issue and more a mere matter of taste). But the continued conservative pushback against gay marriage is discomfiting, and the seeming unwillingness of some conservatives to open a space for trans folks in society is also problematic. I get the parental concerns about grooming and the forced teaching of a non-normative sexual agenda to little kids, and I largely agree with conservatives about those concerns. But, the right does need to make more of an effort to accept the marginal into society, even while it makes certain boundaries clear, such as not teaching super-young kids about sexuality.

Surely, there's some middle path through all of this.

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