The Return of Syphilis and the Problem of Seeking Technical Solutions to Moral Failing

Another sign of changing notions of virtue can be found in a recent report from the Center for Disease Control, which documents a sharp increase in cases of syphilis in the U.S. over the past few years. Carl Trueman notes that the report discusses every possible solution but sexual restraint, in what he sees as a departure not only from the Judeo-Christian moral framework, but most other traditional moral frameworks as well. He writes:

Just as smoking a cigar is bad but puffing on a joint is OK, so spreading illnesses by being unvaccinated is evil while spreading disease through sexual indulgence is a mere technical problem.

There is a real but simple lesson here for Western culture: while there is a cure for STDs, there is no cure for stupidity. The sexual revolution is one of the most obviously failed experiments ever attempted in human history and yet, rather than reject it, society keeps forging ahead. All the evidence of its failure—the urban scourge of single parenthood, the elaborate menu of diseases, the rates of abortion, the falling birthrates, the objectification and exploitation of women—is regarded as a bug of the system, a set of technical problems to be addressed with technical solutions.

Read more at First Things

More about: Morality, Sexual ethics, Sexual revolution

Israel’s Retaliation against the Houthis Sends a Message to the U.S., and to Its Arab Allies

The drone that struck a Tel Aviv high-rise on Thursday night is believed to have traveled over 2,000 kilometers, flying from Yemen over Egypt and then above the Mediterranean before veering eastward toward the Israeli coast. Since October, the Houthis have launched over 200 drones at Israel. Nor is this the first attempt to strike Tel Aviv, only the first successful one. Noah Rothman observes that the Houthis’ persistent attacks on Israel and on international shipping are largely the result of the U.S.-led coalition’s anemic response:

Had the Biden administration taken a more proactive and vigorous approach to neutralizing the Houthis’ capabilities, Israel would not be obliged to expand to Yemen the theater of operations in the war Hamas inaugurated on October 7. The prospects of a regional war grow larger by the day, not because Israel cannot “take the win,” as President Biden reportedly told Benjamin Netanyahu following a full-scale direct Iranian attack on the Jewish state, but because hostile foreign actors are killing its citizens. Jerusalem is obliged to defend them and the sovereignty of Israel’s borders.

Biden’s hesitancy was fueled by his apprehension over the prospect of a “wider war” in the Middle East. But his hesitancy is what is going to give him the war he so cravenly sought to avoid.

In this context, the nature of the Israeli response is significant: rather than follow the American strategy of striking isolated weapons depots and the like, IDF jets struck the port city of Hodeida—the sort of major target the U.S. has shied away from. The mission was likely the furthest-ever carried out by the Israel Air Force, hitting a site 200 kilometers further from Israel than Tehran. Yoel Guzansky and Ilan Zalayat comment:

The message that Israel sent was intended to reach the moderate Arab countries, the West, and especially the United States. . . . The message to the coalition countries is that “the containment” had failed and the Houthis must be hit harder. The Hodeida port is the lifeline of the Houthi economy and continued damage to it will make it extremely difficult for this economy, which is also facing significant American sanctions.

Read more at National Review

More about: Houthis, Israeli Security, U.S. Foreign policy