The American Right Needs to Look Beyond the Legal Status of Abortion to the Restoration of Sexual Ethics

For half a century, a pillar of the conservative social agenda in the U.S. has been the quest to overturn Roe v. Wade and thus protect nascent human life. As conservatives now have some reason to hope they can achieve this end, Rafi Eis urges them to look beyond the narrow question of the legality of abortion, to the much larger question of how to restore long-held ideas about sexuality and family life, and thereby to reduce demand for abortions. Eis urges conservative Christians in particular to look to the ways Orthodox Jews have preserved traditional sexual morality:

Since it’s likely that women will still seek to terminate pregnancies after [a reversal of] Roe, a more fundamental cultural change is needed to end abortion. The Bible offers a profoundly wise resource in thinking about sex. . . . Sexual virtue features prominently in Genesis. The book devotes fifteen stories to the morality of sex, and its clear message is that sexual virtue is to be praised while undisciplined sexuality is ruinous and can even destroy society. . . . Further, Genesis promotes marriage and procreation as central to the human condition, and these are some of the first principles found in the Bible. At creation, the Bible charges man “to be fruitful and multiply,” and in the next chapter it asserts that “it is not good for man to be alone,” which directly leads to the mandate that a man should “cling to his wife, so that they become one flesh.” As Abraham’s descendants grow from a family into a nation, the emphasis on family remains.

No matter how often liberals and progressives reduce sex to consent and pleasure, human nature is otherwise. And we are suffering deeply from changing our moral norms. . . . Without the commitment of marriage, the subsequent heartbreak, abandonment, and betrayal hurt us and make us more suspicious, jaded, on guard, and frustrated.

The Orthodox Jewish community succeeds in preventing abortions even where it is legal by embracing the Bible’s teachings on abstinence. The largest Orthodox communities happen to be located in the abortion-permissive states of New York, New Jersey, and California, giving Orthodox Jewish women vast abortion freedom. But it is very uncommon for Orthodox women to seek elective abortions to rid themselves of an inconvenient pregnancy.

Read more at Public Discourse

More about: Abortion, Conservatism, Sexual ethics, U.S. Politics


How to Save the Universities

To Peter Berkowitz, the rot in American institutions of higher learning exposed by Tuesday’s hearings resembles a disease that in its early stages was easy to cure but difficult to diagnose, and now is so advanced that it is easy to diagnose but difficult to cure. Recent analyses of these problems have now at last made it to the pages of the New York Times but are, he writes, “tardy by several decades,” and their suggested remedies woefully inadequate:

They fail to identify the chief problem. They ignore the principal obstacles to reform. They propose reforms that provide the equivalent of band-aids for gaping wounds and shattered limbs. And they overlook the mainstream media’s complicity in largely ignoring, downplaying, or dismissing repeated warnings extending back a quarter century and more—largely, but not exclusively, from conservatives—that our universities undermine the public interest by attacking free speech, eviscerating due process, and hollowing out and politicizing the curriculum.

The remedy, Berkowitz argues, would be turning universities into places that cultivate, encourage, and teach freedom of thought and speech. But doing so seems unlikely:

Having undermined respect for others and the art of listening by presiding over—or silently acquiescing in—the curtailment of dissenting speech for more than a generation, the current crop of administrators and professors seems ill-suited to fashion and implement free-speech training. Moreover, free speech is best learned not by didactic lectures and seminars but by practicing it in the reasoned consideration of competing ideas with those capable of challenging one’s assumptions and arguments. But where are the professors who can lead such conversations? Which faculty members remain capable of understanding their side of the argument because they understand the other side?

Read more at RealClearPolitics

More about: Academia, Anti-Semitism, Freedom of Speech, Israel on campus