Liberals and Autonomy: The Fornicators’ Dilemma

The Kraalspace has this oft-cited observation about conservatives remaining in the Episcopal Church:

The sterile evil that now controls the Episcopal Church will never willingly allow Christian belief to remain unmolested. Conservatives who think that they can negotiate some sort of truce, or even a ghetto existence within the larger, demon-possessed church, are deluding themselves. As C.S. Lewis wrote, the sort of "agreement" these people come up with consists of saying "Oh, you can believe what you want, as long as you do it alone," and then they mutter under their breath, "and we’ll see to it that you’re NEVER alone." It’s in their nature to try to eradicate every voice that answers their lies with the truth, because they rightly sense that it is the only way that they can survive.

Beyond the clever (if unintended) double-entendre about being "umolested," the sad truth is that this applies on a broader basis as well.  Those that started by promising freedom are too dependent upon state control to relinquish it, even in victory.

But there’s a deeper problem here.  In the field of human sexuality, it’s what I call the "fornicators’ dilemma."  Basically, it runs like this: suppose you have a group of people, all of whom are single and most of whom are sexually active.  But a few aren’t.  Do you think that those who are active will, over time, simply ignore the fact that there are a few abstainers?  Of course not.  They will apply group pressure on the abstainers until the abstainers either cave or drop out of the group.  If the fornicators have access to some kind of external coercive power (an idea I play around with in The Ten Weeks,) there may be no place for the abstainers to hide.

This isn’t unique to sexual activity; it can be found in other realms, such as the drinkers, drug users, etc.  It’s the kind of peer-pressure group dynamic that any teenager (or their parents) can relate to.  Sad to say, we don’t outgrow it, at least not to the extent we think we do.

 

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