Lopez: Given the seminal event the introduction of the contraceptive pill was, and the ubiquitous nature of contraception in American lives, is turning back the clock, as they say, realistic?
Eberstadt: The vehemence with which people say that the clock can never be turned back on the sexual revolution is pretty ironic. Just think of all the times you heard that phrase during the debates over the HHS mandate — or the one about not putting the genie back in the bottle, or not ever returning to the 1950s, etc.
All these clichés are shorthand for one word: inevitability. A lot of people for a lot of reasons want to claim that everything about this revolution is now a permanent fact of life, off-limits for contrarian interpretation. And what’s really interesting about that embrace of the idea of inevitability is that history has shown time and again that human beings just don’t operate that way.
As Karl Popper showed in The Poverty of Historicism, history is not, in fact, on the side of movements claiming inevitability for themselves. Just ask the Communists . . . if you can find any. No social movement gets a special dispensation from history, no matter how badly some people might want it to. Human beings are not only moral creatures but also rational ones, at least collectively and over time, and the empirical record about the dark side of the sexual revolution will eventually make a dent. As mentioned, I think it already has made one.
Over time, many people do change their minds when faced with empirical evidence that something causes harm. Anyone who doubts it should try lighting up a cigarette today in New York City. All the talk in the world about genies and bottles won’t get you out of that ticket. Read more…
Yes indeed. The real “war on women” has been going on for decades.