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This blog is maintained by the Ruth Institute. It provides a place for our Circle of Experts to express themselves. This is where the scholars, experts, students and followers of the Ruth Institute engage in constructive dialogue about the issues surrounding the Sexual Revolution. We discuss public policy, social practices, legal doctrines and much more.
Posted on: Tuesday, June 04, 2019
by Rev. Ben Johnson
This article was first published February 8, 2019, at Acton.org.
The Sexual State: How Elite Ideologies Are Destroying Lives and Why The Church Was Right All Along
Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D.
TAN Books, 2018. 406 pages.
Reviewed by Rev. Ben Johnson
Keen-eyed analysts have probed every ideological trend threatening liberty – from socialism and fascism to the Alt-Right – with one glaring exception: the revolt against personal responsibility. Jennifer Roback Morse, the founder of the Ruth Institute, capably fills this void in The Sexual State. Building on her previous book Love and Economics, Morse summarizes the sexual revolution in just a few propositions: It separates children from sexual activity and marriage, and eradicates all differences between men and women. This apparent personal freedom expands government by creating new avenues for regulation, increasing the need for means-tested welfare programs, and breaking down the “little society of the family.”
No public program can care for children as fully, selflessly, or naturally as two parents in a lifelong, committed union. From a social standpoint, Morse writes, the genius of marriage as a social institution is that its “extremely minimal legal structure” creates “a largely self-regulating, voluntary system of long-term cooperation between parents.”
Thus, we should not be surprised to learn that totalitarians of all stripes have sought to control the family. Inside the family, people develop loyalties to real people, not the Dear Leader. They develop habits that may not further the interests of the totalitarian State, with its all-embracing designs on every person. Inside the family, people may commit to ideas other than the state-sanctioned ideology.
The new ideology co-opted Marxism’s dialectic of inevitability, now known as standing on “the right side of history.” However, this ideology finds advocates across the political spectrum.
Certain factions of the liberty movement embrace the Liberationist Narrative – something she calls “the Walmart theory of sex” – which celebrates changes to family life for giving us greater choice and agency. “Under a no-fault legal regime, we are freer on the front end” of a divorce or paternity settlement, Morse writes. “But we are less free on the back end, as the State steps in to manage the consequences.” Divorce courts dictate the time and money parents spend on their children, the language spoken in the home, even such mundane decisions as a child’s prom dress. This degree of intrusion into an intact family would be “unthinkable.”
Family breakdown, whether through divorce or illegitimacy, strongly harms children and beckons the government to fill the void left by absent parents. “Increases in the likelihood of poverty, physical illness, mental illness, poor school performance, and crime have all been associated with being separated from a parent,” Morse writes. This elevated risk persists even in nations as committed to egalitarianism and progressive social values as Sweden. Such pathologies usher children into the welfare system where, once inside, a matrix of laws holds them in place. Medicaid, SNAP, TANF, and WIC eligibility guidelines disfavor marriage. The cost of family breakdown to the U.S. government alone totals an estimated $100 to $112 billion, Morse notes, adding that studies show the same phenomenon increases welfare spending in New Zealand, the UK, and Canada. “The ordinary tax-paying citizen faces a greater tax burden than otherwise would be the case as a direct result of what, by the Liberationist Narrative, is an increase in sexual freedom,” Morse writes.
Similarly, gender ideology “creates a separation between children and their parents and inserts the State between them,” as the “State sets itself up as the public enforcer of their new identities.” In Minnesota, a school district facilitated a minor’s gender transition without parental notification. Laws now police the permissible use of pronouns.
“Civil libertarians, fiscal conservatives, and open-minded liberals should all be troubled by the actual results as opposed to the supposed benefits of this ‘freedom,’” Morse writes.
References to “class warfare” and “class analysis” may lead some reviewers to caricature the book as a rejection of a free society. Nothing could be further from the truth. Morse, who highlights her “affiliations with all three of the major schools of free market economics,” ascribes changed cultural mores to excusing the libidinous excesses of “the managerial elite”: the nexus of academics, lobbyists, government bureaucrats, thought leaders, and mass media sharing the same narrative. Yet she defines the term by noting:
The managerial class goes beyond the purely class designation in this respect: it’s built upon the idea that society is something that needs to be managed. … Seldom have the privileged classes taken it upon themselves to “nudge” their neighbors and fellow citizens about their eating habits, sex lives, spending habits, personal safety, and even their thoughts. …
Legal historian Joseph Dellapenna observes that the rise of the managerial class was not unique to the United States in the twentieth century. “The managerial class rose to dominance in the U.S. with the New Deal in the 1930s, and has continued to dominate ever since. … Evidence of the transition to social domination by a managerial class can be traced back to the nineteenth century, particularly in England. Nor was this transition limited to western or capitalist nations. In a real sense, the rise of Communism and Socialism was nothing more or (less) than a rise of the managerial class.”
“Ponder that last sentence for a while,” Morse writes.
Somehow, an a historical breed of Christian – especially Roman Catholic – intellectual believes he will capture, sanctify, and redirect the vast apparatus of the State toward theologically approved ends. Assuming an entrenched bureaucracy will simply acknowledge defeat and implement an opposing viewpoint seems naïve, albeit less so than the notion that the State’s coercive power will forever remain in holy hands. Revolutionaries yearn to control the levers of power more than those who believe in natural law, if only because the State need not compel actions that occur naturally.
Morse roots her hope for the future in nature and culture. An entire chapter defends the notion that differences between men and women are real, biologically based, and ineradicable. Each section ends by presenting the relevant Catholic teaching, which she describes as “the common heritage of all Christians.” And she remembers the victims of the sexual revolution in each chapter, showing the very real toll that comes from shunning self-restraint and refusing to deny instant and perpetual gratification. True liberty rests on the foundation of personal responsibility or sinks into the quicksand of the paternal state.
Morse concludes with a 15-point “Manifesto for the Family,” two-thirds of which consists of asking the government to “stop doing things it never had any business doing in the first place.” Virtually unique in political literature, her last three proposals can be adopted only by individuals. Building a “civilization of love” literally begins in each human heart. That private sanctuary, the link between the individual conscience and the fiery flame of divine love, kept the spark of civilization alive after the barbarian sack of Rome, times of plague and pestilence, and through the dark night of atheistic Communism. That flame can outshine the strange fires of fallen passions and realign society according to its light again.
Posted on: Thursday, November 29, 2018
November 29, 2018
For Immediate Release
For More Information, contact: email@example.com
The announcement by a Chinese researcher that he has successfully used a “gene-editing” tool to modify two embryos drew a sharp rebuke from Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, Founder and President of the Ruth Institute.
“This is appalling,” Morse said. “Supposedly, the gene editing will make these twin girls resistant to the AIDS virus. Whether or not that’s true, it opens the door to all sorts of manipulation. Will gene-editing eventually be used to create a class of genetically-enhanced super humans?”
What about the long-range consequences? “Obviously, the changes are made without the consent of the subjects. The altered genes will be passed on to any offspring,” Morse noted.
Although most in the scientific community are cautious about the announcement of Chinese genetic scientist He Jiankui, Harvard Medical School Dean George Q. Daley says full-speed ahead, as long as the research is done by “responsible” clinics. Dr. Morse asks: “How can you ‘responsibly’ alter the genetic makeup of humans?”
Morse has fought other forms of manipulation on unborn children, including surrogacy, where eggs are fertilized outside the mother’s body and then implanted in the surrogate. That unwanted embryos are then destroyed makes the procedure even more objectionable.
“Gene editing is another step on this perilous course,” Morse noted. “Once a particular gene, or genes, are modified, the child is then placed in the mother’s body, with unknown long-term effects on future generations. The Managerial Technocratic Class is assigning itself the right to play God.”
Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse introduced the concept of The Managerial Class in her recent book: The Sexual State: How Elite Ideologies Are Destroying Lives and How the Church was Right All Along.She holds them largely responsible for the devastation of the Sexual Revolution. “Not the ‘March of History’ or some impersonal forces: but the well-educated, well-connected technologically sophisticated Elites created and imposed the Sexual Revolution. They are going even further, with their plans to make the manipulation of human embryos sound humane. Enough is enough,” Dr. Morse declared.
For More information, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted on: Tuesday, October 09, 2018
By Tyler O'Neil
This article was first published October 4, 2018, at PJMedia.com.
In 21st century America, sex is all around us: on television, in movies, in classrooms, in politics, and even in churches. Sex permeates our desires, our expectations for relationships, even our identity. The Sexual Revolution goes far beyond the LGBT movement, and it has fundamentally reshaped American society. But few Americans actually grasp exactly where this revolution came from. An explosive new book reveals that government and wealthy donors, rather than impersonal historical forces or newly liberated women, propelled the Sexual Revolution.
"The State bears the greatest responsibility for the toxic sexual culture in which we live," Jennifer Roback Morse, founder of the Ruth Institute (RI), writes in "The Sexual State: How Elite Ideologues Are Destroying Lives And Why the Church Was Right All Along." She presented five other explanations for the Sexual Revolution, and found each one wanting.
Many have suggested that the Sexual Revolution came about through the inevitable and impersonal "march of history." This view does not work "because it robs us and our forbears of human agency." Even the over-hyped birth control pill "is just an inert piece of technology" that people could decide to use or not use, or use in different ways.
Morse also rebuts the feminist narrative, which suggests that "these changes have been one long string of victories for the benefit and advancement of women." Ironically, the very success of women's liberation "undermines the claim that women have been completely powerless and dominated by the patriarchy throughout all of recorded history." Furthermore, the author argues that "the pro-life movement is dominated by women," suggesting that not all women want more of the Sexual Revolution.
Perhaps the most common explanation for the Sexual Revolution is the "liberationist narrative," which posits that everyone is more free thanks to new sexual norms. This view also cannot explain how age-old oppression was immediately dissolved in one generation, Morse argues.
Furthermore, many people "have become less free, in fact actually oppressed, by the very forces that are supposedly liberating us. The breaking of family bonds has increased the size and scope of the State, including the intrusion of the State into the everyday lives of ordinary people." She mentions college sex tribunals, family courts — which even rule on which schools and churches children can attend — and higher taxes to pay for social workers who manage tough divorces and family breakdown.
Morse also rejects the "over-population narrative," which suggests that "too many people create ecological disaster and economic backwardness," so the State needs to control population through birth control and abortion. Interestingly, advocates of this narrative "haven't been able to adapt the narrative to the changing circumstances of population decline, which the Over-Population Narrative itself helped bring about."
Finally, the author turns to a "steal capitalist narrative," explaining the Sexual Revolution by pointing to the many people who benefit financially from family breakdown. Abortionists, pharmaceutical companies, the fertility industry, pornographers, divorce professionals, family court judges and lawyers, medical professionals who specialize in sexually transmitted diseases, and social workers all perversely benefit from family breakdown, contraception, and abortion.
Even higher education and employers benefit from women choosing to get married later, to go to school and to work, rather than raising a family. Morse claims that employers benefit from easy divorce as well, as women are less able to rely on their husbands to financially support them. She suggests that these factors cement the Sexual Revolution, but they do not explain it.
The author boils the Sexual Revolution down to three basic "ideologies:" the Contraceptive Ideology separates sex from childbearing; the Divorce Ideology separates sex and childbearing from marriage; and the Gender Ideology eliminates the distinctions between men and women that individuals do not explicitly embrace.
"The Sexual Revolution needs the State for one major reason: the premises of the Sexual Revolution are false," Morse declares. "Sex does make babies. Children do need their parents, and therefore marriage is the proper and just context for both sex and childbearing. Men and women are different." The Sexual Revolution requires "reconstructing society" around a rejection of these basic truths, so it involves a great deal of propaganda.
"If you can make people believe Bruce Jenner, the 1976 male Olympic decathlon winner, is a woman, you can make them believe 2 + 2 = 5. If you can make people afraid to say, 'Bruce Jenner is a man,' you can make them afraid to say anything," Morse quips. "The Sexual Revolution is a totalitarian ideology with a blind commitment to the implementation of its tenets, regardless of the human costs."
The book begins with a list of victims of the Sexual Revolution, a topic for a future article. Those victims include children of divorce, spouses who did not want to get divorced, women who waited too long to have children, young women who wanted to abstain from sex, and more. Suffice it to say, the Sexual Revolution has harmed many people.
Morse narrates how the state unleashed the Sexual Revolution, beginning with the Supreme Court contraception case Griswold v. Connecticut (1965). The Contraceptive Ideology predated this decision and played a large role in pushing the Court to change the law on contraception.
The author cites liberal attorney Leo Pfeffer and conservative historian Allan Carlson, who agreed that governments will consider contraception necessary once they have established welfare states — in order to prevent the subsidized poor from having children. Tragically, the U.S. government pushed contraception before Griswold, pushing contraception in post-World War II Japan and other foreign countries considered to be U.S. interests.
In the 1960s and 1970s, USAID started pushing contraception and abortion, thinking these "family planning" efforts would help other countries defeat poverty. These policies were also wrapped up with the ugly eugenics movement in America.
In order to downplay the ugly history of eugenics, contraception activists turned to the work of Alfred Kinsey, an academic who claimed that "up to" 67 to 98 percent of American men ha had premarital sex and that 69 percent of American males had at least one experience with a prostitute. His claims were shot down by other researchers, who exposed his shoddy methods. But the Rockefeller Foundation funded his research and sent his crackpot theories mainstream.
Planned Parenthood and its allies enjoyed connections to elites, and helped push the Court in the direction of legalizing contraception for anyone across the country.
Similarly, elite institutions and big donors pushed no-fault divorce, Morse argues. After Ronald Reagan signed the first no-fault divorce law in 1968, the American Law Institute (ALI), founded with support from the Carnegie Foundation, crafted model legislation to insert the state in between husbands and wives — and favor the spouse who wanted a divorce.
The ALI pushed for decriminalizing private sexual acts between consenting adults, a key plank that struck down states' ability to regulate obscene materials and contraception.
By 1974, all but five states had adopted a form of no-fault divorce.
Morse argues that no-fault divorce positions the power of the state on the side of whichever spouse least wants the marriage to continue. This damages spouses who are committed to the marriage, but it also damages children who do not grow up with both of their parents. It also empowers the government, which now mediates between divorced mothers and fathers.
The author argues that the claim "the kids will be all right" is propaganda. She cites the work of Judith Wallerstein, who found that divorce has a long-term impact on children — damaging their prospects for romantic relationships in adulthood. Similarly, the worries about husbands abusing wives are overblown, as studies have shown that women and children are more likely to be abused in cohabiting relationships than in marriage.
Finally, Morse argues that the government and elites pushed the "Gender Ideology" — long before transgender identity went mainstream — in order to encourage women to be "ideal workers:" "a person who never takes time off, is never sick, whose mental and psychological focus is entirely on the job."
"We've built a society around the premise that our educated women must be permitted to time their 1.6 pregnancies right down to the minute when it's most convenient. But convenient for whom? All too often, it means the convenience of the employers, or the interests of the career path, or of those who hold the student debt which the young woman or young couple must pay down," Morse claims.
The author does not lament the fact that women have entered the "managerial class," highly paid professions which do not involve manual labor. She herself is a member of this class. Rather, she suggests that the pressures of work and the benefits of this class enable people to overlook the obvious differences between men and women.
"People who do manual labor aren't deluded for a moment that men and women are interchangeable," Morse quips. For this reason, men are vastly over-represented in the dangerous professions.
Women's involvement in the workforce need not be connected to the Sexual Revolution's Gender Ideology, the author argues. "I claim the right to participate in the labor market as women, not as men in skirts." She suggests that "educated women would be better off if they accepted that their fertility peaks during their twenties and planned their lives around this fact."
Morse lays out a basic life plan: Women should go to college for a liberal education, not a vocational one. They should et married and have kids early, using their higher educations to be involved in educating their kids. "Let your husbands support you. Trust them. Be grateful for them," and when the children are older, go back for an advanced degree and work.
Tragically, activists are pushing on all these issues and more. Morse discusses same-sex marriage in a chapter on the Gender Ideology. She recalls the battle over California's Proposition 8.
"The 'Yes on 8' campaign was arguably the largest grassroots campaign in history," she writes, noting that California's secretary of state website crashed because there were over 5,000 pages of contributors to the campaign. Yet modern "progressives" "took Proposition 8 to court on flimsy pretexts and rich people's money."
After Proposition 8 passed and the people had amended their constitution, California's attorney general refused to defend it. The people's will failed thanks to an effective pocket veto. in the case Hollingsworth v. Perry (2013), the Supreme Court ruled that proponents of ballot initiatives like Proposition 8 could not defend such laws in court, enabling Gov. Jerry Brown (D-Calif.) to resume same-sex marriage in the state. Now-Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) performed the first same-sex marriage after this ruling.
As with Proposition 8, wealthy liberals continue to push Sexual Revolution issues, particularly abortion and contraception. George Soros and Warren Buffett continue to fund abortion groups, and they use their money to "shape political institutions so they can use the government to recreate the world in their own image and likeness," Morse alleges.
Importantly, the book notes that contraception carries health risks for women, and some studies have shown that hormonal contraception is as likely to cause cancer as smoking. "Smoking has been all but banned, tobacco companies have been sued, and smokers have been socially shunned," Morse writes. "By contrast, the government actively promotes the use of hormonal contraception while the media plays down the risks."
Abortion, often considered an alternative should contraception fail, also carries tremendous health risks to the mother, which medical associations keep secret for political reasons, the author argues. She also notes that wealthy donors funded abortion activists who convinced the Supreme Court to strike down Texas regulations treating abortion clinics like any other medical facility.
"When the people of Texas, acting through their duly elected state legislators, enacted health and safety legislation for abortion clinics, the elites of society knocked it down," Morse declares.
"The Sexual State" makes a compelling case that state power and wealthy elites pushed the Sexual Revolution, and people should fight back. While Morse does address LGBT issues, her book mostly focuses on the negative impacts the Sexual Revolution has had on family life, harming faithful spouses, children of divorce, and many others.
Morse, a Roman Catholic, presents a very Catholic view of these issues and champions the Catholic Church's approach. Her book was ill-fated to release shortly after the sexual abuse scandal broke, but her points still stand.
The book may be too polemical, but it raises important questions about the hidden harms of the Sexual Revolution and who benefits from this humongous social change.
"The Sexual State" is an important book for libertarians to wrestle with, as it presents a compelling case that big government benefits from the Sexual Revolution, and that marriage and family would help weaken the power of the state.
Posted on: Tuesday, September 25, 2018
For more information, contact: Elizabeth Johnson at email@example.com.
On the eve of tomorrow’s Judiciary Committee hearing, Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D., observed: “Those who say this increasingly contentious nomination isn’t about abortion are dead wrong. Of course, it’s about abortion.”
The head of the Ruth Institute and author of The Sexual State: How Elite Ideologies are Destroying Lives, explained, “The abortion regime, which seeks a complete disconnect between sex and babies, can’t stand on its own. It needs to be constantly propped up by the Sexual State, in this case, the courts.”
Morse elaborated: “The abortion lobby claims it wants women to be able to ‘control their fertility.’ This claim is disingenuous. What the Abortion Lobby really wants is a world where sex and babies are completely disconnected, and sex without babies is an entitlement.”
“This is not the real world,” Morse continued. “That’s why the State, specifically, the judiciary, is needed. Ordinary people, acting through their legislatures, have enacted numerous common-sense pro-life measures. But the Abortion Lobby cannot abide these regulations, no matter how modest they may be.”
“Abortion supporters are terrified of Roe being ‘repealed piecemeal,’ as they say. That’s why they’re fighting the Kavanaugh nomination so fiercely. They need justices who will support their agenda.”
Morse concluded, “We hope the public will see through the media circus these hearings have become. Most normal people don’t want to live with a government committed to the fantasy that everyone is entitled to unlimited sex without a live baby ever resulting.”
The Sexual State, Morse’s latest book, was released in August by TAN Books. Dr. Morse, who has a passion for helping young people avoid the perils of the Sexual Revolution, is a popular campus speaker.
For more information about The Ruth Institute, visit http://www.ruthinstitute.org/.
For more information about The Sexual State, visit https://thesexualstate.com/.
Posted on: Saturday, September 22, 2018
Commenting on the recently released report by the Centers for Disease Control, Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, President of the Ruth Institute and author of The Sexual State, said, “Record rates of sexually transmitted disease are another tragic consequence of the Sexual Revolution.”
The CDC reports that in 2017, there were 2.294 million cases of syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia. This is the 4th consecutive year these numbers have gone up. In 2013, there were 1.75 million cases of these three sexually transmitted diseases. In 2014, the number had grown to 1.8 million. In 2015, the figure was 1.94 million, and in 2016, 2.094 million cases were diagnosed.
Dr. Morse comments: “Each of these figures was the highest ever reported in that particular year. Given the state of society, we can expect them to continue to rise, with no end in sight.
“The answer of the ‘experts’ is more funding for health care and more sex education – as if we haven’t yet reached the saturation point.”
As The Sexual State: How Elite Ideologies Are Destroying Lives and Why the Church Was Right All Along points out, the culprits include a hook-up culture, and the idea that “everyone is entitled to the sex life they want,” including sex outside marriage, casual sex, sex at an early age, multiple partners, etc.
Morse notes: “There was a time when we understood that the only ‘safe sex’ is abstinence before marriage and faithfulness in marriage. As long as we treat sex unseriously, as long as we try to divorce this most intimate act from morality, sexually transmitted diseases will be a growing disaster.”
Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse has a passion for helping young people avoid the perils of the sexual revolution. She is a popular campus speaker.
For More Information, contact: Beth Johnson at firstname.lastname@example.org.