Once you go deplorable, you’ll know that we’re adorable.
To begin with, let me apologize for the subject line. Once it occurred to me, I couldn’t let it go.
If you’re of a certain age, you may recognize the sexual undertones of the phrase, which I began thinking about after stumbling across a Twitter exchange between apparent progressive Liz Gledhill and known conservative Nicole Solas. both of South Kingstown:
Gledhill: All this GOP rhetoric that’s anti “pleasure based sex education” makes me really glad I never slept with a republican because it kinda seems like it would be terrible.
Solas: “if you don’t groom children you’re bad at sex”
Gledhill: “If we tell folks sex isn’t just for making babies, they might go onto have healthy, happy intimate adult relationships and forget their place in the patriarchy.”
This matter is an excellent example of the human capacity to firmly hold to a belief simply by definitional assumption. In Gledhill’s mind, there is no reason not to want political insiders and ideologues to mandate that unionized teachers must instruct other people’s children that all of life should be centered around pleasure and readily associated with sex, so opposition must be evidence of our own discomfort with that topic. Gledhill would likely make the contrasting assumption of a social work grad student on the board of Planned Parenthood who coos at her 18-month-old son about how good it must feel when he touches himself. Surely, she must really know how to pleasure other people in fulfilling ways, right?
The first step when marching forward to mandate what other people’s children must be taught should be checking whether your assumptions are true. Are conservatives terrible at sex, and do we have unhealthy, unhappy adult intimate relationships. Well, no. Indeed, evidence consistently emerges that conservatives have better sex lives.
This actually shouldn’t seem contrary to assumptions. The patriarchal extremes are much more prominent on Netflix and in progressives’ self-justifying imaginations than in real life. Generally, conservatives find that acknowledging human nature while treating sex as something more profound than mutual masturbation is a winning formula. A love life doesn’t get much better than a stable relationship of deep comfort, trust, and mutual concern in which a couple’s intimacy is implicitly connected with their longstanding love for each other as well as their children, and even with God.
Of course, the ideal isn’t always possible (although in this case, your odds are pretty good if you’re smart and reasonable), but no ideal is. That doesn’t mean we can’t base the way we think and teach about relationships on an ideal. In contrast, making the individual’s personal pleasure the basis for what we think and teach children is certain to cause isolation and misery and, yes, to contribute to the sexual grooming of children.
Featured image by Konstantin Makovsky on WikiArt.