Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Ben Shapiro's Take on Homosexuality, Stanford U Speech, November 7, 2019: A Reflection

"How does anal sex help us win the culture war?"

That's a question which one of the Groypers asked Turning Point USA at The Ohio State University in October, 2019.

Ben Shapiro responded to this question at the outset during his Stanford University Speech on November 7th, 2019.

Here's the entire speech.

Here's the Daily Wire upload of the speech, with the questions that followed. Click here.

Here's the portion of the speech that I wanted to focus on in particular:

"Criminalizing consensual activity without externality is by definition losing the culture war. What helps America win the culture war is freedom, and liberty, and the government not being involved in your life.

"And if you, like me, believe that certain personal activities are a sin, you know how you win that culture war?  By having people join your church, by engaging with your community, by teaching your children your values. That's the way you win a culture war.

"In fact, I'm bewildered by it, there's great irony in watching alt-righters claim that they should use the commanding heights of government to cram down their viewpoints on others, while complaining that the left uses the commanding heights of government to cram down their viewpoints on others. You can't really whine about using the government shutting down your viewpoint if you plan on using the government to shut down everyone else's viewpoint.

"But many folks on the alt-right are playing true believers by suggesting that social conservatives like me, people who wrote entire books on the evils of pornography in American society, or people like David French, who spend their days fighting for religious freedom, are standing ardently in favor of Drag Queen Story Hour at the local library. 

"I also think that in governmental terms, if you allow the library to decide which speech to ban, it's much more likely to ban the Bible than drag queen story hour. I'm for limited government, because I do not trust the government to decide what kind of speech it wants to ban."

The biggest point of departure for me in this speech occured when Shapiro declared the following:

"Criminalizing consensual activity without externality is by definition losing the culture war."

This standard, this metric is deeply flawed. If we apply it fully, that means that prostitution should be legal. For many intents and purposes, prostitution is a consensual activity between adults, right? The externalities are not flagrant or manifest are they?

Actually they are, because fundamentally sexual conduct, even between two consenting adults, automatically has externalities. Sexual activity leads to the conception and birth of children, for example. There are the mental and emotional and psychological consequences which follow after two people have sex. The impact on human capital, the integrity of the family, the effects on public health--all of those outcomes are clear-cut externalities.

Yes, indeed, the government can, does, and should regulate what behaviors happen in the bedroom. The question is "which ones?" Again, prostitution should not just be regulated, but it is both necessary and proper to criminalize the conduct. The unintended society and cultural consequences cannot be ignored. Beyond the potential spread of venereal disease and unintended pregnancies, there is the degradation of the moral culture, the public health problems which ensue, and the inevitable rise of sex trafficking, human trafficking, and drug trafficking which ensues. Legalizing everything is not going to solve the problems. There are corrosive aspects of human nature which need to be confronted fully, not pandered to. 

Incest can also be construed as consensual conduct between adults. Yet too this behavior should be criminalized. Such abominable conduct has larger, initially unforseen consequences which cannot be ignored. Allowing for relentless sexual license does nothing but harm for a community. With the collapse of sexual mores comes the collapse of the entire civilization. This sad pattern has repeated itself from one empire to the next. The United States has fallen into that same pattern, as well.

So, prostitution should remain criminalized, along with incest. One can make the stronger argument for recriminalizing sodomy, as well. Shapiro was dismissing the notion that the state should take a stronger role in disapproving of this conduct because "consensual conduct without externalities." 

However, the normalization of homosexuality has led to all kinds of problems in the public sphere. As Paul Johnson documented in his autobiography "The Quest for God", homosexuals have been able to form militant lobbies that push their agenda into every facet of the public square. They are now eroding the natural rights of all while redoing the whole purpose of government to please themselves and grant them a place of prominence, at the expense of everyone else.

Indeed, it's time for conservatives to restore moral order in the public square, and it is appropriate to use government sanction to discourage and restrain evil. Consensual activities and their consequences do not stay in the bedroom, and it is wrong to believe in this libertarian "Live and Let Live" naivete as an answer to many of society's ills.

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