For the last half century, the goal of America’s cultural elites has been to disconnect Western society from Judeo-Christian morality. By subverting the prevailing norms of marriage, the family, and sexuality, they hoped to establish a new age and culture of polymorphous perversity. The massive social transformation that is now taking place in America–the jettisoning of tradition, the overthrowing of fixed institutions, the normalizing of the abnormal–has not come about by accident. It is the result of a comprehensive strategy intended to change the way people think at every conceivable level.
First, there is a psychological strategy. We live in a therapeutic age in which every movement must be presented within a psychological framework. The strategy of those who push the agenda of polymorphous perversity has been to define sexuality as merely a matter of self-conscious orientation. When the question is changed from what individuals do to what individuals are as a psychological construct, the moral equation is absolutely transformed. The idea that personal autonomy is at the very core of what it means to be human is now ubiquitous in the therapeutic culture, and thus the most important realities here have become autonomy, self-esteem, and self-actualization. Anything that represses the uninhibited demonstration of the inner yearnings of the self is considered unhealthy and repressive, and should therefore be illegal and even immoral, marginalized and eradicated.
Second, there is a medical strategy. Anything that can be “psychologized” can also be “medicalized.” In 1973, the American Psychiatric Association voted to remove homosexuality from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), the organization’s official list of mental illnesses. In other words, one day homosexuality was considered to be a mental disorder, the next day it was not. But of course this is medicine based on ideology, rather than on science. The decision by the APA to normalize homosexuality did not come as a result of unquestioned scientific studies, nor because someone in a laboratory suddenly discovered that homosexuality was in fact normal. To the contrary, the APA’s decision came because special interest groups forced the change upon them, and the physicians willingly surrendered.
Do not underestimate the significance of that decision. It is not merely that homosexuality was considered aberrant in one moment and normal in the next. It is that believing homosexuality to be wrong and aberrant was normal and acceptable in one moment, but a symptom of mental illness and bigotry in the next. This was a complete moral revolution, and yet it went unnoticed by most Americans.
We now face a new concept of normal that has been foisted upon society by medical authorities, and which has brought about a great reversal in moral thinking. The belief that heterosexuality is normative–once a given of healthy and stable moral thinking–is now seen to be unhealthy and repressive. On the other hand, homosexuality–once considered unhealthy and wrong–is accepted as a perfectly legitimate “alternative lifestyle.”
Not only is there a psychological strategy and a medical strategy, but there is also a political strategy. The late 20th century saw the development of special interest politics, in which every group with a special agenda formed itself into an organization, hired lobbyists, and went at the political process with gusto. Protest was the first step, and political action was its aftermath.
When we think about this political strategy, we must raise an interesting question–just how successful has it been? Amazingly, of all of the strategies we will discuss, this political strategy has actually been the least effective for the homosexual movement–and for the age of polymorphous perversity as a whole. Why? Because the American people simply are not buying it. Americans are often asleep as fundamental changes are taking place, but when they face an actual choice at the ballot box, overwhelmingly they tend to choose to normalize the normal, rather than the abnormal. Think about the eleven different constitutional amendments passed by various states on November 2, 2004, identifying marriage as the union of one man and one woman, and you will begin to understand why the proponents of polymorphous perversity have been so frustrated in the political realm.
Of course, with the failure of the political strategy to deliver a satisfactory outcome, the age of polymorphous perversity has leaned largely upon a legal strategy. This was made possible by the judicial usurpation of politics. As former Judge Robert Bork has so prophetically stated, we now face a tyranny of judges with an ideology of judicial activism, who treat the law as a playground for social innovation, social revolution, and ideological subversion.
As Harvard professor Mary Ann Glendon has also very insightfully noted, most of the Left’s language in the legal arena now comes in terms of what she identifies as “rights talk.” Everything is about rights. Right and wrong no longer have any meaning as categories in the law. According to the critical legal theory now being taught in law schools, there is no right or wrong, but only competing rights. And of course, many of these rights competing in the legal arena are invented rights, supposedly discovered in the penumbras and emanations of the United States Constitution.
This legal strategy has been extremely effective, of course. From the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision to the Lawrence v. Texas decision of 2003, the Supreme Court has been a willing accomplice of the Left in bringing about social and moral revolution. In his scathing dissent from the majority’s opinion in Lawrence v. Texas, Justice Antonin Scalia said the decision amounted to nothing less than the end of all morals legislation in the United States of America. Given the specific arguments Justice Anthony Kennedy made in the majority opinion, no legislation based on morality would ever pass constitutional muster again. In one decision in the year 2003, the United States Supreme Court swept morality off the table of America’s public life.
These psychological, medical, political, and legal strategies have all played their parts in furthering the culture of polymorphous perversity. By redefining homosexuality as normal in psychological and medical terms, and by undermining all morals legislation, cultural revolutionaries have gained great political momentum. However, these four strategies do not exhaust the tactical arsenal at the disposal of these revolutionaries. Education and theology have also been conscripted into their service.
R. Albert Mohler Jr.
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