Wednesday, August 28, 2019

From “Home-Alone America” to “Primal Screams”

That's the title of an article by Mary Eberstadt this morning, touting her new book: Primal Screams: How the Sexual Revolution Created Identity Politics. It helps to explain why the problems faced by Trump, Barr, and America generally are likely so intractable--how it got this bad, as explained by Patrick Deneen and others. The law of shoulda been expected consequences--even if they were unintended. Excerpt (from the article):

Primal Screams argues in part that the signature political movement of our time – identity politics – is rooted in the post-revolutionary erasure of self, brought on by the shrinkage and implosion of the family. 
Pace conservatives who dismiss such politics as mere theater, I argue that the anguish behind identity politics is real. But its foundation does not lie in abstractions like “whiteness” or “patriarchy” or the “binary.” What the timeline and other evidence shows instead is that identity politics cannot be understood apart from the familial dislocations and fractures endured by generations of homo sapiens since the 1960s. 
Divorce, cohabitation, fatherlessness, abortion, reduced family size: all of these phenomena have left post-revolutionary souls with fewer people to call our own – fewer people who can be trusted to do what families are supposed to do: have our backs, teach us, and love us no matter what. 
And with that radical diminution of the family and its protections has come an unexpected consequence: humanity is ever more unsteady, and ever less able to answer the question “Who am I?” as it always used to be answered before – relationally, with reference to one’s place in the natural social order. Deprived of this elemental way of constructing identity, many people now flee, ever more frantically, to collective “identities” that are inferior simulacra for the real thing. 
Twenty-five years ago, the brilliant scholar Leon Kass wrote a meditation for Commentary magazine on the hidden beauty and logic of the dietary laws of Judaism. He observed that these laws protected God’s people from physical harms – including harms that did not even have names until millennia later, when science would uncover them. As he further observed: “These remarkable customs not only restrain and thwart the bad; they also commemorate the true and beckon to the good. Finally, the dietary laws of Leviticus commemorate the creation and the Creator and beckon us toward holiness.” 
Just so, omitting the word “dietary,” certain other laws were handed down from the earliest days of Christianity that drew strict boundaries around related forms of unbridled consumption. These rules were among the features that set Christianity apart. They also protected the followers of Christ from something that joins us to those earliest believers, especially today: the wreckage that would result from failing to recognize in those laws a shelter, in which our kind would flourish. 
We were protected all along, in ways that we didn’t understand in full until now. The cataclysm that has ensued will take generations of rebuilding – and in order to find the right stones, we must first understand the cause of the blast. I hope that Primal Screams, by discerning in identity politics the pre-political cries of a wounded time, makes a modest contribution to that end.


  1. Completely agree.
    The harnessing of the sex drive (and the related consequences of pregnancy) is what builds civilizations.

    1. Yes, and once started down the slippery slope it's very hard to scramble back up--but it is possible.

  2. Just to highlight this, here is my family:

    4 grandparents
    8 mother/father, uncles and aunts (by blood)
    18 me, siblings, first cousins.
    18 children, nieces, and nephews.

    My family is pretty fertile compared to those of my friends, but we already appear to have plateaued since I don't expect any more children or nephews/nieces now, and I expect the next generation down to be under 18, though that is still open to change.

  3. I'm increasingly disenchanted with the Catholic Church and its feminization. Scripture has been altered to remove the words "man", "men", "mankind" and "brothers." They've been replaced by "one", "people", "humanity" and "brothers and sisters." But any scriptural reference that contains the words "woman" or "women" is left intact.

    Slowly, God is not referred to as "He", "Him", "His", "Father" and Lord. The Church is ashamed to acknowledge that the Lord made the man to be the head of his family as Christ is head of the church.

    The petitions that we say after the Creed are collectivist, socialist, and many don't even reflect a Christian worldview. Jesus never talked about climate change or the government taking over the actions of individual followers of Him.

    Finally, even the pro-life movement wrongly emphasizes the woman and child as though the man, as father, is irrelevant. As a Christian, I only believe in one Virgin Birth, that of the Lord. The rest of these pregnancies have a mortal man as the father.

    1. Don't get me started--Oh, wait, you just did!

      Yes, it used to be that the family had institutional support. No, not from the government--that "support" is the kiss of death, as we've seen especially for the black family. Rather, the support came from the Church. Now, however, the Church has gone over to the dark side. If you read Deneen on the nature of liberalism and compare it to normative post V2 "catholic" thinking, you'll see they're the same. And that emphatically includes figures like Wojtyla and Ratzinger. Search Ratzinger on this blog and you'll get a metaphorical earful.

      BTW, yesterday the US bishops fired a USCCB worker who had praised Trump's pro-life stances on her private twitter account.

  4. The upper echelon of the Church is as corrupt as the Deep State. It's especially true of the Lavender Mafia. Read George Neumayr over at the American Spectator about Cardinals Wuerl, Gregory, former McCarrick and others.

    1. "The upper echelon of the Church is as corrupt as the Deep State."

      IMO, it's not just the upper echelon. V2 basically marked the audition of the Church to be the liberal state at prayer. Of course, they're being kicked to the side of the road, now. Stupid. But that's the kind of stuff you get when faith is lost. The roots of it all are very deep.

  5. I recommend that you watch Book TV's broadcast of Mary Eberstadt summarizing her 2013 book How the West Really Lost God: A New Theory of Secularization. Her talk is very interesting.

    1. Tx. I hope to do a blog later today that I think will interest you.