Reflections on World Pride Madrid 2017

Last summer my hometown, Madrid, was the center of the world in terms of gay pride. Every few years a city is chosen to host the main international LGBT event and it was our turn. What really surprised me this time is that some Spanish newspapers, which have been at the forefront of the gay rights struggle for decades and which do not hesitate to publish lists of dangerous homophobes, openly reported about some Spanish public hospitals having decided to stockpile vast amounts of anti-HIV pills as a precaution; about many shopkeepers and bar tenders in downtown Madrid who simply chose to shut down early, because the whole city had turned into a massive binge drinking party; or criticising our leftist mayor for having announced that there would be no fines for excess of noise, given the occasion. Even more surprisingly, a lengthy article in the liberal El Mundo informed about gay pubs where women and transvestites were not allowed and about the increasing number of “homophobic” homosexuals, who just cannot stand the aesthetics and eccentricities of gay pride parades and even reject the movement against homophobia, altogether. Perhaps it is no longer taboo to discuss certain things. In this emerging spirit of freedom, that is what I would like to do here.

Growing up way too straight

I grew up in a definitely homophobic environment, where the slang and obscene terms used to refer to homosexuals were actually synonyms for “coward” and “cowardice” in a more brutal way than the English word “sissy.” In fact, after a stint in the army, I realized how interchangeable the expressions “being a real man” and “being a real sex machine” were, to many of my peers, in practically every locker room conversation I witnessed. I wonder if any gay people indulge in the same kind of dirty talk, but it seems that some strongly reject just being assimilated to supposedly unmanly “fairies” or “queers”.

To be perfectly honest, if such a thing as gay aesthetics exists, I do not dislike it any more than I dislike Duchamp. Nevertheless, though I do not reject homosexuals nor judge homosexual inclinations, I do reject acts of homosexual sex. But I do not think I deserve to be numbered among the dangerous homophobes, because practices such as anal sex or mutual masturbation are in no way the patrimony of the LGBT community.

Rejecting homophobia and homosexual sex

Someone may reply that not rejecting inclinations should inevitably lead to accepting the acts which logically proceed from those inclinations. I do not buy that. Having an inclination does not say anything about the inclination itself, nor about what it is to which you are inclined. Persons and inclinations are not to be judged. Actions are. Inclinations are not morally right or wrong in themselves, and when we refer to a certain inclination as a negativity, we actually mean that whoever has that inclination experiences more difficulties behaving in a certain way than someone without it. Just that. There are selfish people and selfless people, but the existence of more or less selfish individuals is hardly to be taken into account in a discussion of the appealing character of generosity. Rather, it makes the virtue that much more sublime when you encounter it. The fact that you have an inclination to have sex with a man — or with a woman — or to have sex in an “unconventional” way, does not make these inclinations good or bad, nor does it say anything about the corresponding sexual acts. I am fed up with these movies where somebody says “that is not who I am” or “we have forgotten who we really are.” As if being a third generation member of the Gambino Family meant that being a mobster is good — or bad. Being Sicilian does not make you a “made man,” being Arab does not make you a Muslim, and being homosexual does not imply that you practice sodomy. If anything it is our actions which define who we are, not the other way around. “Stupid is as stupid does,” Forrest Gump’s mum used to say.

Furthermore, there have always been homosexuals who have not practiced anal sex because they thought it was wrong, and there have always been heterosexual individuals who have practiced anal sex with other men, for whatever reason: because there were not any women available in their prison cell or because they were so bored that they wanted to try something new, exciting and forbidden. You are not supposed to have anal sex just for being homosexual anymore than you are supposed to have “vaginal” sex, just because you are heterosexual. Celibacy has been a perfectly honorable option in various cultures, throughout history.

Homosexuality is not about love … necessarily

But — you cannot foresee who you are going to fall in love with! Being homosexual is about love! No, being homosexual is not about love. Being human is about love. Looking back, I have truly loved many more men than women in my life. That does not make me a homosexual, nor does it provide any information about my sex life. A lustful character in a García Márquez novel, who had never had sex outside a brothel, cannot be said to have loved a single day in his life.

Being human is about love, and love can manifest itself in manifold ways. As someone once said: no one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. Love can be evidenced by listening, by smiling, by working, by risking one’s life dragging a wounded comrade out of a trench, and by the agonizing pangs of giving birth even without anesthesia. In all these actions we make use of our body to show love, to “make love.” It could not be otherwise because humans, being material beings, cannot do anything — physically or spiritually — without their bodies. It just happens that, for whatever reason, the act of genital penetration and sexual unity is so plastic, so evident, that “making love” has become a synonym for having sex. Still, anybody who is fond of Hollywood’s classics remembers that, not so long ago, “making love” to someone did not necessarily mean “banging” them.

Cameron Díaz was right when, right before crashing her car in Vanilla Sky, she confessed to Tom Cruise: “When you sleep with someone, your body makes a promise, whether you do or not.” Genital intercourse is a human act which has, in itself, several purposes and meanings. If it is deprived of any of them, it loses all or part of its humanity. Sexual intercourse calls for freedom, love, pleasure and openness to life, in order to be entirely human, perfect in its humanity. The sexual acts of no other creature on earth comply with these four conditions. Sexual intercourse can be the product of a rational choice or of a simple animal instinct, as in an involuntary erection. Sexual intercourse can be a way to demonstrate love or sheer selfishness, as in a drunken Friday night random encounter. It can be a way to achieve consensual pleasure or to inflict pain, as in an act of rape. It can be a way to establish a family or to prevent one, as in contraception.

I can understand that homosexual practices can be the means to obtain pleasure and manifest sincere love, but they are by nature closed to the creation of new life, and that makes them less than human, no matter how harsh this sounds. It came as no surprise that Rowan Williams, before becoming the most prominent figure in the Anglican Communion, wrote that a Church which had embraced contraception — as his Church had — could not reject homosexuality nor homosexual relations. In my view, the best reason — not the only one — why fornication is wrong is that it is optimal for a child to be born into a full-fledged family. Any orphan knows that. But if sex can be artificially closed to life, I would like someone to explain to me why criticizing fornication (or homosexuality) is something other than a prudish and empty kind of criticism.

Why is it wrong? I’m not hurting anyone

For someone like me, not raised in the Anglo-Saxon tradition, it is still relatively shocking to hear the Benthamite mantra “I am not hurting anyone” as a justification for any kind of consensual sex or for any of those acts or conducts which are always falsely believed to start and end in the agent who performs such behavior, allegedly without consequences for the rest of the world. Individual actions always have consequences for the community. The community is now simply the entire world. Furthermore, pleasure and pain, as synonyms for good and bad are just not acceptable, because the history of mankind is the history of those men and women who have sacrificed their well-being and undergone privation and pain for the well-being of others — as well as the history of those who have not, and whose names are remembered with disgust, if at all.

The fact that a gay couple may truly love each other does not force me to approve of gay sex in the name of love. Actually, the increasing acceptance of homosexuality and homosexual acts has greatly devalued friendship as a man-to-man form of love. So much so that, nowadays, the only way to explain why Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson live together in a new soap opera, without being college roommates, is by hinting at the possibility that they are actually a gay couple, or by making jokes about that possibility. Yet when Robert De Niro says “I love you, Nick” to Christopher Walken in The Deer Hunter, as as Walken’s character puts a gun to his own head, we know we are watching a great story about friendship, not Brokeback Mountain.

There is to my mind no love more passionate than the love of a mother for her child, and the best way in cinema to show an audience how twisted and mean a woman on screen is, is by implying that she is sexually attracted to her son, as with Meryl Streep’s character in The Manchurian Candidate. Would it be all right for a mother to have sex with her child if they use protection, so as to avoid a genetically harmed baby? Sexual attraction is not bad in itself, but it does not justify anything.

Discrimination is about discrimination, not about sex

Accepting homosexual acts as a way to stop discrimination and violence against homosexuals is not acceptable, either. It would be like doing away with the principle of separation between Church and State, in order to stop Islamophobic attacks. Manifesting your opposition to homosexual acts does not make you remotely responsible for homophobic violence, in the same way that opposing Marxists or Marxism does not make you a Nazi. The fact that I resist fornication does not mean that I hate heterosexual couples and the fact that I resist masturbation does not mean that I hate myself.

Homosexuality is about identity, some people say, and identity is today’s magic word, like class, party, king and country were magic words in the past, too. Law and society as a whole should revolve around our innate or chosen identity, they say. By the way, it seems that the gay rights movement has not yet decided on a libertarian strategy (i.e. gays ‘choose’ to be what they are), or on a “natural law” strategy (i.e. gays are always ‘born that way’).

Well, I do not buy the identity story, either. There are plenty of key elements in our identity which we do not choose. We do not choose to exist, although some intone the sophism that if we have the right-to-live we also have the right-not-to-live. We do not choose our parents, nor our ethnic group, not even our linguistic group, nor the place where we are born, which will determine much of our life. Our identity has many legal repercussions, and the law is aware of that. We do not choose our name but the law regulates the use of that name, as well as the very scarce possibilities to change it, which usually hinge around the name by which those around us know us, not around the name by which we would like others to know us.

Our identity, our full identity, including our gender, has an impact on society and the law responds to that impact. Law does not regulate our name to give us the pleasure of “being who we really are.” We can have that pleasure without the law. There are laws on names because it is tremendously useful for the community to be able to identify its members with a word, or with a couple of words and the corresponding legal obligations ensue. To pretend that law and society should adapt themselves to a hedonistic view of identity and not the other way around is to ignore what law and society are.

A family is a family and a koala is a koala

Families existed millions of years before states and state law were born. States did not suddenly decide to legislate on marriage because they somehow realized how good it was for two people to mate. Consensual mating is devoid of any significance, in the eyes of the law. Legislation on marriage arouse out of the relevance of marriage for society, not for the individual, and a large part of that relevance is the fact that marriages naturally led to families and families — not couples — are the basic social and economic unit. If procreation was not involved in marriage, the law would have never paid any attention to marriage, as it has never paid any attention to friendship. If two friends establish a business partnership, the law may decide to regulate partnerships, never friendship. If marriage, as an institution, did not lead to children, family law would not exist, only contract law. Regulating gay couples is just one more step in the recent tendency of legislative bodies to make laws that are simply pointless gestures, fodder for potential voters, but which do not serve any social need, whatsoever.

The fight for gay marriage is, nevertheless, not just about identity. Gay marriage is not about two men or two women who have made a life love commitment and want law and society to acknowledge their ‘identity’ as a loving couple. Gay marriage is not about satisfying a need to be together because, when gay marriage became the spearhead of the gay rights movement, most gay couples already lived their lives unmolested — at least in the West — and millions of young heterosexual couples had simply refused to believe that marriage was something needed, let alone desirable, in order to have legitimate sexual pleasure or in order to be able to move in with your boyfriend without making a scandal or just in order to be happy. In fact, many people had already realized that it was much harder to terminate a tenancy agreement than a marriage covenant. Is that really the kind of relationship that the gay community was willing to fight for?

The “free love movement” allegedly started as a battle to remove silly conventionalisms which prevented people from truly loving each other. It has ended by simply declaring that consent between those who engage in sexual intercourse is the only needed or tolerable ethical rule. That is why, if you have sex with an eighteen year old, you may be called a hero. If you have sex with a seventeen year old, you may be called a monster. Love is absolutely absent from the equation. Free love has become free sex and selfishness is not a vice nor a virtue, anymore. It is a cult.

The gay marriage struggle is actually about giving visibility to the gay movement and taking advantage of the little prestige that marriage still has, maybe because of insipid romantic comedies which end with a corny wedding cake and make millions in the box office. Gay marriage is about the idea that the only way to stop homophobic aggression and discrimination is by making everybody accept — at least, in public — that homosexuality and homosexual acts are perfectly OK, as if the decriminalization of adultery would have taken place any sooner, had lawmakers been forced to declare that adultery or polygamy were basic human rights. Nevertheless, the truth is that the decriminalization of adultery (where it was a criminal offense) had nothing to do with preventing discrimination or violence against adulterous men, or against farmers in Utah.

The age of feelings

Some of the abovementioned opinions (yes, they are only opinions) may be hard to swallow but this is because we live in “the age of feelings” as Robert P. George brilliantly puts it. Something is true if I feel it is true and, it is only true with respect to myself. As Machado, the great poet of Castile, wrote: “Your truth? No, the truth. And come with me to search for it. You can keep yours.”

Sex as a human right has been given a proper, decent sounding name: reproductive rights; but it must be taken into account that the contemporary notion of individual rights is just that of a sphere of power, whose only limit is the power of others. Rights are no longer the legally protected capacity to pursue a goal which is deemed to be good and socially relevant, in accordance with a given set of values. Sadly, sex is just one such sphere of power, nowadays.

Pleasure may now be the only objective of our lives and sex seems to be one of the most attractive kinds of pleasure. Nevertheless, let us be honest. Lust is like addiction to heroin. The first shot is just amazing but, although the pleasurable vertigo of that primordial burst, which only lasts for a few seconds, does not cease to decrease, the memories of that original “trip” stay stuck in the back of our minds, while our body consumes itself and our capacity to love withers, choked by desire first and by boredom, later. We know that something is wrong but we actually get annoyed at those good friends who eventually tell us that it is just not worth it, man, just not worth it.

 

Featured image: “Carousel reflection” by Börkur Sigurbjörnsson (CC-BY-2.0)

“The church ought to be doing [x] instead of obsessing over sex.”

Part 3 of Will Barrett’s series on “The Intra-Evangelical Culture War.”

The X could be any number of good and important things the church ought to be doing. Most likely, it means feeding the poor, healing the sick, promoting racial reconciliation, or agitating against economic injustice. It it is possible that some churches neglect their part in these activities, but to point this out in a dialogue about sexual morality serves no purpose but to divert attention away from the question at hand with an irrelevant attack on the credibility of the opponent.

Imagine a formal debate in which one speaker declares that both sides would be better served by calling off the debate in favor of doing something more constructive. Then, after his opponent leaves the room, he proceeds to stump for his own point of view on the issue. This is precisely the tactic some progressive Christians use when faced with conservative arguments about the morality and theology of sex. Although they may complain that conservatives are taking too much time away from works of justice and mercy to preach about sex, I have yet to hear of any sexually progressive Christian commentator hold his own advocacy to the same standard. Continue reading “The church ought to be doing [x] instead of obsessing over sex.”

Sustainable Sex

Painting by Edward Burne-Jones: Love Among The Ruins (1894)
Edward Burne-Jones: Love Among The Ruins (1894)

The Editors are pleased to bring you this guest post from Marc Barnes of Bad Catholic. The subject matter necessitates a more explicit treatment than our usual PG-rated content.

***

Our culture is sexually schizophrenic.

On the one hand, it has become acceptable to purchase torture porn at Barnes & Noble. On the other, as the Daily Mail reports, “around one per cent of the world’s population [approximately 70 million people] are ‘asexuals’ who feel no sexual attraction at all,” a growing group seeking recognition as the fourth sexual orientation.

On the one hand, anal sex is more popular than ever, sex shops are reporting massive increases in the sale of nipple clamps, and the average age a boy is exposed to hardcore pornography is 14, all to which we applaud: Sexy stuff indeed. But on the other — as a 2011 article published in Psychology Today concluded — the use of internet pornography has created a generation of men who cannot be aroused by their actual, real life partners, and that “many are becoming convinced that [erectile dysfunction] at twenty-something is normal.” Not so sexy.

We talk more and more about the marvelous act of coitus, and we’re happily exposed to every arousing portion of the human body that can be used to sell us beer, cars, and deodorant — yet sex itself seems to be less and less fun. Only 64 percent of women report having an orgasm in their last sexual encounter (despite 85 percent of men thinking their partner had an orgasm), and in a recent survey, it was shown that 63 percent of married women would rather “do something else” than have sex with their husbands — watching a movie being the most popular alternative.

All in all, we cannot make up our minds between getting our freak on and collapsing into an armchair, bored and dissatisfied.

There is a parallel we might draw with this phenomenon of both inaction and action, of the simultaneous whittling of sex into an boring, unimportant non-thing and the hyping up of sex into an ultra-eroticized idol: Death.

In their death throes, humans fade into nothingness while flailing in fits of energy. At the end of all action, there is a panic of action. This saddens me to no end, for sex is awesome, beautiful, unifying, and life-giving, and yet we see mirrored in our sexual culture what we see in death — grotesque action on the way to final inaction. Is sex dying?

Read an interview by The Guardian entitled “Why sex could be history,” and you’ll find that the answer — for some — is a happy affirmative. Here author Aarathi Prasad points out that science has made it possible to divorce sex from reproduction, and that we should no longer view the two as intertwined. Sex is no longer strictly necessary to human beings.

Or look at the general “Christian” response to the sexual culture, incarnated in abstinence-education programs: Sex is dirty thing, a dangerous thing, an evil thing. Perhaps this is not intention of those running such programs, but it is another affirmative response to the death of sex.

If we are witnessing the cultural death of sex, I — for one — am unsurprised. Farming unsustainably kills the land. Running a business with unsustainable resources kills the business. Sustainability is the capacity to endure, and our current sexual culture is unsustainable.

Pornography and subsequent masturbation have set an impossibly high standard for women. Men have seen hundreds of fake-breasted, airbrushed, aroused-to-the-point-of-myocardial-infarction pixels, all contorted into positions that would make an Olympic gymnast proud — before they have lain with an actual, warm-blooded woman. As Naomi Wolf noted in her article “The Porn Myth”:

Here is what young women tell me on college campuses when the subject comes up: They can’t compete, and they know it. For how can a real woman—with pores and her own breasts and even sexual needs of her own (let alone with speech that goes beyond “More, more, you big stud!”)—possibly compete with a cybervision of perfection, downloadable and extinguishable at will, who comes, so to speak, utterly submissive and tailored to the consumer’s least specification?

For most of human history, erotic images have been reflections of, or celebrations of, or substitutes for, real naked women. For the first time in human history, the images’ power and allure have supplanted that of real naked women. Today, real naked women are just bad porn.

Worse, the practice of masturbation releases oxytocin into the male system, a chemical that facilitates human bonding, increases in trust, and decreases in fear. All the joy, comfort and unity that sex brings are being sold to pornography, and a psychological attachment is made — not to a woman — but to a screen. It’s no wonder that we’re witnessing a generation of men addicted to pixels but unable to perform with an actual person. Our current sexual culture is fed by pornography (which it seems to be, given that approximately 70 percent of men ages 18-24 regularly visit porn sites), which supplies us with demands of sex that cannot be met in reality. It is unsustainable.

As is our contraceptive mentality. We’ve made our sex depend on contraception, but contraception cannot provide. Contraception offers us freedom from unwanted pregnancy, but despite the near universal use of contraception, one out of every two American pregnancies are unplanned, and two thirds of unplanned pregnancies — representing about two million annual pregnancies — are unwanted. Sixty percent of abortions are performed on women who were using contraception at the time they conceived a child. Contraception offers us protection against STDs, but again, despite universal access, 1 in 4 Americans will contract an STD in their lifetime, and it won’t be the penicillin-treatable gonorrhea or syphilis that our Land Before Condoms enjoyed. It’ll be one of approximately twenty-five unique and exciting STDs that exploded out of the sexual revolution — most likely incurable.

Whether this failure could be turned around by even more education and access to contraception is doubtful, but ultimately not the point. Our contraceptive mentality is currently unsustainable, for it claims as its own a goal it does not meet: Consequence-free sex.

Unsustainability leads to death, and death is characterized by a paradoxical meeting of grotesque action on its way to final inaction. We can see the unsustainability. Whether we are desperately crying for increased comprehensive sex education and access to birth control, or just as desperately for the return of sacredness to the act of sex, we are united in desperation, united over the fact that the sexual culture is not as it should be. We can see the grotesque action, whether in the hundreds of thousands of child pornography sites accessed daily or the sudden chic of torture porn. And we can see the final inaction, the paling of sex, the sexual dysfunction.

All I’m suggesting is that these things are not unrelated: Our culture is experiencing the untimely death of sex.

But we are not our culture. We, individual human beings, can do whatever we want. We can respectfully give the middle finger to the culture and walk away, in a fashion not unlike a man walking from an exploding building without looking over his shoulder. There is a growing movement of people advocating what I’ll broadly term as “sustainable sex”: Sex that endures. Sex that leads neither to its own destruction, nor the hurt and destruction of those enjoying it. Sex that makes no unrealistic demands of the pornographic variety, nor the unrealistic demand of total freedom from consequence.

Sex that seeks to be healthy, free from the chemicals of contraception that harm the human body and the environment, and avoiding the multiple-partner lifestyle that brings with it the high risk of STDs.

Sex that seeks to be responsible, acknowledging the power of intercourse to create new life, and instead of desperately trying to suppress it — which only works for so long — actually planning a family, using a woman’s natural indicators of fertility to effectively choose when and when not to have children.

It’s an awesome thing, watching more and more people turn to a holistic understanding of sex, to beautiful, life-giving marriages, and to the use of natural methods of family planning. It’s as awesome as it is necessary, this revolution of the heart, for our sexual culture will either embrace sustainability or die.

***

Marc Barnes is the writer of Bad Catholic and the proprietor of 1flesh.org. Our appreciation of his work is entirely unironic, and we liked him before he was cool.

Starving on Nihilism: The Moral Vacuum of The Hunger Games

Cover of "The Hunger Games" by Susanne Collins

The Hunger Games
by Suzanne Collins
Scholastic, 2010
384 pages, paperback, $8.99

(Given the wide-spread popularity of The Hunger Games and the multiplicity of reviews of it, this review will not summarize its plot; the reader can find a summary here.)

The Hunger Games presents its readers with a nihilistic world in which evil actions can be excused based on necessity. It accurately portrays the potential endgame of a big, centralized government and a population addicted to mass-media entertainment. In such a world, survival becomes the basis of morality and people mere objects in the pursuit of survival. While such a Machiavellian ethic seems realistic given the situation in which Suzanne Collins places her characters, she presents no alternative ethic. Instead, she crafts the plot to mitigate, as much a possible, the moral culpability of her protagonist, Katniss Everdeen. Continue reading Starving on Nihilism: The Moral Vacuum of The Hunger Games

Response to Star Parker: The Two Rons

Picture of Ron Paul and Ronald Reagan talking
Ron Paul and Ronald Reagan chat during Reagan's presidential campaign.

Star Parker is a conservative commentator we hipster conservatives generally appreciate. We believe she agrees with us that America’s biggest problems can’t be fixed at the ballot box, but require change to happen in America’s hearts, households, communities, and churches. So we were disappointed when she recently slammed some of our fellow young conservatives for supporting that perennial Republican presidential candidate and libertarian crank, Ron Paul.

What’s Star got against conservative young people? First, she says, “increasing numbers of my campus hosts ask that I not talk about ‘values.’ Leave out the stuff about marriage, family and abortion, please, and just talk about the economy. The materialism and moral relativism that created our left-wing culture is now infecting our youth on the right.”

Having met many young GOPers, we’d place them in two categories. There are those who are exactly as Star describes: modern materialist libertarian libertines. But there are also those who are not any of these things; who share Star’s and our deep concerns over America’s moral condition. And many in this second category, perhaps more than in the first, support Ron Paul.

It may be true that Ron Paul lacks the conservative bona fides of an acceptable Republican candidate. Yet Star’s three characteristics of Reagan-era conservatism–“Individual freedom, respect for constitutional limitations on government and traditional values”–hew pretty close to Mr. Paul’s constitutional-conservative, pro-individual, pro-life platform.

Star’s subtitle gets to the heart of her objection: “The Ron Paul youth have little interest in a Reagan-like ‘shining city on a hill’ message, or talk about a threatening ‘evil empire’ abroad.”

On economic liberty, national debt, and even family values, Ron Paul stacks up pretty well to other likely Republican nominees. Which is to say, it’s slim pickings this cycle. What truly disqualifies him in Star’s estimation is his rejection of aggressive American foreign involvement. For her, it is a belief in American exceptionalism and invocation of an “evil empire” abroad that make a true conservative.

We agree with Star that America’s problems are primarily moral ones. Even the so-called economic issues (unemployment, education, taxes, government spending, national debt, personal indebtedness, welfare, corporate welfare, and health care) are actually moral issues with a significant economic dimension. But we disagree with the idea that America’s moral character is best displayed by an aggressive drive to bring democracy to the world. Reagan had the Soviets to compare us to: what do we have today? Radical Islam and rogue regimes–i.e., the terrorists Reagan and other presidents funded when we were fighting the Soviets. Perhaps Reagan should not represent the apogee of consistent conservatism.

Young conservatives should care more about moral issues in American politics. But we must also consider whether America remains or ever was the Shining City on a Hill that Reagan imagined. For instance, how can we continue to denounce Communism and all kinds of tyranny while maintaining despotic China as our most-favored trading partner and chief creditor? If we’re serious about knocking out radical Islam, why do we continue to import oil from Saudi Arabia, where women are brutally repressed, gays are flogged or killed, and Christian converts are decapitated? Where is our moral superiority now?

Ron Paul’s variety of classical liberalism is similar to Reagan’s. Both have major problems and for many of the same reasons. Neither is a good foundation for conservative politics today, but American conservatism has much bigger problems than a few young conservatives who support Ron Paul.

–Holgrave