I could have said, “David Brooks declares culture war over,” but who would have cared? Unlike Becker-Posner, when Brooks talks sex, it’s bound to be because there’s less of it going around. And so it is – at least for teenagers, despite the foulness of our popular culture. The battle between Puritans and libertines, Brooks maintains, has been superseded by the Aristotelian moderation of the Gen Y’ers.
But today’s young people appear not to have taken a side in this war; they’ve just left it behind. For them, the personal is not political. Sex isn’t a battleground in a clash of moralities.
They seem happy with the frankness of the left and the wholesomeness of the right. You may not like the growing influence of religion in public life, but the lives of young people have improved. You may not like the growing acceptance of homosexuality, but as it has happened heterosexual families have grown healthier.
Just lie back and enjoy the optimism.
So who’s right – Becker-Posner, who from their distant, mega-egghead observation post pretty much declared the victory of the sexual revolution, or Brooks, who has just cancelled the revolution and sent the party-goers home – from his distant, mega-NYT observation post?
All I have is this personal (and my oldest son the Sophistpundit, alas, would say, distant-egghead) observation: the kids I know are infinitely smarter about sex than we boomers were, and as free of crap as is possible on a subject that, from the time of Australopithecus to the age of Eminem, has inspired more lies and posturing than all others put together.