Jonathon van Maren

From the front lines of the culture wars

The abortion of JFK’s children was evil – but it’s also a tragic loss

Jonathon van Maren Jonathon van Maren Follow Jonathon
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Did you know that John F. Kennedy had more than four children? That writers Christopher and Peter Hitchens had two other siblings? That Marilyn Monroe actually had a large number of children?

I’m not particularly fond of the argument that I’ve heard many pro-lifers use: “Abortion is wrong because of all the amazing people we’ve aborted. One of them could have had the cure to cancer!” Abortion is fundamentally wrong because it ends the life of a developing human being, whether that human being would turn out to be a drug addict or the president of the United States. However, it is an interesting thought experiment—not least of all because so many people considered heroes by the Left have aborted their children or had their children aborted.

For example, I think of liberal icon President John F. Kennedy. The Kennedy Family is probably the closest thing America had to a royal family, although revelations over the last several decades have rather firmly repudiated the idea of an impossibly happy Camelot, as historians reveal anecdote after sordid anecdote of relentless philandering. Anecdotes of President Kennedy’s devastation at the 1963 death of his two-day old son, Patrick, are well-documented. The Kennedys also lost a daughter in 1956—Arabella, as her parents intended to name her, was stillborn.

Revolutions famously do not discriminate in their grim reaping of human life. The Sexual Revolution is no different.

But stories abound of JFK’s affairs ending in abortions. Mimi Alford, a White House intern that JFK had a relationship with for over a year, reported that when she told the president she believed she was pregnant, he “took the news in his stride.” Shortly afterward, she was contacted by a White House staffer named Dave Powers, often assigned to protect the president’s reputation.

“An hour later,” Alford recalls, “Dave called the dorm and told me to call a woman who could put me in touch with a doctor in New Jersey. The intermediary was a necessary precaution, because abortion was illegal. That was pure Dave Powers: he handled the problem immediately, and with brute practicality. There was no talk about what I wanted, or how I felt, or what the medical risks might be.”

Another of JFK’s famous mistresses, Judith Campbell Exner, reported having an abortion in 1963 after becoming pregnant by the president. Not all Kennedys, it seems, end up in Washington, D.C. Some of them end up in trash cans behind seedy clinics, victims of their parents’ sexual ideology.

Another icon of the Left that comes to mind when I think of the human cost of abortion is the late author and columnist Christopher Hitchens. Fans of the Hitch are fierce in their devotion, with his brother Peter, a well-known conservative author, noting that his brother’s fans often burn with fanatical hatred against him, furious that a conservative Christian (who wrote his brilliant book The Rage Against God partially in response to his brother’s philosophically feeble atheist tome God Is Not Great) could bear the same last name as their hero. Both brothers are extraordinary writers and journalists, having collectively written dozens of books and published essays and columns in the most prestigious publications.

What many people don’t realize is that there were originally four Hitchens siblings, not two. As Christopher relates in his Vanity Fair essay “Fetal Distraction”:

I was in my early teens when my mother told me that a predecessor fetus and a successor fetus had been surgically removed, thus making me an older brother rather than a forgotten whoosh.

Christopher noted further that at least two children of his own had their lives ended by abortion, recalling sombrely that, “at least once I found myself in a clinic while ‘products of conception’ were efficiently vacuumed away. I can distinctly remember thinking, on the last such occasion, that under no persuasion of any kind would I ever allow myself to be present at such a moment again.”

Perhaps this was because Christopher Hitchens allowed himself no illusion, writing that, “Anyone who has ever seen a sonogram or spent even an hour with a textbook on embryology knows that emotions are not the deciding factor. In order to terminate a pregnancy, you have to still a heartbeat, switch off a developing brain, and, whatever the method, break some bones and rupture some organs.”

Although to my knowledge Peter Hitchens has never addressed the fact of his aborted siblings in print, on abortion he has much to say. “Those who wonder what they would have done had they lived at the time of some terrible injustice now know the answer,” he has said. “We do live in such a time. And we do nothing.”

When considering the lives and careers of the Hitchens brothers we know, we cannot help but wonder what the lives of the two that we do not would have been like.

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The list of politicians, writers, and cultural figures who have discarded their own children are myriad. Comedian Chelsea Handler has talked openly about having an abortion. Sharon Osbourne calls having an abortion at seventeen the mistake of her life. According to author Norman Mailer, the tragic Marilyn Monroe had twelve abortions by her late-twenties. Whoopi Goldberg of The View, Lucille Ball of I Love Lucy, Judy Garland of The Wizard of Oz all aborted children. Ava Gardner reportedly aborted two of Frank Sinatra’s children, while the smut-peddling rapper ‘Lil Kim aborted the Notorious B.I.G’s child, which they conceived during an affair. Famed singer Sinead O’Connor had an abortion while on tour in Minneapolis.

It’s especially bizarre, I think, when those on the Left turn out to enthusiastically celebrate any new revelation of a cultural figure having an abortion. The more they admire the person, it seems the happier they are at the “courage” of said person having had an abortion. A bit unintentionally insulting, don’t you think? I admire you so much! I’m so glad you terminated a child that might have had your talent or been a lot like you!

Revolutions, however, famously do not discriminate in their grim reaping of human life. The Sexual Revolution is no different, even though we’ve replaced guillotines with Planned Parenthood clinics. The crowds cheered both, and the similarity between a howling mob and a pro-choice rally is striking to say the least. Perhaps it is Peter Hitchens who has the best explanation: “I think that abortion is much beloved by revolutionaries,” he noted gravely, “because they always like the mob to get their hands in blood and commit some sort of crime of their own.”

Abortion is evil because it violently destroys a human being. But one of the reasons abortion is tragic is that it has robbed us of so many who might have given so much to humanity.

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Full disclosure: I am one of the team members at Strength To Fight, a Canadian anti-porn organization.

Meet the people who can help you (or a loved one) quit a porn addiction

Jonathon van Maren Jonathon van Maren Follow Jonathon
By Jonathon van Maren

When I speak about pornography, I typically get a lot of questions from people who are relieved that the conspiracy of silence has finally been broken. Are there organizations that help break porn addictions? Are there people who can help me navigate my spouse’s porn problem? Are there resources that can help us repair our marriage post-porn addiction? Are there good programs for keeping people accountable when they’re surfing the Internet?

In a word: yes, there are. I’d like to introduce you to just a few of them—and encourage you to share this article far and wide so that your friends, family, and acquaintances can also make use of the wealth of resources that are out there. There is an anti-porn movement emerging, and it’s growing fast.

1. Covenant Eyes

Covenant Eyes is an amazing organization, and an amazing accountability program that you can install on all of your devices—I have it installed on both my laptop and my cell phone. They also provide the most updated statistics on pornography, and try to break down info about the porn industry so that readers can understand what it’s all about. Their e-books are second-to-none, and are free for download, with essential titles like Porn-Free Church, Porn and Your Husband: A Recovery Guide for Wives, Hope After Porn, The Battle Plan, Coming Clean, and many more. The Covenant Eyes website is a one-stop shop for accountability filters, essential information, and valuable support.

2. Fight The New Drug

Fight The New Drug is a trendy organization that has created a huge anti-porn movement through savvy marketing and incredible social media skills. Their Facebook page is close to reaching a million “likes,” and pictures of thousands of young people of all walks of life wearing T-shirts featuring slogans like “Porn Kills Love” have done much to make opposing pornography mainstream. They keep a steady stream of blog posts written by “Fighters” from around the world who are committed to fighting the influence of pornography in their culture, and raise awareness about the impact of porn both online and on the streets.

3. Matt Fradd

Matt Fradd is a one-man porn-fighting machine, so I have to list his name all by itself. He has launched a number of projects specifically targeted at helping Catholic communities become porn-free. Integrity Restored, for example, is an enormously helpful online resource for spouses, parents, and the clergy. The Porn Effect is another online resource targeted at teens, featuring advice from experts, battle plans to kick porn out of your life, and tips for accountability and even counseling. To help with all of this, Matt Fradd helped develop a fantastic app that can be downloaded to your phone, called The Victory App, which helps you track your progress at beating pornography and staying away from it for good. This app is free—and already getting rave reviews. Matt’s vision is to see porn get stigmatized the way so many other cultural plagues have been stigmatized—and knows we need all the help we can get. When someone mentioned that he must be in competition with Fight The New Drug, he laughed and said, “No, my competitor would be Playboy.”

4. Strength To Fight

Strength To Fight is a Canadian anti-porn initiative that began only last year to fill the huge and increasingly noticeable void of anti-porn organizations in Canada working to connect people with the help and the resources that they need. Full disclosure: I am one of the team members at Strength To Fight, and we bring the truth about pornography and how to fight it to churches, youth groups, high schools, conferences, universities, and frankly anywhere where there are people who want to get free of porn and need the information and resources to do it. My colleague Josh Gilman has done a magnificent job of creating essential networks of counselors and other resources to ensure that Canadians across the country have access to everything they need to get free of pornography for good.

These are just four resources that Christians of all stripes can utilize to fight the influence and spread of pornography, both in their own lives and in the lives of their loved ones. Pornography has spread far and fast, but the good news is that the anti-porn movement is exploding too—thousands of people are standing up to defend love, beauty, innocence, and the fragile relationships being damaged by pornography.

The tools are out there. Arm yourself. 

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Thousands of parents protest the Wynne government's explicit sex-ed program in Thorncliffe Park on March 14. Courtesy of Thorncliffe Parents Association

‘The tipping point’: Why Ontario’s graphic sex-ed curriculum provoked mass protests

Jonathon van Maren Jonathon van Maren Follow Jonathon
By Jonathon van Maren

Dr. Scott Masson is a professor of English at Tyndale University College. He’s a trustee for the Greater-Toronto-Area based Ezra Institute for Contemporary Christianity. He’s also an avid watcher of politics - and he’s watching the loud protests against Premier Kathleen Wynne’s sex education curriculum sweeping the province with great interest. The protests, he thinks, could actually do real damage to both Kathleen Wynne’s government - and the public education system itself.

I was surprised that such a groundswell of activism had been triggered by this new sex education curriculum, considering that such curriculums have been implemented across the country, and in Ontario itself, to little fanfare for decades.

It turns out that Dr. Masson was surprised as well. However, he told me by phone that he believes that for parents, many things contained in the newest curriculum may simply be a bridge too far.

It does lower ages of things like consent, and it teaches consent from the get- go, it includes more explicit teaching on homosexual acts, it does contain little updates, technological updates like sexting and so forth, although it doesn’t talk about the thing that’s most toxic which is the internet pornography. I find that extraordinary. If you’re saying we need to do this because of the advances in technology, then how come you’ve got no mention of the danger and problem with internet pornography, although it’s well documented?

And finally, they have this sex and gender teaching in grade three, where, you know, ‘you are a boy, but you know what, have you ever considered that you might be a girl?’ That sort of teaching. So those are significant additions, but the basic template for it was already there. So why...then this response? And I just think there’s a general sense and that people have perceived it, and it’s not just in this, but they can see it in the movies, in their culture in general, in their regular arrest of pedophiles and pedophile rings, internet pornography. They can see that it’s now everywhere around them, the sexualization of children. They can see it in the ads, they can see it in Hollywood, they can see it in the books they can see in their public libraries. 

And I just think they reached a tipping point.

Just like Peter Hitchens, Scott Masson looks far beyond the current debate in Ontario for answers—he believes that modern sex education is a fundamental part of Cultural Marxism. And like Hitchens, he believes that the Cultural Marxists have achieved staggering successes over the past fifty years.

“People have to understand that the Cultural Marxist project was intended to be a slow moving one,” Masson explains.

They tried violent revolution, just as they did in the Soviet Union in 1917. There was those throughout Western Europe and elsewhere who wanted that to happen in their countries as well, and in fact Marx himself predicted that it would happen first in the most civilized and progressive countries. It didn’t, and they were puzzled by this and very upset about it and they realized that the workers, the very people that they thought would overthrow the capitalist pigs, were actually the most adamantly opposed to the Marxist project.

What they realized was that these workers were so wedded to the nuclear family of Christendom, the family and the education system and all the marks of civil society, that they didn’t want to do that and they weren’t going to do that. So they saw Christendom and its teaching on various things as the main obstacle to be overcome. And so they fought to uproot the culture as a means of bringing about that revolution, and of course the sexual relations inside of marriage were one of the key aspects, but that’s very early on. Two theorists, a man by the name of Antonio Gramsci and György Lukács, they did this very early on.

And the successes they achieved are obvious, as a very cursory look at our post-modern, post-Christian, and porn-soaked society gloomily illustrates. But while many Christians feel as if the changes have been recent, Masson points out that they have roots nearly a century old.

I’ll give you an example, an early example. Lukács regarded, and they all regarded the family as an institution in society, it was a recognized authority of people and that was an obstacle to the egalitarian impulse. So Lukács, the Hungarian theorist, after the First World War, he came to have some influence, and he used a program called cultural terrorism, which introduced a radical sex ed curriculum into Hungarian schools. So he sought deliberately and intentionally to undermine the family, and with it the Christian faith. And many people have been noting this sort of, so called double-helix effect between faith and family. If you undermine the one, you undermine the other. We’ve experienced liberalism theologically attacked on the Christian faith, straight up front, and those have largely been unsuccessful amongst the faithful. But the attacks on the family are a way of undermining the faith, because if you break families down then the bonds of trust and faithfulness often go with them.

Lukács sought to do that, he organized sex lectures with graphic illustrations. The youth were to indulge in free love. Christian sexual morality and monogamy were ridiculed and parental and church authority were also undermined, ridiculed, and there was a propaganda blitz and so forth. Now, they were overthrown in Hungary when the Romanian army invaded, but that was the first attempt to impose Cultural Marxism, back in the early 1920’s and that was followed up many years later by other Cultural Marxists. They’re loosely affiliated but they have the same project there, but that was the very first one. In the 1930’s it came back with various other writings. Wilhelm Reich’s The Mass Psychology of Fascism, even one called The Sexual Revolution, believe it or not, 1936. You know, we associate the Sexual Revolution with the 1960’s, and he was talking about it in the 1930’s.

 The Cultural Marxists, says Masson, were successful for a variety of reasons. Not only did they successfully utilize fraudulent academic works like Margaret Mead’s 1928 Coming of Age in Samoa and Dr. Alfred Kinsey’s Kinsey Reports, they infiltrated the media and began to work their influences there, as well.

They promoted themselves through non-traditional means. They did use academia, but they also used media and the entertainment industry. So during the Second World War, the Cultural Marxists were heavily involved in mass media. To some degree they still are. I would say that that’s one of their most successful ways of spreading their message. So they really did try to get into the cultural edifice of the United States and Canada and worked through that means. It really made big shift in the 1960’s when academia was infiltrated, but you can see it back in the 50’s and 60’s definitely and it’s in the popular culture.

It happened in Canada primarily through the legislation of Pierre Elliott Trudeau. When he was justice minister, he had an omnibus bill which decriminalized abortion and also homosexuality, along with a variety of other things; it was a really big omnibus bill, and that led to the the abolition of any sanction against abortion--but note how it was connected with removing sanctions against homosexuality. You wouldn’t, at least immediately, have thought that there was a connection, but if you look at the writing of the day, a man by the name of Herbert Marcuse in 1965 wrote a little article called ‘Repressive Tolerance.’ He talks about how the Anglophone world had inherited this notion of tolerance from John Locke which was that we tolerated opinions that we found personally odious. We simply would tolerate them because that was the price of freedom and living in a civil society rather than engaging in the sort of religious wars which Locke himself would have seen. England is going to tolerate people with even radically opposed views. But Marcuse thought that this notion of tolerance was a problem. He thought that what it assumed, it assumed certain basic things about the world, and those things that it assumed were Christian, and so he wanted to uproot that notion of tolerance. He called that ‘repressive tolerance.’ He brought in what he called ‘liberating tolerance,’ which we experience in our day as a very intolerant tolerance, so when people now talk about tolerance, what they mean is, if you say something that I don’t agree with, in the name of tolerance, you’ll shut up.

The idea of “repressive tolerance,” for anyone who has been watching - or feeling - the cultural winds, has been taking root for quite some time now. People are regularly fired for holding Christian views that contradict the new sexual orthodoxy. Courts invent new rights out of thin air, based on concepts discovered yesterday, to overthrow institutions that have existed for thousands of years. And for those who still hold to the old truths, recognizing that truth doesn’t change - increasingly, they no longer have the right to allow those opinions to influence their behavior, as we see with the Oregon bakers who were fined $135,000 for ostensibly hurting someone’s feelings. Our current generation, of course, doesn’t put up much of a fuss - because the school system they journeyed through didn’t teach them how to think, it taught them what to think.

“One of the early essays on this that really identified this for many people was C. S. Lewis’s The Abolition of Man,” Masson noted. “He talked precisely about that issue. People are being taught to do what their teachers would never do whereas the previous model of education was, you know, a father would teach his son, ‘Do as I do.’ You know? And I would not ask you to do anything I wouldn’t do. Whereas now, education is something like what the poultry farmer does to the turkey. ‘Here’s what I want you to do.’ And it’s an experiment upon the next generation. So it’s moved away from education into something like propaganda.”

This experiment, Masson believes, may be facing more trouble from those fueling the sex-ed protests in Ontario than they realize. People are angry, they’re fed up, and it seems they have no plans of going anywhere or calming down. In fact, Dr. Masson suspects that if those protesting the sex-ed curriculum continue to pick up steam, they could destabilize the entire system. Thousands of parents may well pull their children out of the public system. And when then happens, it could change everything - especially for the Liberal Party.

In 2016, the money won’t be flowing into the public system as it was in the local schools, and that will have an effect on the teachers. The unions will be angry at the government about that, so I think that this is going to continue the snowball. It’s certainly not going to go away as a political issue. I think it’s going to hit the federal Liberals by association, and they are strongly associated quite frankly. ... I’ve heard from people that they will never again vote for the Liberals.  

...The unrest that has been created by the forced implementation of this curriculum, I think it’s going to bring down the system. Now, it’s not going to happen overnight, but I do think that there’s going to be a gradual unraveling of the public education system in Canada and we’re going to enter into a very, very interesting era of politics and social life in Canada. I don’t think that it’s going to be that comfortable, I’m sorry to say, but in the sense that I think that our political and social life is going to become more fractious.

There is going to be more debate. It’s probably a healthy thing. Canadians have been far too deferential to authority for too long, even though the authorities have gone well beyond their purview within the state, I think. They’ve involved themselves in the family in ways that communist governments only dreamt of, and it’s probably too much too soon, I would say, on that front, but we can see that it’s not just in Ontario, it’s in Canada, it’s worldwide, it’s in the US, it’s all come at once.

And I would encourage parents to pull their kids out.

As Dr. Scott Masson says, we’re entering a very interesting era of politics and social life - not only in Canada, but across the West. Cultural Marxism has made huge gains, from dominating the entertainment industry, to infiltrating academia, to politically legitimizing the idea of repressive tolerance. But it seems that some parents are finally standing up and saying no, refusing to allow people like Premier Kathleen Wynne to pass on her values to their children, and insisting that they have the opportunity to pass on their own. The children, of course, are the future. We’ve come a long way down this road, but ensuring the protection of our children and their innocence is a very good place to turn around. 

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Peter Hitchens: "The kinds of things that people are taught in sex education are disinhibiting things...So it's assumed that children will have underage sex or unmarried sex or promiscuous sex." Shutterstock

Parents, don’t be fooled: The sex-ed agenda is more sinister than you know

Jonathon van Maren Jonathon van Maren Follow Jonathon
By Jonathon van Maren

It's a rare, if not historic pushback—tens of thousands of people across the Canadian province of Ontario are announcing loudly that they oppose the new sex education curriculum proposed by the province’s premier, Kathleen Wynne. Large numbers of protestors have made their voices heard in front of Wynne's office, in front of the provincial legislature at Queen's Park, and at the offices of Members of Provincial Parliament across the province. Harking from every culture and ethnic group, the protestors are demanding one thing: Let kids be kids.

The entire phenomenon is startling for a number of reasons. First of all, school systems have been implementing sex education programs that parents have disliked or outright opposed for decades now—but never has a movement of this size and tenacity congealed around opposing a curriculum and the politicians seeking to implement it, until now.

Second of all, this movement is not made up simply of the “usual suspects” - socially conservative Catholics and Protestants - but rather, includes huge numbers of Indo-Canadians, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, and Chinese immigrants. Perhaps Wynne's sex-ed curriculum is simply the straw that broke the camel's back, one tiny step too far for tens of thousands of parents who are sick of our politics and education being dominated by discussions of sex that are often in direct conflict with the values parents seek to pass on to their children in the home.

Peter Hitchens: "We find that despite the greater and greater extent of sex education in our society...the number of people becoming pregnant when they didn't want to continues to rise and the number of people contracting sexually transmitted diseases continues to rise."

Many of those parents, of course, fundamentally oppose the idea that the school system or the State has any business imparting “education” on sexual matters and their accompanying post-modern values to their children. That is, they say, not the task of the education system. And when the government disagrees, it simply increases their suspicion that another agenda is at play—that it is not simply the mechanics of sex that the State wants to teach, but rather the idea that all sexual activity is morally permissible and that these ideas should be ingrained into children at a very young age to ensure that they stick.

Peter Hitchens, a well-known journalist, author, and cultural commentator from Great Britain, has had much to say about the idea of modern sex education in his various writings and media interviews. For more insight into how modern sex education in the West came about, I interviewed him for a one-hour special on my radio show, The Bridgehead. According to his analysis, the suspicions of many parents are absolutely correct. In his view, the entire concept fails on its own terms.

“The problem with sex education,” he told me by phone, “is that the ostensible purpose for which it is advocated turns out not to be true. I did a sort of study a few years ago of the development of sex education in my own country, and what I found is that it's been justified really since the middle part of the Second World War, when of course there were a lot of venereal diseases, on the basis that if people were better educated about it, then it would reduce the amount of sexually transmitted disease and the amount of unwanted pregnancy. And yet if you watch the figures for both sexually transmitted disease and for unwanted pregnancy, and increasingly now for abortion, we find that despite the greater and greater extent of sex education in our society, more and more frankness about sex, and more and more pornography (which is also supposed to end repression), the number of people becoming pregnant when they didn't want to continues to rise and the number of people contracting sexually transmitted diseases continues to rise.”

This is partially because, as National Post columnist George Jonas pointed out in his column, that educating young people in an activity will of course increase that activity. Thus, the risk of abortion, sexually transmitted diseases, and early-age pregnancy will only go up. If sex education's intent, however, is not simply to prevent these things, but rather to re-educate, then it still can suit the purposes of the State.

“It's said,” Hitchens noted, “that Gyorgy Lukas, who was commissar for education in the short-lived Bela Kun Soviet Government in Hungary in 1918, openly said that the purpose of sex education when he introduced it then - I think he was probably the first person to do so - was to debauch the minds and morals of religiously-brought up young women particularly. It seems to me to make a certain amount of sense…because the kinds of things that people are taught in sex education are disinhibiting things. When I was in school no one ever mentioned masturbation. It would have been extremely bad manners to mention it anywhere, let alone for an adult teacher to talk to quite young children about it and about other sexual practices in class. The moment these things start being discussed, it disinhibits people, it takes restraints off them that previously were there. Now you may believe, and a lot of people do believe and have believed for many years, that these inhibitions are bad for us. That's a point of view, I don't happen to share it, and if you follow that belief as a parent, I suppose you're entitled to introduce your child to this sort of thing as early an age as you wish in a free country, but what bothers us in many cases [is that] parents don't realize what is being done in classrooms until after it's happened.”

Parents across Ontario, it seems, are discovering precisely what it is that their children are being taught and what the Government of Ontario would like to teach to their children, and are balking hard. One of the reasons is quite simple—they know that teaching children about sex without correlating value judgments is, as Hitchens pointed out to me, disinhibiting.

“Discussing these things in the way that they're discussed [makes these] things sound normal,” Hitchens pointed out. “So it's assumed that children will have underage sex or unmarried sex or promiscuous sex, and it's assumed that they will do so, and all the precautions they're supposed to take is based on this idea that this will happen. 'If you can't be good, be careful.'”

That, of course, is why our schools are so involved in handing out condoms and ensuring ready access to birth control pills—because it assumes that people, even children, are entirely incapable of abstaining from sex outside of marriage. Sex education, in essence, proceeds directly out of that assumption. And that assumption is very much promoted by our current political class.

“There is politics in sex,” says Peter Hitchens. “Much of those politics are about…the family and the State. The state is increasingly hostile to the strong family, and the strong family is sustained by lifelong marriage and by a pretty stern and puritan attitude towards sexual relations—whereas the strong state benefits in many ways, as does modern commerce and the modern employer, from weak marriages and relaxed sexual relations. There's also the point that Aldous Huxley makes, which is that we are increasingly going to embrace our own enslavement in the pursuit of pleasure, which I believe actually the Marxist historian Eric Hobsbawm made...that there is absolutely no congruence in human history between sexual freedom and political freedom. Slaves have always been allowed to copulate, what they haven't been allowed to do is marry.”

“And this,” Hitchens continued, “is an extremely important point. There is no necessary connection between a society which is sexually free and sexually uninhibited, and a society that is politically free and has free speech and freedom of assembly, it doesn't necessarily follow at all. So we're all doing it with a very, very profound philosophical battle about the nature of society, and it needs to be conducted in a very serious fashion. The difficulty is in finding anyone to give you a hearing.”

It's a fascinating perspective, especially coming from someone who was once a radical Trotskyist. When I pointed this out to him, Hitchens responded by noting that this is precisely the reason he is so well-versed in the way the Left thinks and does business.

“I decided to stop believing it because it seemed to me to be morally wrong and highly dangerous,” Hitchens told me. “But the great advantage which it gives me is that I know what left-wing people say and think in private when they're not trying to please people on television shows. I know just how dogged and devastating this project is, which they want, and I know that the fundamental engine of left-wing activity, really since the 1960s, has not been to seize the post office and the barracks and the railway station, it's been to seize the television station and the newspaper and the university, and to obtain victory through capturing the minds of people, and also to alter society not through the nationalizing of railways, but through the nationalizing of childhood.”

The nationalizing of childhood. A chilling idea, but one that makes much sense. Giving to the State and its education system the task of teaching children what to believe and which values to hold, and you've essentially co-opted the family structure.

“When they say children should speak for themselves,” Hitchens pointed out, “what they actually mean is that the parents should be removed from the discussion. They don't actually want them to speak for themselves, they want the children to do what they want them to do, and they know the parental home is the biggest obstacle to this thing.”

This is why many states seek to ban practices that threaten this goal, like homeschooling: “There's a certain amount of it in Britain, it's actually illegal in Germany to this day because of the National Socialist law passed under Hitler, which has never been repealed, and attempts are being made to restrict it in Britain. They're in their infancy, but they're on their way, and I think parental resistance to it on that scale is probably the only effective answer. You say, 'Alright, well if you feel that this is how you want to drive your power into my home and into my life, then I thank you very much, but I'm not going to let you. We'll educate our children at home.' And quite honestly, I don't know what your public school system is like, but if it's anything remotely like ours, it'll probably come up with a much better general education on top.”

Parental resistance is, at the end of the day, the answer to the State's attempt to educate and red-educate children. And the historic pushback of Ontario parents against Premier Kathleen Wynne's radical sex-ed curriculum is a positive step in the right direction. Protests, pressure, and eventually, homeschooling may all be necessary. But seeing huge numbers of people wake up to the reality of what the education system is attempting to do is hugely encouraging way.

As Hitchens said: “Be incredibly vigilant. [Do] not assume that these things are being passed on. A mistake I might say I made, was not to realize until quite late on, just how serious the problem was. It is very serious. Find out what they're telling the children. You'll be surprised, and not necessarily favorably, and having found out, see what you can do to make sure that you can pass on that which you inherited and which is our fundamental duty to pass on to the next generation. Because if you don't do it, nobody else will.”

NOTE: Part 2 of my analysis of sex education will be coming next week.

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Pornography is someone sexually consuming another for one-sided pleasure. That person exists only to fulfill his pleasures, his fantasies, his satisfaction. Sexual cannibalism.

Porn: sexual cannibalism

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By Jonathon van Maren

When guys have been looking at porn for a long time, it’s a tough habit to break. And when you’re an anti-porn speaker (as I am), it’s tough to figure out how to make people quit a habit that has deeply rewired their brain and reshaped their attractions, using just words. So one of the things I’ve tried to do is illustrate just how evil porn is, by calling it what it is.

Porn is, at its root, sexual cannibalism.

Think about it. Sex is supposed to be two people unashamedly giving themselves to one another in love. Sex is supposed to be all about the other person. That’s why, before our vocabulary started becoming far more crude and truncated, we used to call it “making love.” But watching pornography is the precise opposite of giving.

Pornography is someone sexually consuming another for one-sided pleasure. That person exists only to fulfill his pleasures, his fantasies, his satisfaction.

Sexual cannibalism.

That imagery becomes even more vivid when you consider that over 88% of mainstream porn films contain physical violence against women, 49% of mainstream porn films contain brutal verbal abuse towards women, and much of today’s pornography is simply glorified rape and sexual assault. There is something grotesquely cannibalistic about men arousing themselves to the physical destruction of the feminine on screen. There is something carnivorous about men watching women get violated and degraded for recreation and entertainment.

After all, carnality, cannibalism, carnivore, and carnage all have the same root word: Carnae, or flesh. Our carnality, fleshly lust, is leading directly into sexual cannibalism—and the carnage of the porn industry manifests itself in destructive or destroyed relationships, shattered marriages, twisted minds, and broken porn stars.

Those broken porn stars, of course, are simply collateral damage. They join the industry, often with high hopes, and leave angry and cynical, if not irreparably diseased and suffering from PTSD. But the sex-driven mob bays for more young girls, more flesh to consume and discard. Do we even think, I often wonder, about the humans in the pornography we watch? Does anyone ever wonder how they got there? Why they stay there? How it impacts them?

Rarely, of course. Because if we did, we’d stop watching.

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Sexual cannibalism is our culture’s addiction to the flesh of others. But as we know, cannibalism isn’t healthy. And the evidence for this is everywhere.

For example, Covenant Eyes cited in their 2014 statistics a number of conclusions about the impact of pornography reached by the Journal of Adolescent Health:

  • An exaggerated perception of sexual activity in society 
  • Diminished trust between intimate couples
  • The abandonment of the hope of sexual monogamy
  • Belief that promiscuity is the natural state
  • Belief that abstinence and sexual inactivity are unhealthy
  • Cynicism about love or the need for affection between sexual partners
  • Belief that marriage is sexually confining
  • Lack of attraction to family and child-raising

Add to that the fact that over 50% of divorce cases now involve one partner being addicted to pornography, and it seems that pornography acts towards marriage and family much as a suicide belt would. One of the more common lies is that pornography can help a marriage—a statement completely belied by every piece of available information. It reminds me of a horrifying but revealing piece published by The Guardian earlier this month, entitled “A letter to my ex-husband, who preferred porn to me:”

Porn ruined you. Ruined us. When people asked, shocked, how I could leave such a funny, clever man, father of my children – “a good earner” as my mother put it – what could I say? I said it was me. My fault. I’d changed. Only it wasn’t me. It was your love of porn that slowly diminished my love and respect for you and destroyed my self-confidence. I couldn’t tell them and I’ve never said it straight to you but you must know, you must remember those conversations. The rows…

We were about six months in when I found your stash and I picked it up smiling – “Boys will be boys” – expecting Penthouse Pets, Readers’ Wives etc but found women so mutilated by beach-ball, supersize-me, fake breasts that their eyes registered pain where their pouts pretended otherwise.

I felt it was mutilation. I wept. You shrugged off my arguments – “They get paid. It’s their choice” – and dismissed my arguments about exploitation as unchecked radical feminism…

When computers came, you got better at hiding it. You could no longer have an orgasm with me and blamed me and childbirth but I now know you had a case of the Prisoner’s Hand. Then your hints began. Could I wear more makeup? What about those white-tipped nails? Had I ever thought about breast implants? I hadn’t. Wouldn’t. …

There were words for what we did but it was never making love. ... There was never intimacy in what we did and in the end I stopped wanting sex. Not that you wanted it with me anyway.

The letter goes on much longer, a heart-breaking autopsy of a marriage destroyed by pornography. Anyone who has done any anti-porn work has spoken to wives and girlfriends, many of them appalled and upset by what they have found their husbands or boyfriends looking at, and completely at a loss as to what their reaction should be.

There is hope and healing at the end of porn addictions—if those addictions come to an end. I know of many marriages that have weathered the porn plague, and many beautiful, trusting relationships that have rooted pornography out and placed protections in place that keep it at bay. Covenant Eyes has a number of phenomenally helpful e-books addressing virtually every aspect of porn addiction and recovery, which tens of thousands of people have found to be literally life-saving.

We just need to realize that engaging pornography is essentially playing Russian roulette. As philosopher Roger Scruton said, “Those who become addicted to this 'risk-free' form of sex run a risk of another and greater kind. They risk the loss of love, in a world where only love brings happiness."

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Jonathon van Maren

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Jonathon Van Maren is a writer and pro-life speaker who has given presentations across North America on abortion and pro-life strategy.

Jonathon first got involved in the pro-life movement after viewing a graphic abortion video in 2007, which convicted him to get active. He ran Simon Fraser University Students for Life as president from 2009-2010, while speaking in both the United States and Canada on pro-life issues.

Jonathon graduated from Simon Fraser University in 2010 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History. He is the communications director for the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform.

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