The plain truth is that private choices about sex have public consequences. There is no such thing as “what happens in the bedroom stays in the bedroom.” Innocent and helpless human beings are created inside those bedrooms whether their parents desire that or not, and these children are more likely to become wards of the state in some capacity if their biological parents are not married to each other and stay that way. (Not incidentally, this is one reason all functioning societies have put guardrails on sexual activities.)
Mary Eberstadt’s latest book, “Primal Screams: How the Sexual Revolution Created Identity Politics,” presents a fresh view of some of these major public consequences of private sexual choices. It presents in book form her argument that first arrived in a 2017 essay for the recently defunct Weekly Standard. It also extends her 2014 book, “How The West Lost God.”
Thus anyone familiar with Eberstadt’s work over the years now reading “Primal Screams” will be broadly familiar with her argument before reading. Yet it is characteristically interesting and well-sourced, and worth one’s time.
Eberstadt uses a particularly interesting frame for discussing the psychological effects of the West’s family disintegration crisis that helps lift it from readers’ individual experiences and biases to develop empathy for the broader problem. That is presenting new research of the effects of family separation on animal welfare. She points out the pain and suffering family separation inflicts on animals, even ones we’ve falsely thought of as individualistic animals, like “lone wolves.”