Winston has asked me to review books for TIC, and to ask you to help me with this project. I read hardcover books, softcover books, Kindle books, little kids’ books (one of my favorites is Reynard the Fox); almost anything that comes into my hands. We might have a small budget to get the right books into the hands of the right persons. I will be the monarch of that domain. We must review books that Winston Elliott and Brad Birzer would like, or that I would tell them they like.
Here is the first one.
Adam and Eve After the Pill: Paradoxes of the Sexual Revolution, by Mary Eberstadt (Ignatius Press, 2012)
The conclusion of this wonderful and difficult book is that Humanae Vitae got it all right. I don’t know Mary Eberstadt, but she writes like an angel, and so I would like to call her and say, “Thank you.”
Even though I am a historian by trade I’m not all that impressed by empirical evidence. Numbers just don’t get it. Mary tells us that men, women and children have all been worse off since the pill, and all the numbers say she’s right. So in this case I will grant numbers their due.
My dad was the last of the country doctors, and he knew, as he said to me many times before he died, that anything that changed the most powerful thing in the world, the life force in women, can’t be all good.
This short book, starting with a terrific chapter called “The Will to Disbelieve,” shows us that we have an almost infinite capacity to do what is wrong and call it right. Is there a connection between the Cold War and contraception/abortion? Yes.
The sexual revolution, she says with great energy, is the most important revolution of all time. It has devalued women. It has made men even dumber and more aggressive than we have always been. It has harmed our children, whom we have been put on this earth to defend, as we have been put on this earth to tend the garden.
But she says all this with grace, and with comparisons to smoking and food and obesity and pornography, a kind of cultural hope and charity that gives love a chance.
Books mentioned in this essay may be found in The Imaginative Conservative Bookstore.