One of the most remarkable features of our society is its blithe dismissal of tradition. Religious practices that have long shaped our social and political life are held in contempt. Time-tested convictions that guided generations before us are not just second-guessed but mocked and denounced. It is easy to furnish examples: sexual union as a sacred reflection of the relationship between God and his people; marriage as the committed, lifelong union between husband and wife; children as a key purpose of marriage. Western culture used to treat each of these as foundational to our common life. They have all been toppled—not by a narrow conspiracy, but by a broad, bipartisan process. Ronald Reagan’s introduction of no-fault divorce in California in 1970 is exemplary.
Gay marriage took several decades to gain acceptance. As recently as 1996, the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was introduced by a Democratic president, Bill Clinton. Around the same time, the next Democratic president, Barack Obama, stated that he was “undecided” on the question of gay marriage. Not until the end of Obama’s tenure would gay marriage become a right guaranteed by the Constitution. But transgenderism has gone mainstream in just the past few years, with objectors apparently engaged in a rearguard action. Not only have traditional sexual mores lost their hegemonic place, but the elites of our culture treat them as irrational, oppressive, and dangerous.