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The New Republic

Triumph of cultural liberalism

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Some WORLD readers tell me our magazine is the only one they read, and that’s sweet to hear but also a little scary: I want them to support our work, but to be well-informed they should have a couple of other news sources as well.

For example, to keep up with liberal trends its useful to read The New Republic, probably the leading (and longest-lived, since 1914) “progressive” magazine. Take the first three articles from the Aug. 19 issue, starting with “Take their wives, please,” Isaac Chotiner’s wail about the “fundamentally misguided assumption” that there is a “connection between effective public service and family values.”

Misguided? Chotiner’s examples of leaders whose adultery made no difference include Franklin D. Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy—yet Roosevelt would not have made it to the presidency had not polio curbed his extramarital activity, and Kennedy’s sexual risk-taking retained public favor only because reporters covered up for him in a way that would not happen today.

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The next New Republic article, “Say yes to the test,” argues for “universal HIV screening.” That’s right: Every single American should be tested for the AIDS virus at least once, and yearly “for those at higher risk of contracting the disease.” Author Daniel Engber acknowledges that “such a program would not be cheap,” but doctors could put HIV-positives on anti-retroviral drugs immediately. It’s far less expensive, of course, to not have sex outside of marriage, but that would be lifestyle-limiting.

The third article, “Joint committee,” by New Republic editor-at-large Michael Kinsley, praised Washington state voters for legalizing marijuana use and the state’s two senators wanting a pledge of non-interference from Washington, D.C., so “businesses looking to enter this new market and invest in and add jobs to our economies” would have “legal certainty.” Kinsley wants pot legalized nationwide because it “will bring pleasure to hundreds of thousands of people. … Pleasure ought to count for something.”

Indeed it should—but not for everything, or we’ll have the type of society envisioned in Brave New World, Aldous Huxley’s prescient novel. The New Republic shows a trend line: Twentieth century liberalism emphasized money—“It’s the economy, stupid”—but 21st century liberalism focuses more on lifestyle and values.

Which leaves me with a question: Why do we sacrifice life (still more than 1 million abortions per year), compromise on liberty, and pursue full-tilt only what we think (incorrectly) will give us happiness?

Marvin Olasky
Marvin Olasky

Marvin is editor in chief of WORLD News Group and the author of more than 20 books, including The Tragedy of American Compassion. Follow Marvin on Twitter @MarvinOlasky.

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