The White Hot Center

THE WHITE HOT CENTER….The 9th Circuit Court ruled yesterday that individual parents don’t have a constitutional right to prevent schools from teaching things they don’t like:

“Schools cannot be expected to accommodate the personal…concerns of every parent,” Judge Stephen Reinhardt wrote for the panel. “Such an obligation would not only contravene the educational mission of the public schools, but also would be impossible to satisfy.”

Well, that seems pretty obvious, doesn’t it? The fact that you’re a vegetarian doesn’t give you a constitutional right to insist that schools not teach your kid that meat is one of the four food groups.

At least, it would be obvious, except for one thing: I left out a couple of words from the quote above. What Reinhardt actually wrote was “personal, moral or religious concerns.” And the moral concern here turns out to be sex. As Rod Dreher points out, that changes everything:

It boggles my mind to think that school administrators would arrogate to themselves the right to raise such topics with my seven year old. As a political matter, this is the white-hot center of the culture wars: sex. As Tom Edsall argued in this fascinating 2003 piece from The Atlantic Monthly, you can predict with a high degree of certainty which party an American is likely to vote for based on how they answer particular questions related to sex and sexuality.

Here’s what Edsall says:

Early in the 1996 election campaign Dick Morris and Mark Penn, two of Bill Clinton’s advisers, discovered a polling technique that proved to be one of the best ways of determining whether a voter was more likely to choose Clinton or Bob Dole for President. Respondents were asked five questions, four of which tested attitudes toward sex: Do you believe homosexuality is morally wrong? Do you ever personally look at pornography? Would you look down on someone who had an affair while married? Do you believe sex before marriage is morally wrong? The fifth question was whether religion was very important in the voter’s life.

Respondents who took the “liberal” stand on three of the five questions supported Clinton over Dole by a two-to-one ratio; those who took a liberal stand on four or five questions were, not surprisingly, even more likely to support Clinton….According to Morris and Penn, these questions were better vote predictors ? and better indicators of partisan inclination ? than anything else except party affiliation or the race of the voter (black voters are overwhelmingly Democratic).

Yep. As even honest conservatives admit, the “white hot center” of social conservatism is sex and gender roles, and it explains the underlying motivation behind a wide variety of hot button issues. But then, I’ve mentioned that before, haven’t I?

POSTSCRIPT: On an entirely different subject, I note that the LA Times appears to have entirely ignored this story, despite the fact that it’s caused an uproar in conservative circles and the school district in question is in Palmdale. Maybe Mickey is right about those guys….

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