Author Mary Eberstadt Says the Sexual Revolution Unleashed ‘Primal Screams’ of Identity Politics in Millennials

Mary Eberstadt. credit: Wikimedia Commons 4.0

The massive breakdown of marriage and family in the West, due in no small part to the sexual revolution, has given rise to identity politics and all its accompanying anger, says author Mary Eberstadt.

Although it is debated as to when exactly this revolution started, many believe that it took off, gained steam, and has continued to morph ever since the 1960s, a tumultuous decade marked by cultural upheaval. And in the intervening years its victims have been responding with howls of misery. But their gaping wounds and anguished cries have not been well understood and have largely gone unheard.

Fast forward to 2019, where scores of people, especially in younger generations such as the millennials, are detached from a strong sense of self and now frantically chase after all kinds of identities and join ideological tribes in pursuit of validation, often reacting with fury against any perceived threat to their social group.

Such is the argument set forth in Eberstadt’s latest book Primal Screams: How the Sexual Revolution Created Identity Politics. The novelist and essayist, who is a senior research fellow with the Faith & Reason Institute, explains that few people have realized just how powerful the sexual revolution would become and how it would transform seemingly every sphere of human life.

“Sixty years into this vast social experiment we are seeing developments that no one ever anticipated,” Eberstadt said in a recent episode of The Christian Post podcast.

Decades of hammering away not just at the nuclear family unit but also at the extended family have yielded a world in which so much of life is consumed by the existential question “Who am I?” And this is a moment unlike any other in history, the author maintains.

Thus, Primal Screams provides a cogent, prophetic take on how and why it is that so many well-educated, materially well-off people — after all, this is mostly a Western political development  — do not seem to know who they are.

“We don’t know who we are in many cases because identity is constructed relationally,” Eberstadt asserted.

“Most people would answer that question ‘Who am I?’ by saying ‘I’m a wife, I’m a mother, I’m a sister, I’m an aunt, et cetera.’ Yet what we have to understand is that for a lot of people in our world, those answers are not easy to come by.”

While the tendency for some is to consider devotees of identity politics as silly, coddled, self-consumed “snowflakes,” Eberstadt maintains that the “scream” of identity politics is indeed real and that it should not be dismissed. That scream is borne of significant trauma.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Brandon Showalter