- The Washington Times - Friday, September 20, 2002

Moral character

"Millions of decent Americans are forced today to wage a continual battle to preserve the innocence of their children particularly in sexual matters against a rising tide of corrupting influences in the media, public schools, and the culture at large.

"The Planned Parenthood 'sex education' mantra assumes there is a body of factual knowledge that, once acquired by 13-year-olds, will allow them to take responsible sexual actions. But what sexual responsibility really requires is formation of character. It requires an appreciation of the importance of honor, decency and family obligation. The knowledge that produces humane sexual choices comes from moral experience that is simply not available to the young.

"The idea that young children can just be 'informed' about body mechanics and then deftly manage sexual practices is absurd.

"Children must make the connection between the discipline and the love that binds all healthy families. They must learn what it truly means to be a mother or a father. At that point, their attention starts naturally to focus on assuming those roles for themselves.

"Then and only then as their moral character solidifies toward adulthood, can they fruitfully discover the mysteries of marital love."

Alan Keyes, writing on "Sugarcoating Poison," in the October/ November issue of the American Enterprise

Luxury culture

"When I was growing up in the middle class of the 1950s, luxury objects were lightly tainted with shame. You had to be a little cautious if you drove a Cadillac, wore a Rolex, or lived in a house with more than two columns out front. The rich could drip with diamonds, but you should stay dry.

"Movie stars could drive convertibles; you should keep your top up. If you've got it, don't flaunt it. Remember, the people surrounding you had lived through the Depression, a time that forever lit the bright lines between have-to-have, don't-need-to-have, and have-in-order-to-show-off.

"In the older culture, my dad's culture, the limited production capacity of the economy sharply reduced aspirations to material comfort. In the modern world, my culture, much greater material satisfactions lie within the reach of even those of modest means. Thus a producer culture becomes a consumer culture, a hoarding culture becomes a surplus culture, a work culture becomes a therapeutic culture. Because what you buy becomes more important than what you make, luxury is not a goal; for many, it is a necessity."

James B. Twitchell, writing on "Needing the Unnecessary," in the August issue of Reason magazine

Dixie's revenge

"The Civil War ain't over yet, y'all, at least not according to the new Reese Witherspoon movie, 'Sweet Home Alabama.'

"The Big Apple-bashing is as thick as Witherspoon's Southern drawl in this romantic comedy, opening Sept. 27, which boosts Dixie values by trodding on Yankee ones.

"With the notable exception of a JFK Jr. clone played by Patrick Dempsey, nearly every New Yorker portrayed in this movie is either dishonest or moronic.

"Witherspoon plays an Alabama-born fashion designer who turns into a hideous brat when she moves to Manhattan.

"But Witherspoon claims the movie's not about bashing New York.

"'My main concern was that the movie not represent Southern people in a way that I grew up looking at Southern people in movies which is basically ignorant and inbred,' said Witherspoon, 26, a Nashville native who lives in L.A. with her husband, actor Ryan Phillippe, and their 3-year-old daughter.

"'I wanted to celebrate the eccentricities of Southern people because there certainly is a lot of humor there but also represent the values and morals they identify with,' she said."

Corey Levitan, writing on "I Don't Really Hate N.Y.," Wednesday in the New York Post

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