Published October 20, 2022
The fact that even such a bastion of contemporary cultural orthodoxy as the New York Times carried an article that highlighted the role of Pride Month in the spread of monkeypox is a fascinating sign of the times. In retrospect, the monkeypox outbreak brought about the collision of two of modern America’s moral absolutes: the unconditioned legitimacy of consensual sexual self-expression, and the imperative of public health. In such a scenario something clearly had to give, and in this case, public health got the boot.
At least in the short term, the general policy among the nation’s public health officials was to avoid making a clear connection between gay promiscuity and a highly elevated risk of catching the disease. But the victory was somewhat Pyrrhic, coming at the cost of the health of the very people this policy was meant to protect. Cultural protection of a politically favored community came at the price of immense suffering for individuals who happened to belong to it.
Carl R. Trueman is a fellow in EPPC’s Evangelicals in Civic Life Program, where his work focuses on helping civic leaders and policy makers better understand the deep roots of our current cultural malaise. In addition to his scholarship on the intellectual foundations of expressive individualism and the sexual revolution, Trueman is also interested in the origins, rise, and current use of critical theory by progressives. He serves as a professor at Grove City College.