Yesterday I pondered John Milbank’s drift towards conservatism. What seems clear about it is that the main point of emphasis in Milbank’s conservatism is sex. The issues that he is coming out on that seem to betray a drift towards the right are all issues of marriage and sexuality. Interestingly enough, the same trend is pretty visible in the pilgrimage of Richard John Neuhaus. Beginning as a liberal Lutheran minister who marched with Martin Luther King, Jr., he was primed to be the next leading voice of liberal protestant social thought. However, he ended up growing more and more conservative as the path of First Things makes clear. The reason? From what I can see it stems for him rejection of the social consequences of the sexual revolution in the 60s. You can see the same tendency in the development of Robert Jenson and Carl Braaten. Just check out Jenson’s chapter “Politics and Sex” in his Systematic Theology and you’ll see what I’m talking about.
This raises a rather odd question. Is the path towards conservatism really just about one’s view of sex? For many people sex seems to be the (only?) hinge on which one’s self-identification as a conservative turns.