April 2, 2008
While the piece to which Pat links certainly displays the courage of the leaders of Harvard's True Love Revolution, I have to say I was not a fan of it. It struck me as a brutally unfair portrayal of what is going on in Cambridge. For example, the author asks one of the co-presidents his thoughts about the other and coaxes from him some fairly awkward comments. The author then relays these comments to the other co-president. What purpose does this serve other than to sow discord? At the same time, the Times has a long history of making young conservatives seem incredibly strange, and TLR probably could have been more cautious going in.
One nasty piece by a snarky journalist doesn't change the interesting facts of this chastity phenomenon, though. It's a growing and exceedingly complex movement. Pat mentions Princeton's Anscombe Society as the college chastity prototype, describing it as "an Ivy League version of True Love Waits." While True Love Waits and Anscombe certainly have many of the same goals, I'm not sure if that accurately reflects Anscombe's mission. In a rare example of good reporting, the Times piece describes Anscombe as justifying its views on chastity through rigorous intellectual means. That certainly conforms to my observations in college of both the society itself and of the people who were in it. Princeton's chastity society was inspired by the profoundly rigorous essay "Contraception and Chastity" by Elizabeth Anscombe (the English philosopher who occasionally bested C.S. Lewis in argument). On the other hand, True Love Revolution and True Love Waits come at the question in a very different way. Which approach happens to be better is beside the point. It is important to note, though, that there are wildly different approaches to promoting chastity in young people, and that they are flourishing in the Ivy League of all places. No wonder the New York Times felt inclined to try and take a hatchet to one of them!