Want to Fight Poverty? Resist the Sexual Revolution.

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The Sexual Revolution of the 1960s has swept across the entire country and into the White House, the US Supreme Court, and even public bathrooms and locker rooms. As a result, it is easy for those who have resisted the revolution to lose heart and abandon the effort.

Although there are numerous reasons to maintain the resistance, one that may not often come to mind is the true war on poverty. Not the so-called War on Poverty launched in the 1960s by the United States government, but rather the one which seeks to truly, effectively and permanently liberate individuals and families from poverty. Those activists and individuals who are fighting what I call the real war on poverty know that poverty is not just an economic problem. They know that morals, customs and worldviews are significant factors in determining people’s economic state.

A prime example of this truth is that married families are much less likely to be in poverty than single-parent families. According to the New York Times, in 2014 one in eight children with two married parents lived below the poverty line, while five in ten with a single parent did. Therefore, the average person in America can significantly decrease their chances (and those of their children) of being impoverished merely by avoiding out-of-wedlock pregnancies and divorce. One’s morals, or the lack thereof, undoubtedly has some bearing on their likelihood of succumbing to one or both of these things.

Poverty is not just an economic problem.

But in considering the relationship between poverty and morality it is helpful to broaden our perspective to the point of considering worldviews. Some worldviews will be more conducive and others less conducive to economic well-being.

The Sexual Revolution of the 1960s is the outgrowth of a worldview predicated on, among other things, sexual license, self-centered individualism and hedonism. Scholars and intellectuals such as Myron Magnet and Charles Murray have conclusively shown (and common sense affirms) that such behaviors are intrinsically harmful, but devastatingly so to those in the lower and middle classes.

Magnet in particular has shown how the Sexual Revolution of the 1960s started on the campuses of elite universities and seemed relatively harmless while confined to such places. But when the revolution moved beyond the wood-paneled rooms and ivory towers, it began to leave a significant and growing number of victims in its wake. Those who have access to wealth and connections — those who in short, have privilege — are better able to embrace and live out such a worldview, but escape its impoverishing consequences when they finally become apparent. Those without such resources, without privilege, quickly find themselves in seemingly inextricable predicaments such as drug addiction or out-of-wedlock pregnancy that almost invariably lead to poverty.

The fact of the matter is that the Sexual Revolution that is being widely celebrated and even enshrined into law these days is the foundation of a worldview that has been shown to ensnare the poor and significantly decrease their chances of ever escaping its clutches.

The Sexual Revolution began to leave a significant and growing number of victims in its wake.

If you want to help the poor then, among other things, you must help the culture. Don’t let the recent cultural shifts demoralize you. Continue to stand for marriage, or what is now termed “traditional marriage.” Continue to urge individuals in particular (and the culture in general) to view sex as something properly reserved for a man and a woman married to one another. Continue to denounce the pornification of our society and the so-called “hook-up” culture.  In doing so, you very likely will be viewed by some as a puritanical, antiquated or bigoted. But for others, you may not only help them avoid becoming yet another victim of the Sexual Revolution, but also help them win their own personal war against poverty.

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  • economics
  • wealth and poverty
Brent Aucoin

Dr. Aucoin is a Professor of History at Southeastern Seminary. He also serves as the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the College at Southeastern.

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