12 / CHRONICLESntively recognize that preservation of the sexual constitutionnmay be even more important to the social order thannpreservation of the legal conshtution. They recognize thatnno laws can prevail against the dissolution of the socialnconnections and personal motivations that sustain a civilizednpolity. They acknowledge, with Carl Jung, that whilenthe society can resist epidemics of physical disease, it isndefenseless against diseases of the mind. Against “psychicnepidemics,” our laws and medicines are virtually helpless.nThe relationship of each of these issues to the sexualnconstitution, though perhaps not immediately clear, isnpsychologically profound. Guns are a good example. ThenUnited States is a nation of households, most containing anman who deeply feels his responsibility for defending hisnfamily—and who fears that his ability to do it is diminishingnin modern society. The ultimate nightmare of almostnevery man is to witness helplessly the rape of his wife. Onlynsomewhat less threatening to the very core of male consciousnessnis the possibility of the violation of his home.nThe role of protector of wife and children is as old as thenfamily nexus itself, as old and deeply ingrained as the role ofnprovider. A move by the state finally to incapacitate thenman in this responsibility—and usurp his place—nundermines the vahdity of the family itself and the man’snpart in it. In this role, the gun is not a mere symbol. Itnobjectively increases the man’s capacity to defend hisnhousehold.nIn addihon, a gun is an emblem of the male as hunter.nThis, according to many anthropologists, was the primordialnrole of the evolving male Homo sapiens. In Men innGroups, Lionel Tiger contends that the male propensity tonwork in all-male teams originated in these early expeditions.nToday, men across the land continue to hunt compulsively,ndespite a possibly declining need or appetite for thenavailable game. They early give their male children gunsnand ceremoniously teach them the rules of their use. Asnanyone who has undergone this paternal instruction knowsnand remembers, it is a portentous event, conducted in thenatmosphere of an initiation rite.nThe obstinate refusal of many males to support gunncontrol is not chiefly a product of conditioning by thenweapons industry. Rather, millions of men fear gun controlnbecause they are losing life-control; they are losing the sensenof a defined male identity and role in the family. They clingnto these weapons and persist in their hunts as totems ofnmasculinity, as rites and symbols of their conhnuing role asnprotector and provider in the family.nIn this sense, the guns have a virtually religious import,nand gun restrictions pose a serious psychological threat.nUnless this erosion of the sexual conshtution is recognizednas a major social problem—for which realishc solutionsnrather than Utopian incantations must be provided—gunncontrol, however desirable, will remain polihcally difficultnand practically unenforceable outside a police state.nThe sexual dimensions of the abortion issue may be morenobvious, but they are little better understood. The usualnassumption is that opposition to abortion on demand stemsnfrom a puritanical aversion to premarital sex, combinednwith a religious superstition that feticide is murder. The realnreasons, however, may be significantly different. Beyondnthe significance of antiabortion sentiment as a repudiationnnnof sexual liberation in general, it may be seen as a symbol ofnresistance to the erosion of male sexuality.nWhen the women demanded “control over our ownnbodies,” they believed they were couching the issue in thenleast objectionable way. But as Norman Mailer pointed outnat the time, they were in fact invoking one of the mostnextreme claims of the movement and striking at one of thenmost profound male vulnerabilities. For, in fact, few malesnhave come to psychological terms with the existing birthcontrolntechnology; few recognize the extent to which itnshifts the balance of sexual power further in favor ofnwomen. A man quite simply cannot now father a babynunless his wife is fully and deliberately agreeable. There arenfew social or cultural pressures on her to conceive. Malenprocreativity is now dependent, to a degree unprecedentednin history, on the active pleasure of women.nThe psychological consequences of this change arengreater than they might at first appear. Throughout thencenturies, men could imagine their sexual organs as profoundlynpowerful instruments. If they engaged in a normalnamount of sexual activity—“sowing their wild oats”—theyncould assume that they would cause a number of women tonbear their children. Male potency was not simply a matternof erectile reliability; it was a fell weapon of procreation.nWomen viewed male potency with some awe, and malesnwere affirmed by this response.nThis masculine attribute is now almost completely lost.nThe male member is no longer a decisive organ in itselfnThus the feminist demand that women have control overntheir own bodies accentuated an unconscious recognitionnthat males have almost completely lost control of procreativenactivity. Women are only marginally dependent onnmen—women can conceive a baby artificially or in onenpassing encounter. But a man cannot validate his procreativenpowers, his role in the chain of nature, without thenactive, deliberate, and now-revocable cooperation of anwoman. This change in the sexual balance between mennand women is still being absorbed by the society. Peoplenresist legal abortion on demand out of a sense of justifiablenconservatism toward continued changes in the sexualnconstitution.nBusing, most sex education, and high school birthncontrol often represent a drive by the state to take childrennfrom families and expose them to ideologies and socialnmovements—or use them in social experiments—nfervently opposed by the parents themselves. The parents’nresponse—“not with my kid, you don’t”—is a seriousnthreat to the public schools. But the public school programsnare a serious threat to the integrity and discipline of thenfuture generations on which the nation’s economy andnstability depend.nThe national elites remain largely incapable of offeringnprograms of communal affirmation and male socializationnthat would in any way reduce crime, violence, and narcoticnescapism, divorce, abandonment, and sexual disorder. Sonthey advocate programs of adaptation—no fault divorce,nsex education, free pills and condoms for teenagers, methadonenclinics and outreach centers for addicts—whichncollectively worsen the crisis of the sexual constitution.nNeither liberals nor establishment conservatives have anynreal remedies. Liberals would make the problems far worsen