Princeton Tilts Right
Like Arkes, George's philosophy is grounded in his reading of natural law, a school of thought derived from the teachings of thirteenth-century Catholic thinker Thomas Aquinas, which holds that moral principles are inherent in human consciousness and reflected by a God-given ability to reason. Natural law informs much of George's 2001 book, The Clash of Orthodoxies: Law, Religion and Morality in Crisis, especially its passages on sexual morality. "The plain fact is that the genitals of men and women are reproductive organs all of the time--even during periods of sterility," he writes. To curb sexual practices he views as immoral, including oral sex and masturbation (which he calls "bad" sex), George supports state laws banning sodomy, adultery and fornication.
The influence of George's mentor, Kurth, on the Clash of Orthodoxies is also apparent. Kurth is a paleoconservative of the Pat Buchanan variety who opposes the war in Iraq almost as strongly as he supports the right's kulturkampf. He articulated his views most explicitly in a 2004 essay for Buchanan's American Conservative magazine, arguing that since the "golden age" of the 1950s, Western civilization and its supposedly Christian underpinnings have been most seriously threatened not from without by communism or Islam (which he called "merely a disease of the skin") but undermined from within by "political and economic elites."
But which "elites" does he have in mind? Unlike conservatives who inveigh against some nebulous cosmopolitan element, Kurth names names. "This development," he wrote, referring to the decline of Western civilization, "was related to the collapse of the Protestant (WASP) ascendancy in the American intellectual and legal elites and to the ascendancy of Jews into those elites."
Five years earlier, in an article for the conservative Catholic journal First Things, George had called Kurth "brilliant" and outlined Kurth's impact on his own thinking. "Kurth argued persuasively that the clash that is coming--and has, indeed, already begun," George said, "is not so much among the world's great civilizations as it is within the civilization of the West, between those who claim the Judeo-Christian worldview and those who have abandoned that worldview in favor of the 'isms' of contemporary American life--feminism, multiculturalism, gay liberationism, lifestyle liberalism--what I here lump together as a family called 'the secularist orthodoxy.'"
For George, the culture war is a clash of civilizations. You're either with him or you're with the secularists. Entrenched at Princeton, he is taking the fight to the enemy.