Only a poor student of history could fail to notice history's cycles. The future can't be fortold in detail, but asking the question "Where are the cycles taking us?" gives you a better chance of guessing general shapes than anything else I know.

So it's easy for a student of history to look out at the United States and guess that we're approaching a libertine peak, and that over the next couple of decades we should expect to see the pendulum swing away from the wild excesses of the Baby Boomers back in a more "conservative" direction.

But at my age, I've never lived through a shift. So had I guessed how the counter-libertine shift would occur last week, I would have guessed a gradual cultural waning of the libertines and a gradual cultural waxing of those of a more conservative bent, with the advocates not changing their own views but their relative influence changing over time.

Never would I have guessed what is actually happening, which is that the forces of libertinism have now tied themselves in such knots that they have become the conservative Victorian forces that, bizarrely, they still fancy themselves in "revolution" against. Never would I have dreamed that the feminist movement would become so scrambled that they are now, apparently of their own free will, proposing a model in which women are so weak that they are incapable of caring for themselves or of having any sort of responsibility for their actions, and need massive protection from the legal and social structure lest their weakness be taken advantage of.

Of course the libertines would viciously argue this point, and I'm sure it's now officially "misogynistic" to fail to believe in lock step that women are weak and need this degree of protection. But I look to actions, not words, and the actions are clear... and quite Victorian. Regardless of their words, active college feminists are now advancing a model women as helpless as that of any "patriarchal" culture that has ever existed.

(My personal position, to be clear, is that while the real physical strength difference between men and women is something that needs a bit of accounting for in the law and culture, the idea that woman are this helpless and lacking in agency is itself offensive. College women ought to look past the superficial advantages and look at what will happen if they allow this profoundly infantalizing view to take hold as the Official Dogma. If you agree today that you really are this helpless and you need all these mighty protections, you are paying the Danegeld to those who are building those structures, and they are not going to stop here. They never do.)