Tony Abbott was asked a question.
It has been interesting to read the outraged remarks that followed his answer.
The question was “What advice would you give your three daughters about sex before marriage?”
The answer was ”I would say to my daughters, if they were to ask me this question … it is the greatest gift you can give someone, the ultimate gift of giving and don’t give it to someone lightly.”
It all seems perfectly reasonable to me.
The question was “What would say to your daughters…”
Not “What advice would you like to give to Australian women?”
The answer was prefaced with “… if they were to ask me this question… “
It was not even gratuitous advice to his daughters.
Yet Julia Gillard immediately jumps in to tell the world that ”Australian women want to make their own choices, and they don’t want to be lectured to by Mr Abbott.”
Senator George Brandis quite rightly and respectfully points out that “Julia Gillard who is – has chosen not to be a parent – and, you know, everybody respects her right, in the vehemence of her reaction in fact shows that she just doesn’t understand the way parents think about their children when they reach a particular age.”
But judging from the further outrage occasioned by Senator Brandis’ comments, it is clear the left wing believes Mr Abbott and his personal choices and beliefs are fair game, but Ms Gillard’s are not.
Even more absurdly, leading nitwit, sorry ‘leading feminist,’ Eva Cox says that by encouraging young people to value themselves and their sexuality, and to wait until marriage Abbott “is commodifying women, by saying their sexuality was something to trade.”
Of course, Mr Rudd’s attendance at a New York strip club, where he was reportedly told off for attempting to touch the girls, but was so drunk he claimed he couldn’t remember anything, is an example of non-commodifying respect for women, where trading in sexuality is the last thing on anyone’s mind. Obviously he was only there to get the ladies’ opinions on climate policy.
Then there are the bullhorn bellows of ‘hypocrite’ from the ‘I’ll do what I want when I want and don’t anyone dare tell me I can’t’ crowd.
Is Mr Abbott a hypocrite?
Only in the same way that a bank robber who told a young person tempted to a quick solution ‘That wasn’t the right thing to do. It wasn’t good for me or the people I loved. If I had my time again I would make a different choice,’ could be called a hypocrite.
And here’s the heart of the matter: Tony Abbott is right.
Giving yourself to someone wholeheartedly, completely, emotionally and physically, is something wonderful and precious.
Complete physical giving of oneself only makes sense, can only be really complete and wonderful and joyful, as it is meant to be, when there is also an unreserved commitment of life, love and time.
In other words, in marriage.
You can be a party girl or boy, and have sex with anyone you fancy, because it’s your choice, and everyone else is doing it, and there’s no harm in it, and no one can tell you what to do. Or you can have a deeply fulfilling, faithful, life-time commitment to one person.
You cannot have both.
With increasing age, it becomes clearer that the path of lifetime loving commitment is the one that brings real happiness and trust and fulfillment. That is wisdom that comes from thought and experience, often painful and regretful.
So when parents ask their children to be careful, to treat themselves and their bodies as something precious, and to wait for the love and commitment of marriage, it is not because they want to spoil their children’s fun, nor because they are hypocrites.
It is simply because they care.