The Ten

New Commandments


George A. Blair


This book began in the middle of the '90s, as most books probably do: with a couple of idle jottings. I was peeved at the hypocrisy of those who kept telling Conservatives to stop trying to foist their morals on everyone, and were at the same time agitating for things like environmentalist and anti-smoking legislation. I wondered if I could list ten new commandments of the Left, and found I had no trouble doing so.

In the 1997-1998 school year, the idea looked promising enough to write it up into an article, as a kind of satire; but as I worked on it, I saw the connection with Darwin's Theory of Evolution, and it took on a more serious cast. The article turned out to be too long for publication, but too short and superficial for anything like a monograph; so I didn't know what to do with it.

I read it to my class, however, who seemed to think there was something there, and someone, I don't remember who, suggested the connection with Bill Clinton, whose troubles were beginning to surface. That looked promising, because, as the Lewinsky scandal began to explode, he seemed every day to verify one or another aspect of the New Morality.

But that would have made the book a kind of political screed against him first and foremost, and as it took shape, it seemed to really be a critique of the hidden moral code that was at war with traditional morality. So I took Clinton out as the book's primary emphasis (though he still appears as the main example of a New Moralist), and added "interludes" after each of the New Commandments, giving a positive alternative. It isn't hard to find fault; but if you're going to, I think you have an obligation to show how you think things can be better. That's what I tried to do.

George Blair