I have not read Bottum’s work, and am only familiar in passing with Dougherty’s – primarily because he’ll crop up on ESPN from time to time writing about sports topics. (I may have to remedy that, if for no greater reason than that he rocks a Quebec Nordiques t-shirt in his bio picture.) In any case, I intend to branch off a bit here, because I’m more interested in something Sev wrote in his link-through:
It’s common knowledge among those who notice things that liberals are, on all matters except sex, censorious, moralizing, pharisaical little prigs.
To begin: I know that a good number of folks I chat with on Twitter and such self-identify as liberals, so I want to note something about the use of the term here. At blogs where Sev and I interact regularly, there’s a lot of debate about whether the term Liberal or Leftist is the more appropriate when discussing the most radical examples of what is commonly called Liberalism or the Blue State Model. I far prefer “Leftist” as the proper term for a few reasons I won’t go into here; I don’t want to be derailed on a side-issue. Just roll with the term for now. But I want to say this much: I know that a lot of you guys are not, in fact, sanctimonious or pharisaical. OK – good – we’re gonna move ahead – sorry to slow you down –
I submit that the current licentiousness drowning our society is, in fact, an elaborate censorship.
People of this anti-human bent are censorious about sex, like they are censorious about everything else. To be more precise, they are censorious about the true nature of sex in humans. And the first truth about sex is that it unites people.
Physically this is indisputable; as one moves through the physical to the mental and spiritual, it becomes easier to hide and mislead on this basic fact, but couples themselves know better. In fact, sex is often enough the result of couples who catch each other’s attention for other reasons. In situations where the physical is the primary motive, these other motives for spending time together frequently arise; those couples without these other bonds nearly always dissolve. Sex also frequently leads to couples preferring each other to anyone else, and both expecting and promising exclusivity – a thing that could not happen if the physical bond were the only one to consider, since there are always times where one or both partner is unavailable sexually. Also, sexual attraction naturally leads to people pairing off in as beneficial a match to themselves as they can arrange: not necessarily where the greatest sensual delights lie, either. Nor is satisfaction in a lover’s relationship exclusively gauged by those couples as the greatest degree of physical sensation. And it all leads to family units that people are willing to defend to the death against all comers. A happy home is something worth protecting, and not surprisingly people will speak up about and oppose proposals destructive to that happiness – whether the family or the proposal are liberal or conservative. People with families to protect unite across political and social strata to do it.
This is a major protection from all the other nonsense peddled as alternatives to healthy and fully-realized humanity. Society can hardly be remade along statist or Marxist lines with that sort of thing going on. Thus the major thing to do is to destroy families… a tricky proposition.
Now, people can be convinced to do all sorts of things by playing on their vanities, by flattery, by fear, by law, by social pressure. They can be convinced that their every innocent pleasure or personal preference is in fact everyone else’s business, and that they had better get with the correct and approved pleasures and preferences. Going against the grain can cost someone everything they’ve got, and there aren’t many who can resist that sort of thing for long. Doing that with sex, though? Uh-huh. Again, people are willing to be extraordinarily unhappy in many ways and defy anyone else in any way in order to stay with their loved ones – or to ensure their survival and protection even if it costs one’s own life and freedom. And even if you can get people to forgo the formal structure of a family proper, you still have the sex drive itself, which can easily lead to a sort of underground familial unit.
(I would be remiss in failing to mention Orwell’s 1984. It’s not accidental that Winston and Julia eventually form their micro-rebellion around being a couple, nor that O’Brien forces them to betray each other in order to squash that rebellion.)
So attacking the family only has limited utility. Families were the first human societies, and people still associate themselves more with ties of blood or culture, which originally arose from those familial bonds, than any mere ideology or philosophy. In situations where the societal order breaks down, almost at once people will reorganize themselves along those bonds, or in the closest approximation, such as in gangs – and nearly every gang there is or ever was denies leadership and full trust to those who are not purely of that gang’s ethnicity. And co-opting the idea of family winds up being very dangerous, since people may suddenly find that an actual family is preferable to a simulacrum thereof. It plays cards that are far stronger in humanity’s hands.
The other alternative is to try to do something with sexuality itself, but that’s something even more basic and instinctive. Sex itself is something that can never be silenced… it’s like a radio playing in the background that can never be shut off nor the station switched. Sooner or later people pick up on the rhythm, and however badly out of pitch they may be, they try to play the tune.
The solution, then, is to shut it up by shouting it down.
Simply put, it MUST be about pleasure and never about anything else. It must not build emotional bonds (by which womyn are exploited by The Patriarchy™), must not be united to any deeper spiritual or moral purpose, and above all it must never result in a child. No string must ever be attached, nor meaning of any kind be admitted. You can use it to sell stuff, you can use it as a political statement. You can have sex to be true to yourself – but never true to anyone else. They all can literally and figuratively fuck off.
This seems to me to explain quite a lot about the world today. Among other things, it explains why contraception and abortion are sacrosanct – such a strategy would be defeated by an inundation of children without such measures. It explains much of gender studies theory and the attempt to get such claptrap into as many areas of the culture and arts as possible. It helps explain why churches, who purport to know a different and healthier way to deal with sexuality, are told to keep out of it, lest people escape the snare. This explains the attempts made to force religious organizations and individuals to support or at least acquiesce to such a system. It explains why the term puritan has been twisted to mean “priggishly frigid and backward about sex.” It shows why the dwindling numbers of intact families find their authority over their own affairs eroded; why they are told that their own adolescent children are gonna git it on regardless, so it’s no sense trying to show them a healthy and human approach to their own desires – nor is it any parents’ business to do that anyway, because who do they think they are? Experts? They’re just backwards rubes, probably churchgoers, and can’t possibly understand the newest scientific and socioeconomic gender-studied theories. And it explains why any attempt to still even part of the cacophany – the better to hear the true music – is branded by these anti-human charlatans as itself “anti-sex” and “unnatural.”