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Donald Trump is the end result of every subversive tendency in the Sexual Revolution. He is Justice Kennedy's "at the heart of liberty is the right to define one's own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life" incarnate and personified. That concept, of course, has nothing to with liberty: quite to the contrary, it is the installation of a tyrannical, uncontrolled ego at the centre of each human being's universe - the invention of a world of a million million tyrants. To "define one's own concept of meaning, of the universe" is to impose it on external reality. It is to say "that is what I want, that is what I order" to the world at large. Now the child of that thought walks into the White House.
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One possible result of “gay marriage” that has not been considered seems to me worth considering, though it may sound paradoxical. It may need not to a less but to a more inhibited and prurient attitude to sex.

My reasoning is as follows. Start from the obvious: the demand for “gay marriage” only makes sense if marriage is conceived as a legal permission to have sex. Marriage, of course, is not and has never been that. But if you take sex within marriage to be legal and permitted, validated and right, in itself (that is, independently of the attitude or potential for procreation), then you correspondingly devalue sex outside “marriage”. I am not saying that we may see a decrease in “hooking up” and casual sex, but if sex outside “marriage” loses the sense of validation, permission and correctness in favour of sex in “marriage”, then that will make the commonplace view of sex outside marriage not just cheap but much nastier than it has been. We may be seeing some advance warning of that even now, for instance in the universal rage of contempt visited on Paula Broadwell (even granting she deserved it). But the worst result would be on the homosexual community itself. Everyone knows that most practising homosexuals do not restrict themselves to one partner. Everyone knows that the whole “gay community” rotates around constant exchange of partners. Everyone knows that when we speak of gay bars or clubs, we don’t speak of chaste establishments; but if homosexual relationships become formally divided between the inevitably small group of permanent, formalized “married” couples and the inevitably much larger pool of players, that will make the “community” of players and swappers even more dirty, even more dodgy, and even more dangerous than it already is.

I think, however, that this effect may not even be restricted to gay sex alone. The loose morals of the present are very unlikely to be changed merely by a change of mood; but we may be heading towards a direction where sex outside marriage becomes joyless and destructive. This is not an unfamiliar trajectory. There was a brief period in the late sixties when free sex and "mind-opening" drugs seemed to be the twin tracks of an ongoing revolution. Then drugs, while continuing to be widely used, fell off into a joyless, despised, lonely twilight world, haunted by freaks and stalked by mental illness and early death. Something like that might well be going to happen to what is left of the once sexual revolution.
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One possible result of “gay marriage” that has not been considered seems to me worth considering, though it may sound paradoxical. It may need not to a less but to a more inhibited and prurient attitude to sex.

My reasoning is as follows. Start from the obvious: the demand for “gay marriage” only makes sense if marriage is conceived as a legal permission to have sex. Marriage, of course, is not and has never been that. But if you take sex within marriage to be legal and permitted, validated and right, in itself (that is, independently of the attitude or potential for procreation), then you correspondingly devalue sex outside “marriage”. I am not saying that we may see a decrease in “hooking up” and casual sex, but if sex outside “marriage” loses the sense of validation, permission and correctness in favour of sex in “marriage”, then that will make the commonplace view of sex outside marriage not just cheap but much nastier than it has been. We may be seeing some advance warning of that even now, for instance in the universal rage of contempt visited on Paula Broadwell (even granting she deserved it). But the worst result would be on the homosexual community itself. Everyone knows that most practising homosexuals do not restrict themselves to one partner. Everyone knows that the whole “gay community” rotates around constant exchange of partners. Everyone knows that when we speak of gay bars or clubs, we don’t speak of chaste establishments; but if homosexual relationships become formally divided between the inevitably small group of permanent, formalized “married” couples and the inevitably much larger pool of players, that will make the “community” of players and swappers even more dirty, even more dodgy, and even more dangerous than it already is.

I think, however, that this effect may not even be restricted to gay sex alone. The loose morals of the present are very unlikely to be changed merely by a change of mood; but we may be heading towards a direction where sex outside marriage becomes joyless and destructive. This is not an unfamiliar trajectory. There was a brief period in the late sixties when free sex and "mind-opening" drugs seemed to be the twin tracks of an ongoing revolution. Then drugs, while continuing to be widely used, fell off into a joyless, despised, lonely twilight world, haunted by freaks and stalked by mental illness and early death. Something like that might well be going to happen to what is left of the once sexual revolution.
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This election has already given us a historic moment; a moment which, I think, may well feature in future histories, become the centre of scholarly debate, and perhaps even be remembered as one of those factoids that everyone remembers about historical figures - like Pontius Pilate washing his hands, or Washington's troops starving at Valley Forge, or the fat figure and six wives of Henry VIII.

No, I don't mean the debate, although the results of the debate may well come to connect themselves with the event I mean. The event I mean is the publication, by the Obama campaign, of the following blog entry:



This is incredible. If it means anything, it means that the Republicans, if elected, would engage in a campaign of tearing out uteri from living women.

I think I can say with a clean conscience that no campaign ever stooped this low. This is a record, and, I would say, probably unsurpassable. My friends who are historians and know what I am talking about can make the mental experiment: project yourselves into the minds of Julius Streicher or Gabriele d'Annunzio. Try to imagine Streicher saying that about Jews, or d'Annunzio about democratic politicians. You can't. You know you can't. They would not think of it; and if they did, they, even they, would laugh at it as at a crazy joke. The evident and rather unpleasant sexualness of the enclosed drawing, featuring a lightly-dressed, apparently underaged young lady with her clothes being blown all over by the wind - the very image of the worst kind of irresponsible male fantasies - makes the thing even worse: it as good as invites women to identify with this near-paedophile fantasy image, and to imagine that there is something there that is worth something for women to keep and that it threatens women to lose. The abyss of abjection in the association of visual idea and depraved gag literally challenges description and analysis.

This does, of course, confirm my old belief that abortion is the central issue and the driving force of so much that seems unhinged and bewildering about modern politics. But it also suggests a desperacy lurking somewhere below the confident gloss of Obaman politics; as though these people felt the breath of the Avenger of Blood breathing over their neck, and feared it even where the rest of us can't begin to feel any presence except theirs. It is like the crazed language of British medical bodies on the subject of abortion - language that a child would know was insane. But it also suggests an essential hollowness at the heart of the Obaman message. If that is the sort of thing they resort to, they must feel they have exhausted every other weapon. Now, add this to the effect of Romney's definite victory in last night's debate, and see what you get.
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IN one form or another, fandom has dominated my life. I started out in comics when I was sixteen, and since then I only left comics fandom to plunge right back into JKR fandom in the internet age - which, to us old-time dead tree users, is fandom on steroids.

One of the hardest things Read more... )
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When I heard of the well-named Mrs.Robinson's lust-crazed behaviour and attempted suicide, I was disposed to sympathy. After all, I know better than most the situation of someone who warns against sins he knows - all too well. But when I heard one remark made by her husband - to which, one assumes, she fully submitted - then all sympathy flew away. I have no pity for someone who could so falsify Christian moral teaching as to say that "I did not say that homosexuality is an abomination, God did."

What shallow, ugly nonsense. Do not expect from me a defence of homosexual practice as such; the Church teaches against it. But the Church also teaches that the impulse as such is not a sin; only the practice is; and what is more, the Church teaches, and has always taught, that homosexual fornication is bad in no other way than any other form of fornication. That is what makes Mrs.Robinson's great sin so ironic: she fell into what, according to age-old Christian teaching, was the exact same sin - only a different specification - that she and her husband were busy pushing beyond the boundaries of the human (that is what "abomination" means). And to add to the irony, it was exactly in Ireland that the equivalence of all forms of fornication had been clearly formulated. The earliest Celtic penitentials (the systematic study of morality and guilt is one of the great contributions of the Celtic Churches to Christianity), though ascribed to two saints, Gildas and David, who were notoriously at the opposite end of doctrine and practice, nonetheless fully agree in this: the penances inflicted for homosexual practice (and for homosexual practice only) are exactly the same as those imposed for fornication with women.

If that is the case, where does the peculiar savagery with which the West has long since treated homosexual practice? The answer is simple enough; it is, in fact, present, black on white, in some of the best known and most widely studied documents in history. It came from Roman law, and specifically from the changes wrought in it by one of the worst tyrants in history. The murderous Justinian I, would-be restorer and effective destroyer of the Roman Empire, codified the whole of Roman law in an enormous Code called after him; but in codifying the law, he also put in some enactments of his own, one of which featured the death penalty for homosexuality. He needed it in order to get rid of undesired clergymen and aristocrats.

It must be understood that for most of our history, everything Roman has had a kind of glow placed on it. Ancient Rome was always taken to be a model, however it was perceived. And when Roman law was rediscovered in the twelfth century - after centuries in which Europe, including Italy, had developped a different customary law of Teutonic origin - its superiority was taken for granted. And so judicial murder for sodomy became part of the law of the land. That was not the only horror that resurrected Roman law brought to Christendom: its prestige also covered the codification of torture as a normal instrument of police investigation - which it remained until the eighteeenth century and Cesare Beccaria - and the codification of slavery. Slavery had disappeared from Europe during the Dark Ages; from the moment Roman law was resurrected, there were constant attempts to reintroduce it in various ways, or to alter serfdom into slavery, according to time and place. It was because of one such bright idea that the English peasant rebels fo 1381 had intended to "kill all the lawyers"; they knew, all too well, that legal ideas being pushed included their own enslavement.

I do not feel bound to any of this kind of heritage. It has nothing to do with Christianity. Let us remember one basic point: to a Christian, everyone is a sinner. Including, most certainly, himself, or herself. If I say that a practicing homosexual is a sinner, it is no more than I should and do say about myself, for the practice of a myriad sins none of which I am going to tell you about. I certainly do not mean that the practice should be called an abomination, any more than any other sin is an abomination. Some sins certainly are, beginning with murder and abortion; but I am myself guilty of so many things that I should be the last to condemn others. I walk as a sinner among sinners, and if I ever say that anything is an "abomination" - something from which human beings should flee as from the plague - it will certainly not be the insanitary and rather sad practices with which some people try to ease a desire that cannot be eased. Try murder, or abortion, or the oppression of distant peoples; those, not these, deserve to be called abominations.

There are sins, and there are sinners, whom one should reject; crimes that really are abnormal, that affect the sane human being with a sense not only of anger but of misery, enormous wrongs that cannot be altered. Abortion is an abomination; Nazism is an abomination; Communism is an abomination; Leopold II's conquest of the Congo was an abomination. These evils subvert the very order of society and involve an infinite number of attendant evils, themselves monstrous enough to damn a man's soul, as states and professions are perverted, rank by rank, office by office, person by person - till everyone is guilty of something monstrous. The railway clerks and signalmen who kept the trains running in Nazi Germany made sure that cattle trains loaded with prospective murder victims were efficiently driven to Auschwitz or Sobibor. This is what abomination looks like. To extend that to homosexual practice - let alone to "homosexuality" - is an insult; an insult to the dead who were its victims, and to the damned who let themselves be swept away with its flood, and damned their own souls in consequence.

Myself, I really am not interested in my neighbour's sins. My own are quite enough to be getting on with. And to condemn one man for one of his sins makes sure that all of us will be condemned, always. The experience of Mrs.Robinson ought to be instructive in this regard. If you condemn a man for this "abomination", you condemn some of the finest people who ever lived. You condemn Plato, Virgil, Michelangelo and Tchaikovsky - something that should occur to no civilized man.
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Where sex is concerned, people's powers of logic and argument fly right out of the window, especially if they are addicted to BBC/Guardian/Independent. I just read the following two sentences - in the blog, mind you, of an academic from one of Europe's most prestigious universities: "it's simply not true that sex ed lowers the age people start to have sex. It's far more complicated than that". A statement as incoherent and illogical on any other subject would have caused academic disgrace, or at least I hope so. Any teacher worth their salt would point out that just because "it's more complicated", i.e. other factors are involved, does not mean that "it's simply not true." It can be shown that every expansion of sex ed has corresponded with an expansion of underage sex practice. This does not prove that the one causes the other, but it places the burden of proof on those who would deny it outright.

Personally, I believe that sex ed does cause - or help to cause - underage sex practice, and the reason should be obvious to anyone who does not hide their head in the sand where sex is concerned: that is, that sex is taught as a rational and controllable activity where it is in fact irrational, terrible, and controlling. The first thing that a person in the grip of lust does is to forget reason. And to introduce children to this terrible force under this cloak of misguided rationality is like handing them the key to the dynamite store and expect them not to blow up things.
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One of the most memorable parables for the modern world was created, unwittingly, by the great cartoonist Bill Watterson.Read more... )
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All readers are warned: if, in spite of my clear statement that what is behind the cut is offensive and contains a thoroughly unpopular attitude, you still go and read it, do not dare, afterward, write angry or offended comments or e-mails. They will be not only deleted, but replaced with appropriate comments on the absurdity of such attitudes. I am not saying not to criticize; comment away. But do not dare take a wounded attitude; if free thought on sexual matters offends you, do not read it; and if you do, on your own head be it. Worst of all will be treated those who are silly enough to say, as I have known some people to say, I am not offended, but I am angry. Distinctions without differences strike me as being no better than masks for use in the mirror, pretending to be one thing when you are very much another.

Read more... )
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My post of five days ago, about Kate Moss, has generated more reaction than I imagined, especially from two members of my f-list. I am, however, unhappy at some of the features of their debate; and I think it is time - as the starter of the thread, the man-in-charge of this blog, and a person, since age has been mentioned, older than either of you - to call for order in this debate. It has got rather more rancorous than I like. And it has gone on sterile, unprofitable ground, far away from its original point.

I will begin by administering both of you a spanking. If you wanna get mad, I will give you reason to get mad at me, instead of at each other.Read more... )

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