Saturday, March 15, 2008

Humanist Sex Ed for Libertarians

The fall of Governor Eliot Spitzer due to his patronage of a prostitution ring has produced much insensate libertarian boilerplate. The libertarians, taking inspiration from their drunken midnight viewings of Pretty Woman, bemoan a world where sex cannot be openly sold for money.

Ross Douthat essays an attack on those who would treat sex no differently than any other human act. Be forewarned, Douthat quotes some base fellow named Will Wilkinson who writes in crude praise of mutual self-abuse. These are often the same people who treat all sex acts as equal. This habit reflects the leveling tendencies of extreme egalitarianism and echoes the jaded indiscrimination of a long-time john.

Douthat brings up the case of incest, alluding to Leon Kass' "wisdom of repugnance," and asks how the levelers can condemn such an act based on their standards, or lack thereof, which treat sex as just another form of labor.

While such a reductio ad absurdum is well and good for brief debating points and blog entries, this habit of invoking the worst grotesqueries encourages social conservatives to be lazy.

The "wisdom of repugnance" is useless unless it can be clearly stated what positive good is being repugnantly perverted.

Such an enormous good is implicit in the standard conservative argument about the relevance of sex to reproduction. While this relevance is obvious to parents and the self-reflective, the porn-saturated singletons one finds on the internet have successfully blinded themselves to this point.

"Reproduction" in sex talk is a word that can cover over what is being reproduced, namely man. With the exception of Jesus and test-tube babies, all of us were conceived through a certain ordinary sex act.

Treating all forms of sex equally means treating the sex act by which we came into the world as no different than any other.

To deny the importance of that act is to deny the importance of its product: every dead, living, and unborn man and woman.

Perhaps there is enough humanism remaining to find this general denigration of mankind repugnant. Even the most self-regarding parricide must flinch at so blaspheming his own origins, and by implication himself.

1 comment:

Sophia said...

"What is love? What is creation? What is longing? What is a star?"--so
asketh the last man and blinketh.

The earth hath then become small, and on it there hoppeth the last man who
maketh everything small. His species is ineradicable like that of the
ground-flea; the last man liveth longest.

"We have discovered happiness"--say the last men, and blink thereby.

They have left the regions where it is hard to live; for they need warmth.
One still loveth one's neighbour and rubbeth against him; for one needeth
warmth.

Turning ill and being distrustful, they consider sinful: they walk warily.
He is a fool who still stumbleth over stones or men!

A little poison now and then: that maketh pleasant dreams. And much
poison at last for a pleasant death.

One still worketh, for work is a pastime. But one is careful lest the
pastime should hurt one.

One no longer becometh poor or rich; both are too burdensome. Who still
wanteth to rule? Who still wanteth to obey? Both are too burdensome.

No shepherd, and one herd! Every one wanteth the same; every one is equal:
he who hath other sentiments goeth voluntarily into the madhouse.

"Formerly all the world was insane,"--say the subtlest of them, and blink
thereby.

They are clever and know all that hath happened: so there is no end to
their raillery. People still fall out, but are soon reconciled--otherwise
it spoileth their stomachs.

They have their little pleasures for the day, and their little pleasures
for the night, but they have a regard for health.

"We have discovered happiness,"--say the last men, and blink thereby.--