Monday, November 03, 2008

A Public Philosophy: A Conservative Answer to Sex Education

If you tell a liberal that masturbation might not be salutary, you will see eyes glaze over and you will usually hear all sorts of incredulous responses. The inability to see a linkage between masturbation and all consequent sexual evils is part of the problem. This specifically distinguishes religious liberals from religious conservatives. Now, for a question: if there was a public ethic that said that masturbation was something that needed to be watched, curbed or otherwise reined in, do you think we would have as many abortions as we do today? We think not. By shifting the notion of sexuality to an issue of restraint rather than indulgence, you would see far greater movement towards a respect for sexuality than the get off, do it now mentality that is filtering down to young people from a mainstream media largely run by moral blockheads.

Let's set this aside for a moment and let's also dispense with the crudity of the notion of dick management and the idea that the Catholic Church was and is an institution that has a long history of managing sexuality through a sacramental system that enforces the notion of self-restraint. It should be abundantly clear from many of the current and superficial public discussions ranging from abortion to sex education that what is lacking in America is common sense, public moral education. Forget about sex education. This is only one chapter in a much larger discussion that is needed in the public forum. Walter Lippmann wrote a book that was moving in this direction in the 60s called The Public Philosophy. It is not a new idea but an idea that needs to be revisited.

Sex education outside of moral education is just a primer for more sex and more problems. (Anyone wishing to review the position of sex education pundits has only to review some of Siecus's statements on sexuality. They are straight out of looney tunes.) Morality is not religion. If concerned politicians want to get movement on the abortion issue—morality in general—tied to human sexuality has to be part of that discussion. What is needed is a dispassionate movement to reinstate morality, in the old sense of the virtues, or the notion that there is such a thing as too much and too little of various kinds of activities relative to human nature. Acting in accordance with right reason means connecting the dots between how you feel and what you do. Forget about heaven, forget about hell, focus on sexuality as if it were an energy or monetary issue. The conservation of sexual energy, as in sublimation, was in Freud’s mind the linchpin of civilization. Freud has been discredited by various moral pinheads within the psychological establishment on this point but he was absolutely right and the proof is in the pudding. God goes out the door when genitals are taken off their religious or spiritual leash.

I have spent a great deal of my life trying to understand the relationship between sexuality, energy and spiritual identity. How to Manage Your Dick is essentially a book about the need for a public philosophy. Why Aristotle? He is pre-Christian and all of his instincts about morality were, for the most part, dead on. As Cicero said, "He is a river of flowing gold." Anyone is free, of course, to disagree with both my assertions and conclusions but they are well supported by the 2,000 year old canon of western values. The management of sexuality has always been part of the central focus of Christian morality and while the core of Christianity is based on an encounter with the living and Triune God through His Son, there has been little deviation from this kind of management until recent times. The current problems of the Church (pederasty and other priest laity pokings) are a aberration from this tradition and have largely been caused by the influence of religious liberals and indeed heretics within the establishment.

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