Sexual liberation and perversity have taken over the world and the toothpaste can’t be put back in the tube

(Note: the initial comment from the Indian living in the West set off a flurry of comments, which are posted below.)

The grim prognosis in the title does not come from me, but from our Indian reader living in the West. Commenting on our recent (and highly recommended) thread on women’s hyper-revealing dress and how even “conservatives” have nothing to say against it, ILW writes:

Even whores dressed in more decent ways in days gone past.

There is a fundamental reason why women dress the way they do today. A good looking woman who dresses that way exercises a certain power over men and she enjoys that. She likes to see men watch her and imagine all kinds of fantasies. She rules over them. It is a tremendous boost to her vanity. When she encounters a man who is attractive but doesn’t seem to pay much attention to her, she is annoyed or troubled by this. Women want to rule and also want to be ruled. They want to rule over the men through physical attraction but they are most strongly attracted to a man who almost dismisses their physical attributes as common almost contemptuously.

These form the contradictions of the modern female mind. The men have of course been thoroughly corrupted. There is so much sex and corruption on TV, the Internet and the print media that an innocent childhood is now a contradiction in terms. In Europe, pictures of fully naked women adorn newspapers read by the general public. Once a boy has been raised on such a diet, his imagination is taken over by it completely. If he is then put in a society that existed, say in the 1950s, he would find it suffocating. So one thing reinforces the other. And the two act in sync.

I believe the toothpaste is out of the tube. In India, where I grew up and where I spend half my time, the culture has changed beyond comprehension. We now have magazines for married women that discuss better ways of achieving orgasms and sexual techniques.

Broadsheet papers have become tabloids and discuss sex in ways that “respectable” Western newspapers never would. I think once society has been loosened up in this way, you cannot go back to the old ways except by religious revolution and by very harsh punishments, which no one really wants. The phenomenon is now global. I have friends in some Muslim countries—mainly Pakistan, Turkey and Dubai. The stories of sexual corruption in the cities there are quite unbelievable. It is no longer a purely Western phenomenon. The global communications revolution has come to fruition!

- end of initial entry -

John B. writes:

Your correspondent writes as follows:

There is a fundamental reason why women dress the way they do today. A good looking woman who dresses that way exercises a certain power over men and she enjoys that. She likes to see men watch her and imagine all kinds of fantasies. She rules over them.

Yes. So? That is one of womanhood’s advantages—a short-lived advantage, we know. When I pass a provocatively-dressed woman, I am naturally vexed that she is paying me insufficient attention—by which I mean doing anything other than offering to copulate with me on the spot. That is part of the human condition. If you can’t, in some way, delight in it, then existence itself is your objection.

John B. continues:

And is your correspondent correct to say that, in now producing magazines about sexual techniques, India’s “culture has changed beyond comprehension”? A famed Indian text of antiquity has at least something to do with that subject.

LA replies:

I must say that I was surprised by ILW’s comment,given that I’ve always thought of India as the culture that in its ancient sculptures originated the world’s greatest sexual archetypal images of male and female.

Hannon writes:

This is such a fascinating topic. It is a shame the “liberals” (scare quotes justified here I think) have disparaged discourse about it. I have long felt that there is something out of kilter in a society where one’s sexuality is the first aspect on offer in a given social setting. Under-clad or provocatively dressed women are just as disruptive as men appearing like bad boys in a bid to project machismo. We’ve been talking about women, but a young man with shaved head, contemptuous slouch and wife-beater shirt sends a message, too.

I suspect these exaggerated modern expressions are partly social cover for the personalities underneath, which can emerge once an earnest dialogue is started. It is easier, and perhaps more rewarding in many ways, to project one’s mating response than to develop the mind. We have lost a society that did not accommodate the outranking of personality by seductiveness. As Diana West indicates, both children and adults are encouraged to aspire to adolescence, the cradle of human sexuality.

Frequency is an aspect I don’t think anyone has mentioned. For a woman to get dolled-up on a Friday or Saturday night and dress respectably the rest of the week presents a very different effect than routinely flaunting it all. Also, adherence to vanity is so pervasive now that sometimes we do not know if we are looking at a woman or a child—witness the work of modeling agencies. We know that 12 year old girls can get pregnant but how can the media justify normalizing the making of “tweens” into sex objects?

I agree with commenters who have said that women enjoy having this bit of influence over men in public. But it is something of a deflection from the fact that both men and women, overall, dress inattentively these days. In a word, like slobs. When the thought process is limited, sex and sloth will win every time.

Terry Morris writes:

A couple of years ago my son and I were having lunch at a respectable local restaurant when a young twenty-something lady came in with a nicely dressed respectable looking older lady and a young child and sat at a table adjacent to ours (the three were family members—mother, daughter, and grandson). The young lady in question caught our attention by what she was wearing—a very skimpy and revealing outfit and apparent work uniform (you can imagine her job). Now, we’re talking rural Oklahoma here. And my son, having been raised in a traditional home, made a negative comment about the fact that this young “lady” didn’t have enough decency and respect to even attempt to cover herself up at a public establishment where decent people and young children were present. I blamed it on the “sexual liberation” of women, tying it to Roe v. Wade and the feminist battlecry “a woman’s right to choose,” which extends way past a woman’s presumed right to murder her baby. But you know, there were only two individuals in that restaurant that day who would even as much as dare look at her with disapproval. Why? Because men have been neutered in our society. And this means essentially, until we’re willing to reassert our proper roles and authority, the death of Western civilization.

ILW is absolutely right, and well within limits as far as I’m concerned, to say that even (Warning: Here comes the W-bomb again!) whores used to dress less revealingly. Why? Because society wouldn’t tolerate their dressing like sluts.

Ray G. from Dearbornistan writes:

While I do believe, especially in the media, even the “news media,” there is an over-sexualization in the appeal of women 24/7, I also hasten to add, I don’t want Western women dressing like traditional Hindi and Muslim women, in costumes that are often laughable to Americans/Westerners in their backwardness.

Again, it’s the immigration in mass numbers. Without it, nations and regions and cultures world would likely remain in their parochial attire. But it’s too late indeed. There seems to no stopping mass immigration and the rise of the trans-nationals.

From: Sebastian
Subj: You are WAY OFF on Women, buddy

I have never been so angry reading your otherwise sane website. Allowing an Indian to comment on the mores, manners and dress of Western women—of any women—is like publishing an analysis by a sworn Nazi on Jewish banking practices. This dribble regarding the “decadence” or promiscuity of Western women is the perennial lament of unsuccessful men. It is driven purely by envy and pent-up frustration. It is the lament of men too obtuse or ugly or ungraceful or lacking all sentimental education to navigate the sometimes difficult waters between the sexes. It is so Dinesh D’Souza: “we” Westerners are to blame for what is happening because we have allowed “our” women to become whores. Who dare they! How dare you give credence to this age-old canard?

The same nonsense was heard in ancient Rome whenever one of these Asians showed-up at the marketplace. The same clap-trap was spewed by Savonarola. Every single thing your Indian says about Western women today, his grandfather would have said about American women in the forties. Western sexuality is too complex, subtle and equal for these barbarians—yes, that’s the word—to feel comfortable around women. Their sick response, which is itself a form of homosexuality, is to cloak them, beat them and own them.

I for one am very proud of living in a country whose women just won the Gold Medal in soccer; whose Ivy-educated preppies won the eight-woman crew competition; or having ancestors from a great nation whose girls captured Gold in field jockey (Holland). They looked adorable—strong, athletic yet feminine, something completely foreign to the slave-maid-servants kept by Eastern men.

The idea that the West has anything whatsoever to learn from these people on sexual matters is a perversion of the very heart of Western culture: Romantic love. This sentiment is at the center of what separates us from the undifferentiated Asian monstrosity known as India and China. Whether we are living through a breakdown of this sentimental education is not something a sexual prude or an Asian could ever capture. To them, women are unclean, period. An assertive Western gal is so above their pay grade, they’d rather condemn what they cannot have or understand.

Every time I try to have a friendship with a Hindu or Muslim because a of common interest in tennis or golf, the relationship ends after he assumes some complicity on my part that I, like him—like all of them—regard our women as whores there for the raping. It is one thing to have a proper in-house discussion of current sexual mores. It is an altogether differing thing to throw our women to the dogs and suggest that their dress-code is responsible for rape.

And by the way, what is wrong with a woman knowing how to achieve an orgasm? Should we remove their clitorises so they never again enjoy sex; so they become—as his friends in Pakistan would surely prefer—blow-up dolls who also clean and cook? You’re are way off on this discussion, flirting with some very illiberal forces. When fighting monsters (excessive liberalism) we must never become monsters (Asia) ourselves.

LA replies:

I will ignore the at times overwrought and even insulting aspects of Sebastian’s comment, which made me consider editing it, and just reply on the substance.

On the substance, I think there is something to what he’s saying. ILW is coming from an Eastern traditional culture that puts men and women on different levels in a way that is foreign to the West. I remember when I was in India and would see couples walking together in cities, and the woman would walk behind the man. They never walked side by side; the women walked behind. This showed how the idea of a basic partnership, a basic spiritual equality of male and female, and a gallantry of man to woman, which are central to the Western consciousness, seems be foreign to the East.

Consider Genesis:

So God created man in his own image; in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. (Gen. 1: 27)

Therefore shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. (Gen. 2: 24.)

Male and female are both created in the image and likeness of God, and these two aspects of God’s image are brought together in marriage. Is there anything like this outside the Bible and the cultures influenced by the Bible?

And as for male gallantry, in the East, women carry heavy objects on their head. In the West, men do not let women carry heavy things, but carry them themselves, which in the East would be seen as causing a loss of male dignity. These strike me as fundamental differences between East and West.

Also, the idea that there is something threatening about published materials telling married women how to achieve orgasm obviously is going to seem silly from a Western perspective. When I was a kid, the New York Times Book Review would have sedate, low-key, inoffensive ads (nothing like the gross ads in today’s broadcast media on “erectile dysfunction”) selling books or other materials directed at married couples on how to achieve mutual satisfaction. Yet ILW would see such ads as threatening to Indian culture (in the same way, perhaps, that Sayyid Qutb saw a dance at a Colorado university in 1949, in a world infinitely more innocent than ours, as the height of whorish decadence). Maybe they are threatening to Indian culture. I cannot say. They are not threatening to Western culture or morality. Also, as others in this exchange have pointed out, ILW’s harsh condemnation seems odd coming from the country that gave the world the Kama Sutra.

However, I also don’t understand Sebastian evident feeling that our culture is threatened by ILW’s point of view and why he would be so angry about it. ILW, while very admiring of and sympathetic to Western culture in some ways, is unabashedly coming from a traditionalist Indian perspective, and it seems to me that that’s a point of view worth expressing at this site. I don’t see him as trying to impose Indian traditionalist attitudes on the West.

Peter A. writes:

If the current state of Western sexuality interests you, you need to visit Roissy’s blog. With all due respect, contemporary sexual morality is something of a blind spot in your writing. You often are onto something, but I sense a bewilderment on your part as well.

Roissy’s blog entries swing from serious to frivolous, but sustained reading (including very interesting comments sections) are instructive. Plus, unlike what you’d expect in the “Pick up Community,” Roissy’s got a serious Paleo streak.

When your Indian correspondent writes “Women want to rule and also want to be ruled” intuits certain truths about women’s sexuality. You’ll find a lot more there. [LA writes: see Jacob M.’s comment, below, describing the site that Peter A. recommended.]

Lydia McGrew writes:

ILW has said, “There is a fundamental reason why women dress the way they do today. A good looking woman who dresses that way exercises a certain power over men and she enjoys that. She likes to see men watch her and imagine all kinds of fantasies. She rules over them. It is a tremendous boost to her vanity.”

I am not going to challenge the claim that there are women who dress immodestly for these reasons. Beyond all doubt, there are. But I think it’s important not to overgeneralize. These are the clothes that are in the stores. I know committed Christian mothers whose daughters wear clothes that I definitely consider immodest. I have met lovely young Christian women from whose minds (I believe) nothing could be further than the attitudes ILW describes who have nonetheless walked into my house wearing low-rise, tight pants, bare midriffs, and/or cleavage-showing shirts. The clothes I am thinking of are not the very most immodest clothes out there, but they certainly were provocative and, in my view, highly inappropriate. This is an area of major concern for me, and needless to say, I am raising my daughters not to dress like that.

But as I was just saying on another blog thread in a totally different context, in this day and age it takes tremendous will to swim upstream just to avoid being swept along by the current. It’s like the world of the Looking Glass—running to stay where you are. It might surprise ILW to learn how much time, ingenuity, energy, and money a mother has to put in to find modest clothing for her daughters, and all the more so if she wants to find jeans rather than putting them only in dresses. If you just walk into the store and pick something off the rack in your daughter’s size or your own size, you are nearly guaranteed to get something immodest. How many people have the will, the energy, and the time to fight that situation? Many don’t. The best they may do is to buy on the “modest end” of the undeniably immodest clothes that are inexpensive and easily available. And if a young woman has grown up seeing such clothes all around her, and indeed even worse than what she wears herself, she will have skewed standards of modesty. She is likely to feel about a tight-fitting T-shirt that shows her cleavage rather as I feel about going around with my hair uncovered (in defiance of Muslim norms)—If some guy thinks that’s provocative, that’s his problem. Is such an attitude about the T-shirt reasonable? No, it isn’t. But social mores and the very fact that it’s hard to find anything else to purchase have a profound impact upon the way today’s young women view these things. To attribute manipulation and power-hunger to them en masse is not simply uncharitable; I believe it is not accurate.

Gintas writes:

I have a computer that runs as my firewall and also runs some filtering software. This thread triggered it for the first time on your site. Shocking … (I’ve attached an image. My wife sometimes sees this come up when I’m browsing—Sailer’s site often does—and I usually say, “probably some salty language.” The given reason for yours was “pornography” but it’s actually a weighted phrase list of words in the thread that just adds up beyond a threshold of points.)

I knew a friend in San Diego who was going to San Diego State University, a noted party school. Though it’s not on the beach, a number of the girls would wear bikinis to class. Being the kind of guy he is, he would sometimes walk up to them and ask, “why are you dressed like that? Is that all you want guys to notice about you?”

So, how can we traditionalists deal with underdressed women? That might generate some interesting comments.

LA writes:

Gintas sent an image which I initially posted but I removed it as it seemed to be slowing the display of this page. It showed two death’s heads with the words,

Access has been denied!

Access to this page
has been denied

You are seeing this error because what you are attempting
to access has been deemed inappropriate.

To see a detailed explanation of the denial, click here. CAUTION: this includes offending material.

One wonders what set off this death’s head warning and denial. The words “breasts” and “revealing”?

John O. writes:

“In India, where I grew up and where I spend half my time, the culture has changed beyond comprehension. We now have magazines for married women that discuss better ways of achieving orgasms and sexual techniques.”

Shocking! Heaven forbid that married women should ever achieve orgasms or show any interest in sexual techniques. This by a gentleman from the culture that gave the world the “Kama Sutra”—a text older than the Koran—and the fabulous erotic temple sculptures at Khajuraho. The latter, incidentally, only survived the destruction wrought on similar sites by puritanical Muslim invaders because they were made inaccessible by jungle.

It may be unpalatable to ILW, but the fact is that writers, artists and ordinary human beings through the ages have always had a keen interest in exploring sexuality. The Chinese, Japanese, Greek, Roman and Persian civilizations all contributed lasting manuals on love and sexual techniques. Even Muslims managed to produce works such as “The Perfumed Garden.” The Victorian English are popularly portrayed as dour talibanesque puritans who covered up table-legs. The truth was, of course, quite different, as Sir Richard Burton, or Dickens, or W.T. Stead might have avowed.

Yes, it’s true that there is currently a “ladette” sub-culture among certain young women in Western countries, particularly the UK and USA, whose members are promiscuous, drink too much and show too much flesh in public. These party girls get a lot of attention in the media, far more than their actual numbers merit. As a father of teenagers, I know these girls are generally looked down on and ridiculed by their contemporaries. It’s a fad, and fads change. Sure, some of these girls will self-destruct, but the majority will go on to become perfectly ordinary wives, mothers and grandmothers. Just like the once-dreaded mods, rockers, hippies and skinheads of recent decades.

Bad behaviour in others is never pleasant to witness, but I would prefer to see young people learn salutary lessons from life experience (drinking too much makes you act stupid and throw up), than see girls whipped in the street by Saudi-style Morality Police for the “crime” of a “loose hijab” or revealing too much ankle beneath a burkah.

There’s a big difference between the necessary self-discipline and restraint of an individual, and repression imposed from outside by the close-minded. When it comes to sexuality, I fail to see that repression of natural curiosity and desire for knowledge is either healthy, desirable or, indeed, conservative—except in the sense that Mullah Omar and his kind are perceived to be “conservative.”

LA replies:

It seems to me that John O. is vastly underestimating the degree to which whorish, or worse than whorish, dress has been normalized in the West. He seems to be seeing things through the filter of an earlier decade, and is not seeing what is all around us.

August 24

Indian living in the West writes:

Sebastian writes:

And is your correspondent correct to say that, in now producing magazines about sexual techniques, India’s “culture has changed beyond comprehension”? A famed Indian text of antiquity has at least something to do with that subject.

This is one of the greatest fallacies prevalent among people who have never actually lived in India for any length of time. The idea that ordinary people in India continue to discuss Kamasutra style techniques in their every day life or that there is a continuum between the peoples that created Kamasutra and the people who occupy India today. That’s like saying that the Italians and the Romans are the same or that there is no difference between the Ancient Greeks and the Greeks of today.

I think it is important to state first of all that because “India” has only existed as a political unit for just over half a century, many have tried to “usurp” everything that occurred in the Indian sub-continent as part of “Indian culture.” There are many problems associated with it but principally, the Kamasutra practitioners were a people that lived in a kingdom at a certain time in history. The people happened to be pagans too and worshipped the same gods that many in India worship today. But to suggest that “culturally” there is no difference between the two is false.

Sex as a sport was often practiced by kings and nobles who had been corrupted by absolute power. But the people as a whole were always a lot less debauched. Sometimes, the difference between the mores of the people and those of their rulers was so great that there was almost nothing in common.

Sebastian writes:

Allowing an Indian to comment on the mores, manners and dress of Western women—of any women—is like publishing an analysis by a sworn Nazi on Jewish banking practices. This dribble regarding the “decadence” or promiscuity of Western women is the perennial lament of unsuccessful men. It is driven purely by envy and pent-up frustration. It is the lament of men too obtuse or ugly or ungraceful or lacking all sentimental education to navigate the sometimes difficult waters between the sexes. It is so Dinesh D’Souza: “we” Westerners are to blame for what is happening because we have allowed “our” women to become whores. Who dare they! How dare you give credence to this age-old canard?

I seem to have hit a raw nerve with Sebastian.

We are discussing ideas here. Sebastian’s response is the classical arguing technique that many liberals employ, i.e. suggesting that the person making the argument is mentally sick or twisted (and funnily enough the Nazis employed the same technique with Jews—saying that any scientific discovery by a Jew is “Jewish science,” for example). In this case Sebastian employs Freudian psychoanalysis. I laugh at comments like these because they reinforce Larry’s earlier point about Peter Hitchens—that Hitchens had to go out of his way to say “hey I love girls” to avoid people making the same kinds of comments.

Sebastian has of course never really understood how alien this sexually promiscuous society is to the West itself. If anything, by his comments he degrades everything Western pre-1960s. And his comment would be consistent with those made by people who hate the traditional West by saying that the West as it used to be was a repressed culture. Actually, that forms the basis of everything the liberals attack about the West.

As far as Sebastian’s personal insults go, in my experience, the vehemence of the insults are usually directly proportional to the vacuity of the arguments.

ILW continues:

Would the Victorians (who were not Nazis or haters of women) have allowed it? And if they didn’t why not? Would the Americans of the 19th century have allowed it? Once the focus shifts from sex as procreation to sex as a sport and entertainment, society has changed completely. All that is then required in this mix is something like the pill which makes it possible for women to have sex as sport without getting pregnant. Once this is accomplished, there is no reason left for women to be modest or sexually restrained. Any hand-wringing about female dress, promiscuity or behaviour is then a waste of time.

Many will indict me for pointing the finger at women and not at the men. I believe that once women are sexually corrupted, male corruption is inevitable. Men will indulge themselves sexually once women allow them to. The traditional pre-Western emphasis on no sex before marriage was not only to restrain men but also to moralise them. Sex was not separable from procreation which in turn was not separable from familial responsibility.

Anyway, I seem to have hit a brick wall and am not making my arguments very well. But if people really want to understand what I am saying, they should watch Carnal Knowledge. This is one of the best films ever made on the vacuity and nihilism inherent in post-60s Western sexuality.

LA replies:

I disagree with what I would describe as ILW’s extreme traditionalist view (similar to the Catholic traditionalist view) that either sex is for nothing but procreation, or sex is nothing but sport and entertainment. This view leaves out sex as love, communion, pleasure (not entertainment), and fulfillment between the partners. After all, even between married partners, the preponderance of their sex life does not result in procreation. Is all of their sex life, apart from the small part of it that actually results in children, nothing but sport and entertainment? The ILW view degrades sex, by eliminating sex as love.

On a secondary issue, my and others’ references to the Kama Sutra, ILW’s point is well taken. I did not mean to suggest that the Kama Sutra was part of India’s present or recent culture, but only to point to the irony that ILW was acting as though India has always been nothing but the most straightlaced culture. Even today there are shrines—I saw a documentary showing this at the Asia Society in New York City a few years ago—in which the lingam, the phallus of the god, is worshipped and melted butter is spread on it. ILW can dismiss such cults as pagan vestiges, but I don’t think they are a negligible part of India.

ILW continues:

My comments on this site may be affected by what I would term “personal bias.” Any time that I’ve spent in Europe has been in the big cities—principally, Paris, Berlin and London. So everything I write is biased by this fact. I have no doubt that there are women who practice restraint and modesty. However, in the large cities they are in a small minority.

I completely agree with Lydia’s comments about how difficult it is to shield one’s children from society’s worst vices when they are accepted as normal. For this very reason, I advised a friend recently that he should leave the UK and go back to India if he and his wife were thinking about having a child. While India is getting worse rapidly, it is nowhere on the same scale as London, which is really the pits.

I want to say that when I encounter the type of women that Lydia refers to, I have the greatest respect for them. It takes a lot of courage and determination to swim against the tide, particularly when you are open to being ridiculed and being accused of being “stuck up” or “repressed” when you do this.

ILW writes:

LA writes:

“The ILW view degrades sex, by eliminating sex as love.”

My view is that love or cummunion is higher than the act itself. The act is biological, love is metaphysical. A man and a woman can be in love without the act and I would actually say that if they cannot be in love without the act, their “love” is false. This is also another reason why the word “love” has also been thoroughly debased, because it is actually a lot less common than our popular culture would have us believe. Love (as opposed to strong personal emotional attachment) is extremely rare.

Our society is focused on the act itself and the act becomes the be all and end all for men and women to be together. That is what truly degrades both men and women.

Andrew H. writes:

Not sure if this relates to any recent postings, but I just wanted to share my experience of seeing a magazine titled bitch while browsing the periodicals section of a local Barnes & Nobles. According to Wikipedia, this magazine has been around for 12 years and describes itself as a “feminist response to pop culture”. Now there’s probably hundreds of items in the bookstore with more objectionable content than bitch, but I really had to do a double-take when I saw the bitch header in huge letters peaking out amongst the other magazines. Needless to say, the in-your-face coarseness of popular culture (or the “feminist response to it”) knows no bounds.

By the way, one can see many of the late, great American cities in Google Map’s Street View feature. If you aren’t familiar with this feature, Street View provides 360° panoramic street-level views of many US cities.

Gintas writes:

You write:

One wonders what set off this death’s head warning and denial. The words “breasts” and “revealing”?

The software I’m running (some free software called “DansGuardian” which apparently a lot of school systems run because it’s free and it’s customizable and it will run on cheap Linux boxes) says the reason it blocked your site was:

Weighted phrase limit of 50 : 88 ((-article, sexuality)+(-article, social)+( rape, slut)+(hot, slut)+(topless, slut)+( model, female)+-security+sexuality+-assessment+-catholic+-compensation+intercourse+-vocation+breast+-flight+ slut+ girl + rape+ topless+ whores +naked+castrate)

Basically, the software scores points for keywords it finds in the page. Apparently enough of those keywords were in that thread—and you’ll find that a lot, but not all, of them are in there—to score an 88, while only a 50 will trigger a block. It’s not always a correct block, it’s just scoring based on words it finds. But it’s never blocked anything on your site before, and it’s a bit of a jolt to me to have that block page pop up. The skull and crossbones, meant to evoke notions of piracy, are my own addition, it’s supposed to be a jolt for that page to come up.

Sara R. writes from England:

The subject of contemporary sexual mores is indeed a fascinating one, and one which I have thought about a lot. My take on it is this: We are all both individual, un-gendered souls and engendered persons. All of human life is a negotiation between opposites: Male/female, personal/collective, work/home life and so on and each one of us has to find a balance between who we are as unique beings and who we are as males or females. Our lives are about squaring various circles—that is what it is to be human. When gender is over-emphasised as is reflected in contemporary dress practices, it means that we think sexuality, or life in an engendered body is much more important than life as an individual soul. This has unfortunate consequences because it implies that the most important thing in life is sexual fulfillment, and betrays a complete lack of understanding of why we are really here.

Of course sexual fulfillment within a committed relationship is a most wonderful thing, but it is a private thing, not something to be flaunted to all and sundry. What all this means is that contemporary people locate transcendence in sexuality alone—mostly because they have never experienced or can imagine experiencing the ineffable in any other way than through sexual activity. If we locate transcendence in sexuality alone, the endless efforts to experience maximum sexual experience and variety keep us on the surface of life and prevent deep commitment and experience.

Its enough to make one imagine that there is some kind of cosmic war going on in which it is in the interests of certain forces to keep people hoping for an impossible salvation through sex. And it makes one wonder whose interest is served through this ubiquitous and seemingly universal contemporary obsession.

Alan Roebuck writes:

ILW’s main thrust is two points:

1) The doctrines of sexual liberation have been spread around the entire world; and

2) If you tell people that it’s OK for them to do what they want to do, you cannot go back to a regime of self-restraint, because you cannot force billions of people not to do something they want to do.

I submit that although it will be very difficult, the toothpaste can be put back in the tube, and therefore traditionalists have to try. People in general believe what the authorities tell them, and so if the authorities were to go back to telling them to exercise self-control, most of them would, most of the time. (Or, at the very least, the public celebration of sexual sin would drastically diminish.) And people can be convinced to act in ways that seem to go against their immediate selfish desires, as I will show momentarily.

In my VFR essay, Authority, Liberalism and Traditionalism, I pointed out that people, on average, do not believe whatever they want. Most people have neither the time, the talent nor the inclination to study the fundamental questions of life on their own. Instead, they believe the authorities they have chosen to trust. Nowadays, of course, most of the West’s authorities tell them that liberalism (including a sexual liberation that is often moderated by “unprincipled exceptions” of common sense and common decency) is true, and they act accordingly. But 150 years ago, most of the West’s authorities taught traditional sexual morality, and most people went along with it, at least most of the time. Since liberalism was able to take over institutions that once taught conservatism, we can infer that it is possible for conservatives to retake control.

ILW says “The phenomenon is now global.” That’s because Western liberalism is now global. If Western liberalism were to be brought under control, so would the phenomenon.

(I also note that many non-Western societies, especially the more primitive ones, have no organized doctrines or institutions of traditional morality; they just have their traditional ways. These societies are especially susceptible to corruption by institutionalized liberalism, because they have no organized response. These people are in special need of fortification by an organized rebuttal of liberalism.)

He also says “I think once society has been loosened up in this way, you cannot go back to the old ways except by religious revolution and by very harsh punishments, which no one really wants.” Although I cannot find a citation, I have heard it said that “Victorianism” was a voluntary movement in response to a period of great social disorder in late Eighteenth and early Nineteenth Century Britain and America, and it involved the successful promulgation of standards of self-restraint without the kind of revolution that ILW refers to.

Furthermore, people can be convinced to act against what might seem to be their selfish desires. Consider, for example, the widespread acceptance throughout the Western World of the ethics of environmentalism and multiculturalism. The former tells people that they must voluntarily limit their consumption, and the latter tells whites that they cannot associate with or favor only their own kind. The authorities teach these self-abnegating doctrines, and the people mostly go along with them.

For all these reasons, I cannot accept the assertion that the sexual toothpaste is irrevocably out of the tube. We can successfully fight back.

Jacob M. writes:

Re Peter A’s suggestion that you check out Roissy’s blog: what is it with these paleos and their willingness to overlook all manner of depravity, destructiveness, and nihilism so long as someone is, say, a race realist? This Roissy appears to be one of these “seduction community” types, who give other men advice on how to live fast and loose, bedding as many different women as possible and never getting married. This pornographic post appears to be representative, if you can stomach it. At the end he mentions that he doesn’t believe in God. Yet according to Peter A., he’s A-OK because he’s got a “serious paleo streak.” That’s funny, I never knew paleoconservatism included the view that men should aspire to be Don Juans, centering their lives around maximizing their sexual pleasure. How exactly are this guy’s views supposed to help us restore our civilization?

LA replies:

Thanks to Jacob for checking out that site. I wouldn’t have linked it if I’d known its nature. I’m repulsed by what I’ve read there. This Roissy sizes up women as though they were different flavors of ice cream, measuring their sexual effect on him. It’s the height of decadence. I’m offended that Peter A. recommended and linked such a site at VFR, under the cover of its being “paleocon.” What possible relevance would such a site have to VFR? Does he have no respect for me and VFR readers? What is he—a pornographer seeking to find new members for his club?

And Peter A. has the nerve to tell me that I have something to “learn” about contemporary sexuality from Roissy’s site, as though reducing women to objects for men’s delectation were something new and progressive.

However, on further thought, I realize that there is something new about it, since what Roissy writes is worse than normal pornography—I’ve never seen anyone reduce women to objects to the degree that he does.

Peter A. writes:

I certainly did not intend to disrespect you and your readers over the link to Roissy’s site. I do owe you an apology about one thing: as a VFR reader since 2003 or so, I should have foreseen your and objections and I should have at least included a warning about the crude level of language and the nature of the site’s content. I didn’t, and I’m sorry about that.

Having said that, I stand by my claim that a sustained reading of Roissy’s site can be instructive. Some of his commentators are very sophisticated and discussions are often fascinating. The world is what it is, and in my humble opinion, Roissy’s site does hold up a kind of mirror to it. The content is crude and pornographic, as you said, but as a married adult man with a family, I can handle it.

But tastes and opinions vary, and I respect the fact that you find it offensive.

LA replies:

While I’m still offended that Peter A. linked us to that site, I appreciate the fact that he at least understands that other people would find it offensive.

Not so another reader, who just wrote to me protesting my entry about Obama’s Communist mentor Frank Davis, in which I implied that group sex is objectionable. This person has read VFR for years, he presumably has some idea of what traditionalist conservatism is about, and he even thinks of himself as ally of traditionalists, yet he objects to the fact that VFR expressed disapproval of group sex. Apparently what this person thinks VFR is or ought to be is a pro free-sex site plus a dose of racial realism and opposition to Islam.

Sebastian writes:

I’m sorry you posted my comments unedited. I lost my cool—I should never have included China or the Far East, whose culture I respect and whose art I enjoy. The thing is, a friend living in Jersey City, where there are thousands of Indians, had a very nasty incident with three adult males less than 48-hours before I read your post.

Oh well—if Obama can live down Jeremiah Wright, this too will pass.

LA replies:

I did have a feeling that the anger might not express your more considered view, and thought of asking you if you wanted to send a modified version of the comment before I posted it. Then I thought, well, this is a pure expression of anger, there’s something there that’s genuine, so let it be expressed, and then the rest of us can respond. I don’t think any harm was done.

Sebastian writes:

In ILW’s response, he misquotes me—though honestly I don’t care. I should never have tried to engage in a conversation with him on this matter. My whole point is that everything he says, his ancestors would have said at any other time in history. I am not defending post-1960s sexuality per se, but Western romantic love. But enough. Damn this.

LA replies:

May I ask why you are so exasperated over this? It seems uncharacteristic of you. And ILW is one person expressing his opinion. There are so many things that do threaten us. How does the traditionalist sexual morality of eastern cultures threaten us?

Sebastian replies:

It is uncharacteristic of me. Though I don’t know you, I think you’re owed an answer. I disagree that sexual moralizing from the East is not an issue. I have seen formerly libertine beaches in Italy succumb to demands by Muslims that women exercise “modesty” lest the passions of young men be inflamed. In Australia it’s a huge problem, with Lebanese immigrants fighting native surfers over the former’s claim that “white sluts were asking for it.” The Imam of Sydney (I cannot believe I just wrote that, but yes, there is an Imam of Sidney) has compared Western women to pieces of raw meat thrown at dogs. In Holland, where sexual liberation has gone too far and there is an element of genuine decadence, Theo Van Gogh lost his life to one of these virtuous men from the East. Renaissance art is under threat. In Florence, according to Oriana Fallacci’s account, north African immigrants staged a mini-riot during which they urinated on nude statutes and attempted to thrash priceless art. Some in Western conservative circles (including the late Pope John Paul) thought we could build with Eastern reactionaries to opposes the radical Left. This is madness. Fortunately Ratzinger sees past that and knows friend from foe.

To me, contemporary sexual decadence pales in comparison to the dangers of having foreigners tell us how our women should dress and behave. ILW claims I am defending post-1960s morality. Has it occurred to him how post-1965 it is that he even be here commenting on Western sexual mores? In a more confident age, he’d been told to shut up and mind his business—that’s the kind of confidence we have lost! If ILW thinks London is too decadent for his friend’s children, please—I beg of him—go back to India! It proves my point.

Now, unlike Bruce Bawer and Hirsi Ali, I do not reduce Western Civ. to sexual and gay liberation. I can recognize a late modernist development when I see one. But if you read Boswell’s London Journal, or Boccaccio’s Decameron, or Cassius Dio, Fanny Burney, the Bronte sisters, Balzac, Flaubert, et. al., it is clear that what ILW and other foreign critics of Western sexuality object to is not the late modernist corruption of Romantic love but rather Western sexual morality from Periclean Athens to present-day New York. This is one of the threats to having an ever larger number of people from these regions in our midst: a creeping joylessness caused by our need to change our culture to their sensibilities. Visit suburban Paris and tell me I’m wrong.

Lastly, I’m sorry, but the level of hypocrisy (normally something I can live with) is too much with Indian and Muslim men. In the French and Italian Riviera, the sight of rich Arabs careening with prostitutes and ogling European women before returning home to issue fatwas or moralizing tracts on decadence is nauseating.. This is why I mentioned the admittedly weak point about unsuccessful men. The sexual liberators are right about one thing: strong women scare weak men, and one of the West’s great strengths—dating back to Sparta if Herodotus is to be believed—is the strength of women.

Is there a problem with young, mostly working-class girls in Anglo-Saxony dressing and behaving badly? Of course—any middle-class French girl can tell you that; they’ve known it for years. But I do not like the idea that this development opens the door to a wholesale restructuring of sexual morality in which recent Muslim and Hindu immigrants can have a voice. I’m just trying to defend our virtue, literally. That’s probably why I became so angry.

LA replies:

Of course, when I said, “How does the traditionalist sexual morality of eastern cultures threaten us?”, I was speaking of eastern cultures other than Islam, particularly Indian culture. Yet your answer deals almost exclusively with Islam. Obviously you don’t need to persuade me that Islam threatens everything about us, including romantic love.

LA continues:

Also, it’s important to remember ILW’s point of view. He’s not writing as an immigrant. To the contrary, he opposes the mass non-Western immigration into the West and wants to see the West remain the West. He lives part time in the West doing business. His home remains India. I don’t see the views of an Indian individual expressing traditionalist Indian morality as a threat to us. As an intelligent and sympathetic observer who has spent several years living in the West he has every right to express his opinions about the moral condition of the West, whether or not I agree with his opinions. I think Sebastian has been unfair to him.

Peter A. writes:

Jacob M. asks: “How exactly are this guy’s [Roissy’s] views supposed to help us restore our civilization?”

If his question is sincere and not a taunt, I will respond to it.

LA replies:

The notion that the whoremaster Roissy—for that’s what he is—has anything to offer about restoring our civilization is beyond ludicrous, and I’m not going to entertain it here.

Jacob M. writes:

Thanks for taking that stand. I agree, even if that makes me a vile sycophant.

Alan Roebuck writes:

Most “conservatives” seem to think that conservatism is sneering at liberals. Roissy sneers at feminism, ergo he’s a conservative. That’s why I intuit the need for the slogan “Proper conservatism fights for the restoration of a properly ordered American society.” With that understanding of conservatism, Roissy’s a leftist, and he can take a hike.

August 25

Gintas writes:

Peter A. suggests:

Having said that, I stand by my claim that a sustained reading of Roissy’s site can be instructive. Some of his commentators are very sophisticated and discussions are often fascinating. The world is what it is, and in my humble opinion, Roissy’s site does hold up a kind of mirror to it. The content is crude and pornographic, as you said, but as a married adult man with a family, I can handle it.

He’s suggesting that a deep knowledge of sexual degeneracy can be instructive and fascinating? Ah, and some of the commenters are very sophisticated! Perhaps I am too simple for it all, but I do know if that such a man as Roissy came into my house and talked about my wife and daughters like that, I’d just cut to the chase and shoot him down like the lowdown skunk that he is. In the South it would be said, “He needed killin’.”

Adela G. writes:

Peter A. writes: “Having said that, I stand by my claim that a sustained reading of Roissy’s site can be instructive.”

I can certainly agree with that. Roissy’s blog was a real eye-opener. Until I read some of his entries, I had no idea some men were reduced to spending so much time scheming, plotting and planning in order to snare sexual partners.

This revelation is quite contrary to my observation, which is that any even halfway-attractive male has to spend an inordinate amount of time rebuffing the advances of persistent and enamoured females.

That relatively attractive females like the ones Roissy mentions will bestow upon unattractive males what is crudely known as…well…a merciful act was not news to me. Nor does it come as any surprise that having been the recipient of such female generosity, Roissy would then criticize his benefactresses. I have also observed that, contrary to popular belief, unattractive men tend to be real ingrates.

LA writes:

Picking up on Sebastian’s concerns with Eastern cultures per se (not just Islam), let us say, with Sebatian, that romantic love is a constituent of our Western cultural being, and that Eastern cultures do not believe in romantic love, find it offensive, and reject it. That means that importing large numbers of Easterners into the West will create a population that will be opposed to a key aspect of our cultural and spiritual being. From which it follows that we should not import large numbers of Easterners with their Eastern religions and moral systems into the West.

The logic is obvious. But it’s only obvious if we know about and care about the particularities of our own culture. The actuality, of course, has been the opposite. Knowing and caring about the particularities of our culture is the very thing that the postwar West systematically excluded from its thought process. When considering immigration policy, we never said to ourselves, “What are we? What are the particular qualities, beliefs, and customs that make us what we are? And what are the particular qualities, beliefs, and customs of group X, group Y, and group Z to whom we are considering opening the doors of our country? Are their customs and beliefs compatible with ours?”

Such particular and specific consideration of the wisdom of permitting mass immigration never occurred, because the only considerations that were allowed in the discussion were the “equal individual worth” of all human beings, the need to reunite families, the need not to be discriminatory, etc. If we had engaged in a particularist analysis of the desirability of importing various groups, rather than simply following universalist liberal slogans, we would have reached conclusions such as the following:

  • Mexicans live according to amoral familism, which is incompatible with the American idea of citizenship and belief in the common good. Therefore we should not permit large scale immigration from Mexico.

  • Muslims regard dogs as filth, which is utterly incompatible with our love of dogs, man’s best friend. Therefore we should not admit Muslim immigrants.

  • Easterners have a very different notion of sexual morality and sexual love than Westerners. They do not believe in our ideal of romantic love. Therefore we should not admit large numbers of Easterners as immigrants.

  • Sub-Saharan Africans have an average IQ of 70. Mexicans have an average IQ of 90. Our society has, and requires for its continuance at its present level of functioning, a population with an average IQ of 100. Therefore we should not admit mass immigration from countries with notably lower average IQs than our own.

Hannon writes:

A while back I read an interesting account by an American teacher working in the Sultanate of Oman. This was recently, within the last ten years or so. He was introducing young men, ages 17-19 or so, to various reading subjects, and one of their assignments was to read a Western romance story and then discuss it. To his amazement, he found the response of these young Muslim males to the story to be devoid of emotional or intellectual comprehension. The idea of romantic love, or any romantic process between male and female, was utterly foreign to their understanding of human affairs. Apparently they were not offended, but the lesson was lost on them entirely. I do not know if this is exemplary of the Islamic view of relations between the sexes, but the story was for me a powerful reminder of how fundamentally different, and incompatible, cultures can be. This story also provides some evidence that what we think of as romance is more a cultural outgrowth of sexuality (sorry to put it so crudely) rather than an innate human property.

Ryder writes:

(Apologies for being long winded.)

When considering the present and undeniable sexual decadence of the West, I think it is important to consider that we live in what is very much a top-down society. For example, when a media host or celebrity makes a politically incorrect statement, it is not the masses that abandon him. It is not that his Nielson ratings shrink, and therefore management is forced to give him the boot. The ratings never seem to go down, but the offender is still punished: at the top. But just as the masses did not abandon the offender, neither do they rally to him. They will accept his replacement, and soon forget the whole incident. The masses are mostly passive, and will more or less accept what the “powers that be” feed them.

We all know what the powers that be are feeding the masses these days.

Right now, we have the left firmly entrenched in all of the key institutions of power. The media, academia, and so forth. They are therefore able to launch a non-stop assault on everything from our values to our aesthetic sensibilities. If a person does not get on board with their program of sexual decadence, he is a “loser.” I’ve personally known young women who were virgins, and considered themselves losers because of this fact. These women were not at all unattractive, their lack of experience was entirely voluntary. But the top-down society in which we live gives them precious little recourse. Our top-down culture has created a Bizarro world in which losing one’s virginity in casual sex comes as a “relief.” Then, the process takes on a life of its own. Once we live in a world where people move from partner to partner, it becomes harder to trust. It becomes harder to invest in another person. After all, they are probably only temporary. Because of this dynamic, getting hurt in relationships becomes the norm, making it more and more likely that we will in turn hurt the next person down the road. The vicious cycle continues.

But there is something important about this cycle of hurt and disappointment: it’s not all that much fun. The modern Westerner is a lonely person, a fly of the summer. Is this life really satisfying? Is this disposable society of throwaway goods and throwaway people actually the road to happiness?

I don’t think so. I don’t think most people are really satisfied with the status quo.

Some may be happy with it, particularly the person at the height of his/her powers on the bar scene. There may be a brief period where it feels great to “flaunt it if you’ve got it,” and enjoy going through other people like they were going out of style, not really caring about any single one of them. But this is surely only true of some people (I can speak with some authority here, as a veteran of the bar scene and chaser of skirts), and even for most of them it is a temporary and passing thing. In other words, wanton decadence is not the norm for people—which is why the bar hoppers gradually clear out. After that brief period where bar hopping is “cool,” it becomes more the mark of the loser. Of course, this realization is achieved with no help at all from the top-down institutions of power in our society. The realization is instead achieved as the “flaunt it if you’ve got it crowd” gets hit with reality: abusive relationships, incurable venereal diseases, betrayal and lies. Let’s put it this way: they aren’t living in the “Age of Aquarius, where peace and trust abounds.” Instead, it’s more like Hobbes’s “nasty, brutish and short.”

The result: the West is filling up with profoundly damaged people. The popular culture encourages them to make decisions at age 20 that they will later regret. It quite literally encourages people to take actions in their youth that will damage them for life. Think about this: one of the main functions of a healthy traditionalist culture was to get people through the passions and hubris of youth with as little damage as possible. Now our culture actually encourages young women to choose the worst possible partners—including partners that will abuse them and infect them with incurable diseases. I don’t say this lightly: our top-down institutions are truly evil. MTV loves to show girls cavorting on the beach on Spring Break, flaunting it while they’ve got it. But MTV doesn’t bother doing the follow up ten years later. What happened to all the whores?

What happened is that many were profoundly damaged, both physically and psychologically. And as for the lucky ones who escaped without too much damage, they recognized the emptiness of decadence and went on to form serious relationships—if they could find a relatively undamaged partner (which becomes harder and harder in our society).

The bottom line is that, one way or the other, decadence is not sustainable. Either it devours its victims, or people wise up and move on. And that is why the toothpaste can in fact be put back in its tube: extreme decadence is not viable for most people most of the time. We don’t need to have Saudi style morality police roaming around hassling people. We DO need to replace our current elites. Without powerful institutions promoting decadence, many of these problems will be greatly ameliorated. That’s not to say utopia is on the table. That’s not an option. But it is clear that much of what we are enduring is artificial and coming from top-down institutions.

LA replies:

As Jim Kalb said in his essay, “The Tyranny of Liberalism,” liberalism tells us that we have a right to want what we want, without reference to any objective good. But liberalism denies and covers up the fact that what people really want is the good. In the name of letting people want and have whatever they want, liberalism keeps them from having the one thing they really want.

James W. writes:

So far as I can tell, the fellows (and women) who cooked up romantic love and monogamy—I will assume as a matching set—were the same people who started Western Civilization. Surely no coincidence.

Socrates—“Before the birth of love, many fearful things took place through necessity, but when this god was born, all things rose to man.”

John B. writes:

I object to this:

“This story also provides some evidence that what we think of as romance is more a cultural outgrowth of sexuality (sorry to put it so crudely) rather than an innate human property.”

The story provides evidence that romance is an experience of certain peoples.

August 26

Vishal M. writes:

This from another Indian, resident in India. What exactly is this romantic love or romance that distinguishes Western people from others and specifically the Eastern people are lacking in? I would remind you that Middle East has a great tradition of romantic love stories such as Laila Majnu (Arab), Shiri Farhad (Persia), Heer Ranjha (Punjab), which are similar to the story of Romeo Juliet.

I am also surprised that you of all people would take the canard of Kama Sutra, propagated by liberals and those that want India to fall to modern liberalism. The fact is Tantra is a branch of highly ramified Hindu Tradition and Kama Sutra and the temples of Khajuraho are a branch of Tantra tradition. It is as if you define West by Cathars. This comparison also holds as the Kama Sutra branch of Hindu Tradition is a loser having lost its ancient war with other Hindu Traditions. Sincerely Vishal Mehra

LA replies:

This is very interesting but needs to be clarified and explained. What do you mean when you say: “Tantra is a branch of highly ramified Hindu Tradition and Kama Sutra and the temples of Khajuraho are a branch of Tantra tradition. It is as if you define West by Cathars.” Are you saying that the famous statues of Shiva and Shakti are part of a tantric tradition, distinct from “mainstream” Hinduism?

Also, what is the relation between “highly ramified Hindu Tradition and Kama Sutra” on one side, and Tantra tradition on the other? Also, for readers, explain Tantrism.

Vishal M. replies:
I am sorry not to have made the point clearer.It is a simple point.

Kama Sutra and Tantra is just one strand of Hinduism. In the past, when the Khajuraho temples were built, it was more dominant than it is now .

Tantra is essentially Magic—you may call it Black Magic if you prefer.

The dominant trend in Hinduism since 1400-1500 is Bhakti—meaning Devotion ie Prayer and Love for God, and not Magic.

Bhakti is supposed by (liberal) historians as a consequence of Muslim interaction.

Modern Hindus get offended when Hinduism is linked to old Tantra. All modern Hindu temples are free of Khajuraho-type features.

So my point was that automatic invocation of Kama Sutra is a tactic by Indian liberals and sexual liberationists to damage Indian social order, and should not be used.

It is like elevating the Cathar heresy to mainstream now. You would not naturally associate Cathars with modern Catholics. Nor would Hindus associate with Kama Sutra and Tantra.

LA replies:

Thanks for this. As for a definition of Tantra, my understanding it that it involves the use of sexual energies for “spiritual” purposes. Here is Wikipedia’s article on Tantra.

Van Wijk writes:

Adela G. wrote: “This revelation is quite contrary to my observation, which is that any even halfway-attractive male has to spend an inordinate amount of time rebuffing the advances of persistent and enamoured females.”

Fantastic. I’m not even halfway-attractive.

Ah well.

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Posted by Lawrence Auster at August 23, 2008 12:11 PM | Send

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