Our sexual schizophrenia

The main topic of the discussion at Laura Wood’s that I quoted earlier was not racial intermarriage, but the propriety of Elin Nordegren’s (apparent) physical attack on her husband with a golf club. It’s a very interesting exchange, in which one commenter says that her attack on him under such circumstances (leaving aside the fact that there were children in the house) was understandable and even salutary, and other commenters agree in part and disagree in part.

Then another commenter says that he has no sympathy with Elin Nordegren, because she betrayed the white race by marrying Tiger Woods. While I wouldn’t agree with the commenter’s harsh condemnation of Nordegren as a person, since she in marrying a nonwhite was simply following the promptings of what our society says is normal and good, it remains the case that the normalization of racial intermarriage is destructive and must be resisted.

But I want to make a different point, about the absurdity of a society that bathes us in titillating and alluring messages of sex, that tells young women to act out their sexuality as much as possible, that tells us in a thousand ways that sex is the most important thing in the universe, and then expects a married man, and not just any married man, but the world’s most successful and famous sportsman, a man who is forever traveling on tour and attended by adoring fans and willing women, to remain faithful to his wife. Our sex-crazed society engulfs a man with temptations a saint would have trouble resisting, while it orders him to be chaste and punishes and humiliates him if he fails. Meanwhile, it seems every time I pick up a newspaper, the movie actor George Clooney has a beautiful new babe at his side, and nobody minds. Why? Because he’s not married. So unmarried stars are expected to be promiscuous, and their multiple sexual affairs are paraded before us, while the married are expected to remain loyal to just one. And the contradiction, the parallel existence of two completely different moral codes, both of which are simultaneously upheld by the society, does not concern only the treatment respectively afforded the married and unmarried. Bill Clinton has had and no doubt continues to have an endless series of adulterous affairs, a good number of which have been more or less publicly known, and is lionized by our culture, while Tiger Woods has a bunch of adulterous affairs, and the culture is clawing him to death. It’s absurd. We can’t have it both ways. We can’t be both Sodom and the City on a Hill. Ultimately we are going to have to make a choice. Either we return to traditional morality, where the ideal and standard is that sex is within marriage, and non-marital sexual relationships are not normalized and publicized and publicly approved as they are now, and the society supports a man in remaining faithful to his wife instead of surrounding him with temptations and encouragements to cheat; or we go the way of France and other cultures where married men are expected to have affairs. But what we have now is an embarrassment. It’s not just a double standard—it’s a psychosis.

And I say this, not because I want us to become like France and give up the last shreds of the marital virtue that Toqueville said raised our country above his own, but because I think that only a return to traditional morality can save us. What made America great was not unlimited freedom, but restrained freedom.

- end of initial entry -

A. Zarkov writes:

Mr. Auster writes:

“It’s a very interesting exchange, in which one commenter says that her attack on him under such circumstances (leaving aside the fact that there were children in the house) was understandable and even salutary, and other commenters agree in part and disagree in part.”

I have to disagree with the idea that Elin Nordegren’s physical and violent attack on her husband Tiger Woods is in any way justifiable, children present or not. Yes she was provoked by his behavior, but civilized people must resist provocations. Men are not free-fire zones for jealous wives or girlfriends. While many men are physically stronger than their wives, so what? Being weaker is no justification for violence. Should she be allowed to clobber him while he sleeps? Or shoot him? In modern America a woman always has the option of a no-fault divorce in court biased in her favor.

This New York Post article quotes an unidentified Woods paramour as saying (through her attorney) that his marriage was a sham, done solely for publicity reasons. If this is true, how can we take Elin’s anger seriously? Was she willing to put up with a few, but once he hit upwards of a dozen, that was too much? Perhaps the their fight was over another issue. In any case I see no reason to excuse her violence.

John M. writes:

I am in complete agreement with you Mr. Auster, and I like the point you bring up about how two-faced we are on morality. It’s like we are in transition from the America that wowed the world from its inception to the 1950’s, and moving towards a amoral, corporate, individualistic society, something that I have no wish to be apart of. But in this transition, we adhere to remnants of the old morality that we hear like a dying voice, reminding us of what’s right. That’s why Americans are still seen as more conservative than Western Europeans. Because there’s still enough public memory of the old beliefs. But these beliefs are continually being deconstructed. Not too long ago, interracial marriage was considered immoral, and even more recently, a majority of white Americans were against gay marriage. Yet one by one these values are deemed to belong in the 1950’s, until what’s left? Will child sex ever be deemed acceptable? We’re teaching 5 year olds about masturbation, for instance.

And I loathe to see what America will be like when my generation takes power. My generation is abominable; the story of my friend getting advice from his friends to have his child aborted is only the tip of a very black ice berg. My generation is the last to remember a world of no Internet; when you had to go outside to interact with people. But even that is a fleeting memory. And the Internet has been such an important part of our lives that it’s even harder for us to try to reconstruct old American culture when we are now so sucked into so many trivial things. We are completely self-absorbed.

In short, I have no idea how white America can be saved when it seems like everyone my age is corrupted by modern culture. And it seems like there’s no way we can turn things around. Even if young people decide that immigration is bad; it still will not amount to much. If people my age are not having children and raising stable families, there is so no future for white Americans. A people that breed below the 2.1 fertility rate will inevitably go extinct; there’s no way to escape the fate of the dinosaurs. But I have no idea how to get people my age to understand that. Everyone is so individualistic they can’t see how they are a part of an actual ethnic group that is on the road to oblivion. No one cares for continuing the bloodline of their ancestors who did much in order to survive and pass on both their genes and culture.

LA writes:

A Christian blog, called Commentarius de Prognosticis, writes:

From time to time I read Lawrence Auster’s blog entitled, “View from the right.” He’s a bit too right wing for me, and frankly, I think some of the things he writes are downright racist and uncalled for. BUT his discussion of the Tiger Woods scandal in the news media deserves to be read. I will again add this caution: I do not agree with Mr. Auster about “mixed race marriages.” If a man and woman love each other, then being united in the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony is the right and correct thing to do, regardless of one’s cultural background, skin color, etc. Now for Mr. Auster’s commentary—he’s 100 percent right about America’s sexual schizophrenia. P.S. Remember what God did to Israel and Judah for their “sexual schizophrenia.” God HATES sin, and it isn’t popular or politically correct to point that out nowadays.

Laura Wood writes:

I know a New York City couple planning to marry later this year. The bachelor party will be in Las Vegas and the bachelor-ette party in New Orleans. Then the wedding guests will descend on a picturesque New England village for a three-day, non-stop, artfully-conceived, breathtakingly-expensive extravaganza. On the night of the wedding, the couple will lay aside their costly threads and fall into bed as they have done a thousand nights before. Who knows? Maybe they won’t even make love. For all the festivities, their nuptials are empty and dull.

I agree with Mr. Auster. Sexual hedonism causes mental illness. It’s also boring as hell.

Laura Wood writes:

A point of clarification. There wasn’t general agreement at my site that Elin Woods was justified. There were clear opposing sides. Only one person argued she had just cause to attack her husband. The rest of the comments expressed the view that she was either completely wrong or that her anger was understandable, which is different from saying her reported actions were excusable.

LA replies:

I’ve modified the passage. However, my memory seems to be incorrect and I’ll have to check out the thread again. As I remembered, one commenter who had completely rejected the initial commenter’s point changed her mind and agreed with him in part.

Christopher C. writes:

There’s no contradiction. There’s no set of parallel moral codes being upheld by society. Society—in general, per the media, the zeitgeist, the propagandists, only upholds one moral code: zero. Zero moral codes. Nothing. To each his own. Nothing but what each might say.

But the truth, nature, must come to the fore; some order must be maintained, and so, by a process of elimination, we are left with one, the only and only and highest offense: hypocrisy. Woods is a hypocrite because he took vows and broke them. Clooney is cool because he “never promised them a rose garden.”

LA replies:

When I began reading your e-mail, I started to reply, “I see what you’re saying, but it’s not entirely right. People think adultery is wrong. That’s a moral code.”

But then I saw where you were heading. Yes. In a culture without a belief in objective morality, hypocrisy becomes the only sin. Great point. And a correlative of hypocrisy would be: violation of a contract. People may not believe that there is a moral truth higher than their desires, but they still think they are supposed to keep a contract to which they have consented. In the culture of unlimited personal autonomy, the only standard that can bind a person is one to which he has voluntarily given his agreement.

To back up his point, Christopher C. sends these excerpts from The Diamond Age, by Neal Stephenson:

“You know, when I was a young man, hypocrisy was deemed the worst of vices,” Finkle-McGraw said. “It was all because of moral relativism. You see, in that sort of a climate, you are not allowed to criticise others—after all, if there is no absolute right and wrong, then what grounds is there for criticism?” …

“Now, this led to a good deal of general frustration, for people are naturally censorious and love nothing better than to criticise others’ shortcomings. And so it was that they seized on hypocrisy and elevated it from a ubiquitous peccadillo into the monarch of all vices. For, you see, even if there is no right and wrong, you can find grounds to criticise another person by contrasting what he has espoused with what he has actually done. In this case, you are not making any judgment whatsoever as to the correctness of his views or the morality of his behaviour—you are merely pointing out that he has said one thing and done another. Virtually all political discourse in the days of my youth was devoted to the ferreting out of hypocrisy….

“We take a somewhat different view of hypocrisy,” Finkle-McGraw continued. “In the late-twentieth-century Weltanschauung, a hypocrite was someone who espoused high moral views as part of a planned campaign of deception—he never held these beliefs sincerely and routinely violated them in privacy. Of course, most hypocrites are not like that. Most of the time it’s a spirit-is-willing, flesh-is-weak sort of thing.”

“That we occasionally violate our own stated moral code,” Major Napier said, working it through, “does not imply that we are insincere in espousing that code.”

“Of course not,” Finkle-McGraw said. “It’s perfectly obvious, really. No one ever said that it was easy to hew to a strict code of conduct. Really, the difficulties involved—the missteps we make along the way—are what make it interesting. The internal, and eternal , struggle, between our base impulses and the rigorous demands of our own moral system is quintessentially human. It is how we conduct ourselves in that struggle that determines how we may in time be judged by a higher power.” All three men were quiet for a few moments, chewing mouthfuls of beer or smoke, pondering the matter.”

Markus writes:

You hit the nail right on the head—I couldn’t have said it better. I’m not excusing adultery, but let’s face it: Tiger Woods would have to exert an extraordinary amount of self control not to fool around, especially on tour. And in the absence of some deeply-cherished spiritual belief (or code of honor), almost no one in his position would be able to resist the temptations our society throws at men like him.

And never mind celebrities—look at us poor proletarians! I’ve been doing some Christmas shopping at Wal-Mart and notice they’re selling (and people are obviously buying) dolls dressed like street hookers. I’m amazed at the hypocrisy of people who are blase about every form of in-your-face sexual raciness, but suddenly turn on a dime when it comes to adultery. As a society we’ve lit a sexually-permissive bonfire that we foolishly expect will be contained within the confines of covenantal marriage vows. But these vows are based (largely) on our Judeo-Christian heritage. Why should they have any binding significance for a people who have, in lighting the bonfire in the first place, fundamentally rejected that heritage?

A few years ago Dateline did an expose on men who troll the internet for minors in hopes of having sex with them. Now, I condemn this practice. Yet I was amazed at the smug sanctimony of the show’s producers, who deliberately lured these guys to a house with foxy girls dressed like whores, and then had the cops waiting to come down on them like a ton of bricks. They may be violating the law, but they’re operating pretty naturally within the apparent spirit of our tolerant society. Lots and lots of minors are having sex, advertising the fact that they’re having sex, and (whether effectively or explicitly) making themselves available for sex. Parents are dressing their kids for sex, sending them to concerts and movies telling them to have sex, etc., etc. And yet we think we have the right to be shocked, outraged and vengeful when some loser who’s exposed to this world of temptation through his computer screen, and can’t find a woman his own age, seeks minors with whom to have sex?

Schizophrenia truly is the right word—because we’re dealing with something sick.

LA replies:

This is very well stated and gets to the heart of the issue I was trying to explain. Thank you.

Aaron S. writes:

You said: ” … or we go the way of France and other cultures where married men are expected to have affairs.”

Here’s the really worrying part: is the “French model” even a possibility for us? Doesn’t such a thing—in order to subsist—require a centuries-long set of manners pertaining to sex roles, and an especially strong sense of the “double standard”?

I don’t mean that the French way of doing things is desirable—quite the contrary. It’s just that the underlying assumptions that allow that behavior its widespread existence are entirely absent at this point in the Anglosphere, and probably were never as strong here as in the Mediterranean countries to begin with.

So maybe our choice is even starker than what you suggest: return to some semblance of our older patterns, or get something far uglier and damaging to marriage than mere taking of mistresses.

LA replies:

Excellent point.

Ferg writes:

I read this comment at Laura Wood’s blog and one thing I noticed was he condemned white women for marrying black men, but said nothing about the growing number (at least in this area) of white men married to black women. I see no reason why this is not as much of a betrayal as the other way around. Perhaps more so in some ways, if men are to be the prime defenders of the country and culture. It used to be very rare to go to a mall or theater and see a mixed couple with bi-racial children where the white person was the man. Now it is quite common. Perhaps this is part and parcel of the emasculated white men Laura Wood is talking about. They all seem to be dominated by their wives and children, unable to control the behavior of either.

LA replies:

It thought white men with black women was rare everywhere. Where do you live? Minnesota?

Ferg replies:

Yes, I live in the Twin Cities Metro area. As I noted it is becoming ever more common to see bi-racial couples in which the man is white.

I began to notice it about six or seven years ago and it has grown steadily since then. It has not attained parity but just a rough guess I would say twenty percent or a bit more of the bi-racial couples I see are male white. I see them mostly in suburban shopping malls and theaters. There are always two or three children, and they tend to be unruly. Being retired I tend to spend some time in malls etc. so I am exposed to it more than average perhaps. Mixed marriage of all kinds is getting to be very common here, far more so than say fifteen years ago. At least I assume these couples are married, they have children.

Ferg continues:

I forgot to mention that in my local Republican Precinct Caucus one of our couples are male white with a black wife. They are Orthodox Jews and come from Chicago originally. They live just two blocks from me and have three or four children. In addition I went to Republican Congressman John Klines Christmas party last year and one of the couples was white male, black female, two children.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at December 08, 2009 01:33 AM | Send

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