July 13, 2010
Sex and State PowerBy Bookworm
For many years, physicists have tried to find a unified theory of everything. They have faith that somewhere out there, there is a theory that will explain the physical properties of all things, without any exceptions. I'm not sure that dream will be realized in the scientific arena, but I think I might have stumbled across a unified theory that underlies statist philosophies, whether they are socialist or theocratic: sex.
Before you get too excited, this article isn't going to be about voluptuous women in slinky, abbreviated clothes, or scantily clad men with rippling pecs and washboard abs. Sorry.
Instead, this article focuses on the sordid, depressing, government-controlled side of human sexuality. That is, it examines sex not from the viewpoint of any given individual's particular desires, but from the viewpoint of a state intent upon gaining maximum control over that same individual.
Those of us who came of age before the 1980s, when the Judeo-Christian, Western tradition, though battered, was still ascendant, view our sexuality as a private matter. We believe that our bodies are our own property, which means that we should not be touched or controlled sexually without our consent. A person raised with this worldview inevitably believes as well that his ability to control his body is the essence of his individuality. This physical individuality is the antithesis of slavery, which represents a person's ultimate lack of control over his body.
Statist regimes, of course, cannot tolerate self-ownership, which is the natural enemy of government control over the individual. The easiest example one can find of a statist regime using sexuality to deny individuality and dominate its citizens is, of course, Islam.
A wise friend of mine once opined that Islam's entire quarrel with the West rests on its fear that Western values will undermine Islam's control over its women and, with that, its control over the men who benefit from a system that subjugates one half of the population to the control of the other half. There's a great deal of truth in that observation.
Unlike most other conflicts, Islam's quarrel with the West does not revolve around borders, water supplies, or economic control over assets. Instead, it focuses on culture -- and the heart of the Islamic cultural difference with the West, at least in the Muslim mind, is Islam's statist determination to erase a woman's individuality through control over her sexuality.
In the Muslim world, women are viewed as temptresses, and men as feeble creatures incapable of resisting feminine wiles. The only way to control the anarchy that this perceived sexual imbalance creates is for the State -- and remember that Islam and the State are indistinguishable from each other -- to exert total dominion over the women within its reach.
The best way to regulate women is to remove them entirely from view. Islam has traditionally relied upon harems to isolate women from view (and, not coincidentally, from the body politic). This practice is still used in Saudi Arabia, where women may not leave the home unless they are accompanied by a male family member.
Should the imprisonment option be unavailable, however, wrapping the women in completely obscuring, shapeless mountains of cloth is an adequate substitute. Women so enveloped, aside from losing any individuality, are relatively dysfunctional and, therefore, are entirely dependent on men.
Women who seek to express (or are suspected of or falsely accused of expressing) their sexuality free of statist constraints are subject to exceptional cruelty in the Muslim world. This cruelty often comes directly from the State. Sakineh Mohammadie Ashtiani, an Iranian woman and mother of two, was due to be stoned to death for allegedly having an adulterous relationship. When an outcry arose, the Iranian government threw in a surprise murder conviction to justify making adultery a capital crime. Ashtiani is not alone: Twelve other women and three men await the same fate for having allegedly committed an act that, in Western culture, is not a crime against the State.
Islam also sanctions private actions to control women's sexuality in the form of so-called "honor killings." These"all in the family" murders are endemic wherever Muslims live, whether in the Middle East, Europe, England, or America.
The Islamic state manipulates men sexually, too. On the one hand, it theoretically offers men the benefit of an enslaved female population. On the other hand, though, the isolation it imposes on women means that vast numbers of Muslim men are deprived of any access, normal or otherwise, to women.
This deprivation enables Islamic leadership to use the mere promise of sex to entice men into committing suicide on behalf of the state. Islam assures men that, if they engage in suicidal attacks against nonbelievers in order to advance Islam, their reward in the afterlife will be unlimited sex with the famous seventy virgins (or, maybe, they'll enjoy sexual congress with seventy raisins, a much less titillating inducement to suicide).
What's interesting is that, because the Left expresses itself in terms of "freeing" people's sexuality, many people miss the fact that it is every bit as sexually controlling in its own way as Islam is. This control comes about because the Left works assiduously to decouple sex from a person's own sense of bodily privacy and, by extension, self-ownership. If a person has no sense of autonomy, that person is a ready-made cog for the statist machinery.
The practical problem for the Left when it tries to attack individuality as expressed through sexuality is the fact that a person's sense of an inviolate physical self develops quite early, during childhood:
The Left, therefore, needs to decouple self and body as early as possible in a person's development -- and it does this by bringing its own peculiar notions of sexuality into the realms of child-rearing and education.
Once upon a time, the radical Leftists were quite open about their agenda. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, German Leftists explicitly sought childhood "sexual liberation" as a political goal. In practice, this meant exposing children to adult sexual practices, focusing obsessively on the children's external sexual organs, speaking about sexual matters in the crudest terms, and, unsurprisingly, engaging in actual sexual molestation. The Leftists advocating this liberation framed it as a way to break free of stifling bourgeois notions of morality that enslaved people and prevented them from realizing full sexual pleasure.
Reading the Leftists' contemporaneous literature, however, reveals a more comprehensive aim than merely breaking those much-derided bourgeois sexual chains. The Leftists also intended to destroy the traditional nuclear family, with its bright lines between parent and child, and to bring down the capitalist system, which is dependent on a competitive, and therefore individualized, workforce:
Nor can the above ranting be excused as the thoughts of a radical fringe. For example, these same European Leftists infiltrated the Catholic Diocese in Mechelen-Brussels, in Belgium, creating a sickening environment that actively promoted pedophilia. In other words, this particular church's forays into perversion were not the secretive gropings of individual priests. Instead, there was a concerted effort, led by a liberal Belgian church hierarchy, to make pedophilia a routine practice within the Church.
Incidentally, Frank Marshall Davis, a radical Leftist who was Obama's surrogate father and mentor during his childhood years in Hawaii, fully supported this politically-driven hyper-sexualization, including sex with children. He engaged in and wrote about disturbing sexual practices such as bondage, simulated rape, undinism, and pedophilia (or, at the very least, pederasty). Since Obama's political ascendancy, both his poetic forays and his peculiar disassociative behavior have supported speculation that Davis, giving free rein to his personal preferences and his commitment to preventing the child from gaining ownership of his own body, may have practiced what he preached on the fatherless young boy given so unthinkingly into his care.
While the overheated Marxist rhetoric of the 1960s has died away, the Leftist preoccupation with childhood sexuality, and its relentless desire to have the state control a child's sexual development -- and, by extension, to deny the child self-ownership -- is still alive and well. The primary pathway the Left currently uses to decouple childhood sexual development from self-individuation is the gay rights agenda.
Many of us who believe that gays and lesbians should be free to pursue their personal lives free from discrimination have felt bewildered by our discomfort with and resistance to all of the homophilic programs that have suddenly invaded our children's schools. To use the language of the Left, though, we should "listen to our feelings."
Subconsciously, we recognize that these pro-homosexual programs have nothing to do with teaching tolerance, which is a virtue in a pluralistic society. Instead, the programs have everything to do with having the state substitute its goal of sexual, and therefore social, control in place of a parent's desire to inculcate his children with traditional Judeo-Christian values, values that focus on the inviolability of the individual, beginning with his body.
Examples abound of supposedly anti-discriminatory programs that, instead of focusing on tolerance, work to direct a child's sexual development away from the zone of privacy that is a hallmark of Western sexuality. Robin of Berkeley describes a group called "Gender Spectrum," which has the ostensible goal of allowing "transgender, gender bending, [and] gender nonconforming" children and teens to hang with each other and share their experiences. She rightly sees this not as an effort to promote tolerance, but as a way to make it "cool to dabble in polyamory and gender nonconformism," thereby "destroy[ing] the West by degrading traditional values."
Only four years ago, California narrowly escaped a legislative effort to pass a bill that would have required all California textbooks, starting in first grade, to include materials focusing on famous homosexuals -- with the focus not on the achievement that made them famous, but simply on the homosexuality itself. A parental outcry forced the legislature to retreat to something more in keeping with a free society, which is the requirement that children may not be exposed to material that is discriminatory to people based on their sexuality.
In Helena, Montana (Montana!), the school board is contemplating a K-12 sex ed program that repeatedly blurs the line between demanding tolerance, which should be an imperative in a free society, and advocating alternative sexuality, which is consistent with the Leftist agenda of separating sexuality from individuality. In Grade 2, children would be taught, appropriately, that "making fun of people by calling them gay (e.g. 'homo,' 'fag,' 'queer') is disrespectful and hurtful." By Grade 3, however, the focus is on breaking down traditional familial norms, as children are taught that to "[u]nderstand media often presents an unrealistic image of what it means to be male or female, what it means to be in love & what parenthood & marriages are like." And so it goes, with a proposed curriculum that veers wildly between respect and advocacy.
The relentless Leftist obsession with homosexuality and variations on traditional sexual gender roles is deeply embedded in the Obama administration. Last year, a vigilant blogger exposed the fact that Kevin Jennings, Obama's "Safe Schools Czar," as part of his leadership role in the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network ("GLSEN"), aggressively promoted child pornography in the classroom. GLSEN's actions had nothing to do with creating a safe, non-discriminatory environment for young people with different sexual orientations and everything to do with using the government (i.e., public schools) to inculcate in children the notion that their bodies have no boundaries. A body with no boundaries, of course, is a body that can easily be decoupled from the individual's control and then ceded to the state.
While the gay agenda, which is cloaked in civil rights language that makes it hard to challenge, is the leading edge of the state's desire to control children's sexuality, Leftists also use the schools to manipulate heterosexual behaviors so as to destroy a child's physical boundaries. In England, parents were aghast to learn that a school was requiring its first-grade pupils to massage each other. In Iowa (Iowa!), one middle school has abandoned any pretense of traditional morality and, instead, is teaching its eighth-graders "how to perform female exams and to put a condom on a 3-D, anatomically correct male sex organ." The body is a tool, and nothing more.
Freud was right when he speculated that sex, perhaps because it is the least easily satisfied human need, may also be the most powerful physical need driving human beings. Freud, however, viewed sexuality through the spectrum of a given individual's desires. What the statists understand -- and have always understood -- is that our bodies are the first line in the battle between statism and individualism. If a person is allowed to develop a sense that his body is his own to control, he will never willingly yield to the demands of the state. Only by convincing its citizens that they have no personal autonomy, beginning with control over their own bodies, can a state completely subsume the individual to the bureaucracy.
So if you're getting an itchy feeling between your shoulderblades when you contemplate your child's hyper-sexualized reading list and gender-bending sex education curriculum, you need not fear that you have turned into a repressed, homophobic Victorian. Instead, there's an excellent chance that you are someone with a deep respect for individual freedom who resents the Leftists' efforts to co-opt your child's body as a necessary sacrifice to the State.
Bookworm is the proprietor of Bookworm Room.