When it comes to insanity, Joe Gould, the infamously unstable writer who may or may not have written the largest oral account of history, didn’t believe in it. “The fallacy of dividing people into sane and insane lies in the assumption that we really do touch other lives,” he wrote. Seeing as how Gould lived a tragic, if not prolific, life that ended with many stints in mental hospitals and a lobotomy, perhaps he isn’t great source material on mental health.
Or maybe he is, when looking through the lens of today’s liberalism.
The recent leak of user data from the affair-abetting site AshleyMadison.com has got to be beguiling for progressives. As liberals fight to transcendent bourgeoisie sexual norms, they are, at the same time, trying to retain the faithfulness necessary to foster a loving relationship. So on one hand, sexual liberation is the number one goal of the progressive vision. Yet, on the other fidelity is a necessary limit on sexual activity. So which is more important for leftists? Dependability or unrestrained whoopie?
With the leak at Ashley Madison, I was curious to see the reaction of normal progressives. I thus made the mistake of scrolling through the comment sections of illustrious liberal sites like Slate.com and Salon. I should have donned industrial-strength heat-resistant gloves, as the takes were hotter than the earth’s core (and here I thought Breitbart.com’s comment section was the sewer of the internet). There was the requisite conservative bashing. Then there were the homespun tales about the emotional devastation rendered by an unfaithful partner. Righteous moral indignation, the internet’s prime source of content, permeated through most messages.
An example: Salon commenter ge0rge writes, “If you had an affair then THAT’S WHAT ruined yourife. Lyomg to your spouse About that is WRONG. It’s EVIL. OT SHOULF have ugly consequences.” (sic)
I actually agree with this sentiment, garbled as it is. Cheaters should be contrite about their broken promise. It shouldn’t ruin their life (“let him who is without sin, cast the first stone”), but they shouldn’t get off scot-free.
But here’s what I don’t get: if progressives view sex as without moral value, then what is the problem with cheating? According to Cathy Reisenwitz, spokeswoman for sexual-positivism, putting value on sex leads to unnecessary feelings of “shame” and “fear.” “Sex-negative culture teaches that sex is inherently meaningful,” she writes. In her view, sex is simply a “bodily function.” Nothing more, nothing less. “Sex-positive feminism recognizes the moral neutrality of sex,” she declares. So boink whoever you want and don’t worry about the consequences!
Reisenwitz’s view makes perfect sense in a materialistic world without a Creator or duties to your family and neighbors. If there are no ends infused in creation, then we should be free to frolic amongst each other, engaging in whatever baroque sexuality we desire. After all, sex has no meaning. So who cares if you sleep with a couple of gals and a dude, all in one sitting?
Leftists critical of Ashley Madison users concede the moral value – and thus morally-defined limits – of sex. Even if you believe sex is without meaning, why put value on a promise to be monogamous? Where does such an inkling come from? If all life amounts to is what can be seen and felt, there is no moral imperative to be truthful. There are no metaphysical truths built into reality. Spreading lies and being malicious is no better than volunteering to help the disabled.
At least one guy has it right: Michael Sonmore recently penned an insightful essay about life
as a cuckold in an open marriage and how his wife screwing other men affects him. At first, he admits, he was “confused, angry, and terrified” over his better half getting it on with another guy. Said homewrecker fell in love with his wife, but she was not deterred. “She assured me she didn’t [love him], and whatever feelings she had for him didn’t lessen what she felt for me,” Sonmore tells the reader. He eventually learned to accept his wife’s open infidelity because of his unflinching desire to be the best feminist he can be. “When my wife told me she wanted to open our marriage and take other lovers, she wasn’t rejecting me, she was embracing herself. When I understood that, I finally became a feminist,” Sonmore announces, no doubt truly believing that he and his wife are happy.
Being a feminist, and thus an advocate for sexual liberation, means not restricting sexual choices. “The point is,” Sonmore notes, “that it should be women who choose, not men — even the men they’re married to.” From a leftist perspective, he’s absolutely correct. As a God-denying sybarite, it makes no sense to get panicky about a dumb thing like sex. The act of love and procreation is no better or worse than taking the garbage to the curb at night. There is no meaning behind the joining of two into one. It simply is.
Years back, I was tarred-and-feathered by leftists and libertarians (including Ms. Reisenwitz) for my stance on slut-shaming. What I endorsed was considered “unjustifiable coercion.” And yet, here are progressives fretting over the revealed identities of philanderers. Why should the sexual revolutionists of the left care about such a thing? Isn’t the height of enlightenment doing what feels good?
Liberal views about sexuality and the human person have always been backwards and contradictory. Women’s rights matter, unless it means crushing infant girls and sucking out their organs for profit. Black lives matter, unless it means aborting more black babies than are born every year. Sex doesn’t matter, unless people cheat and violate their sacred bond.
How progressives can carry on as they do about adultery while still maintaining the moral weightlessness of sex, I can’t wrap my head around. Then again, liberalism has never been about thinking with clear eyes and a full heart. The god of the left is the almighty “Me.” All truth flows from the “Me” and all judgements rendered by the “Me” are correct. And, of course, all decisions regarding sex are perfectly keen – unless they offend the capricious whim of those who claim the mantle of moral superiority.