Thursday, May 6, 2021

health nazis, food nazis and puritanism

Further to my recent post on libertinism versus puritanism, another example of the increasing puritanism of modern western society has been the rise of the health nazis, and more recently the food nazis.

When you have a widespread belief that the government should have the power to exercise a high degree of coercion in regards to what people do with their own bodies that doesn’t sound to me like a libertine society. It sounds like a puritan society. A society that considers unhealthy lifestyle choices to be evidence of wickedness that sounds like a puritan society.

It’s difficult to see the modern Nanny State as anything other than puritanism. Puritanism mixed with totalitarianism, but then puritans have always had a totalitarian outlook.

Australia has been in some ways Ground Zero for this. Australia is now the Nanny State on steroids. Innocuous medications which used to be available over the counter are now available only on prescription, and if you have a chronic pain problem it is immensely difficult to get the medications needed to control that pain. Now the Australian Government wants to stop people from vaping. Vaping is a whole lot better than smoking so you’d think that a sane government would want to encourage the practice. But the puritan impulse is too strong.

The food nazis are the latest manifestation of puritanism. They want to shame us for eating meat, or liking sugar.

What it comes down to is that people with a puritan mindset are horrified that there are people out there doing things that they enjoy. There are people who like eating steaks and they are still eating steaks. They must be stopped.

Any kind of freedom is now regarded as problematic. Whether it’s freedom of speech, freedom of thought or even the freedom to eat what you want to eat. Doing anything solely for pleasure is now regarded as problematic. People used to enjoy food. That’s so wrong.

The main impulse behind our increasing drift towards totalitarianism and complete social control has nothing to do with leftist politics as such. Right-wing governments (such as the Morrison Government in Australia) are just as committed to social control as parties of the left. The Tories in Britain are as committed to totalitarianism as Labour. We’re drifting towards totalitarianism because of an increasingly puritan outlook. It’s an outlook that demands that people should be forced to be virtuous. We must be forced to be virtuous in our speech, in our thoughts and in our private lives and personal habits.

Saturday, May 1, 2021

is our modern society actually libertine?

There’s a widespread assumption that western society has become increasingly libertine about sexuality over time and that we now live in an age of sexual degeneracy and sexual libertinism. But is that really true?

In some ways we're more puritanical about sex than ever before. Engaging in mild flirtation can now lead to the loss of your job and your career.

The libertinism of today may be more apparent than real. Society is more tolerant of homosexual libertinism than ever before, but arguably it's less tolerant of heterosexual libertinism. A man who has consensual sex with a woman can have his life destroyed if the woman changes her mind after the act. If it wasn't as magical and meaningful as the woman expected it's rape. The #metoo hysteria is a prime example of the New Puritanism.

Surveys suggest that young people are having less sex than previous generations. Which would not be surprising. Engaging in entirely consensual heterosexual sex is now a high-risk activity. Engaging in the normal human activities that have always been part and parcel of courtship is now like wandering through a minefield.

Read Steve Sailer's recent post on the professor accused of sexual misbehaviour. The behaviours in which he engaged were so innocuous that twenty years the women involved would simply have laughed the whole thing off.

I'm not even convinced that monogamy has gone out of fashion. It still seems to be the norm, even among young people. In fact, especially among young people. Not necessarily marriage but monogamy in some form. It’s easy to see internet hookup culture as proof that young people are highly promiscuous but I suspect that promiscuity is less common today compared to fifty years ago. The high tide of modern sexual libertinism was the 1970s. The tide of libertinism has been receding ever since.

Our real problem is that so many people are getting married and are remaining monogamous, but they're not having children. That's a problem with multiple causes but I don't think it has anything at all to do with a rising tide of libertinism.

I don't think there is a rising tide of libertinism. Quite the reverse.

The trans thing is interesting. As Steve Sailer has pointed out, much of the trans mania actually seems to be driven by avoidance of sex. If people are having their genitals surgically destroyed or pumping themselves full of the hormones of the opposite sex and thereby destroying any possibility of an actual functional sex life that doesn't sound like libertinism. That sounds like a twisted form of puritanism. It sounds like a phobia of sex. Especially in the case of young girls deciding that they’re really young boys what really seems to be happening is a flight from adulthood and from normal sexuality, or from any sexuality at all.

I want to emphasise that I'm not arguing that everything is hunky-dory and that our modern society is healthy and there's nothing to worry about. Our modern society is very very unhealthy.

But the real problem is that completely normal heterosexual desires and completely normal heterosexual behaviours are now seen as problematic. Completely normal heterosexual behaviours have been pathologised. Such normal behaviours are now seen as wrong and oppressive.

A big part of the problem is of course feminism. Back in the 90s when the anti-sex feminists lost the Feminist Sex Wars we thought we wouldn't have to worry about those crazies any more. But we were wrong. The anti-sex feminists have made a major comeback. They're as crazy as ever and they're as aggressive as ever.

I’m not advocating for sexual libertinism. I’m merely arguing that the dysfunction in our society is not actually sexual libertinism, but increasing anxiety about sex and fear of sex. We’re obsessed with the subject, but then puritanism is also driven to a large extent by an obsession with sex.

I don’t think the current situation is as straightforward as it seems to be.

I'm more worried about the de-normalisation of healthy heterosexuality than about a largely imaginary libertinism. The de-normalisation of healthy heterosexuality is a fundamental attack on the foundation of any sane healthy society.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

counter-cultures then and now

I've been thinking a lot recently about the counter-culture of the 60s and its relevance today.

The first thing that needs to be stated is that the counter-culture was not actually a phenomenon of the 1960s and it was not the Baby Boomers who started it. The counter-culture began in the mid-1950s. It was the creation of the Silent Generation and in particular the “war babies” (born between 1935 and 1945) and in fact many of the founders of the counter-culture were even older.

The counter-culture really started with the Beats. The Beat sub-culture was well established by the late 50s. The Flower Children and the hippies of the 60s were a later manifestation of the counter-culture but they were for the most part merely picking up on ideas that the Beats had propounded.

The counter-culture represented a conscious rejection of many of the social attitudes and social norms of the 1950s. And it has to be said that some of the criticisms made by the Beats had some validity - that society had become too materialistic and status-obsessed, that war was a bad thing, that nuclear armageddon was not an inviting prospect, that 50s sexual mores were too restrictive, that censorship was a bad thing and free speech was a good thing, and that personal freedom was important.

The 1950s/60s counter-culturalists were of course wrong about many things, but it has to be admitted that they weren’t wrong about everything. The counter-culture of that era was an understandable reaction to many of the negative aspects of 50s society.

It needs to be stated emphatically that the Wokeism and Social Justice cults of today are not just logical extensions of the 50s/60s counter-culture. They differ in many important respects. The 50s/60s counter-culture was a consciously oppositional movement. They were the enemies of the Establishment of their time. The Wokeists and SJWs of today serve the Establishment. They are on the side of the status quo. They may not see it that way, some of them may delude themselves into thinking that they’re brave fighters against the Establishment, but they are in reality servants of the current political/economic Establishment.

To be honest the dissident right of today has more claims to being a genuine counter-culture than the Wokeists do. It is at least a consciously oppositional movement. Like the 50s/60s counter-culturalists the dissident right is correct on some issues and wrong on others. Like the 50s/60s counter-culture it looks like it is going to fail.

The counter-culture of the late 50s, 60s and 70s achieved some of its short-term objectives but it ultimately failed. They did not succeed in smashing the system. Society is just as materialistic today as it was in the 50s. Wars go on. Interventionism remains the basis of foreign policy. Large corporations have more power than they had in the 50s. Any genuine criticism of capitalism is stifled. There was a cultural revolution of sorts but there was no social revolution and no political revolution.

One of the reasons the counter-culture of the late 50s, 60s and 70s failed is that the "Establishment" proved to be very good at co-opting its enemies.

If you were a young student radical of that era then once you left university you were forced to abandon many of your principles if you wanted to get ahead. At university you could be opposed to capitalism but if you wanted to get a job in the corporate sector after university you suddenly had to learn to love capitalism.

As a young student radical you could be opposed to America's interventionist (or imperialist, depending on your perspective) foreign policy but if you wanted to have a long-term political career you had to accept the reality that there immensely powerful vested interests that were determined to continue that interventionist foreign policy. So you had to switch from opposing interventionist wars to supporting them.

Counter-cultures are worth studying, both for their successes and failures.

This post was more or less inspired (or at least I was inspired to actually sit down and write it) by the recent post Will Wokeness Win? at the Upon Hope blog.

Saturday, January 2, 2021

Richard Nixon quotes

Some quotes from Richard Nixon.

“Never forget, the press is the enemy. The establishment is the enemy. The professors are the enemy. Professors are the enemy. Write that on a blackboard 100 times and never forget it.”

“Politics would be a helluva good business if it weren't for the goddamned people.”

“Honesty may not be the best policy, but it is worth trying once in a while.”

“Idealism without realism is impotent. Realism without idealism is immoral.”

“The worst thing a politician can be is dull. At least I'm interesting.”

“Yet we can maintain a free society only if we recognize that in a free society no one can win all the time. No one can have his own way all the time, and no one is right all the time.”

“Let us remember that the main purpose of American aid is not to help other nations, but to help ourselves.”

“Television is to news as bumperstickers are to philosophy.”