Posted by: frroberts | October 10, 2016

The Plasticity of Human Sexuality

After Margaret Meade any responsible person who reads a study about life in the bush with a healthy dose of suspicion.  That said, when the results of a study of “primitive peoples” undermine the conventional wisdom of military-industrial complex of the dictatorship of relativism in academe today, one cannot help but think that there might be something of substance.  Such was my response when I ran into this article on the Atlantic’s website, “Where Masturbation and  Homosexuality do not exist.”  It is definitely worth a read.

In my years at Harvard, I was always fascinated by the deconstructionists who argued that the idea of gender and sexuality was a social construct imposed on us by the powerful who then proceed to impose their own version of gender and sexuality by using the power of their endowed university chairs.  We owe a real debt of gratitude to the post-modernists.  They have revealed to us that there is no such thing as unbiased objectivity.  We find the next step that many post-moderns take to be disingenuous, however:  Since there is no such thing as objectivity, it is beyond discussion that everything is relative.

The original sin for this worldview is the imposition of any kind of social orthodoxy save their own.  As my one of my relatives once told me, “The only thing I can’t stand is intolerant people!”  Indeed.  The one dogma is that there shall be no dogma.  And all those who dissent from this creed shall be branded heretics and silenced by the inquisitors of tolerance.

The developed, post-Christian West stands on the verge of the public normalization of sexuality that is conceptually decoupled from procreation.  We should not be surprised that this movement corresponds to soaring rates of single motherhood, child poverty, human trafficking and “sex tourism.”   We are told to have faith.  More contraceptives and government regulation will fix the problem.  If only we have more comprehensive government-sponsored sexual education in public schools and free contraceptives, all will be well in the garden.  We can’t help but smile.  Are these not the same urban public schools that graduate students from high school who can barely read their diplomas?   Are these not the same urban  public schools that the wealthy post-modern liberal elites avoid using for their own children at all costs?

Progress in questions of gender and sexuality does not consist in a mechanistic rolling back of social taboos.  Evolution might be an historic, biological reality, but Darwin’s science gives us precious little insight into what is a just social order on questions of justice and sexuality.

Given that human sexuality is not determined but plastic, we would do well to have an open, honest debate about the common good as regards gender and sexuality rather than sliding into far-reaching social transformation by the diktat of those in the entertainment, journalism and academia (the distinction between these has become increasingly difficult to delineate, both on the right and left, in recent decades).  The following might be good starting points:

There is an undeniable link between sexual intimacy and procreation for the vast majority of the population; sexuality is inherently social.  

The protection of the rights of children should be a primary consideration in any debate regarding gender and sexuality.  

Rights of adults always come with social responsibilities;  this is particularly true as regards gender and sexuality.

Public recognition of private intimate relationships between consenting adults must be balanced against the forgoing three points.  


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