Thursday, August 7, 2014

Writer Concerned That Folks Just Don't Understand Traditionalists Well Enough

Inspired by yesterday's post, today I want to pull out a bit from Damon Linker's (NOM-approved) column urging us to re-consider traditional sexual morality.

Specifically, he writes:
"Welcome to sexual modernity — a world in which the dense web of moral judgments and expectations that used to surround and hem in our sex lives has been almost completely dissolved, replaced by a single moral judgment or consideration: individual consent. As long as everyone involved in a sexual act has chosen to take part in it — from teenagers fumbling through their first act of intercourse to a roomful of leather-clad men and women at a BDSM orgy — anything and everything goes....
...Is the ethic of individual consent sufficient to keep people (mostly men) from acting violently on their sexual desires?"
Note two things here.

One, the assumption that there is something essential to male sexual desire that's inherently violent and that, therefore, social forces need to tame and keep in check. The ethic of individual consent is not enough because, Linker suggestively asks, can men really take no for answer?

MRAs and feminist critics, meet Damon Linker because *ding ding ding* we have a MISANDRY ALERT!   I'm sure the anti-feminists will take their shit up with him ASAP. Oh. No, wait. They'll probably find this post eventually and finagle some way to frame me, the feminist, as the Real Misandrist.

Two, his concern trollish question suggests that the thing needed to keep men's violent sexual desires in check is traditional morality, which has some serious stuff to teach "us." As though, back in the good old days, the fear of "god" was enough to keep people from raping people.

When, no.

Back in the good old days of traditional morality in the US, men were more often allowed to rape - their slaves, their women, their wives - without consequence.  The thing about "trends" is that once we finally start naming events for what they are, it sometimes looks like those events are increasing in frequency.

The sad thing about his article is that some of the questions he raises are serious and many progressives, feminists, and liberals are actually thinking seriously about them, a fact which Linker seems oblivious to.  As he tries to explain what's really up with the traditionalists and admonishes us to "respect" those traditionalists who are "troubled" by these issues of modern-day sexuality he barely concedes that traditionalists so often, themselves, refuse to respect, understand, or listen to us.

We're largely met by ridicule of LGBT identities and fingers-in-ears whinging about "political correctness." We encounter irrational religious tangents about "sin" and slippery slope arguments about the "decay of society."

Linker quotes social conservative Rod Dreher, who practically every day at his blog writes a post mocking transgender people and/or whinging about how LGBT equality is oppressing him as a Christian.  Like here, where he mocks the "freaky-deakiness" of the dispute between some strains of radical feminism and transgenderism, ultimately predicting that the debate itself is "a sign" that our "decadent society" isn't going to "end well."

Yet, if we listen to Linker, progressives are supposed to turn around, respect traditionalists like Dreher, and take his opinions more seriously just because he's super concerned that modern sexual ethics will destroy society.

Okay! /sarcastic thumbs up sign/  Because we haven't been hearing that for years!

Look. I have considered, truly considered traditional values, and for the most part I reject them.  Where this idea comes from that progressives and liberals just haven't given enough thought to traditional values, I have no idea.  These conversations and debates among traditionalists and more tolerant folks have been going on for at least decades and are well-documented in journals, blogposts, articles, media, books, and court cases.

Speaking for myself, about half the blogs I regularly read are blogs written by those with whom I radically disagree.  While I sometimes find areas of agreement, I'm often not impressed with either their arguments or their understandings of the ideologies they disagree with, which they often write about in vague and caricatured ways.

What I could get on board with would be a column saying, "Hey, why don't all people involved in heated debate and conversation try to understand the other side a bit better, yeah?"

I certainly don't need concern troll "translators" trying their best to make either traditional or Christian views more palatable to me by suggesting that it's progressives who just don't understand where traditionalists are coming from.

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