Monday 11 March 2013

Attitude to the sexual revolution is the single most decisive litmus test of Leftism


A positive attitude to the sexual revolution is the hallmark of Leftism, which trumps all other themes and unites disparate (and hostile) factions.

To be pro-the sexual revolution is not only the cornerstone of Marxists, Communists, Fascists, Socialists, Labour parties and Democrats; but is shared by mainstream Conservatives, Neo-Conservatives, Republicans; and by Anarchists and Libertarians; and by sex-worshipping neo-Nietzschian pseudo-reactionaries - such as those of the 'manosphere'.

To be pro-the sexual revolution is the nearest thing to a core value of the mass media; and of art both high-brow and low. 

This vast conglomeration is the Left alliance; it is modern local, national and international politics - united only by being pro-the sexual revolution: but this is enough.  


What is the sexual revolution?

Simply the divorce of sex from marriage and family.

Marriage and family are social institutions; but sex cut-off from ('liberated' from) marriage and family is (sooner or later) a monstrous, insatiable and self-stimulating greed for pleasure and distraction.


Attitude to the sexual revolution therefore marks the difference between those who are ultimately in favour of human society; and those who delight in its destruction (aka Leftists) who see social collapse as primarily an opportunity to feed their personal addictions; to use other people to make themselves feel good about themselves; to distract themselves with pleasure, and pleasure themselves with distraction.




The Crow said...

Harsh but insightful.
It's easy to see why the young would favour such things, but not so easy to discover why the young no longer grow out of being young.
Well observed, Bruce.

Bruce Charlton said...

"Harsh but insightful."

Maybe I would be happy to accept that as an epitaph on my blogging?

Arakawa said...

Hmm, so does that mean a decided rejection of the sexual revolution would eventually force a break with Leftism on other points?

I'm genuinely not sure. Perhaps this is why it is so difficult to talk to people about this directly. The things that don't elicit heresy flags just go over people's heads.

Bringing up sub-replacement fertility results in blank incomprehension. "Why is this even a concern?"

Bringing up the fact that the structure of society is oriented towards endless adolescent delaying of marriage, and the endless problems that result from it, invariably results in the canned response: "this is not the Middle Ages where everyone had to marry at age 16 to produce babies, half of whom would die in childbirth". It is amazing how often people say this, regardless of what I am actually advocating.

Getting at least one of the following things right would make the problems with the sexual revolution more obvious:
- people in a society have duties, some of which they do not get to choose
- actual commitment in a relationship is serious business; at once necessary and not to be given away lightly

Even increased virtue in small things can be an antidote. Much of the bad advice in the hedonistic manosphere requires a high level of comfort with dishonesty to actually follow, for instance. (It was somewhat appalling, given that I am not a naturally honest person, to find that even worse extremes could be suggested in a self-help book and presented as an absolute matter of course.)

I am not sure what exactly could shift the basic assumptions to what is obviously right. In my experience, only popular art where those obvious assumptions are front and centre (blazingly obvious, but at the same time unremarked-on, presented as a matter of course) can convince people of the basics -- and even that unreliably. And as you point out, there is not that much of that kind of art.

Again, it's always the things that a person takes for granted so much that they do not explain, that reveal the most about their worldview.

Bruce Charlton said...

@A "Hmm, so does that mean a decided rejection of the sexual revolution would eventually force a break with Leftism on other points?"

No, I don't think that follows.

What I meant was almost the oppposite: that so long as a person 'clings' to any aspect of the sexual revolution, for so long will that person be complicit in the Leftist project of destruction - destruction primarily of Christianity, secondarily of society.

(This means, of course, that there is not much real Christianity - and that even less of real Christianity is thriving. This applies especially if one denies that Mormonism is Christian, since the LDS church is the only large scale and thriving real Christian church. As a quick check, if you want to know what specific aspects of the sexual revolution must be rejected, then see what Mormons reject.)

It does not matter if a person self-identifies as Christian - if he embraces the sexual revolution to any significant extent, he is de facto anti-Christian in net-effect: the sexual revolution will incrementally-subvert anything and everything non-Leftist.

(Of course, the sexual revolution will ultimately subvert itself. Nonetheless, by the time this point it reached there may not be much remaining of Christianity or society.)

Arakawa said...

@bgc "No, I don't think that follows."

Fair enough. I even suspect the Soviet Union (apparently sexually conservative, undeniable Leftists) would provide the counterexample for this case, I am just not sure given the evidence I have how genuine their rejection of the sexual revolution really was.

"As a quick check, if you want to know what specific aspects of the sexual revolution must be rejected, then see what Mormons reject."

In terms of the Mormons, the immediate observation that occurs to me is that there is not just a rejection of certain modern assumptions, but a concerted effort by church leadership to think through the 'typical' life path of a church member, rethink the secondary aspects of the tradition (e.g. reformulating how dating and courtship might be done to remain feasible under current conditions), and provide a support network.

Compare with the standard Western scheme of (school --> college: sleep around --> build self-centred career --> ???). This gets particularly egregious when the 'college' step includes graduate-level education. So exceptional efforts are required to insert marriage into the above sequence.

in general, the goalposts keep constantly moving, so they have to deal with each new obstacle thrown up by modernity to impede marriage at a reasonable age. This is probably where many mainstream Christian denominations (the genuine ones, at least) were caught flat-footed; looking at mainstream Christianity, it's not exactly clear whose job it is to consider and pronounce on these kinds of problems (and to do so in good faith!). And it's not enough to come up once with a scheme that works in the 50s, because then the 60s come along.

Bruce Charlton said...

@A - Good analysis.

I think one reason why the LDS leadership have been so adept at this is that the history of Mormonism has been rather like 1000s of years of Judeo-Christian history compressed into a century - there have been several very different and distinct phases of Mormonism in terms of both doctrine and way of life, several were extinction-threatening; requiring the management of vast upheavals and re-orientations between them.

(It is likely that early Christianity went through similar major phasic changes - for example following the death of the Apostles - but most of this is lost to history.)

Brett Stevens said...

Sexual revolution does more than divorce sex from marriage and family.

It divorces pleasure from end-results; it is inherently masturbatory. This fits with the radical individualism of leftism, which essentially rejects the idea of cooperation which is essential to civilization itself.

The ancients seemed to enjoy their pleasures in context, inseparable from the ends of those pleasures; this is a traditional viewpoint, because it is a complete cause->effect chain. A modern viewpoint is to separate cause from effect so that that individual's judgment, feelings, and desires are the most important factor.

Typical modern narcissism: isolating self from the world, and deconstructing cause from effect, in order to have more personal "power."

Deogolwulf said...

“the Soviet Union (apparently sexually conservative, undeniable Leftists) would provide the counterexample for this case”

In the beginning, when the leaders of the revolution were undeniably leftists, they were sexual libertarians; but when the social disorder brought about by this sexual revolution threatened the foundations of their political establishment, the leadership was more sexually conservative. In the end, the leaders of the Soviet Union were in most things to the right of the West’s “right-wingers”.

JP said...

"Harsh but insightful."

In other words, TRUE.

Why use three words when one will do? =)

"not so easy to discover why the young no longer grow out of being young."

It is easy to see. Youth is a time of unbridled hedonism -- pleasure without responsibility -- and who would want to grow out of that if they didn't have to? The Left has made it their business to ensure that people don't have to outgrow being young (in attitude and behavior if not in physical form). The Left has placed an ever-increasing number of obstacles in the path of people growing out of being young, for the obvious reason that people who are not young (i.e., adults) think for themselves and provide for themselves and have no need for (and will not vote for) the "help" that the minions of Leftism provide.

Arakawa said...

I think an important distinction is between a denomination whose practices are oriented towards being a tightly-knit minority in a broader society overtly hostile to it (as was the case throughout the overwhelming majority of Mormon history), and a denomination whose practices presume being the primary (default) religion of its society, one way or the other.

Both conditions determine what sorts of practices work, right down to what you'd think to be the most basic theological explanations. (For instance, doctrines of infant baptism are fairly natural in the latter case, but inevitably raise difficult questions in the former.)

Obviously, the transition from the latter condition to the former is not easy.

Bruce Charlton said...

@JP "Youth is a time of unbridled hedonism -- pleasure without responsibility -- and who would want to grow out of that if they didn't have to?"

I'm not sure what stage of life you are at, but as someone who was stuck in youth for longer than most (didn't marry until mid thirties, family started in forties) I look back upon the era of youthful pleasure seeking (serial dating, self indulgence, selfish careerism etc) as incomparably the most miserable and despairing era of my whole life.

Nonetheless that lifestyle of dissipation, distraction, intoxication etc became a habit, and was difficult to give up.

30s said...


A natural consequence of this too is that those with power will nearly always be those that accept the sexual revolution. This being because marraige and children before the attainment of advanced credentials and career (a pre-requisite of power) will mean that Christian chasitity would have to last well into the 30s (far beyond what most Christians have ever been successful doing in all of history).

An alternate power/status ladder not reliant on academic credentialling is required.

christian girls said...

"I look back upon the era of youthful pleasure seeking (serial dating, self indulgence, selfish careerism etc) as incomparably the most miserable and despairing era of my whole life."


I wouldn't rule out fear either. Given the state of marraige in the west a great many men are rightfully afraid of the current legal and cultural structure that isn't favorable to them. In the past when a man was in an imperfect relationship but wanted a family he simply rolled the dice, because the odds of a breakup were low and he was the legal head of household.

Today marraige feels like signing your fate over to some woman, and when one looks around one has a hard time finding a woman one would want to hold that kind of legal power. I myself have yet to have a girlfriend I considered pass the test, and I have even tried making an effort to date Christian girls.

Bruce Charlton said...

@30s - Sorry to harp on one string, but the economic success of Mormons refutes this!

@cg - Don't give up - no matter how many are unsuitable, you only need *one*.

Arakawa said...


Indeed. My primary data point is in the post-Stalin era, which is not too dissimilar from Western secular society in some respects. What struck me was that the immediate reaction of the party leadership to the Western cultural shifts in the 60s was an overwhelming and immediate rejection of it (even right down to the Beatles), as of something that they judged (probably rightly) to be a direct existential threat to any ordered society. Whether this was more than a gut reaction -- whether it actually lined up with the implications of their ideology or not -- and how well they succeeded in actually staving off the decay, is more difficult to ascertain. Particularly since they took the obvious mitigating measure of not trumpeting whatever moral decay they had in their mass media as some kind of great advance.

The Stalin era and prior was so overwhelmingly evil that their insistence on a certain moral code is lost in all the noise, so it's much more difficult to judge the worth of their views on sexual morality in isolation.

The irony is that all of the most decent parts of the Soviet Union were probably the ones that resulted either from its resistance to bad influences from the West (e.g. military requirements kept portions of Soviet science and education focused on turning out competent people and producing meaningful advances; the moral decay of the West provoked a strong Soviet reaction in the opposite direction, etc.) or from its incompetence in copying questionable Western advances (e.g. almost all of the chemical additives and preservatives in modern mass-produced food were beyond Soviet technology).

Thus I've heard people from the former Soviet Union actually expressing nostalgia for the Cold War era. It was their opinion that having an enemy to oppose kept both Americans and Soviets relatively honest for a time in how they ordered their own affairs.

Of course, since each power was focused on avoiding the characteristic faults of the other, while ignoring its own characteristic faults, it turned out to be an unstable arrangement.

30s said...

I'm talking about power.

The kind of power that comes from being the top 0.1%.

The kind that comes from determining what gets written in the NYTimes Op-Ed.

The kind of power that determines what can and can't be said in "legitimate" opinion.

The kind of power that makes and enforces laws and norms.

I'm talking about Cathedral type power.

Mormon's don't even come close. It's not the kind of power you get from earning a decent white collar salary and contributing to your 401k.

The most successful Mormon in history just lost an election to what is essentially a Cathedral frankenstein.

josh said...

You might like:

Bruce Charlton said...

@30s - I'm guessing you're not a Christian, because you are judging Leftism by Leftist criteria; the world by worldly criteria - this is just a matter of trying to be one of today's winners in the barnyard stampede for sex and fodder. (Tomorrow you will be old and sick and trampled underfoot)

I can't think of any sense (other than a circular one) in which what you describe has anything to do with being in the top 0.1 percent of anything (certainly not intelligence, if that is what you are implying?).

30s said...


Christianity makes no claims that it will succeed in this world. In fact you get the distinct feeling that most are damned and the world itself is damned, and that we live for the next life.

If your a Christian it doesn't much matter how Christian the world is. Whatever the conditions, no matter how unfriendly they are to Christian living, its your job to resist those forces and stay the course.

What I'm saying is simply that wordly power, the kind that creates the mass media and all the stuff you rail against on this blog, is easier to obtain if your not Christian. This has always been true, but it is true in a unique way now.

The Crow said...


Alat said...

Mr. Charlton,

I think describing the "manosphere" as pro-sexual revolution without any caveats is incorrect or at least incomplete. No doubt many individual "manosphereans" are pro-sexual revolution, but even in the most debauched parts of it there is a definite undercurrent of longing for the lost past.

My view if that many of their readers, and a considerable number of their writers, would want to return to a sane civilization, they just don't think it's possible in their lifetimes and, having no firm belief in the transcendental (which would demand sacrifice on their part, either by extreme exposure to risk through marrying a modern "liberated" woman, or lifelong involuntary celibacy through not being able to land one of the few decent women worth marrying), they try to find out the best strategies to work with the rotten deal the post-sexual revolution generations have been given.

IF traditionalists had a fighting chance of restoring sanity , many manosphereans would be our allies.

Adam G. said...

Is the converse also true--does opposition to the sexual revolution make you some variety of reactionary, will you nill you?

Religion blogger Terry M. at has his "tmatt trio" which he uses to figure out where Christians are really coming from underneath the clouds of vague theology talk. They are:

1) Are biblical accounts of the resurrection of Jesus accurate? Did this event really happen?

(2) Is salvation found through Jesus Christ, alone? Was Jesus being literal when he said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6)?

(3) Is sex outside of marriage a sin?

When I first encountered the trio I thought the sex question was out of place. But if the Sexual Revolution is the unifying ideology of the enemies of the good, the question is perfect.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Alat - You have explained *why* the 'manosphere' perspective is Leftist, and in doing so you confirm that it *is* Leftist. I certainly agree that atheism is at, or near, the core of Leftism.

The Crow said...

The core of leftism is loathing, self-loathing, hatred and revenge.
Atheism is incidental, but inevitable.
Any revolution involves these things, and as we know, revolutions have no end-point.
This is why conservatives lose out so often: they are generally unable to hate, and even if they are, are unable to maintain it long enough to see results.

Thordaddy said...

I have been saying for years that Liberalism is the political expression of the homosexual "nature." The homosexual, being sexually attracted to the "same," is a self-sexualizer. The self-sexualizer is a self-annihilator. Liberalism is self-annihilating.

The "sexual revolution" is the desire for radical sexual autonomy in order to pleasure oneself to death. Self-sexualization is the truest form of radical sexual autonomy and surest path to self-annihilation.

ivvenalis said...

Re: growing up, I think (and I am quite young myself) that the line of attack has gone from growing up/maturation being _undesirable_ to being _impossible_. In other words, people never really grow up, they just pretend. This is probably something we'll see more of as the damage of Leftism becomes more pronounced, because it's the difference between refusal and rationalization. Of course it's entirely the projection of debased individuals wallowing in their own debauchery. For a perfect example:

This article is about a homosexual university teacher who abandoned the Catholic Church because it disapproved of his sexual deviance, who wrote a play in order to desacralize Mary. Notice how *inconceivable* holiness is to this guy. Of course Mary was a "single mother" in the modern mold! Of course the Pope's secretary is also his lover! He literally can't imagine anything else.

Mike said...

Mr Charlton,

This sexual dystopia has gone wholly underappreciated by our elites on the Left and the Right. Shaking a fist at it and whining for it to change on blogs is akin to forming an advocacy group for the reversal of the earth’s orbit. Except for some minor fluctuations at the margins, these new situation of society human is unchange. These changes are powerfully and tectonically shifting the courtship and mating market. We’ve had 40 years of this informally polygamous system killing us softly, and the results can be seen directly in delayed age of first marriage, rising divorce rates, decreasing fertility, and harem volunteerism, and indirectly through the coarsening and bastardization of western sensibility and governmental policy.

what are your solutions to reverse the situation?

Bruce Charlton said...

@Mike - my solution is that (having acknowledged and understood the problem) we *learn from the Mormons*.

If mainstream Christians could *get over* their mixture of snobbery and hostility towards the LDS church, then they might understand what needs to be done.

But the answer will only come via religion (if not Christianity, then another).

Religion is the only known antidote to the horrors of the sexual revolution; but it is an antidote, it does work.

Deogolwulf said...


"they took the obvious mitigating measure of not trumpeting whatever moral decay they had in their mass media as some kind of great advance."

It one of the most interesting things about our elites that they do this — that they trumpet moral decay as advance. I wonder how much of it is down to weakness and cowardice.

Arakawa said...


"But the answer will only come via religion (if not Christianity, then another)."

I'm not really sure how to define 'another religion' in this statement. The obvious question comes up: what are essential attributes, and what are inessential ones, then?

(Talking, obviously, about the mere worldly restoration of marriage and fertility, rather than the ordering of society in accordance with the otherworldly Logos.)

Although, if I had to try to zero in on an answer myself, along with the actual moral code / scheme of community organization (as raised above), I would look at how the religion / philosophy / ideology explains and justifies repentance.

Does it tell us why the sins of modernity are indeed sins, and why repentance from the sins of modernity is a spiritual necessity, and does it tell us what makes repentance worthwhile? Christianity tells us that repentance is indeed necessary and worthwhile. (Heretical forms of Christianity generally undermine the concept of repentance, or the case for its necessity, as the basis for its apostasy.)

Or, rather, even reason can tell us that repentance is a requirement for salvation, no matter what the actual mechanism for salvation might be; this can be seen e.g. from the 'Mere Christianity'-type argument that an unrepentant being existing indefinitely will become demonic, even under favourable conditions, can just as easily be made outside of a Christian framework. What Christianity tells us is that, through Christ, salvation is possible. (Repentance is still required.)

Naturalism undermines that, by creating a philosophical framework where repentance is futile and accomplishes nothing. (Let us eat and drink and make merry, for tomorrow we die.)

This is generally the trap that people like Heartiste are in, who can explain back and forth why the current state of society is wrong, why women's attitudes are wrong, and finally even why their own (the hedonist alphas') attitudes are wrong, but then they smugly add that they have absolutely no reason to repent of their own attitudes and stop acting in a way that contributes to the decline.

Without providing an explanation of reality that motivates repentance, any religion or philosophy might continue to exist in isolation, but it will be defenseless against the corruptions of modernity.

So, to summarize, you need to answer three things to solve the demographic crisis:

(1) an explicit moral code in accordance to natural law (available in very many viable pre-modern systems of thought!)

(2) a scheme of social organization not prone to demographic collapse, but flexible enough to adapt to changing conditions (most consistently demonstrated in the modern day by Mormons)

(3) an explanation for the necessity of repentance that's sufficiently motivating to stave off modernity, and sufficiently convincing to win over converts (most consistently demonstrated by Christianity, though to wildly varying degrees depending on the exact doctrine and societal context)

Perhaps, additionally, if you want a really practical answer:

(4) an plan for how to instantiate an actual such community, capable of growing to a self-sustaining scale, either from an existing group, or by building institutions 'from scratch' (whatever that even means)

Rich said...

"this is just a matter of trying to be one of today's winners in the barnyard stampede for sex and fodder."

Well put, indeed. Although, as a farmer, I can say most animals show more generosity towards one another than most men. Still, the imagery lends itself well.

I really appreciate your work, Bruce. You have helped me greatly along the way.