Friday 9 July 2021

The Left and sex. (And reading biographies - four at a time...)

It has been characteristic of my reading since mid teens that I read several to many books at a time. My mother used to be driven crazy by the way I carried a small/ medium-sized pile of books around with me - planting them wherever I wanted to sit. 

In those days it was mostly fiction that I read, but from my middle twenties I was more likely to read non-fiction including biographies

These are often disillusioning - even when they are (more or less) good (and most biographies published are terrible (far worse than most novels) as you can see from the bio section in bookshops). Yet I continue to explore them - and will often read many or all the available biographies of someone who interests me. 

At present I am reading The Oxford Inklings by Colin Duriez - which I found in a secondhand bookshop in Glasgow; volume two of Rudolf Steiner's life by Peter Selg; a biography of Michael Tippett by Oliver Soden; and am expecting delivery of Sun King's Counsellor - a biography of Cecil Harwood by Simon Blaxland de Lange. 

The Inklings bio is primarily intended for a popular audience, as compared with the other available Inklings books - but the author 'knows his stuff' and writes in an enjoyable style. For someone like me there is not much that is new - but Duriez takes a different angle and highlights different aspects from other biographer, so it is nonetheless interesting. I was also pleased to see myself referenced!

The Tippett book is more revelatory. I have read several previous biogs of Tippett (incluyding a big one by Ian Kemp in the 1980s), and the composer's autobiography; but Soden has done a more thorough job. Unfortunately, the book also exhibits the common defects of modern biographies of a glib/ facetious tone, and pervasive leftist assumptions and propaganda. 

Cecil Harwood was best friends with both CS Lewis from when they were undergraduates, and Owen Barfield from schooldays; and Barfield and Harwood were appointed Lewis's literary executors. Harwood was an anthroposophist, headmaster of a Steiner school and became the leader of the main group of the British Anthroposophical Society. 

Blaxland de Lange wrote an enjoyable and valuable  (albeit eccentrically organized) biography of Barfield; so I am looking forward to this new one. 

One interesting aspect of the Tippett book that reinforces an insight that grew upon me only gradually is that Leftism (which grew mostly in Britain, and was led from Britain until the 1960s) was always mainly about the sexual revolution - and only secondarily about economics. 

(Tippett, in his youth, was actively involved in organized revolutionary communist politics = widely, recklessly sexually promiscuous with men - mostly. The personnel/ networks involved were all-but identical.) 

So the New Left of 'identity politics' (sexual 'liberation', antiracism, feminism etc) which emerged and took-over the Left leadership and socio-cultural mainstream from the middle 1960s (and which now rules the world) was from the later 1800s and increasingly through the early twentieth century - a hotbed of both promiscuity and 'nontraditional' sexuality among both leadership and many of the followers. 

In one sense I have known about this since my mid teens, through reading biographies of English Fabian Society leaders (Hubert Bland, GB Shaw, HG Wells, CEM Joad...), Socialists and Communists (the circles of Pre-Raphaelites, Edward Carpenter, Oscar Wilde). 

But - misled by the strong nonconformist Christian tradition of Leftism - I used to suppose that the economics came first, and the sex was secondary and optional. That the desire for radical social change - and the alleviation of poverty and deprivation - was the driving passion; while the desire for more sex with more kinds of people was a consequence of the economically-driven new society. 

Now I would say that the truth of Left motivation was more often, and more powerfully, sexual - and the complex apparatus of theoretical and activist Leftist politics was an elaborately indirect excuse and rationale for the desired sexual 'liberation'. 

Partly the economic/ political theory served to disguise the true motivation from individuals themselves, and partly it served to disguise a long termist strategy from the general public; because one clear factor that emerges is the degree to which the sexually radical colluded to promote and defend each other; the extent to which (from the earliest days) they operated as a cabal, a mafia, a conspiracy of interest. 

This has become obvious now; but a century ago was much less obvious - and the 'idealism' of Leftist economics and activities was more evident on the surface. 

What happened is evidence of corruption. The demonic side of Leftism worked mainly through sex and sexuality; and had its inevitably corrupting effect on those who embraced it; with attitudes, motivations and behaviours causing personal degeneration that would have been much more evident had it not been covered up and explained away by the collusion of other Leftists...

Until such a point of moral inversion was reached (after the middle 1960s) where the sexual revolution could be celebrated, promoted, subsidized - and finally enforced by legal and employment regulations; and biological, traditional, Christian sexuality could be demonized and excluded from public discourse (including education and 'science').

I now perceive that the Left was always about sex, because it always was demonic in its most powerful and pervasive motivations. Of course the Left (i.e. evil) is not only about sex and sexuality - because resentment, fear, and despair are now becoming even more dominant sins than sex. Modern Leftism is becoming more and more negative as it become more evil - because the deepest nature of evil is purely oppositional (against God, divine creation and The Good - and not 'for' anything). 

But while the masses demanded some positive and pleasurable motivation - it was mainly the prospect and promise of sex that took the place of religion as the main drive.

Economic, political and social Leftism provided (for a few generations) the necessary 'cover' to make this sexual behavioural priority into something that was - for a more Christian, and more moral, era - psychologically and sociologically plausible and defensible. 

Now that we live in a society where the Christian churches are all-but destroyed/ dwindled and corrupted; and where Big Lie based inverted-morality is globally dominant and mandatory - there is less and less need for the sexual revolution to retain its lures of promiscuity and novelty for the masses; who now live in a world of sexual lockdown and sexual distancing without any planned end.  

But for the ruling Establishment at its higher and secretive levels, I have no doubt that the sexual revolution - in more corrupt and more evil forms - retains its role as a primary covert motivator.


Gary Bleasdale said...

Interesting post, I appreciate the application of a deep spiritual insight to the actual development of a real-world historical phenomenon (western leftism since the Ind. Revolution).

Ultimately, I think the deep insight (or reminder!) here is that evil has all manner of multifarious snares designed to entice all types, and will dangle it in front of people depending upon their personalities.

In this case, those who easily succumb to the temptations of a disordered and unbridled sexuality were enticed with an abundance of exactly that. On the other hand, these same people were instructed to dangle the fa├žade of "economic prosperity for all", "elimination of poverty" and other materialistic, peaceful and tender ideals in front of people with bourgeois weaknesses. And so on.

SebastianX1/9 said...

This has been the thesis of American Catholic scholar E. Michael Jones in his books "Degenerate Moderns" and "Libido Dominandi: Sexual Liberation as a Form of Political Control."

Along with "Barren Metal," these books clarified the origins of the modern project like no others I had read. Enjoy your blog! Thank you for posting so much quality content.

Bruce Charlton said...

@GB - "evil has all manner of multifarious snares designed to entice all types".

Naturally - 'religion' is By Far the most powerful human motivator. But we live in a world where religion is absent, weak or absorbed by Leftism.

When religion is deleted; then I believe that 'sex' (in a broad sense) becomes by default the strongest *positive* motivator for many of the most active and dominant people. (In this sense, Freud was correct; as is evident from the personal life of Jung, who supposedly disagreed with Freud!)

The personal sexual agenda may be private and secret (fantasy) at first - it may seem rather small and mild in terms of its desired transgressions; but even the smallest and most objectively-trivial unrepented sin may be enough to make someone reject salvation. The nature of desired sexual sin may only become publicly evident when someone gets the opportunity or encouragement - which is why these are most evident among the ruling elite and the underclass - the scum and the dregs of society (ie. the natural constituency of Leftism).

By contrast with sex; abstractions such as the economy, pacifism, environmentalism are mostly *very* weak motivators; and only pursued when there are more personal and selfish advantages in terms of money, status, security etc.

Issues like feminism and antiracism are somewhat like the sexual revolution agenda - being mostly roundabout rationalizations and excuses for socially pursuing individual self-interest - and again these are often stalking horses for a personal sexual agenda; as evident from their leadership class's behaviour.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Seb - Yes, I am not being original here! Quite the opposite: it took Me a long time to acknowledge what others (perhaps especially in the Roman Catholic Church) very early saw as obvious!

However, we probably also need to remember that the days of the sexual revolution are waning fast; as the world becomes a single bureaucracy.

Since the 1960s the sex warriors are being used as a battering ram, behind which come the billionnaires, lawyers and managers who want the masses to voluntarily to embrace a life without any positive pleasures (terminated only by death in despair); which is, of course, exactly what we have seen since the birdemic scam.

Jon said...

Makes sense, sex has been regarded as a very powerful motivator. For example Aquinas wrote: "Now man's sense is plunged into earthly things chiefly by lust, which is about the greatest of pleasures; and these absorb the mind more than any others. Therefore the folly which is a sin, arises chiefly from lust."

You are also correct that it will become less important, I think society will become more and more sexless (real sex of course, as virtualities like pornography etc. will keep increasing), it's already happening with record high virginity rates, many men giving up completely, etc.

Anonymous said...

Good to learn of a Cecil Harwood biography - thanks for mentioning it, and do, please update us!

I cannot recall if you have mentioned reading C. S. Lewis, My Godfather: Letters, Photos and Recollections by the late Laurence Harwood - I have not yet caught up with it, but think I should make the effort to do so.

Taking your reference to "a world of sexual lockdown and sexual distancing without any planned end" and Jon's that "virtualities like pornography etc. will keep increasing" together, makes me think of the lunar situation as imagined by Lewis in That Hideous Strength, and leaves me wondering if the ever extending pornographicization of recent (internet) - and now, lockdown - years is not a big part of the dehumanizing, reality-occluding intention.

David Llewellyn Dodds

Joseph A. said...

Steve Sailer suggests that Foucault's post-modern project was an elaborate scheme to normalize pederasty. Sailer has opined on that theme repeatedly (e.g.

Bruce Charlton said...

@DLD - yes, I have read 'My Godfather' - a pleasing little volume, well produced.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Joseph - For sure; and there are many other examples. It is an interesting - and important - aspect of the human mind that most people want to embed their own desired behaviours into a general scheme (ideology - or, in the past, religion) within-which it is high status. Given how distal such schemes are - so causally remote from the individual - this is a remarkable aspiration; as is the long-termism which it can sustain.

My interpretation is that this is because such projects are demonic in nature - humans (especially when it comes to hedonism) are motivated in mainly short-termist ways. The long-termism comes from the non-human side of the 'bargain'.

Such motivated strategy is analogous to the long-termism of seduction. Women often find unbelievable the degree and timescale with which a man will plan a seduction, or the expense and effort to which he will go for this objective ('stalking' or 'grooming' behaviours are much more statistically normal than generally recognized).

Much as seduction is an evil manipulation of a person with anticipation of personal pleasure and mastery; so Leftism is an evil group attempt to manipulate society with similar goals - but disguised as altruism based upon empathy.