Friday, December 8, 2017

"Can we be honest about men?"

David French asks that question on his way to making a horrible, terrible argument over at National Review. He begins by asking, "When will it stop?" and quickly, way too quickly, concludes,
The obvious answer is never. At least not until we stare human nature in the face, confront it squarely, and call men to live according to a higher and better purpose.
Okay, sure, but are we really supposed to believe that having a compulsion to masturbate in front of women is human nature? That's French's claim: that this is what happens to human nature when it's not controlled. You, know, I'm a tad bit skeptical. I think people having sex is what happens when human nature tends to lead to and it's a damn good thing or else humanity would cease to exist. I agree that we need moral and social constraints on our sexual impulses but I doubt very much that human nature has all that much to do with what these men have done.

Human nature tends to be shaped by what leads to procreation. Masturbating in front of women, as Louis CK and Harvey Weinstein did, is a remarkably inefficient way to procreate. Let human nature run wild, and such men will be eliminated from the gene pool. What's stunning here is not that men have a strong sex drive or that they are acting in incredibly boorish ways about it. What's stunning is that we have a bunch of grown-up and powerful men acting like badly adjusted adolescents.

I direct you here to Alice Munro's Lives of Girls and Women. This is a universally acknowledged masterpiece coming of age story written by a strong feminist. In the penultimate story, the title story, in the book, the heroine fantasizes about sex. The sex she fantasizes begins when her clothes mysteriously fall off. She'll be standing near some guy and whoosh, off they come. That, I put it to you, is a normal adolescent sex fantasy. Sex fascinates you but you don't have the slightest clue how to make it happen and you're not entirely sure you want to happen. In fact, you most likely don't want it to happen for a few years yet. But it's very exciting to think about so you devise fantasies wherein it happens but it isn't actually your responsibility because your clothes just fall off, if you're a girl having the fantasy, or her clothes just fall off, if you're a heterosexual boy having the fantasy.

And you might actually do it. When I was a teenager, I was over at my friend Bruce's house and his 17-year-old sister Barb came into the room wearing a dressing gown that fell open and she was naked underneath. And then she left the room quickly. It's a cherished memory. That said, it was several years before I figured out that there was nothing accidental about it. Again, though, this is pretty normal. Responsible parents will pretend not to notice. It's only if it keeps happening that they will say something.

Charlie Rose, an incredibly successful and very intelligent man, was apparently doing this sort of thing when he was over the age of 40! Think about that for a while. It's not hard for celebrities to get sex. You know, normal sex where you socialize, flirt, slowly build up to a kiss and then more. There would have been a constant stream of women offering them that. No, these men are freaks. Weird, maladjusted freaks in positions of great power and influence. That didn't happen because people aren't raising boys to have "to live with a "virtuous purpose, to use his God-given characteristics to advance that purpose, and to understand that he will always be held accountable to that purpose" as French argues. That happened because powerful men were not held accountable.

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