The Patriot Post® · Hedonism's Predictable Horrors
Headlines lately serve as sirens warning of an epidemic of a widespread contagion called sexual misconduct. Presenting in various forms — harassment, groping, fondling, intimidation and rape — these inappropriate behaviors are in the public view because individuals on both sides of the political aisle and within the media/entertainment industry are standing accused as pedophiles, rapists, perverts and power-hungry sex addicts.
The unending disgust is justified. None of these alleged behaviors, if true, is ever right or appropriate, though there is a vast distinction lost to conflation. The #MeToo hashtag activism railing against predators and predatory behavior soars to new heights of moral supremacy, while accomplishing nothing.
But how exactly did the American culture arrive at such a moment? How did our mores slide from viewing pornography in private to living it out in the public square as daily fare?
Those who blame Donald Trump are laughingly ignorant and live blissfully under the banner of victimhood, finding a target of hatred and blame for their own missteps and grievances. Those who blame a prominent institution of our society such as the media or education get a bit closer to touching part of the answer. The aforementioned institutions have been and are tools that have chipped away at our standards and norms to yield such cultural and moral decay.
At the center of today’s outbreak of sexual deviancy lie several factors, among which are two that we’ll approach broadly: hedonism and modern liberalism.
According to Stanford’s Encyclopedia of Philosophy, hedonism is a philosophy, whether taught or simply pursued out of human satisfaction, that’s been argued back to Plato and Aristotle. It’s founded on the premise that humankind is motivated by either pleasure or pain, with the former being understood in terms of pleasant feelings, experiences, delight, gratification and emotions of the like. Restraints to the pure elation sought at all costs of human behavior, consequences to others and even criminality have been the observances and practices of religion, a common morality and the respect of the law.
Those who observe hedonism, whether deliberately or not, possess a few common characteristics of self-indulgences, addictions, excesses, unbridled pursuit of individual satisfaction and the exploitation of others for an end goal. Clearly, the sexual deviants under public scrutiny manifest these characteristics.
But, hey, back in the 1960s, the revolution of the individual — the root of hedonism — and the elevation of a clash of culture against accepted norms heralded self-indulgence, addictions, excess and the “freedom” to do with one’s body as one chose. This birthed a new type of liberalism. Modern liberalism targets an individual’s pleasures and desire for “freedoms.” The Left redefined the “empowered” woman to be one whose anatomy is her own to display, exploit, prostitute, sexualize, objectify, etc., even extending to terminating the life of her unborn child in the name of “choice.” Pleasure without consequence.
These two darlings of deviancy are raging at the core of our cultural war today. Hedonism spans the ages because it’s a doctrine based on the human tendency to satisfy versus experience pain and discomfort. Liberalism, however, has been hijacked by radicals to weaponize egalitarianism and individualism. Thus they inflict societal and individual self-harm under the wrongheaded belief that any standards are to be treated as bigoted judgments instead of logic based on objective reasoning and discernment.
Let’s take these two approaches — hedonism and modern liberalism — and see how today’s “sudden” rash of sexual scandals has been a predictable outcome.
In 1996, Judge Robert Bork wrote a prescient book, Slouching Towards Gomorrah, which greatly expanded the notion of “defining deviancy down” and fingered radical egalitarianism and radical individualism as the responsible culprits in our cultural decay. Bork cited Emile Durkheim, a founder of sociology, who observed a limit ultimately reached by a society of deviant behavior that recalibrates norms. Specifically, as collective behavior coarsens, and deviant behavior prevails, the community will adjust its standards to define deviancy down related to drug use, illegitimacy, promiscuity, and the like, and begin to normalize wrong conduct — even crime.
So, our natural bent to pursue pleasure has been combined with political indoctrination to create today’s cultural cesspool. There’s no shock — it just took time for the mixture to prove its putrid toxicity.
Take pornography. In its original definition, pornography was the visual consumption of material that prostituted an individual’s physical essence for the sexual pleasure of voyeurs. Today, that which was deemed to be pornography just two decades ago is now disguised as various television series and watched by millions.
Remember, applying the philosophy of hedonism, pornography then and now is meant to achieve pleasure. Coupled with modern day liberalism, an individual’s anatomy is theirs to exploit as a government-sanctioned right to empower self. Yet when that which previously restrained hedonism — the ideas of moral limitation, respect of the law and even the application of religion that one’s body is a uniquely created, precious vessel fashioned in the likeness of one’s Creator — has been politically and publicly disdained, we’re supposed to feign shock that sexual squalor in the workplace, in our media, in our entertainment and in our politics is normal.
There was a day when pornography was “look, don’t touch.” In 2017, the predictable horrors of hedonism are rampant and being fanned by liberalism’s indoctrination. So, today pornography is occurring in real time as daily life in the halls of Congress, in the studios of Hollywood, in the newsrooms of major broadcast news organizations and throughout our society.
So, when will society see the value of the boundaries provided through the respect of law and religion? When will society wake up and reject the almost mythical mess created through the follies of modern liberalism?