Posted by Tony Listi on August 27, 2012
Conservatives seem to be ignoring or dismissing the fundamental and apparently somewhat persuasive “pleasure argument” made by sexual egoists to women about sex and contraception.
The egoists tell women that vanity, independence from men, and sensual pleasure and self-indulgence are the sources of happiness rather than love, sexual joy, commitment, and lifelong marriage to a truly loving husband at their service. Therefore, they celebrate and worship contraception, which “empowers” women to get a lot more sex and a lot more physical sexual pleasure than ever before without the “burdens” of men, marriage, and/or children. The egoists want women to have the same qualities as the worst kind of lustful men.
Conservatives often seem to assume that women don’t fall for this, assuming that women are less attracted to sexual self-indulgence than men. But many women, including many young liberal and libertarian women, have accepted that logic and those values. Increased pornography use among women is also indicative of this problem.
At the very extreme, some conservatives seem to forget that women can get just as much physical and emotional pleasure from sexual activity as men, if not more so.
The image of very lustful and vain women is indeed very repulsive to the conservative mind (as is lustful and prideful men), but it’s an image of reality in a great many women and needs to be recognized and confronted. (Though of course, it is more important to recognize and confront it in men, who typically initiate sexual behavior.)
So today, conservatives unfortunately have to re-establish the fundamentals, especially those about happiness. They have to argue the case that love brings real, lasting happiness and is better than use, than mere self-indulgence in vanity and pleasure. We should not assume that women today understand this truth better than men and embrace it more often and more strongly than men.
As a whole, women’s values and demands regarding sex have changed over time. Many women are not demanding marriage, commitment, and love anymore; they are satisfied with vanity, pleasure, and independence and reject commitment and responsibility.
If one wants to be harsh and cynical, one could say that women’s values (like men’s) haven’t changed at all, that women (in their fallen nature) have always desired vanity, pleasure, and independence rather than commitment and responsibility, and that contraception has merely lowered the personal cost to women of pursuing those egoist values. Before contraception, the costs were just too high. A woman may have wanted to indulge in sexual pleasure and vanity (in or outside of marriage), but she knew the consequences were more children and the sacrifices necessary to care for them.
Contraception in itself, like all technology, is not the source of hedonistic, self-centered values. It merely allows people to act on pre-existing values or tendencies (good and bad) at a lower cost.
Posted in American Culture, Moral Philosophy, Sex, Written by Me | Tagged: argument, birth control, children, contraception, ego, enjoy, enjoyment, freedom, happiness, liberation, orgasm, pleasure, pregnancy, pregnant, pride, sexual pleasure, the pill, vain, vanity, women | 7 Comments »
Posted by Tony Listi on October 22, 2007
The Democrats are correct that income inequality in America has increased over the decades, but their “egalitarian” attacks are misleading, says Arthur C. Brooks, a professor at Syracuse University and a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute,
According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s “Gini coefficient,” in which zero indicates no inequality and one is perfect inequality:
-Over the past 40 years, the Gini coefficient in the United States has increased by a quarter, to .47 today from .39 in 1970.
-In European countries, Gini coefficients generally sit below .30, indicating substantially less income inequality.
Yet income is just one item of importance in the lives of Americans, says Brooks. There are many others — from love to faith to happiness — that we care about, some of them far more:
-For example, the 2004 General Social Survey’s measure of happiness generates a coefficient for the inequality of American happiness of .18 (using the Gini coefficient model), while the 2002 International Social Survey Program produces a coefficient of .20.
-Moreover, while the average happiness level in America has not changed much since the early 1970s (and remains above that of most of our European allies), the inequality in our happiness has fallen by about a point since then.
If greater income equality is our end goal, bringing the top down is as useful as bringing the bottom up, says Brooks. This is about as sensible as depressing the happy for the sake of the sad. There is no doubt the egalitarians among our politicians and pundits want the best for America. But to focus on inequality — and then only inequality in income — creates policies based on either rank materialism or raw envy. These motivations do little to inspire, and even less to lead.
Source: Arthur C. Brooks, “Happiness and Inequality,” Wall Street Journal, October 22, 2007.
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Posted in Economics, Government and Politics, Poverty | Tagged: , egalitarian, Europe, Gini, happiness, inequality, NCPA | Leave a Comment »