In the last post, SEXUAL DELUSIONS: BELIEVING IN FALSEHOODS IS HARMLESS?, we considered the sex-saturation of our culture. Here I would like to briefly consider what we can do about this problem. Doug (FPS/DougLite.com) does not see an immediate solution.
I realize that everything has to have some level of politics assigned to it… but it seems to me politics enters the picture when one side or the other suggests a fix, solution, or remedy to what the problem is. Regarding female abuse and assault I don’t see us yet at that point of solving anything. Heck, no one can even agree on where to even start understanding the problem. On one end you have women who favor something akin to solving the problem the Lorena Bobbit way… and others (many smart ladies reflected in here and on Insanity’s blog) actually want to give this some objective thought.
comment involves an astute observation. Is there a governmental solution? Probably not. The government usually does not have a good solution. With respect to the sex-saturation of our culture, the government is just getting in the way of a solution.
What is the problem? The problem is one defining and enforcing appropriate sexual mores. Historically, issues related to sexual mores do not make it into court except in extreme cases, like divorce or physical violence. In our day, however, even though we cannot define pornography, we can drag someone into court over a sex related civil rights violation that leaves many scratching their heads. This problem arises because some people want to use the law to impose their beliefs on others.
So if government does not have a solution, what is the alternative? Our society exercises control over our behavior at two levels: custom and law.
Society does not enforce customs using the threat of force.
custom [kuhs-tuh m] noun
1.a habitual practice; the usual way of acting in given circumstances.
2.habits or usages collectively; convention.
3.a practice so long established that it has the force of law.
4.such practices collectively.
5.Sociology. a group pattern of habitual activity usually transmitted from one generation to another.
Laws, however, are maintained with the threat of government backed force, but note that judges may consider what is customary in their decisions.
law [law] noun
1.the principles and regulations established in a community by some authority and applicable to its people, whether in the form of legislation or of custom and policies recognized and enforced by judicial decision.
2.any written or positive rule or collection of rules prescribed under the authority of the state or nation, as by the people in its constitution.Compare bylaw, statute law.
3.the controlling influence of such rules; the condition of society brought about by their observance:maintaining law and order.
4.a system or collection of such rules.
In contemporary legal systems, we refer to customary law as case-law and common law (see Custom (law)). However, I am not a lawyer. So I don’t want to delve too far into the legal aspects of this issue. Because our differences over sexual mores can be so intractable, the point here is to observe that for the most part dragging issues related to sexual mores into court is bad idea. It is just begging for the courts to come into our bedrooms.
How does leaving such matters to custom largely solve the problem? What does custom involve? Consider what we teach our children. In addition to reading, writing, and arithmetic, we want them to learn the customs of our society. We are not born knowing how to behave; we must be taught what to believe and how to behave. When our superiors and peers condemn us for not behaving in accordance with custom, that education is given force. When we refuse to abide by their customs, those in the circles who maintain those customs will condemn us. These people may even refuse to associate with us. That can make finding employment and advancement impossible. Yet we may not any encounter legal sanctions. In fact, in our day, because the government now wants to dictate customs, those who once refused to abide by certain customs may find themselves able to sue. Lawyers may like that, but does that really help the rest of us?
The alternative, the Law, is an awkward, blunt instrument. Laws don’t leave people much choice, rarely provide any opportunity for finesse, and they are costly to enforce. But lawyers like more laws because more laws means more money.
Consider a simple example of how customs work. How would we deal with someone who is habitually rude? Can you imagine having any friends if you constantly interrupted everyone? If you went to a job interview in dirty clothes with a mouth full of chewing tobacco, how likely is it you would be hired? When we are unwilling to practice good manners, other people don’t want us around. Anything wrong with that? Of course not.
Traditionally, our nation has enforced sexual mores much the same way we enforce good manners. In the past when couples chose to live together without getting married, other couples usually steered clear, not wanting their children to imitate such behavior. Homosexuals chose to stay in the closet because most people believed the practice of homosexuality is sinful. Therefore, they feared homosexuals had serious moral issues. I could go on, but the point is the law for the most part stayed out of the bedroom. What people did to live as they wished is to associate with people of like mind. That is why, for example, relatively large number of homosexuals live in certain communities and work in certain professions.
So how do we get from our current state (endless legal disputes that rip us apart) to a society that allows each of us to make our own decisions and accept the consequences? We have to:
- Remove such matters from the jurisdiction of the Federal Courts and give them back to the states.
- Decide the interests of the government. Customs require a clear framework in which to work. When custom and law are in conflict, for example, we see ridiculous things like prosecutors trying to bankrupt bakers just because the bakers don’t want to bake wedding cakes for “marriages” between two people of the same sex. Personally, I believe the primary role of government should be protection of the rights of children. I also believe women need to be protected from men who make promises but then choose to abandon them after they have children. Otherwise, I think the law should be as simple as possible.
- Get the government out of the education business. When we fail to make a proper effort to pass on our beliefs, including our traditions and customs, to the next generation, we leave them confused. What happens is that unscrupulous people see that confusion, and they take advantage of the situation. Hence, just to increase their sales, certain businessmen have saturated our culture with sex.
So what would society look like if we adopted the suggestions above? We can only guess, but I suspect women would drive the agenda. Over the long haul, because women are so involved in child rearing, women — when allowed to do so — steer the culture. What American women most want, I think, is equality before the law. I doubt most women want to be treated like smaller men, and I doubt most women want to subordinate the men in their lives. Instead, they want the opportunity to use and benefit from the talents God gave them. This is an opportunity we must each work for ourselves. All government can do is protect our rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
We cannot become what we want to be by infringing upon the rights of others.