Politics & Media
Jul 26, 2023, 05:57AM

Real Perverts

Moderation isn’t hip among politicized people but probably the right call on sex stuff.

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Government has almost completely destroyed people’s ability to talk about sex in a balanced, sane fashion. I don’t mean that it actively outlaws doing so, though historically it often did. I mean that most people on the right and the left are terrified that if they admit the existence of any doubt or nuance on such matters, the other faction will sooner or later put them in jail.

Many on the left are waking up to the fact that the trans movement really does include extremists whose main kink is unfettered access to kids and to women’s locker rooms, but how many leftists are going to admit they have such doubts when Gov. Ron DeSantis wants the Florida government to crack down on Bud Light just for making bad marketing decisions like featuring an off-putting trans person in ads? I thought conservatives opposed centralized government industrial policy.

Maybe conservatives still do but fascists don’t and we’re seeing a bit more of the latter lately—which doesn’t make people eager to chat casually about things as ephemeral as first-date etiquette.

By contrast, many on the right might nowadays be willing to take a very libertarian attitude toward things like drug use and prostitution, but they probably recoil more at the thought of full legalization when they see a member of the political class such as Hunter Biden, the President’s son, getting stoned and driving to Vegas at high speed or having sex with prostitutes in graphic home video footage and then flouting all legal ramifications.

What Hunter does should have no impact on the scope of your liberties, but the misbehavior of our rulers brings out the urge to punish—which, tragically and ironically, ends up being an urge to govern, further oppressing the very people who were alarmed by the ruling families’ decadence.

I think Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s heart, believe it or not, is in the right place when she shows graphic photographic evidence on the House floor that Hunter is engaged in behavior that would get the rest of us jailed—and it was absurd for one of her Democrat colleagues, by contrast, to suggest that Hunter is the real victim of our “two-tiered justice system,” as if the prisons are filled with railroaded rich white sons of presidents.

But the infamous Mann Act that Taylor Greene mentioned—which adds special penalties to sex crimes if the offenders crossed state lines—shouldn’t exist, and government has no more business policing where you have sex (so long as it’s voluntary) than it does policing where someone like Kyle Rittenhouse transports his guns.

If people truly let their guard down and weren’t worried about legal reprisals, I think at this late date in history they’d be willing to admit that while nothing but assault and fraud should be the business of law in sexual matters, there are plenty of other sexual behaviors—conservative and novel—that we can reasonably criticize as aberrant or unhealthy in the simple sense that they’re likely correlated, even if not tightly causally connected, with other destructive psychological tendencies.

Christopher Hitchens, whatever we may think of other things he said or did, spoke in a moderate fashion that would’ve pleased Aristotle when he criticized both puritanical and surreptitiously-molestation-prone priests in one go, observing that whether one thinks about sex all the time or not at all, one is in some sense a pervert—that is, a drastic deviation from normal psychological functioning.

Not that normal is synonymous with good. Hinting that one believes in that simplistic equivalency is another mistake that sends listeners lurching back into the pro-decadence camp. But just as excessive drinking can be a warning sign, we’re allowed to see strange sexual behavior as a warning sign. Some of the participants in the behaviors would happily say so themselves if they thought they could relax and speak freely, which no one can on any topic today.

We needn’t be so uptight or tone-deaf, then, as to say, for example, that we can’t criticize Kevin Spacey’s behavior until that jury finishes deliberating—or until we calculate the fallout for gay men everywhere. We can condemn Carlee Russell for faking a toddler’s endangerment, her own abduction, and the existence of kidnapper/erotic-photographers without worrying, say, that we’re implicitly dismissing black women’s reports of sexual abuse to law enforcement. We’re allowed to notice a couple in the news for abusing two young boys seem to be a Satanist and a witch without being paralyzed by the fear that the observation could spark a police crackdown on Wicca.

If I promise you convincingly that, in contrast to some of the other people who admired the film Sound of Freedom as much as I did, I wouldn’t condone a crackdown on immigration or the completion of a border wall, you might be more willing to relax and hear me out if I suggest that it seems fishy they found this Cuban illegal immigrant not guilty of murder by reason of insanity when he decapitated his girlfriend in Minnesota after a long history of abuse.

In fact, feminists probably ought to be seen as the main beneficiaries if we are once more comfortable talking about sexual aberrations as a warning sign, since there’s plenty of psychologically aberrant male violence about which to complain. Feminists might find it easier to rally the entire population around condemnations of “patriarchy” if we all trusted that what they meant by it was stuff like the original Greek/Roman concept of the male head of household wielding literal, violent, legally sanctioned life-or-death power over the people closest to him.

Instead, we live in a world so politically correct that you’d probably find it easier to convince a classroom full of modern college students that advertisements for high heels are oppressive (perhaps even having Barbie viewers on your side) than to get them to acknowledge that rape gangs of the rural developing world are oppressive, since the descendants of imperialists aren’t supposed to criticize the descendants of the colonized.

Set the ancillary, faddish legal concerns aside and I think you’ll find most people still capable of intuiting a middle path somewhere between snorting coke off hookers and banishing your shy cousin from the family for listening to a Prince album.

—Todd Seavey is the author of Libertarianism for Beginners and is on Twitter at @ToddSeavey


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