Sexual nihilism. Anything goes or nothing goes. So what? Who cares? In that spirit, I don’t know anymore what’s worse: shouting “fire!” in a crowded theater or “confused boy!” in a crowded girls’ locker room.
For several decades the Left has been pushing deconstruction loudly or quietly.
What is it in the context of sexuality?
Let’s review deconstruction first.
At the first post, I had a short history written in prose, but now I’d like to put the main points in a bulleted list.
Please read these links if you want more detail:
Postmodernism and its subset deconstruction share these features, which I connect to the issue of human sexuality and a little of orginalism in the Constitution):
- Hyper-skeptical of origins (if there are any origins, then how can we discover that, as if they can reveal anything important, so constitutional originalism is out);
- Hyper-skeptical of essences (there is no firm definition of a thing or human, so the sexual essence of humankind is also gone);
- Hyper-skeptical about realism (no connection between language and reality, so what is male-female sexuality?);
- Hyper-skeptical of foundations (no truth, just interpretations, so self-identify however you want, for there is no sexual essence to being male-female);
- Hyper-skeptical of “meta-narratives” or the Big Picture Stories (no unifying theme of humankind that can be discerned);
- Hyper-skeptical of totalities (no grand unifying theory that separates the sexes);
- Hyper-skeptical of canons (no authority or yardstick by which we establish norms–certainly not sexual norms).
Here are the features that deconstruction entertains:
- Struggle (always about the Struggle for the Left) between freeplay of meaning and traditional interpretations (so traditional marriage is gone and freeplay sexuality is in);
- Deconstruction affirms “freeplay and tries to pass beyond man and humanism, the name man being the name of that being who, throughout the history of metaphysics or onto-theology . . . has dreamed of full presence, the reassuring foundation, the origin and end of the game” (Derrida) (so the essence of humankind is gone, and so goes his nailed-down sexuality);
- Words, especially the big and abstract ones, have no fixed referent (outside reality, like a tree, so longstanding human sexuality is not a fixed referent that can be referred to in dialogue);
- Deconstruction capitalizes on ambiguity in language (and presumably in discussing sexually ambiguous feelings as well);
- It exploits the gaps and silences of a word or text (including the story of the history of human sexuality);
- It’s a language game (“words, words, words!” says Hamlet to Polonius);
- Reality and the words that describe it don’t match (so how can meaning generally and the meaning of sexuality be described with certainty?);
- Finally, rippling outward to us, deconstruction destroys the metaphysical truths that the West depends on. And when you destroy them, you destroy stability for society (one stabilizing that we depend on is the healthy, opposite-sex, biological family)
So why not define marriage or self-identify sexually however you want?
I heard an Australian journalist quip, “I’m bald, but I self-identify as hairy.” His point: if we deny the obvious, then anything goes.
Let’s apply these features of postmodernism and deconstruction to the “truths” of sexuality and the recent Supreme Court decision about marriage.
Deconstruction removes the interpretive anchor of texts like the Fourteenth Amendment: the historical context and original intent. For deconstruction the amendment has none of that; we can’t even ascertain it, so why bother with the quixotic quest for it? That anchor limits their interpretation of the Amendment and so limits their political agenda. Rather, the Magical Amendment has an open-ended meaning that anyone can exploit.
The center does not hold. It’s free play. And now this unstable, deconstructive worldview has crept into our very lives through a black-robed elite that had imbibed it and is now implementing it.
The amendment and entire Constitution slip and slide around in a postmodern goo. The old document covers whatever a judge says it does, depending on his or her politics.
As for human sexuality, every nonconformist marriage is now clearly spelled out in the Constitution or something.
Never has so much change been drawn from such deep silence. The Magical Fourteenth Amendment now covers three husbands, five wives, one man and his four wives (see Islamic law). They need their equal protection under the law for insurance and employee health benefits and taxes and who knows what else.
When the SCOTUS-Five said any kind of marriage is a constitutional right, democracy was short-circuited because the radicals couldn’t wait for the wheels of democracy to work; sound argumentation, if they had any, didn’t go fast enough.
And so new redefinitions of marriage will happen through the courts, not legislation. Leftist causes always do.
So what is the source of the radical attack on the family and stable sexuality?
Michael Walsh in his insightful book the Devil’s Pleasure Palace: The Cult of Critical Theory and the Subversion of the West writes about how the Left took over American universities, and their doctrines fell on fertile ears of the leisurely, prosperous students of the 1960s. Then the next generation took over the universities; some of them still teach there today, as old professors, training the new generation of professors.
The first step [against the nuclear family] was to mock it (in the 1960s and ‘70s, the idealized “Father Knows Best” and “Leave It to Beaver” worlds of the pre-hippie era came in for particular scorn), then to accuse it of various crimes against humanity (particularly the newfound charge of “patriarchy”), then to illustrate that there were “really” other sorts of families, just as good, just as loving, just as valid as the traditional two-parent, opposite-sex nest. Finally, the nuclear family was simply dispensed with altogether … (page 75).
What are their long-range goals?
Walsh points out that the homosexual and lesbian branch of the Left, piggybacking on the civil rights movement of the 1960s, wants power through the vote: “If a wedge could be driven between men and women, if the nuclear family could be cracked … then that political party that had adopted Critical Theory could make single women one of their strongest voting blocs” (p. 88).
So what are some solutions or antidotes against their deconstructive drive?
One is so simple (not simplistic) you can overlook it.
Common sense is when you observe obvious truths, draw the right conclusions from them, and follow them.
Example: It’s obvious men and women really are different. That’s why the European Olympic Committee separates the two sexes during the Olympic Games. They’re following common sense, the kind your grandparents used.
But marriage and sex? Suddenly for the Left men and women are not different. Not even their brain-sex differences matter in raising children. Anatomical differences? Language games run past them.
When I was in graduate school, the Left used to knock and mock common sense. It defies their agenda and exposes their foolishness (lack of wisdom).
Because of their mockery, we must be on the right track, so let’s have more common sense.
Still another solution is for those on the intellectual Right to get into the game. I know you’re out there (and some of you have contributed already). You can read up on the intellectual Left, whose writings can be complicated, and boil it down for the public and expose them for what they are: needlessly destructive.
Finally, the Left hates humor and scorn at their expense; but by it we can counter what Old Lefty Joe, my humorous representative of leftist ideology, has done to the song America the Beautiful in his verse about sexuality:
O Suckiful for male-female,
No diff’rences we claim.
Humanity we disentail
Ev’ryone’s just the same!
A myth is Genesis!
Deny thine eyes
What we call prejudice!