From the print edition of The New American
“Is it all about sex?!” The answer to this common leftist refrain, exclaimed when a traditionalist complains about some sexual-devolutionary agenda, is “Yes — you have made it so.” The “regressives” known as progressives have infused everything with sex, from media to entertainment to big business to, what is the topic here, education, with higher miseducation being the highest in lascivious content. Thus is it no wonder that Johnny not only can’t read but can’t tell right from wrong: Orgiastic environments don’t lend themselves to intellectual or moral development. Moreover, marry someone to vice on an emotional level, and he’ll be likely to later accept vice-imbued ideologies on an intellectual level.
British philosopher G.K. Chesterton predicted in 1926 that the “next great heresy is going to be simply an attack on morality; and especially on sexual morality…. The madness of tomorrow is not in Moscow but much more in Manhattan.” Philosopher C.S. Lewis, the foundation for whose conversion to Christianity (from atheism) was born of reading Chesterton’s books, once observed, “Sex is not messed up because it was put in the closet; it was put in the closet because it was messed up.” And just recently, at an early April conference at the Franciscan University of Steubenville, University of Virginia (UVA) religious studies Professor Vigen Guroian complained of higher education’s hypocrisy. Pointing out that colleges do in fact act in loco parentis, heavily policing alcohol and drug use, he asks why they also don’t police promiscuity. The short answer: When a heresy holds sway it becomes orthodoxy, at least for a time — and you don’t question orthodoxy.
Yet forget about policing promiscuity. Today’s colleges actually encourage it to a point of almost making Sodom and Gomorrah look saintly. Consider that the Ivy League’s Yale University hosted rapper Elizabeth Eden Harris, who goes by the moniker “cupcakKe,” at its April Spring Fling celebration. One student commentator called her emanations “sins, not songs” and “musical porn, plain and simple,” as she “sings about violent sex, oral sex, and having genitalia ‘like I’m eight,’” reports an April 11 College Fix headline. The details are even worse, but I’ll spare you.
Two days earlier, the College Fix reported that the “University of Tennessee at Knoxville is hosting ‘Sex Week’ [April 6 through 12] at which students will learn about a wide variety of sexual practices and topics,” including a class “titled ‘Butt Stuff 2.0: The Pegging,’” which we’ll not describe here. The Fix also informs, “Other events during the week include an art exhibit titled ‘Send Nudes ;),’ a cabaret show, and a workshop about ‘Black Liberation through Sexual Pleasure.’… Workshops such as ‘Masturbation Nation,’ ‘Trans Convo Starter Pack,’ ‘Tinder and Tea,’ and the ‘Science of Abortion’ are also on the schedule.”
Far from the above being an outlier, university Sex Week events are common today. For example, Campus Reform reported four years ago that the “University of Chicago is kicking off Sex Week 2014 with a ‘Lascivious Ball’ in which students will not be required to wear clothing.” In 2015, the College Fix informed that “Harvard University will soon mark its annual ‘Sex Week’ observance, which this year features a workshop on how to navigate sex involving bondage and sadomasochism in the dorms — complete with whips and floggers.” And in March, the publication told us that the “annual ‘Sex Week’ at Northwestern University will feature a Chicago-based dominatrix named ‘Lady Sophia’ who will teach the students various BDSM practices.”
Yet what transpires every other week in higher education can be just as sex-infused and confused. In 2011, Northwestern University psychology Professor J. Michael Bailey hosted a guest lecturer whose presentation was entitled “Networking for Kinky People” and which featured a live sex act on an auditorium stage. Also from the Fix (quotations are the publication’s):
• Dartmouth University offers physical education credit for undergoing “Sexpert” training.
• An area of study at the elite all-women’s Smith College “has the stated goal of ‘recognizing and disrupting notions of normative sexuality and gender.’”
• “A workshop offered at the University of Texas at Austin teaches students [that] bisexuality, pansexuality and ‘fluid sexuality’ should be embraced and supported.”
• “A discussion scheduled for later this month [April 2017] at California State University San Marcos appears slated to delve into the wild world of animal-based sex fetishes.”
One could fill volumes with such examples, but the point has been made.
Not surprisingly, this perversion extends beyond the classroom. Guroian penned a 2015 essay entitled “Sex and Danger at UVA” with William Wilson, professor emeritus of religious studies at the University of Virginia, in which the academics document that 18-year-old undergraduates really do enter “Dorm Brothels” (the title of a shocking 2005 article Guroian wrote). They presented the words a female UVA student wrote in a class assignment, relating, “Sex pervades almost every aspect of dorm life that I have experienced. I have seen ‘dorm incest’ (the entire floor hooks up with everyone else on the floor), [been] ‘sexiled,’ by my roommate having sex on my dorm bed, and witnessed date rape.”
Note that the term “hook up” (in the sense of sexual activity) was only attested “by 2003,” according to the Online Etymology Dictionary; this is no surprise. It’s a euphemism for “one-night stand” or “casual sex,” which itself is a euphemism for fornication. As sexual mores have degraded and the concept of “sin” has been shelved, the language has been correspondingly altered to put lipstick on the pig of promiscuity. So now sex, reduced to a mechanical act, can be described with a term for linking two pieces of machinery.
Another student provided even more detail, as Guroian and Wilson relate:
I arrived at UVA first semester just like many other female University students — wanting to make friends, excited for romance (genuine romance), and getting to know bright and intellectually motivated young men and women. Much to my surprise things were not so.... I had been thrown with others carelessly into a long-term hotel.
Most of the people in your dorm were in the “friend zone.” Everyone was a “guy.” But even with sweatpants on we recognized we had different body parts and late at night with a couple of beers things got more intimate. We were not so much male and female as we were xx who logically should give xy what they want and what we have. We were all one mutually using and abusing non-family.
Sexual license was actively encouraged and funded by the university. From “Spring-break fun packs” full of condoms and forms of contraception handed out at the student center with a cute note from a pudgy sunshine face wearing shades saying “Have a Fun Spring Break!” to “Sexual Arts and Crafts” flyers plastered on the dorm halls — the message is clear: college is a parent-funded motel party of casual and impersonal, but, yes, “safe sex.”
Related to this, an April College Fix article reported on Guroian’s recent Franciscan U. appearance and wrote that he “also lamented the end of single-sex colleges as a ‘great tragedy,’ claiming that many problems seen today would not exist if even just dormitories were single-sex. When he was a student in the 1970s, ‘no one thought unisex dorms was [sic] possible.’” Yet it has gone beyond this now: Some campuses — such as Wesleyan University, Hampshire College, Ithaca College, and even Massachusetts Institute of Technology, to name just a handful — have clothing-optional halls, dorms, and, sometimes, whole campuses (virtually all students still regularly wear clothing, but reports of seeing an undergraduate au naturale are not uncommon).
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This article appears in the June 18, 2018, issue of The New American. To download the issue and continue reading this story, or to subscribe, click here.
Given this, it’s not surprising that Guroian and Wilson lament how higher education has abdicated its responsibility to provide the young proper moral guiderails, how its apparent goal now vis-à-vis sex is merely to “manage” the promiscuity. Ensure that everything is “consensual” and that it’s “safe sex,” and the job is done. But as the two academics point out:
Perusing the new college “sex manuals” is like studying instructions for the operation of machinery. In this hyper-bureaucratic vision, mind and will are described to exist in a macabre, disembodied state: a Cartesian dualism gone positively mad. The University of Virginia document on sexual violence reads as follows: “A person who has given Effective Consent to engage in Sexual Contact or Sexual Intercourse may withdraw Effective Consent at any time. It is the responsibility of the person withdrawing Effective Consent to communicate, through clear words or actions, that he or she no longer wishes to engage in the sexual activity.” Sexual contact is “any intentional sexual touching, however slight, with any object, performed by a person upon another person.” Now who believes that sex happens this way, where persons rule over their bodies like technicians operating a robot?
Who? Those believing people are just organic robots whose parts will sometimes “hook up.”
Yet there is much more to unpack here than can be addressed in one essay. First consider the notion of “consent,” a term appearing three times in the first two sentences of UVA’s above guidelines. Guroian and Wilson tackle this:
Administrative and juridical rules supported by sanctions cannot make a humane culture. Only moral convictions about right and wrong ensconced in manners and customary restraints can ensure a healthy culture of relations between the sexes. Consent does not suffice for a sexual morality, not even in deciding right from wrong. Bad and harmful sex can happen even when there is consent. Human beings often consent to being acted upon in ways that will do them harm. Does consent alone make it right for me to do something with or to someone to which she has agreed but that I know will harm her?
No doubt. Note that in 2003, 42-year-old German computer expert Armin Meiwes was convicted of killing and cannibalizing 43-year-old Berlin engineer Bernd Brandes, as The Guardian reported at the time. The relevance? Meiwes had advertised for a victim on the Internet, and Brandes responded and willingly participated in his own destruction. The moral is that no amount of consent can make right what is objectively wrong.
The implicit notion to the contrary, so modernly American and fashionable (though, of course, applied inconsistently, like all lies), reflects something: the deification of the individual, the idea that everybody can decide for himself what’s right and wrong. Thus, human “consent” supplants God’s consent.
And after creating this “liberated” environment — what now-unfashionable people once called an “occasion of sin” — and after Hell follows with it, modern higher education engages in blame-shifting. As Guroian and Wilson write, “Faced with sexual violence [real and imaginary], the allegedly ‘innocent’ university pleads that it is not responsible, morally or legally, for the anarchic and destructive sex that happens. ‘It is all the fraternities’ fault. It is the fault of the benighted heritage of a Southern male institution. It is the fault of flawed policies that state and federal governments have mandated.’” Or, I’ll add, it’s “toxic masculinity”; “male privilege”; or the “patriarchy,” that fearsome entity whose existence in the West occupies a category with the tyrannosaurus rex.
In fact, one could wonder if this blame-shifting desire is partially why universities so zealously and prejudicially persecute young men accused of sexual misconduct, often treating them as guilty until proven innocent beyond doubt’s very shadow (e.g., the Duke University lacrosse rape frame-up case). Aside from being motivated by now ingrained anti-male prejudice and other biases, are some academics assuaging and expiating their own guilt by sacrificing (sometimes) innocent blood on their altar of political correctness? Do some have the hope, deep down, that if they turn the accused into a lust-breathing dragon and make a show of slaying him, that their own culpability will go unnoticed?
Whatever the case, “Even as the evidence has mounted to undeniable proportions that something has gone horribly wrong with relations between the sexes on our campuses, colleges will not admit culpability for the ugly scene,” Guroian and Wilson also state. “Most important, they will not admit that the great experiment of institutionalizing the sexual revolution has failed at the cost of many, many ruined lives.” This brings us to the notion of “safe sex.” When the two academics cite cases of wounded young women they’ve encountered, it’s never that the student came crying for help because she contracted syphilis or chlamydia; most types of VD are curable. Rather, what ails her isn’t remedied with a round of antibiotics.
Many of us have witnessed the plight of used and jilted girls (I’ve seen more than one). Here is the general pattern: A woman will tend to bond very strongly with the first man with whom she has sexual relations. If that fellow — perhaps viewing the encounter differently, as mere carnal pleasure — then jilts her, she can be cut deeply. Not wanting to experience this pain again, she may instinctively erect a wall around her heart and never let another man enter it so completely. Consequently, with that deep dream of truly bonding romantically and becoming one flesh (after marriage) dashed, it isn’t just that she’s more likely to pin her hopes elsewhere (e.g., career). She also may respond to having been emotionally hurt by a man by developing hostility toward all men, which can lead to the visceral reaction of embracing feminism. In fact, scratch the surface of a militant feminist, and you generally find in her past a bad relationship with a man, such as a boyfriend or father.
Moreover, the casual-sex phenomenon inculcates the divorce mentality. Generally speaking, every succeeding romantic bond will be weaker than the preceding one, and the bond-breakup, bond-breakup, bond-breakup pattern can become habitual — which means it will carry over into marriage.
There is a reason, of course, why today’s universities make Sodom standard. Part of it is that being a thoroughly left-wing bunch, professors and administrators are wholly invested in the great sexual heresy. They believe in it, supposing that to suppress sexual “expression” is a great and intolerable tyranny, even as they enforce politically correct speech codes and strip freedom in every area but the one where you strip clothes. Moreover, being libertine themselves and having much to justify personally, they’ll never erect a moral standard by which they also would be condemned. Besides, to paraphrase the ancient Chinese sage Confucius, “I never knew anyone who loved virtue as much as sex.” College is now big business, and if sex is a strong selling point with the Bohemian boy and Gomorrah girl customers, it will be delivered.
Nonetheless, virtue still has its fans, as there remains on college campuses a strong, if quiet, resistance to the libertine excesses of modern university life. For example, Dr. Duke Pesta, a tenured professor of English at a state university and the academic director of FreedomProject Academy, notes that when he teaches classic books that argue for chastity, temperance, and modesty, many students approve the message. “It’s remarkable,” Pesta explained, “but when my students read Dante, Shakespeare, Milton, Dostoevsky, or C. S. Lewis, many react positively to traditional sexual morality and deplore the trivialization of love and commitment that promiscuity leaves in its wake.” Pesta also points out that a number of his most vocal and self-described feminist students “are greatly at odds with their teachers and their culture” when it comes to sex outside the framework of commitment: “In the same way we find surprising reservoirs of young college students who oppose abortion much more deeply than previous university-educated generations, we are also finding a more serious desire to reinstate personal and societal boundaries when it comes to personal and societal sexual choices. The two are clearly related.”
In addition, there are whole oases of traditionalism, institutions such as the aforementioned Franciscan University, Michigan’s Hillsdale College, Florida’s Ave Maria University, California’s Thomas Aquinas College, and Virginia’s Liberty University, to name a handful. New American writer Steve Byas, a professor of history and government, works at another such institution, Randall University in Moore, Oklahoma. Weighing in on academia’s current status quo and contrasting Randall with it, he said that it’s “beyond doubt that debauchery is widespread on the American college campus,” but he is grateful to “teach at a Christian liberal arts college, associated with the Free Will Baptist denomination.” Byas continued, “Instead of ‘sex week,’ our students often give up their spring breaks to go on mission trips. This is in addition to mission activities in the summer months.” He further elaborated:
There are no classes at Randall University on fornication, but we do have classes like the Bible and Science. In fact, the Christian worldview permeates the curriculum. We don’t restrict the teaching of the Christian worldview to courses on theology. On the contrary, my classes on American History, European History, and American Federal Government are taught in such a way that biblical Christianity is assumed. We teach Western Civilization and the role that the Christian faith has had in shaping it.
Sure, we have students on campus who are not Christians. And we have students from a Christian background who don’t always act like it. Some students come to Randall without Christ, and then later graduate with not only a degree in their hands, but also Christ in their hearts and lives.
We have one dorm for the young men and another dorm for the young women. Twice a week we have chapel services — a time for inspiration, drawn from the Christian faith.
Most academics would consider the above model antiquated. Yet “eternal” is the proper word, and one everlasting principle eluding these libertines is this: The “enlightened” modern model for sexuality is much like Marxism and typical of leftism in that it denies the realities of man’s nature. Some may say, indulging a caricature of individualism, that “college students are responsible for their own sexual behavior.” Yet this is like putting young men and women together aboard a navy vessel and wondering why it becomes a “love boat.” (Note that 3,840 — or 16 percent — of our female sailors became pregnant in 2016, and that women are 50 percent more likely than the men to have to be transferred from their ships to land duty.) Or it’s like giving kids the keys to the candy store carte blanche and then wondering why they gorge themselves to the point of nausea. A simple truth is ignored: Institutionalize occasions of sin — and rampant sin will result.
Yet the most serious consequence of sexual corruption is seldom understood. Is it mere coincidence that groups defined by what was once universally called sin — whether homosexuals, people of easy virtue, recreational drug users, etc. — tend to embrace what we call “leftist” politics? I think not. Nor do I believe that their support is explainable solely by the fact that leftists rubber-stamp their inclinations.
To paraphrase Belgian poet and writer Émile Cammaerts, “When people cease believing in God, it’s not that they start to believe in nothing. It’s that they’ll believe in anything.” Upon hearing this, instinctively theists’ heads will nod and atheists’ eyes roll, and it’s usually left there. Yet if the phenomenon is real, it can be explained — and it must be.
Before you can get people to believe in anything, you must eliminate their knowledge of what limits them to something (good): proper rules. For example, drawing people away from healthful diets would be easy if, somehow, you could convince them that the rules of human nutrition didn’t exist. There then wouldn’t be “bad” and “good” foods, as there’d be no yardstick for drawing such distinctions, only pleasing and unpleasant ones. So then taste becomes the only guide, and the credo is reduced to “If it tastes good, eat it.” And led by taste, people would very likely gravitate toward junk food, those sinfully delicious formulations, or might even try those pretty berries on the bush that are, truly, for the birds. Moreover, if you can somehow shape people’s tastes via manipulation, you can control what they feed their bodies.
Tragically, the above also works with that for which it’s a metaphor: what people feed their minds and hearts. I often write about moral relativism/nihilism, and for good reason — it’s the characteristic philosophical/spiritual mistake of our time. This is evidenced by a 2002 Barna Group study showing that only six percent of teens (now well into adulthood) believed in Moral Truth (absolute by definition). Quite telling, and predictable, is something else the research found. Robbed of the yardstick of rules for human behavior, it’s as in the diet example: Americans are most likely to use as a guide for making decisions the only yardstick they have left, feelings (tastes). This is why “If it feels good, do it” long ago became a common modern credo.
Of course, convince people there are no actual rules (objective ones, that is; consensus preferences masquerading as rules don’t count) governing human behavior — that “morality” is a fool’s illusion, as oh-so-smart sociopaths suppose — and they can believe in “anything.” Moreover, what if you then can shape their yardstick for behavior, their emotions, as is done very effectively via media, academia, and entertainment? You then can control what they believe.
How does this relate to faithlessness, to return to Cammaerts’ observation? The answer is that atheism correlates with moral relativism/nihilism. After all, if there’s no God, what we call “morality” can only be man’s creation; it also can only be his illusion because then morality, properly understood, cannot exist. To present my standard explanation: If 90 percent of humanity said it preferred chocolate to vanilla, it wouldn’t render chocolate “right” or “good” and vanilla “wrong” or “evil”; it would simply mean that people happened to like chocolate better. Yet would it be any more logical to say that murder was “wrong” if our only basis for the claim was that most all of humanity preferred that people not kill others in a way we call unjust? If that were all it is, then the idea that murder was wrong would occupy the same category as flavors: the realm of preference.
So here is the formula: Atheism=moral relativism/nihilism=no rules=no limits on belief. Ergo, one can believe in anything.
Thus, if I wanted to fill young people’s heads with ideological junk food, I might first want to detach them from Truth. What is the best way to do this? An incentive must be provided — and this is where sin is invaluable.
Someone has three basic choices when doing wrong:
• Repent and resolve to change. This, the best choice, is difficult because admitting error requires humility and the relinquishment of emotionally cherished behaviors. So this route is relatively unpopular.
• Say, “I’ve done evil because I like evil and have no intention of stopping.” This is even rarer because people don’t like believing they’re wicked — unless they happen to be Aleister Crowley or Anton LaVey.
• Rationalize away the actions, claiming they’re not really wrong because _________. This is the road most traveled, as it enables someone to indulge in both favored sins and the illusion of relative saintliness.
This brings us to the appeal of moral relativism/nihilism. Probably the major reason it’s rampant today is that it’s the ultimate rationalization, the one obviating all other rationalizations. After all, my sins can’t be sins if morality is mere social construct. As serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, the “Milwaukee Cannibal,” revealed later in life about his fateful teenage conclusion: “If there’s no God, why can’t I just make up my own rules?”
So if I were a university ideologue bent on winning young converts to a godless cause, I’d employ a one-two punch: Use occasions of sin to seduce the students into vice, which they’ll want to justify, often by becoming more relativistic. Then, while they’re being further unmoored from eternal laws, opportunistically fill their heads with corruptive ideology. Interestingly, this is precisely what happens at today’s universities.
Also note that sin is psychological poison, though it’s not recognized as such by a moral relativist any more than physical poison would be recognized by a true dietary relativist. It thus causes unhappiness and often anger, and, since people would generally rather blame their misery on others than themselves, it may be easy to direct that anger at external targets. Just make the women believe they can’t be happy without ending the “patriarchy,” the minorities believe they can’t be happy without “deconstructing whiteness,” the envious believe they can’t be happy without destroying capitalism, the environmentally inclined believe they can’t be happy without bringing industry to heel, and so on. They’ll be so focused on trying to fix the world, they won’t notice that it’s the inner man who’s broken.
Having said this, our problems don’t start at the university. As the Barna Group data on teens reveal, dislocation from Truth is already widespread by the time high school concludes, no surprise given that lower levels of schooling, the media, and entertainment all try to snatch bodies (and minds) with the same university pods. It also should be mentioned that while atheism correlates with moral relativism/nihilism, claimed belief in God does not nearly as strongly correlate with embrace of Truth. For Barna reports that, strikingly, only nine percent of “born again” teens believe in it. It’s as if they fancy God some kind of flower-child “creative force” whose only priority is to “not harsh their mellow.” It’s a tribute to the effect of sin and the appeal of moral relativism/nihilism.
Yet the Truth has not only its own appeal but also another quality: endurance. In contrast, lies, such as that of “sexual liberation,” have short legs. Secular academia may indulge “the pleasures of sin for a season,” as the Bible puts it, but they will fade away with that season. If they’re recorded at all, they’ll be remembered in history like Caligula, as a great and perverted mistake and cautionary tale.
Modern academics may think they’re the men of the future, but they’re the mistakes of the past — and always have been. For only the good remains in the end.
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