Ayn Rand/Objectivism Sightings
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Sacred Sex, Animalistic Sex, and Other Seductive Theories
To have sex, you must do it under the sheets of your bed, missionary style, with no lights on, and with as much clothing on as is possible. Nudity would degrade the act by taking your mind off of the spiritual aspects. Similarly, there should be no touching, except for where absolutely necessary, and even that you should feel guilty about. You should avoid any moaning or other sounds that would sink the whole experience into a purely physical, filthy abyss. No smiling either. The goal should be efficiency. You should work to quickly finish the debasing act.
Those who disagree are mere hedonists. They stoop to the lowest pleasure, acting more like animals than human beings. They have sex with anyone, being completely indiscriminate. To them, sex is just some physical pleasure, with no meaning at all. They hop from partner to partner, unable to control their primordial instincts, not caring a bit whom they perform the act with.
This is your choice. Will you act like a filthy animal, unable to control your vile urges? Or will you rise to a higher standard, making sex the highest virtue? The choice is yours.
Okay now, let's be serious. Aside from the conservatives in Objectivist clothing out there, this view of "sacred sex" should sound ridiculous. And dreadfully dull. Who could get aroused under those conditions? Anyone in their right mind would run away from this view as fast as they could.
And that can run them right into a brick wall. Notice that I didn't just describe some perverse view of a 'noble' kind of sex. I also set it up as being the opposite of hedonistic sex. The choice being offered is between two miserable views of sex. One is dry and stale. The other is devoid of meaning. You're stuck between no sex, and sex as a dirty object.
The reason I wrote it this way is that in order to make a lousy ethical system sound good, you have to say that not following it is even worse. This isn't my idea. It happens all the time. Those who preach an ethics that isn't enjoyable and life-affirming have to prove that the alternative is worse. By setting up a false dichotomy, they make their own views sound better.
When someone preaches the general theory of altruism, that you must help other people to be morally virtuous, what do they claim is the opposite? Certainly they don't talk about a life devoid of sacrifice. They set up the choice to be between sacrificing yourself, or sacrificing others. If you're not a good altruist, then you walk all over everyone else. You kill, steal, and generally hurt other people, all in the name of "selfishness."
Whenever an impractical moral theory is espoused, it is said that you either obey, or you're immoral. If you accept their view of morality then you're a good person. If you don't, then you are devoid of morality. So the choice is between following the system designed to hurt you, or plunging into a complete lack of morals. And those who reject it often don't reject it as a bad ethical system, and look for something better. They think "If this is morality, I want nothing to do with it!"
And this is the real menace of these bad ideas. It's not that you'll accept the impractical theory that they support, but that you'll plunge right into the alleged opposite position. Although the first position is rejected, the premise behind it is often left untouched.
In the sex discussion, the hidden premise is the mind-body false dichotomy. The sacred-sex people want you to accept your mind, and reject your body. And they see the only alternative as accepting the body and rejecting the mind. If you go down either path, you lose. It's better to reject the premise entirely, and realize that sex isn't some complicated form of masturbation. When you have sex, you have sex with someone. The give-and-take, the interaction of bodies and minds
When it comes to altruism and running roughshod over everyone around you, the hidden premise is that someone needs to be sacrificed, and it's only a question of who. A system of trade and cooperation, to mutual advantage, is unheard of.
And of course, if presented with a bad ethics, the choice isn't to take ethics in that form or live a life devoid of morality. The hidden premise there is that their version of morality is the only possible one. You can reject their moral stipulations, while embracing the need for an ethical system of your own.
The problem is that the "moral" position is usually the one that's the biggest sacrifice, and the hardest to practice. And the "immoral" is a sort of mindless,instant gratification that anyone can practice and it doesn't consider consequences. The first is bad and usually has nothing but pain to offer.
The alternative is seductive because it offers something at least, and doesn't require you to think it through. You can see the reward behind cheap meaningless sex, or taking advantage of everyone around you, or throwing morality out of the way and doing whatever you feel like. But you still lose in the end. The opposite of a bad idea is not always a good idea, and there's no substitute for thinking.
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