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Post 60

Friday, December 10, 2004 - 11:34amSanction this postReply
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Some notes:

Most of the discussion of parenting above assumed the context of an illibertarian society, one in which the state, through direct empowerment of biological parents, and indirect paralyzing the young of the ability to survive independently (through truancy laws, child labor laws, etc.) artificially creates a climate in which adolescents have no practical options but to accept dependency on parents as almost a metaphysical reality of their existence.

In the absence of such controls, a great deal of this talk of "proper upbringing" would suddenly change tune very quickly.  It is true that financial support, via contract and property rights principles, grants some valid sanction to parential authority.  But the meaning of this changes drastically in an atmosphere where a young person practically can, and often will, leave home if parents, including Objectivist ones, decide to control their children's lives "for their own good".

In a free society, especially with a lack of rent control and a variety of models of education- including various apprenticeship traditions, a young person who leaves home at say, 13, would have a very reasonable chance to do well on their own- even if the struggle would be hard.  There are many adolescents- particularly those of the most independent minds- who have prized their liberty over security and have throughout history have done just that.

I ask those here who support controlling models of parenting- do you stand in the pride of knowing your children are grateful for your upbringing and education, enough to stay with you in the presence of alternatives?  Or do you feel assured you know better than they do, and quietly rest an atmosphere where your children have no choice but to obey?

I believe parents might suddenly remember to do a lot more 'teaching by example' and a lot less 'you're too young to understand' if they realize their child might think an apprenticeship program or a childless adult friend might gladly take them might be a better deal than sancted mother and father.  I doubt parents would try to discourage romantic affairs between 13-year olds if the young lovers might just decide to break and run and set up a household together in some cheap (sans rent control) apartment.

And this is no hypothesis.  Had such things been possible, I would have left home the moment I could support myself.  So would many, many people I know.  Incidentally, those from cultural background which trained children as if they could support themselves at 13 had very benevolent relations where the young person had no desire to leave.  Those where young people knew they had no other choices produced a lot of blind sheep, a number of nihilistic rebels, and a few messed-up misfits.

Conservative preachers of market discipline, beware, take some of your own medicine!  I'd like to see the sight of parents having to compete on an open marketplace.

I find it shocking- but typical- that while Rand could show Kira as a heroine for walking out on her family in Soviet Russia- those here place themselves exclusively in the position of parents, instead of applying their individualism to the question of: how should I, as the maiden or youth, strive to realize my happiness on Earth?  And those who do so have little to say except to counsel postponing sex and passion to get somewhere in the social world.  Some precious doctrine of happiness!  Such is the doctrine in blank name of dreams deferred.  What I hear is the exploitive egoism of "it's my children", or the alienated egoism of "it's my future (for which the present must be repressed)".  I here very little "it's my life, my dreams, my passion, and I demand the right to explore my passions, my friendships, my sexuality, my dreams- and my society and my parents can just get the Hell out of my way."

I myself discovered in Rand, once long ago, that my life belonged to me, and not to my parents, my elders, my society, or those who "knew what was best for me."  I found that my judgement was my own, and that if that judgement conflicted with others I should act on it or call tyranny upon my life what it is.  And I once read in Rand that one should seize one's dreams, fight for one's passion in the full conviction of one's right, that one should set out on one's own, take risks, that Platonic love was a vice, unfulfilled, represses, and deferred dreams were sins.  I remember a world in which one should distrust those in whom the impulse to guide, patronize, and care was powerful, most certainly including parents.  That Rand's ethic should now be used to support parents managing their childrens' romance, or children denying romance for success in the world on its terms, is treasonable.  Or it would be treasonable if Rand had not yoked her violent, revolutionary, and passionate aesthos to the name of Hobbesian security and the substance of a tepid and reasonable American middle class that expressed few of her virtues, and if cultural embeddednesses did not in the end always have the power to bend ideas for their own purposes.

I am now 26 years old, and though many of my ideas have changed, and have sadly let Rand go after finding she could not keep her promises of passion, I have never regretted- but for one black moment of despair- having chosen to live my life, and an education an experience beyond most Americans my age have not shown me that my parents' plans for me contained wisdom but rather held deeper horrors than I dreamed.  I say in no shame or retreat, yes, my upbringing showed me some rawer horrors of parential authority than most, and this experience factually has a great deal to do with why I cannot stomach ordinary conformities most take for granted, wherein I see an evil that sickens my soul against whom I will find few allies.  Yet I am not the only one, nor the only one to suddenly find a wall of steel at my back as soon as I found in the Life a place where my passions can live in this world.

What will you do, O traditional parents, when you have no laws to brace you, and every independent spirit can do as I did- as I would have at 16 had I been born a genetic female or lived in a context where state medicine did not make early start independent transitioning all but impossible.  What will you do in a free society where we, and the counterculturalists, and the gay and lesbian world, will openly offer what you cannot- a culture of freedom, undoubtedbly decked out with full parallel educational and apprenticeship institutions- where the conformities of your culture are not in force?  What will you do when you remember that some of us in the Life have not at all forgotten the traditional function of sex work as a mother of exiles from the passion-bending and -bleeding conformities of a world enmeshed in conventions of vicious moralism and sad necessity?  What will you do when- and I gaurantee I am not the only one serious about pleasure as a cause who would jump at the chance tomorrow- what will you do when we open our doors as an open resource of defiance against your culture?  How long could you survive- unchanged- faced with free competition?

Jeanine Ring    )(*)(

 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

This is the proper end, but I here attach a long note which I think some here will appreciate and understand:

Those here who uphold an "old high culture" have little to worry about.  It's no accident that those who share this aristocratic common sense are also those in this forum most open to and appreciative of courtesanship.  Allowing for a degree of artful politiqueing and deferrence, the middle stratum of the cultural memory of sex worker subculture is adapted to an existence alongside such 'old high cultures', and my own style and form recalls the practice of sex work in societies- past and contemporary- when old high culture as opposed to base Christian virtues set the social tone.  This tone is not perfect from the perspective of the ethos at the core of sex-work's historical self-conception, but it will do, doesn't harm anything important and gives space for a classical liberal's flourishing minus a few sighs, shrugs, and allusions a little bitterer than they're meant to be taken.  This is the cultural pattern of modern Japan and most of the Far East, as well of that of Enlightenment salon culture, Rennassaince Italy and the Hellenic and Hellenistic and classical world.  I have little doubt that those who hold to these cultures have little to fear (little, not nothing) of their daughters running off to join the Life- these cultures are structured internally to provide for eroticism and self-realization within their frameworks, and their cultural evolution had existed historically in an arm's length tandem with a sex work subculture, whose members poorly adjust to larger social norms but do better in a niche subculture with different rules.  'Old high cultures', instead of trying to crush 'immoral' dissidents, incorporate the marginal elements into the social structure: they live with competition, and the larger sense of liberality in this atmosphere requires the primary culture to actually offer something in its socialization more than moral commands.  The result works fairly well for everyone, more or less; most do fine in the mainstream; those who who not do well enough to develop alternative excellences (with a bit of begrudgement). Sex work is only one example; such 'gentlemanly' cultures develop military, intellectual, commercial, and scientific parallel subcultures, all of which are adapted to various divergent psyches and have mores which quietly accommodate mores unacceptable in the larger society.  'Old high culture', in other words, has its one well-fortified traditions that see little defection, a fairly tolerant and mutualist ecology with those who who defect, and understood social niches for defectors.  This isn't ideal for those who end up marginalized, and whose central experiences- whether erotic ecstasis, a warrior code, philosophic friendship, or scientific curiosity- all feel by rights a claim to a much larger preeminance in setting the tone of a polity.  Nevertheless, an "old high culture" can maintain a liberal atmosphere without the need of strong political controls, a crushing moral intolerance to replace political controls, or even a perfect legal libertarianism.  "Old high culture" represents a pragmatic, sensititive, civilized conservatism which can tolerate flourishing countercultural pockets and- depending on your point of view- either patronize of coopt them for a functional and reasonably happy society.

On a personal note, one reason I love San Francisco is that it in many ways is an "old high culture" city, influenced by Chinese and Japanese values, Latin high-church Catholicism, European emigres, and various Pagan strains preserved in gay, lesbian, and counterculture influences.  The result is a city in modern-day America where, when I borrow the customs and understandings of courtesans in 5th century Greece or 16th century Venice, almost everyone except culturally mainstream Americans falls into the social patterns as if 'by instinct'.  I am just put into a different social category, expected to step aside and speak discreetly but also exempted from a lot of normal social expectation, and that's that.  Where a typical American would see at a brightly colored transgendered woman wearing an Aphrodite pendant as a wierdo or just an individual (and not "get it"), an Asian or European businessperson give me precisely one glance, reads "courtesan", and deals with me and expects me to deal with them as such.  To Americans this seems shockingly anti-individualist, and to feminists patriarchal, and I sympathise with both intellectually- I'm essentially living under a diluted version of premodern rules.  But as a practical day to day matter it allows me to express far more individuality in my chosen sphere than would head on universalistic moral confrontations and fights over the expectations of all citizens in the absense of defined social place.

anyway, just mused thoughts.

Jeanine Ring    )(*)(


Post 61

Friday, December 10, 2004 - 12:36pmSanction this postReply
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Jeanine wrote: And those who do so have little to say except to counsel postponing sex and passion to get somewhere in the social world.  Some precious doctrine of happiness!  Such is the doctrine in blank name of dreams deferred.

Social world?  "Society" has little to do with 14-year old teenager caring for an infant in between classes and part-time jobs at the supermarket, much less the poor choices she made to get to that point.  For a teenager at that young age, properly caring for infants does not leave too much room to pursue happiness (or pleasure) in life.  This happens much too frequently, even in a "society" where abortion is legal and, thanks to the kindness of some charities, inexpensive.  Freedom and personal responsibility go hand-in-hand. 

Jeanine also wrote: What will you do, O traditional parents, when you have no laws to brace you, and every independent spirit can do as I did . . .What will you do in a free society where we, and the counterculturalists, and the gay and lesbian world, will openly offer what you cannot- a culture of freedom, undoubtedbly decked out with full parallel educational and apprenticeship institutions- where the conformities of your culture are not in force?"

I do not see it as "us vs. them" but, if you insist, what "we" (the so-called traditional parents) will do is compete in the free market, as it could be and should be.  Isn't capitalism beautiful?  Which Objectivist would disagree with a libertarian economy?  If a teenager can provide for himself financially at an earlier age, all the better, but I hope he achieves it with the knowledge that the responsibility for his life will be exclusively his and nobody else will have an obligation to help him.

As for the sex worker thing, that's a whole 'nother can of worms that I don't want to open at this point in time.  Suffice to say that, as a libertarian, I have no problems with what anyone chooses to do with their body so long as it does not infringe on the rights of others.  Prostitution should be legal, as it is in some other countries.  As for the morality, I get the impression that speaking out on that would be a very lonely battle for me.

(Edited by Byron Garcia on 12/10, 1:01pm)


Post 62

Friday, December 10, 2004 - 1:18pmSanction this postReply
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Hong,

My point was not about when parents should let their children go.  I did also write earlier that there are adults who behave "childishly", and that the proper time to be legally emancipated probably when the individual could reasonably be able to support himself financially (and the earlier, the better, I think) with little to no support from the parent (regardless of age).  What my point was about was I believe teenagers rarely have the emotional maturity to pursue a genuine romantic commitment, let alone assume the awesome responsibilities of being a parent.  Most teenage relationships are infatuations or "puppy love".  Are there exceptions, yeah, of course, but they're uncommon.  Don't get me wrong.  I don't see anything wrong with infatuations.  It's kind of like training wheels for the real thing (poor analogy, I know) but I wouldn't confuse it with romantic love.  And infatuations are a poor candidate for reasons to have sex.  Sex is a beautiful physical expression of romantic love, but it has unintended consequences that can last a life-time (e.g. STD's and pregnancy).


Post 63

Friday, December 10, 2004 - 1:32pmSanction this postReply
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Their obscenely immoral failure to fulfill their obligations to their daughter, ...

Adam,
I absolutely agree with you on this. It's shocking that her parents would behave like this in this day and age. Were they themselves well educated?  This point was somehow drowned in the discussion of many other provocative points in your article.

As to the obligation of supporting children through college or even graduate school, I can't say for others, but I am prepared to do just that if my child shows promises. Both myself and my husband never had to work for a single day in order to finance our education (except the teaching and research assistant job in grad school which don't really count). I think that forcing a talented young man to work minimum wage job instead of studying does not make any sense whatsoever.

(Edited by Hong Zhang on 12/11, 11:08am)


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Post 64

Friday, December 10, 2004 - 1:54pmSanction this postReply
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Adam Reed wrote:
Their obscenely immoral failure to fulfill their obligations to their daughter, meant that their daughter lost nearly two decades of creative intellectual life - the extra time it took to complete a secular undergraduate degree in her field, and then graduate school and a doctoral dissertation, while working as a pre-school teacher. Yet I have not heard a word of condemnation for their behavior. Shouldn't one's discussion of bad mores have some degree of proportionality?
So let me get this straight: Her parents amounted to profound evaders because of their religious belief in Christian sexual conduct and their disbelief in women having a place in the world of work, especially scholarly work, outside the home.  They also owed her a college education because they have a moral obligation to finance the fullest actualization of her potential.  If they valued other expenditures more highly than that, then they made immoral expenditure choices as well.

Do I understand your moral judgment correctly?  I shall assume so.

Fine.  Her parents were profoundly immoral!

There.  I said it.  What does that get me?  Well, if you add sixty cents to it, I can purchase a can of soda at the vending machine down the hall.

One problem I have with the issue of moral judgment is its frequent lack of tangible value delivered to the judge.  Getting all worked up about these issues frequently just creates stress in my life, but in the end, I still find myself in the same place.  I need to write an article about when and when not to get passionate about moral judgment.  Its main value serves to help the judge to select which relationships he will or will not form based on the value of those relationships.

My locus of control remains with me, not someone else.  All I can do is to choose actions in context that help me or hurt me.  This includes exercising good judgment about the character of those with whom I choose to relate or to avoid.  Notice that judging differs from moralizing in that the former is an internal mental process and the latter is an external verbalized process.

I fail to see how engaging in loud, moral condemnation of these particular parents, while millions like them continue to do the same things today, will alter history.  A better strategy, which I choose to pursue, is to attack ridiculous beliefs like the God concept, souls divorced from bodies, women as inferior to men, reason as inferior to faith, etc.  We will never make headway until we make breathing room for those who have deeply seated emotions of personal identity tied to these false ideas, welcoming them into our circle of influence to engage in worthwhile exchanges.

I am sorry you and your former lover had to endure this ordeal, but I have no doubt that from their point of view, they feel they did the right thing.  We can condemn them for their evasions, but in the end, they would not give a damn about our moral judgments any more than we should give a damn about their judgments of us.


Luke Setzer


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Post 65

Friday, December 10, 2004 - 2:12pmSanction this postReply
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I liked what you said, Luther.  Not very tactful, but it gets the point across.

Hong, it is your right as an individual to decide where you are going to invest your money, such as your child's education.  I hope as a general principle that people invest their money in people or things they judge to be of value to them.  I have noticed that many here value a formal education, terminating with some postgraduate or professional degree, especially from the so-called Ivy League.  I hope you understand that others don't value neither the formal education or the credentials.  So far, I have done well enough in life without it, as have others whom I respect and admire.  I disagree with the idea that it is my obligation to pay for something I don't judge to be a value relative to the price, more so since nobody has responded to my requests to argue otherwise.  If a child of mine thinks otherwise, and he is always free to think such, he will know well in advance that he shouldn't expect me to pay for anything past high school.  There are two books that explain why I think this way: "Rich Dad, Poor Dad" and "The Millionaire Next Door".  I suggest anyone interested to please read them.


Post 66

Friday, December 10, 2004 - 2:19pmSanction this postReply
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Luke says:
My locus of control remains with me, not someone else.  All I can do is to choose actions in context that help me or hurt me.  This includes exercising good judgment about the character of those with whom I choose to relate or to avoid.  Notice that judging differs from moralizing in that the former is an internal mental process and the latter is an external verbalized process.
Well stated Luke, especially the last sentence.

George


Post 67

Friday, December 10, 2004 - 3:10pmSanction this postReply
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Byron,
You and I apparently share similar values regarding parenting and what we consider to be the right upbringing of children. I also don't disagree with your assessment of the pathetic states of many today's teenagers.

However I want to comment on one thing that you said:
Sex is a beautiful physical expression of romantic love, but it has unintended consequences that can last a life-time (e.g. STD's and pregnancy).
Sex, first of all, is a basic biological function of human. Producing a new human being is THE intended consequences of sex. We shouldn't mystify sex for the youngsters. The earlier they learn the truth about sex in a scientific context and in a matter-of-fact fashion, the better, in my opinion.

As much as teenagers are not mature emotionally and intellectually to live independently in today's society, they are mature sexually in their late teens and are ready biologically to reproduce. Abstinence is something that's against nature, although it is a necessary practice. I agree with you that most teenager relationships are just "poppy love", but their biological urge is no less real or intense than that of adults. I would venture as far as to say that to satisfy (or at least pacify) such urge is good and healthy for both their body and mind, even without any romantic love being involved. Historically, late teens are the natural ages for marriage and for starting family. The fact that "old high societies" do not place emphasis on the virginity of young men has its valid reasons. Young men were expected to have been initialized by the time he got married. And we probably all know how that was usually done.

I guess this post is somewhat in line with the "old high society" values that Jeanine apparently tolerate and even appreciate.



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Post 68

Friday, December 10, 2004 - 3:56pmSanction this postReply
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Hong,

I am sure we all know that sex is how humans and most animals procreate biologically - at least I hope we do! - but it is my experience that most people most of the time don't have sex to reproduce.  If they did, we'd all be parents many times over!  They do it as a form of pleasure and to express affection for a romantic partner.  Virginity in itself is not a virtue, and there is nothing inherently wrong with sex outside the context of a monogamous relationship (much less sex before a "legal marriage"), but to me the benefits rarely if ever outweigh the risks.  I've already beaten the risks of STD and teen pregnancy horse to death so I'm not going into that again.

Think of it this way.  There are many pleasures in life that I enjoy but I choose to moderate out of prudence.  Eating hamburgers and fried chicken gives me quite a bit of pleasure, but I do not do it all the time or even whenever I feel like it.  Exercise and working is not always pleasurable, but I choose do it anyway.  Why?  If I had to choose between an obese body or the athletic physique I have now, I'll take the latter any given day.  In the long-run, a healthy and fit body gets me more out of life than being lazy and flabby ever could.

I could honestly not care less about what some dusty, old so-called "high societies" practiced or didn't practice.  Like I said before, I'm not much of an ivory tower academic.  I am an individual living the best I can in today's world, and that is enough for me to worry about.  I don't choose to do things in life on the basis of what the Greeks or Romans used to do.


Post 69

Friday, December 10, 2004 - 4:49pmSanction this postReply
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Mr. Garcia-

Again, for pregnancies and STDs... if we can handle it safely, and I know women who have proudly slept with thousands of partners... so can others, including the young.

Besides, rock climbing and riding motorcycles are also fairly dangerous.  Either Objectivists feel like morality should steer people away from such things for the sake of safety, in which case they are consistent killjoys, or they apply different, irrational standards to sex, in which cased they're inconsistent moralists.

I've nothing against firm consideration of long term happiness.  But 'tis just as important to a worthwhile life to orient one's long-term goals so they leads through the most short-term pleasures as it is to make one's short term pleasures congruent with one's long-term goals.  And there are some values, love among them, whose letting go is such a betrayal an egoism is right to risk the entirety of their life to claim them.  A morality that advocates a young person give up the deepest feelings they have ever had- "immature" or not- for a cold plan of future security is so diseased that as I would have a hard time remembering basic libertarian principles in their premise.  Or at a distance.

And too be blunt and what I would call realistic, if most young people have not developed the capacity to feel great loves, few ever will do so after the compromises of adulthood; most adults are too mature for great feelings of any kind, and most people die without feeling much except morality, tedium and pain.  Those who can experience great passion, are mostly likely those who risked everything for wind and fire when young.  Great passion is not grown from seeds of careful calculation prior to passion but rather unsafe passion lived dangerously that one learns to ride with reason.  Repression kills souls as easily as the accpetance of some woozy irrationalism.  We must cultivate trusting elementary passion in an individual and not harming it, jsut as one holds the first stumbling steps of logic sacred, since there is nowhere else in the universe it can come from.  What the young desperately need are not healthy doses of fear of the consequences of their sexuality but a practical and literary education as to what heights sexuality can be taken, love foremost among them.

regards,


Jeanine Ring    )(*)(

(Edited by Jeanine Ring on 12/10, 4:50pm)


Post 70

Friday, December 10, 2004 - 5:04pmSanction this postReply
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Mme. Zhang-

I guess this post is somewhat in line with the "old high society" values that Jeanine apparently tolerate and even appreciate.
Yes, quite. 

...as court and casa for a courtesan's art
(Castiglione overplayed his part)
This good European prays a scholar's plea
for Renaissance virtue, and moraline-free.

What of the Davids and Pietas?-
the high-arch Sistine vault (that, what a cieling!),
the humanist sketching,
the Mona Lisa mirror
(and Leo looked quite fetching)
and yes, impatient patrons always glances stealing,
(but then every pagan artist understands that feeling.)
Yet a Medici is better than a Chair of Education
(I care not just which dishonor is the moral of your nation)
A proprietor's less artless than a callous state
Aristocracy is not our cruelest fate.

....
By laws of Nature and Nature's Goddess,
casa, arthouse, coffee shop, sans distortion
are also heir to pursuit of happiness.
 
Matrona Libertas, patroness of the arts,
craft and lamplight, and liberal to humanity.
The mind's strength is the body's sanity.

regards,

Jeanine   )(*)(


Post 71

Friday, December 10, 2004 - 5:57pmSanction this postReply
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Hong wrote:
The fact that "old high societies" do not place emphasis on the virginity of young men has its valid reasons. Young men were expected to have been initialized by the time he got married. And we probably all know how that was usually done.
Please enlighten us.  Recovering rednecks from the Bible Belt like myself never got this type of education.  From whom did these young men get their sexual training?  Courtesans?  What of the young women?  Did the young non-virgin men train the young virgin women after marriage?


Luke Setzer


Post 72

Friday, December 10, 2004 - 6:49pmSanction this postReply
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Please enlighten us.
Well, under proper considerations; (415)724-8278.  {smooch}

(does that answer you question, Msr. Setzer?) :)


Post 73

Friday, December 10, 2004 - 6:56pmSanction this postReply
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I think I know what Jeanine is talking about, and if I do, no, it wasn't anything female that did the "initializing"

Post 74

Friday, December 10, 2004 - 7:10pmSanction this postReply
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Robert wrote:
I think I know what Jeanine is talking about, and if I do, no, it wasn't anything female that did the "initializing."
Let me reply with a gut-level "sense of life" term: "Ugh!"

To borrow Jeanine's words, I want no part of it.

I will take my redneck training -- absorbing the sex education in public school, watching the bull breed with the heifers in the pasture, and taking a few trips to the local adult entertainment establishments after reaching the age of majority --  any day over the proposed "old high society" practice of men raping boys!


Luke Setzer


Post 75

Friday, December 10, 2004 - 7:28pmSanction this postReply
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Byron,
Again I don't disagree with your post #68. Let's all cut the "high society" crap. I was just trying to think of these things in the biological and physiological terms. I do know that too much repression on a young person's sexual desire can be harmful psychologically. I've seen too many tortured and unbalanced young men in my younger days in China.

You said in an early post:
I hope you understand that others don't value neither the formal education or the credentials....If a child of mine thinks otherwise, and he is always free to think such,he will know well in advance that he shouldn't expect me to pay for anything past high school. 
Here is where our values really differ. That's OK.  You've said that you have done well enough in life without a college education. Do you consider that you have lived and will live to the fullest potential of your ability? If the answer is yes. Then that's fine. 

(Edited by Hong Zhang on 12/10, 7:32pm)


Post 76

Friday, December 10, 2004 - 8:54pmSanction this postReply
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Msr. Setzer-

OK.  Apologies if I picked the wrong time to be vague!

Sexual initiation in "old high society" culture sometimes takes the form of female prostitution, courtesanly or otherwise, and sometimes what are culture would call pederasty (sexual mentorship by a mentor male).  In such cultures male homosexual, transvestite, and transexual prostituiion usually exists, though often despised (and conflated into a single concept, such as the Roman galli or Cybelants or in some variants of sexual culture of medieval troubadors.

Considering that another common characteristic of "high society" cultures is an attention to place and rank, it's not surprising that a great deal of abuse happens, both is homerotic and heteroerotic situations, as sexuality is generally strained through an implicit or expilicit structure of sexual inequality (someone is on top).  In Latin American cultures, for instance, a male who gets drunk and sleeps with another man, taking the male position, isn't considered gay... but the man on the bottom is considered emasculated.    In ancient Greece, sexual relations between men and adolescents was acceptable (and sexual tastes emphasized feminine characterisitcs in males), but sex between men was considered far less so- because the power relation was seen as the focus of heterosexuality.  Similar patterns exist in many military and high-power corporate cultures- this is one reason why American male homosexuality is disproportionately sadomasochistic.  And yes, the same things occurs is rigidly segregated training typical of such cultures- whether one is talking about the Knights Templar or the old British "public" (i.e., private... I don't get it) school system.

Much of this is troublesome.  However, I don't take any of this as defining that sexual relations between younger and older persons is evil per se, and it certainly does not tar the entire "old high society" culture.  In fact, it's not that unusual is both gay male and lesbian cultures for fledging homosexuals to be tutoted by an elder who 'shows them the ropes', with a sexual relationship as part of the bargain.  This is sometimes exploitative, but by no means always.  And I find our culture's moral system, with its model of moralized companionate marraige which deliegimatizes all other sexual alternatives, equally barbaric.  Thankfully this system is eroding, though it's also counterrevolutionizing, with an uncertain future.

Certainly, though, sexual initiation of youths has been a function typical of courtesans and other prostitutes throughout history, and remains so today.

Jeanine   )(*)(

P.S.  I use "old high society" Msr. Reed's term.  I personally would call the same formation a culturally pagan (little "p") aristocratic ethos, technically of patriarchal or mixed paganism, but I doubt Objectivists would like that term.  (Mme. Zhang is right, courtesan ethics have traditionally kept a moderate enthusiasm for this patriarchal aristocracy; you will rarely find a female sex worker with intellectual passion for her work who is not some kind of feminist.)

..and with that, I go off to be owned this weekend.  'Ta.



Post 77

Saturday, December 11, 2004 - 9:13amSanction this postReply
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Since no one else seems to be responding to it, I want to point out that I thought Luther Setzerís response in post #64 to Adam Reedís post was insensitive and way over the top.

 

Luther said:

I need to write an article about when and when not to get passionate about moral judgment.

Perhaps when thinking about the article you will consider the distinct possibility that others may disagree with you about when to get passionate about their moral judgments.

 

Glenn


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Post 78

Saturday, December 11, 2004 - 11:27amSanction this postReply
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Glenn wrote:
Perhaps when thinking about the article you will consider the distinct possibility that others may disagree with you about when to get passionate about their moral judgments.
Absolutely.  If they can handle the stress, let them do so.  This all centers on values-driven life management.  I just question how much productive, life-affirming impact this agitation and moralizing actually has.  Will Adam's article change the minds of any devout Christians or die-hard opponents of abortion?  I doubt it.  All it might do is to sway the currently undecided.  I will admit that this latter benefit alone makes it a worthy article to read.  But it remains unlikely to sway any parents like those he describes.

My point in saying this is that waiting until one is five feet from the dropoff point of Niagra Falls in a boat with no oars is too late to condemn the "immoral" leasing agency for not including oars and a map!  It is better to judge them before agreeing to take the trip.

Justice, as a component of Rationality, helps the individual to paint an accurate map of reality -- in this case, the character of other people as beneficial or detrimental to one's own well-being.  If one knowingly decides to deal with immoral people on their terms when other options exist and then gets hurt, one should feel neither surprise nor disappointment.  Moralizing after the fact will accomplish nothing since the immoral people in question have "bought into" an opposing moral code and the moral person agreed to deal with them.  All one can do at that point is to warn moral others about the immorality of these particular hurtful parties and their harmful ideas.

Our opponents regularly condemn Objectivism based on their code of values.  Will our stress-inducing and explosive moralistic rants against them change their minds?  It never has in my years of arguing.  Hence, I no longer employ that strategy.


Luke Setzer


Post 79

Saturday, December 11, 2004 - 12:33pmSanction this postReply
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Luther,

Contrary to what you appear to presume, old high cultures did not endorse a "practice of men raping boys." The latter is a by-product of cultures of obedience - of Assyria and Sparta, not Athens or Jerusalem. In our time, the pre-eminent culture of obedience is doctrinal Christianity, especially the Roman Catholic kind. Its central, and indeed only concept of a foundation of virtue is obedience to God, who is represented on earth by parents and priests. The adolescent is trained in unconditional obedience to God by unconditional obedience to priests and parents. This training to obedience is what enables the "practice of men (usually priests or teachers) raping boys," and the equally obedience-based practice of fathers raping their daughters or sons.

Old high cultures have no part of those obedience-based practices. Old high cultures respect, most of all, the adolescent as a free individual. Their customs are depicted in art that you may want to understand first - for example, go see the "Childhood and Adolescence in Ancient Greece" exhibit at the Getty Center. Or pay some attention to the depiction of aristocratic society in opera. Mozart wrote his own adolescent experience into the part of Cherubino in "Le Nozze de Figaro," and Strauss into "Der Rosenkavalier." Please look, or listen, and learn.

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