Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Some Thoughts on MTV

Some viewing of MTV is helpful to keep a pulse on culture and the bizarre influences that undergird it.  MTV, however, no longer show music videos or performances, but mostly ‘reality shows’ and sophomoric documentary pieces.  Every show seems to either be about a junkie, a pornography actor, or some other sad situation.  Last week I caught part of a program called “I’m in a polyandrous relationship.”  This chronicles the lives of young people (early 20’s) being sexual with two or three or four other people.  The three people tracked in the program happened to be in homosexual polyandrous arrangements. 

I recently got in a discussion with a friend who is very much in favor of homosexual marriage.  I usually try to listen to the reasoning and justification, usually dealing with “civil rights,” “tolerance,” “discrimination,” and all the other key words.  These are the reasons why homosexual unions are to be legal and celebrated.  Because there are now also certain movements toward polygamous unions, both homosexual and heterosexual, I am curious as whether full legal “civil rights,” “tolerance,” and “understanding” should not be applied to them as well.  If marriage is not grounded in creation, given for a man and woman in holy union, why not extend civil rights to the broader communities of different lifestyles.  The same way that one may articulate and justify homosexual marriage, may as well apply to polygamy or other lifestyle arrangements.  If 3 or 4 people are committed to each other and love each other, who are we to deny them of their “rights” and be so intolerant.  Who says marriage is for a man and woman only?  And furthermore, why does it only have to be two people.  Why not three, or four, or more?  If you ask a proponent of homosexual marriage about polygamous marriage they will be unable to articulate a reason why polygmysts should not be able to enter into marriage.  For the same way to articulate homosexual marriage can easily be opted for polygamy or who knows what else.

It seems that if John Stuart Mill’ harm principle is thoroughly individualized and taken to its ultimate end - that people are sovereign and free to do what they please so long as harm is minimized, and that society must follow.  Mill writes, “That the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not sufficient warrant. He cannot rightfully be compelled to do or forbear because it will be better for him to do so, because it will make him happier, because, in the opinion of others, to do so would be wise, or even right... The only part of the conduct of anyone, for which he is amenable to society, is that which concerns others. In the part which merely concerns himself, his independence is, of right, absolute. Over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign.[1]   

I don’t think Mill ever intended for the harm principle to be so thoroughly individualized and privatized from the rest of community.  Mill, and particularly Locke, as invested in liberal freedom as they were, were still committed to classical republicanism as the vehicle for civil rights.  If we take the principle of utilitarianism, that is “greatest good” for the greatest amount of people, and consider the historical definition of marriage, even the great liberal thinkers would likely NOT be a part of the current sexual revolution (gay marriage, transgender, body mutilation, etc). 

Most all thriving civilizations naturally are governed by the impulse of utilitarianism, long before the Scottish philosopher John Stuart Mill – they didn’t need him to figure this out.  A society that desires to survive, feed their families, and ward of both external and internal threats, knows that individual liberty and survival depends upon the survival of the greater community – that cooperation, good government, and utilitarianism has its place – thus guiding and supporting individual freedom and liberty.  Animal planet on tv is pretty good presentation on all this.

What’s interesting to me however, is this: why have virtually all religions across the globe and all civilizations in one way or another strongly discouraged homosexuality?  Is Islam, Judaism, and Christianity all religions of unenlightened, ignorant, and bigoted people?  Why has marriage always been between a man and woman?  Do the conclusions of the 60’s sexual revolution serve the “greatest good…for the greatest number of people?”      

Sex of course, when exploited apart from marriage (writing on marriage here) holds neither promise nor utilitity for society, family, or self.  Every European country presently has a birthrate well below replacement level.  Generally civilizations very rarely die from war or invasion, but most always from self-suicide in a Freudian death wish - decline of civilization is always self-chosen.  Likewise, the degenerate underbelly of culture in the United States is not so much interested in a culture of health, self-sacrifice, and life.  Abortion en mass, hatred of life, decline of marriage, and birth rate all testify to this.  The increasing welfare state, and the  matriarchal role of the federal government, coupled with deviant sexually will invariably lead to a European-style cultural decline and suffocation.  Hopefully the place of family and sexuality within the order of blessed marriage will continue to the curb the adverse effects of big government and cultural decline.                   

[1] John Stuart Mill (1859).  On Liberty. Oxford University. pp. 21-22.

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