April 04, 2013
Through the early 1960s intercourse never preceded marriage. No less an authority than Hugh Hefner acknowledged so. The idea that it should be experienced only in the bonds of lifelong commitment is beyond young people’s comprehension today.
Far be it from me to recommend that society should revert to the prudery of the Eisenhower Administration, but these anecdotes illustrate how vastly things have changed in such a brief time. While physical beauty certainly has its place in life, erotic saturation is deplorable. There is a wide gulf between Puritan severity and contemporary Babylon, with many drowning in the transit.
Decades ago my philosophy was decidedly against any form of censorship. I considered extreme imagery a consequence of living in freedom. Yet that was when there was a much larger degree of suppression and such juvenile opinions could be safely indulged. After years of almost no restrictions it is clear that humanity is not in the least prepared for such liberty.
Although I am an ethicist I am also a pragmatist, and I do not expect any better from people than the surroundings in which they are placed. But examination is not synonymous with excuse. When every word and image is directed below the waist, how can we expect individuals to think above the neck?
Until humans accept the notion that we are simply not mentally or morally capable of acting without media constraint we should begrudge empathy for those accused of behaving in ways which, if not normal, are what should normally be expected from the naked ape bombarded from childhood with lurid and prurient content which has as its purpose not to enrich but to arouse.
The scales of justice are not intended to convey that the victim and perpetrator are equal, but that the punishment should fit the crime. We need to overcome the dichotomy that all victims are blameless and all perpetrators monstrous. Victims will often invite disaster generally, if not specifically. Frequently the perpetrator is acting upon urges our modern porno culture unremittingly impels and very often rewards.