Those who regularly read this blog will probably be able to guess my first reaction to the news of Jared Fogle’s arrest for sex crimes: “I’ll never feel quite the same about ordering a six inch at Subway again.” But the more I thought about it, the more the whole story seemed almost Biblical to me. One could imagine the Lord saying to this shmoe: “Jared, you have no discernible talent and you’re neither good looking nor terribly intelligent. So to prove my omnipotence to the nations, I am going to make you rich and famous. No need to thank me, just don’t have sex with any children.” And I hear there are some people who still don’t believe in original sin!
My reaction to the Ashley Madison hack was similarly detached. I actually had to search “Ashley Madison” to remind myself what it was. When the site came up, I was, like, “OMG, how do I erase this search before my wife finds it???” No, I’m joking. My wife knows I’m her love slave. It’s pitiful. But it keeps me off Ashley Madison!
My whole life I’ve felt indifferent to other people’s sex lives. It’s my nature. I just don’t care. When I was a little kid, I saw a gay couple at a grown up party. I asked my father about it. He told me — what was not bigotry then but the best wisdom of the time — that it was a sort of mental illness. I shrugged and said, “They’re not hurting anybody.” Which was not the wisdom of the time at all! The only exceptions to my laissez faire attitude are the condemnatory anger I feel at those who break up marriages with still-at-home children, and, of course, at those who rape, which includes the seduction of children and the use of animals, neither of whom have the wherewithal to give informed consent. In both cases, it’s not the sex per se that bothers me. It’s the destruction of something sacred and irreplaceable for the sake of sex: a child’s moral universe; a fellow creature’s self sovereignty.
Otherwise, judgementalism when it comes to sex is just plain bad for you. It’ll leave you pompous, frustrated and angry. Because the thing is, as a social system, sex doesn’t work. Women, as a rule, want affection and commitment; men want variety. Both genders are turned on by things that aren’t good for them. Both have fantasies that would be disastrous if played out in real life. In men, the drive is so urgent, we will sell out our most deeply held convictions for the briefest of empty pleasures. In women, the drive is so entangled with emotion they will follow an absolute schmuck into the fires of hell. And when it comes to sexual crime, every single one of us has the motive. Sure, a guy like me graced with a loving marriage can afford to feel pretty snazzy about himself. But don’t get smug. The urge remains Dionysian. Pass judgement on your fellow male or female today, tomorrow you may be the one to find yourself on the front page of the New York Post being led away in handcuffs with a jacket over your head.
Still, sexual libertarianism goes only so far. I mean, I look at the hidden camera Planned Parenthood videos put out by the Center for Medical Progress… I see people who have been reduced to empty-hearted Satanic butchers… people who have had to turn off their humanity in order to do the Nazi-work of hacking unborn babies to pieces so to sell their parts for gold. They’ve had to learn to call what they do “a woman’s choice,” “a woman’s health,” “reproductive rights,” in order to keep from seeing what they’re turning themselves into. I don’t know whether they broke any laws or not. I just know I’d rather cut off my arm with a butter knife than become anything like them. To me, the people who work at Planned Parenthood, and the dead-eyed spokesmen who go on TV to spout meaningless talking points in their defense: they look like the damned on earth. I pity them.
And what is abortion but the final solution to the problem of sex? Sex without judgement. Sex without consequence. You want it? Well, then you got to kill yourself some children and pretend it’s A-OK.
It’s not good for me to shame you for the sex you have. But it’s not good for you to approach sex without a sense of shame. Somehow, without preaching, without small-mindedness, without unkindness too, we have to learn to teach our children the joy of making your body serve your spirit rather than the other way around.
And, you know, good luck with that.