The Personalist Project

Accessed on September 27, 2023 - 2:14:41

Splitting the moral atom

Katie van Schaijik, Apr 13, 2010

I’ve heard it said often (and I believe it) that, at bottom, the culture wars are all about sex.  Social justice, racial equality, environmentalism, anti-war, etc.—these are pretexts.  What the progressive, secular leftists really care about—what they’ll fight for at all costs—is sexual liberty.  Sex liberated not just from traditional taboos, but from life, from God, from personal identity, from gender.  Scratch the surface of any “progressive” cause and this is what you’ll find.  Sex is their religion.

If you doubt it, listen to this Heritage Foundation address by former liberal Hollywood Jew, Evan Sayet, called “How Modern Liberals Think.” 

And consider this item: a report about he Maine Human Rights Commission’s proposal to ban schools from distinguishing between boys and girls. “It says forcing a student into a particular room or group because of his or her biological gender amounts to discrimination.”

Shall I tell you what else I believe?  I believe with Edith Stein and some early Church fathers that the original sin was a disordered sexual act between Adam and Eve—an act whereby they used each other for pleasure rather than giving themselves to each other in service of life and love.  I believe that this severing of life and love was the moral atom-splitting at the dawn of human history whose fallout is death.  “The aboriginal calamity.”

I once asked Alice von Hildebrand about this.  She demurred somewhat, saying only that her husband was aware of the tradition, but did not agree with it.  He thought the original sin was one of pride, not concupiscence.  I think it was both.  A disordered sex act is not an act of mere concupiscence—like taking that fourth glass of wine or that second slice of pie or that extra hour in bed.  It entails a direct defiance of God, and a violation of the Image of God in ourselves.  It entails a using of another person and a using of self.  It is an assault on human dignity and personhood.  Kant practically inauguration modern personalism with his great ethical insight: “A person is an end-in-himself, never to be used as a mere means.”

A person is from love and for love.
Inter-personal love—is the life force of the universe.

Dante: “The love that moves the sun and stars.”

Think of God.  He is the great “I AM”.  Absolute Being, and a union and communion of love among three Persons.  The Holy Spirit Proceeds from the Father and the Son.

John Paul II: “Love is the unification of persons.”

Persons are engendered in the union of love between a man and a woman.  This is the literal origin of life.  Persons abuse one another.  This is death and destruction—the root cause of all that ails the world.

Sacramental marriage—the transformation of eros by agape—eros re-ordered toward life, and under the aegis of Eternity—is the literal healing of the rift opened in Eden.

This mystery is a continual background meditation of mine.  It came to the fore again today when I happened to listen to a segment of an episode of Uncommon Knowledge.  Taped a decade or so ago, it features William F. Buckley and Christopher Hitchens discussing the cultural upheavals of the 1960’s. 

Buckley identified the restiveness and outbreaks of the time as “masturbatory”—a self-indulgent demand for release in service of no transcendent value.  Hitchens objected to the characterization, but then offered this essential confirmation: “We were the first generation to take the separation of sex and procreation for granted.”  Resistance to this, as Hitchens sees it, is rooted in envy. 

There you have it.  The ultimate source of the moral madness unleashed in our society since then.

Ground zero of the culture of death.