I got the idea for this fantasy from a dear and respectable gentleman who is a college professor, like myself. He told me that he had conceived the idea of a satirical article for a professional journal of philosophy entitled, “F—ing as the Only Intrinsic Human Good.” But he decided against writing it because he thought most of his students and many of his colleagues would not understand that it was intended as a satire, but would adopt it as manifesto.
I thought that I would expand this idea some day into a fantasy novel — a story about a fantastic other world; and I shall tell you the plot of this novel now, rather than writing it (which would be much harder).
Perhaps the most mysterious aspect of my fantasy is its author. His identity will be revealed in the course of the story.
In this fantasy world, my friend’s article gets published and becomes a universal manifesto. He becomes famous. Soon, the whole world is converted to his simple idea, which most people believed and practiced anyway, but weren’t clear-headed or candid enough to say so. Of course, a few “Fundamentalists” fulminate and carp, but they are quickly laughed to scorn by the ubiquitous and omnipotent media.
Now, fantasy is not as easy to write as most people suppose. It has strict rules. Fantasy has to be very realistic and logical. One thing may be fantastic, but everything else has to be realistic. If you make Alice’s Wonderland fantastic, you must make Alice realistic. If you make creatures that are fantastic, like Hobbits, you must make a world that is very realistic, like our own “Middle-earth.”
In successful fantasy, everything else follows logically from the one fantastic assumption. If the reader can only practice a “willing suspension of disbelief” and accept, or pretend to accept, this one fantastic assumption, all the other things in the story will follow logically and become perfectly credible — things that would be quite incredible without that one assumption.
In my fantasy world, the one assumption is that the one intrinsic good, self-justifying end, self-evident value, meaning of life, and non-negotiable absolute is sex. The characters simply will have sex — however they will, whenever they will, and with whomever or whatever they will: man or woman or child or animal or corpse or dildo or balloon or dead tree stump or computer-generated holograph.
Suppose we follow out my premise to some of its logical conclusions. (Remember, these must all be realistic.)
The characters who inhabit this fantasy world would be human, not mythical or extraterrestrial creatures. So their psychology would be not fantasy but fact.
Here are three relevant facts about the psychology of sex:
I. Sex can be addictive.
2. Addictions are demanding and imperious. Every addiction demands to be treated like God.
3. Addictions are blinding. They make you rationalize instead of reasoning. They dictate to your mind what to think, rather than learning from the mind what to do. Your addiction becomes your captain, and it tells your navigator what to say and when to shut up.
Now, how would the characters in such a fantasy world rationalize their sex addiction?
1. Their education would no longer be free. Illiberal education would replace liberal education. Therefore they would puff great platitudinous clouds of propaganda about “liberal” education and “liberalism” and “liberty.” When the essence dies, the word replaces it — like the photo of a deceased relative.
2. Their ethicists and moralists would abandon, with a sneer rather than a refutation, the idea of an objective, unyielding moral law, the idea that was believed by every society in history and is the very foundation of civilization itself. They might even call this abandonment of the common core belief of all cultures “multiculturalism” — if they were especially arrogant about how stupid people are and how easily The Big Lie can be believed.
The morality of such a society would not go beyond “compassion” — i.e., not doing what makes people unhappy, such as telling them to control their sex drives. Their morality might attain at its highest a Golden Rule, or Kantian Categorical Imperative, “Do unto others only what you want them to do to you.” This would forbid murder (except to those who no longer loved life, or who could dehumanize their victims, born or unborn), and theft (except to socialists) and lying (except to those who longed to be lied to for their own comfort); but it would allow seducing to anyone who liked to be seduced.
Such a society would begin its Sexual Revolution with silly slogans like “Make Love, Not War” — the opposite of the slogan on the medieval crusader’s chastity belt, “Make War, Not Love.”
Their ethics, in short, would be summarized in two propositions: Goodness is only love, and love is only sex. The implied conclusion is identical with our fundamental premise in our whole fantasy: if Goodness = Love, and Love = Sex, then Goodness = Sex, and Sex = Goodness. An entire culture would be based on a single fallacy of an ambiguous middle term.
3. Their history would have to become arrogant, and they would have to become chronological snobs. All previous societies, which believed that sex was sacred and should be surrounded with some sort of taboos, would have to be either (a) ignored by massive historical ignorance, or (b) dismissed with labels like “primitive” and “pre-scientific,” or (c) “reinterpreted” and “nuanced” — i.e., lied about, but in scholarly ways. Words that were reverence-words in all previous societies — words like “tradition” and “authority” — would become sneer-words or snicker-words in this one.
4. Their psychology would have to be based on ideology rather than experience. Having denied the wisdom of the collective experience of all past societies, it would have to deny also the wisdom of one of the most massively obvious facts of present experience: that in sex, as in everything else, control of our immediate instincts and desires makes for physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health and happiness, and that never resisting these desires makes for addiction and misery, both for the individual and for the whole society.
5. Their religion would have to de-claw God — the old God, the transcendent, perfect Person with a will and a moral law. It would substitute “a God I can feel comfortable with.” Its religious educators would have to strain every nerve to “liberate” their pupils from that nasty, dangerous old thing that the Bible repeatedly calls “the beginning of wisdom,” namely, the fear of the Lord. “Lord” and “Father” would be censored, and replaced by God as the Cosmic Chum, the Wonderful Wimp, or the Compassionate Compromiser.
They would have to deny the authority of the Bible, since that book so crudely contradicts their chosen lifestyle; and the infallibility and hence the divinity of Christ, Who unfortunately was not sexually liberated but forbade divorce, adultery, and even lust. They would have to deny His resurrection, for that is strong evidence for His divinity and hence His authority, and the simplest way to do that would be to deny miracles in general. Another Big Lie would help here: that “Science” has refuted miracles. (Of course, the one thing that could not possibly refute miracles is science, for science deals only with the visible universe, not with the supposed supernatural and invisible source of any events in that universe.)
They would also hate, fear, trash, or ignore any Church that dared to contradict their one absolute. They would concentrate, with monomaniacal obsession, only on sexual issues to trash the Church about: fornication, divorce, homosexuality, adultery, masturbation, contraception, abortion, feminism, priestesses, sexually inclusive language, and priestly celibacy and pedophilia (which they would eagerly identify). Then they would accuse the Church of monomaniacal obsession with sex!
(Please remember that however fantastic these features in my fantasy world may seem, they all follow logically from their one fantastic premise.)
6. Even their biological science would be pressed into the service of their god. Evolution would be declared a fact rather than a theory because it would imply that man is only an animal and therefore that it is unreasonable to expect him to act with more self-control than a rabbit.
The most famous evolutionist in this world, Sir Julian Huxley, might even say on public radio that the reason why all his scientific colleagues immediately and eagerly embraced Darwin’s Origin of Species as soon as it appeared, even before they had checked the evidence, is that “Natural Selection got rid of God, you see, and God was a great bother to our sex lives.”
7. The popular mind would even (mis)interpret Einstein’s Theory of Relativity as a justification of moral relativity, and see a tender, dreamy connection between Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle in quantum physics and moral uncertainty, thus giving pseudo-scientific backing for the moral relativism and skepticism that are needed to justify their sex lives.
8. In philosophy, “postmodernism” (irrationalism) would replace “modernism” (rationalism), Power would replace Truth as the end, and “Deconstructionism” would become a scholarly smoke-screen word for “any game you want to play as long as it debunks Reason and Morality.” Philosophers would re-execute Socrates just as religionists would re-crucify Christ.
9. Even their cosmology would have to reject the universally held past principle of hierarchy, obvious and common-sensical as it is. “Animal rights” would compete with human rights, and the dirt under our feet — the planet earth — would be worshipped as a goddess. For a real cosmic hierarchy is the worldview that justifies authority, and some authority just might tell us what to do with our sex organs.
10. In politics, the traditional notions of natural law and rightful authority would have to go, for the same reason they had to go in ethics. They would be replaced with notions like “compassion,” “consensus,” and “victim’s rights.” A hierarchical notion like “excellence” would have to be ruthlessly attacked as “elitist,” and this would be done effectively in practice by the government systematically rewarding the less excellent, the less successful, the less talented, the less hard-working, and the less moral. It would reward the lazy, the loud-mouthed, and the complainer, and punish the quiet, hard-working, loyal, honest small business-man or farmer. For economic independence might lead to independence of thought.
11. In economics, consumerism would treat sex like money and money like sex. Sex would be something to spend at will, and money would be something to make pregnant, not something to use to benefit people.
12. Of course, the family would have to go. This would take a few decades, but it could be begun by a vicious and ubiquitous media barrage against any obviously true common sense defense of it like Dan Quayle’s.
13. Their courts would defend the right to have and read Playboy magazine on a public job, say as a fireman, but deny the right of children to have and read Bibles in a public school.
A private religious organization would be forced to include Irish Gay Pride banners and marchers in their Saint Patrick’s Day parade, but pro-lifers would be banned from other parades.
Schools would forbid public prayers and distribute condoms, no matter what parents think or say.
Taxpayers would be forced to support federally funded blasphemous homoerotic “art,” but they would be forced to take down the Ten Commandments from public schools. This last decision would be made inside a Supreme Court building on the façade of which the Ten Commandments are inscribed.
If a government agency decided that a cult leader was a “fundamentalist,” they would go in with guns blazing, but there would be special legal protections for gays against “homophobic” speech, which would be labeled “hate crime.”
In short, religious piety and sexual sin would exactly change places. The protections formerly given to piety would migrate to sin, and the former sanctions against sin would migrate to piety.
Before I go any further with details, I should remind you that this whole scenario is, of course, an incredibly far-fetched fantasy. And now that I reflect on it, I see that I could not reasonably expect anyone to believe it. How could they? How could such a complete and diverse array of social ills and revolutions all emerge from one single, simple sexual source? It’s just not credible.
And since this is so, I have just come to realize that such a story is not really worth telling. Therefore, I shall stop telling this silly story very soon now, before it gets even sillier.