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May 29, 2010

The Tyranny of Permissiveness

The so-called new philosophy, ‘permissiveness’ if you like, seen from the right perspective, is only a new puritanism, whereby you’re accused of being repressed or unenlightened if you happen to object to infidelity, promiscuity, and so on. You’re not allowed to mind anything any more, and so you end up denying your instincts again—moderate possessiveness, say, or moral scrupulousness—just as the puritans would have you deny the opposite instincts.

- Martin Amis

Posted by Cassandra at May 29, 2010 09:02 AM

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I read the article you linked to and was surprised to find that Martin Amis wrote this not recently, in some kind of middle-aged reaction against the excesses of his youth, but at the age of 24, more than 35 years ago.

I notice that the article's author uses that kind of expression I find so telling, about the fantasy that "we" aspire to, when he actually means to refer to a particular half of us.

Posted by: Texan99 at May 29, 2010 12:33 PM

They're not instincts but activities humans engage in.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at May 29, 2010 12:41 PM

Amis was raising the point mostly to mock it; as the article makes clear, the spokesman of that point is so incapable of dealing with actual women that he flees the one he wanted at the first proof of her humanity.

We have to be able to aspire to the sublime that lies within our partner, without rejecting them for failing to be a human too. That's the real trick, and it is why neither permissiveness nor disinterested celibacy are the proper course for us.

That said, I don't think we're seeking the balancing point in any 'middle of the road' sort of way. The right place on the line is much closer to purity than permissiveness, much closer to chastity than unchastity, much closer to honoring the spirit within than pleasuring the flesh without. There has to be some room for permissiveness, unchastity, and pleasure; a private room, for the two of you.

Posted by: Grim at May 29, 2010 05:31 PM

The French knew of tyranny....

La Marseillaise

Arise children of the fatherland
The day of glory has arrived
Against us tyranny's
Bloody standard is raised
Listen to the sound in the fields
The howling of these fearsome soldiers
They are coming into our midst
To cut the throats of your sons and consorts

To arms citizens
Form your battalions
March, march
Let impure blood
Water our furrows

What do they want this horde of slaves
Of traitors and conspiratorial kings?
For whom these vile chains
These long-prepared irons?
Frenchmen, for us, ah! What outrage
What methods must be taken?
It is us they dare plan
To return to the old slavery!

What! These foreign cohorts!
They would make laws in our courts!
What! These mercenary phalanxes
Would cut down our warrior sons
Good Lord! By chained hands
Our brow would yield under the yoke
The vile despots would have themselves be
The masters of destiny

Tremble, tyrants and traitors
The shame of all good men
Tremble! Your parricidal schemes
Will receive their just reward
Against you we are all soldiers
If they fall, our young heros
France will bear new ones
Ready to join the fight against you

Frenchmen, as magnanimous warriors
Bear or hold back your blows
Spare these sad victims
That they regret taking up arms against us
But not these bloody despots
These accomplices of Bouillé
All these tigers who pitilessly
Ripped out their mothers' wombs

We shall enter into the pit
When our elders will no longer be there
There we shall find their ashes
And the mark of their virtues
We are much less jealous of surviving them
Than of sharing their coffins
We shall have the sublime pride
Of avenging or joining them

Drive on sacred patriotism
Support our avenging arms
Liberty, cherished liberty
Join the struggle with your defenders
Under our flags, let victory
Hurry to your manly tone
So that in death your enemies
See your triumph and our glory!

Our job is to recognize it, and stop it. We cannot be the land of the free with tyrants, no matter how petty, in charge.

Freedom isn't free. Those who have paid for it know it. Those who merely partake of it have no idea the cost. And those who abuse it....well, their day of reckoning will come like a 2*4 upside the head and a cattle prod in the backdoor.

Posted by: kbob in Katy, Texas, USA!!! at May 30, 2010 10:57 AM

Preach it, sister!

Posted by: tom at May 30, 2010 03:42 PM

Teh Won is at it again....


how far up his poop chute is his head anyway? What does he think this will accomplish except guarantee anilhilation of a country.

Posted by: kbob again... at May 30, 2010 10:39 PM

I figured Amis' point was that the disciples of the sexual revolution knew the problems inherent in their anti-puritanism, but ignored them. At least, that is what I get from the article. Whether Amis depicts it as the lesser of two evils or not even a rational choice, I have no idea.

Why quote the marsellaise?
It was the ancient regime which helped us defeat the British; the revolutionaries consciously imitated the english reformation and cromwell, demanding a religious oath of allegiance, slaughtering recreant priests, and committing genocide in the vendee.

Why not quote the Battle Hymn of the Republic, honoring our victory over the depraved southerners who chose death before abolition?

Posted by: Timon at June 3, 2010 01:40 PM