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OT/MISC The Death of Self-Restraint
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  1. #1

    The Death of Self-Restraint

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-dea...int-1512602411

    The Death of Self-Restraint
    Unless the culture’s critics get a hearing, the forces that led to Weinstein will win.

    By Daniel Henninger
    Dec. 6, 2017 6:20 p.m. ET
    748 COMMENTS

    The Harvey Weinstein sexual-harassment fire burns on, consuming famous men. Corporations and institutions are on automated rapid response: proclaim zero tolerance and throw offenders into the street, while directing human-resources departments to design fine-grained standards of acceptable behavior.

    It would be a comfort to think that HR specialists could solve this problem, but what has gone wrong runs deeper than calling in the lawyers. A question persists: How did this happen?

    How have so many intelligent, accomplished adult men crashed across the boundaries of sex? Psychiatric explanations—reducing cause to a uniquely individual neurosis—are insufficient. This isn’t just “really weird stuff.”

    Some may have a distant memory of the culture wars of the 1990s. This looks like a moment to revisit some of its battlefields.

    Incidents of sexual abuse on this scale don’t randomly erupt. They grow from the complex climate of a nation’s culture. These guys aren’t blips or outliers. These men are a product of their times.

    Their acts reveal a collapse of self-restraint. That in turn suggests a broader evaporation of conscience, the sense that doing something is wrong. We are seeing now how wrongs can hurt others when conscience is demoted as a civilizing instrument of personal behavior.

    Intellectuals have played a big role in shaping arguments for loosening the traditions of self-restraint in the realm, as they would say, of eros. In Oscar Wilde’s quip, “There is no sin except stupidity.”

    There are in fact intellectuals who have watched these sexual passages with alarm and described how they were putting us on dangerous ground.

    The definitive critical history of this moral transition is Rochelle Gurstein’s 1996 book, “The Repeal of Reticence.” Ms. Gurstein describes how “the sense of the sacred and the shameful” gradually declined across the 20th century as writers and artists rejected former ways of thinking about personal propriety or reticent behavior.

    “They demanded,” she writes, “that the traditional union of moral and aesthetic judgment be dissolved; the functions of the body needed to be considered apart from the values of love, fidelity, chastity, modesty or shame.” The result, she says, was a culture’s slow but steady estrangement “from any coherent moral tradition.”

    In his compelling history of pre-World War I Europe, “Rites of Spring,” the Canadian cultural historian Modris Eksteins similarly describes the emerging ethos: “Social and moral absolutes were thrown overboard, and art, or the aesthetic sense, became the issue of supreme importance because it would lead to freedom.”

    After all these years, this debate seems old hat. Just now, though, it looks rather new hat.

    One thing that happened gradually is sophisticated people simply refused to be shocked.

    Just two years ago, the Metropolitan Opera staged Jacques Offenbach’s “The Tales of Hoffmann,” whose final act was described accurately to this audience member by the Huffington Post: “The Venetian palazzo in Act 3 is a model of debauchery with those same girls wearing next to nothing and who could double as pole dancers. An orgy of simulated sex is in progress.”

    There was a time, not that long ago, when something like this would have caused a minor public stir. Not anymore. Today, no one reacts or even much cares.

    So when one asks how these men could behave so boorishly and monstrously, one answer is that they . . . have . . . no . . . shame. They lived in a culture that had eliminated shame and behavioral boundaries.

    Is there a road back from Weinsteinism? Once a society has crossed a Rubicon like this, can you ever cross back over? The possibility of return is not at all clear.

    One of the intriguing stories of this season is how the Washington Metro system is banning ads on buses from the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington that show shepherds on a hill beside the message, “Find the perfect gift.” The Metro says this violates its ban on promoting religion or religious belief.

    During the culture wars of the ’80s and ’90s, one question raised was whether religious belief deserved standing in public debates about the shape and direction of contemporary American culture. Because the case for belief was carried then by the “religious right,” secularists resisted, and still do.

    In a recent homily I heard, a priest suggested that one of the purposes of confession wasn’t just to admit sin but to learn conscience. Maybe it’s time to ask if the long period of freedom from organized conscience formation simply isn’t working.

    The reason to reopen this debate isn’t merely so that dissenters from the current culture can say they were right. It looks like we’re pretty far beyond either side winning this argument. The reason to reconsider is that otherwise, the evident shock at these stories of abuse, or any progress toward a better sexual modus vivendi, will wash out to sea.

    Unless the critics of the current culture get a good-faith hearing, the forces that led to Harvey Weinstein and the others are going to win.

    The Greeks had a saying: What the Law cannot forbid, shame should. The Cultural Left solved that problem by redefining shame.
    "The misfortune of many is the consolation of fools" Ancient proverb

  2. #2
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    Whether you believe in the benefit of Judeo/Christian values or just plain good manners, it is obvious they have gone into hiding.

    I think the immediate issues filling the news cycles are far more sinister. Some of the same women in congress that vilify Roy Moore and POTUS are on record repeating over and over the virtues of Slick Willy Clinton. Today, Al "fingers" Franken said it was ironic he needed to resign for things that Roy and POTUS did also. IMO this new-found interest in these age-old problems is a vast left wing conspiracy (H/T HRC) to remove Trump. Its gonna get worse before it gets worser.

    My apologies to those wielding a spelling or grammar hammer. In this neck of the woods worser accurately describes some situations.
    "You are allowed to be disappointed but not surprised"

  3. #3
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    Boundary issues. Culture wide boundary issues.
    The wonder of our time isn’t how angry we are at politics and politicians; it’s how little we’ve done about it. - Fran Porretto
    -http://bastionofliberty.blogspot.com/2016/10/a-wholly-rational-hatred.html

  4. #4
    I remember a bald Romanian carnival barker turned Satanic High Priest saying " do what thou will, is the whole of the law."

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luddite View Post
    Whether you believe in the benefit of Judeo/Christian values or just plain good manners, it is obvious they have gone into hiding.

    I think the immediate issues filling the news cycles are far more sinister. Some of the same women in congress that vilify Roy Moore and POTUS are on record repeating over and over the virtues of Slick Willy Clinton. Today, Al "fingers" Franken said it was ironic he needed to resign for things that Roy and POTUS did also. IMO this new-found interest in these age-old problems is a vast left wing conspiracy (H/T HRC) to remove Trump. Its gonna get worse before it gets worser.

    My apologies to those wielding a spelling or grammar hammer. In this neck of the woods worser accurately describes some situations.
    Problem is-with Franken, there is both evidence and witnesses. With Moore and President Trump it is allegations. They want to throw people out without proving guilt but keep people they like in with guilt proven.
    "It ain't no secret I didn't get these scars falling over in church."


    The healthy human mind doesn't wake up in the morning thinking this is it's last day on Earth. But I think that's a luxury, not a curse. To know you're close to the end is a kind of freedom. Good time to take... inventory.

  6. #6
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    B.S. you are personally responsible for your own actions. It doesn't matter what anyone else is doing, did or will do. Conduct yourself with honor and integrity regardless of what the rest of the world is doing. Don't blame anyone else for your failure. Just because someone else is doing something does not give you the right to do the same thing. There is a right and there is a wrong and you always have the choice between the two. PERIOD!!
    We have done so much, with so little, for so long....We can now do anything, with nothing, forever.

  7. #7
    but what has gone wrong runs deeper than calling in the lawyers.
    Lawyers aren't the answer.

    Tying the offenders to a 7 foot high post and beating the coon dog s*** out of them is the answer.

    You can't "talk around" the problem.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by vestige View Post
    Lawyers aren't the answer.

    Tying the offenders to a 7 foot high post and beating the coon dog s*** out of them is the answer.

    You can't "talk around" the problem.

    I'm not too far from you on this as long as you aren't suggesting this for a 40 year old he said /she said allegation.

    I can't help but bring up the fact that Europe and US have been filled with cultures that have a very different perspective on gender issues. Say only 1 percent believe in throwing acid on "dishonorable women". Say point five (.5%) believe in female genital mutilation. This might be for another thread, but I'm seeing SELECTIVE outrage from some on the left. I'll let others be more accurate with percentages, I feel I was VERY conservative with my numbers.
    "You are allowed to be disappointed but not surprised"

  9. #9
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    There is no shame left.

  10. #10
    IMO this new-found interest in these age-old problems is a vast left wing conspiracy (H/T HRC) to remove Trump. Its gonna get worse before it gets worser.

    Yup, I had a post on his foreign policy that all is disaster and it is Trump's fault although every bit of it can be laid at the feet of Obama. Then a post on all the accusations of sexual harassment (19!) when Franken had only five (?) and was 'forced' to resign. The picture is beginning to shape up.

    They need something on domestic policy to round it out. If they get that and have luck in the 2018 elections, you will see impeachment. Probably not conviction but it will tie up Truimp so he can't do anything and that is the goal until 2020 when Harris runs. .
    "The misfortune of many is the consolation of fools" Ancient proverb

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