Where morality tries to construe life as a series of binary yes-no decisions, in fact life more resembles a spectral decision tree. Beyond a minimum, each decision is a matter of picking things that are better over things that are less better.
This is the nature of a relativistic universe. With only one option, you accept it. When someone better appears, or you can imagine it, that second option makes the first look worse. When you have a dozen options, and better/worse becomes a question of several factors and not just one, complexity results.
Take for example the age-old American practice of buying a car. There is no single determiner of what you should do. There are important factors: efficiency, roominess, frequency of repair, whether you trust the manufacturer. Any one of these vectors can become the basis for your decision.
When we look at the sexual revolution, we’re going to have a yes-no binary decision thrust at us. The basis of that decision is morality, which is extended to guilt on the basis of “equal treatment” and equal validity. Either you are with the program that makes people happy, or you should feel guilty.
What’s killing the sexual revolution is that life is (as mentioned above) not a question of binaries. It’s about a spectrum. When people see that on that spectrum an option exists which they find more palatable than the sexual revolution, they reach for it.
In modern life, we are used to many decisions made on the basis of perceived quality. Buy the network card that uses the Atheros chipset, not the Broadcomm one. Buy a Mercedes, not a Hyundai. Buy the organic mangoes, instead of the ordinary humdrum chemicular ones, and get the smaller and denser mangoes in that group.
For people who intend to have full lives, the choice of lifestyle is similar. Dating is OK; marriage is better, once you’re out of college. If you’re going to marry, what’s the way you get the best quality marriage?
Couples who cohabit before marriage (and especially before an engagement or an otherwise clear commitment) tend to be less satisfied with their marriages — and more likely to divorce — than couples who do not. These negative outcomes are called the cohabitation effect.
Researchers originally attributed the cohabitation effect to selection, or the idea that cohabitors were less conventional about marriage and thus more open to divorce. As cohabitation has become a norm, however, studies have shown that the effect is not entirely explained by individual characteristics like religion, education or politics. Research suggests that at least some of the risks may lie in cohabitation itself. – “The Downside of Cohabiting Before Marriage,” by Meg Jay, The New York Times, April 14 2012
One answer here is traditional roles. Men court women; they do not “date.” When they find one they like, they ask for exclusivity. What follows are social engagements scripted to reveal the couple’s aptitude for one another. Eventually, there’s a formal request to a paternal figure for approval.
When the marriage is consummated, each partner is given an exclusive and complementary role. Women rule the house; men rule the workplace. In exchange for her harder job with longer hours, the woman is given more flexibility of time and less oversight. Trust is essential.
The rules of traditional marriage were not made-up arbitrary voodoo that we pulled out of thin air. They are designed to build the trust that can allow two people to rely on each other. They don’t always work, but then again, nothing always works.
They work better, however, than the sexual revolution and its try-before-buy low commitment ambiguous relationships. What has killed the sexual revolution is the small but increasing faction of Americans and Europeans who are choosing tradition over modernity because tradition simply works better.
Feminism promised to liberate women and make a better society. It demanded two things: first, equality for women; second, sexual liberation so that women did not have to feel “constrained” by social roles that emphasized chastity.
The first, equality of women, gave them new rights but also made them equal interchangeable parts on the production line. Without a sacred role, they are unable to achieve more than moderate approval through work, but at the expense of having a family which they also have time to appreciate.
The second, sexual liberation, reduces women to sexual objects. They are then traded around, and those foolish enough to rack up the miles and lose value become the embittered perpetual singletons with checkered histories and emotional baggage by the mile.
A new group is rising. This group has stopped trying to play the binary shell game of “equal/un-equal.” They have chosen inequality that has in its stead complementary roles, where women and men are not parts in a machine that consumes them. – “Feminism is Doomed,” by Brett Stevens, In Mala Fide, April 11 2012
Feminism (a sub-set of liberalism) is a moral dogma. It is external to the individual and formed of a standard of behavior encoded in yes-no decisions. It is based on guilt for the inherent inequality of life itself.
It won the battle in that when presented with guilt questions, especially in a public setting, people tend to go with the “safe” option. Of course everyone is equal; let everyone do whatever they want, and they’ll be happy, and we won’t have riots or violent revolutions.
But when that focus is removed, and people are instead forced to consider the question of what will make them happy in the long-term, the guilt loses its value. It takes a few generations, but people stop caring about the moral answer.
What they care about, as always, is a better quality of life. A better quality of belief system, perhaps one that does not require the overhead of an external ideology of feminism. A mode of behaving in which our innocent young boys and girls have an equally innocent and delightful future awaiting them.
The sexual revolution has died. This awareness hasn’t yet fully impacted the mainstream, but it’s coming. Like all waves, it starts with a drop. When it hits, many of the people who are currently in positions of authority will find themselves removed. Such is the nature of change.