Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Have We Become a Nation of Gropers?

Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Al Franken, Roy Moore, Charlie Rose, Matt Lauer, Dustin Hoffman, etc., etc. Wow, the past few months have been crazy. And every day more men get inducted into the Creepy Guy Club.

High profile men are suddenly being exposed (oh man, bad choice of words) as grabbers and gropers, and in some cases, even rapists. Most of these men were taking advantage of their powerful positions to harass and intimidate younger, powerless people. But don’t think for a minute the grabbing and groping antics are reserved solely for powerful and famous men.

I want to ask a simple question of my fellow baby boomers: “How’s that Sexual Revolution thing working out for ya?”

Back in September, Hugh Hefner died, and most media outlets offered glowing tributes to the man who helped break our culture’s puritanical shackles regarding sexuality. However, sometimes powerful forces need to be restrained rather than allowed to run wild. And there’s no doubt human sexual desire is a powerful force. Anyone who says otherwise is a science denier.

When we as a society decided about a half-century ago that it was perfectly fine to saturate our culture with pornography and birth control pills, and to preach the message that anyone who is not sexually active is an oddball, what exactly did we think was going to happen? Our culture did everything possible to inflame lustful desires in men already brimming with overactive hormones. Many of the grabbers and gropers don’t even think they’re doing anything wrong.

We are reaping what we’ve sown. Fifty years later the divorce rate is obscenely high; sexually transmitted diseases are everywhere; 59 million innocent babies have been killed in the womb; and multitudes of people suffer the emotional trauma of being used and abused and then promptly dumped when someone sexier comes along. It’s not a pretty picture. In the greatest irony in our nation’s history, seeking pleasure at every turn has made us downright miserable.

Yes, I’m fully aware that men engaged in horrible behavior toward women long before the Sexual Revolution of the 1960s. As mentioned earlier, human sexual desire is a powerful force. When those desires are not kept in check, bad things happen. It’s been going on since Day 1.

By the way, if this essay comes across as “holier-than-thou,” that’s not the intent. I went to college in the 1970s. ‘Nuff said. Thank God for the Sacrament of Confession.

I wish I could remember where I first heard this statement, since it certainly applies here: “A good society makes it easy to be good, while a bad society makes it easy to be bad.” In other words, when a culture collectively frowns upon certain negative behaviors, less of them occurs. But when a culture tolerates, encourages, and even glorifies all kinds of selfish and impulsive actions, you’re going to get more of them.

That’s where America is right now. We have become a bad society. The institutions that most influence our collective thinking — the news media, the entertainment industry, and higher education — all preach the message that sexual activity is the most fabulous thing in the universe and everyone should partake whenever and with whomever possible.

And then when awful things happen — like the current scandalous news reports each day — we all do our best Capt. Renault impersonation: “I’m shocked! Shocked to find that groping is going on in here!”

There are a few concepts that are so old-fashioned they are now radically countercultural. These concepts come right out of the Judeo-Christian, Catholic tradition: modesty, morality, and monogamy. Maybe if we try these once again, our culture can keep from groping itself to death.

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