Saturday, February 14, 2015

50 Shades of Grey and Independence Day, Ash Carter's Post Shower Ramble

[This is a guest post by Ash Carter, is he right is our scientific progress masking our cultural and moral decay, or are these social changes also progress andpart of the way things must go? Let me know what you think in the comments]

yeah, ok

What have Independence Day and 50 Shades of Grey have in common? Both illustrate that more technologically advanced civilisations are not necessarily ethical in their use of technology.

As I was showering this morning, I thought about how the British find ourselves in a bizarre cultural moment. On the one hand, every time we read of some extreme punishment meted out by a less liberal judiciary for something we don't consider a crime (think Uganda's anti-gay law, or the large number of things you can get hung for in Iran), we are up in arms.

On the other hand, when we pause from judging other cultures long enough to actually look hard at our own we are all aware that something is badly broken here. By almost any measure of cultural development we are sliding down the international league tables. Why don't we do well at school? What can we do about binge drinking? Etc.



In Independence Day there is an alien species who, far more technologically advanced, decides that human culture should be ended. This same spirit of imperialist our-culture-is-bettter-than-yours thinking once left the whole world under the thumb of European powers. Militarily we have stopped that (we are liberals who liberate those nations, after all) but how much have we changed? We still sit in judgement over less 'advanced' (by which we mean less liberal) cultures.

Are we not able to pause long enough to look at what has eaten our culture from the inside in the past hundred years? Jensen and Payne cover this in their book True Sex, which charts the move in British culture from Victorian prudishness, through moralism to sexual liberty. The birth of the pill and legalised abortions have 'liberated' us sexually. The outbox is generations born into dysfunctional families with all the attendant identity issues and social implications.



But it hasn't stopped there. Choice has been applied not only to your number of sexual partners, but to their gender. But actually the liberation of homosexuality is old hat. In the seven months since I left college the conversation has frequently been about your own choice of gender. Transgender issues will be the next big thing to wrestle with, and it is already in our schools as people are encouraged (at 14, 15, 16!) to work out who they would really like to be.

Another product of the sexual revolution is the mainstreaming of pornography. Every comedian on the TV jokes about it. And, the truth is, it is a cancer that is eating through my generation. We grew up with the internet. Most men and many women have put images and ideas into their heads they shouldn't have. We are only now beginning to understand the impact that this corruption is having on our minds, relationships and lives.

Many people like me have children, little boys who will grow up in a more technologically advanced age. And I must do everything I can to protect them from the libertarian attitudes and behaviours that will hurt them more than they realise. That is, whether you are a Christian or a secular person who reads the academic literature, we are beginning to self-censor. We understand that something must be done. That we have drunk the poison and we want to prevent others from doing the same.

In other words, what does Independence Day teach us about sexual ethics? It teaches us that a cultural imperialism can hide a complete lack of morals within the imperialist. Let's stop and look at where we are. Let's make a choice not to poison ourselves anymore.

Let's make a start by NOT going to see 50 shades of grey. Apparently, it is crap anyway.

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