But Just Whose Family Values?
The key values identified for change, if actually altered by mankind, will naturally result in a number of changes to other values which Western Civilization generally holds. This Section is intended to discuss some of those values which will also change.
is so obsessed with the thought that enjoyment of sex is bad that many
of the so-called "Family Values" of the Christian "Right" are actually
designed to suppress any thoughts of sex as an enjoyable activity.1 One of those values which should naturally be discarded is the nudity taboo.
It is almost comical to watch modern parents raise their children within the bounds of the current system of taboos. It is OK for a very small child to go to the bathroom with a parent of the opposite sex, but once the child is old enough to be potty trained, the child must go to the proper bathroom by itself. It is OK for prepubescent children of the opposite sex to sleep in the same bed, but if puberty approaches for either one, it is taboo. This taboo even manifests itself in our building codes, which specify a maximum age by which opposite sex children can sleep in the same bedroom.
The essential thought of the Christian "Right" is that if we keep our children from viewing any nudity and sex, or finding out about such subjects in any way, we will quite naturally prevent our children from having sex before marriage. This creates an essential tension between knowledge and freedom. The freedoms of all people, including adults, must be restricted in order to prevent any young person from coming into contact with any depictions of nudity or sexual activity. Presently, our laws draw certain artificial lines at various ages, currently 13, 17, and/or 18,2 allowing increased freedom for them to view movies depicting nudity and/or sexual activity once they achieve those ages. Of course this is silly because social statistics show that roughly 85% of eighteen year old children are not virgins, meaning that most eighteen year olds have had sex.
Other cultures have not created such a widespread nudity taboo. For example, it is considered normal in Japan for an entire family to jump into a hot tub together, in the nude, and there is a similar lack of nudity taboos in such things as public baths. To me, things like this clearly show that nudity taboos are totally artificial.
If the values of our culture allow, and even strongly encourage, children as young as age seven to pair up as couples and get married to one another, long before puberty is even an issue, then there is no longer any reason to maintain a nudity taboo. Accordingly, the nudity taboo should, quite naturally, be assigned to the trash as part of the altered system of values proposed in this book.
This does not mean that I am advocating the so-called "nudist life style." There are good and valid reasons why we should not expose our skin to the sun any more than is absolutely necessary. The nudists essentially accept the trade off of increasingly bad skin as they get older in return for their pleasure in thumbing their noses at the system by going around in the nude. The only reason I will mention the nudists is that it is usually accepted that they are a valid alternative life style, and thus they are proof that there is not a direct correlation between nudity and sexual activity.
present system of bathroom facilities is strongly based on the nudity
taboo. If the nudity taboo is discarded, then there is no longer any
real reason to continue to build separate bathroom facilities for each
This concept is already partially implemented in our society. For instance, it is less common to see portable toilets labeled for one sex or the other. Many gas stations have converted to unisex rest room facilities, simply putting the international logos for both sexes on the same door. I have not observed any really strong reaction against these trends, so I believe it is time to simply state that it will be better for all of us to recognize this concept and agree to share and share alike.3
In the long run, construction costs will be lower for buildings, convenience will be improved, and some level of aggravation will be removed from our lives if we simply agree that any public rest room are unisex, no matter what label happens to be on the door. This change is simply a natural consequence of abolishing the nudity taboo, and as I have pointed out, it is already widely accepted in our society.
important side effect of all of this will be to remove most, if not
all, of the many proscriptions of pleasurable activity which now exist
in our system of laws. There will no longer be any need to prohibit
sexual activity according to age, because our society will ensure that
most people are part of a stable marriage long before they are
physically mature enough to have sex. Similarly, we should remove the
age limits on the drinking of alcoholic beverages so that our young
people can get their training on what their own personal limits for the
consumption of alcohol are long before they would be in any significant
physical danger from overindulgence.
Part of the culture of Western Civilization is that alcoholic beverages are heavily taxed because drinking is a "sin" and, to the extent which our society has elected to tolerate such "sin," taxing it heavily acts as a disincentive to "sin." Thus, the easiest way for any politician to propose raising revenue for the government is to propose a "sin tax" of some sort, and alcohol is usually right at the top of the list.
These things all derive from the basic Christian concept that pleasure is sinful, and thus indulgence in pleasure must be discouraged for the good of your eternal soul. One of the side effects of adopting a Dionysian component into our culture will be the fact that pleasure is now not only acceptable, it is encouraged as a natural part of being human. In other words, it is no longer possible for you to be considered as being totally human unless you regularly experience pleasure.
Abolishing all of the taboos against pleasure, and discarding all of the guilt which Christianity has traditionally associated with pleasure, will constitute a truly fundamental change in our moral philosophy. But there is no doubt in my mind that this change is long overdue.
1 Christianity has been attempting to prevent sexual contact from the earliest days of the church. See, for example, some of the letters of Paul in the New Testament which even advise against marriage under the false assumption that Jesus will return any day now.
2 These ages are derived from the current movie rating system of G, PG, PG-13, R, and NC-17.
3 The disparate nature of public rest room facilities at sports venues has been a recurring topic in the media, particularly with respect to concerts, where the sexual division of the audience is at least much more equal, if not skewed in favor of a female majority.
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