David Ellis asks:
(quoting me) The experiential part is that a lifelong and very tortuous process of logical reason, requiring the utmost in clear eyed intellectual courage objectivity has lead me, one after another after another, to discover inescapable secular reasons to support all the social teaching of the Church, namely, her opposition to abortion, to euthanasia, to sexual liberation, to sexual perversion, and to contraception.
I had laid out these arguments in excruciating detail in years past, hoping to provoke some interesting counter-arguments. No reader was kind or skilled or patient enough to construct any counter-arguments, or even to raise a single logically valid objection.
You decided contraception was morally wrong prior to becoming a theist? I hadn’t heard that before. What line of reasoning lead you to this conclusion?
I would be delighted to answer this question, if my readers will be patient enough to heed the answer. The reasoning, as I mentioned above, is not straightforward.
Let me open by explaining an anecdote that most strikingly brought the matter to my attention: I was speaking with a friend of mine about the nature and morality of copulation. It was his position that any copulation between two lovers was licit, provided only that no one was harmed nor defrauded. My position at the time was that prudence required copulation be limited to those partners willing to vow lifelong fidelity, forsaking all others. He was a Christian at the time and I was an atheist: the irony here cannot be overlooked. The Christian Sexual Revolutionary was arguing free love to the atheist rationalist arguing strict chastity.
The first thing I noticed was that he and I spoke a different language using a different vocabulary. He used the word “sex” to mean the physical outward stimulation and nothing more. To him, “sex” was something man or woman or both or neither could do, with any number of partners, human or not, either involving the sex organs or not. At one point, I asked him whether there was any relationship, either causal or categorical, between sex and sexual reproduction, and he stared at me in bafflement, as if I had asking him about the relation between cabbages and kings. He said no. Sex was not sex.
At another point, as an excess of rhetoric, I demanded of him what in the act of coupling between man and women was more than merely a pastime? How was it different from a sport, such as mixed doubles tennis, which just so happened to require two members of the opposite sex to play?
To my enduring shock, he took me completely seriously, and answered that the sex act was indeed a sport or pastime and nothing more.
Now, at the time, as I said, I was already convinced of the utility and even (though I did not, being an atheist, use the word literally) the sanctity of marriage, and I have always been convinced of the glory and the beauty of romance.
I have always thought romance, erotic love that leads to true love, transcendentally paramount to human existence, perhaps the most powerful impulse in the human mind. Part of this is due to my background as an attorney and a newspaperman. The two murderers I know both committed their dark crimes over women. Part is due to seeing the effect of happy marriages on those I know: the happiness of a good marriage forms an atmosphere which allows the couple to be fully human, complete rather than alone, and it is like seeing the difference between sickness and health. There is no mistaking it and no pretending it does not exist.
By true love here I mean exactly that. Love that is not false, love that endures and does not betray, love that is not merely lust or infatuation or passing fancy.
My friend’s world view had nothing like erotic romance in it, nothing like true love, and could never have anything like that in it. So he had been, at one stroke, deprived of the most glorious and beautiful thing in human existence; and the closest thing mortals can achieve to the bliss and sanctity of which the fables of heaven spoke.
Thunderstruck, I asked myself who or what could have deprived him of that beauty and that bliss? What could permit such an obviously false to facts belief to develop?
The answer: contraception.
Now, this was merely what got me thinking along these lines. This was not the logic that convinced me.
Here is the logic.
1. Of things, some are in our power, and some are not. Within our power are impulse to act, the desire or aversion we attach to objects of desire or aversion, the consent or dissent of the reason to true and false propositions, and, in short, everything that is within our power. What is not in our power is body, property, reputation, public office, dignities, fortune and fame, taxes and death, and, in short, everything not in our power.
2. The human mind is an admixture of reason, passions, and appetites. The appetites consist of bodily cravings for bodily things: salivating at the sight of an apple. The passions consist of cravings for imponderables, such a love and honor or revenge or property: cheering for a sports team, wooing a bride, lying down one’s life for the ashes of thy fathers and the alters of thy gods. These are instilled or influenced by upbringing. One might have a sexual appetite for congress with a curvaceous maiden, but the desire for the imponderables, respect and love from her and marriage and an acknowledgment or celebration of the honors of marriage from the tribe and city, that is a passion. Reason is the general name for the faculty by which we distinguish true propositions from false, and is also the seat of judgment by which we judge the rightness or wrongness of actions, their blameworthiness and praiseworthiness, whether they are fit or right to do.
These above, I take to be axioms. While I can see how one might object to the words use to describe these things, I do not see how any man can deny these things. One might have a different opinion of the trustworthiness of reason or a different account of the origins of the standards used by which the reason makes its judgments, but to deny that the reason exists at all is self contradictory. There is no faculty by which to judge the rightness of the proposition that the reason does not exist if it did not exist.
Simple experience shows that while a healthy man can move his limbs, external accidents as fetters or amputation can remove that power; and that not even a healthy man can reach up and pluck a star from the sky with his naked hand. To be sure, we can influence, to a degree, the course of the world around us, but we have the power only over our intentions, not over any outcome where accidentals can intervene. You can decide to be a good sport; you cannot decide to be good at a sport.
Simple experience also show that the essential thing that makes all humans human rather than creatures of pure reason like Houyhnhnms or creatures of pure appetite like Horses, is the existence of appetite, passion, and reason in the mind, and the conflict, the lack of coordination, between them.
Let us establish a common notion to go along with these axioms.
3. Happiness consists of achieve one’s objects of desires and avoiding one’s objects of aversion. A man who fails to achieve the objects of his desire is unhappy, and who fails to avoid objects of his aversion is miserable.
I do not mean anything esoteric by this terminology. I merely mean desire is what one would rather get, and aversion what one would rather avoid, be it whatever it may be.
From this, a conclusion immediately follows:
4. If the reason establishes true and false, as well as blameworthy and praiseworthy, then any appetites and passions which align with the true and praiseworthy are feasible and praiseworthy, and any which do not are vain and blameworthy.
Again, nothing complex is meant here. If you desire to get something reality says you can get, you will not necessarily be disappointed, whereas if you desire something reality says you will never get, you will necessarily be disappointed.
We have established reason as the name of the faculty which distinguishes true from false, that is, accurate ideas about reality versus inaccurate, so that faculty, if consulted, and if it has the power to restrain unrealistic and vain desires, of necessity produces happiness, or, at least, deters some degree of unhappiness and misery.
There is an implied moral imperative which should be stated openly: it is futile to seek vain desires, and blameworthy to seek blameworthy ones.
Hence, all men desire the good. This is true both as a definition, that is, “good” is what men call what they seek, and true as an imperative, that is, men ought to seek and ought to desire what is good.
The most important question any human being can ask must be asked next: how do we know the good? How do we distinguish blameworthy from praiseworthy acts?
Whatever the answer is, the answer must at least contain this minimum admission: We know the good by the nature of the act, by the nature of the means used to seek the desire, by the nature of the desire. To be right and praiseworthy, the act itself must be praiseworthy, the means used must be licit, and the ends sought praiseworthy.
This, because logically the other alternatives are consequentialism (the ends justify the means) and moral relativism (the good is whatever I arbitrarily say is good). Let us not dwell on these alternatives, since they are not serious: Consequentialists cannot propose as a general rule that any means are justified by the ends, because there is no end which might not be a means to a further end, nor would they be willing to suffer the evils of dishonest means at the hands of other men merely if the ends the other men sought were honest. Moral relativism is self-contradictory, because an arbitrary standard is not a standard. The Relativist cannot condemn the immorality or dishonesty of a man who falsely says morality is absolute.
And if we are praised for blameworthy acts and blamed for praiseworthy acts? This touches on the question of reputation, given above: whether the act itself is worthy of blame or praise is a man’s own doing. Whether the act in fact is known to fame and receives the praise and blame it is due, depends on factors beyond that man’s necessarily sphere of control. It is not his doing.
The next conclusion follows logically, and forms the basis of Stoic doctrine:
5. We should be concerned only with what is within our control: thought, impulse, desire. What is outside our control is beyond praise or blame, and so it means nothing to us.
We play the game for the sake of being a good sport; winning or losing come according to factors beyond our control, therefore, if we have played our part well, we should accept winning without vaunting and loss without despair, but instead show an equal countenance to all. This is the serenity sought by philosophers—to accept loss philosophically, nor be elated by vanities.
Since happiness, or, at least, the serenity sought by philosophers, consists of a meeting or match between the object of desire and the success of desire, to limit one’s desire to that which is necessarily within one’s control ensures serenity.
Since praiseworthiness consists of a meeting or match between the praiseworthy acts using licit means in pursuit of praiseworthy aims, to limit one’s desires and acts to that which is praiseworthy is a necessary precondition for serenity.
Despite the appearance to the contrary, happiness and dishonest character are mutually contradictory.
A man with no self command is not serene: if he just so happens not to be caught up in a whirlwind of rage or despair or lust or envy or malice at the moment, it is an accident; it is merely because the winds of passion are not blowing in his heart at the moment. It is not because he has earned or can retain a dispassionate serenity.
A necessary precondition to the ability to limit desire to proper objects (proper here meaning reasonable and licit) is the subordination of the appetite and passions to the reason. Should this prove to be impossible, then all philosophy is vain: but neither does experience show that men as they mature fail to bring some or all of their passions under their self-command.
The beginning of Stoic doctrine is this: to control one’s appetites and passions by the reason.
6. Self-command is called virtue since it is power to coordinate the appetites and passions with the reason. It is both necessary and desirable for the serenity of the philosophers, and praiseworthy in and of itself.
We see that virtue is praiseworthy in itself when we admire, for example, the virtue and courage of an enemy, even one who does wrong. The virtue is being misused, but it itself is not a bad thing.
What makes a good thing like virtue into a bad thing, like a courageous criminal?
7. The nature of the ends and means selected define the praiseworthiness and blameworthiness of the act and of the actor. A brave criminal is bad not because he is brave but because he is criminal, that is, he is using his bravery against its natural end.
Now, at this point, we run into a concept that cannot be explained to the modern mind, because the modern mind is too shallow. The modern mind refuses to admit that final causes exist in nature, even though the modern man will talk and act as if final causes do exist in nature, and even though no coherent picture of the world can be imagined lacking final causes in nature.
Teleology can be proved to be a category of human thought which is inescapable by a simple thought experiment: suppose there is an object A. Let us say this object A is the argument against teleology. Can the argument A be described as anything other than an argument whose purpose and final cause is to prove the statement that teleology exists in nature is false? Now, this property would exist in the argument no matter who or what spoke or used the argument.
If I spoke this argument to impress my girlfriend with my intellectual prowess, that would be my purpose, or one of them, but the purpose for which the argument exists is independent of this, and, since that purpose would exist no matter who spoke the argument, it is independent of any human actor. By its very nature, the argument that teleology does not exist in nature has a teleology. Therefore the argument disproves itself.
One might object that this deals with the “nature” of an argument, and arguments are admittedly manmade things.
But the examples of teleology in nature also include things that are not manmade: it is the nature of heavier object to fall, for example; the wing to the bird is “for” flight; the teeth of an ox are “for” chewing grass, whereas the fangs of a wolf are “for” tearing meat, whereas the fangs of a serpent are “for” injecting poison; the stomach is “for” digesting food; the eye is “for” receiving sight as the ear “for” hearing; the hand “for” grasping and pointing and manipulating; the teat “for” nursing; and the natural selection of Darwinian evolution is “for” preserving the fittest to survive to the next generation. Ants lay down their lives to defend their threatened anthills because they die “for” the sake of the colony. Bird build nests “for” rearing their young.
The word “for” is put in quotes to draw the reader’s eye to the implied assumption of a teleology or final cause in nature.
Keep in mind that final cause does not imply any other type of cause. The wing of a penguin or the wing of an ostriches is still a “wing” as the gross shape and fine structure and possible movements of the bones and feathers do not make sense and we cannot make sense of them, unless we recognize that they are wings, limbs meant for flying. Even if, as in this case, they cannot fly, nonetheless that is their final cause. By way of illustration, imagine finding an ostrich on the moon, where this is no air. Could the bird’s upper limbs have that form? Could they have evolved to match that shape? Would you be able to understand why they were that shape until and unless you realized that the ostrich came from Earth where there is an atmosphere thick enough for organisms to wing through? In what sense could the upper limb of a moon-ostrich even properly be called “a wing”?
Unless we attribute reasoning powers to birds and insects, their behaviors are goal-directed rather than random, and possess a teleology or final cause even if such behaviors are not deliberate means selected to achieve deliberate goals.
Anyone arguing that final causes do not exist in nature is challenged merely to describe an act like nest building by a bird in spring without reference to a final cause. Will this description be accurate and complete? Will it reflect reality?
If this description were given to a stranger from another planet who had never seen a bird nor a nest, and that stranger were not told that the nest is meant to hold that eggs that hold the hope for the next generation of birds, will the stranger actually understand what a nest is? Even if he is told every physical and mechanical property of the nest and the building of the nest, if he is not told what it is for, he has not been told what it is. Therefore the purpose of the nest is part of what a nest is. In this as in all like cases, final cause exists in nature.
When contemplating praiseworthiness and blameworthiness, the reason is required to contemplate reality, and, as here shown, that includes contemplating the nature of the act and the nature of its natural end, independent of the end to which the person himself uses that act.
8. It is praiseworthy to act with one’s desires in accord with nature, and blameworthy to go against nature.
Again, this is difficult to explain to the modern mind. The simplest way to explain this is to say that the relations of man to wife, child to parent, father to son, brother to brother, and leader to follower, master to servant, comrade to comrade, king to subject, or citizen to the laws, are relations which by their nature carry certain obligations and responsibilities. You did not pick your brother nor were you consulted on the question of where and when he should be born, older or younger, and with what talents and capacities and personality. Nonetheless, if your brother is starving while you feast, the act is blameworthy. A justification to excuse the behavior would be just that: an exception to the general rule.
The natural, that is, non-manmade, character of the basic human relationships is sufficiently attested by the near-uniformity of the moral norms throughout history, across all differences of race and land and culture. The natural and non-manmade nature is also attested by the nature of the argument against the provisions of universal moral norms: the mere fact that they are urged as exceptions tacitly implies that they are exceptions of a recognized standard.
I need list none of the natural affections of human relationships, since all humans, even those who argue against them, know them. A son who hates his father is unnatural; a brother who lusts for his sister is unnatural.
The modern doctrine that all natural affections are arbitrary, or may be disregarded at the will of either party, is false, and needs no further investigation, since were it so, all philosophy is vain, and the reason is and should be supinely subordinate to the appetites and passions.
The culmination of Stoic doctrine is this: to control one’s appetites and passions by the reason according to nature.
And, please, let us hear no plays on words pretending to be arguments. By “nature” I mean the nature of the act and the nature of the desire, that is, there essential and definitional properties. I am not talking about the way animals behave in the woods, or they way Mowgli or Tarzan or Caliban would behave if they had not been raised properly by wolves or apes or magicians. Such sleights of rhetoric are beneath contempt.
9. The virtue of self command of the passions to their natural objects is called temperance, and in due degree is called moderation. The moderation and temperance of the sexual passions is called chastity.
This is definitional. If you do not like these terms, substitute others to your liking.
10. Adultery, fornication, sexual perversion are unchaste.
Here is the only controversial link in the chain of reasoning.
To affirm the truth of the proposition, I propose one simple test: Are the other natural relations disordered by the disorder of the sexual relations? If so, the sexual relation is an unchaste one, that is, one where the reason should govern the passions, and check rather than indulge them. By our reasoning given above, the serenity sought by the achievement of desires within one’s power impose natural duties running to family and clan and society, and even a desire that is otherwise licit should be ruled illicit if it disorders or hinders the exercise of those natural duties.
The type and degree of disorder unchastity creates can be tested by a simple thought experiment:
If your own wife, sister, mother, queen, cousin, or other relations engaged in adultery, fornication and sexual perversion, would it or would it not necessitate that other obligations natural to the human relations (other natural duties, in other words) would be torn from their proper objects?
For example, if your brother fathers a bastard out of wedlock on one of the many whores he patronizes, and she raises the child without your brother, is it licit for her to approach you for the child’s support and upbringing? By the nature of family relations, and uncle should protect and love his nephews, and such support is a normal feature of the uncle-nephew relation.
Again, suppose the whore is merely pregnant, and approaches you asking you to pay an abortionist to kill your niece or nephew in the womb. By the nature of family relations, and uncle should protect and love his nephews and nieces, and to assist in the destruction of your brother’s child is unnatural.
Again, suppose merely that your mother is carrying on an extramarital affair with your father’s knowledge and consent. Suppose she comes to ask your advice and support on how best to please and flatter her lover, perhaps on the occasion of his birthday, and she wishes your enthusiastic assistance to bring happiness to the man with whom she is infatuated. Is her demand compatible with the filial obligations and loyalty you owe your father?
In order to decide this question we first must decide whether the nature of erotic love is shallow or profound. If erotic love is shallow, then for your mother to ask you to make her adulterous lover’s birthday as success is no different than if the man were her tennis partner, or a mere passing acquaintance.
If erotic love by its nature is shallow, to treat it shallowly is licit, that is to say, not unchaste.
If erotic love is shallow, that is, a love that requires neither commitment nor union, a one-night stand or hook up with a buxom young virgin who neither gives her name nor asks yours is licit.
If such momentary sexually alliances are licit, then you suffer no loss nor lost opportunity if the anonymous lover departs the next day without informing you whether or not she is pregnant nor what she intends to do with or to your son or daughter, whether to kill it or raise it or give it away.
We are now confronted with a stark and incontestable mutually exclusive choice: if you couple with a women for the sake of the erotic pleasure of coupling, a love that does not lead to true love and does not come from it, you are shallow; if you couple for the sake of an erotic love that lead to true love, and she alike with you, the love is profound and romantic.
The additional factor in coupling as opposed to mixed doubles tennis or other possible human interactions between the sexes, is the possibility of a difference of shallowness. When one hires a whore, the matter is sufficiently commercial to admit of no ambiguity, and likewise when one marries a bride the matter is designed to be public and permanent, and is surrounded by the sanctity of religion and the terror of the law (or had been at one time). All other situations are ambiguous and hence exploitative: one partner seeks a permanent and profound relationship, the other seeks the momentary comfort of physical release, or to indulge an emotion no more profound than tenderness or friendship.
If the ambiguous middle course is forbidden by prudence, the remaining choices are the unambiguous ones: the shallow sexual alliance of a whore or the permanent and revered and profound and permanent sexual alliance of matrimony.
11. Matrimony is the prudent and licit check on romantic and erotic passions, as well as the mechanism for their safe (or, at least, safer) culmination and expression.
Despite that this is the most frequently controverted link in the chain of reasoning, it is the easiest to defend, since the arguments against it are not arguments, merely impatient expressions of the desire to do unwise or evil deeds.
Suppose you are sexually attracted to a glancing-eyed maiden with a well-turned ankle and charms both of demeanor and physique. Logically, if you are sexually attracted, you wish to perform the act of sexual reproduction with her, since that is what ‘sexually attracted’ means. It means being attracted to the opposite sex qua sex, for the purpose of sex.
The final cause of sex is sex. Your personal goals might differ from this, in the same way you might wish to put objects that are not food in your mouth and swallow them, or a bird might wish to use its wing for some purpose that hinders rather than accomplishes flight, but your personal goals aside, the final cause of sex is sex.
Sex does two things: it unifies the two couple in a romantic bond, and it reproduces the species. In other words, sex celebrates and creates romantic love, and it leads to childrearing.
Even absent the natural human desire for permanence in romantic love, mere prudence, by itself, would forbid sex outside marriage, and this for several reasons, any one of which, by itself, is sufficient:
First, even if the possibility of childbearing is as remote as that of Sarah and Abraham, prudent provision should be made before sex anticipating the possible outcome of sex, namely, reproduction. That provision includes rearing even an unexpected child. No one seriously supposes rearing a child alone is preferable to rearing a child with a mommy and daddy who love him. Hence, no matter how small the possibility of childbirth, copulation should not take place unless the couple first creates a permanent household prepared to receive and raise a child.
Second, the father of the bride has a vested interest in the well being of his grandchildren, on the grounds that it a natural duty of his to love and protect any grandchild. Even if the daughter herself is willing to bear the risk of copulation out of wedlock, in the hopes that any offspring produced can be quietly killed either in the womb (as is the post-Christian practice) or by exposing the child to the elements (as was the pre-Christian practice) or be given to strangers to raise, nevertheless the father’s natural duty is to drive away or kill any sexual partners of his daughter who copulate with her unwed. Since nephews naturally can demand the love and protection of uncles, the brothers of the daughter likewise have such a duty. In a civilized nation, this duty can be carried out in the name of the family by the sovereign, who alone has the right to take human life, and then only when lawful.
Mothers and sister of the adultress likewise are under a duty to shame and humiliate her so as to deter the imprudent behavior.
Those that say that it is a private matter whether a woman chooses to bear or a man to father a bastard, it is sufficient to say that it is not, on the grounds that grandparents and other relations are bound by the duty to love and protect their grandchildren and nieces and nephews, and that interference in this duty is itself imprudent and illicit.
Third, as sex has two final causes, the unity of the couple and the bearing of offspring, even absent any offspring or possibility of offspring, the unitive final cause imposes a duty of prudence on those contemplating copulation. Hence the act of copulation for the sake of not achieving romantic love is illicit: logically, coupling for the sake of lust without love either requires that one adopt a shallow character, or it necessitates a betrayal of one’s expectation of profound love at the hands of a shallower lover, who is not seeking a deeper or a permanent relation.
Fourth, lust for its own sake and lust that leads to permanent romantic love is mutually exclusive. Since the latter contains and indeed culminates all the former has or pretends to have, logically there is no reason to prefer the former to the latter.
Fifth, a women who couples with a man unwilling to wed her is, whether she acknowledges it or not, demeaned, since she did not demand as high a price for her favors and services as a woman who demanded the man vow eternal devotion, nay, his entire love, soul, and heart to her and forever to the exclusion of all else. In sum, if he does not love her, why is she sleeping with him? If he does love her, why doesn’t he put a ring on her finger?
Sixth, even if a woman says she is satisfied with loveless lust that leaves her lonely, such satisfaction is illicit, because she would not satisfy this passion where her passions governed by her reason. Her assessment of what will satisfy her is not the concern of this argument; only what her appetites and passions would be were they governed by her reason. As a thought experiment, imagine one stood at the end of one’s life, or, better yet, in the prospect of eternity, and examined the whole of it: to prefer (1) a sequence of deliberately meaningless and demeaning sex alliances with men (whose character, logically, must be assumed to be of the low and semisadistic character suited to taking joy from demeaning women) who prevent the growth either of the union of romantic love or of a child versus (2) a devoted husband, a household where one is queen, children and the love of children; and grandchildren in older age. As above, there are no advantages to the first not also present in the second.
Seventh, since the natural goal of sex is union, and permanent union, the trial and error of many lovers is destructive rather than satisfactory of that purpose. We are not discussing shopping for car, where the features of one might not be known before the feature of another without a test drive: we are discussing an emotional investment in permanence. By definition, you cannot try out different states of permanence one after another after another.
Eighth, human nature being what it is, a man cannot tell lies without being a liar, nor can a man indulge in self-indulgence without being self-indulgent. Temporary acts form permanent character. If the government of the appetites and passions by the reason is temporary and intermittent, the reason in effect governs nothing, no more than a sovereign is said to govern a territory over which he has partial control, and whose laws are sometimes obeyed and other times not.
Likewise here: a man seeking a bride is imprudent to ally himself with anything other than a virgin, and likewise for a woman selecting between suitors. Independent of any other reason, it is imprudent to expect that a mate who has displayed little or no ability to check the erotic passions before wedlock will have the ability to check the erotic passions after. Nearly every bride gets an infatuation out of wedlock five to seven years after the marriage; likewise every husband. No one who has not practiced the self restraint of resisting the arrow of Eros before wedlock is likely to be able to do so during this dangerous year.
Ninth, the only justification for sex out of wedlock is if the erotic passions are considered legitimate in and of themselves. But if the erotic passions are considered legitimate in and of themselves, then the attempt to check those passions by matrimony is illegitimate.
Tenth, the natural impulse among men is to kill their sexual rivals. As I mentioned above, I speak from experience. In order to check that murderous impulse, it behooves all men in rivalry with each other to treat the bounds of matrimony with respect, and neither to take nor seduce another man’s wife. In return, his own wife is safe from the erotic attentions of others. For prudential reasons, the marriage status of every woman should be visible to casual inspection, as if by the public display of some ornament like a wedding ring, of by some change of title, as taking her husband’s family name. Logically, where a system exists to contain sexual rivalry within such bounds, it cannot exist outside such bounds, or, in other words, if a another man’s wife is not a proper target for flirtation, another man’s girlfriend, by the mere fact that she is not his wife, and might be willing to be yours, is.
Similar considerations should likewise surround female rivalry for mates, but since women rarely kill their sexual rivals, and since feminine women attract mates by alluring them rather than hunting them, other considerations apply.
Eleven, the natural inequality of men means that, if fornication is licit, the most desirable men or ‘Alpha Males’ will indulge in polygamy, or serial polygamy, or keep a series of mistresses, and the less desirable males will enjoy few mates or none, and then only in the years of their prime. Women will be abandoned the moment their attractiveness fades. The general unhappiness involved in living in such a society are obvious.
Twelve, among the other disorders of the surrounding natural social relations, instead of customary and informal enforcement of sexual and marital norms, recourse will be had to courts of law and formal regulation. Again, the awkwardness and unhappiness involved are obvious.
Thirteen, no child will form a normal set of emotional relations with father, mother, siblings, extended family. This sociopathic inability to form emotional relations will be carried into adulthood, giving rise to a generation of narcissistic and egomaniacal neurotics unable to govern themselves personally, but addicted to medications to control their emotions, and unable as a group to govern a republic, such as, by no coincidence, we see around us.
I could list other reasons, again, any one of which would be sufficient to prove the point. The idea that fornication is licit is not only rare in human history, it is unheard of, and exists in the modern day only by dint of an extreme effort of mental dishonesty forcing the minds of men continually away from the truth that is otherwise painfully obvious.
12. The laws and customs of men influence the men around them, and their training and upbringing influences the children.
This is self-evident, for laws not meant to influence human behavior are not laws; and custom is defined as those things men habitually do because of the influence of the men around them, and often in expectation of reciprocity of the men around them.
Logically, if each man is under a moral obligation to do praiseworthy acts via licit means for good ends and to avoid blameworthy illicit and bad, then he is under an obligation to learn and practice virtue and self command because the one is not possible without the other; and his natural duties toward his children and his commonwealth or kingdom require likewise that he train his children in virtue and self command, and take steps that the laws and customs of his commonwealth or kingdom uphold and encourage virtue and self command, to the degree they can, because the same logic that applies to him as an individual applies to him as a father of a child or as a citizen or subject of a commonwealth or kingdom.
For reasons both prudential and virtuous, it is in the self interest of the bride and the best interest of society at large and in the best interest of any children who eventuate from the mating to have the any sexual alliance with her husband be open, public, enforced by the sanctity and religion and the terror of the law, and for this reason: the temptation to adultery is stronger than nearly any other in human experience, is more widespread, and leads to more disastrous results.
Eros, the purple-winged god, promises PERMANENT and ABSOLUTELY ECSTATIC bliss, a love to which all other emotions are pale, the love which makes a man willing to leave his kith and kin and forsake all others and to kill his rivals or even himself.
Sad experience shows those promises, for the most part, are false and damned lies. The same magnetic power of Eros which is able, when rightly used, to pull a bridegroom into the blind and dangerous adventure of marriage, when wrongly used, can pull the bridegroom out of marriage and into the adulteress’ bed. (These days, it is the bride more likely than the bridegroom to be the one pulled into an affair, or to seek divorce.)
It is to channel this most potent and creative force in the human psyche, as well as this most potent and destructive force, into lawful and useful channels, that it may ennoble mankind rather than rip us into miserable shreds, that the institution of matrimony must be propped up by informal social sanctions and severe legal sanctions.
This generation and the one immediately past has abandoned those laws and those informal sanctions, and the social pathologies that have resulted are too obvious and too many to bear repeating here, but juvenile delinquency, the rise of crimes committed for no purpose whatever, and a culture of multicultural self loathing which seeks as quickly as possible to obliterate Western civilization, a cultural where drug addiction and torture-porn at movies and porn in every home is the norm, are partly or wholly the effect of the rejection of chastity and matrimony in favor of vice and free love and isolation.
I will only mention that, in my own life, my parents divorced, my stepmother’s husband left her, and brother’s wife left him after bearing a child, my sister’s husband left her after father three children, my best friend’s parents are divorced, my another close friend’s sister has been divorced and remarried six times, my male friends my age are unmarried and have no prospect of marriage, my wife’s friends her age hate children and hate men and have no prospect of marriage.
13. If the use of contraception is legal, the extramarital sex and premarital sex become and must become the social norm. Since the normalization of extramarital sex and premarital sex creates the disorders among the natural relations identified above, it is not in keeping with, and cannot be harmonized with, the effort to achieve serenity through the pursuit of virtue.
The cause and effect is not difficult to detect: once a society admits as a fundamental social and philosophical principle that the role of the state is to be neutral on matters of morality, it must shape its laws to encourage immorality. To be specific, as an attorney, I believe Griswold v Connecticut to be correctly decided given the precedents of prior cases and given the modern interpretation of the Constitution which provides no role for the government, federal or state, to encourage virtue over vice. Griswold v Connecticut is the inevitable decision of any society that has accepted hedonism rather than stoicism as it core cultural mythos and paramount philosophical value. And the holding in Griswold makes the holding in Lawrence v Texas likewise inevitable.
I am not here arguing and do not mean to imply that using contraception within a given marriage will break up that given marriage. I say that if a society alters its laws and customs so that the use of contraception is allowed in the laws and approved by the social mores and manners, those laws and customs cannot logically at the same time disapprove of unchastity.
Society can maintain two contradictory mores or customs for a time, until the matter is brought before the law. The nature of the law is that it is, for the sake of clarity and uniformity of the law, governed by precedent. Once the precedent evolves into a clearly articulated standard, laws defying that standard tend to be struck down, one after another. Laws defying any informal standard tend not to be enforced, because the reluctance of the public to approve of their enforcement.
Absent a legal sanction, the informal social sanction is progressively weaker the more individualistic the people are. In an arch-individualistic society like ours, where to defy the social norm is rewarded by applause, the set of those things which are legal but which social convention by informal pressure prevents is vanishingly small.
The cause and effect is not entirely clear. I venture to speculate that the matter has to do with the consequences of thought. Once society has tacitly acknowledged and tacitly made part of its law and manners that the sex act is a personal matter of seeking personal pleasure, unrelated to reproduction (and thus not a social matter where informal pressure rightly can be used to deter vice and law rightly use to punish vice) then chastity is abolished, first in small vices and act of self indulgence, then large, then abominable. For the same logic of the same precedent which excuses the small vice, namely, that sex is private, excuses the abominations.
Even were it theoretically possible to imagine a society which might, somehow, have laws and customs to allow contraception but scorn, deter, discourage, and punish fornication, adultery, perversion and divorce, in reality there is no example of human beings ever behaving this way. The burden of proof is on those who claim it is possible. I am content to conclude that since it has never happened, it cannot.
Again, those who cannot or pretend they cannot distinguish between contraception and the rhythm method, or natural family planning, which uses the natural monthly periods of infertility in women to avoid childbirth, have the burden of explaining the historical reality that societies where such means are licit are able to scorn, deter, discourage, and punish fornication, adultery, perversion and divorce; whereas societies where contraception is permissible are not. The distinction that they say does not exist somehow has a practical and obvious side effect.
All this to one side, the neutrality of the state and society is not logically possible. Either the society is fundamentally grounded on hedonistic and emotional principles, which rules that private vice is permissible and therefore licit, or society is grounded on stoic and rational principles, which rules that virtue alone is licit, and the reason must govern the passions.
In sum, even without establishing a strict cause and effect, it is enough to notice that widespread socially accepted use of contraception in a society makes the illusion of consequence-free sexual vice possible, and that illusion is not possible otherwise.
A rational society must choose matrimony over contraception and sexual anarchy, aside from considerations of vice and virtue, if only for prudential reasons.
Such is my conclusion.
Please note that this is not a theistic argument. No reference is made to any supernatural entities. It is purely prudential and secular in its assumptions and reasoning. Whatever errors or lacunae it may or may not have, it does not ask anyone to take anything on any supernatural authority.
That point I wish to emphasize most strongly, since it makes a lie of the entire atheist world view: for at once it both shows that the Christian principles you deride as arbitrary and superstitious are purely reasonable and wise, and it shows that your atheists principles are insufficient to reach reason and wisdom.