‘The New Politics Of Sex’ Explains How Sexual Libertinism Grows Government

‘The New Politics Of Sex’ Explains How Sexual Libertinism Grows Government

Stephen Baskerville's book, 'The New Politics of Sex: The Sexual Revolution, Civil Liberties and the Growth of Government Power,' is a no-holds barred polemic against sexual libertinism that makes a few unfortunate missteps.
Paul Rowan Brian
By

If you’ve been looking for the ultimate knockout punch to progressive sexual ideology, look no further. Author Stephen Baskerville tears modernity’s cult of sexual and gender liberation to shreds in his book The New Politics of Sex: The Sexual Revolution, Civil Liberties and the Growth of Government Power. Despite some holes in his libertarianism-meets-theocon argument, Baskerville’s ideas are well worth considering. The book posits a number of links between the growth of Orwellian state power and redefinitions of the family, marriage, and sex.

Baskerville pins the blame for society’s woes on sexual radicals who are agitating directly and indirectly for the destruction of the family, and men in particular. This is a keystone book, especially in the Age of the Incel, although it’s worth noting that those who read it may go from being an incel (involuntarily celibate) to a volcel (voluntarily celibate).

Baskerville’s thesis is that the effects of the sexual revolution have led the West to the brink of social and economic ruin. Think of the inverse of “The Handmaid’s Tale”: no patriarchal dystopia but instead a bloated welfare state run into the ground by shrieking feminists and perpetually aggrieved outrage merchants justifying their own power by worsening the very problems they claim to be solving. Baskerville identifies ongoing efforts by radical feminists and homosexual activists to demonize and dismantle the two-parent heterosexual family and shows how these movements are deeply intertwined with a dangerous growth in state power and bureaucratic intrusion.

“Feminists and more recently homosexual political activists have now positioned themselves at the vanguard of left-wing politics, shifting the political discourse from the economic and racial to the social and increasingly the sexual,” Baskerville writes, adding that these groups are pursuing a “social and sexual confrontation with the private family, marriage, masculinity, and religion.”

The Honey Trap

The go-to tactic to take down families and men is basically a sort of politically correct honey trap.

“The power to define crime and sin is the claim to rule, and desecrating and discarding the old taboos is merely the prelude to issuing new ones,” Baskerville observes. First the sexually liberated promote “unimpeded freedom—especially sexual freedom—and then criminalize those—usually the men—who engage in it.”

Although he briefly acknowledges that young men shouldn’t give into the temptation to “hook up” and use women merely for pleasure in the first place, Baskerville contends that focusing on men’s partial culpability in the outer cycle of immorality ignores the more vital issue of how the trap has been set up and its purpose.

“As always, the most effective weapon for destroying men is sex, and the battle reduces to who controls the terms of sexuality,” Baskerville notes, slamming “Maoist” sexual radicals on college campuses and lily-livered academics who pay homage to feminism and outlandish gender ideologies before offering even the mildest critique of them. It’s all a recipe for doom.

“Sexual liberation cannot possibly result in any outcome other than the arbitrary and blanket criminalization of heterosexual men and from there to the collapse of the rule of law altogether,” Baskerville writes.

Interestingly, The New Politics of Sex also observes that militant communism and sexual radicalism share deep patterns of reasoning, notably viewing even reproduction itself as oppression. Friedrich Engels, for example, wrote that “the first division of labor is that between man and woman for the propagation of children.” Such twisted logic transitions seamlessly into radical feminism, where the oppressor is not the entrepreneurial class but the family itself. “A mother may love her son dearly, but he is nevertheless a member of a class that has controlled and oppressed her,” writes feminist lunatic Anne Schaef. “As a result, she cannot help but feel rage and hostility toward him.”

Baskerville quotes Harvard literature professor Ruth Wisse, who observes that feminism is a “neo-Marxist movement” that’s “done to the American home what communism did to the Russian economy, and most of the ruin is irreversible.” The New Politics of Sex takes pains to emphasize that it’s not just another book decrying moral rot but instead a wake-up call to the Right to realize all the governmental and judicial power it is ceding unnecessarily to the Left.

“Sexual ideology is more than libertinism. The inseparable corollary is authoritarian—what one scholar calls ‘punitive feminism,’” Baskerville writes, adding that offending someone is now a crime requiring “official campaigns to ‘re-educate.’”

Complacent Conservatives

Baskerville singles out the growth and expansion of divorce legislation passed in the 1970s as worthy of particular condemnation. According to Baskerville, “some 80 percent of divorces are unilateral.” No-fault divorce can speedily remove a father of his possessions, children, and wife—and overturns sacred marriage covenants without a second glance. Baskerville slams the church for not fighting hard enough against no-fault divorce, noting that “in the most critical contest between church and state begun four decades ago with no-fault divorce in the United States, the churches surrendered without a fight.”

Christians who feel hounded by hostile government policies on everything from gay marriage to abortion would do well to consider how much of the flak they’re now getting derives its toxicity and puissance from the emotionalized reasoning initially employed in expansions of divorce law from the “nebulousness of the transgression” to “the central role of the accuser’s subjective ‘feelings,’ and the presumption of guilt against the accused.”

In The New Politics of Sex, Baskerville presents a nightmare future of entitled alternative families and sexual libertines wresting control of the vast welfare state apparatus for their various short-sighted, hedonistic, and harmful agendas.

“The radicals demand not only ‘freedom from state regulation of our sexual lives and gender choices, identities and expression,’ which of course was granted long ago. The state (meaning the rest of the population) must also support these ‘households’: ‘access for all to vital government support programs, including but not limited to: affordable and adequate health care, affordable housing, a secure and enhanced Social Security system,” Baskerville writes. “Because taxation is collected through the penal system and ultimately at gunpoint, this effectively enslaves the sexually restrained to the sexually liberated.”

Baskerville hits hard at conservatives in this book, too, saying they’re too timid and complacent. He cites F. Roger Devlin’s Sexual Utopia in Power and critiques the conservative habit of denouncing misbehavior from the Left with the language and reasoning of the Left. For example, Baskerville argues that conservatives should have denounced Bill Clinton for cheating on his wife, but instead aped progressive rhetoric.

“One need only observe the zeal with which conservative political operatives abandon traditional stigmas against quaint, old-fashioned concepts like adultery or fornication and adopt sexualized agitprop jargon, whose full implications they do not and cannot comprehend, when they opportunistically accuse President Bill Clinton of ‘sexual harassment’ or Muslims of ‘homophobia,’” Baskerville writes.

Big Business Socialism

Baskerville says conservatives who complain about cultural decay are missing what’s happening right around them as their governments and institutions from the state level to the United Nations are taken over by radical feminists and sexual activists: “Conservatives see only the libertinism and individual license. Their failure to understand the collective lust for power leaves them impotent—lamenting and bemoaning the hedonistic debauchery but helpless to check the militants’ consolidation of government power.”

Feminists and other gender and sexual radicals worsen the problems they purport to solve, he says. “This trait feminism shares with other radical ideologies but carries much further: the capacity to expand its power exponentially by creating the very problems about which it complains,” he writes, adding that “in every case the alleged hardship exists, if it exists at all, only because women and children have first been separated from, and set in opposition to, the families and men that traditionally protected and provided for them—as demanded by sexual radicals themselves.”

This is where the welfare state comes in, when the man leaves, as Baskerville continues to sketch out his horrifying blueprint of a society built on reckless sexual license and feminist extremism.

“Originally justified to provide for the families of men who had been laid off during economic downturns or eliminated by war, the welfare state quickly became a subsidy on single-mother homes and fatherless children,” Baskerville writes. “In good bureaucratic fashion, that is, it immediately set in to vastly expand and effectively to create precisely the problem of poverty it claimed to be alleviating.”

The welfare state, expanded continuously for the supposed well-being of single mothers and their kids, is a way for government to intrude into the last remaining place it was formerly barred from: parenthood.

“The welfare state, which already funds family breakup and then justifies itself as providing for those same broken families, drives the process of family dissolution in yet another way, by demanding that mothers leave the home for the workplace in order to pay the taxes that finance the machinery.”

By pulling off this brazen double-tap, sexual radicals have teamed up with government and big business CEOs to wreck families and nations, and “much as Stalinism inherited and transformed the practices of czarist absolutism and Russian nationalism, the triumphal phase of the new feminist and gay politics comes by politicizing the very institutions that earlier, ideologically pure feminists renounced: motherhood, marriage, the family, the church, the state.”

Getting women into the workforce—whether they like it or not, those single-apartment bills need paying—is something Baskerville terms “big business socialism.”

“Feminists have not created a gender-neutral utopia, with men and women interchangeably caring for children and earning wages. Instead, they have merely placed women as well as men on the employment treadmill. By flooding the workforce with new workers, they have driven down male wages, intensifying pressures on families to send the woman into the workforce and for the man to work longer hours, giving him less involvement with his family,” he writes.

“The result is ‘big business socialism,’ where every adult must work and provide tax revenue for the growing state machinery. Meanwhile children are institutionalized in day care and extended school days and activities for ever-longer hours at ever-younger ages, their childhoods regimented in preparation for similar lives as worker bees and suppliers of state revenue.”

It’s a buffoonish dystopian model that takes societies blessed above all others with wealth and relative peace and subjects them to bankruptcy and misery on behalf of a twisted, ignorant ideology. As traditionalist author Michael Sebastian pointed out brilliantly on Twitter, modern women are increasingly “playthings for boyfriends and controlled by bosses,” whereas in the past their bonds were much more likely to be primarily defined by family, marriage, and true affection.

Scary Gay Fascists?

Baskerville is also harsh on homosexual activists (who he terms “homosexualists”), saying LGBT activists claim that they just want to be left in peace and respected are largely phony. Instead, Baskerville says the gay movement is now militantly “demanding the right to display their sexual desires and acts in public, to use government propaganda machinery such as public schools and the diplomatic corps to disseminate their politics to children and overseas populations, to make sexual proclivities a claim to political privilege, to claim immunity from criticism, and to stop the mouths of dissenters.”

Baskerville then forays into the unintentionally comedic with his warm take on the Third Reich, in an angle already pursued many times before by other academics.

“Homosexualists have longstanding involvement in Fascism, including Nazism,” Baskerville writes, going on to quote Johann Hari’s claim that “many of the mainstream elements of gay culture—body worship, the lauding of the strong, a fetish for authority figures and cruelty—provide a swamp in which the fascist virus can thrive.” Yet it seems doubtful that swastikas will fly over San Francisco Bay.

In addition to adopting an enraged and apocalyptic tone throughout that occasionally overshadows its important points, The New Politics of Sex verges into the ridiculous when it gets into this “scary gay fascists rhetoric,” or claims there are increasing amounts of gays because more and more single-parent kids are brought up to hate their dad. There may be some truth in it, but oversimplifying homosexuality to that seems reductive. Baskerville also embarrasses himself later when he goes on an anti-Muslim diatribe that contradicts his book’s central message.

Indeed, once he gets into “Islamism as a sexual ideology,” Baskerville goes seriously off track. His argument that both “Islamism” and radical leftists seek to control family and sexual behavior and thus are natural allies is a short-sighted and weak argument when viewed outside the narrow and specific American lens. Actual “Islamists” and millions of non-violent conservative Muslims despise American sexual liberalism of all stripes, so the liberal cultural Muslims he is thinking of are a different kettle of fish.

Baskerville’s claim that sharia law is coming into Western countries via family court is also bizarre, since he just devoted much of the book to explaining how hedonistic and anti-male family courts tend to be—neither hedonism nor anti-masculinity are characteristics of sharia. Moreover, Baskerville admits that many ostensibly Muslim nations like Egypt are falling prey legislatively to much of the same liberalization as the West and moving in the opposite direction as sharia, not to mention that male anger and rape are increasingly common in semi-secularized Muslim societies because they’re becoming less traditional.

Elsewhere in The New Politics of Sex, where Baskerville explains his opposition to women serving in the U.S. military, he bemoans that emotionalized rhetoric around “inequality between the sexes” is used as a casus belli for war in the Middle East, yet his benighted arguments in this anti-Islam section are exactly the mindset that justify such a casus belli.

Baskerville admits that the role of the church formerly in restricting the debauched inclinations of secular power and the state were necessary, yet he demonizes Muslims who wish for the same. Baskerville’s bias also shows elsewhere when he praises Christianity for instilling a strong “work ethic” in Africa and being an unparalleled good for the continent. Choosing an ahistorical view of Christianity’s complex historical role of both positives and negatives in colonial Africa reveals Baskerville’s occasional promotion of black-and-white narratives over facts and nuance.

A Disappointing End

Despite being a sledgehammer against sexual libertinism and dangerous steps toward sexually radical authoritarianism, Baskerville’s book is also a downer that offers no practicable solution. His forays into “scary gay fascists” hyperbole, demonizing Muslims, and arguing that “deadbeat dads” are just feminist propaganda mark examples of low points in an otherwise convincing argument.

Moreover, claiming that “even if we want to stop or reverse the experiment, it is not clear that we can do so” is a weak position. Is that a can-do, manly attitude? I think not. As a polemicist Baskerville surely deserves applause, but the book tends to overlook the millions of families from Mennonites to Muslims who are raising a faith-filled, honest, and hopeful future generation.

It’s also odd that Baskerville slams feminism’s declaration of the personal being political when he has discretely admitted through the course of his book that feminist and radical sexual power is only ascendant precisely because the personal is—and always has been and will continue to be—inherently political and has far-reaching social, religious, and economic effects.

Maintaining that the personal must be separate from the political when he spent the book admitting that doesn’t work and has led to today’s situation seems like a big misstep. After spending a book showing how everyone’s behavior and beliefs in society affect everyone else, Baskerville still clings to his notion that it could be otherwise or that just leaving people alone will lead to the flourishing of a golden ideal in line with his values. It’s a disappointing end to an otherwise important book.

Paul Brian is a freelance journalist whose interests include politics, religion, and world news. His website is www.paulrbrian.com.

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