Friday, 28 January 2011

Socialism and Sex

I thought that would get your attention.

It's a chapter-heading in a book given to my by a colleague: Revolutionary Socialism by Arnold Lunn, published by the Right Book Club. The RBC was a counter-operation to the Left Book Club. It was far less successful, partly because being on the right is just plain evil, and because the texts chosen weren't much good - mostly memoirs by ex-socialists explaining how they were converted. I collect them when I see them, but I'm far more interested in LBC books - if you see them (orange paperbacks, pink hardbacks) get them for me and I'll pay you back.

Lunn himself was quite interesting - obviously very bright, but he devoted his life to mountaineering, skiing and being rightwing: such sports were commonly associated with fascism in the interwar period. His father founded the famous but now disappeared Lunn-Poly holiday company. Like many English rich conservatives, he converted to Catholicism, despite his father being a Methodist preacher.

Part of his objection to socialism is its materialism: he couldn't stand the idea that we are determined by physical processes (chemistry etc.)

So anyway, what did he think about socialism and sex? It's only a short (11 pages) unillustrated chapter. Apparently, the socialist's "creed leads inevitably to promiscuity". I must confess that this has not hitherto been my experience. Rather the opposite. For real promiscuity, I suggest that Lunn should consider the case of Sir Oswald Mosley, the leader of the British Union of Fascists, who had more sexual partners than voters.

Lunn does admit that the Communist Manifesto looks to the liberation of women and that Lenin was 'ascetic' and opposed to promiscuity. He does, however, claim that 'revolutionary movements have a disastrous effect' on moral standards. Really? Ask the Iranians. More to the point, the 'free love' lot were a tiny minority. The British Communist Party was famously conservative and moralistic - their efforts kept 'licentious' American comics out of Britain in the 1950s, and they lost out to the hippy-influenced New Left because they didn't like rock, long hair, marijuana and sex.

To Lunn, though, revolution and 'immorality' go together because weak-minded people would rather blame repressive society for their sexual incontinence than accept responsibility, while revolutionaries will encourage anybody who rebels.

Then he takes a rather illogical turn. After claiming that communists are promiscuous, and accepting that their leaders reject promiscuity, he claims that people become socialists because they're 'sex-frustrated' or feminists, ready to throw away their honour, give their own surnames to their children before being exploited by the revolutionaries. Added to this, he claims that France's socialist leader, M. Blum, is a promoter of incest. Rather confusingly, he then condemns the Spanish socialists for declaring that 'arousing the sexual feelings of another… amounted to a gross and palpable interference'.

In the end, Lunn's objection to socialist sex is that it implies atheism. Easy marriage and easy divorce stem from a rejection of the eternal rules imposed on us by God, whereas a Christian believes that 'eternal happiness' in heaven 'must not be jeopardized to escape from the discomfort of an unhappy marriage'. So suck up the misery and think of the angels!

Women, of course, are both more important and less noteworthy than men. Or more clearly: women don't matter, but female virginity does: 'when women enjoy the same sex liberties as men, the ancient doctrine of virginity topples down like a heap of snow struck by  rock. There is nothing to hold it together. Chastity… is no longer a badge of honour or glory'.

Men, of course, are exempt. Carry on shagging, chaps!

Thankfully, concludes Mr. Lunn - quoting Joad - these rampant atheists will get what's coming to them: 'they are very unhappy, and the suicide rate is abnormally high'.

So that's all right then.

1 comment:

Sinéad said...

Hold on, I appear to have lost my badge of honour. I had it here a moment ago... Can you check down the side of the sofa there? It might have slipped under one of those cushions...