17 March 2017

The Mainstreaming of Sodom

Obviously this is little more than the culmination of a long-standing trend within our culture. What is sometimes most disturbing to me is that I look at my children's generation and realise they're growing up in a time when this sort of thing is becoming normative.

It's one thing to view these things and clearly remember a time when homosexuality and gender twisting was not the norm. But it's another to grow up in this context and not know of anything different.
Of course my children are taught differently and haven't grown up watching television, nor are they 'plugged in' to the mainstream of pop culture. But I think about the lost, the generation that's growing up and even now reaching adulthood... the same generation as my kids, their peers. What a difference when you've grown up in a post-Ellen world. What a sensation it was when just twenty years ago a sit-com protagonist proclaimed their homosexuality on a national television programme. It's hard to imagine today why there would be a commotion.
Madonna's slut-antics as shocking as they were in the 1980s seem tame compared to the whorish conduct of our day.
While the Christian Right focuses on skin, and this is certainly justified on one level I am probably more concerned with the conduct, bearing, demeanour and complete perversion of femininity. The forwardness, attitude and assertiveness of Western womanhood, much worse in America to be sure, is so completely at odds with Biblical femininity it's hard to know where to begin.
And as I've said before to my generation most young men in terms of bearing and speech pattern would have been labeled as effeminate and sodomitical just a generation ago. Walking into a store or bank I feel the oppressive sense that I'm surrounded by girls that are either whores or lesbians and men that are either barbarous oafs or homosexuals.
As a Generation X-er I'm not that old! With regard to my late parents, my father was of the so-called Silent Generation and my mother was an early Boomer, the first child of a World War II era marriage.
My point is these changes have happened so rapidly it's hard to take in and in fact many older people seem to have utterly failed to either reflect on these changes or consider their nature.
Lest I turn wholly curmudgeon I'll cease for the present.
Despite these ominous developments it must be remembered that the late 17th and early 18th centuries were just about as bad and in some ways worse. The development is different. We're not to the point of bare-breasted fashion. Can you even imagine a British royal appearing so as Queen Mary Stewart did in the late 17th century? That would be good Protestant Mary, as in William and Mary of the Glorious Revolution.
The sodomitical fashions of the 17th and 18th century aristocracy have not become mainstream, but it's clear they're starting to return. Men in tights, high heels, makeup and the like are starting to return but it's a long way from influencing the business and ruling class. I say that, but who knows where we will be in another twenty years?
These things go in cycles. The standards of the twentieth century were from a Christian perspective perhaps a bit better but they were more rooted in the Victorian reaction than in genuine expression of Biblical values. The end of the 18th century startled Europe to its core. All the social changes, free-thinking and the like had led to revolutions and war. While they never were able to put the genie back into the bottle, there was nevertheless a concerted effort to reform the manners of society. This was aggressively promoted and led to the hypocritical veneer that is the Victorian Age.
It suppressed things for a few generations and then promptly exploded.
We can probably look for another reaction at some point. Perhaps we're seeing the beginning of it now. But I cannot imagine a movement symbolised by the Duck Dynasty buffoons as bringing about a real return to manners and conservative social norms. People have forgotten what manners and social graces were all about. Even many Christians I've met who go to great efforts to dress up their children (Duggar style) seem to grasp very little of the manners, demeanour and decorum that are supposed to go with those clothes. You can dress up your children but if they're mouthy uncouth and barbarian in their conduct, in conversation, at the table and the toilet then the accoutrements have provided little more than a veneer.
But whatever reaction comes along, even if it's little more than big beards, expensive camping gear, pick-up trucks and camouflage fashion the reaction to this will be even more fervent.
According to Scripture the sins of Sodom were also based on their attitudes with regard to covetousness and lust for money, the self-absorption that led them to despise the downtrodden. Focused on themselves they fell into a pattern of self-deification, self-attraction and self-pleasure as a means to transcendence. Handed over to reprobation their animal even bestial conduct led to a physical manifestation. The dissatisfaction and insatiability of covetousness as well as confusion over place, comfort, role and duty led to an embrace of decadent hedonism and ultimately perversion.
Western culture continues to be its own worst enemy. The Christians who champion the West and the values of Capitalism continue to saw off the branch upon which they are sitting. They would save their culture by promoting the very values that lead to this place of sodomy.
Men wearing make-up and the like are the offspring of wealth, worldly success and self-idolatry. The success, progress and prosperity of the Magisterial Reformation, not to mention the social wars that tore apart Christendom produced the same kind of degeneracy. It's decadence that produces this cancer. This is something Conservatives continually fail to understand.
For further reading:
http://proto-protestantism.blogspot.com/2016/08/macarthurs-warning.html (This article contains a note on Ezekiel 16 and Sodom)


  1. The French Revolution was primarily a reaction against aristocratic decadence. The sans-culottes celebrated in their poverty and inability to participate in fashion. Even an anti-Revolution historian like Simon Schama could clearly see that the aristocracy of the late 18th century cut their own throat with their indulgence and decadence. Marie Antoinette was a raving fan of Rousseau, not his enemy. It's interesting to me to see the more politically radical wings of the Enlightenment tended towards a more socially conservative approach in many ways.

    There's a great film on this era, called La Nuit de Varennes, which is clearly remiss for the old libertinage being swept away.

    I guess the way to escape being a curmudgeon is if you can articulate a deeper sense of purpose and substance to gender than merely the preservation of form. Many conservative arguments fall into the latter or become nihilistic declarations of social control, and can't understand the real seachange going on. Thus, there's something persuasive about the Jacobins or about the Puritans, or whatever group, where their commitment to social form came from a deep sense of conviction. The Duggars, and many of these Agro-Dominionists, seem phony because it is less about reality than a show for the sake of power.

    2 cents,

  2. Cal:

    Quick question: what do you mean by "nihilistic declarations of social control?"


    According to Redemptive-Historical hermeneutics, wouldn't Sodom and Gomorrah be a typology of the present world system awaiting judgment at the Second Coming, much in the same way Babylon and Rome were?

    1. I thought that that statement was sufficiently ambiguous to warrant question. What I mean by that is order for order's sake for those with power to maintain their slipping hold. It has no other justification besides itself. These arguments maintain a veneer of some principled objection, but they're pretty thin and depend upon post-facto reasoning. Tradition for Tradition's sake usually marks the existence of a void (hence nihilism) beneath it all. It's similar to art for art's sake, which explicitly rejects any metaphysical real to Beauty. While the Amish may be wrong, they seem to have a theological rationale to why they live and dress the way they do. Conservatives fixated on the 50's, in contrast, have nothing to stand on besides assertion and power (i.e. the "Wasn't it good then?" argument). The Victorian era, very quickly, became marked with the same kind of empty formalism, even as dark forces (e.g. Social Darwinism; Romanticism and National Spirit) swirled around it.

    2. To be fair or to play advocate couldn't you say the 1950's folk or the Victorians could argue their societies were built on values and virtue? We might vehemently disagree and certainly today's reminiscences are little more than wistful fantasies, but if they wanted to make a serious case, I think they could attempt to put something together.

      Not a few moderns blame the decline on surreptitious forces that sought to undermine these societies. Iain Murray seems to blame the decline of Victorian Christianity on the rise of the novel. I'm sure he would also include the theatre and the efforts of the Fabians.

      My late father was still convinced that the 1950's (which he loved) was destroyed by Communist subversives who wormed their way into the media and academia. I think a lot of people believe that.

      The forward looking progressive/Whiggish postures of these societies is also of interest because they are in a very Babel-like fashion trying to be 'conservative' while being forward looking and defining and indeed re-defining the world in their image. Britain was an Empire on the rise, conquering, subduing, taming and fulfilling its 'burden' and duties.

      America had its own narratives but they were likewise built upon the Enlightenment platform of the individual, rationality, progress, scientific achievement and mastery etc...

      I guess on the one hand, they're empty eras at least in terms of a metaphysical base but on the other hand they're conservatism must be exposed as a veneer. Looking back it seems plain that it couldn't hold and it most certainly did not!

    3. My elaboration was two part:

      1) I was talking about people who remember, with little, hazy, or no experience, the era as a sort of bench-mark. The 50s were good because America was America and it was prosperous. This is either fairy tale reasoning, or the era has become an empty signifier for a society that was good for its own sake, which usually means it is falling apart from the inside-out. Hence, the quasi-existential crisis of the 90s where America lost its reason to be after the USSR collapsed. The fact Fukuyama could say that history had ended is outrageous and shocking. World-Police Do-Gooderism was an uneasy veneer, but the War on Terror has become a new lease on life. I'm not saying power can't be its own goal, but when its pitched like that, or at least not bolstered up with some other justifications, it starts slipping. I don't think pure nihilism, or naked power for power's sake, can exist long among people before its anarchy and total meltdown. The 50's as a time remembered functions as a part of this inability to think about any real sense of things. Yeah, some people might have said America was more godly/religious back then, but I don't think they mean much if you ask 2-3 follow ups. With a general progressive sense of history, any looking back is always sort of a desperate grab for something familiar, a form without substance, a sad blanket for our mortal fears.

      2) In reference to people who actually lived through an era, you're right that many would articulate some sense of virtue and value, particularly the Victorian era. But that era was also grasped by a growing sense, among the elite, of listlessness. Kant and positivist epistemologies had wrecked metaphysics and theology. Romanticists revolted, but not all of them were willing to follow the more radical, nationalist variety (ala. Fichte and Herder). Thus, we ended up with Arnold's aestheticization of culture, a religion of art. We have Goethe fooling around in ruins, having experiences with broken idols. Its a desperation when civilization fabricates, for itself, its own gods, because many elite were disgusted with money and productivity as some standard. Of course, there were the Victorian era Evangelicals who had a vision and purpose for their work and the Empire. They'd fit your bill, I wasn't thinking about them when I wrote my response. But then, I think about the theological myopia, where Evangelicals retreated to a pietism shorn of rich biblical theology, and the Tractarians gave a last gasp defense for the Anglican Church before being torn apart at the onslaught of biblicist, Roman Catholic, and liberal arguments. Kingsley, though he's not reliable, certainly thought the Tractarians were basically aesthetes and dandies. Maybe that's what they ended up as after Newman stabbed them in the back.


  3. Yes, Sodom would represent the world/this present age awaiting judgment.
    But it's still upsetting to watch. Maybe if I was 18 I would 'feel' the downgrade in the same way. I cannot imagine being in my 70s and experiencing this. In one sense, you learn to 'roll with it' as you've seen these various trends run through their cycles. But on the other hand I can think of a couple people I know who are at the point of despair. Their reasons for 'despair' may in fact be wrong, due to flawed attitudes and misguided allegiances. Nevertheless even on a practical level our society is becoming a vexing place to be sure. One can imagine how Lot felt.

  4. If past is precedent for this sodomite, it isn't hard to guess what this series will be like.