Libido Dominandi by E. Michael Jones, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble
Libido Dominandi

Libido Dominandi

by E. Michael Jones
     
 
Writing at the time of the collapse of the Roman Empire, St. Augustine bothrevolutionized and brought to a close antiquity's idea of freedom. A man was not a slave by nature or by law, as Aristotle claimed. His freedom was a function of his moral state. A man had as many masters as he had vices. This insight would provide the basis for the most sophisticated form of

Overview

Writing at the time of the collapse of the Roman Empire, St. Augustine bothrevolutionized and brought to a close antiquity's idea of freedom. A man was not a slave by nature or by law, as Aristotle claimed. His freedom was a function of his moral state. A man had as many masters as he had vices. This insight would provide the basis for the most sophisticated form of social control known to man. Fourteen hundred years later, in a world eager to reject the intellectual patrimony of the West, a decadent French aristocrat turned that tradition on its head when he wrote that Athe freest of people are they who are most friendly to murder. Like St. Augustine, the Marquis de Sade would agree that freedom was a function of morals. Freedom for the Marquis de Sade, however, meant willingness to reject the moral law. Unlike St. Augustine, the Marquis de Sade proposed a revolution in sexual morals to accompany the political revolution then taking place in France. Libido Dominandi B the term is taken from Book I of Augustine's City of God B is the definitive history of that sexual revolution, from 1773 to the present. Unlike the standard version of sexual revolution, Libido Dominandi shows how sexual liberation was from its inception a form of control. The logic is clear enough: Those who wished to liberate man from the moral order needed to impose social controls as soon as they succeeded because liberated libido led inevitably to anarchy. Over the course of two hundred years, those techniques became more and more refined, eventuating in a world where people were controlled, not by military force, but by the skillful management of their passions. It was Aldous Huxley who wrote in his preface to the 1946 edition of Brave New World that Aas political and economic freedom diminishes, sexual freedom tends compensatingly to increase. This book is about the converse of that statement. It explains how the rhetoric of sexual freedom was used to engineer a system of covert political and social control. Over the course of the two-hundred-year span covered by this book, the development of technologies of communication, reproduction, and psychic control B including psychotherapy, behaviorism, advertising, sensitivity training, pornography, and, when push came to shove, plain old blackmail B allowed the Enlightenment and its heirs to turn Augustine's insight on its head and create masters out of men's vices. Libido Dominandi is the story of how that happened.

Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
British philosopher and conservative polemicist Scruton (An Intelligent Person's Guide to Modern Philosophy, 1997) attempts to defend the high culture of the West by means of an all-embracing theory of modern culture's development and decline. Drawing on the work of anthropologists and sociologists, Scruton traces the core of any common culture to its roots in religion. Here, he maintains, in the beliefs and observances that surround the various passages of life (i.e., birth, death, and marriage) the community provides not only for its physical reproduction, but for its cultural reproduction as well. High culture, Scruton holds, is no less dependent on religion; it, too, in a heightened and imaginative form, provides a moral education in a world where religious faith is no longer a live possibility. In his fascinating historical narrative, Scruton traces the development of high culture from the Enlightenment (when aesthetics supplanted faith) through the development of Romanticism (and the growth of sentimentality) to the high Modernism whose death is the central fact of today's culture. Scruton sees Modernism (and its paradigmatic figures, such as Wagner, Manet, Baudelaire, Eliot, and Schoenberg) as a last, heroic attempt to reassert the ordering power of art against the tsunami of popular, commercial culture. As Modernism degenerated into the merely avant-garde, however, high culture embraced kitsch and lost its ability to create order within the culture it had erected. The second, more polemical half of Scruton's survey examines the shortcomings of such disparate features of our cultural landscape as photography and film, British youth culture, Michel Foucault, andJacquesDerrida. Taking his cue from Confucius's Analects, Scruton concludes with a call to live "as if"—to cling to the traditions of our culture without metaphysical systems or religious creeds. In the end, this generally interesting—and, in parts, fascinating—look at culture and its vicissitudes is long on diagnosis and very short on treatment. In a world without faith (and, increasingly, without its aesthetic transposition), Confucius isn't going to point the way.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781890318376
Publisher:
St. Augustine's Press
Publication date:
11/15/1999
Edition description:
1
Pages:
668
Product dimensions:
6.35(w) x 9.33(h) x 1.92(d)

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