more than by inheritance alone

Daniel A. Foss (U17043@UICVM.BITNET)
Fri, 15 Dec 1995 23:41:11 CST


Celibate-renunciate orders and glorification of ascetic practices would
never have had the impact on the extinction rate of families (in terms of the
transmission of properties, statuses, rights in land, and titles of nobility,
etcetera, had not the church put the screws to the adoption strategies of
aristocratic or landlord families, where heirs of the body fail. By enhancing
the difficullty of legitimate transmission to collateral kin, and prohibiting
inheritance by distant or nonrelatives by adoption, while multiplying the
prohibited degrees of marriage, the Church systematically howbeit by unintended
consequences drastically curtailed the nobility's mate-selectiom pool; magni-
fied the consequences of infertility in noble lineages; and expanded the
recruiting grounds for its own monastic houses whose estates were commensurably
extended by the pious legacies of the heirless. All this and more Goody does
indeed state in Marriage and the Family in Europe.

Resuscitation of monasticism and asceticism is, however, foredoomed as the
- pardon-the-expression - Salvation of today's losers in the Sexual-Competitive
Struggle which, in capitalism, is heavily and inextricably inbricated with the
Occuaptional-Competitive Struggle. Volutary celibacy, under these conditions,
is patent Escapism, both to the nonfleeing competitors and to the fugitives.
Ashrams, abbeys, concocted analogues in religious traditions where such stuff
didn't previously exist, eg, in Judaism, not since the Essenes of Qumran; and,
while we're at it, the neopuritanical and neoprudish practices of new converts
to suchlike as the Lubavitcher Hasidism (where prior authentic continuity
existed, this is a horse of another kettle of fish) will sustain a modicum of
appeal for Loserkind in proportion to the magnitude of the psychic losses, ie,
RD [= "relative deprivation"] incurred.

Then will begin to pall; will vanish almost immediately thereafter.

In Medieval Civilization, monasteries were centers of organizationaip
discipline, scholarship, political leadership (quite often by the most astute
politico-religious operators of the day who were, moreover, also its most
spellbinding orators; cf St Bernard of Clarvaux, St Francis, St Dominic. By
no means were such people Losers. They were the superstars of the tima, most
notably once the popes had subsided into mere canon lawyers.

Forget institutional celibacy as a bulwark of Loserkind against the sex
ratrace. Perids of celibacy, by convention, are analogous to periods of enfor-
ced unemployment in one's gainfully-employed career or occupation. You hurt
there, you're hurtin' in your empty bed, too. Song sez, "nobody wants'ya when
yer down and out." Maybe somebody knew something: By convention, you are Worse
than the last job wherefrom you got fired; and Worse than - i.e., undeserving
of - the last lover who threw you out.

Sex appeal, like occupational prestige/income, is hierarchically ranked, and
inseparable from the latter. If the most Inferior partners you can get are Too
Inferior for your pride, figure the percentages. You can spend an unacceptably
inordinate amount of time Sitting Around in sexual-encounter environments "pan-
handling for conversation," where said expended time will in due course appear
as a complete Waste (which sooner or later Costs You on the job); or you Put It
All into the job, as there is less than no sense in Doing Anything After Work
unless or until, if you are male, especially, parlay your enhanced SES into

All unsatisfactory responses to "What do you *do*"? elicit the wellknown
muttered "I gotta circulate."

Culural responses to sex RD are proven useless junk. Typically, and for some
time already, the living dead of the Sexual Revolution and subsequent Brushfire
Wars, at least the largest number of them, have rallied to rightist-populist
movements whose objectives are the capture or at lest manipulation of the State
Power to enforce sex restriction, prudery, repression. En masse, Loserkind
articulates political demands tantamount or equivalent to, "Cover Up The Dirty
Parts!" As RD cannot be minimized for but one person, given that the Dirty
Parts invade all public spaces, media, even computer rooms (the boring grayish
walls apart thought that's gotta change), the prudish terror backed by Fundame-
ntalist clergy increasingly backed by Fanatical Christian Hordes, surging
forward in Human Wave Attacks Heedless of Human Life (here borrowing racist
stereotypes from the Korean War, remember?), suchlike political action does,
indubitably, induce some palliation in the victims' RD; though its structural
limits preclude more: Capitalist marketing cannot move the goods without
saturating public spaces and media with the very same Dirty Parts whose
obliviation the RD'd masses subscribe to Fundamentalist Prudist-Persecutory
movements to secure. A Rightist coalition forms, under the leadership of the
corporate-right advertisers, manufacturers, the debt-loving finance and retail
industries, etc, etc, who pay for the Rightist party, of course; whilst the RD
multitudes aid and abet them with doorbelringing, leafleting, and low-level
candidatures. The slogan, "family values," changes nothing structural; howbeit
it induces a considerable turnover of officeholders and shoves the political
spectrum rightwards.

The structural condition which facilitates these trends (whereby the capit-
alist elite does business as usual without any credible opposition and imposes
an iron dictatorship of hierarchical stratification upon its RD accomplices to
inhibit backtalk or meddling in the rightful preserve of the former's Natural
Betters) is the liquidation, going back to the Reagan Administration, of the
industrial working class as a bloc of critically important social weight. All
parliamentary systems, in capitalist society, are indeed founded upon the class
struggle between workers and capitalists, though the stability of the parlia-
mentary system over time has depended heavily upon the disguise, distortion,
and refraction through a nonclass discourse of the class conflict circuitously
acting through multiparty competition.

When the aforementioned "firing" of the working class was enforced by the
Reagan administration, notably at the time of the "plant-closings" wave in
1982 or so, the US parliamentary system, not to mention those of many other
nations, advanced or elsewise, became drastically unhinged; and this condition
is exacerbating. Hegemony of the discourse of capitalism at its most predatory
and selfish is no longer challenged. Race has become the only social cleavage
of central importance; which of course grants the "white" side a permanent
weight of numbers. The minority status of the nonfactory manual classes/strata;
their heavy admixture of immigrants; their dispersal among smallish workplaces;
their interethnic fractures; and their exclusion from large territories
inhabited by whitefolks almost exclusively; all these render certain, and
sooner rather than later, the visibly emergent fanged and clawed rightist
dictatorship on the horizon if not already here. The emergent consensus will,
without question, be ferociously antiseptic prudery (fought by youth resistan-
ce; ie, by their own children); whilst the top 10%, including you, dear
subscribers (qua professionals, cognitive elite, high-occupational-prestige-
sorts, and tolerated relativistic skeptics, will continue to have a great old
time, by contrast to the RD "scum" beneath your feet.
The foregoing, of course, applies much more strongly to the capitalist elite
(whom you merely serve as Adornments of their Civilization).

Capitalism, *as a rule*, tends toward generating a *monotonic relationship
between pecuniary income and gratification*. (From this standpoint, the animus
behind the War On Drugs inheres in the spectacle of the poor consuming Cheap
Thrills, wherefrom they're allegedly demotivated to the consumption of the
Expensive Thrills which the capitalist marketplace is so eager and ready to
deliver, provided that the druggies would only adopt regular habits and submit
to the social discipline where by rights Somebody Else is delegated as God's
Anointed to tell them where their bodies have gotta be at which inconveniently
early hour in the morning.)

Sex, the trouble with the damned thing, really, is that it doesn't cost
money. In, that is, social isolation. In keeping with the monotonic principle,
billions of dollars are expended to foster the certainty that expensive sex,
that is, between expensive[-ly paid] people in expensive environments, prefer-
ably in expensive faraway places, entailing expensive educations for the part-
ners, and in due course, expensive Master Race children, is the very best,
most exciting. (And, indeed, it has been ascertained that womens' years of
formal educations are the best predictors of their frequency of sex orgasms.)

Anyone here recall something they useta call *desire*? Wonder what it was.
Probably something messy and sticky. No need to worry about that slimy ick any
more. Sex in future will be the province of well-exercised nature-exploring
bodies; the creme de la creme of occupational and organizational hierarchies;
and of course those well able to afford the squanderation of money on certified
degree-holding professionals qualified to expound on the correct way to do any
goddam thing. These latter categories will, of course, contain the same people.

The RDs, turned into the bulwark/mass-base of the social order (one which
cannot be toppled or even threatened from within; yet will most likely get
schlongged from without by some Emergent Economy growing 9% or 11% a year;
that kinda stuff happens; well, the RDs will have kids too. That's what
Family Values ensures. But, betcha, they *don't feel a thing*.

Sex. A nice Thingie while it lasted. For some of you. Me, I never shoulda
messed with it. Dit that onnacounta herd conformity. Who dared, in those days,
look unhip, unDrugged? Goddam waste of time, is what it was. Ah, sex, what was
it, anyhow.

Salman Rushdie,
with kibitzing by
Daniel A. Foss
<next week: a 12-step program for Recovering Professionals>