What should be disturbing to anyone who still believes the word “feminist” has positive meaning is how she, Ellen, and other chastity detractors appear unable to write about the subject without urging that opposing views be silenced. It’s as though they believe women are too dizzy, stupid, and impressionable to make an informed decision when chastity is presented to them as an option. Apparently, among those who worship the god of “choice,” one choice is verboten: the choice to be chaste.
– Dawn Eden
The question that nags at me is this: Is it necessary, when arguing for those things chastity detractors promote, to ask that certain views not be brought up at all?
The easy answers are twofold: We could say “Yes, because they’re depraved, advocating sin, and so while their arguments might use a form of reason, our common use of the term ‘reasonable,’ which implies that someone can be talked to and persuaded otherwise, cannot be applied to them personally.” We could also say that “No, it isn’t right that they demand others be silenced, and they don’t understand the nature of a free and open discourse that allows them their views.”
I think the really difficult answer is that they’re taking the hard line they take out of necessity, a necessity created, ironically enough, by living in a free society. The regime of “choice” means that certain choices have to be forbidden, because all choices have to be considered equal in dignity. If there were inequality as to the lifestyles people pick, then one could say “this is what is best,” and instantiate rule on such grounds. In fact, even without one trying for such rule, what is “best” might drive what is worse from the realm of choice, and then one would have to wonder whether there choices can be made or not.
Of course, all of these considerations stem from a very narrow conception of freedom, but it isn’t a wholly debased one. The idea behind that narrow conception, where people can do wrong as long as it doesn’t seem to hurt others (it actually hurts them quite a lot, just think about the emotional wreckage alone), is that this is a society which is humane, where people can be free to discover their conscience and have a more natural fraternal sentiment towards others. If that sounds vaguely Christian, it is. The secular as we know it seems to have stemmed from the sacred in no small part. At some point religious people in the West wanted people to be able to choose their religion, and come to God freely.
I don’t bring this up to get on a high horse or blow a lot of hot air around. What concerns me is that this “debate” isn’t going to end. They’re forced into the position they’re in precisely because you’re right. And I don’t know that the debate is fruitful, because peace is what is needed in order to sow that which is truly righteous. More fruitful is your book, which seems to emphasize the positive side of being chaste, and shows that freedom, while it may have stemmed out of allowing the lowest to do and feel as they please, can indeed be something greater for all of us, including those of us who know better.
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