Should Caitlyn Jenner be Donald Trump’s Vice President?

English: Abraham Lincoln, president of the Uni...

English: Abraham Lincoln, president of the United States of America. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On the surface, the pairing seems improbable if not impossible. What, if anything, do they have in common? They appear to share little except their celebrity status. Beneath the surface, though, they are animated by the same thing, a disordered eros. [1] Our eros is what drives us to be complete as a person. In turn, when ordered correctly, this desire to be complete leads us to a life of virtue as citizen within a commonwealth since that is where we live and our lives are expressed. What connects them is not eros simply, but the disordered eros in what it completes them does not support a life of virtue as a citizen. To express this crudely, neither sees a limit to what their eros directs them to achieve, which is a point that Andrew Sullivan made in his essay about Donald Trump.[2] He invoked Plato with his reference to the Republic where the tyrant emerges from a decaying democracy. Sullivan only touched the surface for the question is what creates the tyrant, for he did not look at what creates the tyrant. For Plato’s the tyrant is characterized by eros, one could suggest that he is eros incarnate[3], which leads us to another Platonic dialogue with eros as its focus–the Symposium. The dialogue provides us an analytical device to understand how eros brought Trump and America to this point. In particular, it helps us understand why Sullivan overlooked how Trump expresses what has changed about America’s eros especially since 9/11.[4]

Trump would date his daughter and America embraces him.

If we follow Plato as our lead, then we begin to see that Trump’s eros, like America’s, is not limited by anything such as convention or nature. As Trump said, his daughter is so hot he would “date” her.[5] His criteria for his prospective partner appears to be how hot she is without concern for a genetic relationship. The hotter they are the more his eros is satisfied. In Trump’s thinking what father would not want to “date” their daughter if they were as hot, if not hotter, than Ivanka? Moreover, as is clear from Trump’s life, if she is not “hot” then she should turn to the medical and surgical enhancements to become hot. Who, after all, would be seen without a “hot” sexual partner? That his statement is seen as a “joke” and does not disqualify him from office or even lessen his support shows how far America has developed a disordered eros. As long as a woman is hot, it does not matter if she is married or your daughter, it is ok to publicly comment on her desirability as a sexual partner.[6] Many supporters and commentators excuse Trump’s statement as a joke because they want to separate his personal appetites from his political ambitions. Yet, his eros animates both in that what he believes influences his behaviour. In political terms, the desire to rule over others is the highest eros which is usually mitigated or restrained for it has to serve the community’s best interest to retain the consent needed to sustain the rule. Is there any other political office that fulfils the desire to rule others than the President of the United States of America who holds the power of life and death over the world? As we know, power is the ultimate aphrodisiac that corrupts so if we translate Trump’s eros to the political domain, he wants, literally or metaphorically, to “date” America.

If Oedipus had a hot daughter?

In ancient Athens, Trump’s statement about incest would be met with indignation. When the topic was broached in the play, Oedipus Rex, a similar story except this time the son killed his father and slept with his mother, the audience reacted with horror. The play explored the deepest taboo within a family for incest destroyed a family’s integrity and in doing so unravelled the community’s fabric.[7] (Is Trump keeping an eye on his sons since his wife, their step-mother, is hot and what man in Trump’s world, would not want to “date” her?) The play’s political lesson is that tyranny is like incest for it destroys what allows the community to survive, the fellow feeling of citizens that sustains decent political life. In practical terms, incest destroys the family and what it produces, children, which are necessary for the community’s survival.[8] In political terms the tyrant’s immoderate thought and behaviour undermined the community.[9] The tyrant was identified by sexual excess and extreme sexual appetites both of which the people feared would be used to obtain any sexual partner such as their wives, brothers, sisters, daughters or sons.[10]

“[I]t is impossible to segregate the tyrant’s sexuality from his political power: each symbolizes the other. His notorious perversions (adultery, bigamy, rape, incest, sadism, necrophilia…) are the sexual manifestation of his extraordinary relation to the laws and norms of the polis.”[11]

In any other era, constraints such as nature (incest leading to deformities) and social restraint (societies and families enforcing norms) would limit Trump’s behaviour. In the modern era, marked by modern natural science, such behaviour can be tolerated if not celebrated publicly. Today, it would appear that there is no sin greater than that which denies you becoming what you want to be for that destroys the very freedom that America was founded to deliver.

The Constitution promises liberty to all within its reach, a liberty that includes certain specific rights that allow persons, within a lawful realm, to define and express their identity.[12]

The same desire, which drives the tyrant, undermined the ancient communities since the instability it create made the community vulnerable to internal factions, such as a tyrant or other faction that would overthrow it, or be destroyed from outside by rival regimes, as internal harmony dissolved. America, today, appears to offer an exception to that rule. Or does it?

Trump appeals to and expresses the public’s deepest longing the tyrant’s life.

Trump’s approach, revealed by his comment about his daughter, brings the tyrant’s life to the American voters and his supporters love him for it. Trump appeals because he offers the hottest girls[13], the fastest cars, the biggest deals, the best of everything. His current wife is a MILF embodied. He lives the life that many of his followers aspire to live. For them, Trump embodies everything they cannot have and they blame those who tell them they can’t indulge their desires. Be it a big house, a fast car, a hot wife, the availability of a wide pool of sexual partners, vast wealth, or the ability to speak his mind without fear or favour, all of these are available for the taking. They believe that he will make these more accessible for they have been habituated to believe what he offers defines a complete life. He appeals to the average person’s desire to live the tyrant’s life. For his elite followers, like Peter Thiel, he offers the chance to suppress that which he dislikes about democracy or the government inefficiency that inhibits his “freedom”.

More than positive desires, Trump followers want the negative desires

In addition to the “positive” desires he offers, Trump offers to indulge the “negative” desires. Many of his followers are driven by the eros to punish political opponents preferably through physical violence. They want to hurt those that keep them from what they believe they need to be complete. Some followers hate the government for it limits their “freedom” to either dominate by rule over their “inferiors” or because it allows inefficiency to flourish. In both cases, his followers resent those they believe have advantages they are denied or receive benefits at their expense. They believe they have to live as inferiors if they cannot dominate others which would allow them to be respected as being superior. Above all, they do not want equality since that is as much an insult as inferiority. Even though their inferiority or potential superiority is an illusion generated to mask the reality, they want to satisfy that longing, that erotic desire, to punish those who keep them from enjoying their “freedom”. Most important of all, they want to punish those who they believe act as their superiors, the modern aristocrats, or elites, who appear to have the unfair advantages. In this, the Trump supporters reflect the very ancient origins of a tyrant as the people often turned to a powerful individual to “punish” the aristocracy for failing to rule fairly.

“Many Greek cities underwent a tyranny that we naturally look for some general cause in the circumstances of the time. The causes are largely internal, to be found in the oppressiveness or inadequacy of the aristocracies which held power in the early seventh century.”[14]

Trump seduces violently or gently depending on the audience.

To achieve power over others through the public office requires Trump to seduce the public violently or gently and it is a seduction where the beloved submits violently or gently. Trump knows how to excite or arose his followers accordingly. When necessary he threatens violence. When he requires charm he parades his wife and daughter to show his erotic prowess or his wealth to show his success. The erotic longing by his followers is not simply Facebook envy.[15] It is an eros no longer moderated by or guided by the common good. They want their private passions indulged at the public’s expense. In this manner, Trump’s followers will also include those elites who will benefit from him, the oligarchic faction who will gain from Trump’s victory, for they too dislike the common good to the extent it limits their pursuit of wealth and satisfaction. What animates Trump’s followers is a disordered eros, one that wants all the trappings of tyranny not virtue or moderation required to sustain a democracy let alone a republic. What they want is the freedom and prosperity that marks democracy’s late stages. For a limited few, Trump appeared to provide the chance to recover the lost virtue, to rekindle the republican dream that has animated America since its founding and shone brightest in the moments of greatest need, but which has become dimmed in the current age. These few are the democrats who fear the extreme democracy that appears to infect America. The majority of Trump followers are those who would rather turn away from the pursuit of virtue that requires them to control their appetites and embrace the apparently easier life under the greater glory of the American liberal-progressive empire that rules at home and abroad. For this group, the demos, the globalisation benefits need to continue to fuel their desire to live a life beyond their means. They want to escape any natural limit to their desire or any criticism by turning to modern natural science. Their demand for more, for any excess, will be satisfied by a modern natural science that will “legitimate” their behaviours or desires as it will “rescue” them from any natural or political consequence.[16]

Modern natural science enables modern tyranny

Modern natural science aids the disordered eros for it mitigates the consequences of pursuing translegal desires either individually or collectively.

“Translegal desires”, “are desires that violate the fundamental requirements of the city and acknowledge fully the fiction of the city.”[17]

Condoms or birth control pills would limit the chance that incest leads to a child. If nature were able to overcome the condom and the birth control pill, then an abortion would remove the natural consequences. In practical terms, if you want to fight a war, technology driven by modern natural science, allows you to execute it without great cost to the demos who might object. Today, they can enjoy a secure life without even realizing the war’s effort, cost, effect or consequence. What was previously a constraint, casualties, can be ignored. Whereas the natural constraint from dead soldiers would encourage the community to restrain the elite’s imperial eros, the technological advances allow the state to overcome it. In the same fashion, technology will enable us to execute financial transactions that escape the regulator’s scrutiny thereby avoiding the taxes which sustain the city. The immediate constraint imposed by the community can be overcome. Beyond the community’s constraint, the law, anything else is simply a personal prejudices since science poses no limit to what you want to achieve. Your religious hang-ups are the only thing that keeps you from enjoying the “forbidden fruit” since science has “debunked” their forbiddingness.[18] Instead of the law, which reflects the community’s collective opinion about morality, what is right and wrong, the community will be ordered by science instead of the law.[19]. In effect, modern natural science indulges the disordered eros since if it feels good, just do it. If you fail to do it when it feels good, then you are denying your eros and there is nothing worse for an individual to experience since the best life if one of love defined as pleasure?

Why Caitlyn Jenner would be the ideal VP for the Trump presidency.

Modern natural science is what brings us to Caitlyn Jenner. S/he is following an eros which drives her to overcome what nature provided. Nature is no limit to what she wants to become. There is no need to live with constraints natural or suggested by the community for science will relieve her painful longing to be complete. In political terms, Jenner satisfies strategic voting demographics, for she helps Trump defend against charges that he is a “hater” or simply insensitive to the liberal progressive dream that animates most of those in the Democratic party who would oppose his candidacy. Moreover, Caitlyn Jenner reflects the same disordered eros that animates Trump’s campaign. She wants to transform from a man into a woman, overcome nature; she wants society to celebrate her change, it must be enshrined in law; her success is driven by her belief of what can be achieved. Plato, though, would suggest that she has replaced public moderation with private immoderation. She wants her choice to be enshrined in law so it becomes the public morality. When eros is wedded to modern natural science, there is nothing the heart desires that it cannot achieve for there are no limits, natural or divine, to what can be achieved. If it can be conceived, then it must be achieved and when achieved it must be accepted and celebrated by society.

A man into a woman, a man into an insect, is there any scientific limit?

Harry Neumann, writing in 1991, described this phenomenon.

Sometimes I ask students (or faculty) whether there is anything science cannot or should not do… for example, the human engineering in Auschwitz or the Gulag. Can or should genetic engineering or robotics turn men into robots or robots into men? Can it transform men into insects in Kafka’s Metamorphosis? Usually academics see nothing in principle to prevent this or any possible experimentation. Moral-political passions will be outraged, but has this outrage any significance, however strong it may appear, in a liberal world devoid of non-arbitrary moral-political standards?[20]

Jenner is the academic belief that has become the public reality. There is no natural or divine limit to what she can become. If Jenner wants to become a woman, why not? If she, or anyone else, wanted to become an insect who would say no? There are no scientific reasons to keep them from becoming the insect they desire to become. With science, there is no limit to what she can do to satisfy her erotic longing to be what he believes will relieve the painful longing to be complete. The desire and the painful longing to satisfy it are eternal questions since all human societies have this story. What is different, though, is that what would have been a private longing is now made public and the public eros is to be directed to satisfy that individual longing. In America it is not enough for it be privately accepted and publicly tolerated, it has to be enshrined in the law. It has to be a right that will require society to respect and celebrate the individual’s desire no matter the consequence for society for society must accommodate their “freedom”. Instead of eros directed to a life of virtue in accordance with the community and the full life of the citizen, eros is now directed at individual pleasure with no distinction between base or noble loves or pleasures.

Could Sophocles have imagined the Kardashians?

In the past, the poets warned of the consequences should the natural or divine limits, the moderation necessary to sustain a decent political life, be breached. To enforce these warnings, they set out the most extreme examples they could imagine. The poet Sophocles famously set out such warnings in plays such as Oedipus Rex and Antigone. Yet, even he could not imagine a character such as Caitlyn Jenner and her immediate familial relationship. Jenner, once married to Kris Jenner, was the stepfather to the Kardashian children. Sophocles’ greatest work Oedipus Rex, where a son kills his father, sleeps with his mother, and becomes king, pales in comparison. His was a cautionary tale to warn Athens about tyranny. Today, a more outrageous family is celebrated as entertainment if not an example to follow if not emulate. They live a life with the characteristics that Trump followers appear to aspire, celebrity, fame, freedom, and the choice of sexual behaviours, partners and identities. In the Kardashians there are a case of characters and episodes that would be hard for Sophocles to imagine let alone invent. We have a stepfather who is becoming a woman. One step-daughter’s main claim to celebrity notoriety is her pornographic video. The mother “pimps” her daughters providing them advice on prospective sexual partners and business deals without being clear where one begins and the other ends. The family publicizes their eros through a popular reality television show that captures their antics without shame or modesty. Their eros is to satisfy the painful longing to be famous and “successful”. The unquenchable thirst[21], the gnawing hunger, to be “successful” and a “celebrity” drives them to seek out activities that will fill their longing to be whole. If their behaviour was private, they would simply be another eccentric family found in the works of William Faulkner or Flannery O’Connor. Instead, they operate within the public domain, their “celebrity” funded by advertisers who profit from a public that consume this “entertainment” seeking to emulate it if they cannot participate in it.

Trump jokes of translegal desires to signal his beliefs.

Even though societies have always had private behaviours, the translegal desires, that have the potential to undermine society, these have always been contained or limited either by law or by practice. Where they have existed, the behaviours have remained within the private domain, publicly tolerated but never publicly accepted nor enshrined in law.[22] They share the same disordered eros, which generates Trump’s appeal and the Kardashians celebrity. However, if we believe that the eros simply expresses a sexual desire, we misunderstand the symptom for a cause for it also explains the love of gain such as financial gain. [23]

Trump’s eros is not a cause, it is a symptom.

The disordered eros is not simply sexual behaviour for that is a symptom. Trump’s private desire made public, to become President so as to dominate others, and Jenner’s, to rule over her nature, presents an elegant symmetry. In an era of excess from Wall Street to Silicon Valley; from the Porn industry to the Presidential campaign, what better pairing than Trump and Jenner? There is no natural, scientific, religious, or social limit to your desire and Trump and Jenner once elected can show you, the voter, that you can have what your heart desires for America is there to serve you and satisfy your desires.

Does America have an alternative?

No candidate offers a return to the Republic where the idea that as citizens we serve a higher good than our own desires was the source of our patriotism. Imagine the hoots of derision, especially from the baying libertarians, if a candidate were to say:

And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.[24]

Trump does not love America so much as he loves himself just as his followers confuse their love of self or hatred of those who deny them what they desire with love of their America. Instead, their unconstrained desire is what has animated an imperial Presidency over the past 80 years to satisfy the public’s increasingly imperial longings both at home and abroad. The public and the elite want their heart’s desire, their “freedom” even at the cost of democracy. In response to the global threats and the challenge of sustaining a decent world order, the liberal-progressive empire at home and abroad has increased with each decade. The external demands have been met by an equally voracious domestic appetite for “freedoms”, which successive governments, almost without exception, have been happy to satisfy so long as they could sustain focus on the external threats. Even if the external empire has to be sacrificed, Americans what their “freedom” at home as we see Trump promising to redefine the alliances, build walls, and punish “enemies”. In the past, a democracy would turn away from imperialism, even a liberal progressive empire, when it threatened their democracy. For more than 80 years, such a choice never occurred since the public was unaware that the liberal progressive empire growing abroad was expanding at home for they believed domestic prosperity was the same as republican virtue. With Trump it now appears that America is willing to forgo its democracy for it no longer has leaders who challenge the public to love their country more than their personal desires or to live as equals rather than masters or slaves. To live as equals is too much effort for Trump appears to offer them the chance to live as masters since they can impose their politics on their enemies foreign or domestic for that is what they have been habituated to believe politics has become—an arena to impose your politics.[25] Some would turn to Hillary Clinton for her devotion to politics but she presents a milder form of the disordered eros. She has devoted her life to expand the liberal-progressive empire at home. How can she stand in the way for Trump/Jenner expresses what has animated the Democratic Party since 1968? Even if she is elected does she provide anything fundamentally different? A vote for Trump/Jenner is a vote for Hillary or is it that a vote for Hillary is a vote for Trump/Jenner? More importantly, neither alternative offers a vision for how to govern or how to inculcate a republican statesmanship that draws on a love of America rather than satisfying the factions needed to rule. No matter the choice, America will never be the same for the political consequences of its disordered eros have become apparent.

America’s imperial seeds were planted in 1932.

Since 1932, America has been building to this moment as the imperial legacy of a presidency built to deal with potent external threats now emerges in the domestic realm to deal with threats from the incoherent extreme democracy that has grown since 1989 and became particularly virulent after 2001. In this development, Trump is a harbinger for he shows us what will follow regardless of who is elected. To fend off existential threats from abroad, America abandoned a republican foreign policy without realizing it had planted the imperial seeds which slowly, but surely, uprooted republican institutions that sustained a moderate domestic policy that kept extreme democracy from emerging. As the existential threat disappeared the imperial foreign policy that served the country’s oligarchic faction is now fully expressed in America’s extreme democracy. What this means is that any future candidate will be, is already, encultured into this view as the reigning imperial ethos, either in domestic policy or foreign policy means they cannot be elected without consummating their loyalty to it. No candidate has emerged who promises moderation in domestic and foreign policy. There have been some that will offer the appearance of moderation in either realm but moderation in both makes the candidate unelectable. In a domestic realm where America has removed any limits to its private desires, it follows that it would now seek a president who will satisfy those desires publicly.

America is now getting what its heart desires, but not what it soul requires, nor what its founding promises.

[1] “Howland (The Republic, p. 38).  “The root meaning of eros is sexual desire; more broadly, eros designates other kinds of passionate desires as well. Just as the depths of human sexual desire contain more than mere lust, so that eros is often translated as ‘love,’ eros in its distinctly human forms transcends mere appetite. Eros is definitive of the human condition: it is not a specific, discrete desire of a part of the soul or body, like thirst, but a mysterious longing of body and soul as a whole for whatever it is that will provide us with comprehensive satisfaction.” Jacob Howland, The Republic: The Odyssey of Philosophy (New York: Twayne Publishers, 1993), quoted in Beyond the Tripartite Soul: The Dynamic Psychology of the “Republic” Laurence D. Cooper The Review of Politics, Vol. 63, No. 2 (Spring, 2001), pp. 341-372 Cambridge University Press for the University of Notre Dame du lac on behalf of Review of Politics

[2] http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/04/america-tyranny-donald-trump.html for some contrary views consider http://douthat.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/05/02/andrew-sullivan-on-trump-and-tyranny/?_r=0 and http://billmoyers.com/story/the-tyranny-of-trump/

[3] See Republic 573b-579d

[4] See for example http://www.pewforum.org/2016/05/12/changing-attitudes-on-gay-marriage/ and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_anxiety_%28psychology%29 more generally https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civilization_and_Its_Discontents What has changed in particular is that the family is being destroyed in a way described in the Symposium. Steven Berg describes this change when eros is made a public topic

“Heterosexual eros—which always, even I the case of the prostitute, implies the possibility of the generation of offspring and so points to the family and the establishment of the private realm—is to be abolished in favour of nongenerative homoerotic unions. But the elimination of women and the family means the elimination of the sacred—its rooting ot from public and political life.” p.12 Steven Berg Eros and the Intoxications of Enlightenment (New York: State university of New York Press 2010)

[5] http://fusion.net/story/176716/heres-the-creepy-video-of-donald-trump-saying-hed-date-his-own-daughter/ What is curious is why people assume he is joking. Even if it was a “joke” it demonstrates the thought necessary to draw attention to his desires. What parent jokes about “dating” their children? In this case if we follow Freud, the “joke” appears to be an unconscious desire.

The term “date” in Trump’s world is best understood as “fxxx” since he has not displayed anything resembling chaste behaviour.

[6] Or fondle her if you are a celebrity or politically powerful. Consider the case of Vice President Joe Biden who enjoys fondling women while their husbands or parents are nearby. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2958620/Not-Mr-Vice-President-Joe-Biden-loves-nuzzle-ladies-cameras-conservative-commentators-slamming-space-invading.html

[7] In America as well as the West, the family as the foundation for the community and the potential for the common good is under assault. The family is seen as something oppressive from which the individual needs to be liberated.

[8] In the Symposium, the discussion about eros shows the threat to the family and the need to dismantle the family since it acts as a constraint. The family is supported by the law to sustain the political stability and the community’s continued prospects for survival. When Steven Berg describes Pausanias’ proposal in the Symposium, we can see the issue for America.

“It is in discussing the lovers of pre-adolescent boys and the laws surrounding marriage that the issues of compulsion and, therefore, punishment slip into his speech for the first time (181e). Pausanias rightly links the discrimination of the just and the unjust that the law makes (182a) and the compulsion it exercises in order to give this discrimination force to the issue of heterosexual eros, marriage, and the family. For it is not the “nobility” of marriage and family life that the law acknowledges in lending legitimacy to the union of man and woman, but rather the necessity of the family as a basis for the city and the consequent political necessity of proclaiming unjust and laying down punitive sanctions against any form of eros that runs counter to the family and acts to dissolve it. Pausanias’ proposal, then, to replace the distinction between the just and the unjust with that between the beautiful and the ugly as the primary distinction of the law, is a proposal to turn the city on its head in regard to erotic maters: heterosexual conjugal union will no longer receive the law’s stamp of approval, but will be rendered “unlawful” in the weak sense—that is, shameful (181b)—and pederasty, which, in Athens, currently exists in a legal no-man’s-land somewhere between outright prohibition and grudging acceptance (182d-183d), will be held up as the model of lawful conduct (184d-e).” p.29

[9]  Who is this tyrannos about whom the Greeks speak?8 We learn from Herodotus that the tyrant is the one who “moves ancestral laws [patria nomia] and forces himself on women and kills men who have not been tried” (3.80.5 [1927]). From Thucydides we learn that Alcibiades was considered the potential tyrant: “Most men, fearing the greatness of his lawless-ness paranoiai] with regard to his body, his daily habits, and the intelligence he showed in whatever he did, set him down as desiring a tyranny” (6.15 [1900]) The Tyranny of Reason in the World of the Polis Arlene W. Saxonhouse The American Political Science Review, Vol. 82, No. 4 (Dec., 1988), pp. 1261-1275 (p.1263)

[11] Wohl, V. 2002. Love Among the Ruins: The Erotics of Democracy in Classical Athens, Princeton and London: Princeton University Press. Love Among the ruins Wohl (2002), 221. quoted in Annie Larivee the International Journal of the Platonic Tradition 6 (2012) 1-26 The International Journal of the Platonic Tradition brill.nl/jpt Eros Tyrannos: Alcibiades as the Model of the Tyrant in Book IX of the RepublicAnnie Larivée p.9

[12] 576 U. S. ____ (2015)

[13] Robert Crumb’s cartoon captures Trump’s behaviour. http://i.imgur.com/7J9u2Rt.jpg

[14] Antony. Andrewes, The Greek Tyrants London Hutchinson 1956 p.8 London 1956

[15] http://thefederalist.com/2016/02/16/how-facebook-envy-fuels-donald-trump/ The article captures the essence of the Trump follower yet does not connect this to the eros that drives Trump and his followers.

[16] See for example, the discussion of modern natural science and modern tyranny here: Thomas Pangle December 1, 2003 AEI Bradley Lecture Leo Strauss’s Perspective on Modern Politics  http://www.aei.org/publication/leo-strausss-perspective-on-modern-politics/

[17] Seth Bernadete Plato’s Second Sailing 1989 p. 205

[18] When people want to argue against those who promote this vision of eros, they find they are literally tongue tied because they are told they are in the way of love since the public criteria for judging an act is whether it is beautiful or ugly rather than is it just or unjust. Love is always beautiful in this argument and to oppose these political and legal decisions, one is opposed to that which everyone wants and needs love. Yet, this removes the key issue the distinction between noble or base loves or between just and unjust loves. Today, so long as the love is endorsed by enough people it is just. The key criteria or the love is that it does not “harm” anyone without considering that it would harm society by undermining the family. As a result, opponents are unable to argue otherwise since public speech is debased to the point where disagreement is categorized as homophobia (a mental illness), bigotry, hypocrisy, or “unscientific” prejudices. These positions emerge as public discourse can no longer sustain reasoned debate. Steven Berg describes this

In those regimes in which pederasty has been made entirely lawful, the cause is to be found in the incapacity of their citizens for articulate and persuasive speech: tongue-tied lovers forming a legislative majority have removed all obstacles in the way of the gratification of their desires.” P31

[19] See Eryximachus’ speech in the Symposium “ Eryximachus’ speech as a whole, then, advocates the displacement of the rule of law by the rule of science. He recognizes, however, that if law is to be overcome, it must be confronted on the deepest level, a level to which Pausanias did not descend: sacred law (themis)”. Berg p.38 In the America context, we can see this attack on the sacred law as the attack on the Declaration of Independence principles with the belief in the laws of nature and nature’s God as demonstrated by Obergefell

[20] Harry Neumann Liberalism Carolina Press 1991 p.127

[21] On the Great Thirst see James V. Shall, “The Great Thirst” The Catholic Thing https://www.thecatholicthing.org/2016/05/24/the-great-thirst/

[22] Athens enshrined such behaviours in law as translegal behaviours became publicly acceptable. In time, Athens was defeated in the war with Sparta as the demos balked at sacrificing their democracy, their freedom, for what was required to sustain the Athenian empire. What is different with America is that America is sustained by modern natural science which allows it to delay the Athenian fate. What science does not do, though, is make a translegal desire less corrosive of what sustains the community. Therein, the problem for future presidents for they must reawaken the old love of country and its scared laws or at least channel the powerful democratic eros to a goal or goals that sustain the common good. Trump’s success suggests this is increasingly unlikely

[23] Thomas L. Pangle, (1987), The Roots of Political Philosophy: ten forgotten Socratic dialogues, page 78. Cornell University Press.  See also  A. Tipton’s Love of Gain, Philosophy and Tyranny: A Commentary on Plato’s Hipparchus Vol. 26/2 (Winter 1999) Interpretation: A Journal of Political Philosophy for a general overview see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hipparchus_%28dialogue%29

[24] http://www.ushistory.org/documents/ask-not.htm

[25] Plato set the Symposium in the year 416BC which is also the year of the Melian Dialogue in Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War where the Athenian Ambassadors to Melos declared it was a law of nature that the strong rule the weak. See Seth Benardete’s translation of the Symposium (University of Chicago Press: Chicago, 2001)with his interpretative essay On Plato’s Symposium p. 181.

http://www.press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/P/bo3636170.html

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About lawrence serewicz

An American living and working in the UK trying to understand the American idea and explain it to others. The views in this blog are my own for better or worse.
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