The world our thoughts have made

The understanding of morality and public order that’s authoritative today holds that sex can’t have any meaning that’s publicly recognized. Freedom and equality demands that each of us construct its meaning for himself. Anything else would be institutionalized oppression that touches on the most intimate aspects of what we are. Such views are integral to modern ways and ideals. Since that’s so, the only possible goal of sex education is to show possibilities, develop the ability to choose, and fight the notion that some choices are somehow worse than other choices.

Such ideas, like all others, have consequences. Here are a couple:

  • A business writer worries that Teen fragrance’s titillating name could create a stink. The name is “FCUK,” and the company is using slogans like “scent to bed” to sell the fragrances “FCUK Him” and “FCUK Her” to boys and girls. The writer can stop worrying. FCUK sells, and there are no respectable arguments today why those who promote it shouldn’t be given free rein.
  • Teen prostitution goes middle-American and mainstream. Why not? Good girls, after all, do what they’re told, and if they’re told that consumer goods and sex are the highest and best goods they’ll put the two together and act accordingly.

The problem, it seems, isn’t corruption in a basically good system but the very practices that create and ideals that inform our system of public life. People think common sense will act as a limitation on the principles publicly professed. How can that happen, though, when opposition to common sense—to “deeply rooted social prejudices and stereotypes”—is proclaimed and enforced as the loftiest of all principles? Much more today than in the 60s, to live a good or even tolerable life is to be a dropout.