Category Archives: Sexual morality

Prince Albert and The Paternal Principle

In the September 25, 2014 issue of the New York Review of Books, the British writer, Geoffrey Wheatcroft reviews a biography of Edward VII: The Heir Apparent, A Life of Edward VII, The Playboy Prince, Jane Ridley, Random House, 2014. The review is titled “The Hedonist King Who Knew His Place.” Wheatcroft writes with sophisticated amusement of Bertie’s (Albert Edward’s) sexual promiscuity during his many years as Prince of Wales. This sophisticated acceptance of male promiscuity as perhaps naughty, but not really immoral, is the main critical target of my book. In this post, though, I want to examine a reprimand Bertie’s father, Prince Albert, sent when learning of Bertie’s losing his “virginity” while serving a brief period with the army. I want to point out how a holder of the paternal principle would find the reprimand and find the straightforward language appropriate. What is the reprimand? I quote from Wheatcroft’s review and place the reprimand in bold italic type. For comparison purposes, I repeat the Paternal Principle from my book.

“Some of the younger officers had sportingly smuggled” Nellie Clifton “a superior tart” “into a hut in the camp, where she introduced Bertie to the joys of sex. Lord Tarrington, a lord-in waiting to Queen Victoria, maliciously repeated the rumors to Albert with devastating effect. Victoria never forgot”… “in a letter of terrible reproach Albert told Bertie how shameful it was

to thrust yourself into the hands of one of the most abject of the human species, to be by her initiated in the sacred mysteries of creation, which ought to remain shrouded in holy awe until touched by pure & undefiled hands.

It’s hard to imagine such a letter written by a father to a son in 1961, or 1761 for that matter and even at that time”…

Prince Albert died at age 42 shortly after reprimanding Bertie. Queen Victoria felt that Bertie’s sexual misconduct was a factor in Albert’s death.

Statement of The Paternal Principle,

A male may intentionally attain a sexual climax only in sexual intercourse with a consenting woman to whom he is bound by a life-long monogamous socially recognized union for procreation, In addition he should:(1) intend to cooperate with his spouse to protect and promote the lifelong natural development of any conception resulting from this intercourse and (2) strive to appreciate with his spouse the natural value of their sexual satisfactions and cooperate with her to enhance those satisfactions.

A holder of the Paternal Principle cannot quarrel with the thought expressed in Prince Albert’s reprimand. I can imagine fathers who belong to an organization such as the Knights of Columbus writing such a reprimand and imagine many more at least thinking that they should reprimand their sons in this way if they heard of them having sex with a prostitute or even having one-night stands. I can imagine many men reflecting with shame, expressible in similar words on some of their early sexual experiences. Of course, as their sons grow older and are not being “initiated” into these “sacred mysteries” fathers may conclude that it is not worthwhile reprimanding their sons. They ignore these immoralities with the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy familiar to many of us who hold the Paternal Principle and realize when reprimands are ineffective in controlling the behavior of others. However, when reflecting on our own behaviors where we control how we act such sharp reprimands are always in place when we violate the Paternal Principle. Realization that we should be subject to such a reprimand is a helpful thought for fighting off temptations to violate the Paternal Principle. Prince Albert’s reprimand could be slightly rephrased to reprimand masturbation or homosexual activity.

I cannot say that a man should be so sensitive that he “falls apart” if he learns that his son has violated the Principle or realizes that he has violated the Paternal Principle. I can say that a man should not be so sensitive to “sophisticated opinions” that scorn the Paternal Principle that he is afraid to express publicly and privately in judging himself the strong judgment of Prince Albert’s reprimand. In this case, Prince Albert got it right.

However, what about the case of a married couple practicing birth control?

In Wheatcroft’s review we also read about birth control.”Not the least important of the many social changes during the queen’s very long reign was that, as natality statistics plainly show, by the 1890s the higher classes im England were practicing birth control by one means or another. That had not been so in the 1840s, but if any woman would ever have been grateful for the Pill it was Victoria, who hated pregnancy and childbirth as much as she relished passionate nights with Albert. Sad to say she took it out on her chihldren.” She had nine children

So, this post leads into a series of posts on the morality of artificial birth control.

My book Confronting Sexual Nihilism: Traditional Sexual Morality as an Antidote to Nihilism was released by Tate Publishing on March 11, 2014. See Book Web Page for information about the book. The publisher’s listed price is $26.99. Printed copies can be purchased here by credit card for $12.99, plus $3.71 for shipping and handling.

To purchase the printed book by check, send check of $16.70 per copy. Send to:
Charles F. Kielkopf
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Columbus, Ohio 43214
Include your shipping address.

Motiviation for My Condemning Immoralities

In two recent posts, I deliveredmoral condemnation of homosexual acts and life styles. Why? Here ‘why’ is not asking for the reason for which I conclude homosexuality morally wrong. The argument, or reasons, for concluding that it is wrong are in my book :Confronting Sexual Nihihlism. Here ‘why’ asks for my motives for arguing against homosexuality and expressing the conclusions of these arguments.

My intellectual motives for arguing against homosexuality and other sexual immoralities are easier to specify than my social motives for expressing these conclusions. My motives for expressing the conclusions are those for making recommendations to other people or giving other people information. These motives for expressing vary with circumstances; especially the audience to whom I intend to communicate. With respect to the intended readership of my book, I have two primary motives for expressing the moral condemnation of homosexuality. I want to explain my objection to gay-marriage and recommendation of a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy.

If homosexual activity is immoral, pair-bondings in which it is practiced should not be dignified by being called ‘marriage.’ The term ‘marriage’ is to be reserved for male/female bondings in which the morally proper sexual acts are performed. Publicly labeling people as immoral demeans them even if they boast of their immorality. For instance, a man who brags of cheating at cards, demeans himself whether or not he realizes it. Most emphatically: A man who boasts of cheating on his wife degrades himself. Unless some public good is accomplished by accusing a man of the immorality of homosexuality, the man should not be demeaned by being so labeled. In general, little public good is accomplished by labeling people as homosexual. Public good is accomplished by calling a man whose adultery is well known “an adulter.”

So, I recommend not demeaning homosexuals but propose demeaning adulterous men. If homosexuals want to be so labeled, they are fools who fail to realize that they making themselves look foolish. I will not cooperate with them when they make themselves look foolish. I suppose that I should add to “don’t ask, don’t tell,’ a guideline for what to do if “they tell.” My guideline, and practice, is “don’t listen.” I do not express moral judgment against homosexuality in vain hopes that mere expressions of judgments can help cure the condition. I defintely do not express a judgment that homosexuality is immoral to urge legislation against homosexual activies. In general, I oppose dealing with this moral issue with legal sanctions.

Actually, in my book, I tried to find good justification for my judgments that masturbation, fornication and adultery are immoral. Fortunately, I am not afflicted with have same sex-attractions. Condemnation of homosexuality is simply a corollary of a general principle- The Paternal Principle- for which I argue.

My intellectual motive for arguing for the immorality of homosexuality, and the other male sexual immoralities, is to convince myself that my judgment that homosexuality et al. are immoral is a well founded judgment. I want to know what is wrong for me. But this requires knowing first what is wrong for others.

As these next few Blog posts develop, it emerges that I am trying to understand the moral harm I would do to myself by performing one of these immoral acts. From a definition, in §II.7 of my book, ‘moral harm’ is specified to be the bad status a person has by violating a moral rule. In so far as the purpose of moral thinking is to guide us on how to be the right kind of people, there needs to be a sense of what this moral harm is over and above what the definition says.

The most important moral thinking is the moral thinking which guides individuals on how to be the right kind of people – how to form their moral character. Understandings of morality which hold that the most important moral thinking is for forming character are called character moralities. This important moral thinking is an inseparable combination of thinking that a rule forbids something and sensing that simply violating the rule is harmful to the violator. Developing this sense of the harm of moral harm requires thinking from the “inside” so to speak. You need to think of what you would be doing to yourself by simply violating a moral rule which you believe to be correct. Much of what follows will be my doing this “inside” thinking. Readers have to do it for themselves.

My parents, schools, traditions of my communities, etc., caused me to have certain moral opinions. Here I will stay with sexual morality. I, as most of us, confront many challenges to our moral opinions. My intellectual motive behind arguing for moral judgments is to bring me to a conviction that my moral opinions are well founded or need modification to be well founded. In general, I try to justify the opinions which I received; but not always. I have imagined living in accordance with “progressive” moral practices contrary to moral teachings I received from my Catholic tradition. The imagined way of life -a life style in accordance with the so-called sexual revolution – seemed an empty pursuit of pleasure leading to nothing.

Now recognition that a sexual morality contrary to traditional sexual morality leads to nihilism does not justify traditional sexual morality. However, it indicates an aspect of what the moral harm of the violations. The threat of nihilism by abandoning traditional sexual morality provides motivation for trying to justify traditional Catholic sexual morality. Justifying it means trying to show that reason supports it.

To show that reason supports a moral opinion requires showing that acts or ways of acting in accordance with the opinion are general requirements for human beings. These general requirements are expressed as moral rules forbidding or permitting certain acts or ways of acting. Most often, the rules are negative. The usual form is: Thou shalt not. Because reason deals with general principles, using reason to discover what I am forbidden to do, requires first using reason to establish what everyone is forbidden to do. So, the intellectual effort to justify my judgment that I am forbidden to intentionally attain a sexual climax outside the context of my marriage to a woman requires justifying a judgment that such seeking of sexual climaxes is forbidden to everyone. With respect to intellectual motivation, my condemnation of homosexuality is a by-product of what I really wanted to discover about my moral entitlements to attain orgasms.

In my next posts, I I plan to display my “inside” thinking of violating traditional sexual morality in order to arouse a sense of the moral harm of such violations.

My book Confronting Sexual Nihilism: Traditional Sexual Morality as an Antidote to Nihilism was released by Tate Publishing on March 11, 2014. See Book Web Page for information about the book. The publisher’s listed price is $26.99. Buy printed copy here with credit card for $10 off the listed price: $16.99.

Homosexual acts are immoral and active homosexuals are immoral: 1st Post

The purpose of this post and the next is to clarify where I stand on the morality of male homosexuality; on both the morality of the acts and the morality of the character of those who practice those acts. In blog posts I will present arguments to support various facets of the traditional sexual morality for which I argue in my book. I want to avoid having my arguments gain any extra appeal because readers are unclear where I stand. I am assuming that morally condemning homosexuality is unpopular. So, being coy about whether or not I think homosexuality is immoral might lead some to view my arguments more favorably. I do not want to mislead anyone.

In this post I will specify why I judge the acts and the men to be immoral. In the next post, I will assess the significance of making these negative moral judgments. In my book Confronting Sexual Nihihlism I argue for
The Paternal Principle,
A male may intentionally attain a sexual climax only in sexual intercourse with a consenting woman to whom he is bound by a life-long monogamous socially recognized union for procreation,
In addition he should:
(1) intend to cooperate with his spouse to protect and promote the lifelong natural development of any conception resulting from this intercourse and
(2) strive to appreciate with his spouse the natural value of their sexual satisfactions and cooperate with her to enhance those satisfactions.

Moral condemnation of homosexual acts is an immediate consequence of the paternal principle. In the book I develop what I call “character morality.” In character morality, a man has a moral flaw if he has a principle for satisfying an inclination in conflict with the fundamental principle on how that inclination ought to be satisfied. So active homosexuals have a moral character flaw.

Of course, here the moral judgment against homosexual acts and homosexual men is derived from the Paternal Principle. The fundamental argument is that of the book wherein I argue for the Paternal Principle.
My next post assess the significance of these moral judgments.

What is the significance of making these judgments?

These judgments tell men with same sex attractions acts which they should try not to commit and styles of life which they should try to improve. They are instructions on how to become better men. More on this in the next post.

Homosexual acts are immoral and active homosexuals are immoral: 2nd Post

What is the significance of my judgments that homosexual acts are immoral and active homosexuals are immoral?

First and foremost, these judgments express my firm belief that I would be performing an immoral act if I performed a homosexual act and that I would have an immoral character trait as long as I lacked a firm purpose of avoiding such acts.
This belief is not a mere thought that I would be immoral. The thought in the belief is mixed with a sense of the wrongness of the acts and way of life. The sense of wrongness is hard to describe. I usually characterize it as a sense of being under the control of a power with no concern for right or wrong – only for its satisfaction. Lust is a good label for that driving power I dread.

Secondly it tells men with same sex attractions about acts which they should try not to commit and styles of life which they should try to eliminate. They are instructions on how to become better men. The sense of wrongness accompanying the thought of the wrongness of the others’ acts comes from counterfactual thinking. To have a sense of the wrongness of other peoples’ acts I have to think how I would feel if I did what they are doing but having my thought of the wrongness.

When I do not try to think of what it would be like to be the active homosexual with my thought of the wrongness of homosexual acts my typical sense is pity. I am gratefull that I do not have their sexual inclinations.

I have explicitly written that I do not want to gain support for my arguments because people are unclear about my moral disapproval of homosexuality. However, I do not want people to become illogically hostile to my arguments on other issues because they think that I have some judgments about homosexuality which go way beyond judging homosexuality to be immoral.

First note that my judgments about the immorality of homosexuality does not require any definite judgments about how legal systems should deal with homosexuality. In fact, I tend to be rather Libertarian about legal control of sexuality. In regard to social control of homosexuality, I strongly favor a policy of “don’t ask, don’t tell.” This is based on Golden Rule thinking. If I were afflicted with same sex attraction I would like my friends and family help me “keep it in the closet.”

Note finally that from the perspective of the Paternal Principle habitual masturbators, adulterers, fornicators etc., are all sexually immoral in both their acts and life-style.
For instance with regard to sexual morality, a young man, with heterosexual attractions, who regularly goes to bars to pick up women for one night stands is as morally corrupt as a young man, with homosexual attactions, who regularly goes to gay bars to pick up another man.

The Moral Harm of Flouting Cost-benefit Calculation

This post offers further considerations about the notion of moral harm introduced in my Dec. 27, 2013 post.

Might people who hold that cost-benefit calculation is the fundamental way of making moral judgments, eg. utilitarians accept the following? If they would, that would indicate acceptance of the notion that there is a type of moral harm based in the nature of how humans ought to be. And this harm is not the type of harm they consider in cost-benefit calculations! In this case, the “abused” component of our nature is our economic rationality. It is possible for a person to engage in a cost-benefit calculation and choose a less than the best alternative on a whim or some hunch “Oh, what the f—, let’s do it anyway.” This flouting of economic reasoning might be how “people escape from prisoners’ dilemmas.” I suspect some young men have entered years of imprisonment because of imprudent choices expressed with such a phrase.

A few philosophers even dismiss the possibility of cost-benefit calculation being used in moral reasoning. Grizez, Finnis et al. have argued that cost-benefit calculation cannot be moral deliberation since, for them, moral deliberation has to offer alternatives for choice. They hold that once a cost-benefit calculation is made the choice of what is best must occur. See Ch. IX of their Nuclear Deterence, Morality and Realism . I disagree. Recognition of an alternative as best is different from choosing it. Causality amongst peoples’ mental states is statistical. If there is deterministic causation for what we desire, believe and choose it lies at the physiological level. Suppose then someone decides by cost-benefit calculation that a certain act is not most beneficial but nonetheless chooses it, that person made a wrong, or irrational, choice. In addition to the excess harm resulting from the wrong choice, there might be additional harm. The additional harm is the acting contrary to the way a rational being ought to be. Utilitarians may implicitly hold that there may be a moral principle that the way a rational being ought to be is to choose the most beneficial act. And that principle is in addition to their utilitarian principle. Might not utilitarians have a moral judgment and sense that feels repelled by and condemns whimsical or willful imprudence? If so, they have “more morality” than utilitarianism.

HHS Mandate as a War on Women

The topic of this post is relevant to my book Confronting Sexual Nihilism. In the book, I argue that a practice of birth control subverts the foundations for traditional sexual morality. In the book, I adapt a Kantian morality that people are never to causually manipulate their humanity as means for some other ends. A woman’s femininity is an aspect of her humanity.

In August 2013, the AMA declared a war on obesity by classifying obesity as a disease. The enemy is the physical condition of obesity. The weapons of the war are medical care. Similarly provision of birth control medications and treatments, especially as mandated by HHS to implement the Affordable Care Act, is deployment of weapons in a war on a physical condition. The condition under attack is the capability of becoming pregnant through sexual intercourse: fertility. One significant difference between fertility and obesity is the impossibility of separating fertility from the people who have this condition, namely women. Another significant difference is that fertility is not an unhealthy condition So, a war on fertility is de facto a war on being a healthy young woman.

Unfortunately economic conditions and current permissive sexual morality outlooks recruit the majority of the soldiers in the war on women from women. This is a civil war amongst women; not primarily a war by middle aged Republican white men on women. Women are tempted to separate themselves from the condition of being a woman and to choose to manipulate their being a woman as a means for ends set by the economy and a permissive sexual morality. That is a more tempting choice than accepting being a woman as an end in itself which is controlled by free choice and is not manipulated by pharmecutical or surgical means for other ends.

Of course, pregnancy management is important.However, there are at least two ways of managing pregnancy. One way is to respect women by respecting their fertility which is crucial to being a woman and leaving them the choice to have sexual intercourse when appropriate. A second way is to regard their fertility as a medical condition needing preventive treatment and ignoring their capability of choosing when to have sexual intercourse. The second way offers women the opportunity to choose when to be a woman and leaves her in the meantime less than a woman. From the erspective of the second way,being a woman is a condition which for the most part is an unhealthy condition but on occasion can be put on and used. The first way does not try to impede the condition of being a woman but expects women to use their moral capabilities of when to have sexual intercourse.

Ultimately opposition to mechanical and chemical birth control is not based on the Bible or Catholic doctrine. It is based on respect for the dignity of women. They are not to be made “boy toys” by themselves or anyone else.

Gay marriage as trivialization of marriage

The main sexual behavior and attitude I criticize in my book Confronting Sexual Nihilism: Traditional sexual morality as an antidote for nihilism is male adultery and a corresponding attitude that a man may have sexual intercourse with any willing woman regardless of marital status. Condemnation of male homosexuality is only a corollary of a general principle – The Paternal Principle-for condemning adultery. Homosexuality is, of course, wrong in light of the Paternal Principle. However, homosexual acts often seem to be more naughty than deeply evil. Indeed, a greater evil than homosexual acts is having an attitude and making a claim that homosexual acts are morally acceptable. This pro-homo sexual attitude and these claims subvert traditional sexual morality which I support in my book.

Support for gay-marriage is a proclamation that homosexual acts are morally acceptable. Simply decriminalizing homosexual acts suffices to accept homosexual acts as legally tolerable immoralities or to express uncertainty about their morality. So, I devote some sections of my book to making a case against gay-marriage. When I began writing my book around 2006, very few advocated gay-marriage. Now as 2014 begins,received public opinion is heavily in favor of gay-marriage. So, I am not optimistic that arguments against gay-marriage will prevent its legalizaton in almost every state of the USA. However, it is important for keeping alive traditional sexual morality to have voices on record as condemning gay-marriage.

The next three of four posts on this blog site will sketch out some reasons for rejecting the ridiculous but still morally subversive notion of same sex marriage. The first condsideration shows how gay-marriage leads to the moral trivializaton of marriage.

Progressives promoting same-sex marriage have standards for moral evaluation of
homosexual acts. They use standards such as coercion and age of the participants. What
is a likely effect of extending marriage to cover homosexual relations? An effect could
be having marital status for moral evaluation of homosexual acts. In general, pre-marital
and extra-marital sexual acts have been morally condemned. So same-sex marriage
might provide a standard for moral condemnation of most male homosexual behavior.
However, in these times it is unlikely that there will be an increase in moral
condemnation of most homosexual behavior? Would not a more likely result be that use
of marital status as a moral standard for sexual behavior is weakened even more than it is
now. It is not improbable that in our mainline society marital status becomes morally
irrelevant for judging sexual behavior. Of course, being morally irrelevant to evaluation
of sexual behavior does not make marriage totally irrelevant to sexuality. However,
marriage would be far less significant than at present. A slogan promoting same-sex
marriage is “Marriage Equality.” Marriage equality equals marriage trivialization.

Whole book available on line,Remarks on nihilism

Penultimate drafts of all chapters of my book Confronting Sexual Nihilism: Traditional sexual morality as an antidote to nihilism can now be downloaded from the website Confronting Sexual Nihilism . The introductory chapter, Chapter I, provides information about me and the perspective from which I argue. Here it suffices to note that I am a Catholic who argues using only assumptions acceptable to atheists that a strong case can be made for traditional sexual morality. In the first chapter, the sections of I.3 give a preliminary account of nihilism and its role in the argument of the book. The opening sections of Chapter IX examine nihilism in much greater detail. A few remarks on nihilism are given below.

Nihilism is a combination of thought and sentiment. There is a thought that nothing matters and a melancholy mood that life has no significance. Both the thought and the sentiment are required for nihilism. An atheist may think that nothing matters but is not a nihilistic because, being blessed with an upbeat temperament, loves being alife. A believer in God many think that people ought to live to please their creator but feel that life has no significance. Despite nihilistic feelings such a theistic is not a nihilist He can use his belief in God to struggle to overcome his nihilistic feelings. Nihilistic feelings are a “dark night of the soul” for mystics and contemplatives.

The nihilistic thought that nothing matters is expressible with the judgment that everything is permitted. For instance, suppose someone hands you a deck of cards. He asks you to play a game. You ask “What game? What are the rules?” He replies “There aren’t any rules. You can do what every you want with the cards.” There is no game because what you do with the cards has no significance for anything. Similarly, if there are no rules for correct or incorrect living what we do with our lives has no significance or meaning.

In the book, the thought of “sexual nihilism” is expressed as the judgment that by itself there are no right or wrong types of sexual conduct. The phrase “by itself” means that apart from general non-sexual rules on interpersonal behavior there are no proper or improper expressions of sexuality. The mood of sexual nihilism is a sense of regret and fear that our sexuality is only a trivial means for pleasure or a demonic force driving us. One line of argument of the book is that sexual nihilism leads to general nihilism because we cannot separate human sexuality from our human nature. If a large part of our nature is insignificant, what is left to be of significance?

Unfortunately, the move from the thought of sexual nihilism to general nihilism is long and complicated. The thought of so-called sexual nihilism is, I think, the most commonly held opinion on the subject. It is what I call in the book the “progressive stance” on sexuality. In subsequent Blog Posts, I will state the major phases of this long and complicated line of thought. I will not argue for the claims of these major phases because that is the purpose of the book