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A story of ethics - how sex creates order

Term Paper 2003 16 Pages

Politics - Political Theory and the History of Ideas Journal

Excerpt

Contents

1. Fatal Attraction

2. Women as the cream of the crop of the State of Nature

3. Women and their "good nose" for the right partner

4. The first natural law: every man got the same right to compete for women

5. The second natural law: every woman got the same right to seduce man

6. Anarchy ≠ Anarchy

7. The construction of the civil society

8. Different models of regulating sexual competition
8.1 Sex and Totalitarianism
8.2 Sex, Patriarchies and Religion
8.3 Sex and Democracies

9. Gender matters!

10. The construction of love and arts

11. Conclusion

12. Bibliography

A story of ethics: how sex creates order.

1. Fatal Attraction

Last summer I was walking down the street with a friend in Heidelberg, when she suddenly stopped in front of a big electoral advertisement showing the German Minister of Foreign Affairs Joschka Fischer. "Oh my god", she exclaimed, "Isn't he cute? He looks like a big Teddy Bear!" Never before, it came to my mind that a young woman could consider a dwarfish, crumpled and old politician as cute. But indeed! The picture was perfectly photographed, showing the politician leaning his face in both of his hands, his wrinkles expressing all the sorrows of this world, his eyes promising you only one thing: "I care!" A public relation-tailored "dream come true" for every woman's heart. With this man SHE would like to get old. Likewise, in a later poll by a newspaper, asking German women with whom they'd like to spend a night with, Fischer hit the incredible third place behind singer Robbie Williams and actor Brad Pitt. Similar stories about their sexual attraction are also known of Tony Blair, Bill Clinton and not to forget, John F. Kennedy.

The idea hidden behind this media campaign perfectly anticipates a well experienced, but seldom uncovered mystery underlying to human behavior. There's a relation between sex appeal and the willingness to obey, a certain kind of charisma surrounding the Attractive, which isn't shared by the Attracted. While sex appeal is a pretty evident explanation for a male politician's popularity under women, one must ask, if it also attracts man. If so, do men just see them as idols? Is it thus easy? Why then, are so many men attracted to politicians promoting conservative ideas of sexual relations? Because they fear to lose their women's respect, while not being the same amiable? Can religious ideas about sexuality therefore be seen as a mean to safeguard traditional values? Asking these questions, one quickly returns to the roots of human psychology, mankind's struggle for survival, identity, order and society. And all of this, just because everybody loves somebody sometimes1? Is it really all about love?

In this essay I will try to draw an analogy to the State of Nature as it is mentioned by Hobbes, stating that the driving forces of sexuality lead to a dilemma situation similar to the one Hobbes describes. I will also argue that the emerging anarchic order calls for a different mode to legitimate authority. Finally an examination of different cultural and ideological approaches towards gender and family should help to answer the question: who rules why? It's a snapshot of interfaces between psychological, sub-cultural and cultural premises, available to be exploited for political reason.

2. Women as the cream of the crop of the State of Nature

Hobbes defines his State of Nature as an anarchic condition of everlasting competition between individuals who fear and mistrust themselves. So it's mainly a competition for survival. But he also asserts that envy leads them to compete for honour2. While it's evident that more honor leads to more power and therefore to more security, it can be very useful to extent the notion of the State of Nature.

Why not bring the need for reproduction into the arena? At least there are two good reasons doing so. First, "survival" would transform from an individual connotation towards one that embraces a whole pedigree. Second, this approach could provide the link between survival and envy. If men wanted to reproduce, they'd have to compete for the women's grace. The strongest would not only survive because the others fear them, but also because they'd be the ones allowed to have sexual intercourse with the women. Women's power in the State of Nature exists, because they're the ones to select. But where does the need for reproduction come from? Why do human beings strive for progeny?

3. Women and their "good nose" for the right partner

A different approach towards the nature of human beings is taken by Aristotle. In contrast to Hobbes, who defines the human being as asocial, Aristotle draws an analogy towards animals, which live together in a quasi-socialized way. Therefore he defines the human being as a zoon politikon3 - a social and thus political animal - in his first assumption on the nature of mankind.

In a way, contemporary sciences support this thesis. Biologists e.g. revealed that the need for sexual intercourse is regulated by hormones, providing the body with alert signs, similar to hunger and thirst. In other words: people get "horny" if the frequency of their sexual intercourse falls below a certain level4. In empirical researches they also discovered that men in leadership positions produce a significantly higher amount of testosterone, the hormone that is responsible for sexual appetite and aggression. Behaviorists - fairly Darwinist -ascribe this phenomenon to the superior heritable information these men might have to offer, which seduces them to have intercourse with as many women as possible to spread their "healthy" genes5. So are the privileged in our society selected by evolution? Do our societies reflect the survival of the fittest?

While it is possible to regard the above mentioned phenomenon as a stimulus nature gave mankind to safeguard her reproduction, its generalization somehow seems to be insufficient. Sometimes beautiful women choose men who don't fit in this scheme. Either they're not attractive enough, not intelligent enough or simply not aggressive enough. The reason for this lays in women's ability to smell their right partner. They can smell a man's immune system. And they choose the partner who has the supplementary anti-genes to her own, what provides the baby with the best possible protection against diseases. Some scientists even argue that the extensive use of the anti-baby pill is responsible for the rising divorce rates in western societies. The pill changes the women's set of anti-genes, which makes them choosing the wrong partner. When they depose the pill after marriage, most couples split up, because she isn't attracted to him anymore. Does this mean that love doesn't exist, since it's only guided by natural desire?

More important here is the fact that this ability of women breaks the logic of the Darwinists. Not only the strong and powerful have the chance to reproduce, but also the weaker, less powerful ones. This imposes a serious question. If evolution reaches less for the elite than for a maximum of diversity, why are men competing about women? There's no need for competition, since everyone got the same chances to have sex.

[...]


1 Dean Martin (Int.): "Everybody loves somebody sometimes", written by Irving Taylor, Ken Lane (Diamond Records 1946)

2 Thomas Hobbes: Leviathan, Chapter 13/17

3 Aristotle: The Nicomachean Ethics, Book 1, 1097b

Details

Pages
16
Year
2003
ISBN (eBook)
9783638235938
ISBN (Book)
9783638788502
File size
475 KB
Language
English
Catalog Number
v19476
Institution / College
National University of Singapore – Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Grade
2.0 (B)
Tags
Comparative Political Thought East West

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Title: A story of ethics - how sex creates order