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The Moralist Paperback – Apr 2004


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Paperback, Apr 2004
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Product details

  • Paperback: 383 pages
  • Publisher: Factor Pr (April 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1887650407
  • ISBN-13: 978-1887650403
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 15.9 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,570,212 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Son of Nietzsche on 14 Aug. 2006
Format: Paperback
`The Moralist' has been described as a `dangerous' and `controversial' novel. It certainly is dangerous - in so far as it voices a philosophy that those in power do not want to be heard.

Ostensibly a work of fiction, the subject of `The Moralist' is a relationship between a middle-aged man, Red, and a twelve year old boy, Jonathan. Their relationship begins when Red tutors Jonathan for a creative writing project. Over time, this mentor-protégé bond evolves into one of mutual love and respect, and includes the concomitant sexual aspects of such a relationship. Red is a self-proclaimed boy-lover, attracted to the purity of boys untainted by the hypocrisy and tyranny of populist social mores, and falls deeply in love. In Red, Jonathan finds a friend, a lover, an adult whom he trusts to guide him through the awkward beginnings of adolescence ("I am so thankful for the forces that brought us together...for the life-long friend that I have found").

Inevitably, Red and Jonathan are forced to battle against the politically-motivated and media-encouraged hysteria over inter-generational relationships sweeping society. Thus - on its most basic level - through the medium of fiction (since "you can't tell the truth anymore, not without a mask") `The Moralist' works to expose the self-serving viciousness of an Establishment which seeks to perpetrate the myth that all man-boy relationships are intrinsically harmful. The book palpably conveys the sense of the persecution of boy-lovers in the last two decades as equivalent to that of jewish people by the Nazi Party - useful as a convenient rallying cry to the masses.

Clearly, `The Moralist' is not simply a novel.
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By robert miller on 8 Jan. 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
No charming story, this book appears to be a vehicle for the author to demonstrate his superior education . Tedious. (EDIT) OK I gave up on this book before finishing it. To be fair, I have now finished the book & add that the ending improves the book somewhat but I still stand by my earlier comments. Tedious!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 24 reviews
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Take 2: A more detailed review 14 July 2004
By Joe - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book is subversive...
... only because love and true morality have come to be so in society. The Moralist is not so much about boy love (though there is much of that too) as about answering the question "On what should morality be based?". Hume and Locke demonstrated long ago that the good could never be based in pure reason. Downey, a true Romantic, argues that "the error of moral principle is that it's nothing more than cultural! bias." (This is Nietzsche taken to his logical conclusion, though he didn't himself, as Downey points out.) So, instead of doing the dubious "right thing", why not do (wink, wink!) the loving, the beautiful thing?
The Moralist tells a tremendously riveting story of an always erotic, though not always sexual, relationship between a man and a boy. And about the man's life. And the boy's. The moral struggle between good and evil, between self and society, is masterfully brought out in the tensions and travails that man and boy encounter on their brush with society. In less sexually-hysterical times, when the boundaries of love weren't so politically dictated, the quality of storytelling itself would have sufficed to make a compelling case for love and compassion as the only guideposts for morality-- even with their obvious pitfalls.
But Downey knows that he is fighting against the weight of centuries of a philosophic tradition, whose "dirty little! secret of moral principle is that all righteousness is self-righte ousness." So the 500-plus pages of The Moralist take you on a guided tour of not only Ethics but Epistemology, Sexology, and History!
The manner in which the author weaves philosophy into the storytelling is reminiscent of Pirisig's Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. And like that great work, this book, oozing as it does with insight and challenge from every page, truly does have the power to change your life.
Of course, Downey would remind you of the Socratic maxim that the only true learning is remembering the forms we have forgotten. "If you want to be moral person," exhorts Downey, "don't ask what is the right thing to do. Instead, think back to when you were five years old and find out what made you feel good then; that is your true moral self."
Such simplicity in method will probably be dismissed by most moderns as mere cant. Ironically, that is perhaps why this book most needs to be read.
Others will question the author's wisdom expressed in statements such as "The moral struggle is not between good and evil, right and wrong, but self and society"! Society, after all, might be seen as merely "other individuals." But Downey's protagonist is no misanthrope. In pitching the battle as he does, Downey is merely averring the truth of how society-- that monolith that is much more (or less?) than the sum of its parts can rob one of
beauty, love, truth and ultimately, of self.
Wasn't is Einstein who said that there was nothing to be honored in the herd; that all that was noble and good and right was to be found in the individual?
16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Tour de Force 1 Oct. 2005
By John Mackay - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I just finished reading Rod Downey's novel The Moralist and couldn't help but be impressed with his tour de force presentation of the taboo subject of modern day pederasty. What is most striking is his remarkable blend of politics, history, philosophy and love. He does through protagonist "Red Rover" as he winds his way through his interactions with friends, colleagues and the developing relationship with his young, smart, admiring protégé - Jonathan. Red, a communications professional, becomes incensed as friends and associates who share his belief that working with and cultivating positive relationships with youth benefit all concerned are persecuted and jailed. Downey works his way through the story by pointing out that the (based on the actual Rind Studies) social research has produced evidence quite contrary to the hysteria generated by the recent pedophilia scandals (There is a difference between pederasty and pedophilia in that pederasty deals with the sexual relationship between an adolescent boy and an adult male, and pedophilia dealing with children who have not yet reached puberty. That subtle yet important difference in definition is invariably lost on almost all who report on the issue.).

The brilliance of the story is in its wry humor, satisfying dual with a conservative talk show hostess, exposure of a "moral" hypocritical politician, and reaffirming ending. At times the novel can be a somewhat pedantic and even challenging to follow the philosophical underpinnings which support the foundation of Downey's beliefs. Nonetheless, they also provide an important element of the story, leading back to the Moralist's obligation to be truthful, to do what feels good, and challenge biased assumptions. The story is certainly going to have a favorable audience among those who believe in the beauty and positive nature of mentor/protégé relationships and hopefully with open minded individuals who also may recognize the benefits such relationships have for youth, and eventually society in general. By stepping back from the usual hysteria surrounding the presentation of the topic, Downey has focused on the positive and has shown us how we may all benefit from a more nuanced approach in discussing pederasty.

Stuttgart, Germany
15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
A disturbing delight 9 Jan. 2007
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an extraordinary book. I have been happily straight all my life, but have always been deeply uneasy with the whole attitude of the baying masses who seem to want blood for any but the most distant relationship with the young. All cases must be judged on their merits rather than by the knee-jerk response of hell-fire and damnation.

I can perfectly understand that not all man-boy relationships are abusive, although of course some will be just as inter-adult ones can be. I also know that very young men (having been one myself) are highly sexual in thought and deed: the more the better! And I know, too, that love can take many forms, along a spectrum from full-on exclusively erotic to the purely Platonic.

Rod Downey's book travels the road of the developing love between a teacher/mentor and his pupil/disciple. At times it is the youngster who is leading the relationship, mostly it is the older man, with tact and care and love. The tragedy that is always lurking below the surface is that they are living in danger of being hounded and imprisoned (or worse) by the lynch-mob mentality of the politically correct masses, even before there is any sexual contact, and suffer too from the hypocrisy of society. And Downey adduces many arguments in support of his contention that not all relationships between men and boys are harmful, bringing in the behaviours and attitudes of the Classical Greeks (and other successful societies) as well as the thoughts of philosophers through the ages.

I found this a wonderful and uplifting book, but at the same time a very depressing commentary on the workings of what is supposed to be a leading democracy, the USA (more can be said about that particular premise!). I can absolutely see how the religious and conservative factions must loathe Downey and his book and it is for that very reason that I think this book should be compulsory reading for all who care about the kind of love that our children are exposed to.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
A breathtakingly courageous stand against oppression 9 Oct. 2006
By Elliot - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
'The Moralist' has been described as a 'dangerous' and 'controversial' novel. It certainly is dangerous - in so far as it voices a philosophy that those in power do not want to be heard.

Ostensibly a work of fiction, the subject of 'The Moralist' is a relationship between a middle-aged man, Red, and a twelve year old boy, Jonathan. Their relationship begins when Red tutors Jonathan for a creative writing project. Over time, this mentor-protégé relationship evolves into mutual love and respect, and includes the concomitant sexual aspects of such a relationship. Red is a self-proclaimed boy-lover, attracted to the purity of boys untainted by the hypocrisy and tyranny of populist social mores, and falls deeply in love. And in Red, Jonathan finds a friend, a lover, an adult whom he trusts to guide him through the awkward beginnings of adolescence (as he says: "I am so thankful for the forces that brought us together...for the life-long friend that I have found").

Inevitably, Red and Jonathan are forced to battle against the politically-motivated and media-encouraged hysteria over inter-generational relationships sweeping society. Thus - on its most basic level - through the medium of fiction (since "you can't tell the truth anymore, not without a mask") 'The Moralist' works to expose the self-serving viciousness of an Establishment which seeks to perpetrate the myth that man-boy relationships are intrinsically harmful. The book palpably conveys the sense of the persecution of boy-lovers in the last two decades as equivalent to that of jewish people by the Nazi Party - useful as a convenient rallying cry to the masses.

Clearly, 'The Moralist' is not simply a novel. Nor is it merely a political tract condemning the totalitarian witch-hunt against consensual, beneficial, loving relationships. It is ultimately a promulgation of the philosophy of liberty, wherein minority groups should not be demonised and oppressed to serve the political agenda of those in power. As such, it is a philosophical work the significance of which can be compared to those of the most brilliant thinkers in history, J S Mill and Friedrich Nietzsche. 'The Moralist' is the 'On Liberty' of society's future. Moreover, the outstanding feature of this courageous work is that, through his calm, assured, clarity of prose, Rod Downey captures the intellectual equivalent of Socrates talking to Plato within the highly readable and accessible format of any modern novel.

It is to be hoped that works such as this will receive the most widespread recognition possible - but it is Red himself who aptly sums up the paradox:

"Those who've lived it know that it's true."

"But it's those that haven't who will make the difference."

Especially, therefore, to those who would not normally read a novel such as this: be aware that the Orwellian nightmare is reaching final fruition; buy 'The Moralist' now, before they start burning the books - the flames may touch anyone's door.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Surprising, funny and touching story of taboo love 4 Aug. 2004
By Statistically Speaking - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
If you're expecting a shallow read about a pederast drooling over adolescent boys, you won't find any such thing in The Moralist. Red Rover is a master PR guru who volunteers for a creative writing program and ends up mentoring 12-year-old Jonathan. Far from being "dangerous" or "predatory," the love between Red and Jonathan is charming. The tale of Red Rover shuns popular tabloid hysteria and Red shows himself to be a caring and thoughtful individual.

In the book you will find a fast paced tale interwoven with startling insights into deep questions of love and morality. Red's take on these issues will leave you thinking. As you go through the chapters, you'll recognise faint glimpses of real life events like the Congressional condemnation of the infamous "Rind Report" and dozens of other things. Expect to be surprised! The character Red Rover can even be found in the book's pages working on his upcoming book, The Moralist, a "fictional autobiography." Reading this book is like stumbling through a room full of mirrors!

It is, of course, fiction. It pokes fun at media figures who should know better but take it upon themselves to "educate" people and comment on things they know nothing about. But it is also a serious story about a forbidden and taboo love.

If you think you know everything there is to know about adult-child or adult-adolescent relationships, The Moralist will change your mind. Promise yourself to read this novel. Not only is it funny and entertaining, it will also make you think.
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