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Degenerate Moderns: Modernity as Rationalized Sexual Misbehaviour Paperback – 1 Jun 1993

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 259 pages
  • Publisher: Ignatius Press (Jun. 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0898704472
  • ISBN-13: 978-0898704471
  • Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 15.4 x 2.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,322,119 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Format: Paperback
You might not agree with the view point (conservative catholic) but this is a riveting read. Many significant figures of history from Freud to Luther to Anthony Blunt to Kinsey get absolutely ripped to shreds in criticism. The main nugget of criticism for all was they undermined Catholic morality and led man into liberation from the sexual mores of traditional catholicism. This is definitely a 'can't put down book.'
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Format: Paperback
A look at a variety of recent artists and the influences on their output. It is my kind of book, the kind that you need to read more than once and have a think about.
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Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars 23 reviews
34 of 38 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Degenerate Moderns 17 Mar. 2009
By Gerard Reed - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
A fascinating book analyzing the escalating relativism in our society is Degenerate Moderns: Modernity as Rationalized Sexual Misbehavior (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, c. 1993), by E. Michael Jones.
Central to Jones' argument is this thesis: "There are only two alternatives in the intellectual life: either one conforms desire to the truth or one conforms truth to desire" (p. 11). Since our sexual desire is quite powerful, we all too often rationalize our sexual behavior rather than live as we ought. Though sexual sin in itself does great harm, the "most insidious corruption" to which our species falls prey is "the corruption of the mind" which accompanies the process or rationalizing it. "One moves all too easily from sexual sins, which are probably the most common to mankind, to intellectual sins, which are the most pernicious" (p. 12). That process, demonstrably evident in some of this century's most influential intellectuals, leads Jones to declare that "the verdict is clear: modernity is rationalized lust" (p. 17).
The verdict is based in recent, frequently muckraking biographies. We now know formerly hidden details about the men and women whose theories have so shaped modernity. Consider first the case of Margaret Mead, for decades one of the most trusted academic anthropologists, whose Coming of Age in Samoa has been routinely cited as evidence for "cultural relativism." What's right in one culture, she argued, lauding the Samoans' sexual permissiveness, may be judged wrong in another. Recent evaluations of Mead's studies have raised a barrage of flak (items of fact) which threaten to shatter her renown. Amazingly enough, Mead only spent nine months in Samoa, taking a scant six weeks to learn the language of the people she studied! Yet she could write a "definitive" study on such minimal exposure! What she seems to have done, in fact, was to project her own sexual fantasies and standards on a people she scarcely understood.
In fact, rather than being sexually libertine, the Samoans were actually a bit "old-fashioned," valuing such things as female virginity. Mead claimed adultery caused no stir in Samoan society when in fact it was punishable by death. Determined to confirm her teacher Franz Boas' doctrine of cultural relativism, she basically imposed on the Samoans what she imagined "primitive" peoples would live out. Herself involved in an adulterous affair, "Mead's guilty imagination projected adul¬tery onto the puritanical Samoans" (p. 39).
John Maynard Keynes has influenced this century's economic theory as fully as Mead shaped its anthropology. Recent biographies, disclosing his homosexual activities, enable Jones to argue that Keynes' sexual perversions impacted his intellectual work. Freed from concern for procreation, homosexuals understandably have little interest in coming generations. Consequently, Keynes' "deficit economics bespeaks a radically 'childless' vision, one in which present pleasures are fostered over building for future generations" (p. 59). Homosexuals, Jones argues, tend to act as a "subversives" in any society. They have an animus against nature itself which laps over into rebellion against the Lord of nature. Though they think "society" is the problem, the more society accedes to the homosexual agenda the more angry they become, for at the bottom of homosexuals' anger is the "fear and conviction that the laws against sodomy are based on some deeper immutable configuration of the nature of things" (p. 65).
Alfred Charles Kinsey has also shaped modernity. His allegedly "scientific" studies of human sexuality have undergirded much of the "liberaliz¬ation" of sexual behavior since WWII. In a pervasive chapter entitled "The Case Against Kinsey," Jones documents the striking absence of sound data in many of Kinsey's most widely accepted "findings," especially those dealing with the degree to which homosexuality pervades our society.
Abortion, like homosexuality, has gained acceptance in modern societies. Jones devotes a chapter, "Liberal Guilt Cookies" to this issue, taking as his launching pad two articles by Anna Quindlen--the one expressing guilt for not spending enough time with her kids, the other advocating a woman's right to abort a child. Pondering the paradox, Jones advances a rather credible thesis: "Supporters of abortion have often had abortions themselves. Political activism becomes a synthetic pain killer for pangs of conscience. It is to spiritual health what treating cancer with anesthesia would be to medicine" (p. 118).
Psychoanalysis, founded by Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung, stamps modernity like a trademark. Jones devotes his longest chapter to the two, arguing that Freud's probably incestuous affair and Jung's documented adulterous relationship clearly helped shape their rationalizing psychologies. Some of Freud's most significant theories--the Oedipus Complex, totemism, primitive sexual promiscuity--have absolutely no basis in historical or anthropological fact. In fact, "the oldest and ethnologically most primitive people . . . know nothing whatsoever of totemism, and in fact their religion has striking similarities to both Judaism and Christianity in that these people tend to be monotheistic and monogamous, and even refer to God as 'Our Father'" (p. 181).
Jung, fascinated by the occult and in many ways profoundly gnostic, sought to separate his "spiritual" or "religious" interests from his very physical 40 year liaison with Toni Wolff. "Like Simon Magus, its founder, and like Jung, its best-known exponent in the twentieth century, Gnosticism wants to have the benefits of Christianity without paying the moral price Christianity exacts" (p. 203).
Basically Jones indulges in ad hominem attacks, much like Paul Johnson' Intellectuals. Obviously an immoral intellectual can in fact do good intellectual work. But all too often, as Jones argues, there may be a hidden agenda in the theories of many modern intellectuals. To the extent they sought to rationalize their own behavior, to justify unrestrained sexual lust, their intellectual integrity may be compromised. Degenerate Moderns enables us to place biographically-rooted question marks around the work of modernity's architects.
36 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extremely insightful analysis of what ails "Modernity" 9 Jan. 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I bought and read this book in pre-Monica 1994, and it was an eye-opener. He basically offers a coherent theory for the amazing disparities between the private behavior and thought, and public behavior and thought, of the shapers of "Modernity" and which was revealed in Paul Johnson's "Intellectuals." Much of his analysis revolves around the two ultimate alternatives in the intellectual life: "either one conforms desire to the truth or one conforms truth to desire." Some of the chapter titles characterize what this book is about: "Samoa Lost: Margaret Mead, Cultural Relativism, and the Guilty Imagination"..."Stanley and Jane's Excellent Adventure: Or, Why Politically Correct Professors Hate Western Civilization"..."Sigmund and Minna and Carl and Sabina: The Birth of Psychoanalysis out of the Personal Lives of Its Founders." I'd strongly recommend this book to anyone trying to understand the deterioration in the traditional norms and values of Western Civilization, or what has been called the "culture war."
31 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exposing Modernism and its Lies - a superbly written expose' 13 Aug. 2002
By JC Canevari - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I will not go on attempting to explain how excellent E. Michael Jones' books are. Read them for yourself - and understand that his writing style and thought provoking content are above anything out there that speaks to the current culture "war" and the decline of Western Civilization. His work is detailed, poignant and sincere. I recommend this, and all of his writings to anyone who wishes to see beyond the standard set of garbage that is taught about modern culture and its wonders.
29 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Required reading for anyone who practices Psychology. 29 Jun. 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book is truely one of the greatest books written in the 20th century. Anyone who reads this book with an open heart will understand that he is responsible for his behavior. This book changed my life, forcing me to confront my own sinfulness. Jones explains more about human behavior in this one little book than all of the psychologists of the 20th century combined.
17 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Recommended (Albeit With Reservations) 6 Jan. 2002
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
E. Michael Jones is erudite, expresses himself elegantly, and makes a powerful case for "Modernity as Rationalized Sexual Misbehavior". Can modernity be boiled down to this, and only this, however? I think not (which is not to imply that modernity possesses any saving graces; my contempt for this calamitous creed is at least as great as Mr. Jones'). The author's idee fixe is most explicit in his unpersuasive chapter on Picasso. According to Mr. Jones [pp.142-143], "Picasso's mutilations of the female body bespeak the modern version of human sacrifice; they presage simultaneously in a visual way the concentration camp, the abortion clinic, and the pornographic film, and may well have helped pave the way for all three." Mr. Jones' contention that there is a direct cause-and-effect nexus between Picasso's more savage depictions (and rejections) of the human and, say, abortion clinics is manifest monomania.
The bottom line? Mr. Jones is right; just not as right as he thinks he is.
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