Agnostic.com

Sex, Politics & Religion

By LenHazell53 4 weeks ago

An old British adage states that when in polite company one should never engage in conversation upon the subjects of sex, politics and religion.

The reason for this prohibition, it is generally agreed, being that in any group of three or more people there will never be a consensus of opinion on any one of these three topics.
Anger, embarrassment or shame will ensue and the evening will be ruined.

The public distaste for these three subjects goes some way to explain why any sort or legal, social or legislative reform in any of the areas has taken so many years.

Even in the corridors of power and the chambers of governance discussion of sexual matters, easily talked about in single sex company, in the depths of their cups is hushed in to silence by the austere and venerable statesmen or is expected to be spoken of only from behind the blushing cheeks of their female counterparts in the public forum.

Talk of political reform or simple change is greeted with suspicion and reluctance and religion most of all with extreme caution, born of the fear of "giving offence".

Why is this?

The reason for the common agreement to make these terrible three subjects taboo possibly is founded in the historical fact that any contemporaneous standpoints on any of them has at one time or another been a capital offence.

It is perhaps because of this, that everyone has very strong opinions on these subjects, which are nonetheless kept fiercely private.

Perhaps because in company where etiquette demands polite acceptance and tolerance, or where commercial relationships are at stake, discreet diplomacy is require and is all important. Subsequently being assumed to have respectable positions is imperative for the maintenance of reputation.

It is understood almost universally that, in such gatherings, once one of these subjects has been raised in conversation, your position MUST be the subjectively correct one. Even silence is not an option, for choosing not to express an opinion will be seen in and of itself as an act of either irresponsibility or a tacit confession of complicity at holding an unacceptable point of view.

To be thought of as politically undesirable, a heretic or a pervert still today hold a particular level of disgrace that at best will lead to mockery, at worst to ostracisation or arrest.

This to an extent the maxim is still held to be true.

Recent years have seen an easing in public judgement upon the peccadilloes of the rich and powerful as far as sex is concerned. Where once divorce, adultery, promiscuity would spell ruin for an aspiring politician today they are irrelevant.

The British Prime Minister openly co-habits with a woman who is not his wife in 10 Downing Street and has recently become the proud father of an illegitimate child.

All well and good most would say and that this is a natural progression away from the prudishness of the past. However when Donald Trump the president of the USA is not scandalised for sexual misconduct on a level still unthinkable to many, it gives pause for thought. How far can sexual forbearance be stretched?

In the area of sexual conduct discussion is now permitted by tolerance in all but a very few areas, paedophilia, bestiality, sexual assault and the fetishization of bodily waste solids, still has a degree of conversational censure, other than when the discussion is concerned with legislating against them.

Where has all of that other condemnation gone?

It has moved, been redirected to Politics. Making a Politically incorrect statement today is the most heinous of crimes and because of political expediency in a world that still has theocracies within it, religion too has been assimilated in to the political arena.

Politics and religion have moved in to the proscribed realm of those things that must not be mocked or even spoken of for fear that it paint you as holding "problematic" opinions.
Religion and politics (but not politicians) hold a sacrosanct place, which may not be criticised, derided or belittled, without incurring the terrible epithet of being an -ist or a -phobe.

The "istophobe" is the modern heretic and is seen as deserving of all the hate filled wrath of their processor, with public "cancelling" replacing the burning in the town square, at least for now.

Becoming publicly outraged has develop into an international pass time while finding and taking offence at innocent remarks and literary texts, a sport once only practiced and enjoyed by the pompous writers of disgusted epistles to The Times "letter to the editor" column is a common pastime.

Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of this website or its members.

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4 comments

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1

One of your statements gave me a visual of a woman clutching her pearls, holding a handkerchief to her forehead and fainting at the mere mention of sex. haha
" from behind the blushing cheeks of their female counterparts in the public forum."

That was the intent, thanks

0

In terms of Critical Thinking, how is an "old British adage" a good rationale for defending anything ?

WTF are you talking about?

@LenHazell53 I'm talking about REASON, and IMO, "the way it always has been done" (i.e. old British adage) is never a good-enough reason for anything and is antithetical to CT.

The adage may be British ...but the truth and wisdom contained in its observations are surely universal are they not? Or do Americans act in a different way from people of other nations in this respect. It was always considered wise in polite society, to avoid the topics of sex, politics or religion unless discussion of them has been specifically tabled, such as in a debate. Only a person lacking in social knowhow or nous would have thought otherwise.

@Marionville It is not my intention to tag the 'adage' to any nationality.

I doubt that "truth and wisdom" is ever "surely universal". 😛

I don't think this website requires a debate to be "specifically tabeled" .
I don't advocate grumpy, I am advocating reason, which doesn't necessarily involve 'polite'.

@FearlessFly I think you are completely missing the point, which is not an unusual occurrence. And yes,..I believe that there are some observations which are universal.

@Marionville Lack of complete agreement with "the point" doesn't mean it was missed.

@FearlessFly Then you give a very good impression of missing it, because Len’s post was never about the old British adage, but you chose to make it so. That to me is completely missing the point, unless you were trying to be deliberately provocative.

@Marionville "never about the old British adage" -- the adage is the premise which is claimed to be changing.
Challenging the premise may not be to the liking of all that accept it, but I think it is about CT.

@FearlessFly I think it’s about exchanging the old taboos and proscribed topics for new ones....not about CT.

@Marionville I would contend that "exchanging the old shibboleths for new ones" NECESSARILY involves CT.

@Marionville . . . not just this case. Unless folks change "universal observations" willy-nilly, how does it happen without using CT to come-up with arguments/reason(s) to change ?

@FearlessFly I’m calling time on this thread because I have to be up early in the morning...so goodnight.

@Marionville don't bother arguing with him, he is a moron.

  1. I used the adage to introduce the concept
  2. I was not defending anything
  3. He obviously has not read past the fist line
  4. He's a cockwomble

@LenHazell53 Haven’t heard that word used for years! He is what my father used to describe as a contrarian...but my father never failed to be polite!

@Marionville I don't agree that 'adage'(s), or 'polite' are innate.

@LenHazell53 Your ad-hominem is uncalled-for and against Community Guidelines'

@Marionville . . . btw A while ago you contended that the British are renowned for being polite.
Do you think the British became an Empire by being polite ?

@FearlessFly It was not an ad-hominem, it was an insult, you obviously don't know the difference and so are not worth discoursing with, you see? This post is an ad hominem.

Unless of course your were referring to my post to @Marionville, which could be "taken" as an ad-hominem attack upon you, but since you were not my interlocutor at time, would be stretching the protocols of rhetoric, and still would not technically be an ad-hominem but rather be The Offence Fallacy on your part.

@FearlessFly
". . . btw A while ago"
oh the red herring fallacy, you are on a roll

@LenHazell53 . . . wrong again.

I think @Marionville will remember the topic ('polite' ) from a previous 'discussion' involving just the two of us.

@FearlessFly Oh so you do find it incorrect for me to comment on exchange between you two, but you are within your rights to comment on a conversation between she and I?
There is a word for that you know.

@LenHazell53 . . . wrong again
. . . not incorrect for you to comment, but incorrect that it was a "red herring"

. . . from the Community Guidelines
2. We welcome debate and dissent but personal attacks, persistent trolling and similar abuse will not be tolerated.
4. Recognise that there is a difference between criticising a politician, government, organisation, religion or belief and attacking people.

in the "conversation between she and I" you engaged in ad hominem twice.
Do you really mean to say that because it was in a reply to her that it wasn't ad hominem. ?
Do you really mean to say that those two were not "attacking" me personally ?
REALLY ?

@FearlessFly Yawn,
If I appear to have dropped off don't worry I'm just resting my eyes, do carry on

@LenHazell53 I am thankful I went on holiday to the West of Ireland for a few days and missed the last few exchanges on this thread!

@Marionville I wish I had too

@FearlessFly Yet he blocked me. 🤦♂️

@JeffMurray . . . he doesn't seem totally contrite, just 'wish'full

@FearlessFly Oh, I can't read anything he said. I just mean he's obviously being troll-like or at least breaking guidelines, yet he's the one that blocked me.
Don't know why my facepalm emoji adds a male symbol all the time.

@JeffMurray . . . you can read his 'offense' here :

". . . Wanting to report ad hominem personal 'attack'

When I click on 'Report', I don't notice ..."

2

Well I certainly can’t be identified with “Disgusted, Tunbridge Wells” after reading this...as I heartily agree! Well done Len.

2

I wish there was an option to "like" a magazine article.

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