Power, said Henry Kissinger, is the ultimate aphrodisiac.
The phrasing was original; the thought behind it wasn’t. Any reader of Greek tragedies circa 400 BC knows that the link between power and sex wasn’t first established in the USA during the Nixon administration.
Men and women of power attract the opposite sex like a magnet held above scattered needles.
It could even perhaps be argued, or certainly observed, that a strong libido typically accompanies a strong lust for power.
One way or the other, most people will agree that power increases one’s sexual opportunities. However, fewer people may notice that the reverse is also true: sex can be used as a way of gaining power.
I don’t mean this in the most obvious way, for even a cursory familiarity with history will make one aware of the numerous favourites of assorted rulers who rose to power through sex. Some of them, such as Manuel Godoy of Spain or Grigory Potemkin of Russia, ended up as de facto rulers themselves.
Yet the West is no longer ruled by kings and queens who could reward the amorous ardour of their lovers by transferring some of their royal power into the favourites’ hands.
Mechanisms of power in our so-called democracies are less straightforward, and at first glance one may get the impression that sex can now only destroy power, not create it.
A jilted lover of a married politician may create a scandal putting paid to the career of a president or prime minister. But the power lost thereby won’t pass on to the lover – it’ll be inherited by another president or prime minister.
In modern democracies the war for power is fought on a much wider battlefield, that of the whole civilisation, not just the proverbial corridors. For today’s power seekers are all vultures feasting on the remains of a great civilisation where the likes of them would never have risen so high.
Thus uprooting whatever is left of that civilisation is a necessary precondition for their power, but it’s not a sufficient one. They must also spray the once fertile soil with coarse-grain salt to kill fertility for ever.
A civilisation can only be defeated by splitting it up: a house divided against itself shall not stand. Divide et impera is the secular expression of the same principle, and it lies at the heart of our post-Christian modernity.
I believe it was brought to life primarily by a rebellion against Christianity or, more broadly, God. The target wasn’t just the religion itself but also the civilisation it had produced. Ortega y Gasset described this tectonic shift brilliantly, if only in a limited, secular way, in his Revolt of the Masses.
The wave of the revolt carried on its crest a new elite made up mostly of mediocrities endowed with an inordinate strength of animal instincts. They sensed that for the elite to live, tradition had to die – vultures need a corpse to get their sustenance.
Thus today we can see how everything that even remotely smacks of tradition has to be mocked, compromised and, ideally, destroyed.
This wicked animus can be seen at work in every aspect of our lives, be it culture, law, politics and of course social cohesion. Its traditional cornerstone is the relationship between men and women, sanctified by the marriage ritual and amply covered in both Testaments. Hence it has to be debauched.
For the new elite to conquer, the sexes have to be divided – their relationship must be portrayed as fundamentally hostile. Hence the ever-growing profusion of stories supposedly proving the existence of this putative hostility.
Suddenly rape stories begin to claim front-page space, new notions like ‘date rape’ and ‘marriage rape’ become common fare, sex abuse in the workplace becomes a major topic, some behaviour that in the past was considered tasteless gets to be treated as criminal, even marital sex is equated with rape, marriage is no longer seen as the exclusive union between a man and a woman.
History, appropriately falsified, is co-opted for this purpose as well. The 2,000 years of the greatest civilisation the world has ever known are routinely depicted as a catalogue of abuses against women (or, as a more piquant version, children).
Rather than venerated as the driving force of our civilisation they have always been, women are seen as its victims. Their role in mitigating the testosteronal savagery of their men is both misunderstood and ignored, as is their vital contribution to running schools, hospitals, hospices – and indeed their households while their husbands were off fighting wars.
It’s thanks largely to women that our civilisation lasted as long as it did. For it was mainly women who imbued their offspring with both the spirit animating Christendom and the culture springing from it.
Women were able to play such a sublime role by complementing their men, not fighting against them. Rather than striving to be like men, they were superior to them in many of the qualities and achievements without which our civilisation would not have been possible.
All this is being ignored: common sense and basic knowledge have fallen victim in the wars of modernity. Instead we’re fed actuarial calculations of how few women had full-time employment at various points in history – as if the drudgery of most eight-to-five jobs automatically elevates their holders to a high perch of self-esteem or social value.
We live in the midst of a great revolution, and all such upheavals have an accelerator built in. They are like a snowball that rolls down the slope, gathering size and momentum as it goes on.
So be prepared for more and more rape stories lovingly presented in every lurid detail. Our powers that be will spare no effort to escalate the sex war they themselves first imagined and then tried to make real.
The impression that we’re in the grip of a worldwide pandemic of rape and child abuse will be reinforced with every screaming front-page headline. The din will become deafening, but we may not become deaf to it before it’s too late.