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Published November 12, 2000 in Our Sunday Visitor

Sexual Revolution and the Culture War
 Book Review of Libido Dominandi: Sexual Revolution and Political Control

Catholic author E. Michael Jones, former professor of literature and current editor of the magazine Culture Wars,  argued in previous books that modernity is nothing more than “rationalized lust.”  In his most recent book Libido Dominandi: Sexual Liberation and Political Control, he further develops and expands this theme.  The result is a tour de force of history, brilliant analysis, interweaving and interconnecting biographies, philosophies and ideas and an invitation to every Catholic to, well, “wake up and smell the coffee.”

The “coffee” for American Catholics at this point in history is the knowledge that a powerful “elite,” enemies of the Church, have employed the Enlightenment idea of sexual liberation and the psychology of modern advertising to rob them of their birthright and to bring into existence an immoral culture which is inimical to their beliefs (and which will also mean the eventual demise of democracy.) 

The effort to destroy a Catholic or moral voice in this so-called pluralistic society depends on an Enlightenment idea that a knowledgeable “adept” can  manipulate a person’s will.  This manipulation, of course, must remain hidden.  For this reason,  Dr. Jones undertook a monumental task to uncover  the often hidden connections between the ideas which have inspired this effort, the people who have acted upon them, and the means by which they were put into effect.  He has succeeded.  From its opening scene in Ingolstadt, Germany, in 1776 to its concluding one in Washington, D.C. in 1992,  this book is a tremendously interesting account of the program to undo a Christian society and a tremendously important disclosure of the forces at work to bring us to where we are today.

For instance, it is no surprise after reading this book to hear that Time Magazine’s recent cover story was entitled “Who Needs a Husband?,” nor to hear that pornography pulls in more profit than any other business on the Internet.  Libido Dominandi documents and explains the ramifications of  sexual liberation--and after reading this book, there is no doubt that the ramifications are both legion and deadly.

With 600 pages of history and 30 pages of endnotes, Libido Dominandi tells us many things, but for those of us who came of age during the “sexual revolution,” one disclosure holds special interest. “The sexual revolution was not a grassroots uprising;”  writes Dr. Jones,  “it was not the coalescing of ‘particles of revolt and enlightenment;’ it was rather a decision on the part of the ruling class in France, Russia, Germany and the United States at various points during the last 200 years to tolerate sexual behavior outside of marriage as a form of insurrection and then as a form of political control.” When the sixties revolutionaries thought they were overturning “The Establishment,” they were in reality playing into its hands.

As the above quotation indicates,  the overarching purpose of this book is to show that there exists a Wizard of Oz of sexual liberation, i.e. a man (or men) behind the curtain pulling the strings to bring about a sexually liberated populace. His (or their) purpose is to gain and keep political control.  Dr. Jones brilliantly shows through historical research that sexual liberation inevitably led to the political control of those who have been “liberated.”  Why? Because unleashed passions on a large scale will inevitably lead to civic collapse.  Controls must then be instituted to stabilize society.

Libido Dominandi shows that those who unleash the passions and those who then institute the measures to control these passions are one and the same. “The Liberal regime loves to play both arsonist and Fire Department,” Dr. Jones writes.  Thus, those who have the passion for dominion (libido dominandi) are at the same time “in thrall to the same passions they incite in others to dominate them.”  In historical events and biographies, Dr. Jones unearths this recurring pattern.   

One such biography is that of Adam Weishaupt, the Bavarian professor from Ingolstadt where the book opens.  Weishaupt took advantage of the temporary suppression of the Jesuits by Pope Clement XIV to advance rapidly through the University ranks.  In following his vaunting ambition, Weishaupt “ create a secret society of his own to ensure that the Jesuits would not return to Ingolstadt.”  Thus was born the Order of the Illuminati, whose intent was, as was the Freemasons’ and other secret societies’ of that time, to topple “throne and altar.”

Weishaupt is the prototype for all the revolutionaries presented in this book in his “depravity,” in his case, having “an affair with his sister-in-law,” and trying to cover up the affair by “procuring an abortion.”  And as with these other revolutionaries, Weishaupt tried to justify his lust by creating a theory or system to rationalize it.  When he turned to the public sphere after losing control of the  private, Weishaupt “sought to create a technology of control to take the place of self-control, which he himself lacked.”  Weishaupt “created a system of control that would create disciplined cells which would do the bidding of their revolutionary masters often, it seemed, without the slightest inkling that they were being ordered to do so.”

Throughout the book, Dr. Jones shows again and again how leaders of  sexual and cultural revolutions  developed theories, programs, public policy, and systems of government to justify their own immorality.  “The normal social order made no sense in light of sexual liberation,” writes Dr. Jones, “and failure to repent led inexorably to social activism that tried to mandate that behavior for society at large.”

Dr. Jones also proposes that all succeeding revolutionary politics depend on “Illuminist politics” which is “the ability to manipulate people through their vices.”  The “idea of a science of control” became “in many ways the intellectual history of the next 200 years.”
That history includes the French Revolution, the English Romantics, Marxism in Europe and the United States, the Communist Revolution in Russia, and the sexual revolution of the sixties in the United States.  It also includes lesser known “revolutions,” such as those that took place with the advent of social science in academia; those wrought when the communication techniques used during both world wars to persuade and control large numbers of people were applied to civilian populations for various purposes after the war (the birth of advertising and public relations);  those funded by major foundations, such as the Rockefeller Foundation’s funding of Kinsey and the eugenics movement;  those driven by literary figures, such as the Harlem Renaissance and the Beats;  and those engineered to destroy ethnic or religious opposition to the sexual revolution.

This last would include Catholics, of course, and a major part of the book is devoted to this outrageous--and successful--effort.  But it also includes the destruction of African-American resistance.  As Dr. Jones has shown the result has been devastating to both groups, though the black community arguably has lost far more and paid a far greater price for its “sexual liberation” than the Catholics in this country.

This history also includes numerous biographies.  The Marquis de Sade, Mary Wollstonecraft, Sigmund Freud,  John B. Watson, Max Eastman, Wilheim Reich, Claude McCay, Allexandra Kollontai, Margaret Sanger, Thomas Merton, Jack Kerouac, Alfred Kinsey, Carl Rogers and Leo Pfeiffer are just a few of the more famous.   Some biographies are fuller than others, but in each case, using their own words and letters, Dr. Jones shows either their adherence to or rejection of the ideas that have consistently driven the sexual and cultural revolutions of the last 200 years. 

It is in teasing out these ideas that Dr. Jones’s work shines so brilliantly.  To summarize them cannot do them justice, for they must be presented as he has presented them, backed by reams of supporting documents and shown in connection to other ideas, to individuals’ histories and to the consequences that followed from acting on these ideas.  But some of the more important ideas include several paradoxes:   Sexual liberation leads to bondage, addiction and, ultimately, death; the Enlightenment which was supposed to be the triumph of  “reason” led instead to the tyranny of uncontrolled passion in both individuals and in societies; “ nothing more than the truths of antiquity stood on their head.  What Euripedes intended as a warning, people like Reich and Nietzsche turned into exhortation;” science, which was supposed to liberate thinkers from the authoritarian Church, tradition and family, has simply replaced those  authorities with its own unbending dogmas.

Dr. Jones has woven together the history of many events, but two histories in the book may be of particular interest to Catholics today.  The first is his reading of the way that liberals betrayed one of their dearest causes in this country--the welfare of those living in black ghettos.  They did this by ultimately rejecting the Moynihan Report of 1965 which proposed a long-term solution to the problem of poverty in the black ghettos. This solution hinged on restoring the black family, and, in particular, the father to his family.  Moynihan, himself a liberal Democrat, writing of the liberal reaction which killed his policy, opined that his report “was the point of unparalleled opportunity for the liberal community [to help underprivileged blacks]and it was exactly the point where that community collapsed.”  

How does this event fit in with Dr. Jones’ thesis?  “What the liberal Left saw in the Moynihan Report was an attempt to roll back their hard-won sexual freedoms.  This particular attempt to strengthen the Negro family proposed a sexual morality that they had deliberately jettisoned en route to becoming part of the sexually enlightened Left.”    He states this betrayal more explicitly: “the liberals chose to perpetuate the ghetto as a bulwark to preserve the sexual revolution.”   One of the results of the politics of sexual liberation is that “illegitimacy among all blacks increased from 20 percent to over 70 percent” in the years since the Moynihan Report and “the situation which Moynihan described as epidemic for blacks in 1965 has become the norm for American society, which now has an illegitimacy rate of 21 percent.”


The attack against Catholic sexual morality in this country is the second history of particular interest.  The purpose of the assault was to weaken Catholic power by reducing Catholic population growth.  To do so, Catholics’ rejection of the use of artificial contraception and their tendency to have large families must be changed.   As is clear in 2000,  Catholics have changed en masse on both of these.  Dr. Jones’ explication of how and why it happened is abundantly documented.


The groups and individuals who directed the attack are made indisputably clear in Libido Dominandi, and Dr. Jones has used  some fascinating archival material to chronicle this concerted effort on the part of non-Catholics.  But, alas, the attack would have failed except that powerful men and women within the Church, also named, aided and abetted this assault on Catholics’ beliefs and practices.  The story of this “Fifth Column” within the Church is one of the more disheartening--and enlightening-- accounts.

The story of the use of the “Human Potential Movement” and Carl Roger’s/Abraham Maslov’s  Encounter Groups to weaken and sometimes destroy religious life in convents, monasteries and rectories is also a fascinating account for Catholics today.

Finally, the book gives a detailed history of the way advertising and public relations has made political control far more intimate, all-encompassing and powerful than was ever possible before their advent.   “The best way to make men unaware of their lack of political freedom is to indulge their sexual passions,”  as Dr. Jones summarizes claims of both Sade and Aldous Huxley and the aim of  today’s elite class. The media, foundations, think tanks, public relations firms, academia, courts and captains of commerce currently work in cahoots to continue the corruption of morals for they stand to profit hugely from this corruption, gaining both more money and more power.  In reading this book, one cannot overlook the courage of Dr. Jones in uncovering this information and revealing to the light of day.  His book will anger many of the high and mighty.

For those of us who, like Dr. Jones, came of age during the sixties and who want to know the forces which drove ourselves or many of our peers,  this book is an essential read.  For Catholics of all ages, it is a powerful incentive to wake up.   For unless Catholics realize that they, like other “consumers” plugged into the dominant culture, are being told what to do and, a la Huxley’s Brave New World, being made “to love their servitude,”  they will continue to lose their freedom, both civic and, more importantly, moral.

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