Kennedy's 'Postcards from
Jonal entry 990 | Wednesday, June 7 2006
I racked my brain several nights ago to pinpoint the over-arching principle guiding the traditional values or family values side of the contemporary culture war. What's the equal opposite of "sexualize"? What I found was a word that was new to me but which seemed legitimate, which I later found is supported by the dictionaries. It's "sacralize," "sacralization." If the hedonistic left is dedicated to sexualizing our culture, what is the linguistic opposite of "sexualize"? Though our critics might propose "theocratize" or "puritanize," I think the best term is sacralize. Sacral, the dictionary says, is an adjective form of sacred and holy, but since neither sacred or holy lend themselves to a verb form, "sacralize," as in "make sacred," gets at it.
"Theocratize," meaning to push toward a theocratic society, as discussed here earlier, doesn't work because no intelligent person who identifies with Western Judeo-Christian civilization believes in theocracy (though many Islamists apparently do). Theocracy doesn't fit Judeo-Christian categories because neither of these cultural options believe in coercing belief or, to put it positively, both Christians and Jews believe in freedom of conscience. "Puritan," one of the most abused words in recent nomenclature; is almost never used properly. But even its proper use pertaining to a movement in the Church of England and imported to America in the early colonial period, hardly fits the current traditional values cultural ideal.
Sacralization is a good word. Just about everyone, even if not a believer in God or any god, holds some things as sacred. For romantics, it may be the highest love in life. For some secularists, it might be their family or children or the intergenerational bonds. Even atheists like the late novelist Ayn Rand have described their sacred things. So I think we'd be well served to get to know this word and start using and promoting it.
As a cultural idealthat is, a concept that drives a vision of culture and what direction it should takesacralization is the antidote to sexualization by replacing hedonistic sex for personal pleasure with mutual love for the establishing, building, and stregthening families. "Marriage as a sacred institution" is the opposite of "same-sex marriage," which so breaks down the very meaning of marriage that it can only be seen as the most extreme attempt yet to force and, as Richard Ostling described last weekend, enforce, a totally sexualized society.
Sacralizing is pursuing the holy: personal holiness, the holy in any facet of life and activity. Holy means separated to God, moved aside from the mundane to glorify and testify; to bespeak higher standards and aspirations. To take the high road, so seldom taken in this generation of public and general crudity. It can't be forced on anyone, but it can be held up as a better way to live, better way to life, and such holding up can commend the sacred to the culture. It's an idea that seems to have long since gone off our 21st century "radar screen." But it's an ideaidealthat's bound to come back again.