Mandeville, LA – In America, especially, there is always a need for moral justification. Life-style — an expression that came out of the same school of thought as sublimation and was actually understood to be the product of sublimation, but had never been associated with it in America because of the division of labor that had Freud specializing in sublimation and Weber in life-style — turned out to be a godsend. “Life-style” justifies any way of life, as does “value” any opinion. It does away with the natural structure of the world, which is only raw material for the stylist’s artistic hand. The very expression makes all moralisms and naturalisms stop short at the limit of the sacred ground, aware of their limits and respectful of creativity. Moreover, with our curious mixture of traditions, life-styles are accorded rights, so defense of them is a moral cause, justifying the sweet passions of indignation at the violators of human rights, against whom these tastes, before they became life-styles, were so politically and psychologically defenseless.
Now they can call upon all the lovers of human rights throughout the world to join in their defense, for the threat to any group’s rights is a threat to them all. Sadomasochists and Solidarity are bound together in the common cause of human rights, their fates depending on the success of the crusade in their favor. Sex is no longer an activity but a cause. In the past there was a respectable place for marginality, bohemia. But it had to justify its unorthodox practices by its intellectual and artistic achievement. Life-style is so much freer, easier, more authentic and democratic. No attention has to be paid to content. – Allan David Bloom, The Closing of The American Mind