J. D. Unwin

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J. D. Unwin
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Name: J. D. Unwin
Date of Birth: December 6, 1895
Occupation: ethnologist/anthropologist
Ethnicity: English

J. D. Unwin was a 20th century English ethnologist who argued that sexual license (widespread pre-marital sex) and the decline of monogamy (as typically promoted by feminism) leads to irrevocable societal collapse. He argued that monogamy was a pre-requisite for civilization to exist, stating: "The whole of human history does not contain a single instance of a group becoming civilized unless it has been absolutely monogamous, nor is there any example of a group retaining its culture after it has adopted less rigorous customs." He died at the age of 40 years old[1], his work being largely obscure during his lifetime, but it did receive praise from Aldous Huxley, author of Brave New World, which explored similar themes.

Sex and Culture[edit | edit source]

The famous psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud had previously argued that sexual repression was correlated with civilization. Setting out to examine to validity of this claim, Unwin conducted an analysis of 86 cultures (80 primitive tribes and the Roman, Greek, Sumerian, Arabian, Babylonian, and Anglo-Saxon civilizations), publishing his findings in 1934, in a book entitled Sex and Culture. Unwin concluded from his study that historically ascendant and expansive peoples invariably practiced sexual restraint before marriage;enforcing monogamy through social and/or legal avenues.[2]

Unwin found that when the cultures he examined achieved prosperity, this resulted in sexual license becoming widespread and socially accepted. Unwin stated this then led to the "expansive energy" of these cultures invariably dissipating, leading to these cultures degenerating or collapsing. Unwin claimed this process of societal decline was irrevocable, once it was initiated by sexual license. He also stated that this process of decline was quite rapid subsequent to the introduction of widespread sexual license, writing: "In human records there is no instance of a society retaining its energy after a complete new generation has inherited a tradition which does not insist on pre-nuptial and post-nuptial continence."

Unwin presented his findings impartially, making no solid conclusions in regards to how exactly sexual license led to civilization decline, beyond making nebulous references to "sexual transmutation", or the channeling of repressed sexual energy into productivity and innovation; as a possible factor in this process. He also expressed support for some feminist ideas, like legal equality between the sexes, which he claimed was crucial to the institution of monogamy being preserved. He also claimed that there was evidence that female legal equality and absolute monogamy could co-exist.

Utopian Views[edit | edit source]

Drawing upon the conclusions he derived from his of the effects of sexual restraint on civilization progress in Sex and Culture, Unwin wrote a utopian book detailing his plan for an ideal society. This work was not completed before his untimely death, but the finished portions were edited and published in 1940 as the book Hopousia. In the book Unwin outlines a novel form of enforced monogamy wherein individuals would be required to choose between two marriage groups, alpha and beta. Those in the alpha group would be induced into lifelong enforced monogamy, but would also gain certain privileges as compared to those in the beta group, such as their votes being weighted higher in any elections.

Those in the beta group would be basically free to do as they wished, in regards to sexual matters. He claimed that those in the alpha group would eventually represent a superior and aristocratic caste compared to those in the beta group, due to the alpha group members retaining greater "expansive energy" due to sexual repression.[3]

External Links[edit | edit source]

See Also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]