And Luke Gilkerson goes on to describe the ways the Playboy Philosophy is demonstrated in our culture today.
In the Firing Line interview Hefner espouses a “New Morality” in which what evolves regarding sex is, in Hefner’s own words, a “Situational Ethic.” Hefner never really explains what he means by that phrase, but in many ways it is self-explanatory.
Hefner insists that the Judeo-Christian ethic on sexuality is not only restrictive, but it is”not natural,” nor “logical;” therefore, it is “not truly moral.”
It may be easy now, as Hefner reaches 85 years old, to see him almost as a kindly old man who is just enjoying his life and doing so in a particularly unusual way as compared to most men of his age.
But the reality is Hefner has had a profound impact on Amerian culture, starting in the second half the 20th Century and even still today. His philosophy and his direct rejection of traditional views on sexuality have shaped us greatly.
Hefner says repeatedly in the Firing Line interview that Christianity only looks at sex and says “Thou shalt not…” But that is a fundamental flaw in his thinking, and from it spiral many false conclusions.
Buckley was a very bright and entertaining mind in his day. But i was surprised that during the interview he did not address Hefner’s flawed logic. Buckley chose to chip away at Hefner’s supposed, self-anointed moral authority, but Hefner kept avoiding that issue and responding with fluffy answers about how only good can come from following our various sexual desires rather than suppressing them.
The one thing about Buckley in the interview which is instructive for us, however, is that throughout the whole exchange, he never gets meanspirited or attacking. He argues his position strongly, and lets Hefner know where he thinks the Playboy Philosophy is wrong, but he always keeps his tone civil.
We could use more of that these days.